The Sinocism China Newsletter For 04.23.13

My column this week for Dealbook looks at the earthquake, H7N9, the Yasukuni Shrine visits and corruption:

Japan’s deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, went to the shrine while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, trying to avoid angering the Chinese while placating some of his constituents, only sent a “masakaki” tree dedicated in his name. A prominent People’s Daily commentator excoriated the Japanese visit in Monday’s newspaper and we should not be surprised if over the next few days there is more than just a rhetorical reaction from Beijing.

Tensions may increase today as Japan nationalists are close to islands disputed by China (Reuters):

A flotilla of boats carrying more than 80 Japanese nationalists arrived on Tuesday in waters near disputed islands at the centre of tensions between China and Japan, risking further straining Tokyo’s fraught relations with its Asian neighbors.

The boats were shadowed by at least 10 Japanese Coast Guard vessels, while three Chinese government surveillance ships moved near the islands, according to the JCG.

Last year members of the same group landed on one of the islets and triggered anti-Japanese protests in China, while lingering regional friction over Japan’s wartime aggression also resurfaced in recent days.

Let’s hope the Yasukuni Shrine visits and this boat trip do not end up as the triggers for China to advance its Diaoyu Islands efforts to the next step, such as sending PLAN ships inside the 12 mile zone or actually landing a surveying team on the islands.

The Dealbook column also looked at recent moves to strengthen the the campaigns to improve work-styles and fight corruption and extravagance:

The campaigns against corruption and extravagance may deepen. At a Politburo meeting Friday, President Xi Jinping told Communist Party members to “toe the mass line” to win over the public and to fight formalism, bureaucracy and hedonism. President Xi also reiterated a resolve to fight corruption and the government announced that media outlets, including the American-listed portals Sina, Netease and Sohu, have opened online informant pages for citizens to report corruption.

On Sunday, Mr. Xi, in his capacity as chairman of the Central Military Commission, approved an order requiring officers to spend time every few years down in the ranks as common soldiers. A commentary on the policy in the Chinese army’s newspaper reminded readers that in 1958 Mao Zedong called for every cadre to spend one month a year as a common soldier. These continuing campaigns to “change work styles” and curb corruption are not going away anytime soon, much to the chagrin of luxury purveyors and high-end food and beverage businesses.

The New York Times reported Monday that Beijing had arrested several anti-corruption activists who had staged public calls for officials to disclose their assets. Asset disclosure is a very sensitive topic. According to The South China Morning Post, at a meeting in late February of the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection one official apparently said that “disclosure of officials’ assets could lead to social unrest.”

Beijing knows that public anger over corruption is high. An incident last Friday is just one example. A minor local official in Jiangsu Province was seen at an expensive banquet and then harassed and prevented from leaving by an angry mob. He cried and pleaded for forgiveness but was able to depart only after the police arrived. He was fired Sunday.

The party is trying to harness popular anger against graft by allowing some oversight online, either through the microblogging site Weibo or the new “informant pages.” It is also very cognizant of the risk that things could spiral out of control, so it will keep a tight grip over public participation in the anti-corruption campaign.

Few outside observers believe corruption can be rooted out without broader political changes, but Mr. Xi appears determined to push this current crackdown farther than most believed.

Apple announces quarterly earnings Tuesday. The quarter was the first full one in which the iPhone 5 was officially available in China but Apple investors should not expect China to be the company’s savior. Apple has too many problems here, as I discussed in an April 1 Dealbook column.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Sichuan: China was warned of disaster – Telegraph Professor Chen Yuntai, twice president of China’s Seismological Society, warned in the wake of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that the same fault line was likely to rupture again in the coming years. The warning was reported to China’s top leaders in Reference News, a daily internal briefing for the Communist party, but was not acted upon. “We collected the data from the Wenchuan earthquake and we calculated that there would be another big quake around 60 miles to the south west, which is Baoxing county,” he said. // After Earthquake, Chinese Seek Out Private Charities for Their Donations – NYTimes.com Global Times said in its report on Monday that distrust of the Red Cross had driven many people to make donations through microblog services started by private Internet companies. One of those services, Sina Micro-charities, which began operations in February, had started 29 relief projects by Sunday for Ya’an with the help of individuals and institutions. For those efforts, Sina had collected $13 million from more than 60,000 Internet users, Global Times reported. // 壹基金行动解剖:72小时内的效率与节约_财经频道_一财网 first financial looks at how the one foundation is dealing with ya’an quake donations  // 记录雅安地震,后方医院里的地震伤员_罗大维_博联社 lots of pictures of care for quake victims sent to Chengdu hospitals. anyone know who the foreign doctors are in the third from last picture?

China Seeks to Forge New Type of Military Relationship With U.S. – Bloomberg China and the U.S. must forge a new type of military bond, a Chinese general said at a briefing with the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, after the two discussed issues including North Korea and cyber-security. // U.S. Eyes Pushback On China Hacking – WSJ.com interesting timing, showing up in the Wall Street Journal the day the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs arrives in Beijing.  there had been rumors of a more robust response like this around the time of the Mandiant report release in the New York Times.  But then nothing beyond “name and shame” happened, or at least that we know about. Perhaps the advocates inside the government of a more robust response decided to take their case public via the WSJ, and/or send a warning to Beijing? // The Obama administration is considering a raft of options to more aggressively confront China over cyberspying, officials say, a potentially rapid escalation of a conflict the White House has only recently acknowledged. Options include trade sanctions, diplomatic pressure, indictments of Chinese nationals in U.S. courts and cyber countermeasures—both attack and defense, officials said. // China-US shared interests emphasized |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn Fang said he and his counterpart had candid discussions on traditional and non-traditional security issues during meetings on Monday afternoon, and also exchanged views on Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands and the Korean Peninsula.

China protests Japanese leaders’ shrine-worshipping – Xinhua | English.news.cn China has lodged solemn representations to Japan over visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese leaders, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Monday. // Yasukuni visit reveals Japan’s provocative stance – OP-ED – Globaltimes.cn China certainly hopes to develop friendly relations with Japan. But in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to achieve this goal. Perhaps confrontation between the two is inevitable, unless China exercises forbearance with a very broad strategic mind. But this is not feasible in an era when national strategy is increasingly influenced by public opinion. No matter what insightful strategic intentions the government harbors, the Chinese public will not agree to a friendly approach to a nation that has left deep historical scars on China and still adopts very aggressive stances. But there is no need for China to be emotional and appear easily irritated. We need to maintain calm despite discontent with Japan’s provocative moves, and take appropriate countermeasures. Denying Japanese provocative behavior is China’s bottom line, which will never be compromised. // 社评:日本再做“参拜”挑衅,中国应回击_评论_环球网 // Lawmakers cancel May trip to China – The Japan Times A bipartisan group of lawmakers friendly to China has canceled a trip planned for early May because of difficulties arranging meetings with President Xi Jinping and other senior officials, a source within the group said Monday. The source said it is unclear whether a visit over the weekend to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and two other Cabinet ministers, as well as a ritual offering sent to the shrine by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, led to the cancellation

Pollution Is Radically Changing Childhood in China’s Cities – NYTimes.com Levels of deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children. Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing.

China confirms 102 H7N9 cases, 20 deaths – Xinhua | English.news.cn During the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. on Sunday, China confirmed six new cases of human H7N9 avian influenza, including five in Zhejiang and one in Jiangsu. //  H7N9 Cases May Be Double Known Figure, Hong Kong Researchers Say – Bloomberg There may be 90 to 120 ill adults who haven’t been detected because their infections are mild, Benjamin Cowling, associate professor at the university’s public health research center, said today. The researchers’ analysis suggests risk of serious illness from the virus rises substantially with age, with more than half of reported cases age 60 or older, he said.

China Hot Market Without Profit Seen in Pretty Lady Card – Bloomberg Huaxia Bank Co. (600015)’s Pretty Lady credit card, co-issued with Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), entices women with triple points for cosmetics and fitness-club memberships. The Ms. Magic card from China Citic Bank Corp. (998) dotted with Swarovski crystals offers free beauty treatments and health insurance. They’re part of a high-end competition being waged by banks for a spot in consumers’ wallets in the world’s fastest-growing market for credit cards, even as delinquencies have tripled in the past four years and profit remains elusive.

3.5万亿平台贷三年内到期 占比近四成_财经频道_一财网 honey for ursus sinicae…First Financial claims it has learned “exclusively” that LGFV outstanding loans at end of 2012 were 9.3 Trillion RMB, 37.5% of them come due within three years. Guess we should expect the “mother of all rollovers” then?// 独家获悉,截至2012年末,地方政府融资平台贷款余额达到9.3万亿元;其中,共有3.49万亿贷款将在未来三年内到期,占全部平台贷款余额的37.5%。//cites comments by CBRC head Shang Fulin at a recent CBRC internal meeting “平台贷款风险监管依然面临较为严峻的挑战。”银监会主席尚福林近日在银监系统内部会议上称,今年地方政府在换届完成后极有可能产生新的投资冲动和较大规模投融资需求,从而使平台贷款总量控制面临较大压力。

Steps to improve US-China relations | The A-List–Kurt Campbell Obviously both sides want to avoid the cold war imagery, but the US and the Soviet Union held such meetings for decades in neutral locations such as Malta, Vienna and Reykjavik when it was deemed inconvenient to plan a home match. Surely, there are a few places on the planet where the two leaders of the two most important countries can get together to discuss, in part, the fate of the planet?

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Judge Rejects Stay in SEC Subpoena Fight with Deloitte – The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times A federal trial judge in Washington today refused to put the brakes on the effort by U.S. securities regulators to squeeze audit documents from a Deloitte unit in China. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler adopted the recommendation of a magistrate judge who’d determined the subpoena enforcement proceeding, which tests the scope of the power of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to grab documents abroad, should no longer be subject to a stay order.

Caterpillar Reports First-Quarter Results, Revises Outlook and Announces Resumption of Stock Repurchase – Yahoo! Finance While dealer machine deliveries were down, total Caterpillar sales in China were higher than the first quarter of 2012. Sales were higher due to the absence of dealer inventory reductions that occurred in the first quarter of 2012 and an increase in Power Systems’ sales. In terms of inventory, significant progress has been achieved by both Caterpillar and our dealers. Inventory levels are getting close to where we believe they should be relative to sales and, as a result, we expect to begin increasing excavator production in China during the second quarter

发改委紧急摸底保障房债券 封堵挪用风险_理财频道_一财网 NDRC “urgently” trying to grasp scale of debts issued for subsidized housing, worried about risk of misuse of the funds…so if Beijing got a better handle on local government corruption, could there be a material improvement in those governments’ ability to repay their debts? or does the system just stop working? //第一财经日报》独家获悉,为了防止保障房项目企业债券(下称“保障房债券”)资金被挪用,国家发改委近期发起了针对募集资金使用情况的全面系统排查;对于地方政府及融资平台挪用保障房债券资金的行为,情节严重且整改不到位的,将被暂停发债资格。据本报记者了解,发改委上月末下发了《关于开展保障房项目企业债券募集资金使用情况检查的通知》(下称“742号文”),要求各地方政府尽快组织开展检查工作,“对已发债用于保障房建设的企业进行全面系统排查,不留死角”。发改委要求各地在4月底前上报检查和整改情况报告。

Bond Scam Uncovered in 2010 Apparently Resurfaces – Caixin The scandal has attracted the attention of the highest levels of government. Vice Premier Wang Qishan, head of the Communist Party’s Central Discipline Inspection Commission, has told regulators to investigate all cases and punish the perpetrators. The rule breakers were apparently using a tactic that involved a regulatory loophole in the bond market. The loophole was exposed by a 2010 investigation into Zhang Rui, then an official in the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Exchequer. Zhang was found guilty of illegally trading bonds through Class C accounts, which are registered with the China Government Securities Depository Trust & Clearing Co. Ltd. and used by non-financial institutions and legal persons to trade bonds in the inter-bank market. He was initially caught sending text message to traders, tipping them off about the price of government bonds before auctions started. Zhang was taken in for questioning by the party’s discipline watchdog in December 2010 and later handed to the courts. Investigators found that he made more than 40 million yuan in illegal gains, including 6 million yuan in bribes from the company that printed the government bonds.

通道业务已现灰色地带 相关券商或将受罚_财经频道_一财网 公安部主导的债市扫黑已经牵扯出券商固定收益业务的从业者,而券商去年普遍开展的通道业务也同样潜藏着灰色地带。

China’s post-modern macro data (or, when Q1 is not Q1) | FT Alphaville Since China’s Q1 GDP growth came in last week at well below consensus forecasts, strategists have been searching for reasons why this is or isn’t the beginning of a new era. Morgan Stanley’s Helen Qiao and Yuande Zhu say there are three reasons why the Q1 figure might have ended up presenting a picture of slower growth than is warranted.

New orders falling for China’s machine tool makers – Xinhua | English.news.cn New orders for China’s machine tool manufacturers declined for the 22nd consecutive month in March amid the economic slowdown, according to data released on Monday. “We’ve seen no improvement in the first three months of this year,” said Chen Huiren, deputy secretary-general of China Machine Tool and Tool Builders’ Association (CMTBA), which released the data.

Rhodium Group » Back to Ginormous: China’s 2018 Current Account China is intimately involved in the WEO process and has ample opportunity to shape the assessment internally – more and more so, in fact, as time goes by and Beijing’s influence at the Fund increases. The April 2013 WEO projections for China are therefore the starting point for a critical conversation: does Beijing concur with the Fund’s projections, and if not, why not? And if so, how should responsible policymakers on the flip side of China’s burgeoning external surpluses respond? One thing is clear: you don’t have to invent theories of Western hostility or conspiracy to contain China to understand why Washington, Brussels and other partner governments push Beijing so hard over trade and investment-related policy grievances.

Big buyout firms find size isn’t all in China business | South China Morning Post lots of runors of bad deals that never hit the press…any idea if the fall of bo xilai cost any of these pe firms money?// Some of the world’s biggest private equity players are learning the hard lesson that size does not guarantee success when it comes to making investments in China. Industry sources have told the South China Morning Post that US buyout giant TPG Capital recently began to sell its entire holding in a Shanghai-based leasing firm, ending a bad five-year relationship with it.

Will Toyota Get Price Right for China Comeback? – Japan Real Time – WSJToyota introduced two versions of the compact–the Yaris hatchback and the Vios sedan–at China’s premier auto show Sunday. Toyota hopes the new models will right some strategic missteps that have hurt sales in China, a situation that was exacerbated by a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea claimed by both China and Japan, and which led to a boycott of Japanese-brand products last autumn. Along with Japanese rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., Toyota has unveiled a slew of vehicles at the show specifically for the Chinese market.

Chinese buyers shy away from luxury – FT.com Car market analysts point out that the slowdown has not affected sales of all luxury cars, only the most expensive ones. “After three years of incredible growth, things have definitely slowed down in the last few months . . . but the mainstream [luxury] cars are still doing fine; it’s the expensive imported cars that seem to be struggling,” says Max Warburton of Sanford Bernstein in Singapore. “Selling Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, right now is getting pretty tricky – though whether that’s an anti-corruption thing or economics, that’s not quite clear.”

China March FX Purchases Net CNY236.3 Bn; Inflows Still Strong | MNI Chinese banks, including the People’s Bank of China, purchased a net CNY236.3 billion in foreign exchange in March, down from February’s CNY295.4 billion but still indicating persistent capital inflows. The data, which were released by the central bank Monday, were down from January’s record purchase of CNY683.7 billion, and compares with 2012’s monthly average of CNY40 billion, suggesting that capital inflows remained intensive during the first quarter of 2013.

China Fuel Price may Embrace Biggest Fall on Thursday-Caijing Prices will be cut by 450-500 yuan per ton, according to commodity information provider 315.com.cn. This cut could well become this year’s largest, said Zhang Qian, an analyst at the company. “When the window period for an adjustment opens [on Thursday], the basketball of oil prices would fall by more than 7 percent if global crude prices remained subdued,” she said.

Investors Devour Spicy Pickle Stock on Premier Li’s Breakfast Photo – China Real Time Report – WSJ Mr. Li was seen eating a small pack of Fuling brand Sichuan pickles, better known in China as zha cai, with a bowl of plain rice porridge. Rich in political symbolisms, the photo portrayed a new Chinese leader standing side by side with his devastated people and leading a down-to-earth lifestyle, an image that the ruling Communist Party has been keen to engineer in recent years amid growing public outrage against rampant corruption. Fuling Zhacai’s Class A shares on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange rose to an intraday high of 24.50 yuan apiece shortly after the opening bell, recording a gain of 6.4%. The stock ended the trading day up 3.1% at 23.73 yuan after a late bout of profit taking.

北京首例20%个税全转嫁买家 调控被指纸上谈兵|北京|二手房|20%个税_新浪财经_新浪网 CCTV on who is paying the 20% capital gains tax in Beijing real estate transactions, as expected, in most cases the buyer is// 不久前,北京市出台了全国最严厉的房地产调控新国五条的细则。其中最受人瞩目的一条规定,就是在二手房的买卖环节,有条件地向卖方征收20%的个税。近日,北京的二手房交易市场,已经有人交了这20%的个税。引起人们特别关注的是,交税金的不是卖方,而是买方。这20%的个税,究竟苦了谁?未来北京二手房市场会因此发生什么样的变化?在政策引导市场的过程当中,还有哪些问题亟需我们的反思?央视财经频道主持人陈伟鸿和特约评论员社科院金融所研究员尹中立、著名财经评论员刘戈共同评论。

Lack of Innovation in China? Blame Internet Censorship- To a Point – Beibei Bao – The Atlantic The existence of the Great Firewall hurts China’s economy — but the issue is more complicated than you think.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Xiao Shu–Why is Beijing cracking down on peaceful civil movements? | South China Morning Post By clamping down on these movements, the party’s security arm has not only turned against public interest, but also, paradoxically, against the ruling bloc itself.

Official sacked over lavish banquet — Shanghai Daily There were four tables piled with high-end cigarettes, premium liquors, and rare dishes. A whistleblower estimated that each table would cost at least 10,000 yuan (US$1,612), the report said. The whistleblower notified local residents who besieged the officials in the banquet room and condemned them for corruption. To seek retreat, Zhang knelt on the table and said with a loudspeaker: “I am wrong. Please forgive me. You can ask me to do anything if you let us go.” The scene was videotaped on a mobile phone and posted on the Internet, attracting many hits. Taizhou authorities held a meeting on Sunday night after the video went viral and decided to strip Zhang of his position, the report said // 人民日报-泰州公布“豪华宴请遭围堵”处理结果,负责人被免职 “八项规定”岂能视而不见(深阅读·转变作风探实效) People’s daily on the firing of the errant taizhou official, now a poster child for breaking Xi’s 8 rules

Chinese authorities call torture claims at women’s labour camp ‘malicious lies’ | South China Morning PostA 10-day investigation by a joint panel in northern China’s Liaoning province concluded that the article “distorted facts and applied a large amount of overseas Falun Gong malicious attack rhetoric”, said Xinhua on Friday. The report gave one-sided and false accounts and had “serious inconsistencies with the truth”, the state-owned news agency said, citing the investigation results. The inquiry was triggered by a report, first published by Lens magazine two weeks ago, giving a rare glimpse inside the Masanjia women’s labour camp in Liaoning. Headlined Walking Out of Masanjia, the lengthy report accused officers of torturing and using other inhumane methods on dozens of prisoners. The claims were based on accounts of provincial procurators, former camp officials and former and current prisoners.// 辽宁调查组:《走出马三家》一文内容严重失实 – 新华时政 – 新华网

不动产统一登记制度有望年内破冰 推进中频受阻-财经网多年踯躅不前的不动产统一登记制度有望在今年内破冰。

国务院专家称北京上海不能放开户口-中新网 “中小城市将来可以给户口,大城市不能给,一给北京、上海要爆炸了。”这是北京首创集团董事长刘晓光的观点。“中国的城镇化应以人为本,少以工业化为基础去做,少以政府主导。”这是建业地产股份有限公司董事局主席胡葆森的观点。“取消户籍,建议从县城和小城市取消,最后分10—15年在大城市取消。” 银泰投资有限公司董事长兼总裁沈国军认为。4月21日,在2013中国绿公司“城镇化:机遇与风险”焦点论坛上,与会商界领袖各执一词,表达对中国城镇化进程中的思考和心得。

China starts journalists aid program – Xinhua | English.news.cn The All-China Journalists Association on Monday launched a program of providing aid to press staff, a senior official said. The non-profitable program covers Chinese journalists who were killed or injured while doing their duty or behaving bravely for justice, said Zhai Huisheng, Communist Party of China chief at the association

广州公车停在娱乐场所等可自动发预警_网易新闻中心 Guangzhou tracking official cars using Beidou GPS, says government will get warnings when cars in vicinity they are not supposed to be for official work// 系统是怎样预警的?梅河清介绍,目前公车监管系统共有六个监察点,广州市安装了北斗系统的8491辆公车,都受到这些监察点的监控。如果系统发现公车违规使用,监管系统除了记录轨迹外,车载系统还将向驾驶人发出预警,并把预警信息发送给各级分管公车使用的负责人处。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China says new North Korea nuclear test possible – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun China’s top general said on April 22 that a fourth North Korean nuclear weapons test is a possibility that underscores the need for fresh talks between Pyongyang and other regional parties. Chief of the General Staff Gen. Fang Fenghui said Beijing firmly opposes the North’s nuclear weapons program and wants to work with others on negotiations to end it. He said Beijing’s preference is for a return to long-stalled disarmament talks involving the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S.

Chinese VP meets with former U.S. Secretary of State – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (R) meets with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in Beijing, capital of China, April 22, 2013. //wasn’t kissinger just here last month? // 中国军网_范长龙会见美国前国务卿基辛格 Kissinger also met with Fan Changlong// 本报北京4月22日电 罗朝文报道:中央军委副主席范长龙今天上午在八一大楼会见了来访的美国前国务卿基辛格博士一行。

Abe to Xi: Shall We Dance? – Council on Foreign Relations written before the latest Yasukuni Shrine visit…will Beijing cancel Aso’s visit to Beijing now?// Japan and China both have new leaders, and thus an opportunity exists to reduce tensions that erupted last summer over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Tensions ratcheted up even further early this year as military forces seemed poised to enter the fray in the waters around the remote, uninhabited islands (called Senkaku by Japanese and Diaoyu by Chinese). Although the two leaders have yet to meet face to face, there are some signs of diplomatic movement.

Govt to assert ‘Sea of Japan’ stance – The Japan News The name “Sea of Japan” has already been recognized by the international community. However, South Korea’s government and private sector have recently beefed up a worldwide campaign demanding that the name “Donghae” be listed together with “Sea of Japan.” Earlier this month, it was discovered that Google has made a map stipulating both names. The final draft of the ocean policy plan stipulates that the government will “make efforts to disseminate to the world the proper understanding that the name ‘Sea of Japan’ is the only internationally established name referring to the area.” The final draft also referred to a disputed gas field in the East China Sea. The government’s negotiations with China on jointly developing the Shirakaba gas field–known as Chunxiao in China–have been suspended. The final draft stipulates that the government will “use every opportunity” to urge China to resume negotiations on the gas field based on the two governments’ June 2008 agreement.

Seoul cancels summit over Yasukuni visits – The Japan Times South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se has canceled his scheduled trip to Japan this week, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said Monday in the wake of controversial visits by members of the Cabinet to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine.

Shisaku: On The Monday Morning After The Yasukuni Visits On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso and Public Safety Commission Chairman Furuya Keiji paid their respects at Yasukuni Shrine. Minister for Internal Affairs and Telecommunications Shindo Yoshitaka paid a visit on Saturday (Link). Aso merely walked up to the offerings box, paid his respects and left, without entering the main building. Shindo and Furuya went inside and signed the register, with Furuya claiming he signed in as “Furuya Keiji, Minister of the Cabinet.”

Insight: China consolidates sea claims as Asian diplomacy struggles | Reuters “I lost my livelihood when we lost the Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese,” said Mario Forones, a 53-year-old who owns three fishing boats that worked the reef for about a dozen years before armed Chinese vessels arrived in force last April. Reuters interviews with fishermen in two coastal Philippine towns – some of whom tried to fish the shoal as recently as this month – show how the Philippines has effectively ceded sovereignty of the reef about 124 nautical miles off its coast after a naval stand-off last year. China’s consolidation and expansion of its grip on the disputed South China Sea looms over a gathering of Southeast Asian leaders in the tiny kingdom of Brunei this week as they try to kickstart stalled efforts to ease one of Asia’s biggest security flashpoints.

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Park Plans China Visit Following U.S. Summit President Park Geun-hye plans to visit China for her second official overseas trip since she took office after a visit to the U.S. in early May, it emerged on Sunday. A senior government official said, “We have not discussed details with China yet, but we began looking into the possibility considering the fact that Chinese President Xi Jinping extended invitations several times.” Park had originally intended to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when the three Asian countries hold a trilateral meeting in Seoul in late May. But the meeting was canceled amid rising territorial disputes between China and Japan.

China thanks U.S. for aiding relatives of Chinese Boston bombing victims – Xinhua | English.news.cn A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday the Chinese side has thanked the U.S. for aiding the relatives of two Chinese victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

China Rising | Institute of Politics – YouTube Published on Apr 5, 2013–Jon Huntsman, former U.S. Ambassador to China, and Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, along with Keith Richburg, former Washington Post Bureau Chief and China correspondent, engaged in a panel conversation on the challenges and opportunities posed by China’s global growth. Topics discussed included potential areas for cooperation and trust-building measures, including climate change and the situation in North Korea.

China rejects reports on border incursion – The Hindu China on Monday rejected reports claiming People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops had set up a tented post on Indian territory in Ladakh, saying that its frontier patrols had “never trespassed” the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “I want to reiterate that China’s frontier troops have been abiding by the agreements between two countries, and abiding by the Line of Actual Control (LAC) agreed by the two countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.

Debating China’s No-First-Use Commitment: James Acton Responds – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace My New York Times op-ed on the possibility that China is rethinking its no-first-use pledge has already attracted a number of thoughtful responses, including from Major General Yao Yunzhu from China’s Academy of Military Sciences and M. Taylor Fravel from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who both argue that Beijing is not changing its nuclear doctrine….Here common ground emerges between Yao, Fravel and myself. While we may disagree about the meaning of the new white paper and Xi’s speech, we all agree that much deeper engagement on nuclear deterrence between the United States and China is needed. Realistically, that is the only way that this debate can be definitively settled.

The DF-21D or “Carrier Killer”: An Instrument of Deception? | Flashpoints One of China’s top mid-term objectives is to push U.S. naval forces out of what it regards as its backyard. It will use every means at its disposal — diplomacy, sweeteners, threats — to achieve this goal. It would be a terrible mistake to ignore deception as another tool in China’s box.

China has 70 ICBMs, says Russian newspaper|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.com Nezavisimaya Gazata said that of the People’s Liberation Army’s 200 strategic missiles, 70 are ICBMs with the range to strike targets within the United States, refelecting the PLA’s increasing ability to launch a nuclear counterattack. The information was provided by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute based in Sweden and the London International Institute for Strategic Studies based in the United Kingdom. Michael Flynn, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, reported to Congress however that the PLA has fewer than 50 ICBMs which could attack the United States.

Cyberattacks a Huge Threat to Start-Ups, and Their Investors – NYTimes.com a recent study by Kaspersky Lab, a technology security firm, revealed that a Chinese hacking ring infiltrated the servers of dozens of video gaming companies. One of them was Trion Worlds, a privately held company in the United States that develops and publishes video games and gaming platforms including Defiance, the game tied in to a new sci-fi television series. Trion hasn’t commented on the attack. The hackers reportedly stole valuable source code from the game developers and publishers, probably to sell pirated versions of its video games.

Sea Disputes, N. Korea in Spotlight at ASEAN Summit | TIME.com Concern over North Korea‘s latest threats is also expected to gain attention over economic issues in the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, being held Wednesday and Thursday in Brunei’s capital of Bandar Seri Begawan. The 10-nation bloc is scrambling to beat a deadline to transform the strikingly diverse region of 600 million people into a European Union-like community by the end of 2015. A draft statement to be issued after the summit, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, would reaffirm the ASEAN leaders’ commitment to ensure the peaceful resolution of South China Sea conflicts in accordance with international law “without resorting to the threat or use of force.”

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Hong Kong Home Prices to Drop as Much as 25%, Bernstein Says – Bloomberg Hong Kong home prices will fall as much as 25 percent after the government stepped up measures to curb an asset bubble and as banks raised mortgage rates, according to Sanford C. Bernstein H.K. Ltd. The number of new apartment sales will “remain largely subdued” with developers shifting their focus to cheaper and smaller units to boost sales, analysts led by Kenneth Tsang wrote in a report today.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

In China, Samsung outshines Apple in Sichuan earthquake donations | South China Morning Post Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is donating 60 million yuan (HK$75.4 million) to help relief efforts in Yaan, the company said in a weibo post on Monday morning. The South Korean company led China’s smartphone market for the first time last year. It nearly tripled its sales from 10 million to 30 million units last year, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics. Samsung did not specify to whom the funds would go. The post has been shared some 16,000 times in the first three hours. Less than two hours after Samsung’s announcement, Sina reported that Apple, Samsung’s biggest global competitor, would be donating 50 million yuan to help with relief efforts. Apple also pledged to provide computer equipment and training to some schools in the disaster zone.

PSA: Baidu Is *Not* Trying To Buy Zynga | TechCrunch Looks like Baidu and Zynga are the most recent victims of a bogus press release stunt. This morning, a company called PR*Urgent put out a notice saying that Baidu — known as the “Google of China” — wanted to acquire Zynga, the social gaming giant. It claimed Baidu offered to pay $10 per Zynga share in cash. But a PR representative for Baidu has categorically denied the news. “Baidu had nothing to do with this news release,” he told TechCrunch

小米的群众运动_杂志频道_财新网 long Caixin story on Xiaomi// 米柚能否托得起小米的明天?当硬件优势不再,小米将重心转向了做互联网平台,核心是米柚

阿里巴巴回炉再造SNS_杂志频道_财新网 Alibaba planning a new SNS? probably bad for renren and sina unless buy them (unlikely)// 一个在阿里巴巴集团内部悬置三四年的问题——“我们到底还要不要做SNS(Social Networking Services,社交网络)?”——终于到了一个决策节点。

Large Companies ‘Slow to Use Weibo to Respond to Bad News’ – Caixin Central government-controlled companies are slow to use social media to respond to negative news, a report by an online public opinion monitoring organization says. The report by the Peoples’ Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Center said ministries, commissions and local governments were more likely to use weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to interact with the public.

Beijing to Regulate Taxi Booking Mobile Apps | Marbridge Consulting – China Wireless News An employee of the Beijing municipal commission of transport revealed that the body is looking into establishing a unified platform for mobile taxi booking, and into “cleaning up” some of the for-profit taxi-booking services currently offering mobile applications. The unified taxi-booking platform would offer similar functionality to what is currently available from apps on the marketplace, and will be operated according to competition between private companies. Some less-used mobile taxi-booking apps will naturally be pushed out of the market, the employee said.

China’s Rising Internet Class [INFOGRAPHIC] The following infographic, created by web development firm MWI, details China’s rising Internet class and the business opportunities it will create. For example, China’s mobile Internet users increased from 69.3% at the end of 2011 to 74.5% last year, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center. As of 2012, the country also has 309 million microblog users and 242 million people who shopped online.

Hollywood’s Box Office Heroes Proving Mortal in China – NYTimes.com Richard L. Gelfond, chief executive of the Imax Corporation, whose screens in China play both American-made and Chinese-made films, said he was confident that viewed over a long period of time, “China is opening up to Hollywood.” But lately, Mr. Gelfond acknowledged, the shift toward domestic films has been “dramatic.” In early 2012, he said, American studios did well in China partly because the available Chinese films lacked audience appeal. Later, he noted, Chinese officials delayed the release of “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit” until those films had played elsewhere, which allowed video pirates time to put a dent in the potential audience.

China Mobile First-Quarter Profit Little Changed on Costs – Bloomberg China Mobile Ltd. (941), the world’s largest phone company by subscribers, reported its weakest profit growth in three quarters as higher costs eroded gains from an increase in users of high-speed network services. Net income rose to 27.9 billion yuan ($4.5 billion) in the first quarter, from 27.8 billion yuan a year earlier, the Beijing-based operator said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday. Profit was expected to be 28 billion yuan, based on the median of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

Exporting to China Through E-Commerce: An Insider’s Perspective — [contextChina] / 太平洋中国通 Ambassador Frank Lavin has been on the front lines of the junction between business, public policy and Asia’s development for nearly three decades. It comes as no surprise then, that he can currently be found at the intersection of two massive trends that stand to change the face of US-China trade: increasing demand for foreign goods in China and the rise of e-commerce as a force powering consumption amongst Chinese consumers.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Marvel of Ming dynasty ‘discovered’ in Croydon – Telegraph Now, this elaborately decorated Chinese vase is set to be a centrepiece of a major new exhibition at the British Museum, displaying the marvels of the Ming dynasty. The “Cloisonné vase”, commissioned by Zhu Zhanji, who was Ming emperor from 1426 to 1435, was originally brought to Britain by Reginald Riesco, whose passion for ceramics led him to amass a collection of Chinese bowls and vases. On his death, in 1964, he left his collection of Chinese artefacts, one of the finest outside central London, to the Museum of Croydon, where it is now displayed in the Riesco Gallery.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

媒体揭发泡餐具原料秘密:图便宜多用洋垃圾|发泡餐具|原料|调查_新浪财经_新浪网 many of the styrofoam food containers in China are made from recycled foreign trash, contain hazardous chemicals?// 过去14年,发泡餐具禁而不止已是公开的秘密。但对于发泡餐具的原材料,外界却鲜有人知。近日,《每日经济新闻》记者通过多方调查,揭开了发泡餐具用料的秘密。 “大多数用的是再生料,掺杂少量的新料。”明浩塑胶抽粒厂老板唐某告诉记者,再生料和新料混搭是发泡餐具企业的普遍做法,且再生料的比例要高于新料。

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Uncharted waters – Frontpage – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Buying bottled water used to be considered convenient and safe: choose the preferred brand, check the expiry date and pay the bill, with quality and safety guaranteed. But now, domestic consumers are not so sure about the quality standards printed on the bottles. There has been a controversy recently about whether the water sold by Zhejiang-based natural spring water firm Nongfu Spring complies with national standards, or only with a more lax local standard.

6,297 Chinese restaurants and hungry for more – latimes.com David Chan, an L.A. attorney, will try any Chinese restaurant once and has the spreadsheet to prove it. He has become a go-to expert for critics.

收费后的凤凰古城_张烟烟_博联社 great time to visit Fenghuang Old Town in Hunan now that the government is charging for entry. Place is empty, as these pictures show

 

BEIJING

紫玉山庄 – 首页 purple jade villas in Beijing. older project, great location, big yards, very exclusive. 100k rmb/mb. so one of the larger ones will set you back almost 60M rmb, or close to $10m USD

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

Red publisher for foreigners – Frontpage – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn A private bookseller, dubbed as the first in China to go international, has been turning a profit by selling books about the Communist Party of China around the world. Huang Yongjun recognizes the cash cow he is working with though in his words he doesn’t care about politics himself. However, he expects a measure of tacit support and recognition from officials. “I can do nothing without money, and only after making money can I introduce more about the CPC to the world,” Huang told the Global Times in a phone interview from the UK, where he is promoting his books.

Cheng Naishan, a Shanghai literary icon with close ties to HK, dies aged 67 | South China Morning Post Cheng Naishan, widely considered an icon of Shanghainese literature and who had close ties to Hong Kong, has died after a long battle with leukaemia. Cheng, 67, was best known for the hai pai, or Shanghainese, style of literature, which is often related to the history, culture and legacy of the city, particularly from the 1930s when it was known as the “Paris of the Orient” for its strong business sector and well-diversified culture, and was on a par with New York, London and Paris.

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

Public Relations / Public Affairs Manager at Bloomberg LP in Beijing – Job | LinkedI tough job // Job Description: Greater China Communications–Bloomberg LP is seeking a Greater China PR /PA Manager to join the Asia Pacific corporate communications team to be based in Beijing. Deep knowledge of business, financial and media markets essential, as well as experience in public affairs, media relations,corporate communications and issues management. This position is open immediately for someone looking for an independent, dynamic, fast-paced and multi-faceted role; interested in the financial and media sectors; and able to provide strategic communications advice to business managers. The PR Manager will report to Bloomberg’s Head of Corporate Communications for Asia Pacific.

Managing Editor, the Beijinger Magazine & Website at True Run Media in Beijing City, China – Job | LinkedIn Please note: only candidates currently living in Beijing or other cities in China will be considered for this position. Seeking an exciting and challenging role in a dynamic organization that is devoted to serving Beijing’s international community? We are recruiting for a new Managing Editor for theBeijinger, the capital’s most widely read and influential English-language magazine and website.

Managing Editor, BeijingKids Magazine at True Run Media in Beijing City, China – Job | LinkedIn Please note: only candidates currently living in Beijing or other cities in China will be considered for this position. Beijing’s international family scene is booming and we’re looking for the next Managing Editor for BeijingKids to help lead the capital’s essential expat family resource into even bigger and better things. The ideal candidate should be well-connected in Beijing’s international family and education circles, organized and efficient and managerially minded.

The Wall Street Journal: Covering China Past and Present | New York | Asia Society 30 April 2013 6:30pm – 8:00pm 725 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street), New York, NY

North Korea through Chinese Eyes | Brookings Institution On April 23, the Brookings-Tsinghua Center will host a public event for Dr. Jonathan Pollack, senior fellow and director of the John Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. Pollack is a specialist on East Asian international politics and security. His latest book, No Exit: North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, and International Security, was published in May 2011 by Routledge for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. In his remarks, Pollack will briefly review North Korea’s political history and assess how Chinese views of the DPRK have shifted in recent years, and then weigh how North Korea’s future could affect Northeast Asia as a whole and U.S.-China relations in particular.

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