China Readings for March 17th

  • Open Channel – Ex-US officials investigated over speeches to Iranian dissident group on terror list – Speaking firms representing ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton have received federal subpoenas as part of an expanding investigation into the source of payments to former top government officials who have publicly advocated removing an Iranian dissident group from the State Department list of terrorist groups, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
    The investigation, being conducted by the Treasury Department, is focused on whether the former officials may have received funding, directly or indirectly, from the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, thereby violating longstanding federal law barring financial dealings with terrorist groups. The sources, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said that speaking fees given to the former officials total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Midnight in Peking – In a China accustomed to glacial political change, Bo Xilai's dramatic fall from power this week has stunned observers nationwide. Joining us to help make sense of things is Guardian correspondent Tania Branigan, who helps review what exactly happened to the former Chongqing Party Secretary and once Politburo contender. Sinica then turns to a discussion of history, architecture and murder with fellow guest and soon-to-be-famous author Paul French, whose non-fiction murder mystery Midnight in Peking is set for a much broader international release next month.
  • Qingdao homeowners step up NIMBY protests against power substation | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 – On March 15, China’s Consumer Rights Protection Day, about 100 homeowners took to the street in Qingdao, Shandong province, and decried the planned construction of an adjacent 220 kilovolts substation, with an element of performance art.
  • 云笔记工具Evernote:虚拟大脑的商业逻辑_互联网_科技时代_新浪网
  • China Government Relations Director at Hewlett-Packard in Beijing – Job | LinkedIn – Due to business needs and to strengthen the Government Relations organization in China, the company has decided to recruit an outstanding China Government Relations Director in Beijing to lead the Government Relations team in establishing strategic relationships with key government stakeholders related to our business, including both regulatory/policy-making and enforcement roles, at central and local levels. The position will report to the VP Global Government Relations based in the US.
  • 潘石屹:房产税难产源于只增税未减低其他税负_经产观察_新浪财经_新浪网
  • 扎实做好保持党的纯洁性各项工作_2012/06_求是理论网 – Xi Jinping's Essay in "Seeking Truth"
  • 严守风险监管底线 提高服务实体经济水平_2012/06_求是理论网 – CSRC head Shang Fulin in latest "QiuShi"
  • Xi Appeals for ‘Purity’ Amid Party Scandal – WSJ.com – in the essay published in Seeking Truth, the party's main ideological publication, Mr. Xi urged fellow leaders not to "play to the crowd" or "seek personal gain and high office" and to adhere strictly to the party's collective decision-making system.

    The magazine said the essay was based on a speech Mr. Xi made on March 1 at the Party's Central Party School, its top think tank and training ground, which he heads. But even if it predated Mr. Bo's dismissal, the essay addressed many of the core issues raised by the scandal surrounding him.

  • 铁岭原公安局长谷凤杰落马:涉买官卖官 受贿或达千万_资讯频道_凤凰网
  • Spotted on Weibo: "Yasukuni shrine" urinals in Harbin: Shanghaiist
  • China: Tibetan Monasteries Placed Under Direct Rule | Human Rights Watch – Decision Ends Long-Standing Policy Allowing Nominal Self-Rule of Monasteries
  • The South China Sea: Having it both ways | The Economist – And so, on this analysis, China does have a legitimate basis for its claim; the area is “in dispute”, and the Philippines would be in the wrong to pursue hydrocarbon exploration unilaterally. 

    One thing about this seems odd though. If China follows UNCLOS in this area of the sea, can it ignore it in areas where it has no such claim, just its nine-dashed assertive line? The answer, I suppose, is yes; China can always have it both ways.

  • China’s economy: Fears of a hard landing | The Economist
  • 乌有之乡 – leftist web site utopia offline for over 24 hours. 2 return,or plugged pulled w bo xilai's removal from chongqing?
  • 陈红太:如何看待重庆探索的价值和成败-中国选举与治理网
  • Reel China: Raymond Zhou, Beijing’s answer to Roger Ebert – latimes.com – Reporting from Beijing —— Raymond Zhou became China's most famous film critic by happenstance. It was 2001, and his work as the editor in chief of a bilingual high-tech website in Silicon Valley had been halved. With extra time on his hands, and unemployment looming, Zhou started writing Western-style movie reviews and sending them back to his home country.
  • Chinese Companies Forced to Falsify Data, Government Says – Bloomberg – China’s statistics bureau said local officials forced some hotels, coal miners and aluminum makers to report false numbers, highlighting flaws in data tracking the world’s second-largest economy.
    Statistics officials in Hejin city in northern Shanxi province gave companies “seriously untrue” numbers to submit for 2011, the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on its website dated March 12.
  • Pressure on Apple Builds Over App Store Fraud – NYTimes.com – On Chinese online marketplaces, like Taobao or DHgate, some sellers are offering access to iTunes accounts for as little as $33. One seller on DHgate, for instance, has sold 56 iTunes accounts for less than $35 each, promising thousands of dollars in “credit.”
  • Bain Capital Tied to Surveillance Push in China – NYTimes.com – As the Chinese government forges ahead on a multibillion-dollar effort to blanket the country with surveillance cameras, one American company stands to profit: Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney.

    In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.

  • The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say) | Threat Level | Wired.com – Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

    The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA

  • The ‘Vampire Squid’ spills its ink – FT.com – If Goldman cares any more about returning to a position of leadership on what remains of Wall Street – and it may not – the bank had better fix this problem, and fast.
    Goldman has been in and out of trouble its whole existence. It almost went out of business because of self-inflicted wounds in the Depression, again in 1970 with the bankruptcy of the Penn Central Corporation, in 1987 when the bank was nearly indicted after one of its most senior partners was arrested on suspicion of insider trading and in 1994 when massive trading losses almost did it in and some 40 partners voted with their feet and left.
    This is another such existential moment for Goldman. The sad thing is the bank’s leaders don’t seem to realise it.
  • Memo from Beijing: China model has lost all its lustre – FT.com – The run-up to China’s leadership transition, late this year, will as always be a tense period in politics. As the China model delivers ever greater wealth, consolidating, as a result, the power of the central government, the most pressing issue is: can such power be accountable?
    My concern is that when market freedoms shrink, so will the political and social liberties that come with them. Here, the China model has a poor record. Market capitalism is at low ebb but it remains the best option for China’s gradual political evolution. It is in China’s interest to make peace with liberal capitalism. China has little choice, if it is to transform itself into a fairer, freer and more stable society.
    Chinese leaders know all about the deep-rooted systematic problems, but don’t know how to fix them without losing their grip on power. The only consolation they have is that they can afford to wait for a good while, when the west is in disarray.

    The writer is editor-in-chief of FTChinese.com and an associate editor of the Financial Times

  • Filmmaker Jia Zhangke To Open Beijing Arthouse Theatre « Jing Daily : The Business of Luxury and Culture in China – Director Jia Zhangke , fresh off his recent collaboration with Johnnie Walker for its second “Yulu” campaign and hard at work on his first big-budget picture, “In the Qing Dynasty,” is set to add another title to his impressive resume: arthouse theater owner. According to the Beijing News, Jia said this week that his new theater — which will likely be located in eastern Beijing — is still being designed, and will open next year at the earliest.
  • Chinese man in NY Fed cyber theft hires veteran crime lawyer | Business | The Guardian – A Chinese computer programmer charged with stealing software code from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has hired a criminal attorney best-known for his successful defense of a member of one of America's leading crime families.
    The attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, said he was retained last week by Bo Zhang, the 33-year old accused former New York Fed contractor, who is in plea negotiations with the government…
    Zhang was hired as a contract employee in May by an unnamed technology consulting company used by the Fed to work on the Treasury software project, the complaint said.
    The code, called the Government-wide Accounting and Reporting Program, or GWA, was developed to help track the billions of dollars the U.S. government transfers daily. The GWA provides federal agencies with a statement of their account balance.
  • 薄熙来被免 重庆卫视重播商业广告_多维新闻网 – that was fast. chongqing satellite tv already broadcasting commercial advertisements again, 1st in a year
  • CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher | Danger Room | Wired.com – That’s not the only data exploit intriguing Petraeus. He’s interested in creating new online identities for his undercover spies — and sweeping away the “digital footprints” of agents who suddenly need to vanish.

    “Proud parents document the arrival and growth of their future CIA officer in all forms of social media that the world can access for decades to come,” Petraeus observed. “Moreover, we have to figure out how to create the digital footprint for new identities for some officers.”

  • Online video in China: Watch this space | The Economist – Bill Bishop, an analyst in Beijing, says that the deal is far from “game, set and match” to Youku and Tudou. Some lesser lights of online video are backed by giants of China’s internet, such as Baidu, the dominant search engine, and Tencent, the leading instant-messaging site. None seems ready to give up just yet.

    Duncan Clark of BDA, an investment-advisory firm in Beijing, says he is optimistic about the long-term prospects of online-video companies, because they give people something they clearly want. In the short term, he is more cautious. Bandwidth and content costs are one reason. Regulation is another, in the shape of SARFT, the film and broadcasting regulator, which oversees the online firms too.

    Popular TV shows have been stopped before, so why not online programmes as well, if too few are watching the news on CCTV? In China not only failure is risky.

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