The Sinocism China Newsletter 12.03.14

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Combine top-level design with local innovations, Xi says – Xinhua | Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the combination of top-level design and local innovations in comprehensively advancing the country’s reforms. Xi made the remarks at the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform. He noted that China owes every breakthrough in its reform and opening-up drive to experiments and wisdom of the people, hence efforts should be made to encourage experiments and explorations at local level and that there must be interactions between central policymakers and localities. Senior Chinese leaders Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan and Zhang Gaoli attended Tuesday’s meeting, which discussed major reforms concerning the administration of rural land, the establishment of a modern public cultural service system, civil servants at county-level. // full Xinhua text 习近平:推动改革顶层设计和基层探索互动

Related: [视频]习近平主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第七次会议强调 鼓励基层群众解放思想积极探索 推动改革顶层设计和基层探索互动新闻频道央视网(cctv.com) Tuesday CCTV Evening News top story on the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform, basically a readout of the full Xinhua text

Related: 经济参考网 – “三块地”改革顶层设计呼之欲出 专家分析,征地范围将缩小,集体经营性建设用地可出让入股,宅基地可有偿退出 《经济参考报》记者从多位权威人士处获悉,这3项改革的顶层设计方向是,在十八届三中全会《决定》明确方向和任务的前提下,明确农村集体土地所有权主体和产权主体;完善农村集体土地使用权的类型和权能;探索集体土地所有权的多种组织和实现方式,保障农民公平分享土地增值收益。

Related: China to adopt circuit courts to reduce interference: Xinhua | Reuters Exploring administrative divisions that would go across the courts and the prosecutors would “help eliminate interference in judicial and procuratorial work to ensure that the courts and prosecutors are independent and impartial”, Xinhua news agency said, at the conclusion of the seventh meeting of the Leading Group for Overall Reform, chaired by Xi. The circuit courts would help parties “settle disputes on the spot and make it convenient for them”, Xinhua said.

2. China Stock Boom Has Morgan Stanley Ready for ‘Ultra-Bull’ – Bloomberg That bull-market feeling is back in China. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP)’s advance to a three-year high yesterday extended the gain over the past month to 14 percent, trouncing all 92 of the world’s other benchmark equity indexes by at least six percentage points. Mainland investors are opening stock accounts at the fastest pace in three years, trading in Shanghai has surged to an all-time high and initial public offerings have returned an average 180 percent in 2014…Morgan Stanley (MS) says there’s potential for an “ultra-bull” rally where share prices double in 18 months. // seems like everyone is jumping in, volume going nuts, no one wants to “miss out”…

3. How China’s “Rare Earth” Weapon Went From Boom To Bust-io9 ow did China suddenly lose its status as the Master of the Earth’s Crust, poised to blackmail the U.S. economy? Well, for starters, there might not have been a crisis to begin with. Eugene Gholz, a professor of public affairs at UT-Austin who advises the Department of Defense on rare earth elements, has recently published a study outlining the various reasons for the rapid turn of events. His paper is worth reading in full, but here are the highlights:

4. Hong Kong Protesters Fight Police for Control of Streets – Bloomberg Benny Tai, one of three co-founders of Occupy Central With Love and Peace, said they will try to surrender to police tomorrow to bear the consequences for taking part in illegal assemblies. It’s unclear how police will respond given that none of the three has been charged with any offense.

Related: HK majority will decide fate of protests – Global Times If violent street politics recur and become a normal state, and local police are not authorized to take a harsh stand, Hong Kong will probably be reduced to disorder. The power of the rule of law will diminish and administrative strength will also decline. Chaos and turbulence will likely replace prosperity and stability, an outcome resulting from Hong Kong’s own choice. The mainland shouldn’t be tempted to quell the unrest with troops too easily. It can only bring temporary peace, but the deep-rooted cause will still linger. Only when Hong Kong is determined to sever ties with violent street politics can the farce come to an end.

Related: Police to probe more than 200 Occupy protesters as leaders prepare to surrender | South China Morning Post As Occupy co-founders surrender with plea for protests to end, source reveals existence of long list of suspects for further investigation

5. Jade’s Journey Marked by Drugs and Death – NYTimes In a rare admission, China’s ambassador to Myanmar, Yang Houlan, confirmed that some Chinese are breaking Burmese laws, but he said Beijing was trying to clamp down. “There are some businessmen engaged in illegal activities who, attracted by outsize profits, cross the border to mine or smuggle jade,” he said in an email, adding that the two nations have stepped up cooperation on border controls and money-laundering investigations. “But there are some parts of this illicit trade that, like drugs, can’t be stamped out.”

Related: The Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret History of Imperial Green Jade: Amazon harrowing book from 2003, a terrific read  //  In an ambitious effort that is equal parts history, sensationalized gossip and political expos‚, London Sunday Times investigative reporters Levy and Scott-Clark trace the winding path of the so-called “Stone of Heaven.” The story begins in 1735, when jade-obsessed Chinese emperor Qianlong endeavors to extend China’s reach into present-day Burma, reputed to contain the world’s finest jade…Risking their lives, Levy and Scott-Clark pose as gemologists and, with guile, courage and bribery, reach Hpakant, home to the mines. There they find hundreds of thousands of destitute people virtually enslaved amid prostitution, government-sponsored heroin addiction, and “jade disease, or AIDS.” The story of the quest for jade ends abruptly in a kind of hell, rendered as astutely as the excesses in this intriguing history.

6. Once a cop, now an outcast: A Chinese tale of abuse and a craving for justice – The Washington Post For 12 years, the dark blue police uniform has stayed in Tian Lan’s closet. She held onto it after she was arrested for accusing two fellow officers of corruption, through beatings in interrogation and during a prison sentence that followed. She kept the uniform even as she lost her family and savings and began sleeping under a bridge. The uniform reminds her, she said, of who she used to be — an enforcer of Chinese law — and what she has become — one of its many victims.

7. CSRC Official Detained by Party’s Corruption Watchdog – Caixin Li Liang, 49, chief investor protection bureau at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), was taken away by the party’s graft fighters on suspicion of “violating laws and principles,” the regulator said on December 1. Li was detained by officials from the Central Discipline Inspection Commission’s sixth office, which is overseeing a crackdown on graft in regions including the northern province of Shanxi, where a string of corrupt officials and former government employees have been uncovered recently, several sources with knowledge of the matter said. Li was once in charge of a CSRC office that reviewed the initial public offering plan of companies bound for the ChiNext Board on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. During his tenure, the office approved the IPO applications of six companies invested by Ling Wancheng, a bureaucrat-turned businessman with a powerful family background, who was detained last month by the graft fighters.

8. Hollywood Bows to Chinese Censors, Courts Investors – Bloomberg Hollywood is seeking Chinese investors despite the country’s routine censorship of films and TV shows. Studios from Walt Disney Co. to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. have changed story lines, altered national identities and removed sex scenes to accommodate government oversight. Hollywood has even partnered with the Chinese government-owned companies on movies like “Kung Fu Panda 3,” from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. (DWA) “Every mainstream studio is keenly aware of not offending the Chinese market, because it’s become such an important revenue stream,” said Tom Nunan, a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television.  //  and that censorship looks to increasing in wake of recent arts and literature symposium…wouldn’t be surprised if someone in the US Congress calls for hearings into Hollywood and China

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

China HSBC services PMI edges up to 53 in November | Reuters The HSBC/Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) inched up to 53.0 last month from October’s 52.9, above the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction in activity on a monthly basis. New orders were especially buoyant. The new business sub-index climbed to 54.2 in November from 53.1 the previous month, a high not seen since May 2012.

Yuan Bears Wakened by Rate Cut Ignore PBOC’s Signal: Currencies – Bloomberg The yuan’s globalization requires a stable or even slightly strong exchange rate and devaluation is unlikely, Financial News reported on Nov. 26. The newspaper is a publication of the central bank. PBOC Stance “We do not believe that the rate cut implies that the PBOC would be less tolerant of yuan appreciation and the fixings last week show as much,” Sacha Tihanyi, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Scotiabank, said by phone yesterday. //  More attention should be paid to politics, and especially geopolitics, when guessing about direction of the RMB. China is pushing hard on positive economic relations with the neighbors (New Silk Road, FTAAP, etc) which Beijing sees as having significant strategic importance. It seems unlikely that it will then devalue the RMB in a tit-for-tat round of neighbor beggaring. So if you read a report on the RMB that does not talk about the geopolitical environment, be very wary of that analyst & his/her conclusions…and a booming stock market may lead to more money trying to get into the country, and more upward pressure on the RMB

They yuan a war? | FT Alphaville We’d be tempted to add some geopolitics to this too, but that really would take us too far outside our comfort zones. Anybody who would like to try and balance China’s desire to not piss of its neighbours while it seeks to build influence and its need for domestic stability should be our guest. Bottom line here is that unless growth really craters a large downward move in the yuan seems unlikely.

China Orders Stricter Checks on Local Debt as Sales Surge – Bloomberg Underwriters must provide audit reports on local government financing vehicles, or the region in which they’re located, according to a document from the National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors seen by Bloomberg News. The reports should be from the national audit bureau and be no older than three years. China’s leaders are trying to limit risks at the fundraising units, which cities and towns rely on to bankroll construction projects, after they sold a record 1.5 trillion yuan ($244 billion) of notes this year. Authorities are considering requiring provincial governments shift toward direct municipal debt sales as they aim to cut reliance on LGFVs, a draft plan from the Ministry of Finance showed in October.

China Loan Data Understates Exposure to Property Risks, S&P Says – Bloomberg Loans to property development and construction were at least 8.2 trillion yuan ($1.3 trillion), or 13.8 percent of total advances, at the end of last year, the ratings company estimated in a report dated yesterday. That compared with the 7 trillion yuan reported by banks, the ratings agency said.

China Uses Development Bank Push to Become Banker to Emerging Markets – Caixin Beijing is using the new BRICS bank and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to create uses for its forex reserves and production overcapacity

China Private Equity, M&A & Capital Markets, from China First Capital Chinese banks should be understood as engaged in two unrelated lines of business: one is as part of a revolving credit system that channels money to and through different, often cash-rich, arms of the state. The other is to take in deposits and make loans to private customers.  In one, trust is absolute. In the other, it is wholly absent. Many Chinese private companies do still thrive despite a banking system that treats them like con artists, rather than legitimate businesses with a legitimate need for credit. The end result: the Chinese economy, though often the envy of the world,  grows slower and is more frail than it otherwise would be. Everyone here in China is paying a steep price for the lack of trust, and the mispricing of credit.

Alibaba, Tencent chairmen invest in China’s Ping An Insurance | Reuters The deal reinforces ties between China’s second-largest insurance company and two Internet giants that have been eyeing finance as an area ripe for technological disruption. The three firms collaborated previously, in 2013, to set up Zhong An Online Property Insurance, China’s first online insurance seller.

Packer’s fortunes tumble as China doubles down on crooks and high-rollers | Little Red Blog A similarly bleak outlook is predicted for 2015 with the Party’s crackdown on illegal money transfers, tighter restrictions on visas and the protests in Hong Kong all posing significant threats to Macau’s gaming revenues, especially from VIP gamblers.

Xinhua Insight: Long-awaited deposit insurance harbinger for further reforms – Xinhua Since then, the DIS has been repeatedly brought under the spotlight, including in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Nevertheless, it remained on hold. It gained renewed attention last year when, in a key document on deepening reforms, the Communist Party of China mentioned moves to establish a deposit insurance system and improve the market-based exit mechanism for financial institutions . The delay was partly due to opposition from banks that would have to pay for the scheme, instead of enjoying the implicit government guarantee already in place free of charge. In particular, bigger banks, with strong state backing and established roots in the community, would have to set aside capital for the DIS despite the chance of a bank run being very unlikely.

News Analysis: New coal tax to push industrial reform – Xinhua The new resource tax on coal has been deemed a crucial push for reforming the industry, presenting an opportunity for a better local taxation system. On Monday, China began a resource tax on coal based on price rather than the traditional basis of quantity. The tax rate will be decided by the provincial governments within a 2 and 10 percent range, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources. The policy was first announced at an executive meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Sept. 29.

The devil in the detail of the China trade deal | Business Spectator The only problem is the agreement isn’t really an agreement and it’s not even about free-trade. The much heralded deal that was signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Canberra a couple of weeks ago was technically a ‘a statement of intent to conclude an FTA’…That means it’s likely the whole thing will only come into effect towards end of next year or early 2016. But when it does come into effect, it still won’t be a free-trade deal. The agreement is probably best described as a ‘preferential-trade deal’.

The Troubles With Building ‘China’s GE’ – WSJ Sinomach, a company controlled by Beijing and instrumental in everything from China’s military build-up to its space ambitions, runs the forge. But a close look at Sinomach’s business here shows it is bleeding red. The forge’s home—a sprawling, Cold War-era campus of almost 12,000 people that makes everything from artillery to parts for nuclear reactors—is dependent on a river that at times of the year is too shallow to transport its products. It also faces intense competition from other state-run firms that are closer to customers in an industry dealing with a capacity glut.

经济参考网 – 央企高管公积金缴存将设红线 比例不得超12%,基数不高于当地上年平均工资3倍 《经济参考报》记者从权威人士处获悉,严控公积金缴存比例被纳入下一步央企高管薪酬改革范畴,将对央企高管实施严格的公积金管控,规定央企负责人缴存住房公积金比例最高不得超过12%,缴存基数最高不超过企业负责人工作所在地统计部门公布的上年度职工月平均工资的3倍。

Oil Drop Offers China Double Dose of Help as Expansion Slows – Bloomberg Crude prices that have fallen by about 30 percent could add 0.3 to 0.5 percentage point to growth in China, according to Mizuho Bank Ltd. The decline also keeps inflation slow enough to give scope for further easing after last month’s interest-rate cut, says economist Lu Ting at Bank of America Corp.

 

POLITICS AND LAW *

More than One-Third of Applicants Skip Civil Service Exam – Caixin More than one-third of the people who signed up to take the test to become a civil servant next year did not show up for the exam on November 30, a sign that interest in a government career may be ebbing The low turnout came as government agencies made more jobs available for candidates. A record 22,000 positions were made available, 3,000 more than last year. The State Administration of Civil Service said 1.4 million candidates signed up to take the test it administers, 110,000 less than last year. About 510,000 people signed up for the exam, but did not attend.

中国外逃最高级别贪官被曝与李小琳关系密切_中国-多维新闻网 每逢电力系统出现震荡,李小琳都是难以绕开的焦点,这位中国的“电力一姐”本身就有相当的话题性。北京追捕外逃贪官,代号“猎狐行动”,锁定前电力部党组书记高严等人。有消息称,高严除了在北京做高官外,同时还与“电力一姐”李小琳在香港共事,交往甚密。 最新一期《亚洲财经》爆料,高严从香港出走,落脚越南,转道夏威夷,最后在澳洲安居后消失。出逃前,高严除了在北京做高官外,同时还与李小琳在香港共事。

江泽民视察参观国家博物馆并题词(图)_网易新闻中心 Chinese media reporting today on a 10.3 visit Jiang Zemin made to the the National Museum in Beijing, looks hearty and hale in the picture

网曝河南一镇长带城管强制填河 殴打村民_网易新闻 pictures of a small-town henan mayor leading chengguan, beating local residents in a land dispute

人民日报任仲平:让法治为现代中国护航–观点–人民网 ——论全面推进依法治国 任仲平  //  very long page 1 + jump commentary in today’s People’s Daily by “Ren Zhongping” on making the rule of law the “escort” for modern China

职务与职级将并行 专家:县以下机关公务员待遇有望提升–时政–人民网 人民网北京12月2日电(记者赵艳红 钟伟)2日召开的中央全面深化改革领导小组第七次会议审议了《关于县以下机关建立公务员职务与职级并行制度的意见》。会议指出,在职务之外开辟职级晋升通道,有利于调动广大基层公务员的积极性,是为基层公务员办好事、办实事,一定要把好事办好。在全国县以下机关实施这项改革,要总结试点工作经验,坚持好的做法,改进存在的不足,认真抓好组织实施。

China Property Registration to Begin in March 2015 | Mingtiandi The nationwide log of who owns what properties is expected to a be a major deterrent to corrupt officials hiding wealth in real estate holdings, as well as giving the government greater transparency into transactions nationwide. The real estate registry is also part of scheme to begin taxing property holdings. According to a report in a local media outlet, the new register will share property locations, owners’ names and domiciles among the police, tax department and other government auditing agencies in real time.

不动产登记影响房价料“十分有限”财经频道一财网 另外,业内还有一种担心是,在不动产登记的顶层设计完成后,可能在执行层面遭遇阻力。易居中国执行总裁丁祖昱就曾提到,不动产登记真正难的是全国层面的联网,即地方政府是否愿意将自己城市的不动产登记信息放到全国层面。 “不动产登记对楼市的影响,恐怕还不是那么直接。”中投顾问房地产行业研究员殷旭飞认为,该条例还处在试点阶段,截至目前尚未公布不动产登记试点城市名单,此外,各地不动产登记恐存在多种登记标准与差异,各方如何实施、落实尚属未知。

刘家义:保障依法独立行使审计监督权–理论-人民网 依法治国是我们党领导人民治理国家的基本方略,是实现国家治理体系和治理能力现代化的法治保障。国家审计是党和国家监督体系的重要组成部分,是推进依法治国的重要手段。党的十八届四中全会通过的《中共中央关于全面推进依法治国若干重大问题的决定》(以下简称《决定》)提出,完善审计制度,保障依法独立行使审计监督权。对公共资金、国有资产、国有资源和领导干部履行经济责任情况实行审计全覆盖。我们要深刻领会、认真贯彻全会精神,依法履行审计职责,充分发挥审计作用,全面推进依法治国,更好服务于推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化。 //  Liu Jiayi, auditor general of the National Audit Office on page 7 of Wednesday People’s Daily on guaranteeing independence for his bureaucracy…the NAO seems to be playing a big role in the corruption crackdown, working well with CCDI and Wang Qishan

原铁道部运输局局长张曙光情妇罗菲受贿判5年(图)_新浪新闻 mistress of fallen Ministry of Railways official Zhang Shuguang gets 5 years in jail  //  记者2日获悉,原铁道部运输局局长张曙光的情妇罗菲被北京市二中院以受贿罪一审判处有期徒刑5年,宣判后即由取保候审状态转为收监。目前,罗菲还未提出上诉。10月17日,原铁道部运输局局长、副总工程师张曙光因受贿罪,被判处死刑缓期两年执行,并处没收个人全部财产。法院审理查明,张曙光于2000年至2011年间,利用职务便利,直接或通过其情妇罗菲收受款物折合人民币共计4718万余元。

How To Bribe Your Way Into The Chinese Government The Xinhua report describes two types of payment plans: 1. Installments For those playing a long game, all Chinese holidays, as well as weddings and birthdays, are occasions for handing over “red envelopes” –- envelopes stuffed with cash that are traditionally given to newly married couples and children during the holidays. According to media reports, these envelopes usually contain between $2,000 and $10,000, and are given out at least three times per year, often during holiday visits to an official’s home. 2. Shock and awe In this approach, the contender will flood the decision-maker with cash at key times: during the 5-year promotion cycles, for instance, or when the decision-maker is likely in need of cash, such as when tuition is due for a child studying overseas.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

解放军八将领被查后续 传首个女少将被捕_中国-多维新闻网 Duowei on more rumors of arrests of PLA officers, this time a female major general  // 近日大陆网络上传闻解放军信息工程大学副政委高小燕少将被抓,同时其在309医院的住宅被查抄。但是这个消息截至目前并没有得到官方的证实。这也是外传解放军八名高级将领被查后,再有少将落马,也是首位女性将领被捕。 对于这则消息,多家海外媒体都予以了报道。据称,郑州一所军队大学11月27日向有关人员通报,该校副政委高小燕少将因工程受贿被捕并移交军事司法机关。同日晚,中共军委总部法纪部门到309医院查抄了高小燕在该院的住宅。高小燕是2012年从总参总医院即309医院政委升任郑州军队大学副政委(副军职)并从大校晋升为少将。这也是近期再有少将涉入被查传闻。

Anti-foreigner propaganda is not spiking in China – The Washington Post Iain Johnston. Not sure his approach to the data takes into account how China’s media environment has changed since the Jiang and Hu eras // In short, these data would seem to be inconsistent with the meme that there has been a dramatic turn toward, or surge in, anti-foreign discourse in the official media in the Xi Jinping era. The patterns in the data suggest that the regime employs the foreign hostile forces meme in response to sharp increases in perceived internal threats (a student/worker democracy movement, the Falungong, Tibetan or Uighur separatism). That there has not been a dramatic spike (yet) under Xi Jinping implies that the regime’s perception of threat or crisis has not shifted a great deal (yet) compared to the latter few years of the Hu Jintao period. // In a 2013 paper the author wrote “An examination of seven cases in Chinese diplomacy at the heart of the new assertiveness meme finds that, in some instances, China’s policy has not changed; in others, it is actually more moderate; and in still others, it is a predictable reaction to changed external conditions. In only one case—maritime disputes—does one see more assertive Chinese rhetoric and behavior.” How has this held up almost 2 years later?

Reforming North Korea – Opinion – Al Jazeera English This time, the big news is indeed a decision, the so-called “May 30th Measures”, jointly issued early this year by the North Korean cabinet of ministers and the Central Committee of the Korean Worker’s Party. This decision was initially classified, but because it was supposed to be read by so many people, its contents have become public knowledge. The contents are revolutionary. It seems that, at long last, North Korea has decided to begin Chinese-style reforms. Marshal Kim Jong-un is obviously inclined to do what his late father, Generalissimo Kim Jong Il, was too afraid to, that is, to attempt to transform his country into a developmental dictatorship, largely similar to present-day Vietnam or China.

Subcommittee Hearing: Is Academic Freedom Threatened by China’s Influence on U.S. Universities? | House Committee on Foreign Affairs – Ed Royce, Chairman Chairman Smith on the hearing: “The Chinese educational market is a lucrative one, but we have to ask if there are any hidden costs for American schools and colleges seeking access to that market.  –witnesses: Perry Link, Thomas Cushman, Xia Yeliang

France to help China in hunt for corruption suspects | Reuters how many in the wine country?  //  Robert Gelli, the French justice ministry’s director of criminal affairs, told Reuters that Chinese authorities would shortly send their French counterparts a list of people suspected of “getting rich from corruption and seeking refuge in other countries, or investing this money in other countries”.

China’s ADIZ at One Year: International Legal Issues | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative This week marks a year since China abruptly declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering a large area of the East China Sea, including islands the legal possession of which China disputes with Japan. Especially because China has sent signals that it might enact another such zone in the South China Sea, this anniversary provides a moment to reflect on the international legality of the East China Sea ADIZ and international rules applicable to it. In general, China’s establishment of an ADIZ is not per se illegal as a matter of international law; however, the requirements China has declared for its East China Sea ADIZ are much broader than recent customary practice by others and China could enforce it in particular ways that would violate international law. Because international law does not yet have much to say about ADIZs, the practices worked out between China, the United States, Japan and others in this case will serve as important baselines for future ADIZs in Asia.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Chris Mcgrath Hong Kong Pictures & News Photos | Getty Images some excellent images of the protests

Hong Kong protester Joshua Wong starts hunger strike – CNN.com Hong Kong’s teenage protest leader Joshua Wong has begun a hunger strike with two members of his youth activist group Scholarism in his latest attempt to secure talks with the government to demand democracy. “I know it is really harmful to my body, however it is the only way to give pressure to the government to get a meeting with us,” Wong told CNN

Taiwan’s KMT scrambles for interim chairman as Ma Ying-jeou steps down | South China Morning Post Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will officially step down tomorrow as the chairman of Kuomintang to take full responsibility over the ruling party’s crushing defeat in Saturday’s local elections. Ma told participants in a KMT party affairs meeting this afternoon that he would announce his resignation during tomorrow’s KMT central standing committee meeting, party officials said.

 

TECH AND MEDIA *

China punishes Internet firms for spreading porn – Xinhua |  fines related to mobile content. sounds like Lu Wei is now very focused on cleaning up mobile apps and content, could be disruptive for some..Momo reportedly has set us ipo date for 12.12. they better hurry if what I’m hearing abuut a coming mobile crackdown w teeth is true  //  The Ministry of Culture on Tuesday announced a list of Internet firms suspected of spreading pornography and gambling, including Tencent and Baidu. Mobile game platforms run by the two firms and another nine Internet companies were alleged to be involved in pornography, gambling and violence, according to a ministry statement.

The Race to Become the WeChat of the West — Medium by the CEO of Kik // I remember pitching Kik to investors in 2009. It was the most frustrating experience. Why do you need chat that’s just on your phone? Why wouldn’t you just use Facebook Messenger? Why not just text? At the time, the West completely underestimated chat. People thought Facebook would rule forever. Five years and a string of billion-dollar financings later, the West no longer questions the value of mobile-first chat. But once again, the West is completely underestimating where this is all going. They look to the East at WeChat and Line and say their platforms could never work here. They are so right, and yet so wrong….If you talk to me, or to Evan Spiegel at Snapchat, we’ll say the same thing: We want to be the WeChat of the West. If you say that to people in Silicon Valley, you’ll likely encounter something we’ve already heard a lot: The WeChat model will never work in the West.

In 2015, Technology Shifts Accelerate and China Rules, IDC Predicts – NYTimes.com Beyond the detail, a couple of larger themes stand out. First is China. Most of the reporting and commentary recently on the Chinese economy has been about its slowing growth and challenges. “In information technology, it’s just the opposite,” Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, said in an interview. “China has a roaring domestic market in technology.” In 2015, IDC estimates that nearly 500 million smartphones will be sold in China, three times the number sold in the United States and about one third of global sales.

Chinese teen gets online support after accusing Youku of stealing his space-balloon video idea | South China Morning Post Youku has since taken the video off its website. On Monday, it issued a statement acknowledging that its video and Niko’s project shared the same title and that there were “similarities” between the video’s storyline and Niko’s experience detailed online as well as the “relatively high overlap ratio” between one of its shots and Niko’s photo. The statement came after Niko posted on his weibo account demanding a public apology from Youku and its producer Wang, as well as Maimai. But Youku’s statement said that the company’s behaviour “cannot be affirmed as a copyright infringement according to the law”.

优酷就侵权事件公开致歉 已撤下视频|优酷|侵权互联网新浪科技_新浪网 Youku publicly apologizes for ripping off Niko Edwards, pulls the video. but no 1 fired?

Hollywood, Chinese Censors Win In TV Anti-Piracy Campaign-Huffington Post “The MPAA is probably a good covering factor in that [Chinese regulators] can say, ‘It’s piracy, it’s not good and we’re a nation of laws,'” said one Beijing-based media analyst who spoke off the record in order to frankly discuss government policies. “But I think the effect that they’re after is making it that much more difficult to view shows that are both unlicensed and unvetted. Being able to do it in a way that’s makes it about standing up to piracy, it’s a win-win there.” YYeTs has announced its service in mainland China is permanently closed, but as of Monday the site remained accessible outside the country and by using software that circumvents Chinese Internet controls.

广电系:呼吁政策限制民营制作公司和视频网站!-看点-虎嗅网 SAPPRFT caling 4 policies 2 restrict private production firms & online video sites?  // 近几日,国广星空(中国国际广播电台下属单位)的CEO王明轩在朋友圈发起了广电系对民营制片公司的怒号,在他看来,目前电视台习惯将节目外包给灿星(如 《来吧!灰姑娘》)、天择(如《百万粉丝》)等社会化制作公司,导致电视台空壳化严重。甚至,王明轩老师还焦虑地呼吁主管单位,希望“站在国家文化产业的 的高度,也出台一个‘限制自制比例令’”。而小娱近日在各种论坛上,也听到不少广电系专家提出的相似忧虑,甚至频频呼吁主管单位对视频网站进行更进一步的管理。

China Focus: Press standards stress zero tolerance for underhanded behavior – Xinhua The committee called for journalists to show professional commitment and stressed that news reporting should be based on field interviews. Leaders of 151 media organizations in Zhejiang signed a “zero tolerance” press standards pact. The prevalence of new media, which have been aided by the rise of mobile Internet, is also under the committees’ supervision.

免费通话能否拯救易信财经频道一财网 易信的通话功能既不产生流量消耗,也不产生话费消耗,易信自掏腰包,通过大量补贴为用户买单。

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

China’s Brave Underground Journal—II by Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books $$ In downtown Beijing, just a little over a mile west of the Forbidden City, is one of country’s most illustrious high schools. Its graduates regularly attend China’s best universities or go abroad to study, while foreign leaders and CEOs make pilgrimages to catch a glimpse of the country’s future elite. Founded in 1917, it has been lavishly rebuilt over the past few years, with a sleek new gym, dining hall, and classrooms—a monument to a rising country. But to many Chinese people of a certain age, the Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University conjures up another image—that of a group of fanatical girls torturing their vice-principal to death. For years, the event has been of interest to foreign scholars of the Cultural Revolution

Remembrance | prchistory.org the full archive of 《记忆…this site new?

涉薄周政治风波 赵本山触犯大忌接连遇冷_中国-多维新闻网 more on troubles Zhao Benshan appears to be facing // 11月29日出版的《解放军报》发表题为《文艺要传播正能量》的文章,特别提到“二人转”,称这些年“二人转”失去传统风格,改为以说流行的荤段子为主,动作不伦不类,没有艺术品味,只有互相丑化、谩骂和调侃。与此同时,外界纷纷报道,赵本山老家的某位官员被举报涉黑。其细节报道也随之出炉,“这位官员曾在担任开原书记期间,利用黑社会与政法力量,长期勒索敲诈当地企业主,还雇凶追杀举报人等。”海外媒体皆认为这个铁岭老乡就是赵本山。继文艺座谈会后,赵本山再次深陷舆论漩涡。

Xinhua Insight: Reforms urged for China’s controversial college projects – Xinhua The Chinese government initiated the “211” and “985” projects to build world-class institutions of higher education in the 1990s. The “211” project aimed to raise education standards in about 100 colleges and universities in the 21st century (hence the number 211), and the “985” project, named after its launch date on May 1998, endeavored to select the cream of the crop from the 211 institutions. The hugely ambitious schemes have improved the education levels in many institutions, with colleges bettering standards in order to obtain the titles. It’s a situation which begs the question: are the projects necessarily the best measure to guarantee education quality these days?

Family size violation fees to stay – China Daily China’s top family planning authority will continue charging social maintenance fees for family planning policy violations, although some experts say the 12-year-old fee is outdated and should be abolished. The message was delivered at a symposium on Tuesday organized by the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The response addressed repeated public calls to abolish the fees, which have been blamed for fueling corruption.

Mathias Braschler’s and Monika Fischer’s Chinese Portraits – NYTimes.com The resulting series, “China,” is a historical document of a country as its villages turn into cities; its cities into megacities. Shot before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the portraits present a diverse nation through its people: yak farmers, gynecologists, television personalities, village chiefs, singing gondoliers, prostitutes, aging revolutionaries, circus stars, bank employees, beggars and trash collectors.

刘少奇俄籍长孙仅见过祖父一面 父亲卧轨自杀(图)新闻腾讯网 11月24日,刘少奇诞辰116周年,回湖南宁乡花明楼参加纪念活动的阿廖沙闯入公众视野。新京报对话刘少奇的异国长孙,他讲述刘氏家族和自己的故事,以及在历史大风云之外,他如何面对这一身份,如何看待中国以及如何搭建中俄交流的桥梁。

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

Heavy metal pollution in Hunan soil exceeds China’s limits by 1,500 times | South China Morning Post More than 1,500 times the permitted level of heavy metal has been found in soil in China’s south-central Hunan province, according to an unofficial environmental study. Among the heavy metals found in the soil, the amount of cadmium was 200 times more than that permitted by China’s soil environmental quality standard, China Economic Weekly reported, quoting the findings by non-profit organisation Changsha Shuguang Environmental Charity Development Centre.

President’s wife Peng Liyuan narrates, sings in short film – China.org.cn The wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan, is a WHO ambassador for the global fight against HIV and AIDS. And now she’s lent her voice to speak and sing against the disease. Peng Liyuan is the narrator in a short film speaking against discrimination on people with HIV. She also sings the film’s theme song. As a professional singer, this is the very time she’s released a song since her husband took office in 2013. // quite a remarkable video

China to launch $10.66 billion fund to fight pollution – East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times China plans to launch a 50 billion yuan (S$10.66 billion) environmental protection fund in stepped-up efforts to reduce widespread pollution, the official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday. The fund would receive investment from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Finance, the paper said,

京津冀联手治机动车污染(京津翼协同发展)–人民网汽车–人民网 据12月2日上午在北京召开的京津冀晋鲁内蒙古机动车排放污染控制联防联控协调会透露,北京、天津、河北、山西、山东、内蒙古等6省市区,将联合成立机动车排放控制工作协调小组,搭建京津冀及周边地区机动车排放污染监管平台。这是全国首个跨区域机动车污染排放监管协调机制,该平台搭建后,将率先在全国实现跨区域机动车排放超标处罚、机动车排放监管数据共享、新车环保一致性区域联合抽查。

 

AGRICULTURE *

京津冀后备耕地枯竭 官方建言组建三地协调机构财经频道一财网 通 过对京津冀三省(市)耕地现状的调研,国土督察北京局日前建议,应建立更高层面的京津冀国土资源管理专题议事协调机构。 为了解京津冀地区近年来耕地占补情况,北京督察局近期赴京津冀省级国土资源行政主管部门调研。调研结果显示,京津冀地区近年来耕地占用量较大、比例较高,与此同时,补充耕地成本越来越高,补充耕地越来越难。

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL *

Beijing tightens rules for airports – China Daily The Beijing government has issued new airport rules with an eye on the growing number of conflicts between passengers and carriers in recent years. The rules forbid entering an airport-controlled area without an airport pass, entering a taxiway, forcibly boarding and occupying an aircraft, climbing over and destroying airports’ protective fencing and other acts that threaten air transport safety and disturb airport order.

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