The Sinocism China Newsletter 06.25.13

Just links today:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Officials: How Edward Snowden Could Hurt the U.S. – ABC News  As the U.S. intelligence community struggles to complete a damage assessment over the secret information allegedly stolen by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, sources told ABC News there is a growing consensus within the top circles of the U.S. government that the 30-year-old contractor could deal a potentially devastating blow to U.S. national security…Regardless of how Snowden came to land in Hong Kong and then Moscow, U.S. intelligence agencies must assume that China and Russia have debriefed Snowden and now have all the digital information he brought with him, said one of the officials. Such a debriefing could have been direct or through intermediaries that Snowden may not have known were giving what they learned to a foreign intelligence agency, the official said. As a result, all the officials said, American counterintelligence and security specialists have changed the electronic locks to virtually every classified intelligence compartment to which Snowden had authorized access or to which the material made public so far suggests he gained access. // bold/italics mine, note the exact same language in the Bloomberg story below. This unnamed official issue a transcript to the reporters he/she briefed? The PR damage control offensive looks to be gearing up, wonder if we will ever learn the truth, though I do not doubt for a second Snowden has done massive damage to US national security and interests, especially in regards to the topic of this newsletter. 

Related: U.S. Said to Explore Possible China Role in Snowden Leaks – Bloomberg U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether Edward Snowden’s leaks may be a Chinese intelligence operation or whether China might have used his concerns about U.S. surveillance practices to exploit him, according to four American officials. The officials emphasized there’s no hard evidence yet that Snowden was a Chinese agent or that China helped plan his flights to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, directly or through a witting or unwitting intermediary. Rather, they are duty-bound to probe such a worst-case scenario for the U.S., said the officials, who are familiar with the case and asked not to be identified to discuss classified intelligence….Regardless of how Snowden came to land in Hong Kong and then Moscow, U.S. intelligence agencies must assume that China and Russia have debriefed Snowden and now have all the digital information he brought with him, said one of the officials. Such a debriefing could have been direct or through intermediaries that Snowden may not have known were giving what they learned to a foreign intelligence agency, the official said.

Related: LA Times – Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong spares China a headache Jeffrey Bader, a senior White House advisor on China in President Obama’s first term, speculated that there would not be a conflict between the U.S. and Beijing over the move, because China had limited its role by not offering asylum to Snowden and not seeking to debrief him on the NSA snooping. Bader was skeptical that the decision to allow Snowden to leave was made in Beijing. Hong Kong authorities “have been pretty firm about protecting the autonomy of their decision making,” said Bader, who is now with the Brookings Institution. He speculated that Hong Kong probably decided to allow Snowden’s departure because it wanted to avoid being caught in an extended legal battle. // curious if Mr. Bader really believes this or this is an attempt to publicly downplay the issues to help the US-China relationship, as he would have been expcted to do when he was at the NSC?

Related: US-China relations at risk over Snowden – FT.com The Hong Kong authorities said there was no legal reason to prevent Mr Snowden from leaving for Russia and that they had not been informed by the US that his passport had been revoked before he travelled. However, that position was contradicted by the White House. “I can say that the Hong Kong authorities were advised of the status of his travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited travel as appropriate,” said Mr Carney. Mr Carney said the US and China had recently begun a new push to build “strategic trust”. “We think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback,” he said. “If we cannot count on them to honour their legal extradition obligations, then there is a problem.”

Related: Why China Let Edward Snowden Go : The New Yorker Last week, I was asked on the Sinica Podcast, by the host Kaiser Kuo, whether I thought Snowden’s revelations have affected U.S.-China relations. I said no, on the principle that both sides already knew the general parameters of each others’ espionage efforts. After watching the events of this weekend, I’m quite sure I was wrong: Snowden has indeed altered U.S.-China relations, by giving China new strength on an issue of which it was struggling to gain any leverage at all. And that—more than any single secret—may be the greatest legacy of Snowden’s visit to Hong Kong.

Related: Hasty Exit Started With Pizza Inside a Hong Kong Hideout – NYTimes.com Mr. Ho said that if the Hong Kong government had not assured Mr. Snowden of safe passage to the airport and exit from the territory, his client intended to seek the advice of Stephen Young, the United States consul general here, whom Mr. Ho knows socially. But the Hong Kong government’s assurance of safe passage meant that this plan was never discussed in depth, Mr. Ho added. Obama administration officials expressed annoyance on Sunday that Hong Kong let Mr. Snowden get away. But the person with knowledge of the Hong Kong government’s deliberations said that there was considerable annoyance in Hong Kong about Washington’s handling of the case.

Related: China persuaded Snowden to flee Hong Kong: sources | Reuters The source in Beijing also said allowing Snowden to leave was the best possible solution under the circumstances. “There is no way Hong Kong would have extradited Snowden (to the United States) because that would be tantamount to China obeying U.S. orders,” the source said. “If China allowed Snowden to remain in Hong Kong or come to the mainland, it would strain Sino-U.S. relations and only confirm suspicions that he is a Chinese spy.” Another source in Beijing, who has ties to the leadership, said China was repaying a debt by avoiding an extradition stand-off. The United States refused asylum to Wang Lijun, the disgraced vice mayor and police chief of Chongqing who sought refuge in a U.S. consulate last year in a scandal that later brought down his boss and senior party leader Bo Xilai. “This is China returning the (U.S.) favor,” the source said. // after Wang apparently sang like a canary…

社评:中国莫做美“互联网之网”里最大的鱼_评论_环球网 Global Times on China not becoming the biggest fish in America’s “Internet net”…if Zuckerberg had any remaining shred of hope that Facebook could come to China, he can kiss it goodbye thanks to Snowden // 美国大互联网公司向世界各国的渗透比其实业公司的全球扩张更快更猛,而这些公司同美国国家利益的联系及配合都很紧密。全球互联网秩序事实上使用了美国国家利益的“源代码”,斯诺登向世界敲响了警钟,我们不能强行堵上自己的耳朵。这决非我们小题大做。因为互联网正与现实世界全面融合,而大多数人甚至大多数国家的政府对互联网空间的认识仍很粗浅。美国不仅如入无人之境般在互联网上“跑马圈地”,它还在做一些我们不知道或者一时搞不懂的事情,我们的未来正在受到特殊的威胁。

Related: Snowden leaves, but tough lessons remain – Frontpage – OP-ED – Globaltimes.cn China should form its own network security forces in a just and forceful manner, and fully enhance its capability in safeguarding network security. Our current understanding and input in this regard are far from enough and we have been bound by the public opinion of the West to some extent. There’s a gap in the understanding of cyberspace between Chinese and Americans, while US strategic offensive and defensive capabilities have exceeded those of other countries by a comfortable margin. It is worth noting that we may not have a clear idea about the network threats we face, nor can we have a full understanding of the techniques of cyber attacks that the US already has or is developing now. The importance that US attached to the Internet is not accidental…A secure Sino-US relationship requires good will from both sides, but it is also very important to narrow the gap in security technology between the two.  The maturity of China’s network security technology will affect the US’ fundamental attitude and way of thinking in deciding its Internet policy toward China.

Related: Alleged NSA snooping target is one of China’s Internet hubs | Reuters Luo Ping, a professor of Internet security at Tsinghua, said he had warned in research papers about U.S. attacks on China’s backbone networks about five to six years ago. “Those of us who do network security have known very early on that the National Security Agency has entered the backbone networks in China,” Luo said. He did not however specifically comment on Snowden’s claims.

China stocks fall into bear market territory – FT.com The Shanghai Composite index sank 5.3 per cent to close at 1,963 points, its first finish below 2,000 since December last year and its lowest closing level since the depths of the global financial crisis in January 2009.

Related: 人民日报:证监会和央行都不是“奶妈”_财经_腾讯网 “The CSRC and PBoC are not wet nurses”…from Tuesday’s economics section of the People’s Daily, arguing against propping up the stock market //  面对当期行情,有人建言,请证监会立即救市,明确无限期停止IPO、暂停融券卖空交易、将禁售期一律延长六个月;请央行开闸放水救市,向市场释放流动性;请汇金、中投等中央金融机构托市,牵头成立平准基金进场托市……其实,证监会不是股市的“奶妈”,央行也不是。这些所谓的“救市”和“托市”之举,不是帮了股市,而是害了股市。如此“救市”和“托市”,都是扬汤止沸之举,只会加剧资本市场的“积贫积弱”,而丝毫无益于一个完善的、多层次的资本市场建设。

Li’s Cash Squeeze Risks 1st China GDP-Goal Miss Since ’98 – Bloomberg “If they fail to achieve 7.5 percent, they will lose credibility with the markets, provincial leadership and financial institutions,” said Liu Li-Gang, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.’s head of Greater China economics in Hong Kong, who also formerly worked at the World Bank. “That means that in the future, whenever they say something, the market may interpret it differently, and the credibility issue is something very critical for them to consider,” said Liu, who this month cut his 2013 growth forecast to 7.6 percent. // well, they also said 2013 M2 growth would be 13%, and it is over 15% YTD. If they keep the M2 target then no way can they hit 7.5% for the year, or probably even 7%…either way Beijing will have to break something

Related: PBoC cash crunch statement: relief for some and pain for others | beyondbrics Its first statement on the cash crunch helped ease the pressures in the money markets and bring down short-term borrowing costs. But it did nothing to reassure investors in the stock market, where the Shanghai Composite plunged 5.3 per cent, taking its losses over the last two weeks to more than 12 per cent. That seems logical – the authorities don’t want a banking crisis. But they appear to be serious about putting the brakes on credit growth, even at the cost of slowing the economy.

Related: China’s liquidity crunch, and what it means for everyone | FT Alphaville Pettis, like StanChart’s Stephen Green, doesn’t think we are seeing a Lehman moment in China. But he does think there are three unanswered questions about this situation: if liquidity is adequate, as the PBoC says, where is it being hoarded?

央行办公厅就商业银行流动性管理事宜发函 商业银行要密切关注市场流动性形势,加强对流动性影响因素的分析和预测,做好半年末关键时点的流动性安排。商业银行应针对税收集中入库和法定准备金缴存等多种因素对流动性的影响,提前安排足够头寸,保持充足的备付率水平,保证正常支付结算;按宏观审慎要求对资产进行合理配置,谨慎控制信贷等资产扩张偏快可能导致的流动性风险,在市场流动性出现波动时及时调整资产结构;充分估计同业存款波动幅度,有效控制期限错配风险;金融机构特别是大型商业银行在加强自身流动性管理的同时,还要积极发挥自身优势,配合央行起到稳定市场的作用。

Related: 央行第二季度货币政策例会透露出哪些新意 分析认为,从近期货币政策操作上并没有出现放松、到货币政策委员会第二季度例会公告重申“坚持稳健货币政策”、再到央行就商业银行流动性管理专门发函,这一系列举措或许更多表明,管理层将更多以市场化改革方向来引导市场理性回归,避免走之前“银根一紧、货币政策就松”的老路,未来将更多从推进利率市场化、改革经济结构、深化金融改革等方面着手,着眼于中国经济更深层次、更持久有序的发展。

Related: 央行认为流动性总体合理 业内解读近期政策难松动_财经频道_一财网 分析当前银行业“钱荒”时,国务院发展研究中心金融研究所所长张承惠认为,当前M1、M2以及社会融资总量增速较快,但资金并没有流入实体经济,而是部分进入产能过剩行业,此外部分资金被用于早期的还本付息,资金大量在金融体系内部空转,没有进入实体经济。 中金公司首席经济学家彭文生认为,近期银行间市场利率的上升,将促使银行改善流动性管理,降低贷款冲动,尤其是“冷却”过去几年的表外业务和非银行金融中介的无序扩张。

Political rebalancing: Tilting backwards | The Economist If this is Mr Xi’s thinking, it does not bode well for reform on any front. But optimists note that party newspapers such as the People’s Daily are heavily influenced by the thinking of the party’s propaganda apparatus, which is a notorious bastion of conservatism—so much so that Deng felt it necessary to travel about 2,000 km (1,200 miles) to southern China to relaunch his economic reform programme in 1992. Hope for political reform is fainter. Mr Xi’s fingerprints are more clearly visible on the recent ideological tightening. If he really intends to do battle in the economy, he might be shy of opening another front. But there is no sign he intends ever to become another Gorbachev. // nor as far as I can tell has there ever been. Really wish Western media would stop looking for a Chinese Gorbachev, though perhaps it is what readers want/understand?…this from Sinocism in April 2011: “Some China watchers seem to be engaged in a Chinese variant of “Where is Waldo?” that we might call “Where is China’s Gorbachev?”. But unlike Waldo, whom you can find if you look hard enough, it seems unlikely a Chinese Gorbachev exists, at least anywhere near the top echelons of China’s leadership.”

China: City limits – FT.com But it is not all gloom. The development of China’s cities also holds great promise. Some 2,000km south of Ordos lies Changxing, a county in eastern Zhejiang province whose residents followed the agricultural rhythms of fruit harvests, silk farming and fishing until the early 1990s. Today it is a powerhouse in the global battery industry and boasts a high school system that produces some of China’s brightest students. The question of urbanisation – what kind of cities to build, how to build them, how to make more Changxings while avoiding the curse of Ordos – has now taken centre stage in China.

Related: Urbanization versus GDP per Capita | Urbanization Project Paul Romer not a big fan of the NYT’s urbanization package, the second post he has done on it // The NYTimes article seemed to suggest that China is trying to achieve an urban population share that is inappropriately high…the rate of increase in China’s urban population share is slower than the rate experienced in S Korea, so hardly unprecedented or cause for alarm. The number of new urban residents implied by this increase in the urban population share is big, but every number involving people in China is big.

Related: New urbanisation: catalysing land reform | China Policy Brief Land is the point of convergence of all that is intractable in China’s policy realm. A potent source of tension in society, it is reflected daily in forced requisitions and ‘incidents’ as rural residents push back desperately at predatory swoops on their birthright. But even without these, equity is as difficult to achieve between peasant interests as between peasant and developer.

Rise of Asthma in China Sparks Renewed Debate about Pollution and Place – Tea Leaf Media had this as a kid through college, cured (in remission according to my American doctor) by an intensive course of acupuncture 20 years ago, would be on the next plane out of I thought our kids were developing asthma..at least a couple of the expats who have left recently were spurred by this problem // There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of asthma in China over the last 20 years, and estimates that the rates are up by as much as 40% over the last five years. Shockingly, prevalence in some cities is 11% and rising. Asthma, a potentially fatal disease, is the leading cause of hospitalization among children and carries a significant burden to families and communities in China. Children with asthma have increased rates of school absenteeism, and higher medical costs can be a major cause of stress for families.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China’s Property Tax – Once More With Feeling – China Real Time Report – WSJ “Excessively high expectations for the tax may lead to big disappointments,” said Yang Zhiyong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank. “We really need to move cautiously on this as it affects so many people.” //especially the people who can decide promotions?

亚豪机构:北京6月住宅成交均价停涨_财经频道_一财网 6月中上旬北京商品住宅成交均价为23433元/平方米,与5月同期基本持平。这是自春节以来北京首次出现成交价格的停涨。

China Beige Book Shows Fewer Companies Borrowing as Rates Rise – Bloomberg The number of companies reporting loan applications in the second quarter fell 13 percentage points from the previous period to 38 percent, the survey from New York-based China Beige Book International said yesterday. The proportion of banks showing higher lending to businesses rose 10 percentage points to 45 percent, indicating that “credit appears to be concentrated on a few borrowers,” according to the report.

[视频]【一张图引发的改革】“万里长征图”震动广州_新闻频道_央视网 this “long march flow chart” of the process in Guangdong to get a business approved is incredible, makes CCTV Evening news as number 2 story, as evidence of need for the mooted administrative reform..but at each step someone makes money, so why would they give up that power just because of an edict? // 央视网消息(新闻联播):审批环节多,时间长,拉低了经济发展效率,拖住了经济发展的脚步。加快行政审批制度改革,成为今年我国经济体制改革的重要突破口。眼下,广州正在针对如何加快行政审批,进行着一场改革,而触发这场改革的是一张名为“万里长征”的审批流程图。

Liu He on China’s New Transformation Trail – Caixin 11.8.2010 interesting to again read this interview 2.5 years later // In a rare interview, a leader who helped draft the 12th Five-Year Plan discusses the next level of economic and social progress

China Loses Control of Its Frankenstein Economy – Bloomberg Any shock therapy will be painful. And to be effective, it must treat the underlying problem, not just the symptoms. Otherwise, Zhou’s every effort to drain credit will only send waves of panic through the markets. He’s right that China’s Frankenstein needs to be stopped. But only its creators can do that. (William Pesek is a Bloomberg View columnist.) //”shock therapy” perhaps a loaded and incorrect term to use in regards to China’s economy, given all the study the CCP has devoted to the fall of the USSR

Goldman Sachs cuts China GDP growth view – MarketWatch Goldman Sachs became the latest investment bank to downgrade its forecasts on China growth for this year and next, citing tighter financial conditions. In a note dated June 23, Goldman said it now expects real gross domestic product growth at 7.5% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013, from 7.8% previously. It expects GDP growth of 7.4% and 7.7% for 2013 and 2014, respectively, from 7.8% and 8.4%, previously. “The recent tightening of the interbank market has sent a strong policy signal that the strong credit growth earlier in the year will likely not continue,” wrote economist Li Cui in a note.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报-集中解决“四风”问题 ——二论学习贯彻习近平同志6月18日重要讲话精神 本报评论员 second in a series of page 1 People’s Daily commentaries on studying the spirit of Xi Jinping’s speech at the 6.18 conference on the mass line education campaign..so how are Hu and Wen feeling now that Xi has made it clear they left the Party and the economy in a mess? // “四风”的形成非“一日之寒”,“四风”问题的解决务必下大气力,甚至要有壮士断腕的勇气。解决“四风”问题,诚然需要广泛而深入地开展教育实践活动,更需要对准焦距、找准穴位、抓住要害。反对形式主义要着重解决工作不实的问题,反对官僚主义要着重解决在人民群众利益上不维护、不作为的问题,反对享乐主义要着重克服及时行乐思想和特权现象,反对奢靡之风要着重狠刹挥霍享乐和骄奢淫逸的不良风气。只有从实际出发,抓住主要矛盾,什么问题突出就着重解决什么问题,什么问题紧迫就抓紧解决什么问题,才能扶正祛邪,取信于民,凝聚共识,焕发出促进改革发展的正能量。

CPC newspaper blasts bureaucracy as “lingering ghost” – Xinhua | English.news.cn A flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China in a strong-worded op-ed on Monday blasted bureaucracy that haunted some Party officials long as “lingering ghost.” It is the latest among a slew of editorial pieces carried by the People’s Daily after the CPC launched a high-profile, year-long “thorough cleanup” campaign against undesirable work styles last week

人民日报-人心向背看作风(人民论坛) 詹 勇 小平同志说过,只要你关心群众,同群众打成一片,同群众一块吃苦,任何问题都容易解决,任何困难都能够克服。面向未来,以优良作风把人民紧紧凝聚在一起,我们就能为改革发展赢得更多民意资源,为攻坚克难争取更多时间空间,为实现中国梦汇集起不可战胜的磅礴力量。

舆论场:四川打虎记_中国_多维新闻网 除了刚刚被通报接受组织调查的郭永祥,以及被中纪委拿下后尚无消息跟进的李春城外,还有一名周永康爱将的落马,也让人们浮想联翩。同样是在2012年年末,被称为“政法王”的原湖北省政法委书记吴永文被中纪委调查。至此,接连受到三次重创的周永康可谓危机重重。他会否成为接下来的一只“大老虎”,还是能再次安全软着陆,公众拭目以待。

再难也要坚持改_杂志频道_财新网–周其仁 latest issue of Caixin prints a speech by Zhou Qiren–no matter how difficult, reform must continue // 改革不但要和腐败赛跑,还要和人们的期望赛跑,并和有增长之势的法外活动赛跑。跑不赢,麻烦就大了。改革是难,但拖延改革只会更难

中组部赴中远考核干部 魏家福或将退休_财经频道_一财网 Organization Department paying a visit to COSCO, management changes likely, starting with Wei Jiafu// 《第一财经日报》记者今天从中远集团多位知情人士处获悉,中组部上周五赴中远集团内部考察干部,以物色新的中远集团董事长接班人选。

Inequality in China | ChinaFile full paper online now // This paper provides an overview of research on income inequality in China over the period of economic reform. It presents the results of two main sources of evidence on income inequality and, assisted by various decompositions, explains the reasons income inequality has increased rapidly and the Gini coefficient is now almost 0.5. This paper evaluates the degree of income inequality from the perspectives of people’s subjective well-being and government concerns. It poses the following question: has income inequality peaked? It also discusses the policy implications of the analysis. The concluding comments of this paper propose a research agenda and suggest possible lessons from China’s experience that may be useful for other developing countries.

Security in Tibet: Grid locked | The Economist In February Yu Zhengsheng, a Politburo member in charge of Tibetan affairs, said the grid system should be expanded to other cities in Tibet to form “a bastion of iron”. Beijing hopes all its districts will adopt the system by the end of the year. In recent years many other cities elsewhere in China have been setting up similar schemes, though human-rights groups say they mostly fail to match Tibet’s security-related fervour. A survey published in December by researchers in Beijing found that Lhasa residents felt the safest of all those interviewed in 38 big Chinese cities.

央视:广告宣传也要体现马克思主义新闻观 _新闻_腾讯网中央电视台从今年4月起,在全台范围开展了以“信念、理想、责任”为主题的马克思主义新闻观教育活动。《中国新闻出版报》记者日前从中央电视台机关党委了解到,截至目前,全台已经有776人次参加集中培训,其中,300余名播音员主持人第一批接受培训。 为了更好地推进活动开展,中央电视台专门成立了马克思主义新闻观教育活动领导小组,由中央电视台分党组书记、台长胡占凡担任组长,相关台领导担任副组长。胡占凡指出,马克思主义新闻观是中央电视台常抓不懈的教育任务,无论是新闻宣传、文艺宣传,还是广告宣传都要鲜明地体现马克思主义新闻观。马克思主义新闻观教育要加大力度、双管齐下、共同做好,要先从播音员、主持人的马克思主义新闻观教育开始,一个不落、分期分批开展培训,并逐步覆盖到全台职工。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

[视频]习近平同神舟十号航天员亲切通话_新闻频道_央视网 7 minutes at top of CCTV Evening news on Xi’s chat with the shenzhou 10 astronauts…remarkable on several levels // 央视网消息(新闻联播):电波飞架天地,梦想远航高飞。中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平24日上午来到北京航天飞行控制中心,同正在天宫一号执行任务的神舟十号航天员聂海胜、张晓光、王亚平亲切通话,代表党中央、国务院、中央军委,代表全国各族人民,向3名航天员表示诚挚的慰问。

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Opportunities in China’s Startup Ecosystem–ZhenFund 2013 The 2013 update from ZhenFund on the state of China’s technology startup ecosystem. Last time we outlined the 3C’s 2E’s in understanding the differences between China and Silicon Valley. This year we focus on some of the positive trends we see developing in the startup ecosystem.

Leaked Alibaba Memo Stresses Secrecy – China Real Time Report – WSJ Though not in itself sensitive, the email shows the challenge large companies like Alibaba face maintaining control over vast amounts of sensitive and valuable data. For the Chinese e-commerce giant, the email shows the emphasis its leadership is placing on sensitive information as it takes center stage in the global tech world ahead of an expected initial public offering. Within the email, Mr. Shao called for employees to use only Alibaba’s products to communicate with one another. Though he didn’t specifically bring it up, Alibaba’s rival Tencent Holdings controls two of China’s most popular messaging services, QQ and WeChat.

Choosing Baidu Over GM Supports CFO Call for Women to Take Risks – Bloomberg While China has one of the highest female employment rates thanks to state policies promoting gender equality, Li, 45, is just one of a handful of women in top management there. The CFO wants women to embrace the same risk-taking attitude that led her to end a 14-year career at GM and extend her current role into strategy development to help Baidu, China’s largest search engine, catch up in mobile apps.

Connecting People, Data and Machines – Caixin Wang Jianzhou, former chairman of China’s largest telecom operator, China Mobile, would agree. Since 2009, at almost every important occasion Wang has said that the changes taking place are leading to a revolution in how things are produced. For three years, his proposals at the country’s top legislative meeting all involved this subject.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China must end silence on injustice, warns film director Jia Zhangke | guardian.co.uk Jia Zhangke, whose film A Touch of Sin won best screenplay at Cannes, says China must tackle social ills or face more violence

The “Diaosi” social class: presage of impending social changes in China | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 A recent People’s Daily editorial criticizing the post-1980 generation as languid non-achievers immediately created a backlash on the Internet. One blog post on Sina Weibo stormed, “Baby formula is poisoned by you guys. Rivers stink terribly. The air is filled with apocalytic despair. Housing prices rise faster than anything. Bad realtors and evil landlords make even renting a place like a battle… Now, you teach me how to stop being languid as a post-80? I am damn fortunate to be alive!” His post was shared over 274,000 times.

Chinese Art Neutralized at the Venice Biennale | New Republic In fact, “Voice of the Unseen” is only marginally more independent than the Chinese Pavilion itself: It was co-sponsored by the Guangdong Art Museum, a state-sanctioned institution. Despite the irreverence of his gesture (which he repeated, to general titters, in the middle of the “Voice” panel discussion), Zhang Jianhua appeared to have received at least the nominal benison of the powers that be. Just as China has learned how to accommodate and even harness the power of the free market, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has found a way to make room for artistic expressions that seem, at first, to indict the status quo. On closer inspection, however, the political agency of most Chinese artists has been all but neutralized, more or less with their own consent. The offerings in Venice this year bore this out

The real reason David Beckham came to China | The Li-Ning Tower A Sunday morning appearance to sign a deal with China Auto Rental (CAR), one of the biggest car rental companies in China, and part-owned by Hertz

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

People’s Daily says chemical paraxylene is no more harmful than coffee | South China Morning Post The People’s Daily ran a lengthy article yesterday saying paraxylene (PX) is no more harmful to people than coffee, in an apparent bid to “de-vilify” the controversial chemical that has led to several protests. But the piece sparked scepticism and criticism online

Killings in Shanghai Involved Chemical Plant Closure – CaixinA rampage that left six people dead and four injured on June 22 involved a chemical plant in Shanghai that had been closed over pollution complaints. Fan Jieming allegedly killed one person with a tool and five others with a gun. Fan, 62, is in police custody. He is the office manager at the plant, which ceased production since May 16 due to pollution complaints, residents of the northern Shanghai district of Baoshan say.

神农架拒公布机场环评报告 称先通航再给说法_资讯频道_凤凰网 2009年2月18日,神农架机场正式奠基,投资总额高达10亿元,计划今年10月1日正式通航。然而十天前,湖北某媒体一则名为《原始森林山顶打造华中最高机场》的报道中提到这一机场“削平了5个山峰、填平数百个溶洞”,引发社会的环境忧虑。质疑声中,当地政府却一直不愿对外公布相关的环境影响评估报告书。

Exposed: toxic pesticides cocktail revealed in traditional Chinese herbs | Greenpeace East Asia Greenpeace East Asia tests on 65 traditional Chinese herbal products have exposed a toxic cocktail of pesticide residues, some of them illegal in China, highlighting the need to end the use of industrial agricultural chemicals.

China’s Economic Growth And Its Environmental Impact | On Point with Tom AshbrookCraig Simons, author of “The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World” and a longtime reporter in Asia for various newspapers.

 

BEIJING

US factory boss held hostage by workers in Beijing – Yahoo! News this lawlessness an embarrassment to the Beijing Municipal Government // Chip Starnes, 42, a co-owner of Coral Springs, Florida-based Specialty Medical Supplies, said local officials had visited the 10-year-old plant on the capital’s outskirts and coerced him into signing agreements Saturday to meet the workers’ demands even though he sought to make clear that the remaining 100 workers weren’t being laid off. The workers were expecting wire transfers by Tuesday, he said, adding that about 80 of them had been blocking every exit around the clock and depriving him of sleep by shining bright lights and banging on windows of his office.

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