The Sinocism China Newsletter 03.16.16

"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner

Readers in DC may be interested in the John Fisher Zeidman ’79 Memorial Lecture tonight at 8 PM by Mei Fong, award-winning author of “One Child”.

Spring break for our kids starts Friday and we are off to Paris for a week, so the next issue of the newsletter may not be until the week of March 28.

I am looking for a designer with experience working with Mailchimp templates to bring the newsletter UI into the modern era. If interested please email me at bill at sinocism dot com.

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

1. China’s Premier Li says confident in economy, vows no hard landing | Reuters While conceding that downward pressure is increasing, Li and other top officials at the annual meeting of parliament this month have repeatedly tried to reassure jittery financial markets and China’s major trading partners that Beijing is able to manage the slowing economy. “We are confident that as long as we continue to reform and open up, China’s economy will not suffer a hard landing,” Li said at a news conference at the end of the parliament meeting. // seemed like an even more boring Two Meetings than usual, and no signs of the rumored new job for Huang Qifan?

Related: Chinese Premier’s Annual Work Report – The New York Times Prime Minister Li Keqiang of China delivered his government’s annual work report to the National People’s Congress, the Communist Party-controlled legislature, on March 5. Here is a ​searchable​ transcript of his speech

Related: Bloomberg Briefs on the 13th Five Year Plan excellent summary

Related: Li Signals Change in Official Thinking on Population Issues-Caixin A report the premier delivered to the legislature did not mention the phrase family planning, a sign all birth restrictions could be dropped

2. The U.S. is heading toward a dangerous showdown with China – The Washington Post the White House has an intense interagency planning process underway to prepare for the looming confrontation. Options include an aggressive tit-for-tat strategy, in which the United States would help countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam build artificial islands of their own in disputed waters. The Philippines effectively took such a step in 1999 when it deliberately grounded a large vessel on a shoal in the Spratly Islands; it recently resupplied that vessel, while U.S. drones patrolled overhead.

Related: U.S. Pacific Fleet Head Warns of Economic Risks in South China Sea – WSJ Adm. Scott Swift, speaking at a security conference in the Australian capital, said that by reinterpreting international law to justify actions in the South China Sea, China—or any other nation making similar territorial claims—was undermining global rules of behavior. The resulting unpredictability could spill over to cast a chill on commercial activities in the region. “The resulting climate of uncertainty not only threatens freedom of the seas and chips away at the rules-based system, it encourages nations to transfer ever-larger shares of national wealth to purchase naval weapons beyond what is needed merely for self-defense,” Adm. Swift said

Related: China’s Plan for Lawfare in the Maritime Domain | The Diplomat China will set up an “international maritime judicial center” to protect the country’s maritime rights and sovereignty claims, China’s top judge told the National People’s Congress on Sunday. Zhou Qiang, the chief justice of the Supreme People’s Court, made the comment while delivering the annual SPC work report. China’s Foreign Ministry clarified that the center will be established this year.

3. Chinese website publishes, then pulls, explosive letter calling for President Xi’s resignation – The Washington Post The letter was reportedly posted in the early hours of March 4 by a website called Wujie News, which is jointly owned by SEEC Media Group, Alibaba and the government of Xinjiang, in China’s far northwest. The Washington Post found a cached version of the document that shows the post live on the site. // I received the letter on 3.3 from [email protected], sent to my Gmail address, not the Sinocism one. Wonder who is behind this, find it very suspicious that it went to my Gmail and not the newsletter address, and that the sender uses Gmail. Lots of speculation that this and the related incidents below are part of a struggle between Xi and Liu Yunshan and Jiang/Hu/Ling Jihua supporters. All I know is that Chinese politics have always been a black box and that box is even blacker now under Xi. I am wary of speculation involving serious threats to XI’s position, the idea of a split between Xi and Wang Qishan, or talk of coups, but we are into the 2017 19th Party Congress political season, things could get very interesting. 

Related: China’s Censors Denounced in Online Attack – The New York Times “Under the crude rule of the Internet control authorities, online expression has been massively suppressed, and the public’s freedom of expression has been violated to an extreme degree,” said the letter, which spread quickly online in China and was taken down just as swiftly. The letter was issued in the name of Zhou Fang, who gave his work address as Xinhua News Agency headquarters in Beijing, and included his cellphone number and identity card number. A man who answered the phone at that number said that he was Mr. Zhou, an employee of Xinhua, and that he had written the letter.

Related:  Chinese magazine challenges government over censorship | World news | The Guardian Weeks after Xi Jinping demanded loyalty from media, Caixin claims it was ordered to remove interview on free speech

Related: Xi Jinping Brought Down a Notch by an Unlikely Agent: A Typo – NYTimes.com The story from Xinhua, China’s state news agency, meant to call Xi Jinping “China’s highest leader,” but the change of one character resulted in the Chinese president being called instead “China’s last leader.” The article was quickly corrected after it was published on Sunday afternoon, but the seemingly seditious slip-up was caught and reported by Chinese-language news outlets in Hong Kong. It still exists in at least one online cache of the story. // not easy to see how one can make a typo between 最高 and 最后

4. Labor Protests Multiply in China as Economy Slows, Worrying Leaders – The New York Times w a good video  //  Last week, hundreds if not thousands of angry employees of the state-owned Longmay Mining Group, the biggest coal company in northeastern China, staged one of the most politically daring protests over unpaid salaries yet, denouncing the provincial governor as he and other senior leaders gathered for an annual meeting in Beijing. China Labor Bulletin, a labor rights group based in Hong Kong, recorded more than 2,700 strikes and protests last year, more than double the number in 2014. The strife appears to have intensified in recent months, with more than 500 protests in January alone. // China looks to have much more effective and technologically advanced security services and a more sophisticated “comprehensive social management” strategy than it did during the Zhu Rongji-era layoffs. Will that help the CPC weather the social dislocations from mass layoffs?

Related: Official Admits He Gave Misleading Account of Chinese Miners’ Plight – The New York Times Protests at a vast failing state coal mine in the rust belt of northeast China drove a senior official to admit over the weekend that he had given a misleadingly sunny account of conditions there. The demonstrators had denounced Lu Hao, the governor of Heilongjiang Province, after he said miners there had been paid on time even as the government was trying to shake up slumping industries

Related: Hebei to Close 60 Percent of its Steel Mills by 2020-Caixin The province will lose 180 billion yuan in revenue and lay off over a million workers as it weans itself off heavy, polluting industries in the next two years

5. Writing China: David Shambaugh, ‘China’s Future’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ Without political reform, writes the China scholar David Shambaugh in his new book “China’s Future,” [the book on Amazon] the economic overhauls that China is embarked upon will stall and the overall economy will stagnate – although not collapse. What are the prospects for such liberalization? Mr. Shambaugh offers a bleak assessment of China under President Xi Jinping: an atmosphere of repression worse than at any time since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the elite ready to flee en masse, society waiting to ignite. He says that Mr. Xi’s grab for power has alienated senior officials, and the president has taken a big risk with a sweeping military purge; a coup is unlikely but “not entirely out of the realm of the conceivable.” // are there any Chinese scholars of the US who say things like “The US President is unpopular, though a coup is unlikely but “not entirely out of the realm of the conceivable.”? Then again, maybe 2017 will be the year…

Related: 美国学者沈大伟与中国学者王文对话:我不认为中国会崩溃国际新闻环球网 Global Times publishes David Shambaugh interview with Wang Wen, Dr. Shambaugh says he never meant that he thought China was about to collapse, blames the Wall Street Journal for choosing a headline that would make more money for it //  沈大伟:那篇文章标题(《中国即将崩溃》)是个问题。标题并不是我取的,而是《华尔街日报》编辑取的,他们需要博取读者的眼球,为报社赚取更多利润。当我在文章发表前日的晚上知道这个标题后,我让他们改标题,他们回复我:“对不起,大伟(David),已经去印刷了,来不及了。”事实上,我整篇文章的逻辑不是在讨论“中国崩溃”,而是在讨论我关注的中国共产党的收缩(atrophy)问题。。。。”现在,我必须要澄清,我不认为中国会崩溃,我也不希望中国崩溃,我不要中国崩溃,我喜欢稳定,也喜欢中国改革,包括政治改革、经济改革和社会改革”

6. Xinhua Insight: “Xi political economics” takes shape – Xinhua Going forward, China’s economic growth philosophy will be driven by innovation, coordination, green development, openness and sharing, Xi emphasized on three occasions with NPC deputies from the financial and services hub of Shanghai, the resources-rich industrial base of Heilongjiang and the less-developed ecological habitat of Qinghai. The government’s role, as in Xi’s philosophy, is “smart,” while the market is “decisive.” As China’s economy enters the “new normal,” featuring slower growth but higher quality, it is important to use both the invisible and visible hands to synergize market forces and government functions, for efficiency and fairness, Xi advocated. // 习近平政治经济学解码 

7. How China addresses national security in its latest 5-year plan – Asia Times  The plan, released on March 5 during the current session of the National People’s Congress, dissects the meaning of what’s referred to as the “Concept of General National Security” for the first time. Before that, despite government propaganda efforts, we knew nothing about how the concept was officially interpreted, except that the country’s National Security Committee (NSC) was working on the project under President Xi Jinping’s direction. // 「十三五」綱要裏,中國要建立怎樣的國家安全體系? | 端傳媒 Initium Media Ambiguity in the language of course can be much more powerful than specificity, and the removal of certain language should not necessarily be construed as “backtracking”

8. Double Dips on the ‘New Energy’ Vehicle Ride-Caixin A government campaign designed to modernize China’s auto industry and clear smoggy air by encouraging sales of “new energy” autos, trucks and buses may have backfired. Central government investigators have been fanning out across the country to determine whether auto companies and local governments abused the subsidy programs, which since 2009 have doled out hundreds of billions of yuan in subsidies to companies that build electric cars and other alternative-energy vehicles.

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

China CCTV Raps Fake Sales on Alibaba That Pump Up Shop Rankings – WSJ In a two hour, prime-time broadcast Tuesday, China Central Television said faking orders, or “brushing,” as it is called in China, remains widespread on Alibaba’s largest shopping platform, Taobao. The practice—which involves sellers paying people to place fake orders—pads vendors’ sales figures and boosts their standing on online marketplaces.

China’s power use up 4 pct in February – Xinhua China’s electricity consumption rose four percent year on year in February, reaching 381.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), data from the National Energy Administration showed on Wednesday. Power consumption stood at 876.2 billion kwh for the first two months, up two percent from one year earlier.

Sinology by Andy Rothman – What to Trust? Measuring the Chinese Economy A question that is posed frequently by those skeptical over the health of China’s economy is: “If electricity consumption and rail freight traffic are both weak, how can GDP be expanding by more than 6%?” This is a great question because the answer highlights the dramatic pace of change in the structure of China’s economy. In today’s Sinology, we explore the reasons why the so-called “Li Keqiang Index” is a poor way to assess China’s growth, and offer some better metrics.

Gov’t Talks to Banks in Shenzhen about Mortgage-Related Risks-ShenzhenCaixin Central bank and banking regulator officials in southern city tell banks to conduct stress tests over concerns property market may overheat

The Journalist and the Troll: Benjamin Wey Spent Two Years Trying to Destroy Me Online – Bloomberg In September 2015 the FBI arrested the man behind TheBlot, one Benjamin Wey. Not for smearing me or the other people he imagined were his enemies. He’s primarily a financier, and he was charged with securities fraud and other financial crimes involving Chinese companies he helped to list on U.S. stock markets…A trial has been set for March 2017. Meanwhile, TheBlot’s lies about me still pop up online.

China and FX reserve adequacy, redux | FT Alphaville The results show that if we assume capital controls or a floating exchange rate regime, the adequate reserve level is less than USD 2.2tn, implying that current foreign reserves (USD 3.2tn) are sufficient.

Hedge funds back off bets on China devaluation | Reuters Heavy official intervention, limits on some capital movement and a reduction in the amount of yuan available offshore prompted many players either to cut exposure or walk away from the trade by the Lunar New Year holiday last month, they said. That has left in place chiefly “tail risk” funds like Mark Hart’s Texas-based Corriente Partners or Kyle Bass, who have suggested China would have to devalue the yuan by up to 50 percent to rebalance its economy.

China’s Looming Currency Crisis – WSJ Property values will decline by an estimated 50% from the current reported average of $142 per square foot in tier-two cities, roughly equivalent to the national average in the U.S., where incomes are much higher. (Current price-to-income ratios in China are generally over 20, while the U.S. averages about three.) Excess industrial capacity will shut down. People will lose their jobs…A likely depreciation of at least 15% against the U.S. dollar would take the renminbi back to where it was on the eve of the global financial crisis–Ms. Stevenson-Yang is co-founder of J Capital Research Ltd. Mr. Dougherty is chief investment officer of KDGF Asset Management

Big China Story Seen by Pimco in Hands of Bond-Index Compilers – Bloomberg Business Pacific Investment Management Co. and AXA Investment Managers Asia Ltd. say the government’s opening up of its interbank debt market to foreign investors means the nation will be added to world benchmarks sooner than expected. While Citigroup Inc., Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are being coy for now, brokerages are predicting inclusion will lead to a fivefold surge in foreign holdings of yuan debt by 2020. “Market participants seem to have underestimated the chance for inclusion of China’s bond market into global indexes,”

China Burns Hedge Funds as $562 Million Yuan Bet Turns Worthless – Bloomberg Business Bears shouldn’t underestimate the government’s firepower, said Charlie Chan, founder of the $150 million Splendid Asia Macro hedge fund in Singapore. Even after recent declines, China’s $3.2 trillion stockpile of foreign-exchange reserves is almost three times bigger than that of any other country. “I don’t think anyone will make sudden windfall gains on this trade because it’s a theme that will likely play out over years, not months,” Chan said. “There will be no early gratification.”

China explores debt-for-equity swaps to defeat bad debt pile-up – FT “We are studying the plan and it’s not as simple as some reports said,” he told reporters. China’s premier Li Keqiang, who was also speaking at the parliamentary session, singled out debt-for-equity swaps as a way to “progressively reduce corporate leverage”. A debt-for-equity exchange would allow China’s commercial banks to swap the debt they hold in underperforming companies for stock holdings. Chinese commercial banks are prevented from investing in non-banking companies, although their subsidiaries can.

Inside China’s Historic $338 Billion Tech Startup Experiment – Bloomberg Business The money’s in what are known as government guidance funds, where local and central agencies play some role. With 780 such funds nationwide and a lot of experimentation, there’s no set model for how they’re managed or funded. The bulk of their capital comes from tax revenue or state-backed loans.

Alibaba’s logistics arm raises funds from Singapore investors, others | Reuters Investors in the funding round of Cainiao include Singapore’s Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL] and GIC Pte Ltd [GIC.UL], Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Bhd [KHAZA.UL], and China’s Primavera Capital

The Chinese Dealmaker Following Buffett’s Lead – Bloomberg Business In just over a decade, Wu Xiaohui has transformed his company, Anbang Insurance Group Co., from an obscure player in China’s insurance industry into a juggernaut with global ambitions. Now, Wu’s rapid rise is turning heads as China projects its money and influence around the world with new force. In short order, Anbang has agreed to buy 16 luxury resorts in the U.S., including the landmark Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, California, and also launched a surprise bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., owner of Sheraton, Westin and St. Regis hotels. The combined price tag could approach $20 billion.

Vanke Announces Plans to Take Stake in Shenzhen Metro Subsidiary-Caixin China Vanke said on March 13 that it plans to pay between 40 billion yuan and 60 billion yuan for a stake in a real estate unit of Shenzhen Metro, a state-run urban transit company. The developer will cover the acquisition largely by selling new shares to Shenzhen Metro, Vanke said in its statement. //which princeling/red nobility is behind Shenzhen Metro?

China’s Mum Central Banker | cogitASIA CSIS Asia Policy Blog Following the G20 meeting in late February, Zhou hosted a private gathering with several of his central bank counterparts in Hangzhou, about an hour’s ride from Shanghai by high-speed rail. The meeting was intentionally modeled on the annual pilgrimage to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where central bankers, their staffs, and a select number of the world’s leading economists are invited each August to exchange ideas about the world’s most pressing economic issues. Zhou has traveled to Jackson Hole, and he is reported to enjoy tennis, the sport of choice among central bankers.

Rhodium Group » A New Record Year for Chinese Outbound Investment in Europe Chinese investment in Europe has grown exponentially in recent years, as discussed in our in-depth special report (“Chinese FDI in Europe and Germany – Preparing for a New Era of Chinese Capital”) released last year. This note provides an update on Chinese investment patterns in Europe in 2015. We find that Chinese outbound foreign direct investment (OFDI) hit a new record high of EUR 20 billion last year, illustrating China’s potential to become an important source of capital for Europe.

Bounty Hunter Tracks Chinese Companies That Dupe Investors – The New York Times Mr. Seiden, 52, a former Manhattan prosecutor, has been appointed by judges as the receiver to oversee the management of nine Chinese companies — many incorporated in Nevada — that once traded shares in the United States. But his actual dollar recoveries for investors have been small — just $8 million out of the nearly $90 million he has sought to recoup.

Xi’s Handwriting Betrays Paradox at the Core of China Policy – Bloomberg Business The order came down from the highest levels of China’s government, in a handwritten message from President Xi Jinping to officials charged with fixing the country’s crashing stock market: Make sure to protect the interests of small and mid-level investors. Xi’s command — scribbled across a report on probes into short sellers and other “malicious” traders — was shared at a July meeting between regulators and law enforcement officials, according to a person with knowledge of the matter

Wall Street’s Frustrated Chinese Bankers Are Heading Back Home – Bloomberg Business  As U.S. firms have cut bonuses and positions, and China’s sector explodes in sophistication and pay, some are migrating back. And while this may seem like an odd moment to repatriate, given the mounting financial jitters back home, two forces are driving the move: the fact that many feel they’re hitting a bamboo ceiling in the U.S. and the belief that Chinese growth, while slowing, is shifting into areas that will benefit bankers.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW

“两会”闭幕中纪委再打虎 辽宁省人大副主任王阳落马政经频道财新网 “两会”闭幕日,打虎正当时。继今天(3月16日)中午宣布宁波市长卢子跃被查,下午又有一只“东北虎”落网。中央纪委监察部网站发布消息称,辽宁省人大常委会副主任王阳涉嫌严重违纪,目前正接受组织调查。

Chinese Judge Criticizes Televised Confessions – WSJ “Outside of a court, no one has the right to decide whether someone is guilty of a crime,” said Zhang Liyong, chief judge of the High People’s Court in central China’s Henan province. “The police aren’t qualified to say someone is guilty. Prosecutors aren’t qualified to declare someone guilty. News media are even less qualified to determine guilt.” Mr. Zhang made the comments in response to a question from China Real Time on the sidelines of China’s annual legislative sessions, waving off handlers who insisted he was late for a meeting.

The Good — And Bad — About China’s New Charity Law – WSJ  Crucially, according to Edward Cunningham, a scholar at Harvard University who runs an ongoing project looking at Chinese philanthropy, the law doesn’t limit the number of nonprofit groups that can work in any one area — a tactic some governments use to keep civil society fragmented. “From the philanthropy side and public policy side, it’s very well written,” Mr. Cunningham said, referring to a draft of the law made public in October

Read and delete: How Weibo’s censors tackle dissent and free speech – Committee to Protect Journalists EDITOR’S NOTE: CPJ is not able to verify the former employee’s account. When CPJ contacted Sina’s headquarters in Beijing for comment at the end of February, a spokeswoman said the company did not have anyone who could respond to CPJ’s questions. This interview has been edited for clarity.

The business of censorship: Documents show how Weibo filters sensitive news in China – Committee to Protect Journalists The popular social media site often provides a platform for journalists and Chinese citizens to discuss news and contentious issues that mainstream press are barred from reporting on. A set of documents provided to CPJ by a former employee in Weibo’s censorship department however, sheds light on how the site must tread a fine line between appeasing government censors and encouraging users to keep posting to its site.

China must conform with Xi: leading journal – Xinhua Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has called for conforming with the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping. To promote the core leadership of the Party, the priority is to “conform with the CPC Central Committee, with General Secretary (of the CPC Central Committee) Xi Jinping as well as with the Party’s theories, guidelines, principles and policies,” according to a recent commentary under the byline “Qiushi.” It urged enhancing “consciousness of the ideology, the whole, the core and the line.” The “four consciousnesses” were raised earlier this year at a high-level meeting of the CPC Central Committee and have been frequently invoked since then.

Net Users Criticize NPC Delegates for Wearing Mao, Xi Badges-Caixin Internet users have reacted with unease, saying it appears to be a return to the cult of personality crafted by Mao and employed during the violent Culture Revolution (1966-76). The National People’s Congress (NPC) deputies from the Tibetan Autonomous Region in the far west of the country each wore two badges when they attended the opening session of the legislature’s annual meeting on March 5. One badge showed a smiling Xi Jinping, head of the Communist Party, talking to a Tibetan woman. The other showed the busts of Xi and his four predecessors as top leaders of the party and country, Mao; Deng Xiaoping…Jiang Zemin…and Hu Jintao // I did my MA thesis on Mao Badges, online here 

Everything Old is New Again-Sinica Podcast Today on Sinica we take a look at the political movement some academics are calling Neo-Maoists, the traditionally conservative politicians and Party members whose influence began eroding with market reforms in the 1980s but have arguably witnessed a comeback of sorts in the last two years. In conversation with Jude Blanchette, former Assistant Director of the 21st century China program at UCSD, now with the Conference Board, Kaiser and Jeremy take a look at the history of the movement, who the major players are today, and how it is playing out in the Chinese media.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Extradition battle looms over US-China relations – FT Ling Wancheng  //  Chinese police began to ramp up pressure on their US counterparts ahead of and during the January visit to Beijing by Mr Desai’s team. During that trip, US federal prosecutors were allowed to interview more than a dozen Chinese witnesses in the three corruption probes that Mr Ling is allegedly connected to.

President Obama’s Interview With Jeffrey Goldberg on Syria and Foreign Policy – The Atlantic What country does he consider the greatest challenge to America in the coming decades? “In terms of traditional great-state relations, I do believe that the relationship between the United States and China is going to be the most critical,” he said

What’s Behind China’s ‘New’ South China Sea Tsunami Warning Center? | The Diplomat To the untrained eye, the Reuters article might seem to suggest that this tsunami alert center is a new development with potentially nefarious intentions, particularly given China’s recent behavior in the South China Sea. While some of these assertions can be debated, it is important to get some facts straight first. First, the idea of a Chinese tsunami alert center is not a new one and has in fact been in the works for years.

Japan ruling party considers international arbitration over China dispute | Reuters Japan’s ruling party urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government on Wednesday to consider seeking international arbitration over Beijing’s drilling activities in the disputed East China Sea, mirroring similar action by the Philippines.

China’s Secret Weapon on Disputed Island: Beer and Badminton | Foreign Policy While beer plazas and badminton courts sound unremarkable, ensuring that the islands are habitable could potentially strengthen China’s assertion of sovereignty over the island chain and the rest of the South China Sea.

Document: DNI Clapper Assessment of Chinese Militarization, Reclamation in South China Sea – USNI News The following is an unclassified Feb. 23, 2016 letter from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to Sen. John McCain answering questions on Chinese reclamation and militarization of its disputed holdings in the South China Sea.

As India Collaborates With Japan on Islands, It Looks to Check China – The New York Times the collaboration signals a significant policy shift for India, which has not previously accepted offers of foreign investment in the archipelago. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are northwest of the Strait of Malacca, offering control of a so-called choke point that is one of China’s greatest marine vulnerabilities. It is testimony to the unfolding relationship between India and Japan, which is also funding a $744 million road building project in the northeastern Indian border regions of Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya. Like the Andaman and Nicobar chain, the northeastern region is a strategic area that has remained relatively undeveloped

Australia and Malaysia want to ‘hold China to their promise of not placing military assets’ in the South China Sea – Business Insider Hishammuddin said he would meet Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne to ensure efforts are made to “hold China to their promise of not placing military assets in the area”. “If the reports we’ve received from various sources regarding the buildup and placement of military assets in the Spratlys are true – this forces us in a pushback against China,” Hishammuddin told reporters.

How a New York art show about Chinese online censorship found itself censored – The Washington Post On the eve of the event, one of the speakers, a visiting Chinese feminist who had done significant work on gender law issues, suddenly starting receiving threats and pressures from back home. “Chinese officials put pressure on her employer in China that she not be part of my event,” said Lee. Lee removed all traces of the woman’s participation off the Internet, even asking people in China who had posted news on social media about the event to delete their posts. The tactic didn’t work.

Watch: From My Lai to Ferguson, China blasts US human rights abuses in a new documentary – Quartz China’s state television channel CCTV broadcast a 45-minute documentary on Sunday (Mar. 13) to hundreds of millions of households in China, accusing the US of severe human rights abuses.

Argentina coast guard sinks Chinese trawler fishing illegally | Reuters  In a high-seas chase, a coast guard vessel on Monday pursued the fishing vessel Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010 toward international waters, firing warning shots across the Chinese boat’s bow as it attempted to raise the crew by radio.

How China Won the War Against Western Media | Foreign Policy The one-two punch of censorship plus propaganda has discredited Western journalism in the eyes of many Chinese.

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Students at Hong Kong’s Oldest University Are Calling for the City’s Independence | TIME The latest issue of Undergrad, the magazine by students at the University of Hong Kong — the city’s oldest and most prestigious higher-education institution — includes a 60-page manifesto that sets out a youth-oriented vision for the future, including independence after 2047, the year when China’s guarantee of a “high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong expires. The demand for independence is unprecedented in China.

‘If you love China, you hate Hong Kong’-The Straits Times It is hard to pin any of this down. It is an amorphous movement with a loose network of factions and individuals. There are few studies on this nascent movement. Journalism academic Francis Lee says: “The tide appears to be moving towards pro-independence. But how strong the tide is, we don’t know yet.”

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA

Star Businessman Said to Stand Trial on Insider Trading Charges-Caixin He joined search engine company Baidu Inc. in 2008 as its chief technology officer then left in 2010 to become CEO of Beijing Wuxian Xunqi Information Technology Co., the exclusive operator of China Mobile’s online travel service. Li Yinan resigned from that position in 2011 amid an investigation into alleged corruption at China Mobile. He started his electric scooter business last year, and was detained on June 3, two days after the company launched its first produc

Lu Chuan: ‘River Town’ to Be Directed By Chinese Helmer | Variety “River Town” depicts a celebrated American writer’s journey to China for the long-awaited Chinese publication of his first book, triggering memories from 20 years earlier when he taught English literature to Chinese college students while on the brink of a nation’s unprecedented change.

Huayi Brothers Taps Hollywood Veterans To Launch Animation Unit – TechNode The Chinese company said on  Monday that they will launch their own animation unit, headed by Hollywood veteran Joe Aguilar as chief executive. Mr Aguilar was formerly a producer at DreamWorks Animation as well as Twentieth Century Fox. In a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange Huayi Brothers also announced that Markus Manninen will be the art director for the new company. Mr. Manninen worked on visual effects for the Kungfu Panda 3 movie

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The Empire’s New Clothes – The New Yorker China’s rich think of themselves as a new aristocracy. They are impatient with drabness and proud to assert their national identity—not to say their buying power. Their court dressmaker, who was unknown in the West until recently, and to whom the West was virtually unknown until sixteen years ago, is Guo Pei. Mandarin is Guo’s only language, and her clothes speak it, too. ..Jack and Guo have a shrewd business plan. “You can’t trust Chinese people to pony up,” Jack told me, “and we can’t afford to spend months on a dress if they don’t.” So patrons of the house pay an annual fee, from which their orders are deducted. The club has four tiers of membership, with subscribers in the top tier spending roughly eight hundred thousand dollars. There are about four thousand subscribers.

Case of College Student Suspected of Killing Mother Raises Morals Debate-Caixin The case of a Peking University economics student wanted by police on suspicion he killed his mother has prompted a debate about the moral education of China’s students and how universities are run. Middle school educator Xie Tianqin was found dead at the teacher dormitory where she lived in Fuzhou, in the eastern province of Fujian, on February 14, according to a police notice circulating online. The notice said her 22-year-old son, Wu Xieyu, is a prime suspect in her death and he “had fled for fear of being punished.”

No Tolerance for ‘Wild Imams’ in China – But ‘Weibo Imams’ are Thriving – What’s on Weibo This week, Weibo netizens voiced their anger about what they deemed an unfair trial for a Xinjiang imam by the District Court. Chinese authorities have no tolerance for what they call ‘wild imams’ – but online imams are thriving on Weibo.

Portrait of a Beijinger: Woman of Tai Chi (video) | the Anthill This video profiles Lü Yan, a tai chi master who went to martial arts academy with Jet Li…In 1974, the pair were joined by another teammate, Cui Yahui, on a historic visit to the White House. Ping-pong diplomacy three years earlier had paved the way for President Nixon’s visit to China, and this was the next carefully choreographed act aimed at normalising relations.

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Barcodes on Ice as Drug-Tracking Debate Rages-Caixin Drug store owners who oppose an Alibaba system for preventing counterfeit drugs won a battle after bending a regulator’s ear

China’s Grand Canyon: no more small hydropower plants for country’s last wild river | South China Morning Post But Nu River’s fate still unclear as officials refuse to be drawn on revived plans to build dams on the waterway’s upper reaches

AnchorEDUCATION

How WeChat Is Extending China’s School Days Well into the Night Chongqing, a sprawling metropolis of 30 million in southwestern China, has required all kindergartens, primary schools, and middle schools to open official WeChat accounts before the end of June this year to streamline communication with parents and students. For Zehao, the app is a forum for extra homework and a billboard for misbehavior at school, and the group chat puts everything under the scrutinizing eye of the entire class. “The intention was good, because teachers wanted to work closely with parents to improve the children’s academic performance,” says his mother, Chen Zongying, 43. “But it stresses you out.”

China’s first Rhodes Scholars: the journalist, LGBT activist and lawyer fighting for social justice | South China Morning Post Students are determined to use their newfound success for the benefit of all

AnchorBEIJING

Beijing Secures Over 30 Bln Yuan Needed to Relocate City Agencies-Caixin Over 30 billion yuan has been secured for the relocation of city agencies out of downtown areas to the less populated Tongzhou District, about 20 kilometers to the east, over the next several years, a former Tongzhou official said. He did not say where the money had come from. On top of that, 100 billion yuan will be spent to develop infrastructure in the suburb in the next few years, said Wang Yunfeng, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top advisory body to the government.

Sky high prices for Beijing low rise properties, with school rights – AFP The phenomenon is the natural outcome of a system that “emphasises that children must win from the starting line”, said Tao Hongkai, director of an education research centre at Central China Normal University.

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