The Sinocism China Newsletter 06.08.13

Fairfax Media’s John Garnaut, one of the best foreign correspondents in China, is returning to Australia. This weekend’s must read is China inside out, his reflection on his time here. He will be missed.

The Guardian newspaper has another revelation of classified American cyber activities. It is hard to believe that the timing of this disclosure, on the opening day of the Obama-Summit, is a coincidence. The Guardian has obtained a copy of a Presidential Policy Directive, as it reports in Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks:

The 18-page Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued in October last year but never published, states that what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) “can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging”…

Even before the publication of the directive, Beijing had hit back against US criticism, with a senior official claiming to have “mountains of data” on American cyber-attacks he claimed were every bit as serious as those China was accused of having carried out against the US….

An intelligence source with extensive knowledge of the National Security Agency’s systems told the Guardian the US complaints again China were hypocritical, because America had participated in offensive cyber operations and widespread hacking – breaking into foreign computer systems to mine information.

Provided anonymity to speak critically about classified practices, the source said: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world.”

The US likes to haul China before the international court of public opinion for “doing what we do every day”, the source added.

Is someone leaking ahead of the summit with the goal of giving the Chinese more ammunition to claim US hypocrisy? If so, why are they doing it, and why through Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian?

The May fundraising for Sinocism was disappointing, to the point that I am again questioning the viability of the service. I find begging distasteful, but if you value the newsletter please consider supporting it. Thanks.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Deadly China fire is “serious criminal case” as death toll rises to 47 – Xinhua | English.news.cn The police investigation shows that the tyres and oil tank of the bus remained complete. Also the combustion improver was testified as gasoline while the bus is equipped with diesel engine, all suggested that the cause could eliminate safety accident. The government official said the case is previously identified of a serious criminal case and further investigation is under way. // QQ News special page on the incident, some graphic images

Let’s Not Be Friends – By Yan Xuetong | Foreign Policy China and the United States should be able to agree to healthy competition, or at least to peaceful competition. Here’s what this would mean in practice: Each side would clearly define the other as a political competitor, and, crucially, clarify their competitiveness as that between a rising superpower and one with superpower status. The United States aims to maintain its global dominance, and China to resume its historical leading position. This structural conflict makes political competition between them inevitable. Mutual trust is a result rather than precondition of strategic cooperation between major powers. Because they are not allies, neither the United States nor China can expect the other side to always respond favorably to its interests. Each should learn how to calmly respond to the other’s unfavorable policies. An unfriendly, but stable relationship would be healthier for both parties than a disingenuous “friendship” that is volatile below the surface.

Related: U.S.-China Relations: Stop Striving For “Trust” | The Diplomat Strategic trust will not be attainable for the foreseeable future. The U.S. and China have many areas of fruitful cooperation, which can and should go forward without waiting for trust to break out. In other more sensitive areas, the two countries should strive to manage their inevitable bilateral strategic tensions by reaching agreements where both see a benefit and where compliance is measurable. Reducing the chances of unintended incidents at sea or over the sea between U.S. and PRC military units is certainly is a worthy example. For these inherent rivals and potential adversaries, the emphasis belongs on “verify,” not “trust.” // Considering how little politicians in DC and Beijing trust each other, seems a stretch to think they could trust the other side…

Halting The Great Cadre Escape – Economic Observer The CCDI will pilot a mechanism for better coordination among provinces when it comes to tracking down lower-level officials who attempt to flee the country. In the past this work has usually been left to central authorities, but as the number of lower-level officials who have fled begins to rise, these agencies haven’t been able to keep up….According to Li Yongzhong (李永忠), vice president of China’s Discipline Inspection and Supervision Institute (中国纪检监察学院), now China is in talks with the relevant departments in the U.S. about how to repatriate corrupt officials that have fled to America. Li said that the U.S. has promised to repatriate them if China can prove their corruption.

MPs’ alarm at Chinese giant Huawei’s power over UK phone networks – UK Politics – UK – The Independent The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) expressed “shock” at how the multinational giant Huawei, started by a former member of Beijing’s armed forces, established a huge presence in the UK. Officials failed to tell ministers about the underlying deal with BT for more than a year. // Undermines a bit of Huawei’s PR arguments that the UK government was comfortable with Huawei equipment, no?

Related: Admiral Mike Mullen to join board of Sprint, act as Security Director following merger with SoftBank – The Next Web Retired US Admiral Mike Mullen will join the board of Sprint, if its proposed mega deal with SoftBank goes through. He will also take on the role of internal security director. There was concern regarding a potential uniting of Sprint and SoftBank, with the Japanese company absorbing the American teleco.

Programs of Economic Reform Begin to Emerge–China Leadership Monitor–Barry Naughton China’s leaders declared a reform renewal last year, but nothing of significance occurred until the National People’s Congress concluded. Although the congress confirmed the appointments of important reformist technocrats Zhou Xiaochuan and Lou Jiwei, and Liu He took over the office of the Economics and Finance Leadership Small Group of the Communist Party, power was also carefully balanced with representatives of the state sector. Since the NPC meeting, however, there have been clear signs of a renewal of reform policy-making in both the Communist Party and the State Council. The progress of these initiatives should be carefully monitored.

Xi Jinping’s Fast Start-China Leadership Monitor-Joseph Fewsmith To paraphrase Hobbes’ characterization of life, one may say that the politics preceding the 18th Party Congress were long, nasty and brutish. The irony of this process is that in the end the political calculus worked out well for new party leader and president, Xi Jinping. As far as one can tell from the outside, he neither presides over a deeply divided Standing Committee nor faces an incumbent head of the Central Military Commission (CMC), as Hu Jintao was forced to do a decade ago. Moreover, as a princeling whose revolutionary heritage is unquestioned, Xi has approached his job with a confidence unseen in his two predecessors, especially early in their terms.

China Lending Data May Be Overstated, Credit Suisse Says – Bloomberg Some Chinese companies may use loans to buy wealth management products that are recorded a second time in another category, Vincent Chan, a Credit Suisse analyst in Hong Kong, wrote in a June 5 report, citing people he didn’t identify at the central bank and banking regulator. Bank of America estimates that double-counting explains 2.7 percentage points of a 12-point gap between first-quarter growth in outstanding credit and nominal gross domestic product.

Related: China Overnight Rate Rises Most in Two Years as Inflows Slow – Bloomberg Yuan positions at local financial institutions, an indication of money pouring into Asia’s largest economy, rose 294 billion yuan ($48 billion) in April and China International Capital Corp. estimates the gain slowed to around 100 billion yuan last month. While the People’s Bank of China added a net 160 billion yuan to the financial system this week, it has refrained from conducting reverse-repurchase operations that inject funds since Feb. 7. Local markets will be shut from June 10 to June 12 for the Dragon Boat Festival.

Related: Shibor Rise And China’s Financial System – Business Insider Diana Choyleva at Lombard Street Research thinks this is symptomatic of a bigger problem. // Of course she does..We’ll see, these spikes happen ahead of nearly every holiday, and every time there is gloom and doom from certain quarters. maybe this time they will be right, maybe not…So far Beijing does not appear to be too worried about this spike

U.S. teacher in Shanghai accused of molestation – Xinhua Anyone have full name, pictures of “McMahon”?// On May 12, a female French student at the Lycee Francais de Shanghai lodged a complaint to local police that she had been molested several times by a U.S. teacher surnamed McMahon since September, 2012. The student said several other students had also been molested by McMahon, Shanghai police said.

Related: US teacher ‘molested pupils in library at French school in Shanghai’ | South China Morning Post So can parents sue the French government for damages? // This private school has about 1,600 pupils aged between three and 18 in its two campuses in Shanghai. It is part of an international network of schools managed by the French government through the Agency for French Teaching Abroad.

Related: Lycée français de Shanghai How could you keep your child in this school now?

 

SUNNYLANDS SUMMIT

FULL REMARKS: President Obama speaks at Sunnylands summit in Rancho Mirage Our thought was that we would have the opportunity for a more extended and more informal conversation in which we were able to share both our visions for our respective countries and how we can forge a new model of cooperation between countries based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

FULL REMARKS: President Xi Jinping speaks at Sunnylands summit in Rancho Mirage Both sides should proceed from the fundamental interests of our peoples and bear in mind human development and progress.  We need to think creatively and act energetically so that working together we can build a new model of major country relationship.

Commentary: Unprecedented Xi-Obama summit highlights unparalleled task of redefining inter-power ties – Xinhua | English.news.cn Above all of the conventional business between the two countries, however, the leaders face a larger and unparalleled undertaking – how to build a new paradigm of relationship between two major powers. Redefining inter-power relations will not be a facelift since it will set the rules of the game for China-U.S. ties in the new era. It will also hold the key to resolving whatever problems that might arise between the world’s largest developing and developed nations. The new concept of inter-power ties is still being developed but an agreed principle is that Beijing and Washington need to expand their converging interests and effectively manage disputes. That’s with a proper understanding of each other’s strategic intentions and a long-term and full-range view toward the overall relationship.

Twitter: Brown, Obama, Kerry, Nabors, Froman, Medeiros in this picture w Xi at Sunnylands Doesn’t look 2 informal.. Xi only has two other on his side in this picture? told Donilon and Russel also at the table, out of the frame. per Richard McGregor on Twitter Xi is accompanied in the meeting by Wang Huning. Li Zhanshu,Yang Jiechi,  Wang Yi, Cui Tiankai and Zheng Zeguang

奥巴马庄园门口迎接习近平 两人互致问候_网易新闻中心 Pictures of Obama greeting Xi at Sunnylands

An Insider’s Guide to Obama’s Summit With China’s Xi – China Real Time Report – WSJ Between 2009 and 2011, as senior director for East Asian affairs on the National Security Council, Jeffrey Bader was a key player in organizing summit meetings between Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao. With so much on the line, China Real Time turned to Mr. Bader, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of “Obama and China’s Rise: An Insider’s Account of America’s Asia Strategy,” for his thoughts on what to expect.

How Obama and Xi Can Avoid California Dreaming – China Real Time Report – WSJ Strategic adjustment is a two-way street. Over time, Washington and Beijing may need to make strategic arrangements and adjustments vis-à-vis each other. But China cannot simply emphasize what the U.S. should offer while declining to specify what China might offer in return. The U.S. would be ill-advised to repeat its 2009 Joint Statement mistake of accepting vague rhetoric to help with problems of international concern, e.g., vis-à-vis North Korea and Iran, in return for U.S. “acknowledgement” of “core” Chinese national interests. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of American decline are greatly exaggerated. Given the likelihood of China’s economic and overall growth slowing in coming years and of enduring U.S. power, Washington should not be pressured into hasty “concessions.”

Chinese Dreams: An Ideological Bulwark, Not a Framework for Sino-American Relations | The Jamestown Foundation With the “New Type of Great Power Relations” and “China Dream” at the fore of President Xi’s thinking about how to engage the United States, U.S. interlocutors should be aware of how Beijing is trying to shape its international environment. A concept like the “New Type of Great Power Relations”—like the older peaceful coexistence discussion based around the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”—is not about replacing the international order, but rather legitimizing what China already has and offering an alternative to the democratic-capitalist linkages valued in the West (“China’s Coexistence Strategy and Consequences for World Order,” China Brief, May 23). The question here is not whether Beijing is capable of being revisionist or is a responsible stakeholder, but whether Beijing can persuade foreign interlocutors that Xi’s twin concepts are legitimate visions for China. Similarly, the question is not how much soft power China has accumulated, but whether Xi’s new thinking on foreign affairs offers a protective umbrella that other states can use to shelter themselves from Western pressure on governance. The more successful Beijing is at gaining acceptance for these ideas, the more time the government has to consolidate at home.

Commentary: Nothing New About China’s New Concept | The National Interest In sum, Donilon echoed a Chinese concept that does little to address U.S. interests and reiterates a set of principles for the U.S.-China relationships that are unpalatable for Washington. This misstep keeps with the long U.S. practice of over-promising to Beijing that goes back to Henry Kissinger’s promises on Taiwan and the Third Communiqué. Contrary to their defenders, this over-promising does not allow the Chinese to save face. Instead, it creates unmet expectations, which leads to frustration in Beijing as subsequent Americans deny them the fruits of past promises. With so many other real issues challenging the two sides, it would seem better to avoid such unnecessary frustrations. In this light, giving any policy significance to the “New Type of Great Power Relations” seems like a bad idea, no matter how well it resonates rhetorically with U.S. questions about integrating a rising power into an established order.

10 Questions for Jon Huntsman – NYTimes.com Mr. Huntsman sat down with John Harwood of The New York Times and CNBC at the Conrad hotel in New York to discuss Mr. Obama’s meeting this week with President Xi Jinping of China, the future of the Republican Party and the 2016 presidential race. //wish he had been asked why he jointly wrote an NYT Op-Ed last week with Ian Bremmer. Hear Bremmer and Huntsman are DC neighbors

Do Two Dreams Equal a Nightmare? – By Marco Rubio | Foreign Policy That is now all in question because of the last four and a half years of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Our allies are often left looking for leadership. Our military staying power is being undermined by the president’s arbitrary defense cuts. And when crises arise, from Asia to the Middle East, both our enemies and our allies are often left searching for clarity on America’s position. Too often, they come up empty. As this perception of American retreat grows, Chinese leaders are presenting an image of the Chinese Dream that is not realistic to its people or to its neighbors. //too bad, hard to take Rubio seriously with his partisan distortions…

US-China summit: Chen Guangcheng’s family get passports in ‘gift from the Xi-O meeting’ – Telegraph The brother and mother of exiled human rights activist Chen Guangcheng have been granted passports by Chinese authorities on the eve of “historic” talks between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in California.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China sees rising perils of bad loans: central bank – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s central bank said on Friday that bad loan balance had posted the first increase in eight years, warning rising financial risks in a range of sectors. The bad loan balance stood at 1.07 trillion yuan (173.7 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2012, an increase of 23.4 billion yuan from the year beginning, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in its 2013 financial stability report.

World Bank keeps business friendliness rating despite criticism | Reuters The World Bank on Friday said it intends to keep ranking nations on the ease of conducting business, despite criticism from countries like China that feel the scorecard unfairly stigmatizes fast-growing developing economies. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Bank is committed to keeping its flagship “Doing Business” report, including the rating, which compares the ease of starting and conducting a business in 185 countries.

CSRC Releases Stringent IPO Rules as Xiao Tackles Fraud – Bloomberg SEC should consider this, Xiao even tougher than his predecessor Guo Shuqing? // China’s securities regulator plans to restrict share issuers and major holders from selling their stock below initial public offering price as part of new rules aimed at cracking down on fraud and protecting investors. The restrictions will be in place for two years after lock-ups end, according to draft rules the China Securities Regulatory Commission posted on its website yesterday…Under the draft rules, when a company reports a net loss or a drop of more than 50 percent in profit in the same year as an IPO, the CSRC will stop reviewing any applications submitted by the investment bank that advised it.

Is it safe to go back in the water? | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis If we were in the U.S. and Nina Wang’s case was based on U.S. law, it would be game over for VIEs. It is not so clear in China. I need to venture outside my field and talk about Chinese law. Accounting and law are often intertwined. I am about to go out of my depth and I hope some of the wise legal scholars in this area – like Donald Clarke of GW – can set the record straight.

Gov’t to tighten taxation on individuals – Xinhua | English.news.cn Once the amendment is adopted by the legislature, tax collection authorities will monitor all individuals, businessmen and otherwise, to see if they have been engaged in any activity that should be taxed. Under the amendment, employers and banking institutions will be obliged to report the incomes of their employees to taxation departments, while people who fail to pay due taxes on time could have to pay a fine equal to 20 percent or less of the unpaid part of their income.

China property buyers head for London | beyondbrics Where are Chinese buyers of foreign property putting their money? London, that’s where. Chinese real estate investment in Europe this year has already hit €2.2bn versus €2bn for the whole of last year, with London the prime target, according to a LaSalle Investment Management/ Real Capital Analytics report. In fact, London accounts for 80 per cent of all Chinese property investment in Europe over the past five years. Another reason why prices aren’t falling.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

The Work System of the Xi Jinping Leadership–China Leadership Monitor–Alice Miller Appointments to PRC government posts at the 12th National People’s Congress in March 2013 completed the generational leadership transition that began at last fall’s 18th Party Congress. Analysis of the division of policy responsibilities among the new leadership provides insight into the structure and processes of policy-making under the new party general secretary, Xi Jinping.

Chinese President Xi Jinping no reformer so far, analysts say – latimes.com “Xi Jinping is very good at public relations, much better than Hu, who acted like a robot,’’ said Willy Lam, a political analyst based in Hong Kong. “But ideologically he is really a Maoist, who wants to maintain tight control over the party and the military and to put a freeze on western values.’’ // Anyone ever track Lam’s quotes and accuracy? He has been doing this for a long time, gives good quotes, and seems to be right a reasonable amount of the time

Mao’s birthday: Party time | The Economist THERE was a time, just a few months ago, when some analysts were speculating that new leaders preparing to take over in China wanted to abandon Mao. If it ever seemed likely then, it is looking far less so now. The new helmsman, Xi Jinping, has been showing no sign of squeamishness about the horrors of that era. Preparations are under way for big celebrations of Mao’s 120th birthday on December 26th. Mr Xi will likely use the occasion to pay fulsome homage.

The enigma of CEFC’s Chairman Ye | southseaconversations 讨论南海 The following odyssey through the business and ideological world of CEFC, an apparent platform of the Liaison Department of the PLA General Political Department, was co-written with John Garnaut for publication

Duowei -中央党校教授透玄机 中共与达赖将重启对话? Suggestions Beijing wants to restart Tibet talks? // 中国境内藏人自焚事件自2009年至今已超百起,久拖不决的西藏问题正愈发显现出紧迫性。在此背景下,中共中央党校教授、民族宗教理论室主任靳薇近期接受香港媒体采访时公开建议重启会谈,并表示中共当局给西藏带去的经济发展没有改变600万藏人对达赖喇嘛的崇拜,甚至承认了当局用“金瓶掣签”的方式限制班禅喇嘛灵童产生在国外的实情。鉴于靳薇中央党校教授的身份,此番表态令外界猜测这或许意味着中共对西藏问题态度有所改变,或将启动已停止三年多的双方对话。

政党制度与反腐败_新华每日电讯 Xinhua says multi-party systems also have corruption…// 有人在社会上、在互联网上散布一种观点:“中国腐败问题的根本原因是共产党一党执政”,“只有实行多党制才可能达到廉洁”。事实真是这样吗?我们通过认真研究认为,不管是一党制、两党制还是多党制,其与腐败的发生率及治理效果的关联度不能妄下结论。断定某种政党制度必然导致腐败高发,与断定某种政党制度一定带来廉洁政治一样,既不符合历史事实,也缺乏理论支持。

Ai Weiwei Talks About His Cover Art for TIME Magazine – Video – TIME.com Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei talks about the meaning of his striking cover art for TIME magazine’s ‘The World According to China’ issue.

童之伟:落实法院独立审判,宪法是指南针-财经网 各级法院、法官独立行使审判权,有拒绝任何形式的指示和批示的宪法义务;各级法院组成人员有拒绝出席任何旨在直接影响具体案件审理结果的外部联席会议的宪法义务;法院审判案件均应独立进行,不应事前与检察机关、公安部门等组织协商

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Help Wanted: Who Will Run U.S. China Policy? | The Editor Why no mention of Evan Medeiros, who is likely to replace Russel, or was before the Rice appointment. Medeiros is “youthful” but very smart and good on China, has been working for Russel on China for years. When the GOP gets another turn in the White House Paul Haenle should be the point man on China. I can’t think of anyone more qualified, thoughtful and reasonable // It’s unclear at this point who Obama might turn to as his point person on China once Donilon’s gone. One possibility if Daniel R. Russel, who Obama nominated last month as Kurt Campbell’s replacement as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (he’s yet to be approved by the Senate). A career diplomat with extensive experience in Japan in particular, Russel worked most recently at the White House serving as the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Asian Affairs, and is rumored to be close to Obama’s chief of staff, Dennis McDonough.

Asia Unbound » Defending an Open, Global Internet: China Is Not the Only Challenge, But Is a Big One Yesterday the Council on Foreign Relations released a new Task Force Report, “Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet.”  The report, co-chaired by Ambassador John Negroponte, former U.S. director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state, and Samuel J. Palmisano, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of IBM, and directed by Adam Segal, suggests a policy framework based on four pillars….The report is not just about China—but not surprisingly, China is often a central actor in the report’s discussion of security, trade and innovation, Internet governance, and the free flow of information

The South China Sea Dispute (Part One): Negative Trends Continue in 2013 | The Jamestown Foundation Despite agreement by ASEAN and China to initiate talks on a CoC, developments in the first half of 2013 demonstrated that the overall trajectory of the South China Sea dispute keeps moving in the wrong direction. So long as the actions of the principal actors continue to be motivated by nationalist rhetoric, an unwillingness to compromise sovereignty claims and competition over access to maritime resources, there is little prospect that this trend will be reversed any time soon.

How China Got There First: Beijing’s Unique Path to ASBM Development and Deployment | The Jamestown Foundation China’s deployment of the world’s first operational anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has just been confirmed with unprecedented clarity by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). The ASBM’s development path was unusual in many respects, but may increasingly represent the shape of things to come for China’s defense industry. In explaining these critical dynamics, this article builds on an occasional paper just published by the Jamestown Foundation that represents the most comprehensive open source analysis to date on China’s ASBM program

Francois Hollande mixes up Japan with China – Telegraph During a press conference, Mr Hollande, speaking in French, referred to the Algerian hostage crisis in January in which 10 Japanese nationals died, saying he had “expressed the condolences of the French people to the Chinese people.” Mr Hollande, who is in Japan on a three-day state visit, the first by a French president in 17 years, made no attempt to correct his mistake.

South and North Korea Pave Way for Direct Talks – NYTimes.com South and North Korea restored a cross-border hot line on Friday, with the South proposing that logistical talks be held on the border on Sunday to arrange the two Koreas’ first cabinet minister-level meeting in six years.

China’s foreign ports: The new masters and commanders | The Economist China’s growing empire of ports abroad is mainly about trade, not aggression

China 1972: Nicholas Platt’s home movies of America’s arrival in China but for a tragic car accident he would have likely had a much larger and longer role in US-China relations …

CHINA BOYS: How U.S. Relations with the PRC Began and Grew. A Personal Memoir: Nicholas Platt: Diplomat Nicholas Platt describes preparations for the historic Nixon visit to China in 1972 and the interplay within the U.S. delegation during the visit itself. He recounts setting up America’s first resident diplomatic office in the PRC, headed by David Bruce, and first encounters between Americans and Chinese, including Olympic athletes, orchestra maestros, Members of Congress, airplane manufacturers, bankers, scientists, and inner city youths. He further reveals the forging of the first links between the Pentagon and the People’s Liberation Army following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and shows how these all these diverse practical ties later evolved into today’s huge and crucial relationship. He also examines the role played by nongovernmental organizations like the Asia Society in building U.S.-China relations.

In U.S., More See China as Friend Than Foe, Survey-Caijing More Americans are positive about Sino-US relations with over half of the respondents believe the Chinese are friendly to the United States, a Gallup survey shows. The survey was conducted online in June1-June 4, just ahead of Chinese president Xi’s two-day visit with US president Barack Obama at private estates on Friday and Saturday

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Taiwan Work Leading Small Group under Xi Jinping | The Jamestown Foundation The small leading group called the “CCP Central Committee’s Taiwan Work Leading Small Group” (Zhongyang duitai gongzuo lingdao xiaozu) is directed by the CCP general secretary. The Chairman of the advisory Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) serves as the deputy director, and ministers responsible for Taiwan-related work also are included in the group. The leading group is the supreme policymaking body in the China’s party-led system that designs and spearheads policies government wide. With the major re-shuffling of personnel in the handover of leadership from the Hu-Wen administration complete after the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) in March, what do the personnel changes tell us about the orientation and direction of Xi Jinping’s new Taiwan-policy team? Ultimately, the changes suggest more continuity than change as Xi tries to push the economic discussions toward the political.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Dimon, other Wall St. titans make time for Ma ahead of Alibaba IPO | Reuters And in what has become standard practice for large Chinese transactions, Wall Street CEOs have dropped-by to say hello to Alibaba founder and Chairman Jack Ma over the past few weeks. J.P. Morgan (JPM.N) CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon met with Ma during a China trip this week, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The two shook hands during the brief encounter, a second source said.

It’s Official? Alibaba doing more business than Amazon + eBay (Charts) | Alizila: News about E-commerce, Alibaba Group, China’s Internet, Alibaba.com and Taobao Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore gave a shout-out to Alibaba Group at the 2013 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition this week in Chicago, noting that China’s largest e-commerce company generated more GMV (gross merchandise value) than Amazon and eBay combined. The inventor of the Internet may have misspoke himself a tad. Gore’s syntax implied that the comparison was confined to the fourth quarter of 2012. In fact, what was being compared was total GMV for the companies for all of 2012—it was during Q4 that Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms passed the two U.S. giants for the year.

Governments Move in on Taxi Apps – Economic Observe After a period of rapid development, companies providing mobiles apps allowing passengers to hail taxis are being targeted by local government regulations. At the same time, state-backed companies are finding it quite easy to enter the market, in spite of being late-comers.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China’s Brutal Entrance Examinations About to Get a Little More Fair – Lily Kuo – The Atlantic hukou reform is at the top of the new leadership’s agenda. And some of that reform has begun with the gaokao, which as we’ve said before, is possibly the lowest hanging fruit of needed policy revision. Reforms announced last year are now going into effect. In Beijing this year, children of migrant workers who have worked and contributed to state social insurance for at least three years can take exams for secondary vocational schools, though not universities, if they completed middle school there. In Guangdong Province, starting in 2016, children of workers who have worked and contributed to social insurance for three or more years will be eligible to take the local university exam.

Composition topics of Chinese exam unveiled as Gaokao in progress – People’s Daily Online 9.1 million applicants are expected to sit this year’s college entrance exam on June 7 and 8. As the Chinese exam has just finished, the composition topics of the exam were revealed one after another, causing debates on the Internet.

Asian endorsement deals still key in global sports market | The Li-Ning Tower Some thoughts for the weekend… I’ll say upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Forbes, particularly when it comes to their sports coverage, but their annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes makes for interesting reading. Two things are clear: the money is still in the US – 63 of the athletes are American; 73 are US-based – but the sponsorship business is a global one.

Podcast – Economic Observer – Go East, Young Journalist? When Peter Hessler’s classic River Town hit bookshelves in 2001, it inspired droves of wannabe writers to try their hand at capturing the charm, the complexities and the contradictions that make up modern China. Now, the bar has been raised and the competition has grown fiercer for young people trying to make a name for themselves in China-based writing and journalism.  For today’s podcast, we’ve invited three young guests who’ve treaded through this environment to become successful journalists. Tom Hancock from AFP, Jon Kaiman from The Guardian and Alec Ash, a freelancer and contributing author to Chinese Characters

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

China to Simplify Electricity Pricing – Economic Observer  According to the current rules, the price of electricity is dependent on what it is used for. The plan is to gradually reduce the existing eight categories to three: residential, agriculture production and “commercial and other use”.

TheLancet.com China-themed Issue June 7, 2013 China’s rapid emergence as a global power has coincided with a series of unprecedented challenges to Chinese people’s health. Our fourth China themed issue provides a picture of the complex health issues facing China, and looks at how better health outcomes for Chinese people can be achieved.

2013中国儿童环保教育计划 Nice environmental education event for kids, saw some of the pictures in a show, very impressive

 

BEIJING

Once Upon a Time in Beijing – An FP Slideshow | Foreign Policy These photos, drawn from the Library of Congress, paint a picture of a traditional society just beginning to grapple with the influence of the West; the spectacular transformations of the 20th century that would shape the country we know today had yet to arrive.

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