The Sinocism China Newsletter 01.22.17-Risks In The US-China Relationship Under Trump

Steve Bannon discussed Trump’s inauguration speech with the Washington Post and specifically compared it to Xi Jinping’s recent Davos speech:

“I think it’d be good if people compare Xi’s speech at Davos and President Trump’s speech in his inaugural,” Bannon said. “You’ll see two different world views.”

Mike Allen, in the January 21 issue of his indispensable Axios AM newsletter, addressed the China angle to Trump’s inauguration speech:

Trump advisers see confrontation with China over trade, territory and now the merits of globalism as a fight they WANT to define their presidency.

Mike Allen, who may have the best access to Trump’s inner circle of all the mainstream reporters, earlier wrote in his January 13 newsletter that Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s comments about the South China Sea were:

absolutely reflecting the boss views when he made confrontational remarks about Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea at Wednesday’s hearing: “You’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island building stops, and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed.”

A top Trump source emails: “Most important part of the testimony.”

There are indications that a deal is possible with the PRC over trade issues. Leading with challenges over sovereignty and threats of blockades would likely be a gross strategic miscalculation that massively increases the risks of outright conflict with the PRC. War may be what Trump, Bannon et al want, but it seems at least as likely they hold an outdated, caricatured view of the PRC, misunderstand the depth of popular PRC nationalism around sovereignty issues, underestimate the shift in the relative balance of power between the US and the PRC and do not appreciate how little appetite there is in most of the rest of Asia for a breakdown in the US-PRC relationship.

In his dark inaugural speech Trump lamented “the very sad depletion of our military”. If the US military is in the state Trump claims it is, why would he want conflict with China now? Wouldn’t it make more sense to start by working other points of pressure while reinforcing security and economic alliances across the region and building up the military? Starting with sovereignty issues is likely to end in disaster.

In his address Trump also said that “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now”.

Let’s hope Trump’s plan for addressing what he calls “American carnage” does not also lead to Asian carnage, again.

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

1. Peter Navarro is about to become one of the world’s most powerful economists | The Economist neither fairer play by China nor tariffs could help many American workers. More productive strategies are available. David Dollar, also of Brookings, has set out how a country could play “responsible hardball” with China. He recommends restricting the acquisition of American firms by China’s state-owned enterprises, something the Obama administration cautiously started doing. Such investment flows represent artificially high Chinese savings rather than the invisible hand of the market. Until now China has invested mainly in Treasury bonds. But it is increasingly interested in buying American technology firms. With restrictions imposed, America could demand that China open up more of its services market. What about environmental and labour standards? The best way to improve those, argues Mr Prasad, would be to write trade deals including rules which China will eventually have to follow. This was one aim of the doomed Trans-Pacific Partnership. It is a more realistic goal than returning low-skilled work to America en masse.

Related: Flynn is creating the most military-heavy National Security Council of the modern era – The Washington Post Transition officials told me that Dave Horan, another career Army officer, will be a senior National Security Council official dealing with strategy. Former Marine intelligence officer Robin Townley will be senior director for Africa. Former Marine intelligence officer Matt Pottinger will be senior director for Asia. In December, it was announced that retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg will be NSC chief of staff. // Comment: Great news that Mr. Pottinger got this job, hope he has enough influence

Related: US announces withdrawal from TPP- Nikkei Asian Review Soon after President Donald Trump was sworn in, his administration announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact championed by former President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Related: Deciphering Trump’s Asia Policy | Foreign Affairs – Mira Rapp-Hooper When it comes to the president-elect’s approach to Asia, these two sets of evidence point in different directions: one toward retrenchment and the other toward unilateralism. Yet these divergent visions have something important in common. Neither calls for a foreign policy centered around the system of alliances, rules, and norms that have underpinned the United States’ leadership of the international order since 1945. Together with the deep uncertainty surrounding Trump’s objectives for Asia and the tools he has suggested he will use to pursue them, the absence of principled and predictable U.S. leadership could lead to a destabilizing shift in the regional balance of power in the near term.

Related: Chinese state media hopes for best with Trump, prepares for worst | Reuters In a front page commentary, the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said the two countries should not try to force each other into submission, but look for win-win cooperation and manage their disputes…the Global Times noted that while Trump has said a lot about China, his actual policy has yet to take shape. // 海外版望海楼:期待中美关系站上新起点  and 社评:特朗普就职演说释放了哪些信号评论环球网 

2. Xi to head central commission for integrated military, civilian development – Xinhua The decision was made at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which was chaired by Xi. The commission will be the central agency tasked with decision-making, deliberation and coordination of major issues regarding integrated military and civilian development. The commission will report to the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. // 1.22.17 CCTV Evening News on this and other decisions at the Politburo meeting 中共中央政治局召开会议 决定设立中央军民融合发展委员会 审议《中央政治局常委会听取和研究全国人大常委会、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和中央书记处工作报告的综合情况报告》 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议 

3. Xinhua Insight: Discipline inspection rules published to improve self-supervision – Xinhua The Communist Party of China (CPC) on Friday published pilot work rules for discipline inspection organs to strengthen self-supervision. The rules, passed by a plenary session of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) that ran from Jan. 6 to 8, clarify procedures for the handling of cases, including the collection and verification of facts, case filing, case hearing, and how to dispose of money and goods involved in a case.// Comment: The rules 中国共产党纪律检查机关监督执纪工作规则(试行)  and Wang Qishan’s explainer 王岐山:关于《中国共产党纪律检查机关监督执纪工作规则(试行)》的说明 

Related: Communist Party puts graft interrogators on tighter leash | South China Morning Post Corruption watchdog overhauls system for investigating cadres, limiting detentions to a maximum of 180 days and forbidding torture

Related: 全流程看纪委如何“正人正己”——聚焦《中国共产党纪律检查机关监督执纪工作规则(试行)》-新华网 纪委监督执纪的流程是什么?在执纪审查中,哪些事可以做,哪些事不可以做,哪些事必须做、怎么做?“新华视点”记者根据规则进行了梳理。

Related: 纪检机关监督执纪新规未现“双规” 立案审查明确时间不得超过90天国内新京报网 昨日,十八届中纪委七次全会审议通过的《中国共产党纪律检查机关监督执纪工作规则(试行)》正式发布,规则首次对纪委监督执纪工作的全流程、各环节进行了明确规定,并划定了纪检监督执纪权的“负面清单”。不过,沿用了近23年的“双规”,未出现在新规则中。

Related: 中央国家监察委组建时间确定,2018年3月前检察院转隶到位 自去年11月《关于在北京市、山西省、浙江省开展国家监察体制改革试点方案》公布以来,国家监察体制改革一直备受关注。1月6日至8日召开的十八届中纪委七次全会,确定了今年的七大重点任务,其中之一就是“筹备组建国家监察委员会”。会议公报称,“在党中央领导下,由中纪委抓总,落实改革方案,推动制定国家监察法,筹建国家监察委员会”。

4. Punches, Kicks and the ‘Dangling Chair’: Detainee Tells of Torture in China – The New York Times Perched unsteadily on a stack of plastic stools in an isolated room, Xie Yang, a Chinese lawyer, was encircled day and night by interrogators who blew smoke in his face, punched and kicked him, and threatened to turn him into a “invalid” unless he confessed to political crimes, he has said. Eventually, according to transcripts of meetings with Mr. Xie issued by his attorneys, the isolation, sleepless days and nights of abuse and threats to his family from the police investigators proved too harrowing. Mr. Xie said he scribbled down whatever they told him to say about trying to subvert the Chinese Communist Party by representing disgruntled citizens and discussing rights cases.

Related: Codifying Illegality? The Case of Jiang Tianyong | China Law & Policy Jiang, who has yet to give up his advocacy, is back on the Chinese government’s radar, this time with much more serious charges that could land this civil rights attorney in prison for life.  But there is one thing that should make this time different from Jiang’s prior detentions: the implementation of China’s new Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”), amended in 2012.  When these amendments passed, they were herald as more protective of criminal suspects’ rights, much needed in a system with a 99.9% conviction rate. In October 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (“SPC”), Supreme People’s Procuratorate (“SPP”), and the Ministry of Public Security (“MPS”) doubled down on the 2012 amendments, issuing a joint opinion, reaffirming each agency’s commitment to a more fair criminal justice system. But as Jiang’s case highlights, these are just  paper promises.  For Jiang, some of the provisions of the CPL are outright ignored.

Related: The Limits of Law in China – The New York Times But when Mr. Xi is being hailed in Davos by Klaus Schwab, the founder of the forum, for making China a haven from the “uncertainty and volatility” of the rest of the world, Chief Justice Zhou’s comments at least provided a needed reminder of how that purported stability is really achieved and enforced.

Related: Scores of Chinese lawyers rally around colleague who claims he was tortured during crackdown | South China Morning Post Pledges of support roll in to help rights lawyer Xie Yang sue nine secret police over the abuse he received following arrest in massive crackdown

5. Historian’s Latest Book on Mao Turns Acclaim in China to Censure – The New York Times It seemed that China’s censors had finally muzzled Yang Jisheng, the famed chronicler of the Mao era. Last year, he had finished writing a widely anticipated history of the Cultural Revolution. But officials warned him against publishing it and barred him from traveling to the United States, he has said, and he stayed muted through the 50th anniversary of the start of that bloody upheaval. Now Mr. Yang has broken that silence with the publication of his history of the Cultural Revolution, “The World Turned Upside Down,” a sequel to “Tombstone,” his landmark study of the famine spawned by Mao’s policies in the late 1950s. The 1,151-page book is the latest shot fired in China’s war over remembering, or forgetting, the dark side of its Communist past, a struggle that has widened under the hard-line president, Xi Jinping.  // Comment: Wish I could buy this for my kindle

Related: Beijing internet censors close websites of liberal economic think tank | South China Morning Post Unirule Institute of Economics was founded by Mao Yushi, a veteran economist and critic of his namesake Mao Zedong

6. 系统性危机:资本主义新动向–理论-人民网 1.22.17 People’s Daily full page special on the systemic failures of capitalism  //  近来,西方发达资本主义国家在经济、政治、文化和社会治理等多个领域出现一系列乱象。很多国际人士,包括一些发达资本主义国家的知名学者如沃勒斯坦、尼尔·弗格森等,都在探讨资本主义的系统性危机和制度性衰退问题。资本主义出现系统性危机的根源何在?有哪些具体表现?将对国际经济政治治理体系产生什么影响?我们应如何看待和应对资本主义系统性危机?本期观察版围绕这些问题进行探析。

7. China sets up $14.6 billion internet investment fund: Xinhua | Reuters China has set up a 100 billion yuan ($14.55 billion) fund to support investment in the internet sector, said official news agency Xinhua on Sunday. The fund, backed by China’s cabinet, is designed to help turn China into a major player in internet technology, said the report. 中国互联网投资基金成立 多项战略合作协议签署 

Related:  Tencent Dominates Chinese Mobile App Use as Online Arena Grows – Bloomberg WeChat remained the most heavily used app in the country in 2016, with almost 80 percent of the online population employing the social media service frequently, the China Internet Network Information Center or CNNIC said in its annual report. Tencent’s QQ took second place, while Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s online bazaar Taobao came in third. Baidu Inc.’s mobile app and Alipay, the payments service run by Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial, rounded out the top five.

Related:  中国互联网络信息中心-第39次《中国互联网络发展状况统计报告 The latest CNNIC Internet report, link to download at the bottom

Related:  China and the Fintech Blueprint-TechInAsia China’s overall fintech market is now worth up to US$2.2 trillion. By looking at China’s main fintech sectors, we can sketch a picture of how this will shape up around the rest of the world.

8. Doctors and Red Envelopes: How Corruption has Blighted China’s Public Health System – Caixin Last month, a doctor at a Shanghai hospital was caught on camera accepting four cash envelopes within three minutes from pharmaceutical agents, and even telling one that he would prescribe enough drugs so that the salesman could buy a new iPhone in a month. This scene from a recent investigative documentary [《焦点访谈》 20161225 向高价医疗耗材说不 ] aired by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) shed light on the widespread problem of doctors at public hospitals taking kickbacks from pharmaceutical agents to supplement their income.

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

China cuts reserve ratios for five big banks temporarily amid cash squeeze – sources | Reuters China has allowed its five biggest banks to temporarily lower the amount of cash that they must hold as reserves, to ease seasonal liquidity tightness amid huge cash demand heading into the long Lunar New Year holiday, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

China Money Rate Drops Most Since October on Record Injections – Bloomberg The monetary authority added 1.13 trillion yuan ($164 billion) to the financial system this week. Demand for money jumps before the Lunar New Year holidays, also known as the Spring Festival, as families prepare to exchange gifts and meet for feasts. The authority said Friday that it provided a 28-day temporary liquidity facility to some major commercial banks.

[视频]习近平在中共中央政治局第三十八次集体学习时强调 把改善供给侧结构作为主攻方向 推动经济朝着更高质量方向发展CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1央视网(cctv.com) 1.22.17 CCTV Evening News–The latest Politburo study sessions on on structural supply side reform, NDRC’s Chen Dongqi was the lecturer

Economists React: China’s Economic Stability Comes With Risks – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s fourth-quarter economic growth rate of 6.8% reversed a downward trend in quarterly growth figures after more than two years, ensuring the world’s second-largest economy hit 6.7% growth for the year, within its 6.5% to 7% target. Economists weigh in, saying despite solid growth fueled by easy-money policy and massive government spending last year, China‘s economy still faces downward risks.

Finance Ministry Calls Liaoning Data Inflation ‘Severe Breach of National Law’ – Caixin “Liaoning’s falsified figures have thrown off central authorities’ judgment of the economic situation, misguiding policies and misleading allocations of state funds to the province,” said the Ministry of Finance in a written statement on Friday, its first response to the scandal. The ministry criticized the exaggerated numbers as a “severe breach of national law.”

Two China real estate consultancies halt monthly home price data | Reuters “I don’t know who exactly is making the order, and it’s not mandatory,” said a source with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified as the topic is a sensitive one. Home price data from private providers tends to show sharper increases than official data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which publishes monthly and annual percentage changes in 70 major cities.

Didi guts Shanghai fleet following anti-migrant rules The removal of drivers and cars from outside the city is Didi’s first major capitulation to regulators after enjoying years of laissez-faire treatment in China. Less than 3 per cent of Didi’s 410,000 drivers in Shanghai have a local hukou (household registration) that would allow them to continue picking up passengers via the platform, according to the company.

Banks Give Cold Shoulder to Debt-for-Equity Swap – Caixin Debt-for-equity swaps — favored by Beijing as a way to reduce financial leverage — appear to have suffered a setback as a debt-relief option after a state-owned company’s own such plan was rejected by bank creditors, who said it would erode their capital adequacy. Trading had been suspended in April on the bonds of China Railway Materials Co. Ltd. on the interbank market because of massive losses and a potential bond payment default, a move that sent shock waves through the domestic bond market.

Yiwu, China: A Study of the World’s Largest Small Commodities Market: Mark Jacobs-Amazon Mark Jacobs, a Fulbright Scholar, presents an in-depth study of Yiwu, Zhejiang, a place known throughout China as the nation s small commodities city…The book outlines these successes and difficulties, doing so by integrating the views of those directly involved, drawn from hundreds of interviews, conducted over a six-year period

Sands to Pay $6.96 Million to Settle U.S. Investigation – WSJ Comment: not even a slap on the wrist. For US corporations crime does pay, at least when it come to the FCPA // As part of the nonprosecution agreement [Full text here] with the Justice Department, the company admitted it paid approximately $5.8 million to the consultant, a former Chinese government official, between 2006 and 2009 even though there was no “discernible legitimate business purpose.” The gambling company, controlled by Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, also acknowledged it failed to monitor and account for those payments.

China to improve government service for new economy – People’s Daily Online To reduce restrictions on the new economy, China will step up the process of approving, revising and abolishing laws and regulations, and allow local authorities to implement their own rules to test new business models in low-risk sectors, including logistics, education and tourism. Support for innovation and business registration will also be strengthened.

国务院办公厅关于创新管理优化服务培育壮大经济发展新动能加快新旧动能接续转换的意见-新华网 国务院办公厅关于创新管理优化服务 培育壮大经济发展新动能 加快新旧动能接续转换的意见

State Council cuts 39 more administrative approvals-SCIO China eliminated a third batch of 39 administrative approval items that the central authority had designated to local governments, according to a circular issued by the State Council on Jan 21. The canceled items include those such as the establishment of kindergartens, middle schools and vocational schools, identification of agencies for overseas study and the activity approvals in villages and towns with history and culture.

Li: More foreign talent welcome – People’s Daily Online The country will also “relax market access, attract more foreign investment and learn advanced technologies and management”, Li told a gathering in Beijing of outstanding foreign experts working in China. One week ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Li attended the annual event to send greetings and collect wisdom on how to boost China’s innovation-driven growth and reinforce its soft power.

Chief of Taiwan’s Foxconn says rise of protectionism unavoidable | Reuters His remarks came after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put ‘America First’ in his inauguration speech Friday, reinforcing concerns of a U.S. protectionist agenda that has cast a cloud over the outlook on global trade. [nL1N1FA0FO] “The rise of protectionism is unavoidable,” Gou said. “Secondly, the trend of politics serving the economy is clearly defined.

New China-Mongolia Mining Deal: Economic Windfall or Environmental Threat? – WSJ The new agreement could be both, as it shifts much of China’s coal production outside its borders and helps Mongolia pay down billions of dollars in debt

Chinese Internet Giant Strikes Deal With a Secretive Investor and…a U.K. Insurer – WSJ Aviva is creating a joint venture with Chinese internet giant Tencent and Hillhouse Capital—one of the biggest private-equity investors of which you have probably never heard.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW

China appointed new mayors for Beijing and Shanghai | Asia Times Two officials who worked with President Xi Jinping when he governed Zhejiang province are now mayors of Beijing and Shanghai, the political and economic heavyweight cities of China. Cai Qi, 61, was elected mayor of Beijing, while Ying Yong, 59, was elected mayor of Shanghai. Both men were elected on Friday during the fifth session of the 14th Municipal People’s Congress of their respective cities, Xinhua news agency reported.

Senior Chinese official urges greater cultural, ideological progress – Xinhua | Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said ideological education should be continuously advanced to improve the public and cadres’ confidence in the country’s path, theory, system and culture. Socialist core values and patriotism should also be continuously promoted, he said when addressing a plenary session of the Central Commission for Guiding Ethic and Cultural Progress. Liu, who is head of the commission, said that ideological and moral education among teenagers and youths should be advanced. Highlighting the importance of upbringing and family values in pursuing cultural and ideological development, Liu said leading cadres should take the lead in this regard. 刘云山主持召开中央文明委第五次全体会议 

China police trigger gun debate with rules of engagement push-FT $$ Chinese police are seeking broad increases in their mandate to use firearms while on duty, opening a national debate on gun laws in a country where civilian ownership is forbidden.

Cui Peng named China’s vice minister of supervision – Xinhua Cui Peng has been named vice minister of supervision, while Hao Mingjin and Chen Yong were relieved of the post, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced on Sunday.

Former Tianjing mayor under graft investigation-CRI Huang Xingguo, former acting Party chief and mayor of Tianjin Municipality, is under investigation on suspicion of accepting bribes, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) announced on Sunday.

NE China province elects 40 new national lawmakers – Xinhua Northeast China’s Liaoning Province on Saturday elected 40 new national lawmakers following the ousting of 45 deputies for electoral fraud.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

PLA Army, Navy hold military-rank promotion ceremonies in Beijing – China Military The ceremony was presided over by Lieutenant General Liu Lei, political commissar of the PLA Army. Commander of the PLA Army General Li Zuocheng read the military-rank promotion orders of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) signed by the CMC Chairman Xi Jinping.

New leader takes helm of PLA Navy – China Military The People’s Liberation Army(PLA) Navy has a new commander, 60-year-old Vice-Admiral Shen Jinlong. Shen, in the capacity of the PLA Navy commander, had a video chat on Friday morning with officers and sailors of the 25th escort fleet to the Gulf of Aden, according to a Navy news release. That means he has replaced Admiral Wu Shengli, 71, to take charge of the largest navy in Asia.

Sino-Indian Competition in the Maritime Domain – Jamestown China’s most vital economic interests may in fact lie in the Indian Ocean Region, and here, China expands its military footprint both at far greater risk geographically than it does in pursuing “near seas” operations, and also in the presence of another major power engaged in its own determined naval rise. The PRC will continue to do all it can to circumvent its confounding geographical puzzle in Malacca, including showing great interest in a future waterway—the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route.  As Chinese leaders employ the full range of the nation’s resources: diplomacy, financial power, engineering capabilities, and of course the building of a substantial blue-water navy and submarine fleet, China’s strategic presence in the Indian Ocean will continue to grow, contributing in turn to India’s own emphasis on naval power.

Indonesia to double Riau police deployment to 12,000 in anticipation of South China Sea tension – The Straits Times Tito reminded that the change of US leadership would affect their policy toward the South China Sea-a potential flash point between “superpower” countries like the US and China. Following the level upgrade, Riau Islands Police would now have a two-star general as its chief and 12,000 personnel according the police’s standards.

First Batch of Overseas NGOs Register Under China’s New Law | Sixth Tone Four of the six organizations that have secured registrations under China’s new foreign NGO law are chambers of commerce

The Pitfalls of Law Enforcement Cooperation With China | The Diplomat It is high time for the EU to develop a strategy for cooperating with China in these areas, rather than each member state going it alone. European governments need a consistent common position on demands for judicial reforms in China or for even stronger safeguards. This is the only way to prevent bilateral agreements with China from undermining international legal norms and democratic values. Thomas Eder and Bertram Lang are Research Associates with the European China Policy Unit, Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin.

Philippine officials to visit Beijing to discuss investment deals, ASEAN summit | Reuters The Jan. 23-24 trip by Philippine officials includes Duterte’s finance, budget, economic, public works and transport secretaries, according to a statement from the Department of Finance on Sunday.

全军贯彻落实古田政工会精神领导小组会议召开 – 中国军网 本报北京1月20日电 记者尹航报道:全军贯彻落实古田政工会精神领导小组会议今天在京召开,深入学习贯彻习主席和军委有关决策指示,总结分析过去一年贯彻落实古田政工会精神特别是全面彻底肃清郭伯雄、徐才厚流毒影响情况,研究筹划深入推进新形势下政治建军举措。中央军委委员、中央军委政治工作部主任、全军贯彻落实古田政工会精神领导小组组长张阳出席会议并讲话。

Chinese president calls for East Jerusalem as capital of Palestinian state – Haaretz Xi Jinping addresses Arab League in Cairo before planned visit to Iran, announces millions in aid to Palestinians.

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Why China’s Supporters in Hong Kong are Divided | The Diplomat The pro-establishment camp is just as diverse, if not more fractious, than the pro-democracy one.

China sees ‘grim’ situation in relations with Taiwan this year | Reuters Yu Zhengsheng, the ruling Communist Party’s fourth ranked leader, was speaking at an annual work conference on policy towards the self-ruled island. His comments came in the wake of concerns that, under a new presidency, the United States is shifting its stance toward Taiwan.

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA

Leading Chinese comedian arrested with loaded gun and crack in New York | South China Morning Post Zhou Libo was pulled over for talking on his mobile while driving early one morning last week in Long Island…Police also arrested passenger Tang Shuang, who is a celebrated engineering researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…[Zhou has] two daughters who are studying in the United States. After he was released, Zhou told reporters he was grateful for his motherland. He told Pearl Video he was not concerned about his charges and that “Chinese ought to help Chinese”.  // Comment: Is Zhou a US citizen or green card holder? This can’t be good for his career back in the PRC given the renewed focus on the morality of performers…

China extends Hollywood push with $1 billion Paramount investment | Reuters As part of the agreement, SFG and Huahua Media will finance a combined 25 percent of all of Paramount’s films for the next three years, with the option to extend to a fourth year, a source familiar with the situation said.

Baidu CEO Gets Management Help – WSJ Sometimes executives go to Mr. Li’s wife, Ma Dongmin, to promote their ideas, finding her a conduit to get feedback from her husband. Ms. Ma rejoined Baidu officially this month to be Mr. Li’s special assistant, according to a Baidu executive. A Baidu spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Li’s management style and Ms. Ma’s role.

China, Russia Team up to Take on ‘The Avengers’ with Communist Superheroes – China Film Insider Guardians (世纪战元), or Zaschitniki as it’s known in Russian, is set to hit screens in Russia next month and is likely to come to China at some stage. The film, by Russian-Armenian director Sarik Andreasyan, is being billed as Russia’s answer to Marvel’s superhero adventures. Set during the Cold War, Guardians follows a superhero squad made up of members from multiple soviet republics including a mini-gun-toting bear and a woman who can turn into water (and “make a good borscht”).

Is This 22-year-old Australian Actress Disney’s Choice for Mulan? – China Film Insider Chinese social media is abuzz with speculation that 22-year-old Australian actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo has scored the role of Hua Mulan in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation.

China’s internet users grew in 2016 by the size of Ukraine’s population to 731 million | South China Morning Post The Chinese internet market expanded 6.2 per cent in 2016, gaining 43 million internet users –equivalent to the population of a Ukraine or Argentina — to put the total number of users at 731 million, according to data by the China Internet Network Information Centre. Penetration rate rose by 3.1 percentage points to 53.2 per cent, the CINIC data showed.

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Chinese Demand for Bloodwood Cuts Into Congo’s Ecosystem | Sixth Tone Corruption and lack of oversight allow illegally logged timber to be traded from Africa’s heartland to the coast of China.

“海洋六号”刷新中国南极海底地质取样纪录 – 中国军网 新华社“海洋六号”1月21日电(记者王攀)正在南极半岛附近海域执行中国第33次南极科考任务的“海洋六号”科考船日前刷新了中国在南极海域的海底地质取样纪录。 在一次重力柱取样过程中,“海洋六号”取得了总长度超过8.6米的浅表层沉积物,这一数值超过1990年至1991年中国第7次南极科考期间“海洋四号”同类作业纪录1米以上。

Hebei has 6 of 10 most polluted Chinese cities in 2016 – China Daily The Ministry of Environmental Protection published an air quality report for 2016 on Friday, saying the density of main pollutants dropped compared to that of 2015, but the air pollution in winter in the northern parts of China is still serious.

AnchorAGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES

今年农村宅基地流转将取得突破 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 《经济参考报》记者获悉,在总结试点经验的基础上,今年我国将深入推进宅基地制度改革,尤其是在宅基地流转方面将有较大的突破。 具体而言,改革在实现形式上将类似于去年启动的农村承包土地“三权”分置改革,重点是在充分保障农户宅基地用益物权、防止外部资本侵占控制的前提下,落实宅基地集体所有权,维护农户依法取得的宅基地占有和使用权。与此同时,要探索农村集体组织以出租、合作等方式盘活利用空闲农房及宅基地,增加农民财产性收入。此外,还要探索进城落户农民自愿退出宅基地,并允许地方多渠道筹集资金,用于村集体对这部分农民的补偿。

AnchorEDUCATION

Chinese professor in hot water for describing how women students are screened by their appearance | South China Morning Post Qiao Mu, an outspoken journalism professor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University who was famously sidelined for his advocacy for free speech, has again attracted controversy after writing on his Weibo account on Friday that many male professors judged women interviewees based on their appearance.

Stanford Closes Beijing Study Abroad Program, Enrollments Down at Other Beijing-Based Centers | the Beijinger One current director of a US study abroad program based in Beijing, who, because of the subject asked not to be identified, told me that enrollments at his center were down 20-25 percent compared to four years ago. Greater public awareness and media scrutiny of Beijing’s air pollution problem, while a good thing for the city’s residents and visitors, have made Beijing synonymous with toxic air in the minds of many parents, students, and school administrators worldwide.  There are also more opportunities for studying in China in locations other than Beijing.

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