The Sinocism China Newsletter 02.17.15–Happy Year of the Sheep!

Thanks to the handful of you who got into the Chinese New Year spirit and sent me a Red Envelope, much appreciated. I am going to enjoy the CNY holiday and so the next issue will be in a week or so, though I will be on Twitter and you can follow me for China-related updates in the interim.

Happy Year of the Sheep!

Today’s Links: 

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. President Xi extends festival greetings, stresses family bonds – Xinhua In a speech to a gathering at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday morning, Xi expressed appreciation for efforts in deepening reform, development and advancing rule of law in the past year. “We are proud of our great country and we are proud of our great people,” Xi said. “We must give our respect to the work of the industrious and courageous Chinese people and their extraordinary innovative spirit and achievements.” “This year, we are facing situations no less challenging and complicated, and we must stay close to the people and promote reform, innovation, justice and a better standard of living with more vigorous efforts,” said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). He pledged more work on improving work styles in the Party and government and creating more wealth, more benefit for the people and more glory for the nation. // video of his comments [视频]中共中央国务院举行春节团拜会 习近平发表重要讲话, top 11 minutes of Tuesday CCTV Evening News

2. Corruption in China’s Military: One of Many Problems–Dennis J. Blasko Granted, graft and corruption undermine discipline and morale in any military and must be weeded out for the good of military forces in China and elsewhere. However, from the evidence available, the vast majority of corruption in the PLA is found within the political officer system (mostly involving promotions and assignments), the logistics and armaments systems (among those who handle official funds and property and are involved in the procurement of supplies and equipment), and potentially in low-level local headquarters responsible for conscription/recruitment (but likely involving relatively small sums of money). There is little indication that the PLA’s frontline operational leaders, those in command of the units tasked to do the fighting, have been smitten by the scourge of corruption to the degree that some rear area personnel have been.

Related: Xi Jinping boards new bomber during NW China tour – Xinhua President Xi Jinping got into the cockpit of a new bomber during his inspection of the armed forces in Xi’an, capital city of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, visited the training center and the tarmac of a bomber squadron on Monday. Xi inspected various aircraft and entered the cockpit of a new bomber. He asked about the capabilities and features of the aircraft, and told the pilots to improve their combat skills to ensure that “battles can be won at crucial moments.” // CCTV evening News report of his visit  习近平春节前夕视察看望驻西安部队 向人民解放军全军指战员全体武警官兵民兵预备役人员致以新春祝福 video of him in the plane starts at about 5:00

3. U.S. Embedded Spyware Overseas, Report Claims – NYTimes.com In many cases, it also allows the American intelligence agencies to grab the encryption keys off a machine, unnoticed, and unlock scrambled contents. Moreover, many of the tools are designed to run on computers that are disconnected from the Internet, which was the case in the computers controlling Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants.  //  A big problem for US tech firms in China is that Beijing is totally justified in not trusting any of their products, especially now. Can you really blame Beijing, even if in this case there is no indication the tech firms were complicit? Makes it hard to see a happy resolution in the future…

Related: President Barack Obama Speaks with Kara Swisher (Full Transcript) | Re/code We have owned the Internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it in ways that they can’t compete. And oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions on issues sometimes is just designed to carve out some of their commercial interests.

4. So you still yuan out? | FT Alphaville As mentioned before, the support by the PBoC that Goldman note is probably a key reason for the RRR cut we saw earlier in the month. Don’t be surprised to see more of the same. Do though, we would still argue, be surprised to see any real depreciation move by China — we might be wrong about the tradeoffs, but the argument that such a move would result in “a self-perpetuating cycle of depreciation expectation and further capital flight” seems to be tough to get past.

Related: Yuan Nears Weak End of Trading Band on Capital Outflow Signs – Bloomberg Business Yuan positions for foreign-exchange purchases at Chinese financial institutions fell 108.3 billion yuan ($17.3 billion) to 29.3 trillion yuan in January, the lowest in a year, according to People’s Bank of China figures released Tuesday. The data showed persistent weakness in the demand for yuan and suggested that the PBOC probably supported the currency by buying it in the market, Goldman Sachs economists MK Tang, Yu Song and Maggie Wei wrote in a note Tuesday. Domestic markets will be shut Feb. 18 through Feb. 24 for the Lunar New Year.

5. 任志强炮轰党中央,凸显中共新危机_观点-多维新闻网 Ren Zhiqiang was very critical of current policies at a forum and on his Weibo, leading to attacks on him by state media. Quite remarkable, given his relationship with at least one of China’s top leaders, and a sign of the waning confidence some of the elite have towards current policies, both economic and political  //  而为什么民间资本出现如此大规模的外流?任志强并不认为是“调结构”造成的,而是“政府没有信誉,违约和占用了民间资产的比例很大”。 紧接着,任志强又将炮火对准了意识形态甚至中共的理论根基,一面指出当下的中国“文革之风又起”,一面批中国“政府根本就不想保护私有财产”,公有制思维与当下社会的矛盾再次走到台前。任志强称:“另外是政府过度强调了枪杆子和刀把子,反对西方的价值观,文革之风又起来了。还有就是对于私有产权的保护,说是法治,但是实际上在强调了法治的时候是政府强势。我们可以看看最大的违约和最大的破产,在公和私之间有一个巨大的差,凡是反腐反到公的,银行不管企业要贷款,比如华润,其他所有的中央企业都是这样。但是如果是私有企业完了,这个老总要被抓起来或者有点什么事,所有银行就先让你把贷款还上,政府就可以强制的把他的财产收了,打黑的时候就有这个事

Related: 党媒与任志强论战“价值观”文章被删 – BBC Chinese 中共中央机关报《人民日报》旗下的《环球时报》周一(16日)发表评论文章,点名批评网络名人任志强日前有关“价值观”的言论,但有关文章发表后不久就被删除了。 《环球时报》发表的文章标题是《任志强扯出文革来说事是欲盖弥彰》。文章指任志强批评政府“过度强调了枪杆子和刀把子,反对西方的价值观,文革之风又起来了”是“语不惊人誓不休”。 有关文章还指责任志强用长微博刊发“什么是西方价值观”是为“西方价值观”站台。

Related: 环球时报:任志强扯出文革来说事是欲盖弥彰|西方| 价值观_凤凰资讯 中国是不以西方并不认可的模式迅速崛起的。但有一些人以“大国小民”的心态窥视这个世界,跪拜西方价值观,连抬起关来正视西方的勇气都没有。中国是世界上最没有理由对自已国家的前途感到悲观的。 不接受西方的政治体制,反对西方强行推销的价值观,打击贪污腐败,怎么就成了文革之风了?“反腐反到私有企业”,“民营企业没有腐败”,难道反腐反到私有企业都是冤假错案?不违法又怕什么枪杆子和刀把子?扯出文革来说事儿是欲盖弥彰。

6. Great Wall Stall Frustrates Apple Pay in China – Caixin The central bank, UnionPay bank card service and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are standing up to Apple Inc.’s effort to bring the Apple Pay no-card, no-cash payment system to iPhone users in China. “Apple is seeking to cooperate with Chinese financial institutions” including banks for the use of Apple Pay, a People’s Bank of China (PBOC) official said. At the same time, the American company has not yet “acknowledged regulators” and as a result “it’s unclear whether the product meets the government’s requirements” for a commercial operation. Apple is also struggling with its relationship with UnionPay, China’s state-owned credit and debit card system operator. Sources close to the companies said that talks aimed at an agreement that would open China to Apple Pay have stalled.

Related: PBOC: China’s M-payment Turnover Reaches US$3.6T in 2014 – TechNode With the rise of smartphone penetration and 4G networks, China’s mobile payment has recorded exponential growth both in terms of value of transactions and the sectors covered. The latest statistics released by the People’s Bank of China have shed some light on the development of this booming industry in the past year. In 2014, the central bank has proceeded over 4.52 billion mobile payment transactions, up 170.25% year-on-year from 1.67 billion in 2013. The transaction volume surged 134.30% year-over-year to RMB22.59 trillion (US$3.61 trillion) from RMB9.64 trillion in 2013.

Related: Apple Pay现身建行 或将入华要闻一财网 China Construction Bank supporting Apple Pay?  //  上周,苹果向开发者推送了iOS8.3系统测试版,其中最引人关注的莫过于移动支付服务ApplePay对中国银联的支持。虽然上述说明短暂出现后被移除,但是从网友近日拍摄的一张图片来看,ApplePay入华指日可待。

7. Suicide Bomber Kills Up to 8 in Xinjiang, Radio Free Asia Reports – NYTimes if this report is accurate, this attack looks to be a worrying upgrade in capabilities. So far the explosive devices have been quite weak  //  A suicide bomber in the volatile Chinese region of Xinjiang killed as many as eight people last Friday when he grabbed a police officer and set off an explosive device attached to his body, according to a report by Radio Free Asia. The young man, a member of the Uighur ethnic group, set off the device in Hotan Prefecture

8. Lu Wei on the “dream of the web” – China Media Project On February 9, 2015, China’s internet czar, Lu Wei (鲁炜), the director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, hosted a Chinese New Year banquet at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. At the event, attended by foreign dignitaries and representatives from internet companies, Director Lu delivered an address in which he reiterated the need for global internet governance that respects the “internet sovereignty” of various countries.  // with full translation

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

Chinese Stocks Gain to Cap Best Pre-Holiday Advance Since 2007 – Bloomberg Business The Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.8 percent to 3,246.91 at the close, taking gains over the seven days to 5.6 percent. Trading volumes were 24 percent below the 30-day average before the weeklong holiday begins on Wednesday. The gauge has rallied 52 percent during the past 12 months, the most among major benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg, amid speculation that monetary stimulus will revive growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

China Property Recovery Fails to Gain Traction With Prices Dropping – Bloomberg Business Prices in January fell in 69 cities from a year earlier, compared to 68 in December, according to the data. They dropped 3.2 percent in Beijing, compared to a 15 percent gain in January 2014, while sliding 4.2 percent in Shanghai.

一线城市50天内卖地693亿 专家称房价将进上涨通道要闻一财网 tier 1 cities have sold 69.3B worth of land since January 1

Property ownership registry due to start operating in 2017 | South China Morning Post A national government database of property ownership is to be tested later this year and should be fully operational by 2017. The Ministry of Land and Resources said the database would be put online within the year and be expanded in 2016, Xinhua reported.

Recent PBOC M2 growth figures inflation goes unnoticed | chiecon When the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) released January’s new loans figures last Friday, many were surprised by the sharp fall in M2 growth to 10.8%, down from 12.2% in December, and most reports either ignored it, or failed to explain convincingly what caused it. Yet one diligent researcher on twitter (@timdayipper) has been tracking M2 growth for the past few years, and recently noticed an anomaly. The final M2 growth figure for December was actually 11%, not 12.2% as stated in the PBOC’s preliminary report. In fact as his graph shows, since September 2014 the PBOC’s preliminary figure has overstated the actual final figures by over a percentage point, and yet no one in the financial media noticed, or checked by calculating the actual M2 growth figure themselves.

Chinese state media ramps up criticism of Wanda tycoon’s son over ‘buxom’ remark | South China Morning Post Xinhua publishes 1,287 word commentary saying Wang Sicong’s comments about his ideal girlfriend were “shameless” and “arrogant” // 新华社再批某二代:流露出西门庆式的轻佻轻薄娱乐腾讯网 

China’s Anbang agrees to buy controlling stake in Tong Yang Life | Reuters South Korean private equity firm Vogo Investment, holder of a 57.5 percent interest in Tong Yang, confirmed the sale of its stake to Anbang in a statement, without disclosing the price. Anbang, China’s eight-largest life insurer, is expected to pay about $1 billion for the stake, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

China’s economy to grow about 7 percent this year: central bank official | Reuters China’s economic growth could slow to between 6.9 percent and 7.1 percent this year as the country fends off deflation risks, the head of the Chinese central bank’s research bureau said on Tuesday. In an opinion piece in the China Daily newspaper, Lu Lei said fixed asset investment growth in the world’s second-largest economy is likely to cool further this year, dragged by a sagging property market and a fall-off in state investment.

 

POLITICS AND LAW *

腾讯新闻-杭州警方展示防暴利器“剑齿虎” 价值160万 Hangzhou, several other cities get a 1.6 million RMB US-style police paramilitary vehicle “saber-tooth tiger”, built on a customized American-made pickup truck  //  2月15日,杭州警方在广场公开展示防暴利器“剑齿虎”,该车由美国产皮卡车改装而成,国内只有兰州、南通、海安、宜宾等少数城市引进这款价值160多万元的新式装甲车。

沈阳百余干部骗拆 套取3亿元新闻腾讯网 100 Shenyang officials caught stealing 300m rmb in relocation funds  //  违规抢建房屋,“空挂户”造假,变更用地性质……在大规模农村土地征收拆迁过程中,一些基层领导干部、公职人员与拆迁户联手造假,非法套取国家巨额资金。辽宁省多家法院近日审理的沈阳拆迁腐败窝案揭开了套取国家征地补偿款黑幕。记者调查发现,沈阳在征地拆迁过程中,共计3亿余元征地补偿款被非法套取。

社评:走出西方和民国情结看北大评论环球网 中华崛起和民族复兴,大学教育改革与知识体系的重构是关键。中国大学可以说清楚西方理论,却讲不清中国是怎么崛起的,讲不清中国应当走什么路,为什么要走这样的路。中国遇到的很多现实问题从西方经验中已找不到答案,中国大学必须立足中国实际。 当年中国民穷国弱,四处受辱,以大学师生为代表的知识界,表现出强烈的使命感和爱国主义情怀,共产党随之诞生,新中国亦由此建立。如今中国俨然世界大国,方向已定,复兴在望,不少大学校园却盛行强调“小我”的阴柔之风,报效祖国的阳刚之气不振。这令人遗憾。

Why China’s Xi Jinping Is Still Far From Chairman Mao Status-Steve Tsang This consultative Leninist system took shape under the leaderships of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Having inherited it, Xi intends to leave his mark. Compared with his predecessor Hu, he is far more willing to drive the Party harder towards significant reform within a decade. But the focus of his reforms is to reinforce and strengthen this system, not to replace it with liberal democracy or indeed by restoring Maoist totalitarianism. If Xi was really the ‘strongman’ that many claim, he would have behaved in a much more assertive manner over the first two years of his presidency.

Chinese president Xi Jinping sparks online dance craze – Telegraph The dance videos – which some suspect have benefited from a degree of official support – have received hundreds of thousands of hits and appear to reflect genuine public enthusiasm for the Chinese president.  //  queue (clueless) commentary that these are like the “loyalty dance” in the Cultural Revolution…

China orders compensation to acquitted death row prisoner | Reuters about 130,000 RMB for each year he spent in prison //  A court in China’s southern city of Fuzhou ordered compensation of 1.14 million yuan ($182,000) to a former death row prisoner who was acquitted on charges of poisoning two children, state media said on Tuesday. The rare acquittal of Nian Bin, a former food stall owner who was freed in August after a court in Fujian province found there was insufficient evidence, prompted renewed calls for the abolition of the death penalty in China.

China to punish senior official for breaking family planning law | Reuters Zhu Mingguo was former head of the top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in the southern export powerhouse province of Guangdong that borders Hong Kong. The ruling Communist Party’s graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said an investigation found he had accepted a “huge amount of bribes” in the selection of officials and management of companies. He also “seriously violated the family planning policy”, it added, without providing details.

Chinese city government officials named and shamed for bunking off meeting | South China Morning Post A city government has made the rare step in China of publicly naming officials who failed to turn up for a meeting. The authorities in Shaoxing in eastern Zhejiang province said less than 75 per cent of officials attended the forum of higher-ranking cadres on Friday.

Chinese police chief sacked for ‘trickery’ over giant salamander feast |  The Guardian A police chief in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has been sacked after colleagues roughed up a group of reporters who had tried to report on a group of officers feasting on a giant salamander, an endangered animal in China. State media reported last month that the officers were allegedly eating the giant salamander, the world’s largest amphibian, at a seafood restaurant.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

Northcom Commander Wants More Military Exercises with China – Blog In order to help boost diplomatic ties with China is it important that United States engage with the country’s Navy in military exercises, he noted. Not only can the United States learn from China, it can also project power.  “Visible and open exercises allow potential opponents around the world to see our capability and say to themselves, ‘Today is not the day to challenge the United States military,’” Gortney said.

Old Type Great Power Relations | Foreign Policy The gradual acceptance of Xi’s framework also underscores an unproductive habit of U.S. China policy dating back to the 19th century. Let’s call this the China exception to U.S. statecraft. Washington had a habit of romanticizing China and developing impossible expectations for it.

中共看望老同志 郭伯雄江泽民“现身”_中国-多维新闻网 Jiang Zemin and Guo Boxiong make list on cctv of retired comrades who got cny greetings but may not mean Guo is not in trouble //  北京时间2月16日,新闻联播消息显示,中国农历春节前夕,习近平等中共高层看望老同志,官方列出的近百位名单中,负面消息缠身的江泽民、郭伯雄均“现身”。有徐才厚和周永康的“前车之鉴”,此番郭伯雄上榜“老同志”名单,尚不足以判断其是否安全。

Chinese naval escort fleet commences visit to Greece – Xinhua The 18th Chinese naval escort fleet arrived in the Greek port of Piraeus on Monday morning, commencing a four-day goodwill visit after such visits to Greece in 2002 and 2010. Rear Admiral George Leventis, the superintendent of the Hellenic Naval Academy, along with a Guard of Honour from the Hellenic Navy, held a welcome ceremony for the Chinese fleet. More than 300 Chinese, led by Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli, greeted the arrival of the fleet. During the visit, Rear Admiral Zhang Chuanshu, who is the Fleet Commander and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the South China Sea fleet, is scheduled to meet with Greek political heavyweights such as President Karolos Papoulias and the Hellenic Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

China, Russia to mark 70th anniversary of the end of second world war in show of unity | South China Morning Post “[The events] are not targeting any specific countries, nor today’s Japan,” Chinese deputy foreign minister Cheng Guping said at a press conference this morning. “It has no direct correlation with the current Sino-Japan relations either.” Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin will host an anniversary commemoration that includes a military parade in Moscow in May, which Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will attend, Russian ambassador Andrey Ivanovich Denisov said.

俄驻华大使:今年中俄两国元首至少要会面5次国际新京报网 Russia Ambassador to the PRC says Xi and Putin will meet 5 times in 2015, after meeting 7 times in 2014

South China Sea issues blunt progress at ADSOM Plus – IHS Jane’s 360 Territorial issues with China have left defence officials at the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Plus (ADSOM Plus), held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 13-14 February, unable to agree on the agenda for the upcoming ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus). China’s delegation at ADSOM Plus declined the proposal by ASEAN countries to have the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea on the discussion agenda of the ADMM Plus meeting, to be held in November.

Soft Recruits Hinder China’s Military Modernization – NYTimes.com Newspapers published by the People’s Liberation Army have carried reports about half the young men in a unit crying, and many wanting to wash out, he said. Some were reported to have violated discipline by sending texts to their girlfriends. “While this is a weakness, it is not clear how much of a weakness,” he added.

日媒宣称南京大屠杀为捏造 称系空城不可能屠杀新闻腾讯网 Chinese media not happy with recent disgraceful claim by Japan’s Sankei Newspaper that the Nanjing Massacre never happened

Chinese-built railway in Angola open to traffic| China Daily A 1,344-kilometer railway built by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) for Angola was completed and open to traffic on Saturday, the company told Xinhua. The railway linking coastal city Lobito in the west and Luau bordering Angola is the second longest railway built by a Chinese company for Africa, after the Tanzania-Zambia railway.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Taiwan appoints military official as new China affairs chief | Reuters Andrew Hsia, currently the Deputy Minister of National Defense, will become Minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which handles cross-strait policy with its Chinese counterpart, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

Xinhua Insight: 50 years of pioneering mainland-HK water supply – Xinhua Since 1964, the 58-year-old has toiled for the Guangdong Yue Gang Water Supply Company, which reroutes water from the Dongjiang River in south China’s Guangdong Province to the thirsty bordering island of Hong Kong via a 68-km pipeline. Five decades since the project’s launch, it stands as an early example of China’s grand water supply initiatives, which are continuing apace as Beijing and Hebei begin to benefit from the massive south-north water diversion scheme.

 

TECH AND MEDIA *

羊年春晚节目单出炉 语言类节目丰富成亮点-时政频道-新华网 the program for the CCTV Spring Gala

Google Launches A Chinese Version Of Its YouTube Channel For Developers | TechCrunch The channel is on YouTube — which will mean it gets disrupted by China’s censorship system, unless viewers use a (stable) VPN — and includes videos from the main developers channel with Chinese subtitles, as well as original content in Mandarin. That English-language Developer Channel has more than 650,000 subscribers. It’s a useful resource for developers, covering a range of topics related to Android, Android Wear, web and other apps, general developments and information, and talking points from events like the Google Developer Conference.

Coolpad Online Venture to Close China Phone Sales Gap to Xiaomi – Bloomberg Business The venture with Qihoo 360 Technology Co., owner of China’s second-biggest search engine, will boost online sales of Dazen-brand smartphones to 20 million units this year, from about 5 million in 2014, Chief Financial Officer Jiang Chao said in an interview. Coolpad has a target of moving up one level to second place in China Web sales in 2015, Jiang said at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen Monday.

Xiaomi Edged Out Samsung As China’s Top Smartphone Vendor In 2014, Says IDC | TechCrunch Thanks to strong year-over-year growth in Q4 2014 smartphone shipments, Xiaomi achieved a market share of 12.5 percent in 2014, up significantly from 5.3 percent in 2013. Samsung’s share, meanwhile, dropped to 12.1 percent from 18.7 percent.

China Mobile seeks to add 250m 4G users in 2015 | Shanghai Daily CHINA Mobile aims to add 250 million 4G users by the end of this year, more than double the current level, as it taps more 4G base stations and a wider choice of low-cost 4G models, the world’s biggest mobile carrier said yesterday. At the end of January, China Mobile had more than 100 million 4G users and over 700,000 4G base stations nationwide. It aims to gain 250 million 4G users and build 1 million 4G base stations by the end of this year.

国家网信办集中查处65家违法违规婚恋网站 记者17日从国家互联网信息办公室获悉,“婚恋网站严重违规失信”专项整治工作开展以来,根据公众举报,国家网信办组织力量,春节前夕集中核查处置了一批传播淫秽色情及低俗信息的违法违规婚恋网站,包括情爱天空、情人网、同城情人、约炮一夜情、约爱交友、陪游玩网、万花楼、逍遥宫、快活林夜色论坛、22玫瑰网等共65家。

乐视突破90!市值排创业板首位-手机和讯网 LeTV shares at record high, more than recovered from concerns over linkage to Ling Jihua’s brother

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Have Another – Caixin Shanghai’s call for couples to take advantage of the changes shows the city government is worried about its population, said Huang Wenzheng, a biostatistics expert at Johns Hopkins University in the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore. Shanghai has the lowest fertility rate of any large city in China, he said. Shanghai has an aging and shrinking population. It had 3.87 million people over age 60 at the end of 2013, more than one-quarter of its population. Some 105,200 babies were born that year in the city, which recorded 116,500 deaths. All couples should be encouraged to have a second child, Huang said, but Shanghai would have to wait for the central government to announce a policy allowing that.

Chinese Short Film Urging Parents to Accept Gay Children Goes Viral – The Hollywood Reporter The movie, produced by PFLAG China, named after the American organization PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), has received more than 106 million clicks on China’s QQ video streaming site, which is owned by online giant Tencent. Coming Home was launched to coincide with China’s Lunar New Year’s holiday this week, when families traditionally gather all over the country in much the same way as they do in the U.S. at Thanksgiving.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

Inside China’s toxic Village of Widows – Telegraph Such stories repeat themselves again and again in the village, which sits beside an industrial estate on the outskirts of Zhuzhou, a small city in Hunan province in China. Wu Feiyue said he believed heavy metals trapped in the village’s soil – and as a result its vegetables – caused the pancreatic cancer that killed his father. “The land poisoned him,” the 45-year-old said.

China and Energy Policy Change and Savings | The Energy Collective China’s power sector accounts for almost a quarter of the world’s total coal consumption, or as much as all the OECD countries consume together. Controlling China’s coal consumption – as Beijing has vowed in its most recent Energy Development Strategy Action Plan – requires the power sector to take significant measures to optimize its energy sources, using less dirty coal and more clean alternatives. Conducted as part of NRDC’s China coal cap project, a new study by North China Electric Power University led by Assistant Professor Yuan Jiahai, lays out a pathway for capping coal consumption in which China’s power sector can not only reduce its emission of dust, SO2, NOx, and other air pollutants but, more critically, contribute to economic and social gains through decreased coal power investments and fuel costs and increased health benefits.

Guangzhou doctors angry after inspectors search hospitals for ‘bribes’ | South China Morning Post Doctors in Guangzhou are angry after anti-corruption investigators carried out spot checks at hospitals to ensure medical staff had not received bribes or “gifts” from patients and drug companies, according to a newspaper report. Doctors have accused officials of taking a heavy-handed approach, photographing staff’s personal belongings as potential evidence, the New Express reported. “They checked over our belongings without telling us anything,” a doctor was quoted as saying.

Solar farm connection in China falls short of target | South China Morning Post Mainland China installed and connected 10.6 giga-watts (GW) of solar farms last year, well short of Beijing’s original target, but analysts expect volumes to pick up this year, helped by completion of unfinished projects left over from last year and supportive state policies. Last year’s installation, announced Sunday by the National Energy Adminstration in a statement posted on its web-site, was lower than 12.9GW mounted in 2013 and the 14GW target set early last year, but slightly above a revised 10GW goal announced mid-year.

习近平:核心技术靠化缘是要不来的|党支部|共产党人_凤凰资讯 核心提示:农历新年前夕,习近平来到陕西,看望慰问广大干部群众。15日,习近平来到中科院西安光学精密机械研究所,考察了光电测试大厅、空间载荷环境试验大厅,察看了科技成果及产品展示。习近平强调,核心技术靠化缘是要不来的,必须靠自力更生。科技人员要树立强烈的创新责任和创新自信,面向经济社会发展主战场,面向国际科技发展制高点,努力多出创新成果,为实施创新驱动发展战略、建设创新型国家多作贡献。

经济参考网 – 各地电改潮涌 欲破国网垄断 国网与地方企业争利之战愈演愈烈 新一轮电力体制改革“张弓待发”之际,地方电改早已借机涌动。控制着全国26个省区、88%以上国土面积的国家电网正遭遇前所未有的挑战。《经济参考报》记者了解到,近年来国网与地方企业争利愈演愈烈,随着电改重启,打破垄断的呼声再度四起。按照新一轮电改积极稳妥、分步有序推进的原则,区域电力市场将成试验田,目前深圳、内蒙已启动输配电价改革试点,而云南、四川等其他省份也正积极谋划、争取入围。

 

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES *

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Zhejiang-Heilongjiang Grain Tie-up The Zhejiang Province Rural Development Group announced that it signed an agreement to form a grain-marketing venture with the Heilongjiang Province State-owned assets commission. The venture will produce, store, and transport grain from Heilongjiang to Zhejiang. One of China’s problems is that it is producing massive volumes of surplus, high-cost commodities in its peripheral provinces–corn and rice in Heilongjiang and Jilin, cotton in Xinjiang, pork in Sichuan.

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China’s Agricultural Investment Vacuum China’s leaders have ordered their minions to overhaul the country’s agricultural sector. The orders began with the top communist party leadership at their “economic work conference.” The directive was repeated in the party’s “No. 1 document” for 2015, and now the Ministry of Agriculture has issued a document putting top priority on a structural upgrade of the agricultural sector. The restructuring is wide-ranging, ambitious…and doomed to fail. The document suggests that officials are afraid to make hard choices in their planned overhaul of agriculture.

人文经济学会–青萍专栏 | 没有土地产权,农民永远是农奴 2月1日,中国政府网发布消息称,中共中央、国务院近日印发了《关于加大改革创新力度加快现代化建设的若干意见》,即2015年中央一号文件。这是自2004年以来,中央一号文件连续第十二次聚焦“三农”。 意料之中的结果,媒体们随即拿出早已拟好的稿件开始宣传,连续12次关注“三农”毕竟彰显了党中央对农业的重视,农业概念股也因此飘红。然而翻开这十几年的文件我们却发现,中央对农业问题的关心,技术指导层面远胜于实质层面。农民问题中的核心问题——土地产权的归属问题的改革,却连续多年原地踏步。

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL *

Tracing lobsters from North Atlantic Ocean to Chinese dining table – People’s Daily Online Bureau of Statistics data showed that from 2010 to 2013, Canada ‘s live lobster exports to China rose from 7.67 million Canadian dollars to 41.75 million dollars, registering an annual growth rate of 113.79 percent. As of October 2014, this figure reached 56. 89 million Canadian dollars. On a cold winter day in late January, Xinhua reporters adventured an incredible lobster harvesting journey by driving 1, 800 kilometers from Toronto to Lockeport, a fishing town in one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia, to see how lobsters are harvested from the cold pristine water along the rugged north Atlantic coast, packaged live and shipped to Chinese people’s dining table.

Foreign Tourists Can Be Rude, Too, Chinese Newspaper Reminds Readers – NYTimes “Spring Festival’s Golden Week has arrived, and lots of Chinese people are traveling,” People’s Daily Online said. “It’s always said that Chinese people can be uncivilized, but in fact it’s not uncommon for foreigners, either.”

 

BEIJING *

Growth of Beijing’s Population Continues to Slow, Official Data Show – Caixin China’s capital had 21.516 million permanent residents by the end of last year, 368,000 more than a year earlier, according to an annual report published by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics on February 12. About 8.187 million people from outside Beijing live in the city, about 38 percent of the population. Beijing’s population growth has slowed since 2011, when it added 567,000. It added 507,000 in 2012 and 455,000 in 2013, previous reports said. Fewer people from outside the capital also arrived in those years.

徐州原人大代表李宝俊在京挖地下室致路塌被批捕新闻腾讯网 arrest authorized for owner of Beijing courtyad home whose illegal construction led to collapse  //  2015年2月17日,北京市西城区人民检察院以涉嫌重大责任事故罪,对由北京市公安局西城分局立案侦查并提请批准逮捕的犯罪嫌疑人李宝俊依法作出批准逮捕决定,公安机关将对此案继续开展侦查工作。经检察机关审查,该人涉嫌违反安全管理规定,在西城区德胜门内大街其所有的房屋下面挖建地下室,导致周围地面及房屋塌陷并造成重大损失。(人民日报客户端)

北京春节前变“空城”_网易新闻 slideshow of an empty Beijing as people have gone home or gone away to celebrate Chinese New Year’s. I love Beijing during CNY, and miss it this year

 

JOBS AND EVENTS *

China Reality Check: Has the Hard Landing in China Already Started? | Center for Strategic and International Studies Feb 20 in DC  //  Are we at the beginning of a hard landing where the long history of structural inefficiencies are finally and inescapably being revealed and the possibilities of a financial crisis more ever looming? Or are we in a gradual shift toward a “new normal” of healthier and still relatively robust growth as a result of foresighted policy adjustments? Or is something else going on altogether? Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder of J Capital Research, is a veteran analyst of the China’s economy and economic policy process. She travels widely in China in order to compare official data with actual behavior and performance. Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal is a leading expert on macroeconomic policy and recently completed an extended posting in Beijing, where he wrote regularly about China’s economy.

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