Apologies for the unannounced hiatus. If you miss the newsletter you can always check out my Twitter feed.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Beijing threatens to suspend talks with Taipei until Tsai Ing-wen acknowledges ‘1992 consensus’ | South China Morning Post Beijing’s semi-official intermediary for discussing cross-strait relations, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), said that if Tsai wanted negotiations with its Taiwanese counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to continue, Taiwanese authorities needed to endorse the SEF to declare adherence to the 1992 consensus. Beijing has repeatedly insisted that Taipei abide by the consensus if it is to continue interactions with the mainland.
Related: Full text of President Tsai Ing-wen’s Inaugural Address Since 1992, over twenty years of interactions and negotiations across the Strait have enabled and accumulated outcomes which both sides must collectively cherish and sustain; and it is based on such existing realities and political foundations that the stable and peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship must be continuously promoted. The new government will conduct cross-Strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and other relevant legislation. The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides.
Related: Full text of mainland’s Taiwan affairs authorities’ statement on cross-Straits relations – Xinhua We have noted that in her address today, the new leader of the Taiwan authorities stated that the 1992 talks between the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) reached some common understanding, and that she will handle affairs of cross-Straits relations in keeping with the existing defining document and related regulations and continue to advance the peaceful and stable growth of cross-Straits relations on the basis of the established political foundation. However, she was ambiguous about the fundamental issue, the nature of cross-Straits relations, an issue that is of utmost concern to people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. She did not explicitly recognize the 1992 Consensus and its core implications, and made no concrete proposal for ensuring the peaceful and stable growth of cross-Straits relations. Hence, this is an incomplete test answer. // 中共中央台办、国务院台办负责人就当前两岸关系发表谈话-新华网
Related: China’s Taiwan Squeeze – WSJ If Beijing’s leaders think they can pressure Taiwanese into loving them, there will be trouble ahead. Now would be a good time for the U.S., including the presumptive presidential candidates, to reaffirm Washington’s commitment to its democratic Chinese partners in Taipei. // what is the Obama administration saying to Tsai and Beijing? Given everything else going on, amidst the twilight of the Obama administration, I can’t imagine the administration wants another Taiwan Straits crisis…Beijing may think there are lots of strategic opportunities over the next 9 months
Related: China Finds Its Global Ambitions Humbled in Its Own Backyard – The New York Times Such attitudes — a fear of democracy and heavy-handed control of the news media — are at odds with the increasingly well-educated populations in Hong Kong, a former British colony where civil liberties like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are guaranteed, and Taiwan, a democracy for the past two decades. // I think Hong Kong will be much easier for Beijing to deal with than Taiwan. HK is after all already in reality a Chinese city, no need to invade since already there…
2. Pentagon raises risk of midair collision over South China Sea – Global Times The simmering distrust between China and the US will probably explode if there is another collision. It will be extremely difficult for both sides to control the risks and damage. The Chinese public will no longer accept a similar result to the 2001 accident, in which the damaged US spy plane safely landed at a Chinese airport and the crew was sent back to the US without a scratch. Most Chinese people hope China’s fighter jet would shoot down the spy plane if it trespasses on China’s territory again. The rise of public sentiment will impose enormous pressures on the Chinese government to deal with the aftermath. // the original 社评：中美飞机这样玩下去早晚还会撞上 :如果美方拒绝讲这个理，南海上的问题就演变成赤裸裸的实力较量。中国百般无奈，恐怕只有奋起奉陪。那么南海上空发生的事情就是美国霸权和中国主权一争正当性的赌博游戏了。从理论上说，一旦导火索被点着，局势控制不住，中美都需增加赌注。“被打到家门口”的中国可能会不惜赌上它所拥有的“一切”，美国届时也需多下些赌注，它的太平洋舰队那点赌本太小了，未必够用。 // might be wise to be prepared for some kind of summer “panic” over China…We had summer panics in 2013, 2015, fears were a bit hyperbolic in Q1 this year but now many investors seem a bit complacent, and few seem to care about what appear to be growing geopolitical risks
Related: PACOM Presses To Film China’s Reckless Pilots From P-3s, P-8s « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary Concerned over increasingly reckless Chinese and Russian intercepts of US aircraft, Pacific Command says it urgently needs cameras on its planes to provide irrefutable proof of their misbehavior. The problem: reconnaissance planes like the propeller-driven P-3 Orion and the new jet-powered P-8 Poseidon are designed to take photos of the land and sea far below, not of fighters flying 50 feet away. // unbelievable these planes would sent into harms way without the ability to record these encounters
Related: 美军“倒逼”中国加强海空防卫罗援新浪博客 Luo Yuan says these surveillance flights will force China to establish a South China Sea ADIZ
Related: China says it’s ready if US ‘stirs up any conflict’ in South China Sea “The Chinese people do not want to have war, so we will be opposed to [the] U.S. if it stirs up any conflict,” said Liu Zhenmin, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Of course, if the Korean War or Vietnam War are replayed, then we will have to defend ourselves.”
3. Xi urges local authorities to advance supply-side reform – Xinhua There may be difficulties and risks in the process, but local authorities should not shy away from the task, Xi said at a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs on Monday. After hearing reports on reform efforts from Jiangsu, Chongqing, Hebei and Shenzhen, Xi acknowledged that some of the plans are bearing fruit and contributing to growth. “But some policies need to be studied further, and some regions have not yet taken effective actions,” he noted.
Related: [视频]习近平主持召开中央财经领导小组第十三次会议强调 坚定不移推进供给侧结构性改革 在发展中不断扩大中等收入群体_CCTV 习近平指出，党中央作出推进供给侧结构性改革决策后，各地区各部门认识不断提高、主动开展工作，有关部门出台了一些政策措施，许多地区研究制定了综合性方案和专项方案，成效逐步显现，为推动经济社会发展作出了贡献。同时，有些政策措施需要进一步研究制定，有的地方还没有有力行动起来，有的工作抓得还不精准
Related: [视频]习近平主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第二十四次会议强调 坚定改革信心注重精准施策 提高改革效应放大制度优势CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1央视网(cctv.com) （新闻联播）：中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席、中央全面深化改革领导小组组长习近平5月20日上午主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第二十四次会议并发表重要讲话。他强调，供给侧结构性改革本质是一场改革，要用改革的办法推进结构调整，为提高供给质量激发内生动力、营造外部环境。各地区各部门要把依靠全面深化改革推进供给侧结构性改革摆上重要位置，坚定改革信心，突出问题导向，加强分类指导，注重精准施策，提高改革效应，放大制度优势。
Related: 新华社评论员：坚决打赢供给侧结构性改革这场硬仗-新华网 原标题 新华社评论员：坚决打赢供给侧结构性改革这场硬仗——学习贯彻习近平总书记在中央深改组第二十四次会议重要讲话
Related: Chinese premier urges less red tape, improved regulation, better services – Xinhua | Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has demanded less red tape, improved regulation and better services to promote sustained and healthy development of the economy. Li made the remarks in a national teleconference on May 9. Although China has made progress in streamlining administration, overhauling market regulation and optimizing government services, there is still much work to be done, said the premier in a speech released on Sunday. // 李克强：深化简政放权放管结合优化服务 推进行政体制改革转职能提效能领导动态中国政府网 official transcript of Li Keqiang’s 5.9 comments released, all of page 2 of 5.22 People’s Daily
4. Perfecting China, Inc. | Center for Strategic and International Studies This study examines China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, the most authoritative strategic blueprint for the country’s economic policies under Xi Jinping. The plan seeks to rebalance the economy toward more advanced technologies, greater environmental protection, and a stronger social safety net. However, it does not fundamentally rebalance the relationship between state and market, with the government and Chinese Communist Party still left with significant tools to micromanage most aspects of the economy. Unless greater emphasis is given to shifting this balance, the most likely result will be “growth with volatility,” in which some Chinese companies move up the value-added chain, but without fundamentally improving the country’s overall efficiency and performance. // looking forward to the launch event Monday morning at CSIS in DC
Related: China’s 13th Five-Year Plan: Q&A with Scott Kennedy and Christopher K. Johnson – China Real Time Report – WSJ Without a doubt, the highlight is the plan’s treatment of the environment. Fully 16 of its 33 targets focus on the environment, and all 16 are mandatory, giving central and local officials an incentive to reduce energy usage, protect land, improve waterways and reduce air pollution. China also is taking steps to develop carbon and pollution markets, although these are currently only in pilot form or only on the drawing board. So reducing pollution and improving the environment will still depend primarily on state fiat.
5. China’s public security minister pledges to rein in abuse of powers by police | South China Morning Post Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun urged police bureaus around the country to understand the “significance and urgency” to standardise law enforcement practice after President Xi Jinping chaired a meeting to discuss the issue, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
Related: Commentary: Don’t Exploit Powers in the Name of Law Enforcement; Did You Hear What Xi Said, Police? – People’s Daily Online Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 20 chaired a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform. He emphasized on the importance of regulating police law enforcement, and the need to achieve the team’s professionalism with behavioral standardization. He also stressed on the requirement of systemizing the management of law enforcement, as well as clarifying the flow and process of conducting when in action. Law enforcement must be strictly supervised, and any outstanding problems currently existing in law enforcement must be solved, so to let Chinese people see the fairness and justice in the society through every law enforcement activity and every case handled, Xi said.
Related: 腾讯新闻-北京公安局长王小洪任公安部副部长 曾查皇家一号 Beijing police chief Wang Xiaohong now also a vice minister of public security. He has a long history with Xi, bigger role ahead for Wang at 19th Party Congress?
Related: Accusations of Brutality Cast Harsh Light on Chinese Police – The New York Times On Weibo, many commentators compared Public Security Bureau officers to “bandits” and said the problem of police brutality was endemic. “Are these the People’s Police?” wrote a person with the name Busy Inside and Out 0999. “They are simply the same as bandits!” “My family is from Lanzhou and the police there are like a bunch of bandits. ‘The sky is high, and the emperor is far away.’ They think they’re such great cops, and there is no law. They stink all over. Evil,” Buenos_Alonsos wrote. “There are no police in our country. Just thieves in uniforms,” Just Thinking If I Were Happy wrote.
Related: Family of man who died in police custody in Beijing files complaint alleging abuse | South China Morning Post “Without adequate evidence, police carried out restraining measures and violently assaulted Lei, leaving him in a near-death situation,” according to the complaint letter addressed to the Beijing prosecution’s office. “Delaying his treatment caused Lei to pass away within 50 minutes of being apprehended by police,” the letter said. Last week, district police presented a different version of events to the media.
Related: 北京出大事-执法就怕碰到懂法的。 Remarkable 20 minute video of Beijing cops who are not following law being put in their place by a tough as nails Beijinger. Her dad was detained for petitioning, his release did not follow the right procedure. It is also a good 20 minute primer in 北京话
6. Chinese Real Estate Investment Plays Growing Role in U.S. Economy | Asia Society Chinese direct investment in U.S. real estate has grown dramatically and visibly since 2010, according to a new report by Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group (RCG) titled Breaking Ground: Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate. The report provides the first comprehensive analysis of Chinese inbound investment into all areas of U.S. real estate. More than any foreign investor other than Canada, China stands out for the breadth, depth, and speed of its participation in the U.S. real estate market.
Related: China Working on Investment Treaty Offer, U.S. Says | Bloomberg BNA May 19 — China has said it will make a new bilateral investment treaty (BIT) offer to the U.S. “in the near future,” but it isn’t clear whether this will be prior to the Strategic and Economic Dialogue scheduled for early June in Beijing, a senior State Department official said May 19. // had promised this before Xi’s visit to DC at end of March, did not deliver, would not get hopes up that this is anything less than years away if it even happens…and no BIT is better than a bad BIT for the US
Related: What do China’s global investments mean for China, the U.S., and the world? | Brookings Institution-David Dollar-The issue of lack of reciprocity between China’s investment openness and the U.S. system is one of the thorniest issues in the bilateral relationship. A new president will have to take a serious look at the CFIUS process and the enabling legislation and consider what combination of carrots and sticks would accelerate the opening of China’s markets. In terms of sticks, the United States could consider an amendment to the CFIUS legislation that would limit acquisitions by state enterprises from countries with which the United States does not have a bilateral investment treaty. In terms of carrots, the best move for the United States is to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership and implement it well so that there is deeper integration among like-minded countries in Asia-Pacific.
7. Meet the Chinese Trolls Pumping Out 488 Million Fake Social Media Posts | Foreign Policy Although the number of fabricated posts is impressive, it’s also small compared with the heaving corpus of approximately 80 billion posts generated on China’s hyperactive social media each year. And 50-centers spend about half their energy posting on the friendly terrain of government-run websites. That means that only one out of every 178 posts on commercial Chinese social media actually comes from a 50-center. To maximize influence, the commentary mostly emerges at times of particularly intense online discussion, when the volume of chatter spikes — and when, the report’s authors argue, the possibility of online protest emerging into the real world is highest. (Disappointingly, researchers do not attempt to estimate the total ranks of 50-centers.)
Related: 社评：哈佛团队对所谓“五毛党”一知半解评论环球网 这件事也告诉我们，中国的舆论工作面临何其复杂的内外环境，中国舆论场再也不是独立、封闭的，西方舆论力量有着巨大兴趣找上门来与我们掰扯、互动，中国基层的事可能瞬间成为国内网上热题，还很可能在国际舆论场上引起回响。这为我们提出了全新的要求，我们或许别无选择，唯有加强内功，以应万变。
8. Decapitated Churches in China’s Christian Heartland – The New York Times The campaign has been limited to Zhejiang Province, home to one of China’s largest and most vibrant Christian populations. But people familiar with the government’s deliberations say the removal of crosses here has set the stage for a new, nationwide effort to more strictly regulate spiritual life in China, reflecting the tighter control of society favored by President Xi Jinping…In a major speech on religious policy last month, Mr. Xi urged the ruling Communist Party to “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means,” and he warned that religions in China must “Sinicize,” or become Chinese. The instructions reflect the government’s longstanding fear that Christianity could undermine the party’s authority. Many human rights lawyers in China are Christians, and many dissidents have said they are influenced by the idea that rights are God-given.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
I’m so confused ~ Macro Man One does wonder, however, if we’re about to see an end to the confusion over what China is doing with the exchange rate. Macro Man has written about this ad nauseum (probably literally, for some people), but it really is remarkable how few people have understood what China has done with its exchange rate. And to be fair to the Chinese, they’ve done a masterful job, engineering a positive correlation between USD/CNH and the CNY CFETS basket. However, they may have reached the limit of how far they can push this relationship, and it’s perhaps notable that over the last couple of weeks weakness in the basket has been met with strength, not weakness, in USD/CNH. With the dollar seemingly determined to strengthen again, the time may have come to dust off the “China worry” playbook yet again. // not to mention what appears to be increasing geopolitical risk
Yuan Caps Longest Weekly Losing Streak This Year on Hawkish Fed – Bloomberg The Chinese currency fell 0.2 percent this week to 6.5438 a dollar as of 4:30 p.m. in Shanghai, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained for a third week in a row after minutes of the Fed’s April meeting showed most officials want to raise borrowing costs next month should the U.S. economy continue to improve. A resurgent greenback is testing the People’s Bank of China’s tolerance for a weaker currency as the monetary authority said it’s trying to maintain the yuan’s stability against a basket of currencies. Speculation that the dollar could advance further on a rate increase widened the gap between the yuan’s onshore and offshore exchange rates to a three-month high and drove volatility higher.
China Home Sales Soar in April, Defying Government Tightening – Bloomberg China’s home sales continued to grow in April, signaling that tightening measures designed to stem a home-price surge in some large cities have yet to slow the market’s upward momentum.
China reopens securitised bad-debt market – FT.com Kicking off the bad debt securitisation programme, which is expected to see issuance of Rmb50bn this year, are Bank of China with a Rmb301m deal next week, according to a filing at ChinaBond.com, and China Merchants Bank with a Rmb233m product. Analysts fear that state players such as insurers and banks will dominate the market under the government’s guidance, in effect spreading the risk associated with bad debt within only the state financial sector.
China steps up war on banks’ bad debt – FT.com Beijing has stepped up its battle against bad debt in China’s banking system, with a state-led debt-for-equity scheme surging in value by about $100bn in the past two months alone. The government-led programme, which forces banks to write off bad debt in exchange for equity in ailing companies, soared in value to hit more than $220bn by the end of April, up from about $120bn at the start of March, according to data from Wind Information.
A Mystery Deal in Canada Throws Spotlight on Anbang – WSJ An executive for the Chinese insurance group led talks to buy InnVest properties, then represented another buyer when Anbang dropped out
China killed thousands of Maine jobs. Now it’s eating up the state’s lobsters. – The Washington Post Little Cranberry, an island of 70 inhabitants, and China, a nation of 1.4 billion people, increasingly find themselves connected by the shifting currents of the world economy. The rise of China’s middle class has coincided with a boom in Maine’s lobster population, resulting in a voracious new market for the crustaceans’ succulent, sweet meat. Exports of lobsters to China, nonexistent a decade ago, totaled $20 million last year. The bright red color of a lobster’s cooked shell is considered auspicious, making it a staple during Chinese festivals and at weddings. The lobster’s tale is a testament to the complexities of the global marketplace — and a reminder that the line between economic winners and losers is not always clear. // will be spending about 10 days in that area this summer, curious how if any Chinese buying coastal property yet…
POLITICS AND LAW
Xi stresses philosophy, social sciences for socialist development, highlights Chinese characteristics – Xinhua President Xi Jinping stressed the irreplaceable role of philosophy and social sciences for building socialism with Chinese characteristics, urging Chinese characteristics to be incorporated in their development. Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks in a speech delivered at a symposium on Tuesday to discuss philosophy and social sciences in China. Xi said a country without advanced development of the natural sciences could not possibly be a leading nation, and neither can a country without booming achievements in philosophy and the social sciences. Xi said people should recognize the irreplaceable roles played by philosophy and social sciences and the important work done by researchers in these fields.
中纪委官网重申纪委定位：审查要从党章入手，决不模仿公检法打虎记澎湃新闻-The Paper 中央纪委监察部网站“学思践悟”栏目5月22日晚刊发文章《用党章唤醒激情燃烧岁月的记忆》。 文章强调，党章对纪委的定位讲得很清楚，是党内的纪律检查机关，而不是党内的“公检法”，纪委不能在实践中混淆、模糊了两者的界限。 文章指出，大量案例表明，党员干部违纪都是因为党章意识淡薄，背离了党章要求。执纪审查就要从党章入手，让审查对象对照党章，触及灵魂、深刻反省、认识错误。
“打铁还需自身硬” 2016年05月15日 《求是》2016/10 作者：秋 石 “‘打铁还需自身硬’是我们党的庄严承诺，全面从严治党是我们立下的军令状。”习近平总书记这一重要论断，掷地有声，鲜明地表明了党中央全面从严治党的决心、信心、恒心。
全面实施国家安全法 共同维护国家安全 2016年05月15日 《求是》2016/10 作者：李建国 核心要点： ■ 国家安全法的制定和实施，对于完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度，推进国家安全治理体系和治理能力现代化，如期实现全面建成小康社会，实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦，具有重大的现实意义和深远的历史意义。
Chinese government sets timetable for reform of centrally-administered SOEs – Xinhua The Wednesday meeting decided that 345 “zombie companies,” which are all subsidiaries of the 106 centrally-administered SOEs, will be reorganized or left to the market within three years. Centrally-administered SOEs are required to reduce their management levels to less than three or four from the current five to nine, while cutting 20 percent of their subsidiary legal entities within three years. The government also aims to reduce losses made by centrally-administered SOE’s subsidiaries by 30 percent, and increase the profit of centrally-administered SOEs by more than 100 billion yuan (15.3 billion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, the government will cut the country’s coal and steel capacity owned by centrally-administered SOEs by 10 percent this year, followed by another 10 percent in 2017. Coal, iron and steel are among the key sectors targeted in the effort to reduce excess capacity. During the Wednesday meeting, Li again stressed that the centrally-administered SOEs need to “lose weight and get fit,” an idea the Chinese premier brought forward in this year’s government work report. // 李克强为央企“瘦身健体”列出时间表
田向利：始终坚持正确政治方向: （学习贯彻习近平同志在党的新闻舆论工作座谈会上重要讲话精神）–理论-人民网 作风优良是成事之基。作风过硬是新闻舆论工作者的优良传统，也是搞好新闻宣传的重要前提。今年，河北省在新闻舆论工作者中继续深化“走转改”活动，在机关干部中开展“围绕中心增才干、深入一线转作风”活动，推动机关干部和新闻舆论工作者深入基层，摸实情、取真经，推出一批“沾泥土、带露珠、冒热气”的好作品。目前，京津冀媒体联合开展的“花开燕赵·美丽河北”主题宣传已产生广泛社会影响。 （作者为中共河北省委常委、宣传部部长） 《 人民日报 》（ 2016年05月20日 07 版）
薄熙来案发后，薄瓜瓜的7次发声与亮相国内新京报网 The Beijing News reports on Bo Guagua’s graduation from Columbia Law School last week…pictures of him at the graduation got a wide airing on Weibo and Wechat. So now that he may be at the end of his student visa, how will he remain in the US?
刘源向家乡捐赠刘少奇题词墨迹 曾由王光美珍藏新闻腾讯网 Liu Yuan returns to Changsha to gift some calligraphy of his father Liu Shaoqi, a collection from his mother Wang Guangmei…Hunan provincial bigwigs showed up to the event // 2016年5月18日上午，正值第四十个国际博物馆日，刘少奇之子、中国人民解放军上将、全国人大财政经济委员会副主任委员刘源应邀专程回到家乡湖南长沙，代表亲属参加由中国中共文献研究会刘少奇思想生平研究分会、中共长沙市委宣传部、刘少奇同志纪念馆联合全国刘少奇纪念地和相关单位召开的《追寻刘少奇足迹》丛书编辑工作座谈会和国际博物馆日活动。
南方周末 – “中国医院管理教父”之死 有“中国医院管理教父”之誉的石应康教授，在主政华西医院近20年里取得了公认的辉煌成就，但个人从来也不乏争议。他的非正常死亡，留下了不少谜团。 // did Zhou Yongkang’s former physician in Sichuan leap to his death earlier this month after getting a visit from corruption investigators?
How Chinese newlyweds’ copying of Communist Party constitution may shine light on plan to cut membership | South China Morning Post The publicity stunt may have invited ridicule and disbelief as it went viral across the country and beyond but it brought under the spotlight an aggressive campaign to instil discipline and boost loyalty among the party’s 88 million members. Launched in February, the campaign focuses on what official media have billed “Two Studies and One Becoming” – namely, studying both the party’s constitution and the speeches of President Xi Jinping and becoming a qualified party member.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
The Pentagon’s 2016 China Military Report: What You Need to Know | The National Interest – Andrew Erickson Friday’s Department of Defense (DoD) report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments is the last issued under the Obama Administration. Amid geopolitical uncertainty, it was a respectable final contribution. Nevertheless, it suffers from an unfortunate shortcoming. The Pentagon report rightly highlighted growing concern about Beijing’s mounting maritime coercion, but passed up a rare chance to connect it with a potent player flouting the rules of the game. China’s Maritime Militia, the irregular frontline sea force of “Little Blue Men” trolling for territorial claims, receives nary a mention. Like a trident with only one full-fledged prong, a report covering only one of China’s three major sea forces in depth—and ignoring one entirely—remains regrettably incomplete. “
Arriving in Vietnam, Obama Aims to Lure It Away From China – The New York Times Mr. Obama’s visit is an important step in a complex dance that Vietnam has carried on with China for centuries. Most of Vietnam’s illustrious historical figures made their reputations by battling Chinese invaders. The population here is deeply nationalistic and anti-Chinese sentiment is visceral. The American War, as it is known here, is mostly forgotten, particularly since half of the population is under 30.
China woos Vietnam amid fears Obama’s visit will boost Washington’s military ties with Hanoi | South China Morning Post The pledges by Beijing and Hanoi to strengthen military ties were meant to send a positive signal, especially considering the severe challenges to bilateral ties posed by their maritime disputes, Xu said. Analysts said growing military ties between the US and Vietnam were likely to infuriate Beijing, which has stepped up its rhetoric against Washington, blaming it for escalating tensions in the region.
Chinese interests play increasing role in Australian political donations-SMH Governance expert Ken Coghill says foreign donations to Australian political parties should be illegal, as they are in many countries including the United States and Britain. “The Australian political process ought to be something that is not manipulated or distorted by foreign interests,” says the former state Labor MP, now director of the Parliamentary Studies Unit at Monash University.
Not-So-Soft Spot: U.S. Embassy Q&A Scrubbed from Chinese Social Media Site – China Real Time Report – WSJ Are American diplomats trying to subvert the Chinese government by answering questions on how to set up a food truck in the U.S. or buy cheap Broadway tickets? An online public outreach effort by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing was abruptly shut down this week in a case that analysts said highlights Beijing’s anxieties over “Western values” – as well as the suggestion that Washington may be a bit too skilled at soft power for its own good. // Meanwhile, Communist Party propaganda organs like CCTV America and China Daily are free to do what they want in the US
人民日报热点辨析：坚决抵制西方意识形态渗透–观点–人民网 page 7 of the May 20 People’s Daily on resolutely resisting infiltration of western ideology…have no illusions, the CCP sees itself in an ideological war with the west, started by the West it believes. Does the West, and especially the US, see itself in an ideological war with the CCP?
TECH AND MEDIA
China Said to Push for More State Control Over Video Websites – Bloomberg The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television met the video providers on May 18 to detail the plan, said the people, asking not to be identified because the meeting was private. The regulator suggested the signing of non-binding agreements between video providers and the state companies taking the stakes by June 10, the people said. // “Party shares 党股” i.e. The party taking ownership stake/board seats in big internet firms looks to be happening. If any US-listed China net firms add “party shares” the SEC must require more disclosure about party cell structure/role of party in that firm. Listing in the US is a privilege not a right. The SEC should require much more disclosure of party role or those firms can delist
China Mobile-Payment Battle Becomes a Free-for-All – WSJ Since Chinese consumers began adopting mobile payment a few years ago, Internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has had a lock on the huge and growing market through its Alipay system, run by an affiliate company. But now leading domestic rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. is leveraging the popularity of its WeChat social-messaging app to increase its slice, and big foreign players including Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are jumping in with their own systems.
China’s Uber Headache: How Ride Hailing Apps Have Enraged Taxi Operators, Delighted Consumers, And Challenged China’s Government But the rapid spread of such services — Didi Kuaidi now operates in 400 Chinese cities, Uber in around 50 — has enraged not only China’s traditional taxi companies, which usually have close links to local government and have enjoyed a near-monopoly, but, equally significantly, the drivers who work for them. Over the past year Chinese taxi drivers have launched more than 200 protests in cities across the country, complaining that their livelihoods are being threatened. // really do not understand the speculation that Apple invested $1B into Didi Chuxing as a way to “curry favor” with Beijing…the investment fits well with Apple’s rumored moves into the auto industry..Above Avalon had what I think is a much smarter take on the deal than anything I have read elsewhere
“Ode to Joy” – Chinese “Pride and Prejudice” with 13 Billion Online Views | China Spoon Think of a drama series that has 15 times higher viewership than that of Game of Thrones. Yes, “Ode to Joy” is a such a show that has accumulated 13.2 billion views online in China (as of May 17th). Per-episode views have reached an astounding 313 million, not to mention cable viewership. Why is this show so popular in China? Why has it spurred so much debate among its viewers?
Jack Ma cancels keynote speech at counterfeit group meeting-AP Alibaba announced the move Tuesday following last week’s suspension of the company’s membership in the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, a small but influential group that lobbies U.S. officials and testifies before Congress. Ma is a self-made billionaire, and Alibaba, which he founded in 1999, went public in 2014 in the biggest initial public offering of stock to date. But some IACC members view the company as the world’s largest marketplace for fakes. Members of the IACC rebelled against Alibaba’s membership in the group and were further upset about conflicts of interest involving the group’s president, Robert Barchiesi.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Doubling down | The Economist Work on easier stretches of the railway line, closest to Lhasa and Chengdu respectively, began in 2014. Now the government appears to be getting ready for the tougher parts. A national three-year “plan of action”, adopted in March for major transport-infrastructure projects, mentions the most difficult stretch: a 1,000km link between Kangding in Sichuan and the Tibetan prefecture of Linzhi (Nyingchi in Tibetan). The plan says this should be “pushed forward” by 2018. It will involve 16 bridges to carry the track over the Yarlung Tsangpo river, known downstream as the Brahmaputra. Dai Bin of Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu says the Chengdu-Lhasa line could be finished by around 2030. // wonder how the Economist would have covered the opening of the American West with rail lines in the 19th century
Chinese buyers circle soccer ‘super’ agent Stellar Group | Reuters Four Chinese investor groups are locked in a more than $140 million bidding war for one of the world’s most powerful soccer agencies, UK-based Stellar Group, a source said, a sign that China’s appetite for sport is outgrowing trophy club investments. According to documents reviewed by Reuters and a source with direct knowledge of the talks, the Chinese bidders include model car maker Rastar Group (300043.SZ), which last year bought a majority stake in Spanish soccer club Espanyol.
Beethoven in China (Penguin Specials): Jindong Cai, Sheila Melvin: Amazon As a man who refused to bow to royalty, Beethoven was celebrated by the Communist Party in the early days of the revolution before he was banned for composing bourgeois music in the cultural vacuum of the 60s and 70s. After the Cultural Revolution and the death of Mao, ‘Beethoven fever’ would sweep the country, presaging his present-day popularity. Melvin and Cai explore the vicissitudes of Beethoven’s legacy in China, and the changing politics of the 20th century and its oscillating affiliation with Western classical music.
Meng Bill to Remove the Term “Oriental” from U.S. Law Signed by President Obama | Congresswoman Grace Meng Legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) that removes the derogatory and antiquated term “Oriental” from federal law was this afternoon signed into law by President Obama. The bipartisan bill, which the President signed during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, will eliminate all references to “Oriental” – which still appear in Title 42 of the U.S. Code – and replace the word with “Asian Americans.”
Language Log » Backward Thinking about Orientalism and Chinese Characters The calls for alphabetization of the Chinese language were quite reasonable and valid throughout most of the 20th century. Only in the last three decades has this changed. Make no mistake: The incorporation of Chinese characters into modern cyberspace is not proof that the calls for their abolition were merely misguided prejudice; rather, it is modern IT technology that has saved the characters from almost certain obsolescence in the increasingly interconnected and complex 21st century. Note that it is not my contention – nor that of any serious scholar I’ve ever read – that the Chinese script is “backward.” This is simply not a sensible or productive category in linguistics
papi酱——男人的谎言。（一般来说男人是不是在撒谎，女人第 – papi酱的美拍 funny Papi Jiang on the lies men tell their girlfriends/wives
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Government to Crack Down on Green Subsidy Fraud-Caixin Subsidy fraud was rampant, some industry analysts said, because many firms left the expensive equipment idle to cut costs. Inspectors are also looking for firms that have tampered their real-time pollutant monitoring systems to falsify emissions data to qualify for the payment scheme. The green subsidy, introduced in April 2014, is part of Beijing’s efforts to battle the environmental consequences of decades of unchecked growth that has turned the country into the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Chinese authorities arrest 125 over vaccine racket | South China Morning Post Chinese authorities have arrested 125 people for their alleged roles in an illegal vaccine racket worth half a billion yuan, Xinhua has reported. The scandal put the national drug regulator under the spotlight and sparked public fears over the safety of the mainland’s vaccine distribution system.
Clear as Mud: How Poor Data is Thwarting Water Clean-Up | ChinaFile Ma Jun, a high-profile environmentalist in China and a director with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), points out that air quality, by its very nature, is more easily observed, but water pollution is often hidden from public view or isn’t as obvious to the naked eye. “A failure to make data public could result in ineffective treatment—or even no treatment at all,” Ma told chinadialogue.
Chinese protests over university quotas spread to third province | South China Morning Post Residents demonstrate in Zhengzhou over education ministry’s demand that more than a dozen provinces admit a greater number of non-local college students
JOBS AND EVENTS
China Positions – Pinebase A new media start-up co-founders are looking for a Head of China immediately. Candidate must have perfect ability to read and write business formal Chinese. The site will be focused on overseas (outside of China) investment and market news. Candidate must be willing to currently live, relocate or temporarily stay in New York for 2-3 months to get to know team.
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