The Sinocism China Newsletter 01.19.16

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Police smashes illegal organization jeopardizing China’s national security – Xinhua According to a statement from Chinese police and national security authorities, the Swedish national, identified as Peter Jesper Dahlin, and another person have been operating an unregistered organization on the Chinese mainland in the name of an “emergency rights aid group,” receiving unregulated huge sums of money from seven overseas organizations and carrying out unregulated activities.

Related: 我国执法部门破获一起危害国家安全案件 彼得等犯罪嫌疑人被依法采取刑事强制措施-新华网 经查明,2009年8月,彼得伙同北京锋锐律师事务所律师王全璋(涉嫌犯罪,已另案处理)等人,在香港注册成立名为“Joint Development Institute Limited”(简称JDI)的机构,在境内以“中国维权紧急援助组”的名义活动,未履行任何注册备案程序,资金入境和活动完全脱离正常监管。该组织长期接受某外国非政府组织等7家境外机构的巨额资助,按照这些境外机构设计的项目计划,在中国建立10余个所谓“法律援助站”,资助和培训无照“律师”、少数访民,利用他们搜集我国各类负面情况,加以歪曲、扩大甚至凭空捏造,向境外提供所谓“中国人权报告”。同时,该组织通过被培训的人员,插手社会热点问题和敏感案事件,蓄意激化一些原本并不严重的矛盾纠纷,煽动群众对抗政府,意图制造群体性事件。该组织曾经资助的幸清贤与境外勾连、策划组织锋锐律师事务所律师王宇之子偷越国边境。幸清贤涉嫌犯罪被另案处理。彼得对上述情况供认不讳 //  Xinhua Chinese with more details of accusations against Peter Jesper Dahli, says he has confessed, now under residential surveillance

Related: Swedish Rights Worker Held in China Said to Apologize for His Actions – The New York Times It said Mr. Dahlin admitted to writing reports without “real or full facts.” It also said that the lawyer and activists trained by the group “got involved in hot-topic issues and sensitive cases, and intentionally escalated conflicts and disputes that were originally not severe.” “It instigated the people to confront the government and produce mass incidents,” the article said. Mr. Dahlin and his group appeared to have been caught up in the Chinese government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, a campaign centered on putting pressure on the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Xinhua said Mr. Dahlin’s partner, Wang Zhangquan, was a member of that firm.

Related:  China’s pursuit of rights lawyers signals aggressive push against ‘subversion’ | World news | The Guardian Decision to charge human rights advocates with a crime that could lead to life in prison is a major escalation in war on Communist party’s perceived foes  //  any question China is now seeing its worst wave of repression since post 6.4.89? And is it just a wave or with the new laws is it better codified and now the “new normal”? Are investors paying attention to this?

2. Xi arrives in Saudi Arabia, starts 3-nation Mideast visit – Xinhua | This is the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to Saudi Arabia in seven years. Xi will also travel to Egypt and Iran on his first overseas visit this year that lasts from Jan. 19 to 23.

Related: Saudi Arabia and Iran Tussle Over Exports to China – WSJ With Western sanctions over its nuclear program lifted, Iran is preparing to boost its oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day. It is aiming much of that crude at China, Iranian officials say, a country that continued to buy its oil during three years of sanctions but at diminished levels. China “used to be Iran’s largest buyer during the sanctions,” Amir-Hossein Zamaninia, a deputy petroleum minister in Iran, told state media last weekend. “Iran’s priority is to win back its market share.”

Related:  Commentary: China not outsider in Middle East – Xinhua China’s first Arab Policy Paper, issued at a time when the Middle East is stuck in a quagmire of war and terrorism, has effectively refuted Western critics that the country is an outsider in the region.

Related: Full text of China’s Arab Policy Paper – Xinhua The Chinese government on Wednesday issued its first Arab policy paper. Following is an English version of the paper // 中国对阿拉伯国家政策文件(全文)-新华网 

Related:  Is Xi Jinping the man to defuse tensions in the Middle East? Landmark visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia revealed | South China Morning Post China’s President Xi Jinping is to embark on a whirlwind visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in his first diplomatic trip of the year amidst escalating tensions in the region.

Related: 人民日报:为中东和平发展注入强大正能量–观点–人民网 写在2016年习近平主席首次出访之际 国纪平

3. CSRC Says Report about Xiao Gang Offering to Resign Is Wrong-Caixin The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on January 18 on its social media account that a “Reuters report about our chairman, Xiao Gang, tendering his resignation does not accord with the facts.” “We have contacted Reuters and demanded they make a correction,” the regulator said on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter…A person close to the regulator said the chairman was unlikely to resign now because a team from the party’s graft watchdog that started examining CSRC officials last year as part of a campaign to fight corruption has not completed it work. “The timing is inappropriate for the CSRC chairman to resign even if he offered to,” he said. // don’t forget the latest round of CCDI inspections has teams in all the financial regulators and main financial institutions. Fear and uncertainty inside those organizations certainly can’t be helping to mollify the fear and uncertainty in the markets, and in fact is likely contributing to the regulatory dysfunction

Related: Exclusive: China’s chief stock regulator has offered to resign – sources | Reuters Xiao, 57, tendered his resignation as CSRC chairman last week after his brainchild – a “circuit breaker” mechanism to limit market losses – was blamed for exacerbating a sharp sell-off, a source with ties to the leadership and a financial industry source told Reuters. The “circuit breaker” was deactivated on Jan. 7, just three days after its introduction. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) denied Xiao had offered to resign. “This information does not conform to the facts,” it said via Weibo, a popular microblogging site. // And Reuters’ Weibo account shuttered. Reuters did not appear to even note an update with the CSRC denial, just added the paragraph noting it?

Related: China’s Securities Czar Casts Wide Blame for Market Turmoil – WSJ Xiao Gang blames volatility on immature market, inexperienced investors, flawed mechanisms and inappropriate supervision

4. Taiwan’s election results, explained | Brookings Institution There will no doubt be extensive and useful analysis on what the election means, particularly on the underlying preferences of the Taiwan public. But attention is already shifting to the policies that the new administration will pursue, and whether they will complicate relations on the three sides of the Taiwan-China-United States triangle.

Related: ‘Progressive, tolerant and diverse’: How Taiwan is moving ever farther from China – The Washington Post Not only did Tsai Ing-wen become Taiwan’s first female president, and the most powerful woman in the Chinese-speaking world, she is also the first woman to run an Asian country who is not the child of a political dynasty. Sure, we have or have had women running South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and (in Sonia Gandhi) calling all the shots in India, but all owed their positions at least in part to being sisters, widows or daughters of previous rulers.

Related: Assessing the Outcomes and Implications of Taiwan’s January 2016 Elections with Joseph Wu | Center for Strategic and International Studies Secretary General, Democratic Progressive Party

5. Corrupt officials in key posts top anti-graft target: communique – Xinhua China’s top anti-graft body on Thursday identified corrupt officials on key posts as priority targets of the graft-busting campaign in a communique. The communique was issued after the sixth plenary session of the 18th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was held from Tuesday to Thursday. It said in the general work requirements for 2016 that those who hold important posts and are likely to be further promoted but have not stepped back from their serious corrupt behaviors will be “top priority.” // last week, seemed a bit under-covered, still don’t seem to be signs the corruption and discipline crackdown is easing

Related:  图解:习近平总书记在中央纪委六次全会上的重要讲话—中央纪委监察部网站 CCDI publishes infographic of Xi’s speech at recent CCDI Plenum

Related:  图解:十八届中央纪委六次全会公报————要闻——中央纪委监察部网站 CCDI publishes infographic of communique from recent CCDI Plenum

Related:  [视频]中国共产党第十八届中央纪律检查委员会第六次全体会议公报新闻频道央视网(cctv.com) CCTV evening news on the CCDI Plenum communique

Related:  China vows to keep high pressure on corruption – Xinhua | “Strict governing is a form of deep love, and curing illnesses is done to save people’s lives,” it said, stressing that disciplinary departments have a crucial role to play in “educating a majority by punishing a minority.” Stressing Party management according to both ethics and discipline, the communique highlighted Party constitution as the fundamental code of conduct for all Party members.

Related:  China to fight corruption affecting people’s immediate interests – Xinhua The Communist Party of China (CPC)’s top anti-graft body has highlighted the task of combating corruption that damages people’s immediate interests in 2016, according to a communique issued after an anti-graft meeting that ended Thursday.

6. A crackdown on Hong Kong booksellers reflects the deep divides in China’s Communist Party – Quartz In early 2015, central authorities issued instructions to the police and state security units “regarding silencing and eradicating publishers in Hong Kong which are putting out ‘anti-China’ and ‘destabilizing’ political materials,” Lam said, citing sources in Beijing. Since then, “state security personnel have visited Hong Kong publishers in person warning them not to publish certain books.”

Related: Missing Man Back in China, Confessing to Fatal Crime – The New York Times Mr. Gui’s whereabouts was unknown for three months, though many suspected he had been taken to mainland China. On Sunday, China’s state-owned television broadcaster aired a 10-minute segment alleging that in December 2003, Mr. Gui was driving drunk and struck and killed a young woman in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo.

Related: China Accounts For Two Missing Booksellers Amid Calls For Further Probes in Hong Kong Hong Kong’s government has moved to play down fears that Chinese law enforcement agencies now operate freely within the city’s separate jurisdiction as police in the neighboring province of Guangdong confirmed they are holding one of five Hong Kong booksellers missing since last October.

7. Chinese Are the Most Optimistic People in the World, Says Poll | The Nanfang Conducted by UK polling platform, YouGov, the survey looked at 17 countries including the United States, Great Britain and Australia. When asked if they thought the world was getting better or worse, 41 percent of Chinese answered “better”, almost double that of Indonesia, the 2nd place country, where 23 percent of respondents answered “better”. The percentage of Chinese that believe the world is getting better is four times the global average at just 10 percent.

8. 我国“水荒”成为南北共同话题 水生态恶化堪忧新闻腾讯网 人均水资源占有量仅为世界平均水平的28%、正常年份全国缺水量达500多亿立方米、近2/3城市不同程度缺水、全国地下水超采面积约30万平方公里……翻看我国水资源“家底”,水荒问题触目惊心。 //  Xinhua on China’s water crisis, which some of the smartest China watchers I know say is the PRC’s biggest challenge bar none

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

U.S. Treasury Chief Has a New Phone-Friend on Yuan in China – Bloomberg Business Lew has a new telephone partner: Liu He, one of President Xi Jinping’s top advisers. That’s who he spoke with in the past week to discuss China’s communications about its currency policy, according to a Treasury statement released late Sunday in Washington. The change in interlocutors has caught the attention of observers who see a telling sign of Xi’s increasing influence at the expense of the State Council, the Chinese cabinet led by Premier Li Keqiang. // always good to talk to those with a direct line to the decider

China Gets More Than Ever From Services, Just Not Enough – Bloomberg Business The sector accounted for 50.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2015, the most on record, government data showed Tuesday. The bad news is that the gain also reflects declines in swathes of China’s industrial complex plagued by too much expansion in previous years. Output of everything from steel to cement to electricity fell.

China Is Getting Less and Less Bang for Its Credit Buck – Bloomberg Business The flashing yellow light: there’s less and less power behind policy makers’ stimulus. For each $1 in credit expansion, China added the equivalent of 27 cents of gross domestic product last year, the least since 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from government figures released Tuesday. As recently as 2011, each $1 generated 59 cents.

China central bank to inject $91 billion to ease liquidity strains | Reuters Liquidity conditions often tighten ahead of the week-long new year holiday and the central bank usually injects large amounts of cash into the banking system prior to the festivities to keep rates steady. The first day of the new year is Feb. 8.

China’s great economic shift needs to begin – FT.com – Martin Wolf The reality is that the Chinese economy is not becoming consumption-led. Indeed, given the low share of households in GDP, it cannot be consumption-led. It continues to be heavily dependent on debt-financed investment. The authorities face a dilemma: either continue to drive wasteful growth or push through radical reforms that might be destabilising in the short term but fruitful in the long term

China borrowing surges in December – FT.com New borrowing — including bank loans, bonds and off-balance sheet lending — totalled Rmb1.7tn ($260bn) last month, according to the central bank’s broadest gauge of credit flows to the real economy. That is the biggest increase since January

How China’s Stock Crash Put Its Biggest Broker in Beijing’s Cross Hairs – WSJ Some foreign financial players associated with Citic Securities now won’t set foot in China for fear they could get dragged into its difficulties, say people familiar with the situation. Others are bracing for messy legal battles over accounts the firm manages.

中信证券大换血 张佑君正式出任董事长金融频道财新网 董事会各专门委员会成员名单面世,执委会委员名单尚未出炉,新设首席风险官一职,续聘合规总监、董秘 //  new management at CITIC Securities

China Gets $37 Billion Closer to Taking the U.S.’s Tech Crown – Bloomberg Business Venture capitalists poured a record $37 billion into China startups last year, more than double the previous year’s tally, as the country emerges as a legitimate challenger to the U.S. for leadership of the technology industry. The surge came as venture firms invested in 1,555 China deals, according to London consultancy Preqin Ltd.The pace of deals slowed in the fourth quarter, with the value of investments dropping about 40 percent amid a shakeout in Internet services.

Project Honey: Sweet Appomattox deal turned sour for Virginia, McAuliffe – News – Mobile An investigation by The Roanoke Times found: State analysts relied on a company website produced in China featuring misleading information, including the listing of a North Carolina address where the company never was located and production photographs and text lifted from an unaffiliated American company. Text similar to material on the website appeared in a pre-approval request to the state commerce secretary and a briefing for the governor before his meeting in Beijing with a project principal. Officials also relied on a site consultant who vouched for the company but hadn’t asked basic background questions, such as the company’s address in China, until shortly before the deal was closed. Approached by the same players in 2013, North Carolina officials made checks and asked questions that Virginia officials did not. Only after the project appeared to stall did Virginia officials ask for company financial statements.

China presses banks to tighten capital outflows – sources | Reuters Chinese regulators are tightening restrictions on cross-border outflows from banks, people with direct knowledge told Reuters, the latest in a series of steps by Beijing to stem speculation and slow capital flight as the currency weakens. Financial authorities have asked banks in coastal cities not to let outflows from yuan-denominated capital pools exceed the size of those pools at any given time, the people said, which would lead to net negative positions.

Clicks, Perks for China’s New Luxury Shoppers-Caixin More shoppers than ever are buying Hermes clutches and Christian Dior makeup by simply clicking a mouse at a time when demand for luxury goods in China and around the world is cooling down. That’s a one-two punch that has retail stores reeling.

CRC Announces It Plans to Continue Spending Big This Year-Caixin Operator of country’s railroads says it will invest more than 800 billion yuan on infrastructure in 2016, just as it did in past two years

Rhodium Group » Chinese FDI in the US: 2015 Recap A strong fourth quarter has pushed Chinese FDI in the US to a new record level of $15.7 billion in 2015, up 30% from last year. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity was particularly strong with 103 deals worth $14 billion. Greenfield investment also reached an all-time high of $1.8 billion in 2015, as several projects with large capex broke ground or made significant progress.

China Home-Price Recovery Spreads to More Cities Amid Easing – Bloomberg Business New-home prices climbed in 39 cities, compared with 33 in November, among the 70 cities tracked by the government, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. They dropped in 26 cities, compared with 27 in November, and were unchanged in five.

Stop China’s Market Manipulations – The New York Times Based on my interviews, Chinese officials believe these steps are preserving economic stability and facilitating gradual change, while investors who see policies change constantly with little apparent rationale have had their confidence in officials’ ability badly shaken.

Well-Funded Unigroup Chips Away at Tech Sector-Caixin A Beijing-based conglomerate vying for what could be the largest-ever acquisition of a foreign company by a Chinese buyer is tapping a multi-billion yuan war chest and riding China’s push into semiconductor chip manufacturing. Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd.’s buyout fund, with which it hopes to purchase U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc., the world’s third-largest maker of semiconductor memory chips, includes 30 billion yuan in cash and 10 billion yuan from a Ministry of Finance fund, Unigroup Chairman Zhao Weiguo told Caixin in an exclusive interview in late December. // CFIUS should block

Qualcomm unveils $280 million joint venture with Chinese province | Reuters Qualcomm officials in Beijing signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the government of Guizhou province and announced the Guizhou Huaxintong Semi-Conductor Technology Co Ltd, a joint venture with initial capital of 1.85 billion renminbi. Qualcomm also will establish an investment company in Guizhou that will serve as a vehicle for future investments in China, the company and the provincial government said in a statement.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW *

China’s senior Taiwan affairs official Gong Qinggai put under corruption investigation | South China Morning Post Gong Qinggai, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations” – a term often used as a euphemism for corruption – the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said, without giving further details. Gong, 57, joined the Communist Party in 1979, starting his political career in Fujian province. He has been deputy mayor of Quanzhou, party chief of Jinjiang, as well as director of administration of the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone.

激发公共治理的群众力量-人民日报 李元昊 动员群众力量参与公共安全治理,我们对这样的方法并不陌生。上世纪60年代的“枫桥经验”,就是与群众共同管理、一起治理,取得了非常好的效果。很多类似的成功案例证明,发挥群众的重要作用,从政府的“我治理”转变为全民共治的“我们治理”,也是公共安全治理理念和方式现代化的一个重要内容。 群众和政府在公共治理中的角色定位,绝不是管理与被管理的工作关系,更应该是合作关系,这已经成为可贵的共识。十八届三中全会曾明确提出,必须创新社会治理方式,要“坚持系统治理”“发挥政府主导作用,鼓励和支持社会各方面参与,实现政府治理和社会自我调节、居民自治良性互动”。今天,公共安全领域能突破传统治理模式,吸引更多公民的参与,不仅创新了治理方式,更让“公共安全”这个统一的公共价值,将公民和政府连接起来,在一定程度上,也是涵养社会“价值理性”的可贵尝试。// A page 5 contributor in the People’s Daily on the benefits of enlisting the masses to help fight crimes and improve social management, praises the Mao-era “Fengqiao Experience“. Soon there will be calls to 人盯人?

人民日报评论员:把强化党内监督摆在重要位置–评论-人民网 大海之所以伟大,除了它美丽、壮阔、坦荡外,还有一种自我净化的功能。回望历史,党内监督作为我们党自我净化的重要能力,对于保持党的肌体健康发挥了极为关键的作用。今天,把强化党内监督摆在重要位置,不断发挥党内监督的威力和潜力,我们就一定能赢得党风正、民心顺、事业兴的美好未来。 《 人民日报 》( 2016年01月19日 02 版)

Beijing Police Have Thousands of Internet Monitoring Volunteers-RFA The ruling Chinese Communist Party says it now has more than 3,000 official “Internet monitors” to act as its eyes and ears online, although the true number of people working to police online speech is believed to be far higher. Beijing’s police department announced the number as it unveiled its monitoring body, the Volunteer Internet Monitors, as an official civilian security organization, official media reported on Thursday. The Volunteer Internet Monitors now number more than 3,000, and have helped police with more than 15,000 leads on “various cybercrimes,” state-run China Radio International reported on its website.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

Australian leader urges China to avoid great power conflict trap | Daily Mail Online “If avoiding the Thucydides Trap is a core objective of China’s strategy, as President Xi insists it is, then we would hope that China’s actions will be carefully calculated to make conflict less likely not more,” Turnbull told the Center for Strategic and International studies think tank. He said China should be seeking to reassure neighbors and build confidence about its intentions. “The legitimacy of claims to reefs and shoals should be a secondary consideration when that objective is focused on,” Turnbull said, referring to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, where Beijing has been building artificial islands to extend its reach.

A People’s Friendship | ChinaFile At a state level, authoritarianism seems to be the best glue of Sino-Russian friendship. Moscow and Beijing back each other up on everything from Internet “sovereignty” to the need for brutal “anti-terror” security measures to condemnation of the endless inequities of the West. The two have just announced a shared media platform, although whether it will resemble the freewheeling conspiracy-theories and slanders of Russia Today or the numbing tedium of Chinese state media is as yet unknown. Yet Russians are more ambivalent than their leaders. Anti-Asian racism runs deep, though mostly directed against Central Asians, and the fears of Yellow Peril and demographic overrun still seep through Russian popular media.

Xi’s new model army | The Economist The first result of the reforms is likely to be confusion in the ranks, until the new system settles down. Dennis Blasko, an American observer of the PLA, says no one can be sure of the results until they are tested in battle. Amid the murk, only one man clearly seems to have got his way: Mr Xi.

Mourners pay respect to Chinese student killed in US shooting-ChinaDaily Jiang, a native of Chongqing, was a sophomore finance major at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University in Tempe. She was returning from a shopping trip with a friend when, after a minor traffic accident, she was subsequently shot by another driver.

‘Islamic State hackers’ attack top tier Chinese university’s website urging holy war | South China Morning Post The hackers put a photograph and audio in support of holy war, or jihad, on a Tsinghua University website for teachers and students, the Legal Evening News said.

Full text of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address at AIIB inauguration ceremony – Xinhua The founding and opening of the AIIB will effectively boost investment to support infrastructure development in Asia. It will serve to channel more resources, particularly private investment, into infrastructure projects to promote regional connectivity and economic integration. It will bring along a better investment environment and more job opportunities and trigger greater medium- to long-term development potential on the part of developing members in Asia. This, in turn, will give impetus to economic growth in Asia and the wider world. The founding and opening of the AIIB also means a great deal to the reform of the global economic governance system

How FP Stumbled Into a War With China — and Lost | Foreign Policy Our intrepid reporters tried to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the East China Sea. They ended up igniting a war in Asia.

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Stop Calling Taiwan a ‘Renegade Province’ | Foreign Policy Beijing and Taipei don’t think it is. Why does the rest of the world?

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA *

Does Chinese Investment Pose a Threat to Hollywood? | ChinaFile Converation If Legendary succumbs to pressure from Wanda and the Party behind it to make movies that adhere to the Party’s vision of the world, I expect that American moviegoers used to a free press would reject any ham-fisted silver screen propaganda. The result? Wanda and Legendary would lose money on their movies here in the U.S.  // why assume the changes are ham-fisted and not subtle? How many American moviegoers know about the script changes or projects not even considered because the producers want to ensure the film has a shot at showing in the mainland? China’s external censorship efforts are already bearing fruit in Hollywood, and there is zero reason to believe those efforts will not be enhanced by the purchase of Legendary

西方国家如何通过文化产业传播核心价值观 文化是价值观念的主要载体。一个国家发展文化产业,不仅可以带来可观的经济利益,还能在“润物细无声”中传播本国核心价值观和主流意识形态。多年来西方国家正是通过将其价值观念全面渗透到文化产业链中,使核心价值观与文化产品进行有机融合和高效传播,从而达到向其他国家推销其核心价值观的目的。 //  Red Flag Manuscript on how western nations use cultural industries to transmit core cultural values…yeah, China’s Hollywood forays are simple commercial ventures…And I still have a Beijing bridge for sale

Internet News Information Service Management Rules « China Copyright and Media Article 1: In order to standardize Internet news information service activities, stimulate the healthy and orderly development of Internet news information services, protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, safeguard national security and the public interests, on the basis of the “National People’s Congress Standing Committee Decision concerning Strengthening the Protection of Online Information” and the “Internet Information Service Management Rules” and other such laws and administrative regulations, these Rules are formulated…Internet news information as mentioned in these Rules, refers to current affairs-type news information, including reporting and commenting on politics, economics, military affairs, foreign affairs and other such social and public matters, as well as reporting and commenting on relevant sudden social incidents.

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Before Debris Collapse in China, Safety Fears Were Discussed – The New York Times Much about the Hong’ao dump was not as it appeared on paper, a reconstruction of the disaster shows. The duplicity, involving doctored documents and false identities, illustrates systemic gaps in China’s efforts to prevent industrial and transportation accidents, which claim tens of thousands of lives annually and have galvanized public anger over official corruption and laxity. By many measures, China’s industrial safety record has improved in recent years. But the ruling Communist Party still struggles to impose accountability on local bureaucrats

How Serial Killers Terrorize China’s Disorganized Elder Care Industry-Caixin Two women in poorly governed caregiver business hopped from job to job in Guangdong Province killing patients so they could get quick paychecks

活佛查询系统上线 可查活佛姓名法号等8项信息新闻腾讯网 Tibetan Buddhism living buddha lookup system goes online http://hf.tibet.cn/

People In China Enjoy Laba Festival With (Free!) Rice Porridge As part of the festivities, many Buddhist monks gave the temples’ visitors bowls of congee, or rice porridge, a meal that typically consists of rice, water and other flavorings. The practice originated from the 10th-century Song dynasty, when royal families distributed congee to the poor, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

January: a Moment of Reflection | Chublic Opinion After a year of blogging about Chinese public opinion, I realize that the biggest challenge, besides the limitations of available information and the constantly evolving situation, is to assess its actual impact. Just how consequential is the collective airing of certain sentiments or viewpoints?  As a recent WeChat post perfectly summarizes the dilemma: “On the one hand, members of the public constantly discount the importance of their own opinions, seeing them as nothing more than useless ‘words’ that seldom translate into real world actions. On the other, authorities treat such ‘words’ with all sincerity and try to block them at every turn. ” So as observers, do we take the public’s pessimistic views about their own power, or do we value it based on the authority’s (over)reaction?

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

Trouble in Tibet : Nature News & Comment Rapid changes in Tibetan grasslands are threatening Asia’s main water supply and the livelihood of nomads. // heard this a lot in our visits to Tibet in 2014 and 2015. Very worrying

Oil Prices Stopped Falling at $40 a Barrel for Chinese Consumers – Bloomberg Business The profit from selling fuel to consumers at a fixed price as the cost of the raw material tumbles will be funneled into a fund to promote energy conservation, reduce pollution, improve fuel quality and ensure oil supply security, according to the NDRC. That means the country’s refiners, including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., the largest in Asia, and PetroChina Co., may fail to benefit.

Cnooc to cut capital spending by 10% – FT.com The annual forecast by Cnooc’s listed unit serves as the first indication of output and investment plans by China’s state-controlled oil producers, which also include China National Petroleum Corp and Sinopec.

Satellite Imagery Shows Ecocide in the South China Sea | The Diplomat Satellite images of the South China Sea show man-made scarring of coral reefs on a scale heretofore unappreciated, much of which occurred between 2012 and late 2015. The scarring, resulting from widespread chopping of reefs by fishermen using propellers mounted on small boats in order to poach giant clam shells, is visible on recent images of at least 28 reefs in the Spratly and Paracel island groups, in territories disputed by Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. Evidence from news reports, aerial photos, videos and commercial websites directly link much, and probably most, of the “prop chop” reef destruction to fishermen from China, particularly from the port of Tanmen on Hainan Island.

Local Gov’ts Use Newfound Power to Approve Dirty Coal-Fired Power Plants-Caixin When environmental ministry handed provinces the right to approve projects, it didn’t expect them to green light facilities it shot down…The central government’s measure, originally designed to decentralize administrative power and improve efficiency, has been used as an opportunity for local governments who are counting on the coal industry for higher GDP growth,” one environmental expert said.

Russia likely to scale down China gas supply plans – sources | Reuters The sources insist the hugely expensive pipeline project – part of President Vladimir Putin’s strategic shift eastwards – will go ahead on time. However, they acknowledge sales to China will initially be lower than envisaged when Moscow reached the $400 billion (279 billion pound) deal with Beijing in May 2014. “We will start fulfilling the deal in 2019, but the volumes could be less that initially expected,” a source at Gazprom (GAZP.MM) told Reuters.

AnchorAGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES *

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China to Transform Agriculture by Spending Billions Chinese authorities have pledged to spend billions of dollars this year to transform agriculture. They plan to fine-tune grain subsidies to encourage structural change in farming, boost farm productivity, and protect the environment. Officials say structural adjustment in agriculture is an “urgent task” for this year. The planned spending was summarized in a Zhongguo Caixin Bao article December 30, 2015

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China’s Grain Stockpile Gets Out of Hand China’s top rural policy advisor estimated that China has 500 million metric tons of grain reserves. Chen Xiwen made the estimate at a January 10, 2016 economic outlook meeting held by the State Council. The director of China’s grain bureau acknowledged that grain reserves are at a record level which he describes as “unreasonable.”

AnchorFOOD AND TRAVEL *

About | Omnivore’s Cookbook Here at Omnivore’s Cookbook, we share Chinese and Asian inspired recipes. We are aiming to deliver delicious, healthy, and reliable recipes that you can easily cook at home. // impressive and useful site

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