The Sinocism China Newsletter 07.02.13

Apologies for the brief commentary (and any typos), I am in a hurry this morning as our kids have exams the rest of the week and get out of school at 10:30 AM. It is hard to believe first grade is almost over.

This week’s column for Dealbook is Urban Smog and Hazy Economic Prospects in China:

In March, the new government set the 2013 gross domestic product growth target at 7.5 percent, a goal which increasingly looks at risk. Since then, the leadership has signaled that it will tolerate lower but better quality growth. At the 18th Party Congress last November, outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao set a goal of doubling per capita income by 2020, a target that requires about 7 percent annual growth to achieve. There are no indications that General Secretary Xi Jinping has backed off from that goal, so we should assume the leadership believes an aggressive reform program will unlock more growth than Mr. Pettis expects.

In another apparent sign of the leadership’s decision to focus on the quality rather than the quantity of growth, Mr. Xi, on the eve of Monday’s 92nd anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, promised “to shake off the G.D.P. obsession in promoting officials”…

The long anticipated urbanization plan is not going to jump-start the economy any time soon. Yin Zhongqing, deputy head of the Finance and Economics Committee of the National People’s Congress, revealed at a conference [Chinese] on June 29 that there is still no top-level consensus on the path urbanization. Last week, the N.P.C. Standing Committee met, and urbanization was one of the items on the agenda, but Mr. Yin said the discussion about the draft urbanization plan has been “exceptionally intense”.  A Xinhua commentary on Sunday argued [Chinese] that the “new-style of urbanization” that China needs is people-centric rather than focused on infrastructure investment….

We are seeing a consistent message from the leadership that they are willing to endure short-term pain to address some of the many problems they inherited. Talk is cheap, and some of these things we have heard before, but expect a long, difficult summer as everyone waits for the Third Plenum this autumn. By then we should have a much clearer picture of the prospects for China’s economy.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

China Tackles Rumors Fed by Its Flailing on Cash Squeeze – WSJ.com The People’s Bank of China instigated the cash shortages that catapulted Chinese interest rates to nosebleed highs during the past two weeks because the central bank felt it had no alternative amid what it saw as out-of-control credit growth, according to an internal document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.// excellent WSJ story, should put end to claims that PBoC was caught off guard..I have from several people that plan to squeeze the banks was approved at the top

Snowden’s Leaks Cloud U.S. Plan to Curb Chinese Hacking – Bloomberg  The Obama administration’s strategy for confronting China over the theft of commercial technology has been battered by Edward Snowden’s disclosures of U.S. spying, leaving officials rushing to salvage a plan they crafted in secret over the past two years. A public confrontation with China that appeared to erupt spontaneously this year actually coalesced after significant shifts in U.S. policy and years of internal argument, analysis and vetting, according to two people briefed on the plan who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter. // amazed people actually thought it erupted “spontaneously”. It was clearly part of a concerted rollout

Related: U.S. to press China on cyber theft: Lew | Reuters “It is fundamentally a different set of issues and is something that is going to remain high on our agenda of issues to talk to with them about,” he told an audience at the Aspen Ideas festival, saying the meetings in China were “productive.” Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry are set to host their Chinese counterparts in Washington DC next week for the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Related: Kerry Says Snowden Affair Will Not Upset China Relations – NYTimes.com The White House last week described the development as a “serious setback” to American-Chinese relations while Mr. Kerry himself warned that it would have “consequences” for ties with Beijing. But following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart at a conference hosted by Southeast Asian nations here, Mr. Kerry struck a conciliatory note, casting the Snowden affair as but one issue among many.

Related: Snowden Exit From Hong Kong Shows Obama’s Limited Pull – Bloomberg The first test of whether Snowden’s case has caused significant damage to the Sino-U.S. relationship will come next week, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry lead talks with top Chinese officials in Washington.

Related: [视频]关注美国监控丑闻_新闻频道_央视网 Snowden’s leaks, the gift that keeps giving to Beijing. Monday CCTV Evening News on the scandal over American spying on EU countries

China state media blames Syria government, rebel forces for Xinjiang violence | Reuters  Chinese state media (媒体称去年起“东突”分子从叙交战区潜回新疆|新疆|“东突”分子|叙利亚_新浪新闻) on Monday blamed Syrian opposition forces in unusually specific finger pointing for training Muslim extremists responsible for the deadliest unrest in four years in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. China has traditionally blamed violence in Xinjiang, home to Muslim Uighurs, on Islamic separatists who want to establish an independent state of “East Turkestan”.

Related: “We’re Uyghurs. We’re not terrorists.” A plea from Xinjiang | Offbeat China While the focus of Chinese officials and state media are on how to tighten anti-terror efforts in the region, online, a plea from a Xinjiang native stirred up discussions of how to make peace with people from different ethnic backgrounds on Weibo, China’s most dynamic microblog service: “We’re from Xinjiang. We’re Uyghurs. We’re not terrorists. There are good people and bad people in every region among every ethnic group. Please do not equal ‘Xinjiang people’ with violence.”

Related: [视频]乌鲁木齐打造“网格化”巡防体系_新闻频道_央视网 Monday CCTV News on “Grid Management” in Urumqi…neighborhood watch committees 2.0, plus a lot more capability? // 央视网消息(新闻联播):乌鲁木齐市在基层社会管理中,警民联手打造“网格化”巡防体系,缩小管理单元,明确责任主体,达到群防群治、社会稳定。 二道桥市场是乌鲁木齐最繁华的地段,一个公交站点半天时间就往来三千多乘客。为保障乘车安全,乌鲁木齐市按照“网格化”管理模式,分区段实行公交公司与公安、武警紧密配合的管理方式,每天顺利搭载乘客40多万人次。

Related: Media blame US for stoking Xinjiang violence | South China Morning Post The People’s Daily, a mouthpiece for the ruling Communist Party, slammed the US government and media for what it said was its role in the violence “For fear of a lack of chaos in China,” it said in a commentary, the US was “conspiring to direct the calamity of terrorist activities toward China”. “America’s double standards on the issue of countering terrorism is no different than incitement and indulgence … How is this different than those who act as accomplices to terrorism?” it said.

Related: 新疆公安厅:提供重要恐怖犯罪线索奖5至10万元_网易新闻中心 Xinjiang PSB offering 50-100K RMB rewards for information leading to arrests of terrorists, also says will hold criminally responsible anyone who has knowledge of or protects/hides terrorists instead of turning them in 

Related: 人民日报评论员:坚决维护新疆社会稳定–观点–人民网 “利莫大于治,害莫大于乱。”谋富裕、求发展、思稳定、盼和谐,这是新疆2200万各族群众的根本利益所在,也是全国13亿人民的共同意志所在。坚决打掉“三股势力”的嚣张气焰,筑牢新疆社会团结稳定的根基,我们就能把新疆来之不易的改革发展成果维护好,就能把新疆各族群众的切身利益保护好。

Central Asia’s New Energy Giant: China – Alexandros Petersen – The Atlantic As CNPC’s major gas artery snakes southwest, its main oil path winds northwest to Kazakhstan’s many oil wells. While Western companies spend decades and tens of billions of dollars trying to get offshore mega-projects online in Kazakhstan’s portion of the Caspian Sea, Chinese state-owned enterprises have artfully snapped up production rights for already established Soviet-era fields, upgrading them just enough to ensure that the oil flows eastward. They have also taken advantage of Kazakhstan’s relatively open investment climate to buy into subsidiaries of KazMunaiGas, Kazakhstan’s state-controlled energy company, or buy some of the country’s energy concerns, such as Aktobemunaigaz, outright. CNPC now controls more of Kazakhstan’s oil output than any single Western company. The Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline, a staggering, rapidly realized endeavor in operation since 2006, connects refineries in Xinjiang to Kazakhstan’s northwest // in case you needed a reminder of the strategic importance of Xinjiang

FNNニュース: 尖閣諸島周辺海域で、… Video of lots of ships and boats around the Senkakus, very dangerous situation

Related: China continues to patrol waters surrounding Diaoyu Islands – Xinhua  A fleet consisting of four ships, the Haijian 51, Haijian 23, Haijian 49 and Haijian 5001, carried out the mission, according to the SOA. During the patrol, the Chinese fleet spotted and monitored Japanese vessels that were illegally sailing in the area. They collected evidence on the Japanese ships and took law enforcement measures.

Related: Tokyo warned not to resort to ’empty talk’|China Daily Beijing on Monday urged Tokyo not to engage in empty talk about “dialogue” and to stop infringing on China’s territorial sovereignty, after the Japanese prime minister accused China of setting “certain conditions” for a summit between the two sides. The Japanese government and right-wing forces have been beefing up their rhetoric and actions around the Diaoyu Islands issue.

March sees storm clouds gather for CY Leung | South China Morning Post Hundreds of thousands took to the streets yesterday, braving heavy rain to demand universal suffrage and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying a year after he took office. The annual July 1 march was matched by a string of events to celebrate the 16th year of Chinese rule, making it one of the most polarised and divided handover anniversaries in the past decade.

The Chinese Financial System: An Introduction and Overview | Brookings Institution The fear of slower Chinese growth has significant ramification for the global economy. The importance of China, and the central role of its financial system in fuelling that nation’s growth, led Douglas Elliot and Kai Yan to write a comprehensive overview of the Chinese financial system in the backdrop of the 5th meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue.

Related: Shadow Banking Threatens China’s Economy—but What Is It, Exactly? – Ryan Perkins – The Atlantic Needed government reforms to the country’s byzantine financial system may nonetheless upend China’s growth.

神秘资金扫货大蓝筹:抄底还是“唬人”?_股票频道_一财网 more talk in first financial of “mysterious funds” propping up the stock market // 多位市场人士向《第一财经日报》记者表示,从拆单的习惯上看,周一的神秘买盘与上周五的很可能来自相同的主力。而汇金并非中国石油大股东,增持中石油显得不合情理。 上述多位市场人士均表示:“极有可能是蓝筹ETF进场护盘。”而追究背后的力量,汇金也不可小觑。早在6月20日,汇金就发布公告称,“(在增持四大行股票的)同时,已于近期在二级市场买入交易型开放式指数基金(ETF),并将继续相关市场操作。”

Related: 汇金获千亿资金输血 增持不差钱_证券时报网 不论商业银行的流动性紧张是否还将持续一段时间,中央汇金7月份肯定是不缺钱——四大行合计约1215亿元的现金分红本月内将全部到账,这对于正在进行四大行市值保卫战的汇金而言无疑是最直接的支持。 不过,对于上周五工商银行和中国石油联袂异动,市场人士更倾向于判断为并非汇金出手,而是“险资做账”. 古语有云,兵马未动,粮草先行。

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China Rates Ease As Month-End Squeeze Over, Eyeing RRR Payment | MNI The overnight repo is now trading at 4.66% with a weighted average of 4.4717%, compared with last Friday’s average of 4.9581%. The seven-day repo is now trading at 5.50% with a weighted average of 5.4480%, compared with last Friday’s average of 6.1622%. While rates are coming down, they are still well above the 2% to 3% levels seen in the first half of the year. Traders said banks are due to pay large amounts of additional deposit reserves to the central bank on Friday to make up for sharp increases to their deposits at the end of June after these banks boosted deposits to dress up their semi-annual financial reports.

Don’t Worry About China’s Weak June PMIs – Business InsiderB ut it would be a mistake to go as far as to think that China was doomed for a hard economic landing.  Here’s Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Ting Lu:…The 50.1 PMI reading in June could also help convince policymakers to end the self-inflicted interbank liquidity crunch as soon as possible. //Ting Lu keeps hoping…

New high-speed railways open to promote intercity development – Xinhua A bullet train traveling between Hangzhou and Nanjing enters Deqing Railway Station in east China’s Zhejiang Province, July 1, 2013. The Nanjing-Hangzhou-Ningbo high-speed railway that stretches across east China’s Yangtze River Delta was officially put into operation on July 1. The new high-speed railway is expected to boost the region’s economy and foster the growth of tourism in the three cities it links

Chinese Malls Waive Rents as Vacancies Loom: Real Estate – Bloomberg “Competition in China’s commercial property market is very fierce, especially at those new malls at non-central locations in second- and third-tier cities,” said Carrie Liu, Shanghai-based general manager for development at Shui On Development Ltd., a subsidiary of Shui On Land Ltd (272). The company, which built the city’s Xintiandi restaurant, bar and retail district, has never offered subsidies such as free rents, Liu said…While “it may be debatable whether China’s housing market is oversupplied, there’s consensus that China’s commercial property sector is indeed,” said Jinsong Du, a Hong Kong-based property analyst at Credit Suisse. “Bigger mall developers definitely outperformed those smaller ones.”

Shanghai is New No. 1 on List of Developers’ Favorite Chinese Cities – China Real Time Report – WSJ This shift to Shanghai comes amid a broad recovery in the property market. Respondents said they favor retail property operations to tap into the growing disposable income of China’s middle class. The cluster of cities around Shanghai, including Suzhou and Hangzhou, have also emerged as popular destinations. Suzhou, less than an hour away from Shanghai by car, ranked number two out of 36 cities in the survey. Its major selling points included a big pool of people involved in high-tech manufacturing, indicating a larger potential market of homebuyers.

中国评论新闻:李佐军:中国改革需要新思维 DRC researcher Li Zuojun says China’s reforms need “new thinking” // 中评社北京7月2日电/得益于三十多年的改革开放,中国经济发生了翻天覆地的变化,也取得了举世公认的辉煌成就。但是,改革行至今日,已经进入深水区,而且改革所面对的社会环境也日渐浮躁。要在众多的利益主体之间、多元的思想之间、多样的价值观之间进行调和,必须找到一种能为各方所普遍接受的理念,形成一个综合的、统筹的、系统的改革思路,协调推进经济、政治、文化、社会和生态“五位一体”的改革。日前,新领军者杂志就此专访了国务院发展研究中心资源与环境政策研究所副所长李佐军。文章内容如下。

“钱荒”引发理财热 投资理财需谨慎–金融时报 从6月初发轫的银行间同业拆借利率大幅走高,“钱荒”问题似乎还没有得到彻底解决。受此影响,各大银行纷纷发售高收益率理财产品,吸引投资者,缓解资金压力。近日,记者走访了北京几家银行,发现几乎所有银行都在发售期限短、收益高、起点低的理财产品,吸引了不少消费者。不过有关人士提醒大家,在这种情况下,更应该审慎投资,规避风险。

三部委酝酿船舶工业“救助”计划 新华社——经济参考网 Chinese shipbuilding industry struggling, Economic Information reports that three ministries–NDRC, MOF and MIIT–are considering assistance plan for the industry…if accurate, not a good sign of resolve to deal with overcapacity… // 据记者了解,针对造船企业“无工可开”的问题,去年国家发改委、财政部和工信部等相关部委已经开始研究出台“振兴船舶工业未来三年行动计划”。该计划将对重点船舶企业给予政策支持,其中一项重要内容是将15年以上船龄的老旧船舶提前报废,国家财政将给予20%的补贴,鼓励中国船东在国内建造新船,推动中国造船业的健康发展。

调查称半数股民认为炒股很丢人 四成股民亏损超50%-财经网 Survey claims 40% of chinese stock market investors have lost at least 50% of their money… // 据北京青年报报道,统计数据显示,今年上半年股民人均亏损3万多元,380多万股民逃离股市。而昨天发布的“2013年中国股民压力指数调查”显示,近一半股民甚至认为炒股很丢人,羞于承认是股民。

农地确权难题:一个县耗资1500万元_财经频道_一财网 土地确权就是将农民对土地的承包经营权相对固化,这是明晰产权工作的基础。只有权利确定、权能发挥,农村改革才能顺利推进。

存款保险制度:撬动中国金融改革的战略支点_财经频道_一财网 First Financial on deposit insurance system as a strategic fulcrum for financial reform // 在金融改革多点推进、千头万绪的大背景下,存款保险制度就是投向金融改革池子里的一枚石子,同时更是撬动多项金融改革的战略“支点”。

China starts anti-dumping probe against European wines | Reuters China on Monday formally launched an investigation into whether the European Union is subsidizing and dumping wine in the Chinese market, potentially increasing its leverage in a dispute with the EU over solar panel imports.

Alibaba’s New Online Personal Finance Product Hits 2.5 Million Users, $1 Billion Already Deposited-TechInAsia-Giving China’s prudent savers a higher interest rate than most banks’ time deposit offerings (Alibaba’s is currently giving 6.299 percent), the new service has been explosively popular. With no marketing, Alibaba’s Yuebao has today grown to 2.5 million users who have collectively deposited RMB 6.601 billion ($1.07 billion). In the 18 days since it launched, it has become China’s most popular single personal finance fund.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

为了民族复兴的伟大梦想_2013/13_求是理论网–  作者:秋 石 “Autumn Stone” in the latest seeking truth on Xi’s recent speeches and the Chinese Dream and great Chinese Renaissance //

人民日报评论员:把领导带头贯穿始终–观点–人民网“打铁还需自身硬”,正人必先正己。抓改进作风,中央政治局从自身抓起,出台了八项规定。加强作风建设,中央政治局从自身改起,要求别人做到的自己首先做到,要求别人不做的自己绝对不做。中央政治局带头落实八项规定的实践,在全党全军全国产生了强大示范效应,促进了党风政风转变,带动了社会风气好转,提高了党在人民群众中的威信,激发了广大干部群众的主动性和创造性。这表明,中央带头,必促进全党积极响应;中央以身作则,必推动全党奋发进取。

揭秘中央巡视组:收集街谈巷议海量谈话_财经频道_一财网 Xinhua on how the CDIC inspection teams go about their work // “巡视组每到一地都要和100~200位干部谈话,中央要求是,省级干部全部都要谈话。”

倪发科被举报近十年 有关方面称实在保不住了|倪发科|举报|官员_新浪财经_新浪网 accusations against Ni Fake for years, finally become too much for even his backers to protect him // “这事拖了很长时间,从今年安徽省的‘两会’一直到5月份。”接近倪发科的一位退休官员告诉《第一财经日报》记者,当时“有关方面一直在想办法保他,但是保不住了”

住建部承诺大限已至 500城住房信息联网爽约|住建部|不动产登记条例|住房信息联网_新浪财经_新浪网 so much for the June 30 deadline of getting housing information for 500 cities connected online…local governments just do not want this information easily accessibile…wonder why … // 昨日(7月1日)是住建部年初承诺的实现500城个住房信息系统联网的截止日期,而如今期限已过,官方却没有任何关于联网成功的表态和介绍。

6月重要人事任免(中央/地方/央企/高校)-新华时政-新华网

The Center, the People, and Development | Science of Politics On Xi promising to shake off the GDP obsession // Yet these words echo words so familiar that their meaning seems forgotten. Hu Jintao, the core of the previous generation of leaders in the CCP, attempted to push the idea of “people-centered development” during his tenure. As Chris Buckley tweeted: “Before you get excited about Xi saying GDP shouldn’t be sole performance test for cadres, Hu Jintao said much same: http://tinyurl.com/mkpo4kt ” The necessity of moving away from GDP as a sole metric becomes apparent to anyone who  walks around Beijing for more than a few minutes, but I believe the center will find it difficult find other ways to assess development around the country.

多地遭遇增长困惑 官员感慨转型难_财经频道_一财网 First Financial on local officials struggling to find a new growth model that does not involve massive infrastructure spending // 一些投资和高耗能产业导向的省份经济降温,有官员对转型的方向感到困惑。

China Online Petition Website Crashes on First Day – China Real Time Report – WSJ starting Monday, Chinese officials offered a new way for those not inclined to make the trip: petition online. That makes the process more convenient, said officials who spoke to state media, and allows them to track the process of their pleas. As it turned out, progress was scant: The website crashed on the first day. While it came back online Monday afternoon, the morning failure triggered mockery across China’s social media platforms

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

The Chosun Ilbo: N.Korea Slams Park Over Nuke Remarks A defiant North Korea on Monday said its nuclear weapons “are neither a bargaining chip nor a topic on a dialogue table.” The announcement came after President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping last week condemned the North’s nuclear weapons as a “serious threat” and pledged to work together so the North abandons them.

China says ‘very firm’ with North Korea on nuclear program: Kerry | Reuters Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured him that Beijing had been “very firm” with North Korea on its need to end its nuclear program. // Beijing must love Kerry

Commentary: Territorial disputes should not overshadow China-ASEAN cooperation – Xinhua  China always wishes to turn South China Sea into a water of peace, friendship and cooperation and tries its best to shelve differences and pursue joint development. Most of the ASEAN members have also sent out a clear signal that they will not meddle in the bilateral disputes and value stable fruitful ties with China. After too much theatrics from Manila, it is time for the ASEAN and China to move forward. After all, compared with the bloc’s ambitious plan of regional integration and cooperation, the territorial disputes are at the most a minor distraction.

Chinese FM calls for active, comprehensive efforts to build new type of great power relations between China, U.S. – Xinhua Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Monday that China and the United States should build a new type of great power relations in an active and comprehensive manner, after the historical summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama. The two presidents have agreed to build a new type of great power relations between the two countries, turned on a new chapter for China-U.S. “trans-Pacific” cooperation and pointed out the direction for the bilateral ties in a new age during their recent summit at the Sunnylands estate in California, Wang said when he met with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry.

What can China’s economic rise teach African countries? – CNN.com “Particularly the first 10 years, it was really tough and hard,” explains Zhong Jianhua, China’s special representative on African Affairs. “So many businesses, factories, go (into) bankruptcy, millions of workers were being redundant or unemployed.” Before becoming today’s economic behemoth, China was mainly an agricultural economy that boasted huge reserves of natural resources — quite similar to many parts of Africa. So are there any lessons that African countries can learn from China as they bid to boost their economies and achieve their development goals

和平发展 合作共赢 共建美丽亚洲_2013/13_求是理论网 Li Yuanchao has writes the lead essay in the latest seeking Truth, on building a “beautiful Asia” together with other countries in the region

中俄两军总长共同宣布举行联合军事演习–中国军网—解放军报 Joint PRC-Russia exercises in the Sea of Japan later this week, and a counter terrorism exercise later in the month in Russia // 中国军网据解放军报莫斯科7月1日电  正在俄罗斯进行正式访问的中央军委委员、总参谋长房峰辉今天与俄罗斯武装力量总参谋长格拉西莫夫大将共同批准中俄两军联合演习文件。两军总长共同会见记者,宣布将于今年7月5日至12日在日本海彼得大帝湾举行“海上联合-2013”中俄海上联合军事演习,7月27日至8月15日在俄罗斯车里雅宾斯克举行“和平使命-2013”中俄联合反恐军事演习。

Trial flight photos of China’s J-31 stealth fighter – Xinhua | English.news.cn

埃及1/6民众街头抗议 军方限政府48小时回应诉求_网易新闻中心 Chinese media not shying away from reporting on the chaos in Egypt. in fact chaos in Egypt is a propaganda prize for Beijing. Who here wants that kind of chaos and dysfunction?

New exit-entry law goes into effect in China – Xinhua | English.news.cn The minimum stay for foreigners holding work certificates has been shortened to 90 days, while the period of validity for residence certificates will now range from 180 days to five years, it says.

Spanish police smash Chinese prostitution rings | South China Morning Post The women were sent to Spain on fake visas and charged between 12,000 and 14,000 euros (HK$121,494 and HK$141,620) for the trip, part of which had to be paid before they left China. Once in Spain, the rings seized the women’s passports and kept them in tiny windowless rooms in Parla, a southern Madrid suburb.

Son of Chinese government official drugged and sexually assaulted girl, gets 6 years in UK jail | Mail Online Xuanyu Zhong…committed the crime after watching hours of sick rape videos on the internet. The Northumbria University student researched date-rape drugs, bought some online and carried out a sex attack on a woman who accepted a drink from him. Zhong, 25, denied sexual assault but was found guilty and jailed for six years at Newcastle Crown Court.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Mining titans, movie moguls: Macau’s junket operators branch out | Reuters Macau’s booming revenues that totaled $38 billion last year – six times that of the Las Vegas strip – are indebted to its unique VIP junket system, where licensed middlemen act on behalf of the casinos to attract “big whale” spenders by arranging their travel and accommodation and handle their gambling credit. Now the transformation of the former Portuguese colony from a hotbed of crime into a playground for China’s nouveau riche has spawned a new breed of junkets, eager to shed the industry’s shady image and establish themselves as multinational conglomerates.

Macau Gambling Revenue up 21% on Year in June at MOP28.27 Bln – WSJ.com Macau’s gambling revenue rose 21% over the previous year in June as the world’s largest casino market continued to benefit from a stream of Chinese players. Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory rose to 28.27 billion patacas ($3.54 billion), according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released Monday. For the first half of 2013, Macau’s gambling revenue has risen 15% over the previous year.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Evernote’s Biggest Rival in China is Way Ahead With 15 Million Users-TechInAsia- Evernote’s biggest rival in China is Netease’s Youdao YunBiJi which, in new figures revealed last week, has risen to 15 million users. That’s good progress for Youdao YunBiJi (literally: Youdao Cloud Notes), which was already at eight million users at the end of last year. Evernote’s entrance has not slowed down the uptake of its biggest rival, perhaps boosted by Netease cross-promoting Youdao YunBiJi in its other popular smartphone apps, especially its news reader apps.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Heartbroken’ author Ping Fu willing to apologise for inaccuracies in memoir | South China Morning Post  Trying to head off a lawsuit, Chinese American tells the Post she was willing to apologise for what her former university schoolmates and officials call ‘falsehoods’ in her book // very sick of this entire Ping Fu saga

China Flirts with Prenuptial Agreements – Economic Observer Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife, Wendi Deng, and the Chinese media is watching with great attentioin whether their ambitious female compatriot is going to get her share of the cake from her fabulously rich ex-husband.

Martin Bernal obituary | Education | The Guardian Scholar of Chinese history and politics whose most controversial work, Black Athena, explored the origins of ancient Greece

At Wimbledon, China’s Tennis Rebel Holds Serve – Bloomberg Today, China’s Li Na dominated her way into the Wimbledon quarterfinals. This probably comes as a surprise to her patriotic, sports-loving countrymen. Since becoming China’s first — and so far only — Grand Slam tennis title winner when she took the French Open in 2011, Li has largely underwhelmed. Occasional lapses in concentration and seeming indifference have characterized her playing in recent tournaments — and over the last week at Wimbledon — and so, there was good reason to believe that as the competition stiffened in London, her luck would run out.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Why Can’t We Protect China’s Cleanest Freshwater Lake? | East by Southeast Since 2005, August 26th of every year has been designated by Yuxi City as the Fuxian Lake Protection Action Day. All of these measures seem to favor the lake’s protection and its aquatic ecosystem. But in practice, is it really true? A June 7 China Central Television (CCTV) report disclosed the unregulated construction of eleven real estate projects around the lake that threaten to destroy its aquatic ecosystem and degrade its water quality.  The numerous luxury lake-view villas, five stars hotels such as Hilton Hotel, and golf courses were built or under construction within Fuxian Lake protection area. For sales promotion, these ‘Big Mac’ projects were crowned as resorts, sports parks, among other flashy names.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Straws removed from sale after fears of health risks — Shanghai Daily DRINKING straws that pose a potential health hazard were yesterday ordered to be removed from sale in Shanghai’s Yuyuan Garden area, believed to be the source of most of the straws used in the city. Customers include schools, milk tea stores and restaurants.

 

BEIJING

Beijing Advises Reduced Outdoor Activities as Smog Blankets City – Bloomberg Concentrations of PM2.5, fine air particulates that pose the greatest health risk, rose to 281 micrograms per cubic meter at 4 p.m. near Tiananmen Square, compared with an average of 200 over the past 24 hours, according to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center. That reading was more than 11 times higher than the World Health Organization recommendation of no higher than 25 for day-long exposure. //heavy rain Monday night, now a gorgeous morning

Diploma Mills Infest Beijing – Economic Observer If you see a school like Capital University of Finance and Economics, Beijing Economic and Trade Institute, or Beijing Foreign Trade Institute while brushing over a job applicant’s resume, you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a legitimate institution. In China, these kinds of schools are called “Universities of Wild Chickens” (野鸡大学), referring to private schools with deceptively similar names to well-known universities that aren’t even licensed to accept students. Those who didn’t get a good score on the college entrance exam (or never even took it) can pay comparatively high tuition to these fly-by-night schools and get a “diploma.”

北京手机软件叫车须按电召收费 每次叫车5至6元-新华时政-新华网 Beijing municipal government regulated taxi-calling apps // 昨天(1日)起,“手机叫车”软件全部纳入北京市统一电召平台管理,手机叫车变相加价行为将被叫停。每个手机叫车软件都要绑定一个电召平台,乘客用手机叫车,也将按照北京市电召服务收费标准支付费用,即时叫车每单5元、预约叫车6元。

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