The Sinocism China Newsletter 01.16.15

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The current publication schedule is four-five issues per week, usually Monday-Thursday and then one over the weekend. Starting this weekend I will be testing a guest commentary edition.

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Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

1. China Targets 16 Military Officials for Graft as Xi Widens Probe – Bloomberg All of the officials to be snared were generals of various ranks, with the People’s Liberation Army taking the unusual step of releasing their names in a public statement on its official website. “This is the first time in the PLA’s history it has announced more than a dozen senior officer’s corruption cases in a single public statement,” said Yue Gang, a retired PLA colonel. “It shows military corruption is in such a critical condition that Xi has to make those cases public to seek the support of the people.”

Related:  军队纪委干部揭部队腐败潜规则:用人问题最明显新闻腾讯网 军纪委官员揭部队腐败潜规则,称军队的确存在腐败问题,表现最严重、部队反映最强烈的是用人问题。涉及高层将领时,首先要维护部队稳定,维护领导形象. // quite the propaganda rollout for the intensification of the corruption crackdown inside the PLA. Wonder how much of China’s annual defense spend is lost to corruption?

Related: 习近平批准清理整治全军经适房项目新闻腾讯网 本报北京1月15日电 朱汉华、记者张晓祺报道:经中央军委主席习近平批准,总政治部、总后勤部、军委纪委日前联合发出通知,决定利用两年时间,在全军和武警部队组织开展经济适用住房建设项目专项清理整治,旨在妥善解决住房建设管理中存在的遗留问题,彻底纠治住房方面的腐败问题和不正之风,坚决维护政策纪律的权威性和严肃性。

Related: Xi Jinping Consolidates Power by Promoting Alumni of the Nanjing Military Region | The Jamestown Foundation-Willy Lam [reposting from the 1.1.15 issue] Does the PLA actually publicize all its anti-corruption detentions? Because this does not jibe with what I am hearing through the grapevine// Compared to the dozens of ministerial-level cadres that the Party’s CCDI nabbed in 2013 and 2014, only three senior PLA officers have been put under investigation: General Xu Caihou, Lieutenant General Gu Junshan and Lieutenant General Yang Jinshan. That relatively few “tigers” have been disciplined in the army probably reflects Commander-in-Chief Xi’s anxiety to preserve unity among the top brass.

Related: 聚焦军方“打虎”新态势政经频道财新网 好的开始是成功的一半。新年伊始,十八届中央纪委五次全会和全军纪检工作会议谢幕次日,军方一口气公布了16名军级以上将领“组团落马”的消息。这是过去一年军队“打虎”的部分成绩单,也是2015年军队反腐的新起点。

2. Chinese Anticorruption Agency Investigates a Security Official – NYTimes In China, corruption investigations of senior officials are usually first done by the party’s own agency. Then officials are handed over to prosecutors for criminal investigation, which is almost invariably followed by trial, conviction and imprisonment. By taking down a senior functionary in the Ministry of State Security, Mr. Xi has defied expectations among some political insiders that his anticorruption drive could peter out after a year of spreading inquiries that felled powerful retired leaders.

Related: 安全部副部长马建被调查 已一月未现身政经频道财新网 近日,国家安全部另有人事调整的消息公之于众:唐朝履新国家安全部部长助理。据《检察日报》报道,2015年1月7日上午,最高人民法院、最高人民检察院在人民大会堂联合召开座谈会,纪念《中华人民共和国国家赔偿法》实施20周年。国家安全部部长助理唐朝参加座谈会。这是唐朝首次以国家安全部部长助理一职见诸于媒体报道。 国家安全部是国务院主管国家安全的组成部门。因其特殊性,不设对外官方网站,亦不公布其副部长、部务委员名单。但据官方媒体报道显示,现任部长为耿惠昌,副部长中至少有邱进、董海舟、马建等人,政治部主任为苏德良,部长助理为唐朝。

Related: China graft crackdown ensnares senior spy chief | Reuters Several of Ma’s men are also being questioned to assist with the investigation, a source with ties to the leadership told Reuters, without giving further details.

3. Macau Sex Ring Bust Shows China’s Expanding Crackdown on Graft – Bloomberg Police in the former Portuguese colony arrested Alan Ho, handcuffing him and covering his head with a black hood, for allegedly operating a prostitution ring out of the casino complex of his uncle, Stanley Ho. The elder Ho held a monopoly on gambling in Macau for four decades and SJM Holdings Ltd. (880), the company he founded, is still Asia’s biggest casino operator.

Related: 王岐山狠话砸向“自己人”:纪检监察再不作为咱要算算账了打虎记澎湃新闻-The Paper 今天(1月16日),中国纪检监察报刊文《中央纪委领导参加中央纪委五次全会分组讨论侧记》称,1月12日至14日,十八届中央纪委五次全会在京举行,全会召开期间还安排了四次分组会议,与会人员交流学习领会习近平总书记重要讲话精神的体会,讨论工作报告和全会公报(草案)。王岐山、赵洪祝等中央纪委领导同志分别参加了分组讨论。         文章还单独列出了王岐山在分组讨论时说的10句话。王岐山指出,别总是希望发文件把什么问题都解决了,那是不可能的,那是文牍主义。落实主体责任不需要再发文件,关键是敢不敢、愿不愿意把这个责任真正担起来!他强调,纪检监察战线也不平静,也有一些不作为、乱作为的问题。再不作为,咱们就要算算账了。         以下为全文:

Related: 人民日报:当前腐败和政治问题相互渗透,严重危害党的领导舆论场澎湃新闻-The Paper 中共第十八届中央纪委五次全会为当前反腐败斗争定调。1月16日,人民日报继续刊发评论员文章,题为《开弓没有回头箭——二论学习贯彻习近平同志在十八届中央纪委五次全会讲话》,文章指出,当前反腐败斗争形势严峻复杂,不仅已形成了“共腐关系圈”,更严重的是,有些人搞官商勾结、上下勾连,腐败问题和政治问题相互渗透,严重危害党的领导和党的团结统一。文章说,不得罪成百上千的腐败分子,就要得罪13亿人民,也要得罪听党话、守规矩的广大党员干部,这是一笔再明白不过的民心账、政治账。全文如下:

Related: In China’s Antigraft Campaign, Small Victories and Bigger Doubts – NYTimes.com In nearly two dozen interviews, many Chinese said that they thought Mr. Xi was serious about taming official graft and that party officials big and small had scaled back their most egregious abuses. But they also said they were convinced the problem would return once the antigraft juggernaut ran out of steam. “Corruption is something you can never completely root out. After you get rid of one group of officials, another group will take their place,” said Gong Qiang, a Beijing taxi driver in his 50s, who has seen his share of antigraft campaigns. “It’s like cutting a bunch of leeks; you cut them, and another batch will eventually surface.”// the always reliable taxi driver weathervane…

4. Year after Launch of Shanghai FTZ, Three New Zones Set to Open – Caixin Market participants and experts are waiting to see what new policies will be introduced in the new FTZs. The general plans for the three new zones have undergone many revisions in terms of location, area and even names, sources close to the matter say. The plans for the zones have almost been settled, and each has different features according to its geographic advantage, the sources said. However, the pilot measures for capital account liberalization applied to the Shanghai FTZ will not immediately be expanded to other regions…A researcher close to the Shanghai FTZ said the four zones are expected to compete with each other, and their ability to win supporting policies from Beijing will depend on the abilities of the respective local governments. Companies have a lot of options, and local officials will have to work to attract them, Liu said.

5. CDT eBook: Covering China from Cyberspace in 2014 – China Digital Times (CDT) CDT’s latest eBook, “Covering China from Cyberspace in 2014” is a yearbook of major events as seen through the eyes of Chinese censors and the netizens who are brave enough to defy them.//buy the book on Amazon

6. Good Times Are Over for Local Gov’ts – Caixin – Hu Shuli Two pieces of recent news have piqued the public’s interest. First, local governments reported their latest debt figures to the Ministry of Finance. The numbers have not been made public, but sources say many officials reported large amounts in an attempt to account for as much debt as possible. Second, in an attempt to revive the flagging property market, many local governments are easing requirements for the housing provident fund, which offers mortgages subsidized by the government. Some have also raised the loan-to-value ratio, extended loan periods and decreased the down-payment ratio for those buying their second property. These two pieces of news point to one conclusion: the good times are over for local governments.

7. Alibaba In Major Initiative To Court China Consumer For U.S. Retailers – Reuters Anchored by Alipay, the dominant Chinese electronic payments system that works closely with Alibaba and is controlled by its executives, the world’s largest Internet retailer is using the calling card of China’s consumers to attract U.S. partners, two sources close to the company told Reuters. ..Part of Alibaba’s aim is to counter official concerns about Chinese mega-corporations. In 2014, Alibaba hired former Treasury chief of staff James Wilkinson to help tailor its international strategy, and it has enlisted Korn Ferry to search for a Washington-based international government affairs chief.

8. HR Boss of Major Telecoms Supplier ‘Missing after Making Graft Allegations’ – Caixin The head of human resources at a major telecom equipment supplier who recently accused company executives of corruption has gone missing, several sources close to the situation say. Relatives and friends of Jia Lining, the 45-year-old human resources head at Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co. Ltd. (ASB), say they lost contact with him late on January 14, the sources said. His car was found on Yangpu Bridge, which crosses the Huangpu River in Shanghai, one of the sources said.

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

China unveils fresh support measures as economy shows renewed weakness | Reuters The central bank said it would lend 50 billion yuan ($8.1 billion) to banks at discounted rates to allow them to re-lend the money to farmers and small businesses – areas of the economy that are usually short of cash. The latest attempt to ease policy in a “targeted” manner to help the most vulnerable sectors came as data showed that foreign direct investment (FDI) in China rose just 1.7 percent in 2014, the slackest pace since 2012.

宝马和经销商们又谈崩了:到底是什么在逼他们频频“造反”澎湃商学院澎湃新闻-The Paper have talks between BMW and dealers collapsed over 2015 sales targets?  //  不久前宝马中国刚刚宣布以51亿元补贴“摆平”经销商的“造反”,但1月15日再次传出了宝马和部分经销商再度谈崩了的消息,原因是,双方对2015年的销售目标未能达成一致。

Shenzhen slaps sales ban on two more property developers | South China Morning Post “Shenzhen has become the most-targeted region by the anti-graft campaign and Kaisa’s recent default was triggered partly by the blockage of pre-sales,” said Edison Bian, the head of China property research at UOB Kay Hian. Bian said Shenzhen developers and large developers with heavy exposure in the region could be affected, especially those specialising in redevelopment projects, industrial site developments and commercial property developments in the city centre.

深圳规土委回应锁房源 分涉土地违法等四种情况财经频道一财网 Shenzhen Urban Planning Land and Resources Commission issues statement on why it halted sales  //  暂停房地产信息系统使用属于规划土地和房地产市场监管措施之一。《深圳经济特区规划土地监察条例》第三十九条规定,对涉及规划、土地违法行为的房地产,主管部门可作出限制其产权的决定。《深圳市房地产市场监管办法》第六十二条规定,主管部门在监督检查过程中发现房地产开发企业、经纪和估价机构及其从业人员有违反法律、法规及本办法规定行为的,可以暂停其使用信息系统。 此外,在协助司法机关查封、安居型商品房预售管理以及其它规划土地日常业务办理过程中,为保障购房者的合法权益、规范市场秩序和开发企业销售行为,主管部门也可临时锁定相关房源,待事项办理完毕后再解除锁定。 综上,房源锁定或限制产权可能存在以上多种原因,建议不应过度解读,以维护良好市场环境。

China Overseas Land Plunges After Sale of Homes Is Blocked – Bloomberg The Shenzhen authorities’ expanding restriction of property sales is fueling investor concern that developers are getting caught up in a government anti-corruption drive. Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. (1638), which this month missed a coupon payment on a $500 million bond and also had units barred from sale in the city, is being investigated for alleged links to Jiang Zunyu, Shenzhen’s former security chief who was taken into custody over a graft probe, according to two people familiar with the matter.

China’s Chengdu plans new $11 billion airport to ease congestion | Reuters Chengdu’s existing Shuangliu International Airport, first built in 1938, is the fifth busiest airport in the country and serves as a hub for inland China destinations for such carriers as Air China Co Ltd, AirAisia X Bhd and Korean Air Lines Co Ltd among others. Passenger throughput at the Shuangliu facility increased 12.8 percent to over 37 million last year, more than doubling the volume of 13.9 million in 2005. It could reach its designed capacity of 40 million as early as next year, according to some estimates.

China funds bring Chaos to metals markets – FT.com It is unclear how much money the funds made betting against copper on Wednesday or whether they have closed their bearish bets. But traders said the assault was “beautifully” timed, coming at a time of jitters on commodity markets because of the collapse in the oil price. Shanghai Chaos is just one of the Chinese entities active in commodity markets. Others include Hangzhou-based Dunhe, run by Ye Qingjun, known as China’s George Soros for parlaying a Rmb100,000 mortgage on his home in 2003 into a Rmb10bn ($1.6bn) fortune through a bet on a bull market in soybeans.

Shanghai Jin Jiang to buy France’s Louvre Hotels Group | Business Spectator The state-owned company, one of China’s biggest hotel groups, said in a statement late Wednesday it plans to buy Louvre Hotels Group from Starwood Capital Group, an international real-estate investment fund incorporated in the U.S., in a deal valued between €1.25 billion and €1.5 billion.

Fragile or fine, China continues to puzzle | Business Spectator Because of its vast savings pool, China won’t experience a precipitous financial collapse as America did in 2008. Its model of rigid resilience will continue. Just as Chinese media exaggerate problems elsewhere, outsiders can easily take a dark view of China. Adult Chinese have living memory of crisis and struggle; that is an antidote against fragility. Despite occasional external glimpses of frailty and utterances of humility, most Chinese remain convinced of their unstoppable rise. Fragility, either economic or political, would surely be a ‘black swan’ event in 2015.

Chinese premier to speak at WEF annual meeting – Xinhua Premier Li will share his views on addressing the current global economic situation for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth, vice foreign minister Li Baodong said at a briefing on the forthcoming WEF meeting. According to Li Baodong, Premier Li will deliver a speech at the meeting and meet representatives of the International Business Council in Davos. The premier will also meet individually with Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF. //will Rui Chenggang get to watch on TV?

Why China’s New Power-Use Record Isn’t as Electrifying As it Sounds-WSJ So why aren’t analysts impressed? The key indicator, they say, is the year-on-year growth numbers – and those don’t suggest a significant improvement, at least not yet. “The question is the growth – it’s the most important indicator and it’s in line with figures that show the economy is still slowing,” said investment bank North Square Blue Oak’s Miao Tian. In December, China’s electricity consumption rose 4.7% year-on-year, according to China Real Time’s calculations. That’s higher than every preceding month since June, but only restores the sector’s pace of growth to the same levels as in the first half of this year, when growth was still relatively anemic.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW

[视频]中共中央政治局常务委员会召开会议 听取全国人大常委会、国务院、全国政协、最高人民法院、最高人民检察院党组工作汇报 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议新闻频道央视网(cctv.com)

Beijing Urged to Make Pension Reform More Affordable for Local Gov’ts – Caixin Academics say Beijing should take a smaller portion of workers’ salaries under a plan to reform the country’s pension systems because local governments may not be able to afford paying the same amount that private-sector employees have been. The State Council, China’s cabinet, announced a plan for a new pension scheme for civil servants and those in the private sector on January 14. The unified system is to start in October. In the past, civil servants and workers in the public sector, such as doctors and teachers, have not made contributions to their pension fund, but they get higher payments out of public coffers than private-sector workers.

Cartoons Spoofing Corrupt Politicians in China Anger City – NYTimes On Monday, Xingsha Times, a newspaper based in Changsha, reported that 33 cartoons, some featuring life-size characters, covered the walls alongside Dong Liu Road between two intersections. On Thursday, another local paper, Xiaoxiang Morning News, said the identity of the artist, or artists, was unknown. It was unclear when the images were painted. The Xingsha Times quoted a city official who, while acknowledging that the cartoons aimed to combat corruption, denounced them as going too far.

Xi’s advice to youngsters on dealing with stress draws debate – People’s Daily Online Chinese President Xi Jinping has advised young people to avoid staying up late or becoming too stressed at work when meeting the country’s county-level officials. The advice has drawn heated response from Internet users on microblog Weibo after the anecdote and video were posted on People’s Daily’s official account Wednesday. In the video, Xi recalled the huge pressures county officials must bear, speaking from experience as a county Party chief early in his career.

Former Nanjing mayor stands trial – – China Daily Ji Jianye, former mayor of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, stood trial on Friday morning. He is being tried in the Yantai Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong Province. The court began at 8:30 am. Ji is suspected of accepting bribes and abusing power, according to a previous statement by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Ji, 57, is accused of taking bribes of 20 million yuan ($3.3 million) and allegedly gave the green light to friends who had projects to be approved by him when he worked in Suzhou, Kunshan, Yangzhou and Nanjing cities in Jiangsu.

知情人披露季建业岳父举报杨卫泽原因_凤凰资讯 once Ji Jianye was detained his father-in-law made accusations against Yang Weize…no honor among corrupt officials? 

人民日报人民论坛:不该忘的是哪个“本”?–观点–人民网 有些干部片面地理解“知恩图报”,滥用公权,搞起了衣锦还乡、封妻荫子那一套。“一人得道鸡犬升天”,老宅修葺新、祖坟守护好、公路专门通,甚至竟以此为贿。什么同乡会、本家帮,乌烟瘴气,严重污染了党内正常氛围。往轻了说,是拎不清公与私;往重了说,就是私心作祟、私欲膨胀,以“顾本”之名,行“忘本”之实。

人民日报人民时评:整治“红顶中介”要斩断公权私欲–观点–人民网 “红顶中介”现象虽是怪胎,倒也有其成因。逐利自肥的甜头,很容易导致不安分的手变着法子地伸出来。要害在于,伸出来的“多余的手”,能不能及时被发现,会不会肆无忌惮可以左抓一把右抓一把,最终是否要付出沉重的代价——回答好这三个问题,也是简政放权改革所需要的配套措施。

姚增科从中纪委“空降”天津任纪委书记(图)新闻腾讯网 [摘要]姚增科在中纪委工作逾30年,2012年成为中纪委常委,他是半年内第二位空降到地方担任纪委书记的中纪委官员。此前,监察部副部长黄晓薇“空降”山西,出任山西省纪委书记。 //  New Tianjin Discipline and Inspection Commission Secretary transferred from CCDI. Zhang Gaoli at all nervous about what could be found in Tianjin?

习近平内部反腐狠话首次公开:恶竹应须斩万竿新闻腾讯网 近日,《习近平关于党风廉政建设与反腐败斗争论述摘编》一书面世。这本书中,有许多论述都是首次向社会公布。 从这本书“首次”公布的论述中,我们有两个突出感受,一是说话“狠”,让腐败官员闻之胆战心惊,二是表述使用“大白话”、接地气,更鲜明生动地体现出习近平对实际情况的深刻了解、对惩治腐败的坚强决心。 本报从该书中摘编了8个方面的论述,同读者分享这些精彩表达。

辽宁省政府副秘书长魏俊星被查 在铁岭任职28年新闻腾讯网 Wei Junxing, vice secretary general of the Liaoning Provincial government, under investigation. He worked in Tieling for 28 years

安徽蚌埠纪检干部谈话期间死亡,家属称死者四根肋骨断裂直击现场澎湃新闻-The Paper Bengbu, Anhui discipline inspection cadre dies while being interrogated, family says he had 4 broken ribs  //  46岁的安徽蚌埠淮上区纪检干部丁汀死了,他死在蚌埠市纪委找其谈话期间。 他的妻子王春华1月15日告诉澎湃(www.thepaper.cn),丈夫2014年12月18日晚被人以谈工作为由从家中喊走,夫妻失联5天后,12月22日她得到丁汀死亡的讯息。

媒体盘点:九位少数民族“中央委员”现任何职|党组织|党员_凤凰资讯 北京青年报记者梳理发现,包括努尔·白克力在内,中共十八届中央委员会现有9位少数民族委员.这9位中央委员来自7个民族,分别是蒙古族、壮族、回族、藏族、满族、维吾尔族、朝鲜族。其中蒙古族中央委员最多,有3位。

Xi’s book on governance sells 3 million – Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book on governance has sold more than 3 million copies since its release in September 2014, the book’s publisher announced on Friday. As of Thursday, total sales of the book titled “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” reached 3.17 million, including 2.95 million Chinese version copies and 225,000 copies in foreign languages, according to the Foreign Languages Press.  //  only about 1 billion fewer copies than Mao’s little red book, for those who believe Xi is pushing a Mao-like cult of personality…3 million after all this publicity seems pretty low, especially given that there are 80m+ Party members.

Turkey Casts Doubt on Chinese Account of Turks’ Arrests in Smuggling Plot – NYTimes the details given by the Turkish Foreign Ministry made no reference to either terrorism-related charges or terrorist suspects. Rather, the ministry said that 10 people — eight men and two women — had been detained by security officials in Shanghai on Nov. 17 on suspicion of “organizing people for illegal border crossings.” Among the 10 detained were a father and a daughter as well as a married couple, the ministry said. It said that nine of the Turks had arrived in Shanghai on Nov. 5 and that one entered China on Nov. 15.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China steps up cooperation with US to bring home economic fugitives amid anti-graft drive | South China Morning Post The news emerged on Friday, amid a two-day seminar that began in Beijing on Thursday, during which Chinese and US officials discussed their experiences in China’s hunt for such fugitives who had fled overseas. China’s Ministry of Public Security had invited federal prosecutors from the US Justice Department and senior agents from the US Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service to attend the seminar, Xinhua reported.

兰州军区副政委范长秘中将被查 长期在西北工作政经频道财新网 deputy political commissar of Lanzhou military district under investigation, interesting name // 【财新网】(记者 郭清媛)军队权威部门今天对外公布了2014年军队查处军级以上干部重大贪腐案件情况。具有26年政工文宣工作经历的兰州军区副政委范长秘中将因涉嫌违法犯罪,被军事检察机关立案侦查。

The China-CELAC Summit: Opening a New Phase in China-Latin America-U.S. Relations? President Hu’s high-profile trip to South America in 2004, for example, gave rise to hearings in both houses of the US Congress in 2005. In a similar fashion, the just-concluded China-CELAC summit seems well-timed to attract the attention of the 114th Congress, which began work on January 6th with the Republican Party in control of both the House and Senate. Beyond the current season, as the U.S. looks toward the 2016 Presidential election, accusations that the Clinton and Obama administrations have neglected Chinese encroachment in the Americas not only resonates with the strength of the Republican Party on security issues, but also provides the Party with a positive way to engage with the increasingly powerful Hispanic portion of the U.S. electorate. Yet even if the likely Democratic Party frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, wins in 2016, PRC activities in the Western Hemisphere may receive greater scrutiny from the administration.

Thailand to build railway project with China in September- China Daily Thailand has tentatively decided to begin building its first standard-gauge railways in cooperation with China in September, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said on Thursday. Two dual-track rail lines, with a total length of more than 800 km, will be built to connect northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province

U.S. Publisher Rebuffs Japan on ‘Comfort Women’ Revision – China Real Time Report – WSJ New York-based McGraw-Hill Education said in a statement Thursday that representatives of the Japanese government asked the company to revise text on “comfort women” in a book titled “Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past.” “Scholars are aligned behind the historical fact of ‘comfort women’ and we unequivocally stand behind the writing, research and presentation of our authors,” it said.

China’s influence in Sri Lanka, despite a new government, will remain unchanged – India Today While Sirisena’s pre-election warnings have made headlines,they have not caused much concern in China.”It is by no means a downturn of Sino-Sri Lankan relations as some expect,”says Han Hua, a leading South Asia scholar at Peking University. Like many of her colleagues, Han doesn’t import too much significance to what’s said in the hurlyburly of election campaigning, whether in Washington ,New Delhi or Colombo.   The reality is, Chinese officials say, Sri Lanka simply doesn’t have many other options considering its precarious finances and China’s financial might. “Nobody would like to miss China’s offers of investment,”Han says.Sirisena himself has been inclined towards Beijing, she adds, evident in the self-described Socialist’s “ideological background”.”As minister,” Han says, “he embraced the Chinese approach to development”

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: Congressional Action on Hong Kong Set to Roil US-China Relations Buried in the massive 1,600-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that was signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2014, is a provision requiring the Department of State to resume reporting under the terms of the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. A report on Hong Kong covering topics such as the development of democratic institutions, change in the exercise of sovereignty, and bilateral relations with the United States must be submitted to Congress no later than January 31. The Department of State is currently drafting the report and will submit it by the deadline imposed by Congress. The last time a report was filed under the Hong Kong Policy Act was in 2007.

Letter from Taiwan: we report on the island’s latest architecture projects | Architecture | Wallpaper* Magazine Construction is booming on the island of Taiwan. A number of recent, high profile competitions in the region have led to several major commissions that involve work by a wealth of well-known international architects. The result? A wave of new, architecturally inspiring public and private buildings are starting to take shape across the island.

Press Freedom in Hong Kong Under Threat, Report Says – NYTimes.com The report by the PEN American Center, a New York-based writers’ group, catalogs developments that it says amount to an alarming erosion of Hong Kong’s tradition of freewheeling news media, including self-censorship: journalists avoiding topics or skewing coverage at the behest of superiors.

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA

Chinese Directors’ Guild Urges Reforms, Launch of Film Ratings System – The Hollywood Reporter China’s Film Directors’ Guild has issued a strident online manifesto urging widescale industry reforms, including a call for the establishment of a ratings system. This would make clearing censorship easier and could help Hollywood films looking to enter the world’s second-largest film market. The appeal went out on the Sina Weibo social network after a meeting of mainland Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong directors earlier this month,

Xiaomi to invest in Indian start-ups, overseas content | Reuters Xiaomi has had mixed success in India. Sales of its handsets were suspended there after telecoms equipment maker Ericsson filed a complaint alleging infringement of intellectual property rights. Partial sales were permitted from December though the case is yet to be settled. Barra dismissed concern that overseas expansion could be stalled by allegations of IP violation, and said Ericsson’s lawsuit doesn’t affect day-to-day operations. “We have licensed a lot of intellectual property already,” he said. Xiaomi licenses others’ intellectual property, but some claims made against the company are illegitimate and Xiaomi will fight those, Barra said.

With Profits Down, China Mobile Opens Digital Content Subsidiary – Caixin China Mobile launched a subsidiary on January 15 to run its digital content businesses, as the country’s largest telecoms company operator in terms of user numbers sees fewer profits from its traditional business. The new company, Migu Culture and Technology Group Co., will handle business that offer video streaming, music, e-books, gaming and comics. In the past, China Mobile had provincial-level branches operate these businesses. The new company’s name comes from the music service, which has more than 100 million users.

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Eating Alone in China – The New Yorker Yanni Cai, the author of a new book called “Eating Alone,” might understand the impulse. The book, published last fall in China, is a follow-up to a series of short videos, by the same name, “dedicated to the art of cooking for yourself.” Cai, a thirty-something former magazine editor who lives in Shanghai and is unmarried—or, in the ugly parlance of practical-minded Chinese, a “leftover woman”—came up with the idea two years ago, after one too many embarrassing experiences at restaurants where the staff disdained her solo patronage and refused to pack up her leftovers. Rude, perhaps, but not uncommon in a culture where cooking (and dining) is an inherently social function, centered upon the idea of community.

Finer Chinese tastes light up cigar craze-China Daily According to the economic section of the Cuban embassy in Beijing, 285,000 Cuban cigars were shipped to China in 2013. Habanos S.A., the arm of the Cuban state tobacco company, proclaimed an 8 percent jump of its global sales in 2013 due to strong demand from the Chinese market, even while the world still faces both economic crises and antismoking campaigns. Before 2012, the number of cigars allowed to be imported was 800,000 – a quota that changed to 1.3 million in 2013.

Nearly 75% of Chinese Women Want Their Mate to Earn Double Their Salary: Survey – WSJ That’s the upshot of a survey released this week by Chinese dating website Baihe.com, which found that nearly 72% of female respondents wanted future husbands who owned real estate, up from just over 68% in 2012. And nearly three-quarters of the women hoped their future husband earned at least twice what they did, down slightly from 2012.

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Short sellers feel the heat from Chinese solar group Hanergy – FT.com Short sellers are sitting on potential losses of more than $300m in a little-known Chinese solar company whose stock has soared in spite of their heavy bets to the contrary. Shares in Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin Film Power Group have more than doubled in the past six months, giving the distributor of solar equipment a market capitalisation of almost $15bn — almost as much as the three biggest US solar companies combined.

‘Little Emperors’ Wage War on China’s Deadliest Killers – Bloomberg One boy chose to empty the family’s kitchen salt jar into the toilet, leaving his parents furious. Another student hid his mother’s salt and then promptly forgot where he had put it. But in a little under four months, the salt intake of participants had plunged by a quarter. Across China, salty stews and hotpots are popular dinner fare, and an estimated 270 million Chinese now suffer from hypertension. In 2013, stroke was the number one killer in China, with ischaemic heart disease taking the second most number of years from Chinese lives prematurely, according to a global mortality report published by the Lancet in December.

Electric car chargers installed on Beijing-Shanghai expressway – Xinhua The construction of electric vehicle charging stations along the 1,262-km expressway that links Beijing and Shanghai finished on Thursday. State Grid, one of China’s two grid corporations, built 50 quick-charging stations along the route, making it the country’s first cross-city charging network. Each of the stations has eight charging poles capable of fully charging an electric car in 30 minutes. All electric cars that meet Chinese standards can use the charging facilities.

AnchorAGRICULTURE

习近平:审慎稳妥推进土地制度改革宏观中证网 财新网报道,国土资源部官员近日在第二届“中国当代土地法律热点问题研讨会”上披露,习近平主席在南美进行国事访问途中看到大量在农村破产后涌入城市的流民,他特意对国土资源部提出要求,在推进土地制度改革中一定要审慎稳妥推进。

AnchorFOOD AND TRAVEL

China Debates How to Manage Unruly Airline Passengers – NYTimes Other editorials have said the current punishments are too weak, and suggested increasing the fines and possible jail terms for those who disrupt flights. In the United States, passengers who try to open emergency doors often face federal charges of damaging an aircraft and interfering with a flight crew, which can carry prison terms of up to 20 years. Such cases are often settled with probation and fines of as much as $60,000.

Man who ‘mistakenly’ deployed emergency slide on plane to pay 35,000 RMB: Shanghaiist A man who opened an emergency exit on a plane and deployed an inflatable escape slide (no, not this guy) has agreed to pay the airline 35,000 yuan for damages. The passenger was onboard China West Airlines flight PN6272 from Lhasa to Chongqing. At around 6:30 p.m. on Monday, just after the flight landed at Chongqing’s Jiangbei International Airport, the “middle-aged” man opened the emergency exit over the port wing, prompting the inflatable slide to deploy. The passenger later said he’d misunderstood crew staff’s instructions and opened the door “by mistake”.

China Private Equity, M&A & Capital Markets, from China First Capital The secret is out. Chinese now know, in far greater numbers than before, that the favorite brand of the favorite staple food of hundreds of millions of them is made by a huge American company, General Mills, best known for sugar-coated cereals served to American children. (See my earlier article here.) In the current issue of China’s weekly business magazine Caijing is my Chinese-language article blowing the cover off the well-hidden fact that China’s tastiest and most popular brand of frozen dumplings, known in Chinese as 湾仔码头, “Wanzai Matou”, is made by the same guys who make Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms in the US.

Shanghai May Offer China’s First Departure Tax Rebate for Tourists | TheNanfang The proposal was brought forward by the municipal finance department last month at a conference on tourism development. As it currently stands, the proposed tax rebate would apply to any foreign visitor (including those from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) who has not stayed in China for more than 183 days. To qualify for the rebate, tourists would need to buy something worth at least RMB 800 at a designated store and then leave the country within 90 days.

AnchorBEIJING

震惊 网曝中央领导座驾长安街撞车致一死_中国-多维新闻网 据称,在京A牌照中,京A8系列是部级领导身份的标志,也京城里权贵阶层的符号。京A8的牌号资源相对比较丰富,在九二式牌照开始发行时就留了京A80、81、82的号段专门给中办、国管、中警、市委使用,这个时期基本上都是公务车。后来有些够级别的领导都开始找国管局 要这个牌子,还有一些手眼通天的商界人士也拿到了这块牌子,各个号段里都有。这些车里面什么奔驰宝马奥迪路虎保时捷,什么好车都有,甚至还有劳斯莱斯宾利迈巴赫这样的最顶级豪车。 所以,京A81、82开头的也特牛。京A83有说是北京市政府的,也有说是是中央办公厅的,总之是好使部门的。

Beijing scraps taxi fuel surcharge – Xinhua Starting from Jan. 15, 2015, passengers will not pay the one-yuan (0.16 U.S. dollar) per trip fuel surcharge that is added to taxi fares, said a statement from the Beijing commission of development and reform. Adjustment of taxi meters will take place from Jan. 15 to Jan. 21

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