"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
The attack in Boston is the top story on most Chinese news sites as well. There were Chinese participants and speculators but so far there are no reports any Chinese nationals were injured in the bombings.
This week’s China Insider for Dealbook looks at bird flu, the Korean Peninsula, Monday’s GDP release and the frugality and anti-corruption campaigns:
First-quarter growth slowed to 7.7 percent year-on-year from 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and below the consensus forecast of 8 percent growth…
China’s official GDP growth target for 2013, reiterated last month by outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, is 7.5 percent. Last weekend Mr. Xi, in a meeting with business leaders, reiterated that the era of “super- high or ultra-high-speed growth” is over and said that the slowdown in 2012 was “partially due to our efforts to control the speed of growth.”
One of the reasons so many analysts overestimated first quarter GDP growth is that total lending in the quarter surged to 6.1 trillion renminbi. The government has announced steps to reign in credit growth but a significant drop in lending could cause painful short-term economic challenges…
Many analysts blame the disappointing quarterly growth in part on Mr. Xi’s “Eight Rules” and the ongoing frugality and anti-corruption campaigns. If the crackdowns really took a dent out of G.D.P. growth then one has to wonder how much of the consumption over the last few years has actually been government spending.
Those campaigns are set to continue. The People’s Daily newspaper on Friday had three supportive articles and Saturday’s CCTV Evening News broadcast an expose of officials in Beijing satisfying their gluttony by quietly visiting private clubs instead of public restaurants.
Mr. Xi’s efforts to reign in corruption may “make cleansing the Augean stables simplicity itself” but he seems more determined than many expected. Frugality bites, for restaurants and investors.
Pulitzer prizes were announced Monday afternoon. David Barboza of The New York Times won in the “International Reporting” category “for his striking exposure of corruption at high levels of the Chinese government, including billions in secret wealth owned by relatives of the prime minister, well documented work published in the face of heavy pressure from the Chinese officials.”
The New York Times staff, including David Barboza, also won in the “Explanatory Reporting” for its “penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies that illustrates the darker side of a changing global economy for workers and consumers”, a series that had a large China component.
The Pulitzer for fiction went to Adam Johnson for his very enjoyable “The Orphan Master’s Son” a “novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.”
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
Why China won’t mind slower growth (but others will) | The World an era of slower growth isn’t so problematic inside China for five reasons // China Stuck With Sub-8% Growth as G-20 Confronts Slowdown – Bloomberg The 7.7 percent increase in first-quarter gross domestic product from a year earlier marked the first time in data going back two decades that four periods in a row have seen growth of less than 8 percent. The figure released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing was also the worst miss of analyst estimates since the third quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Remembering Chinese party leader Hu Yaobang still no easy task | South China Morning Post On Monday, searches for “Hu Yaobang” on Chinese microblogs were blocked. Hundreds of users circumvented the censors by adding a space or candle symbols amid the three Chinese characters of his name. Eulogies did appear in state-run media and in Hong Kong. Most prominently, a eulogy by Zhou Ruijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Liberation Daily and the People’s Daily, appeared in two versions. “If Deng Xiaoping was the chief architect for China’s reform and opening, then Hu Yaobang deserves to be called its chief engineer,” Zhou wrote in a commentary for Hong Kong-based Phoenix news portal, in which he mentioned Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, twice. // 解放日报刊文纪念胡耀邦 赞其正直无私光明磊落_新闻_腾讯网 24年前的今天，胡耀邦因心肌梗死不幸过世，使全党全国人民陷入巨大悲痛。在中国改革又将走出新境界之际，怀想斯人，别是一番滋味。改革开放让中国迸发了前所未有的活力，堪称脱胎换骨，经济总量跃升到世界第二把交椅。不过，有一点和耀邦当年力促改革时颇为相似：改革同样面临巨大阻力，同样需要进一步解放思想。所不同的是，耀邦面对的，是意识形态方面的抱残守缺，是发展之初面临的突破旧体制的种种困境；而如今我们面对的，则是发展起来以后更巨大、更多元、更深层次的矛盾堆叠和利益冲突。在中国改革到了需要狠推一步、击一猛掌的新的历史时刻，缅怀耀邦，有很强烈的现实意义。
Korea in Chinese history: Stuck in the middle | The Economist China’s involvement on the Korean peninsula in the period since the Korean war has been cited amply in recent press accounts. But Beijing’s interests there have historical roots which reach back far earlier than 1950. For more than two thousand years, successive Chinese dynasties have seen Korea as a tributary to be protected, a prize to be coveted, or as a dangerous land bridge which might convey “outer barbarians” into China. Unsurprising then that China should have a long history of mucking about in Korean politics, a history which has often brought it into conflict with that other great Eastern power, Japan. This has seldom worked out well for the Korean people. Nor has it led to much joy for China. // How an Ancient Kingdom Explains Today’s China-Korea Relations – Taylor Washburn – The Atlantic In late January, 2013, South Korea’s Hankyoreh newspaper reported that an elite group of scholars in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin was conducting “closed research” on a freshly discovered stele, an engraved memorial stone dating to the fifth century A.D. What interest could the examination of such an artifact hold for contemporary Korean readers? “Concerns are being raised,” the Hankyoreh piece noted vaguely, “that with key figures from the Northeast Project taking part in the research, it is very likely that China will use the results of the study … to reinforce its argument that Goguryeo belongs to China.” Understanding the significance of this speculation requires a brief foray into the premodern history of Northeast Asia. For over 600 years, between the first century B.C. and the seventh century A.D., much of the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria were ruled by the kingdom of Goguryeo.
Insight: China’s freeway to North Korea: A road to nowhere | Reuters A new stretch of China’s G12 expressway arcs toward the northernmost tip of North Korea, connecting one of the world’s most vibrant economies to probably its most stagnant. It is a symbol of China’s long-term goal of building economic ties with its unpredictable neighbor. But the thin traffic along a highway lined with fallow fields in China’s Jilin province, two years after it was finished, shows how far there is to go and why plans for high-speed rail links to Chinese cities along the border look misplaced.
White House Press Briefing | IIP Digital trying to walk Kerry’s comments back…// Q: On missile defense, about North Korea — the Secretary of State made sort of an interesting proposal over the weekend in Beijing, where he said that were the nuclear threat from North Korea to decline over time, the U.S. would consider taking out some of the missile defense batteries that it’s installed in the past few months. I’m interested in your thinking about what’s behind this sort of offer, this proposal. And I’m also curious about the timing. Given that you said at the top that there’s no evidence that the provocations from the North have subsided and there may be further provocations, why dangle the possibility of pulling back these batteries at a time like this? MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you may be reading a little too much into it. I think we have been clear that these precautionary measures, including the steps taken to enhance anti-missile defense systems have been in reaction to the provocations. And clearly, if North Korea were to commit itself in a verifiable way to denuclearization and commit itself to abiding by its international obligations with regards to its nuclear program and to its missile program, that would be a positive thing and would result in steps that we and our international partners would take also to help bring down tensions in the region.
China’s Treasury Holdings Rise to 15-Month High as Japan Sells – Bloomberg China’s position increased $8.7 billion, or 0.7 percent, to $1.223 trillion, U.S. Treasury Department data released yesterday show. Japan’s holdings dipped $6.8 billion, or 0.6 percent, to $1.097 trillion, the lowest since April 2012. Since reaching a peak of $1.132 trillion in October, Japan has shed $34.8 billion of the securities…Foreign investors owned 50 percent of the marketable debt, the least since March 2012, the data, known as Treasury International Capital, show. China held 10.8 percent of the U.S. debt in February while Japan’s stake comprised 9.7 percent of U.S. government obligations, the least since August 2011.
China’s Ancient Lifeline–National Geographic The 1,400-year-old Grand Canal is a monumental project that bound north and south China together. It’s still in use today.
China Regulator Bans Lenders From Creating New LGFV Loans -Caijing China’s banking regulator has banned the country’s lenders from creating new loans via local government financing vehicles (LGFV) as it tries to rein in ballooning risks with rising defaults. Banks should control loans to LGFVs and must not increase its size, according to a guideline issued by the China Banking Regulation Commission. “For LGFVs with a lower-than-100 percent cash flow coverage ratio or higher-than-80 percent debt-to-assets ratio, their loans as a share of total bank lending should not be higher than that in the previous year,” the CBRC said. The CBRC has also reiterated banks should take a “cautious” approach in holding bonds from LGFVs, and bar local governments from using public assets as loan guarantees on behalf of their financing vehicles. // 银监会要求各银行控制平台贷款总量 不得新增规模 新华社——经济参考网 银监会近日下发《关于加强2013年地方融资平台风险监管的指导意见》，其要求各银行控制地方平台贷款总量，不得新增融资平台贷款规模。对于现金流覆盖率低于100%或资产负债率高于80%的融资平台贷款占比不高于上年。 落款于4月9日的这份《中国银监会关于加强2013年地方融资平台风险监管的指导意见》(以下简称《指导意见》)强调各银行要控制平台贷款总量。按照“保在建、压重建、控新建”的基本要求继续坚持总量控制。
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Tepid economic strength hinders fiscal revenue growth – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s fiscal revenue growth continued to slow in the first quarter, mainly as a result of the country’s tempered economic expansion, structural tax reforms and sluggish import growth, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Monday. The nation’s fiscal revenue grew 6.9 percent year on year to 3.2 trillion yuan (513 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter, slowing from the 14.7-percent rate seen in the same period last year, the ministry said in a statement.
China Economist Warns On Easing; Should Accept Growth Reality | MNI Li Ruoyu, a researcher with the State Information Center, told MNI that using short-term stimulus to boost growth to back above 8% would be like “drinking poison to quench a thirst,” arguing that moves to ease policy are seeing diminishing returns. “They’re having a smaller and smaller impact on boosting growth — first quarter lending was quite strong but growth still wasn’t that good,” she said. “This is what people call overheating finance but a cooling economy.”
Economists React: China’s GDP Growth Slows to 7.7% – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s first-quarter economic growth slowed to 7.7% on a year-on-year basis, disappointing economists who had expected a median 8%, according to a Journal survey. The data suggest China’s economic growth is slowing after a second-half revival last year. It also helps explain why Chinese officials in recent weeks have opened liquidity floodgates and pumped new money into the system.
World Bank cuts China, Indonesia growth estimate; warns of asset bubbles | Reuters The global lender, in its latest East Asia and Pacific Update, cut its gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection for China by 0.1 percentage point to 8.3 percent for 2013, citing Beijing’s ongoing efforts to restructure its economy.
For Empty Offices in China, It’s All About Location – China Real Time Report – WSJ The real trouble could be elsewhere. Much smaller cities like Zhengzhou, Changsha and Nanchang have big plans to build out new commercial space. Rents might take a dive in those markets in the next couple of years, Mr. Brooke reckons, but they won’t get much sympathy in Beijing. Unlike the residential market, which the authorities treat as a social issue, the government will likely take the view that cavalier developers who built more than the market can needs will have to live with the consequences. But that might suit the bigger kids in the Chinese real estate playground. Consolidation is coming in the sector, Mr. Brooke thinks, with banks reluctant to lend to smaller, less experienced developers.
Behind Beijing’s Runaway Home Rental Prices – Economic Observer Rental prices in the capital have surged over the past decade, and especially since the Beijing Olympics. Because of a massive influx of new migrants and lagging housing supply, renters won’t see relief any time soon. And it hasn’t been smooth sailing for landlords either.
人民日报-“最低消费”当禁！（今日谈） 杜海涛 more pain for restaurants coming, page 1 People’s Daily on getting rid of “minimum spend” requirements at some high end restaurants// 中央发布八项规定后，部分主要面向公款消费、商务宴请的高端餐饮企业营业收入降幅过半。这充分说明，“高端餐饮”缺乏后劲，“最低消费”难以持续。餐饮业应当倡导行业新风，面向大众服务，彻底告别“最低消费”之类的行规陋俗。希望有关部门顺应民心，顺应大势，尽早出台政策规定，禁止餐饮企业设置“最低消费”，为落实中央八项规定营造良好的消费环境。// 限额餐饮罕见负增长 “八项规定”威力初显_财经频道_一财网 但盛来运在发布会上指出，尽管是限额以上的餐饮收入增速回落较多，但是限额以下的面向大众的一般消费还是增速比较快，这对高档的餐饮业来讲是一个很好的调结构、转方式的机会，可以面向大众发展新的营销模式，促进大众消费的增长。
人民日报-国企发展，市场竞争纯粹企业（新国企 新起点之二：体制篇）another story today on page 1 People’s Daily about “good” SOEs and their importance to the economy. monday had the first piece in what looks to be a series…// 自主经营、自负盈亏、加之考核体系的激励约束，令新国企焕发无限活力：中化集团下属的远东宏信公司只有2000人，却创造了超过20亿元的利润，人均利润超过百万元，达到了国际水平；中国建材集团按照市场化方式推进联合重组，吸纳了480多家不同所有制企业，退出了218家劣势企业，内部结构大规模调整；凭借适销对路的品种和独有的价格优势，神华集团的煤化工聚烯烃产品在电子交易网站挂牌1小时就被抢购一空……活力充沛的国有企业，是全国人民最宝贵也最具升级潜力的财富，为中国走向共同富裕奠定了重要物质基础。
温州炒房团集体被深度套牢：有人跑路有人跳楼|温州|房地产|炒房_新浪财经_新浪网 more pain for Wenzhou real estate speculators// 各地“国五条”出台之后，温州炒房人在各地抛房现象明显。4月14日，温州一位在杭州炒房的人士向记者透露，现在在杭州有不少温州人在降价抛房，且主动降价出售手中的房源。 温州本地的一位炒房客向记者表示：“他手中的两套房子，一套是位于市中心的老房子，原来涨到了每平方米3.5万元，现在2万元没人要。而第二套房子最高涨到了每平方米7.5万元，现在3.5万元出手也卖不出去，完全被套住了。”
CSRC Send Teams to Check IPO Hopefuls’Reports – Caixin The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has started sending work teams to re-examine performance results submitted by companies waiting for its approval to go public. This is the second phase of an unusually tough review that started at the beginning of this year. Among 612 firms that completed their self-examination before April 3, the CSRC has chosen 30 to verify their reports. The first batch of 15 work teams, comprising accountants and officials from CSRC departments related to initial stock offerings, was sent to 15 of those companies to check their reports, the regulator announced at a press briefing on April 12. “We are lucky to not have been chosen,” a broker from an underwriting securities firm said. “Those facing CSRC examination probably won’t be able to sleep.”
发改委重罚哄抬房价 新华联建业上榜 | 每经网 昨日（4月15日），国家发改委发布通报称，有8家房地产企业的8个项目违反明码标价的相关规定，决定予以处罚，8家公司共计处罚1000多万元。其中一些公司背后是知名企业，包括2家上市公司。这并不是国家发改委首次对房企开出罚单，早在2011年，国家发改委就对不执行商品房明码标价规定的12家房地产企业开出罚单，涉及金额363.5万元，其原因同样也是误导性标价、部分在售房源未明码标价、已售房源标价不符合规定等违规行为。
Controversy Follows Steel Leader into Retirement –Caixin–Shan Shanghua once gained notoriety for leading domestic steel mills in negotiations with international iron ore suppliers. The former secretary general of China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) is again getting attention, but this time for darker reasons. The 67-year-old Shan is facing charges he embezzled state-owned assets before he headed CISA.Caixin learned that Shan received a notice from Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court after Spring Festival in February charging him embezzling from the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institution (MPI).
POLITICS AND LAW
Restaurants’ loss is private clubs’ gain – CHINA – BEIJING – Globaltimes.cn While government spending in high-end restaurants has declined since government calls for more efforts to curb corruption and unnecessary consumption, government and military officials have turned to expensive private clubs instead. According to a China Central Television (CCTV) news report Saturday, officials are increasingly frequenting private clubs in the capital. A CCTV undercover reporter managed to get inside one unamed private high-end club on the North Second Ring Road and questioned staff using a hidden camera.
People’s Daily commentary remarks on re-education through labour | South China Morning Post The Communist Party’s official mouthpiece ran a commentary yesterday sympathetic to the case of a mother sent to re-education through labour after she protested the punishment of the men who raped and enslaved her 11-year-old daughter. The piece in People’s Daily called for enhancing public faith in the rule of law. Its writer, Wang Shichuan, appealed for the court to issue a fair ruling in the case of Tang Hui , the 40-year-old woman who on Friday lost an administrative lawsuit against the re-education-through-labour (RTL) commission in Yongzhou , Hunan .
“中国梦”陷八股化 中共切忌迷信理论建树_多维新闻网 当时中共党报《人民日报》连续刊载9篇《同心共筑中国梦》造势，4月1日中共最重要的理论机关刊物《求是》杂志亦发表署名“秋石”的评论员文章《中国梦：汇聚磅礴正能量》呐喊助威，而稍早前的1月份中共官方智囊更是将“实现中华民族伟大复兴‘中国梦’研究”列为年度首批国家社会科学基金重大项目招标课题研究项目中…… 迹象显示，习近平起初饱含情感色彩的精神感召正在褪去原初的色彩，人们发现“中国梦”正在延续中共传统，逐渐滑向“曲高和寡”的形而上的理论阐述，甚至狂轰滥炸式的宣传灌输。官方宣传将“中国梦”导引向国家梦和个人理想的共同实现，习近平也承诺“中国梦”让每个人都有出彩的机会。但总体而言，正如多维新闻在《习近平中国梦面目模糊 落实方能自证》一文中所指出的那样，“中国梦”的构想依然是个面目模糊的概念，自提出至今它非但未被明晰化为实质的铲除社会矛盾的努力，反而有滑向虚妄的愚民工具的趋势。
铁岭监狱乱象之二:犯人监内遥控赌球 “夫妻房”曾被乱用–法治–人民网 part 2 of an expose of corruption in Tieling prison, video// 近日，铁岭监狱因“冰毒交易”一事备受关注。人民网记者多方采访，了解到这座监狱更多不为人知的内情。
浙江公安厅：张高平叔侄案存在问题 将依法严处_网易新闻中心 investigation into miscarriage of justice for Zhang Gaoping and nephew?// 浙江日报：【浙江省公安厅负责人就张高平叔侄案答问记者】就张高平叔侄案，浙江省公安厅副厅长徐定安接受采访时表示，公安机关在这起案件的侦办中确实存在一些问题，省公安厅将根据有关调查结果，依法依纪严肃处理。同时，举一反三，查漏补缺，进一步完善执法办案特别是命案办理工作制度和体系
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Xi meets 2nd China-US governors’ forum attendees – Xinhua | English.news.cn top story on CCTV Evening News Monday night and in People’s Daily today// Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday met with Chinese and U.S. governors, calling for deeper regional cooperation between the two countries. Relations between China and the United States are currently at “an important phase that connects the past and the future,” Xi told the governors attending the second China-U.S. governors’ forum. Xi recalled his latest telephone discussion with U.S. President Barack Obama, saying they agreed on the direction for building a bilateral cooperative partnership and developing a new type of relations between big powers. Xi said China-U.S. cooperation will benefit the two nations and contribute to world peace, stability and common development.
North Korea Issues Ultimatum for Founder’s Anniversary – Bloomberg The 101st birth anniversary of North Korea’s founder passed without a missile launch, as the country’s military issued a warning to South Korea that a strike “will start without any notice.” The military statement, citing protests in Seoul where portraits of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung were set afire, spoke of “retaliatory action” that would be aimed at those directly or indirectly involved and “those who instigated the perpetrators.”
Exclusive: U.S. Recovered North Korean Rocket Head – The Daily Beast When North Korean engineers launched a satellite into space December 12, it seemed like business as usual, with the familiar cycle of condemnations from the West and statements of defiance from the Hermit Kingdom. But that launch also led many U.S. intelligence analysts to assess that Pyongyang possessed the ability to miniaturize the components necessary to yield a nuclear explosion for a crude warhead that would sit atop a ballistic missile.
Joint Press Availability With Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida After Their Meeting Kerry: In our discussion, I reiterated the principles that govern our consideration of the longstanding policy on the Senkaku Islands. The United States, as everybody knows, does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands. But we do recognize that they are under the administration of Japan. And we obviously want all the parties to deal with territorial issues through peaceful means. Any actions that could raise tensions or lead to miscalculations all affect the peace and the stability and the prosperity of an entire region. And so we oppose any unilateral or coercive action that would somehow aim at changing the status quo.
Japan, Vietnam to hold maritime security talks in May – The Japan Times The two sides are expected to confirm their stand against China’s maritime assertiveness and the need for abiding by international law to ensure maritime security, one of the sources said.
Myanmar cleans house – China’s worst nightmare? | beyondbrics It’s hardly a move to please China. Myanmar, up to recently a loyal neighbour with seemingly endless willingness to open up its abundant natural resources to Chinese companies, is preparing to sign the awkwardly-named Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Norway-based EITI, which comprises governments, civil society, international organisations and resources companies, oversees a voluntary regime for the natural resources industry that has struck fear in the boardrooms of multinationals around the world.//lets them renegotiate deals
China’s economic strategies in Southeast Asia | East by Southeast Like the rest of the world, the “Made in China” brand in Southeast Asia has carried a poor reputation that stood for low quality shoddy products. Lao consumers prefer to buy more expensive Thai made Toyota pick-up trucks and refurbished used cars from Korea under the Kolao brand to China’s cheaper automobiles. Just like his loud and entitled ugly American counterpart, the actions of one ill-mannered Chinese citizen abroad will do much to ruin the reputation of the savvier Chinese businesspeople and tourists who conduct their business abroad while respecting their positions as guests while abroad.
Naval warships conduct drills aimed at illegal vessels – Xinhua | English.news.cn Two warships from China’s Nanhai Fleet conducted mock exercises in the western Pacific Ocean to block and detain illegal vessels on Monday. As the Hengshui warship of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy entered an off-limits sea area, playing the role of a merchant ship, the Lanzhou warship sounded an alarm and dispatched its helicopter to recognize and verify the identity of the merchant ship.
China’s largest, most advanced patrol vessel Haixun01 – Xinhua pictures A helicopter is pictured on the patrol vessel Haixun01 in Shanghai, east China, April 15, 2013. Haixun 01, soon to be put into service and managed by the Shanghai Maritime Bureau, is China’s largest and most advanced patrol vessel. The 5,418-tonnage Haixun01 is 128.6 meters in length and has a maximum sailing distance of 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km) without refueling. It will carry out missions regarding maritime inspection, safety monitoring, rescue and oil spill detection and handling.
China, India, Singapore could join new Arctic Circle forum | Reuters China, India, Singapore and other countries far from the Arctic Circle could be part of a new global forum to widen the discussion about the fate of the planet’s Far North, Iceland President Olafur Grimsson said on Monday. The non-profit forum, Arctic Circle, will hold its first meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, in October.
Great wisdom needed to push Sino-US ties – People’s Daily Online Currently, another most important thing is to do more to help solve issues, instead of aggravating the issues, the kind of things the former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had done. She said during her visit in Vietnam that to maintain freedom of navigation in South China Sea is the national interest of the United States and repeatedly stressed the “rebalance” within the Asia-Pacific region. By hyping up the South China Sea issue, she increased China’s distrust to the United States. Meanwhile, she harmed the positive interaction of both countries and greatly increased the regional countries’ concerns about “choosing sides”.
中国军网_美国网络战略：假合作真对抗 赵世兴 满 莉 美国大谈网络空间合作也好，宣扬网络手段建设也罢，都难掩其借合作之名行维护霸权之实、借新式网络武器之力威慑他国之心。美国军方把网络空间纳入军备竞赛的范畴，将使网络空间的战略博弈日趋激烈。
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Taiwan slipping off US agenda: panel – Taipei Times Defense policy adviser Eric Sayers, a member of Virginia Republican Representative Randy Forbes’ staff, said that Taiwan was not mentioned often on Capitol Hill because Taipei had established such a close relationship with Beijing. “That is not necessarily a good thing because there are some shortfalls going on in terms of arms sales,” he said. Addressing a Heritage Foundation symposium on the view of Asia this year from Washington, Sayers said that arms sales to Taiwan were winning less attention than in the past.
Chinese talent show captivates Taiwanese viewers – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun A Chinese singing competition that has captivated television viewers in Taiwan is raising concerns about China’s cultural influence on the island. “I Am A Singer” features professional singers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in a tense competition. The slickly produced show earned top ratings and even attracted veteran singers to try their luck and revive their careers. Final episode on April 12 of the Hunan Satellite TV station show featured four Taiwanese and three mainland Chinese competitors, and many Taiwanese TV stations aired part or all of the finale, won by Chinese duo Yu Quan.
Worst pollution this year envelops Hong Kong | Reuters Air pollution index readings hit their highest levels this year at roadside monitoring stations in Mong Kok and Central, home to financial institutions such as HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered, recording “severe” levels of 205 and 210, respectively.//205 and 210 make me happy in Beijing
TECH AND MEDIA
Xiaomi’s Bin Lin Says Company Is Betting on Services, Not Smartphones – John Paczkowski – Dive Into Mobile – AllThingsD heard last valuation $10B USD, hard to see how it avoids margin collapse like most Chinese handset manufacturers, if Apple releases a mid-tier phone in China Xiaomi will be one its big competitors// Xiaomi may not be the biggest smartphone company in China, but it’s probably the fastest-growing. And if you haven’t yet heard of it, you will soon. Xiaomi sold 7.19 million handsets in 2012, and expects to sell double that number this year. Fifteen million. Not bad for a company that didn’t sell its first smartphone until summer of 2011 — particularly in a market as competitive as China’s. Onstage at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference in New York City Monday, Xiaomi co-founder and president Bin Lin discussed the company’s driving philosophy: Building a business on services by selling mid- to high-end smartphones at cost.
China’s Huawei Wants to Be Big in Smartphones – WSJ.com In the fourth quarter last year, Huawei became the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor behind Samsung and Apple, selling 10.8 million units world-wide in the quarter, according to research firm IDC. Still, Huawei missed its earlier target of selling 50 million to 60 million smartphones in 2012, selling only 32 million. This year, the company aims to sell 60 million units, Mr. Wan said. Huawei is preparing what it has described as a new “premium smartphone” for the second half of this year, though the company declined to provide details on the new device. “I think this year will be the year when we can bring more surprises to the industry,” said Shao Yang, chief marketing officer for Huawei’s handset business.
Alibaba Brings Mobile OS to 6 New Phones, But No Big-Name Brands in Sight–TechInAsia– After the kerfuffle between Alibaba and Google last summer over an Acer-made phone for Alibaba’s cloud-oriented mobile OS, it’s clear that China’s top homegrown OS cannot partner up with any handset makers that belong to Google’s not very open ‘Open Handset Alliance’. Today’s unveiling of six new Aliyun-powered phones therefore features an abundance of China-brand phone-makers, none of which will be familiar to the average Chinese shopper. Alibaba’s newly-appointed CEO Jonathan Lu was on hand for the launch event, according to iFanr. The six new models are all budget handsets, ranging from RMB 799 to 1,399 (US$128 to $224) from five domestic brands: G’Five, Amoi, Yusun, ZOPO, and KOMI (pictured below).
假如没有苏宁，电商将会怎样？_21世纪网-21cbh.com 21st Century Business Herald, Why are ecommerce firms afraid of Suning?//电商为何害怕苏宁？ 电商，真的可以挑战苏宁吗？唱衰者说，苏宁没有互联网精神，苏宁不懂电商。其实，究竟是苏宁不懂电商，还是大家不懂苏宁？ 苏宁的入局，改变了中国电商行业的估值方式和游戏规则。为何刘强东要挑起“苏东之战”？为何淘宝对于张近东的提案如此紧张？当你阅读完这组报道后，就会恍然大悟，因为，苏宁改变的不仅仅是电商业的竞争格局，更是改变了整个行业想象空间。 21世纪网北京、上海、深圳三地齐出动，实地调研苏宁实体店一周，带着调研结果以及针对互联网、电商、苏宁的层层问题，在南京与孙为民深度对话四小时。答案，就在这里。
Chinese-Government Officials Were Apparently Given Special Access to Iron Man 3 Set | Vanity Fair Two weeks after learning that Paramount changed a minor plot point in its upcoming Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse movie, World War Z, to avoid ruffling feathers in China (and losing revenue from its lucrative box office), we have more news about China’s influence on Hollywood: The New York Times reports that Chinese-government officials were allowed onto the set of Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ben Kingsley, “to monitor the filming.” (Note to avid Iron Man fans: Redraft any future set-visit requests to state that you will need to “monitor filming for Chinese government.”)
‘Chinese Google’ Opens Artificial-Intelligence Lab in Silicon Valley |Wired.com In late January, word arrived that the Chinese search giant was setting up a research lab dedicated to “deep learning” — an emerging computer science field that seeks to mimic the human brain with hardware and software — and as it turns out, this lab includes an operation here in Silicon Valley, not far from Apple headquarters, in addition to a facility back in China. The company just hired its first researcher in Cupertino, with plans to bring in several more by the end of the year. Baidu calls its lab The Institute of Deep Learning, or IDL. Much like Google and Apple and others, the company is exploring computer systems that can learn in much the same way people do. “We have a really big dream of using deep learning to simulate the functionality, the power, the intelligence of the human brain,” says Kai Yu, who leads Baidu’s speech- and image-recognition search team and just recently made the trip to Cupertino to hire that first researcher. “We are making progress day by day.”
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Education ministry to crack down on extra enrollment fees – Xinhua | English.news.cn so much corruption, down to the teacher level in some cases// The Ministry of Education will crack down on extra charges for school enrollment, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website on Monday.The ministry will also make efforts to cut the chain of interests regarding student recruitment, such as advanced math classes that are supposed to make it easier for students to enter school, the statement said.
郎平意外出山参选中国女排主帅 支持率超9成_新闻_腾讯网 Lang Ping now in charge of Chinese women volleyball, surprising amount of support for her// 中国女排新任主帅人选随着郎平在最后时刻宣布参加竞聘而变得更加戏剧化。昨天上午，备受关注的新一届中国女排主教练竞聘会在国家体育总局排球运动管理中心一楼会议室举行。
There Goes the Neighborhood | ChinaFile But today a growing interest in collecting traditional architecture in China has thrown a spotlight on the practice called yidi baohu, “preservation through relocation.” Even as China’s fastest growing cities bulldoze their old neighborhoods to make way for shiny new skyscrapers, historic homes like those in Huizhou have become trophies for a new, aggressively acquisitive class of Chinese collectors. It is hard to say precisely how many of these houses have been removed from the Huizhou region. But the trend is clear. Zhang Jianping, a local photographer who has been photographing Huizhou for twenty-six years, recently told Anhui Television that, “in the past seven years, the historic houses have been disappearing from Huizhou villages at an unimaginable speed.” In most Huizhou villages, only a handful of the oldest houses, ancestral halls, theaters, temples, and objects are subject to protection as “cultural relics.” And even these can go missing
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
China reports 3 new H7N9 cases, another death – Xinhua A total of 63 H7N9 cases have been reported across China, with 24 in Shanghai, 17 in Jiangsu, 16 in Zhejiang, three in Anhui, two in Henan and one in Beijing.
Chinese ship in anteater meat scandal — Shanghai Daily A CHINESE vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside – more than 10,000 kilograms of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater. The steel-hulled vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site on Palawan island.
Smoking, air pollution major health threats in China – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese and international medical experts have warned that second-hand smoke and air pollution are among the major health threats in China. The scientists listed unhealthy diet, uncontrolled high blood pressure,environmental tobacco smoke and outdoor and indoor air pollution as the five leading health risks facing the Chinese population, according to a statement issued at the opening ceremony of the Evidence-Based Policy Dialogue: China and the Global Burden of Diseases symposium on Monday.
Bottled Water Producer in Row with State-Controlled Rivalry over Quality Standards-Caijing no Nongfu spring Water for us// A row between a popular bottled water producer and a state-owned rivalry over quality standards, still in escalation, has fueled public concerns over water safety in the latest scandal to hit China and exposed nasty competing relations to the public. In the latest development, the China National Health Association Drinking Water Committee, reiterated in a strongly-worded statement that the criteria Nongfu Spring uses were looser than national tap water standards in the amount of arsenic and cadmium allowed. It also accused local government of Zhejiang, where the leading private bottled water maker is based, for taking a bias stance by endorsing Nongfu in arguing for its quality standard.
Vigilance Increases as Flu Spreads – WSJ.com “Only in China do you have cohabitation of pigs, humans and water birds,” says Christoph Scholtissek, a retired virologist who was among the first to link Chinese farming practices with the evolution of new strains of influenza in the 1980s. “Almost all flu infections begin in China and then spread to Europe.”.. Further complicating the picture, he says, is the continued preference in China, as elsewhere in Asia, for freshly killed meat—a culinary tradition that supports wet markets full of live animals where viruses can circulate easily.
养老市场化尴尬：这边床位告急，那边空置四成 | 每经网 核心提示： 在当前的机构养老中，一方面存在着养老床位总量不足，另一方面，又存在着总体上40％左右的床位空置率。这看似荒诞的背后，到底隐藏着怎样的尴尬？
FOOD AND TRAVEL
不明不白的白酒：非粮食酿造 由酒精香精勾兑|不明不白|的|白酒_21世纪网 核心提示：粮食酒=酒精+水+香精！记者暗访四川白酒生产厂，发现调酒师将纯度95%的食用酒精变成各种口感的“佳酿”，酒精和香精在生产时容易产生塑化剂，这是行业规则，没有一家酒厂不添加。
JOBS AND EVENTS
The Road Ahead for China’s Economy | Brookings Institution On April 16, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings and China’s Caixin Media Group will host a conference [In DC] to examine the daunting challenges confronting China’s new leaders. The morning panels will feature a discussion of the financial sector as well as the relationship between the domestic agenda for financial reform and China’s evolving strategy for outbound investment. The afternoon panels will take a close look at the political obstacles to implementing major economic reform in areas such as tax policy, the household registration system and land transfers, as well as explore the impact of environmental and natural resource constraints on China’s economic growth.
Director of Product Marketing at App Annie in Beijing – Job | LinkedIn App Annie is the industry leader in app store analytics and market intelligence for the global app economy. More than 80 percent of the Top 100 iOS publishers use its services, and more than 200,000 apps from over 24,000 unique app publishers rely on App Annie Analytics to track their downloads, revenues, rankings and reviews. App Annie is a privately held global company with offices in Beijing, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and London.