China Readings for January 22nd

  • Obama Says Action to Boost Tourism Part of Broader Strategy – Bloomberg – Obama announced the executive order intended to increase the number and speed the approval of non-immigrant visas, particularly in China and Brazil, on Jan. 19 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He visited the battleground state less than two weeks before the Republican presidential primary there on Jan. 31.
  • China driving schools teaching millions the art of war | Reuters – China is rapidly becoming a country on wheels and its crowded driving schools are racing to churn out licensed drivers as fast as cars roll off the assembly lines.
    But judging by the daily smash-ups and blatant disregard for even basic traffic rules on China's roadways, quantity seems to have trumped quality at many schools.

    China surpassed the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest auto market, and just as newly affluent Chinese are snapping up expensive cars in staggering numbers, driving schools are bursting at the seams.

    "There are so many trainees because everyone wants a driving licence," said Ren Xingzhou, an instructor at Fengshun Driving School in Beijing. "Driving used to be a profession in China — now it's necessary living skill."

  • China News Headlines | Hong Kong’s premier newspaper online | SCMP.com – Activists and parents reacted with anger and concern after reports that several senior officials found negligent in the melamine milk scandal had taken up important new posts even though many victims had yet to fully recover.
    In 2009, a number of central and Shijiazhuang officials were sacked or punished by the authorities over the tainted milk, with city mayor Ji Chuntang and two deputy mayors, Zhang Fawang and Zhao Xinchao, removed from office. Ji has since been appointed deputy head of Hebei's Industry and Information Technology Department, Zhang is now a deputy chairman of Shijiazhuang's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Zhao is back as a deputy mayor of the city.
  • U.S. in the South China Sea | The Editor – I’ve just finished reading a new report by the Center for a New American Security recommended to me by Mitt Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O’Brien.

    It’s easy to see why the Romney team would like this – the thrust of the report, entitled “Co-operation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea,” calls for a robust U.S. effort to preserve freedom of navigation, as well as making the case for an expanded navy. Indeed, the report calls for the United States to work toward a 346 ship navy, which is bigger than the expansion to 313 that Romney has called for.

  • Watch: Bitchfight between mainland tourists eating on the Hong Kong MTR with local passengers: Shanghaiist
  • BBC News – Paedophile David Price jailed after China extradition – how many schools in china do background checks on their expatriate teachers? expect this is a much bigger problem than has been understood to date//

    A paedophile from Merseyside who became the first person extradited from China to the UK after he skipped bail on a false passport has been jailed.

    David Price, 69, of Southport, fled in 2003 after being caught with hundreds of images of himself and others sexually abusing children.

    He admitted 21 specimen counts of possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children.

    He was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court.

    Price fled to Kenya and Tanzania before arriving in central China, where Merseyside Police tracked him down in Hubai province. He was teaching English to primary school children.

  • How to Smear a Washington Think Tank – Robert Wright – Politics – The Atlantic
  • China News Headlines | Hong Kong’s premier newspaper online | SCMP.com – Former premier Zhu Rongji has implicitly criticised the central government for its failure to establish a corruption-free bureaucracy.

    Attending a Peking Opera show held by the Shanghai municipal government on Wednesday to celebrate the coming Lunar New Year, the 83-year-old reminded the 1,500 people in the audience – including more than 1,200 officials with the rank of bureau head – that the city had a "clean government" from 1987 to 1991 under his administration.

    "Looking back to the era when I was [Shanghai's party head] under the leadership of president Jiang Zemin, I once said that 'only when we watch closely the 506 bureau officials and give them the chance to contribute their talents, can the Shanghai government get our clean-government job done and be an invincible government," Zhu told the Shanghai officials.

  • 茅台名誉董事长:茅台并不奢侈 中国百姓喝得起 – 医药·食品 – 21世纪网 – 茅台名誉董事长称,茅台比不上动辄几千上万甚至十几万的红酒洋酒,只要不是天天喝,消费得起。
  • Chinese art bidders named in payment dispute – FT.com – Ma Dong, a man from the Daxing district in Beijing, won three paintings by bidding just under HK$50m in total on October 4 – including one by Zhang Daqian, one of the most respected 20th century Chinese artists. He has yet to pay for any of them, according to the auction house.
    On October 3, Ren Chunxia, a woman with an address in Jinan, eastern China, won two oil paintings by the Chinese master Wu Guanzhong with bids of HK$18.6m and HK$26.4m respectively. These were paid for within the standard 30-day limit. However, she has yet to pay for a painting by the abstract artist Zao Wou-ki, which she bid HK$69m for on the same day. That price was a new auction record for the artist and nearly double the high-end of Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate.
    Mr Ma has until the middle of February to reply to the writ. The case against Ms Ren was launched in early December and Sotheby’s would not provide any detail on its progress.
  • The Jamestown Foundation: China in 2012: Political Challenges in China’s Economic Governance – Willy Lam
    As Premier Wen has reiterated, “without reform of the political structure, achievements attained in economic reform could suffer a serious setback” (Chinanews.com.cn, September 14, 2011; China.com.cn, August 23, 2010). Factors key to the rationalization and reform of the Chinese economy, such as boosting the private sector and allowing ordinary citizens to enjoy a bigger share of the economic pie, hinge upon whether the CCP leadership is willing and able to resuscitate political and structural reform. However, given the apparent consensus among disparate factions that political liberalization would jeopardize the CCP’s “perennial ruling party status,” the possibilities for resolute steps in this direction may not be high this year.
  • The Jamestown Foundation: China in 2012: The Politics and Policy of Leadership Succession – By: Bruce Gilley

    In 2012, China will enter for the first time an era in which political leadership is held by people who do not have the direct imprimatur of veterans of the Chinese revolution. This will be important not just because it means they will have to work harder to establish their personal legitimacy as rulers, but also because it will open up wider possibilities for new thinking and bold policies.

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