THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. Don’t Worry About China Slowdown, Premier Li Tells Davos – Bloomberg While the economy will still face large downward pressures in 2015, China won’t have systemic financial risks and will seek to improve the quality of growth to ensure an “appropriate” pace of expansion, Li said Wednesday in a speech at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski town. A few hours earlier, the central bank governor said on a panel that a slower expansion is “good news” if it’s more sustainable.
Related: Li reassures investors of China’s property market – Xinhua Adjustments in China’s real estate market in a certain period are “normal,” Li said, citing reasons including the country’s steady urbanization drive which will unlock huge housing potential, and its deepening efforts in rebuilding the sprawling and dilapidated shantytowns. “The hard housing demand in China’s property market will be durative,” Li reassured. “It will drive the development of related industries and product supply.” Li was commenting on the slowdown seen in China’s once-sizzling property market since the beginning of last year, which has triggered concerns about a burst of the real estate bubble in the country.
2. Xinhua Insight: Xi’s Yunnan visit highlights poverty elimination, ethnic solidarity In his first domestic inspection tour in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to rally support for a “tough battle” against poverty, and to speed up growth in the country’s relatively underdeveloped ethnic regions. Speaking in an inspection in southwest China’s Yunnan Province that lasted from Jan. 19 to 21, Xi said authorities must accelerate poverty elimination efforts to support the building of a moderately prosperous country. “The ‘new normal’ has not changed China’s international status as the world’s largest developing country,” Xi said, referring to the current pace of economic development. “[There is] only five to six years left for us to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, time will not wait for us,” Xi said, highlighting that poverty relief was the most arduous task.
Related: 习近平在云南考察工作时强调 坚决打好扶贫开发攻坚战 加快民族地区经济社会发展新闻频道央视网(cctv.
3. Chinese Director’s Film For Greenpeace Shows How Smog Changes Everything with the 7 minute video embedded // Greenpeace East Asia on Wednesday released a film by renowned Chinese director Jia Zhangke titled “Smog Journeys,” examining how air pollution affects families at all rungs of China’s stratified society. “We wanted to make a film that moves people, not frightens them,” Jia said in an interview with Greenpeace translated by The Huffington Post. “I hope to touch the audience on an emotional level, and from this create a kind of self-awareness that will push all of society to change the pollution situation.”
Related: China air quality dire but improving: Greenpeace, AsiaOne Asia News The statistics released by Greenpeace were based on official data from China’s ministry of environmental protection. It makes current levels available online but does not publicly release historical data or averages. The figures were compiled by Fresh-Ideas Studio, the operator of a popular pollution monitoring app. The numbers showed that Xingtai, in the northern province of Hebei, enjoyed a 15.3 per cent improvement, with Beijing levels falling 7.7 per cent and Shanghai dropping 14.0 per cent.
Related: China’s smog provides cover for burglar in novel by environment official | Reuters “Smog Is Coming”, published last June, touches on fraud and bureaucracy and their impact on air pollution, with the official China Daily reporting that online excerpts have received tens of millions of pageviews. Author Li Chunyuan’s career inspired the fictional effort, which draws characters and scenes from his work as deputy director of the Environmental Protection Bureau in the smog-choked city of Langfang in Hebei province, he told state media.
4. China says ousted security tsar’s influence corrupted others | Reuters Meng Jianzhu made the comments at a conference on politics and law, saying Zhou’s pursuit of “money, power and the sex trade” had caused serious harm to the ruling Communist Party, the state-run paper reported. “We must not only reflect on the painful lessons of the Zhou Yongkang case, but also completely eliminate its influence,” Meng added.
Related: 孟建柱：周永康大搞权钱权色交易 带坏一批干部新闻腾讯网 新京报讯 (首席记者关庆丰) 在1月20日召开的中央政法工作会议上，中共中央政治局委员、
5. Obama’s top Asia adviser: goal is for complete trade pact in 2015 | Reuters Evan Medeiros, senior director for Asia at the U.S. National Security Council, asked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at an event at the Brookings Institution, said: “We are confident we can and we will get it done.” “The president made very clear last night that TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) and TPP is now a top presidential priority and now is the time to get it done,” he said, referring to Obama’s annual speech on Tuesday.
Related: Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the U.S. Conference of Mayors | Office of the United States Trade Representative Consider the Asia Pacific, where China is moving ahead with its own network of agreements: TPP will include the highest and most enforceable labor and environmental standards of any trade agreement. TPP – for the first time in any trade agreement – puts disciplines on state-owned enterprises and ensures a free and open Internet. TPP ensures that the 40 million Americans whose jobs are dependent on innovation, invention and creativity enjoy the fruits of their labor – from the inventor in his garage to the union carpenters I met making Hollywood sets. The same can’t be said for China’s alternative. “Ultimately, this is a choice that we’ll make together, as one nation.
6. As Obama visits, signs that India is pushing back against China | Reuters The new robust diplomacy, which Modi calls “Act East”, has delighted Washington, which has been nudging India for years to dovetail with the U.S. strategic pivot toward the region. When President Barack Obama makes a landmark visit to India starting Sunday, he will be the chief guest at New Delhi’s showpiece Republic Day military parade, and rarely for a presidential trip, is not scheduled to visit any other country before returning to Washington. Evan Medeiros, Obama’s point man for Asian diplomacy, told a conference at the Brookings Institution on Wednesday that Obama would discuss Modi’s shift from “Look East” to “Act East” when he was in India.
7. China to Begin Security Vetting of Foreign Technology This Year – Bloomberg China’s Internet regulator announced a new mechanism to screen information technology products before they can be approved for use in the country. The new system will go into effect this year, Peng Bo, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top Internet regulator, said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. The regulator announced in May that products and services will be banned from entering the country if they aren’t deemed safe and controllable, official Xinhua News Agency reported at the time.
8. Study examines how overseas Chinese students respond to criticism of their country @insidehighered “Prior research suggests that if host country members were more interested in talking to international students, then more positive experiences and friendships between host country students and international students would take place,” Hail writes. “While this is undoubtedly true in many cases, anecdotal experiences of many sojourning students from China suggest that it is often precisely the host students’ interest in China’s political and social matters that leads to negative interactions between Chinese and host country students.”
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
China shadow banking growth slowing but new financing channels on the rise – Moody’s | Reuters Regulatory measures to curb China’s shadow banking growth appear to be having an effect and have prompted a shift in credit activity back to the formal banking system, Moody’s Investors Service said on Thursday. But Total Social Financing (TSF), of which shadow banking is a component, continued to grow more quickly than nominal gross domestic product (GDP), leading to higher overall leverage in the economy, the ratings agency said.
China Conducts First Reverse Repos in a Year as Outflows Pick Up – Bloomberg “The twin moves to roll over loans and using repos may signal there will be no broad-based easing such as a reserve-requirement-ratio cut in the first quarter,” said Liu Li-Gang, head of Greater China economics at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. The PBOC’s stance is less dovish than that in other major economies, he added.
Shenzhen Government Looks for Investors to Buy Stakes in Developer Kaisa – Bloomberg The government doesn’t want stakes to be sold at a discount, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private.
Citic investor presses regulator on insider trading claim – FT.com Seeking information that would allow him to deduce when Citic Securities knew it would face punishment, a shareholder has filed a request with the China Securities Regulatory Commission for evidence related to its investigation of margin trading practices at the brokerage, financial magazine Caixin reported on Wednesday, citing an interview with the investor, who gave only his surname, Yu.
Banking Regulator Plans First Major Revamp in its History – Caixin The plan released by the regulator on January 20 say it will close its training and information centers, merge their staff into other departments and open two new offices. One will regulate investment trusts and the other will oversee city commercial banks, urban credit unions and privately owned banks. Investment trusts are now under the purview of the Non-bank Financial Institutions Supervision Department. Devoting an office to the industry is necessary because it has almost 13 trillion yuan in assets, trailing only the banking industry, a CBRC official said.
China’s Biggest Aerospace Firm Wants to Buy a U.S. Car-Parts Maker – Bloomberg The company is owned by Littlejohn & Co., the Greenwich, Connecticut-based private-equity firm run by Michael Klein. AVIC media affairs representatives in Beijing didn’t answer phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment. Chris Tofalli, a spokesman for Littlejohn at Chris Tofalli Public Relations LLC, said he couldn’t immediately comment. Henniges employs more than 6,500 workers at its operations in North America, Europe and China, according to its website. Its products include seals which attach to the car hood and doors to prevent water and air from getting inside the vehicle, as well as anti-vibration systems, encapsulated glass and rubber components.
Banks Trying Direct Route to Online Future – Caixin The country’s largest bank is campaigning for regulatory changes that would let new customers open accounts without ever stepping into a branch. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has lent its voice to a chorus of fledgling, Internet-only banks and traditional banks with online services seeking exceptions to government rules that require anyone opening an account to visit a branch to provide a signature and undergo a security review. If the China Banking Regulatory Commission and other government agencies acquiesce – as many industry observers expect – a change to the physical presence requirement could propel ICBC’s and the banking sector’s expansion into Internet banking.
经济参考网 – 国资改革基金撬动25万亿市值 Economic Information on establishment of “SOE Reform Funds” as way to push SOE reform // 据权威人士透露，国企改革已经成为2015年国资工作的重头戏，
Green light flashes for foreign investment in China | Business Spectator unlikely this will be negative for any of the major, US-listed China firms // Mofcom has stated their intention that VIEs will be treated as foreign investors in future, and will be subject to the new Foreign Investment Law, including the restrictions on the “negative” list which presumably will continue to restrict foreign investment in the internet industry, and therefore prevent VIEs from being used to invest in the internet and other restricted industries in future. For existing VIEs already in place when the law comes into force which are operating in a restricted industry — including Alibaba and the countless other Chinese internet companies listed overseas — Mofcom proposes three different possible solutions:
POLITICS AND LAW *
How A Single Chinese Character Weighs in Deciding Shanghai Stampede Blame – WSJ During a press conference that made public the results of an internal investigation into the cause of the stampede, Chinese reporters pressed the city’s investigators to explain why no one more senior than administrators of the district where it occurred, Huangpu, deserved blame. Officials explained that they had decided the stampede was an incident (事件), not an accident (事故), and that the categories are governed by different regulations with different penalties. The deluge of revelers to the Bund on New Year’s Eve was “spontaneous” and the stampede “cannot be categorized as an ‘accident’” like a factory mishap or a mismanaged public event, Shan Chunchang, a retired national safety supervisor who joined the investigation panel, told reporters. // 800,000 RMB compensation per dead victim, lesser amounts for the injured
China labor activists say facing unprecedented intimidation | Reuters Activists say the police appear particularly concerned about groups receiving money from outside China. “The police come to see us regularly. Their main objection is to our foreign funding,” said an employee of advocacy group Beijing On Action International Cultural Centre who asked not to be named. As a result of such pressure, the organization has stopped most of its work on labor rights. Zhang’s group, Chunfeng Labor Dispute Service Center, has also had to stop taking foreign money, and since October Zeng has not taken funding from China Labour Bulletin under pressure from the police.
Survey reveals public satisfaction of China’s anti-graft campaign – Xinhua A recent survey found 70 percent of respondents were satisfied over the progress of the country’s anti-graft campaign, China Youth Daily reported. The respondents listed the downfall of a batch of “big tigers” or high-ranking officials, cracking down on corrupt officials fleeing abroad, and a purge of “naked officials”, which refer to those whose spouse and children have emigrated overseas, as the top three biggest results in 2014. The survey sampled 2,167 people, with employers ranging from private and state-owned companies to government agencies. Some 82.3 percent of those polled, however, believe the situation remains grave and the fight against graft still has challenges ahead.
China’s top court vows to continue correction of wrongful convictions – Xinhua “Deep lessons should be drawn from major wrongful convictions such as Huugjilt, and their grave harm should be fully recognized,” said Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), at a national meeting of chief justices of higher courts on Wednesday. A higher court in Inner Mongolia ruled in December 2014 that teenager Huugjilt, who was found guilty of rape and murder in 1996, was innocent and had been wrongfully executed. The top court will make efforts to improve its systems to prevent, reinvestigate and correct wrongful convictions more effectively in 2015.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
China, Russia Plan $242 Billion Beijing-Moscow Rail Link – Bloomberg China will build a 7,000-kilometer (4,350-mile) high-speed rail link from Beijing to Moscow, at a cost of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion), Beijing’s city government said on the social networking site Weibo. The rail line seeks to facilitate travel across Europe and Asia, Beijing’s municipal government said Jan. 21 in a post on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. The journey from Beijing to Moscow would take “two days” on a route passing through Kazakhstan, the post said.
China, Kazakhstan vow to strengthen railway, new energy cooperation – Xinhua China and Kazakhstan on Wednesday pledged to boost railway and new energy cooperation to further their comprehensive strategic partnership. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov made the pledge when they met on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
China raises foreign students’ subsides – China Daily A new scholarship system offering more financial support to foreigners studying at Chinese universities was announced by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education on Wednesday. International students will receive an increased subsidy backdated to Sept 1, 2014. The highest subsides are 66,200 yuan ($10,660) a year for undergraduates, 79,200 yuan ($12,753) for students pursuing a master degree and 99,800 yuan ($16,070) for students studying for a PhD.
Pope Francis leaves door open to Dalai Lama meeting – Telegraph The Pope denies he refused to meet the Dalai Lama on Rome visit in December over fear of upsetting China
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *
From ‘superman’ to ‘big tiger’, Li Ka-shing loses favour with Beijing | South China Morning Post If it was just one or two articles complaining about Li’s exit, then he may have little to worry about. But from Global Times to Sina, it looks more like a well-organised media campaign to announce the end of an era. If Li doesn’t need China any more, Beijing doesn’t need to rely on Li alone for Hong Kong affairs. Indeed, one era is over. In Li’s case, it may also reflect a long-term strategy by Beijing – the so-called “win-win” relationship. If it’s not win-win, we are no longer “comrades”. If that’s still what top leaders like Xi believe, many overseas businessmen may have a good lesson to learn from Li’s story.//Anything to the rumors that the new administration never liked him and blocked the issuance of any new permits to allow him to develop his still significant China land holdings?
Taiwan Arrests Alleged Chinese Spy-DefenseNews On Jan. 16, Taipei prosecutors went forward on indictments on mainlander Zhen Ziaojiang’s alleged spy ring, which included five Taiwanese accused of spying for China. The indictment charged former Army Maj. Gen. Hsu Nai-chuan, Air Force Lt. Col. Chou Chih-li, Air Force pilot Sung Chia-lu, Air Force official Yang Jung-hua, and karaoke club owner Lee Huan-yu. According to media outlets, Zhen was a captain and an intelligence officer in the People’s Liberation Army. This has given rise to the assumption that the Army’s Second Department of the General Staff Department was in charge of the operation.
Hong Kong financiers challenge China in newspaper advert – Yahoo News “Three years ago, I was just like any other trader in Hong Kong. I didn’t care about politics… but things have changed so much it is important for finance people to speak up and to stand together to fight for true democracy,” said hedge fund manager Edward Chin of new group HK Finance Monitor 2047, which took out the advert.
TECH AND MEDIA *
微信商业化再提速 朋友圈广告开推公司频道财新网 Tencent pushing ads aggressively in “moments” latest version of Wechat, asking price is up to 9 million/day I hear // 微信商业化开始提速。最新的6.
Party Body Disputes Charges Telecoms Supplier’s Missing HR Boss Leveled – Caixin Corruption allegations Jia Lining made about executives at Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell were off base, Communist Party committee says, as police search continues
In Netflix China push, domestic tech giants, online habits block path to success | Reuters Netflix said on Tuesday it would expand to as many as 200 countries within two years, up from about 50 now, to extend its growth prospects. “For every country we know what we want to do, but in China we are still exploring our options,” Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in an interview.
Streaming sites relaunch old American TV series as new regulation kicks in – Xinhua Several new American TV series have been removed from Chinese video streaming sites after a regulation that requires permits to air foreign films and TV series takes effect. Streaming sites Sohu and Letv have taken down newly launched series such as “Agent Carter” and “Empire.” While “Shameless,” which has gone into its fifth season, also went off air. It is yet to be seen whether other shows like “Gotham” and “American Horror Story,” both of which were aired in 2014, will be affected. Streaming sites are responding by re-releasing old American TV classics, which garnered huge audiences when they were released just over a half-decade ago.
依法整治“网络敲诈和有偿删帖”–法治–人民网 nice People’s Daily online microsite on campaign against online scams and paying for post/comment deletion.
展江：中国媒体的困境和出路_共识网 Zhan Jiang on the huge amount of corruption in China’s media industry // 中国媒体的腐败是非常惊人的。惊人到什么程度呢?
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
China’s top archaeological discoveries in 2014 – Xinhua The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has selected the six greatest archaeological discoveries in China in 2014: jade mine ruins in Gansu Province; Bronze Age tombs in Yunnan Province; Zhang Zhung Kingdom tombs in Tibet; mural paintings in Shanxi Province; and ancient tombs in Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region and in Guizhou Province
Hunting for sport ignites public fury- China Daily Wealthy businessman Li Chengzhang was apprehended by police after he took part in illegal hunting at a protected forest, photographing himself with his trophy kill for use on social networking sites. The incident occurred in October 2014 after Li and four friends came across a black bear in Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve and shot it. The hunters peeled off skin of the bear the next day, cutting it into several pieces and carrying it to the Mianyang City.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
“水十条”内容浮出 或含水价改善、完善污水费等内容 摘要：知情人士向记者透露，“
国务院力促粮食安全 农业股焕“升”机中证看盘中证网 中证网讯 1月22日，中国政府网发布了《
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