THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. President Xi Jinping lays down the law to the Chinese army in first ‘precept’ speech since Mao Zedong | South China Morning Post President Xi Jinping (習近平) has outlined the direction of the People’s Liberation Army in an official speech known as a “precept”, becoming only the second person to do so since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Observers say the development shows Xi is consolidating his authority and demanding loyalty amid his plans for massive military reform. Xi gave the precept speech, or Xun Ci, which literally translates as “admonishing words”, on December 31 to mark the launch of two new wings of the army and the establishment of a separate command for ground units, according to Xuexi Zhongguo, a smartphone app ran by the Central Party School. // Xi sure doesn’t look weak
Related: 习近平首次军队训词意义重大新闻腾讯网 这是习近平首次对军队公开致训词，也是新中国建国67年来，第二位对军队公开致训词的最高领导人，且时隔62年。回眸新中国建军史，除毛泽东主席曾在1952年至1953年间就国防和军队建设发表过五次训词之外，其他军队最高领导人，均未向军队公开发表过训词。由此可见，此次训词意义之重大，请随“学习中国”一探究竟。// the original report that led to the SCMP story
2. Experts: Keep Calm After China’s Latest Stock Market Plunge | Foreign Policy Foreign Policy asked experts to place the Chinese stock market’s recent volatility in context. Stephen Roach, a Senior Lecturer at the Yale School of Management, was previously Morgan Stanley’s chief economist; Chen Zhiwu is Professor of finance at the Yale School of Management; Yukon Huang is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment and was previously the World Bank’s country director for China; and Bill Bishop publishes the influential China-focused newsletter, Sinocism
Related: China’s Seven-Minute Selling Frenzy That Shook Global Markets – Bloomberg Business China’s CSI 300 Index had just tumbled 5 percent, triggering a 15-minute trading halt, and investors were scrambling to exit before getting locked in by a full-day suspension set to take effect at 7 percent. When the first halt was lifted, the market reaction was swift: it took just seven minutes for losses to reach the threshold for a second suspension as volumes surged to their highs of the day. “Investors rushed to the door during the level-one stage of the circuit breaker as they fretted the market would go down further,” said William Wong, the head of sales trading at Shenwan Hongyuan in Hong Kong.
Related: China’s internet users see dark humour amid stock market rout on first trading day of 2016 | South China Morning Post Those working at securities firms were mocked for having the “best” jobs – they started their day with a morning meeting at 8.30am and knocked off work at noon as trading closed. Internet users joked that women employees would be especially popular as wives, as they would have the time to “knit a pair of woollen pants for their husbands at 9.45am, take the empty subway home at 2pm and finish cooking a nice dinner by 5pm”. “Though we’ve delayed your retirement, at least we’ve allowed you to rest on working days,” one Weibo user wrote, referring to the central government’s decision to postpone the statutory retirement age.
3. After mysterious disappearance, Hong Kong publisher claims he is in China ‘cooperating with authorities’ – The Washington Post Lee Bo, whose publishing company specializes in books critical of Beijing’s Communist Party leaders, vanished Wednesday in what lawmakers and experts say looks increasingly like an illegal abduction by Chinese police. He was the fifth member of the Mighty Current publishing house to vanish, amid reports that it was planning a gossipy book about the love life of Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a fax to a colleague at Causeway Bay Books, Lee claimed to have traveled to China “by my own means, to cooperate with an investigation carried out by relevant department,” calling his situation “good” and “normal.” But the handwritten fax, published by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, raised as many questions as it answered, because Hong Kong police have said that they have no record of Lee passing through immigration, and his wife has said that he was not carrying any travel documents with him when he vanished.
Related: Hong Kong booksellers are disappearing. Could the Chinese government be to blame? – The Washington Post Willy Wo-lap Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the book was to have been entitled “The Lovers of Xi Jinping” and would have covered the period when Xi held various official posts in Fujian province between 1985 and 2002, including after his marriage to well-known People’s Liberation Army singer Peng Liyuan in 1987. Mighty Current was one of a handful of publishers in Hong Kong specializing in books highly critical of the Communist Party leadership, often based on extremely flimsy and unspecified sourcing.
Related: Disappearance of 5 Tied to Publisher Prompts Broader Worries About Hong Kong – The New York Times Bao Pu, a Hong Kong-based publisher whose company has also put out political books banned in the mainland, said Mr. Gui and Mr. Lee had been marketing thinly documented titles about Chinese leaders for about a decade, sometimes at a rate of one a week. Mighty Current Media controls an umbrella of publishing companies, some difficult to trace, that are responsible for anywhere from one-third to 60 percent of the racy Chinese political books on sale at newsstands and in bookshops, Mr. Bao and Mr. Bei said, meaning that if it were eliminated, that would greatly reduce the number of such books. Since Mr. Gui and his colleagues have been publishing books, he has taken on the sex life of Mao Zedong, alleged corruption on the part of the former Communist Party chairman Jiang Zemin, and put out a number of books about Mr. Xi. The titles have included “Overseas Mistresses of the Chinese Communist Party,” “Secrets of Wives of Chinese Communist Party Officials” and “Women of the Shanghai Gang,” according to Mr. Bei.
Related: 社评：港书商亲笔信让“绑架”谣言不攻自破评论环球网 不能不说，激进反对派在把香港社会极力往邪路上推，这是对香港未来的严重威胁。现在到了香港社会认真思考抑制他们影响的时候，不能由着他们随心所欲折腾香港，破坏香港与内地社会的团结。香港的未来属于大家，需要大家来共同保卫。
4. PBOC Retools China Bank Reserve Ratio, Casting Doubt on RRR Cuts – Bloomberg Business The required reserve ratio for commercial banks, a tool long used to add or remove liquidity, will increasingly be used instead as a lever for enforcing financial stability. That’s according to a People’s Bank of China announcement on Dec. 29 describing a new Macro Prudential Assessment system, or MPA. The idea is to use the ratio of deposits that must be held at the PBOC as a method for reining in risks. Exposure to stock and bond markets will be used in calculating ratios for individual banks, the PBOC says. Officials will also look at growth in lending, rates on loans and capital adequacy. Among the potential implications: less likelihood of required reserve ratio cuts as a way of stoking lending growth amid the weakest economic expansion in a quarter century.
5. Leveling Criticism at China’s Elite, Some Borrow Words From the Past – The New York Times Once again, the early-20th-century writer Lu Xun, whose scathing critiques of the pre-revolutionary Chinese social order won him a place in the Chinese Communist pantheon, even though he himself was not a Marxist, has provided a popular phrase for much that is amiss in China today. In recent weeks, “Zhao jia ren,” or “Zhao family,” from Lu Xun’s novella “The True Story of Ah Q,” has resurfaced as a disparaging term for China’s rich and politically well-connected. The phrase attracted broad attention after an article titled “Barbarians at the Gate, Zhao Family Inside” began circulating online. The article, published anonymously, describes the recent attempts by China Vanke Company, a real estate developer, to fend off a hostile takeover bid by Baoneng, a property and insurance conglomerate and Vanke’s largest shareholder. // NYT has a star in Kiki Zhao
Related: Amazon: The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun (Penguin Classics) : Lu Xun, Julia Lovell, Yiyun Li Lu Xun is one of the founding figures of modern Chiense literature. In the early twentieth century, as China came up against the realities of the modern world, Lu Xun effected a shift in Chinese letters away from the ornate, obsequious literature of the aristocrats to the plain, expressive literature of the masses. His celebrated short stories assemble a powerfully unsettling portrait of the superstition, poverty, and complacency that he perceived in late imperial China and in the revolutionary republic that toppled the last dynasty in 1911.
6. Xinhua Insight: Over three years on, Xi’s governance brings changes to China – Xinhua At the beginning of his term as the top leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2012, Xi Jinping told reporters the Party’s mission: To achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. On the road to rejuvenation, the central authorities have promulgated several new concepts, including the Chinese Dream, the Two Centennial Goals, the Four Comprehensives, and the New Normal of the Chinese economy. In addition, over the coming five years development will be underpinned by the notions of innovation, coordination, green, opening up and sharing. Significant achievements have been made across all sectors of governance in the years since Xi made his pledge to journalists. In just three years, Xi and the CPC leadership have successfully steered China closer to achieving this great vision.
7. 人民日报文章：阔步走在中华民族伟大复兴的历史征程上–时政–人民网 ——记以习近平同志为总书记的党中央推进全方位外交的成功实践 历史的纵深，铸就了战略的高度。 2015年深秋，中共中央总书记、国家主席习近平在北京会见第二届“读懂中国”国际会议外方代表。现场有人问道，一个不断发展的中国怎样处理同外部世界的关系。// Xinhua on Xi’s 2015 foreign policy successes as progress in the historical journey of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people
8. The Most Chinese Schools in America | Foreign Policy Via the Freedom of Information Act, Foreign Policy requested information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which collects statistics on F-1 visas, the most commonly issued student visa, including the students’ countries of origin and which institutions they attend. FP received a complete set of data on the F-1 visas issued in all of 2014 and until late March 2015, which indicated the schools for which each was issued. (FP did not receive this data from DHS until late October.) Those numbers are a strong proxy for the most Chinese campuses in America
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
China cracks whip on foreign banks with forex shut-out | Reuters “The main purpose is to crack down on excessive currency speculation and arbitrage, which may hurt the economy,” said a senior economist at a think-tank linked to China’s Cabinet. “They are worried about falling FX reserves. The yuan faces obvious depreciation pressure as the Fed (U.S. Federal Reserve) may continue to raise interest rates, so policymakers are concerned and intend to take effective measures to respond.” A source at one of the affected banks said China’s central bank asked them to disclose the names of their foreign exchange clients buying spot and instructed any state-owned enterprises among them to stop trading.
Manufacturing Shrinks for 10th Straight Month, as Caixin China PMI Stands at 48.2-Caixin Data for the categories used to calculate the index show that it fell mainly because of a renewed shrinking of manufacturing output. December marked the seventh month in eight that production has fallen. Total new businesses weakened further, with softer demand at home and abroad. New export orders fell for the first time in three months. Manufacturers continued to shed workers and cut their purchasing activities in line with lower production requirements. Deflationary pressures persisted, as their input costs and sales prices both fell.
House of cards: property glut could spell doom for Chinese economy | South China Morning Post Beijing’s goal for 2016 is to keep growth ticking over at around 6.5 per cent but four issues, like horsemen of an economic apocalypse, are threatening those plans: industrial overcapacity, heavy business taxes, sky-high property inventories and financial risks. We examine each threat in a four-part series that starts today. Zhou Xin explores the real estate ambitions that have fallen to ruin in Anyang, Henan province.
IMF Survey : The Global Economy in 2016 IMF Survey: What are the other key issues we need to pay attention to in 2016? Obstfeld: China will remain high on the list. Its economy is slowing as it transitions from investment and manufacturing to consumption and services. But the global spillovers from China’s reduced rate of growth, through its diminished imports and lower demand for commodities, have been much larger than we would have anticipated. Serious challenges to restructuring remain in terms of state-owned enterprise balance sheet weaknesses, the financial markets, and the general flexibility and rationality of resource allocation. Growth below the authorities’ official targets could again spook global financial markets—but then again, time-honored methods of enforcing growth targets could simply extend economic imbalances, spelling possible trouble down the road.
亚投行：国际经济金融合作发展“推进器”（人民要论）(图)_网易新闻中心 AIIB head Jin Liqun writes in 1.5.16 people’s daily page 7 on AIIB as promoting international economic and financial integration
Rhodium Group » China’s Global Outbound M&A in 2015 China’s global M&A spending reached the highest level ever recorded: Chinese firms closed transactions worth $61 billion in 2015, up 16% from 2014. China’s share in global cross border M&A transactions, however, remained well below its peak of almost 10% in 2013, reflecting stronger relative growth of outbound M&A in other parts of the world.
Margin Trading Lender Closes, Prompting Investors to Turn to Police-Caixin A website that let retail stock investors borrow funds for trading has suddenly closed, leaving hundreds unable to access their accounts and withdraw deposit money – in what appears to be the latest in a string of fraudulent investment schemes in China that one regulator has described as “serious beyond precedent.” At least 200 people who borrowed through 9caiu.com and its mobile application to buy stocks have been unable to log into their account and reach the website’s customer service representatives as of December 31, several investors said.
POLITICS AND LAW *
周氏兄弟：被庇护的“生意经”深度新京报网 The Beijing News on the dirty dealings of Zhou Yongkang’s son Zhou Bin, third in series over last week or so detailing the corruption around Zhou
习近平2016年首次国内考察赴重庆-新华网 Brief Xinhua report on Xi Jinping’s an inspection tour of Chongqing. Will Bo Xilai be forced to watch the CCTV coverage from his cell in Qincheng? Full propaganda package likely to be rolled out in next couple of days
以“使命意识”拓展中国道路（人民观点）_网易新闻中心 党的十八大以来，以习近平同志为总书记的党中央，运筹帷幄、总揽全局，改革发展稳定、内政外交国防、治党治国治军全方位推进，让局面为之而变、气象为之而新、民心为之而振。 三年多来，本届中央领导集体励精图治、奋发有为，进行了一系列新实践，取得了一系列新成就，形成了一系列治国理政的新理念、新思想、新战略，开创了党和国家事业发展的新局面、新境界。 思想是行动的先导，理念是实践的指南。本版今起推出“开创治国理政新境界”系列评论，从“使命意识”“改革意识”“历史意识”“忧患意识”“世界意识”等层面，回望中国在新起点上的新跨越、新成就，为决胜全面小康的冲刺凝心聚力。 // People’s Daily new commentary series on “initiating a new state of managing state affairs”
Anti-terrorism school to be set up in Chinese university near Xinjiang | South China Morning Post The Northwest University of Political Science and Law in Xian ( 西安 ), Shaanxi ( 陝西 ) province, said that the university was working on setting up an independent institution that would take in law graduates and teach them the latest anti-terrorism theories and practices. The institute would award masters degrees and doctorates in anti-terrorism studies, the university said.
奏响实现“四个全面”的时代最强音——2015年宣传思想文化工作巡礼–党的各项工作-人民网 伟大时代呼唤伟大精神，崇高事业需要凝聚起磅礴力量。一年来，宣传思想文化战线坚持围绕中心、服务大局，紧紧同以习近平同志为总书记的党中央保持高度一致，围绕“四个全面”战略布局，深入宣传阐释以习近平同志为总书记的党中央治国理政新理念新思想新战略，牢牢把握正确舆论导向，切实加强基层宣传思想文化工作，培育和践行社会主义核心价值观，生动讲述中国故事，推动宣传思想文化工作迈上新的更高台阶，为推进“四个全面”战略布局提供了有力的思想保证、舆论支持、精神动力和文化条件。 理论武装头脑 筑牢理想信念
CPC details role of local committees in governance – Xinhua The Communist Party of China (CPC) has spelled out detailed instructions on how its local committees operate in a newly amended regulation, pinning high hopes on their role in strengthening the CPC’s governance. “Whether these committees are competent and fully functional affect the Party’s governance capacity, leading status and development of the Party and the country,” said a statement accompanying Monday’s release of the regulation by the CPC Central Committee
China probes 64 state-owned firm officials – Xinhua The probed SOE executives are largely from firms in energy, communication, transportation and machine manufacturing, with 39 percent of the total number from energy enterprises, the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement. // always wonder with what they are probed
大数据2015:55家中管央企全覆盖，巡视发现啥问题？————头条——中央纪委监察部网站 2年多时间，完成对55家中管央企巡视全覆盖 // CCDI lists what it discovered in inspections of 55 central SOEs
聚焦互联网 净化“微领域”–法治–人民网 2016年，全国“扫黄打非”办公室将持续深化“净网”专项行动，以督促落实企业主体责任为基础，对问题较为严重的互联网企业进行重点监管，发现问题，严厉打击。继续深化开展微信、QQ、网盘等案件多发领域的整治，强化有害信息突发事件的处置，掌握网上“扫黄打非”主动权，进一步净化网络文化环境。 《 人民日报 》（ 2016年01月05日 09 版）
发挥巡视利剑作用、助力全面从严治党之一——系列十四——中央纪委监察部网站 ● 不能在思想认识上还存在误区，一听说中央巡视组要来了，就说是中央纪委、中央组织部派巡视组来了。不对！是党中央派的，是尊崇党章、依规依纪开展巡视。 ● 中央巡视工作领导小组是中央的“小组”，中央巡视组是中央的巡视组。 ● 每一轮要巡视谁、巡视什么内容，都是由中央决定。 ● 中央巡视工作领导小组对党中央负责，巡视工作事项直接报中央决定。
中国纪检监察报 – 千余名干部主动向组织交代问题 本报讯（记者 王少伟）记者1月4日从山西省纪委获悉，2014年9月至今，山西省共有1000余名干部主动向组织交代问题，并上交了违纪款物。// over 1000 Shanxi officials have confessed problems to the “organization”, handed over loot
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
McCain blasts lack of U.S. patrols in South China Sea | Reuters McCain said the lack of additional U.S. patrols last year was “disappointing yet hardly surprising.” He said the Obama administration was “either unable to manage the complexities of interagency national security decision-making or simply too risk averse to do what is necessary to safeguard the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific.”..U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told McCain in a letter dated Dec. 21 that the Navy conducted a previous patrol in October to be “lawful under all possible scenarios” given ambiguities about whether certain islands in the region are entitled to a territorial sea. He said the United States would continue to “fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.” Carter said the Oct. 27 patrol included a continuous transit consistent with what is known as the “right of innocent passage,” which applies only in a territorial sea, and with “freedom of navigation,” which applies beyond those limits.
What’s Old is New Again: Predictions for Southeast Asia 2016 – East by Southeast As the Philippines and Vietnam rely more heavily on the US for security guarantees in the South China Sea, more US flyovers and naval patrols in the contested waters are to be expected. Look for the US Navy to begin to use Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay for “maintenance” purposes and to park its ships on a somewhat permanent basis in the Philippines’ Subic Bay after joint military exercises finish in April 2016. Conversely, look for the emerging Sino-Thai regional axis to be solidified in 2016. This relationship, despite not bringing much to the languishing Thai economy, will tighten the ruling junta’s grip on power. Thailand’s long drift towards authoritarianism will add further strains on ties with the US, its long-term external security power
Russian, Chinese propaganda muffling U.S. government’s message to world – Washington Times The U.S. government’s international media operations grossly lack funding to counter effectively the rising global blitz of state-sponsored propaganda from Russia, China and other rivals, says the head of the federal board that oversees such Washington-financed outlets as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America.
China To Implement “Chinese Card” For Malaysians Born Chinese increasing efforts to bind to “motherland” // China to implement “Chinese Card” for overseas born Chinese including those from South East Asia. South East Asia has the world largest overseas born Chinese. This is going to draw millions Chinese in South East Asia especially those from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, India, Mauritius, Vietnam migrate back to China.
New airfield to boost public service in South China Sea: Chinese official – Xinhua A newly-built airfield on a reef in the South China Sea will help ensure flight and navigation safety for airplanes and ships in the area and greatly improve the ability of marine salvagers, a Chinese official said Monday. China has finished building the airfield on Yongshu Jiao in China’s Nansha Islands, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed Saturday.
Laos And China Come to Terms on Loan Interest Rate For Railway Project “The Chinese offered us a loan with a three-percent interest rate, but we proposed that they reduce it,” Somsavat Lengsavad, the country’s deputy prime minister who oversees the Lao-China railway project, told the National Assembly on Dec. 11. “The rate, however, was not a barrier, and after we sent our delegation to negotiate, we finally reached an agreement on loan.” Somsavat did not mention what the agreed-upon interest rate was on the U.S. $480 million loan from China, which Laos will back with five of its potash mines.
著名军事评论员张召忠开通微信公众号，名字叫做“局座召忠”舆论场澎湃新闻-The Paper military commentator Zhang Shaowen opens a public wechat account
Gauthier no fighter for speech freedom – Global Times Sometimes China needs to get tough on some Western rule-breakers
TECH AND MEDIA *
Xiaomi doesn’t want you to know about recent sales figures – Tech in Asia This year, for the first time since Xiaomi launched a phone in late 2011, the company is not so keen to talk numbers. Its 2015 sales numbers have not been revealed and there’s nary a peep from CEO Lei Jun on his social media. “We currently have no numbers to share,” said a Xiaomi spokesperson this morning. That’s quite a change of tune.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
36.6-meter Giant Statue of Chairman Mao Seen in Central China – People’s Daily Online According to local villagers, the statue was fundraised mostly by some entrepreneurs, while villagers also contributed. Painted golden and 36.6-meter in height, the giant statue cost nearly 3 billion yuan (0.46 billion USD).
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
中央环境保护督察组进驻河北 受理来信来电举报–社会–人民网 人民网北京1月4日电 据环保部网站消息，为贯彻落实党中央、国务院关于环境保护督察的重大决策部署，经国务院批准，中央环境保护督察组近日进驻河北省开展环境保护督察试点工作。 据悉，中央环境保护督察组现场督察时间约1个月左右。督察期间（2016年1月4日－2月4日）设立专门值班电话：0311－87808211，专门邮政信箱：河北省石家庄市邮政115信箱。督察组受理举报电话时间为每天早8:00－晚20:00
2nd human H5N6 avian flu reported in S. China – Xinhua The new patient is a 40-year-old woman from Zhaoqing City. She is in a serious condition and receiving treatment in a designated hospital, said an official of the Zhaoqing Municipal Health and Family Planning Bureau. Last Tuesday, a 26-year-old woman from Shenzhen City was confirmed with the same virus. She is also being treated in a hospital.
Beijing PM2.5 density exceeds national level: official – Xinhua Beijing’s average PM2.5 density in 2015 was more than double the official level targeted nationwide, an official said on Monday. Despite Beijing’s attempts to limit air pollution, the average PM2.5 reading stood at 80.6 micrograms per cubic meter, 1.3 times more than the national standard, Zhang Dawei, director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center (BMEMC), said at a news conference.
【独家】北京市委原副书记吕锡文涉低价买房 丈夫于少枢亦失联政经频道财新网 北京金融街集团开发的融泽府项目被发现低价售房问题，售房对象可查到吕锡文及其家人，且涉及金额不低 // Caixin reporting former, now detained Beijing deputy party secretary Lv Xiwen got a discounted apartment, husband “out of contact”
JOBS AND EVENTS *
Leaders Speak – Defense Secretaries | National Committee on United States – China Relations Our 50th Anniversary celebrations will begin with the first in our Leaders Speak series: Defense Secretaries Harold Brown, William Perry, William S. Cohen, and Chuck Hagel, in conversation with National Committee President Steve Orlins, will reflect on their experiences and lessons learned, as well as their suggestions for the future of the U.S.-China security relationship…January 11, 2016 5:00pm to 6:30pm EST, Venue: Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
CHINA’S MOST RADICAL EXPERIMENT: The One-Child Policy and the Future Beyond It Tuesday, January 05, 2016 06:30 PM – 08:15 PM 156 Fifth Avenue, Second Floor New York, NY 10010
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