The Sinocism China Newsletter For 10.31.12

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Still sick, just links again today, hope all the readers on the East Coast of the US are OK after the terrible storm:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China’s big banks set for slowest annual profit growth since going public | Reuters- Chinese bank officials deny there is a significant rise in bad loans, returning to their oft-repeated line that they are controlling lending tightly and have looked again at the books of borrowers who may be in danger of default.

Chinese Banks Brace for Bad Loans – WSJ.com - China’s banks have been building up their bulwarks against bad loans, underscoring the potential risk to the financial system in the world’s No. 2 economy even amid other signs that growth is picking up again.

ICBC Net Rebound Exceeds Estimates on Loans, Provisions – Bloomberg - The combined profit at China’s four largest banks rose 15 percent to 189 billion yuan ($30 billion) in the third quarter, almost triple the amount at the top four U.S. banks and 3 percent more than the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg

China eyes rating rules for inter-bank bonds: sources | Reuters - China is readying new regulations governing credit ratings of bonds traded in the inter-bank market in a bid to boost activity in the fledgling sector, two sources close to the regulator told Reuters.

PetroChina to Beijing: give us a break | beyondbrics - unfortunately for shareholders of PetroChina, following state diktat can sometimes be a costly undertaking. Due to Beijing’s “control over prices of refined [oil] products”, PetroChina reported a dizzying loss of Rmb37.4bn ($6bn) during the first nine months of this year in its refining and chemicals businesses.

Report: Steel Trader Fraud Hurting Chinese Banks – China Real Time Report – WSJ - Reuters had a long story on this last month//

PBOC conducts record reverse repos to ease liquidity – Xinhua | English.news.cn - The central bank injected a record high of 395 billion yuan (62.7 billion U.S. dollars) into the financial system via reverse repos in order to ease a cash squeeze at the end of the month, according to a statement from the PBOC’s website.

Shanghai, Beijing Lure Back Investors as Second-Tier Cities Sour – Bloomberg - Real estate investors and developers are abandoning a two-year foray into China’s provincial cities and switching back to Shanghai and Beijing, where offices are fuller, rents are higher and home prices are stabilizing. Of the $34 billion of direct investment in commercial real estate in 2010 and 2011 combined, 20 percent went to China’s 50 biggest second-tier cities, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., up from 5 percent in the prior two years.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Reform unlikely, says China expert Roderick MacFarquhar | South China Morning Post- MacFarquhar, a professor of history and political science at Harvard University, said the vested interests of the political elite were so entrenched in a corrupt system that an overhaul would amount to dismantling the regime.”They are frightened that if they start something, this might be the taking away of the stone that leads to an avalanche,” said MacFarquhar, an expert on Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution era.

China Luxury Sales to Get Boost After Leadership Change – Bloomberg - and people will know to whom to send the gifts…// “We expect industry sales to grow more than 10 percent in the second half of next year, driven by pent-up demand for luxury,” said Wong. “When new government officials take office, they will lay out policies and strategies that would clear investment uncertainties and pave the way for corporate gifting to pick up.”..“Upon the completion of party congress, we’ll know not only who will come to power, but also get to know who is in charge of which particular organization or department,” said Chow Tai Fook’s Wong. “This would help build confidence for corporate gifting demand to return.”

整党保洁或成习近平十八大上任后第一把火_多维新闻网 -

China Matters: Insider trading, Chinese style a different take// In other words, the Wen family appears to have navigated the loopholes, opportunities, and perilous shoals of personal enrichment in an adroit, legalistic, and politically astute fashion that would be recognized and admired immediately by their spiritual brothers and sisters across the sea: the robber barons of Wall Street and the London bourse. Whether Wen Jiabao and the CCP will see fit to untangle this web in the interests of transparency, decency, and the Party’s political viability is an interesting question.

Grabbed by heavy-handed riot police at Chinese protests – ITV News  great video// Almost everyone had a smartphone, hundreds of photos were taken of us and posted on Chinese Weibo, a cross between Twitter and Facebook. An estimated 300,000,000 people use social media in China. The photos were reposted thousands and thousands of times with some people adding messages like “Chinese media should be ashamed of themselves” and “protesters weep as they see foreign media at protests in Ningbo”.

人民日报-介绍一首六十多年前的校园流行歌曲——《月光和影子》 - People’s Daily on Jiang Zemin’s love of the song “moonlight & shadows”, article getting lots of play on Chinese news portals today

铁血宰相再现身 江、李、朱余威犹存_多维新闻网 - Duowei–other elders also making appearances, to demonstrate that the political situation is stable?// 【多维新闻】北京时间10月24日,原中国国家总理朱镕基以清华经管学院首任院长、学院顾问委员会名誉主席的身份,协同夫人劳安在钓鱼台国宾馆会见了参加2012清华大学经济管理学院顾问委员会会议的中外委员。陪同朱镕基的还有政治局委员王岐山、刘延东,以及国务委员马凯等一众中共高官。这也是9月底以来第三位在公众面前现身的中共元老。此前包括江泽民、李瑞环在内的一批中共元老也曾纷纷露面,这被一部分媒体解读为“老人干政”——这群政治老人试图在换届的关键之时出面“站台”,向外界展示自己的身体健康,影响仍在,并暗藏针锋相对、权斗不止之意。但更为理性的分析认为这是中共在尊重老人的传统之下,江、李、朱等人的露面是在薄熙来倒台、十八大换届之际向外界展示中国政坛的稳定。

人民日报-党的十七大以来大事记–中共中央党史研究室 - Last Plenum of 17h Party Congres starts 11.1, today’s top People’s Daily story on China’s major events since CPC’s 17th national congress

Backgrounder: China’s major events since CPC’s 17th national congress – Xinhua | English.news.cn -

环球时报:政治体制改革必须摸着石头过河_新闻_腾讯网 - CASS scholar on political reform, says needs to proceed by “crossing the river by feeling the stones”//国内外大量经验证明,成功的政治改革大多没有什么“理论指导”,更谈不上什么“顶层设计”,多是逐步摸索,一路探寻,最终获得成功的。这在中国叫做“摸着石头过河”。相反许多失败的改革倒是理论准备充足,事先言之凿凿,但实践起来却一塌糊涂,结果很对不起人民、对不起国家,甚至也对不起自己,被尴尬地留在了历史的记忆中。

Could China use the Singapore strategy on the New York Times? | FP Passport - Singapore’s successful authoritarianism has long been seen as a model for China. China’s market is also much larger than Singapore’s. For the sake of press freedom, here’s hoping that the Times is not forced to apologize to China.

Billionaire company chief Xu Yusho held for alleged railway bribery | South China Morning Post- The billionaire chief a Shenzhen-listed technology company has been detained for bribery connected to the railways sector.Invengo Information Technology president Xu Yusho, who is also a member of the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Congress, was taken into custody by Shenzhen authorities after a request from the Zhengzhou Railway Bureau in Henan province, prosecutors said late on Monday.

Sr. official urges strengthened judicial administration – Xinhua | English.news.cn - While visiting Dacheng Law Offices, Zhou called on lawyers across the country to improve their professional abilities and actively participate in public welfare undertakings such as legal assistance and law publicity so as to provide better legal services to the people and further polish the image of lawyers.

About Dacheng–Dacheng Law Offices - Founded in 1992, Dacheng Law Offices is one of the first and largest partnership law firms in China. On 10 November 2009, Dacheng was approved by The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice to transform its general partnership into special general partnership. Since its inception, Dacheng has consistently upheld the core cultural philosophy reflected in its motto: “aiming high and far as the sky, encompassing deep and wide as the sea, pursuing excellence one step at a time, achieving perfection through harmony”, providing comprehensive, timely, high quality and efficient professional legal services to clients both at home and abroad.

Beijing beefs up security, logistic support for upcoming CPC congress – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Workers on the street or local retirees have been mobilized to help maintain order and security before and during the meeting.

Jetstar Passengers Take Crew Hostage | Shanghai Pudong Airport- A JETSTAR pilot and crew were held hostage for more than six hours by a mob of angry passengers after their flight was diverted from Beijing to Shanghai because of bad weather.The experienced Australian pilot is being hailed as a hero for his calm actions after being confronted by the angry passengers as they disembarked at Shanghai’s Pudong airport.

重庆劳教纠错进行时_杂志频道_财新网 - 随着部分案件的平反,重庆开始处理当年劳教潮的后遗症。劳教制度何去何从,则是背后更大课题

Facing Booze Cuts, Local Chinese Officials Brew Their Own – China Real Time Report – WSJ- Leaders of Baishun, population around 12,600, were faced with a quandary recently: How to satisfy demands by higher Communist Party authorities that official banquet costs be trimmed and other expenses economized while keeping up appearances for visiting officials and other guests?The town’s solution: brew its own rice wine

China shows off ‘sunshine detention centre’ to allay torture claims | guardian.co.uk  Nicholas Bequelin, senior Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said there was no doubt the facilities were the country’s best, but added: “It does tell you something: it means this is what the government sees it should be doing … I don’t think China is building model detention centres just to fool the international community.”

There Are More Than 50,000 Government Accounts on Sina Weibo–TechInAsia - Police departments were among the first adopters, and now according to a recent report released by Sina, there are 50,947 different government entities with weibo accounts. That number is as of late September, though, so the actual number now is likely higher.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Japanese vessels expelled from Diaoyu Islands waters – Xinhua | English.news.cn - China’s marine surveillance fleet has expelled a number of Japanese vessels illegally sailing in waters around the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday morning, according to a statement issued by the State Oceanic Administration.

China urges Japan to admit dispute over Diaoyu Islands – Xinhua | English.news.cn - “The situation is not what it once was following Japan’s illegal purchase of the islands, which has destroyed an important consensus reached by the older generation of leaders regarding the islands,” Hong said.

In Speech Organized by Beijing, Ex-Diplomat Calls Islands Dispute With Japan a ‘Time Bomb’ – NYTimes.com- Mr. Chen, whose speech was organized by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and who was accompanied by a half-dozen Chinese diplomats, also said discussions should start on ways to reduce the risk of clashes between Chinese and Japanese patrol vessels, which often come perilously close to each other in the waters off the islands.Some in China see the issue of the islands “as a time bomb planted by the U.S. between China and Japan,” he said, later adding, “that time bomb is now exploding or about to explode.”

U.S., Japan to hold joint military drill amid island row with China | Reuters - Japan and the United States will hold a biennial joint military exercise in Japan in November in a move likely to further anger China

Advancing China’s nuclear security | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Article Highlights: 1. Lack of transparency surrounds security arrangements for the facilities and weapons-usable fissile materials in China’s nuclear weapons sector. Available information paints an encouraging picture, but room for improvement remains. 2. China could enhance its nuclear security by updating its threat assessments, performing realistic tests of vulnerabilities at facilities, and building a stronger security culture. 3. Beijing’s recent cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US government has paid significant dividends in improving security. More cooperation might yield yet greater dividends.

The Pivot – YouTube - This 22-minute film is based on interviews with leading officials, diplomats, and analysts, including Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, former U.S. Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy, former National Security Council Asia experts Jeffrey Bader and Kenneth Lieberthal, Chinese diplomat Jia Xiudong and others, as well as on-the-ground reporting. It offers a fascinating and detailed look at the Pivot and its implications for U.S. relations with Asia now- and in the future.

Wenzhou’s Italian Uncles | ChinaFile Beta - The vast majority of Chinese who have emigrated to Italy come from Wenzhou and the surrounding area, a municipality of about 9 million people. I have been wondering for a long time what happens when they return to China: does anything Italian stick to them? Has Wenzhou been Italianized at all?

Documentary– When China met Africa - Through the intimate portrayal of these characters, the expanding footprint of a rising global power is laid bare – pointing to a radically different future, not just for Africa, but also for the world.

Romney Ball Caps Made in China, Obama’s Made in USA | Crooks and Liars -

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Hong Kong Intervenes for Fifth Time in 2 Weeks to Defend Peg – Bloomberg - Funds are flowing into Hong Kong after the U.S. and Europe introduced policies to stimulate their economies and data signal China’s economy may be bottoming. Last month, the Federal Reserve unveiled a third round of quantitative easing and Europe announced bond-buying plans, spurring capital inflows into emerging markets. The Bank of Japan (8301) expanded its asset-purchase program for the second time in two months today.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Amazon China CEO Jumps Ship In the leadup to the long-awaited launch of the Kindle in Amazon, news broke on Monday that Amazon China CEO Wang Hanhua has left the company to join Apple. The news of Wang’s departure, which appeared on China’s Weibo microblogging platform on October 28th, has now been confirmed, though Wang denies that he’ll be joining Apple. Mention has been made of Wang’s marginalization within the company, dissatisfaction with Amazon China’s localization efforts, and his sense of frustration with an overly-controlling US headquarters. 2012 has seen many companies, including Apple, profiting from China’s growing online retail and publishing platforms, while Amazon has been viewed as lagging behind.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Ai Weiwei grants rare non-exclusive interview | China Daily Show  brilliant satire// The bold meal choice was originally leaked to all 472 Beijing-based foreign reporters via a mass ‘tweet.’  This information was available only to those with a Twitter account, however – which is blocked on the mainland. China’s remaining 600 million web users remain locked in a dark vortex of Ai misinformation and ignorance, experts say.

Seeing too much coverage on Sandy, Chinese netizens call CCTV a stooge of the US | Offbeat China - “Journalists from China’s CCTV went so far away from home and risked their lives in order to report a hurricane in the US live. Why? Netizens provide a few guesses. 1. It’s because of the spirit of internationalism. 2. They have high journalistic pursuits. 3. They have too much budget this year. 4. They have nothing else to do. 5. They want to tell the Chinese people that the Americans are living in hell. 6. The news are for government officials because their wives (second wives, too) and kids are all in the US.” //funny

Typhoon Son-Tinh triggers flood in S China – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Photo taken on Oct. 30, 2012 shows a half-submerged market in Beiliu, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Typhoon Son-Tinh has brought strong wind and downpours to Guangxi since Sunday, leaving 127,800 people affected and forcing 9,378 people to relocate

大货司机_杂志频道_财新网 Caixin photoessay of long-distance trucker. see the 9th picture for the heartbreaking tragedy.he backs up truck over his wife/partner. amazing photojournalist there for this

IMG Sees ‘Tremendous’ Sponsor Interest in Chinese Soccer – Bloomberg - “We’ve just begun the process, but there’s a tremendous interest from companies in the U.S.,” Adam Zhu, the head of IMG’s operations in China, said in an interview in Beijing yesterday. Meetings to discuss possible sponsorships have been held with “major consumer product companies,” with IMG also planning a promotional tour for the league, Zhu said, without identifying which companies had participated in talks.

Real estate billionaire Wang Shi’s divorce and new girlfriend | Danwei -  when you are a 61-year-old famous real estate mogul and renowned entrepreneur and when your new mistress is a pretty, 31-year-old actress – that’s front page front and centre. Hence all over various front pages in China today are revelations that Wang Shi (王石) has divorced his wife for his girlfriend Tian Pujun (田扑珺). The Internet in China is well and truly abuzz with the news that the “old rich and handsome” (老富帅) has a “new joy” (新欢).

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

In a Natural Gas Glut, Big Winners and Losers – NYTimes.comhow much did Chinese firms actually invest, and how much have they lost?// In China, he was in awe at just how much money was available to invest. One senior executive at a major Chinese oil company that Mr. Eads declined to identify, citing the confidential nature of the negotiations, explained that the country wanted to move as much as $750 billion from United States Treasury bonds into the North American energy business.Mr. Eads was only happy to oblige, helping to secure $3.4 billion from the Chinese for Chesapeake through two deals.

China takes new step in oil sands – The Globe and Mail- China is cementing its Canadian energy ambitions with a commitment to a new $3-billion pipeline that would carry oil sands crude south.Phoenix Energy Holdings Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of PetroChina Co. Ltd., is partnering with TransCanada Corp. to build a 900,000 barrel-a-day project, called the Grand Rapids Pipeline System, 500 kilometres from northwest of Fort McMurray to Fort Saskatchewan, near Edmonton.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

鏖战渤海湾_孙静文_博联社 - interesting pictures of jellyfish fishing life on the bohai gulf

International Dairy Companies Face Obstacles to Entering China – Caixin - foreign companies have had a difficult time getting their products into China. They complain that unofficial importers selling on Taobao are undercutting them because they can avoid tariff duties. They also say that a practice that sees supermarkets charge high commissions to carry their products means they face high barriers to entering China.

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

Mo Yan: Frenemy of the State – Nick Frisch – The Atlantic- Just don’t tell that to Tang dynasty wordsmiths Li Bai and Du Fu, or the historian Sima Qian, painter-poet-calligraphers Su Dongpo and Ouyang Xiu, 11th-century public-interest crusader Bao Zheng, or prominent 2nd-century BC anti-corruption activist Qu Yuan. And definitely don’t tell noted itinerant philosopher Confucius.Because if Mo Yan was indeed “under a spell,” then China’s indigenous literary pantheon is a rogue’s gallery of delusionally craven collaborators, apologists, stooges, and sellouts. To a man, all trained for government service and either served as officials or aspired to become one. These writers are little known or read by Westerners — or Western journalists posted to Beijing. But their literary legacy casts a longer shadow on modern China than the Voltaires or the Byrons who shape our post-Enlightenment notion of how a “writer” should behave. In the Chinese tradition, literature does not exist as a sphere outside the state: literature is the state. Or rather, the state is literature itself.

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