The Sinocism China Newsletter 09.18.14

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

Towards an Asian century of prosperity – The Hindu As Deng Xiaoping puts it, no genuine Asian century would come without the development of China, India and other developing countries. We are ready to shoulder this mission of our times and work actively to enhance friendship between China and India. I look forward to an in-depth exchange of views with Indian leaders on our bilateral relations during the visit, and to injecting new vitality to our strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. I am confident that as long as China and India work together, the Asian century of prosperity and renewal will surely arrive at an early date. (Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, is on a three-day visit to India starting today.)

Related:  Xi starts India visit in Modi’s home state – Xinhua | English.news.cn In a written speech delivered at the airport, Xi extended the Chinese people’s sincere greetings and good wishes to the Indian people. China and India, as neighbors, have kept friendly exchanges for thousands of years, Xi said. Since entering the new century, Xi said, China and India have become the two largest developing nations and emerging-market economies in the world, two important forces in the world’s multi-polarization process, and also two main engines that drive Asia’s economic growth.

Related:  习近平夫妇访问印度古吉拉特邦:亲密荡秋千_国际新闻_环球网 pictures of Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan on a swing in India getting lots of play

SEC’s Alibaba Structure Review Inadequate, Senator Says – Bloomberg VIE  //  Regulators haven’t done enough to protect investors from a risky corporate structure Chinese companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd are using to go public, U.S. Senator Robert Casey, said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, wrote that he was dissatisfied by the SEC’s assurances that it has adequately reviewed the corporate structure of Alibaba and the risks to U.S. investors who buy its shares.

Related:  Alibaba IPO Gives Insiders Rare Chance to Sell Early – WSJ definitely a yellow flag, though investors blinded by greed won’t care  //  with Alibaba, a number of shares equal to about a third of what could be sold in the deal aren’t covered by such restrictions, according to the company’s public filings. In contrast, no pre-IPO shares of Facebook Inc. FB +0.46% were allowed to be traded when the social-media company made its market debut. Demand for Alibaba’s shares appears strong ahead of its expected IPO Friday. Still, the possibility of early investors cashing out when the shares begin trading highlights the array of challenges bankers face in executing the high-profile deal, which could raise as much as $25 billion and potentially be the biggest in history.

Related:  Alibaba Buyers Say IPO Too Cheap to Miss Even With Risks – Bloomberg U.S. fund managers studying an investment in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are worried about everything from corporate governance to bull market fatigue. They’re buying anyway, afraid of missing a bargain. 

Related: Thiel: Alibaba is “fundamentally a political investment” that I wouldn’t make | PandoDaily “I do think that the Chinese Internet has been largely off limits to Western investors, it’s been firewalled off,” Thiel says. “If you look at the world from the perspective of companies like Facebook or Google, places like Saudi Arabia and Iran are way more tolerant than China. You can get on Facebook in Saudi Arabia and you can’t get on it in China. So China is in this very weird category of its own.” The Founders Fund and Clarium Capital founder goes on to say that Alibaba’s fate is tied to its ability to appease Chinese state officials. “Alibaba is sort of this protected Chinese company – it will do well, but it is fundamentally a political entity that is somehow very deeply connected with the Chinese government,” Thiel says. “You’ll get a pop and you’ll do well if it continues to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government, but it’s fundamentally a political investment.”

PBOC Doesn’t Yet Need to Cut Rates, Xinhua Says, Citing Adviser – Bloomberg China hasn’t reached the point of needing to decide whether to cut interest rates and should stick to its “prudent” monetary policy, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Chen Yulu, an adviser to the central bank.

Related:  到底听谁的?两官媒就是否降息产生争论-新闻频道-和讯网 Xinhua says call for rate cuts show lack of faith in reform. People’s Daily Online says rate cuts would not be in conflict with reform…mixed messages? worrisome  //  这厢政策是否真的宽松还未下定结论,那厢两大官媒的评论对峙已然让人昏了头脑。新华社昨天称,期待降息是对改革的不信任;今天人民网(603000,股吧)又刊登评论称,降息不是改革的对立面。

USS Vinson, others begin Valiant Shield after loss of pilot – News – Stripes and right before the PRC’s 65th birthday October 1  //  The exercise itself focuses on a potential conflict that would bear little resemblance to Iraq, Afghanistan or any other large-scale conflict the United States has ever encountered. The most obvious difference is that 18,000 servicemembers are participating from four branches, and none of them are ground troops. Participants will attempt to defeat an enemy practicing an anti-access, area-denial strategy, a method that Allen called “an emerging threat in this region and across the world.” The strategy prevents the U.S. and other nations from reaching international waters and airspace by using weapons like advanced missiles, mines and electronic warfare. It also attempts to block navigation for any ships or aircraft that do reach those areas.

China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet | Rolling Stone Chinese leaders know this trajectory is unsustainable – economically and politically. Earlier this year, Premier Li Keqiang “declared war” on pollution. Party leaders in China now routinely talk about the importance of “rebalancing the economy” and creating an “ecological civilization.” China Daily, the Communist Party house organ, regularly runs stories about air pollution and toxic waste. While I was in Beijing, I asked U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus why the Chinese were now willing to talk so openly about environmental issues. “The fragility of their government,” he said bluntly. “They will have a social revolt on their hands if they don’t come up with a way of dealing with this.”

Related:  Can the U.S. and China Find Harmony in Pursuing Climate Progress? – NYTimes.com The piece is particularly important reading ahead of the United Nations climate “summit” early next week (an event that China’s top leadership is skipping, along with India’s and Australia’s). Goodell’s reporting reinforces the case made recently by former United States senators Tim Wirth and Tom Daschle, who seek a softer approach to climate treaty negotiations despite continuing calls for a new binding agreement late next year in Paris.

Misunderstanding China: How did Western policy makers and academics repeatedly get China so wrong? – WSJ We have projected on the Chinese a pleasing image—a democracy in waiting, or a docile Confucian civilization seeking global harmony. We have been reassured by China’s leaders seeking our economic, scientific and military assistance, and have ignored writings, actions and declarations that warn of growing nationalism. After 65 years, we don’t know what China wants because we haven’t truly listened to some of the powerful voices that undermine our wishful thinking. As China continues its rise, our first step should be to dismantle comfortable assumptions and false realities. We must study China anew and recognize that its Communist rulers are determined not to fade into history. Mr. Pillsbury is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a consultant to the U.S. Defense Department.

James Mann And His Prescient Book “The China Fantasy” | The Sinocism China Newsletter a post I wrote 4.2010. This book even more of a must read now  // His third scenario is the most controversial.  It also increasingly appears to be the most prescient. For the third scenario Mann asks: What if China manages to continue on its current economic path, yet its political system does not change in any fundamental way? What if, twenty-five or thirty years from now, a wealthier, more powerful China continues to be run by a one-party regime that still represses organized political dissent much as it does today, while at the same time China is also open to the outside world and, indeed, is deeply intertwined with the rest of the world through trade, investment and other economic ties? Everyone assumes that the Chinese political system is going to open up—but what if it doesn’t? What if, in other words, China becomes fully integrated into the world’s economy, yet it remains also entirely undemocratic?

Shanghai Leads the Way in Revamp of China State Enterprises – WSJ if you are not a WSJ subscriber just copy the headline into Google and search. You can use the Google backdoor to read a limited number of WSJ articles for free  //  The central government is looking for Shanghai to live up to its billing as a financial and commercial hub. The city is developing a free-trade zone designed to drive a remaking of the country’s financial system. Next month, a new program will link stock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai, allowing international investors further access to the mainland’s largely closed-off stocks. “Shanghai in many cases has led the economic experiments in China,” said Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. “So if [state-owned enterprises] are starting to partner with private equity, to me it sounds like it is going to be broadened out to the rest of the country.”

Lawsuit Aims to Put an End to ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ in China – NYTimes.com With the help of the Beijing LGBT Center, an organization representing gay, bisexual and transgender people, Xiao Zhen has sued the Xinyupiaoxiang Counseling Center in Chongqing, as well as Baidu, China’s leading Internet search engine, for posting the ads that led him there.

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

China to speed up infrastructure construction – premier | Reuters Authorities will be allowed to enlarge their financing channels to pay for the CONSTRUCTION of public housing and infrastructure, Li said at a meeting with regional government officials. CONSTRUCTION of public infrastructure will also be accelerated, especially in poorer, western CHINA in the years between 2016 and 2020, Li said. No further details were given.

Property Trusts Pull Support as Mounting Debt Due: China Credit – Bloomberg Issuance of trusts for real-estate projects, which target wealthy individuals, slid to 30 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) this quarter from 67.8 billion yuan in the three months to June 30, the least since the start of 2010, data from research firm Use Trust show. Borrowing costs are rising as developers face $9.1 billion in bonds and loans maturing by year-end.

Stealthy or Normal? Analysts Diverge on PBOC’s Action – Bloomberg One thing analysts did agree on: the 500 billion yuan in credit amounts to roughly the same as a half percentage-point reduction in the required reserve ratio. An RRR cut, several analysts flagged, has greater impact because it makes more funds available for lending without a term limit. The news from Sina.com, part of Shanghai-based Sina Corp., which has a $3 billion market value on the Nasdaq Stock Market, was posted at 10:52 p.m. China time yesterday, according to the website timestamp. It cited banking analyst Qiu Guanhua at Guotai Junan Securities Co.

Is some light emerging amid China’s property gloom? – beyondbrics – Blogs – FT.com All year long Chinese banks have tightened up on mortgage lending to both first time buyers and purchasers of second homes, withdrawing discounts on mortgage loans and restricting loan growth – and thereby depressing buying activity. However, this changed in August, with banks switching course to offer softer terms on mortgage loans, several research companies said. The chart below, based on interviews with several hundred developer sales managers in 40 cities, shows a clear decline in mortgages charged at above the market benchmark rate for first-time buyers in August – and a corresponding increase in the number of mortgages secured at the benchmark rate.

China Slowdown Seen Hindering Zhou’s Plan to Scrap Rate Controls – Bloomberg Almost half the respondents in a Bloomberg News survey of 23 analysts this month said the government won’t meet the timetable Zhou outlined in March. Industrial output rose in August at the slowest pace since the global financial crisis, bolstering their case by indicating growth is cooling further.

Amid Market Downtown, China’s Developers Dig In – Caixin Developers say that homes in small cities are getting harder to sell, spurring some to buy land in big cities instead. Guo Yi, director of Yahao Real Estate Selling & Consulting Solution Agency, said developers have returned to large cities because of oversupply in smaller towns. Ning Jingbian, an analyst from China International Capital Corp. Ltd. (CICC), a financial services provider, said industry rebounds always happen in large cities first.

When Plan to Help Others Sell in China Fails, a Start-Up Changes Tack – NYTimes.com Two years later, the company, based in Akron, Ohio, has 10 employees in the United States and 22 in Shanghai, where it has a warehouse for storing and filling the e-commerce orders of its customer companies, which it shepherds onto Alibaba’s Tmall in China. But Mr. Lavin, 56, a former under secretary for international trade at the United States Commerce Department, concedes that Export Now’s sales have not met expectations. In a recent conversation, which has been condensed and edited, he talked about why he started Export Now, what went wrong and what he is doing differently to attract clients like the National Football League.

SouFun’s New China Homebuyer Incentive Sparks Stock Rout – Bloomberg SouFun started a promotion last week offering buyers who purchase houses through its website as much as 150,000 yuan ($24,431) in assistance to cover their mortgage interest, renovation and management fees, details posted on the Beijing-based company’s website show. The incentives are part of an effort to lure buyers as home sales in China plunged 10.5 percent in the first seven months of the year. The nation’s broadest measure of new credit dropped 40 percent in August from a year earlier.

一汽集团合资成滋生腐败温床 曾被称汽车工业长子 Time Weekly on the large and growing corruption investigation at First Automotive Works (FAW, and especially at the FAW-Volkswagen JV. German media covering this yet? Chinese media been on it for over a week

Deutsche Boerse stopped seeking Chinese listings a year ago | Reuters Deutsche Boerse stopped promoting German listings in China a year ago, the stock exchange operator said on Wednesday, a day after a German-listed Chinese shoemaker said top managers and cash had vanished.

In China, big companies are learning the business of human rights – The Globe and Mail While foreign investment has surged into China, the business community has for the most part remained publicly bullish, even while grumbling privately about corruption and the difficulties of doing business. They didn’t see the parallels between the treatment of activists and their own treatment and, in some circumstances, they criticized activists when they called for greater freedoms. In other instances, companies such as Apple and Foxconn have themselves been accused by watchdog groups of labor abuses in China.

More tax breaks for small Chinese firms – Xinhua More small businesses in China will enjoy tax breaks as part of the government’s efforts to promote their growth and counter pressure on economic growth, the State Council announced following a meeting on Wednesday. From Oct. 1 to the end of 2015, any company with a monthly revenue under 30,000 yuan (4,886 U.S. dollars) will be exempted from value-added tax and business tax, according to a statement. Currently, the threshold for the favorable policy is 20,000 yuan.

贾康:首套房不应征房产税 哪怕是300平豪宅|贾康|房产税|首套房_新浪财经_新浪网 former Ministry of Finance official Jia Kang writes that property tax should not be collected on a first home…still so many political and social issues around levying a property tax, looks to be many years away  //  近日,财政部财科所前所长贾康发表《沪渝房地产税改革试点及其启示》一文,建议除独立别墅外,对第一套房都不征收房产税。“即使第一套房是300平方米的豪华公寓,也给予免税。”

中国反垄断:没“内幕”有“隐情”–财经–人民网 People’s Daily interview NDRC anti-monopoly bureau  //  刚刚过去的这个夏天,中国反垄断执法受到了前所未有的关注,不仅因为反垄断法实施六周年,更在于对一些违法企业的重拳出击,比如对12家价格垄断的日本车企处罚12.35亿元,引发舆论对“反垄断新常态”的点赞,但也有人因此疑惑——中国反垄断为什么突然加码?有没有内外差别?存在“内幕”吗? 就此,笔者专访了反垄断执法的“龙头老大”——国家发改委反垄断局。从相关负责人那里了解到,“内幕”绝没有,“隐情”真不少。

Paulson Institute Case Studies–A Chinese Solar Company’s Fleeting Run in the Arizona Sun | September 15, 2014 New paper tells the story of the failed investment in Arizona by Wuxi Suntech Power.

 

POLITICS AND LAW *

China sees jihadi inspiration coming from abroad by way of the Web – The Washington Post Washington hopes the fear of extremists will encourage Beijing to join it in a global coalition against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with national security adviser Susan Rice raising the subject in recent meetings with senior Chinese leaders. “Their concerns about terrorism at home and abroad are rising,” said a senior administration official who was not authorized to speak by name, “and we are interested in exploring what the opportunities are in ways that are consistent with American interests and values.  //  and China would not be unjustified in asking just what are “American values” when it comes to prosecuting the global war on terror

Uighur Scholar Charged With Separatism Goes on Trial in China – NYTimes.com Mr. Tohti’s trial is being closely followed by foreign officials in China, even if they do not have courtroom access. Diplomats from the United States, Canada, Germany and other Western nations were in Urumqi on Wednesday, including Max Baucus, the American ambassador, who has been visiting Kashgar and Urumqi on a previously scheduled trip to lead a U.S. trade delegation in Xinjiang. The United States Embassy had requested permission to attend the trial but said it received no response, and an American diplomat who went to the courthouse on Wednesday was turned away.

Thieves’ Large Haul Puts Two City Officials in Crosshairs of Graft Inspectors – Caixin “Q: Why did you rob officials? A: Because that is where the money is”  //  Prosecutors say they stole more than 1 million yuan worth of cash and other items from the home of Li Shengjun, director of the city’s Fiscal Bureau, and a similar amount of from Xu Lixin, director of the Dalian’s Food and Drug Administration. The thefts allegedly occurred in March and December 2013. The large amounts of wealth spurred corruption busters to start investigating Li and Xu on September 15, Xinhua reports. Bureau-level officials in Dalian make about 7,000 yuan per month, a local official said.

Senior Inner Mongolia official under probe for graft – Xinhua Pan Yiyang, vice president of the government of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region was under probe for suspected discipline and law violations, the country’s anti-graft body said Wednesday. Pan is also a member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regional Committee.

北京日报原社长梅宁华掌舵市新闻道德委_政经频道_财新网 今年60岁,7月刚卸任北京日报社党组副书记、社长;曾署名“文峰”发文,引发围绕“北晚文峰”和“南都长平”的办报理念之争 // Beijing launches News Morality Commission

7th Beijing Forum on Human Rights kicks off – Xinhua | English.news.cn The annual Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened Wednesday as experts meet to discuss progress in China’s human rights protection. The two-day forum attracted more than 100 officials and human rights experts from the United Nations and 30 countries and regions. Forum topics cover the meaning of the Chinese dream in human rights protection, human rights in the fight against terrorism, and international cooperation in human rights issues, among others

俞正声挂帅招兵买马 中共治疆再添大吏_中国-多维新闻网 中共政治局常委、全国政协主席俞正声挂帅的中央新疆工作协调小组办公室副主任杜鹰近日低调亮相。公开报道显示,杜鹰2013年3月入选全国政协民族和宗教委员会副主任后,今年3月卸下了国家发改委副主任职务,今年9月以中央新疆办副主任一职陪同俞正声赴地方调研。

江苏连云港书记李强主持会后被带走 民间称其“李扒路” – CAIJING Lianyungang Party Secretary under investigation

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

SASC: China-Backed Hackers Penetrated TransCom Contractor Networks 20 Times | Defense News  Chinese government-backed hackers accessed networks of private-sector firms with sensitive data about US military logistics nearly two dozen times in one year, says a US Senate committee. In a report summarizing a lengthy investigation, the Senate Armed Services Committee determined senior brass at US Transportation Command, the military’s logistical hub, typically were unaware of the network violations.

U.S. welcomes China’s first-time attendance at naval forum | Reuters Top U.S. Navy officials welcomed China’s first-time attendance at a 113-nation naval forum on Wednesday but made clear that despite progress in U.S.-Chinese military interaction, more work is needed to avoid incidents that could trigger a crisis. Chinese navy chief Admiral Wu Shengli’s participation in the 21st International Seapower Symposium comes less than a month after Washington formally protested what it said was a “dangerous intercept” of a Navy surveillance plane by a Chinese fighter pilot in international air space off China’s coast.

China mum on diplomat’s whereabouts amid Japan spying report | Reuters China’s Foreign Ministry refused to say on Wednesday where its ambassador to Iceland was or who was even representing Beijing in the country, following reports he had been arrested by state security for passing secrets to Japan. New York-based Chinese language portal Mingjing News reported on Tuesday that China’s envoy to Iceland, Ma Jisheng, and his wife had been taken away by Chinese state security earlier this year.

Be wary of espionage trap surrounding us – Global Times Although information warfare is a common phenomenon around the world and almost every big power has once been mired in espionage cases, China has obviously suffered more losses in recent years. Ma Jisheng is not the first top diplomat caught for spying. With advanced technologies in the modern era, there is an increasing possibility that those selling intelligence will be caught. And all the potential high-risk groups should recognize this point, which may help them refrain from selling information when they are about to cross the red line. If it is confirmed that Ma has been caught, we hope that his story will one day appear on media to serve as a warning for others.

PLA’s female fighter plane pilots to make debut at air show – Xinhua slideshow

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai in visit to anti-graft agency | Reuters Hong Kong media magnate Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing who has backed pro-democracy activists through his publications and donations, visited the territory’s anti-corruption agency on Wednesday, after a recent raid on his home. An agency representative declined to give details of Lai’s visit, but it is common for the agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), to call in individuals for questioning as part of its investigations.

Hong Kong to Spend $14.2 Billion on Seven New Rail Routes – Bloomberg The total length of railways in Hong Kong will increase by about 38 percent to more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) when the new lines are completed in 2031, the government said in a strategy paper on its website. Train passengers will then account for as much as half of the commuters using public transport, it said.

 

TECH AND MEDIA *

Insight – Simon Xie: Jack Ma’s unassuming lieutenant at Alibaba | Reuters But for investors in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s potentially record initial public offering, Simon Xie, a co-founder and vice president, represents one of the e-commerce company’s most important figures: he’s the only individual besides Executive Chairman Jack Ma who owns the domestic Chinese companies and holds the operating licenses that underpin Alibaba’s corporate structure. Alongside Ma, who holds the lion’s share of those domestic firms, Xie wields full legal sway over the onshore entities and the critical contracts that link them with the New York-listed vehicle.

Jack Ma denies emigration ahead of Alibaba IPO – Xinhua The Alibaba founder said on the company’s official microblog that he has no plans to emigrate, despite rumors spreading online that he intends to move to Hong Kong. “I never thought I would emigrate anywhere,” said Ma. “I was born in Hangzhou, studied in Hangzhou and started my business in Hangzhou.”

搜狐、腾讯、迅雷涉黄被罚-手机和讯网 Sohu, Sina, Tencent, Xunlei fined for obscene content  //  法制网讯 记者胡建辉 记者9月17日从全国“扫黄打非”办公室获悉,新浪、搜狐、腾讯、迅雷4家互联网公司所经营的微博、微信等产品存在传播淫秽色情信息,近日相继受到处罚。

Facebook is reportedly getting back to what it does best with new Moments app | PandoDaily sounds like a ripoff of the “Moments” feature in Tencent’s WeChat // Facebook is taking a break from its efforts to become more like YouTube and Twitter to focus on facilitating the rampant over-sharing that made it so popular in the first place. It is said to be working on a new application called Moments which will allow people to share photos, status updates, and other miscellaneous tidbits about their lives with small, specific groups of friends.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Kickstarter Campaign Aims to Combat Eating Disorders in Wake of Beijing Expat Teen’s Suicide | the Beijinger A few hours before her death in Shunyi last May, Elle had been laughing and playing with her younger brother. She went to bed with no signs that she was depressed. But Elle had “her demons,” as her mother Leigh Holmes later told the Daily Mirror. After her passing, it was discovered that Elle had been visiting websites that support “anorexic lifestyles.” Known as “pro-ana” websites, they espouse all manner of ways for people to lose weight, going so far as to encourage eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Mrs. Holmes told the Daily Mail that Elle’s “secret internet history revealed many of the pressures of modern life, a desire to be skinnier, prettier, have different hair. There were secret accounts on pro-ana websites.”

Mirror Mirror – A message of hope. by Charlotte Kelleher — Kickstarter I donated 100 NZD. Heartbreaking  //  Finding hope within tragedy this project aims to bring Elle Holmes important message to the world through her music. “Finding Hope Within Tragedy” – This project aims to bring Elle Holmes important message to the world through her music.

山东蓝翔副校长率百人赴河南与校长岳父斗殴_网易新闻中心 deputy head of Shandong’s Lanxiang Vocational school takes 100 people to Henan to beat up his father in law…an unharmonious divorce it sounds like… //  核心提示:9月5日,山东蓝翔副校长王某率百人赴河南商丘的天伦花园与校长岳父斗殴,据了解,斗殴起因为校长荣兰祥与妻子孔素英闹离婚,天伦花园是争议财产,为防对方转移财产,孔的父亲一直在天伦花园值守,王某此次从山东率众赶来,正是为帮助校长将孔父赶走。

Chinese Art Sales Tallied $8.5 Billion in 2013 on Rebound – Bloomberg The Chinese art market is regaining strength after sales plummeted 43 percent to $6.6 billion in 2012, according to a study published today by New York-based researcher Artnet and the China Association of Auctioneers, which represents top Chinese auction houses and has 2,500 members. Public auctions of Chinese artworks globally tallied $8.5 billion in 2013, up 29 percent from the previous year, but short of the $11.5 billion peak in 2011, according to the “Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2013.” Mainland China accounted for 73 percent of all Chinese art and antiques sales in 2013.

theartsdesk in Helsinki: Niubi Festival |  | The Arts Desk Head-spinning Mongolians, intense Indonesians and bull-roaring locals at the festival building bridges between Finland and east Asia

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL *

China Focus: New body to end holiday scheduling controversy – Xinhua China has shut down an office tasked with scheduling its national holidays and given responsibility to a more senior group of officials, aiming to end controversy over the schedule. Since Monday, the functions of the 14-year-old National Holiday Office (NHS) have been incorporated into a higher ministerial joint conference presided over by Vice Premier Wang Yang. Headed by the director of the China National Tourism Administration, the NHS was a ministerial coordinating conference. Holiday plans were typically made after meetings among 17 government ministries.

 

BEIJING *

Beijing Police Formally Arrest Jaycee Chan in Drug Case | the Beijinger There is little leniency for drug users in mainland China, with the maximum sentence for allowing others to take drugs in a property, workplace or hotel being three years’ imprisonment.

 

JOBS AND EVENTS *

A Walking Seminar of the Forbidden City | The Hutong Join historian and blogger Jeremiah Jenne (“Jottings from the Granite Studio”) for a fun and informative walking seminar of Manchu history…in the Forbidden City. Not your usual history class, Jeremiah employs voices, stories, pop culture references, and examples from the archives to bring to life the palace in the days of Manchu rule.  Along the way, Jeremiah will discuss why the Manchus — and the empire they founded — continue to cast a shadow over today’s China. Place: Meet in front of the Urban Planning Exhibition Center (Southeast Corner of Tiananmen Square) Date: Sunday, September 21 Time: 1:00-4:30 pm Cost: RMB 280 (230 RMB for members) includes entrance tickets to Forbidden City and Urban Planning Exhibition Center.

Follow me on Twitter @Niubi

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