China Readings for October 20th

  • How to write an article about China’s leftover women « Shanghai Shiok!– Is this attention to single women in China new? Of course not. Almost exactly a year ago, I remember a similar wave of leftover women articles (like these in CNNGo and NPR) before I blogged about my teacher. Back then I thought it was such a hot topic, but apparently the same stuff is regurgitated at the same time every year. Teacher Wang was only one of many.So, dear readers, if you aspire to publish a China story in major media, you should remember to pitch ‘China’s leftover women’ articles timed for October-November 2012.  To help you out, below is Shanghai Shiok’s advice on how to write a serious piece about China’s leftover women for prestigious publications, illustrated with examples from the recent ‘single women’ articles in The Atlantic and SCMP:
  • Wal-Mart’s China Food Labeling Scandal: What Have We Learned? | China Hearsay – @ChinaHearsay eviscerates WSJ’s John Bussey
  • 茅台高层变动背后:从“季茅”到“袁茅” – 产经 – 21世纪网 – management turmoil at Maotai?
  • Inside the Ring – Washington Times– The Obama administration is braced for a tough Chinese reaction to the latest U.S. arms sale to Taiwan and is worried it will come during the visit to Beijing by White House National Security Adviser Thomas E. Donilon.However, the U.S. intelligence community so far is unable to assess authoritatively just what China will do in response to the $5.8 billion arms package to upgrade Taiwanese fighters announced last month.

    So far, China postponed the visit to China by Adm. Robert Willard, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, and blocked a China visit by the U.S. Army Band that was to reciprocate for China’s military band touring the United States earlier this year.

    “They also are slow-rolling most non-proliferation-related visits and meetings, obviously a subject they view as a favor to us since they don’t care about it,” one U.S. official said.

  • Exit the renminbi, enter the ‘Pan’ – FT.com – Chinese property developers have discovered an alternative to the renminbi, China’s currency, as they begin to advertise prices in “Pan”.
    The new denomination is in fact a reference to Pan Shiyi, chairman of Soho China and one of the country’s most prominent property tycoons, used in a clever marketing trick that plays on public frustration with sky-high housing prices.
  • Stand-Off Involving Presidential Science Advisor Threatens U.S.-China Ties: Scientific American– When US presidential science adviser John Holdren hosted a dinner and meetings between US and Chinese science officials in May, he must have known it would lead to a high-level stand-off. That came to pass on 11 October, when the Govern­ment Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of Congress, concluded in a report that those activities violated legislation banning scientific cooperation with China by NASA and by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which Holdren directs.Frank Wolf (Republican, Virginia), the congressman who chairs the subcommittee that funds science agencies including the OSTP and NASA, inserted the ban into a spending bill that was passed last spring. Now, backed by the GAO report, he has asked the US Department of Justice to rein in Holdren’s China-related activities; if the department refuses to do so, the matter could end up in the courts.
  • On China: It’s the regime, stupid – By Dan Blumenthal | Shadow Government– there is little the United States can do to affect democratic change in China. We can do more at the margins (e.g. try harder to speak directly to the many reformers in China — the entrepreneurs, the Christian leaders, the social activists). But in the end this is only moral support. Whether or not as a policy matter our moral support matters for change in China, we have and always should stand with the Chinese people.Until China changes we are left with the fundamentally realist project of protecting ourselves and our interests by maintaining a strong military presence in Asia and building up our alliances. For now, the central realist truth carries the day. We must engage with China when it is in our interests to do so. But our most urgent task is to successfully play balance of power politics in Asia until a new regime emerges in China that is more accepting of the international order and less afraid of its own people.
  • China may prove both bulls and bears correct – FT.com – Many believe China can probably pump its economy up one more time by loosening tight monetary policy and perhaps implementing a smaller investment-focused stimulus package, but that the years of high growth and low inflation are coming to an end.
    If you read past his doom-laden headline-making comments, Mr Roubini is cleverly predicting something similar.
    He says that overinvestment always leads to a hard landing and that this will probably come for China in 2013 or 2014 – but that the country’s leaders will “do anything possible” to keep growth above 8 per cent next year, when a new generation of Communist party leaders will take the helm.
    If he is right then global investors who were previously far too bullish on China’s long-term prospects are now far too bearish on the short term, as the country may just be gearing up for another speculative bubble next year.
  • Chinese Lose Promise for $52,000 as U.S. Schools Exploit Need – Businessweek– Boarding schools with small endowments and less selective admissions policies are boosting their revenue and enrollment by recruiting thousands of Chinese students who pay full freight. As the weak economy has shrunk the pool of well-off U.S. applicants, many of these schools are using agents with misleading sales pitches to tap a growing number of wealthy families in China eager for the prestige of an American degree.100-Fold Growth

    The number of Chinese students at U.S. private high schools soared more than 100-fold to 6,725 in 2010-11 from 65 in 2005- 06, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. China has displaced South Korea as the top source of international students at boarding schools, with the smallest schools having the biggest increases in Chinese enrollment, said Peter Upham, executive director of the Association of Boarding Schools in Asheville, North Carolina.

    Promised an elite college-prep experience by agents in China, these students often find that one-third or more of their dormmates are also Chinese, and many of the U.S. students require extra time and support. The schools end up segregated academically and socially into full-paying Chinese students, many of whom rise to the top of their classes, and American teenagers who fell behind in public schools.

  • Asia Times Online :: Beijing fails the American test– Last week, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released its annual report on the state of United States-China relations.The report made note of several long-standing grievances Congress has had with China, most notably the country’s currency policies and the ongoing lack of clarity which surrounds their Indigenous Innovation policy; however, the report made repeated efforts to draw the eyes of congressional leaders to what they see as a worrying slip in Beijing’s willingness to accommodate dissent and pluralistic voices from within their own country.
  • U.S. Seeks Details of China’s Internet Restrictions – Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com – The U.S. government announced on Wednesday that it is seeking detailed information about China’s Internet restrictions and how they may impact trade.
    U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he is requesting that the World Trade Organization look into how China’s policies of blocking websites may harm U.S. companies.
    “An Internet website that can be accessed in China is increasingly a critical element for service suppliers aiming to reach Chinese consumers, and a number of U.S. businesses, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, have expressed concerns regarding the adverse business impacts from periodic disruptions to the availability of their websites in China,” Kirk said in a statement.
    Specifically, the U.S. is seeking answers to 25 questions covering topics from who is responsible for deciding which websites are blocked to the duties of the State Internet Information Office, established in May. The request also seeks information on which laws govern blocking and what companies should do if they are “inadvertently” blocked.
  • Despite Violence, Chinese Dissident’s Emboldened Supporters Stream to See Him – NYTimes.com– But during the past two weeks, the trickle of would-be visitors has become a campaign, with dozens of admirers and activists from across the country embarking on the journey, human rights groups say. Inspired by a stream of microblog messages that at times overwhelms government censors, these ad hoc rights activists and their online supporters are still being turned away.However, their campaign — Operation Free Chen Guangcheng — is drawing increased attention to a figure that Shandong party officials have for years struggled to silence and is spotlighting the kind of extralegal punishment that Beijing prefers to keep under wraps.
  • 黑老大引爆青岛警界地震:数十处级干部被抓_新闻_腾讯网 – big corruption scandal breaking in qingdao. 1 official had 27 apartments in beijing
  • PRC Legal Updater – Norton Rose LLP – PBOC and MOFCOM issue new rules governing foreign investment into China using RMB funds
    On 14 October 2011, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued the Administrative Measures on RMB Settlement in respect of Foreign Direct Investment (PBOC Measures). On the same day, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) promulgated the final version of the Notice on Various Questions related to Cross-border RMB Direct Investment (MOFCOM Notice), the draft of which was published for public consultation on 22 August this year.The PBOC Measures and MOFCOM Notice are both in force from the date of their promulgation. RMB foreign direct investments into China by using offshore RMB funds now have a clear legal basis on which to proceed. This opens another channel for offshore RMB funds to flow back into the China market as capital items (including foreign direct investment and cross-border financing).
  • China Economic Watch | The Link Between China’s Property Market and Local Government Finances– The vulnerability of local governments to swings in the property market should now be clear. A decline in land or property prices would reduce land tax revenues while a reduction in land purchases by developers could decimate land transfer fees.A slowdown in the property market compromises the ability of local governments to meet their mounting debt obligations. Much of this debt went into financing infrastructure which will yield economic benefits in the long-term, but in the short-term will not produce sufficient revenue to service debt payments.

    A slowdown in real estate could also reduce the high rates of local investment that have been so important to China’s rapid economic growth, further compounding the revenue problems of local governments.

    In attempting to gently deflate the real estate market the central government is playing a very delicate game. If  its policies crash the property market, it may find itself forced to bailout struggling local governments.

  • Behind The Wall – China moves from tea to ‘black gold’ – Reports in 2007 suggested some aged vintages of Pu’er were going for as much as $10,000 for 10 grams (0.35 ounces).
    One year later, that bubble burst.  The market for this special fermented tea collapsed after a buying frenzy turned into a selling spree by unscrupulous wholesalers who had driven up prices artificially.
    Many farmers who were caught up in the frenzy were left with nearly worthless supplies of tea, but many others had carefully spread their risk.
    To coffee.
  • China quizzes audit giants on foreign regulator contract – Yahoo! News – China’s financial regulators have asked the world’s biggest audit firms to urgently review their work on U.S.-listed Chinese companies and give details on information they may have provided to overseas regulators, two sources told Reuters.
    The unprecedented move, following a string of accounting scandals at U.S.-listed Chinese companies, is set to ratchet up tensions between the financial regulators of America and China.
  • global times-Another form of recycled cooking oil oozing its way onto dinner tables– Another brand of recycled kitchen oil has floated to the surface as a crackdown on food-related crimes continues in Chongqing. However, due to a legal loophole, punishing those found guilty remains difficult.Swill-cooked oil found by police in Chongqing was related to a production and marketing chain covering six provinces, including Sichuan, Yunnan and Henan. Its volume was enough to feed more than 2,600 families for one year, Xinhua reported.

    The oil comes from kitchen waste intended to feed livestock, said the report.

    Different from gutter oil, it comes directly from restaurant tables, without passing through the sewers, Liu Shipeng, a deputy chief of the Oil Branch of the China Food Association, told the Global Times.

  • Churchill’s School Taps ‘Nightmare’ Hong Kong Waitlists for Bankers’ Kids – Bloomberg – Harrow International, an arm of the 439-year-old British school that educated Winston Churchill, will spend as much as HK$1 billion ($129 million) on a campus in Hong Kong, where school waiting lists are as long as three years.
    Harrow will open next September in Hong Kong’s New Territories with about 700 students, rising eventually to 1,200, Mark Hensman, director of schools and chief operating officer of Harrow International Management Services, told Bloomberg Television. Annual fees range from HK$106,600 to HK$145,000, with capital certificates that give priority for admission costing HK$3 million, according to Harrow’s website.
    The school’s investment is part of an effort by the city to add 5,000 international places to reduce a deficit that recruitment firms and companies say is pushing some executives to relocate to cities such as Singapore and Shanghai instead.
  • Dragon Babies Escaping China One-Child Policy Overrun Hong Kong Hospitals – Bloomberg – Hong Kong resident Renee James wanted to keep news of her pregnancy quiet for a few months. Her doctor urged her to book a hospital immediately. By the time James started calling at 10 weeks, it was too late.
    Every private hospital with a maternity ward in Hong Kong, where Australian James and her husband have lived for two years, was full at the time of her due date. The reason: Mainland mothers-to-be are filling the slots to avoid China’s one-child policy and win residency rights for their children.
  • Ex-Dow Scientist Admits to Economic Espionage, U.S. Says – Bloomberg – An ex-Dow AgroSciences LLC researcher pleaded guilty to economic espionage in connection with the theft of trade secrets from his former employer to benefit a Chinese university, the U.S. Justice Department said.
    Kexue Huang, 48, also admitted to stealing trade secrets from the Minneapolis-based grain distributor Cargill Inc., the U.S. said in a press statement today.
    “Mr. Huang used his insider status at two of America’s largest agricultural companies to steal valuable trade secrets for use in his native China,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in the statement.
  • Years of Wal-Mart Violations Forced China Government Action, Official Says – Bloomberg – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT)’s failure to fix problems at outlets in Chongqing over the past five years forced authorities to temporarily halt its operations in the Chinese city as a warning, an official said.
    “Wal-Mart has been quick in admitting their wrongdoings, but slow in correcting them,” Tang Chuan, the director of law enforcement at the Bureau of Inspection and Enforcement in Chongqing, said in an interview yesterday. “Every time, it feels like we’re punching our fists into cotton.”