China Readings for January 18th

  • Art’s New Pecking Order – WSJ.com – Picasso and Warhol are being outsold by Chinese painters as a new wave of wealthy buyers reshapes the global market. Inside China's high-rolling art world…

    Another friend, Beijing hotelier Zhang Rui, has started decorating every room in his new Gallery Hotel with pieces borrowed from a gallery called Tang. He also has an 800-piece collection of his own. The hotel hasn't opened yet, in part because Mr. Zhang recently spent 18 months in detention for allegedly bribing a Party secretary. Mr. Zhang denies making any bribe but says he did pay a fine as a condition of his release last June, and he's now seeking the remaining building permits.

  • China’s Dilemma on Iran – Max Fisher – International – The Atlantic – Is the threat of an Israeli air strike leading Beijing to consider other sources of energy?
  • 千亿地方养老金有望一季度入市 三四成投资股市 – 宏观 – 21世纪网 – 核心提示:戴相龙表示,关于养老金入市运营,有可能在经济水平较发达的省份先行试点。
  • 微博认证“钱”规则 – IT观察 – 21世纪网 – 核心提示:在遭遇过郭美美事件之后,再爆发“高美美”事件,使得新浪的实名认证公信力再次受到质疑。
  • China’s Digital Advertising Market in 2012 [Slideshare] | TechRice
  • Baidu Beat-Latest CNNIC China Internet Stats
  • He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny by Simon Leys | The New York Review of Books – No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems
    by Liu Xiaobo, edited by Perry Link, Tienchi Martin-Liao, and Liu Xia, and with a foreword by Václav Havel
  • Questions for China’s democracy opponents – China Media Project – one of the most interesting pieces to appear on domestic microblogs in China this month on the question of democracy in China. The post, converted from text into an image file (a fairly effective means of eluding censorship), addresses one of the most frequent rationalizations given by opponents of democracy in China: that the Chinese people are just too base in character to make it work.

    Posted on January 6, this version of the image-as-text file was shared more than 9,000 times on Sina Weibo, drawing close to 2,300 comments as of January 17. We’ve posted the image file as the bottom of our translation, and readers can see from the overlapping Weibo account names at the bottom-right that this file was re-posted a number of times.

  • US must be objective, Xi says|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn
  • More Chinese living in cities than countryside – Yahoo! News – Beijing says more Chinese are living in cities than in the countryside for the first time in the nation's history.
    The National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday that urban dwellers accounted for 51.27 percent of China's 1.34 billion people at the end of last year. That was an increase of 1.32 percentage points over 2010
  • For Intrigue, Malaria Drug Artemisinin Gets the Prize – NYTimes.com – The Chinese drug artemisinin has been hailed as one of the greatest advances in fighting malaria, the scourge of the tropics, since the discovery of quinine centuries ago.

    But few people realize that in one of the paradoxes of history, the drug was discovered thanks to Mao Zedong, who was acting to help the North Vietnamese in their jungle war against the Americans. Or that it languished for 30 years thanks to China’s isolation and the indifference of Western donors, health agencies and drug companies.

  • In Wukan, China, Protest Leader Is Made Party Boss – NYTimes.com – BEIJING — In an unlikely coda to the citizen takeover last month of Wukan, a village in southern China whose furious residents evicted the authorities over a land dispute, the local Communist Party has selected the protest leader to be the village’s new party secretary.
    Addressing the grievances that led the villagers to seize power in the first place — the land dispute and the suspicious death of one protest leader — appears to be another matter altogether.
  • New Japanese Names May Stoke Old Island Row with China – China Real Time Report – WSJ – In a move that could reignite territorial tensions, a quartet of remote, anonymous islets surrounding the disputed group of East China Sea islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China will be getting a name by the end of March. A Japanese name, that is.
  • Slowing China GDP Boosts Scope for Easing – Bloomberg
  • Black Industry Behind Internet Data Leaks-Caijing – The storm created as a result of the data leak incident seems to be ebbing. Still, the security of online information is still a delicate matter in China, thereby presenting an urgent need for introspection. How can this black industry behind Internet data leaks exist? How should China deal with the industrial chain that starts with computer hacking? Who should be held accountable for user data leaks, and how? How can rule by law in China’s Internet industry be consolidated?
    Information security experts told Caijing that prior to this data leak incident, the attackers must have acquired a large amount of database resources. “It is entirely possible that the attackers had seized more user databases than which have been exposed.” Some experts even contended that “Almost all major websites suffered large-scale data leaks.” It is just that some of the websites chose not to disclose the data leaks, fearing it may smear their reputations
  • Developer Battle in Shanghai: Foreshadowing Fights to Come? – China Real Time Report – WSJ – A corporate tussle between two well-known developers over a prestigious and rare plot of land in Shanghai could be the first of many boardroom battles this year as more assets are put up for sale amid a souring outlook for the Chinese real estate market.

    The property in question is a 45,000 square-meter plot just south of the city’s historic Bund that was originally to be developed by developers Shanghai Zendai, Greentown China and Fosun Group. The dispute began in December, when Zendai and Greentown sold a 50% stake in the project to Soho China for 4 billion yuan ($635 million). The sale irked Fosun, which called the deal a “surprise” and said that it would make sure its legal rights to the remaining stake weren’t compromised.

  • In D.C., China builds a news hub to help polish its global image – The Washington Post – In a downtown D.C. office building hard by a Starbucks and a busy construction site, China’s most ambitious effort to become a global power in English-language TV news is literally taking shape.

    For months, Chinese and American workers have been constructing a multi-floor TV studio complex on New York Avenue NW. Within a few weeks, China Central Television (CCTV) — the nation’s state-run international broadcaster — intends to originate news broadcasts produced by a staff of more than 60 journalists hired in recent weeks from NBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox News and other Western news organizations.

  • Bush tax cuts helped the rich get richer – The Washington Post – The tax cuts enacted at the urging of President George W. Bush magnified what CRS calls the “disequalizing” impact of this shift. The 1986 tax reform eliminated the gap between the ordinary and capital gains rates. The gap began to widen again during President Bill Clinton’s second term, but the Bush tax cuts of 2003 blew it wide open by slicing the top rate on dividends and long-term capital gains from 28 percent to 15 percent. The tax code as of 2006 was still progressive, in that top earners paid a greater share of their income to Washington than everyone else. But thanks largely to the more favorable treatment of investment income, the code was significantly less progressive in 2006 than it was in 1996, CRS found.
  • Veteran Chinese dissident indicted for "subversive" poem – Yahoo! News – Chinese authorities have indicted veteran dissident Zhu Yufu on subversion charges for writing a poem urging people to gather to defend their freedoms, his lawyer said on Tuesday, the latest activist to such charges in a tightening clampdown.
  • The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Kim Jong-nam Resurfaces in Beijing – Former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son Kim Jong-nam has resurfaced in Beijing a month after his father's death. He was spotted by South Koreans including Park Seung-jun, a professor of Chinese Language and Literature at Incheon University, waiting at Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport for an Air China flight to Macau on Saturday afternoon.
  • Elections in Taiwan set the bar for China – China Media Project
  • RedPad is the Tablet Custom-Made for China’s Cadres, Costs Twice as Much as an iPad | Tech in Asia – A largely unknown Chinese manufacturer has launched a ‘Red Group Number One’ Android tablet that’s aimed at, and highly customized for, China’s ruling cadres. Following the URL of the very flakey website that it’s from, we’ll just call it the RedPad. Its specs are pretty decent but its price is enough to make even the most patriotic think about getting an iPad instead: the RedPad costs 9,999 RMB (US$1,580), though it’s currently available for the special offer price of 7,100 RMB ($1,124). With a mere 16GB of storage, that makes the RedPad inexplicably nearly twice the price of an iPad or a mid-range Android tablet.
  • Tencent Is Going After Sina Weibo | DigiCha – Sina has a big lead in Weibo, but unlike Tencent it does not have a massive, diversified, cash puking machine to subsidize a huge marketing war for China’s elite netizens.
  • With Weixin Lifestyle, Tencent Is Finally Building A White-Collar Brand | TechRice – With Weixin, Tencent finally has a product for white-collars (50 million registered, 20 million actives), an objective that had eluded the firm for over a decade. We at TechRice thinks that’s a very big deal.

    Simon Fong, CEO of Xueqiu, writes:

    Tencent’s problem is that it’s very difficult for it to reach the highest-end users at all. At the very least, in some situations it’s embarrassing to share your QQ number (whether a user has one is besides the point, this is about social conventions). But now Tencent has a new product that is finally penetrating that market: Weixin Mobile IM. Look around you, aren’t all your fancy friends using Weixin too?

  • China EconTracker – WSJ.com
  • Introducing: China Real Time’s China Econtracker – China Real Time Report – WSJ – On Tuesday morning at 9.45am in Beijing, in the State Council Information Office, there was a mini-riot.

    That’s not because the hapless bureaucrats were handing out iPhones, stealing farmers’ land or abusing street vendors. It was because of the release of data on gross domestic product for China in 2011.

  • Taiwan Vote Stirs Chinese Hopes for Democracy – NYTimes.com – As the election played out on Saturday, a palpable giddiness spread through the Twitter-like microblog services that have as many as 250 million members. They marveled at how smoothly the voting went, how graciously the loser, Tsai Ing-wen, conceded and how Mr. Ma gave his victory speech in the rain without the benefit of an underling’s umbrella — in contrast with the pampering that Chinese officials often receive.

    “It’s all anyone on Weibo was talking about this weekend,” said Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University in Beijing, referring to Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog service.

  • Koobface Gang Uses Facebook to Spread Powerful Worm – NYTimes.com – Five men believed to be responsible for spreading a notorious computer worm on Facebook and other social networks — and pocketing several million dollars from online schemes — are hiding in plain sight in St. Petersburg, Russia, according to investigators at Facebook and several independent computer security researchers.
  • Mitt Romney Announces Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team | Mitt Romney for President – ASIA-PACIFIC

    Evan Feigenbaum, Co-Chair
    Executive Director of the Paulson Institute; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia (2006-2009); Member for East Asia, Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff (2001-2006)

    Aaron Friedberg, Co-Chair
    Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University; Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs and Director of Policy Planning, Office of the Vice President (2003-2005)

    Kent Lucken, Co-Chair
    Managing Director at Citigroup Private Bank in Boston; President of the US-Asia Institute; Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer

  • Revising Deng’s Foreign Policy | China Power – As reported, Ma’s remarks contained standard boilerplate for a year-end review: “China’s overall security environment was favorable,” but “will continue to undergo complicated and profound changes.” What came next, however, was unexpected. Ma used a revised version of the last eight characters of Deng Xiaoping’s famous “24 character” guideline for China’s foreign policy from the early 1990s: “keep a low profile and achieve something” (taoguang yanghui, yousuo zuowei). The reformulated version states that China should “uphold (jianchi) keeping a low profile and actively (jiji) achieve something.”

    Ma’s use of Deng’s revised guideline in an official Chinese newspaper is important for several reasons

  • Art’s New Pecking Order – WSJ.com – Picasso and Warhol are being outsold by Chinese painters as a new wave of wealthy buyers reshapes the global market. Inside China's high-rolling art world…

    Another friend, Beijing hotelier Zhang Rui, has started decorating every room in his new Gallery Hotel with pieces borrowed from a gallery called Tang. He also has an 800-piece collection of his own. The hotel hasn't opened yet, in part because Mr. Zhang recently spent 18 months in detention for allegedly bribing a Party secretary. Mr. Zhang denies making any bribe but says he did pay a fine as a condition of his release last June, and he's now seeking the remaining building permits.

  • China’s Dilemma on Iran – Max Fisher – International – The Atlantic – Is the threat of an Israeli air strike leading Beijing to consider other sources of energy?
  • 千亿地方养老金有望一季度入市 三四成投资股市 – 宏观 – 21世纪网 – 核心提示:戴相龙表示,关于养老金入市运营,有可能在经济水平较发达的省份先行试点。
  • 微博认证“钱”规则 – IT观察 – 21世纪网 – 核心提示:在遭遇过郭美美事件之后,再爆发“高美美”事件,使得新浪的实名认证公信力再次受到质疑。
  • China’s Digital Advertising Market in 2012 [Slideshare] | TechRice
  • Baidu Beat-Latest CNNIC China Internet Stats
  • He Told the Truth About China’s Tyranny by Simon Leys | The New York Review of Books – No Enemies, No Hatred: Selected Essays and Poems
    by Liu Xiaobo, edited by Perry Link, Tienchi Martin-Liao, and Liu Xia, and with a foreword by Václav Havel

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