The Sinocism China Newsletter For 03.13.13

Nearly 6000 dead pigs have now been found floating in a Shanghai river. They were dumped somewhere upstream and the cause of death is still under debate.

嘉兴养猪村调查:死猪收购被杜绝 猪农多扔猪下河 looks at a pig village at or near the source of the Shanghai pigs. One merchant claims that a crackdown on the sale of dead pigs forced pig farmers to dump them into the river. So the good news may be that fewer dead pigs are getting into the food supply, but the bad news is that it used to be very common? Regardless, another reason, if you need one, to avoid processed pork in China.

黄浦江死猪溯源:嘉兴村民随手扔死猪如丢个可乐罐 is another disturbing article about the pig float.

Chinese netizens are keeping a sense of humor, or at least the one who discovered this pigfish (Yfrog picture) is.

Kai-Fu Lee posted to his Sina Weibo an imaginary conversation between a Beijinger and a Shanghainese:

Beijinger: “We Beijingers are the most fortunate, we can open the window and have free cigarettes.” Shanghainese: “That’s nothing, we turn on our faucets and have pork chop soup!” 北京人:“我们北京人最幸福,打开窗子就有免费的烟。” 上海人:“那算什么,我们打开自来水就是排骨汤!

The NPC is nearly over and Xinhua reports that proceedings have been initiated for China’s leadership change:

Presided over by Zhang Dejiang, the presidium’s executive chairman, the meeting made a decision that the list of candidates to the 12th NPC Standing Committee chairman, vice chairpersons, secretary-general and members, as well as president and vice president of the People’s Republic of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC, will be tabled by the presidium to NPC delegations for discussion and consultation.

So we will soon know who has what job, and more importantly may start seeing more momentum for deeper economic reform between now and the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress, which should be held sometime in late Q3 or early Q4.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Xi Jinping can deliver, says political theorist – China Media Project Wu Jiaxiang, it should also be noted, is perhaps the most prominent intellectual heavyweight to have maintained in recent months the faith that Xi Jinping is indeed a reformer, and that bolder (but calculated) moves are in the offing once China gets through the National People’s Congress now underway in Beijing. Wu is interviewed for the most recent edition of Hong Kong’s Yazhou Zhoukan, and he remains solidly among the faithful. The following is a portion of his interview, which comes under the headline: “I think Xi Jinping can deliver” (我认为习近平能成事). //Wu’s new book 新民说•公天下:多中心治理与双主体法权/吴稼祥-图书-亚马逊

习王“同仇敌忾” 两会后发动“反腐战争”_多维新闻网 Duowei says again that anti-corruption rhetoric has been upgraded to calling the campaign a “war”. now says we should expect the real crackdown to start soon after the NPC, first area of focus may be the financial sector. We’ll see, Duowei has an OK record but certainly been off with some of its predictions//  接近中共高层的政情人士向多维新闻透露,两会前的一系列反腐动作,只不过是习近平和王岐山的“牛刀小试”和前期预热,“反腐战争”真正的开始将在两会之后,届时,一场由上而下发动的、以消灭“有生力量”为目标的反腐肃贪“歼灭战”将全面打响,势将波及整个中共官场。而习近平是这场“战争”的发动者和最高统帅,王岐山则是具体“战役”的实施者和指挥官。消息人士透露,王岐山已在中纪委内部下达了死命令,要求各个部门做好“战斗准备”。

How Many People Really Use Sina Weibo – China Real Time Report – WSJ Applying the 57% figure from the study to the 503 million registered users that Sina said it had at the end of 2012, it would appear that less than 220 million users have ever posted anything on the site. The study’s findings also suggest that only around 30 million users will write a unique post in a given week…While none of this necessarily takes away from the value of the service, whether as a tool for advertisers or a platform for public discourse, it’s a useful reminder that the opinions, desires and interests posted on Weibo belong to only a limited slice of China’s Internet using population// but the lurkers are now much better informed, this should not be interpreted as a sign that Weibo not as influential as some have said. but definitely not positive for Sina’s attempts to ramp advertising on the platform

Chief regulator Guo Shuqing tipped as Shandong governor | South China Morning Post if SCMP story accurate then problematic for Reuters and its “exclusive”  last week saying Guo going to run CIC, then its backtrack the next day saying he had declined “offer” as still had work to do at CSRC…we’ll know soon enough// A Beijing-based source said: “He is believed to be a favourite candidate by the top state leaders to lead the country’s financial policies in the future. The new post is of benefit to his rise.” Government sources said Guo, the 57-year old chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), will take the helm soon in Shandong, a major agricultural and industrial base and one of the key growth engines for the mainland economy

Could Li Yuanchao be China’s next VP? – ANN should have noted yesterday around the Reuters report that speculation about the vp role for lyc been around since the 18th, the straits times wrote this in december…if lyc gets vp slot his ascent may be done as likelihood of making 19th pbsc may not not high given age and precedents// Li Yuanchao’s dream of becoming Vice-President was dashed after the former organisation chief of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was left out of its elite Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). But speculation is again rife that Li, 62, might still become the next Veep when new government positions are unveiled next March.

China politics keep central bank hawks at bay, for now | Reuters Intense lobbying by central government agencies and debt-laden local governments is keeping People’s Bank of China hawks in check after inflation jumped to a 10-month high, forcing the central bank to keep its monetary policy setting in neutral.

Beijing’s Rising Rents Squeeze Newcomers Barred From Home Buying – Bloomberg The Chinese capital requires new arrivals to wait five years before purchasing a house, while cities including Shanghai permit ownership after one year of residency. Beijing introduced restrictions on non-locals in 2011, followed by about 40 other cities, part of a three-year, largely unsuccessful campaign by the central government to contain the growth of property prices. Average rents in the capital have jumped 23 percent since 2010, while demand for rentals surged 82 percent as migrant workers and graduates poured into the city, according to data from broker Bacic & 5i5j Group. Beijing’s home prices climbed 4.9 percent in the same period, according to real estate website owner SouFun Holdings Ltd.

China’s One-Child Policy: Law Still in Effect, But Police and Judges Fired – China Real Time Report – WSJ Saying that there is no change is a measure to save face and a recognition that they can’t announce all the change in one day. The National Population and Family Planning Commission was created for a single mandate of controlling population growth and now they no longer have that, those powers have been dissolved. What the government is doing is a major political move and they cannot make or announce all the policy changes that go along with it in one day. They know they can’t dismantle everything all at once. It’s going to take some time. It will not take long, however, for change to come. Leaders are aware of the changing demographics. The one-child policy has taken a toll on the labor force and has jeopardized the future economy.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

深圳“限涨令”出台:今年房价只准跌不许涨_新浪房产_新浪网 shenzhen implements price controls on new home sales// 深圳新浪乐居讯 卖房征税20%,这或许仅仅是今年楼市严厉调控的开端,深圳新浪乐居获悉,深圳国土部门近日已出台“限涨令”,明确要求2013年深圳所有新盘,成交均价必须实现月度环比零增长,即每个新盘、每个月的成交均价,环比上个月都不能上涨。据悉,该政策已经开始执行。

Jefferies: Seven China Megatrends – Business Insider Jefferies recently published a massive 426-page report that boils down what we can expect in this next phase of China’s development.

Alibaba’s New Credit Service Challenges Banks – Economic Observer  Starting in April, Alibaba will allow users to use credit of up to 5,000 yuan to pay for purchases in the same way they would with an ordinary credit card. The new service gives opportunities for some banks, but may bring great competition to others.

Economist: China Plenty Creative, Just Not in Right Ways – China Real Time Report – WSJ Speaking at a panel discussion for the Beijing Bookworm’s Literary Festival on Sunday, Mr. Kroeber laid out a relatively optimistic case for China’s future growth as long as the country can find a way to reform the financial sector and tax system, trim the unfair advantages enjoyed by state-owned enterprises and address an aging population. Potentially the biggest obstacle to China’s continued economic growth, Mr. Kroeber argued, is its Internet filtration system, otherwise known as the Great Firewall. The big question, he said, is whether the Chinese can “ever accept a political system that is open enough to allow the open-knowledge networks that are required for truly modern innovative post-industrial economy. Right now I don’t see it.”//it is not the GFW itself but the political culture that created and maintains the GFW

Guangdong Targets Urbanization Rate at 70Pct by 2015-Caijing Provincial government in south China’s Guangdong Province said it is expecting as much as 70 percent of residents living in cities and towns by 2015, with an expanded transmit system and greener city buildings.

知情人士称施正荣被免职是为调查其被质疑的关联交易-财经网 Shanghai Securities news says Suntech’s founder Shi Zhenrong removed from his positions due to investigation into related party transactions

China’s New Leaders Seen Deepening Interest-Rate Flexibility – Bloomberg Reduced restrictions on banks competing for deposits may boost returns to China’s savers, aiding efforts to switch the economy’s engine of growth to consumer spending from exports and investment. Xi and incoming Premier Li Keqiang may be more cautious on changes to the one-child policy and the so-called hukou system, which denies education and social welfare benefits to millions of migrant workers in cities. “Financial-market reforms should continue because there aren’t so many political or technical stumbling blocks,” said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in Hong Kong and a former World Bank researcher. Hukou changes are “more complicated” and the one-child policy is so entrenched in Communist Party thinking that “it’s not so easy” to leave behind, he said.

由点到面:中国金融改革期待“大爆炸”_财经频道_一财网 如果说2012年利率市场化实质性重启是当年金融改革最大亮点的话,步入2013年,中国金融领域的改革,或将进入一个多项改革齐头并进的阶段。

北京新房市场创9年最热开局_新浪房产_新浪网 beijing new home sales have their best start to a year since 2005// 提要:在二手房市场交易火爆的同时,北京新房市场也呈现旺盛的交易局面。据北京市住建委统计数据,1月1日至3月10日,北京新建纯商品住宅(不含保障房)网签18171套,创2005年以来最火热开局。

二手房火爆 中介日均佣金超三千万 | 每经网“ 新国五条”细则出台后,多城市二手房成交量大幅增长。在买卖双方“过户忙”的同时,房产中介机构业务量激增,“日进斗金”。据业内人士透露,链家地产一天的佣金收入超过3000万。而房产经纪人也迅速“致富”,10天时间靠销售提成已赚出一套房的首付。值得注意的是,在住建部释放保护刚需的政策信号后,二手房买卖双方观望心态渐浓

Ladders, Losers and Direct-Marketing Schemes – Caixin had some family members who lost a lot of money on NuSkin (I think of it as NuScam) many years ago. surprised Beijing allows this. How many of the US MLM firms operating in China have Mormon ties, or is that a given since many have their roots in Utah?// That’s a short description of the marketing scheme that a Beijing woman surnamed Zhou joined to sell personal care products made by Nu Skin Enterprises Inc., a Utah-based company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that uses direct-marketing to sell creams, nutritional supplements and other personal care products in countries including China. Nu Skin’s China market is expanding fast and has become all the more important in the face of slowing growth at home. In the fourth quarter 2012, according to Nu Skin’s financial report, sales in the Greater China region (including the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) rose 28 percent year-on-year to US$ 141 million. U.S. sales for the same period totaled only US$ 80 million, a 4 percent increase.

Coca-Cola probed over mapping in China – FT.com Coca-Cola said it had “co-operated fully” with the inquiry, adding that local bottling plants use “e-map and location-based customer logistics systems that are commercially available in China” to improve customer service and fuel efficiency. “These customer logistics systems are broadly used for commercial application across many industries in China and worldwide,” the company said. The Yunnan government said the Coca-Cola case was one of 21 instances of alleged illegal surveying under investigation in the area

 

POLITICS AND LAW

PLA general’s son in rape case may have lied about his age | South China Morning Post There is mounting evidence that a People’s Liberation Army general’s son, detained in a rape case, may have lied about his age in order to face a lighter sentence, according to photos obtained by the South China Morning Post and the recollections of former classmates.

央行副行长:下阶段把国内反洗钱作为中心任务_网易新闻中心 中国网3月12日讯  据人民银行网站消息,中国人民银行12日在京召开电视电话会议,人民银行党委委员、副行长李东荣在会上说,人民银行下一阶段要明确重点,将做好国内反洗钱工作作为中心任务。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Remarks By Tom Donilon, National Security Advisory to the President: “The United States and the Asia-Pacific in 2013” | The White House lots more than just the cyber comments that got most of the press// Let me begin by putting our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific in context.  Every Administration faces the challenge of ensuring that cascading crises do not crowd out the development of long-term strategies to deal with transcendent challenges and opportunities.

China says willing to discuss cyber security with the U.S. | Reuters “China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue with the international community including the United States to maintain the security, openness and peace of the Internet”, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said at a daily news briefing. “Internet security is a global issue. In fact, China is a marginalized group in this regard, and one of the biggest victims of hacking attacks,” she added, echoing a common refrain from Chinese officials.

Intelligence Official Warns Congress That Cyberattacks Pose Threat to U.S. – NYTimes.com Still, it was the first time that Mr. Clapper has listed cyberattacks first in his annual presentation to Congress about the various threats facing the United States, and the rare occasion since 2001 that intelligence officials have not listed international terrorism first in the catalog of dangers facing the United States. In 2009, the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, called the global financial crisis the “primary near-term security concern of the United States.”

Report on North Korean slush fund puts heat on Beijing | South China Morning Post credible?// Beijing has come under fresh pressure to get tougher with its long-time ally Pyongyang following reports that bank accounts holding slush funds belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have been found in Shanghai and other Chinese cities. The accounts contained “hundreds of millions of [US] dollars”, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported yesterday, citing government sources in Seoul, but said they were excluded for unidentified reasons from financial sanctions under a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted last Thursday.

China plans to send surveyors to disputed islands A Chinese official says Beijing plans eventually to land a survey team on uninhabited islands at the heart of an increasingly dangerous territorial dispute with Japan.

China plans first commercial trip through Arctic shortcut this year | South China Morning Post A Chinese shipping firm is planning the country’s first commercial voyage through a shortcut across the Arctic Ocean to the United States and Europe this year, a leading Chinese scientist said on Tuesday.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Doubts about Johns Hopkins research have gone unanswered, scientist says – The Washington Post What very few readers of the Nature paper could know, however, was that behind the scenes, Yuan’s doubts seemed to be having profound effects. In August, Yu-yi Lin, the lead author of the paper, was found dead in his new lab in Taiwan, a puncture mark in his left arm and empty vials of sedatives and muscle relaxants around him, according to local news accounts — an apparent suicide.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Gary Wang, Tudou Founder, Plans Animation Studio in China – WSJ.com good for him, very talented guy// A well-known Internet entrepreneur in China, Gary Wang plans to create an animated-film studio in Beijing next month to make movies primarily for domestic audiences. The 39-year-old said he already had secured tens of millions of dollars in funding from an international group of investors. He declined to name the investors. “I wouldn’t have done this five years ago, but now the time is right,” he said, citing an improving environment for movie distribution, promotion and copyrights in China. With more theater screens across the country and rising income levels in urban areas, the potential return justifies the investment, he said.

CocoaChina’s Fishing Joy generating more than $6M a month worldwide now generating $6.28 million per month in revenue worldwide, with more than 10 million daily active users (DAU), doubling its monthly revenue in two months. CocoaChina attributes the game’s success to continued optimization and the rapid growth of the Chinese smartphone user base. The company also increased the game’s reach by reducing the game’s package size, making it more attractive to users with limited bandwidth and data plans.

人人网——正在下沉的巨轮_创业频道_一财网 人人网一直希望自己成为中国版的Facebook,在那个还叫“校内网”的时候,确实发展得十分迅速,让人看到了它的潜力与希望。不过近一段时间人人网的发展却陷入了停滞状态甚至有所下滑,自身发展混乱与外部竞争激烈导致了用户活跃度下降和大批老用户的离开。

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

新版小学教材删超标内容 代表称给孩子做梦时间_新闻_腾讯网 今年9月的秋季新学期,义务教育阶段学生将使用修订后的新教材。为给学生减负,新教材删除了不符合所处学段学生学习的“超标”内容。日前,在北京代表团分组审议时,全国人大代表、北京教育科学研究院基础教育研究中心小学数学教研室主任吴正宪(见图)透露,在全国两会召开前,教育部已经启动实施了第二批义务教育课程标准教材审查工作。

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

New Book Tackles China and its Environmental Exports – NYTimes.com Just as worrisome, if not as hotly discussed among Chinese, is the impact that China is having on the environment in other parts of the world. It is not an easy thing to gauge, but Craig Simons, a former Asia correspondent for Cox Newspapers, set out to do exactly that. He documented his findings in his first book, “The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World,” which was published March 12 by St. Martin’s Press. Mr. Simons spoke recently about his reasons for embarking on this project, how Chinese officials assess climate change and what the United States can do to mitigate China’s environmental effects. These are excerpts from that conversation.

China’s energy bureaucracy overhaul fizzles “While folding [the] SERC’s functions into the NEA will expand the NEA’s responsibilities, the fundamental authority to determine prices and approve new capacity installations will remain with the NDRC,” Olivia Boyd, an analyst with IHS Global Insight, wrote in a research note on Monday. “For those within the government who may have expected the latest round of government reforms would produce a Ministry of Energy, the NDRC’s continued control over energy planning is likely to come as a disappointment,” said Boyd. “The most important aspects of the energy sector – pricing, market access and approval of investment – are still in the hands of the NDRC. The position of the NEA is unchanged,” Lin Boqiang, director of the China Centre for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told Interfax on Monday.

京津冀将联手应对雾霾天气_重点_新京报电子报 on beijing/hebei/tianjin plans to fight air pollution…nice graphic..and how north china already has among the worst air pollution on earth// 正在加紧完善大气污染联防联控新机制;今年1月三地共发生5次强霾污染…华北已是全球空气污染最严重地区之一

Living in Beijing’s polluted air – The Washington Post I woke up in my dark bedroom the other day, head pounding and mouth dry. Before I even got out of bed, I knew that Beijing was having one of its hazardous-air-quality days. There was a tickle in my throat. My eyes stung and watered the minute I set foot outside.

China’s 80 billion disposable chopsticks a ‘burden’ on forests | South China Morning Post A total of “20 million 20-year-old trees” have to be chopped down each year to make way for the annual production, he said.According to the latest available forest survey by the State Forestry Administration in 2009, China’s forest coverage was 20.36 per cent and ranked 139th place in the world. The average per capita forest coverage was 0.145 hectares, less than one-fourth of the world’s average.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Kangaroo Route Turns Chinese With Flights to Guangzhou – Bloomberg Travelers plying the Kangaroo Route between Australia and Europe have discovered the cheapest path goes through Guangzhou. China Southern Airlines Co. (1055) is undercutting Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) by as much as 34 percent on the cost of Sydney-to-London tickets and from April 1 will operate more flights to Europe than the Australian carrier. The Guangzhou, China-based airline said it’s ready to sacrifice profitability as it lures traffic from Singapore and Hong Kong.

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