The Sinocism China Newsletter For 04.26.13

China is going on vacation again, this time for the May 1 Worker’s Day. The official holiday lasts from Monday through Wednesday next week and while people are supposed to work Saturday and Sunday not much will get done in the next week. There will probably be only be a couple of issues of Sinocism between now and next Thursday.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was in Beijing Thursday and met with (Xinhua) Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and several other officials. The official US press statement on the visit does not make it sound like much happened but it is worth noting that over the last twelve days Secretary of State John Kerry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Deputy Secretary of State Burns have visited Beijing. This fairly intensive engagement seems positive, and perhaps is also a sign the US sees an opening for movement on North Korea?

Several of the top foreign journalists in Beijing are leaving the country for new assignments over the next few months. There may be a real hole in Western media coverage of China starting in Q3.

I am making a list and will eventually post it. If you are a China journalist who is heading out in the next few months and want to be mentioned, let me know.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Top leaders see difficulties, challenges for economy – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s top leaders on Thursday pointed out difficulties and challenges facing the country, saying macro policies should be stabilized and control over micro segments loosened with better social security measures. The message by the top decision-making body of the Communist Party of China (CPC) came at a special session held Thursday morning by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to study the country’s economic situation amid an economic slowdown // 人民日报-中共中央政治局常务委员会召开会议 研究当前经济形势和经济工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议并发表重要讲话 // 稳中求好 稳中求优–政治局常委会会议传递哪些新信息? – 新华时政 – 新华网   新华网北京4月25日电(记者安蓓 杜宇 张辛欣)中共中央政治局常务委员会25日召开会议,研究当前经济形势和经济工作,提出稳中求好、稳中求优,促进经济持续健康发展。

No let up in home price rises |Policy and Regulation |chinadaily.com.cn Housing prices face significant upward pressure in 2013 due to the possible effect of the current policies and the authorities may tax owners of multiple properties to guard against further price hikes, a top think tank said. “The tendency of housing prices this year depends on policy selection (by the authorities),” said Li Enping, a property market researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who is also an author of the academy’s annual report on the country’s real estate sector, which was released on Thursday. // 20%个税“雷声大雨点小”?四大一线城市仅北京严格执行_财经频道_一财网 “lots of thunder, little rain” in the new real estate measures? first financial says of top 4 cities in china only beijing strictly implementing 20% property tax…this was wen jiabao’s last policy, perhaps li keqiang doesn’t not really believe in it? or local governments think li can be rolled? // 目前四大一线城市中,仅北京按国五条要求严格执行二手房交易卖方需缴纳20%个税的规定,沪广深已出台的地方版“国五条”细则均未涉及此问题。// 社科院报告称中央加大反腐力度将促使存量房入市_网易新闻中心 昨天,中国社会科学院城市发展与环境研究所、社会科学文献出版社联合发布了“《房地产蓝皮书No.10》。专家指出,北京去年房价仅次于深圳位列全国第二,今年商品住宅市场仍易涨难跌。// same report says corruption crackdown may force some home sales

U.S. not backing down, Dempsey tells troops at Yokota – The Japan Times Responding to a question about a dispute between Japan and China over a cluster of islands in the East China Sea, Dempsey reaffirmed that Washington would live up to its treaty commitments to Japan. Under a joint security pact, the U.S. has nearly 50,000 troops in Japan and is obligated to defend Japanese territory. “Would we trade off our relationship with Japan in order to have a stronger relationship with China? The answer is no,” Dempsey said. But he added: “That doesn’t mean we don’t take the position of not influencing, not seeking to influence the outcome of territorial issues” toward a peaceful resolution.

Paper Tiger – By David Kang | Foreign Policy As of 2012, military expenditures in East and Southeast Asia are at the lowest they’ve been in 25 years — and very likely the lowest they’ve been in 50 years…Maritime disputes are becoming increasingly acute, and China appears to be growing increasingly aggressive. If East Asian countries start spending more on defense, that will be evidence of their concern. If they don’t, it suggests they are not all that worried — and perhaps we shouldn’t be either.

人民日报-什么是中国梦,怎样理解中国梦 head of CCCPC Party Literature Research Office writing in People’s Daily “What is the Chinese Dream, How To Understand the Chinese Dream” // 冷 溶–作者为中央文献研究室主任 // □1840年鸦片战争后,中国逐渐沦为半殖民地,开始了屈辱的历史,从此也开始了民族复兴的历史,也就是开始了中国梦的历史。□回顾近代以来的历史,可以看得很清楚。孙中山先生提出了“振兴中华”的口号并为之努力,但是没有找到出路。是中国共产党成立以后,领导人民经过不懈奋斗,才逐步使这个梦想成为现实。这个过程,可以概括为“两个百年”、“两重任务”。□中国梦不仅仅是理想、是目标,也是现实,反映在每个中国人的生活中。实现中国梦,就是实现老百姓的梦。“人民对美好生活的向往,就是我们的奋斗目标。” □实现中国梦,创造全体人民更加美好的生活,任重而道远,需要坚韧不拔的精神,需要众志成城的力量,需要我们每一个人的艰苦努力。人世间的一切幸福,都要靠辛勤的劳动来创造。// The Jamestown Foundation: Fierce Debate Erupts over the Meaning of the “China Dream”–Willy Lam Compared to predecessors ex-presidents Jiang and Hu at a comparable stage of their tenure as party chief, Xi has been able to much more quickly and solidly firm up his power base in the party, government and military. Now the 59-year-old head of the “Gang of Princelings” must prove to both Chinese and foreign audiences that he is at least as capable as his father, former Vice Premier Xi Zhongxun, of thinking outside the box and offering unconventional yet effective solutions to China’s myriad problems. Otherwise, Xi risks going down history as yet another unscrupulous politician who has failed to deliver improvements in the people’s living standards and civil rights while using patriotic and high-sounding slogans to cover up the party elite’s many shortcomings.

Inaugural Nancy Bernkopf Tucker Memorial Lecture | Wilson Center Sino-American Relations: Amour or Les Miserables? excellent speech by Amb. Winston Lord

Bloomberg West TV Interview With Kai-Fu Lee on Apple in China, Mobile Market, Innovation, Censorship interesting points about execution…no Apple China Head, lack of China Mobile deal…is Apple looking for a head of China?

Huawei: Never Said “We are Not Interested in U.S Any More”-Caijing Rumors about the telecom gear maker quitting the U.S. market have sent a shock wave across Weibo, a popular micro-blogging site in China, Wednesday following a Financial Times report which cited Eric Xu, one of three rotating CEOs, at an analyst conference in response to a question about congressional inquiries into Huawei spying concerns.  “We are not interested in the US market any more,” the report quoted Xu as saying.  “It was a misinterpretation,” said Huawei spokesman Zhang Lingbo, “We have never said we’re giving up on the U.S. market.”

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China’s First-Quarter Capital-Financial Account Surplus Surges – Bloomberg The $101.8 billion figure was the biggest since the three months ending December 2010 and compared with $56.1 billion in the same period last year, according to preliminary data released on the State Administration of Foreign Exchange website today. The capital and financial account returned to a surplus of $20 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, reversing two quarters of deficits.

Wynn Macau Earnings Jump 14% Percent on Mass Market – Bloomberg Mass-market table-game win gained 14 percent to $243.1 million, even as betting from high-stakes gamblers fell 15 percent to $28.4 billion, Wynn said. VIP win as a percentage of betting rose to 3.14 percent, higher than last year’s 2.59 percent and the company’s forecast of 2.7 percent to 3 percent.

Watchmakers fret over China sales slump | Reuters“All watches costing more than 1,800 francs are having difficulties in China at the moment,” said TAG Heuer Chief Executive Jean-Christophe Babin, soon to be head of LVMH’s jewelery brand Bulgari. TAG Heuer’s watches sell for an average price of 4,500 Swiss francs and Omega’s and Patek’s price tags are well above that. “We have felt the impact of the anti-corruption campaign in China,” Patek Philippe’s Thierry Stern said in an interview.

这就是梁信军眼中的——未来十年会大变的世界-看点[email protected]虎嗅网 very interesting talk from the Fosun CEO// 所以结论是三四线城市在新增开发量方面风险其实是蛮大的,一二线城市对于存量房交易的敏感性是非常大的,如果你某一个政策影响它存量房跑出来或者跑进去的话马上就会影响,所以不要这么天真认为房价不会变。讲这个事情就涉及到固定收益的问题,现在的地方债8万多亿,基本上都是以未来的土地收益来做还款来源,如果将来整体的是供大于求的关系,你的土地不能以你预期的这么高的价格卖出去的情况下,你这个债真的很安全吗?我认为得掂量掂量。个人判断如果3、4年内偿清的债非常安全,但是7、8年后真的一路还是这个情况吗?很难说。这个事情就像轮盘一样,赌一赌,看看你的运气。

Chinese Billionaire Cruises to Yacht Clubs From Property – Bloomberg Smoking a Cohiba cigar inside his suite at the Visun Royal Yacht Hotel, billionaire Wang Dafu, the chairman of property developer Visun Group, gazed down at the marina he built on southern China’s Sanya Bay and described his perfect day. “I’d work in the morning and cruise the sea on my yacht in the afternoon,” said Wang, 47, who owns a 72-foot (22-meter) Pershing boat that he bought from Italy’s Ferretti Group in 2008 for $5 million. “When the anchors are dropped, you enjoy the loneliness, which helps to solve problems at work.”

 

POLITICS AND LAW

China’s supreme court official urges prevention of wrong verdicts – Xinhua | English.news.cn Courts of all levels in China should prevent unjust or wrong verdicts in criminal cases, a senior official with the country’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) urged on Thursday. Court staff dealing with criminal cases must depend on legal procedures and systems, adopt technologies and seek public support to prevent sentencing people unjustly or wrongly, said Shen Deyong, the SPC’s vice president. // 河南死刑保证书案嫌犯无罪释放 已被关押12年_新闻_腾讯网 another murder conviction overturned, this time in henan…several of these lately, undoing some of the zyk damage?

Hu Jintao symposium hits bookstores – Xinhua | English.news.cn A symposium on former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s remarks on building a harmonious socialist society hit the nation’s bookstores on Thursday. The work, compiled by the CCCPC Party Literature Research Office, collects 40 articles, with a total length of 130,000 characters, about Hu’s important remarks on this subject. Some of the articles are published for the first time.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Abe: Cabinet will stand firm against ‘threats’ from neighbors – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun Regarding criticism from South Korea about visits to Yasukuni by Cabinet ministers, Abe said, “There was some criticism” when Kim Dae-jung was president from 1998. “There was very little before that.” He made the same point about China. “There was no protest when the prime minister visited after Class-A war criminals were included among those memorialized there (in 1978),” Abe said.

Japan can only watch from sidelines as China, S. Korea develop closer political ties – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun Festering resentment over war-related and other issues has left Japan as the odd man out as China and South Korea cozy up politically to counter the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

No first use of nuclear weapons[1]|chinadaily.com.cn On April 16 the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China released its latest defense white paper. As usual, this document attracted immediate media attention and triggered wide-ranging discussions about the intentions and capabilities of China’s armed forces. One speculation has been that China might have changed or be considering changes to its long-held nuclear weapons policy of no first use, because for the first time the white paper has failed to reiterate China’s pledge not to use nuclear weapons first.However, a careful reading of this year’s white paper and a study of all such papers since 1998 easily explains the conspicuous absence of this key phrase, which is usually repeated in Chinese official documents on defense and nuclear policy.

In Brunei, a Softer Tone on China – Southeast Asia Real Time – WSJ In order to keep emotions from rising too high, Brunei, which holds the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN this year, had a clear strategy: let countries with territorial claims to the sea, like the Philippines and Vietnam, air their feelings early, and make it clear that the dispute is on the agenda and will be addressed in the formal communique.

The Jamestown Foundation: China’s Strategic Recalibration in Burma After some initial missteps, Beijing has regained its footing in Burma and is adapting shrewdly to the new environment. Those prematurely writing China off should take note. With so much at stake in Burma, Beijing is not going down without a fight no matter the odds.

The Jamestown Foundation: The 2013 Defense White Paper in Perspective–Dennis Blasko The 2006 and 2008 white papers identified 2049 as the completion date for the multi-faceted military modernization process that began in the late 1970s. This transformation aims to create a smaller, more technologically-advanced PLA and includes comprehensive changes to its personnel, training, education and logistics systems, major modifications to force structure, doctrinal updates to accommodate new missions and the introduction of new equipment. The pace of the process increased in the mid- to late-1990s, boosted by an influx of funding and newly-available domestic electronics. The PLA still lacks the support of a professional non-commissioned officer corps and recent combat experience in modern joint and combined arms warfare. The senior PLA leadership understands the difficulties in this undertaking and recognizes that it can only make gradual changes in the modernization process trajectory, because of the human and experiential factors. Xi’s guidance, along with details found in the white paper, indicate continuity in the course of Chinese military modernization as it prepares to perform the deterrence, warfighting and non-traditional security tasks assigned by the Communist Party leadership.

The Jamestown Foundation: Out with the New, In with the Old: Interpreting China’s ‘New Type of International Relations’ The evolution of “new type of great power relations” into “new type of international relations” signals Beijing is doubling down on its past principles of foreign policy. At a time when Chinese scholars and public intellectuals are advocating a different approach to some of Beijing’s biggest foreign policy problems and principles, President Xi seems to be sticking to the old path (Foreign Policy, April 23; “Is Enough Finally Enough for China and North Korea?” China Brief, March 15). Even though Xi’s statements about contributing to collective security are a nod in the right direction, the view of sovereignty and the need to allow state’s their space echo the League of Nations rather than the United Nations. Under the former, sovereignty was absolute; under the latter, sovereignty is conditional. The best way to characterize this would be that a “new type of international relations” is a small step forward for China, but a step backward for the international community.

Kerry calls for a ‘special relationship’ with China | The Cable For decades, the United States has reserved the term “special relationship” for two countries, Britain and Israel, but Secretary of State John Kerry called for a new “special relationship” with China during his recent trip to Asia.

Rebalance to Asia II: Security and Defense: Cooperation and Challenges Joseph Yun-Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs-Statement Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs

China, France renew nuclear power cooperation – Xinhua | English.news.cn Witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting French President Francois Hollande, the companies inked agreements on research and development of advanced reactors, nuclear fuel sharing, and operation and upgrading of nuclear power stations. // Meeting delivers big deals|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn Beijing and Paris signed 18 deals on Thursday, including deals for 60 Airbus planes and a nuclear project, as President Xi Jinping hosted his first head of state from a major Western country, French President Francois Hollande. // Xi, Hollande vow to push for a ‘multipolar world’ — Shanghai Daily CHINESE President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Francois Hollande pledged to push for a world free of domination by any superpower as the French leader arrived in Beijing on a mission to boost trade amid his country’s worsening economic woes. Both leaders stressed their desire for a “multipolar” world yesterday that would dilute Washington’s influence – though they did not mention the US in their comments.

China denies border spat with India|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn The Ministry of National Defense has rejected recent foreign media reports that border tensions with India have flared up and said both countries’ border troops are still communicating and coordinating through existing channels. Media reports of Chinese border troops, military planes and helicopters crossing the Line of Actual Control into Indian side are “not true”, ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said at a regular monthly news conference.

China urges U.S., after Boston bombings, to condemn Xinjiang “terrorism” – Yahoo! News But the U.S. State Department on Wednesday merely expressed regret at the loss of life and urged China to “provide all Chinese citizens, including Uighurs, the due process protections to which they’re entitled”. The U.S. refusal to condemn the attack showed double standards, considering that it had been the recent victim of a terrorist attack, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

China Seeks Soft Power Influence in U.S. Through CCTV : NPR At a time when so many major American news organizations are cutting back, foreign news agencies are beefing up their presence abroad and in the U.S. One of the biggest new players arrives from China and, more likely than not, can be found on a television set near you.

China yet to deploy 094 sub, JL-2 & DF-41 missiles: security head | Politics | FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS China’s Type 094 Jin-Class submarine and the JL-2 ballistic missile to be installed on the nuclear-powered warship are still in development or undergoing tests, Taiwan’s security and intelligence chief said Monday. “Neither of them has been deployed at any Chinese military base yet,” Tsai Teh-sheng, director-general of the National Security Bureau (NSB), said at a hearing of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Problems in China’s submarine program? Lowy Interpreter China faces extraordinary challenges in effectively managing three separate major submarine programs from its own resources. Despite national security and commercial intellectual property restrictions, most Western submarine operators can and do share a great deal of technology and doctrine through alliance arrangements and bilateral relationships. China enjoys no such access (at least not legitimately so).

Dong-A Ilbo–China distorts ancient history at Goguryeo museum As China is set to open an exhibition center specializing in displaying relics of Korea’s ancient kingdom Goguryeo in Jian, Jilin Province on May 1, it has begun in earnest to publicize key parts of its Northeast Asia Project that claims Goguryeo as its local state. Dong-A Ilbo reporters and Goguryeo historians have visited the museum, which preliminarily opened to the public early this month, to conduct an in-depth analysis of China’s distortion of Goguryeo history. The museum opened after 10 years of preparations.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Milk Smugglers Top Heroin Courier Arrests in Hong Kong – Bloomberg Since the former British colony on March 1 restricted travelers to two 2-pound cans each, a syndicate has been cracked and more people have been arrested for smuggling milk powder than were detained all of last year for carrying heroin.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Baidu Net Income Misses Analysts’ Estimates – Bloomberg New York-listed Baidu said revenue per online advertising customer fell 6.5 percent from the previous three-month period as China’s economic growth fell short of analysts’ estimates in the first quarter. The company, which wants to compete with Youku Tudou Inc. for online video viewers, saw profit margins narrow after it announced plans to buy a stake in the online video company iQiyi.com in November last year.

中移动腐败案继续发酵 4年“落马”12人_财经频道_一财网 more developments in the festering China Mobile corruption investigations..first financial says 5 executives taken away over last few days, most senior one from the Tianjin China Mobile branch // 昨天,《第一财经日报》记者从中国移动内部人士获悉,天津移动某高层已经于4月23日被带走调查。这是继去年2月中国移动副总裁鲁向东被调查之后,中国移动再次涉案的最高级别管理人员。有消息人士称,前天,中国移动全国被“带走”的人高达5人,该天津移动高层是其中级别最高的,在此之前,他已经接受过有关部门的调查和“问话”。其余4人分别是广东移动和内蒙古移动的中层,其中广东移动的一名中层仅一天后就返回继续工作,其他人情况不明。

人民日报-八部门整治虚假医药广告 网站严重违法将被吊销许可证(打击违法虚假医药广告 People’s Daily (p. 3) on new crackdown against deceptive and fraudulent medical advertising online

Why Alibaba could be China’s next $100bln IPO | Considered View | Breakingviews with a nice interactive calculator// Could Alibaba be China’s next $100 billion stock market listing? The Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant continues to be coy over when it will take the plunge. But sooner or later founder Jack Ma will need to offer some kind of exit for his backers, not to mention employees, and an initial public offering is the most likely solution. Now is a good time to start asking how the company should be valued.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China’s Sufis: The Shrines Behind the Dunes by Ian Johnson | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books Review of Living Shrines of Uyghur China by Lisa Ross // Xinjiang is famous as part of China’s Silk Road. Buddhism entered the country through this western region and, later, Islam. Today, the Uighurs form the second-biggest Muslim population in China. Unlike their more numerous Hui breathren, however, the Uighurs are ethnically very different from the Chinese, descending from Turkic peoples. Ethnic Chinese control has been tenuous, with regular rebellions against Beijing’s rule. Most locals are Sunni Muslims, but many Sufi sects are popular. It is these more mystical groups that worship in the shrines photographed by Ross.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Scientists confirm new H7N9 bird flu has come from chickens | Reuters Chinese scientists have confirmed for the first time that a new strain of bird flu that has killed 23 people in China has been transmitted to humans from chickens. In a study published online in the Lancet medical journal, the scientists echoed previous statements from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese officials that there is as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus.

Some Asian governments tighten airport controls on bird flu fears | Reuters Vietnam began screening temperatures of all visitors at its airports, officials said on Thursday, while Japan said it will allow airports and seaports to make “thermographic inspections” of travelers from China starting in May. Thai Health Minister Pradit Sintawanarong said the country must step up precautions, adding that the health ministry will soon submit a plan to the prime minister to address the problem.

A Hard Journey – Caixin New Sunshine is the only privately owned bone marrow bank in mainland China, and it relies on fund raising to cover all of its expenses. Each donor requires a 480 yuan examination. The bank initiated a Sunshine Angel campaign in the hopes that donors would also bear part of the donation costs, but the call to “contribute both marrow and money” has been answered by only one-fifth of donors.

California Authorities Target Smuggling of Bladders From Endangered Fish – NYTimes.com U.S. border officers in California are seizing a large number of smuggled bladders from an endangered fish that are prized for use in Chinese soups, with seven people charged since February in connection with the trade, authorities said on Wednesday…The bladders of the totoaba macdonaldi fish are smuggled across the border from Mexico, with each organ fetching $5,000 on the U.S. black market and over $10,000 in Asia, federal prosecutors said. The fish is found in the Gulf of California between the Mexican mainland and Baja California.

FOOD AND TRAVEL

China has a tourism law |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn The new tourism law, adopted by China’s top legislature on Thursday, is good news for both tourists and businesses.The long-awaited law, which had been in embryo for about 30 years and undergone three readings by lawmakers in the past eight months, is designed to address industry woes, protect tourists’ interests and foster the industry’s sustainable growth.

The Ascent of Japanese Whisky | The Cult of | WSJ. Magazine May 2013 – WSJ.com At the 2012 World Whiskies Awards, for example, Suntory’s Yamazaki 25-year-old was voted World’s Best Single Malt, while Nikka won the top spot in the Blended Malt category. Suntory now exports well over 10,000 cases a year to the United States alone, with France and the UK not far behind. With their exceptional equilibrium, smoothness and delicacy, these whiskies are redefining an ancient art. When I ask Mike Miyamoto, a former master distiller at Suntory, why their whiskies are becoming so popular across the world, his reply is terse: “Quality. We are trying to make our whisky better every year.” //Taiwan has a whisky, Kavalan, still has a ways to go. Beijing friend is now buying casks in Scotland, doing custom labeling for resale in China. Whisky getting popular here, but long way to go compared with Japan

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