The Sinocism China Newsletter 01.04.17

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. 环保部:本轮重污染天气将持续至7日左右_环球网 Comment: Ministry of Environmental Pollution (or is it Protection?) says the current smogstorm will last through January 7.

Related: 国务院必须给14亿人民一个正式回应 金梓老师 2001-1-4 Comment: Seeing a lot of anger in my wechat streams about the pollution, and this Weibo demanding action from the government getting shared a far bit  //  关于“雾霾”:14亿人民99%并不了解真相,至少不了解“比较全面的真相”!作为执政方,作为中华人民共和国的国务院:应该有一个明确的正式的意思表示——关乎全体14亿人民健康甚至性命攸关的大事:给一个有公信力的“安民告示”有那么难么?不是必须的么? 希望本文一路转发——直到我们看到最高权力机构给出一个“正式的态度”:附上“正式的解决方案”,逐条确认“负责部门”,以及未来1-3年乃至10年内要达到的“治理雾霾”的真正效果!我们等不了10年:那样会出现类似伦敦的“大批人生命”被吞噬的代价——70年前教训惨痛,70年后,科技 民主都已经发达到不可同日而语的今天:不应该再用成千上万人的生命和千百万人的健康做代价,来买一个教训了! 我们要求的是“治理”的步骤,一年以后什么样,三年以后什么样,十年以后什么样!

Related: 如果连发出声音都感到恐惧,那你活该吸雾霾! | 雾霾真相 权利不是天上掉下来的,而是靠我们自己争取来的。《国际歌》唱到:“世界上从来就没有救世主,也不靠神仙皇帝”。一切苦难的根源在于我们并不是自己脚下这片土地的主人,无法保卫自己的健康与生命,也无法保卫自己的财产与空气,无法决定一个污染项目的上马与下马,更无法左右国家的走向,甚至没有免于恐惧的自由,人人都要生活在雾霾之中,人人都可能是雨田三羊。在宪法里,我们名义上是国家的主人,但公民的权利从未兑现。 雾霾,涉及你我的基本生存权。消除雾霾不要指望被人,要靠我们自己,从发出声音开始。如果你认为说了也没用,雾霾这事儿与你无关,那我无话可说。 如果连发出声音都感到恐惧,那你活该吸雾霾!

Related: Beijing in 2016 saw more ‘good air’ days – China Daily Official concedes improvement ‘not huge enough’ yet // Comment: Understatement

Related: Beijing start-ups move out as hazardous smog smothers capital | South China Morning Post New survey reveals around half of nearly 300 entrepreneurs polled have thought about moving their whole, or parts of their business out of the city because of the appalling air conditions  // Comment: California has Silicon Valley, Beijing has Smog Valley. Big blow to government initiatives if firms really do move

Related: 雾霾天,高铁这样“洗澡”新闻腾讯网 Comment: Slideshow of a dirty bullet train that just arrived in the smogstorm, and the ensuing cleaning.

2. China Said to Consider Options to Back Yuan, Curb Outflows – Bloomberg The authorities have used stress tests, models and field research, said the people who asked not to be identified as the studies haven’t been made public yet. Financial regulators have already encouraged some state-owned enterprises to sell foreign currency and may order them to temporarily convert some holdings into yuan under the current account if necessary, they added. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange didn’t immediately reply to a fax seeking comment. // Comment: How are the IMF officials who backed SDR inclusion feeling?

Related: Offshore renminbi makes biggest one-day gain since June-FT In trading outside the mainland, the renminbi pushed the dollar back more than 1 per cent to Rmb6.8824 in London hours on Wednesday, having traded at Rmb6.969 earlier in the Asian day. Analysts said reports of China introducing fresh curbs on capital outflows — and potentially even pushing state-owned groups to repatriate funds — reversed the bearish mood that prevailed on Tuesday, when the currency touched an all-time low offshore of Rmb6.9866.// Comment: Happy New Year to RMB shorts from the PBoC

Related: Bitcoin Hits All-Time High as Currency Controls Drive Fear – Bloomberg Bitcoin hit an all-time high Wednesday, according to Bloomberg data, thanks to continued adoption in China and other parts of the world where traditional currencies are tightly controlled. The digital currency, which just turned eight years old, reached $1,140.64, which was higher than the $1,137 it hit in November of 2013.

3. How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table – Bloomberg The $90 billion aquaculture trade accounts for almost half of all seafood harvested or caught, according to the United Nations. China supplies almost 60 percent of the global total and is the biggest exporter. U.S. food regulators have known about the country’s antibiotic problem for more than a decade. The Food and Drug Administration intensified its monitoring of imported farm-raised seafood from China in the fall of 2006 and found a quarter of the samples tested contained residues of unapproved drugs and unsafe food additives. The following June an import alert was applied to all farm-raised shrimp and several other kinds of seafood from China, allowing the agency to detain the products at port until each shipment is proved, through laboratory analysis, to be untainted. // Comment: So only eat what you catch or see being caught, in the wild?

4. A New Voice for Taiwan in Times of High Uncertainty – Taiwan Sentinel Comment: An Interesting new resource about Taiwan, run by J. Michael Cole. Hope they have invested in good Internet infrastructure to deal with the inevitable attacks from across the Straits…// Given all this uncertainty, Taiwan Sentinel could not have launched at a better time. Bringing together experts from Taiwan and around the world, the Sentinel will endeavor to make sense of it all and to address the many blind spots and misperceptions that often characterize international coverage of the Taiwan Strait. With clear, educated and timely analyses, features, commentary pieces and book reviews in English, Chinese and Japanese, the Sentinel will help foreign government analysts and decisionmakers, journalists, academics and the general public better understand Taiwan and the politics of the Taiwan Strait at a level unlike anything available in mainstream media, while doing so in a language that is accessible to all. It will also aim to act as a bridge between younger generations of Taiwanese — the nation’s future leaders — and a foreign audience that rarely gets a chance to hear from them…Taiwan Sentinel is published thanks to generous funding from the New Taiwan Peace Foundation (新台灣和平基金會)// Comment: Can any readers provide some background on this foundation?

Related:  Contradictions, Uncertainty Mark Trump Administration’s Policies on Taiwan and China – Taiwan Sentinel The challenge for the Trump Administration will be to adjust U.S. policies toward Taiwan and China in a way that does not lead to further negative repercussions in cross-Strait relations or to conflict between China and the United States.-William Stanton is Director of the Center for Asia Policy at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

5. Apple Removes New York Times Apps From iTunes Store in China – The New York Times Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the iTunes store in China on Dec. 23. Apps from other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store. “We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”  // Comment: Surprised Apple had been allowed to have anything in its China app store from the New York Times.

6. President Xi’s Great Chinese Soccer Dream – The New York Times People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Communist Party, warned last month of a “bubble” of reckless spending in Chinese professional soccer that could burst and badly damage the sport. Too many investors had feverish expectations, while some clubs, officials and schools were only going through the motions of developing young players, the newspaper said. “One of the biggest problems is short-termism,” said Cameron Wilson, a Scottish resident of Shanghai who edits Wild East Football, a website that follows the sport in China.

7. Chinese Communist Youth League Joins Bilibili – Where Official Discourse Meets Online Subculture | What’s on Weibo The Central Communist Youth League of China (共青团中央) recently announced its official presence on Chinese video-sharing site Bilibili – a digital platform focused on anime, comics, games, and subcultures popular among Chinese youth. What’s on Weibo’s Diandian Guo takes a look at what happens when China’s official discourse mixes with online pop culture.

8. 年终盘点:省级党委换届鸣响“半场哨”政经频道财新网 Comment: Caixin doing a nice job tracking all the provincial-level leadership changes

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

Two steel producers punished for violating capacity cut rules-SCIO Comment: Will punishing senior provincial officials have the intended warning effect to get other provincial leaderships to take overcapacity seriously? You can bet there will be lots of study sessions about these two cases, question of course is whether that matters… //  The State Council has issued punishments on two steel producers for violating China’s capacity cut rules. Over 100 officials will be held accountable, including two vice-provincial governors.

China’s Insurance Regulator Cracks Down on Risqué Products – Caixin Insurers are forbidden from selling several types of insurance products, including those that cover losses due to speculation or damages by rare events, according to a guideline issued by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission that came into effect on Sunday. Policies that attempt to “unfairly exploit” certain social issues such as severe air pollution or the rising rate of divorces in the country are also banned.

Alibaba Breaks Legal Ground in China, Sues Alleged Counterfeit Seller-Alizilla Comment: Why did it take so long? Shows the US was right to put Alibaba back on the USTR notorious markets list, perhaps helped focus the minds…  //  “Selling counterfeits not only violates our service agreement, it also infringes on the intellectual property rights of the brand owner, puts inferior products in the hands of consumers and ruins the hard-earned trust and reputation Alibaba has with our customers,” said Jessie Zheng, Alibaba Group’s chief platform governance officer.

Kweichow Moutai Loses ‘National Liquor’ Trademark Bid – Caixin China’s trademark authority has rejected baijiu maker Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd.’s application to use the term “national liquor.” The Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said that the term might be taken to mean Moutai was the best liquor in the country, which would violate trademark laws and adversely affect fair competition, according to a SAIC document released by Qianjing Wanwen, an intellectual property agency in Beijing representing a concerned party in the case.  //  Comment: But it is the best liquor in the country…

China Goes on $26 Trillion Commodity Binge as Shortages Seen – Bloomberg Trading volume in Chinese commodities futures has been heaviest in the world for the seventh consecutive year, Fang Xinghai, Vice Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told an industry conference last month, according to a transcript posted on the CSRC website.

北京首套房贷利率收紧至九折财经新京报网 狼”终于来了。2016年年底有消息称,北京房地产交易中介已收到内部通知,自2017年1月1日起,所有银行贷款利率折扣最低九折。1月3日,新京报记者从多家银行处获悉,自2017年元旦起,首套房房贷利率折扣最低九折起。也有银行表示,目前首套房仍然实施8.5折的优惠利率,但很快将上调至最低九折。// Comment: Beijing Municipal Government reduces the discount on mortgage interest rate for first home purchase, also announces it will reduce approvals for new home construction in 2017 存量房将成居民首次购房主渠道 , not sure how restricting new supply will help keep prices from rising

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW *

China’s anti-corruption agency just released a TV series about corruption in the agency — Quartz The TV series comes on the eve of a key meeting of the CCDI that kicks off on Jan. 6 (link in Chinese). It also isn’t the first time Chinese viewers have been able to enjoy a series about China’s anti-corruption campaign. In October, an eight-part series featuring dozens of corrupt officials called Always on the Road was broadcast ahead of the party’s sixth plenum meeting.

《打铁还需自身硬》中篇《严防“灯下黑”》——中纪委视频页面——中央纪委监察部网站 Comment: Scenes from episode two of CCDI/Wang Qishan’s House of Cadres

中纪委的新片隐藏权力运行的秘密国内新闻环球网 比如商人宋志远,因为想在四川上马项目,寻求政府帮助,就找到了魏健。魏健呢?拿起红机给李春城打了个电话,请他关照。两三天之后,项目所在地的县委书记打电话给宋志远,言语颇带责怪:“老宋,你这个项目我们不是在支持吗?你怎么找到北京去了?中纪委给省领导打电话说我们不支持。好了,我们会全力支持的。”   而罗凯的方式,则有点类似于上一季中出镜的周本顺,喜欢“组饭局”:“把别人请来,目的就是显示我们俩之间关系好,知道咱们的关系,他对你是不是会照顾?肯定会照顾的。至于怎么照顾?照顾什么?那就不是我的事儿了。”  //  Comment: The propaganda pieces on the fallen corrupt cadres always interesting for “exposing” the ways the methods they used

“尖兵”显神勇 “利剑”展锋芒——2016年巡视工作综述–时政–人民网 Comment: People’s Daily of 2016 CCDI Inspection Tours Accomplishments, on eve of CCDI Plenum  //  党的十八大以来,以习近平同志为核心的党中央身体力行、率先垂范,高度重视巡视工作。中央政治局常委会议12次听取巡视情况汇报,中央政治局会议3次专题研究巡视工作,习近平总书记15次发表重要讲话,为巡视工作提供了强大思想武器和行动指南。中央巡视工作领导小组共召开77次领导小组会议,狠抓贯彻落实,巡视工作取得了明显成效。

Tianjin’s Former Mayor Expelled From Communist Party – Caixin Huang Xingguo, the former mayor and acting party chief of Tianjin, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office, the party’s disciplinary watchdog announced Wednesday. His case has been transferred to prosecutors for further investigation. Huang is the 10th official of the CPC Central Committee, which has about 200 members, to be put under investigation after CPC chief Xi Jinping was elected and started a sweeping anti-corruption campaign in late 2012.

Chinese City Official Shoots 2 Others and Kills Himself, State Media Says – The New York Times “The gunman stormed into the meeting, fired repeatedly at the main leading comrades of the city party committee and government and then fled,” said an online report by Sichuan Daily, an official provincial newspaper, citing the Panzhihua government press office.

全国网信办主任会议在京召开 强调为党的十九大召开营造良好网络环境-中共中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室 Cyberspace Administration holds meeting of nationwide cyber officials in Beijing  //  全国网信办主任会议1月3日至4日在京召开。会议强调,要深入学习贯彻习近平总书记系列重要讲话精神和治国理政新理念新思想新战略,牢固树立政治意识、大局意识、核心意识、看齐意识,扎实做好2017年网信工作,营造良好网上舆论氛围,提供有力网络安全保障和信息化支撑,以优异成绩迎接党的十九大胜利召开。     会议指出,2016年,在以习近平同志为核心的党中央坚强领导下,全国网信战线紧紧围绕建设网络强国战略目标,坚决维护网络意识形态安全,着力提升网络安全保障能力,加快推进信息化发展,深度参与网络空间国际治理,扎实推进网络空间法治化,全年各项重点工作任务基本完成,为党和国家事业发展营造了良好网络环境,提供了有力保障。     会议指出,通过加强顶层设计和战略规划,网信工作的“四梁八柱”已经基本确立。通过建立健全工作机制,网信工作统筹协调格局基本形成

习近平新年警告:不能“上演霸王别姬的悲剧”- 党建网  落实好全会精神,必须更加深入地认识和把握全面从严治党。党的十八大之后,党中央全面分析党和国家工作面临的新形势新任务,综合分析党内、国家、社会以及国际环境中出现的新情况新问题,得出了一个重要结论,就是要进行好具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争、有效应对各种风险和挑战,实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,必须把我们党建设好、建设强。如果党内信念涣散、组织涣散、纪律涣散、作风涣散,那就无法有效应对党面临的执政考验、改革开放考验、市场经济考验、外部环境考验,也无法克服精神懈怠危险、能力不足危险、脱离群众危险、消极腐败危险,最终不仅不能实现我们的奋斗目标,而且 可能严重脱离人民群众,上演霸王别姬的悲剧。这就是党中央反复强调“打铁还需自身硬”的根本原因。

充分认识当今党情新变化(把握大时代大趋势 展开新理念新长征·党情篇)–时政–人民网 Comment: People’s Daily with some interesting stats on the current makeup of the Communist Party

2016总书记与新闻舆论工作–传媒–人民网 Comment: Quite the colorful People’s Daily Online presentation on Xi and News and Public Opinion work in 2016, including of course some of his comments on overseas propaganda work // 习近平:要加强国际传播能力建设,增强国际话语权,集中讲好中国故事的同时优化战略布局,着力打造具有较强国际影响的外宣旗舰媒体。用好国际化传播平台,客观、真实、生动报道中国经济社会发展情况,传播中国文化,讲好中国故事,促进外国观众更多更好了解中国。[解读:中国媒体”走出去”需提升影响力和舆论引导力]

2016年习近平十大“热词”–时政–人民网 Comment: People’s Daily Online on Xi’s 10 hot phrases of 2016. Will be fun to try to translate, 1-10: 压倒性态势; 莫用三爷; 四个意识; 新型政商关系; 文化自信; 不忘初心; 长征精神; 百花园; 四个有利于; 优良家风

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

Enough of the Tweets, China’s State Media Tells Trump – The New York Times Xinhua, the state news agency, has more or less asked Mr. Trump to shut up. “An obsession with ‘Twitter foreign policy’ is undesirable,” read the headline of a Xinhua commentary ( 新华时评:沉迷于“推特外交”不可取 ) on Tuesday about Mr. Trump’s posts. “Everyone recognizes the common sense that foreign policy isn’t child’s play, and even less is it like doing business deals,” said the article, published after Mr. Trump’s latest barbed comments on China.

Eurasia Group’s Medeiros Warns of China on the Edge – Bloomberg Comment: Good points on how China’s interprets Trumps tweets as indications of strategic intention

Apocalyptic visions of Sino-US relations are a road to nowhere | South China Morning Post The viewpoints of each film have existed for many years but have barged into the mainstream only recently. Trump is mainstreaming radical views that had previously existed only on the fringes of American political life. Some of Navarro’s radical views now seem to be the incoming Trump administration’s views as well. (Trump called the film “right on”.) In September, the Trump campaign issued a white paper co-authored by commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross and Navarro, with arguments coming directly from Death by China; announcing his appointment last month, Trump called Navarro “a visionary economist”, making clear that he is central to setting the agenda on trade and industry, issues of great importance to the president-elect. On the Chinese side, members of Xi Jinping’s ( 習近平 ) administration, such as successive education ministers Yuan Guiren ( 袁貴仁 ) and Chen Baosheng (陈宝生), have publicly and angrily denounced “hostile foreign infiltration.” After Navarro’s appointment, China’s state-run media called on the Communist Party leadership to “discard any illusions and make full preparations for any offensive move by the Trump government.” // Comment: The current trend is not our friend

加间谍高调接受采访批中国 专家:或收高额费用|间谍|加拿大_新浪新闻 Comment: CICIR’s Li Wei tells Global Times that the Garratts, deported as alleged spies, may have been paid by the New York Times for their recent interview and attacks their integrity for violating their agreement signed before deportation to not talk about their detention with the media // 中国现代国际关系研究院院长特别助理李伟2日对《环球时报》记者说,间谍活动不论在哪个国家都应受到法律严厉制裁,中加两国经过协商将凯文·高夫妇遣返回加拿大,案件处理得合理合法。在被遣返回国后,凯文·高一直保持低调,现在突然高调接受美媒采访。《纽约时报》称,凯文·高被判间谍罪后,翌日一早便被送上前往东京的飞机,前提是签署不得对媒体议论拘留事件的承诺书,并缴纳1.4万美元罚金。几天后传出消息,中加同意就双边引渡条约进行谈判。李伟对《环球时报》记者说,凯文·高夫妇违反协议,高调发声是不信守承诺的表现,也是对其人格的自我矮化。不排除他们出于经济考虑接受采访,比如可能收取美国媒体支付的高额采访费用。李伟认为,中加关系不会因为凯文·高夫妇的背信弃义产生重大冲突和影响,但这会令今后处理类似事件的阻碍增加,协商难度增大。

South Korea says China is retaliating against its missile-defense system by hurting its aviation, tourism, battery, and entertainment industries — Quartz On Jan. 1, it came to light that eight charter flights bound for mainland China in January were rejected by Chinese aviation authorities without offering specific reasons, according to the Korea Times. Kim Jung-hee, director of international air transport at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, called it an “unprecedented” move, noting it would significantly impact the country’s tourism industry as Chinese tourists make a big portion of Korea’s visitors. And on Jan. 2, local newspaper Chosun reported that Beijing reversed a decision to offer subsidies for eco-friendly cars. On Dec. 29, hours after it released a list of vehicles that would qualify for subsidies, it removed five models with batteries (link in Chinese) from Samsung and LG from it.

Inside the Ring: PLA’s hacking hotel – Washington Times According to the U.S. Army intelligence report, the Fourth Department owns the two hotels in northern Beijing called the Seasons Hotel and Headquarters/Jintang Hotel. The report does not explain why the hotels were used by the Chinese for hacking, although it is likely that it will be used to conduct intelligence gathering. China’s electronic and cyberwarfare intelligence units are considered high-interest targets. The report highlights how internet searches in the digital age often produce valuable intelligence. In the case of the 4PLA headquarters, the Army learned about the connection to the PLA from an online posting from 2012 when a customer stated in a review that the Jintang Hotel was “owned by the PLA General Staff 4th department” and, as a result, was much quieter than other Beijing hotels. Further records’ searches revealed that both hotels are owned by the 4PLA.

Does China’s deep-sea tech upgrade point to submarine signals network under Pacific? | South China Morning Post Technology used for undersea research has clear military applications, including improving communications with submarines, say experts

Thailand progresses Chinese submarine procurement | IHS Jane’s 360 The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) expects to submit a proposal within the next few months to procure the first of three S26T (Thailand) diesel-electric submarines from China, IHS Jane’s understands. Under an 11-year procurement plan currently being finalised by the RTN, funding for the first boat will be sourced from the 2017 defence budget. Orders for two additional boats would be expected before 2021-22, with payments to China continuing until 2027, sources have confirmed to IHS Jane’s.

PLA veterans stage another protest in Beijing over unpaid benefits | South China Morning Post A veteran from Hebei who attended the October protest confirmed the latest protest, which was held outside the state petition office. But he told the South China Morning Post that unlike the one in October, which saw some veterans taken away by the authorities, with their whereabouts unknown, the latest protest, on December 28, was much smaller and protesters were only briefly detained for questioning.

Demystifying the A2/AD Buzz – War on the Rocks That area denial capabilities represent an aspiration or ideal end-state rather than a fact of life resonates with some of the arguments put forward by Stephen Biddle and Ivan Oelrich in a recent article in International Security (PDF). These two scholars set their sights on debunking the widespread assumption that Chinese advances in A2/AD will likely turn the Asia-Pacific into a “no-go zone” for the U.S. military, therefore elevating China to a regional hegemon of sorts. Biddle and Oelrich do acknowledge that A2/AD is giving air and maritime defenders increasing strategic advantages, and it is surely complicating U.S. military access to and movement within China’s immediate vicinity. However, they insist that those advantages are strongest over controlled landmasses and weaken over distance. As a result, as China and the United States (and its allies) deploy countervailing A2/AD capabilities, the current U.S. command of the East Asian commons will give way not to Chinese hegemony, but to a more differentiated pattern of control. This will likely result in a U.S. sphere of influence around allied landmasses, a Chinese sphere of influence over the Chinese mainland, and a contested battlespace covering much of the South and East China Seas, where neither power enjoys wartime freedom of surface or air maneuver.

China’s investment in Latin America | Brookings Institution In this paper, David Dollar examines China’s investment in LAC and tackles some important questions that arise. To what extent does Chinese investment differ from other foreign investment? What are the implications for LAC of Chinese investment deviating from global norms? As China’s investment increases, will it become more typical, will it reshape global norms, or will it remain somewhat at odds with global practices?

Did Oslo Kowtow to Beijing? | ChinaFile Conversation In 2010, the Oslo-appointed Nobel Peace Prize committee bestowed the honor on imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Furious with the selection of Liu, a human rights advocate, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence on spurious charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” Beijing let the relationship deteriorate and diplomatic relations mostly froze. Six years later, Oslo and Beijing announced on Monday that they would again normalize relations. Should Oslo have continued to defy Beijing? Or is China now such a major player globally that nations must maintain a relationship with Beijing, even when it comes with a high cost?

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Macau Still Gambling King, Even Without High Rollers – WSJ Despite signs that VIP revenue has been picking up in recent months, 2017 is unlikely to show a real turnaround. Housing prices in China look to be peaking, and credit is getting tighter. Both factors have historically been correlated with VIP revenue in Macau. China’s clampdown on capital outflows also hurt. A report that UnionPay, China’s version of Visa and Mastercard, would impose a withdrawal limit in Macau sent casino shares sharply down in early December. Though the report wasn’t accurate, the incident shows how sensitive Macau is to Beijing’s policies.

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA *

Chinese smartphones soar to 51% of India market-TechInAsia Chinese mobile phone brands are booming in India, for the first time ever making up more than half – 51 percent – of new devices in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Meanwhile, Indian brands dropped below 20 percent market share of shipments in November, according to Counterpoint Research, plummeting from 40 percent in early 2016.

Chinese Show Willingness to Pay for Clicks – WSJ About 55% of more than 1,700 online users surveyed by the research department of internet company Tencent Holdings say they have paid for expert knowledge and insights, including paying to subscribe to content and download files. An iResearch report says that more than half of Chinese online users have paid or are willing to pay for content, up from 30% two years ago. The higher value accorded to paid online content comes as some users say public trust in China’s news media and online information is fraying.

国家网信办等三部门组成联合检查组 大力整治网络直播乱象-中共中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室 Comment: Livestreaming crackdown announced 12.30  //  为加强互联网直播管理,促进行业健康有序发展,国家网信办、文化部、新闻出版广电总局近日组成联合检查组,对网络直播平台进行专项检查。接受检查的十几家企业大都制定了管理规定,但有的落实不到位,依然存在低俗内容,有的无资质开展新闻信息直播,有的在用户实名制、弹幕管理、内容审核等方面存在漏洞。

Here’s The ‘Flagship’ Electric Car That Faraday Future Promised, The FF 91 closer inspection of the first car they brought out reveals some surprisingly large panel gaps and misalignment, which isn’t necessarily uncommon on a stage car. The interior of the car wasn’t show off either, making it clear the car is still not production-ready. The team brought out another car that is much closer to production in exterior design, but then couldn’t get it to autonomously drive itself away as intended. That’s unfortunate.  //  Comment: Even if this car works and is amazing, could a consumer be confident enough in the financial stability of the company to buy one?

人民日报署名文章:深度融合构筑媒体新版图-新华网 Comment: Long page 1 Jan 5 People’s Daily article on on deepening integration to build a new media blueprint

Mobike books US$215M Series D led by Tencent and Warburg Pincus As China’s bike-sharing war escalates, leading players in the industry are busy to stocking up on funds to in preparation for a stiffening battle. Mobike announced today that it has closed its 215 million USD series D, led by Tencent and Warburg Pincus, a leading private equity firm. New strategic investors in this round include China’s largest travel company Ctrip, global leading private equity firm TPG, and China’s leading hotel operator Huazhu Hotels Group

下月起用户签入网协议必须实名-新华网 新华社北京1月4日电 记者4日从工信部获悉,工信部已经发布《工业和信息化部关于规范电信服务协议有关事项的通知》,要求电信业务经营者与用户订立入网协议时,应当要求用户出示有效身份证件、提供真实身份信息并进行查验,对身份不明或拒绝身份查验的,不得提供服务。通知自2017年2月1日起施行。

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Weibo From A to Z: A Look Back at the Biggest Trending Topics of 2016 | What’s on Weibo Sometimes the most trivial things got big, while the biggest things remained trivial. Time to list the China trending stories and digital trends of 2016 from A to Z.

Cashing in on dystopia – David Bandurski an investigative report by one of China’s leading commercial newspapers revealed that citizens’ private information can be purchased conveniently  —  thanks to the very platforms driving digital change  —  by anyone able and willing to drop a few hundred dollars. In a December 12 expose occupying two full spreads in Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily, reporters Rao Lidong (饶丽冬) and Li Ling (李玲) carefully documented their successful attempts to obtain personal information about consenting colleagues through “tracking” services advertised online

People prepare for Laba Festival across China-China Daily The Laba Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday on the eighth day of the 12th lunar month, will fall on Jan 5 this year. It’s customary on this day to eat a special Laba congee, or eight treasure porridge, usually made with at least eight ingredients, representing people’s prayers for harvest, happiness and peace

World’s highest ring road completed in Tibet-China Daily With a total length of close to 100 kilometers, the beltway has two-way six lanes. The new road will greatly ease traffic jam and expand the development capacity of the city, said Lin Sheng, the deputy mayor of Lhasa. The ring road has a speed limit of 60 km/hour because of the high altitude – Lhasa is located at more than 3,600 meters above the sea level. After its completion, it will take less than two hours to make a round trip of the city.

Chinese county moves to ban expensive wedding gifts Communist party officials in Taiqian, in central China’s Henan province, have issued an action plan on “transforming social traditions” and “building a virtuous Taiqian”. Draft rules aim to cap the value of a single wedding gift at Rmb60,000 ($8,600) and forbid the gifting of houses and cars. Wedding banquets will be limited to fewer than 10 tables. // Comment: Good luck with this. Henan media report: 河南台前县出台彩礼“指导标准”:总数不得高于6万 

Child Beggars Need More Than a Social Media Minute, Critics Say | Sixth Tone Teachers and students at Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University have kicked off a social media campaign to raise awareness about the country’s many child beggars. Titled “One-Minute Action,” the campaign calls on people to spend 60 seconds of their time interacting with child beggars on the street, posting their apologies to the children on social media, and adding their own photos to an online collage of child beggars’ faces. The campaign started Jan. 1.

Revolutionary Class | the Anthill A tribute to a father’s love in chaotic times – by Jianguo Wu

When the Chinese Were Unspeakable | by Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books Comment: Ian Johnson Review of the book The Killing Wind: A Chinese County’s Descent into Madness During the Cultural Revolution 

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

Dumping of untreated acid in Chinese canal highlights nation’s water pollution woes | South China Morning Post A Jiangsu chemical plant has been fined 20 million yuan (US$2.88 million) for dumping almost 2,700 tonnes of liquid acid waste into the Grand Canal, causing environmental damage “beyond measure”, according to a local court verdict that was published recently. The verdict provides a rare detailed look at how waters in China have become some of the most polluted and poisoned in the world in recent decades. A report by Nature Conservancy published in April 2016 concluded that about three-quarters of the water sources tapped by China’s 30 biggest cities experience major pollution, threatening the health of tens of millions of people.

Chinese police seize two tonnes of wild animal parts in raid on poachers | South China Morning Post Sichuan police seized about two tonnes of dismembered wild animals – including bears, owls and pangolins – in its largest raid on wildlife poaching last year. The police department sorted and counted the parts confiscated in the raid, which took place in Mianyang in October last year, on Tuesday and identified 193 animal carcasses, according to Huaxi City Daily.

Former Regulatory Official Jailed for Corruption – Caixin A former official from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) was sent to prison on Tuesday for taking bribes from vaccine manufacturers who wanted help obtaining regulatory approvals for products, including those for treating severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and bird flu.  // Comment: So little has changed in the CFDA since the 2007 execution of its former head Zheng Xiaoyu for corruption?

‘Artificial’ Forests Show Success at Cleaning Air, Study Finds – Caixin Trees planted to tackle desertification and sandstorms in northern China cleared the air of 30 million tons of fine particulate matter from 1999 to 2010, according to a study by Lanzhou University. The study was based on computer-generated models and data collected from 1982 to 2010, a period during which millions of trees have been planted. It shows that the “artificial” forests in northern China now absorb 30% more PM2.5 than they did in 1982.

Chinese cruise ship ‘stuck at sea for two days in smog’ | South China Morning Post A large cruise ship with more than 2,000 people on board was stuck at sea for two days because it was unable to dock in the heavy smog that has enveloped much of northern China, according to a newspaper report. The vessel finally returned to the Port of Tianjin on Monday afternoon after drifting for two days at sea, according to the Beijing Evening News  // Comment: Look on the bright side, they weren’t also in the middle of a norovirus outbreak…

AnchorAGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES *

广西农民十年义务放露天电影被叫停,公众争议官方处理方式舆论场澎湃新闻-The Paper Comment: rural film projectionist, who traveled from village to village with a projector to screen films outside, ordered to stop because lacking the proper license…

农民不愿离开故土?调研显示九成贫困户愿意搬政经频道财新网 中国人民大学中国扶贫研究院团队调研发现,易地扶贫搬迁中,超过半数的建档立卡贫困户认为缺钱是搬迁面临最大的困难,这与贫困户对国家资金补贴政策了解不到位有关。其次是担心是搬迁后收入来源没有保障、搬迁后无地可种。研究团队于2016年6到7月在湖北、湖南、广西、四川、贵州、云南、陕西、甘肃八个搬迁大省(自治区)的16县开展易地扶贫搬迁专题调研,调研对象为规划搬迁但尚未实施搬迁的家庭。// Comment: Caixin on a survey showing that 90% of impoverished rural residents would leave their land if they were confident the government support would be there

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