China Readings for September 28th

  • Digital Dao: WaPo’s "extreme" precautions for travel to China? Hardly. – These are realistic, not extreme, precautions and they're based upon real-life incidents that happen on a daily basis; not only in the PRC, but in many developed and developing countries including the EU. The risk factor isn't the same for everyone. Part of our work for our clients is to tell them what their CRI (Cyber Risk Index) is when they travel. The CRI varies according to what industry an executive is in, his position at his company, and which country he's visiting. Just like in network security, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Video: Stealth Cruise Missile Hunts Ship | Danger Room | Wired.com – china's carriers will be rubber duckies to these kinds of weapons
  • China’s Dictator Complex | The Diplomat – he portrayal of Beijing as a non-ideological pragmatist in international affairs is at odds with its policy and behaviour toward some of the world’s worst dictatorships. For example, China maintained its support for Slobodan Milosevic’s regime almost until the very end of his rule. In Africa, China stuck by Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, inviting him to visit Beijing even when he was an international pariah.  Of Latin American leaders, the mandarins in Beijing seem to have taken a particular liking to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, a dictator in all but name.

    China’s dictator complex was on full display during the Arab Spring.

  • BBC News – Growing up a foreigner during Mao’s Cultural Revolution – no amount of therapy can undo this damage//

    Paul Crook's Communist parents met in China in 1940 and brought up their three sons in Beijing. In the 1960s, Paul was caught up in the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule.

    "We were encouraged to write posters criticising our teachers and the school leaders for anything seen as being 'Revisionist'.

  • Hacking Group Anonymous Targets Chinese Agriculture Firm – MarketBeat – WSJ – Fresh from its attacks on the Iranian government, Bank of America Corp. and Sony Corp., hacker group Anonymous has now set its sights on a Chinese fruit and vegetable producer it claims is one of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s “largest, and longest running frauds.”

    According to a document released Monday on the website of Anonymous Analytics – a new offshoot of the “hacktivist” group, dedicated to exposing corporate fraud – Chaoda Modern Agriculture (Holdings) Ltd. has engaged in 11 years of “deceit and corporate fraud.”

  • Does Baidu’s Robin Li have the hardest job in the world? – Fortune Tech – While it's clearly not in the State's interest to crimp the profits of China's thriving private internet sector — after all, a good number of public officials have lucrative connections with such companies — Robin Li and the CEOs of Chinese Internet companies still face a very real risk. As state media companies lose lucrative advertising deals, more stringent regulation may well be in the works, cutting into the bottom line. "The real regulatory risk for Baidu may be around anti-monopoly policies," says Bill Bishop, an independent analyst who writes for Digicha.com. "As they increasingly roll out other verticals like travel and video, they are going to be competing with other companies in China."
  • China mulls reforms to tighten grip on media, web | My Sinchew – maybe the rumors of 10月份互联网整顿/ October Internet rectification campaign are true//

    BEIJING, September 27, 2011 (AFP) – China's top leaders are considering "cultural reforms", state media reported, which analysts said would be aimed at tightening control over the media and Internet to shape public opinion.

    A meeting chaired by President Hu Jintao on Monday called for the "mastering of new trends in cultural development" and for an emphasis on "Chinese characteristics" as part of the proposed overhaul, Xinhua news agency said.

    Details of the draft changes to be considered by Communist Party leaders next month were not given, but analysts said they were likely to tighten Beijing's grip on newspapers, television and popular social networking sites.

  • WHO Pollution Figures Obscure Beijing’s Lead – China Real Time Report – WSJ – The pollution in Beijing was so bad on Tuesday that sporting activities at international schools in the Chinese capital were canceled. But, according to data released by the World Health Organization, the city ranks relatively far down the list among the world’s most polluted locales, well below cities like Ulan Bator and Cairo.

    Beijing ranked just below Lagos, Nigeria, in the WHO’s assessment, which relies on official country data. But the Chinese government’s proclivity for fudging numbers as well as its lack of available measurements for what are known as “fine” pollutant particles may be contributing to its lower ranking.

    Beijing, like many governments, provides data only for what are known as PM10 particles, which are particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter. It doesn’t provide data for the finest pollutants, however, those with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. Combustion engines and coal burning–two things the Chinese capital has no shortage of–are key contributors to PM2.5 particles. The smaller, finer pollutants are especially dangerous, experts say, and can easily penetrate a person’s lungs and bloodstream.

  • GPS Data on Beijing Cabs Reveals the Cause of Traffic Jams – Technology Review – a group working at Microsoft Research Asia has shown that tracking the location of taxicabs could be a better way to identify the underlying problems with a city's transportation network, helping officials determine how to best ease congestion.

    The researchers used GPS data from more than 33,000 Beijing taxicabs, collected over a two-year period from 2009 to 2010. They were not just looking for bottlenecks—trouble spots that regular commuters may know only too well. "[Congested] road segments are only the appearance—they're not the problem," says Yu Zheng, who led the research. "We try to identify the true source of the problem in our work."

  • Authorities Dismiss News of Banning VIE: Paper – An unnamed authority source dismissed reports that China may consider banning a popular corporate structure, known as VIE.
    An unnamed authority is quoted by an official newspaper as dismissing a report that China is considering regulations for a popular corporate structure widely used by companies, known as a “variable interest entity,” or VIE.

    The reality is one of the researchers with China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) wrote an article about the VIE structure for internal study, which has been channeled informally and misreported by media, the Shanghai Securities News reported, quoting the authority.

    There is no “secret report” on banning the VIE structure to the cabinet, the report said.

  • Insight: Blunt talk from China ex-premier stirs reform pot – Yahoo! News – Crumbling flood dykes in China decried as "tofu dregs" built by "parasites." Erring bankers lashed as "half-wits" and crime "accomplices." Special hotels for Communist Party elite dismissed as wasteful piles of "golden splendor."
    It is little wonder that the publication this month of former Premier Zhu Rongji's blunt comments from his years in power have become best-sellers, finding eager readers in a nation whose current leaders are seen as wary and cautious.
    Yet the reaction to Zhu's four-volume selection from his time as vice premier from 1991 to 1998 and then as premier until early 2003 also reflects deeper anxieties coursing through China as it approaches a leadership transition late next year.
    Reformist former officials and intellectuals have held up the 2,042 pages of Zhu's words, many made public for the first time, as an unflattering mirror to the conservatism and conformism of current leaders. Magazine editors and Internet users have scoured the volumes for any comments that offer a message for the present.
  • Solyndra and the China Blame Game – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ – As we watch U.S. solar start-ups go up in flames, it’s easy to blame China. On Thursday, in light of the federal investigation into now-bankrupt Solyndra, Reps. Henry Waxman (D., CA) and Diana DeGette (D., CO) asked the House Committee to examine whether heavily subsidized Chinese solar companies are skewing the market, and making it impossible for U.S. manufacturers to compete.
  • China to suspend some military-to-military activities with U.S. over Taiwan arms sale – By Josh Rogin | The Cable – The Chinese government has laid out a series of protest measures it will take in response to the Obama administration's decision to sell Taiwan a new $5.8 billion package of upgrades to its aging fleet of fighter jets.

    "[Chinese officials] have indicated that they're going to suspend or to cancel or postpone a series of military-to-military engagements," a senior State Department official told reporters in New York following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Monday meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

  • Why do rumors explode in China? – China Media Project – Why do rumors explode in China? – China Media Project
  • 看好你的老板:浙江老板出逃正现“骨牌效应” – 产经 – 21世纪网 – 温州老板“出走潮”所涉行业并不只是鞋业等劳动密集型行业,能源企业也有涉及,背后的罪魁祸首正是民间资本。
  • Fukushima Desolation Worst Since Nagasaki – Bloomberg
  • China’s Developers Facing ‘Increasingly Severe’ Credit Outlook, S&P Says – Bloomberg
  • China Property Bonds Plunge Most Since 2008 – Bloomberg
  • In China, business travelers take extreme precautions to avoid cyber-espionage – The Washington Post – Packing for business in China? Bring your passport and business cards, but maybe not that laptop loaded with contacts and corporate memos.

    China’s massive market beckons to American businesses — the nation is the United States’ second-largest trading partner — but many are increasingly concerned about working amid electronic surveillance that is sophisticated and pervasive.

    Security experts also warn about Russia, Israel and even France, which in the 1990s reportedly bugged first-class airplane cabins to capture business travelers’ conversations. Many other countries, including the United States, spy on one another for national security purposes.

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