THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. China’s military regrouped into five PLA theater commands – Xinhua Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), presented the flags to top officers of the five theater commands at a ceremony in Beijing. Commander Liu Yuejun and political commissar Zheng Weiping of the Eastern Theater Command; commander Wang Jiaocheng and political commissar Wei Liang of the Southern Theater Command; commander Zhao Zongqi and political commissar Zhu Fuxi of the Western Theater Command; commander Song Puxuan and political commissar Chu Yimin of the Northern Theater Command; and commander Han Weiguo and political commissar Yin Fanglong of the Central Theater Command all received flags. The CMC Vice Chairman Fan Changlong announced the appointment of leaders for the five theater commands, which was endorsed by Xi. CMC Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang presided over the ceremony.
Related: 中国人民解放军战区成立大会在北京举行-新华网 CCTV Evening News on the new PLA Theater Commands… Xi said to have issued a 训令
Related: D-Day for PLA: China launches new theatre commands in drive for modern military | South China Morning Post The PLA has officially abandoned its decades-old seven military regions, replacing them with five new theatre commands in its bid to establish a modern, integrated force. But ground force personnel still dominate the leadership of the People’s Liberation Army’s new zones, a move one analyst said would help ensure stability in the transition.
Related: 社评：“战”字代替“军”字的意义大于七改五评论环球网 中国军队很多年不打仗了，外国舆论谈中国军力，更容易想到“东风”战略导弹、潜艇、航母建造计划等等，想中国军队本身少了。今天的外军将领们大多没同中国军队交过手，加上中国没有一个“好莱坞”来虚构很牛的军哥形象，中国军队给世界的印象应当说不算深。或许有一些国人觉得这样的“低调”挺好的。他们大概还希望国家多谈“铸剑为犁”，最好让军人们也经常抱着和平鸽拍照示人。五大战区的成立是一次革命性变革，一个“战”字，是对军队本质和军人气概拔地而起的张扬，是原力的释放。世界对2月1日以后的中国必进一步刮目相看。
Related: 解放军建立东南西北中五大战区国内新京报网 中国人民解放军战区成立大会1日举行。中央军委主席习近平向东部战区、南部战区、西部战区、北部战区、中部战区授予军旗并发布训令。同时，各战区司令员政委亮相。五大战区10位军政主官有何特殊之处？
Related: 2016 PLA Reform-Junyu.org 2016 PLA Reform Vocab List
2. Isolating China: Why the Latest U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operation May Have Already Succeeded – Lawfare The avowed legal purpose of these U.S. FONOPs is to win acquiescence for the U.S. (and majority) view of international law that innocent passage of military ships does not require prior permission. The sub silentio strategic goal of these FONOPs is to isolate China from its regional neighbors. Thus far, at least, it looks like the Wilbur FONOP has succeeded in making progress on both goals.
Related: The South China Sea Arbitration Case Could Exacerbate Disputes in the South China Sea | The Diplomat The current international system is increasingly demanding countries to participate in international affairs and consult with each other. It disapproves of harboring prejudice and biased treatment of any country, and discourages the arbitrary exercise of supra-national legal authority to serve individual national political agendas. Without these principles, in this contemporary society where we live together and our interdependence deepens more than ever, the cause of global governance towards democracy and the rule of law would unfortunately suffer from a hard time. Wu Shicun is president and senior fellow of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.
3. Light Government Touch Lets China’s Hui Practice Islam in the Open – The New York Times in many parts of the officially atheist country, religious restrictions make it a crime to operate Islamic schools and bar people under 18 from entering mosques. Asked about the Chinese government’s light touch here, Liu Jun, 37, the chief imam at the Banqiao Daotang Islamic School, offered a knowing smile. “Muslims from other parts of China who come here, especially from Xinjiang, can’t believe how free we are, and they don’t want to leave,” he said, referring to the far-west borderlands that are home to China’s beleaguered Uighur ethnic minority. “Life for the Hui is very good.”
Related: In China, rise of Salafism fosters suspicion and division among Muslims – LA Times In some ways, Linxia, in northern China’s Gansu province, is a city united. About 60% of its 250,000 people are Muslim. On a frigid Friday afternoon in December, its street life grinds to a halt. Hundreds of men wearing scruffy beards and white caps pack into the tile-clad Xinhua Mosque for afternoon prayers. An imam chants Koranic passages in throaty Arabic. A speaker crackles, and a flock of birds takes flight. It’s also a city divided. There are the mainstream Muslims, locals say — and then there are the Salafis.
4. China Is Said to Force Closing of Women’s Legal Aid Center – The New York Times As word spread of the closing of the Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling and Service Center, many women’s rights advocates expressed shock. The center was highly symbolic for having been born of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, a moment when China, struggling to be accepted internationally after the 1989 military suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations around Tiananmen Square, loosened controls on civil society activities.
Related: 单仁平：西媒炒作众泽关闭事件是为看热闹 评论环球网 西方媒体近日集中报道了北京众泽妇女法律咨询服务中心2月1日关闭的消息，并指责中国政府“打压民间团体”。美国总统参选人希拉里1月31日在推特上声援该中心创办人郭建梅，有分析认为希拉里欲用女权议题为她的民主党候选人初选造势。
5. China’s Rights Struggle Is No Longer an ‘Internal Affair’ | The Diplomat And when the stonewalling starts (as it almost inevitably will) about these being “internal affairs,” the logical response will be that, obviously, in these cases they aren’t. They involve non-Chinese, people whom foreign governments have a moral and legal obligation to take care of and support. If it does prove true, too, that Chinese state agents have been unilaterally acting abroad, that makes them international actors, and exposes part of their work to international norms and criticisms as never before. The bad news over the last few months is that we seem to be seeing a wholly new form of the Chinese state acting outside its borders in ways which are opaque, arbitrary, and worryingly predatory. The good news is that never before has the Chinese state line about “non-interference in the affairs of other countries” been so thoroughly eroded
Related: Why critics of China aren’t safe anywhere – The Washington Post OpEd Jerome Cohen, a professor at New York University law school and leading expert on law in China, links the kidnappings with the crackdown at home and China’s disregard for international norms in territorial disputes — all of which, he said, “have gravely damaged Xi Jinping’s reputation for respecting the rule of law.”
Related: China’s Anti-Corruption Dragnet Catches More Than Financial Criminals-RFA A recent announcement by China’s police force that it has set up a special unit to nab so-called “fugitives” who fled the country is prompting fears that the ruling Chinese Communist Party is expanding its law enforcement activities far beyond its borders. Beijing’s overseas fugitives’ bureau will “help China to bring fugitives hiding overseas to justice and to retrieve stolen funds,” the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement last week.
6. Watching Big Brother: A Q&A with Chinese Political Cartoonist Badiucao » The LARB Blog I believe that the Chinese space for political cartoonists in the mainland has already closed. In the era when Weibo [a Chinese counterpart to Twitter] first launched, online satirical cartoonists were very active. We could see Kuang Biao, Dashixiong, and dozens of other cartoonists commenting on current events. But now, I almost never see domestic cartoonists’ work.
7. A Deep Divide Emerges in China: How Do Intellectuals Relate to the State? | The Diplomat Last week, a debate erupted on Chinese social media with regard to an opinion piece written by Professor Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute in Singapore. In his article, Zheng argues that China has already entered a “shortage of knowledge” era and seems to blame the whole intellectual stratum for the failure to come up with practical and creative knowledge. Unsurprisingly, Zheng’s essay has generated a storm on China’s most popular social media outlet, Wechat. Many are criticizing Zheng for being unfair to Chinese intellectuals within mainland China
8. Why China hacks the world – CSMonitor.com Moreover, with Xi’s desire to turn China into a “great cyber power,” Beijing will continue to pursue a strategy of exerting sovereignty over cyberspace, which is bound to create friction with Washington. The challenge for the two sides from here will be to identify some rules that will keep tensions low – and keep a full-scale cyberwar from erupting. Excerpted from “The Hacked World Order: How Nations Fight, Trade, Maneuver, and Manipulate in the Digital Age,” by Adam Segal.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
Spam Trail Leads to China’s Three Largest Banks-MIT Technology Review McCoy initially found that the Korea Exchange Bank handled a significant fraction of the luxury goods purchases. But after his work triggered complaints from the credit-card network Visa, the bank stopped handling the transactions for the perpetrators. Despite being subject to similar complaints—and likely fines—the Chinese banks have not. “The banks in China are not doing anything,” says McCoy. He discussed his findings at the Enigma computer security conference in San Francisco this week.
Millions spread their wings on overseas travel taking off-China Daily Ctrip.com International, the largest online travel agency in China, forecasts that nearly 6 million outbound trips will be taken during this Spring Festival, setting a record for the Golden Week. Meanwhile, Chinese travelers’ budgets for trips have been increasing in recent years. The average spending of Chinese outbound travelers for Spring Festival will exceed 10,000 yuan ($1,520), excluding local shopping costs, the agency said. // will tighter capital controls have any impact on overseas spending?
置换债规模攀升加剧银政博弈 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 中部某地方融资平台管理人老吴这几天一直被某知名政策性银行约谈，希望将马上要到期的贷款以利息较高的延期贷款来代替国家规定的利息较低的地方债置换。 这种变换的好处是可以换来未来业务的优先合作，坏处是每年要多付近1个亿的利息。一面是类似这样的金融机构对地方债置换的不积极，另一面是数万亿规模到期债务的压力，这让不少地方融资平台深感无奈。银政博弈的加剧让2016年地方债务置换工作面临不小的挑战。
Philips’ sale of Lumileds to China-focused GO Scale Capital-led consortium thwarted by CFIUS clearance Royal Philips NV of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (the world’s largest lighting producer) and GO Scale Capital (an investment fund sponsored by China-based GSR Ventures and US-based Oak Investment Partners) have terminated the agreement for the consortium led by GO Scale Capital to acquire an 80.1% interest in its California-based LED-making division Lumileds (with Philips retaining the remaining 19.9%). Despite efforts to mitigate the concerns of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), regulatory clearance has not been granted for the transaction
Western Digital Clock Reset Shows Hurdles for Tsinghua Sale – Bloomberg Business Western Digital this month refiled its notice with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. about its $3.8 billion deal with Tsinghua, the company said in a regulatory filing dated Jan. 26. The sale would make Tsinghua, a business unit of China’s Tsinghua University, the largest single shareholder in Western Digital and give it a representative on the company’s board. CFIUS is expected to decide by next month whether it has jurisdiction over the deal, according to the company, which withdrew its previous notice with CFIUS in November.
Global automakers wary of China certification shift | Reuters Some global automakers are worried that China is pushing its weight around as the world’s biggest car market – by enforcing its own, often outdated, vehicle certification standards on foreign cars. China previously allowed global brands to sell cars without local certification in many cases, as long they were approved under international standards. Chinese rules essentially apply older standards to features such as bumper strength, brake performance and the size and positioning of lamps and mirrors.
U.S. Food Supplier Weighs Appeal After China Court Jails Workers – Bloomberg Business “We have made every effort to follow firm instructions to silently co-operate on the advice it would lead to a fair conclusion,” the Aurora, Illinois-based company said. “However, we can no longer accept injustices against our people and our reputation.” Yang Liqun, an Australian citizen who was a general manager for OSI in China, was given the heaviest sentence of three years in jail, a 100,000-yuan fine, and will be deported, according to the statement from the court. The other nine were sentenced to jail terms of 19 to 32 months, of whom four were given reprieves.
China’s Top Macro Fund Wagers Against Consumption-Driven Growth – Bloomberg Business China’s top-performing macro fund is betting against one of the primary drivers of the nation’s economy: Consumption. Lu Jun, whose Congrong Allweather Fund returned 91 percent last year, says wage gains will slow abruptly as early as the second quarter as companies struggle with falling profits. That’s going to hit consumption and may result in retail-sales growth more than halving to 5 percent by the end of 2016, he said, citing his company’s own calculations.
Nearly a million investors lose $7.6bn in Chinese online ‘Ponzi scheme’ | World news | The Guardian Chinese police have arrested 21 people involved in the operation of peer-to-peer lender Ezubao, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday, over an online scam it said took in some 50 billion yuan ($7.6 bn) from about 900,000 investors. So you think you’re safe doing internet banking? Read more Ezubao was a Ponzi scheme, the Xinhua report said, and more than 95% of the projects on the online financing platform were fake.
China’s P2P lending risks ripple through the economy – FT.com Lending by P2P institutions rose by Rmb982bn ($149bn) last year, up from the Rmb253bn that was lent out in 2014, according to industry data compiled by Wind Information, a Chinese data company. However, because most P2P loans are repaid quickly, the value of total loans outstanding at the end of last year was only Rmb439.5bn, Wind data show.
人口学者：少子化趋势难改 人口负增长恐提前_网易新闻中心 官方预计2030年人口负增长，但多位人口学者担忧可能提前到2023年左右
POLITICS AND LAW *
习近平赴江西视察 或将前往井冈山_中国-多维新闻网 有消息人士透露，2016年春节前夕，中共总书记习近平或将在江西省南昌市视察，并将前往井冈山地区视察。 从江西方面了解，省府南昌市的不少地方与部门正在进行着各种准备，相关政府部门以及安保人员被要求取消休假，为习近平的到来做好各类工作。据悉他已经前往江中药业和国电投视察。 // rumor that Xi to visit Revolutionary holy site/base area Jinggangshan before Chinese New Year
China to strengthen poverty relief in old revolutionary base areas – Xinhua China will increase poverty alleviation in old revolutionary base areas, mostly in the country’s less-developed central and western parts, to boost local growth and improve people’s livelihood, an official document said. The revolutionary bases are regarded as the roots of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and army but have been lagging behind the country’s rapid economic progress in the past few decades due to factors such as poor infrastructure and unfavorable geographic positioning.// 中办国办印发《关于加大脱贫攻坚力度支持革命老区开发建设的指导意见》
China court releases man after 21 years on death row – Xinhua Chen Man, who is now 53, was released Monday from Meilan Prison in south China’s Haikou City after the Zhejiang Higher People’s Court overturned his conviction. Chen was arrested at the end of 1992 on charges of arson and murder. He was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by Haikou Intermediate People’s Court in November 1994. However, the local procuratorate deemed the sentence “too light” and urged a higher court to adjust it to death and execute Chen, according to Zhejiang court. The procuratorate’s request was rejected by Hainan Higher People’s Court in 1999, beginning a 16-year appeal ordeal for Chen and his family.
学好用好共产党人的“心学”（红船观澜）–观点–人民网 “党性教育是共产党人的‘心学’，是党员正心修身的必修课。我们党继承和弘扬中华民族优秀传统文化，让崇德向善和遵规守纪相辅而行……自律与他律结合，既发挥道德感召力，又强化纪律约束力。”中共中央政治局常委、中央纪委书记王岐山在十八届中央纪委六次全会的工作报告中，将党性教育比作共产党人的“心学”，其中深意值得仔细体味。 // Wang Qishan likens Communists political character education to the Neo-Confucian “School of Mind”
国务院副秘书长肖亚庆任国资委主任 张毅被免职_凤凰资讯 Xiao Yaqing appointed head of SASAC
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
Japan Forms New Air Wing to Fend off China’s Advances in East China Sea | The Diplomat Tokyo has recently doubled the number of fighter jets stationed at Okinawa’s Naha Air Base.
U.S. calls on China to clarify status of booksellers | Reuters U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told a regular news briefing the United States was “deeply concerned.” “These cases … raise serious questions about China’s commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy under the one country, two systems framework, as well as its respect for the protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said. // or what will the US do? Talk is cheap, lack of any Western actions in recent years has made it clear to China that there is nothing behind the jawboning now…
President Xi Jinping of China Is All Business in Middle East Visit – The New York Times or the moment, China is concentrating on buying and selling in the Middle East, and playing Riyadh and Tehran off each other for better oil deals, leaving the strenuous diplomacy to the United States. China is wary of the Islamic State, but is not hugely motivated to enter the Syrian conflict. “The Middle East is the graveyard of great powers,” said Li Shaoxian, a former vice-president at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a government research institute. “China doesn’t really care who takes the presidency in Syria in the future — as long as that person could stabilize and develop the country, we would agree.”
TECH AND MEDIA *
Tweet #HappyChineseNewYear 2016 around the world | Twitter Blogs Nice of Twitter to help promote CCTV and the CNY gala celebrities globally while still being blocked in china // The “#WebGala” (网络春晚 or “wang-luo-chun-wan”), is a pre-#CNY celebration program produced by mainland China’s national broadcaster @CCTV. This variety show will be aired on TV and web on the evening of Feb. 1, 2016 (Beijing time). Performers include well-known pop singers, TV and movie stars, and celebrities. For the first time in mainland China, a Twitter Mirror will provide exclusive, behind-the-scenes moments with these Chinese celebrities to share about their special moments during the #WebGala as well as their #ChineseNewYear greetings to their global fans. Follow @CCTV now to catch all of the live action and Twitter Mirror content from the variety show tonight.
Former internet video boss at Youku Tudou detained in China – FT.com An internal letter sent to employees by Heyi Film, Youku’s film studio, and published in the Chinese press, said the charges against Mr Lu arise from an audit of Youku finances that “found some points of serious suspicion in certain production projects”. “From the information we have now, we know that former employee Lu Fanxi is suspected of exploiting his position to take illegal and criminal activities
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
This Little Red Book Confronts Sexism in the Chinese Language | WIRED ACTIVISM CAN TAKE many forms. In the case of Women’s Words, it takes the form of a little red dictionary. The tiny book is the work of Karmen Hui, Tan Sueh Li, and Tan Zi Hao of Malaysian design collective TypoKaki. On its pages you’ll find made-up words and phrases—Chinese characters that, through their unusual arrangement and alteration, subvert the sexism ingrained in Mandarin.
China’s coolest grandpa: farmer, 85, catapulted to fashion fame | World news | The Guardian Ding Bingcai, 85, was catapulted into the headlines last month after his photographer grandson, Ding Guoliang, 30, made him the star of a fashion shoot for which he donned green, blue and mulberry suits, tartan bow ties, designer glasses and fedoras. Photographs of the dapper grandfather-of-10 – who had never before worn a suit – quickly went viral with internet users anointing him “China’s coolest grandpa”.
Crouching trekker, hidden buildings: China’s urban explorers | Cities | The Guardian Intrepid urbexers are wandering through the industrial wastelands of China, uncovering the dramas of the country’s astonishing economic rise
Yuan Geng: Chinese guerilla spy turned economic pioneer, dies at 99 | South China Morning Post After joining Communist Party at 21, Yuan fed intelligence to US about Japanese movements in Pearl River Delta during second world war, then helped establish the model for China’s special economic zones
China Now Learning It Has ‘Environmental Migrants’-Caixin The far-reaching impacts of this new reason for emigration are not to be ignored. Both brain drain and capital flight are to the exporting country’s disadvantage. Career perspectives and a desire for more income are usually the biggest reasons for people to leave their home country. But now China is beginning see it will have to deal with the ramifications of “environmental migrants.”
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
China Just Released True Color HD Photos Of The Moon | TechCrunch The images were taken a few years ago by cameras on the Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover. In December of 201
150 Resident Doctors Stage Pay Protest in Shenzhen-Caixin Trainees complain they are not getting a central government subsidy, but local officials reply they are getting that and more
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES *
FOOD AND TRAVEL *
The pampered pigs and happy hens set to save China’s economy – FT.com In the run-up to this weekend’s start to lunar new year — which begins with the most important meal of the year, nianyefan or new year’s eve dinner — sales of Lonely Mountain black pork rose dozens of times over, says farmer Ah Tu, an IT expert who splits his time between Shanghai and his native village. He now does a roaring trade on Taobao in pigs, chickens, mountain goats, ducks and other animals raised in Lonely Mountain.
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