General Zhang Yang Hangs Himself; Beijing Migrant Cleansing Continues; Egypt Using Chinese Drones To Avenge Sinai Attack?--Sinocism 11.28.17

Happy Tuesday...It is not happy days for the family of Central Military Commission (CMC) member General Zhang Yang but some of his cronies and partners in crime may be sleeping a little better.

PRC media report that Zhang hanged himself on November 23, after being effectively put under investigation at the end of August. Zhang no doubt took incriminating information with him to his meeting with Marx.

The PLA purge is brutal. It is of course about power consolidation for Xi but it is also about cleaning out the corrupt top of a thoroughly debauched and dissolute officer corps. Xi is serious about reforming the PLA into a modern, strong military capable of fighting and winning wars. Perhaps other nations will end up preferring the Jiang and Hu era PLA...

The Essential Eight

1. General Zhang Yang Commits Suicide

Senior Chinese military officer commits suicide amid corruption probe - Xinhua:

Zhang Yang, a member of the Central Military Commission (CMC), committed suicide at his home in Beijing on Nov. 23, after authorities launched an investigation into his links to two former senior military figures, Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, the CMC said Tuesday.

Zhang, a former member of the Communist Party of China Central Military Commission and former head of the CMC Political Work Department, hanged himself in his home.

The official Chinese announcement--张阳自杀身亡 - 中国军网

新华社北京11月28日电 2017年8月28日,经党中央批准,中央军委决定对中华人民共和国中央军事委员会委员、中共中央军事委员会原委员、中央军委政治工作部原主任张阳进行组织谈话,调查核实其涉郭伯雄、徐才厚等案问题线索。经调查核实,张阳严重违纪违法,涉嫌行贿受贿、巨额财产来源不明犯罪。接受组织谈话期间,张阳一直在家中居住。11月23日上午,张阳在家中自缢死亡。

Chinese General Being Investigated for Bribery Kills Himself - The New York Times:

“In committing suicide to avoid punishment from the party and the country’s laws, Zhang Yang’s action was abominable,” said the commentary, posted on the newspaper’s official WeChat social media account.

More from the excoriating PLA commentary-钧正平:自杀逃罪恶劣 反腐永在路上 - 中国军网:

军队是拿枪杆子的,绝不允许有腐败分子藏身之地。对张阳进行组织谈话,调查核实他的涉案问题,这是全面彻底肃清郭伯雄、徐才厚流毒影响工作的重要组成部分,是深入推进党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争的重要举措,是纯洁党的肌体、纯洁部队、纯洁高级干部队伍的必然要求。党中央、中央军委作出这一决定是完全正确的,充分彰显了全面从严治党、从严治军的鲜明态度和坚定决心。

张阳身为党和军队高级干部,丧失理想信念、丧失党性原则、丧失法纪敬畏、丧失道德底线,台上台下两种表现、人前人后两副面孔,嘴上喊忠诚、背后搞贪腐,是典型的“两面人”。其严重违纪违法问题给党和军队事业造成严重危害,玷污党的形象、玷污军队形象、玷污政治工作形象、玷污领导干部形象。张阳以自杀手段逃避党纪国法惩处,行径极其恶劣。

Zhang was not the first senior officer to apparently commit suicide during Xi's graft probes- Top Chinese general in graft probe commits suicide in Beijing | South China Morning Post:

In 2014, Vice Admiral Ma Faxiang, deputy political commissar of the PLA Navy, leapt from a building at a naval complex in Beijing. Ma’s death came less than three month after Rear Admiral Jiang Zhonghua, from the South Sea Fleet’s armaments department, plunged to his death from a hotel building in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, while being questioned by military disciplinary inspectors.


2. Cai Qi Makes Clear Beijing Migrant Cleansing To Continue

Beijing’s boss warns against official haste as migrant workers reel from wave of evictions | South China Morning Post:

Cai said the campaign should not be carried out in a simplistic and hasty manner, the report said.

“[We] need to pay attention to humanitarian care, and step up help to those in difficulty,” he was quoted as saying.

But the capital’s new party boss, who took office in May, also pledged to advance the campaign and cage “the ‘grey rhinos’ that threaten the city’s safety”, referring to big and neglected dangers.


3. Is Egypt Killing Militants with Chinese Drones?

Comment: Is Egypt using armed Chinese-made drones to kill suspected militants in the wake of the Sinai terror attack? One of the sources is Sputnik so take this report with a huge grain of salt, but isn't it inevitable if it has not already happened? And the US is in no position to criticize given its use of drones globally... 

恐怖袭击300人死亡,中国无人机千里斩首,埃及军方大展神威:

俄罗斯微信通信社报道,埃及军方已经用无人机击毙15名参与清真寺爆炸案的恐怖份子。中时电子报报道:毫无疑问埃及军方使用的是中国生产的无人机。据推测埃及军方使用了“翼龙1”和“彩虹5”,。而且还使用无人(UAV)拍去了整个战场画面。埃及军方共拥有“翼龙1”型、“彩虹5”型和ASN-209型等三款中国制造的无人机。

China’s UAVs Proliferate in Middle East | Aviation Week:

It is hard to determine the actual number of Chinese-made armed UAVs now in service with countries in the Middle East, but the platforms are operational with the air forces of Iraq, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and reports suggest they have found their way into Egypt and Jordan as well.

Some of these countries have also used them in combat. Saudi Arabia has employed the systems during the air campaign over Yemen, while Iraq has flown them in its ongoing campaign against the Islamic State group.


4. US Indicts Three PRC Hackers

Comment: The targets were Trimble, Siemens and Moody's. Sounds like they were reading Moody’s Mark Zandi’s emails. Given the purported connection between the MSS and the firm involved, is this is a sign China is no longer respecting the cyber agreement it struck with Obama? 

U.S. Charges Three Chinese Hackers Who Work at Internet Security Firm for Hacking Three Corporations for Commercial Advantage | OPA | Department of Justice:

An indictment was unsealed today against Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao and Xia Lei, all of whom are Chinese nationals and residents of China, for computer hacking, theft of trade secrets, conspiracy and identity theft directed at U.S. and foreign employees and computers of three corporate victims in the financial, engineering and technology industries between 2011 and May 2017.  The three Chinese hackers work for the purported China-based Internet security firm Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company Limited (a/k/a “Boyusec”)...

Recorded Future Research Concludes Chinese Ministry of State Security Behind APT3:

Recorded Future’s open source research and analysis has corroborated the company, also known as Boyusec, is working on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.


5. Taiwan's Lee Ming-che Gets Five Years In A Mainland Jail  For Subversion

Taiwan man sentenced to 5 years in prison for subverting state power - Xinhua:

Lee Ming-che from Taiwan was sentenced to five years in prison for "subverting state power" by the Intermediate People's Court of Yueyang City in Hunan Province Tuesday.

Mainland resident Peng Yuhua was sentenced to seven years in prison on the same charge.

The two men were both deprived of their political rights for two years.They said they would not appeal.

China Sentences Taiwanese Human Rights Activist in Subversion Case - The New York Times:

A video released by the Yueyang People’s Intermediate Court in southern China’s Hunan Province showed the activist, Lee Ming-cheh, sitting silently as a judicial officer read a statement accusing him of conspiring with a Chinese partner to foment a “Western color revolution” in China by disseminating articles, books and videos attacking China’s political system.

Lee Ming-che Sentencing a Warning to Others (Analysis) – Taiwan Foundation for Democracy: Bulletin:

Lee is the first Taiwanese national to be sentenced for such a “crime” in China under the new National Security Law which passed on July 1, 2015 and which stipulates that preserving the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China “is a shared obligation of all the Chinese people, including compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.”

The court’s suspension of Lee’s political rights is no doubt meant to underscore Beijing’s contention that the new National Security Law applies to Taiwanese nationals (whom it regards as PRC citizens) regardless of where the alleged crimes are committed. We should note here that the said crimes Lee is accused of having committed occurred primarily online.


6. US Think Tank On How To Avoid War With China

Comment: An interesting report from the Brookings, too bad we have come to this point but given the trends we have to prepare for the worst while doing our best to prevent it. 

Avoiding war: Containment, competition, and cooperation in U.S.-China relations:

On November 1, 2017, Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones convened seven Brookings scholars and affiliates—David Dollar, Ryan Hass, Robert Kagan, Cheng Li, Kenneth Lieberthal, Mira Rapp-Hooper, and Jonathan Stromseth—to discuss the future of U.S.-China relations. The edited transcript below reflects their assessments of China’s current and future posture, and the American debate about how to respond.


7. Dongguan Transitions from Yellow To Golden

Comment: In a creative adaptation to regulatory and demographic changes, some of Dongguan's former brothels have become retirement homes. 

Red Lights Go Gray - Sixth Tone:

The Versailles Hotel used to be one of the most popular nightclubs in Changping Town on the outskirts of Dongguan, a city known for its booming sex trade. According to the owner, at the hotel’s peak, more than 800 sex workers and 500 clients would pass through the doors on any given weekend evening. But a tough government crackdown on sex work in 2014 compelled the business to turn to a different market.

Now, the erstwhile Versailles Hotel is heralding a new age: Out with the young and in with the old. Former guest Wu Jiaming, 66, moved in eight months ago, before Hao Xiang Kang Le nursing home officially opened. He didn’t know it was the same place until he saw the familiar facade.


8. Would You Like Ice With Your Single Methanol?

Comment: Always best to bring your own bottle when out drinking in China. 

Poison Whiskey Leaves 22 With Hangover From Hell - Caixin Global:

China’s food safety watchdog has issued an alert about counterfeit whiskey spiked with the chemical methanol, which left at least 22 people hospitalized on Friday at a bar in Heyuan in the southern province of Guangdong.

The China Food and Drug Administration said in a notice late Saturday the two brands of whiskey sold at Heyuan’s Muse bar were knockoffs spiked with methanol. Investigators found that the two brands had also been sold in other regions including Henan, Hainan and Guizhou provinces — mostly to bars


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

新华社:“馅饼”还是陷阱?揭秘现金贷“一个身份证就能借出几千块”背后真相 Xinhua looks at the risks of cash loans/micro-lending. Good luck to investors who think the regulatory storm has passed. It is just getting started

Chinese Rival to Tesla Faces a Debt Crunch - Bloomberg The dwindling empire of China’s Jia Yueting, who once boasted he would leapfrog Tesla Inc., faces a new hurdle as his U.S. electric car startup struggles to raise a $500 million funding round, people familiar with the matter said. A convertible note of more than $400 million, with a 12 percent interest charge, becomes payable immediately if Faraday & Future Inc. can’t raise the Series A round by December, the people said, asking to not be identified as the matter is private. The electric carmaker, which is also dealing with about $100 million of unpaid bills, hasn’t been able to line up funding after months of searching as it tries to pay off Chinese investors who financed the debt, the people said.

HNA-linked airlines delay lease payments | Airfinance Journal Some aircraft leasing companies with exposure to HNA-affiliated airlines are experiencing delays in receiving lease rental payments as HNA pumps cash from those carriers into other areas of the highly leveraged conglomerate, Airfinance Journal understands. In-house sources at five lessors have confirmed to Airfinance Journal they have been affected.

China regulator suspends approval of HK-focused funds: China Fund - Reuters New funds with “Hong Kong” in their names - which rules dictate must allocate at least 80 percent of their portfolio into Hong Kong-listed stocks - have seen their approvals suspended by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), China Fund said on its website, citing two unidentified fund sources.

How To Profit From China's Rising Nationalism - Forbes Three years ago, the questions most often asked by multinational clients of Shanghai-headquartered business consultant Shaun Rein were about products and sales. These days, China’s rising nationalism is leading to more discussion about how to invest off of the country’s politics.  Rein, the author of “The End of Copycat China” and “The End of Cheap China,” will on Dec. 4 launch a new book that looks at that topic, “The War for China’s Wallet: Profiting from the New World Order.”

China’s Unlucky Tycoon Wang Jing: The ‘Canal Madman’ Keeps Finding Trouble - Bloomberg Wang’s business model is based on pledging highflying shares to finance other projects. His use of the strategy goes back to 2014, when Xinwei went public via what’s known as a reverse takeover, in which a private company buys a public company to use its exchange listing. The stock soared after the deal, and Wang and other shareholders began using their stakes essentially as collateral to raise money, according to an analysis of company filings. He has pledged 85 percent of his stake; the stake was valued at more than $2 billion at the last trading price. In July, Wang unpledged some shares promised to China’s Development Bank to make stock payments to some other shareholders related to a missed profit target at Xinwei.

Trump Picks Up Baton From Obama in Crushing China Steel Imports - Bloomberg The decline began as the Obama administration passed a slew of import tariffs on steel from China, claiming that overcapacity was allowing the country to dump the metal in the U.S.

China to set up system to monitor its firms overseas - Reuters In a statement on its website, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) warned that the government will record and tally instances of laws and regulations being broken in China or abroad, and offenders would be punished.

山东省“换血”恒丰银行 董事长蔡国华被查|金融百晓生独家(更新)_金融频道_财新网 Chairman and other senior executives of Hengfeng Bank are under investigation  // 恒丰银行现任党委书记、董事长蔡国华涉嫌严重违纪违法,接受组织调查,已被免职;恒丰银行纪委书记、原烟台市纪委副书记王晓森被免职。多个知情人士透露,11月27日晚,蔡国华及家人在上海被查,恒丰银行还有多名与蔡国华关系密切的高管也同期被带走调查。

Private Oil Firms Step Back From Overseas Deals - Caixin Global A three-year wave of private Chinese oil companies acquiring assets abroad is coming to an end in 2017, thanks to a combination of tightened domestic regulation and difficulties the firms have encountered overseas. Privately owned companies like Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Ltd. and Geo-Jade Petroleum, long locked out of China’s state-dominated upstream oil and gas sector, began looking for upstream assets outside China in 2014.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

44年前,习近平抓了这样一件事-新华网 Xinhua reports that Xi Jinping has had a thing for upgrading China's toilets for at least 44 years...makes a lot of sense, important for sanitation, and a sign of progress and development

Why Xi is talking about the 'toilet revolution' - Xinhua The ongoing "toilet revolution," against the backdrop of a broader campaign to upgrade Made-in-China products, will hopefully bring changes that reach beyond the industry. "

Li Zhanshu meets delegates to 16th National Congress of CPWDP - Xinhua Li Zhanshu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Political Bureau, meets with the delegates to the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP) and gives a congratulatory speech on behalf of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 27, 2017 // Comment: Yu Zhengsheng did this event in December 2012 so it may be a sign that Li will have the CPPCC Portfolio

新时代中国共产党的历史使命(认真学习宣传贯彻党的十九大精神)-何毅亭 He Yiting on page 7 of the 11.28 People's Daily on the historical mission of the Communist Party in the new era// 实现伟大梦想,必须进行伟大斗争。社会是在矛盾运动中前进的,有矛盾就会有斗争。今天,新的伟大斗争的内容十分广泛,表现形式也必然复杂多样,需要我们始终保持高度政治警觉,随时准备进行斗争。要更加自觉地坚持党的领导和我国社会主义制度,对一切否定党的领导、否定我国社会主义制度、否定改革开放的言行,对一切歪曲、丑化、否定中国特色社会主义的言行,对一切违背、歪曲、否定党的基本路线的言行,必须旗帜鲜明地反对和抵制。

Sex, snakes and spycraft: A lurid tale emerges of a billionaire’s ascent to riches in China - The Globe and Mail: Guo Wengui's rise to riches involved assiduous and copious use of sex, a cellphone jammer, spy cameras, media cowed into silence by political connections, snakes tossed into the homes of restive villagers, dirt dished to corruption investigators, a whole lot of bravado and more than a few fibs. That, at least, is what rival businessman Qu Long claims in a 49-page document that he distributed recently in Beijing – a retaliatory strike by a convicted criminal that marks the latest instalment in a salacious months-long public tiff that has shed light on the secretive halls of Chinese power. // Comment: Qu is at least as credible, or not credible, as Guo is

Let a thousand trees bloom: Chinese officials start drive to give Xi Jinping’s dream city a greener look | South China Morning Post The management committee for Xiongan, the area outside Beijing chosen by Xi to become a new hi-tech hub, announced the tree-planting drive on Weibo on Saturday, saying they planned to create “splendid vegetation to last a thousand years”. About 260,000 plants from nearby nursery gardens will be planted within a 667-hectare area by the end of the year, according to the committee.

The Big Bet at the Heart of Xi Jinping’s “New Deal” - MacroPolo So that defines the “big bet” at the heart of Xi’s “new deal.” He aims to pursue the new principal contradiction but within the context of a more statist, more Party-centric, more disciplined, more self-regulating, and ultimately more Leninist political system. Can that be done? I’m skeptical. But the test will be this: does Team Xi succeed in delivering three things to the public—cleaner governance, adaptive governance, and responsive governance—even as they strengthen the Party’s hand?

Shenzhen officials must apply online to hold wedding banquets, funerals - People's Daily Online They must pledge not to take gifts and money from those under their management, and not use public funds to host the events. Even with their own money, the events should not be too lavish. The commission said that officials holding funerals for their close relatives could report directly or via telephone. But they should fill in the online form within 15 days of the funeral being held.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

China may resume soccer ties if Germany shows respect: experts - Global Times Sino-German soccer cooperation may continue as long as the German authorities handle properly, as a responsible host, an incident involving a Chinese team being interrupted by local Tibetan separatists, experts said Monday.  //  The responsible answer from Germany is that "we are a nation of laws and expect all visitors to our country to respect our laws and our sovereignty and refrain from actions that hurt the feelings of the German people".

Huang Xiangmo quits as head of pro-China advocacy group - The Australian Prominent political donor Huang Xiangmo, the billionaire Yuhu Group founder, has resigned as head of China’s premier support group in Australia and distanced himself from another pro-China organisation. Mr Huang said the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China was not associated with the ­Sydney Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, headed by Sydney-based businessman Qian Qiguo.

Chinese premier calls for advancing China-CEEC 16+1 cooperation - Xinhua As an important part of and a helpful complement to China-Europe ties, 16+1 cooperation has promoted the development of China-Europe relations, Li said in a keynote speech to the seventh China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum held in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest. The premier called for docking the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of the CEEC and taking the lead in implementing the results of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe.

Hillary Clinton Hits Trump, Xi in Remarks at Beijing Event - Bloomberg “What’s striking is that the complaints Clinton makes about China are very similar to the ones that Trump has made, suggesting that any U.S. administration would be focused on getting tougher with Beijing,” said Siddharth Mohandas, a principal of The Asia Group in Washington and a former adviser to John Kerry when he was secretary of state. “The difference is that Clinton would likely have invested more in regional diplomacy to achieve these goals, and that may have achieved greater regional buy-in,” he said.

China racing for AI military superiority over US, says report | South China Morning Post “China is no longer in a position of technological inferiority relative to the United States, but rather has become a true peer (competitor) that may have the capability to overtake the United States in AI,” said the report, written by Elsa Kania at the Centre for a New American Security, due to be released on Tuesday.

China to partially lift ban on group tours to South Korea but online curbs will stay | South China Morning Post Travel packages from Beijing and Shandong can be booked over the counter in sign of thawing relations between the two countries

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Looming national security laws raise fresh fears for Hong Kong's freedoms - Reuters Those demanding urgency for the long-delayed Article 23 are using a fledgling independence movement in the former British colony as justification – even though the independence debate would have been allowed when Article 23 was first proposed in 2003. Lawyers, diplomats and activists fear the new pressure could lead to legal “overkill” in an open city already struggling with increased interference from Beijing’s Communist Party rulers.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

From Deng’s despair to rebirth under Xi – and how I felt about buying (and selling) the SCMP: the Robert Kuok memoirs | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post In the final excerpt of Robert Kuok’s memoirs, the tycoon remembers how Taiwan hung like a dark cloud over his meeting with Deng Xiaoping, his stint as a media mogul and China’s spiritual rejuvenation under Xi Jinping

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China to establish six national research centers - Xinhua The six are Beijing national research center for molecular sciences, Wuhan national research center for optoelectronics, Beijing national research center for condensed matter physics, Beijing national research center for information science and technology, Shenyang national research center for material science, Hefei national research center for physical sciences at the microscale.

12月1日起我国水资源税改革试点将扩围-新闻-上海证券报·中国证券网 中国证券网讯 据财政部11月28日消息,为推进资源全面节约和循环利用,推动形成绿色发展方式和生活方式,财政部、税务总局、水利部印发《扩大水资源税改革试点实施办法》,按照党中央、国务院决策部署,自2017年12月1日起在北京、天津、山西、内蒙古、山东、河南、四川、陕西、宁夏等9个省(自治区、直辖市)扩大水资源税改革试点

 

Jobs And Events

Films – Freer|Sackler - Sunday, December 17, 2017, 1 pm in DC Shot over a six-year period in the industrial hub of south China, this unprecedented look at China’s world of labor organizers follows activists as they find common ground with workers and negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions. Threats, attacks, and detention are a daily part of their lives. This epic portrait captures the emergence of a nascent working-class consciousness and labor movement in China. The film’s producer, Zeng Jinyan, a blogger, human rights activist, and scholar, appears in person to discuss the film and her work on behalf of China’s disenfranchised people