The Sinocism China Newsletter For 03.05.13

The National’s People’s Congress has opened. Xinhua has the highlights from Premier Wen Jiaobao’s government work report, including the “Major Targets for 2013”:

— Gross domestic product (GDP) grows about 7.5 percent.

— Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase will be kept around 3.5 percent.

— A deficit of 1.2 trillion yuan (190.48 billion U.S. dollars) is projected, 400 billion more than the budgeted figure last year and accounting for 2 percent of GDP.

— Add more than 9 million urban jobs.

— Keep the registered urban unemployment rate at or below 4.6 percent.

— The government will work to ensure that real per capita income for urban and rural residents increases in step with economic growth.

On Monday foreign reporters were surprised that the 2013 military budget was not announced at the NPC pre-opening press conference, as had been the custom in previous years. The very impressive NPC Spokeswoman Fu Ying gave a long response (video, Chinese with no translation) to a question about the defense budget. Madame Fu is a Beijinger right? They have a real talent for putting you in your place. Bloomberg has a translation of parts of her answer.

The Wall Street Journal has a good story about how Xi Jinping courts the military that discusses the growth of the defense budget:

…an article by two Western scholars to be included in this month’s China Quarterly academic journal argues that China’s official military budget increasingly reflects actual spending, and also includes some items—such as disaster-relief operations—that aren’t usually calculated as part of Western defense budgets.

“Increases in the official defense budget are roughly consistent with GDP growth and constitute a declining percentage of central government expenditures,” wrote Adam Liff, a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, and Andrew Erickson, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College.

“This suggests that, generally speaking, investment in military modernization—aside from specific capabilities considered exigent for party leadership continuity, national survival and defense of critical national interests—remains a lower priority overall than economic development for Beijing’s leadership,” they wrote.

Andrew Erickson has already posted a quick take on the budget numbers at Xinhua: China’s 2013 Military Budget to Rise 10.7% to US $114.3 Billion–What it Means, and Why it Matters. Right now China is building a formidable regional military power, but aren’t the trends in place for much greater global power projection over the next decades?

They will likely need those capabilities, as the country appears to have surpassed the US to become the world’s top oil importer (Financial Times). America thrived in a bipolar world for nearly 50 years after World War II. The unipolar, unchallenged primacy America has “enjoyed” for the last couple of decades may be more historical aberration than inevitability. How America adjusts and adapts is one of the key issues of our age.

I hope that US policymakers are not betting on a crash that will constrain China’s military spending. The economy here has very significant challenges but I am doubling down on my brave call that China will “muddle though” while growing increasingly concerned about America’s political and fiscal dysfunction and the damage the current DC derangement may be doing to the country’s reputation as a reliable and committed partner in the region.

My China Insider column for Dealbook this week addresses the new property rules and the possibility of a real estate crash:

Chinese shares fell the most in two years on Monday as the Shanghai stock exchange’s property index tumbled 9.25 percent. Late on Friday, China’s State Council had announced a new set of policies designed to cool down the housing market.

Economic data released in the last few days has called into question the strength of China’s recovery. It may be that Beijing is so confident in the health of the economy that it can afford to squeeze the real estate sector harder. Or it may be that the government is so concerned about the social implications of a resurgent property market and the effect that real estate may have on the effort to rebalance the economy toward consumption from investment, that it is willing to take that risk…

I do not mean to completely dismiss some of the dangerous imbalances that have been building in certain property markets across China. But China is not one real estate market, and taking a binary boom-or-bust view about the “China market” is likely a mistake.

Meanwhile, at least one official appears to be hedging on sustained, strict implementation of the property rules (住建部回应对“国五条”质疑:看看反应再说_资讯频道_凤凰网) while fears of the new tax have caused a surge in transactions and near riots at real estate transaction centers around the country, as these pictures show.

The real estate market is one of Premier Wen Jiabao’s legacies. During his tenure the government introduced nine rounds of real estate controls over ten years, yet prices kept rising. Should we expect the new administration under Premier Li Keqiang to forcefully implement his predecessor’s policies, or to more aggressively address some of the core issues that have led to such a distorted market?

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Alibaba’s Small Loan Arm Seeks Approval for Asset Securitization – Caixin – economist/analysts looking at financial reforms and SME credit availability in China paying attention to Jack Ma and Alibaba? original chinese article..Disclosure, I own shares of Yahoo, a large Alibaba shareholder// The small-loan business arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is awaiting the securities regulator’s approval for its new asset securitization plan. The plan wraps up loans as investment vehicles to be bought by investors through an asset management scheme operated by Orient Securities Co. Ltd., a brokerage firm. Orient has applied to China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to launch the scheme, but has not received an answer. Money raised from the proposed asset management scheme would be used to buy loans made by Alibaba’s Chongqing small-loan division. Investors can expect a six-percent annual return on their investment, with money generated by repayment of the loans, the broker’s document shows.

PREMIER LEAGUE: After fatal Ferrari crash, careers are stalled, group loses power – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun – Editor’s note: This is our fourth series on the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party. Previously, we described the downfall of rising star Bo Xilai, profiled the powerful children of high-ranking party members, and explained the leadership shift in 2012.The latest series, “Premier League,” focuses on the Communist Youth League and the high-ranking officials who have risen–and fallen–through its ranks. The series will appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.//very interesting details, as always hard to know if really true but main reporter has a good reputation

América Móvil teams up with Chinese security software maker | beyondbrics – A US Congressional committee might have branded Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation, the Chinese telecom equipment makers, as a threat to US national security. But such fears do not appeared to be shared by Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man. On Monday, Slim’s América Móvil, which dominates the mobile phone business in Latin America, announced plans to team up with Chinese security software maker NQ Mobile.

China Bankers Earn Less Than New York Peers as Pay Drops – Bloomberg – “China is no longer a sacred cow,” said Christian Brun, a founder of Wellesley Partners Ltd., a Hong Kong-based executive- search firm. “This is the first year in a long time that the bankers there haven’t been singled out for special treatment.” Managing directors working on China deals, most of them based in Hong Kong and Beijing, earned between $900,000 and $1.3 million in salary, bonus and stock options last year, according to the five bankers. Compensation is now the lowest since 2003, when the SARS epidemic that started in China killed about 800 people worldwide and put Hong Kong on the brink of recession, they said. Pay that year ranged from $500,000 to $800,000, two of the bankers said.//no wonder the really connected Chinese no longer flock to the i-banks…much better money in PE

The Jamestown Foundation: China Channels Billy Mitchell: Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Alters Region’s Military Geography-By Andrew S. Erickson – China’s DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is no longer merely an aspiration. Beijing has successfully developed, partially tested and deployed in small numbers the world’s first weapons system capable of targeting the last relatively uncontested U.S. airfield in the Asia-Pacific from long-range, land-based mobile launchers. This airfield is a moving aircraft carrier strike group (CSG), which the Second Artillery, China’s strategic missile force, now has the capability to at least attempt to disable with the DF-21D in the event of conflict. With the ASBM having progressed this far, and representing the vanguard of a broad range of potent asymmetric systems, Beijing probably expects to achieve a growing degree of deterrence with it.

Critic of unbridled growth tipped as new China environment minister | Reuters – Pan Yue, a high-profile official with a history of taking on big state-owned interests, has emerged as the front-runner to become China’s new environment minister, sources said, amid growing public discontent over worsening pollution in the country. Pan, a former journalist, is tipped to take over from career bureaucrat Zhou Shengxian when Premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang forms his new cabinet during the annual session of parliament which begins on Tuesday, three independent sources familiar with the matter said.

Weibo alters China’s environmental debate – FT.com – on Deng Fei and his water pollution activism// Chinese citizens are increasingly turning online to vent their anger over pollution – and the government has been forced to respond. When record-breaking smog blanketed northeastern China in January, the Chinese public knew about it instantly because of the pollution apps that many have on their smartphones, and the government in Beijing rolled out new anti-pollution measures within days.

Tmall announces cooperation with foreign baby formula companies – XinhuaAlibaba everywhere. Disclosure, I own shares of Yahoo, a large Alibaba shareholder// – Tmall, a major Chinese online shopping platform, will cooperate with overseas baby formula companies to sell their products to Chinese consumers online, sources with Tmall announced on March 1. Tmall made the announcement after 25 people were detained by Hong Kong authorities for violating a newly-adopted purchase limit on baby formula, which went into effect on March 1. “Tmall will open official online flagship stores for six baby formula brands under French Groupe Danone and Swiss Nestle. Domestic buyers should be confident in purchasing those imported milk products,” Zhang Yong, the president of Tmall, told Xinhua late Sunday.

 

THREE MOST READ LAST ISSUE

This a new section based on a reader suggestion. Comments appreciated.

The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World: Craig Simons:: Amazon – The Devouring Dragon shines a spotlight on how China has put our planet’s forests, wildlife, oceans, and climate in jeopardy, multiplying the risks for everyone in our burgeoning, increasingly busy world.

Photos of Trash Heaps Made to Look Like Chinese Landscape Paintings– Take a quick look at Chinese photographer Yao Lu’s “New Landscapes” photos, and they may look to you like old Chinese paintings of misty mountains, green hills, and choppy brown rivers. Each one even bears a red seal stamp that artists use as signatures on finished works. Look a little closer, however, and it becomes apparent that something isn’t quite right. “Those are some strange looking mountains, you think to yourself.” Well, they aren’t actually mountains, but rather mounds of garbage covered with green construction netting.

$2M posted to bail out Chinese student facing vehicular-homicide charge | The Seattle Times -A Chinese national who faces a vehicular homicide charge for a Nov. 10 accident that left one woman dead and three injured is free on bail after his family posted a $2 million cashier’s check.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China Banks Sell Massive Amounts Of FX As Inflows, Yuan Rise | MNI – Chinese banks sold massive volumes of foreign exchange to the central bank in January, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange indicated, suggesting rising amounts of inflows as well as greater willingness to hold yuan. Chinese banks sold $61.2 billion in foreign exchange in the interbank market in January, up from just $8.2 billion in December and $5.3 billion last January. The majority was believed to be have been sold to the PBOC, the biggest player in the market.

Finding IPO Alley – Caixin – Caixin going after corruption in the IPO process// No one knows when CSRC might thaw the market for new listings. So executives have been busy door-knocking deep inside the commission at its dual “public offering departments” – one that reviews IPO applications for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s ChiNext growth board, the other for the Shanghai Stock Exchange A-share market. They’ve also been busy wining, dining and warming up to members of CSRC’s elite Public Offering Review Committee (PORC), which ultimately decides the fate of every IPO application that’s survives the commission’s lengthy company review process.

China Economic Watch | Show me the money: Chinese banks retain profits despite interest rate reforms – The performance of the banking sector this year suggests PBOC should look past these concerns and continue gradual reform. Liberalizing interest rates will almost certainly have an impact on those less competitive banks which are overly exposed to capital-intensive users. Yet the cost of maintaining these capital distortions for the economy is too high. The performance of the banking sector last year proves that if implemented gradually, interest rate liberalization need not result in crisis. Gradual reform will send signals to banks to adjust their lending practices and to capital-intensive users to reduce their borrowing. Both adjustments will benefit the economy as a whole, and over-time could lead to more competitive services and more sustainable profits for China’s banking sector

Closer Look: To Cool Property Market, Gov’t Bets on Tough Tax – Caixin – in the places where good public welfare resources are concentrated, it is likely home-sellers will increase the sales price to transfer the cost of the tax to buyers. Thus, if this tax is strictly implemented, it might push up home prices. In places where housing is oversupplied, this measure will have only a subtle impact on the expectations of investors and speculators. In addition, the tough tax may prompt sellers to fake contracts, and the taxation department should pay attention to this possibility.

Rice Glut Expands With Farms Poised for Record Crop: Commodities – Bloomberg – Global food supplies are rising as the worst U.S. drought since the 1930s abates and the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts record corn and soybean harvests. Expanding stockpiles may help contain world food costs that have tumbled 12 percent from an all-time high in 2011. Production of rice, the staple for half the world, is set to climb to an all-time high for a fourth season in 2013-2014 while inventories in Thailand have almost doubled in three years, IGC data show.

China Seen Creating Its Own BHP to Boost Purchases Abroad – Bloomberg – “Creating national champions makes sense because mining is very capital-intensive, said Jeremy South, who oversees global mining advisory at Deloitte & Touche. ‘‘It also makes no sense for Chinese companies to be competing with each other for overseas deals.’’//the bankers and the accountants are sure hoping this happens…possible fee bonanza

China city banks get go-ahead to be fund managers | Reuters– Eight large Chinese banks already have joint fund management ventures with foreign investment banks under the pilot that started in 2005. Together they managed nearly 500 billion yuan ($80.3 billion) worth of assets, the regulator said. “Expanding the pilot project will improve the structure of social financing and increase the proportion of direct financing,” Shang Fulin, chairman of the bank regulator, said in the statement.

China’s Youth Say ‘I Quit’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ– The number of new online job applicants and resumes on Zhaopin.com, a leading recruitment website, increased 36% year-on-year in the first week after the lunar New Year holiday, the company revealed recently. New job ads doubled. The period after the Lunar New Year holiday, also known as Spring Festival, often sees Chinese workers on the move. With their annual bonus in their pocket, and the trip home to see family behind them, many young workers are looking for a change. But this year, the number looking for new opportunities was especially high. “We have seen increasing job-hopping after Spring Festival for the past few years, but I was still taken aback by this year’s huge increase,” said Benjamin Chen, public relations director for Zhaopin.

China Finance: Worried about stock fraud? Look at the auditors | Tradingfloor.com– n general, we can say that you would be better off buying stock in a Chinese company that has been audited by a Big 4 accounting firm (KPMG, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers) than one that has had its books checked by a smaller accounting firm. This is no surprise: the Big 4 handle China’s huge state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and most Chinese IPOs, so there’s some natural selection favouring them. However, just five auditors have been involved in auditing a full 30% of our troubled Chinese companies. They include two Big 4 firms: Deloitte and E&Y.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

UPDATE 1-China hammers out rail restructuring – sources | Reuters– The Ministry of Railways will likely be split into a “Railways Bureau” that will oversee operations and personnel for the sprawling network, the 21st Century Business Herald newspaper reported on Monday. The lucrative freight business and passenger transport would be incorporated and added to state-owned enterprises overseen by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, or SASAC.

On Eve of People’s Congress in China, Vows of Change and Raised Hopes – NYTimes.com – “They’ve already taken many steps that have raised hopes among ordinary people — now we’re looking for signs that the hopes can be satisfied,” said Deng Yuwen, an editor for The Study Times, a weekly newspaper published by the Central Party School in Beijing. “The congress won’t have any breakthroughs, but it can indicate where and how fast the leaders want to take things.”

Chinese ex-police detained while trying to stamp out corruption – Behind The Wall – “More than 70 police raided our (guest house),” said former policeman He Zuhua. “Police are everywhere.” His voice shook and he soon hung up, fearing that authorities would trace the call to the public telephone on the capital’s ragged outskirts. NBC News has been unable to reach him since. He says he and a handful of former police officers are being pursued and detained by authorities after traveling to the capital to help shine a light on corruption within their ranks. The officers have joined droves of unhappy citizens who annually converge on Beijing in the hopes of petitioning their leaders for help during the annual National People’s Congress which started Monday. Each spring scores of petitioners are pulled from buses, trains, sidewalks, and simple hotels and locked up in secret locations, known as “black jails.”

“Red descendants” at this year’s “two sessions” | Danwei– This year’s two sessions and the reforms supposedly to be discussed there dominate the front pages of China’s newspapers today (see gallery below). The City Lady (都市女报) from Shandong province, however, has as usual taken a slightly different view with a front page story on the “Red descendants” at the two sessions this year, i.e. the delegates who are children and grandchildren of previous Party leaders. On the City Lady‘s count, there are in total at least 24 “Red descendants” at this year’s CPPCC, 15 men and nine women. The three images on the newspaper’s front page (see image above) are three of the nine female “Red descendants” delegates, namely (from left to right) Deng Xiaoping’s daughter Deng Nan (邓楠), Li Peng’s daughter Li Xiaolin (李小林), and Zhu Rongji’s daughter Zhu Yanlai (朱燕来). Also included among the 24 are Mao Zedong’s grandson Mao Xinyu (毛新宇), Zhou Enlai’s niece Zhou Bingjian (周秉建), Zhu De’s grandson Zhu Heping (朱和平), Chen Yun’s son Chen Yuan (陈元), Wan Li’s son Wan Lifei (万季飞), Li Xiannian’s daughter Li Xiaolin (another 李小林), and Li Dazhao’s grandson Li Hongta (李宏塔).

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Xi Jinping Burnishing His Military Support – NYTimes.com– Mr. Xi has signaled that he wants to shake off the inefficiency and corruption that have undermined the military. Since taking the top party post, he has repeatedly demanded “battle readiness” from the military and sent ships and aircraft to assert China’s claims over islands also claimed by Japan.  Mr. Xi’s comments were a call to vigilance from the military, not war footing, said several experts. “He’s not beating the drums for an imminent battle. It’s all about training,” said Dennis J. Blasko, a former United States military attaché in Beijing and author of the book “The Chinese Army Today.”

China’s choice signals focus on Tokyo | The Japan Times – The Communist Party of China will appoint Wang Yi, a former ambassador to Japan who heads the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, as foreign minister, an apparent sign of willingness by the leadership to improve relations with Japan, according to sources.//not sure why people assume Wang’s deep experience with Japan means that somehow that will be good for Sino-Japan relations. the people in beijing I know who are most pessimistic about the relationship and the chance for real conflict are the ones who have years of experience in Japan

China sending helicopter-carrying ships in Senkakus dispute – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun– Japan’s concern over a standoff with China over the disputed Senkaku Islands is deepening as Beijing is dispatching helicopter-carrying vessels to the surrounding waters almost daily. Japanese officials fear that if a Chinese ship launched a helicopter while intruding in Japan’s territorial waters, it could elevate the dispute to the next level. The Japan Coast Guard and the Defense Ministry are closely monitoring voyages of the Haijian 50, which can be loaded with helicopters.

Hopes fade for Sino-Japan summit over disputed Diaoyu Islands | South China Morning Post – China’s envoy to Japan said that a high-level summit soon between top leaders of the two nations was unlikely, setting a pessimistic tone for bilateral ties that have been plagued by territorial disputes.

China reluctant to accept Japan’s support over toxic smog: minister | The Japan Times – China appears reluctant to accept Japan’s offer of technical assistance to help its neighbor cope with a deepening air pollution problem, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said Saturday.

The Jamestown Foundation: Rigorous Training Schedule Highlights PLA’s Focus on People–By Peter Mattis – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) plans to conduct 40 military exercises this year in order to improve its readiness as well as its ability to fight and win wars, according to the Training Department of the PLA’s General Staff Department (PLA Daily, February 28; Xinhua, February 27). Continuing with the PLA’s improving training regimen, the exercises will include a variety of combined arms—what the PLA calls “joint”—and live fire exercises. This announcement adds concreteness to the almost-continuous rhetorical emphasis on the need to improve the PLA’s readiness for combat operations. Despite China’s progress in modernizing its military with the milestone of major progress in 2020, the international environment is still not favorable for the PLA. As summed up by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Geng Yansheng, the PLA “is shouldering the dual responsibilities of mechanizing and informationizing the armed forces…Compared with military capabilities around the world, however, there is still a gap” (Xinhua, March 1).

Out of China, into Africa: Tracking the ways of private Chinese investment | The Best Defense – Yet most of these questions presuppose state-led investment in Africa. Xiaofang Shen, a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS China Studies Program and former investment climate specialist at the World Bank, said in a recent talk at SAIS that the more notable increase over the past decade has been the rise in Chinese private-sector investment on the continent.

Is your Mandarin good enough to join MI5? : Shanghaiist – if you can answer questions about a chinese blurb on food MI5 thinks your chinese is good //Sharp-eyed Redditors spotted that the United Kingdom Security Service, commonly known as MI5, has posted example language proficiency tests online for its ‘Mandarin Intelligence Analyst’ roles. Candidates must be able to read and understand the following block of text, and then answer a number of questions about it:

U.S. Weighs Risks and Motives of Hacking by China or Iran – NYTimes.com– American intelligence officials believe that the greater danger to the nation’s infrastructure may not even be China, but Iran, because of its avowal to retaliate for the Stuxnet virus created by the United States and Israel and unleashed on one of its nuclear sites. But for now, these officials say, that threat is limited by gaps in Iranian technical skills. There is no doubt that attacks of all kinds are on the rise. The Department of Homeland Security has been responding to intrusions on oil pipelines and electric power organizations at “an alarming rate,” according to an agency report last December. Some 198 attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure systems were reported to the agency last year, a 52 percent increase from the number of attacks in 2011.

Asia Unbound » Secretary of State John Kerry on China– now is not the time to go wobbly// By suggesting that the pivot may be out of favor, Secretary Kerry has also drawn into question U.S. credibility. Officials and analysts abroad have already raised doubts about U.S. staying power in the Asia Pacific; Secretary Kerry’s doubts will only add fuel to the fire. And Secretary Kerry might recast his “action-reaction” narrative. For most observers outside China, it was Chinese assertiveness that was the action, while the U.S. pivot was, in large measure, the reaction. Secretary Kerry understandably wants to make his mark on U.S. foreign policy over the next few years, and he appears to be setting himself a challenging agenda, including making progress on a free trade agreement with Europe and restarting the Middle East peace talks. However, the original logic of the pivot—ensuring security in the Asia Pacific and taking advantage of the region’s economic dynamism through a free trade agreement—still stands. It’s too early to pivot away

 

TECH AND MEDIA

China Internet Executives Get a Seat at the Table in Beijing – China Real Time Report – WSJ– noteworthy that no top sina execs given weibo’s importance// Six months later, the result has been an unprecedented number of Internet pioneers in both the NPC and CPPCC. In the relatively more important NPC is Tencent Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Pony Ma and entrepreneur Lei Jun, while Baidu Inc. BIDU +1.94% Chief Executive Robin Li, Shanda Games Ltd. GAME -0.98% Chief Executive Chen Tianqiao, and Sina Corp. SINA -1.24% board member Zhang Yichen are among the others who are members of the CPPCC.Although the two bodies have little real power – celebrities such as Jackie Chan and Yao Ming also grace this year’s congresses as delegates – the person who attended the meeting said the new appointees would help the industry raise more key issues to officials at the highest levels of government.

Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi CEOs Propose New Legislature to Strengthen China’s Tech Sector –

李彦宏、张近东VIE提案互搏_财经频道_一财网 – 在中国存在十多年历史的“潜规则”VIE究竟该捆绑还是松绑,近日,政协委员、苏宁云商集团董事长张近东与百度董事长李彦宏针对VIE意见相左的提案,成为业界关心的焦点。

张朝阳精神危机:我什么都有 但居然这么痛苦|张朝阳|搜狐_互联网_科技时代_新浪网 – SOHU CEO Zhang Chaoyang at risk of a mid-life crisis?

China Launches Screenwriting Competition for U.S. Writers – The Hollywood Reporter – The Chinese government on Monday announced an international scriptwriting contest targeting American writers, for which finalists will be flown to China to discuss having their stories set there made into films.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Joy Chen: Letter to Parents Worried About Their Daughter Becoming a ‘Leftover Woman’ – The term “leftover woman” is one of the most-discussed topics in China today. It refers to women who are still single by the age of 25 or 27. If this sounds rude to you, you would be amazed at the level to which this term is popularized across Chinese society. And you’d be amazed at how many women have told me that they have married, or are considering marrying, a man they don’t love due to marriage pressure from their parents. Each year, this marriage pressure rises to fever pitch over Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year period when millions of Chinese return home to be with their parents.

How Can a Chinese Woman Born in 1990 Already Be ‘Too Old’ for Marriage? | Tea Leaf Nation – Media and the government continue to emphasize issues like “leftover women” and “late marriage,” but critical discussion of the subjects by Internet users shows that Chinese are no longer taking these buzzwords at face value. “Sometimes,” wrote Weibo user @jiuyue2010, “Our anxieties are the product of outside forces.” As time goes on, the post-90’s late marriage crisis, both real and imagined, will continue to shed light on China’s larger issues.

南方周末 – 审判“文革”遗案 – 编者按:年过八旬老人站上被告席,固然让人唏嘘不已;追究施害者责任,还受害者公道,国家对待“文革”那段特殊历史,法律正义却不应缺席。但此案实难以复制,绝大多数“文革”遗案,因超过追诉期等因素,已失去了在法律框架内解决的可能性。大量“文革”遗案不容忽视和遗忘,无论是给予法律正义还是政治和解,都是在以国家的名义和姿态抚慰受害者,也是对那段荒唐历史的最好反思。

China and the mirror of history: Re-examining the Cultural Revolution | The Economist – The stakes are high. If it allows the gates to open too widely on attributing blame for the Cultural Revolution, the party risks sullying its own reputation, perhaps beyond repair. But keeping them firmly shut risks nurturing a nostalgia for the disastrous era born out of frustration with the current leadership and a lack of information about the past.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

China to be global premium car leader |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn – China is expected to become the world’s largest premium car market, overtaking the United States and selling more than 2.3 million premium cars by 2016, according to a report released on Monday by McKinsey & Co. The market for premium cars in China has accelerated by 36 percent a year over the past decade, against 26 percent annual growth in the overall Chinese passenger vehicle market during the same period.

Dwellers in a Degraded Land – Caixin – Vegetable farmer Ren Zhongchen holds a title in his hand to half a hectare of land in Dalahai, just outside Baotou City, but he says the piece of paper is worthless. Dalahai, home of the state-owned mining behemoth Baotou Steel in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, is one of seven villages that has for years been promised compensation for pollution linked to birth deformities and barren farmland.

治雾霾亟需修法 区域限值必须推行 | 每经网 – 3月2日,《每日经济新闻》记者看到,今年民建中央所提的《关于加强我国大气污染治理》的提案,被列为全国政协“0003号”提案。 这份提案中,民建中央指出,“初步估计全国有70%左右的城市空气质量不能达到二级标准,因此应该尽快修订并颁布实施新的《大气污染防治法》。” 事实上,这也是此次“两会”上多位代表、委员的共同心声。全国政协委员李书福将空气污染列为“三座大山”之一,称“压得大家喘不过气来”。他在《关于大气质量立法的提案》中提出,要明确政府、企业、个人等各方在治理大气污染中的责任。

三峡移民的“收入梦”:分股权 再就业 创财富 | 每经网 – 从今天开始,《每日经济新闻》以收入梦、颐养梦、安居梦、健康梦等“十个梦”为主题,深入社会肌理,表达时下民众最为关切之处,以在“两会”期间予以传声. 而作为重要民生问题的收入分配改革,已连续数年成为“两会”热点,相关部委也为此酝酿近10年,在此过程之中,收入分配的天平仍在失衡。孔子言:不患寡而患不均。两千年前的忧思,依旧有着现实的痛感。深处在“一江两山”之间的三峡诸地,囿于多年来客观条件,以及后天种种因素,区域发展以及城乡收入多少显得后劲不足。适逢“两会”期间,我们选择这一区域微观记录,以展现亟待改观的收入分配体系一角。

Chinese appeal for improved environmental transparency – Xinhua | English.news.cn – response to environmental crisis a real test of the more accountable and responsive single party rule Xi seems to be trying to build?// Pollution has become a particularly thorny issue in China in recent years. Concerns about new industrial projects sparked three public protests in Sichuan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces last year. China’s annual parliamentary sessions began on Sunday. Online polls done by media outlets for the sessions indicate that upgraded counter-pollution efforts and the protection of citizens’ environmental rights are among the public’s top concerns. Many people have expressed hope that the parliamentary sessions will bring improvement regarding the government’s disclosure of environmental information.

China Backs Tortoise in Race to Protect Endangered Species – China Real Time Report – WSJ – This year’s bevy of CITES proposals might be an attempt by China to be a more responsible stakeholder in the international system, cooperating with other governments on an issue that’s neither politically sensitive nor likely to generate much opposition. And clearly the frogs and tortoises of the world need someone to protect them from…well, China. But there’s a number of other wild animals that need their main consumer to embrace their plight if a win by the tortoise is to signal a fundamental shift in the country’s attitude toward animal protection.

China’s carbon tax: not so quick | beyondbrics– But does this mean that China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon, will adopt a serious carbon tax? According to Su Wei, director general of climate change at the powerful economic planning ministry, the answer is: probably not anytime soon. Su told beyondbrics on the sidelines of a conference that that carbon tax is “still in a research phase” and that “carbon trading will definitely take place first”. “The issue of tax is relatively complicated. We’ve been piloting carbon trading and exploring carbon trading under the 12th Five Year plan (2011-2015), which made clear that China will set up carbon trading pilots,” Su added.

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