China Readings for February 4th

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  • 党媒称部分党政干部贪财好色 醉生梦死荒淫无度_新闻_腾讯网 – 最近有两则新闻让党政干部道德问题再次成为媒体关注的热点:
    一是中组部印发《关于加强对干部德的考核意见》。这是树立正确选人用人导向的重要举措,对于保持党的先进性,建设高素质干部队伍,提高选人用人公信度具有十分重要的意义。
    二是2012年度国家公务员考试,要求在公务员考录阶段加强对考生品德的考察成为一大亮点,考生政治品德不良,社会责任感和为人民服务意识较差将不得录用为国家公务员。
  • Congress Calls for Accelerated Use of Drones in U.S. | Secrecy News
  • Monks run amok-global times – Tibetan resident Ma Jiankang never thought his family could be attacked and his home destroyed by a mob. Neither did he want to believe the attackers were his fellow Tibetans.

    Ma, 51, a former factory worker, now works as a self-employed taxi driver in Luhuo county, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. Events happened too fast for him.

  • Vancouver billionaire pleads guilty to charges after night of cocaine and sex – His lawyer told the judge that Ho’s reputation has suffered because of intense media attention in Canada, Hong Kong and China.

    Ho’s brother, Charles Ho, is considered a media tycoon and is chairman of the Sing Tao News Corp.

    Ho’s family made its fortune from its Hong Kong Tobacco Co.

  • Obama Said to Curtail $21 Billion Plan to Expand Military Presence in Guam – Bloomberg
  • The underbelly of Chinese New Year | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times – FT.com – Sudden deaths from heart attacks were up this year due to spring festival drinking binges, “while exhaustion from unusually long sessions of playing cards or mahjong was also a major factor”, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. As China gets wealthier, it gets more and more alcoholic.
  • WikiLeaks sheds light on Adelson’s Asia business – 2012 Elections – Salon.com – The cable goes on to describe Adelson’s personal interest in direct engagement with Beijing and the intriguing matter of the “Adelson Center for U.S.-China Enterprise” in Beijing, a nonprofit that was to be financed with a whopping $100 million. A former Sands executive told an unnamed American official that the Chinese government forced Sands to close the center following government inquiries about “funds transfer mechanisms used by [Sands] to establish the now-closed USD 100 million Adelson Center.” The nature of those mechanisms is not specified.
  • Scientists capture ‘super prawn’ off New Zealand- Telegraph – chinese fishing boats already on the way
  • China cut off internet in area of Tibetan unrest | World news | The Guardian – Internet connections and mobile phone signals were cut for 30 miles around scene of clashes in Sichuan, state media reports
  • 全国摄影大展超半数记录类获奖作品存在PS_新闻_腾讯网 – more than 1/2 winning photos at recent nationwide exhibition had been photoshopped
  • 北京公布和谐家庭标准:须常旅游购物常上网_新闻_腾讯网 – no mention of good sex life in beijing's standards for a harmonious household
  • 中国船员称无故遭韩海警毒打 被逼拍摄夺枪录像_新闻_腾讯网
  • Hong Kong vs. Mainland: Choosing Sides | China Hearsay – I admit having very little sympathy for Hong Kong. When I first arrived in Beijing in ’98, the Hong Kong legal establishment (mostly the multinationals) regularly pissed all over those of us struggling to figure out how to make things work up here. I readily admit that I took no small pleasure when the legal market changed and all the Hong Kong firms scrambled to find “partners” in Beijing and Shanghai.

    Hong Kong residents have been lording it over Mainlanders for a very long time, and there are some long memories up here.

    Karma’s a bitch.

  • Exclusive: Hacked companies still not telling investors | Reuters – At least a half-dozen major U.S. companies whose computers have been infiltrated by cyber criminals or international spies have not admitted to the incidents despite new guidance from securities regulators urging such disclosures.
  • Investors (and Others) Realizing Their Ox is About to be Gored in Mortgage Settlement « naked capitalism – another attempt at a wall street bailout, and this time it is all Obama's. Disgraceful//

    MBS investors have told me that realistic marks on Bank of America’s second lien portfolio would exceed the market value of its equity, and would also take a big cut out of the equity bases of Citi, JP Morgan, and Wells.

    So the plan, which was messaged in an interview with William Dudley in the Financial Times in early January and is embodied in the mortgage settlement plan, is to write down first liens and leave seconds largely intact (there have been some indications that seconds might get a modest ding in the case of a principal mod on the first, but that is backwards. The second should be WIPED OUT before anything modification is made to the first mortgage). Any principal mods on the first lien that leaves the second in place amounts to a transfer from retirement plans to banks. Pensions are being raided to avoid exposing the insolvency of the big banks.

  • Wall Street Splits as Money Managers Fault Banks’ Foreclosure Settlement – Bloomberg – Wall Street’s biggest lobbying group is split over a proposed settlement of state and federal foreclosure probes, after a committee of money managers signaled it opposes terms letting banks push some costs onto bondholders.
  • Concerns grow over volcanic eruptions – USATODAY.com – There are several large and still active calderas in the United States, including the one under Yellowstone National Park. All are closely monitored. What worries the researchers are other unmonitored calderas around the world with the potential to send huge clouds of ash into the atmosphere, causing massive ecological and climate damage.
  • 著名但却虚假的洋人拍的老照片 – 鲍昆的博客 | 鲍昆的博客 | 博联社 – on a fake William Thomas Saunders photo of old china
  • Analysis: China gets restive taste of post-Dalai Lama era | Reuters – China over the years has derided the Dalai Lama as a jackal in Buddhist robes, choreographer of a separatist Peking opera and, lately, instigator of a plot that led some Tibetans to set themselves on fire and other forms of protest.

    Even so, China's hardline rulers may have reason to miss him when he's gone. The aging spiritual leader's presence and message of non-violence have kept a damper on unrest but, once he dies, things could worsen rapidly.

  • Romney’s Wife Had $3 Million in Secret Swiss Bank Account Through 2010; Not Reported in Federal Disclosure Forms « naked capitalism – The Romneys no doubt NOW paid the taxes due, query whether they paid them prior to the loss of certainty of account secrecy. The IRS launched a voluntary disclosure program in the wake of the UBS settlement, so it is possible that the relevant taxes were paid as part of that initiative, rather than on a current basis. Notice also that Romney delayed the release of his tax returns till January, and got his filings done early so he could report tax years 2011 and 2010 (I’m really impressed that someone with a tax situation as complex as his can file so early). What would his 2009 tax returns have shown? Was the Swiss account on them? (He could have amended them if they had been “missed”, but returns are seldom amended for small amounts).

    Whether or not Romney has something to hide, the failure to include the Swiss account in his Federal ethics filing has him acting as if he has something to hide. Even if there was nothing technically amiss with what Romney did, having a large stash in a secrecy jurisdiction does not pass the smell test. It speaks of an intent to skirt the law even if that never actually took place.

  • Merkel Raises Wang Yang’s Political Star With Guangdong Trip – Bloomberg – those liberal intellectuals are grasping at straws after last year, desperate to find someone, anyone, they think they can believe in//

    “Wang Yang scored very well for his handling of the Wukan incident,” said Li Cheng, who analyzes Chinese politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Liberal intellectuals in China are increasingly considering Wang Yang as a strong leader to push for political reforms.”

  • S.E.C. Is Avoiding Tough Sanctions for Large Banks – NYTimes.com – rule of law, crony capitalism-style
  • Quelle Surprise! SEC Fails to Sanction Big Banks for Fraud « naked capitalism – two-tiered justice in America//

    The SEC does have a defense of sorts, which is (as we have recounted) that Congress has cut off funding when it merely tried to be tough in defending retail investors from abuses under Arthur Levitt in the 1990s. The passivity of the SEC is a symptom of elite corruption. A reform-minded President could choose to cross swords with Congress and defend the agency against harassment for tough minded enforcement. But that would be in a parallel universe where the banks were not in charge.

  • Merkel No Pushover in Beijing – China Real Time Report – WSJ – So did Ms. Merkel cave?

    While it’s always possible that certain concessions were made behind closed doors, a transcript of a speech Ms. Merkel delivered in Beijing on Thursday suggests she stood firm, at least in public. In the speech, delivered at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the German leader lauded China for agreeing in principle to carbon emissions in Durban, but also highlighted differences with Beijing on issues ranging from human rights and intellectual property to Iran oil sanctions and U.N. action on the conflict in Syria.

  • Artificial hymens now banned from being sold on Taobao: Shanghaiist – this hurts, right before valentine's day
  • Running Dogs and Locusts – Ongoing tension between Hong Kongers and mainland citizens erupted into open flames on February 1 when a Hong Kong group raised more than HKD 100,000 to publish a full-page anti-China advertisement in the Apple Daily comparing mainlanders to parasitic locusts and calling for curtailment of benefits enjoyed by Chinese visitors to the Special Administrative Region..The ad was the latest move in an increasingly acrimonious spat that shows no sign of letting up soon.
    Joining Kaiser Kuo this week are Sinica co-host Jeremy Goldkorn, Mary Kay Magistad of Public Radio International, and the ever-stalwart Gady Epstein. We're also pleased to have Evan Osnos for joining in for discussion of how China has figured into the U.S. presidential race
  • Envisioning a Deal With Iran – NYTimes.com – Ayatollah Khamenei will have to be convinced by actions, not just messages. Just as Nixon halted covert action in Tibet before approaching China, a similar signal will be needed with Iran.

    There is no guarantee that diplomacy will succeed. But that is also true of war. And only diplomacy can offer Iran’s current rulers a stake in building a secure future without a nuclear bomb. Only diplomacy can achieve America’s major objectives while avoiding the mistakes committed in Iraq or Vietnam.

    William H. Luers, a career diplomat, served as United States ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela, and was president of the United Nations Association from 1999 to 2009. Thomas R. Pickering, an under secretary of state for political affairs in the Clinton administration, served as United States ambassador to Russia, Israel, Jordan and the United Nations.

  • U.S. officials concerned by Israel statements on Iran threat, possible strike – The Washington Post – Israeli leaders on Thursday delivered one of the bluntest warnings to date of possible airstrikes against Iranian nuclear sites, adding to the anxiety in Western capitals that a surprise attack by Israel could spark a broader military conflict in the Middle East.

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak, speaking at a security forum attended by some of Israel’s top intelligence and military leaders, declared that time was running out for stopping Iran’s nuclear advance, as the country’s uranium facilities disappear into newly constructed mountain bunkers.

  • China Limits Mortgages for Foreigners: NDRC – Bloomberg – easy to borrow in hk in rmb and then pay all cash in china, with the mortgage in hk//

    China will limit mortgage loans for home purchases by foreigners to stem overseas investment in its property market as part of efforts to cool prices.
    The nation’s planning agency won’t approve medium- and long-term foreign debt quotas for overseas banks in 2012, if they intend to use such borrowings to fund mortgages taken out by foreigners, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement.

  • U.S. Attacks China Inc. – WSJ.com – The U.S. is taking the trade fight to the front door of Fortress China, a step that could hold more promise for companies than the endless debate over the value of the yuan.

    Prodded by corporate chiefs across the country, U.S. trade officials have launched a coordinated attack on the core of America's commercial conflict with China: the heavily protected and subsidized Chinese state-owned enterprises that are pounding U.S. companies not just in China but in competition globally.

    "There's been a change" in the U.S. approach to Chinese state capitalism, says Christian Murck, who heads the American Chamber of Commerce

  • 传长三角钢贸老板跑路 银行贷款或受殃及 – 市场 – 21世纪网 – 一份来自业内的数据显示,有4家银行上海分行的钢贸企业贷款余额占比接近20%、7家银行的钢贸企业承兑汇票占比甚至过半。
  • With Risk, Japanese City Takes On Once Accepted Fact of Life – Its Gangsters – NYTimes.com – KITAKYUSHU, Japan — Two years ago, the authorities in this gritty rust-belt region declared war on the yakuza, Japan’s entrenched organized crime syndicates. And that is exactly what they got.
  • Moonies (including Washington Times chairman!) crossed DMZ on condolence visit to North Korea?
  • Qunar vs. Ctrip: Accusation, Threats, and Media Bullying | Tech in Asia
  • Leon Panetta story sparks Israel-Iran speculation – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com – The prospect of war in the Middle East stoked media attention Thursday after a Washington Post editorial writer claimed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes that Israel may attack Iran this spring.

    “Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June — before Iran enters what Israelis described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear bomb,” Ignatius wrote from Brussels, where Panetta is currently attending a conference at NATO headquarters.

  • Lightspeed Venture Said to Be Raising $875 Million for U.S., China Funds – Bloomberg
  • What Harvard Owes Its Top Asian-American Applicants: Stephen Hsu – Bloomberg – checking the caucasian box 4 my kids. clear bias
  • Expect China to Shape the Next Bretton Woods Pact: Philip Coggan – Bloomberg
  • On Chinese New Year, Beijing Loses Part of Its Memory: Adam Minter – Bloomberg – The managers at Beijing’s Fuheng Real Estate, a subsidiary of a state-owned company, surely knew this. For years, they’ve wanted to demolish the former courtyard residence of Liang Sicheng, the undisputed father of modern Chinese architecture, and his wife and collaborator, Lin Huiyin, so as to build a 28-story high-rise on the property. Their attempt in 2009 created such national outrage that China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage felt compelled to name the house an “immovable cultural heritage.” It’s a low-level designation as historic sites go, but nonetheless one that requires a government-issued permit if a developer -– state-owned or not — wants to redevelop the site.

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