The Sinocism China Newsletter 06.12.13

Apologies, I neglected to mention in the last issue that Sinocism would be enjoying the three day Dragon Boat Festival holiday. A few readers wrote in asking if the fundraising had gone so badly that I had just ceased publication. No, it is not yet that dire, and thanks for those who contributed over the last few days. It all helps, and is never too late to chip in.

The Sunnylands Summit is over and seems to have gone as well as expected. Today’s newsletter has a special section with some of the more interesting news and commentary about the Obama-Xi meetings. The most interesting item I have read is the transcript of the Press Briefing By National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. Cyber issues were a big topic, as Mr. Donilon told the press:

With respect to cyber, I think it’s accurate to say that the President described to President Xi the exact kinds of types of problems that we’re concerned about, and underscored that the United States did not have any doubt about what was going on here, that in fact, that these activities had been underway and that they were inconsistent with the kind of relationship that we want to build with China, which is a comprehensive partnership. Having a comprehensive partnership at the same time when you have large-scale theft underway is not — well, it’s going to be very difficult to do.

Foreign Policy had a timely story on the NSA and its cyber efforts. Beijing no doubt will find Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group interesting:

The media has focused at length on China’s aggressive attempts to electronically steal U.S. military and commercial secrets, but Xi pushed back at the “shirt-sleeves” summit, noting that China, too, was the recipient of cyber-espionage. But what Obama probably neglected to mention is that he has his own hacker army, and it has burrowed its way deep, deep into China’s networks…

According to a Chinese diplomat in Washington who spoke in confidence, Beijing was furious about the sudden elevation of cybersecurity and Chinese espionage on the meeting’s agenda. According to a diplomatic source in Washington, the Chinese government was even angrier that the White House leaked the new agenda item to the press before Washington bothered to tell Beijing about it.

Really, the White House told the press before it told Beijing that cyber issues were on the agenda at Sunnylands?

Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations and his flight to Hong Kong overshadowed some of the coverage of the summit. People should not be surprised by Beijing’s near silence about Snowden’s arrival in Hong Kong. First, it is a three day holiday in China. Second, the big news focus has been the launch of the 15 day manned space mission of Shenzhou 10 (BBC). Third, what does Beijing have to gain beyond saying it is aware of the issue but that it is a matter for the Hong Kong authorities to sort out in accordance with the law?

Of course Beijing must be ecstatic with Snowden’s revelations and the light they shed on US activities, as well his decision to run to PRC territory. This comment from Snowden in response to a Guardian question is just one of the many gifts he has given Beijing:

Q: What about the Obama administration’s protests about hacking by China?

A: “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. We are not at war with these countries.”

Snowden may very well be extradited to the US, but if the legal system is respected he could be in Hong Kong for a long time (AP):

Even if an extradition request is brought by the U.S., Snowden could contest it on grounds of political persecution in a process that could drag on for years.

In addition, Hong Kong’s high court in a ruling on a case concerning three African asylum-seekers ordered authorities to devise a unified standard for assessing asylum applications. The ruling effectively puts applications on hold until the new system is in place.

Beijing gains by allowing Hong Kong law to run its course. Given the somewhat fraught Hong Kong-Beijing relationship, the political impact of interference in this Hong Kong legal matter could be grave.

I assume Beijing believes its best approach is to say nothing, let the legal process move forward, all while ensuring that Snowden is under surveillance and safe from any extrajudicial efforts to remove him from Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Beijing can read the additional revelations that the Guardian has promised are forthcoming. And the longer Snowden is there, the lonelier, poorer and more desperate and vulnerable he may become.

The US is trying the assess the damage (Politico) from Snowden’s revelations. Every day he is in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and not under US control just makes it worse. The US may to have to assume that not only everything he had access to is compromised but also that he has spilled secrets to PRC representatives, just as Beijing likely had to assume that former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun told the US all sorts of interesting things when he fled into the US consulate in Chengdu in 2012.

Remember this Bloomberg article from May about the hacking of QinetiQ and the theft of many, if not all, of its secret work on military projects? Perhaps the growth of the contractor ecosystem (Politico) around the US national security complex, and its apparent lax security standards, may turn out to have been another gift to Beijing.

The newsletter is a bit long today. Lots of things happen, even on a holiday. Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

The Show Trial that Fell Short – Caixin Sounds like Liu Zhijin unlikely to get the death penalty…// Liu accepted all charges and pleaded for leniency in punishment with a tearful statement. He even made reference to the trending concept of the Chinese dream, a telling example of how deeply he understood the Chinese characteristics in rule of law – for him the only possible way to avoid death is pleasing the top leaders. Prosecutors aimed high but shot low. The indictment said accepting 64.6 million yuan in bribes was “gravely serious.” But at the end prosecutors suggested leniency in consideration of Liu’s confession, and made an argument for what sounded like a defense of Liu. Moreover, when Liu’s lawyers stated he deserved credit for developing China’s high-speed railways, the judge didn’t say anything.

China’s Audit Office Shines Light On Local Government Debt – China Real Time Report – WSJ It is hard to tell how representative the survey is of local government debt. Given that the audit office found total outstanding local government debt at the end of 2010 stood at 10.7 trillion yuan, Monday’s report probably represents 25% to 30% of China’s current local government debt picture, which should be a fair sample. But the survey covers only the country’s biggest and financially most stable provinces and cities. Many towns below the provincial capital level have also been borrowing aggressively over the last couple of years, but are less fiscally robust and so have not been permitted to tap the bond market. Instead, they have turned to trust companies and wealth management products where interest rates are much higher, which could make it more difficult for them to repay their debts.

Related: Fitch warns on risks from shadow banking in China | Reuters “It is a wild west atmosphere in many respects and that is one of the reasons why we are so worried,” Fitch Senior Director Charlene Chu told a conference in Frankfurt. Regulators had little insight into the non-bank sector. “It is a material risk because a growing amount of credit is being extended through channels that they don’t have transparency or control over,” Chu said.

China marks decade of human spaceflight – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun The lectures come as China’s human space program enters its second decade, after going from a simple manned flight to space lab link-ups in a series of methodically timed steps in just 10 years. Meanwhile, its American rival appears adrift in search of new missions, lacking in political backing and uninterested in collaborating with China. “China is in space for the long haul. The U.S. ignoring that and refusing to work with China will neither stop them nor slow them down,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, an expert on the Chinese space program at the U.S. Naval War College.

Related:  China successfully launches Shenzhou-10 spacecraft – Xinhua | English.news.cn “The mission’s members carry a space dream of the Chinese nation, and represent the lofty aspirations of the Chinese people to explore space,” said Xi who watched the launch process in Jiuquan. In its 15-day journey, the spacecraft will dock with the orbiting space lab Tiangong-1 twice, once through automatic operation and the other manual, and a lecture will for the first time be given on board of the assembled orbiter to a group of students on the ground.

Related: Commentary: China’s space dream a humble one – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the launch site that the crew carry a “space dream” of the Chinese nation and represent the lofty aspirations of the Chinese people to explore space. The dream, though also dreamt by the more frequent space travelers of Russia and American, includes a manned space station, moon exploration and even deep space odysseys. The dream is a humble one. China was decades behind Russia and the United States in space technology. But Chinese pursue it unswervingly in line with a carefully designed three-phase manned space program.

Related: Manned sub Jiaolong starts trial mission – Xinhua | English.news.cn During the 103-day mission, the sub will submerge for scientific research in the South China Sea, the northeast Pacific Ocean and the west Pacific. Jiaolong set a new dive record after reaching 7,062 meters deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench in June 2012, demonstrating China’s ability to conduct deep-sea scientific research and resource exploration in 99.8 percent of the world’s oceans. However, Jiaolong is not yet ready for regular operation, according to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA). The mission will mark the start of a five-year trial period for the Jiaolong before it starts regular operation.

China may have knowingly shipped banned vehicles to N. Korea – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., parent firm of the company that developed and manufactured the 16-wheeled vehicle, announced in 2010 that the vehicles could be used both for civilian and military purposes, according to sources. A Security Council source said the United Nations will demand further explanation from China. The source said the export constituted a clear violation of the resolution, which bans exports of materials and technology related to weapons of mass destruction to North Korea.

Exclusive: EU to seek WTO ruling against Chinese steel duties – sources | Reuters The European Union plans to lodge a case with the World Trade Organization against Chinese duties on specialized steel tubes, EU sources said on Tuesday, opening another front in a rapidly escalating trade conflict with Beijing. The move will allow the EU to join a related complaint filed by Japan against Chinese duties in December.

Mapping China’s middle class | McKinsey & Company Our latest research suggests that within the burgeoning middle class, the upper middle class is poised to become the principal engine of consumer spending over the next decade. As that happens, a new, more globally minded generation of Chinese will exercise disproportionate influence in the market. Middle-class growth will be stronger in smaller, inland cities than in the urban strongholds of the eastern seaboard. And the Internet’s consumer impact will continue to expand

【江南论坛】周其仁:“接石头过河”倒逼改革_经济频道_财新网 Interesting, somewhat dire comments from economist Zhou Qiren, who is in the group working on 3rd plenum reform proposals. // 最后,周其仁说,改革不论有多难,现在都要跟腐败和社会的溃败赛跑,要和社会主体人群的期望值赛跑,要把不损害他人利益的法外活动吸纳到体制中来,变成合法制度化的运作过程。“只有克服困难,加快过程。只有认识到不坚定的推进改革是有后果的,才能推进今秋应该推进的经济体制和社会体制改革。”他说

With troops and techies, U.S. prepares for cyber warfare | Reuters At Cyber Command, military officers in crisp uniforms mix with technical experts in T-shirts as the armed forces takes up the challenge of how to fend off cyber penetrations from individuals or rival countries. Even as overall U.S. defense spending gets chopped in President Barack Obama’s proposed 2014 budget, cyber spending would grow by $800 million, to $4.7 billion while overall Pentagon spending is cut by $3.9 billion. Until its new headquarters is ready, Cyber Command shares a home with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)

 

SUNNYLANDS SUMMIT 

U.S.-China climate deal called breakthrough but no long-term cuts yet | Reuters what was termed a “breakthrough” might not do much in the longer term to lock in legally binding carbon emission cuts from the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Still, environmental groups and some U.S. and global policymakers said the agreement could give fresh momentum to the United Nations’ arduous process of finalizing a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by 2015.

Livetweets from a China Conference on the Obama–Xi Summit (with image, tweets) · gwbstr · Storify Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt of the International Crisis Group in Beijing offered some good tweet-notes from a conference hosted by the China Institute of International Studies and China Public Diplomacy Association. //Probably would have been less candid had they realized a foreigner was in the audience and live-tweeting?

Interview: Xi-Obama summit successfully reaffirms U.S.-China ties: Brzezinski – Xinhua | English.news.cn The summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama was a “successful reaffirmation of the special relationship” between Beijing and Washington, said former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Sunday.

杨洁篪谈习近平与奥巴马安纳伯格庄园会晤成果–时政–人民网 通过会晤,两国元首增进了相互了解和信任,达成了一系列重要共识,取得重要积极成果,为中美关系未来发展指明了方向,规划了蓝图,开启了中美“跨太平洋合作”的新篇章。

习近平与奥巴马会晤视频报道_新浪视频_新浪网 video of Xi’s opening statement to Obama, without a script

现场-奥巴马称中国繁荣是美国利益之所在|习近平与奥巴马会晤|习近平|奥巴马|习奥会|利益|中国|美国_新浪视频 Obama’s opening statement to Xi. With the translation by Jim Brown// 美国总统奥巴马在与习近平主席的会晤中说,尽管中美之间不可避免有摩擦,但美国欢迎中国“和平崛起”,中美都希望建立一种新型合作关系。

[视频]习近平同美国总统奥巴马共同会见记者_新闻频道_央视网 CCTV Evening News 5 minutes on Xi and Obama chat with reporters. Xi looks very statesman-like

[视频]习近平同美国总统奥巴马举行中美元首会晤_新闻频道_央视网

习奥会后,美国能否由帮拳转向劝架?_观点_观点中国_中国网习奥会如果不能够让美国在许多事情上看到中国的诚意和让步而有所妥协,给中国的崛起在亚洲预留适当的空间,那么美国必须做好面对中国更加全面和力度更大的反弹。换句话说,习奥会后,美国继续火上浇油会付出更大代价。

Sino-US confrontation lose-lose result – OP-ED – Chas Freeman in the Globaltimes.cn The US “pivot to Asia,” though justified by reference to regional concerns about rising Chinese power, seems less a response to demands from allies, partners, and friends than a move to retard the loss of our nearly seven decades of dominance in the Western Pacific. Threat analysis is, of course, the highest form of budget justification. The introduction of capitalism was necessary to save China, but capitalism cannot now do without China. China is integral to the global economy; it cannot be isolated or “contained.” China’s system, unlike that of the Soviet Union, has a history of adapting to meet the challenges before it. It is unlikely to fail. Indeed, China’s economy seems poised to match and then dwarf ours in size.

Commentary: Xi-Obama summit opens new chapter in China-U.S. relations – Xinhua | English.news.cn Thus Beijing and Washington’s shared vision of a new model of great power relations, which will serve as a lighthouse to guide the development of bilateral relations, accords with the interests of not only the two countries themselves but the world at large. Confidence is no longer a barrier. Given the rapid pace of economic globalization and the growing need for global stakeholders to pull together, China and the United States should and can avert the so-called tragedy of great power politics and blaze a new path in international relations.

China’s ‘first lady’ Peng avoids California limelight | Reuters Still, Michelle Obama’s absence set the Chinese blogosphere and some Chinese media outlets alight with speculation, anger, pride and more than a few jokes. It was an “arrogant show of fear of inferiority” which caused Michelle Obama not to meet Peng, and an insult to the Chinese people, an opinion piece carried by the semi-official China News Service said. The article appeared to have later been removed from the service’s website but it was widely circulated on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Across China, the Itch to Spend Is Strong – WSJ.com Some provinces were attempting to kill two birds with one stone by bringing private funds into the investment push. “We will allow private capital into all sectors where it is not clearly barred by the central government,” said Guangdong province…Though the overall picture on growth remains weak, there are tentative signs that heavier investment from local governments is starting to pass through into stronger demand.

Private Equity Capitalizes on Chinese Firms’ Depressed Shares – NYTimes.com Three months ago, Ambow Education Holding, a troubled operator of tutoring centers in China that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was the target of a $108 million privatization bid by Baring Private Equity Asia. On Monday, Baring emerged as one of several big shareholders that had succeeded in pushing Ambow into provisional liquidation by a court in the Cayman Islands, where the company is registered, after a dispute with management over an investigation into possible financial misconduct.

Silverstein Nears First China Project – WSJ.com Mr. Silverstein said he is completing a deal with a local partner and the local government on plans for a large mixed-use project in a part of the southern boomtown of Shenzhen… Mr. Silverstein also is looking at possible projects in Shanghai and Beijing..Mr. Silverstein said he wasn’t concerned about the ghost town phenomenon, which he said was temporary and only occurred in isolated instances. Demand will “be there tomorrow [if] not there today,” he said.

China Leaders Tested on Growth Resolve After Slowdown: Economy – Bloomberg “The risks of policy easing will rise as we get closer to the important Communist Party meeting in October” as political pressure builds to deliver “good economic numbers,” Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong, said yesterday. He was referring to a gathering that may decide on reforms ranging from the financial system to income distribution. //do not be surprised if just the opposite happens. Perhaps Xi-Li want to inflict enough pain to help remove some of barriers to their aggressive economic reform agenda?

China: the case for commodities optimism amid the gloom | beyondbrics In other words, China’s commodities-buying complex is hardly grinding to a halt. If the government succeeds in reaching its 7.5 per cent economic growth target this year, plenty of raw materials – from copper to crude to steel – will be needed to fuel that growth.

China data: little fire in the numbers before Dragon Boat Races | beyondbrics Economists are busy downgrading GDP growth forecasts for China following the latest round of data pointing to a bigger-than-expected slowdown. With exports up just 1 per cent in May, inflation falling to 2.1 per cent, and new bank loans rising more slowly than had been predicted, there’s a sense in the market that Beijing may struggle to reach its 2013 GDP growth target of 7.5 per cent. Fortunately, officials don’t seem to be too worried for the moment.

Premier Li at Solar Factory Encourages Exporters to Hold up for Another Two Months-Caijing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has displayed his support to the country’s solar manufacturing industry in a visit to Heibei Province on Friday in the wake of EU’s decision to slash punitive duties on Chinese exports of solar panels and solar cells. The premier reportedly made a solar factory a stop of his Heibei visit, talking with workers and company owners about the pains they suffer from the duties which started from June 6 with 11.8 percent for the first two months and followed by 47.6 percent for another four months.

China microlenders get death threats as they try to recover bad loans | South China Morning Post Miao, co-owner of a microcredit company in Jiangsu province, laughs helplessly. He has brought a dozen companies and individuals to court since the beginning of the year as loan defaults surged. But little of the money has been collected. “I’m not upset about intimidating letters, but am rather worried about the bad loans continuing to build up,” Miao said.

China Export Growth Plummets Amid Fake-Shipment Crackdown – Bloomberg Overseas sales rose 1 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said in Beijing today, trailing 35 of 38 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey and down from April’s 14.7 percent pace. Imports dropped 0.3 percent, leaving a trade surplus of $20.4 billion. The report reflects a government campaign to root out illegal capital inflows disguised as trade that had inflated figures and added to appreciation pressure on the yuan.

Company Head Flees 800 Million Yuan Debt – Economic Observer A business owner fleeing 800 million yuan in debt from Jiangyin, Jiangsu highlights financial transparency issues the city is having.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Disgraced former Beijing mayor refused national anthem, flag at funeral | South China Morning Post Instead of Babaoshan, Chen’s funeral was held in Changping, a suburb northwest of the capital, where he began his career in the 1970s. The family’s wishes for the national anthem to be played and the coffin wrapped in the Communist Party’s red hammer and sickle flag were also refused, the source said. Chen had been stripped of his party membership in 1998. The terse Xinhua statement announcing his death did not refer to him as “comrade” – a title reserved for party members.

No-Waste Lunch: China’s “Clean Your Plate” Campaign | @pritheworld Agriculture is the third-largest emitter of global greenhouse gas pollution. Yet roughly one-third of what we grow is never eaten. Cutting down on waste is a challenge in China, where ordering more than you can eat is seen as a status symbol among the newly wealthy. But a new grassroots “Clean Your Plate” campaign is gaining steam, and starting to change the way people think about leftovers // a good campaign, first hit state media in January

Chinese diplomats threaten French journalist after Tibet report – Reporters Without Borders This kind of activity just makes more people pay attention // Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the way Chinese diplomatic personnel have harassed and threatened French journalist Cyril Payen, a reporter for the French TV news station France 24, since the station broadcast his documentary “Seven days in Tibet” on 30 May. A few days after it was broadcast, Chinese embassy personnel went to the TV channel’s headquarters in Paris to demand the documentary’s withdrawal from its website. The Chinese embassy in Bangkok then threatened him by telephone after he arrived in Thailand.

新华社连刊三文为贪腐“辩护”_中国_多维新闻网  Not a good sign for the anti-corruption campaign, series of articles saying corruption actually not that bad, other countries, including democracies, also have corruption issues// 【多维新闻】中国贪腐痼疾积重难返,虽经历届领导人重拳整治,亦无法阻挡愈演愈烈的态势。胡习所发出的“腐败不消亡党亡国”的警示言犹在耳,中共喉舌新华社下属的《新华每日电讯》日前连发三篇重磅文章,试图“教育”民众,腐败在中国并非想象的那么严重。但文章刊出却招来一片嘘声。

实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,必须坚持走正确道路 |中国|中华民族|中国梦_新浪新闻 don’t dismiss discussion of hostile foreign forces//  国际上不平静。国内也绝非净土。我们注意到,国内一部分别有用心的人,和境外敌对势力相结合,握有雄厚资金,煽动民粹,以极左或极右的面目出现,打着民主、自由、宪政、市场、反腐败等旗号,拼命唱衰中国,唱衰中国梦。这些人别有怀抱,他们否定一切中国的政治、经济、文化成果,他们试图切断中华民族几千年来的哲学文化智慧,破坏中国人的文化自信。他们以各种理由反对社会主义制度,反对中国共产党,反对毛泽东、邓小平,反对民族政策,反对现行法律,反对任何跟现行体制有关的人和事。他们逢中必反,鼓吹暴力,意图通过不断制造各种“春天”各种“革命”,侵蚀国人的制度自信和道路自信,迫使中国共产党下台,让中国改旗易帜,进而达到他们的境外主子分裂中国、衰落中国的险恶目的。我们必须清醒地认识到,对这些一心要搞乱搞垮中国的人,不能天真地认为这是人民内部矛盾。要实现中国梦,要想中国社会健康发展,就必须及时清理整顿包括各种反华势力和台独疆独藏独港独势力在内的这些病毒细胞。

国防大学教授:微博已经成为意识形态领域的新阵地-搜狐财经  微博:宣传思想文化的新阵地 访中国人民解放军国防大学教授李殿仁中将. 作者:霍文琦 来源:《中国社会科学报》//More talk of Weibo as new ideological battlefield

解放军中将狠批微博极端反动 已开启新斗争_中国_多维新闻网 Duowei on the Weibo as ideological battlefield talk//【多维新闻】微博作为中国内地最火的网络社交平台,当下受到民众尤其是年轻群体的追捧,一直素有舆论“法外之地”之称。不过当中共目睹社交媒体在北非、中东的巨大威力之后,其对微博的舆论管控正慢慢收紧。既戴旭、罗援等解放军“鹰派”代表强势登陆微博,极力鼓吹保卫“网络上甘岭”之后,中国国防大学李殿仁中将7日透过传统报纸直言网络媒体尤其是微博已成为极端及反体制言论的集中地,威胁国家安全;并透露以国防安全为重点的新斗争已经展开. 中国人民解放军国防大学教授李殿仁中将7日在接受《中国社会科学报》采访时表示,中共中央重视网络思想文化建设,但目前的形式并不令人乐观。作为新媒体代表的微博已成为极端及反体制言论的集散地,也成为西方推行和平演变和颜色革命的重要战场,其中宪政主义、新自由主义以及历史虚无主义三股思潮值得警惕。

Independent filmmaker Du Bin disappears in Beijing | South China Morning Post Beijing-based documentary filmmaker Du Bin disappeared in the Chinese capital – days ahead of the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown last week – causing concern among his family and human rights advocates over the journalist’s likely detention by security organs.   The 41-year-old reporter, who had worked as a photographer for the New York Times, has not communicated with his family since the evening of May 31, his younger sister Du Jirong told the South China Morning Post.

Former Red Guard apologises to his victims of Cultural Revolution | South China Morning Post An ageing former Red Guard from Shandong province placed an apparently unprecedented magazine ad to apologise to his victims. The latest edition of the liberal monthly Yanhuang Chunqiu published the ad and two related letters to the editor from Liu Bocheng last week, prompting a wide discussion online.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

S.Res.167 – 113th Congress (2013-2014) – A resolution reaffirming the strong support of the United States for the peaceful resolution of territorial, sovereignty, and jurisdictional disputes in the Asia-Pacific maritime domains. – Bill Text | Congress.gov

Without warrant, Hong Kong unlikely to act against Snowden – latimes.com “People used to defect to the Soviet Union, but not to the Peoples Republic of China,” said Zhan Jiang, head of the media department at the China Youth University for Political Sciences in Beijing. “The only people who ever want to defect to China are North Koreans.”

Iceland cannot grant asylum to Snowden unless he’s there, ambassador says | South China Morning Post Iceland cannot grant US whisteblower Edward Snowden asylum as long as he is in Hong Kong, the country’s ambassador to China has said. “According to Icelandic law a person can only submit such an applications once he/she is in Iceland,” Kristín Árnadóttir, the Icelandic ambassador in Beijing, told the South China Morning Post in an e-mailed statement.

NSA Program Damaging for American Tech Companies… Especially in China — [contextChina] / 太平洋中国通 regardless of whether America’s tech giants were actually complicit in the program, the already prevalent belief that they are pawns of the U.S. government will undoubtedly be strengthened by the accusations. At the very least, this will further fuel Chinese attempts to create domestic competitors to and/or replacements for popular foreign tech products through subsidies and preferential government procurement policies.

Why I don’t think Snowden is, or will become, a Chinese intelligence asset | The Best Defense I would vote that no service, Chinese or otherwise, will touch this fellow; and, if they do, it would be a quiet interview, just to sniff out what, if anything, he might have that would merit undertaking political risks to touch him.–Stuart Herrington is a former commander of the U.S. Army Foreign Intelligence Command, INSCOM

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China | Ai Weiwei | Comment is free | The Guardian Prism does the same. It puts individuals in a very vulnerable position. Privacy is a basic human right, one of the very core values. There is no guarantee that China, the US or any other government will not use the information falsely or wrongly. I think especially that a nation like the US, which is technically advanced, should not take advantage of its power. It encourages other nations.

Edward Snowden and the NSA Leaks: What Does It All Look Like From China? – Liz Carter – The Atlantic Much like the term Meiguo, the “Lead-the-way Party” serves a rhetorical purpose in a larger debate about China’s future. As the Chinese Internet has developed into a robust forum for public discussion, many Chinese have developed a more nuanced understanding of the U.S., one that defies any clear categorization as pure enemy or pure exemplar. Meiguo and the “Lead-the-way Party” no longer serve the purpose they once did.

What’s the Best Way to Advance Human Rights in the U.S.-China Relationship? | ChinaFile The United States does more to raise human rights issues with China than any other country, but it often conveys the implicit message that it does so out of moral convictions, not out of well-understood national interest and concern for human rights globally, and that greatly diminishes the effectiveness of such statements. //But what leverage do the US and Europe have that they are also willing to use?

Chinese, Russian special forces start joint training – Xinhua | English.news.cn Forty-six personnel from the Snow Leopard Commandoes, an elite anti-terrorism force under the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF), and 29 from a special task force unit of Russia’s domestic security force, are taking part in the exercise, according to the PAPF. The two forces aim to learn from each other and improve counter-terror skills and tactics through the “Cooperation 2013” exercise, which will consist of training courses on shooting, forced entry, hostage rescue and terrorist camp raids.

Kazakhs launch ‘Silk Road’ China-Europe rail route | Reuters Kazakhstan has launched a new transit railway linking China to Europe, aiming to beat rival routes for journey time in the competition to handle a growing flow of goods along the ancient Silk Road trade route. “Kazakhstan is a virtual bridge linking the East and the West,” Yerkin Meirbekov, deputy railway department chief at Kazakhstan’s Transport Ministry, said in an interview. “You can actually say this is the revival of the Silk Road.”

China Setting up First University Campuses Abroad – ABC News In the capital of tropical Laos, two dozen students who see their future in trade ties with neighboring China spent their school year attending Mandarin classes in a no-frills, rented room. It’s the start of China’s first, and almost certainly not its last, university campus abroad. “There are a lot of companies in Laos that are from China,” said 19-year-old Palamy Siphandone. She said she chose the Soochow University branch campus after hearing it would offer scholarships to students with high scores.

North Korea cancels talks with South in delegate row | World news | guardian.co.uk The first high-level talks in six years between North and South Korea have been scrapped because of a stalemate over who will lead each delegation, Seoul said on Tuesday, a day before the talks were to begin. North Korea said it would not send its officials to Seoul for the two-day meeting that was to begin on Wednesday because the South had changed the head of its delegation, said Kim Hyung-suk, a spokesman for Seoul’s unification ministry.

Ghana Cracks Down on Chinese Gold Miners – NYTimes.com A dream of wealth in a far-off land has been turned on its head for hundreds of Chinese gold miners in Ghana. At least 169 of them were rounded up by the government this month, accused of sneaking into the country and overstaying visas to illegally mine one of Africa’s richest gold fields.

‘We Face a Very Serious Chinese Military Threat’ – Interview By Isaac Stone Fish | Foreign Policy Satoshi Morimoto: The United States is very confident in its ability to manage its military and power, and power projection capability in the future. But on the other hand, Japan, and most ASEAN countries, face a very serious Chinese military threat. Under President Barack Obama, the United States has basically an engagement policy approach towards China. But we believe that a more hedging approach is necessary, both for the United States and for Japan, to manage China’s military in the blue ocean.

China’s first aircraft carrier leaves homeport for sea trials – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has left its homeport of Qingdao in east China’s Shandong Province to conduct scientific experiments and sea training, naval authorities said Tuesday. This was the first time for the carrier to leave its homeport to conduct training voyage since it anchored there in February, according to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

China details Indian Ocean strategy and interests | The Hindu The blue book makes a case for China to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region’s (IOR) littoral states, but stresses that Beijing’s interests will be driven by commercial — rather than military — objectives. However, it warns that the Indian Ocean could end up “as an ocean of conflict and trouble” if countries like India, the U.S. and China failed to engage with each other more constructively as their interests begin to overlap. In a frank assessment of China’s role in the IOR so far, the book laments that Beijing has trailed behind New Delhi and Washington in securing its interests. The 350-page book’s introduction says candidly that China “has no Indian Ocean strategy,” while India has put forward its own “Look East” policy and the U.S. has put in place its “pivot” or “rebalancing” in Asia.

The danger of politicized foreign investment reviews – The Hill’s Congress Blog The U.S. should also not incorporate reciprocity requirements in investment reviews. The federal government needs to work on further opening Chinese markets to U.S. firms, but threatening to take the American private sector hostage is not the right solution. If China foolishly intrudes on private sector dealings in its own economy, why should the U.S. do the same? //What about a bliateral investment treaty that removes some of the ucertainty, and clearly specifies which sectors are problematic/verboten?

China to build research center for Arctic region|Science-Tech|chinadaily.com.cn China will expand its study of the Arctic’s resources as well as the region’s shipping and economic potential, the main Chinese institute for polar research said on Wednesday. The Polar Research Institute of China said it plans to establish a China-Nordic Arctic Research Center in Shanghai to increase awareness and knowledge of the area and promote cooperation for its sustainable development.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Academics criticize Hsinchu City over probe of foreign academic’s work permit – Taipei Times Academics yesterday warned that the Hsinchu City Government’s investigation into Austrian lecturer Max Gufler’s work permit after he criticized the city government was reminiscent of the White Terror era.

Will Manny Ramirez ‘Hit-and-Run’ From Taiwan? – China Real Time Report – WSJ Having taken dreadlocked former Major League star Manny Ramirez to their hearts, Taiwan’s baseball fans now face heartbreak: the possibility that he may depart after just three months.

Hong Kong’s Old Airport Reopens as a Cruise Ship Terminal – NYTimes.com Gleaming silver, and 850 meters, or about half-mile long, the new terminal building has airy immigration and check-in halls reminiscent of, yes, an airport. A large, manicured rooftop garden with 360-degree views of the Hong Kong skyline will open to the public in the next few months. And the terminal’s two berths will be able to accommodate the largest cruise ships in the world — behemoths more than 300 meters long that can carry thousands of passengers.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Censorship lawsuit against Baidu and China gets new life in U.S. | Reuters A U.S. judge has given a lawsuit by pro-democracy activists against Baidu Inc and the People’s Republic of China new life, even after the country invoked its authority as a sovereign nation to block the censorship case. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the activists were entitled to serve their lawsuit on Baidu’s lawyer in New York, without infringing China’s sovereign protections.

China Mobile launches global app – with help from Apple | beyondbrics China Mobile has this month quietly launched Jego, an app to rival Skype’s free voice-calling system, in an effort to extend its international reach. Callers from outside China will be able to call China numbers (landline and mobile) for free. The app is now available on Google play and in Apple’s iTunes store.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Becoming ‘Asia Literate’: Learn Chinese, but Don’t Stop There – NYTimes.com And, what does it even mean to be “China literate?” Is it about rattling off fluent Mandarin? Or can it be less than that — a basic understanding of Chinese culture and customs, or cuisine? Is it exclusively for a privileged few who can afford the experience of studying abroad? Or can everyone have an opportunity to be “China literate”?

Beijing Gaokao math question: What is the probability of arriving in Beijing on a day with good air quality? | Offbeat China Beijing’s smog is so thick that even China’s almighty Gaokao, Chinese students’ annual 3-day drill, cannot ignore it. China’s college entrance exam, what commonly referred to as Gaokao, is known for being difficult. Its math and science exams in particular. Gaokao has also been accused of testing on knowledge that is useless or has no application outside of the exam room. This year, however, the examiners in Beijing decided to go practical (Beijing has its own Gaokao exam questions).

Language Log » Mandarin by the numbers As spectacularly demonstrated by this YouTube video, it is amazing how much one can say in Mandarin simply by punning with numbers alone: //video done by what appears to be aYoutube channel of Falungong-backed New Tang Dynasty TV

What China is Getting Right–Sinica Podcast Complain as we might about life in China, the last thirty-four years or so haven’t been all bad: we have three decades of roughly ten percent GDP growth, a whole lot of people eating a whole lot better than they did, and impressive progress improving on life expectancy, infant mortality, literacy rates and more, not to mention a slew of prescient infrastructure investments which are pretty impressive even if we don’t yet have 4G on flying subways. This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn are joined by Jeremiah Jenne, director of IES Beijing and popular blogger, for a look into what we love about China, and what the government is doing right.

Naomi Campbell still fuming months after her split with billionaire Vladimir Doronin – NYPOST.com Naomi Campbell is still fuming months after her breakup with Russian mogul boyfriend Vladimir Doronin — and she’s now apparently trying to get his new girlfriend, Luo Zilin, fired by her Chinese modeling agent. Luo — who as an aspiring model was mentored by Campbell on her reality show “The Face” and was even on “Team Naomi” — was seen frolicking on Vlad’s yacht and canoodling at his villa in Ibiza, and was promptly fired by her management firm in Europe for alleged “unprofessional conduct” and an “unacceptable work ethic.”

2013-05-28冷暖人生 唱红歌的“老外”-20130528冷暖人生-凤凰视频-最具媒体品质的综合视频门户-凤凰网 Welshman Ian Inglis profiled on PhoenixTV for 25 minutes, about his singing of “Red Songs”..his bookings are way off since last year…

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

GSK fires China research head over ‘misrepresented’ data | Reuters A company spokesman said on Tuesday that Jiangwu Zang had been dismissed and three other individuals had been placed on administrative leave, while a further employee had resigned. The decision follows an investigation into concerns about a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2010 involving pre-clinical research into multiple sclerosis. Zang was one of the authors of the paper. “Regretfully, our investigation has established that certain data in the paper were indeed misrepresented,” Britain’s biggest drugs group said in a statement.

Fake Fake Drugs From China: What’s Stopping a Cure for Malaria in Africa? – Kathleen McLaughlin – The Atlantic A small but growing body of evidence partly faults China for the massive upswing in counterfeit medications in Africa. There is proof of bad medicine originating in China, including the recent haul in France of 1.2 million doses of fake aspirin, some bound for Africa. Until now, the deadly risk of fake medications flooding Africa has been under-studied and under-reported.

Overfishing pushes China’s fishermen to the brink | beyondbrics Gu and some fisheries experts agree that the number of high-value big fish in Zhoushan and even in the whole East China Sea have been declining in recent years. Located at the centre of the East China Sea, Zhoushan is the country’s biggest fishing ground and its fishery has been long seen as a solid indicator of the whole region’s prospects. The main reason for the decline is simple: overfishing…Xu says fishermen of today have adopted a new way of fishing, using larger trawls and nets of smaller mesh. “Some trawls have almost the size of a soccer field. You can image the result – they haul in big fish as well small fish that are still breeding

浙江乐清湾变身垃圾场 东海近海污染面积超80%-搜狐新闻 Disgusting story about trash and pollution in the waters off china’s coasts. We do not eat any fish/seafood from China// 曾经的海洋牧场变身海洋垃圾场,乐清湾面临无鱼可捕的危险境地。鱼虾死亡,特大污染事件频发,谁在制造海洋无法承受之痛?《经济半小时》记者赶赴东海海域的乐清湾,调查那些超出想象的海洋污染情况。

Yangtze River water runs through Yellow River – Xinhua | English.news.cn Water from the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China’s longest and world’s third longest river, was able to run through the lower reaches of the Yellow River, China’s second longest river on Monday noon thanks to the progress of China’s south-north water diversion project. That was a landmark success of the first phase of the eastern route of the south-north water diversion project, which kicked off in 2002 and is expected to send water in the third quarter of 2013.

“Green tide” spreads in waters off coastline of Shandong – Xinhua Tourists walk on a beach covered by green algae at Wanpingkou Eco Park in Rizhao, a coastal city of east China’s Shandong Province, June 8, 2013. A break-out of algae bloom, or “green tide,” has spread in waters off the coastline of Shandong lately

Dalai Lama Seeks Halt To Fighting Over Prized ‘Caterpillar Fungus’ Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has expressed regret over deadly clashes among Tibetan groups in China over access to areas of a parasitic fungus that is prized for its purported medicinal properties. The Dalai Lama made the rare plea this week following the latest violence over the harvesting of “caterpillar fungus” between two main rival groups in northwest China’s Qinghai province that left at least two people dead and three others wounded on May 30.

Fears for African rhinos in China forest – Yahoo! News UK In a tropical Chinese rainforest, seven savannah-dwelling African rhinos are said to be awaiting release into the wild — raising fears for their welfare in a country with a booming rhino horn trade. The animals arrived in a blaze of publicity in March at the vast Pu’er National Forest Park in the humid hills of Yunnan province in southwest China, with television images showing cranes lowering the huge beasts into paddocks.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Chart of the week: China’s starless hotel revolution | beyondbrics Despite China’s economic slowdown and talk of the bursting of the real estate boom, there is still optimism about economy hotel chain sector. Professor Huimin Gu reckons that “The rise of economy hotel chains will continue as this is a huge market in China”. 7 day Inns pointed out to investors that there is still room for growth as nearly half of China’s cities have only one hotel, and that there are only 0.6 hotel rooms for every 1,000 people in China, compared to 2.5 in the US.

Amid China’s Boom, Fake Wines Proliferate – NYTimes.com Moutai can’t beat the counterfeiting problem. Foreign brands have even less hope // Anti-counterfeiting measures by major international spirit brands, which also fall victim to fakes in China, include bottle buyback programs, tamper-proof caps and the covert tagging of bottles. But such measures are less common with wine brands, according to an executive at an international beverage company in China.

Chinese cash-cow weddings in France caught up in embezzlement scandal | South China Morning Post A 50-year-old woman has been arrested in Tours, a picturesque medieval town in France’s Loire Valley, on charges of embezzlement for her role in efforts to bring Chinese tourists to the city. Lise Han, called “Mata Hari” by the French daily Le Monde, was an employee of Tours and concurrently, the owner of a company tasked by the municipal government to bring Chinese tourists to the city.

 

BEIJING

北京蓝皮书:北京PM2.5浓度或于2030年才能达标_资讯频道_凤凰网 Official 2013 “Beijing Blue Book”-PM 2.5 concentration may not hit WHO standard until 2030// 蓝皮书指出,当前北京市PM2.5年均浓度为每立方米70毫克(mg/m3),预计至2030年才能达到世卫组织建议的目标35mg/m3。

Taxi troubles: Take a hike | The Economist BEIJING’S beleaguered cab drivers have been complaining for years about the relentless growth of their operating costs, and the city government’s stubborn refusal to allow them to raise their taxi fares. The first proper increase in seven years, including a 30% increase in the base fare, was authorised this week. But even so, many drivers remain grumpy.

Mitch Moxley: My Troll And Me – Beijing Cream Even though many of the comments are clearly libelous, threatening legal action might only aggravate my troll. However, his threats of violence might have to be taken more seriously once he’s actually employed the skull cracking pipes and/or knocked out my teeth. Luckily for me though, all this nonsense is just creating more attention for my upcoming book, so maybe I should be thanking my troll(s) // Beijing expat politics can be brutal…probably because the stakes are so low, to paraphrase someone…

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

The Shanghai Factor: Charles McCarry: 9780802121271: Amazon.com: Books bought this last night, still looking for a good spy novel about China…// A young, unnamed spy is living in Shanghai in order to observe and absorb the culture and language so as to aid a shadowy U.S. agency known only as ‘HQ’. However when he meets a sultry and mysterious woman named Mei, they begin a torrid affair that threatens to expose him to HQ’s enemies.Soon the head of HQ, Luther Burbank, gives the spy a task that will force him to risk everything: go undercover as the American ambassador for a massive Chinese multinational conglomerate, and learn the secrets of their powerful CEO Chen Qi, whom HQ believes to be a front man for the nearly uncrackable Chinese Intelligence, known as the Guoanbu.

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