THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. PLA launches new campaign to raise loyalty among servicemen – Xinhua The campaign was endorsed by President Xi Jinping, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), said the statement from the PLA department. Through the education campaign, soldiers and officers are expected to reinforce “their confidence on the path, theory and system of socialism with Chinese characteristics” and raise their trust in and support for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President Xi, the statement said. Party members in the armed forces are required to attend at least one workshop in the first half of this year and write reports on how to improve their political awareness and military skills.
2. 中拉论坛首届部长级会议在京举行 – 新华国际 – 新华网 Xinhua micro-site on the first ministerial meeting on cooperation between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)
Related: Mexico to attend 1st China-CELAC Forum ministerial meeting – Xinhua Heads of state and cabinet-level envoys from some 30 Latin American countries will attend the China-CELAC Forum, designed to boost cooperation between the Asian giant and the region.
Related: Embattled Venezuela says it has secured $20 billion lifeline from China | The Miami Herald Venezuela has secured $20 billion in Chinese loans and financing, President Nicolás Maduro said on Wednesday — a much needed lifeline as the South American nation struggles with a recession and record-high inflation amid plummeting oil prices. In an interview on VTV television from Beijing, Maduro said the funds would be used for housing and technology projects and energy and infrastructure programs. China’s state-run oil company will also step up its commitment to work in Venezuela’s oil-rich Orinoco belt, he said.
3. 上海踩踏事故未由国务院调查 处理方式特殊遭疑新闻腾讯网 综合新华社电 上海7日召开全市加强安全工作会议，
Related: New Year’s Eve Stampede in Shanghai Highlights China’s Reliance on Outsourcing Security – WSJ At the street level in China, the “overwhelming” bulk of law enforcement is handled by contracted security whose numbers exceed the country’s 2 million police officers, said Xu Jianhua, a former Guangdong Province policeman and a specialist in Chinese policing at the University of Macau. Employed for physically demanding, unpopular and sometimes dangerous work, this group includes security guards and chengguang urban management officers, whose duties include chasing away unlicensed food hawker
Related: As Families Grieve, China Manages Public Emotions – ABC News The government’s strict arrangements reflect efforts to keep tight controls over the disaster’s aftermath and prevent distraught relatives from coalescing into a critical group that would draw sympathy and galvanize public calls for greater accountability. “Such a major public safety incident can tug the heartstrings of the public, and the acts and words by victims’ relatives can make the public sentiments swing, making it a key task for authorities to control the families, limiting their contacts with each other or with the media,” said Zhao Chu, a Shanghai-based independent commentator.
Related: China to expand unemployment benefits to lure migrants to cities | Reuters This would help migrant workers, who lack urban hukou, and are cut off, along with their families, from access to education and social welfare outside their home villages. Lack of a local registration should no longer be used as a basis for denying unemployment benefits, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said, according to a government website. Local governments must also provide free career counseling and job-seeking services, and subsidize career development and skill-building, it added.
5. China Cities Crack Down on Illegal Cabs Using Car-Hailing Apps – Bloomberg Beijing will crack down on unlicensed vehicles that use car-hailing software including that of Uber Technologies Inc., following the lead of other cities in the Asian nation, China National Radio reported. The Chinese capital will impose fines of as much as 20,000 yuan ($3,200) each on 41 unauthorized vehicles that offered rental services via the apps, CNR said Jan. 7.
Related: 北京多部门约谈“滴滴专车” 认定属非法运营特别报道新京报网 execs of car service Didi called in for chat with police about “illegal operation”. Cant be good for uber // 昨天上午，滴滴专车有关负责人被交通委运输局、
Related: 北京查禁专车服务 三大平台态度不一政经频道财新网 北京市相关负责人表示，
6. China Wants Taxes Paid by Citizens Living Afar – NYTimes.com The Beijing billionaires who set up cryptically named companies in the British Virgin Islands to hold their fortunes are in the cross hairs. So are the Guangdong salesmen living and working in Africa and Latin America. China’s tax officials are now demanding that citizens start reporting exactly how much money they earn overseas. In asking for this information, national and municipal tax agencies in China are quietly beginning to enforce a little-known and widely ignored regulation: Citizens and companies must pay domestic taxes on their entire worldwide incomes, not just on what they earn in China.
7. China crude imports seen at record as it fills strategic reserves | Reuters Tumbling world oil prices sparked a buying spree by China that led to record crude imports in December, according to Reuters estimates that suggest the top energy consumer doubled the oil put aside for strategic reserves in 2014 compared with 2013. The figures indicate that thanks to the doubling of surplus oil in its system last year, China is much further along in filling up its strategic oil reserves than previously thought.
8. China’s outward investment healthy, puzzling » AEI Key Points -Over the course of 10 years, the China Global Investment Tracker (CGIT) has documented almost $560 billion of Chinese investment abroad and almost $1 trillion in combined investments and on-site engineering and construction projects. Large, rich countries attract the most investment, while many developing economies are targets for construction projects. In Summer 2014, the match between CGIT and official Chinese government data was broken, with official figures $15 billion larger than those of the CGIT from August through October. However, it is unlikely that investment actually surged when the Chinese Ministry of Commerce says it did. In 2014, the amount of Chinese investment in the United States set a record for the third year in a row. A sound US-China bilateral investment treaty would support continued Chinese spending and help gradually improve Chinese corporate behavior.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
China Stocks to Jump 30% This Year, Top-Ranked Broker Forecasts – Bloomberg While the Shanghai Composite Index soared to a 5 1/2 year high Wednesday, it is still 45 percent below an all-time high reached in 2007, with valuations remaining low, according to Huang Haizhou, managing director at CICC, which was named the top China research team by Institutional Investor magazine for a third year in 2014. “This is a multi-year rally,” Huang, who predicted last January that China’s stocks would jump 20 percent in 2014, said in New York at an annual conference on the nation’s economic outlook hosted by the National Committee on United States-China Relations. “There’s still time to buy.”
经济参考网 – 北京又见地王 一线地价依然任性 土地市场能否给楼市传递热度，有待观察 Beijing land sales start 2015 with a bang, there is a new “land king” as plot in Fengtai goes for 8.625B RMB // 1月7日，北京土地市场出让三宗地块，
China’s express delivery business tops the world – Xinhua The total revenue of China’s express delivery market hit 204 billion yuan (33 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, up 42 percent, official data showed on Tuesday. Businesses made 14 billion deliveries last year, the most in the world and 52 percent up from 2013, according to the State Post Bureau (SPB).
U.S. supplier in China food scare takes aim at Shanghai regulator | Reuters The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, which is still investigating Shanghai Husi over the matter, called the food destroyed on Sunday “questionable” in a routine statement, prompting the strong objections from OSI. “Without having any test results or even having done any testing on the relevant products, and with the case still under investigation, to define the products our company has voluntarily recalled as “questionable” … is totally without factual, scientific or legal foundation,” Shanghai Husi said in a statement in Chinese on the OSI China website.
Hong Kong-Listed Wanda No Longer Boy Wonder – Caixin In fact, an industry analyst who asked not to be named said it appears the property market’s prime years – and Wanda’s chance to shine as a good investment target – have passed. Wanda’s IPO in Hong Kong, the analyst said, may have come just before the fundraising channel as a whole shrinks for mainland real estate firms. Wang’s decision to go ahead with a Hong Kong listing and accept a lower price, the analyst said, underscored the company’s need for capital.
China aims for faster administrative approvals – Xinhua The Chinese central government has promised more efforts to accelerate the administrative approval process. The State Council, China’s cabinet, published a document listing several measures to simplify approval procedures and improve transparency in the process after a meeting on Wednesday.
Shanghai FTZ pilots parallel imports of cars – Xinhua China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) on Wednesday launched a pilot program on parallel imports of cars, which allows dealers to purchase cars directly from abroad. The program, green-lighted by a circular issued Wednesday, will allow cars to be imported without getting authorization from carmakers and thus promise lower prices for Chinese buyers.
Three Good Reasons to Be Bullish on China in 2015 – Bloomberg View Jim O’Neill I can think of at least three basic reasons to be bullish on China: First, the collapse of crude oil prices will boost consumers’ real incomes, helping them play a larger role in the economy. Second, even though property prices have recently stalled and begun to fall, China will probably avoid a serious credit crunch, partly because Chinese policy makers have been more serious about restraining prices before they can collapse. Moreover, the price decline has made real estate affordable for more Chinese. A third reason to be optimistic is the subdued nature of inflation in China. This allows for more accommodative monetary policy going forward.
Will China’s Economy Dominate the 21st Century? | Brookings Institution Editor’s Note: China’s huge population and spectacular economic growth since the 1980s at first gave rise to fears, and now a sense of inevitability, that China will surpass the United States in the 21st century. Beyond the loss of U.S. dominance, China remains authoritarian, making the prospect of its rise worrisome. David Dollar, my colleague at Brookings, challenges this gloomy consensus, pointing out that China’s authoritarianism might stop it from moving to the next economic level.
China’s ‘new normal’ is more Alibabas, fewer smokestacks – FT.com – David Pilling Fortunately for the men who run China, comparisons are overdone. The biggest difference is the most obvious. When Japan began its years of stagnation in the early 1990s it was already rich. On a per-capita basis, income was 80-90 per cent of US levels. China, as miraculous as its growth has been, is still nowhere near there. On a purchasing power parity basis, its per capita income is just above 20 per cent of the US level. That matters. It is easier for a poorer country to close the gap. For all its problems and inefficiencies — in fact, precisely because of its problems and inefficiencies — there are relatively easy things China can do to keep its economic show on the road.
POLITICS AND LAW *
China nets over 100,000 officials in frugality campaign – Xinhua | December 2014 saw 5,340 officials reprimanded for violating austere working practice policies, bringing the total number of those held to task since late 2012 to over 100,000, the top anti-graft body said Monday. Those punished last month were involved in 4,238 violation cases, the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in its monthly report.
China to trace accountability of mass corruption in Shanxi Province – Xinhua | English.news.cn Party committees should be held accountable for mass occurrence of corrupt cases in north China’s Shanxi Province, said a senior anti-graft official on Wednesday. “High-voltage posture will be held to curb corruption,” said Huang Shuxian, vice secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).
New China law brings anxiety to Hong Kong NGOs e official media announced in late December that the new law to “regulate” foreign NGOs was being discussed to increase supervision of this fast-growing sector. The bill requires overseas NGOs to register with and be approved by authorities if they want to set up representative offices or operate temporarily. Currently, they are only required to register. The bill was drafted by the Ministry of Public Security and not the Ministry of Civil Affairs which is responsible for this sector.
Wanted by Police: Trojan Horse in Hack-Averse China – China Real Time Report – WSJ The notice from the Wenzhou Economic and Technological Development Zone’s public security bureau explained the purpose of the Trojan Horse program and a related delivery system: “targeting mobile phones using the Android system or iPhone after jailbreak for real-time surveillance on information like phone calls, text messages and photos on mobile phones.” “Jailbreak” refers to the steps phone owners sometimes take to modify their gadget’s software to get around restrictions placed by manufacturers and carriers so that users can tap multiple app stores and other services.
方正CEO李友被曝复杂外网 亲属持股20家境外企业-新闻频道-和讯网 Founder Group case very messy, media exposes CEO Li you and relatives’ shareholdings in at least 20 overseas companies
China’s Ban on Islamic Veils Sends Uighurs Westward to Pray – Bloomberg The Imam at one of Almaty’s biggest mosques gets busy around Ramadan when his Uighur “brothers and sisters” from China flock to the Kazakh city to pray, finding it increasingly difficult to practice Islam at home.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
China Flexes Diplomatic Muscles to Match Growing Economic Size – Paul Haenle Noting the apparent contradictions in China’s foreign policy strategies, some say the Chinese believe that they can both win friends and territory, by following two disaggregated tracks: one that embarks on charm offensives using economic, trade, and development assistance; and one that employs military and law enforcement means to push hard on territorial claims. In this view, a rising China believes it can assert strongly its claims even if it causes frictions because ultimately, China’s economic lure will force countries to relent. This approach may work in the short term, but in the long run, it will foster rivalries, enhance strategic competition, and grow instabilities that will be damaging for both China and the region
Expect No Easing of ‘Chinese Whirlwind’ – WSJ A more likely explanation for the conciliatory rhetoric is that China has come to the realization that its neighbors don’t wish to be bullied into accepting a revived Sinocentric order in their part of the world. Yet that seems to be precisely what “connectivity” and “whirlwind” diplomacy are intended to achieve through peaceful means. By the time China has hooked the region into its expanding economic grid, America’s position in the region will have shrunk without a shot being fired.
China’s Indian Ocean Influence at Risk in Sri Lanka Election – Bloomberg “Rajapaksa has made it clear in public rhetoric and propaganda that China is our best friend,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives. “There’s a perception that the Chinese are underpinning misgovernance and corruption in the regime.”
“Pivot 2.0” | Center for Strategic and International Studies How the Administration and Congress Can Work Together to Sustain American Engagement in Asia to 2016
China, Bahamas pledge to boost cooperation – Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping and Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie pledged to boost cooperation between the two countries as they met on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People. “China attaches great importance to ties with the Bahamas,” Xi told the visiting prime minister, who is in Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum on Thursday.
China, Venezuela financing cooperation proceeding “smoothly”: spokesman – Xinhua China said on Wednesday that financing cooperation with Venezuela is going smoothly, following reports that Venezuela is seeking more loans from China to overcome economic recession. “China understands that falling oil prices have had an impact on Venezuela’s economy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily briefing. “Financing cooperation has been a powerful backup for large project cooperation between the two countries. Relevant financing cooperation is going smoothly,” Hong said, adding that China is willing to work with Venezuela to advance practical cooperation to benefit the people.
China Strives to Be on African Minds, and TV Sets – NYTimes.com In 2011, only two Chinese companies participated in Discop Africa, an important annual trade show for producers, buyers and distributors in the television industry in Africa. But by 2012, the number had jumped to 10, according to Variety magazine.
TECH AND MEDIA *
China nabs iPhone thieves who tunneled into warehouse – Xinhua Three Chinese men came up with a quicker way to get their hands on the latest iPhone 6: instead of queuing outside Apple outlets, they dug a hole into a warehouse. Beijing police said Wednesday that they had detained three men suspected of stealing 240 iPhone 6 handsets, valued at about 1.4 million yuan (228,496 U.S. dollars), from a Beijing warehouse. Police said the three men broke into the facility between Dec. 12 and 13 via a 50-cm hole dug out of the wall. One suspect surnamed Chang used to work as a driver for the logistics company that owned the warehouse and was familiar with the site.
Xiaomi’s Buying Spree Gives Apple, Samsung New Reasons to Sweat – Bloomberg On Dec. 1, Xiaomi participated in a $296 million investment in Internet data center services provider 21Vianet Group Inc. (VNET) Less than a week later, Xiaomi announced its first investment in the U.S. by participating in a $40 million funding of Misfit Wearables Corp., maker of products including the Shine activity-and-sleep tracker. “Lei has figured out he can empower other entrepreneurs to build interesting products and services in Xiaomi’s ecosystem,” said Hans Tung, an early Xiaomi investor, former board member and now managing partner of GGV Capital, which also invested in Misfit.
Facebook Slammed For ‘Censoring Truth About China’s Oppression’ A U.S.-based advocacy group has accused Facebook of muzzling freedom of speech after the social media giant deleted a Tibetan self-immolation video posted by a Tibetan activist and locked the account of an exiled Chinese writer who posted photos of a naked protest supporting jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) launched a petition Monday demanding Facebook explain its actions, noting that they were taken after China’s Internet censorship czar met with the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month.
A Chinese Company Is Already Making Fake Apple Watches And Proudly Displaying Them In Las Vegas – Business Insider The company that makes the fakes is called Hyperdon technologies. We grabbed their brochure. It’s filled with weird, bad Photoshops:
iPhones Sales Last Quarter Were Insane — Here’s How Apple Did It – Business Insider the big screens are key, seeing them everywhere in Beijing now // UBS says sales in China drove iPhone sales to new heights. “Recent data suggests that iPhone demand saw outsized growth in China, even finding that China could constitute as much as 35% of shipments in the quarter compared with 22% a year ago,” said UBS analyst Steven Milunovich.
Huawei Bets Americans Will Want Contract-Free Phones – Digits – WSJ A new smartphone brand is coming to the U.S. this year, and its name is “Honor.” The brand is a new effort by China’s Huawei Technologies to get a toehold in the U.S. market. While Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications gear maker and it sold 75 million smartphones globally last year, only a sliver came from the U.S.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
Tibetan language receives thousands new words, terminologies – Xinhua Nearly 1,500 new words and terms were given standardized Tibetan equivalents in 2014, the Tibetan language committee said Wednesday. Among the new terms are popular online phrases such as “lightning marriage”, which means getting married at the speed of lightning. The term was changed from the Chinese “Shan Hun” transliterated into “Dobdob Nyatri” when written in standardized Tibetan. New words related to politics and economy including “new normal” and “the Silk Road economic belt” have also been translated into Tibetan vocabulary, said Yezang, head of the agency for standardization of Tibetan terminology under the committee.
Hiring HIV/AIDS Sufferers to Intimidate People ‘Common in China’ – Caixin In late December, police in the central province of Henan arrested five people over a plot by a developer to form a team of HIV/AIDS sufferers to threaten with infection some residents who refused to make way for a building project. Yian Real Estate Development Co. hired a man to form a team of six people with HIV/AIDS to get residents off a parcel of land it had bought in the city of Nanyang. The man hired to form the group – which domestic media has taken to calling an “AIDS demolition team” – told the official Xinhua News Agency that he learned about the scheme online.
Kongfuzi: The Other Chinese Website You Should Know About » The LARB Blog But Alibaba is not the only website in China. In fact, it is not necessarily the best place for buying old Chinese books. For the collector, the academic, and the booklover — as Maggie Greene told reader’s of the China Beat, a precursor of sorts to this blog, back in 2011 — there is another web portal with more appeal: Kongfuzi. Named, appropriately, for the early Chinese philosopher Confucius, it is the largest website devoted to old Chinese books in the world. Its closest English-language equivalent is Alibris, a website offering new, used, and rare books along with music and other entertainment products.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
China to Boost Support for NGOs That Sue Environment Polluters – Bloomberg Environmental-
发改委下调风电电价 由原计划4分钱改为2分钱财经频道一财网 多 位知情人士透露，发改委近日已发出通知，
Hebei Farmers Dumping Milk They Can’t Sell as Industry Adjusts – Caixin Farmers in the northern province of Hebei have started dumping milk in recent months because dairy companies have been buying less of their product as the industry adjusts in the wake of the 2008 melamine scandal. Farmers said that starting in November dairy companies were buying only four-fifths of their daily output, The Beijing News reported.
经济参考网 – 资本下乡拿地准入办法年内将出 工商资本租赁农地或设时间和面积上限 工商资本下乡“玩农业”
FOOD AND TRAVEL *
Pet stores are pulling Chinese-made dog treats after years of mystery dog illnesses and deaths – The Washington Post Petco, one of the country’s largest pet retailers, announced on Monday that it has pulled all Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its shelves, citing concerns that the foreign made pet foods could be linked to a series of yet unexplained sicknesses and deaths among pet dogs in the United States. The move, the first by a national pet store, comes despite the FDA’s inability to tie the illnesses specifically to Chinese-made pet foods. And there’s reason to believe it might signify the beginning of a swift industry-wide precautionary movement away from such imports.
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