The Sinocism China Newsletter 07.29.14

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

中共中央决定对周永康严重违纪问题立案审查-时政频道-新华网 Communist Party of China Central Committee decides to put Zhou Yongkang under probe for suspected “serious disciplinary violation” // 新华网北京7月29日电 鉴于周永康涉嫌严重违纪,中共中央决定,依据《中国共产党章程》和《中国共产党纪律检查机关案件检查工作条例》的有关规定,由中共中央纪律检查委员会对其立案审查。

Related: China Starts Probe Into Former Security Chief Zhou Yongkang – Bloomberg Zhou is the first standing committee member subject to an open criminal investigation since the Cultural Revolution, when former president Liu Shaoqi died in detention after being purged by Chairman Mao Zedong and denounced as a traitor. Former party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who broke with other top leaders in 1989 over their decision to suppress demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square with tanks and troops, was put under house arrest following his June 1989 ouster and never faced criminal charges.

Related: [视频]中共中央决定对周永康严重违纪问题立案审查_新闻频道_央视网 CCTV Evening News announcement of Zhou Yongkang investigation

[视频]中共中央政治局召开会议 决定召开十八届四中全会 讨论研究当前经济形势和下半年经济工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议_新闻频道_央视网 Zhou Yongkang news comes after a Politburo meeting. Zhou news fourth item on the CCTV Evening News, the Politburo meeting the top story, announces that 4th Plenum will be held in October (so much for the rumors of an “early” Plenum), says primary agenda item will be how to comprehensively push forward with rule of law…Politburo meeting announcement also comments on current economic environment, pushing forward with reform//央视网消息(新闻联播):中共中央政治局7月29日召开会议,决定今年10月在北京召开中国共产党第十八届中央委员会第四次全体会议,主要议程是,中共中央政治局向中央委员会报告工作,研究全面推进依法治国重大问题。会议分析研究了上半年经济形势和下半年经济工作。中共中央总书记习近平主持会议。   会议认为,依法治国,是坚持和发展中国特色社会主义的本质要求和重要保障,是实现国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的必然要求,事关我们党执政兴国、事关人民幸福安康、事关党和国家长治久安。全面建成小康社会、实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦,全面深化改革、完善和发展中国特色社会主义制度,提高党的执政能力和执政水平,必须全面推进依法治国。

Chinese Corruption Probe Stretches Into Canada – WSJ strange the Wall Street Journal gives zero credit to Caixin Magazine. which reported much of this already in July 21 issue 中石油加拿大油砂交易蒙阴影  and CNPC Continues to Be Hit by Scandal as Two More Executives Fall  //A Chinese government anticorruption investigation that already has swept aside dozens of officials is now stretching into Canada. A shake-up has hit state-run China National Petroleum Corp.’s Canadian operations and a billion-dollar oil-sands project is now in limbo. The head of a key China National Petroleum subsidiary was recalled to Beijing last month and has since fallen from public view, according to people familiar with the matter. Also in recent weeks, an email announced the replacement of China National Petroleum’s top representative in Canada.

Microsoft Probed by Regulators in China Amid U.S. Tension – Bloomberg China regulators opened an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), seizing computers and documents from offices in four cities amid escalating tensions with U.S. technology companies. The government also is investigating Microsoft executives in China, including a vice president, according to a statement posted today on the State Administration for Industry & Commerce website. The regulator urged the company to cooperate after almost 100 SAIC staff inspected the offices yesterday, copying contracts and financial statements. // announcement on the SAIC web site 国家工商总局专案组对微软公司进行反垄断突击检查 ...how would the US feel if Chinese software had such dominant market share in the US. It is a new era between Xi’s ascendance and Snowden’s revelations, going to take some getting used to…

Chinese Military Trumps Diplomacy in Achieving Aims, PLA Says – Bloomberg The possibility of war on China’s doorstep has increased with more hot spots as “some big countries” stir up trouble in the region and Japanese militarism revives, an editorial in the People’s Liberation Daily said yesterday. Only an army genuinely able to win can act as an effective deterrent, it said. “If soldiers with guns on the battlefield cannot get things back, do not expect diplomats to get it back at the negotiating table with their mouths,” the article said.

Related: China’s Leaders Draw Lessons From War of ‘Humiliation’ – NYTimes.com “The victory of the aggressors was a humiliation for the Chinese nation,” Chu Yimin, a People’s Liberation Army general and political commissar, said in an interview published on Monday in Study Times, a party newspaper. “The wounds are increasingly healed over, but the scars remain, and what we need most of all nowadays is to awaken an intense sense of humiliation, so that we never forget the humiliation of our country and military, and turn knowledge of this into courage.” This Friday will mark the anniversary of the formal start of the war, called the Jiawu War in Chinese, and often called the First Sino-Japanese War in English. “Jiawu” refers to the year in the 60-year cycle of the traditional Chinese calendar; 2014 marks another Jiawu year, adding weight to the anniversary.

Related: China’s war games don’t faze Japan but disrupt civilian air traffic | Reuters Civil aviation authorities have issued a red alert, resulting in a near shutdown of 19 airports in eastern and southern China between 2-6 p.m. (0500-1000 GMT), at least on Tuesday. Those affected include Shanghai’s two main airports, which cater to tens of thousands of passengers each day. The military is also holding live fire drills in the Gulf of Tonkin, which borders both China and Vietnam. Seven days of drills are also scheduled in the Bohai Strait and Yellow Sea, near the Korean peninsula, state media reported.

China Said to Allow Five Regions to Create Bad-Loan Firms – Bloomberg China’s banking regulator is allowing governments in five places including Shanghai to set up asset-management companies to buy bad loans from financial institutions, three people with knowledge of the matter said. The trial program also covers Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui, said the people, who declined to be identified as they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The firms can buy local soured loans from banks, trust and finance companies and leasing firms, the people said.

澳门赌业资金链_专题频道_财新网 This week’s Caixin cover story on the the funding chain for Macau gambling…another bad sign for Macau and its casinos given the rumored closeness between Caixin and Wang Qishan? // 大量资金流向澳门,已引发政府关注。在中央反腐风暴中,澳门政府近期也相继推出措施,掀起所谓的“治赌风暴”:先是早前公布从今年7月1日起,持中国护照过境澳门的旅客,入境逗留期由7天缩减至5天,此后,还规定赌场范围内的珠宝金行不能再增加新的银联刷卡机。今年5月,银联已开始重点打击非法利用银联终端机在澳门非法套现的问题。相关调查活动始于今年3月,银联国际派人前往澳门现场检查。

At McDonald’s Outlets in China, Patrons Ask Where’s the Meat? For vegetarians or pescatarians, the menu in many McDonald’s restaurants across China is suddenly looking very friendly. Gone are the fast-food chain’s signature Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. Even the beef rice wraps, created specifically to cater to the tastes of the local clientele, are nowhere to be found. On Tuesday, meat shortages were being reported in many of the more than 2,000 McDonald’s outlets in China, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and the northeastern city of Jinan. The only sandwich left on offer in most restaurants? Filet-O-Fish.

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

UnionPay Said to Hand Payment Firms Hefty Fines over Illegal Operations – Caixin China UnionPay, the government-backed bank card association, has handed third-party payment companies heavy fines for three straight months for conducting illegal operations, an industry source with knowledge of the matter says. Payment companies had to pay a total of more than 50 million yuan a month, the source said. China PnR, 99Bill and YeePay were each fined more than 10 million yuan in one month. The illegal operations involved allowing businesses using bank card payment services to pay fees lower than the standards set by the country’s top economic planner, a move that helped them attract users, industry sources said.

Goldman Says China Growth Must Slow Below 7% to Meet Goal – Bloomberg Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predict that Chinese GDP will expand by 7.4 percent this year, the slowest pace since 1990. The International Monetary Fund has lowered its forecasts to 7.4 percent for this year and 7.1 percent for 2015, the Washington-based fund said this month. China’s leaders are seeking to rebalance the economy away from exports and domestic investment, toward services and consumption. To put the nation on a more sustainable growth path, the government needs to prevent further excesses in production capacity, debt and housing supply, according to Ha. “In the first half of this year, I would say the focus was on safeguarding growth,” said Ha. “Given that the stimulus policies are taking effect and growth is likely to be maintained at the targeted level of 7.5 percent, in the second half of this year some reform measures as announced a year ago could be put in place.”

石家庄杭州同日放开楼市限购 六成限购城市松绑_网易新闻中心-网易新闻客户端 Shijiazhuang and Hangzhou the latest cities to relax housing purchase restrictions

China Trade Numbers Still Don’t Add Up Post-Fake Exports – Bloomberg A discrepancy between Hong Kong and Chinese figures for bilateral trade remains even after a crackdown last year on Chinese companies’ use of fake export-invoicing to evade limits on importing foreign currency. China recorded $1.31 of exports to Hong Kong in June for every $1 in imports Hong Kong tallied from China, for a $6.4 billion difference, based on government data compiled by Bloomberg News. Analysts offered at least three possible explanations for the gap, including differences in how China and Hong Kong record trade in goods that pass through the city, as well as a persistence in fraud at a lower level. Any discrepancies make it tougher to gauge the impact of global demand on a Chinese economy that’s projected for the slowest growth in 24 years.

Ignoring Bubble Fears, Investors Hungry for Piece of China’s Big Property Developers – China Real Time Report – WSJ “Within a weaker backdrop, the bigger players tend to have an advantage winning over customers because of their longer operating track record and better brand recognition,” said Swee Ching Lim, credit research analyst at Western Asset Management Co. with $468.7 billion in assets under management. “They also have a leg up over the smaller players with more stable and diverse funding sources.”

Goldman unit eyes foray into China amid metals financing scandal | Reuters Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s metals warehousing unit is exploring its first foray into China, and privately held C Steinweg has expanded capacity there, sources said, as a financing scandal in a major Chinese port fuels a scramble for market share. The alleged scam – in which a Chinese trading firm is suspected by local authorities of fraudulently using a single cargo of metal as collateral for multiple loans – has shaken the confidence of banks and merchants in Western metals storage firms that rely on local agents to oversee warehouse operations.

China Retail Executive Wang Being Probed in Bribery Case – Bloomberg Wang Zongnan, a former Shanghai Friendship Group Inc. (900923) and Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co. (980) chairman, is under investigation by Shanghai prosecutors on suspicion of taking bribes. Wang is also being probed on allegations he misused public funds while an executive at the two companies, the Shanghai Municipal People’s Prosecution Service said on its website yesterday. Bright Food Group Co., the state-owned foodmaker Wang resigned from as chairman in November, was not implicated.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

解密中纪委第14个查案机构:对外追赃追逃-搜狐新闻 南都讯 记者程姝雯 实习生文亿 在昨天中纪委监察部网站的《反腐三人谈》节目中,中纪委廉政理论研究中心副主任谢光辉披露:今年3月中纪委内设机构改革后,其实有14个室(局)负责查办案件,除12个纪检监察室和1个纪检监察干部监督室之外,新成立的“国际合作局”也有组织查办案件的职能,就是海外追赃追逃。//a look at the 14 CCDI investigative units

起底藏在培训中心的奢靡乱象(前沿观察)–时政–人民网 CCDI going after “training centers”, some fun cartoons accompany this People’s Daily article on it

湖北国资委一官员跳楼自杀 此前已有两官员被查|国资委|跳楼自杀_凤凰财经 Hubei SASAC official jumps to his death, 2 of his colleagues detained recently

江苏泗洪7名访民报社门口喝农药被拘 14名官员遭处分-手机和讯网 The 7 petitioners who attempted suicide by pesticide in front of China Youth Daily offices have been charged with disturbing public order, 14 officials disciplined

疑似郭美美干爹王军被供出 被警方带走|郭美美|王军|干爹_新浪娱乐_新浪网 Guo Meimei’s “godfather” detained? This scandal finally going to get unravelled?

【党报评论】中央要求官员解开哪些“思想扣子”_网易新闻中心 7月15日至27日,党报评论君出手了5篇本报评论员文章,正如文章副题所示,用意在与领导干部“谈解开思想扣子”,要求官员“迈开改革步子”。这五篇文章分别是《改革是块试金石》《干部的价值在干事》《有能力才能解压力》《摆正位置看待遇》《好形象要共同塑造》

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Evolving Chinese Views on U.S. National Missile Defense – All Things Nuclear China’s refusal to discuss the size and capabilities of its nuclear forces undermines U.S. confidence in Chinese assurances that China will not build up its nuclear forces as the United States and Russia scale down, or threaten to use its nuclear weapons during a future conflict with the United States.  // US hands tied until China provides transparency

China’s RIMPAC Maritime-Surveillance Gambit | The National Interest In 24 RIMPACs since 1971, Capt. James documented by email, “this is the first time a nation has ever sent a surveillance ship near Hawaii while also having invited ships participating in the RIMPAC exercise.” There is nothing illegal about doing so. But civilian spectators and government officials are calling the move rude and aggressive—precisely the sort of technically legal but politically irritating action that, if pursued by the U.S., China would publicly condemn as undermining strategic trust. Etiquette aside, the spy ship’s presence appears inconsistent with China’s stance on military activities in Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).

China says may have citizens fighting in Iraq | Reuters Wu Sike, who has recently returned from the region, told reporters that China was extremely worried about the role of extremist groups in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. “Several hot spot issues in the Middle East have provided living space for terrorist groups, in particular the crisis in Syria has turned this country into a training ground for extremists from many countries,” he said. “These extremists come from Islamic countries, Europe, North America and China. After being immersed in extremist ideas, when they return home they will pose a severe challenge and security risk to those countries,” added Wu, who has 40 years of diplomatic experience in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.

China Voice: 8 questions to Mr. Abe – Xinhua On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, in Europe old rivals have apologized and forgiven one another. Asia however, is home to a defeated county with an unfathomable attitude toward history, currently trying to wriggle out of the constraints of its pacifist constitution. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put China and other countries on their guard with worries about the possibility, however small, of a third world war. We can never undo the catastrophe of 100 years ago, but we can be wise and responsible for ourselves and coming generations. For the sake of peace, Mr. Abe, you deserve the chance to clarify the following questions.

New rules on military awards to take effect – Xinhua The rules stipulate that the number of awards and commendations should be controlled and awarded based on improvement of combat abilities, the People’s Daily reported Monday. The regulations are meant to consolidate rules on awards and commendations, which were previously contained in multiple documents, according to the report. Complaints about the large number of awards and commendations given have also been a factor leading to the rules, according to the report. The new rules stress that more awards and commendations should be offered to combat troops, major operations and troops serving in remote areas or places where life is difficult.

China, Laos pledge to boost bilateral ties – Xinhua | English.news.cn China and Laos getting very close…who is the Lao official who was classmates with Xi when studying as a child in Beijing? I heard that at the 60th Anniversary of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Xi sought this person out // Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Lao counterpart Choummaly Saygnasone here on Monday and the two pledged to boost the relationship between the two ruling parties as well as the bilateral ties “no matter how the international situation changes.” During the talks at the Great Hall of the People, Xi lauded the China-Laos all-round strategic partnership featuring a high degree of mutual trust, mutual assistance and reciprocity.

A Closer Look at Hillary Clinton’s Approach to China – Washington Wire – WSJ There is a firmness in Hillary Clinton’s thinking about China that provides a good guide to policy and that is less well articulated by the current Obama team. She makes issues easy to understand. The clarity of her thinking, respect for China and awareness of how assertive it can be—and the stakes for the U.S.–bode well for how she would handle Beijing as president.  //  and why Beijing probably prefers she does not become president

Chen Guangcheng Goes to Washington | The Diplomat Chen goes to Washington as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute, a relatively new research center based in Princeton, New Jersey, that describes itself as working “to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies.” He also serves as a visiting fellow at the Catholic University of America and as advisor to the non-partisan Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. The move to Washington is undoubtedly based on the assumption that he can exert more influence over U.S. policy toward China if he is located in the nation’s capital

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Ex-head of Taiwan’s Defense Mission in US failed lie detector|WantChinaTimes.com The statement came after the daily United Evening News reported that Army major general Li Hsien-sheng has been kept in Taiwan since he returned in March because he did not pass the tests, which are required for military personnel being stationed overseas. The tests are meant to check if a subject has had contact with “inappropriate people,” including Chinese nationals and foreign spies, according to the report. It wrote that Li’s results raised concerns because he was a trusted aide of former defense minister Kao Hua-chu and has access to sensitive information on Taiwan-US military exchanges and arms sales.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

聚美:这些年都曾陷在哪些假货传闻漩涡里?-看点-虎嗅网 more allegations that recently listed Jumei sells fake cosmetics

Daring Fireball: Another Xiaomi Shocker sad, people need to get fired if Xiaomi cares about PR in Silicon Valley  //  So Xiaomi: Ripped off a copyright photo. (I’ll eat my hat if they obtained permission to use this photo from Gonzalez.) Is passing off photos taken with professional SLRs as shots from their phone’s camera.

Baidu to release smartphone with MediaTek processor, says report China-based Internet player Baidu is planning to release a smartphone using MediaTek’s MT6595 application processor and will feature Baidu’s heterogeneous system architecture (HSA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to allow functions such as voice, graphics and text recognition as well as voice translation, according to a Chinese-language Tencent report.

Rumor: GAPPRFT Mulls Quota System for Foreign Online Video Content | Marbridge An industry insider has revealed that China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film and Television (GAPPRFT) is considering the introduction of a quota system for the domestic airing of foreign online video content.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China Removes Crosses From Two More Churches in Crackdown – NYTimes.com In another sign of the authorities’ efforts to contain one of China’s fastest-growing religions, a government demolition campaign against public symbols of the Christian faith has toppled crosses at two more churches in the coastal province of Zhejiang, according to residents there.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

China needs to import more food to ease water, energy shortages: official | Reuters China should boost imports of food so it can dedicate more of its scarce water supplies to energy production, especially in arid but coal-rich regions like Xinjiang and Ningxia, a senior environmental official said on Monday. Mu Guangfeng, the head of the environment impact assessment office at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, told a conference China should open up further to overseas food supplies and put stricter limits on the consumption of water for agriculture in areas like Xinjiang. He said China, the world’s top manufacturing nation, sends thousands of ships to overseas ports and many of them return empty. Filling them with grain would be an ideal solution.

Recreational drugs: Chemical highs | The Economist Just as China has become the place to manufacture cheaply everything from tennis shoes to iPads to Bibles, so it is with drugs. Clandestine labs produce vast quantities of ketamine and other synthetics which are now fuelling a worldwide boom. Some are now calling China the new front in the global war on drugs.

Improving health care: Congratulations! Inoculations! | The Economist That China is now at a stage where it needs a more sophisticated and targeted immunisation programme is testimony to its success, however. It is a sign that 1.4 billion people have taken another step up the ladder of good health.

 

BEIJING

北京学区房现状:均价超5万 最高每平米达34万元_网易新闻中心 home prices around good Beijing schools still high, one 10m place at 340,000 rmb/m

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