The Sinocism China Newsletter For 04.02.13

Apple has apologized to China over its warranty policy (New York Times). The full Chinese statement is here, a partial translation is here.

My Dealbook column Monday discussed Apple’s options to resolve this mess. I submitted Apple of Discord in China just before the company released its apology:

Many Chinese netizens have mocked the state media’s attacks, especially the comments by a People’s University law professor that the missing piece in Apple’s logo may be “responsibility and conscience to Chinese consumers,” but Apple cannot win this fight, regardless of the merits or support from some consumers.

Apple looks to have a serious government and public relations problem that will require a much more proactive and forthright response than what the company has done so far. Dribbling out a petulant apology akin to its response to the problems with the 2010 iPhone 4 antenna will not work in China.

The standard response by a foreign company in China facing this kind of onslaught is to make public and private apologies, emphasize its commitment and contributions to China and dispatch senior executives from headquarters to make the rounds of the relevant Chinese government entities. Apple may also have to begin a new service for China, one it may also be able to sell to other foreign enterprises. It’s name? The iKowtow.

Investors have reason to be concerned. Between this brouhaha, the increased competition from Samsung and other high-end Android phones and the crackdown on corruption that is denting the gifting culture, Apple’s results in China for its current quarter may be disappointing, even though this is the first full quarter in which the iPhone 5 has been on sale in China

We still do not know what prompted the mass media struggle session, though there are plenty of theories. Chinese tech blog Huxiu suggests in 好苹果,坏苹果 that Apple broke CEO Tim Cook’s January promise to Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun that Apple would set up a Beijing R&D center and put a datacenter in Zhangjiakou (in Hebei, near Beijing) to allow Beijing to have better regulatory oversight over iTunes and the App store. Huxiu writes that Apple instead signed a deal with ChinaCache to use its CDN, allowing its content to “indirectly” enter China and avoid content management oversight. I have no idea if this theory is valid, but it sounds as credible as any of the other guesses.

Not all media jumped on the attack bandwagon. In “苹果”与奶粉:媒体的责任 the China Youth Daily criticizes the media focus on Apple when there are much more important issues in China. Caixin reports on at least one expert who thinks state media’s attacks on Apple are rotten to the core:

Fu Weigang an academic specializing property law and vice president of the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law, is critical of the attacks on Apple.

“So many media resource are devoted to (bashing) a product whose customer experience is relatively good while there are many poor-quality products begging for scrutiny,” he said. “This is a misallocation of media resources.”

Fu also said the laws Apple was accused of breaking were poorly defined. One key allegation is that Apple provides a one-year warranty for its products while Chinese regulations require protection lasting two years.

But for Apple, the merits of the charges were irrelevant and the only rational choice for its future in China was to apologize.

Apple has a very competent China GR/PR team. Is the company now another in a long list of foreign firms whose headquarters ignored the local China team until things really hit the fan?

Jamil Anderlini writes in the Financial Times that the ‘Airpocalypse’ is driving expats out of Beijing:

Of the roughly 600,000 registered foreign residents in all of China, about 200,000 live in Beijing, which has a total population of approximately 20m.

But the expat community is overwhelmingly concentrated in high-earning professional jobs and contributes enormously to the city’s economy and the development of advanced industries.

Christian Murck, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told reporters on Friday that the unprecedented levels of pollution in January had been a “tipping point” for some families. He knew of “many people” who are planning to leave as a result.

I have definitely noticed this trend and am worried it will force us to read more inane “why I am leaving China” notes.

Historian Stephen Platt posted a screenshot of a foreigner’s 1831 poem about why he is leaving China. I will no longer pay attention to any “why I am leaving China” narcissism unless it is in verse (or it is my letter…)

Thanks to everyone who donated yesterday, much appreciated though never enough.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Fearing Chinese Censors, Paramount Changes ‘World War Z’ (Exclusive) | The Wrap Movies When executives at Paramount viewed the latest cut of the $175 million Brad Pitt zombie film “World War Z,” they were not concerned by the violence or its reengineered ending. They were worried about a minor plot point that involved a sensitive topic: China. In the offending scene, characters debate the geographic origin of an outbreak that caused a zombie apocalypse and point to China, a Paramount executive told TheWrap. Normally the detail would not have merited discussion at the top echelons of the studio. But given the fast-rising prominence of the Chinese market, state censorship and the quotas for U.S. releases, the studio advised the movie producers to drop the reference to China and cite a different country as a possible source of the pandemic, an executive with knowledge of the film told TheWrap. // still waiting for some GOP Congressman to dig into Hollywood’s relations with China…seems like an easy win given all the money Hollywood gives to Democrats..would be entertaining to watch

城镇化顶层设计加速 地方抢滩试点红利_财经频道_一财网 First Financial reports that National Urbanization Conference to be held in April, on scale of National Agricultural work Conference, should expect more details on high level “designs” for urbanization under Xi/Li..and that an outline plan for urbanization through 2020 will be released imminently// 第一财经日报》昨日从消息人士处获悉,规格相当于中央农村工作会议的全国城镇化会议将于4月召开,下旬召开的可能性较大。上述人士介绍,会议召开后,由国家发改委牵头,财政部、国土资源部、住建部等十多个部委参与编制的《全国促进城镇化健康发展规划纲要(2011~2020年)》(下称《规划》)将对外公布。《规划》可能涉及全国20多个城市群、180多个地级以上城市和1万多个城镇的建设。 该人士预测,如果《规划》能在上半年顺利出台,与之相关的土地、户籍、教育、社保、医疗卫生等一系列配套措施将很快从下半年开始陆续推出。

Rebalancing the economy: Bottoms up | The Economist The understatement of consumption also gives ammunition to China’s critics, who worry that its economy relies too heavily on unsustainable investment and lament the government’s failure to rebalance the economy. Mr Garner and Ms Qiao’s alternative calculations imply instead that rebalancing is under way. In estimating consumption’s growing role, they assume that the hidden spending is not captured elsewhere in the GDP figures. If, in fact, this extra spending is misrecorded as something else, then consumption’s share of GDP would be even bigger.//have not seen the underlying report, controversial

Is This a Pandemic Being Born? – By Laurie Garrett | Foreign Policy If the pigs, people, and birds have died in China from H7N9, it is imperative and urgent that the biological connection be made, and extensive research be done to determine how widespread human infection may be. Shanghai health authorities have tested dozens of people known to have been in contact with Wu and Li, none of whom have come up positive for H7N9 infection. Assuming the tests are accurate, the mystery of Li and Wu’s infections only deepens. Moreover, if they are a “two of three,” meaning two dead, of three known cases, the H7N9 virus is very virulent. //Laurie Garrett is senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Foreign molester caught – CHINA – BEIJING – Globaltimes.cn Xicheng district prosecutors announced that they have charged a male foreigner on suspicion of sexually molesting a boy, the Legal Mirror reported Monday. The foreigner, 42, was an English teacher at an educational training school in Beijing. From October to November last year, he allegedly molested an 11-year-old boy surnamed Zhou on several occasions. //not at all surprised, most schools here do not seem to do any background checks, do not be surprised to hear about more cases. anyone know the name of the school or the alleged molester? 

Air Pollution Linked to 1.2 Million Deaths in China – NYTimes.com The data on which the analysis is based was first presented in the ambitious 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, which was published in December in The Lancet, a British medical journal. The authors decided to break out numbers for specific countries and present the findings at international conferences. The China statistics were offered at a forum in Beijing on Sunday.

China’s Leadership Transition: Will It Go Deep Enough?–Global Asia– David Shambaugh The second feature — the one to keep an eye on — is the institutions and professions responsible for enforcing one-party rule and maintaining the façade of legitimacy. The history of the former Soviet Union, East Germany and other former communist states in eastern Europe, as well as a range of Asian and Latin American authoritarian regimes, all indicate that when the “guardians” of the party-state (the censors and propaganda authorities, internal security services, the military, keepers of state secrets and intellectuals) become lax in enforcing the party-state’s control over society, the façade begins to crack and it becomes clear the “emperor has no clothes.” This has not yet begun to occur in today’s China — which is why Xi warned of the importance of maintaining strict party control of the military — but observers and analysts should be alert to this prospect. Once the party-state stops enforcing its own hegemony over society, the endgame has begun.

中国梦汇聚磅礴正能量_2013/07_求是理论网 中国梦为什么会热?继参观《复兴之路》展览首次深情阐述中国梦之后,习近平总书记在第十二届全国人民代表大会第一次会议闭幕会上,又一次深刻论述中国梦。由此,从报纸荧屏到街头巷尾,从QQ群到微博客,有关中国梦的议论再一次升温。中国梦为什么会如此打动人心?为什么会引起如此强烈的共鸣? 这是因为,中国梦唤醒了人们深沉的历史记忆。中国是一个有着5000多年文明历史的东方大国 // the lead essay, by “Autumn Stone” in latest Seeking Truth that is also about the Chinese Dream. April 1 People’s Daily had that big front page comment about the Chinese Dream too–人民日报:筑就民族复兴的“中国梦” – 新华时政 – 新华网. this going to be bigger and more powerful/effectivethan harmonious society? Xinhua has a Special Site on the Chinese Dream and Rational Rejuvenation

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

March New Yuan Loans may Hit CNY1 Trl on Strong Credit Demands-Caijing Strong financing needs from companies are driving new yuan loans higher, as well as the so-called social financing, after both indicators of liquidity fell in February, reported by state-run Financial News. A big increase in deposits at quarter-end, easing pressures for banks to meet regulatory requirements and the country’s rapid urbanization would all contribute to a surge in new yuan loans in March, the newspaper said, citing researchers and bankers. New loans denominated in yuan could hit 1 trillion yuan and total social financing is expected to recover to around 1.9 trillion yuan, according to Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at China Industrial Bank.

Economists React: China Manufacturing Picks Up in March – China Real Time Report – WSJ Two surveys showed Chinese manufacturing activity increased in March: The country’s official purchasing managers’ index, rose 50.9 in March, up from 50.1 in February, while the HSBC PMI, which is more heavily weighted toward small and medium-sized companies, rose to 51.6 in March, up from 50.4 in February. (A PMI reading above 50 indicates an expansion in manufacturing activity from the previous month, whereas a reading below 50 signals contraction.) Analysts weigh in

Build It and They Will Come – Economic Observer Online – In-depth and Independent The mayor of Ordos on ghost towns, shadow banking and how the city can help Beijing tackle air pollution.

China’s Home Prices Increase Most in 26 Months, SouFun Says – Bloomberg China’s March new home prices posted the biggest gain in more than two years as buyers rushed into the market ahead of property curbs by local governments, driving real estate stocks higher.Prices climbed for the 10th month, rising 1.1 percent to 9,998 yuan ($1,610) per square meter (10.76 square feet) from February, SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN), the country’s biggest real estate website owner, said in a statement today after a survey of 100 cities. That’s the biggest increase since January 2011…The measures by local governments were less stringent than investors had expected, which reflect a “tug-of-war between the local and central governments,” Ting Lu, chief economist for Greater China at Bank of America Corp., wrote in a note to clients today.

茅台五粮液大幅下调营收增长目标 新华社——经济参考网 Both Moutai and Wuliang Ye cut their sales targets significantly, in part due to Xi’s crackdown on government gluttony

茅台应收账款激增7倍 欠款前五均为经销商 | 每经网 Moutai’s receivables increased 7X, top five are distributors…Moutai has bigger issues than just the very damaging frugality campaign and corruption crackdown// 核心提示: 记者翻阅贵州茅台2012年报发现,应收账款金额前五名单位均为经销商,占应收账款总额的87.98%。

大连至烟台海底隧道进入前期准备阶段|大连|海底隧道|王梦恕_新浪新闻 preparatory work has begun on a Dalian-Yantai 165 KM long undersea tunnel// 晨报讯(主任记者 房延彦)大连至烟台时速达250公里的海底隧道,目前已经进入前期准备阶段。3月29日,记者从省委外宣办组织召开的贯彻十八大精神新闻发布会上获悉,大连市将积极配合国家有关部委做好大连与烟台海底隧道的前期准备工作。

“手中有粮心也慌” 产粮大省卖粮难 深度报道——经济参考网 Economic Information special report on the chalenges Heilongjiang has selling grain..so much inefficiency, corruption in distribution and logistics system…lots of upside in terms of price moderation and supply if things worked better…// 1.产粮大省卖粮难 2.粮价支持政策应以市场为导向 3.查车压价扣秤–艰难卖粮路

北京最严厉国五条出台内情:市长办公会争议激烈_新闻_腾讯网 reports of a heated debate in the Beijing Mayor’s office about how to implement the new real estate measures// 据一位接近北京住建委的人士介绍,“市长办公会议审议时,一些核心政策条款曾引发分歧,使得‘京19条’一度延期通过。” 比如从严执行20%个税是否要“一刀切”,就存在不同声音,“审议时,部分领导认为落地时需考虑差别化执行,比如2年之内转手严格执行20%个税,2-5年内转手减半(10%左右)。” 另外,为确保刚需利益,细则中规定唯一房产满五年可免税费。“讨论中,有关‘唯一’是否存留存在争议。”上述人士解释,家庭如果有两套房,可以通过离婚、分割财产规避该条款。

Chinese Censors Slow the Net—and U.S. Businesses – Businessweek For the past two years the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Beijing has included questions about Internet and cybersecurity concerns in its annual survey of firms operating in China, alongside questions about market access, intellectual property rights, and labor costs. The 2013 Business Climate Survey (PDF), released on March 29, sheds light on how U.S. firms feel about the Great Firewall. Of the 325 respondents, 55 percent see China’s Internet restrictions as negatively or somewhat negatively affecting their capacity to do business there.

[视频]十集纪录片《货币》今晚播出_新闻频道_央视网 CCTV launches 10 part TV series called “Currency”…should be interesting, will it tie in “Currency Wars” concepts?

The Continuing Evolution of “Starbucks with Chinese Characteristics” — [contextChina] / 太平洋中国通 All of this news serves to further highlight the fact that Starbucks is “all in” when it comes to China. Indeed, as the company pushes deeper into the Chinese market, its expectations continue to grow, a fact nowhere more apparent than in CEO Howard Schultz’s comments at a shareholders’ meeting last week: “It’s no doubt that one day China will become our second-largest market after the U.S. and it’s possible that, over many years, potentially the largest one.”//didn’t the Apple CEO say that recently?

China on the Move by Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate Three insights from this year’s China Development Forum deepened my confidence that a major structural transformation is now at hand that will enable China to avoid the middle-income trap. First, a well-articulated urbanization strategy has emerged as a key pillar of consumer-led rebalancing. This was emphasized by China’s new senior leaders – Executive Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and Premier Li Keqiang – in the Forum’s opening and closing remarks, and considerable detail was provided in many of the working sessions.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

习仲勋在老干部座谈会上的发言_吴伟_新浪博客 interesting quote from a 1986 talk by Xi Zhongxun, Xi Jinping’s father. Did he really say this?// 1986年5月14日,习仲勋在老干部座谈会上说:“我们面前摆着两条路,一条是走法治的道路,这是现代政府管理社会的最好方式,也是我们走出困境、走向明天的最佳选择。另一条就是恢复和继续走“全能政府’”即“人治”的老路,靠一位伟大领袖发号施令,用计划经济甚至专营的办法去解决经济领域层层盘剥的问题,靠学习领导人讲话或思想政治工作和道德教育去解决以权谋私、腐败堕落的问题,用加强纪律去解决思想、理论、文化界的是非问题,如果还是这样,小平同志就是活一百岁也解决不了我们的体制转变。”  // screenshot 

In China, anger grows over abuse of street vendors – The Washington Post saw a group of these yesterday who had caught a fruit vendor by The Place mall in Beijing CBD, considered taking some pictures but they looked like real thugs and one had a long knife in his hand..the knife may been confiscated from the vendor, but still…// In a country infamous for heavy-handed officials, the government employees who harass and sometimes beat and extort money from street vendors are among the most despised. Their official name is “chengguan,” which means city management, but the word has become slang for someone who uses excessive force to solve life’s problems.

PREMIER LEAGUE (13): Communist Party sinks hooks in promising elementary school pupils – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun SHENYANG, China—In between sips of coffee, a woman in her 30s wearing an expensive-looking blue coat praised her sixth-grade daughter and recalled one of their happiest moments. “When it was decided that she would join the Young Pioneers, I was so happy that tears came to my eyes,” the mother said. “She is my pride and joy.” The Young Pioneers of China is an organization mainly for elementary school students that provides a steppingstone for entry into the Communist Youth League—and all the perks and advantages that come with membership.

On China’s State-Sponsored Amnesia – NYTimes.com – Yan Lianke I used to assume history and memory would always triumph over temporary aberrations and return to their rightful place. It now appears the opposite is true. In today’s China, amnesia trumps memory. Lies are surpassing the truth. Fabrications have become the logical link to fill historical gaps. Even memories of events that have only just taken place are being discarded at a dazzling pace, with barely intelligible fragments all that remain for people to hold on to

发改委再调查中石化色谱仪招标 曾曝“牛郎门”_网易财经 NDRC reopened investigation of salacious bribery claims involving Sinopec manager and Agilent. background from Caijing in January –Sinopec Dismisses Alleged Corruption by a Female Official..Agilent have a potential FCPA problem?

Let internal factions emerge as step to political reform, writer urges | South China Morning Post The Communist Party should allow internal factions to campaign openly for their political ideals as a first step towards political reform and building constitutional democracy, says an expert on the party’s history. The party does not allow members with different political leanings to organise themselves but stresses individuals must be loyal only to the party, says Yang Jisheng, a 72-year-old retired Xinhua journalist. Political activities organised by individual members are seen as a cardinal sin of “splitting the party” and are strictly forbidden.

西部“会展王”邓鸿被调查 李春城案后曾被约谈_网易财经 more on Deng Hong detention and possible connection to Li Chuncheng case// 业界关注的“亚洲最大单体建筑”新世纪环球中心,目前已因工程进度和邓鸿受调查将开业日期延后,相关银行的人士认为,目前还不会影响银行贷款。邓鸿担任董事长的成都会展旅游集团,仍不愿对他涉入调查一事发表声明。

Rape victim mother’s labor camp suit in China to be heard – Xinhua | English.news.cn A case involving a mother of a young rape victim who is suing a local authority for putting her into a labor camp will be heard by a court in central China’s Hunan Province next Friday. Tang Hui, who has petitioned for harsher punishments for those guilty of raping her daughter and forcing her into prostitution, demanded 1,463.85 yuan (234 U.S. dollars) in compensation from the re-education-through-labor commission in the city of Yongzhou for infringing her personal freedom, an official with the Yongzhou Intermediate People’s Court said.

China: Back to the Future – James McGregor – The Atlantic What the poet Lu Xun — and other voices of China’s past — can tell us about the country’s present challenges.

Dereliction of duty cases soar |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn The crime is expected to continue rising in 2013, academy says The number of people convicted of dereliction of duty soared in China last year, according to new research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and cases are expected to continue rising in 2013.//渎职

温州市委秘书长被曝有婚外情–社会–人民网 近日,一位网友发微博称与温州市委秘书长吴开锋有婚外情,在其怀孕后离她而去。该账号微博在当晚清空其所有微博并改名。京华时报记者联系上吴开锋,对方称该事件是虚构的,他已向组织写情况说明。浙江省纪委表示他们正在调查此事。

吉林副书记竺延风现身破被查传闻_多维新闻网 Jilin official Caixin says under investigation appeared in public Monday// 【多维新闻】据吉林共青团官方微博消息,4月1日上午,吉林省委副书记竺延风赴吉林青年创业园调研。此前,内地财经媒体财新网报道称,竺延风正在接受中央纪委调查。消息称,涉案缘由或涉及中国第一汽车集团公司(以下简称“一汽集团”)筹备整体上市过程中的资产处置。不过中国网络相关报道已经被悉数删除。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Signs of a thaw appear in Sino-Japan relations | South China Morning Post A person familiar with her itinerary said Li would attend the opening of a Chinese book fair in Tokyo today. Yang Bojiang, director of Japanese studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, called the recent visits warm-ups for future meetings between the countries’ leaders. “Neither side wants the overall trend of improving relations to be disrupted by the territorial dispute,” Yang said, adding that cultural and non-governmental exchanges were of mutual interest to both countries//hope so, but is long-term damage done?

李源潮:中日关系前所未有的混乱会两败俱伤-财经网 sounds like Li Yuanchao signaling it is time for China and Japan to calm things down?// 李源潮向日方指出,中日两国关系出现了前所未有的混乱,这种不正常状态对双方不利,会两败俱伤

China continues Diaoyu Islands patrols – Xinhua | English.news.cn A fleet consisting of the Haijian 50, Haijian 26 and Haijian 66 declared to Japanese ships in the area that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China and urged them to immediately leave the waters, according to the SOA.

China’s anger at North Korea overcomes worry over U.S. stealth flights | Reuters“All these new actions from the U.S. side are not targeted at China,” said Ni Lexiong, a military expert at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. “There is no possible threat to China.” Another well-connected Chinese military expert, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of discussing Chinese defense policy, said China believed the U.S. presence in Korea acted as a necessary restraint on troublesome Pyongyang, hence the lack of criticism from Beijing.

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Chinese Editor Fired Over Call to Abandon N.Korea The deputy editor of an official Chinese publication has lost his job over an article he wrote last week for the Financial Times arguing that China should abandon North Korea. In the op-ed piece on March 27, Deng Yuwen wrote, “North Korea’s third nuclear test is a good moment for China to re-evaluate its longstanding alliance with the Kim dynasty. For several reasons, Beijing should give up on Pyongyang and press for the reunification of the Korean peninsula.”… Deng said the Chinese Foreign Ministry was “very upset” by the article and made a call to the Central Party School to complain.

Uygur women sign up for life on the ocean wave – People’s Daily Online Having three sisters from a Uygur household serving in the People’s Liberation Army navy is a source of pride for the family of Aytulun Xukrat from Turpan, Xinjiang. “It is an honor that I am among the first 20 Uygur women to serve our country in the navy,” said the 19 year old, who works in the communications section on the Jinggangshan, one of the Chinese navy’s most advanced landing craft. Zhou was depressed when going home from school and did not tell what had happened until being repeatedly asked by his parents.

Slide: Regiment sharpens combat skills |Slides |chinadaily.com.cn A tank from an armored regiment with the Xinjiang Military Area Command opens fire in the Taklamakan Desert during a live ammunition exercise in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Friday. The regiment weathered a sandstorm to carry out the exercise, designed to sharpen its combat skills.

央视纪念中美南海撞机事件中遇难飞行员_网易新闻中心 CCTV commemorates Wang Wei, the fighter pilot killed 12 years ago in collision with a US spy plane that then made an emergency landing on Hainan island

Canberra’s secret China unit–The Age–John Garnaut Canberra’s leading mandarins have formed a secret task force to cope with the unprecedented challenges of rising China. The Committee of Secretaries on China was formed by a cabinet decision of December 2010 following criticism that the federal government was struggling to keep track of the reach and complexity of the nation that has come to dominate Australia’s trade accounts and is reconfiguring the geopolitical order.

China’s New Leader Follows Katy Perry’s Tune – Bloomberg All these potential conflicts mean that Xi’s Chinese dream demands scrutiny in the U.S. as well as in Asia. Dreams are by their nature protean and flexible. Here’s hoping the Chinese dream can be shaped away from nationalism and toward the more innocent pleasures of being young, rich and in possession of a nice car and a hot boyfriend. (Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University and the author of the forthcoming “Cool War: The Future of Global Competition,” is a Bloomberg View columnist

China Cited by U.S. for Trade Barriers on Autos, Steel, Beef – Bloomberg China continues to restrict U.S. producers of autos, steel and beef from gaining access to its markets, and its protection of intellectual-property rights remains inadequate, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said. While the Asian nation has made progress opening its markets to foreign competition, “some serious problems remain, such as China’s refusal to grant trading rights for certain industries,” according to the agency’s annual report to Congress on trade barriers, released today. The USTR also released two other reports covering health and regulatory trade barriers in China and other countries.

Money Talks: China-Russia Energy Relations after Xi Jinping’s Visit to Moscow | Brookings Institution–Erica DownsI f history is any guide, CDB’s involvement in the energy deals signed during Xi’s visit to Moscow improves the likelihood that these nonbinding agreements will be finalized. The past decade of negotiations over cross-border pipeline projects indicate that geographic proximity and economic complementariness are necessary –but not sufficient – for the development of a robust bilateral energy relationship. An increase in the flow of Chinese capital across the border for infrastructure construction should expand the flow of energy in the other direction.

BRICS and China’s Aspiration for the New “International Order” | Brookings Institution Therefore, Xi’s trip to Russia, Africa and the BRICS summit genuinely reflects China’s strategic moves to break away from this predicament. It seeks to reconsolidate friendship with a Russia also antagonized by the West, with Africa to reinforce its developing-country identity and solidarity with the developing world, and with other emerging economies to align their collective power against the traditional developed countries. China learned its lesson that it is yet to be strong enough to challenge the existing international order (and the supremacy of the U.S.) alone. Alignment with other rising powers, like the BRICS countries, and reinforcement of its friendship base among developing countries will be a new emphasis for China’s foreign policy in the foreseeable future…Yun Sun is a visiting fellow jointly appointed by the John Thornton China Center and the Africa Growth Initiative

中俄准同盟对弈西方 习近平切勿一头热_多维新闻网 此行当中,最为重要的一站毫无疑问是在俄罗斯与普京的会晤。习近平对俄罗斯的访问,可以看作是中国倡导并用实际行动建设新型大国关系的第一站。多维新闻在《中俄准同盟抗美 开启东西方暖战格局》一文中曾指出,中俄两国未来会以准同盟的方式实现“不结盟运动”所提倡但没有达到的以独立、和平等为核心的国际政治经济新秩序。不论从中俄联合声明,还是习近平在莫斯科国际关系学院的演讲,不经意间,习近平自信、从容、低调、坚定地迈出了推动建设国际体系新秩序建设的第一步。然而,习近平也必须对“准同盟”要有清醒的认识,这个正在跟他一起对弈西方霸权阵营的人,是被俄罗斯人誉为“大帝”的普京,切不可过度亢奋。..面对这样的普京,面对这样的俄罗斯,面对这样的民族,在一路高歌中俄关系如何之好的同时,习近平切不可一头热。

Japanese Study: Rising China Disregarding Neighbors | Defense News | defensenews.com The rising might of China is causing it to act with increasing disregard towards its neighbors, a Japanese government-funded study said Friday. “China, against the backdrop of its rising national power and improvement in its military power, is increasingly taking actions that can cause frictions with neighboring countries without fear,” said the East Asian Strategic Review. The study, published Friday by the National Institute for Defence Studies, is an annual venture commissioned by Japan’s Defense Ministry and influences national defense policy.//the study in PDF

Stricter Monitoring of Military Cars – Economic Observer  Under the new system, luxury car brands like Mercedes Benz, BMW and Landover will not be allowed to receive military license plates unless they have been registered as military equipment. Cars with engine capacities larger than 3 liters and worth more than 450,000 yuan are also banned from using the new military plates. However, similar claims were also made when the current plates were introduced in 2004. Special technology has also been incorporated into the new license plate system so that when a vehicle with military plates passes through a toll station, a scanning system will be able to automatically determine if the plates are fake or not. Vehicles with fake license plates will not be permitted to pass and an immediate notification will be sent to the relevant military organs.

Mao furor shows truth of US free speech – OP-ED – Globaltimes.cn The National Center for Education Statistics under the US Department of Education found itself in some trouble recently. On March 22, it pulled a quote from former Chinese leader Mao Zedong, which read, “Our attitude toward ourselves should be ‘to be insatiable in learning’ and toward others ‘to be tireless in teaching’.” Some US senators demanded that the department explain why they cited the words of a communist. The quote was reportedly replaced by one from Abraham Lincoln. The US, which prides itself in freedom of speech, can’t even tolerate a quote from Mao. It shows how narrow-minded the American political system is in the face of the diversity of global culture.

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Hong Kong Businesses Vanish as Rents Soar: Real Estate – Bloomberg Shops in Causeway Bay fetch an average $2,630 ($HK 20,417) per square foot a year, the highest in the world, according to a November report by broker Cushman & Wakefield Inc. For a 500- square-foot (46-square-meter) shop, that’s an annual rent of $1.32 million. Across the harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui, retailers including Dolce & Gabbana Srl and Chanel Inc. pay $1,547 a square foot annually. Retail rents in the Central business district, where banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and UBS AG have offices, are $1,856 a year.

Taiwan to allow Chinese banks to buy bigger stakes in local lenders | TODAYonline- Taiwan will ease rules to allow Chinese banks to buy bigger stakes in local banks and permit more Chinese firms to invest in its financial industry, the island’s financial regulator said on Monday, marking a major advance in cross-strait ties. Taiwan will allow mainland banks to buy as much as 15 per cent in unlisted local bank and financial holding companies, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said in a joint briefing.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

China’s Industry Watchdog Considers Requests from Mobile Operators; May Charge WeiChat -Caijing Miao said the ministry is asking the three operators to come up with a detailed solution plan and it will consider their “reasonable” requests. However, he said the ministry does not want the three companies to run a monopoly and will protect Tencent from being exploited.

China Entrepreneur Says Mainland Startups Must ‘Become Huge or Die’ – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ Since Tudou, he has helped establish two more companies in China, with varying success. The first was an online video games company called Spilgames Asia, and most recently UnitedStyles, a website which allows users to design their own fashion. However, securing venture capital in China for UnitedStyles was difficult, prompting him to exit China’s startup scene and move to Canada as an investment professional for CrossPacific Capital Partners. UnitedStyles “started up pretty good, but then hit a wall. It’s hard to get VC in China…because of the foreign team,” he said. “It’s tiring. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.” That said, van der Chijs hasn’t severed links with China’s startup scene altogether as he will oversee CrossPacific’s investments made in North America looking to expand into China. The firm is currently targeting a $100 million maiden fund to close this year, he said.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

村里的那点事—-《农里二•一九》_了了影像公社_王建华_博联社 more interesting pictures of village life from Bishe…these from a celebration of Guanyin’s birthday in a Shanxi village

Peking University’s new president Wang Enge faces huge challenge | South China Morning Post Wang now faces the challenge of restoring strained ties between the university and the public, contending with campus bureaucracy and leading the university, commonly referred to in China as Beida, in its bid to achieve global recognition as a top institute of higher learning. In his inauguration speech, Wang said the university should have a dream – in the same way an individual or a country does.

Spring 2013 | Dissent Magazine–CHINA’S 99%

Li Huayi-03:07:13 – YouTube short film from interviews shot after the Boston Museum of Art Fresh Ink exhibition a couple of years ago

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Are Floating Pigs Behind China’s Avian Flu? – Bloomberg For Shanghai, a town whose cuisine is largely built on pork, this news would be unsettling under any circumstance. But in light of a bird flu that even Communist Party newspapers are implying could be caused by contact with dead and diseased livestock, it’s reason for panic. And, sure enough, Chinese social media were quickly filled with speculation on whether the month-long dead pork tide had played any role in this emerging strain of flu. Adding to the sense of unease was the late- arriving information that the younger of Shanghai’s two bird flu victims was a 27-year-old pork trader.

发泡餐具解禁理由 再追问 专家质疑暗箱操作 – 新华健康 – 新华网 NDRC’s decision to once again allow sales of styrofoam food containers getting lots of criticism and scrutiny…reports that a lawyer was paid 4.5m RMB by ten styrofoam manufacturers to “lobby” NDRC before decision// 本报独家报道《发泡餐具解禁引发争议》、《450万元公关合同意外曝光》后,发泡餐具解禁问题引起了各大媒体及社会各界的高度关注。尽管国家发改委以及力挺解禁的行业协会给出了解禁的各种理由,但这些理由均被指牵强;针对450万元公关合同,涉事律师的回应也是越描越黑。

人民日报-美丽中国岂容“动物之殇”(今日谈) page 1 People’s Daily on protecting wild animals..how can a beautiful China allow the continued killing?// .截断这条利益链,法律利剑不可或缺。必须理顺部门权责、严格执法,加大惩处力度,把更多野生动物纳入法律堤防之内。消除这条利益链,公众参与也必不可少。很多观鸟社团因爱鸟而护鸟,一些环保组织唤起公众关注,社会组织潜力巨大。激发制度之力、社会之力、个人之力,我们才能与动物伙伴共享美丽中国。

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

China’s Love Affair with Pork – An FP Slide Show | Foreign Policy Health concerns over dead pigs have once again cast a spotlight on the Middle Kingdom’s massive pork industry.

嘉兴人曝死猪利益链:上海人不知吃过多少死猪 – 新华城市 – 新华网 jiaxing resident: shanghai residents have no idea how many sick, dead pigs they have eaten… // “你们上海人以前不知道吃过多少死猪,你们自己不知道而已。”一位镇上从事餐饮业的老板对记者表示,“死猪会用小面包往上海运,比较容易伪装,用木板在后面打上隔层,一车能拉七八头,一般不会有事情,如果碰到检验检疫的人,干脆把车一扔,跑路。”

Air China launches 2nd direct flight between Beijing and New York – Xinhua | English.news.cnA Boeing 777-300ER flying from Beijing arrives at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, March 31, 2013. Air China launched its second direct flight between Beijing and New York on Sunday, marking the company’s biggest expansion in the U.S. There will be 11 flights plying between Beijing and New York each week and all of them are new Boeing 777-300ERs.

 

BEIJING

北京木樨园世贸商业中心连环局 – 经济观察网 - 专业财经新闻网站 导语:坐拥北京南城中轴路黄金地段的木樨园世贸商业中心,其中掺杂的商业欺诈、一铺多卖、银行骗贷和灰色交易俨然一部商业大片。

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