The Sinocism China Newsletter For 03.03.13

Today is the start of about two weeks of the “Two Meetings”. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens this morning, the National People’s Congress (NPC) starts Tuesday. During these couple of weeks do not expect much official news out of China that is not about these two meetings.

Nor should we expect to see delegates with lots of bling, unlike in years past. Between the Internet and the anti-corruption and frugality campaigns wearing and carrying expensive name brands to these meetings may be an invitation to a scandal.

The “Two Meetings” is usually a big gift giving event but not this year. Luxury firms should not expect a good first quarter in China, or a good second quarter the way things are going. A friend who does a lot of “facilitating” expects the gifts to eventually be given, but very carefully and only once the campaigns slow down.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

2nd Plenum of 18th CPC Central Committee ends – Xinhua | English.news.cn– The committee approved a list of candidates for China’s next administration. The list will be presented to the National People’s Congress session which begins next week. It also approved a list of candidates for the leadership of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee. The committee stressed the importance of institutional restructuring as well as reform to improve people’s livelihood. It also stressed the need to reduce emissions and promote sustainable development.// full Chinese announcement

Cnooc Said to Cede Control of Nexen’s U.S. Gulf Assets – Bloomberg – Cnooc Ltd. (883), China’s largest offshore oil and natural gas producer, was barred from controlling Gulf of Mexico oilfields under U.S. terms for its $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc. (NXY), people familiar with the matter said. In its purchase of Calgary-based Nexen, Cnooc acquired about 200 deep-water leases in the Gulf with reserves equivalent to about 205 million barrels of oil, one of the largest holdings in the Gulf, according to Nexen’s website. The state-owned Chinese oil explorer surrendered operating control of those assets to quell U.S. national security concerns, said two people familiar with the agreement who asked not to be named because the terms aren’t public.

Is America’s Door Really Open to China’s Investment? | ChinaFile – At this early stage of China’s global arrival as investor, CFIUS has blocked a tiny number of Chinese overtures, and required preconditions to approval of others.  A few high profile deals have also been scuttled by Congressional or other political objections before they could even go to CFIUS, for example CNOOC’s attempted takeover of Unocal in 2005.  That has left an impression in China and elsewhere that the U.S. is not as open to Chinese direct investment as it says.  While understandable, that’s unfortunate, because the truth is that the vast majority of Chinese deals have gone through, and that CFIUS has found ways to work with companies to mitigate existing risks. At the Rhodium Group, our China Investment Monitor database currently tracks 620 deals done since 2000—and the annual figures are at an all-time high, not on the wane.

Spill in China Lays Bare Environmental Concerns – NYTimes.com The conflict over the Changzhi spill (Slide Show) has drawn attention to the growing problems with water use and pollution in northern China. The region, which has suffered from a drought for decades, is grappling with how industrial companies should operate along rivers. Local officials are shielding polluting companies and covering up environmental degradation, say environmentalists.

人民日报-在中央党校建校80周年庆祝大会暨 2013年春季学期开学典礼上的讲话 (2013年3月1日) – Xi Jinping speech at Central Communist Party School welcoming new class, commemorating 80th anniversary of school founding

Huawei Executive Explains Plan To Overtake Apple And Samsung In Mobile – Business Insider – Technology giant Huawei is plotting to overtake Apple and Samsung in the mobile phone market. Matt Warman spoke to the firm’s director of innovation about China, expansion and making great kit.

An Illicit Trail of African Ivory to China – NYTimes.com– “We call them bloody teeth,” said Xing, a furniture maker and ivory trafficker who is part of a shadowy trade that has revived calls for a total international ban on ivory sales. To the outrage of conservation groups trying to stop the slaughter of African elephants and the embarrassment of Chinese law enforcement agencies, Xing’s thriving ivory business is just one drop in a trail of blood that stretches from Africa, by air, sea and highway, to Chinese showrooms and private collections.

Here Come…China’s Drones–The Diplomat– China has rightly identified a gap in the market, with relatively few countries having inducted UAVs so far, and few capable of building drones themselves, the low cost of Chinese systems will certainly be an advantage. A U.S. Predator costs around $4.5 million, while a Reaper is closer to $10 million for countries that manage to obtain clearance to buy them. Chinese sources have claimed that their equivalent UAVs cost less than $1 million, making them a highly affordable capability for a host of international customers, especially those unable or unwilling to source U.S. and Israeli technology. So if there is an alarm bell worth ringing about the emergence of Chinese UAVs, it is probably not the threat they will pose to the U.S. or Japan in the Asia-Pacific – it is the proliferation to the developing world of armed, unmanned systems that China’s low prices, and even lower export barriers, may soon begin to drive.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Stricter measures issued to cool China’s property market – Xinhua | English.news.cn– Amid expectations of rising housing prices, China’s central government on Friday rolled out specific rules to further tighten control of the property market.The government said in an online notice that homeowners who sell their homes will be levied an income tax as high as 20 percent of the profit they make on the transaction. Prior to the new rules, income tax was 1 percent to 2 percent of the sale price

China Tightens Mortgage Rules as Home Prices Keep Rising – Bloomberg – China’s new-home prices rose for a ninth straight month in February, SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN) said yesterday, 10 days after Premier Wen Jiabao told local authorities to “decisively” curb property speculation and ordered cities with fast price gains to cap the number of homes residents may buy. Li Keqiang will replace Wen in a once-in-a-decade leadership transition at the end of the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress this month. “This is a final effort by Premier Wen to put a stamp on the direction of policy before he leaves office and the message is clear: there should be no relaxation of property market controls,” Mark Williams, an economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said by e-mail. “This is a sensible policy. Even allowing for the construction slowdown of last year, the real estate sector remains on an unsustainable path.”

国务院:出售自有住房所得20%缴个税|二套房贷|售房征税|20%_新浪财经_新浪网 – circular from state council on new property controls…still waiting for the details, unclear if the 20% tax on gains applies to all transactions or just on homes you have less than 5 years…reaction so far negative, that this will increase prices on secondhand homes as buyers will have to eat most of the tax, will increase the size of the payments in the side contracts (阴阳合同) from 30% or so of the amount to 50-60%…the rules appear to be adding more distortions onto an already massively distorted real estate market

媒体盘点:楼市十年九调 房价屡调屡高_网易新闻中心 – nine rounds of real estate repression rules in 10 years, property prices keep rising// 核心提示:媒体盘点2003年至今的房地产调控称,国务院10年里九次出文调控,房价却一路走高。业内人士总结十年调控“共性”是,调控过多在购房者身上做文章,实际上是在抑制需求。专家建议调控需精细化的差别对待,政策条款必须对刚需、改善性需求和投机炒房作出区分

业内解读卖房征20%个税:可能推动房价上涨|卖房|个税|房价_新浪新闻– 多位业内人士均表示,若这项政策得到严格实施,二手房市场购买需求及业主出售意愿都将受到明显影响。 据中新网房产频道了解,目前,除了按规定对个人转让自用5年以上、并且是家庭唯一生活用房取得的所得免征个人所得税外,其余的二手房交易个税政策均按照差额的20%或全额的1%征收,但实际上多采取全额1%的征收方式。

China Tightens Lending in Late Feb. After Jan’s Credit Binge-Caijing – Combined new loans from the biggest four state-owned banks totaled 205 billion yuan ending February 25, down by nearly 50 billion from 250 billion ending February 18, the 21st Century Business Herald, citing authorities from the state-owned banks. The regulatory intervention was “mainly triggered by a too-fast lending pace at the beginning of the month by individual bank

China PBOC Adviser Says Monetary Tightening Pressure Has Eased – Bloomberg – Pressure on China to tighten monetary policy and macroeconomic controls is easing as inflation will be “relatively low” this month due to slowing food-price gains, central bank adviser Song Guoqing said. Compared with January and February, the pressure “has in my view, been relieved,” Song said at a forum in Beijing today. “That’s good news for growth.” He estimated first-quarter economic expansion will accelerate to 8.3 percent. The People’s Bank of China has drained cash from the financial system in each of the two weeks since the Lunar New Year holiday ended on Feb. 15, boosting speculation that it was tightening monetary policy amid concerns inflation is accelerating and real-estate price gains are excessive

China Official PMI Down to 50.1Pct in February-Caijing – Despite the slowdown, the index has stayed about the 50 break-even mark for five straight months. A reading above 50.0 indicates expansion while a reading below 50 indicates contraction. “February’s PMI continued to tread lower, indicating economic growth is set to shift from a rebounding trend to that of stabilization,” said Zhang Liqun, an analyst at Development Research Center, a state think-tank. New orders declined by 1.5 percentage points from the previous month, at 50.1, still above the 50.0-threshold, indicating that demands in the manufacturing industry are still growing. The production sub-index was 51.2 percent, down 0.1 percent while new export orders fell to 47.3 from January’s 48.5.

PBOC’s Yi Says China Prepared for Currency War, Xinhua Reports – Bloomberg – China is “fully prepared” for a currency war should one happen, central bank Deputy Governor Yi Gang said in Beijing yesterday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. “China is prepared,” Yi was quoted as saying by the agency, which gave no further details about where he spoke. “In terms of both monetary policies and other mechanism, China will take into full account the quantitative easing policies implemented by central banks of foreign countries.”

易纲:中国影子银行总量比较小 风险可控-财经网 – Yi Gang also says China’s shadow banking “relatively small, risks are controllable”…these remarks seem to be dismissed as lip service while his currency war words are taken seriously// 中证网讯 谈到银行理财产品的风险问题,全国政协委员、中国人民银行副行长易纲1日表示,中国的银行理财产品或者说是影子银行,总量比较小,杠杆率相对低,大多数产品都是监管范围之内的,总体来讲,能够控制住风险,但也不能掉以轻心,要充分认识到理财产品的风险,防患于未然。

How State-owned Shipper Sailed into Stormy Seas – Caixin – (Beijing) – One of the country’s most prominent liner shipping operators, China COSCO Holdings Co. Ltd., is struggling to avoid being kicked out of the Shanghai Stock Exchange five years after its debut. It lost 6.5 billion yuan in the first three quarters of 2012 after a 10.4 billion yuan loss the previous year. Analysts expect it to post a loss of under 10 billion yuan for all of 2012. If it is in the red again in 2013, it will be forced to temporarily suspend trading until a profit can be turned. If losses continue for a fourth straight year, it will be delisted. However, the chances it can turn the tide this year seem to be long. Analysts say management is more incompetent than it cares to admit. Problems have arisen because of strategic miscalculations and bungled investments with hedging tools.

China NPLs Rise for Fourth Consecutive Quarter, Ratio Drops to 0.95% at End of 2012 -Caijing – Non-performing loan (NPL) outstanding of Chinese commercial lenders rose for the fourth consecutive quarter to CNY492.9 billion by the end of December, 2012, while the NPL ratio dropped to 0.95%, said the top Chinese banking regulator Friday. The non-performing loan outstanding of commercial banks rose by 64.7 billion RMB by the end of December, 2012, compared with a year ago and the NPL ratio dropped 0.05% from a year earlier, according to the statistics released by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on its website. Total banking assets rose to CNY 133.6 trillion, up from CNY 128.5 trillion in the Q3 and increased by 17.9% from a year early, the official figure showed. Total banking liabilities rose to CNY 125trillion, 17.8% higher compared with a year ago

Carlyle-Led Group Buys China Hotel Chain for $688 Million – Bloomberg – Carlyle Group LP (CG), the second-biggest private-equity firm by assets, agreed to buy Chinese budget- hotel operator 7 Days Group Holdings Ltd. (SVN) in a sweetened deal valued at $688 million. Carlyle is joining Sequoia Capital and Actis LLP to pay $13.80 for each U.S. share for the Guangzhou, China-based company, a 3.2 percent premium to yesterday’s closing price and a 31 percent premium to the closing price on Sept. 25, the day before 7 Days received the original buyout offer at $12.70 a share. The buyer group received $120 million in bank financing to help fund the deal, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, the companies said in a statement today

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Cheng Li: High Expectations for China’s National People’s Congress – China Real Time Report – WSJ – I believe that we will see the announcement of some important policy initiatives at the NPC, for several reasons:

Veteran muckraker forced to leave paper – China Media Project– The doyen of Chinese investigative reporting, Wang Keqin, is once again on the move. Editors pressured Wang into resigning earlier this week after his newspaper, the Economic Observer, came under pressure from authorities for a series of hard-hitting reports. [READ Wang’s review of investigative reporting in China]. A former CMP fellow, Wang is China’s best-known investigative reporter. Over the past decade he has tackled scores of sensitive stories, from systematic corruption in China’s taxi industry to the spread of HIV-AIDS through careless and unnecessary blood transfusions. He was forced out of his previous newspaper, the China Economic Times, in 2011 after a spate of hard-hitting reports, including a 2010 expose about the mishandling of tainted vaccines in Shanxi province.

媒体披露胡锦涛等卸任常委“归隐”前生活_网易新闻中心 –

Ling Jihua gets CPPCC job, could become one of body’s vice-chairman | South China Morning Post – The united front minister is traditionally appointed one of the vice-chairmen of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a position carrying the rank of state leader. But Ling’s appointment is also a sign he will not be further held to account for the crash of a Ferrari in Beijing last year that killed his son, who was driving, and seriously injured two female passengers. His new role in the CPPCC shows that the worst of his political crisis may have past, said Chen Ziming , an independent analyst of party politics.

Chinese law enforcement: Live television and dead men walking | The Economist – An American expert on unmanned aircraft told the New York Times that China is not yet “ready for prime time using armed drones” and may still lack confidence in its drones, operators and control systems. But the expert, Dennis Gormley of the University of Pittsburgh, predicted this could change with “a few more years of determined practice”. When that time comes, he added, the Chinese “surely will have America’s armed drone practice as a convenient cover for legitimating their own practice.”

Big Changes to State Council ‘May Be Unveiled at NPC Meeting’ – Caixin – Academics have called for the creation of an independent commission to plan reform measures, but sources say this has been shelved. The NDRC has been called the “little State Council” for its wide-ranging power. The “reform” part, to study and formulate policies for economic and social development, and the “development” aspect, which involves broad administrative and planning control, are increasingly in conflict.

The Absurdity of a Live Broadcast Execution | Sinostand – Were the bits that were shown morbid, exploitative and inhumane? Sure. Was it all shamelessly done as a political statement with unsettling xenophobic undertones? Absolutely. Was it warranted in order to deter such brutal criminal acts in the future? I’m sure a lot of people will make that argument. And I’m sure you’ll be reading elsewhere about all these things in the coming days, but all I can say is nobody took the enormous leap of showing the execution – something a lot of people who should have known better seemed to think was a real possibility.

央视微博回应直播糯康死刑争议:诛枭不是看杀人_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示:3月1日,云南省昆明市中院依法对糯康等四名湄公河案罪犯执行了死刑。央视“直播糯康死刑”引来网友质疑。对此,央视新闻官方微博回应称“诛枭,不是看杀人”,公示糯康死刑,看到毒枭凶犯虚弱,很怕死。严谨的司法审判、人道的注射死刑,展示了法治的尊严与文明。

“Self-immolation Guide”: desperate insanity of the Dalai clique – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Recently, the Dalai clique published a “Self-immolation Guide” on the Internet, openly encouraging the Tibetans within the Chinese border to “carry out self-immolations according to the plan and procedures”. “The Self-immolation Guide” demonstrates a sober attitude in scheming and arranging the cruel actions of self-immolations, which makes it stand out among many propaganda of the Dalai clique, and thus soon get intensive spotlight.

Treasury Wine Readies China Gifts Modeled on $168,000 Ampul – Bloomberg – Beijing friend in wine biz says this year’s Chinese new year gift orders were down 2/3 from last year. more competition, frugality campaign// Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. (TWE), Australia’s largest winemaker, plans to boost Chinese gift sales with trophy products similar to its $168,000 bottle of 2004 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon released last year. The Cabernet, contained in a glass ampul mounted inside a wooden cabinet, is “the sort of gifting that we really want to go out there” in Asia, David Dearie, chief executive officer, said in an interview yesterday. Treasury rose to a record today in Sydney trading. The company spent several hundred thousand dollars last year researching China’s wine-buyers, said Dearie. Treasury is using its findings to tailor products to Chinese consumers after success targeting Hispanic drinkers with Beringer’s Los Hermanos label in the U.S., he said.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Demystifying China’s Defense Spending: Less Mysterious in the Aggregate | Andrew S. Erickson –must read for anyone who is writing on China’s defense budget, especially timely as will be news about it out of the NPC//  China’s limited transparency concerning its defence spending harms strategic trust, but foreign analysts often lose sight of important realities. Specific details remain unclear, but China’s defence spending overall is no mystery – it supports PLA modernization and personnel development as well as its announced objectives of securing China’s homeland and asserting control over contested territorial and maritime claims, with a focus on the Near Seas (the Yellow, East, and South China seas). This article offers greater context and perspective for Chinese and Western discussions of China’s rise and concomitant military build-up through a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of its defence spending and military transparency.

China defense spending seen rising as territorial rows deepen | Reuters– To pay for these deployments and new hardware in the pipeline, most analysts expect that this year’s budget will continue the long-term trend of double-digit percentage increases in annual spending.”Estimates are still for steady growth,” said Ni Lexiong, a military expert at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. “With China’s current attitude, it’s not going to let itself get bullied by anyone.”

No big splash, but Department of Defense insists sequester dangerous – Philip Ewing – POLITICO.com – this does not help convince China or US allies in the region that US really has the resolve and the resources to counterbalance China in Asia over the long-term. DC looks like a dysfunctional child, not a reliable partner// The Army will “curtail” training for all units except those bound for Afghanistan, meaning a readiness hit for about 80 percent of the active force. And the Pentagon will soon give notices to thousands of employees expected to be furloughed in early April.

China and Japan Trade Barbs Over Disputed Islands – NYTimes.com– “China has always taken maritime safety very seriously and does not want to see accidents at sea,” Mr. Geng said. “But the Japanese leader has repeatedly made provocative statements, exaggerated the China threat and made much of military issues, intentionally provoking military confrontation.”In a speech to Japan’s Parliament, however, Mr. Abe used a comparison to the 1982 Falkland Islands war to cast China as the provocateur. He cited the memoir of the British prime minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher, who said her decision to go to war was an effort to defend the principle that rule of law should prevail over the use of force.“I want to appeal to international society that in modern times, efforts to change the status quo by the use of force will justify nothing,” said Mr. Abe, referring to the standoff with China.

Seized Arms Off Yemen Raise Alarm Over Iran – NYTimes.com – An Iranian dhow seized off the Yemeni coast was carrying sophisticated Chinese antiaircraft missiles, a development that could signal an escalation of Iran’s support to its Middle Eastern proxies, alarming other countries in the region and renewing a diplomatic challenge to the United States

5 Ways to Build a Stable U.S.-China Strategic Relationship–The Diplomat – These ideas, among others, are spelled out in a new report – “Building toward a Stable and Cooperative US-China Strategic Relationship” – available in both English and Chinese on the Pacific Forum website . Over the past year, our three organizations cooperated to bring together a small group of American and Chinese experts to carry out a Track 2 joint study of the challenges, but especially the opportunities for building habits of strategic cooperation between China and the United States. Participants included former senior officials, retired military, and think tank experts. In this Joint Study, one American and one Chinese expert each set out his or her thinking on a given aspect of building strategic cooperation, from visions of a long-term goal for the relationship to new options for strategic engagement.

China’s universities linked to cyber-spying-USA Today– A burgeoning Chinese effort to build academic and civilian expertise in computer espionage has ties to the nation’s military, a science journal reports Thursday. In the past five years, China has opened 10 university computer security academies that specialize in cyber-research, says the Science magazine report by international editor Richard Stone. Chinese universities publish computer espionage research in the open scientific literature — including one 2009 report “outlining how to mount an effective attack on the U.S. power grid.” Such schools have hosted hiring fairs for People’s Liberation Army units, which have been linked to hundreds of hacking successes against U.S. industries and government agencies recently by outside analysts.

How to Win a Cyberwar with China – By Dan Blumenthal | Foreign Policy – To use the tools at America’s disposal in the fight for cybersecurity will require a high degree of interagency coordination, a much-maligned process. But Washington has made all the levers of power work together previously. The successful use of unified legal, law enforcement, financial, intelligence, and military deterrence against the Kim regime of North Korea during a short period of George W. Bush’s administration met the strategic goals of imposing serious costs on a dangerous government. China is not North Korea — it is far more responsible and less totalitarian. But America must target those acting irresponsibly in cyberspace. By taking the offensive, the United States can start to impose, rather than simply incur, costs in this element of strategic competition with China. Sitting by idly, however, presents a much greater likelihood that China’s dangerous cyberstrategy could spark a wider conflict.//Blumenthal seems to be engaging in a bit of revisionism…if the Bush policies towards the DPRK were “successful” how come they have nukes and the Kim dynasty is not just in power but feting Dennis Rodman?..He goes on to advocate cyber-privateers to attack Chinese targets. This a popular idea and potentially very lucrative among certain contractors in DC these days?

The Arc of Chinese Strategy-The Diplomat– Indeed. The EP-3 incident offered a foretaste of what the coming decade-plus would bring. A midair collision, a minor thing in itself, precipitated the diplomatic ruckus. Its fundamental cause was China’s desire to fix the principle that it could rewrite the rules of the international order in the China seas and the skies above. Beijing has long chafed at surveillance flights, military surveys, and other routine operations carried on in international waters and skies. Such activities are explicitly permitted by treaty and embedded in longstanding custom. By publicly forcing the world’s preeminent power to kowtow on freedom of navigation, Beijing believed it could abridge certain liberties to its benefit. Who would stand up for the existing order if not America, its chief founder and guardian?

Beyond the Pivot | Foreign Affairs -Kevin Rudd- The Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia made sense, because China was starting to doubt U.S. staying power. Now that Washington has sent Beijing a clear message it will be around for the long haul, however, the time has come for the two countries to deepen and institutionalize their relationship in order to secure Asia’s lasting peace and prosperity…China, a nation of foreign and security policy realists where Clausewitz, Carr, and Morgenthau are mandatory reading in military academies, respects strategic strength and is contemptuous of vacillation and weakness. Beijing could not have been expected to welcome the pivot. But its opposition does not mean that the new U.S. policy is misguided. The rebalancing has been welcomed across the other capitals of Asia — not because China is perceived as a threat but because governments in Asia are uncertain what a China-dominated region would mean. So now that the rebalance is being implemented, the question for U.S. policymakers is where to take the China relationship next.

Buying un-American: Bribery Case Spotlights DoD’s Covert Effort To Obtain Foreign Weapons | Defense News | defensenews.com– In an interview, Pope said he was researching the Shkval in collaboration with Penn State’s Applied Research Lab, which had a contract with the Navy’s Office of Naval Research. “We have to be aware of a threat like this,” he said, “and we have to be able to potentially counter it.” He maintains that he wasn’t working covertly when he was arrested but believed that he had cooperation of Russian authorities. While he was in captivity, he says, he was told by his interrogators that 50 of the torpedoes had been approved for sale to the Chinese government.

J-15 fighter able to attack over 1,000 km – Xinhua | English.news.cn – The J-15 fighter jet, likely to be commissioned to China’s first aircraft carrier, is able to cover an area with a radius of over 1,000 km on attack missions, a chief designer said Saturday. The jet reaches similar technical standards of the third-generation carrier-borne fighters currently in service, said Sun Cong, a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference who is here to attend the political advisory body’s annual session.

Anger after Jackie Chan caught using military car | South China Morning Post– Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan was widely condemned by Chinese netizens after he was caught using a military car in Beijing. In several photos posted on Sina Weibo, China’s twitter-like service, on Friday, a man highly-resembling Chan is seen walking into a parking lot towards a parked black Audi bearing a white military plate. One photo shows Chan standing next to the car while a woman companion holds a door for him.

Covert Malaysian Campaign Touched A Wide Range Of American Media – A range of mainstream American publications printed paid propaganda for the government of Malaysia, much of it focused on the campaign against a pro-democracy figure there. The payments to conservative American opinion writers — whose work appeared in outlets from the Huffington Post and San Francisco Examiner to the Washington Times to National Review and RedState — emerged in a filing this week to the Department of Justice. The filing under the Foreign Agent Registration Act outlines a campaign spanning May 2008 to April 2011 and led by Joshua Trevino, a conservative pundit, who received $389,724.70 under the contract and paid smaller sums to a series of conservative writers.//APCO worldwide helped facilitate…Malaysia the only country to do this? 

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Chinese netizens split on who to blame for Hong Kong’s newly imposed baby powder purchase restriction | Offbeat China – 王烁, chief editor of Caixin, commented: “It’s both heartless and stupid for Hong Kong to threat mainlanders who backpack baby powders with imprisonment. The burden on Hong Kong’s baby formula supply is only temporary, and will be resolved once international diary companies re-evaluate the market demand in Hong Kong. The power of Hong Kong lies in its ability to bridge China and the world. Now Hong Kong leaders put a block between mainland and themselves due to baby formula problems. It shows that Hong Kong has lost its reason and conscience.” Later, he went on to explain his reasoning: “[Mainland’s] demand of imported baby formula could have been a huge business opportunity for Hong Kong. Hong Kong booms exactly because it values free market. But now, Hong Kong is destroying itself.”

Foreign deputy Zhang Zhijun tipped to be next Taiwan affairs chief | South China Morning Post – A reshuffle is looming in the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office with the likely appointment of Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun as its new head.He would replace Wang Yi, who is expected to be transferred to head the Foreign Ministry at this week’s National People’s Congress.Zhang, who is also the Foreign Ministry’s party secretary, is said to be Beijing’s choice because it wanted to continue appointing senior diplomats to head Taiwan affairs, which often involves complex international relations.

Plans for Taiwanese and Chinese “Common Home”: Stirring Vision, or Political Ploy? | Tea Leaf Nation– Imagine a city flush with both renminbi and Taiwan dollars, one where Chinese and Taiwanese managers, designers, researchers, and officials work together to create a harmonious “home,” and where children from both sides of the Straits play together at summer camps. Does such a city exist? Not quite yet. But Pingtan—an island located in China’s Fujian province, just 78 miles from Hsinchu, Taiwan—is getting close

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Dear Apple, Amazon, Google: Here’s Why Chinese Consumers Hate Your Ecosystems – Chinese consumers love your gadgets – that’s great news. But the bad news for Apple, Amazon, Google, and many more companies is that Chinese netizens hate your ecosystems. They really don’t want to be trapped in your walled garden. In an age of platforms and extended web services, that’s a huge monetization problem for tech companies entering the world’s biggest market.

Watch: Escorts in China get a lesson in using Momo, WeChat to lure clients | Nanfang Insider– like many classes, it involved a stern teacher and a couple of students giggling and whispering at the back. This particular lecture included a screen that may have been a PPT and focused on how to use social media services such as Momo, WeChat and Sina Weibo. The bespectacled lecturer also emphasized the importance of using a photoshopped picture to attract customers’ interest, stressing the value of having an ovular face and attractive eyes.

Being Bingbing | ChinaFile– Fan Bingbing has been in the spotlight since she was sixteen. Today, she is one of the most well-known actresses in China. Initially celebrated as a teenager for her roles in the TV dramas that play to captive audiences across China’s provinces, she has since reinvented herself as a one-woman powerhouse in the Chinese entertainment business.Now, at the age of thirty, she consistently stars in major mainland and Hong Kong studio features, tours and records as a pop singer, runs her own television production company, owns an acting school in Beijing, and appears annually on the Forbes China Celebrity 100 List.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The Useless Tree: Confucian Learning, or not – David Brooks has a piece in the NYT today, discussing a new book by Jin Li, Cultural Foundations of Learning: East and West.  Let me say right up front that I have not read the book (though I look forward to learning from it). I am simply reacting to Brooks’ interpretation of it.  And that interpretation raises a number of questions.

Beckham’s CSL ambassadorial role now confirmed: details below | The Li-Ning Tower – avid Beckham’s much discussed ambassadorial role for the Chinese Super League (CSL) will see him visit China three times this season. His Excellency will miss the league’s opening ceremony on March 8 due to UEFA Champions League commitments with PSG (though he could appear by video link or recorded message), but Becks will likely come at the end of March (PSG don’t play March 18-29 inclusive), then again at the end of May after the end of the French season on May 26, and finally in November towards the end of the CSL season.

U.S. Officials Hoped Chinese Liberalization Program for Tibet in Early 1980s Would Bring Significant Improvements– Washington, D.C., February 28, 2013 – U.S. officials had hopes thirty years ago that a political liberalization and economic reform program China had initiated in Tibet could lead to real improvements in that country, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The documents describe a path diametrically at odds with the one Beijing has pursued in recent years – suppressing violent protests, arresting scores of ethnic Tibetans in the Qinghai province, which borders Tibet, sentencing one to prison for 13 years, and renewing accusations that the Dalai Lama is encouraging anti-Beijing actions (despite the fact that the Tibetan exile government has specifically urged protesters not to engage in them). In part due to this crackdown in China, the protests, including self-immolations, have spread to other countries, with the most recent occurring in Nepal’s capital, Katmandu.[1]

Shattuck-St. Mary’s linked to student in gang-rape outraging Chinese public | MinnPost – News of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s connection first appeared on Chinese social networks mid-afternoon on Wednesday, with some commentators circulating messages on Sina Weibo that said that they had attended the Faribault, Minn., boarding school with Li. Other comments cite the high cost of tuition at Shattuck-St. Mary’s ($35,000 a school year is the figure currently circulating on the service, and in Chinese media).

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

18 years “too long” to wait for clean air: official – Xinhua | English.news.cn – “Eighteen years is too long to wait,” said Lyu Xinhua when asked to comment the authority’s timetable for major Chinese cities to make air quality conform to the national standard by 2030. “We wish to shorten the period.” Ministry of Environmental Protection set timetables in January for cities experiencing different degrees of air pollution

China Needs ‘Big Bang’ Plan on Pollution, Deutsche Bank Says – Businessweek – Delegates to the National People’s Congress, which opens its annual session on March 5, and its main political advisory body are expected to urge the nation’s new leaders to adopt anti-pollution policies, Jun Ma, chief economist at Deutsche Bank, said in a report today. The government should consider policies that will reduce coal usage and automobile demand, and “massively” increase investment in clean energy, subways and railways, Ma said. China needs “big bang measures to fight air pollution,” Ma said in the report. “The public is now demanding immediate and material government actions to improve air quality.”

China Criticized over Tiger Farms and Illegal Ivory | ChinaFile – China is under pressure to regulate its rampant trade in illegal ivory and tiger parts ahead of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), opening this weekend in Bangkok.It has also been accused of quietly stimulating domestic markets for tiger skins and body parts, with more than 5,000 captive-bred tigers held in Chinese farms and zoos. Undercover investigations by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveal a legalized domestic trade in the skins of captive-bred tigers, sold as luxury home décor, which is stimulating the poaching of wild tigers and other Asian big cats as cheaper alternatives.

Interview: China’s legal ivory trade offers solution to end smuggling – Xinhua | English.news.cn – China’s legal ivory trade offers a means to better protect African elephants rather than a laundering route for smuggled tusks from poached animals, says a New Zealand academic who has just completed an in-depth study of the trade in China.Wildlife economist and Massey University lecturer Dr Brendan Moyle said some conservation groups with “very entrenched positions” were renewing calls for a total end to the legal trade in ivory ahead of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which opens in Thailand on Sunday.

The Poison Eaters of Gansu Province – Caixin – Caixin digging deeper into soil pollution// (Beijing) — Barely any rainfall on a bone dry landscape has always made crop farming in the western province of Gansu a rough gamble between the sky and local irrigation policies. But now, farmers reap only sorrow from fields that experts say is severely contaminated with cadmium and other heavy metals. A survey conducted between 2006 to 2010 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and the Ministry of Land and Resources is believed by many soil pollution experts to be the most comprehensive inspection of China’s land pollution to date. But the central government has refused to release the results of the survey, on grounds that the information is an issue of national security. In 2006, the MEP stated roughly 10 million hectares of farmland had been contaminated by heavy metals, including 2.2 million hectares of land affected through water pollution.

红会会长与卫生部长称愿无偿捐献器官-法制网 – 黄洁夫说,长期以来,我国器官移植来源主要依靠死囚,尽管我国有严格的法律规定,死囚应自愿捐献器官,但是我们是个13亿人口大国,法律执行上仍存在漏洞。在世界上,我国是唯一系统利用死囚器官的国家,这与我们一个政治大国、文明大国的地位十分不相称。由于未建立国家级别的器官捐献体系,使得移植行当一直处于千疮百孔状态。国际敌对势力把这个事情(利用死囚器官)扩大化,攻击我们国家的人权和文明。他们对中国器官移植的所有文章持反对态度,他们的原则是不接受、不发表、不合作。而同时,我国多年的移植医生,把这项治病救人的工作当做神圣、高尚的事业,但尴尬现状使他们长期处于无奈状态。

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

A Streak of Brooklyn in Beijing – NYTimes.com – The hutongs between the Lama Temple and the Drum and Bell Towers have largely escaped the wrecking ball but have undergone a dramatic shift nonetheless. Old-timers have been joined by a new breed of Chinese and expatriate residents clad in skinny jeans riding fixed-gear bikes, a loyal customer base for restaurants that offer locavore menu options and bars that serve drinks like Pabst Blue Ribbon. In this corner of Beijing, the traditional hutong has been overrun not by a large-scale development but by a very Brooklyn sensibility.

 

BEIJING

杨树底下村敛巧饭_老猪871的博客_朱天纯_博联社 – beautiful pictures of a lunar new year celebration in huairou, beijing. wish I had known about this

Reduced traffic controls for “two sessions” – Xinhua | English.news.cn – To keep the upcoming “two sessions” frugal and minimize disturbance for local residents, Beijing police have canceled the traditional practice of escorting session deputies and members with police cars, a senior Beijing traffic control official has said.With no police outriders and fewer traffic controls, traffic police will ensure a clear path by optimizing traffic routes for the deputies of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) and members of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said Li Shaoming, deputy director and spokesperson of the Beijing Public Security Traffic Management Bureau, on Friday.

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

CCTV-News Recruitment Campaign – CCTV is recruiting for a number of new positions in editorial and operations. Join us in our state-of-the-art broadcast center in Beijing’s CBD. If you’re an experienced journalist or producer, and have native or fluent English skills, we’d like to hear from you.

M on the Bund shanghai Literary Festival– Ready? Our annual literary feast begins March 1. It’s a celebration the best in fiction, literary non-fiction, journalism, the arts, poetry and more, with a glorious mix of writers from around the world and at home in China. For three weeks, we’ll hear novelists, journalists, food & wine writers, biographers, children’s writers, Sinologists, explorers, cinematographers and more  discuss a richly diverse selection of genres in interactive forums and individual sessions.

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2 thoughts on “The Sinocism China Newsletter For 03.03.13

  1. according to “Self-immolation Guide” published a on the Internet – no one will ask where exactly?

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