The Sinocism China Newsletter For 03.31.13

Just links today. Keep in mind that Monday is April Fool’s Day, be wary of what you read on the Internets, in English or Chinese:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Li Huabo, Corrupt Chinese Bureaucrat or Fall Guy? – Businessweek very interesting story..he has to be guilty of something, no?// While the wealth and misbehavior of senior Communist Party officials and their families have received international attention, the more insidious forms of official corruption take place at the local level. Tales of corruption have become the stuff of popular roman à clef novels such as The Diary of Government Official Hou Weidong, written by a midlevel sanitation official, which describes a culture of endemic graft. Rarely, however, do outsiders hear directly from bureaucrats caught up in corruption cases. Li told his story to Bloomberg Businessweek during a four-hour interview at his home in Singapore. He maintains he’s innocent of the charges against him—a fall guy, not a crook. His story provides a glimpse of the pervasiveness of influence peddling at all levels of China’s bureaucracy and shows how difficult it is to stop abuses that have become an accepted part of doing business.

[视频]“三包”服务缩水 “苹果”缘何霸气?_新闻频道_央视网  no respite for Apple in China on Good Friday. CCTV evening news has another segment criticizing Apple…nearly 5 minutes long…in a 30 minute broadcast //  专家评论苹果logo缺一角|苹果|苹果手机|央视_新浪视频  People’s University law professor tell CCTV news that Apple’s logo missing piece may be “responsibility & conscience 2 Chinese consumers”…roundly mocked on weibo

For Apple, business must stay business – OP-ED – Globaltimes.cn The drama began as a typical business incident, as CCTV did not only point its finger at Apple in its March 15 exposé. It is no good for either side that the issue is gradually turning political…Had Apple been more sincere in its response to the criticism, the result could have been different. The statement Apple made right after the CCTV exposé was very different with that of other multinational companies who were also reported to have consumer rights issues. With the sheer weight of the company behind it, Apple’s detached tone could easily be seen as proof of arrogance. Apple has won respect from Chinese consumers with its perseverance in developing leading technologies and styles. But the company is not impeccable…Apple should not follow the media speculation and consider itself the target of political persecution. ..If the issue developed into a head-on confrontation between Apple and the Chinese authorities, the US company will never be a winner, nor will China necessarily do well. Of course, Apple will suffer the most, as its products are already facing increasing competition in China. //the original OpEd, translation not exact 社评:苹果应避免围绕它的风波扩大化_评论_环球网 interesting global times editorial “advises” apple 2 act 2 prevent china “crisis” from expanding // 苹果公司靠着科技和时尚创新闯天下,也赢得了中国大量消费者的尊敬。但苹果不是完美无缺的。不断改进技术、不断提升服务质量对它来说也永无止境。这应是我们认识苹果公司,以及认识苹果同消费者及媒体关系的基础。处在苹果这样的高位上,回应批评积极而富有弹性,应是一种基本态度。中美存在文化差异,彼此沟通,以及评估对方态度存在天然的障碍,苹果需要更加谨慎。苹果风波以普通纠纷开始,也应以非政治的方式结束。西方媒体猜测苹果是中美贸易纠纷的“替罪羊”,苹果应当躲避这样的对号入座。中国的“果粉”们如果真的爱护苹果,就不应炒作苹果“受迫害”的悲情,而应还事情以本来的简单。果真的将对抗激化,苹果显然赢不了,中国得到的也未必就是正分。但由于苹果产品的可替代性越来越大,苹果公司的丢分将是最多的。现在许多事情在中国时常被政治化,中国内部的价值观分化常把小事搞成大事,导致对立丛生。这是中国自己的问题。外国商业公司应离中国当下特殊的“政治热情”尽可能远一点,别往里搅和。

How Apple’s return policy in China differs from the U.S. – Apple 2.0 -Fortune Tech UPDATE: Several readers have pointed out that European Union consumer laws require Apple to honor claims of defective hardware for 2 years from date of delivery (See the UK for an English language version). If what the Chinese government wants is that kind of service, perhaps it should pass its own consumer protection laws.//but isn’t that one of the points state media is making, that Apple is not conforming to current laws? Have any independent experts confirmed that Apple is or is not conforming to current laws/regulations about after-sales support policies for computer/electronic devices?// Official China Daily Fires at Apple over Warranty Complaints -Caijing “Apple offers a global warranty period of 1 year – that’s the same whichever country you are in.” wrote China Daily in an article. ”But Chinese law states that warranties on computer sales must be at least two years.” The paper also cited a Chinese lawyer as saying that foreign companies in China should obey Chinese laws and Apple’s warranty clauses apparently violate the nation’s law. Apple changed some of its warranty clauses under amounting pressure but the move was called by Chinese lawyers as putting “old wine in new bottles”. One of the former repair terms “Apple is entitled to retain your product until full payment by you of all charges for the repair,” was replaced with “Apple is entitled to retain your product and provide repair services at relatively-low price.”// Chinese consumers demand Apple action over complaints – Xinhua The China Consumer’s Association (CCA) has asked Apple Inc. to “sincerely apologize to Chinese consumers” and “thoroughly correct its problems,” after the U.S. firm took little action to address waves of criticism. In a statement posted on the CCA’s website, Apple Inc. was told to equalize the warranty periods in China compared with other countries. Buyers of iPads, after the company admitted the device is classifiable as a portable computer, are entitled to two-year after-sale service packages for its key components, said the statement.//人民日报-中国消费者协会公开劝谕苹果公司 尊重消费者合法权益改正存在问题 People’s Daily page 4 Saturday on China Consumer Association saying what Apple needs to change

China resolutely opposes U.S. curbs on IT imports: state media | Reuters State media including Xinhua, the China Daily and the People’s Daily, quoted a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce as saying the U.S. bill “sends a very wrong signal”. ”This will directly impact partnerships of Chinese enterprises and American business as they conduct regular trade,” said Shen Danyang, the commerce ministry spokesman.

北京国五条细则出台:禁止单身人士买二套房_资讯频道_凤凰网 千龙网北京3月30日讯 (记者 吕峥) 30日,北京市人民政府办公厅印发《北京市人民政府办公厅贯彻落实<国务院办公厅关于继续做好房地产市场调控工作的通知>精神进一步做好本市房地产市场调控工作的通知》(以下简称《通知》)。includes a “Q&A” on the rules// Beijing announces detailed property curbs – Xinhua  The municipal governments of Chinese capital Beijing and business hub Shanghai on Saturday spelled out detailed rules aimed at cooling the property market following the central government’s fresh regulatory plan earlier this month. Single adults with a permanent Beijing residence registration, who have not made purchases in the city before, are allowed to buy only one apartment, according to the announcement. Shanghai said banks will be banned from giving loans to local residents who are buying a third apartment or more, according to a government announcement. Meanwhile, the two cities will raise down payments for second-home buyers. The two mega-cities both vow to strictly implement the 20-percent tax on capital gains from property sales. Beijing said the tax will be exempt if the property is the seller’s only one and they have owned it for five years or more. The Shanghai announcement did not mention similar policy.// Beijing Bans One-Person Households From Buying Second Homes – Bloomberg The city of Beijing banned single- person households from buying more than one residence and increased the minimum down-payment for all buyers of second homes as the government seeks to cool the property market. The new measures take effect tomorrow, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, which said the city will also enforce a 20 percent tax on capital gains from property. Current rules allow each household with a Beijing residence permit to buy a second home, opening the way for couples to divorce on paper to double their ability to invest.

Govt pledges unified real estate registry – Frontpage – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn The central government’s vow to launch and implement a unified real estate registration system by the end of June 2014 is expected to bring down property prices and pave the way for the introduction of a property tax, said market insiders Friday. The target was laid out Thursday in a document of the State Council’s tasks for institutional reform and transforming functions in the next five years, which also laid out deadlines for completing the tasks and the responsible departments. According to the document posted on the official website of the central government, 29 tasks are expected to be completed this year, 28 in 2014, 11 in 2015, and four in 2017. An opinion piece on the website of the Xinhua News Agency Friday said the deadlines revealed by the State Council highlighted the authorities’ will to accelerate the pace of building a service-oriented government.

Xi Jinping goes to Russia–Sinica Podcast Xi Jinping’s trip to Moscow earlier this week, his first journey abroad as China’s new head of state, has raised interesting questions about China’s ambitions in Asia, and coupled with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” is resurrecting the spectre of a strategic standoff between southern and northern Asia around the world’s two leading superpowers. How realistic is this vision? In today’s show, we try our best to find out

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Boeing delivers 1,000th airplane to China – Xinhua | English.news.cn A Boeing 737-800 airplane is seen during the celebration of the delivery of the 1,000th Boeing airplane for China, in Seattle, the United States, March 28, 2013. Boeing and China Eastern Airlines on Thursday celebrated in Seattle the delivery of the 1,000th Boeing airplane for China, one of the world’s most dynamic markets for commercial airplanes. Boeing forecasted that China would need 5,260 new airplanes, valued at $670 billion, in the next 20 years

China’s Yuan Rises to 19-Year High as Central Bank Boosts Fixing – Bloomberg China’s yuan rose to a 19-year high after the central bank raised its daily reference rate to the strongest level in more than 10 months. The People’s Bank of China increased the fixing by 0.08 percent to 6.2689 per dollar, the highest since May 2, 2012. The currency is allowed to trade 1 percent either side of the rate. The Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in March will be 51, indicating a sixth month of expansion, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists before official data on April 1.

Foreign Traders Agree to Pay $3.3 Million to Settle Charges in Nexen Insider Trading Case; 2013-50; March 29, 2013-SEC The SEC’s investigation has identified Ren Feng and his wife Zeng Huiyu as previously unknown traders charged in the complaint as well as Ren’s private investment company CT Prime Assets Limited and four of Zeng’s brokerage customers on whose behalf she traded. They made a combined $2.3 million in illegal profits from Nexen stock trades made by Ren and Zeng.//but no indictment? 

2013中国城镇化高层国际论坛-财经网 Caijing coverage of this weekend’s China International Urbanization Forum..any readers attend? would love to hear how it was

CBRC Restricts Lending to Local Governments at Grassroots – Caixin The country’s banking regulator has recently ordered rural banks and credit cooperatives to curb lending to government financing platforms and property development projects. The China Banking Regulatory Commission’s policy requires rural lending institutions to cap their platform loans at current levels and reduce those to platforms affiliated to governments at county level and below. They are also prohibited from indirectly providing funds to platforms by buying their bonds, short-term financing papers, medium-term notes and trust products…This is the latest attempt by a central government agency to rein in local government debt

New Commerce Minister is Experienced Negotiator – Caixin The new minister of commerce, Gao Hucheng, has spent nearly 36 years involved in foreign trade issues. Gao, who was named to the new position on March 16, started as a commerce official in the Chinese embassy to Democratic Republic of Congo in 1977 and spent most of his career in positions linked to foreign trade. The exception was his time as deputy Communist Party chief in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region between 2002 and 2003.

Apple, Volkswagen Face the Wrath of Chinese Media – Businessweek With so many Apple fans in China, though, the state media may have picked a fight it can’t win. Yes, some Chinese consumers may not have had the best experience dealing with Apple staff. But many of China’s local brands don’t enjoy particularly strong reputations for customer service or quality control. Chinese consumers tend to like Western brands such as Apple and VW, in part because of the damage done to local brands by a series of food-safety scares, from milk powder tainted with melamine to dead pigs floating in the river that supplies drinking water to Shanghai.It will take more than a few bad articles in the People’s Daily to make Chinese consumers forget those.//no, Apple can not win a fight with state media, regardless of the merits. consumers may not be swayed, but more than just consumer sentiment matters to foreign brands in China…and state media long ago discredited among the weiboscenti and apple fans

Guangdong Publicly Says It Has “huge” Hidden Debts in Pension Fund-Caijing The government of Guangdong has expressed concerns about its pension liabilities, saying the provincial government’s pension fund is running up “huge” hidden debts, opening a peephole into the patchy pension system in the world’s second-biggest economy. The government will seek to solve the many problems in the pension fund by raising financial subsidies and exploring ways to invest the money, government officials said in an official report on Thursday.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

China to Carry out Property Registration System Before June 2014-Caijing A document released by the State Council on Thursday requires related authorities to issue a “unified property registration” system before June, 2014, along with dozens of rules supposed to be in place in the period from now to 2017, including a demand of real-name registration for Internet users which is also being hotly debated. There are two keywords when reading into the new arrangements, “property rights protection” and “anti-corruption”, said a Xinhua reporter in a review published on its website.

李克强:以农业现代化支撑新型城镇化_网易新闻中心 据新华社电 27日至29日,中共中央政治局常委、国务院总理李克强先后到江苏、上海考察。 李克强每到一处,都深入了解情况,听取意见。他说,持续发展经济,要突出重点,通过发展现代农业固本强基,有序释放城镇化的内需潜力。

人民日报-念好农业发展“政策经”(今日谈) 李 拯 People’s Daily Page 1 “recite well the agricultural “policy scriptures”"…Spring planting underway// 全面小康,农村是难点;四化同步,农业是短板。13亿人端稳饭碗,中国才能昂首阔步实现复兴梦。各级政府部门应该用好政策,举重若轻破难题、以小搏大促发展,打好春耕仗,确保粮食丰产、农民增收。

观察站:独家揭秘栗战书30年仕途之路_多维新闻网【多维新闻】Duowei takes a long look at Li Zhanshu// 强势上位,独掌党政军大权的习近平很快就进入了最高领导人的角色,他携明星夫人彭丽媛的首次出访就吸引了全世界的眼光,宣告着习近平时代元年的开始。不离习近平左右频频曝光的“大内总管”栗战书也自然成为媒体的焦点,但对于他的成长背景和从仕之路似乎仅停留在官方的公开简历中。多维新闻在多个渠道获得的信息显示,今年62岁的栗战书可谓大器晚成,他早年的仕途突飞猛进,此后遭受上级高官打压陷入政治停滞期,一度在副部级位置上徘徊15年。从2008年开始,栗战书的仕途又走上一条快车道,直至把他送上位列国家领导人的政治局委员高位,5年后的中共十九大栗战书甚至存有更上一层的可能。

Despite Personnel Change at CSRC, Reforms Must Proceed – Caixin The new chair of the commission is a low-key person who has spent most of his career in banking, including at the central bank. We don’t yet know his thinking on the stock market. But Xiao has proved himself capable of plans that respect the market and are mindful of risks. He is also known to have an international outlook. If he brings these qualities to the commission, the reform effort will not fail. A day before he took over, Xiao pledged policy continuity at the handover meeting at the commission. This is a good start.

浙江冤案当事人改口:永不原谅刑讯逼供者_网易新闻中心 this case may get very interesting, one of the police officials who put them in jail being “outed” on weibo for previous official stories about her professionalism and success// 法律终还他们正义,虽然已经迟到了10年。3月26日,浙江省高级人民法院以再审程序对10年前杭州发生的一起“5 .19强奸致死案”进行审理,因证据不足,被告张高平、张辉叔侄俩被宣告无罪。

收入分配改革先顾基层 央企高管收入调节暂搁置_新闻_腾讯网《深化收入分配制度改革若干意见》(下称《意见》)推出已经接近两个月,记者了解到人社部和全国总工会已经展开实际行动,与外界期待的全面推进改革不同的是,收入分配改革的推进方式是“先易后难、逐步推进”,比如在收入差距拉大的现实下,改革将优先着手基层员工,而对于饱受诟病的央企高管收入则暂时搁置。

央视《焦点访谈》一女出现两次身份不同 栏目组致歉_资讯频道_凤凰网 CCTV apologizes for interviewing the same woman for different stories and giving her different identities..whoops

兰州派出所副所长涉嫌嫖宿数十名幼女被双开_资讯频道_凤凰网  人民网兰州3月30日电(记者 隋欣) 3月30日凌晨,一条题为“兰州再现派出所长嫖宿幼女”的微博开始在网络上流传,不到24小时就有20万阅读量和数千次转发及评论。30日晚20时47分,兰州市公安局的官方微博 @兰州公安 发布消息,称“关于网传兰州某派出所副所长涉嫌嫖宿幼女一事经我局核实:原城关分局派出所副所长胡某因严重违法违纪已被开除党籍、开除公职,所涉案件司法部门正在依法审理。”

每周舆评:官民信任难产 制度恶果未除-财经网 缺乏正常完善的沟通渠道:一边民间自顾自通过网络反腐、群体运动、赴京上访等途径向上表达诉求,另一边政府愈加熟练地抛出一个个“决策气球”试探民意。长此以往形成的社会沟通框架必然是病态的扭曲的。

Gov’t offices banned from putting their names, logos on products – Xinhua | English.news.cn China on Friday issued a circular which prohibits government organs from using labels that claim certain products are created especially for such government agencies. The circular, jointly issued by five departments, bans central and government organs from labelling, or authorizing others to label, products as having been created especially for such organs. These “special” products also should not bear the name or logo of central and state organs and their affiliated institutions, according to the circular posted on the website of the Government Offices Administration (GOA) of the State Council.//五部门:严禁中央国家机关使用特供标识物品-财经网 严禁申报、分配预算资金用于涉及“特供”、“专供”等标识的物品;规范采购行为,严禁采购涉及“特供”、“专供”等标识的物品;完善财务制度和支出流程,严禁报销列支涉及“特供”、“专供”等标识物品的经费支出

Liu Xiaobo’s family sees official retaliation in brother-in-law’s arrest | South China Morning Post Police have arrested the brother-in-law of China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo on fraud charges in what the family says is the latest act of official retaliation. Beijing police detained Liu Hui on January 31, just before the Lunar New Year and a planned family reunion, and formally charged him two weeks ago over a real estate dispute, lawyer Mo Shaoping said on Thursday. He said the criminal charges were unwarranted in a business dispute that has since been resolved.

Scourge of family feuds blights China–Fairfax media–John Garnaut A brutal feud between Chinese ruling families has spilled into the public arena, with the son of a revered Communist Party leader accusing rivals of sending armed thugs to take over his luxury villa complex in suburban Beijing. Hu Dehua, the 63-year-old ”princeling” son of a popular 1980s reformist leader [Hu Yaobang] , told Fairfax Media his security guards fled in terror as 200 armed men invaded the site, stole all the documentation of his company, Jingda Real Estate Development, and took over compound management. //if one of Hu Yaobang’s sons is so relatively weak should we care less about what Hu Deping says, or at least be careful not to overestimate his influence?

Chinese Law Prof Blog: Hotel Loses Case in Breaching Contract for “Stability Maintenance” Here’s a fascinating case that makes for an interesting data point in what we think we know about the Chinese legal system. An anti-discrimination NGO reserved rooms at a hotel in Suzhou for a conference. The police got wind of it and instructed the hotel to cancel the reservations in the name of stability maintenance. The hotel, needless to say, did as it was told. Yawn. Dog bites man. Now it gets interesting. The NGO sued the hotel for damages in a Suzhou. What would we expect? That no court would accept the suit, and that if it did, the plaintiffs certainly would not win. But what happened is that the court not only accepted the suit, but found for the plaintiffs. It rejected the hotel’s argument that the police order to close was a kind of force majeure and that the state had expropriated the rooms (“政府临时征用客房开会”).

Fact-Checking a Chinese Hero : The New Yorker The China scholar Michel Bonnin told me recently, “I had always harbored doubts about the reality of the existence of a soldier called Lei Feng, but I have now changed my mind.” Bonnin has come to believe that “Lei Feng was real and fake.” He was a man, most likely, but also a myth—the perfect mascot of his moment. “This is testimony for the propaganda genius of Mao’s China,” Bonnin said. “It is a pity that Mao and his comrades were less inspired, at the time, in solving problems of the real world.”

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China urges Japan to keep commitments on Yasukuni Shrine – Xinhua | English.news.cn Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on a report of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to offer sacrifices in late April to the Yasukuni Shrine, the notorious site that honors Japanese war criminals of World War II.//reports Abe will send a tree in lieu of a personal visit

Chinese navy fleet heads for training in W Pacific – Xinhua | English.news.cnThe four-ship fleet entered the Bashi Channel, an international waterway linking the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, around 6 a.m. Friday. It will conduct training on law enforcement, open-ocean interception scenarios and sea area control in the western Pacific. The training is intended to further test the fleet’s capabilities in deep-sea precision striking and integrated air defense battle, as well as evaluate its strategies regarding maritime law enforcement, counter-terrorism work and counter-piracy efforts, according to officers.

Military to curb vehicle misuse with new license plates – Xinhua | Unless registered as military equipment, some vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac, Volkswagen Phaeton, Bentley, Jaguar, Porsche, Land Rover and Audi Q7, will not receive the new license plates, according to Zhao Keshi, head of the PLA’s General Logistics Department. A new batch of military vehicle plates will be put into use starting from May 1, and those currently in use, which were introduced in 2004, will be annulled by April 30, Zhao said at a televised conference. //  中央军委:非装备的宾利捷豹等豪车不得挂军牌|中央军委|军牌|军车号牌_新浪新闻 new restrictions out for military license types..a top topic on weibo// 防乱挂。军车号牌实行管理责任制,谁申请谁负责、谁审批谁负责、谁核发谁负责、谁使用谁负责。非装备的奔驰、宝马、林肯、卡迪拉克、大众辉腾、宾利、捷豹、保时捷、路虎、奥迪Q7等,一律不得使用军车号牌。在号牌网络管理系统车型库中,只设置军队编配的车型,豪华车型无法办理行车执照。加大检查纠察力度,对私自出租、出借、挪用军车号牌和军车私用的单位、个人,从严处理。

An Unlikely Chinese Warrior in the Battle for Syria – NYTimes.com “We’ve of course heard of American and other Western converts fighting alongside jihadis,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University and a former RAND Corporation analyst who studies insurgencies and terrorism. “I know of no Han Chinese, though. I would imagine that Chinese officials, given their perennial concern about the spread of radical Islam into western China, will not be pleased with this development.”

Think Again: North Korea – By David Kang and Victor Cha | Foreign Policy China has more influence over North Korea than any other country, but less influence than outsiders think. Beijing-Pyongyang relations haven’t been warm ever since China normalized relations with South Korea over 20 years ago, and both sides resent the other. But Beijing has few options… As a result, Beijing — much like Washington — is faced with the choices of rhetorical pressure, quiet diplomacy, and mild sanctions. As long as China continues to value stability on the peninsula more than it worries about a few nuclear weapons, it will not fundamentally change its policy towards its unruly neighbor.

Cartographic proof that North Korea is bluffing | Ogle Earth I’m on the road so this will be brief: The paper map visible in that photo shows the Pacific and the continental US on the right, with missile trajectories drawn from North Korea to a number of locations in the US, including Hawaii. The only problem: Missile trajectories from North Korea to the US fly over Kamchatka and Alaska… because the Earth is not flat. North Korea’s military probably knows about great circles, but its propaganda department obviously failed geography

The ‘Soft Power’ Push – Caixin…people outside China still have little knowledge of Chinese cities beyond Beijing and Shanghai, says Miles Young, the Global Chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, a New York-based marketing communications firm that has served many Chinese companies and some local governments. In an interview with Caixin, Young said the perceptions of China and its companies in foreign countries have come a long way, but challenges, in particular related to business management styles, remain. Regarding local governments’ push for international awareness, he said Chinese culture and society have plenty of elements that are intriguing to foreigners. But making people want to come, he said, is only half the battle. Keeping them is another matter that requires lasting efforts. The following is an edited excerpt of Young’s interview.

The Weekend Interview with Timothy Thomas: Why China Is Reading Your Email – WSJ.com Beijing’s cyber attacks are rooted in military strategy, says one of America’s foremost experts. The best way to combat them is for the U.S. to go on the cyber offensive too.//always a bit wary of foreigners going all in on the Art of War explanations…has anyone done a study Mao Zedong’s military tactics and how closely they adhered to the Art of War? Embarrassed I do not know this…

Quarter of U.S. firms in China face data theft: business lobby | Reuters China have been victims of data theft, a report by the group said on Friday, amid growing vitriol between Beijing and Washington over the threat of cyber attacks. Twenty-six percent of members who responded to an annual survey said their proprietary data or trade secrets had been compromised or stolen from their China operations, the American Chamber of Commerce in China report said.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Taiwan President Apologizes After Aide Charged With Taking Bribe – Bloomberg Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou apologized today after an aide in his ruling Kuomintang Party was charged with taking NT$1 million ($33,500) in bribes over a Taipei real estate development. Lai Su-ru, a Taipei city councilor, acknowledged taking the money, which she denied was a bribe, the Taipei District Court said in a statement today. She resigned yesterday as director of Ma’s party chairman office, Kuomintang spokesman Hsiao Hsu-tsen said.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

How Booksellers Have Turned a Page on Online Competitors --Caixin– A source at an e-commerce company admitted “we cannot make money by selling books at a big discount,” but the promotions were intended to attract Web traffic that hopefully would result in purchases of other items. Despite the challenges posed by e-bookstores, a few brick-and-mortar stalwarts have managed to adapt. “Every bookstore has its own way to survive,” said Liu Suli, founder of All Sages Books, an independent bookseller in Beijing that has been in business for nearly 20 years. “All happy bookstores are the same, and the unhappy ones have different stories.”

A Beijing taxi driver knows better about taxi apps–Technode how many clones can there be?// From last year to now, we have had a flock of Uber-like services in China, at lease in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The well-known include Didi, Yyzhaoche and Kuaidadi. All of them were launched in 2012 and have the same business model: tips – Chinese are not used to tipping at all though. Minor differences include some share income with drivers while some charge them.

The Coming Tech Storm? China, Apple and Google | Pacific Money Meanwhile Android’s market share in China is gigantic.  Android’s open source nature was key to it establishing such a dominant global market position, and now it is building up an apps bank which can help reinforce its position. In China, issues with Google Play and Android Market (not being available) have resulted in the creation of hundreds of smaller apps stores, which may cost Google the app revenue enjoyed by Apple in the country, but make Android’s market position in terms of installation on devices much harder to challenge.  Any system wanting to dethrone Android will have to be very special indeed if it is to succeed, even if it is pushed as a national champion by the MIIT.

Fan Bingbing Cut out of Iron Man 3… Except in China | Asia Life Earlier today Marvel announced it will be releasing a Chinese version of its upcoming blockbuster, Iron Man 3, which will differ from the film that audiences outside of China see. The announcement also included the detail that Chinese actress and singer Fan Bingbing will be cut out of the non-Chinese version of the film. A statement released by Marvel read: “The Chinese version of the film will also feature a special appearance of China’s top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will offer specially prepared bonus footage made exclusively for the Chinese audience.”

[视频]网络谣言造恐慌 杭州传染病属误传_新闻频道_央视网 rumor about strange, deadly disease in hangzhou that hit Weibo discussed on CCTV Evening News Friday, lead in to the segment about dangers of online rumors// 这条微博称,“一对25岁的小夫妻年初九去杭州游玩回来后高烧不退,男的3月7日死在医院,女的还在医院命不久矣,2岁的孩子在五院。呼吁我认识的人和认识我的人近日别去杭州了。”消息在互联网上扩散后,立即引发公众强烈关注和恐慌。本台记者深入杭州、以及发帖人所在地苏州进行调查,发现网络上所传的小夫妻确实存在,丈夫也已死亡,但其妻子和孩子的情况目前状况良好。

[视频]【本台短评】网络造谣须付出法律代价_新闻频道_央视网 Friday CCTV Evening News on the dangers of online rumors, need for legal sanctions for those spreading them…one off or sign a new campaign coming?// 央视网消息(新闻联播):谣言危害,不能小看。有人散发食盐被污染的谣言,引发抢盐热潮,社会失序;有人炮制世界末日的谣言,导致人心不安,恐慌之下有人服药自杀。凡此种种曾经出现在网络上的谣言,严重扰乱了社会秩序、危及了社会稳定、损害了公共利益。

Lisa Hanson on China’s Online Gaming Market – YouTube–CCTV News Lisa Hanson joins CCTV live from San Francisco to talk about the gaming market in China. According to sources the gaming market is set to reach $11 billion dollars in 2013.

什么是阿里金融的“进化”核心?-看点-@虎嗅网 这间只有200多人的互联网金融公司包含了一个“进化的金融产品”的隐喻

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

THE ROW | About had no idea how popular this brand is with rich Chinese who are buying it on visits to NYC…no China shops// THE ROW was established in 2006 by Ashley Olsen and Mary-Kate Olsen. Since its launch, the brand has expanded to include a range of ready-to-wear, eyewear, and handbags. THE ROW reflects a sense of relaxed and timeless elegance, focusing on fine fabrics and the perfect fit. In 2012, The Council of Fashion Designers of America named Ashley and Mary-Kate as Womenswear Designers of The Year. Part of THE ROW’s mission is to support high-end fashion manufacturing in the US.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Hero’s baby formula taken off shelves in China – People’s Daily Online The agency said it has launched an investigation into the Shanghai branch of the Xile Li’er Import and Export Co. in Suzhou of east China’s Jiangsu Province. The branch has claimed that all its Nutradefense-label baby formula was imported from the Netherlands. Mou Jun, who heads the Xile Li’er Import and Export Co., has been detained by police, according to a Thursday night press briefing organized by the administrative committee of the Suzhou Industrial Park, where the company is located.

Cost of Environmental Degradation in China Is Growing – NYTimes.com The cost of environmental degradation in China was about $230 billion in 2010, or 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — three times that in 2004, in local currency terms, an official Chinese news report said this week.

28,000 rivers wiped off the map of China | The Australian ABOUT 28,000 rivers have disappeared from China’s state maps, an absence seized upon by environmentalists as evidence of the irreversible natural cost of developmental excesses. More than half of the rivers previously thought to exist in China appear to be missing, according to the 800,000 surveyors who compiled the first national water census, leaving Beijing fumbling to explain the cause.

NGOs in China: Who’s Responsible for Watching Our Water? One of the latest controversies in Chinese society has been the issue of groundwater pollution in Shandong and other provinces. Disillusioned by the ineffectuality of the government agencies responsible for monitoring pollution, a number of civil society advocates have emphasized the role of NGOs and the public in efforts to eradicate pollution.

No survivors, bodies found after Tibet landslide – CHINA – Frontpage – Globaltimes.cn pictures// Rescuers work at the accident site after a major landslide hit a mining area of Tibet Huatailong Mining Development Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corporation, in Maizhokunggar County of Lhasa, capital of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, March 30, 2013. A total of 83 workers were buried in the landslide, which happened on Friday morning. Rescuers have not yet found survivors or bodies 28 hours after the massive landslide

China to spend $16 billion to tackle Beijing pollution crisis | Reuters Beijing’s government has pledged to improve sewage disposal, garbage treatment and air quality, as well as crack down on illegal construction, the China Daily newspaper said, citing a three-year plan released on Thursday. Air quality in Beijing, a city of around 20 million people, has mostly stayed above “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels since the beginning of this year.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Secrets of Hong Kong cuisine revealed My private three-day adventure — a tantalizing mix of high dining and lowly street food, with a tasty serving of culture and history on the side — steeps me in the world of authentic Cantonese cuisine. From eye-popping markets to humble diners to five-star meals, it dishes up a local’s insight into this moneyed food-obsessed city of seven million people — and 10,000 eateries.

 

BEIJING

Beijingers close housing deals at 11th hour – Xinhua  The new initiative in the housing market, however, triggered an unintended surge in housing prices, particularly in the second-hand housing market. ”I think the government should have acted in a more transparent way by, say, letting us know when exactly the new tax policies would be implemented. Otherwise, the market would go through severe fluctuations amid a buying or selling panic,” Li said. A second-hand automobile dealer, who only gave his surname as Wang, said he commissioned the sale of his house to a property brokerage firm on the same day the new rules were announced. Assuming prices would fall, Wang sold his home just two days later, before seeing how significantly prices would rise.//whoops 

Please help improve Sinocism by donatingforwarding this email to your friends, sending comments/ideas and following me on Twitter @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop.