North Korea Missile Test ; Beijing Officials Fired And Investigated; Reds Under Australian Beds; A Panda Stud--Sinocism 11.29.17

North Korea tested a missile overnight, one that looks like it could reach Washington DC. There had been hope in some quarters that the recent lull in DPRK tests was a sign Kim Jong-un was exercising restraint to keep open the prospects for a diplomatic solution, but that looks like wishful thinking.

We should learn soon what if anything Trump and Xi agreed to during Trump's recent Beijing visit. I have heard that Xi committed to reduce oil exports by up to half in the event of another missile or nuclear test and to cut them off completely if Kim launches an atmospheric nuclear test, as DPRK officials have threatened to do. 

Trump tweeted this morning that: 

Just spoke to President XI JINPING of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled! 

Perhaps those "additional sanctions" are measures agreed upon during his Beijing trip.

The official readouts of the Trump-Xi call are interesting in their different emphases. 

Readout of President Donald J. Trump's Call with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China | whitehouse.gov:

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch. President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime. President Trump emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.

Xinhua report on the Trump-Xi call-Xi says denuclearizing Korean Peninsula China's unswerving goal:

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, in a telephone conversation late Wednesday that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining international nuclear-nonproliferation regime, and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia are China's unswerving goal.

He said China would like to keep up communications with the United States and all other related parties, and jointly push the nuclear issue towards the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations.

Trump said Washington highly values China's important role in solving the nuclear issue, and is willing to enhance communications and coordinations with China in search for solutions to the issue.

The search for solutions, at least peaceful ones, looks increasingly futile.


The Essential Eight 

1. New North Korea Missile Launch

North Korea launches ballistic missile into Sea of Japan - The Washington Post:

While Pyongyang is prone to exaggeration, its boast of having all of the United States in range is in line with experts’ calculations that the missile launched Wednesday, which flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station, could theoretically reach Washington, D.C.

“With this system, we can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States,” North Korea’s most famous newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, said in a special live broadcast on state television. “This missile is far more technologically advanced than July’s Hwasong-14. This signifies that our rocket development process has been completed.”

North Korea Fires a Ballistic Missile, in a Further Challenge to Trump - The New York Times:

The launch came in the middle of the night on the peninsula, with less advance warning, according to experts. Aerial photographs of North Korean launch sites did not show missiles waiting on launchpads to be fueled, although Japanese officials had reported that radio telemetry pointed to a possible launch.

Graham on North Korea: 'We're headed to a war if things don't change' - CNN:

"If we have to go to war to stop this, we will," Graham told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday. "If there's a war with North Korea it will be because North Korea brought it on itself, and we're headed to a war if things don't change."

Beijing condemns latest missile test that analysts say may give Pyongyang more negotiating power | South China Morning Post:

“This means North Korea is very close to having real nuclear strike and deterrence capability,” said Cai Jian, head of Korea studies at Fudan University...

“It has flared up again for now, but it actually will facilitate negotiation in the long run,” Cai said. “North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile capability gives it more negotiating chips to get the United States to sit down and talk to them.”

Comment: Xi would be wise to consider that more and more people in DC seem to consider attacking the DPRK as the least bad option. 

China "seriously concerned" about DPRK missile test - Xinhua:

"China strongly demands the DPRK abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from actions that heighten the tension on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing.

China arrests, probes head of shipping firm engaged in trade with N. Korea : The DONG-A ILBO:

According to informed sources on North Korea, the Chinese government arrested a man identified by his last name Jin, head of Dalian Global Unity Shipping, and is probing him in a location other than Dalian. Jin, a Korean Chinese, is an entrepreneur widely known in the field who is almost monopolizing shipping service linking Dalian and North Korea. Since his arrest, the operation of all the vessels linking Dalian and North Korea has been suspended. The measure is reportedly putting heavy pressure on North Korea, with the North’s export to China having been halted.


2. US Returns Fire In Trade War With China

Trump Starts Probe Into Aluminum That China Calls Protectionist - Bloomberg:

The Commerce Department is taking the unusual step of initiating the case itself, rather than going through the regular route of starting an investigation based on petitions filed by U.S. companies. Shares in Alcoa Corp. and Century Aluminum Co. jumped on Tuesday.

The investigation covers imports in common alloy sheet, which totaled more than $600 million last year, and was initiated using authority granted by the Tariff Act of 1930, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a statement. China responded Wednesday by saying the move was “rare in the history of international trade.”

Go Deeper: Commerce Self-Initiates Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Imports of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from the People’s Republic of China (PDF)

China 'Strongly Dissatisfied' With U.S. Probe Into Aluminum Dumping - Caixin Global:

The two countries’ aluminum industries are reciprocally complementary, Wang Maojun, director of the Ministry of Commerce’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau said in the statement. 

“The intervention in the trade of aluminum products will hurt the interests of both parties,” he added. China will take any countermeasures necessary to protect the rights of Chinese firms, Wang said.

Trump fires opening shot in China trade battle - The Washington Post:

And for all its symbolism, Tuesday’s action was limited to just $603.5 million in imports of one product. The administration is evaluating a host of other measures that could have far more serious repercussions for the $577 billion in two-way U.S. trade with China, the world’s second largest economy.

Administration officials are weighing whether to invoke national security considerations to combat rising Chinese steel and aluminum imports more broadly, a move that trade analysts fear could trigger a wave of similar measures by U.S. trading partners.


3. Beijing Kindergarten Scandal Management

Comment: The response is straight out of the CCP playbook, as expected. Control the situation, crack down on public opinion, minimize the problem as much as possible, find "fly-level" officials to take the fall.

Three Beijing Chaoyang district education officials under investigation- 红黄蓝幼儿园事件通报:朝阳区教委三官员被立案调查  

朝阳区红黄蓝新天地幼儿园事件发生后,北京市纪委、市监委会同朝阳区纪委、区监委第一时间成立调查组,启动相关调查工作

The police again report on the Red, Yellow and Blue kindergarten. - China Law Translate:

Upon investigation by the public security organs, Chaoyang District, Red Yellow Blue, Xintiandi kindergarten teacher Liu xxx (female, 22 years old, of Hebei province) was found to have used pricks with a sewing needle to 'discipline' some children who did not go to sleep at the right time. Liu xxxx has been taken into criminal custody on suspicion of criminal abuse of persons under her care...

Damage was found to the hard disk which stores video from the surveillance equipment in the relevant class. After technical inspection by a professional company, it was found to have been caused by forced power outages. Through investigation, it was found that custodian Zhao (female, 45 years old, of Henan province, living in the monitoring room) found that the surveillance equipment was noisy, and often cut power to the equipment after school. Through work of the work of the evaluations department, about 113 hours of video have been recovered, and no one has been found to be harming the children.

As to the stories circulating online about the kindergarten's "group child molestation" and other such content, upon investigation, it has been found to have been fabricated and spread by 2 persons: Liu X (female, 31 years old, of Beijing ) and Li x (female, 29 years old, of Hebei province) . Liu X has already been taken into administrative detention for fabricating facts to disrupt public order; and Li XX was given criticism and education by the public security departments and publicly apologized via Weibo on November 26.--“红黄蓝幼儿园群体猥亵幼童”系编造 

China child abuse scandal: Police accuse parents of making claims up - CNN:

The police statement claimed that one father coaxed his child into saying they'd been given pills and that one mother, who'd told reporters her daughter was inspected by naked strange men, had made up her story and was ready to clarify her words and apologize to the public.

Doctors and experts examined the alleged victims and found no indication of molestation, the police said. Police claim to have recovered 113 hours of surveillance camera footage from the RYB Xintiandi kindergarten and found no evidence of child abuse.

Minitrue: Stop Malicious Hype of Police Statement on Kindergarten Abuse - China Digital Times (CDT):

Resolutely prevent malicious hyping of the "@Ping’anChaoyang" [Chaoyang Public Security Bureau] account’s notice on the RYB Kindergarten matter. Social media accounts that exaggerate the situation should be closed on sight, or have content deleted..

The statement explained data loss from the school’s surveillance system as the result of a janitor repeatedly cutting its power supply without properly shutting it down to keep it quiet outside school hours. (The woman lived in the room where the equipment was installed.) 113 hours of video were successfully recovered, and reportedly show no sign of children being mistreated. These claims have met widespread skepticism, however.

Child-abuse scandals are reminding China's middle class of its lack of power — Quartz:

“Why is it that even though China is so economically powerful, these things still happen, and even in Beijing?” asked Chen Yu, a 25-year-old civil engineer based in the southwestern city of Kunming. Chen has no children and earns about 100,000 yuan ($15,000) a year, or around four times the city’s average (link in Chinese). “We spend so much money in order to buy a sense of security. Our sense of shock comes from the huge gap between our expectations of what our lives [as middle-class people] should be, and what reality is like.”

RYB Education apologizes for child abuse at Beijing kindergarten - Global Times:

According to the RYB Education announcement, other RYB kindergartens are also being investigated for alleged child abuse. The company stated that it is fully cooperating with these investigations.

Back to school: China kindergarten weathers child abuse storm - Reuters :

RYB appeared to have taken “some good corrective actions”, said James Robinson, managing director of communications consultancy APCO Worldwide’s Shanghai office, adding a well-oiled response and open channels of communication with government stakeholders were key.


4. Beijing Safety Checks And Migrant Cleansing

Comment: The Beijing government is also following the playbook in dealing with the fallout from the massive forced evictions. There is no sign they are stopping, but the Party is controlling the information environment and has punished local officials for mismanagement that led to the fire. There is no question much of this housing is illegal and dangerous, and the fatal fire did necessitate a cleanup. But did it have to be so harsh, so sudden, and in the middle of winter? It looks to be a good excuse for Cai Qi to both accelerate Xi's vision of building a clean, modern, soulless Beijing and to clean out the ranks of Beijing municipal officials. 

Beijing officials probed for deadly fire - Global Times:

The discipline inspection commission of a district in Beijing said that the officials responsible for the recent fire that killed 19 people in the capital have been placed under investigation on Wednesday.

Beijing's and Daxing's discipline inspection commissions have suspended Du Zhiyong, the deputy head of Daxing district and began investigating him, qianlong.com, a news portal affiliated with the Beijing municipal Party committee, reported Wednesday night.

Zheng Yajun and Si Wentao, two top officials of Xihongmen town in Daxing, have also been suspended and are under investigation together with 10 others, the report said.

Minitrue: Control Coverage, Commentary on Evictions - China Digital Times (CDT):

Concerning the Beijing city campaign to regulate and purge illegal structures, all web portals immediately shut down related special topic pages, control interactive sections, refrain from reposting related content, and resolutely delete malicious comments. Print media must give prominence to policy reports, and stop independent focus on the topic. Non-local media cannot release related reports or commentary.

Interviews with volunteers of a Beijing group trying to help the people made homeless in the safety checks and migrant cleansing. Wonder how long this will stay up-梦里不知身是客 | 天鹅救援队与寒夜里的人:

11月23日,天鹅救援队发布了一条《除了围观,我们还能做一点什么?》的推送,希望为这群人做点什么。发布消息的鸟哥相信,这个世界有黑暗也会有光。 我的同事小海采访了这群可爱的人,这也应该是第一篇写救援者的稿子,分享给各位

FT Chinese has maps of all the areas in Beijing undergoing safety checks and migrant cleansing-图解:北京最新清理整治行动,影响范围有多广? - FT中文网

‘They came banging and kicking’: Beijing airport workers swept up in fire safety crackdown | South China Morning Post:

The neighbourhood in the city’s northeast is just one that has been caught up in a 40-day crackdown on safety after a fire in a residential building in Daxing on the fringes of the capital killed 19 people just over a week ago.

Often violently and sometimes without warning, officers have mounted raids in areas where many of the city’s migrant workers have rented housing, leaving tens of thousands homeless at the start of winter.


5. Chinese Influence Fears Continue To Roil Australia

Labor senator Sam Dastyari warned wealthy Chinese donor Huang Xiangmo his phone was bugged:

Labor senator Sam Dastyari warned Chinese Communist Party-linked political donor Huang Xiangmo last year that his phone was likely tapped by government agencies, including the US government.

Before the two spoke, Mr Dastyari gave Mr Huang counter-surveillance advice, saying they should leave their phones inside and go outside to speak.

'It isn't our place': New tape of pro-Beijing comments puts more heat on Dastyari:

…a tape recording of the press conference has been obtained by Fairfax Media. It shows Senator Dastyari clearly and deliberately contradicted Australia's foreign policy, and Labor policy, by saying Australia and the ALP should observe "several thousand years" of Chinese history in respecting Beijing's claims to disputed territory, which includes islands in the South China Sea..

Fairfax Media has confirmed that intelligence collected by national security officials corroborates that Senator Dastyari planned to make the comments before he delivered them, and had told Mr Huang of his intentions – things the senator has denied.

Malcolm Turnbull questions Sam Dastyari's loyalty amid claims he passed security information to Chinese donor - ABC News:

"Whose side is he on? Is he on the side of the agencies that keep us safe or is he on the side of a foreign government?" Malcolm Turnbull has asked.

The real reason you won't be reading my new book on China anytime soon - Clive Hamilton:

To silence critics in Australia the CCP often mobilises its friends to attack its enemies as "xenophobic" and "anti-China". It's a cynical ploy used most effectively against those who take Australia's history of anti-Chinese racism seriously. The fear of being accused of xenophobia (xenophobiaphobia?) blinds some progressives to the threat posed by the CCP to our sovereignty.

Even so, there is a risk that exposing the activities of the CCP may cause an anti-Chinese backlash from those Australians who confuse "Chinese people" with the Communist Party (just as the CCP wants us to).

I have asked my Chinese-Australian friends how they feel about this risk and their response has been uniform. One put it this way: "We want you to say it. We're in the same boat. It's nothing to do with ethnicity, it's political. If something is wrong, we must try to correct it."

Comment: I would expect that Communist Party might find a new wave of "yellow-peril" hysteria useful as it probably believes that would drive more overseas Chinese to move closer to the "motherland".

New world is dawning for Australia in its dealings with a dominant China - The Australian:

In his just released, highly contentious but brilliant Quarterly Essay Without America (paywalled here; I do not have access), Hugh White turns the China-America debate in this country on its head by arguing, first, that the US has already lost the big strategic contest with China for primacy in Asia and, second, by documenting the consequences for Australia of living with China as hegemon, a fate the nation cannot even begin to comprehend.

On the latter, White’s projections are truly brutal. He suggests younger people such as his students are less frightened than their elders of facing a region domi­nated by China. What strikes him, however, “is how little most of us have thought about how we could deal with it”.


6. Does China Really Have A Plan To "Rule The World"?

China has a plan to rule the world - The Washington Post - David Ignatius:

Trump’s “America first” strategy has facilitated China’s buildup, unintentionally. The administration’s rhetoric on fair trade has been strong, but the actual gains have been modest. Meanwhile, Trump has shredded the Trans-Pacific Partnership and stepped back from other U.S.-led alliances — opening the way for China’s new network of global institutions, including the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan for Eurasian trade and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to finance Chinese-led projects...

There’s an eerie sense in today’s world that China is racing to capture the commanding heights of technology and trade. Meanwhile, under the banner of “America first,” the Trump administration is protecting coal-mining jobs and questioning climate science.

Sorry, friends, but this is how empires rise and fall.

Fun Read: I just finished Ignatius' enjoyable new novel "The Quantum Spy" about PRC attempts to steal US quantum computing technology.

Belt and Road Now Leads to Every Central, Eastern European Nation - Caixin Global:

The country will sign agreements with Estonia, Slovenia and Lithuania during Li’s meeting with CEEC leaders to include the three countries in the Belt and Road initiative, he said in a speech at the Sixth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries.

The move will expand the signature initiative of President Xi Jinping — unveiled in 2013 with the aim of strengthening ties with countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, primarily through infrastructure investment and construction — to cover all the central and eastern European nations. It will also bring up the total number of foreign countries included in the Belt and Road program to 70, according to the Chinese government-run website devoted to the initiative, yidaiyilu.gov.cn.

For the First Time, Chinese Communist Party to Hold a World Political Parties Dialogue | The Diplomat:

On November 24, the International Liaison Department of the CCP held a press briefing on the upcoming meeting....

Guo Yezhou, vice minister of the department, said that the theme of the meeting is “Working Together Towards A Community with A Shared Future for Humanity and A Better World: Responsibilities of Political Parties.”..

Guo explained the reasons for the CCP to hold such a meeting: to “comprehensively introduce the spirit of the 19th Party Congress, deeply expound on Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and systematically introduce the CCP’s proposition on building a community with a shared future for mankind.”


7. Is Artificial Intelligence the Revolution In Military Affairs The PLA Has Been Waiting For?

Battlefield Singularity: Artificial Intelligence, Military Revolution, and China’s Future Military Power | Center for a New American Security:

Home to many of the world’s top AI companies, China is poised to be a major player in this unfolding competition. In this in-depth analytic report, CNAS adjunct fellow Elsa Kania explores China’s strategy for developing and implementing AI technology for military applications. Drawing on open-source Chinese-language documents, Ms. Kania explains Chinese strategic thinking on AI and specific military applications that Chinese leaders envision. Her report is a must-read for national security professionals concerned about maintaining U.S. strategic advantage in an era of rapid technological change.


8. Pan Pan, The Stud Panda Who Could

The Complicated Legacy Of A Panda Who Was Really Good At Sex | FiveThirtyEight:

When he died from cancer on Dec. 28, 2016, the 31-year-old Pan Pan was the world’s panda paterfamilias: the oldest known living male and the panda (male or female) with the most genetic contribution to the species’ captive population. Today, there are 520 pandas living in research centers and zoos, mostly in China. Chinese officials say more than 130 of them are descendants of Pan Pan.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Daimler rebuffs Geely offer to buy stake; Geely still hopeful of a deal - Reuters Daimler AG has turned down an offer from China’s Geely to take a stake of up to 5 percent via a discounted share placement, as the German automaker has long been reluctant to see existing shareholdings diluted, sources with knowledge of the talks said.

Fallen Hengfeng Bank Chairman Put Under Party Probe - Caixin Global Hengfeng Bank, one of the country’s 12 national commercial banks, was put under the spotlight after an unnamed whistleblower accused Cai and others of misappropriating millions of yuan without approval from the board or shareholders.

China's Micro-Lending Mess - Bloomberg It would be a shame if regulators shut them down. But the government seems more likely to apply a sledge hammer to this industry than a scalpel. The plans announced last week imply that only lenders with significant financial backing will be left standing, likely meaning either state-owned firms or major tech companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. For all the government's talk of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, it is reverting to the familiar pattern of selecting favored firms and putting the rest out of business.

Internet Finance Group Tells Members to Cap Microloan Rates - Caixin Global The Beijing Internet Finance Industry Association (BIFIA), an organization that represents some 63 companies with operations in the capital, has also asked members to submit a report by Dec. 8 detailing any products that charge an annual percentage rate (APR) of more than 36% and to disclose how many borrowers are rolling over their debts with new loans from another lender. The APR consists of the nominal interest rate on the loan and any other costs or fees involved.

China fintech lending boom fuels risks of data theft - FT $$ “Consumers know that loan platforms are collecting their data but they don’t know who is selling it,” said Zhang Yi, chief executive of iiMedia Research, a consultancy. “For the most part, these platforms aren’t selling data as their main business or they wouldn’t be able to survive. But employees who manage the data are the main source of data leaks.”

Top Train Maker CRRC Will Miss Foreign Sales Target - Caixin Global This year's weak performance might influence the company's plan to set up more branches overseas, a person close to the company said. The CRRC’s newly established subsidiaries in North America and South America both missed their sales targets, the source said.

Tesla Shifts China Presence Up a Gear With Beijing R&D Center - Caixin Global The new company, Tesla (Beijing) New Energy R&D Co. Ltd., has a registered capital of $2 million, and its sole shareholder is Tesla’s Hong Kong unit, Tesla Motors (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd. according to a government filing posted on the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System website. The new R&D center will work on electric vehicles, their parts and batteries. The scope of its business will also include the transfer of R&D achievements, technological services and consulting, according to the filing.  //  Comment: The tech transfer the cost of doing business in China?

MNI: PBOC Injects CNY240 Bln In OMOs Wed; Liquidity Unchanged | MNI This resulted in a net zero injection/drain for the day, as a total of CNY240 billion in reverse repos mature on Wednesday. This is the third straight trading day that the PBOC neither injected nor drained liquidity from the banking system at its OMO.

China’s HNA says it will pull out of deals on Beijing’s investment blacklist | South China Morning Post Adam Tan Xiangdong, the group’s chief executive, told Caijing’s annual financial conference in Beijing on Tuesday that the company would “listen to orders” and “not invest a cent in areas forbidden by the government”.

Beijing court upholds high-profile P2P fraud verdict - Xinhua In September, Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ruled that Yucheng Global and Anhui Yucheng, operators of online P2P lender Ezubao, were guilty of fraudulent fundraising and smuggling precious metals, and ordered to pay fines of 1.8 billion yuan (273 million U.S. dollars) and 100 million yuan respectively.

Chinese investors sue McAuliffe, Rodham over green-car investments - POLITICO The Chinese investors plowed their money into Greentech with the promise of winning permanent residency in the U.S. under a program that awards green cards to foreign-funded ventures that generate U.S. jobs. However, the suit contends that the investors now face the threat of deportation from the U.S. because the Department of Homeland Security has determined that Greentech did not generate the number of jobs required to sustain the number of visas issued through the so-called EB-5 program. // Comment: McAuliffe is planning to run for President in 2020. He will have to get his China baggage cleaned before then

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

In China, Fears That New Anticorruption Agency Will Be Above the Law - The New York Times Under draft legislation issued this month, a new National Supervision Commission would extend the reach of Mr. Xi’s campaign to millions more people, including those employed at universities and state-owned firms. The nation’s current anticorruption watchdog is an arm of the Communist Party, with broad powers but jurisdiction only over the party’s 89 million members. Mr. Xi’s new commission would be a state agency with oversight over China’s entire public sector, which employs as many as 62 million people, many of whom do not belong to the party. // Comment: And what role might a vice-chairman Wang Qishan play in it?

Next Steps for the Supervision Law & Procedural Possibility of a Constitutional Amendment in 2018 – NPC Observer Thus far, the draft Supervision Law has received almost universal criticisms from both legal scholars and practitioners. They contend that the draft violates a myriad of constitutional provisions and principles. Further, considering that the delegates usually spend up to four days overall during an NPC session discussing a draft law, it is extremely unlikely that the Supervision Law in its current form could be revised thoroughly enough within that short period to garner a preponderant consensus. We therefore believe the NPCSC will review the draft Law again before the March 2018 NPC session.

[视频]中国致公党第十四次全国代表大会在京开幕 张德江代表中共中央致贺词_新闻台_中国网络电视台 Comment: This is a report from 2012 on Zhang Dejiang's congratulatory speech to the China Zhigong Party . Yesterday's newsletter noted that Li Zhanshu's talk with the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party might be an indication that Li will be in charge of the CPPCC, which would be a surprise, as most observers see Li as taking over the NPC. Zhang Dejiang went on to lead the NPC at the 18th Party Congress so this 2012 report of Zhang's speech makes Li Zhanshu's appearance seem to be a weak indicator that Li Zhanshu will get the CPPCC portfolio

Former Top Rights Lawyer Unable to Find Work After 'Release' From Bail in China - RFA Several months after her bail status was officially lifted, top Chinese rights attorney Wang Yu and her family remain under tight restriction, unable to seek employment and banned from traveling overseas, RFA has learned. Wang, one of the first and most prominent of hundreds of human rights lawyers and associates swept up by Chinese authorities in a crackdown that started in July 2015, was "released" on bail alongside her husband and colleague Bao Longjun after being held for more than a year on subversion charges.

The Mao Statue at the Center of a Village’s Road to Riches - Sixth Tone For 48-year-old Bai Liguo, Party secretary and head of the Liuxianzhuang village committee, the luxury apartments and the bronze likeness of China’s late revolutionary leader are not in contradiction: The real estate projects are part of Bai’s plan for all the roughly 2,000 villagers to get rich together, an ideal he believes Mao embodied. “I am here for the greater development of the village, to serve the villagers, and to make money and let all of them spend the money,” Bai tells Sixth Tone, sitting in his office under a huge portrait of Mao in a gilded frame. A self-made billionaire through his fireworks business, Bai has been at the helm of Liuxianzhuang since January 2009, when he won the local election with a pledge to bring greater prosperity.

China’s e-commerce tycoon fulfils boyhood dream to become village head, pledges to spread wealth | South China Morning Post For Richard Liu, billionaire and chief executive of China’s second-largest online retailer JD.com, Pingshitou is a reminder of his early years as a farmer’s son. As the newly appointed honorary head of the village, it is also his latest project: to raise income levels by 10 times within five years.

曲青山:实现中华民族伟大复兴是近代以来中华民族最伟大的梦想--理论-人民网 Qu Qingshan, head of the Party History Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, on page 7 of the 11.29 People's Daily on implementing the spirit of the 19th Party Congress and achieving the great rejuvenation

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

CPC members encounter obstacles while trying to establish Party branches overseas - Global Times: "Theoretically, according to the Party constitution, as long as there are three Party members, a primary Party organization should be formed. But in foreign countries, this will depend on each country's laws and regulations," Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told the Global Times. "The rising number of overseas Party branches is a new phenomenon, showing the growing influence of the CPC and China," Su said...

This Beijing-Linked Billionaire Is Funding Policy Research at Washington’s Most Influential Institutions – Foreign Policy “The Chinese approach to influence operation is a bit different than the Russian one,” said Peter Mattis, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. “The Russian one is much more about an operational objective and they work backward from that objective, saying, ‘How do we achieve that?’” But on the Chinese side, Mattis said, “they focus on relationships — and not on the relationships having specific takeaway value, but that someday, some way, those relationships might become valuable.” The Chinese seek a kind of “ecological change,” he explained. “If they cultivate enough people in the right places, they start to change the debate without having to directly inject their own voice.”// Comment: I am a SAIS grad and I think this story is a bit overblown. I do not dispute that the United Front Work Department is very active in the US, or that CH Tung has ties to the UFWD, and agree with Peter Mattis’ characterization of the broader Chinese goals. But this story gives no evidence of any undue influence in the process of selecting this professor. I am also surprised there is no mention of the Hopkins-Nanjing center, an entity that gives Beijing far more leverage than a single professorship.

Chinese Firm Behind Alleged Hacking Was Disbanded This Month - WSJ The indictment identified the three as employees of Guangdong Bo Yu Information Technology Co., also known as Boyusec. Filings with a Chinese government-run credit database show that Boyusec was deregistered Nov. 17. The filings also list two of those named in the indictment, Dong Hao and Wu Yingzhuo, as among Boyusec’s primary shareholders.

Barack Obama to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing during three-day Asia trip | South China Morning Post He is due to meet Xi in Beijing on Wednesday after beginning his trip with meetings and speaking engagements in Shanghai, his office said in a statement...Obama arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday, delivering a speech at an event hosted by business non-profit the Global Alliance of SMEs, which was attended by some 2,500 industry executives according to the organisation’s website.  //  Comment: Wonder how much he is getting paid

Chinese envoy heads to Zimbabwe in new president Mnangagwa’s first week in office | South China Morning Post Assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong would be in Zimbabwe for two days from Wednesday as a special envoy of the Chinese government, state-run Xinhua reported on Tuesday. Chen’s trip will be the first reported visit by a Chinese official since Emmerson Mnangagwa took presidential office on Friday.

New ballistic missile that covers globe nearly ready - China Daily Yang Chengjun, a missile expert with knowledge of the country's ballistic missile programs, recently told China Central Television that the DF-41's development has entered its final stage, and the formidable weapon is likely to be delivered to the PLA Rocket Force in the first few months of 2018...The missile "should be capable of being deployed and launched on rugged landforms and able to resist electronic-warfare attacks. It must be able to carry multiple warheads to hit targets anywhere on the globe," Yang told the broadcaster.

 

Tech And Media

Internet entrepreneur sentenced to 3 years in prison for disseminating porn to be released - TechNode The so-called father of “electronic opium” and “social sinners,” internet entrepreneur and CEO of QVOD (AKA Kuaibo) Wang Xin is to be released from prison, according to a social media post by his wife. In September 2013, Wang was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined RMB 1 million for “distributing obscene materials for personal gain,” or simply put providing pornography. The company itself, Shenzhen QVOD Technology Co. Ltd., had to pay a fine of RMB 10 million.

Xunlei stock price slips as internal conflict grows - TechNode The impressive stock surge of Chinese online service provider Xunlei came to a pause when a messy conflict between the company and its big data subsidiary broke out on November 28th. The NASDAQ-listed Xunlei has quintupled in value in just a few weeks following the release of its blockchain project OneCoin in October.

Video Site AcFun Back Up After ‘Cyberattack’ - Caixin Global AcFun — which began as a site for animated content such as Japanese anime but now hosts diverse types of content — went down on Saturday and was back up late Monday. But speculation has emerged on social media and among news outlets about other causes of the outage — mostly relating to regulatory and management problems the company has faced recently.

Americans Are Receiving Unordered Parcels From Chinese E-Criminals -- And Can't Do Anything To Stop Them Basically, a "brushing" firm somehow got hold of McGeehan’s name and address -- she imagines this happened from placing legitimate orders on AliExpress, the international wing of China’s Alibaba -- and then created user profiles for “her” on the e-commerce sites that they wish to have higher sales ratings and favorable reviews on. They then shop for orders via the fake account, compare prices, and mimic everything an actual customer would do, before finally making a purchase from their client's store. When delivery is confirmed, they then leave positive reviews that appear to the e-commerce platform as "verified."

Alibaba Reportedly Invests $227M In Chinese Artificial Intelligence Firm SenseTime – China Money Network Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has reportedly invested RMB1.5 billion (US$227 million) in SenseTime, a Beijing-based Chinese artificial intelligence company specializing in facial and image recognition technology and its application. The round supposedly valued SenseTime at US$3 billion, post-money. 

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Controversial monk and Dalai Lama aide replaced amid corruption accusations | The Guardian Prominent Buddhists are welcoming the apparent downfall of Tenzin Dhonden, accused of abusing his position as gatekeeper to the Buddhist leader

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China's Gas Push Biting as Winter's Arrival Tightens Supply - Bloomberg China’s efforts to boost natural gas demand worked so well sellers are running out of supply just two weeks into winter heating season. Distributors have limited supplies to some customers in the northern provinces of Shaanxi and Shandong, according to local reports

Heilongjiang Officials Feel Heat From Illicit Crop Burning - Caixin Global China’s environmental protection watchdog has rapped officials from four northeastern cities for failing to contain the burning of crop waste that caused severe air pollution last month. Local officials from Harbin and three other cities in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, were also censured at a meeting in Beijing for inflating data linked to the safe disposal of crop waste without burning, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said Tuesday.

China to expand water resource tax pilot program - Xinhua China will expand a water resource tax pilot program to more areas in a bid to encourage water conservation, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Tuesday. Nine provincial regions, including Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Sichuan and Ningxia will begin the new tax pilot next month, following 18 months of trials in north China's Hebei Province, according to an official statement.

China regulates environmental audits - Xinhua According to the regulation by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, audits will be carried out on the performance in implementing environmental policies and guidelines. Other audit content includes whether officials have acted in compliance with the law and requirements relating to natural resource management and environmental protection, as well as the use of funds.

 

Education

Maybe American Students Are Bad at Standardized Tests Because They Don’t Try Very Hard - Real Time Economics - WSJ In an experiment last year, a group of Massachusetts 10th graders got a surprise at the beginning of a math test: Money in exchange for correct answers. Those students left fewer questions blank and answered more correctly compared with students who weren’t offered a reward, suggesting the cash was an incentive for greater effort resulting in higher scores. But a similar cash reward had no significant effect on test scores when the experiment was conducted with students in Shanghai.