Some housekeeping notes:
- Our kids are now on their five week winter break from local Chinese school and so we are heading to the US for a month, spending time in DC, Seattle and maybe New York City. The newsletter will continue but there may be some gaps later this week and at the end of the following week;
The official Chinese New Year Holiday starts February 18th I believe, for at least a week there should be little news out of China and so the newsletter will likely be on hiatus from 2.19 to 2.25 or so;
The newsletter is free and I am not going to go back to the model I tried in 2012, but enough of you have recently asked me how to send money that I have added back the option to securely pay via credit card. If you are so inclined please click here. And thank you;
The VPN situation is bad and getting worse so it looks like it is time to set up a private VPN. I need help though so if any reader with technical chops wants to lend a hand please contact me directly.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. Xi stresses adherence to dialectical materialism – Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed dialectical materialism as a way to deepen reform. Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks while presiding over a meeting attended by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Friday. Xi recalled that in 2013, the bureau convened for a meeting on historical materialism, and said “studying dialectical materialism and historical materialism will help CPC members get better understanding of Marxist philosophy.” // 习近平在中共中央政治局第二十
Related: Xi Jinping Underlines Importance of Dialectical Materialism at CCP Study Session | China Copyright and Media The Politburo held a study session on 23 January, dedicated to understanding the importance of dialectical materialism in Party work, at which Xi Jinping gave a speech. The following Xinhua report summarises that speech, and provides interesting theoretical background to the recent pushes into higher education rectification and think tank building.
2. 银监会下硬指标 银行信息系统国产化浪潮来袭财经频道一财网 China Business News reports that the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has issued internal targets for the hardware and software “nationalization” of the banking IT infrastructure, with a target of 75% by 2019, and that this year the “nationalization rate” of said infrastructure will be a factor in year-end quantitative evaluations. China business only going to get worse for IBM, Cisco et al // 银 行系统国产信息化应用占比提升正在加速落地。 据《第一财经日报》记者了解，
3. China Communist Party magazine blasts professors who spread ‘Western values’ | South China Morning Post The Communist party’s influential magazine Qiushi Journal yesterday lashed out at university professors for defaming China by spreading Western values, raising concerns about academic freedom on the mainland. A commentary by Xu Lan, an official with the publicity office of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, and posted on Qiushi’s website, criticised Peking University legal professor He Weifang for defaming the mainland’s legal system through promoting “the rule of law” on Weibo.// 高校宣传思想工作难在哪里？
Related: 评《求是》攻击贺陈事件-赵 楚 Zhao Chu post on Weibo about the disturbing attack on He Weifang and Chen Danqing. His original weibo post was subsequetly deleted; this links to a Google cached version // 几年以来，随着文革调门在中国社会逐步升起，最近，《求是》
Related: 红旗文稿 | 如何认识社会主义核心价值观中的“自由”–徐能毅 4.
4. The Next Step in Chinese Land Reform — Urbanismith In general, the State Council’s announcement uses an expansive definition of the actors who are eligible to participate in these markets, extending beyond village households, cooperatives, and collectives to include agro-businesses and investors. It even explicitly mentions the inclusion of joint ventures and foreign corporations. This suggests that China is serious about following up on its promise, articulated in the national urbanization plan, to grant equal status to rural and urban land markets. All in all, the reform program announced by the State Council is consistent with China’s efforts at marketization. That is to say, this is not marketization in the sense of a transition to a free market system as defined by the liberal principles of the Washington Consensus. Rather, directional liberalization is mobilized instrumentally as a tool of economic and political discipline. This is made evident by the State Council’s insistence that the establishment of these markets is intended to serve the development of agriculture and the protection of the public interest, not the pursuit of profit.
5. 叩问“高铁之国”——中国高速铁路发展调查-新华网 lo
6. China’s Anti-Corruption Drive Sets Off Death Threats and Dawn Raids – Bloomberg Chinese state media published allegations that originated from an article that was first posted to U.S.-based website Boxun.com. It said Founder CEO Li was associated with former President Hu’s personal secretary, Ling Jihua, one of the highest-ranking officials to be targeted in Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. A person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, confirmed that the article was written and posted by Zenith.
7. China buying more iPhones than US – FT.com $$ seeing 6 and 6+ phones all over Beijing..the lust is back with the bigger phones. Expect Apple to build up its China senior leadership team. The revenue per China exec must be mind-boggling // Apple is expected to say this week that it has sold more iPhones in China than on its home turf in the US for the first time last year, highlighting the shifting power balance of the smartphone market.
8. The Rat Tribe of Beijing | Al Jazeera America Under the streets, a hidden warren of rooms for the thrifty
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
Shanghai takes China lead as annual report ignores GDP growth target | South China Morning Post Unlike other Chinese cities and provinces, no specific economic growth target was mentioned in Mayor Yang Xiong’s work report delivered to the municipal legislature, which opened today. Instead of including a figure as in previous years, the goal for Shanghai’s economy this year was simply to “maintain steady growth while introduce structural optimisation and, at the same time, achieve better quality and higher efficiency,” Yang said. Last year the city recorded a GDP growth of 7 per cent, he said.
Scandal-Hit GlaxoSmithKline ‘to Lay Off 1,000 Employees in China’ – Caixin The China operations of GlaxoSmithKline will lay off around 1,000 employees in 2015, several sources close to the company say, as the British drug maker deals with a sales slump in the aftermath of a bribe scandal. GlaxoSmithKline (China) Investment Co. Ltd. did not confirm it plans to lay off employees when it was contacted by Caixin. The firm said it would not downsize its teams and would employ more workers.
China Bull Market Masks Momentum Breakdown as Stock Volumes Sink – Bloomberg While the Shanghai Composite Index touched a five-year high on Friday after a 63 percent gain during the past year, other gauges of investor enthusiasm are tumbling. Turnover sank 47 percent from its peak in December, while new equity account openings fell 50 percent and purchases using borrowed money dropped 38 percent. The number of stocks reaching new 52-week highs has declined 75 percent in the past six weeks.
工商总局抽检网购：正品率仅58.7%-搜狐IT AIC samples goods from top ecommerce sites, finds only 58.7% are real, Taobao legitimate goods rate apparently even lower
存款保险方案已获通过 99.6%存款人可享全额保护财经频道一财网 近 年来，全国多地发生储户存款丢失事件。23日，
高速公路上市公司董事长多由官员转任 最高年薪96万财经新京报网 The Beijing News finds that 19 listed highway firms have officials as directors, with highest salary for one 960,000 RMB…been a series of reports on governance issues with highway and toll road companies…wonder how much more money there would be to pay down local debt, or reduce road fees,if these were managed properly // 高速公路上市公司的董事长们，存在着一个明显的群体特征：
深圳超30家房企2万房源被锁 中粮招商等国字号卷入-手机和讯网 report that 30 real estate firms in Shenzhen have had a total of 20,000 units banned from sale
北京今年不会为限购松绑 预计楼市不会出现大冷大热变化-房产频道-新华网 Beijin
改革的力量能够化解金融风险（钟声·把脉中国经济 聚焦全球增长）–江西频道–人民网 Zhong Sheng says Monday’s People’s Daily that Western analysts have it wrong about China’s debt problems, that the strength of reform will resolve the problems
经济参考网 -房地产REITs或上半年重启试点 业内人士称，当前问题不再是政策拦路而是试点项目的确定 Eco
POLITICS AND LAW *
China restricts government office sizes – Xinhua China’s anti-graft body said on Saturday that ministers and provincial governors shall have offices not bigger than 54 square meters. Offices for their deputies shall be 12 square meters smaller, said the Communist Party of China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), citing a document jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. Department heads at ministries and provincial governments shall enjoy an office not bigger than 30 square meters, and their deputies 24 square meters. Heads of county governments shall have an office not bigger than 30 square meters and their deputies 18 square meters. // CCDI 你的办公用房超标了吗? has a nice table of the sizes per rank. So who measures?
司马懿（移）现象 Bo Xilai propagandist, longtime venomous critic of America Sima Nan denies new wave of rumors that he has emigrated to the US in this note written while he is in LA, says he is only there to promote a TV show. Who needs to emigrate to the US when you can get a 10 year visa? And if someone or their family members get US green cards, does that count as emigrating?
歌曲《司马南，你在哪里？》 – 高清在线观看 – 腾讯视频 “Sima Nan, Where Are You” music video mocking him after latest rumors of his emigration to the US. Live by trolling, suffer from it too?
Communist Party tightens grip on national security | South China Morning Post Li Wei, a Beijing-based counterterrorism expert, said the blueprint included crisis management for areas ranging from counterterrorism to defence, foreign policy, domestic social unrest and even the ongoing anti-graft campaign. “The blueprint indicated [President Xi Jinping] requested related authorities meet higher standards when dealing with security issues, insisting that they be extremely efficient, authoritative and effective,” he said.
商人曾显波失联后现身 与令计划妻谷丽萍关系紧密新闻腾讯网 Furi chairman Zeng Xianbo, who had disappeared amid rumors of ties to investigation of Ling Jihua and his family, reappears in public for ceremony to receive new, custom Rolls Royce Phantom, denies rumors he tried to help Ling’s wife Gu Liping flee to Japan on his yacht // 1月24日下午，“福日集团”董事长、
Paraguay tries to stop execution of woman in China-AP Rosalia Amarilla stepped into the international terminal of Beijing’s cavernous main airport on the afternoon of July 24, 2012, wearing more than 7 pounds (3 kilograms) of cocaine stuffed into her underwear and bra. An acquaintance named Carlos had given the 31-year-old Paraguayan the drug-filled undergarments to wear in Sao Paulo, Brazil, before she boarded a flight to Doha, Qatar, and then Beijing. Security officials nabbed her before she could meet two Chinese waiting for her outside the airport.
Frustrated Chinese officials tilt at rumour mills | South China Morning Post One of the officials is Vice-President Li Yuanchao . Li, widely respected for his reformist thinking, was considered a strong contender for a position on the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee during the leadership change in 2012 but he settled for membership of the wider Politburo. Over the past year, speculation about Li’s political career has mounted, with the talk focusing on family members who are rumoured to have profited immensely from business deals
平说-美人汤与她的骑士们 Luo Changping writes on Wechat that PLA cultural troupe performer and famous mistress to the powerful Tang Can is not dead, as many of the rumors have said after her disappearance several years ago, but is in jail in Hubei. Luo goes on to list some of the officials and PLA officers to whom she was linked, notes that the Jiao Li, once head of CCTV, since demoted back to Liaoning, has likely not seen the end of his troubles // 汤灿没有死！ 过去两年里，接触过这位湘籍军旅歌手的父母、发小、老师、
南京落马市委书记杨卫泽被捕前曾试图跳楼 _法治频道 _光明网 report with lots of details of the detention of Nanjing party Secretary Yang Weize claims that after he realized that he had been called to provincial HQ to be taken away by CCDI investigators he tried to run to the nearest window and jump but was stopped…his wife and secretary also taken away
Despite a Crackdown, Use of Illegal Drugs in China Continues Unabated – NYTimes As for drug traffickers higher up the chain, Mr. He, the drug counselor, suggested that some were politically connected and, thus, protected. “The police usually can’t touch them,” he said. But in an interview, one Beijing dealer said things were changing. “Before, because of our connections, we would always be alerted a few months ahead of a crackdown,” said the dealer, who asked not to be identified. “Now they just happen.”
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
In Beijing, Narendra Modi’s outreach to the United States has come as quite unexpected : – India Today These are entirely misplaced fears, argues Yan Xuetong, a Chinese strategic expert at Tsinghua University who advises the government. “India is a global power, and will not become a follower of any bloc,” he told India Today. The possibility of India joining an anti-China “containment” strategy along with the US and Japan has been a perennial concern for China’s military establishment. But it is one that “does not have any grounding,” adds a senior Indian official, “when you consider that Chinese engagement with the US, on almost every issue, is far deeper than India’s own relations with Washington.”
Chinese media says Obama visit only ‘symbolic’ and ‘superficial’ : World, News – India Today While China is yet to officially respond to Obama’s visit, which marked a significant deepening of cooperation between the two countries particularly on defence and maritime security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, Xinhua in a commentary said “What lies under the superficial rapprochement is nothing short of a deal”. “The shortened three-day visit is more symbolic than pragmatic, given the long-standing division between the two giants, which may be as huge as the distance between them,” the commentary said.
India, China mustn’t fall into trap of rivalry set by the West – Global Times Through these reports, there seems to be only a fixed pattern to observe Sino-Indian relations. Recent years have witnessed a tendency in international public opinion that whenever India makes a move, it is perceived to be aimed at China. This time, the stereotyped mindset seems to have prevailed again when the US president and Indian prime minister hugged in New Delhi. This fixed pattern of thinking was created and hyped up by the West, which, with ulterior motives, regards the “Chinese dragon” and the “Indian elephant” as natural rivals. This theory, under the strong publicity campaigns of the West, has become plausible even in both Indian and Chinese public opinion, although it is more popular in India than in China.
China pledges anti-terror support for Pakistan – Xinhua China reaffirmed support for Pakistan in its fight against terrorism on Sunday during Pakistani chief of army staff general Raheel Sharif’s visit to Beijing. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, made the remarks while meeting with the guests. “China will, as always, give firm support to Pakistan’s efforts to combat terrorism,” Fan said.
Xi Jinping visits PLA unit linked to Bo Xilai on first inspection tour of the year | South China Morning Post “The end of Bo Xilai also proved the 14th army group’s innocence. Xi’s inspection of the unit might be aimed at clarifying rumours about the close relationship between the battle group and Bo’s family,” Hong Kong-based military observer Leung Kwok-leung said. “In fact, Bo Yibo never took charge of the unit, even though he was one of the founders of the 14th Army Corps.” During his visit to the corps, Xi honoured Wang Jianchuan, a former member of the unit who died in a border conflict with Vietnam in 1984 when he was only 19, Xinhua reported.
How to Rule the High Seas and Contain an Asian Country That Will Remain Nameless | Foreign Policy US naval forces are about to release a revised maritime strategy. The last one, in 2007, didn’t mention China. Don’t bet on that this time around.
China launched its 4th Type 071 LPD, its 21st Type 054A Frigate and its 5th Type 815G ELINT vessel Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a wholly owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC, the largest shipbuilding group in China), launched on the same day near Shanghai three new vessels for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or Chinese Navy): The fourth Type 071 landing platform dock (Yuzhao-class LPD), the twenty-first Type 054A Frigate (Jiangkai II class) and the fifth Type 815G ELINT/SIGINT vessel. On the same day China launched 3 military vessels (representing over 32,000 tons combined) showing to the world its naval shipbuilding industry’s might.
Over the Line? How Representative Was Yang Junfeng’s FT Article of Chinese Academic Opinion on North Korea? | Sino-NK Xi Xinping’s visit to Seoul in early July 2014 marked the first time a PRC leader had visited Seoul without first visiting Pyongyang– a fact taken as symbolic of the state of Sino-North Korean relations. From the outside this might have looked an opportune moment for any Chinese scholars hitherto privately critical of the DPRK to come out in support of Xi’s nascent diplomacy. However, it was also a period of intensified central discipline, including university inspections, and there was already the precedent of Deng Yuwen’s dismissal from the Central Party School’s Study Times journal for openly suggesting that China abandon North Korea (in the English version of the Financial Times). This post covers three documents from the period in question.
Sorry, America: China Can’t Solve Your North Korea Problem | The National Interest Chen Dingding // All available evidence suggests the pressure camp currently has the upper hand within the Chinese government. Neither the old unconditional support approach nor the abandon approach is realistic. China is unlikely to abandon North Korea completely because Pyongyang continues to hold strategic value for Beijing. At the same time, China— especially under Xi’s strong leadership— has clearly had enough of North Korea blackmailing it.
Beijing seeks assurances of safety for Chinese nationals and their property in Kinshasa, Congo after riots | South China Morning Post The Chinese embassy in Democratic Republic of the Congo has launched an emergency plan to protect Chinese residents after their businesses were looted during massive demonstrations in the capital, Kinshasa, state media reported. Chen Zhihong, the embassy’s chargé d’affaires, told China Radio International yesterday that diplomats had helped 180 Chinese merchants move to safer areas after more than 40 Chinese shops were looted.
China further lowers threshold to attract overseas talent – Xinhua Overseas personnel introduced by the plans will enjoy preferential policies in visa applications, residence permits, settling in China as well as exit/entry convenience equal with members of the influential Thousand Talent program initiated in December 2008, the People’s Daily reported on Sunday. The newspaper cited a circular jointly issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee Organization Department, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.
Military schools reform – Global Times Military-run schools in China that accept the children of military personnel will either begin to be operated by local governments or be closed, according to a circular issued Sunday by central authorities. Based on new principles, schools located outside military bases will be taken over by local governments to run. Those situated inside bases will be shut down if they are located in cities, or be transferred to local governments if they are in towns and border areas. The transfer or closure of the schools will be financed by central authorities. They will continue to admit children of military personnel as in the original system and the newly-formed schools will enjoy special subsidies, said the circular.
China’s Turn to Gouge Latin America – Bloomberg View Latin Americans would be better off seeing China as another engine in the world economy, “not our new best friend,” said Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, Brazil’s former ambassador to China.”Even if we wanted China to supplant the United States — and we don’t — China isn’t interested. They’re interested in business.”
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *
Hong Kong snub leaves British diplomats ‘fuming’ – Telegraph British diplomats were left “fuming” after a senior Foreign Office minister was refused meetings with Hong Kong’s top two officials during a recent trip to the former colony. Hugo Swire, the Foreign Office minister, visited Hong Kong earlier this month at the end of a three-day trip to China. However, neither CY Leung, the former colony’s pro-Beijing chief executive, nor Carrie Lam, its number two official, received Mr Swire.
Police show Occupy founders evidence that may be used against them | South China Morning Post Benny Tai Yiu-ting, 50, Dr Chan Kin-man, 55, and the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, 71, were arrested when they went to police headquarters to assist the investigation. They were released after three hours of interrogation, refusing to be bound by bail. No charges were laid against them and police reserved the right to prosecute.
TECH AND MEDIA *
China’s online population reaches 648 mln – Xinhua China’s netizen population, the world’s largest, reached 648 million at the end of 2014, 16 million more than in June, according to an industry expert. Jin Jian, deputy director of the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), said that online economy accounts for seven percent of GDP, up from 3.3 percent the previous year.
非实名手机卡想买就能买 实名制走通”最后一公里”有多难？-新闻中心频道-新华网 Xi
李彦宏新年“动员令”：再造百度财经频道一财网 on Robin Li’s comments at 15th anniversary party for Baidu. Nice picture of him on the drums, does not look like a heavy metal guy, more like Robin “Liberace” Li
Michael Bloomberg Shakes Up Newsroom Side of His Company – NYTimes While he was at City Hall, the news division expanded to include ambitious news reporting and investigative projects, a strategy that has at times put the newsroom’s goals at odds with those of the business side — in China, for instance, which the company views as a huge growth market for its data services. Those tensions have not yet been resolved, said people familiar with internal discussions.
支付宝再战线下支付 – 经济观察网 － 专业财经新闻网站 Economic Observer on Alibaba Alipay’s renewed effort to build offline payments business
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
Chinese scientists slam government meddling after ‘unoriginal’ research team wins top award | South China Morning Post The China Computer Federation (CCF), a top-tier national academic body, published a sternly-worded letter of “suggestion” on its website on Wednesday evening, saying pgovernment officials with zero knowledge of the area had “intervened” and even “directly taken part” in the reviewing process of the award. The letter emerged days after the Ministry of Science and Technology gave the first prize of the State Natural Science Award to a team led by Zhang Yaoxue, a Chinese Academy of Science academician and former Ministry of Education bureaucrat.
Beijing to limit population growth this year – Xinhua Beijing’s population grew to 21.52 million by the end of 2014, making it one of the most populous cities in the world. Last year, 368,000 people were added, the smallest number since 2011 but still significant. Around 8.19 million migrants lived and worked in the capital last year. The growth of migrants has slowed by about 1.7 percent, resulting in 129,000 fewer than the growth in 2013, the Work Report said. To limit population, Beijing’s local governments will implement a plan based on market strategies under the law, Wang said. It will mean moving some polluting industries out of the city, along with some labor-intensive ones. The labor force supporting those industries will move with them, he said.
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