The Sinocism China Newsletter 04.29.15

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

Today’s Links:

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

1. Obama accuses China of flexing muscle in disputes with neighbors | Reuters While insisting the United States welcomes China’s “peaceful rise,” Obama said: “I don’t want to minimize … that there are some real tensions that have arisen with China around its approach to maritime issues and its claims.” Obama said the Chinese “feel that rather than resolve these issues through normal international dispute settlements, they are flexing their muscles,” Obama said. “That’s the wrong way to go about it.”

Related: China on My Mind: U.S.-Japan Visit Mostly About Beijing, State Media Says  – WSJ The pomp and policy talks mainly served to throw into relief U.S. and Japanese concerns about China—at least as seen from Beijing. As Chinese media outlets noted, in the joint press conference hosted by Mr. Abe and Mr. Obama, all four reporters called upon raised questions regarding China, spanning issues such as tension in the South China Sea, the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and whether a free-trade deal the White House has pushed will help keep China in check. All told, China was raised 23 times, according to the White House’s transcript.

Related: Abe’s quest to revive Japan – The Washington Post – David Ignatius The Abe visit is a reminder of the economic and strategic importance of Japan in an Asia dominated by a rising China. Japan was often an afterthought during its two decades of economic stagnation. But if Abe can manage the contradictions inherent in his policies and revive Japan, he’ll make America’s job of containing China much easier. Abe’s theme, that “Japan is back,” sits uneasily with memories of Japan’s role in World War II. To convey his “remorse,” Abe visited Arlington National Cemetery. On the controversial issue of Korean “comfort women,” he repeated Monday at Harvard the formulation he coined in an interview with me in Tokyo: “My heart aches when I think about these people who were victimized by human trafficking and who were subject to immeasurable pain and suffering beyond description.”  //  “make America’s job of containing China much easier.”…such a huge assumption, buried in this column as almost an afterthought…

Related: State dinner for Japan’s prime minister forgoes the glitz – The Washington Post Expect Beijing to request something better for Xi’s visit in September  //  Despite the twinkling pink lights scattered across the ceiling, showy floral centerpieces and curtains of crystals dressing up the windows, the Obamas’ eighth state dinner, in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was a somewhat subdued affair. Light on the glitz and heavy on the government.

Related: Commentary: South China Sea no showcase for U.S.-Japanese alliance – Xinhua After a high-profile meeting with the Japanese leader in Washington on Tuesday, Obama told a joint White House press conference that his country and Japan “share a concern” about China’s activities in the South China Sea, accusing China of “flexing muscles” in the waters. Such preposterous rhetoric betrayed the two’s attempt to muddy the waters for their ulterior calculation, and contradicted their following claims that their alliance should not “be seen as a provocation” and they “welcome China’s peaceful rise.” For starters, the South China Sea disputes are between China and other claimants and do not need the meddling of outsiders. Nor should they be used as a pretext for cementing an anachronic security arrangement that now only brings about more uncertainties. In stark contrast with the two countries’ shallow trick of meddling around, China has repeatedly expressed its resolve and sincerity to settle the disputes with related nations through peaceful negotiations.

2. What Did the 26th ASEAN Summit Achieve? | The Diplomat As expected, the South China Sea question received significant attention but saw little progress. The media did release parts of a draft ASEAN statement where the group did share concerns expressed by some states on China’s extensive land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, which it said threatened peace, security and stability. And Najib also repeated the call for an “expeditious resolution” of a code of conduct while stressing that ASEAN would engage China in a “constructive way. But beyond these steps, little progress looks likely at this stage, which is not surprising considering ASEAN’s lowest common denominator position on the issue, China’s continued stonewalling on a code of conduct, and the balance Malaysia tends to strike in its own policy

Related: China Voice: Do not let ASEAN be taken hostage – Xinhua By playing the Sinophobia card, the Philippines has made a miscalculation. Anyone can see, China is a staunch force upholding peace and stability. Aside from those who see no reason in siding with a troublemaker, some countries that have disputes with China have chosen to focus on cooperation, as seen in Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong’s fruitful visit to China in early April. Moreover, China has already shown its generosity, promising not to leave the Philippines out of the 21st Maritime Silk Road as some feared would happen. The Philippines will not change China’s foreign policy, nor will it be able to let China sacrifice core interests. But it should not take ASEAN hostage.

Related: China ‘extremely concerned’ by ASEAN statement on disputed sea – Yahoo News Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that China was “extremely concerned” that the closing statement addressed the South China Sea issue, which he said was not a problem between China and ASEAN. “On this issue China has exercised extreme restraint,” he said, repeating that China believed the dispute should be resolved via direct talks between the claimants. There were no problems with freedom of navigation in the waters, Hong told a daily news briefing.

Related: Xi’s Star Turn in Indonesia Rings a Bell – WSJ Even though Mr. Xi managed a smile and a handshake with Mr. Abe, those were not the sentiments that he wanted to hear at his moment of triumph in Bandung. From the vantage point of Beijing’s leaders, diplomatic problems with Japan as well as Southeast Asian allies of America stem from the role they play in a U.S. Cold War policy of “containment” aimed at blocking China’s rise. Indeed, the original Bandung Conference took place just as the Cold War was ramping up. But then, as now, no one does a better job of containing China than China itself: Its aggressive moves have served to strengthen the U.S. alliance structure in Asia.

3. Once Concerned, China Is Quiet About Trans-Pacific Trade Deal – NYTimes Some of China’s leading trade policy intellectuals now say that they have few concerns about the agreement. They also say that the pact could even help China, by making it easier for Beijing to pursue its own regional agreements without facing criticism that it should instead pursue ambitious global free trade pacts that would require significantly opening its markets to Western competition. “We don’t think T.P.P. is a challenge to China — we will watch and study,” said He Weiwen, a former Commerce Ministry official who is now the co-director of the China-United States-European Union Study Center in Beijing.

Related: No Deal, but Progress on Trans-Pacific Trade, Obama and Shinzo Abe Say After Meeting – NYTimes On Tuesday, Mr. Obama and Mr. Abe emerged from an Oval Office meeting similarly empty-handed, with unsettled differences between the United States and Japan over automobiles and agriculture that have hindered negotiations over the broader Trans-Pacific Partnership with 10 other countries. But this time, they reported substantial progress in their negotiations, and in a visit that spotlighted a warmer rapport, made a unified call for a quick resolution to the trade pact that faces steep political opposition in both nations.

4. A Chinese LTRO: the trouble with market based financing continues | FT Alphaville The key to understanding why the People’s Bank might be considering such a scheme is that the funding to banks would be contingent on them lending to designated sectors. The PBOC has used similar “re- lending” programmes since the 1980s and has been using the policy more frequently over the past couple of years. In other words, the comparison being drawn with LTROs is misleading. The PBOC resorts to re- lending operations because it doesn’t trust financial markets to allocate credit to the areas that policymakers want it to go, not because it has concerns over banking sector liquidity. The People’s Bank is not following a playbook set out by the Fed, ECB or other counterpart overseas.

Related: In China, Focus of Monetary Easing Turns to Surgical Strikes – Bloomberg Business For China, “there are many usable tools” open to the PBOC, Ma Jun, chief economist at the central bank’s research bureau, said in a statement based off his interview with China Business News. “There will be specific arrangements for local-government debt swaps, and these arrangements will not lead to market liquidity tightening.”

5. China launches special campaign to rectify miscarriages of justice – Xinhua China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) on Tuesday launched a special campaign to rein in “unregulated judicial conduct”. A statement from the SPP said authorities will run a full review of all unregulated conduct in judicial cases over the past two years, focusing on the “judical philosophy, proceedings as well as discipline and work conduct” of prosecutors. The statement did not elaborate on what was defined as unregulated judicial conduct, but said prosecutors that breach laws and regulations, and damage society will be “resolutely dealt with”. Lawmakers, political advisors, police officers, court staff, police, lawyers and the public will also be invited offer their opinions, it said.

Related: Hearing reviews 20-year-old rape and murder case – Xinhua Nie Shubin, a native of Hebei Province, which neighbors Shandong, was 21 when he was convicted and executed for the rape and murder of a woman in Hebei’s capital Shijiazhuang. However, in 2005, Wang Shujin said he was behind the crime. The hearing began at 1:30 p.m and was adjourned at 10:26 p.m. at Shandong Higher People’s Court. It was attended by Nie’s mother and sister, their lawyers Chen Guangwu and Li Shuting, and officials representing those involved in the original trials.

Related: 聂树斌案听证会“对质”行刑时间国内新京报网 昨日下午,山东高院就复查聂树斌案召开听证会,聂案代理律师李树亭提交多项证据声称,聂树斌行刑日期存在差错、案卷中聂的签名多处系伪造等问题。河北公检法机关一一回应,表示无证据证明聂曾遭刑讯逼供,行刑时间无误。

6. Major Vancouver property developer is a Chinese corruption suspect wanted by Interpol | South China Morning Post Photographs of businessman Michael Ching Mo Yeung, the president and CEO of Mo Yeung International Enterprise Ltd, match Interpol’s photo of fugitive Cheng Muyang, who is sought by the People’s Procuratorate of Qiaoxi District in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, for graft and concealing and transferring illegal gains. Cheng, 45, is the son of Cheng Weigao – a powerful official who served as the party chief of Hebei province and later the chairman of the local people’s congress. Cheng Weigao was investigated for corruption and subsequently expelled from the Communist Party in 2003. He died in disgrace in 2010.

7. ‘Rent-a-Foreigner in China’ – NYTimes.com funniest China video I have watched in a while  //  In this Op-Doc video, I profile one interesting solution: the rent-a-foreigner industry. In provincial West China, I filmed specialty firms that collect groups of foreigners whom they rent out to attend events. Clients can select from a menu of skin colors and nationalities; whites are the most desirable and expensive. The most frequent customers are real estate companies. They believe that filling their remote buildings with foreign faces, even for a day, suggests that the area is “international,” a buzzword in provincial areas that often translates to “buy.”

8. China speeds up fuel quality upgrading for better air – Xinhua Quality upgrading is key to preventing and controlling air pollution and will help improve the environment and living standards, said a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang. The measures will also boost investment and promote the technological transformation of domestic enterprises, as well as increase consumption demand. Starting from next year, all vehicles in the 11 provinces and municipalities of eastern China should use fuels, including gasoline and diesel, that adhere to China’s leading ‘5th-phase’ standards, with sulphur content within 10 ppm (parts per million), starting from next year.

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AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

Premier Li eyes consumer goods market for growth – Xinhua Specific measures were outlined. Trial reductions of import tariffs on certain goods that have high domestic demand should be rolled out before June, and the varieties of imports that enjoy tax reductions will be gradually expanded. Consumption tax policies on mass consumer goods such as clothing and cosmetics will be improved along with tax reforms. More duty-free shops at ports of entry will be established and the variety of goods will be increased. Foreign consumers will enjoy more convenient customs clearance and tax rebate policies, and the making of inspection and quarantine policies that facilitate import by cross-border E-commerce companies will be supported, with unreasonable charges on imports to be removed. There will be measures to accelerate the brand upgrading of Chinese products. Physical shops will be supported, and online-offline interactions will be encouraged.

China Vanke Buys Historic NYC Tower for $125mil | Mingtiandi According to a story in New York trade publication the Real Deal, Vanke bought an undisclosed majority stake in the 30-storey office building from leaseholders Tribeca Associates and Meadow Partners, with Tribeca maintaining a share in the lease as a managing partner for the property.

Chinese Investors Are Feeling Super Bullish: Franklin Templeton Survey – – Barrons.com Chinese investors’ sentiments shifted significantly – to the bullish side, according to a recent annual survey conducted by Franklin Templeton. In this year’s survey, 71% of Chinese investors expect growth in the stock market this year; only 6% have a negative outlook. Compared to last year, Chinese investors almost doubled their confidence in their home market, seeing China offer the best equity and fixed income investment opportunities not only in 2015 – but get this, also over the next ten years. Chinese are also becoming more aggressive with their investment strategy. 63% of those surveyed said they would take a more aggressive stance this year, versus 46% last year.

Wal-Mart to expand China store network by nearly a third after growth stalls | Reuters Wal-Mart’s new push in China comes as global supermarket firms seek ways to tackle slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy. Wal-Mart in February said its China net sales declined 0.7 percent for the quarter ended Jan. 31, with comparable same-store sales falling 2.3 percent. As well as new stores to boost sales, the world’s biggest retailer will close some under-performing stores and seek to tap into the faster-growing online grocery market through its Yihaodian.com service. McMillon said he was excited by prospects for a platform that offered 8 million products at end-2014, up from just 18,000 items in 2011.

Schroder Hunts China Bargains in U.S. as Mainland Markets Surge – Bloomberg Business yes difficult of late for some of the more metronomic, pedantic China bears  //  Parbrook, who describes Schroder as being “cautious on China without being suicidally bearish,” said he’s looking at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., China’s biggest e-commerce company, as well as some U.S.-listed pharmaceutical companies and “travel lodging names.” He is also “keeping a close watch on” e-commerce stocks like Vipshop Holdings Ltd. and JD.com Inc., he said, without providing specifics.

China Raises Yuan Fixing Amid Receding Bets PBOC to Conduct QE – Bloomberg Business “The market is less concerned that China will start quantitative easing in the near-term after Ma Jun said it was not essential,” said Banny Lam, co-head of research at Agricultural Bank of China International Securities Co. in Hong Kong. “The central bank set a strong fixing as it wants to signal the market that it will support the yuan and keep it stable in the long-run.”

The bitter medicine China will be forced to swallow | Business Spectator So how does China sidestep the middle-income trap? Mr Lou, the country’s most senior finance official, seems to have concocted a cocktail of bitter medicine for the country to take in order to avoid getting stuck in a middle-income purgatory like many Latin American countries.

As China tech M&A heats up, boutique advisers steal big banks’ thunder | Reuters Small shops like China Renaissance, Hina Group and Kilometre Capital Management arranged crucial early-stage financing years ago for then-startup firms that have developed into billion-dollar businesses. Those tech firms haven’t forgotten the leg-up: boutique advisers banked 57 percent of tech merger and acquisition fees so far in 2015, Thomson Reuters data shows, nearly double last year’s share. As China transforms itself into a more services-oriented economy and the government looks to bolster consumer demand, Internet and tech startup companies have taken centre-stage, raising billions of dollars from investors. China’s tech sector has seen $25.6 billion of M&A deals so far this year, on pace to beat the record activity of $49.8 billion in all of 2014.

China’s building materials output drops in Q1 – Xinhua Cement output was down 3.4 percent year on year to 428 million tonnes, while flat glass production fell 6 percent, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website. Prices of cement and flat glasses both dropped in March. Compared with a month earlier, the factory price of cement shed 1.3 percent, and that of flat glass moved down 0.4 percent.

 

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW

协调推进“四个全面”的哲学思考(深入学习贯彻习近平同志系列重要讲话精神) Leng Rong in today’s People’s Daily on the Four Comprehensives. Another sign this concept is going to be Xi’s contribution to the theoretical canon?  // 冷溶 《 人民日报 》( 2015年04月29日   07 版)- 每当重大历史关头,尤其需要学习哲学。我们正站在新的历史起点上,进行具有许多新的历史特点的伟大斗争。“四个全面”战略布局,是党中央从坚持和发展中国特色社会主义全局出发,着眼于实现中华民族伟大复兴中国梦提出并形成的,是从哲学高度进行的思考、从总体上进行的设计,把我们党在新的历史条件下的治国理政方略展示得十分清晰、十分明确。协调推进“四个全面”战略布局,首先要学好马克思主义哲学,掌握科学的世界观、方法论。在这方面,习近平同志为我们作出了榜样。他的系列重要讲话充满哲学智慧,处处体现对马克思主义立场观点方法的自觉运用。全党同志特别是各级领导干部必须紧紧跟上,在深入学习贯彻习近平同志系列重要讲话精神中,把学哲学、用哲学作为重要任务,更加自觉、更加有力地协调推进“四个全面”战略布局。

中宣部理论局、中组部干部教育局向党员干部推荐第十批学习书目–时政–人民网 The Theory Bureau of the Propaganda Department and the Cadre Education Bureau of the Organization Department recommend seven books for study, 2 are Xi’s, also includes Deng’s official biography, a simplified Das Kapital (Das Kapital for Dummies?)… 2 of 7 does not seem very cultish…//  新华网北京4月29日电(记者孙铁翔)为进一步引导党员干部多读书、读好书,中宣部理论局、中组部干部教育局29日向党员干部推荐第十批学习书目。 第十批学习书目包括7种图书:《习近平谈治国理政》《习近平关于党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争论述摘编》《法治热点面对面》《邓小平传》《〈资本论〉简说》《中国改革顶层设计》《第四批全国干部学习培训教材》。

Gao Yu’s Real Crime – NYTimes OpEd-Mingjing’s Ho Pin Ms. Gao’s real crime had nothing to do with leaking Document No.9. She offended the authorities by speaking out against government policies. Even though Mr. Xi has recently announced plans to make the legal system more transparent, Ms. Gao’s conviction shows that nothing has changed under a dictator who cannot abide dissenting views. The case also reflects China’s increasing arrogance toward the West, which is increasingly tolerant of Beijing’s growing human rights violations and nationalistic behavior. Corporations are caving in to Chinese demands, placing short-term business gains ahead of principles, thus confirming to China the diminishing influence of the West. Consequently, the Chinese government feels free to imprison and bully Chinese and foreign journalists.

China Voice: A hundred “tigers” down, but the hunt goes on – Xinhua China unveiled a series of new measures that will give more power to anti-graft watchdogs in their leadership selection on Monday, as part of the reforms to increase authority of discipline agencies. The measures give the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) more say in selection and assessment of discipline inspection leaders at the provincial level and in key state-owned enterprises. These new rules are expected to give local chief discipline inspectors more authority and shake off restraints when overseeing officials of equal standing. One day prior to the new measures, media reported three senior military officers are being investigated for corruption. This brings the number of senior Party members, government officials and military officers investigated since the CPC 18th National Congress to 102.

Publisher of China’s leading pro-reform magazine vows to carry on despite growing pressure from authorities | South China Morning Post Yanhuang Chunqiu (sometimes translated as China Through The Ages) is known for its outspoken articles that contest official versions of party history, and for years has been under pressure to soften its editorial stance. It was able to maintain a relatively liberal stance due to the support of many respected party elders, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s. But the embattled magazine suffered a series of blows in the past year. Fears were raised this month of renewed pressure after it received a warning letter from official censors and its chief editor Yang Jisheng was ordered to leave the magazine

How China Uses its Cyber Power for Internal Security | The Diplomat This is the first in a series of 5 articles discussing IT as a means to solidify Communist Party rule in the country.

SPP urges bribery crackdown – Xinhua China will crack down on individuals and companies bribing officials, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) said on Wednesday. In a meeting presided over by Procurator-General Cao Jianming in recent days, the SPP urged procuratorates to apply severe punishments for bribery. The SPP also called for more efforts to recover illegal gains from bribery, a move it believes will act as a stronger deterrent, and to pursue fugitives in bribery cases.

教育部官员受审当庭翻供称被疲劳审讯 数百公务员旁听-新华网 former Minister of Education official on trial for graft rejects his confession in court, says it was forced after keeping him awake for prolonged interrogations

确认了!贵州纳雍16岁少女陪县规划局5名男职员喝酒醉死直击现场澎湃新闻-The Paper 16 year old girl dies drinking with five officials in Bijie, Guizhou…why do so many bad things seem to happen in Bijie?

Chinese police detain 16 foreign suspected members of mafia-style gang | South China Morning Post The Freedom Fighters gang, reportedly led by two suspects, identified by police as Odunukwe Chinedu and Abdoulaye, was formed in Guangzhou in 2009. “[The gang] started out with members working as debt collectors helping foreign businessmen to settle financial disputes, the Guangzhou Daily reported. It was well organised, with its own set or rules, and had a strict hierarchy – with a well-defined leadership and core membership – and a clear division of labour, the report said.

 

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Obama on the Beijing-Led AIIB: All Just a Misunderstanding – China Real Time Report – WSJ BS  //  No, America isn’t opposed to the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. News reports and editorials to that effect – which have been legion in recent weeks —  are the result of a misunderstanding based on a single story quoting unnamed sources, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday in his Rose Garden news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In fact, if the AIIB ends up upholding high lending standards “then we’re all for it,” Mr. Obama said.

How the Chinese Web Came to Believe the CIA Tried to Assassinate Snowden | Foreign Policy The Chinese Internet — particularly its military forums, powered by a relatively small but dedicated and paranoid coterie of fanboys — is no stranger to rumors and conspiracy theories. The Snowden assassination story, along with its Macau connection, is merely one of its gems, and it showcases the Chinese media’s willingness to traffic in unsourced reports and unnamed (and perhaps nonexistent) sources and to cater to the worst instincts of China’s reading public. Now, what was once a rumor has risen to the level that Chinese security officials are batting down the report. In a widely syndicated article published Monday, the investigative outlet Southern Metropolis Daily reported that it reached out to security officials in Macau who said that after investigating the matter and verifying with the PLA’s Macau unit, the reports are “absolutely” not true.

PLA cannot surpass US military even if it stood still: general|WantChinaTimes China will not be able to overtake the United States in military might in the next two decades even if the latter stands still, Major General Zhang Zhaozhong from the PLA National Defence University in Beijing said in an interview with state broadcaster China Central Television. Zhang criticized US media for overstating the power and therefore threat of the People’s Liberation Army to attract attention. “American media like to make claims about how fast China’s military will surpass the United States,” Zhang said. “What I have to say is that China is not going to catch up with the United States even if it stopped all military projects.” He also said internet users in China should not get carried away concerning the country’s military capability.

官方证实中朝边境村庄3人遇害 系8个月来第三起国内新京报网 3 people in Liaoning village by North Korean border killed by suspected DPRK soldiers  //  新京报记者多方获悉,4月24日夜,3名疑似身穿“军服”的朝鲜男子越境,在吉林省和龙市龙城镇石人村杀害3名村民后逃走。今日上午11时许,和龙市委宣传部官方微博通报称,4月25日凌晨,和龙市公安局接到报案称:龙城镇发生一起命案,三人遇害。目前,公安机关正在全力开展案件侦破工作。

西方为何一再曲解中国(热点辨析)- 《 人民日报 》( 2015年04月29日 07 版) 苏长和-(作者为复旦大学国际关系与公共事务学院教授) //  近来,个别研究中国的美国学者又抛出了“中国崩溃论”的话题。“中国崩溃论”并不是什么新鲜话题,每隔一段时间就会在英语学术期刊和新媒体中出现。其实,不只是“中国崩溃论”,像“中国不守规则论”“中国威胁论”等,在英语学术界和舆论界也是交替出现的。这里需要研究的是,以美国为主要代表的西方为何一再曲解中国? 研究导向偏差。美国是当今海外中国学研究的一个大本营。以美国关于中国政治的研究来说,其主流价值取向是研究中国的负面问题,“负面中国”“反面中国”占据学术和媒体议程的很大部分,像维权、人权、民族冲突、新疆西藏台湾问题、政治民主化、群体性事件、社会矛盾、非政府组织这类议题占据研究的显要位置

 

AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Katy Perry’s latest crazy concert outfit is too pro-Taiwan for China – Quartz Popstar Katy Perry took the stage in Taipei this week in a glittery dress covered with sunflowers, which happen to be the emblem of Taiwan’s anti-China protests last year. She also draped herself in the flag of the Republic of China (Taiwan), a symbol of the island’s continued separation from China, and one that is allegedly so unpalatable to Beijing that it was pulled from the 2012 Olympic Games arena.

Wynn shares are getting obliterated – Business Insider Why Wynn is suffering couldn’t be more clear. It’s Macau. The island, once the world’s gambling Mecca, has seen casino revenues  collapse almost 50% from this time last year. Why? Chinese President Xi Jinping start an anti-corruption drive last year that has high-rollers scared of spending money on the island and the businesses that served them closing at a devastating rate. Retail gamblers face visa and spending restrictions as well.

Hong Kong Student Organization Says It Won’t Attend Tiananmen Vigil – NYTimes “Many of us dislike the vigil’s underlying notion that we’re all Chinese,” explained Sunny Cheung, a 19-year-old leader of the student union of Hong Kong Baptist University, which had voted against attending the vigil. “We want to build a democratic Hong Kong. It’s not our responsibility to build a democratic China.”

 

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA

Alibaba Freezes Hiring as Ma Says Company Needs to Be Efficient – Bloomberg Business Billionaire Jack Ma said he is freezing all hiring at Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. because the e-commerce company is expanding too quickly. The hiring freeze also applies to some companies controlled by Alibaba, Ma said in a speech to employees. The current level of 30,000 workers should be enough to maintain operations, Ma said in a transcript posted to an official Alibaba account on the social-media application Laiwang.  // Ma and his employees may be the only users of their failed Wechat-clone Laiwang, and that may be Alibaba’s biggest problem, it is losing the mobile platform war to Tencent

Tencent takes on Alibaba, Xiaomi with open smart hardware operating system Tencent, e-commerce giant Alibaba, which develops the Yun Operating System (OS), and smartphone maker Xiaomi have already made forays into smart hardware, with internet-connected TVs, fitness bands and air purifiers. Their systems for both mobile and hardware offer an alternative to Google’s services, many of which are unusable in China, including key features for Android, due to several factors including censorship and licensing issues. Tencent said it wanted to layer the Android-based TOS+ over smart hardware, from TVs to watches and virtual reality headsets. That would mean playing games on a TV using a smartphone, or using a TOS+ smart watch to make payments from a handset  //  Alibaba’s Yun is also based on Android. These are not indigenous OSs, despite how well their PR teams work tech journalists

Facebook’s login system is being hijacked by China’s Great Firewall | The Verge wonder how hard Facebook’s new China employee Wang Li-Moser, poached from Intel, is working this  //  For the last three days, China’s Great Firewall has been intercepting the Javascript module from Facebook Login, which allows third-party sites to authorize users through Facebook infrastructure. First reported on Sunday, the attack causes sites using Facebook Login to redirect to a third-party page for many web users in China. “This behavior is occurring locally and beyond the reach of our servers,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Verge. “We are investigating the situation.” Because the code is intercepted within China’s national telecom infrastructure, only users located in China (and accessing the web without a VPN) will be affected.

Are You OK? Xiaomi CEO’s Awkward English Goes Viral, Sparks Debate – China Real Time Report – WSJ Mr. Lei announced a free Xiaomi smart wristband for each audience member. He sought to gauge the enthusiasm by shouting, with escalating volume, “Are you OK? Are you OK?” That “Are you OK?” has turned into an overnight meme on Chinese social media. It’s also set off a discussion in China about the hurdles Chinese executives face in the English-speaking global marketplace.

工信部:引入民资竞争提网速降网费特别报道新京报网 MIIT officials says will allow private capital into Internet provisioning to provide competition to increases speeds  //  工信部通信发展司司长闻库昨日表示,目前全国固定带宽平均速率为4.25兆,为提网速降资费,希望引入民营资本竞争。在有条件的地区,工信部将直接推广50兆、100兆高带宽的接入服务。

China’s 4G users continue to surge – Xinhua 4G clients in China added about 60 million in the first quarter, including 23.88 million in March, to 162 million, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Wen Ku, an MIIT official in charge of telecommunications, expects the country’s total 4G users to reach 250 million by the end of the year.

Tencent, Bank of Beijing launch $1.6 bln online banking tie-up | Reuters Bank of Beijing will extend Tencent Holdings Ltd a 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) credit line, part of a partnership that helps the Chinese Internet firm better compete in online finance with rival Alibaba. The partnership will focus on the bank’s Jingyitong initiative, which lets users swipe a chip-enabled card at hospitals to obtain medical care and other services, Tencent and Bank of Beijing said on Wednesday.

“要创业吗”财新周刊频道财新网 变化席卷中关村的每个角落。近4000多个创业团队拥挤到了这条不足300米的街上,然而最终能被成就的只是极少数// long Caixin piece on the startup boon in Beijing

 

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Police probe death of ‘missing’ boy at rescue center in Henan province: Shanghaiist Wang Xinhong, a villager in Linhe village, Xi county, said that his son had left home on October 2, 2014, and was reported missing two days later. Police never found the boy and neither did the family, who’d continued searching for him for half a year. On April 20, Wang saw an obituary published by the Xinyang rescue center, and traveled there to discover that it was his son, whose body was barely recognizable. “He was nothing but skin and bone, and had scars all over his body,” Wang said.

佛协史上最年轻会长学诚法师:国家要有法治,佛教要有律制澎湃人物澎湃新闻-The Paper 4月22日,在澎湃新闻记者与学诚法师逾两小时的访谈中,法师多次提到两个词:法治和律制。“国家要有法治,佛教要有律制。”具体到一座寺庙,法师定下一切规矩的初衷,即要寺庙恢复清净的道场,商业退出庙门,让出家人能够很好的持戒。学诚法师一直是“人间佛教”的倡导者和践行者。很多年来他一直在思考,究竟寺庙应该怎样办,才能走出一条既符合佛教传统规制,又能适应时代发展需要的道路?在传承和变革之间,如何寻找一种通融和均衡。//Thepaper interviews the head of the Buddhist Association

 

AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

China’s scientific progress hinges on access to data : Nature News & Comment The era of big data has seen the development of bioinformatics databases, data sharing and increased access to technical resources. Until recently, this trend towards open science was helping scientists in China to compete on the world stage. However, growing constraints on public-data exploration and sharing are being felt throughout Chinese society. If not addressed, they will slow scientific research and innovation.

China to Impose Deeper Cuts on Subsidies of New-Energy Vehicles – Bloomberg Business The finance ministry will reduce subsidies on new-energy vehicles by 40 percent in 2019 to 2020 from that in 2016, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website Wednesday. The amount is double the quantum of the cut the ministry said it was considering in December. Most automakers in China have been introducing new-energy vehicle models, spurred by financial incentives and exemptions from registration restrictions. The government has been gradually lowering subsidies to encourage automakers to make more competitively priced products.

Crackdown on corruption at Chinese environmental risk assessment agencies | South China Morning Post The Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a report that it has barred or limited the work carried out by 63 agencies and 22 officials. The ministry said they were guilty of malpractice, but did not give details. The report later warned against officials accepting bribes in return for handing out environmental safety certificates.

China Cuts Subsidies for Shale Gas Developers Through to 2020 – Bloomberg Business The subsidies will be cut to 0.3 yuan per square meters from 2016 to 2018, and to 0.2 yuan from 2019 to 2020, China’s finance ministry said in a statement today, citing industrial development polices, technology advancement and cost changes as reasons, without elaborating. Energy executives including PetroChina Co. Chairman Zhou Jiping have urged the government to extend the current 0.4 yuan per square meter subsidy to 2020 or 2030 to spur growth in the usage of shale gas.

Views: Living in Fear – Caixin Caixin spoke to two people from a county near a chemical plant in Fujian that has suffered two large explosions in the last two years

 

AnchorBEIJING

Beijing’s high-end property developers focus on young elite buyers | South China Morning Post Young people in their 30s, working in finance, investment and internet companies, have replaced entrepreneurs in their 40s and 50s from the manufacturing sector as the leading buyers of the luxury homes built within the capital’s third ring road, property companies told the China Business News. At the most recent land auction in Beijing, the government-owned Beijing Capital Land paid 5.64 billion yuan (HK$7.14 billion) after 140 rounds of frenzied bidding for a development site in Haidian District’s Zhongguancun region, which lies close to high-tech companies and universities. Analysts calculated that the high price would mean residential properties built on the site would be sold at more than 100,000 yuan per square metre.

 

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