The Sinocism China Newsletter 03.12.15

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Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Made in China: Beijing plans new wave of state firm consolidation | Reuters China is poised to embark on a fresh round of industrial consolidation, as part of a sweeping plan to reinvigorate the country’s inefficient state-owned enterprises and raise the global competitiveness of domestic industry. The initiative, dubbed “Made in China 2025”, focuses on promoting key sectors, led by railways and nuclear power plant construction, in offshore markets, in Beijing’s latest move to create leading international giants.

Related: China Prepares Mergers for Big State-Owned Enterprises – WSJ China’s leadership is preparing to radically consolidate the country’s bloated state-owned sector, telling thousands of enterprises that they need to rely less on state life support and get themselves ready to list on public markets. Economic slowdown has heightened the imperative to eke better returns out of the state firms that tower over China’s economy, from the giants that dominate oil, banking and other strategic sectors, to smaller ones that run hotels and make toothpaste. But instead of scaling back their role, as called for by economists both inside and outside China, the plan could tighten the state’s grip over economic activity and make already inflated behemoths even bigger.

Related: 经济参考网 -中石油混改大步推至上游核心区: 民营资本对高技术、高投资、高风险行业特性持谨慎态度 2015年,中石油的混合所有制改革终于迈开大步。《经济参考报》记者两会期间独家获悉,中石油已敲定新疆为勘探开发领域混改试点,将拿出区内油田区块不超过49%的股权引入地方资本,目前其旗下第三大油田塔里木油田塔中区块已与新疆能源集团及阿克苏地区政府签订合作协议,马上将进入实施阶段,其他拟出让区块的合资开发也正在洽谈中。

Related: China state-owned company share gains highlight market risks | Reuters Shares in five Chinese state-owned firms rose by their daily limit last week ahead of the companies filing potentially market-moving news, raising questions over whether Beijing’s plans to restructure the state sector are reaching some investors ahead of them being made public. Securities regulators have struggled for years to restore the reputation of China’s stock market as a place for retail investors to safely park their savings. But the multi-tiered bureaucracy and heavy regulation have proved tough to manage. Companies need to cultivate political contacts within the bureaucracy to gain approval to list or restructure, and that chain of communication can be vulnerable to leaks.

2. China’s Biggest Shipyard Is Now a Ghost Ship – Caixin Once China’s largest shipbuilder, Rongsheng is on the verge of bankruptcy. Orders have dried up and banks are refusing credit. Questions have been raised about the shipyard’s business practices, including allegations of padded order books. And Rongsheng is apparently behind on repaying some of the 20.4 billion yuan in combined debt owed to 14 banks, three trusts and three leasing firms, sources told Caixin. The few hundred shipyard workers left – survivors of what’s now a three-year downsizing – are wondering whether they’ll ever see their overdue paychecks. Those with an uncertain future include a worker who cuts steel from abandoned ships into pieces that can be sold for scrap. “We haven’t been paid since November,” the worker said.

3. National security? China ready to slam door on foreign NGOs. – CSMonitor The Chinese government is drafting a new foreign NGO law that is widely expected to make work more difficult, if not impossible, for many of the 6,000 overseas non-profits that operate here in a broad range of fields from education and the environment to HIV-Aids and legal education. Under the new law, foreign non-profits would not be allowed to open more than one office, or to raise funds locally, or be allowed to fund projects deemed counter to what is being called “Chinese society’s moral customs,” according to excerpts seen by The Christian Science Monitor of the still unpublished bill.

4. The Journal of Asian Studies – Inside Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement: Twenty-Four Days in a Student-Occupied Parliament, and the Future of the Region “Say goodbye to Taiwan,” wrote political scientist John Mearsheimer in a widely read article in the March-April 2014 issue of The National Interest.1 Threatened by China’s rising economic might and abandoned by a weakening United States, one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies was facing, in his “realist” analysis, an almost inevitable annexation via economic if not military force. “Time,” he wrote, “is running out for the little island coveted by its gigantic, growing neighbor.” But only days after publication, on March 18, activists and armchair analysts alike said hello to a new reality.

Related: China Demolishes the Taiwan Consensus | The National Interest Given what has been achieved under the Consensus, it would be logical to assume that Beijing would seek its continuation. However, recent comments by Chinese President and CCP Chairman Xi Jinping, as well as articles appearing in official Chinese media, indicate that the Consensus no longer suffices. What Beijing seems to have in mind could have serious ramifications for cross-strait stability and is sure to cause a storm in Taiwan’s political scene, where the framework is already regarded as controversial and unpalatable to the DPP. Xi now insists that future exchanges will be contingent on the Taiwanese side acceding to the Consensus minus the part about “different interpretations.” In other words, the built-in flexibility that has made the Consensus a success is to be obviated, and the baseline has moved. Beijing’s new position is that there is only “one China,” of which Taiwan and “the Mainland” are indivisible components.

5. China Must Press On With Fight against Corruption – Caixin – Hu Shuli Editorial A cure involves systemic change. Apart from the eight rules on official behavior aimed at cutting extravagance and waste, as well as efforts to overhaul officials’ salaries and compensation, the crackdown on graft itself may guide the government on changes needed. For example, numerous modifications to the party discipline apparatus have been made over the past two years, thanks to the problems unveiled by the commission’s relentless crackdown. A larger framework of governance that encourages official propriety will in the end require comprehensive reform of the political and economic systems. This means putting limits on power; reducing opportunities for rent-seeking; streamlining and redrawing the scope of administrative functions; and allowing the market to play a key role in resource allocation. For two years, the anti-corruption crackdown has been shadowed by all kinds of doubts and speculation. These must be debunked.

6. China’s Tensions With Dalai Lama Spill Into the Afterlife-NYTimes Chinese Communist Party leaders are deathly afraid that the Dalai Lama will not have an afterlife. Worried enough that this week, officials repeatedly warned that he must reincarnate, and on their terms…The sight of Communist Party officials defending the precepts of reincarnation and hurling accusations of heresy at the Dalai Lama might have Marx turning in his grave…“I don’t think the Dalai Lama would mind if you saw this through the prism of Monty Python,” Robert Barnett,

Related: Chinese official urges Dalai Lama to “forsake evil ways” – Xinhua “We hope the Dalai Lama can abandon his separatist stance and his deceptive ‘middle way’ approach,” said Zhu Weiqun, head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top political advisory body. The core contents of the “middle way” approach, proposed by the political exile in the 1980s, are “Greater Tibet” and “high-level autonomy” of the southwestern Chinese autonomous region. Zhu, also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, called on the Dalai Lama and his followers to stop inciting self-immolation among the Tibetan people and sincerely discuss with the central government about the future of himself.

7. China issues opinions to encourage mass entrepreneurship, innovation – Xinhua The State Council vowed to provide a better environment for popular entrepreneurship and mass innovation by lowering barriers, strengthening public services and encouraging college students, scientists and engineers to start new businesses. China will pilot equity-based online crowd funding and encourage banking and financial institutions to provide loans as financing channels to support small businesses, said the announcement. More than 1,000 investment agencies fund entrepreneurs in China, holding a capital sum of over 350 billion yuan (56.8 billion U.S. dollars), said Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, on Wednesday at a press conference on the sidelines of the national legislature’s annual session. Technology deals in 2014 increased 15 percent year on year to hit 857.7 billion, said Wan.

Related: 国务院办公厅关于发展众创空间推进大众创新创业的指导意见_政府信息公开专栏 国办发〔2015〕9号 各省、自治区、直辖市人民政府,国务院各部委、各直属机构:为加快实施创新驱动发展战略,适应和引领经济发展新常态,顺应网络时代大众创业、万众创新的新趋势,加快发展众创空间等新型创业服务平台,营造良好的创新创业生态环境,激发亿万群众创造活力,打造经济发展新引擎,经国务院同意,现提出以下意见。

8. 中石化董事长回应油品质量不高:地方政府做主–法治–人民网 Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu responds to allegations that big oil worsens air pollution by keeping the quality of gasoline lower than it could be, blames local governments… //  京华时报:国内成品油质量为什么不高? 傅成玉:国家有标准,但是各省级政府可以自己选择使用哪种标准的油,这就导致了几种不同标准的油在全国同时存在,有的人希望油价便宜,因此选择使用更低标准的油,所以当地的油品质量就没法提上去。事实上,中石化具备生产国Ⅳ、国Ⅴ等更清洁油品的能力,但不是我想卖到哪儿就卖到哪儿,而是政府批到哪儿我就到哪儿。

 

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

Chinese Factory Data Shows Weakest Start in Six Years – Bloomberg Business Industrial output, investment and retail sales growth missed analysts’ estimates in January and February, suggesting more stimulus is needed to boost the world’s second-largest economy. Bloomberg’s gross domestic product tracker, which draws on that data as well as measures such as electricity production, shows economic growth slowing to 6.28 percent in the period, the weakest pace since the start of 2009.

万亿地方债置换引联想 财政部否定中国版QE_要闻_一财网 MoF denies rumors of plans for 10 Trillion RMB China-style QE

China likely to ease again if inflation falls – central bank adviser | Reuters China is likely to cut interest rates or reserve requirements again if consumer inflation drifts below 1 percent, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee said, as he ruled out more support for the sagging Chinese property market. Qian Yingyi said policymakers still needed to monitor the inflation data for March and April to judge if deflation pressures were deepening in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Yuan Bears Rein in Bets as China’s Leaders Damp Band Speculation – Bloomberg Deputy Governor Yi Gang told reporters on March 3 there was no urgent need to adjust the trading band, and PBOC adviser Chen Yulu said two days later that a broader range wasn’t necessary. “Concerns over band widening and hence bigger room for yuan depreciation have receded with these official comments,” Kenix Lai, a Hong Kong-based foreign-exchange strategist at Bank of East Asia Ltd., said by phone on Tuesday. “A weak economic outlook is already weighing on the yuan and China prefers the currency to be a stability anchor.”

China’s local government debt: Defusing a bomb | The Economist the biggest debtors in China in recent years have been corporate bosses, not local officials. The debts of non-financial companies reached 125% of GDP by the middle of last year, up from 72% in 2007, according to McKinsey, the consultancy. These are well outside the remit of the refinancing programme. China’s debt mountain looks a little safer thanks to the swap, but it is still large and menacing.

Chinese Tourists Are Headed Your Way With $264 Billion – Bloomberg  Already the most prolific spenders globally, the number of Chinese outbound tourists is tipped to soar further as the millennial generation spreads its wings. Here are the numbers: 174 million Chinese tourists are tipped to spend $264 billion by 2019 compared with the 109 million who spent $164 billion in 2014, according to a new analysis by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. To put that in perspective, there were just 10 million Chinese outbound tourists in 2000.

For Chinese Economy, Steel Goes From Strength to Weakness – NYTimes Around 60 percent of all rail freight traffic in China comes from transporting coal. The amount of rail freight fell about 11 percent in December and 9 percent in January compared with a year earlier — the steepest decline since the financial crisis. The slump is partly tied to fewer shipments of coking coal, which is mainly used in the beleaguered steel industry.

China’s Steel Output Seen Shrinking as Rio, BHP Decline – Bloomberg Output will contract to an estimated 814 million metric tons in 2015 from 823 million tons last year, Deputy Secretary-General Li Xinchuang said at an iron ore conference in Perth, Australia, on Wednesday. The association is funded by China’s major steelmakers and is the only nationwide industry body.

Bondholders plot to get better restructuring terms from China’s Kaisa | Reuters Some of developer Kaisa Group’s bondholders are pushing for better debt restructuring terms, such as a guarantee for their bonds from Sunac China which has proposed a takeover of its rival, sources familiar with the matter said. But it was unclear whether bondholders seeking to negotiate with the liquidity-strapped property firm are in the majority, and even if they are, any bargaining power is likely to be limited to a small improvement in terms.

Chinese Firms ‘Have Leg Up in Deal for Kuala Lumpur-Singapore Rail Line’ – Caixin Firms such as China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. (CRCC), the German conglomerate Siemens AG, East Japan Railway Co. and France’s Alstom have shown interest in the project, the source said. CRCC said it can finish the work within two years, said Lee Der Horng, an engineering professor at the National University of Singapore, but East Japan Railway said even four years was too short. CRCC’s major rival would be the Japanese company, said another expert who declined to be named, and the Chinese company can build the line at half the cost of the Japanese firm. China runs more than 15,000 kilometers of high-speed railroads, about half of the total worldwide, and has rich experience in the field, the expert said. CRCC and China CSR Corp. Ltd. have formed a consortium to compete for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore line project, said a source close to the two companies. Japanese firms have also formed a consortium

Clock Ticks for China Billionaire on Sydney Mansion Sale – Bloomberg Hui’s Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd., which bought the mansion, is the most high-profile casualty of the Australian government’s crackdown on illegal homebuying by foreigners. The action has the potential to cool the top end of the market, real estate firm BradfieldCleary says. Sydney is among the world’s least affordable housing markets, according to Demographia.

腾讯新闻-中国商人3.2亿人民币购温哥华豪宅 带私人影院(图) Chinese buyer drops 320 million RMB on Vancouver mansion

为什么西方经济学不能解释中国经济(热点辨析) Zhang Yu, dean of Economics School at People’s University, explains in today’s People’s Daily why Western economics can’t explain China’s economy… //   一种颇为流行的观点认为,西方经济学反映的是成熟市场经济的运行规律和运作经验,具有普世价值,中国的改革开放只有以西方经济学为理论基础才能取得成功。这种观点是错误的。我们知道,共性以个性为基础,普遍性寓于特殊性之中。现代西方经济学从它体现市场经济一般规律的方面看,具有共性或普遍性,是我们发展社会主义市场经济需要认真研究和借鉴的。另一方面,抛开西方经济学存在的局限和缺陷不谈,即使是正确的理论,在解释中国改革发展经验时,也必须结合中国实际,而不能削足适履、照抄照搬。中国是一个发展中的社会主义大国,具有悠久的历史文化传统,我们的目标是建设富强民主文明和谐的社会主义现代化国家,实现中华民族伟大复兴。只有把市场经济一般规律与中国具体实际结合起来,才能找到切实可行的改革发展之路,才能理解和把握中国经济发展经验的实质和内在逻辑。也只有立足于中国国情和实践,并从中总结经验、构建话语、提炼思想、创新理论,中国学者才能取得无愧于时代和人民的理论成就,为人类发展作出贡献。

Bitcoin’s future is China – Business Insider More than 80% of bitcoin transactions take place in Chinese yuan, according to a new research report on payments from Goldman Sachs.  Chinese yuan trading volume has made up a majority of bitcoin exchange transactions for the last year or so. But as you can see in the chart below, yuan bitcoin transactions really spiked in mid-2013. They went from less than 10% of transactions to more than 50% in less than six months. And there’s no sign that this is going to change anytime soon. // And Sinocism accepts Bitcoins

Bolstering Inclusionary Housing in Chinese Cities -Paulson Institute Traditionally, Huang argues, subsidized housing in China has been developed in concentrated, large-scale projects containing units for low-income households only. Developers may build such units at the request of the government, but they are managed by government agencies. And since local governments provide urban land at no charge for subsidized housing, these concentrated subsidized housing projects tend to be located at the urban fringe, with poor access to public services and economic opportunities. But with China’s rapid effort to urbanize, demand for subsidized housing will continue to surge.

 

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW *

Secret historians preserve past in China amid state amnesia – AP The Chinese government’s concerns about historical revision was spelled out in what was believed to be a confidential party document leaked to the public in 2013 and first printed in a Hong Kong newspaper. The document called out critics who consider the Chinese Communist Party to be “a continuous series of mistakes,” and warned that “historical nihilism” rejecting the party’s version of history “is tantamount to denying the legitimacy of the CCP’s long-term political dominance.” For China’s secret historians, however, documenting that history is the only way to make sure its tragedies aren’t repeated.  // was reading this in traffic, asked the driver if he remembered much about the cultural revolution. He said his deepest memory from then was as a kindergartener seeing someone be thrown to his death from a building next to his Beijing school. Who from that generation doesn’t have a similar childhood memory?

诗人谷溪回忆习近平与路遥知青岁月:两人曾彻夜长谈-新华网 近日,习总书记在全国两会上提及电视剧《平凡的世界》时说:“我跟路遥很熟……路遥和谷溪他们创办《山花》的时候,还是写诗的,不写小说。” 同住一个窑洞 共怀青春梦想 ——诗人谷溪忆习近平与作家路遥在陕北的知青岁月

China vows tough measures on cyber crimes – Xinhua “The cyber space must not be allowed to descend into a lawless realm,” read a report to be delivered by Zhou Qiang on the work of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC). The chief justice said efforts were made to safeguard Internet order and cleanse the cyber space in 2014. In particular, the report said the SPC enhanced crackdown on offenders who infringed upon other citizens’ privacy using information and Internet technologies, thus protecting personal information security. The report cited the case of two GlaxoSmithKline-linked investigators — the first of its kind involving foreigners in China — as an example.

China considers law on people’s judicial supervisors – Xinhua China is promoting a people’s supervisors system that would involve members of the public independently overseeing court cases, a statement by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) said Wednesday. The legislation will be an important move to strengthen restriction of procurators’ power in the prosecution process and will help improve the protection of the suspects’ rights, the statement said. The judicial authorities released a reform plan on Tuesday to better the role of people’s supervisors, stripping the procuratorates of their right to appoint and manage the supervisors and giving them more power.

Criminal Trials Rose Sharply in China’s Far West in 2014, Group Says – NYTimes.com The top court in Xinjiang, the vast western region of China troubled by ethnic violence, has posted statistics online showing that criminal trials there increased 40 percent last year over 2013, according to an analysis released on Wednesday by the Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights advocacy group based in the United States.

China investigates former boss of Xinjiang’s capital for suspected corruption | Reuters A former senior official in the capital of China’s restive western region of Xinjiang who was sacked after deadly riots in 2009 has been put under investigation for suspected corruption, the graft watchdog said on Wednesday. Li Zhi, the one-time Communist Party Secretary in Urumqi, was replaced without explanation shortly after protests almost six years ago there inflamed enmity between mostly Muslim Uighurs and majority Han Chinese, leading to violence in which nearly 200 people died.

China enhances crackdown on corruption: reports – Xinhua According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), prosecutors probed 3,664 cases of graft, bribery and embezzlement of public funds involving more than 1 million yuan (164,000 U.S. dollars) last year. A total of 4,040 public servants at county level and above, including 589 at city level, were investigated. A total of 55,101 people were investigated for duty-related crimes in 41,487 cases, an annual increase of 7.4 percent in the number of people, according to the report. Prosecutors handled serious cases of 28 officials at and above provincial or ministerial levels, including Zhou Yongkang and Xu Caihou in accordance with the law last year, according to the report

党校主任揭高官学习内幕:白天上课晚上神秘小车接走-手机凤凰网 凤凰视频罗昌平对话节目专访中央党校马克思主义理论教研部主任周为民,周为民透露,有党校高官“学员”一身奢侈品,白天上课晚上神秘小车接走;有人一面反腐倡廉文章,一面去澳门豪赌。“学员”上课当面质疑老师“马克思主义理论已落后”,获意外回答。罗昌平:网罗天下,时事昌平,这里是凤凰视频罗昌平对话。今天我们邀请到中央党校,马列哲学部主任周为民教授,进行一些交流!

 

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

China Antigraft Drive Exposes Military Risks – WSJ A drive against corruption in China’s military that has taken down at least 30 generals is exposing a problem that insiders and experts say could severely hamper the armed forces’ ability to fight: the rampant buying and selling of military ranks. So widespread was the trade in ranks over the past decade that they came attached with unofficial price tags, with promotion to general costing at least 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) and to senior colonel more than half that, current and retired officers say. Even just enlisting as an ordinary soldier could cost 10,000 yuan in bribes, they say.

Corruption in China’s Military: One of Many Problems Dennis J. Blasko has a bit of a different take on the effect of PLA corruption on its ability to fight//  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.

中将称谷俊山离了稿都不会说话 心都在钱上新闻腾讯网 全国政协委员、南京军区原副司令员王洪光中将近日接受《环球时报》、环球网记者采访时谈到军队反腐问题。

中国军网_管不住“数口之家” 怎能带好“千军万马” ■江西省军区政治部主任 罗晓东 管不住“数口之家”,必然带不好“千军万马”。而“数口之家”不治,必然影响官兵对领导干部的信任,影响部队战斗力建设。领导干部不同于普通官兵,既是一家之长,又是一支部队之长。这种双重角色,决定了他们既要管好“数口之家”,又要带好“千军万马”。而且,大量事实证明,只有管好“数口之家”,才能带好“千军万马”。

良心軍醫蔣彥永斥軍中貪腐嚴重 – 有線寬頻 i-CABLE Jiang Yanyong’s comments on organ harvesting and PLA corruption// 華益慰臨終前的舉報信亦都提到他濫做這個手術,病人沒有條件做,也推薦病人做,使病人肛門失禁、周邊皮膚潰爛,再找華益慰治療也沒救,華益慰也指他涉嫌學術造假,侵吞研究基金等違法違紀行為。 連華益慰、蔣彥永在軍中有地位的醫生多次告發他,還試圖繞過了北京軍區,直接寫信給解放軍總政治部,都不能夠成功檢舉李世擁,他反而獲得火速提拔,全因後台夠硬。 徐才厚在去年被開除黨籍、軍籍及剝奪上將軍銜,在十月軍事檢察院將他涉嫌受賄的案件,移送審查起訴,蔣彥永認為這是最好的時候,連依附徐才厚生存的軍中小蒼蠅都應該一起打。

SARS Whistleblower Jiang Yanyong Exposes Organ Harvesting by Chinese Military The Chinese doctor who made world headlines in 2003 by exposing the coverup of the deadly disease Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, has now come forth to expose another of China’s dark secrets: the involvement of Chinese military hospitals in harvesting organs from prisoners

China now No. 3 defense importer – People’s Daily Online China is closing a deal to purchase SU-35 fighter jets from Russia, and pilots have arrived in Russia for training, the Global Times newspaper quoted Russian media as saying. China is also negotiating with Russia to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile system, said the newspaper.

习近平视察歼20 试飞泡汤战机跑道来回滑行 300民众远眺大陆频道新浪网-北美 Just a coincidence that Xi Jinping inspected the J-20 four days before maiden 2011 flight that seemed to surprise Hu Jintao during SecDef gates’ visit?  // 【明报专讯】疑似中国最新隐形战机「歼20」再度现身成都。有现场目击者声称,中央军委副主席习近平昨在多名军方高层陪同下,亲自到场视察,还进入机舱参观,唯因天气原因,歼20并无真正试飞。《华尔街日报》昨引述专家称,「疑似歼20」在美国防长盖茨明天访华前曝光,绝非意外。

China slams ASEAN chief for South China Sea comments | Reuters “Mr. Le Luong Minh is the ASEAN secretary-general, and on the South China Sea issue has many times made partisan statements that do not accord with the facts nor suit his position,” Hong told a daily news briefing. “This is a serious deviation from the neutral position ASEAN and its secretary-general ought to have on the relevant issue, and damages the image of ASEAN as a regional international organization,” he added.

U.S. asks Vietnam to stop helping Russian bomber flights | Reuters The United States has asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use a former U.S. base to refuel nuclear-capable bombers engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region, exposing strains in Washington’s steadily warming relations with Hanoi. The request, described to Reuters by a State Department official, comes as U.S. officials say Russian bombers have stepped up flights in a region already rife with tensions between China, U.S.-ally Japan and Southeast Asian nations.

China defends Sri Lankan project in test of its push to invest abroad | Reuters China’s new ambassador to Colombo, Yi Xianliang, said the port city project off Colombo that President Xi Jinping inaugurated last year would create 83,000 jobs. “Such a port city … will be of great significance for Sri Lanka’s economic development, attracting foreign investment and promoting local tourism,” he told a small group of reporters earlier this week.

Commentary: Chinese Marshall Plan analogy reveals ignorance, ulterior intentions – Xinhua The initiatives, namely the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, are different from the U.S. Marshall Plan in so many ways that any serious historian or political analyst would think such an analogy is far-fetched. Firstly, motivational differences are striking. Unlike the politically directed Marshall Plan which partly contributed to the shaping of the Cold War, China’s initiatives are no political agenda to intensify any confrontation. They are driven by China’s realization that many developing countries crave for development without political strings attached by the West, and the belief that helping them can benefit China in return. China does not intend to take advantage of the initiatives to form an alliance against a certain country or any group of countries. Neither does China seek to establish a supremacy in Asia and beyond.

Andrew F. Krepinevich, Jr. | How to Pivot | Foreign Affairs Beijing’s expanding territorial claims threaten virtually every country along what is commonly known as “the first island chain,” encompassing parts of Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan—all of which Washington is obligated to protect. But to reliably deter Chinese aggression, the Pentagon will have to go even further. Emerging Chinese capabilities are intended to blunt Washington’s ability to provide military support to its allies and partners. Although deterrence through the prospect of punishment, in the form of air strikes and naval blockades, has a role to play in discouraging Chinese adventurism, Washington’s goal, and that of its allies and partners, should be to achieve deterrence through denial—to convince Beijing that it simply cannot achieve its objectives with force.

Only China Can Contain China | Joseph Nye the United States has more time to manage it relations with a rising power than Britain did a century ago, and China has more incentives for restraint than Germany had. This provides an opportunity to work out a new type of major power relationship if the U.S. continues to avoid containment as a strategy, and if China accepts the legitimacy of the American presence in the Western Pacific. Whether the United States and China will manage to develop such a relationship is another question. Human error and miscalculation are always possible. But with the right choices, conflict is not inevitable.

 

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA *

Matt Damon Leads Cast of Legendary’s ‘The Great Wall’ | Variety Newcomers Yu Xintian and Liu Qiong will play supporting roles in the film that’s set in 15th century China and revolves around  soldiers in search of gunpowder who happen upon the construction of the massive wall, and learn that its hurried construction isn’t just to keep out the Mongols, but mystical creatures. Zhang Yimou (“Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers”) will direct from a script by Max Brooks (“World War Z”) that’s based on an idea by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull.

Biography of Zhang Yimou Reveals Scandalous Underbelly of Chinese Film | Variety An unusual kiss-and-tell style biography of Zhang Yimou portrays the leading Chinese director as stubborn yet credulous and manipulable, lousy at personal communication, and a victim of emotional blackmail. The book, “Fate: Zhang Yimou the Lonely,” written by his script consultant of 16 years, Zhou Xiaofeng, makes allegations that are tougher still about Zhang Weiping (no relation), Zhang Yimou’s producer for over a decade.

Snapchat Is Raising Money From Alibaba at a $15 Billion Valuation – Bloomberg Business China’s biggest e-commerce company intends to invest $200 million, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.  // leaked right before Alibaba lockup expires next week…coincidence?

 

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Now Viral in China: Tolerance | Foreign Policy A short LGBTQ-themed film received 100 million online views over China’s biggest holiday.

上海交警被宝马车拖行近10米身亡 妻子即将临盆新闻腾讯网 Video-Shanghai Internet exec in his BMW SUV ignores traffic cop, makes illegal turn, drags cop to his death. His widow due to have a child next month

 

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

China’s carbon emissions could save the world—or doom it | CER India’s rise will likely be coal-fueled as well, and the current administration in New Delhi seems unlikely to budge on what it views as the country’s sovereign right to burn as much coal as its neighbor to the north. In a November report on global coal markets CLSA predicted India would take China’s place as the world’s top importer of both thermal and coking coal by 2018; it is not expected to exert real upward influence on coal prices until it has absorbed the surplus of seaborne coal shipments to China.

China’s Wind and Solar Sectors: Trends in Deployment, Manufacturing, and Energy Policy | U.S.-CHINA Economic & Security Review Commission This report assesses recent developments in China’s wind and solar industries and the implications for the United States. It builds on the Commission’s past work on U.S.-China energy issues, including the April 2014 hearing on bilateral clean energy cooperation. The research also draws on Congressional testimonies, academic papers, industry and media reports, and statistical data.

Most of China’s coastal waters heavily polluted  – China Dialogue Most of China’s coastal waters are heavily polluted according to the China’s State Oceanic Administration in its annual report (《2014年中国海洋环境状况公报》发布海洋生态环境状况基本稳定 近岸局部海域污染严重) released today.  Of coastal areas monitored in 2014, 81% were heavily contaminated, with pollution concentrated in the Yangtze estuary and Pearl River deltas.   The report paints a grim picture of the deteriorating state of China’s marine environment. The main culprits for this demise are “environmental pollution, human destruction and over extraction of resources” according to the government report.

Mutating H7N9 bird flu may pose pandemic threat, scientists warn | Reuters The H7N9 virus, one of several strains of bird flu known to be able to infect humans, has persisted, diversified and spread in chickens across China, the researchers said, fuelling a resurgence of infections in people and posing a wider threat. “The expansion of genetic diversity and geographical spread indicates that, unless effective control measures are in place, H7N9 could be expected to persist and spread beyond the region,” they said in a study published in the journal Nature.

200,000 algae-eating fish released to clean China Lake – Xinhua A school of 200,000 silver carp has been released to help clean up algae in Taihu Lake, the country’s third largest freshwater lake, authorities said on Wednesday. More than 100 residents, volunteers and fishermen in Suzhou, a city in the eastern province of Jiangsu, released the fish on Tuesday afternoon, the Wuzhong district bureau of agriculture said in a statement.

Criminal cases involving polluters up 8.5 times in China last year – Xinhua The number of criminal cases involving polluters increased by 8.5 times year on year in China in 2014, according to the work report of the Supreme People’s Court Thursday. Courts nationwide closed about 16,000 criminal cases related to environment protection, said the report to be delivered to the national legislature at the ongoing annual session.

China approves new nuclear reactors in industry revival – AP The Cabinet’s planning agency approved construction of two additional reactors at a power plant in the northeastern province of Liaoning, a unit of state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp. said in an announcement released Tuesday through the Hong Kong stock exchange. China is the world’s biggest energy consumer and nuclear power plays a key role in government plans to curb surging demand for imported oil and gas. Foreign suppliers of nuclear power equipment are looking to China as a major future market, though Beijing wants to produce as much of its own technology as possible.

 

AnchorJOBS AND EVENTS *

Education Consultant | AIC | Project Pengyou AIC is a growing education company focused on changing China’s schools regionally and nationally. We operate out of nine cities across China, primarily mentoring students one on one to develop their character, improve their writing abilities and help them understand universities in the United States. In addition to college consulting for some of China’s best students, we also pursue philanthropy, giving over 3 Million RMB in scholarships. We’re looking for passionate teachers first and foremost, but also individuals excited about business development and research into the Chinese education system. With a diverse portfolio of projects and connections, AIC is an exciting opportunity for aspiring education enthusiasts.

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