China Readings for September 20th

  • The Geithner mystery solved – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com – unless you are a bundler who can buy real influence, don't waste your money on small donations; they are meaningless. spend it on your kids or yourself instead//

    Perhaps most notable about the Suskind chapter on which Kakutani focuses is the process by which Obama featured progressive economists during the campaign, only to immediately subordinate them to Wall-Street-subservient officials once in power.  Feigning progressive leanings for political gain is Obama's modus operandi; as Matt Taibbi recently put it in explaining why he no longer listens to Obama's speeches:

    I remember following Obama on the campaign trail and hearing all sorts of promises before union-heavy crowds. He said he would raise the minimum wage every year; he said he would fight free-trade agreements. He also talked about repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

    It's not just that he hasn't done those things. The more important thing is that the people he's surrounded himself with are not labor people, but stooges from Wall Street. Barack Obama has as his chief of staff a former top-ranking executive from one of the most grossly corrupt mega-companies on earth, JP Morgan Chase. He sees Bill Daley in his own office every day, yet when it comes time to talk abut labor issues, he has to go out and make selected visits twice a year or whatever to the Richard Trumkas of the world.

    Listening to Obama talk about jobs and shared prosperity yesterday reminded me that we are back in campaign mode and Barack Obama has started doing again what he does best — play the part of a progressive. He's good at it.

  • China growth fears boost Hendry’s fund – FT.com – Mr Hendry’s Eclectica Credit Fund is constructed from a portfolio of short positions against highly cyclical Japanese corporate credits that have high exposure to Chinese demand.

    The fund, which raised a modest $150m from a handful of London investors when it launched late last year, is up 38.65 per cent so far this year, having returned 22.5 per cent in August – the hedge fund industry’s worst month since the collapse of Lehman Brothers three years ago.

  • American Superconductor Accuses Chinese Firm of Espionage – WSJ.com – An American wind-turbine designer's recent decision to sue its biggest customer—a major Chinese manufacturer—for corporate espionage is the latest sign of the turmoil sweeping through the renewable-energy industry.

    Citing what it said was an intellectual-property theft scheme that stretched around the globe, the U.S. company, American Superconductor Corp. of Devens, Mass., said Thursday that it had filed suit in Beijing against China's biggest wind-turbine maker, Sinovel Wind Group Co. It said it doesn't know if the suit will be accepted, and a copy of the suit hasn't yet been released to the public.

    The U.S. company accuses Sinovel of agreeing to pay more than $1 million to a 38-year-old American Superconductor employee in Austria, who now faces criminal charges. The employee allegedly stole valuable software that controls turbines and gave it to the Chinese company, which was expected to account for 70% of American Superconductor's revenue this year.

  • 国务院通过精神卫生法草案 防止强制收治公民_新闻_腾讯网 – 中新网9月19日电 据中国政府网消息,国务院总理温家宝19日主持召开国务院常务会议,讨论并原则通过《中华人民共和国精神卫生法(草案)》和《中华人民共和国居民身份证法修正案(草案)》。

    据悉,《中华人民共和国精神卫生法(草案)》的立法宗旨是:规范精神卫生服务,保护精神障碍患者合法权益和人格尊严,确保精神障碍患者不因贫困而得不到救治,确保有肇事肇祸危险的严重精神障碍患者不因疏于管理而伤害自身或危害社会与他人,确保无需住院治疗的公民不因程序或制度缺失而被强制收治。

  • 袁隆平指导超级杂交稻平均亩产926公斤创纪录_新闻_腾讯网 – yuan longping creates record yielding hybrid rice. 926 KG/Mu
  • 多地驻京办被撤1年仍潜伏 接访维稳成私设主因_新闻_腾讯网 – most of the beijing rep offices that were supposed 2 shut never really did. shocked
  • China Crash Victims Prove Obstacle for Sale of New Rail Bonds to Investors – Bloomberg – Wang Hui says she doesn’t care about the money. She wants to know why her husband, Zheng Hangzheng, never made it home from a business trip on July 23.

    Zheng, a 34-year-old entrepreneur, was one of 40 people killed when two high-speed trains collided in Wenzhou, eastern China. The first official explanation reported for the accident — a lightning strike knocked out power to one of the trains before the second plowed into it — drew ridicule on China’s Internet and triggered a protest near the crash scene by Wang and other victims’ families demanding a full investigation, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

  • REFILE-UPDATE 2-Alibaba’s Taobao Mall aims to double transaction value in 2012 | Reuters – Alibaba's Taobao Mall is targeting 200 billion yuan ($31.3 billion) in transaction value in 2012, double the amount it is on track to achieve this year, by increasing cooperation with partners, it said on Monday.

    "Taobao Mall itself will not sell merchandise nor become a retailer, and will continue to focus on its core competency as a B2C platform that helps brands and retailers to grow and flourish," Daniel Zhang, president of Taobao Mall said in a statement.

    "We are not weighted down by the low gross margin pressures of taking on our own inventory. Our platform business model enables us to re-invest our profits," he said.

    Taobao Mall said it has a profit margin on par with the current average for Chinese Internet companies. Taobao Mall is on track to generate about 100 billion yuan in gross merchandise value in 2011.

    "Currently we are very profitable. Our financial situation is very good and we have very robust cash flow. Under this situation, we don't see the need for IPO. We don't have pressure from investors," said Zhang in a group interview.

  • Global Times–Latest vice raids target 4 prostitution rings in Beijing – "I have girls from Europe, like the Netherlands, France, Italy… The price starts at 1,500 yuan ($232) but Chinese girls are cheaper: 800 to 1,000 yuan," he said. Liu claimed he has no difficulty finding clients.//Give Eurozone crisis time and we may see that dynamic shift//

    Beijing police have arrested 112 suspects in connection with four prostitution rings, including 27 foreign prostitutes, the Global Times learned from police on Sunday. 

    A special team of 340 police conducted investigations and then raided the gang's hideouts and homes on September 6, confiscating over 100 mobile phones, 10 vehicles and over 60,000 flyers. 

    Their investigation found the gangs solicited customers by distributing flyers near high-end establishments. Using calls or text messages, they sent prostitutes to clients' hotels.

    A press release from Beijing police said "the case involved the highest number of foreign arrests in Beijing… The crackdown aims to eradicate all social evils that go against the city's endeavors to advocate a healthy, civilized and high-minded lifestyle."

    "They make contact through the Internet, where they post ads about foreign prostitutes," said Zi Xiangdong, spokesman from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB).

    Police declined to provide more details of the foreigners' identities, such as nationality, or the locations of the arrests.

    Punishments for foreign prostitutes are the same as those for Chinese, including detention and fines, said Lin Song, an officer with the Exit and Entry Administration under the municipal PSB.

    Foreigners can be ordered to leave within a certain time or expelled if they are found breaching Chinese laws and the circumstances are serious.

    Advertisements were still available on the Internet on Sunday. Liu Dong, a middleman advertising prostitution on a forum, claimed on Sunday that he could supply prostitutes from different countries when the Global Times called him.

  • 26 Chinese Firms Delisted in 2011; More are Likely to Follow | iChinaStock – (iChinaStock) Sept.15, Beijing time, After the rush of Chinese companies to go public in America last year, 26 Chinese companies have now been delisted from the three major stock exchanges in US, according to a review by iChinastock. There are three ways to delist, namely, retreating to the American Pink Sheet market, the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OCTBB), or voluntarily delisting after completing privatization.
  • AFP: China censors survey of officials’ luxury watches – Authorities in Beijing have censored a survey of luxury watches worn by Chinese government officials published online by an activist whose investigation was welcomed by the official media.

    Internet activist "Huaguoshanzonshuji" told AFP by telephone on Sunday that the previous night his research had been erased from his account on the microblogging site Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

    He blamed the move on "pressure from the propaganda department".

  • China VIE Issue Overblown, Vice Premier Issues Directive To Recognize Existing Ones? | DigiCha – Earlier today I commented on a somewhat alarming story about the variable interest entity (VIE) structure that many Chinese companies use to accept foreign investment and list overseas–Reuters: China VIE Company Structure Under Threat.

    After the Reuters story appeared Xie Wen, a longtime senior executive at various Chinese Internet companies, wrote on his Sina Weibo account that Vice Premier Wang Qishan has written a directive about VIEs to the effect that existing ones should be grandfathered in and acknowledged as legitimate. Xie also said that Ministry of Commerce has issued a document in accord with Wang Qishan’s instructions.

  • Rising China marks day of shame-Global Times – Chinese soldiers march in front of the "September 18 Museu" on Sunday in Shenyang, Liaoning Province during the memorial marking the 80th anniversary of the Japanese invasion. Photo: CFP

    Cities across northeast China simultaneously sounded their air raid sirens on Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the Japanese invasion.

  • China Home Prices Rise, Challenge Curbs – Bloomberg – China’s August new-home prices rose in all 70 cities monitored for the first time this year, undercutting government efforts to cool the market through higher down-payments and mortgage rates.

    Prices in Beijing rose 1.9 percent from a year ago, while those in Shanghai, the nation’s financial center, increased 2.8 percent, the statistics bureau said on its website yesterday. New home prices rose in 67 out of 70 cities in the first half this year and were up in all but two in July.

  • Harley-Davidson Faces Entry Barrier in China – Bloomberg – About 100 cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, have restrictions that include banning two-wheel vehicles from elevated highways and major thoroughfares to curb noise and thefts, according to the state-affiliated Society of Automotive Engineers of China. That has stymied Harley’s growth in the world’s most populous nation.

    “Regulations are a pain,” said Shanghai businessman Calvin Chen, who owns a $50,000 Harley V-Rod Muscle. “There are many roads you can’t ride on, and the rules differ from place to place.”..

    Harley sold 268 motorcycles in China last year — its best- sellers are the Touring and Sportster lines — and aims to double that this year.

  • Great Wall Fresh « Great wall, great country cooking – Great Wall Fresh is a restaurant, guest house and Chinese country home in Chenjiapu, a peaceful village beside a ramshackle stretch of the Great Wall. Although just over an hour from Beijing, it is rarely visited by tourists – you can hike undisturbed along the wall for hours,
  • Afghan Lord: Sino-Afghan relations – Today, if you walk anywhere in Afghanistan, from street vendors to markets, offices and houses, you would find Chinese products, the stuffs which are made by cheap materials and also sold cheaply. In spite of low quality, the majority of Afghans who have low incomes are buying Chinese products. Afghanistan is also a good market for products from Pakistan, Iran, Russia and Tajikistan, but scarcity of goods and less interest in vesting into Afghanistan opened a gap for China’s products. When Chinese products flooded the Afghan markets, the price for all goods which were imported from neighboring countries faced a dull market.

    Afghan merchants have often been faced with problems getting visas to travel to Pakistan, Iran and Russia; they have been profiled, delayed or rejected. Even now, it is not easy to get a visa for those countries, but every day hundreds of Afghan citizens acquire Chinese visas at a low fee and in a short time. Of course, it is not only Afghans who travel to China for business reasons; there are many Chinese citizens living and working in Afghanistan. Since 2001, there have been several Chinese construction companies engaged in road construction, building schools and hospitals and several irrigation projects.

  • Reuters: China VIE Company Structure Under Threat | DigiCha
  • Sina Weibo Braced For Tighter Regulation–Financial Times | DigiCha
  • Techrice–China’s Internet Music Industry, You Pay For Music Now – The winds of change are blowing in China’s online music industry. The Ministry of Culture is seriously enforcing patent law. On September 15th, all websites and search engines must delete any pirated content including multimedia embeds and widget attachments.

    Many of the older music service providers that attracted users by providing free music downloads will have to change or die. A few adopt discrete models, attempting to operate below the state radar at high regulatory risk. The ones that opt to change their business model are now facing the daunting challenge of convincing their old users to switch to a new model: either paid or ad-supported.

  • The Useless Tree: Why Confucianism will not provide "soft power" to the PRC – How will Daniel Bell respond?

    In sum, the PRC does not have a Confucian state; its political ideology continues to be officially derived from Marxist-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.  The Communist, not the Confucian, Party is firmly in power.  Contemporary Chinese society is not a Confucian society; its economy is not a Confucian economy.   Quite the contrary, China today resembles the marketplace society described by John Agnew.  The “China model,” if one can be said to exist, is a combination of modern political authoritarianism and global capitalist dynamism, which does not rely upon, and can directly contradict, key normative principles of Confucian thought.  Thus, without firm grounding and expression in actually existing Chinese social and economic and political practices, Confucianism is not likely to serve as a source of Chinese soft power, either oppositional or apologetic.  As the PRC continues to grow economically and transform socially and culturally, and perhaps even change politically, opportunities will arise for an expansion of its soft power.  But that soft power will be a modern Chinese soft power, it will not be Confucian soft power.

  • China’s microblogs braced for tighter regulation – FT.com – China’s leading microblog is developing systems to simplify the control of content and make the wildly popular social media tool less of a risk to social stability, its chief executive has said.

    “Over the past two to three months, we have been looking into how to establish a trust system,” said Charles Chao, chief executive of Sina Corp which runs Sina Weibo, the country’s most active microblog. He cited the way vendors on e-commerce websites get rated by their customers as a potential model.

  • 国务院通过精神卫生法草案 防止强制收治公民_新闻_腾讯网 – 中新网9月19日电 据中国政府网消息,国务院总理温家宝19日主持召开国务院常务会议,讨论并原则通过《中华人民共和国精神卫生法(草案)》和《中华人民共和国居民身份证法修正案(草案)》。

    据悉,《中华人民共和国精神卫生法(草案)》的立法宗旨是:规范精神卫生服务,保护精神障碍患者合法权益和人格尊严,确保精神障碍患者不因贫困而得不到救治,确保有肇事肇祸危险的严重精神障碍患者不因疏于管理而伤害自身或危害社会与他人,确保无需住院治疗的公民不因程序或制度缺失而被强制收治。

  • 袁隆平指导超级杂交稻平均亩产926公斤创纪录_新闻_腾讯网 – yuan longping creates record yielding hybrid rice. 926 KG/Mu
  • 多地驻京办被撤1年仍潜伏 接访维稳成私设主因_新闻_腾讯网 – most of the beijing rep offices that were supposed 2 shut never really did. shocked
  • China Crash Victims Prove Obstacle for Sale of New Rail Bonds to Investors – Bloomberg – Wang Hui says she doesn’t care about the money. She wants to know why her husband, Zheng Hangzheng, never made it home from a business trip on July 23.

    Zheng, a 34-year-old entrepreneur, was one of 40 people killed when two high-speed trains collided in Wenzhou, eastern China. The first official explanation reported for the accident — a lightning strike knocked out power to one of the trains before the second plowed into it — drew ridicule on China’s Internet and triggered a protest near the crash scene by Wang and other victims’ families demanding a full investigation, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue.

Subscribe to the Free Sinocism China Newsletter! Enter Your Email In The Box Below And Start Getting Smarter About China.