THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *
1. Crackdown in China: Worse and Worse by Orville Schell | The New York Review of Books As different leaders have come and gone, China specialists overseas have become accustomed to reading Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tea leaves as oscillating cycles of political “relaxation” and “tightening.” China has long been a one-party Leninist state with extensive censorship and perhaps the largest secret police establishment in the world. But what has been happening lately in Beijing under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping is no such simple fluctuation. It is a fundamental shift in ideological and organizational direction that is beginning to influence both China’s reform agenda and its foreign relations…What has been perhaps most unexpected about this trend is the way that Beijing has begun to extend its claim to control people and organizations beyond its borders. Despite its stubborn defense of the sanctity of sovereignty, its agents have begun reaching overseas to manipulate the foreign dialogue by setting up hundreds of Confucius Institutes, newspapers, magazines, and even TV networks that answer to the Central Propaganda Department and the CCP. // grim, expect things to get grimmer
Related: China to safeguard “ideological security” with law enforcement in cultural market – Xinhua China has issued a guideline for deepened reform of law enforcement in cultural market in a bid to safeguard the “national cultural and ideological security,” Xinhua learned Monday. “Harmful cultural products and services are sometimes spreading” in cultural market, according to the guideline issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council. // 《关于进一步深化文化市场综合执法改革的意见》印发
2. China, U.S. agree to expand common interests, control differences – Xinhua The latest sign of a closer relationship between Beijing and Washington came as the two leaders met on the sidelines of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), discussing an array of issues ranging from macroeconomic policies and nuclear security cooperation, to maritime issues and Korean Peninsula stability. // It doesn’t seem much new of substance came out of the Xi-Obama bilateral. The last one for them is at the G20 in Hangzhou in early September, right? I can’t imagine either side expects much from that meeting just four months before Obama is out of office
Related: Obama-Xi Meeting: Tensions Under a Veneer of Cooperation | RealClearDefense–Bonnie Glaser-Despite clear signals from the US that President Obama will not repeat his earlier endorsement of Xi’s goal of building a new model of major country relations, the Chinese president insisted that realising that goal is a ‘priority for China’s foreign policy’. He even went so far as to explicitly reiterate the call for respecting each other’s ‘core interests and major concerns’, a formulation that is widely viewed by Americans as unworkable. Just as Xi has stubbornly refused to give up his proposal for a ‘new model’ of bilateral relations, he is unlikely to alter course on other contentious issues. US-China friction in the coming years is likely to be most serious in the South China Sea. The final nine months of Obama’s tenure will likely be rocky as China seeks to make more gains in the South China Sea and the US conducts more frequent and more complex Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs). Although Washington hopes that the pending UNCLOS Tribunal ruling in Manila’s case against China will moderate Beijing’s behavior, it may be met with Chinese defiance, especially if there is no US-led effort to compel compliance
Related: U.S. plans third patrol near disputed South China Sea islands: source | Reuters The U.S. Navy plans to conduct another passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea in early April, a source familiar with the plan said on Friday, the third in a series of challenges that have drawn sharps rebukes from China. Other U.S. officials, speaking after Reuters reported the plan, disputed that such an exercise was imminent. But they made clear Washington will continue to challenge what it considers Beijing’s unfounded maritime claims. // Have a bilateral, follow with a FONOP? Next time perhaps the US should try it on the eve of or during the meeting…
3. A framework for U.S. policy toward China | Brookings Institution Serious people understand that the manner in which the United States deals with China will be a critical, if not the critical, overseas challenge for the United States in the 21st century. But how should we deal with China? What policy framework best optimizes U.S. interests, which are multiple and not always consistent with each other? By examining China’s goals, what China is not doing, and its contributions to global prosperity, Jeffrey Bader outlines three broad policy options for the United States to respond to the China challenge:
4. President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” Initiative | Center for Strategic and International Studies By Christopher K. Johnson-President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” Initiative highlights the influences shaping the genesis of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, examines the balance China is seeking to strike between geostrategic ambitions and practical economic aims, and explores the mechanisms the Xi administration is establishing to manage its implementation. The report concludes by assessing potential pitfalls and making the call for an innovative U.S. approach to global infrastructure development. // best thing I have read on OBOR so far…you can watch the video of the rollout event at CSIS last week here
5. Senior official stresses role of CPC organizations in poverty relief – Xinhua He said high-quality officials are key to poverty relief and more officials should be assigned to less-developed areas to help the efforts. The performance of officials in poverty alleviation, quality of life and environmental protection should be given more weight in assessment, and those who do an outstanding job in poverty relief should be granted better promotion opportunities, Liu said. // CCTV Evening News report on the tour-[视频]刘云山在四川、云南调研_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1
Related: 今天新闻联播主要内容是：刘云山调研扶贫透露中央用人新思路 不止是扶贫，在其他领域让优秀干部向基层下沉，“蹲蹲苗”的情况也在增多。作为从县、市、省、中央一步步走上来的领导人，习大大自然是对之前的某些干部火箭式上升不满，也在着力调整干部队伍现状。这从近期一些年近退休的干部又突然转任省部级正职，延长五年政治生命的也可略知一二。“宰相必起于州部，猛将必发于卒伍”是习大大特别爱说的一句话，未来中共用人必将更加强调基层和艰苦地区工作经验，政治生涯“前段慢、后段快”也将成为常态。 权力游戏的玩法已经改变，广大公务员们，你们准备好了吗？ // a popular public Wechat account that analyzes the CCTV Evening News suggests that Liu’s poverty relief tour over the holiday is an important sign of changes in cadre evaluation/promotion priorities under Xi to in part place much more emphasis on grassroots rural experience and poverty alleviation work. The poverty alleviation initiative does seem to have gotten short shrift in Western media since Xi made his big push on it a few months ago.
6. An Insider’s View of Chinese-Russian Relations | Foreign Affairs Beijing and Moscow Are Close, but Not Allies By Fu Ying–The Chinese-Russian relationship is a stable strategic partnership and by no means a marriage of convenience: it is complex, sturdy, and deeply rooted. Changes in international relations since the end of the Cold War have only brought the two countries closer together. Some Western analysts and officials have speculated (and perhaps even hoped) that the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, in which Russia has become heavily involved, would lead to tensions between Beijing and Moscow—or even a rupture. But that has not happened. Nevertheless, China has no interest in a formal alliance with Russia, nor in forming an anti-U.S. or anti-Western bloc of any kind
7. Pavlovian conditioning and ‘correct thinking’ on the South China Sea-The Straits Times This is an excerpt of a speech by veteran diplomat Bilahari Kausikan organised by the Institute of Policy Studies on Wednesday. This is his third lecture in the IPS-Nathan Lecture series. In the lecture, he examines the impact of US-China competition on Asean. In the extract below, he gives his reading of what has spurred China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea in recent years.
8. China reverts to ‘grid management’ to monitor citizens’ lives – FT.com “The grid management system is an attempt by the authorities to re-establish its control over individuals,” said Li Dun, an expert in public management at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “The aim is to reinstate the idea of upholding the party’s leadership.” An earlier system of neighbourhood committees, which monitored every urban citizen, has declined since the mid-1990s as private housing became more common and social controls faded. “Grid management” also harks back to the baojia system of the ancient Chinese dynasties, when groups of neighbours were responsible for mutually enforcing proper behaviour. // 网格化管理, urban grid management an example of social control approaches the Party was pushing long before Xi came to power (see next article). There is more continuity under Xi than some realize.
Related: Urban Grid Management and Police State in China: A Brief Overview « China Change Following the example of Dongcheng District, Beijing, from 2004 to April 2007, China carried out trials of the urban grid management project in 51 areas in three batches. Among the first batch of cities and districts participating in the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development’s digital urban management trials were Shenzhen, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Yangzhou, Yantai, Beijing Chaoyang District, Shanghai Changning District and Luwan District, and Nanjing Gulou District.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *
China hits property policy jam as regional market gap widens | Reuters In top-tier cities, prices rose at their fastest pace in almost two years in February, with Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing prices surging 56.9 percent, 20.6 percent and 12.9 percent from a year earlier, prompting policies to try and cool the market in some cities. But further down the pecking order, many places are still grappling with the excesses of the last debt-fuelled property frenzy, which began in around 2005 and finally ran into the sand in 2014, leaving a huge backlog of unsold and unfinished developments.
Subprime-Housing Risks Raise Red Flags in China – WSJ Data on loans used to finance down payments is sketchy, as such financing is a relatively new business. In addition, developers sometimes offer such loans, and banks offer mortgage applicants loans for renovations, taxes or travel that can be channeled toward the down payment, according to property agents. Agents say these loans can attract annual interest rates of up to 24%. Banks and property developers say household leverage is still far from the debt levels in the U.S. that preceded the subprime debacle. Mortgage-default rates are low and buyers who save up for their whole down payment far outnumber those who don’t.
No Point in Ramping Up Personal Debt to Help Property Market-Caixin-Hu Shuli Editorial Issues that result from higher leverage in the housing market have already alarmed the authorities. Regulators in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have clamped down on home purchases funded via the gray market. Shanghai’s government also raised the amounts that buyers of second homes must put down from around 40 percent of the purchase price to 70 percent. We will have to wait and see if these measures work. In the future, regulators from different government departments must work closely together to draw up long-term solutions to the problem if they want to address reckless borrowing.
Renminbi bears rethink currency bets – FT I f a speculator-loathing central bank were planning a victory celebration, it could do worse than make its currency free to borrow offshore, while pushing its exchange rate to its strongest this year. That, in effect was what happened to the renminbi last week, whether or not the People’s Bank of China intended it.
崔天凯：中美BIT谈判不拘泥于特定时间点世界频道财新网 中国驻美大使崔天凯称，中美双方团队一直在就双边投资协定进行密切的沟通和协调，关键是把方案研究透，做好周密准备，不要拘泥于某一个特定时间点 // Amb. Cui Tiankai talks down the lack of progress on the US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) during Xi’s visit to DC last week, says shouldn’t be held to specific timing…Politico reported that Chinese side had promised a revised negative list before the visit, didn’t deliver…so much for the fantasy some had of a US-China BIT under Obama…don’t expect much movement on it from the Chinese side until after the 19th Party Congress now, guessing not a priority to push it internally amidst all the political jockeying underway
猪肉价格最贵卖到24元一斤 创出两年新高新闻腾讯网 pork cycle alive and well, pork prices surging, highest in 2 years
Manufacturing Slows at Lowest Rate in 13 Months, with PMI at 49.7-Caixin “All categories of the index showed improvement over the previous month,” said Dr. He Fan, chief economist of Caixin Insight Group. There was a renewed expansion in total new orders, after February’s data showed they had declined for eight months in a row. More orders drove up total output, which increased in March from the previous month for the first time in a year. This indicated “that the stimulus policies the government has implemented have begun to take hold,” He said.
Behind Anbang’s Curious Starwood Courtship – WSJ Anbang in short order raised the offer to $78 and provided a letter of credit from China Construction Bank for the full amount. Anbang’s negotiating approach sometimes confounded Starwood. Mr. Wu would arrive at meetings, many at The St. Regis, with a team of about a half-dozen Chinese educated at U.S. business schools. Mr. Wu served as Anbang’s lead negotiator. At times his bankers didn’t speak during entire meetings, they said, and Mr. Wu didn’t turn to them for advice. // wonder how arb funds did on this deal. Caixin, other Chinese media made it pretty clear a couple of weeks ago that Anbang likely faced significant regulatory approval problems in China
China’s gray luxury market threatened by new tax regime | Reuters China is raising fees on packages ordered from abroad and cracking down on smugglers who carry in suitcases full of luxury goods, in a concerted effort to encourage shopping at home and squeeze a gray market that shoppers use to avoid tax. Although Chinese shoppers account for a third of global sales of luxury goods, sales that actually take place in mainland China account for only a fifth. The rest are purchases made abroad — either ordered from overseas websites, bought by Chinese tourists, or smuggled in by “personal shoppers” known as daigou
China’s ZTE to Replace Three Senior Executives – WSJ As part of a recent agreement between the U.S. Commerce Department and ZTE to temporarily remove the sanctions, the Chinese company’s executives who have been involved in the alleged violation must be removed from management roles, the people said.
Crackdown on unlicensed delivery vehicles in Chinese boom city creates major logistics headache | South China Morning Post Packages pile up as Shenzhen traffic police impound illegal bikes and tricycles and detain their riders
Squaring the Circle: How China Can Combine Growth with Deleveraging – Paulson Institute Orlik and Chen propose policy action across three fronts: First, they argue for a fiscal stimulus targeted at expanding public services and raising the spending power of China’s low-income households. This, they say, would provide a boost to growth and employment but without the downsides of another credit-fueled splurge. Second, they recommend a step change in transparency that would enable China’s financial markets to operate more efficiently. By channeling more funds to high return private and services sector firms, the Chinese financial system could generate more output bang for less credit buck. Third, they suggest steps to revive faith in China’s short- and medium-term growth prospects, combined with greater transparency of both economic data and policy thinking
The big China short – why we should ignore the white noise | afr The sensible middle ground is therefore a more desired course. The only problem is that such an approach makes it difficult to cut through the pages of alarmist headlines and white noise on China. Undaunted by these modern obstacles, economist Arthur R Kroeber has attempted to do just this with his recently released book; China’s Economy: What everyone needs to know. As the title suggests, Kroeber, the founder of Gavekal Dragonomics and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings-Tsinghua Centre, is not forecasting an impending crisis. // the book on Amazon
Steel crisis: UK government plays down China tariff fears – BBC News While this particular tariff is going to have virtually no impact on European steel – simply because it is so specialised – this could be viewed as the Chinese getting their revenge in before they’re even attacked. The message is: “We can start at small products, but we can build up to really hurt your goods if you really want to go down this road.” The big picture of course is that China has been accused of “dumping” – selling their steel for below what they sell it for in their home market – and that has destroyed British steel. // pandering does not seem to have paid off. shocked, just shocked…
POLITICS AND LAW *
China’s intelligence shake-up mirrors its political tumult – The Washington Post This shake-up within the intelligence service mirrors China’s broader political turmoil, stemming largely from Xi’s anti-corruption campaign. This effort, which began soon after Xi became Communist Party chief in 2012, has targeted prominent military, security and political figures — and created what many China-watchers say is a backlash against Xi…“The opposition to Xi has been an existential crisis for the regime, and that’s why they’ve had to spend so much time cleaning it up,” says Christopher Johnson, a former CIA China analyst who’s now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But he cautions: “Reports of Xi’s demise are badly overstated.”
Xi Jinping’s family linked to Panama papers-Marketplace so far nothing about China in here that seems explosive given what has already been reported by Bloomberg, The New York Times and others over the last few years…perhaps there are bigger revelations to come // According to the documents, Xi’s brother-in-law, Deng Jiagui, ran two shell companies based in the British Virgin Islands in 2009, when Xi Jinping was vice president. By the time Xi had become China’s president, both companies were dormant. The other Chinese leaders involved include the family of Li Peng…According to the leaked documents, Li’s daughter Li Xiaolin was the sole shareholder of a British Virgin Islands shell company while he served as Premier. China’s fourth-ranked leader up until a few years ago, Jia Qinglin, was also involved, as was the family of Bo Xilai
求是：把揪出“大老虎”看成“派系斗争”，实在是牵强附会打虎记澎湃新闻-The Paper 3月31日，最新一期的《求是》杂志刊发了“石平”的署名文章《反腐败不是“权力斗争”》。文章指出，国外一些媒体和人士把自己国家的反腐视为法治的表现，是正义的行为，而把我们的反腐视为“权力斗争”，有着阴暗不可见人的勾当。国内也有一些人随声附和。这种观点的背后或许是出于对我们反腐的不了解，但更多的是一种刻意的抹黑和故意歪曲。 文章称，3年多来，哪一个高官的落马不是因为有铁一般的违法违纪事实？这些落马官员的案件都是铁证如山，经得起法律、时间和人心的检验，这些人在自己的“忏悔录”中也都承认犯罪事实。因腐败而违法犯罪，罪有应得受惩罚，又怎能扯到权斗上呢？曾有人拿“领导人工作过的省份无虎”、“京沪无虎”来说事，认为是“选择性”打虎拍蝇。随着反腐的深入，从党政机关到军队高层，从中央部委到地方各省区市，反腐无死角、全覆盖，所谓的“选择性反腐说”不攻自破。 以下为全文：// China Party journal denounces critics seeking to discredit anti-graft drive–summary on Channel NewsAsia
[视频]【长征：信仰的力量】青山埋忠骨 英魂励后人CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1央视网(cctv.com) 祭扫追思、家国清明，我们继续《长征：信仰的力量》系列报道。万里长征的奇迹，是万千红军将士用血肉之躯换来的。敌我兵力悬殊和自然环境恶劣的双重压力，让当年命陨长征路的很多将士，没能留下名字，甚至许多著名将领的遗骸究竟埋葬在哪儿，也成了历史谜团。战争结束后，人们一直在寻找革命的遗迹，其中一些烈士的遗骸，被后人几经周折、幸运发现，成为历史永远的见证。 这是长征路上的第一座红军墓碑，它纪念的是红三军团第四师师长洪超。他在这里长眠了70多年，直到2006年才被后人发现。 1934年10月，中央红军开始长征。洪超带领部队，担负开路先锋的任务，在信丰与赣县交界的百石村打响了长征路上的第一场战斗。 // prepare for official commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the start of the Long March later this year
周永康祖坟曾有众多祭扫者 走时嘱咐告知周首长新闻腾讯网 Beijing Youth Daily on the family tombs of Zhou Yongkang, other fallen officials, once full of favor-seekers during the qingming festival, now empty…
坠亡桂林食药监局局长曾是哪些轰动事件主角？新闻腾讯网 就在清明节的前一天（4月3日）上午，桂林食品药品监督管理局局长唐天生从桂林医学院附属医院住院部8楼坠落，当场死亡。桂林市公安局发布通报称此事正在进一步查明处理中。 // head of Guilin Food and Drug Administration falls to his death from hospital window, was disciplined in 2013 for eating and drinking on the public dime, was accused in 2011 by a county secretary of sending men to kill him
明鏡時報 mingjingtimes: 專訪吳國光：黨的領導人沒有安全感 【吳國光，現為加拿大維多利亞大學政治科學系和歷史系雙系教授，並出任該校中國與亞太關係研究講座教授。 2015年9月，劍橋大學出版社推出吳國光新作—— China’s Party Congress: Power, Legitimacy, and Institutional Manipulation（《中共黨代會：權力、合法性與制度操縱》）一書。// wish there were a version of Wu Guoguang’s book for less than $80 on Amazon for the English version
把握新闻传播规律 壮大主流思想舆论–传媒–人民网 在理论与舆论同向发力中传播正能量。理论与舆论同向发力，重中之重是深入宣传中国特色社会主义理论体系的最新成果，深入宣传习近平同志系列重要讲话精神，深入宣传以习近平同志为总书记的党中央治国理政新理念新思想新战略。要在围绕中心、服务大局中找准坐标定位，为中心工作助力，为全局工作添彩。用价值引领笔端，把真理化入文字，做到“以我之洞见，解人之疑惑”“以我之价值，化人之心结”，用理论与舆论共同点亮思想的星空，共同构筑求真、向善、尚美的思想文化高地。 （作者为中共江苏省委常委、宣传部部长）
一篇提升党的领导水平和执政能力的光辉文献 — 学习毛泽东同志《党委会的工作方法》 2016年03月31日 08:00:00 来源：《求是》2016/07 作者：虞云耀 // Yu Yunyao in latest Seeking Truth/Qiushi on studying Mao’s 1949 essay “Methods of Work of Party Committees”
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *
U.S., Philippines begin military exercises as maritime tension simmers | Reuters About 8,000 U.S. and Filipino troops began annual military exercises on Monday against a backdrop of tension over China’s greater assertiveness in the South China Sea though a Philippine commander played that down as the reason for the drills. Over the next two weeks, the allies will test their command-and-control, communications, logistics and mobility procedures to address humanitarian and maritime security, Philippine defense officials said.
Japan sub makes first call to Philippines in 15 years amid China tensions | Reuters A Japanese submarine made a port call in the Philippines, the first in 15 years, on Sunday in a show of growing military cooperation amid tension triggered by China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. One of the newest and largest submarines in the Japanese navy, it was escorted into the former U.S. Navy Base at Subic Bay by two Japanese destroyers on a tour of Southeast Asia.
The South China Sea Arsenal: These Are The Chinese Weapons Deployed On Disputed Islands | Popular Science The People’s Liberation Army Navy has made waves across the South China Sea by rotating heavy missile launchers to the Paracel Islands, also disputed by Taiwan and Vietnam. In addition to YJ-62 anti-ship missiles, recent television footage shows PLAN air defense units engaged in live fire exercise on the islands, a clear counterpoint to recent US naval voyages and flights inside those disputed waters. While China has deployed anti-aircraft guns to the Paracels in the past, the deployment, even if temporary, of an integrated, multi-layer air defense network and anti-ship missiles on those islands is a quantum leap in China’s ability to control the air and sea-space outside of China proper.
Vietnam ‘seizes Chinese fuel ship for intrusion’ – BBC News The ship, carrying more than 100,000 litres of fuel, was stopped near the northern maritime border last week. Vietnamese media say the crew admitted they were supplying fuel to Chinese fishing boats in the area.
Commentary: Manila’s dangerous, futile game of involving outsiders in regional row – Xinhua A big country with vital interests in Asia, the United States should first clarify the targets of its Pivot to Asia strategy, which so far has featured no more than unscrupulous inconsistency between fear-mongering deeds and peace-loving words. On the South China Sea issue, it would be wise for current and incoming leaders in Manila to carefully consider China’s unswerving resolve to safeguard its territorial integrity and regional stability before making a move.
Beijing Ups the Ante in South China Sea Dispute with HQ-9 Deployment | The Jamestown Foundation Short of a crisis, the larger significance remains political and strategic. The deployment signals China’s determination to consolidate its gains in the South China Sea, regardless of criticism by the United States and its allies.
China says Japan base shows its hypocrisy on South China Sea | Reuters China’s Defence Ministry, which has already expressed anger at the move, said Japan’s armed forces had been “very active” of late, and Japan had also been decrying China’s “so-called militarization” in the South China Sea. “Today we can see what Japan is really up to on Yonaguni island, which is only 100 km from China’s Taiwan and the Diaoyu Islands,” ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a monthly news briefing. China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own.
Developing a Scarborough Contingency Plan | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Given that Beijing is expected to lose at least part of the case that Manila has brought against it in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, China might take action to demonstrate that it will not be constrained by the court’s decision. Potential escalations include re-imposing a blockade of Filipino troops stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, deploying military assets to the Spratly Islands, or announcing an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea—but undertaking reclamation work at Scarborough Shoal would be particularly concerning.
Hillary Clinton’s Asia Policy Team » Compiled by the China Program at The Carter Center // strange, no mention of Kurt Campbell
Lost in Nicaragua, a Chinese Tycoon’s Canal Project – The New York Times Mr. Wang’s project — it would be the largest movement of earth in the planet’s history — is shrouded in mystery and producing angry protests here. President Daniel Ortega has not talked about the canal in public for months. And there are no visible signs of progress. Cows graze in the field where Mr. Wang officially began the project. Experts say they are baffled by Mr. Wang’s canal. It may be backed by the Chinese government, part of its growing interest in Latin America, or may simply be a private investment cast adrift by the convulsions of China’s stock markets and its slowing economy.
China again blocks India’s bid at UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar – Times of India n a dramatic move, China has once again blocked India’s bid at the UN to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attack. According to highly placed sources here, just hours before the deadline earlier on Thursday, China requested the UN Committee, which is considering a ban on the chief of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM), to keep on hold the designation.
Lee Hsien Loong’s American Exceptionalism – WSJ As for the calls to renegotiate the TPP from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, he regards them as a nonstarter. The only effect, he says, would be to undermine American credibility. He cites Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has gone out on a limb—further than other Japanese prime ministers dared—by agreeing to open domestic markets. “If at the end of it all you let him down,” says Mr. Lee, “which next Japanese prime minister is going to count on you—not just on trade but on security? If you are not prepared to deal when it comes to cars and services and agriculture, can we depend on you when it comes to security and military arrangements?”
China military to set up first overseas base in Horn of Africa – FT.com China is set to install “a few thousand” troops and staff at its first ever overseas military base, the first permanent overseas deployment by Chinese armed forces. The new naval facility will sit in the same city as America’s own sprawling African military headquarters in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa country where the US has a 4,500-strong base running counter-terrorism operations across the region. Japan, which also has its only overseas military base in Djibouti, already faces a tense stand-off with China over territorial disputes in the East China Sea.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *
Worried Chinese Parents Flood Hong Kong Clinics Seeking Safe Vaccines Worried parents from mainland China are flooding across the internal immigration border into Hong Kong in the wake of the country’s latest tainted vaccine scandal, in a bid to get their children immunized safely, the government said on Friday. Hong Kong health officials hastily slapped a quota system on child vaccinations this week, in a bid to protect supplies for children resident in the city after reports of child deaths began to emerge linked to recent vaccinations.
China News Blackout as ‘Ten Years’ Takes Hong Kong Best Film Award – The New York Times In an Oscar-like spectacle on Sunday night, the Hong Kong Film Awards announced 21 movie prizes. Or 20 — if you consulted only reports in the mainland Chinese news media. That was because the top honor went to “Ten Years,” a low-budget independent production depicting a dark future for a Hong Kong bullied by the mainland government into assimilation. In the lists of award winners published on the Chinese news portals Sina and Tencent and a report by Xinhua, the state news agency, there was no mention of the best film.
TECH AND MEDIA *
China’s MIIT Clarifies New Domain Name Regulations, Allays Concerns Over Government Interference • A recent clarification to draft domain name regulations by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) indicates greater engagement and openness with the domain name market, not a contraction as some had feared. • Following the MIIT’s announcement on March 25th 2016, the same Ministry issued a clarification on Wednesday March 30th stating that its new draft regulations will not affect any foreign enterprises or foreign websites from resolving in China. • The new rules include safeguards against unnecessary interruption or interference by government inspectors for domain name registries and registrars in China.// so not as bad as the first, hyperbolic reports?
Tech Recruiter Makes Public Apology to Rival over a Hacking Attack-Caixin The head of an online recruitment services firm made a public apology on March 31 after an employee hacked into a rival firm’s email system in February. In a letter posted on the company’s official account on popular messaging app WeChat, Xu Dandan, the president of Lagou.com, said the employee was acting on his own accord when he deleted four apps developed by a competitor, Bosszhipin.com, from Apple’s app store on February 19. Xu who founded the job-listing service for IT workers only said the employee did “something impropriate” in the letter.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *
北京多家公墓无墓可售 逝者“转葬”河北新闻腾讯网 no burial plots in Beijing left for sale, people have to go to Hebei
Grave concern: Thousands of tombs in Beijing have expired leases and their descendants cannot be found | South China Morning Post More than 37,000 graves, or 60 per cent, at the sprawling Babaoshan People’s Cemetery had expired leases, The Beijing News reported. Many had not been visited by relatives for a long time, it added. The city government offers grave leases of 20 years, after which they must be renewed every 10 years. Beijing has been facing a peak of expired leases at its 33 cemeteries since 2013, according to the municipal civil affairs bureau.
Chaos of Cultural Revolution Echoes at a Lonely Cemetery, 50 Years Later – The New York Times They are veterans of the Cultural Revolution and their kin, who at the Qingming festival each year gather at the graves of family and friends killed in the convulsive movement that Mao unleashed upon China. Cities and regions became battle zones between rival Red Guards — militant student groups that attacked intellectuals, officials and others — and up to 1.5 million people died nationwide, according to one recent estimate. Yet this cemetery in Chongqing, an industrial city on the Yangtze River, is the only sizable one left solely for those killed then. Mr. Zheng, 73, is one of the aging custodians of their harrowing stories. He buried many of the 400 to 500 bodies here, on the edge of a park in the Shapingba district.
Morning Sun A range of techniques and perspectives are used in the Morning Sun website to reflect on the origins and history of the Cultural Revolution (c.1964-1976). We approach the period not from a simplistic linear perspective, but from a panoptic one, encompassing a broad overview while allowing the user to focus in on individual histories, narratives and events that reveal the complex contradictory forces that led to an era of unrivalled revolutionary fervor and political turmoil.
Q. and A.: Xujun Eberlein on the Legacy of the Cultural Revolution – The New York Times Xujun Eberlein, a writer who grew up in Chongqing and is now based in Boston, is the author of “Apologies Forthcoming,” a collection of stories about the Cultural Revolution. In an interview, Ms. Eberlein, who is working on a memoir, reflected on how that time affected her and her family.
Toe the Communist Party’s red line on Cultural Revolution, state paper warns | South China Morning Post “Reflections are normal … but they should not add or change [the official] political verdict,” a Global Times editorial said. The newspaper is affiliated with the party’s top mouthpiece People’s Daily. Yesterday’s editorial was the official tabloid’s second commentary on the sensitive issue this year and came just weeks after a former
Is China’s Football Dream Becoming Reality? | The Diplomat For the first time in 15 years, China is one step from qualifying for the World Cup.
A Revolutionary Discovery in China by Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books The documents were written on hundreds of strips of bamboo, about the size of chopsticks, that seemed to date from 2,500 years ago, a time of intense intellectual ferment that gave rise to China’s greatest schools of thought. But their authenticity was in doubt, as were the ethics of buying looted goods. Then, in July, an anonymous graduate of Tsinghua University stepped in, bought the soggy stack, and shipped it back to his alma mater in Beijing. University administrators acted boldly. They appointed China’s most famous historian, seventy-five-year-old Li Xueqin, to head a team of experts to study the strips // fascinating story, paywalled
The Origo Collection — Contemporary Ink Art | Sotheby’s 43.5M HKD, looks like a reasonably successful sale (and huge for Liu Dan and Li Jin) for Sotheby’s and Michael Goedhuis, who put this collection together. Interesting timing of the sale, Goedhuis previously put together the Estella Collection of Chinese contemporary ink, then sold it near the top of the market in 2008, a move rumored to have angered several artists who had sold him works with the understanding the collection was being built for a museum.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong Defies China Luxury Slowdown with Strong Auction Season Start | Jing Daily The auction saw “strength across all three categories,” says Ching, with nine global artist auction records and 87 percent of lots sold. A total of 55 percent of works were sold over their high estimate.
Immune: in the name of rationality | Chublic Opinion In the middle of a massive eruption of public anger over compromised vaccines, a small group of influential individuals considered themselves immune to what they saw as cheap sentimentalities, and set out to restore “rationality” in the Chinese cyberspace. Their intervention created a deep cleavage in the public debate over the scandal, a consequence that considerably complicates the unfolding of events.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *
Court in Hubei to Hear Case against a Major Chemical Producer-Caixin A court in the central province of Hubei has decided to proceed with a lawsuit against a chemical company that contaminated over 33 acres of forest land by dumping untreated wastewater and another fertilizer firm that allegedly aided it to break the law, an NGO said. China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Beijing, said on its Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, on April 2 that the court will hear the case filed against two subsidiaries of Hubei Yihua Group Co. Ltd., one of the major fertilizer and chemical producers in the country.
China’s Carbon Emissions May Have Peaked, but It’s Hazy – The New York Times a handful of climate researchers say carbon emissions from China may be falling, after climbing rapidly since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization. Two British researchers, Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern, made this case in a paper published last month by the journal Climate Policy. “It is quite possible that emissions will fall modestly from now on, implying that 2014 was the peak,” they wrote. Central to their argument are the possibility that China is undergoing an economic transformation and reports that coal use there has dropped or leveled off over the last two years.
China’s Hebei cuts coke production to curb smog – Xinhua North China’s Hebei Province has announced it will cut coke production by 6 million tonnes this year. Following the slash in steel, electric power, cement and glass production, the provincial government vowed to cap its coke production within 100 million tonnes by the end of 2018.
China braces for ‘severe’ flooding on Yangtze River | Reuters Severe floods are expected on China’s Yangtze River this year due to a strong El Nino weather pattern, state media said, raising the risk of deaths and damage to property and crops along the country’s longest waterway. The El Nino conditions are the strongest since records collection began in 1951, and resemble a 1998 weather pattern that flooded the river and killed thousands, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday, citing vice minister of water resources, Liu Ning.
China’s government orders inquiry into sale of counterfeit baby milk formula | South China Morning Post The order from China Food and Drug Administration came after the authorities in Shanghai arrested six people suspected of manufacturing and selling more than 17,000 tins of mislabelled baby milk powder in several provinces.
Food Regulator Shuts Down Popular Herbal Supplement Maker-Caixin Qinghai Spring Medicinal Resources Technology Co. Ltd., which makes pills and powder using a parasitic fungus found only on the Tibetan plateau, said in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on March 30 that the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has asked it to stop making and selling its products. The filling did not say when this order was issued or whether the company has been asked to recall stocks that have already hit store shelves.
Bad Earth | ChinaFile That much is evident in this collection of grimly striking images by Souvid Datta. Traveling across the industrial northeast, the young photojournalist has put together a series of vast ruined landscapes and tragic portraits that reveal how far China is from restoring its environment. From Beijing and Tianjin to Hebei and Inner Mongolia, Datta’s camera captures the ways lives continue to be diminished. Farmers look tiny beside open cast mines, endless lakes of tailings, and panoramas of smokestacks and cooling towers.
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES *
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Lurches Toward Corn Market Reform The move is expected to allow corn prices in China to drop to parity with international prices and choke off the country’s two-year-old import boom for corn substitutes that include sorghum, barley, distillers grain, and cassava. This will add more downward pressure to a global bear market for grains. The corn market liberalization was not unexpected, but the announcement was tentative and confusing, probably a reflection of the controversy over the plan that has raged behind the scenes. Last summer many market watchers speculated that a liberalization would be announced in September 2015. Instead, the temporary reserve was retained and the price was cut by 10%. The central no. 1 document issued in January 2016 singled out the corn market for reform, and a speech in March promised an announcement after the “two meetings” this month.
FOOD AND TRAVEL *
Online Travel Agents Hit by Turbulence as Airlines Tighten Scrutiny-Caixin Travelers have encountered problems with two out of every 10,000 flight tickets sold on Ctrip.com, data from the company showed. This includes tickets sold directly by Ctrip and third-party agents. While news of the scams has driven passengers away, online travel firms are also feeling the heat from airline companies. The four top domestic carriers in terms of passengers per year stopped selling tickets on Qunar.com, the second largest online travel agency in the country, in January because the number of consumer complaints on unexplained extra charges and problems with refunds had risen in recent months
Some Beijing Police Stations Issue Hukou to Violators of Old One-Child Rule Stations in one district hand out registration documents for second children even though parents have not paid fines, but other areas have not made change
JOBS AND EVENTS *
ChinaFile Presents: Inside Lens, Documentary Films from China | New York | Asia Society Fri 8 Apr 2016 6:30pm – 8:00pm Asia Society 725 Park Ave at 70th Street New York NY 10021
Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters
Send comments/tips/complaints to [email protected]
And if you really like Sinocism, feel free to donate some money, with Bitcoin or a credit card. Thanks.
If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.
Subscribe to the Free Sinocism China Newsletter! Enter Your Email In The Box Below And Start Getting Smarter About China.