The Sinocism China Newsletter 10.27.15

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

1. White House Quiet on South China Sea Patrol That Beijing Calls ‘Provocation’ – The New York Times The White House directed Department of Defense officials not to say anything publicly about the incident. No formal announcements or news releases alerting the media to the passage of the destroyer, the Lassen, were to go out, White House officials ordered. And if asked, officials were instructed not to speak on the record about the specific maneuver, administration officials said.

Related:  Battle Over China’s Artificial Islands Has Just Begun – Bloomberg View U.S. officials told me Tuesday that the Chinese reaction was as expected and that the Obama administration had publicly signaled for months that the freedom of navigation operation would take place. There is no expectation that one ship’s action will deter the Chinese expansion in the South China Sea. Instead there is a new internal debate over what the U.S. should do next and when. Officials said Carter had told Pacific Command to come up with a detailed plan for conducting freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea that could include deploying more naval forces to the western Pacific to routinely conduct these exercises out of Clark Air Base in the Philippines with support from P8 surveillance aircraft. The official in charge of developing the plan is Rear Admiral Mark Montgomery, the head of Pacific Command operations. // does the author mean the US sent the ship without a longer term plan?

Related: China announces the US’s Spratly patrols to the masses | southseaconversations 讨论南海 The US early this morning (Beijing time) finally followed through with its plan to patrol within 12nm of at least one of the PRC’s artificial islands, and China has just announced the developments to the whole country via CCTV’s 7pm news broadcast…At 1 minute 40 seconds, this Xinwen Lianbo report was quite lengthy compared with other South China Sea stories. Here it is in translation: // a very good post on how this is being played on some of the most important official media in China. 

Related: ‘Stop Boasting and Fight’ | Foreign Policy Nationalist Chinese netizens are furious that their country didn’t take military action against the U.S. in the South China Sea.  // not the first time they have been “outraged”, more often than not effectively ignored by Beijing, though would not bet on that this time

Related: Angry China shadows U.S. warship near man-made islands | Reuters – Firstpost The U.S. defense official said the Lassen was followed at a safe distance by a Chinese ship and no incidents were reported during the 72-mile passage. “I would expect that this becomes a regular operation in the South China Sea,” the official said. “This type of operation shouldn’t be seen as provocative.”   The official said the Lassen had been followed for weeks by Chinese vessels before the patrol.

Related: Commentary: U.S. provocation in South China Sea an irresponsible game of brinkmanship dangerous to regional stability – Xinhua Gimmicks like conducting patrols around South China Sea features built up by Vietnam and the Philippines — which have illegally occupied some of China’s islands — cannot conceal to which side the United States is tilted…Given the importance of South China Sea to world trade, it is high time that Washington heeded Beijing’s appeals and warnings and stopped making waves in the busy body of water and making trouble out of nothing. 

Related: China warns U.S. of “eventualities” in South China Sea – Xinhua  The Chinese navy has warned that further forays by the U.S. naval vessel into the waters claimed by China in the South China Sea may “trigger eventualities.” Chinese navy spokesperson Liang Yang made the comment following a U.S. warship’s entering waters near the Nansha Islands on Tuesday.

Related: 军报:“美舰驶近南海岛礁”折射冷战思维新闻腾讯网 南海诸岛自古以来就是中国领土,这是老祖宗留下的。任何人要侵犯中国的主权和相关权益,中国人民决不会答应,中国军队决不会答应。中国军队维护领土主权和海洋权益的决心坚定不移,我们将采取一切必要措施维护自身安全。

Related: 美国军舰非法入南海 中国军舰依法警告新闻腾讯网 综合新华社电 外交部发言人陆慷27日就美国拉森号军舰进入中国南沙群岛有关岛礁邻近海域答记者问时说,美方军舰有关行为威胁中国主权和安全利益,危及岛礁人员及设施安全,损害地区和平稳定。

Related: 社评:要把咋咋呼呼的美军舰看成“纸老虎”评论环球网 Global Times editorial calls the US a “paper tiger”

2. Chinese president Xi Jinping’s trusted general in line for top PLA role | South China Morning Post The top decision-making body of the Communist Party is to use its ongoing meeting in Beijing to vet top candidates to lead the military after 2017. The Politburo Standing Committee would use its fifth plenum to consider who would lead the Central Military Commission (CMC) after that date, sources close to the army said…General Zhang Youxia, 65, director of the army’s general armaments department and one of Xi’s most trusted men, is tipped as the most likely new CMC vice-chairman for the president’s next term from 2017-2022. However, the chances of graft-buster General Liu Yuan being promoted to the CMC were “slim”, three independent sources told the South China Morning Post. //this report will be a good test of whether or not the SCMP has become the preferred English-language media vehicle for “official leaks”

3. China army says West trying to ‘falsify’ Communist Party history | Reuters Enemy forces in the West are trying to “falsify” the history of China’s ruling Communist Party and its military and force a “colour revolution” on troops who are too susceptible to outside influences, the military’s official newspaper said on Tuesday. //third in a series of commentaries for the 1st anniversary of the “new Gutian Conference”, which really kicked off the corruption crackdown and rectification campaign in the PLA. I am not sure this is really saying anything about flagging loyalty. Some or much of the language is not new (remember the documentary Silent Contest from 2013?), I think there is far more support for than dissension about the cleanup in the PLA ranks, and of course for every fallen officer there is another who is promoted to replace and who owes his/her promotion to Xi’s efforts…丢掉传统,军队就会变质变色 

4. China anti-corruption sleuth brags of conquests in leaked speech – FT A top Communist party corruption investigator has boasted of his conquests in bringing down a series of high-level officials in a rare glimpse of the inner workings of President Xi Jinping’s signature anti-graft campaign. In a closed-door speech the auditor also revealed the ideological faultlines beneath Mr Xi’s efforts to overhaul the bloated state sector as he berated executives at two major state-owned enterprises for lax political rectitude.  // another reminder that Wang Qishan and the CCDI are not just about corruption but also ideological correctness and policy implementation

5. As Corruption Cases Flood Courts, Punishments Often Seen as Inconsistent-Caixin the lighter punishment received by officials who took more in bribes than officials who got longer prison terms is also the result of China’s vague Criminal Law, which grants judges a great amount of leeway when handing down sentences. The handling of the law has become somewhat awkward as an increasing number of corrupt officials appear in court amid an anti-corruption campaign launched by the ruling Communist Party in late 2012, something lawmakers did not anticipate when they wrote the legislation years ago.

6. Proposals for Car-Hire Apps Seen as Obstacle for New Industry-Caixin If the proposal is finalized, Didi-Kuaidi and Uber would likely suffer because their models involving private drivers. Liu Zhen, a Uber China executive, told the Shanghai-based news portal Jiemian.com that the proposal is tougher than expected. However, she said the company hopes to operate in China by working closely with local governments because the draft rules offer “some room for regulators there to be more innovative.”

7. U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage The revelation that the Pentagon used an NGO and unwitting humanitarian volunteers for intelligence gathering is the result of a monthslong investigation by The Intercept. In the course of the investigation, more than a dozen current and former military and intelligence officials, humanitarian aid workers, missionaries, U.S. officials, and former HISG staffers were interviewed. The U.S. government officials who were familiar with the Pentagon operation and HISG’s role asked for anonymity because discussing classified military and intelligence matters would put them at risk of prosecution. The Pentagon had no comment on HISG or the espionage operations in North Korea.  // imagine how Beijing reads this report…a confirmation of everything the most paranoid say about NGOs…does not probably matter if this report is accurate or not, unlikely to help those who want to soften the NGO law

8. What the SDR really means for China | beyondbrics In the near term, the biggest pay-off for China is that reserve status for the RMB could act as a catalyst for capital inflows from the world’s central banks, who might be tempted to increase the share of their reserves that are invested in China. That will suit China nicely, since it faces the prospect of large capital outflows in the foreseeable future-David Lubin is head of emerging markets economics at Citi.

AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

Building Asia’s new bank: An address by Jin Liqun – YouTube On October 21, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted Jin Liqun, president-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, for a public address, providing an introduction to the work of the bank

Alibaba gets more bang for its buck as revenue growth tops forecasts | Reuters The company wrung out higher-than-expected revenue growth of 32 percent year-on-year, even as gross merchandise volume (GMV), the total value of goods transacted across its platforms, sank to its slowest annual growth rate in more than three years.

Alibaba: ‘Companies Based In China Get Extra Scrutiny’-Holmes Report In an interview with the Holmes Report, Alibaba communications chief Jim Wilkinson explains how the Chinese company is responding to critics and trying to ensure the “truth gets out.”

Bank robber billionaire arrested in central China – Xinhua Police in central China’s Henan Province have arrested a real estate tycoon who allegedly robbed a bank 16 years ago with four other suspects, they announced on Tuesday. The billionaire surnamed Shi was arrested on Oct. 21 in Zhumadian City. // used the proceeds to fund the beginnings of his empire

Three Chinese suitors show interest in Starwood Hotels: source | Reuters China’s sovereign wealth fund and two big Chinese companies have expressed interest in Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT.N), joining other potential suitors from around the world, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW

Top disciplinary body exposes cases of irresponsibility in anti-graft issues – Xinhua One of the cases is Wen Zhongliang, former deputy head of China Foreign Trade Center (Group) affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce. Wen took a laissez faire attitude toward gambling by his staff, wife and service providers of the subsidiaries, according to a statement issued by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Wen also concealed his subordinates’ use of prostitutes, fabricated reasons to cheat the Party organization and seriously violated Party rules. He has been dismissed from his post.// 中央纪委通报五起落实”两个责任”不力受到责任追究的典型案件 

公安部原副部长刘彦平调任国安部纪委书记即时新闻_奥一网 Liu Yanping has moved from the MPS to become discipline commission secretary at the MSS. Expect a more efficient MSS with members going the extra mile to prove their loyalty and worth?

刑法修正案:下月起网络上发假信息最高获刑7年|刑法修正案|假信息|获刑互联网新浪科技_新浪网 新浪科技讯 10月27日晚间消息,据刑法修正案,下月起,在网络或其他媒体上传播假信息,最高可获刑7年。刑法修正案规定:编造虚假灾情、警情等,在网络或其他媒体上传播,或明知虚假信息,故意在信息网络或其他媒体上传播,严重扰乱社会秩序的,处3年以下有期徒刑、拘役或管制;造成严重后果的,处3年以上7年以下有期徒刑。(雷刚)

Today in Chinese Soft-Power Surreality: The 十三五 ! – The Atlantic They all give credit/responsibility to an organization calling itself the Fuxing Road Studio,  复兴路上工作室. This group has produced some other … remarkable videos.

AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Chinese hackers target Anthem for healthcare know-how – FT.com Hackers in China targeted health insurer Anthem to learn how medical coverage is set up in the US as Beijing grapples with providing healthcare for an ageing population, US investigators have concluded. The revelation presents a new twist in the cyber attack on Anthem, the second-largest US health insurer that disclosed in February that a breach of its database had compromised personal information for nearly 80m people.

全会四论|国防和军队改革大幕开启,习近平担纲顶层设计师中南海澎湃新闻-The Paper 10月26日,十八届五中全会开幕当天,由解放军报社通讯联络部运营的微信公号“国防参考”发表文章《我军重大调整改革实施进程中的历史经验考察》。 文章称,当前,在我军改革大幕即将开启之际,回顾我军历次重大改革实施的发展历程,从中汲取经验、教训和启示,将能激发新的战略智慧和勇气,开拓新的战略视角,以更加深入稳妥地推动改革进程

China Power Project | Center for Strategic and International Studies The China Power Project is committed to informing policy makers, elites, academics, and general publics around the world about China and East Asia by providing objective, informative, and innovative analysis.

China, US stress good manners in avoiding aerial incidents – Stripes A recent amendment to a U.S.-China accord on safe encounters between their military pilots calls for keeping a secure distance, communicating clearly and keeping a lid on rude body language. “Military aircrews should refrain from the use of uncivil language or unfriendly physical gestures,” says the third amendment to the safety memorandum.

No Guns as China’s Coast Guard Chases Boats in South China Sea – Bloomberg Business “It is a numbers game,” said Morris from Rand. “When you are trying to assert sovereignty and you have more vessels than the other guys, then you are usually going to win.” China is apparently converting former naval vessels into coast guard ships, according to IHS Jane’s, which in July published photos of two frigates being painted white at a naval shipyard.

China — The John Hay Initiative – Aaron Friedberg chapter from a book written to inform GOP presidential contenders  //  As with appeasement, although for different reasons, trying to shift to a strategy of outright containment at this point would be premature and self-defeating. Critics warn that an unremitting hardline approach risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, pushing Beijing to adopt a more openly hostile and aggressive posture more quickly than might otherwise have been the case. Even if worsening relations and intensified competition are inevitable, many U.S. friends and allies (and significant portions of the American public and the nation’s elites) are not yet convinced of it. For this reason, and because of the vast economic interests at stake, political support for containment is presently lacking, both at home and abroad.

Leaving China? Your books, maps and DVDs may be confiscated – LA Times In the last year, China has significantly stepped up border controls to prevent the import of banned materials, particularly Chinese-language books published in free-speech havens such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. But less well known are efforts by Chinese authorities to confiscate books, maps, globes, DVDs and any printed material they deem objectionable from people departing the main

AnchorTECH AND MEDIA

Language Log » Zuckerberg’s Mandarin, ch. 2 I don’t know what methods he is using, but they clearly are not the right ones.  Apparently Zuckerberg practices with Facebook employees from China, but that is a very dangerous approach, because most native speakers of Chinese (as is true of the native speakers of virtually all foreign languages) are devoid of any sense of the pitfalls that foreign learners are prey to and how to guard against and correct basic errors. A skillful teacher of Mandarin can take someone from level 0 to level 2 in about one year and up to level 3 or above in two years.  With all of his resources, Zuckerberg ought to be able to locate and hire a much better teacher than the one he has now.  It sounds to me, however, as though he’s just picking up his Mandarin in a thoroughly unsystematic way, and nobody is willing to let him know when he is making mistakes.

Complex, US$ 2.5 Bln Deal Gives Baidu One-Quarter of Ctrip-Caixin Baidu CEO Li Yanhong and Ye Zhuodong, head of investments, will join Ctrip’s board of directors. Four Ctrip executives will join Qunar’s board, including CEO Liang Jianzhang and COO Sun Jie. Zhuang Chenchao, the founder and CEO of Qunar, could be in an embarrassing position, a source close to Ctrip said, and he may choose to sell his shares. Zhuang owns 6.8 percent of Qunar.

China to ‘Strike Hard’ Against Illegal Overseas TV, Internet Content-RFA China’s media regulator on Tuesday issued new rules pledging to crack down on its citizens’ reception of overseas television and Internet content, to protect “national security.” In a recent directive, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) ordered provincial and regional government, police departments, and judicial agencies at all levels to “strike hard” at any form of illegal television or Internet content and equipment.

Apple Revenues In China Shoot Up 99% in Q4 | TechCrunch In this final fiscal quarter of 2015, Apple’s revenue in China grew to $12.51 billion from $6.29 billion in 2014. Revenue in China again outgrossed that of Europe at $10.57 billion. The Greater China region remains Apple’s second largest market after the Americas, underscoring the critical importance of this area to Apple’s future growth.

AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

A silver lining to China’s one-child policy – FT.com Rudong, on the eastern coast to the north of Shanghai, was one of the first counties to outlaw every baby after the firstborn, about a decade before the one-child policy took effect in most of China in 1979. Now it’s the first to face the consequences: a silver tsunami of old people.

Lego Granted Bulk Orders for Previous Ai Weiwei Project – China Real Time Report – WSJ Lego appears to have since rethought its stance on Mr. Ai. The artist said over the weekend on Instagram that Lego declined his new request for a bulk order of blocks. A Lego spokesman said the company has a blanket policy of declining support for political projects. “This principle is not new,” the spokesman said.

A Chinese Economist Responds to Critics of His Proposal to Let Men Share a Wife – The New York Times Xie Zuoshi, the economist who has proposed that China’s surfeit of bachelors could be solved by allowing a woman to marry more than one man, says he doesn’t think the arrangement has much chance of actually becoming legal, but he does have a few words for his online critics, who have included feminists and gay rights advocates.

AnchorFOOD AND TRAVEL

四川省制定川菜标准:鱼香肉丝要切10厘米长新闻腾讯网 Sichuan Province sets standards for Sichuan cuisine

AnchorJOBS AND EVENTS

Join Our Team—Wanted: China Reporter – China Film Insider China Film Insider seeks a business writer to cover China’s growing movie industry on a part-time, freelance basis. Ideally based in Beijing or Shanghai, the writer would report at least three straightforward film industry stories per week.
If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.

Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters

Send comments/tips/complaints to [email protected]

Subscribe to the Free Sinocism China Newsletter! Enter Your Email In The Box Below And Start Getting Smarter About China.