The Sinocism China Newsletter 07.31.13

An abbreviated edition today, looking forward to meeting 70 or so readers at the Sinocism DC dinner in a couple of hours:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

China’s economy to maintain steady growth in H2: CPC central authority – Xinhua  China’s central authorities said on Tuesday that it will keep steady growth of the world’s second largest economy in the latter half of this year, amid the “extremely complicated domestic and international conditions”. The central authorities will continue to coordinate the multiple tasks of stabilizing growth, restructuring economy and promoting reforms, according to a statement released Tuesday after a meeting held by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Related: [视频]中共中央政治局召开会议 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 CCTV report on the meeting, does not appear to be any daylight between Xi Jinping and Xi Jinping, a question I keep hearing. Any readers have better insight on what, if any, differences there may be between the two in economic policy? // 会议指出,下半年经济工作要全面贯彻党的十八大精神,按照中央经济工作会议总体部署,坚持稳中求进,坚持以提高经济发展质量和效益为中心,坚持宏观经济政策连续性、稳定性,提高针对性、协调性,根据经济形势变化,适时适度进行预调和微调,稳中有为。要统筹稳增长、调结构、促改革,积极扩大有效需求,着力推进转型升级,不断深化改革开放,着力保障和改善民生,确保完成全年经济社会发展主要任务。

Related: China’s Leaders Vow Steady Growth With Economic Reforms – Bloomberg The Politburo yesterday also pledged to fine-tune economic policies when needed while stabilizing trade, expanding export channels and maintaining “reasonable” investment growth, according to Xinhua. China will promote reform of the fiscal, tax and financial systems and seek “stable and healthy” development in the property industry, Xinhua reported. China will ensure major tasks in full-year economic and social development are completed, according to Xinhua. Authorities will coordinate the multiple tasks of stabilizing growth, restructuring the economy and promoting reforms, Xinhua reported. Yesterday’s report “signals no change of policy stance” and the broader message “does not show a sense of urgency” compared with an April 25 statement, Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong, said in a note.

利率改革通途-财经网 cover story of new issue of Caijing on interest rate liberalization says State Council has approved plan to liberalize deposit rates, no timeline given//《财经》记者了解到,央行已经制定了推进利率市场化进程的整体改革方案,并在近期国务院常务会议上获得批准。据参与这一方案讨论的人士透露,综合各方面意见与诉求,央行为利率市场化进程设定了近期、近中期和中期目标:近期目标是建立健全自主定价机制、取消贷款利率下限;近中期目标是形成较为完善的市场利率体系、健全中央银行利率调控能力;中期目标是全面实现利率市场化,使央行形成通过政策利率来进行宏观调控的能力。

起诉薄熙来–罗昌平 Luo Changping on the Bo Xilai case // 【平之评】老子是儿子的通行证,儿子是老子的墓志铭。 当老子临近审判时,儿子即将入读法学院。老子或已与官方达成了一项交易,以保护儿子。因为不认罪,不排除追究其子的刑责。 外媒今日称,薄熙来之子薄瓜瓜将成为纽约哥伦比亚大学法学院的新生,这所学院是美国两位总统以及一系列最高法院大法官的母校,学费每年为六万美元,另外还需年均两万美元生活费。应了一句老话,饿死的骆驼比马大。 在老子倒台前,儿子给世人呈现一副花花公子形象——当年在英国,他是一个对学业并不上心的享乐主义者,醉心于高级跑车、头等舱旅行;换到美国哈佛大学,他驾驶保时捷轿车出行,曾屡次被开交通违章罚单。再进法学院可以使学生签证获得续延,这样不必向美国申请避难。 对薄瓜瓜来说,刚刚过去的一年是个难熬的年头,也或许并不在乎?他的母亲被判犯有谋杀罪,他的父亲则面临腐败指控,当波士顿马拉松赛爆炸案发生时,他就在爆炸地点附近。外媒认为,父母入狱并未动摇薄瓜瓜对法治的信赖,但本朝网民调侃:“如果上法学院是对法治的信赖,那么,当官就是对贪腐的信赖,当兵就是对战争的信赖。” 很遗憾,拥有合法出版资格的《财经》杂志,时常被审查者当作“非法消息来源”,刊登其上的新闻不能正常转载。尽管你看来不过瘾,但我们已在寻求笼子边界的突破。

Related: New details emerge on Bo Xilai charges in Chinese magazine | South China Morning Post Caijing, a respected business magazine, said the allegations of embezzlement and bribery against Bo, 64, occurred while he was mayor of the port city of Dalian in Liaoning province. The charge of abuse of power was related to Bo’s time as party chief in the sprawling southwestern city of Chongqing. Caijing also said that Xu Ming, a plastics-to-property entrepreneur whose long association with Bo extended over two decades, was the “biggest briber”, without elaborating.

Related: Columbia Law School still tight-lipped as China censors allow Bo Guagua chatter | South China Morning Post Chinese censors have allowed posts on Bo Guagua, the son of disgraced Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, to appear on mainland social media on Tuesday, after a brief early-morning blockade on news of his apparent admission to Columbia Law School. Columbia University, home to America’s most expensive law school, has yet to respond to media inquiries about Bo’s possible admission, which was reported on Monday. On Tuesday, Bo’s profile on an online student directory was gone.

中国拒绝开“宝马”喝污水的现代化(热点解读·部长访谈)–人民日报 People’s Daily Interview– China to reject “BMW driving, polluted water drinking modernization”….Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian…BMW execs will not like this // “开宝马车,喝污染水,显然不是我们期待的工业化、现代化。”日前,环境保护部部长周生贤在接受记者采访时说道。

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister visits China – Xinhua The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki visited China from July 29 to 30. The ministry said in an online statement that during Akitaka Saiki’s China visit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a short meeting with Japanese vice foreign minister and Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin exchanged views with his Japanese counterpart.

Related:  Japan envoy meets China foreign minister amid strained ties | Reuters Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki’s visit was the latest effort by Tokyo to improve ties soured by the row over tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea claimed by both countries. Saiki met China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and a deputy in Beijing, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

社科院:2012年城镇化率仅42.2% 官方高估超10个百分点-财经网 CASS Blue Book says urbanization rate is 42.2%, not 52.6% as official statistics have previously shown // 2012年全国按户籍人口计算的城镇化率仅有35.29%,若按城镇中农业转移人口市民化程度平均为40%推算,中国真实的完全城镇化率只有42.2%,比国家统计局公布的常住人口城镇化率低10.4个百分点。

Related: China urbanization cost could top $106 billion a year: think-tank | Reuters The cost of settling China’s rural workers into city life in the government’s urbanization drive could be about 650 billion yuan ($106 billion) a year, the equivalent of 5.5 percent of fiscal revenue last year, a government think-tank said on Tuesday. The figure is based on the assumption that 25 million people a year settle in cities, with the government spending the money on making sure they enjoy the same benefits in healthcare, housing and schools that city residents have, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences(CASS) said.

Related: Determinants of Urbanization by Anett Hofmann, Guanghua Wan :: SSRN In light of the United Nations’ (UN) latest urbanization projections, particularly with respect to India and the People’s Republic of China, a good understanding is needed of what drives aggregate urbanization trends. Yet, previous literature has largely neglected the issue in favor of studying urban concentration. Taking advantage of the latest UN World Urbanization Prospects, we use an instrumental variables approach to identify and analyze key urbanization determinants. We estimate the impact of gross domestic product (GDP) growth on urbanization to be large and positive. In answer to Henderson’s (2003) finding that urbanization does not seem to cause growth, we argue that the direction of causality runs from growth to urbanization. We also find positive and significant effects of industrialization and education on urbanization, consistent with the existence of localization economies and labor market pooling.

Has disgraced qigong master Wang Lin fled to Hong Kong? | South China Morning Post China’s VIP qigong master Wang Lin has reportedly sought refuge in Hong Kong, after days of intense media scrutiny and ahead of a court hearing in Jiangxi province on Tuesday on fraud allegations. Wang, 61, entered Hong Kong via the Huanggang checkpoint on Friday, his former disciple Zou Yong told the Beijing News, according to an article published on Tuesday. Zou said he had also seen a photo of Wang in Hong Kong dated July 29.

Related:  Closer Look: What It Means When Charlatans Have Access to Our Leaders – Caixin This so-called “man of God” and other such unusual “masters” have become big names among not only celebrities, but also within official circles and in the business world. Those pictured with a smiling Wang include former railway minister Liu Zhijun, former health minister Chen Minzhang and former top prosecutor Jia Chunwang. In July, Wang was visited by Jack Ma, the founder of Internet giant Alibaba, and other celebrities. This not only dashed his low profile, but also made him the target of public criticism. A picture of Wang with Ma was posted online and Web users started to question the background of the grand master. Media investigations followed.

Hollywood Studios Haven’t Been Paid By China in Months (Exclusive) Art Buchwald must be smiling // The delay in payments — totaling in the tens of millions of dollars for some studios — revolves around a 2 percent luxury tax that the China Film Group is trying to pass on to the movie companies. Since late 2012, Hollywood studios haven’t seen a dime returned from a slew of movies generating big grosses at the Chinese box office, including blockbusters Skyfall, Man of Steel and Star Trek Into Darkness.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Misreading Chinese Rebalancing by Stephen S. Roach – Project Syndicate Far from crashing, the Chinese economy is at a pivotal point. The wheels of rebalancing are turning. While that is not showing up in the composition of final demand (at least not yet), the shift from manufacturing and construction toward services is a far more meaningful indicator at this stage in the transformation. So, too, are signs of newfound policy discipline – such as a central bank that seems determined to wean China off excessive credit creation and fiscal authorities that have resisted the timeworn temptation of yet another massive round of spending initiatives to counter a slowdown. Early steps toward interest-rate liberalization and hints of reform of the antiquated hukou (residential permit) system are also encouraging.

How Big Is China’s Debt? The Best Guesses – China Real Time Report – WSJ Worried that borrowing may be out of control, the leadership has instructed the National Audit Office to do a comprehensive survey of all the official borrowing out there – something private sector economists have been guessing at for years. A quick review of estimates finds a range from the International Monetary Fund’s lowish 46% to Standard Chartered Bank’s more worrying 78% of GDP.

China’s Largest Liquor Maker Moutai Seeks Investors, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg Kweichow Moutai (600519) Group, the parent of China’s largest white liquor maker, is among a group of state-owned companies seeking investors to help it expand and be more competitive, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. A group of 28 companies from China’s southwestern province of Guizhou plans to each attract at least two strategic investors domestically or overseas by the end of 2017, according to today’s article, which cited the province’s state-owned-assets supervision commission. Kweichow Moutai, the unlisted parent, will be turned into a shareholding company, Xinhua reported.

GSK Sacks Hundred Chinese Sales Representatives in Bribery Case-Caijing Global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has sacked over a hundred Chinese sales representatives, Chinese media said, after the British drug maker was accused of bribing officials and doctors in China to market its product.

GSK Case Raises China In-House Questions–The Asian Lawyer In late May, Zhao Hongyan was one of about two dozen in-house lawyers who spoke at a conference in Shanghai. Her topic was an extremely common one for such confabs: dealing with corruption issues. Her views on the subject are going to receive much more scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead. Zhao, the China legal director for British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, was one of four executives of the company detained by China’s Ministry of Public Security

Cabinet Tells CRC to Devise Investment Reform Plan by Year’s End – Caixin The cabinet has told China Railway Corp. (CRC) to work out a detailed reform plan for investment and financing by the end of the year, a source in the organization that operates the country’s railroads says. The State Council also told the CRC, which was spun off from the Ministry of Railways in March, to open the ownership and operation of intercity railroads and the lines that carry natural resources to private capital by next year.

European trade: Sabres rattled and ready | The Economist The other reason to think trade hostilities might yet resurface has to do with the possible investigation into the telecoms giants. Lest it seem that this week’s truce might extend to that possible case too, Mr De Gucht went out of his way to make clear that “mobile networks were not even mentioned in the talks” on solar. That suggests that he is still keen to pursue the controversial matter of what are alleged to be illegal subsidies for Huawei and ZTE.

Update: China PBOC Adds Funds Via Mkt Ops 1st Time Since Feb | MNI The People’s Bank of China actively injected funds into the interbank market for the first time in nearly six months on Tuesday, moving to counter another rise in money market rates. The CNY17 billion that was added via seven-day reverse repos was a relative drop in the bucket for China’s interbank market, but the fact that the PBOC is adding funding is an important signal about the bank’s willingness to provide liquidity following the turmoil of June. The repos were transacted at 4.4%, up from 3.35% at the last transaction on January 31. The seven-day repo rate traded at an average 4.9697% on Tuesday, above the 4% level that traders believe indicates tight liquidity conditions.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Revealed: Truth behind tragic secret execution of businessman Zeng Chengjie | South China Morning Post Pressure mounts for the real facts in the case of Zeng Chengjie, accused of fraud and killed by firing squad without his family being notified

江苏首富朱兴良被监视居住 背后政商关系深厚_网易新闻中心 Zhu Xingliang, richest man in Jiangsu and head of Golden Mantis, is being held in “residential surveillance”…

What’s Behind the New Chinese Crackdown? by Li Xiaorong | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books While the rationale for the current crackdown remains unclear, what all the detained activists seem to have in common is that they are accused of organizing actions that would take place not just in cyberspace but in the physical space of city streets. Chinese leaders always see such public campaigns as an open challenge to their control. They fear that activists are seeking to take China’s rising number of local protests about social and economic problems to another level—turning it into a political movement that could challenge the authoritarian regime. Several more clues about the detentions can be gleaned from what lawyers and supporters of the activists have said about the police interrogations the activists have been submitted to. The goals of the police, according to these reports, have clearly been to find “behind-the-scenes organizers,” to identify “sources of funding,” and to challenge the legality of acting in groups

内蒙古瓜农持刀砍杀城管致1死1伤被批捕_新闻_腾讯网 Ordos melon seller kills a chengguan // 正义网呼伦贝尔7月30日电(记者其其格 范德银 通讯员伊凡)7月29日,内蒙古鄂温克旗检察院批捕了一起故意杀人案,涉案的犯罪嫌疑人是当地牧场的一位瓜农,而被害人则是两名城管执法人员。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

The wolf and the lamb – Xinhua • U.S.-China row over cyber security seemingly reproduces the narratives contained in the fable. • Above mentioned American accusations are “fair” in the sense that they leave China room to refute. • The American cyber, hot and cold warring mentality has to be dropped. // nice cartoons…

Soldiers of China’s female special forces unit – Xinhua Slideshow the hello kitty makeup kit standard issue?

Chinese former “comfort women” request disciplinary action against Osaka Mayor – Xinhua | English.news.cn Three Chinese women in their 80s abducted by the Japanese military during World War II to serve as so-called “comfort women” joined with local supporters to request on Tuesday disciplinary action against Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto. 86-year-old Li Xiumei and two other women, all of whom are living in the northern Chinese province of Shanxi, plus 174 Japanese citizens, submitted the request to the Osaka Bar Association, to which Hashimoto, also a lawyer, belongs. In their request the three women said that Hashimoto’s recent remarks on comfort women seriously infringed on their human rights and had caused them mental anguish.

India Boosts Defense Ties with Myanmar | Defense News | defensenews.com India — hoping to improve ties with Myanmar to counter the growing influence of China in the region — will help its neighbor build offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and train the Myanmar troops at Indian military institutions. The decision to build OPVs was reached Monday during talks between visiting Myanmar Navy chief Vice Adm. Thura Thet Swe and Indian Navy chief Adm. Devendra Kumar Joshi.

China Missing Out on Opportunities in Myanmar -Caijing To rebuild its economic clout in Myanmar, China needs to transform the bilateral cooperation model by diversifying its investment structure.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

How accurate are Apple’s critics? Latest report on Apple’s supply chain raises questions | Marketplace.org Shanghai-based author and Bloomberg columnist Adam Minter has visited more than a hundred Chinese factories. He says the mainstream media haven’t bothered to take a critical look at this report. “The most glaring example in this report was a section header labeled: ‘Child Labor and Underage Employees,’ but nowhere in the report does it actually report child labor occurring at these factories,” says Minter. “We did not find direct evidence of child labor as defined in China as under 16,” admits Kevin Slaten, spokesman for China Labor Watch.

Jobs Spurs Harvard MBA to Drop McKinsey for China Website – Bloomberg who is doing Autohome’s foreign PR? // “After reading those words I thought to myself what I was doing then was absolutely not my passion,” Qin, now chief executive officer of Autohome Inc., which operates China’s largest vehicle-comparison website, said in an interview last week in Beijing, where he was born. “What I did had no risks and I felt like I was wasting my life. So I decided to seek a change.”

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The Left is Alright | NewsChina Magazine Social critic Wang Hui has been called an anti- reformist, a defender of authoritarianism, a crusader for centralization, and much worse. Outspoken, prolific, and with a strong international background, is he the cosmopolitan voice of China’s new Left?

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Explosion at Chinese chemical plant adds fuel to not-in-my-backyard environmental concerns The blast at the plant at Zhangzhou city in southeastern Fujian province caused no injuries and no chemical leaks, officials said, but environmental activists seized on the accident as a warning of potential problems at factories that produce paraxylene, or PX, which is used in printing and to make polyesters…Coincidentally, the ruling Communist Party’s main newspaper published a feature Tuesday aimed at defusing public fears about the industry, saying that PX plants are necessary for the domestic economy, that they are safe and that they have never had a major accident.

Ghost Factories – USATODAY.com About the US, but sobering, and a reminder of how hard it will be for China to clean things up

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Danger in supermarket plastic wrap – Xinhua | English.news.cn Plastic film used by supermarkets to wrap meat and vegetables may contain banned toxic plasticizers that could impair male sexual function and lead to premature sexual development in females, according to China Central Television. Fifteen samples of polyvinyl chloride plastic wrap out of 16 samples sent for tests were found to contain bis(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), some at an alarming level, CCTV said.

 

BEIJING

网易新闻–镜头下的北京棚户区 slideshow of a Beijing shantytown, near CBD

北京设协会宣传尊严死:若存活无望可放弃治疗_新闻_腾讯网 Beijing sets up a death with dignity association

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