The Sinocism China Newsletter January 24, 2014

Apologies for the prolonged absence. I am traveling in the US with my kids and things have been a bit busier than expected. One of the reasons the daily ended in November is that I was going to be traveling for all but 13 days from December 15 to February 15. Things will be back to normal once we are back in Beijing, and with luck there will be two more issues before then.

No commentary this week, it is already way past the kids’ bedtime. I am still on Twitter every day @niubi .

Recommended Readings:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

China’s reform leading group holds first meeting – Xinhua The leading group for overall reform was established upon a decision passed at a key meeting, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November last year, a measure to promote the country’s comprehensive deepening of reforms. Attendees of the meeting on Wednesday deliberated on and passed the working rules of the leading group, the general office, and sub-groups for reforms in six areas, including the economy and ecological civilization, democracy and law, cultural system, social system, system of Party building, and discipline inspection system.

Related: 习近平主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第一次会议_新闻频道_央视网(cctv.com) CCTV Evening News on first meeting of leading group for overall reform 

Related: 中央深化改革领导小组召开会议 李克强任副组长_网易财经 list of 23 members who appeared in the CCTV Evening News Report // 据央视现场画面显示,除了中央全面深化改革领导小组组长习近平,除副组长李克强刘云山和张高丽,在里圈就坐的还有马凯、刘延东、许其亮、汪洋、赵乐际、杜青林、王晨、周强、张庆黎、王正伟、王沪宁、刘奇葆、李建国、孟建柱、栗战书、赵洪祝、郭声琨、曹建明、 周小川。//Cao Jianming in the group. So much for those rumors lately that he is in trouble?

Related: 全面深化改革的必然要求-网评频道-新华网 wednesday page 1 People’s Daily commentary on the deepening reform 

Related: 打好深化文化体制改革攻坚战(学习贯彻十八届三中全会精神)–时政–人民网 Thursday page 1 People’s Daily commentary on the first meeting of the reform leading group

Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong appear in the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.  Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women — including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals

Related:.China’s Scandal-Torn Oil Industry Embraces Tax Havens | International Consortium of Investigative Journalists very hard to be sympathetic to Sun Tiangang. // One man’s legal battle against oil giant highlights role that offshore murk plays in China’s economy.

Related: Chinese offshore holdings: Xinhua reported it years ago–Lowy Interpreter There’s one other reason why the ICIJ findings aren’t necessarily a surprise. Official state media news agency Xinhua (hardly a bastion of investigative reporting) reported on Chinese companies’ exploiting the BVI as a tax haven back in November 2005. The Chinese language article is here. The author cites official statistics that ‘of the more than 80,000 companies registered in the BVI, around 20,000 have relations with Chinese enterprises.’ The report says Chinese enterprises are heading to the BVI for tax avoidance in droves.

Davos leaders: Shinzo Abe on WW1 parallels, economics and women at work | The World Mr Abe explicitly compared the tensions between China and Japan now to the rivalry between Britain and Germany in the years before the first world war, remarking that it was a “similar situation”. The comparison, he explained, lies in the fact that Britain and Germany – like China and Japan – had a strong trading relationship. But in 1914, this had not prevented strategic tensions leading to the outbreak of conflict.

Related: China-Japan Conflict Could Lead To War – Business Insider The Chinese professional at dinner last night did not seem so much worried about a military conflict as convinced that one was inevitable. And not because of any strategic value of the islands themselves (they’re basically worthless), but because China and Japan increasingly hate each other…I’m far from an expert on the Japan-China conflict, and I’ll leave the analyses of this situation to those who are. All I can tell you is that a respected, smart, and influential Chinese professional suggested at dinner last night that a surgical invasion by China of the disputed islands is justified and would finally settle the Japan-China conflict without triggering a broader war. And that suggestion freaked out everyone in the room.// heard this more than once, from “serious” people. And my Chinese friends who know Japan the best, including some who lived their for years, are the most pessimistic…

China households elude taxman – and official GDP bean-counters | Reuters China’s famously frugal households may be living larger than they are letting on…A growing number of economists, however, say official statistics have got it wrong. To avoid taxes, consumers routinely get employers to buy things for them, resulting in a gross underestimation of how much consumers spend and exaggerating just how lopsided China’s $9.4 trillion economy is. “China’s consumption is not low,” said Zhu Tian, an economist at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, who co-authored a recent report on the subject. “It’s actually desirable,” he said.

Supporters Protest as China Puts Rights Advocate on Trial – NYTimes.com The Chinese authorities put one of the country’s best-known legal advocates, Xu Zhiyong, on trial on Wednesday. His alleged crime: instigating street protests during which participants railed against official corruption and criticized education policies they said discriminate against rural children.

Related: Law is no threat to citizen movement – OP-ED – Globaltimes.cn Xu’s effort to launch the “New Citizens’ Movement” is not widely known to the Chinese public. Its influence can mainly be felt in academia and some groups of activists. Xu’s advocacies, including constitutionalism, property disclosure of civil servants and education equality, can be expressed and are also echoed in Chinese society. These advocacies are not incompatible with China’s reforms. Xu, as well as other activists like him, will not likely be tried simply because they have these advocacies. China is speeding up the construction of the rule of law. As for these political activists, they must have a clear vision of the boundary line between politics and law, ensuring that their political advocacies are shown to the public within the rule of law.

Related: Doubts raised over Wang Gongquan’s confession in public disorder case | South China Morning Post Wang also made new statements that he would cut ties with Xu, Beijing TV reported. In December, Wang made video statements to police and said he would “sever the relationship” with Xu, if “that is what the authorities want”. // 王功权承认策划违法活动 称要与许志永断交_网易新闻中心

Related: BBC News – BBC reporter ‘harassed’ at Chinese activist trial Martin Patience reports from close to the courthouse in Beijing – until he is moved on by a group of men.

Related: CNN crew roughed up in China Chinese authorities have come down hard on international media covering the trail of a human rights lawyer in Beijing.//unfortunate, wonder how the NYPD would handle a camera crew that ignored its commands and tried to go past a group of police

Rhodium Group » China’s Interbank Squeeze: Understanding the 2013 Drama and Anticipating 2014 High stakes, but no meltdown: Continued business-as-usual debt creation would lead to national insolvency in a few years at the current rate of growth, but the aggressive measures being taken to avoid that won’t seize-up the system in China, since government controls both sides of the ledger. In fact China has had far fewer defaults – which are a normal reality in a market economy where investors must take responsibility for their risk/return choices – than it should for its size, and this is part of growing up and getting stronger.

Related: The PBOC’s big test | FT Alphaville smart post. PBoC not dumb, though clearly many of the more vocal pundits seem to think they are // It’s hard to imagine, in fact, that the PBOC hasn’t been studying what happened there very closely in an effort to understand what differences and similarities exist between the US and Chinese shadow banking systems…Which is why in the grander scheme it’s probably too early to worry about a financial meltdown in China just yet. There are still many facilities and tools for the PBOC to very effectively deploy.

Related: China’s First Default Is Coming: Here’s What To Expect | Zero Hedge for anyone who is still confused about the role of trusts in China’s financial system, a default’s significance, the underlying causes, the implications for the broad economy, and what the possible outcomes of the CCT product default are, here is Goldman’s Q&A on a potential Chinese trust default.

Related: Investors Protest at ICBC on Concerns of Trust Default – Bloomberg Investors in a troubled trust product distributed by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. gathered outside the lender’s private-banking branch in Shanghai, demanding their money amid concerns of a default.

Beijing announces strict new curbs on heavy industry to combat smog | South China Morning Post The city’s regulation on air pollution prevention, which will take effect from March 1, states that tackling the tiny particulate pollutants that cause smog is at the centre of Beijing’s clean-up campaign, according to the document posted on the municipal government’s website. // 北京大气污染防治条例通过:罚无上限

Related: Beijing Air Quality Hits Life Expectancy – Business Insider The study was published in the journal BMJ (a journal formerly known as the British Medical Journal), and conducted by a group of doctors and professors at the University of Queensland, Brisbane; the  Department of Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing; the Peking University School of Public Health, Beijing, China; and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China.

Related: Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it – Quartz When it comes to China stories, people will believe almost anything. Take, for instance, the reports about pollution being so severe in Beijing that residents now watch radiant sunrises broadcast on a huge screen in Tiananmen Square. + So, that never happened. As Tech in Asia flags, the sunrise is a clip from a tourism ad for Shandong province, in China’s northeast; it’s on screen for maybe 10 seconds or so per loop.

Related: China Exports Pollution to U.S., Study Finds – NYTimes.com Filthy emissions from China’s export industries are carried across the Pacific Ocean and contribute to air pollution in the Western United States, according to a paper published Monday by a prominent American science journal.

May a Thousand Spies Bloom – Newsweek According to intelligence experts_ Hailong and the other seed-spy suspects are just a few of locusts in swarm_ feasting on American technological secrets. Their Iowa caper drew fleeting attention last year because its quirky audacity_ but Chinese business spies rounded up nearly every week U.S._ with sliver given China’s cyberwar. While some agents professional dispatched by pursue U.S. military secrets_ far more “amateurs” deployed get five-finger discounts samples_ experts say.

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

Special Report: How Caterpillar got bulldozed in China | Reuters A Reuters review of hundreds of pages of public documents, as well as interviews with former employees, board members, bankers and advisers, reveals a more complex story. Accounting problems were rampant at Siwei before Caterpillar bought it. Yet at multiple junctures, Caterpillar chose to ignore existing or potential problems and push ahead with the deal…Siwei has foundered. Former employees told Reuters that as of September, the company had no new orders in 2013, and it had fired or furloughed about half of its workforce.

China PBOC Injects Another CNY120 Bln For New Year Holiday | MNI The People’s Bank of China injected another CNY120 billion into the interbank system on Thursday, bringing the total addition of funds via its open market operations this week to CNY375 billion. Today’s injection, transacted via 21-day reverse repos, follows the CNY255 billion added on Tuesday and the bank’s notice that it is expanding its Standing Lending Facility to make funds available to smaller lenders when market rates rise above preset thresholds. Although the PBOC is preparing the system for the start of the Chinese New Year holiday next week, as it does every year, traders have also noted a shift in the bank’s willingness to communicate with the market.

山东一茶园发百万“年礼” 村民排队领现金_网易新闻 pictures of cash dividend distribution in a Shangdong village. Useful visualization for those struggling to understand China’s annual pre Chinese New Year cash crunch, exacerbated this year by the the debt stresses

Zhou Risks Turmoil With Easing of China Rate Controls – Bloomberg One or two small Chinese banks may fail this year as they face pressure from their reliance on short-term borrowing, Fang Xinghai, a Communist Party economic official, said in November. Trusts and shadow banking will see defaults this year, which is a good thing, Zhang Ming, a researcher at the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said this week. “High and volatile interest rates and debt defaults are a sign of the stress that ails the financial system, but also a sign that the necessary medicine is being applied,” said David Loevinger, former U.S. Treasury Department senior coordinator for China affairs and now an analyst at TCW Group Inc. in Los Angeles. “Like a smoker trying to quit cigarettes, an economy addicted to cheap credit can’t avoid headaches as it deleverages.”

Chinese Investors Try Police to Recoup Funds – WSJ.com The product in question involves about one billion yuan in funds raised in 2012 by a little-known investment firm, Beijing Roll-In Investment Co. Beijing Roll-In planned to invest the money in several public housing projects backed by the government in the city of Chengdu, in western China, according to a dozen of its investors interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Trying to deleverage China without blowing up the system – Telegraph Blogs “They are trying to deleverage without blowing the whole thing up,” said CITIC’s Zhang Yichen. “The M2 money supply is 120 trillion RMB but that is still not enough cash because velocity of money is very slow, and interest rates are going up.” “My guess is that they will manage it. The US couldn’t contain Lehman contagion but in China all contracts can be renegotiated, so it is very hard to have a domino effect. We’ll see a slow deflating of the bubble,” he said.

Q&A: Charlene Chu, China Banking Expert and Aspiring Author – China Real Time Report – WSJ She left Fitch earlier this month and will land in September at banking analysis firm Autonomous Research, where she will help launch the firm’s Asian operations. The Denver, Colorado, native will relocate from Beijing to New York but will continue to spend time in China….There is absolutely no deleveraging happening at all in China. There are months where you have contraction in some line items, but that’s just a month, and often we see pickup elsewhere.

China’s economy: Doing stuff, not making stuff | The Economist  Those looking for a “rebalanced” Chinese economy had to look elsewhere: not in China’s pattern of spending, but in its pattern of production and income. For the first time since 1961, China’s production of services…exceeded its industrial output (see chart). The new figures meant that China’s economy is now primarily based on doing things for people not making things for them. For a country renowned for its industrial clout, this marked a long-awaited turning point.

China Billionaire’s Steel Bond Fall Flags Industry Smog Woes – Bloomberg Bonds of Nanjing Iron & Steel Co. (600282), partly owned by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, are set for their worst month on record as concern mounts the government’s campaign to reduce smog and overcapacity may exacerbate losses.

Nu Skin to Review Practices in China After Pyramid Claim – Bloomberg “As part of our initial review, we were disappointed to learn that during our recent rapid growth, there were instances where some of our sales people failed to adequately follow and enforce our policies and regulations,” Nu Skin said in today’s letter…“As part of our initial review, we were disappointed to learn that during our recent rapid growth, there were instances where some of our sales people failed to adequately follow and enforce our policies and regulations,” Nu Skin said in today’s letter. // shocked, just shocked…

Seven Chinese IPOs Halt Trading After 44 Percent Rally – Bloomberg Seven of the eight Chinese companies that started trading in Shenzhen today were halted for a second time after gains exceeded limits set by the city’s exchange.

Jiang Rises From Coal Mine to Davos Peak as ICBC Shines – Bloomberg As a young man during China’s Cultural Revolution, Jiang Jianqing was sent to the countryside to work as a farmer and a coal miner. This week, he arrives at the top of a Swiss mountain as chairman of the world’s most-profitable bank and representative of the most-populous nation.

China Auditors Barred for Six Months for Not Aiding SEC Probes – Bloomberg The firms receiving the bans are Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd., Ernst & Young Hua Ming LLP, KPMG Huazhen and PricewaterhouseCoopers Zhong Tian CPAs Ltd. BDO China Dahua Co., Ltd. — now called Dahua CPA — was only censured since it had already withdrawn from the U.S. market.

担保公司遗言:”4万亿政策”退潮 十几名客户死亡_网易新闻中心 on a Nanjing guaranty firm and the turmoil it is seeing// 核心提示:南京最大的民营担保公司鑫信担保集团董事长付树兵表示,随着“4万亿政策”的退潮和中国经济增速的放缓,三年来,他的客户中有十几人死亡、30多人跑路,陷入困境而强撑着的则以百计。如今鑫信也被拖入了资金枯竭的困境,接近200人的企业只剩下7名员工。

China Manufacturing Index Falls, Preliminary Reading Shows – Bloomberg The preliminary reading of 49.6 for a Purchasing Managers’ Index (EC11FLAS) released today by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics compares with a final figure of 50.5 in December and a 50.3 median estimate of 19 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. A number above 50 indicates expansion.

ChiNext Valuations Surge as Small Turns Big in China Stocks – Bloomberg “The ChiNext reflects the part of the economy that has better growth opportunities,” said Richard Gao, a San Francisco-based money manager at Matthews International Capital Management LLC, which oversees about $26 billion. “We are seeing more and more opportunities in the non-state-owned private sector, such as information technology, consumer and health-care industries.” // and continues to surge, at record high wednesday  沪指涨2.16%收复20日线 创业板再创新高

China approves 12 more free trade zones – Xinhua China’s central government has given the nod to 12 free trade zones (FTZs) following the one in Shanghai, amid a spurt of nationwide enthusiasm for such schemes. Tianjin Municipality and Guangdong Province have been green-lit to set up FTZs, a source with knowledge of the approval told Xinhua-run Economic Information Daily on Wednesday, refusing to leak the remaining 10.

Shanghai FTZ measures to be rolled out – Xinhua More detailed measures will be soon rolled out to implement the central bank’s guideline to push financial reforms in Shanghai’s free trade zone, an official with the zone said on Tuesday. Dai Haibo, deputy director of the administrative committee of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ), said such measures were intended to be put in place in March, three months after the People’s Bank of China issued a 30-point guideline to support the FTZ.

China IPOs No Lure as Investors Empty Trading Accounts – Bloomberg Yao’s reticence toward Chinese stocks is being repeated across the country, a sign that the campaign by regulators to crack down on overvalued IPOs and improve corporate disclosures is failing to boost confidence among individual investors. The number of Chinese stock accounts containing funds shrank to a three-year low of 53.7 million on Jan. 17, a drop of 3.6 million from the June 2011 peak, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

产能严重过剩项目禁止上市融资 新华社——经济参考网 NDRC keeps trying to crack down on overcapacity, keeps having to announce harsher measures…//《经济参考报》记者从权威部门了解到,国家发改委等部门的联席会议将讨论和细化市场化化解产能过剩的政策体系,包括实施差别化的价格政策、严格的信贷政策和明确的相关行业标准等。据了解,对未取得合法手续的产能严重过剩行业建设项目,将一律不得放贷、发债、上市融资

China’s hillbillies need to open their wallets | The World even those below middle class have lots of spending power: a recent survey by China Confidential of 1,500 migrants nationwide suggests that 220m migrant workers spent a total of Rmb4.2tn ($677bn) on consumer goods and services in 2012 – equivalent to 1.5 times Indonesia’s consumer spend and 23 per cent more than Turkey’s in the same year.

What China’s Electricity Usage Said About GDP Growth in 2013 – China Real Time Report – WSJ= Although China’s economic growth remained unchanged in 2013 from 2012 at 7.7%, the country’s electricity data tell a more positive story. Chinese electricity production grew 7.6% last year to 5.2 trillion kilowatt hours, according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. That was faster than growth of 4.7% in 2012.

Regulators at Odds on Reining In China’s Shadow Lending – WSJ.com The officials say that the People’s Bank of China, concerned about banks finding ways to move loans off their books, has been frustrated at what it sees as the unwillingness of the China Banking Regulatory Commission to toughen regulation of banks’ dealings with shadow lenders, an array of formal and informal institutions creating credit outside the formal bank channels.

Rhodium Group » Chinese FDI in the US: 2013 Recap and 2014 Outlook Chinese investment in the United States doubled in 2013, driven by large-scale acquisitions in food, energy and real estate. Private firms are now dominating capital inflows, accounting for more than 80% of transactions and more than 70% of total transaction value. We expect Chinese interest in US assets to remain strong in 2014 because of aggressive economic reforms in China, a more liberal policy environment for Chinese outbound investors, and a positive outlook for the US economy. This note recaps the key trends of Chinese investment in the US in 2013 and outlines our view for 2014.

Shanghai Prosecutors Investigate Former Sinopharm Executives – Caixin not just an anti-foreign campaign // Sinopharm Group Co., the country’s largest distributor of drugs, said on January 12 that a former vice president, Shi Jinming, had been taken into custody so he could be questioned by prosecutors in Shanghai’s Pudong District over graft allegations. Also taken away was a former procurement manager, Xu Yizhong.

New CIC President Credited with Shrewd Overseas Investments – Caixin The country’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp. (CIC), has replaced its retiring president and vice chairman, Gao Xiqing, with vice president Li Keping, who has a reputation for wise overseas investments. The Communist Party’s Organization Department announced the personnel change on January 20. Analysts say the appointment was expected.

China Credit Reports Trust-Product Progress: Securities – Bloomberg A project backed by the trust product, Credit Equals Gold No. 1, obtained a new mining license, the newspaper said yesterday, citing a statement from China Credit Trust. Another coal mine project has won support from local authorities and the community, it said. Obtaining licenses will permit the mines to start operating and produce coal for sale.

Analysis – Syngenta risks fresh China corn dispute with unapproved trait | Reuters While the U.S. grain industry lobbies the Chinese government to stop rejecting cargoes of corn containing another unauthorized genetically modified Syngenta strain, farmers in the Midwest are weighing whether to take a chance on the Swiss-based company’s new product, engineered to combat pests called rootworms.

Remy Martin in low Spirits as Crackdown Drains Brandy Sales-Caijing “The campaign to promote morality in China is expected to continue to adversely affect the consumption of ultra-premium products. No significant recovery can be expected because of the Chinese New Year,” the statement said. The Chinese New Year, known as the Spring Festival, is a key point for giving expensive gifts and high-end liquor. It begins on Jan 31 this year.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报评论员:打好反腐“改革牌” 用制度管权管事管人–观点–人民网 ——四论学习贯彻习近平同志在十八届中央纪委三次全会讲话 本报评论员

李书磊不再担任中央党校副校长_网易新闻中心 Li Shulei no longer deputy president of the central party school. only 50, probably getting a new, bigger job

地方大V曾被政府收买做权力掮客 再维权时被拘_网易新闻中心 没想到再见陈永刚,会是在湖北十堰郧西县法院的被告席。因为涉嫌诈骗,他身陷囹圄。先后见过陈永刚三面,正好是陈永刚作为地方网络名人的不同阶段——成名、被收买、打压,陈永刚的人生轨迹清晰勾勒出一个地方大V和地方政府权力的博弈路线图。// a tale of dirty dealings between local officials and local Weibo BigVs, and how the BigVs got burned in the end. So much dirtiness on Weibo

新疆兵团两副师长涉严重违纪违法正接受组织调查_网易新闻中心 Two deputy commanders of Xinjiang Production Corps under investigation // 中新网1月22日电 据中央纪委监察部网站消息,新疆生产建设兵团第五师党委常委、副师长宋国安涉嫌严重违纪违法,目前正接受组织调查。 新疆生产建设兵团第十三师党委常委、副师长冯焰涉嫌严重违纪违法,目前正接受组织调查。

人民日报连续三天刊文点评“为官不易”说|人民日报|为官不易|公务员_新浪新闻 People’s Daily three days in a row on how it is not easy being an official these days

China Exclusive: Fancy clubs in parks closed – Xinhua  Business at two clubs in Beihai Park called Yushantang and Shanglinyuan, known for their luxurious decorations, expensive meals and services, has been suspended, according to a statement issued by the Beijing Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday. Two other clubs in the grounds of Zizhuyuan and Longtan parks have been ordered to lower their prices so ordinary people can afford their services, it said. There are 24 private clubs or high-end recreational venues in public park grounds in Beijing. The clubs have been ordered to move out of the parks when their leases end.

China Focus: New regulation highlights morality in official selection – Xinhua | English.news.cn It ruled out promotion of “naked officials,” or officials whose spouse and children have emigrated overseas. Also, it said that people with poor reputation among the public, those who have been graded as “incompetent” in annual assessments in the latest three years, as well as officials engaged in positions jockeying or vote canvassing, should not be considered as candidates neither.// 中央规定“裸官”等6类干部不得列为选拔对象_新闻_腾讯网

Hong Kong publisher Yao Wentian, working on Xi Jinping book, held on mainland | South China Morning Post A Hong Kong-based publisher planning to release a dissident’s book about President Xi Jinping has been detained on the mainland for nearly three months. Yao Wentian, 73, the chief editor of Morning Bell Press, was taken into custody on October 27 after he was “lured” to Shenzhen on the pretence of delivering paint to a long-time friend, said a person who has spoken to Yao’s wife.

业内人士:中央节俭令让国有演艺公司2/3收入泡汤_网易新闻中心 revenue down 2/3 for state owned performing arts firms in wake of Xi’s austerity campaign? // 2013年,中央五部委联合发出了《关于制止豪华铺张、提倡节俭办晚会的通知》,中央出台关于改进会风的“八项”规定。业内人士称,2012年国有演艺集团的总收入为124亿元,其中政府扶持与重点补贴的有86亿元,2013年上述两大政策使得国有演艺集团的收入损失近2/3。

总理“智囊”虚化 李克强点将乐用强人_中国_多维新闻网

No.1 Central Document targets rural reform – Xinhua  The policy document is issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council every year and has been dubbed the “No.1 Central Document”. The document listed eight focal points for work related to the “three rural issues”– agriculture, rural areas and farmers. Assistance and protection for agriculture, the national food security system, rural governance and rural land reform shall all be improved. The rural finance system needs a new, more innovative approach

China Aims for Food Security as Pollution Destroys Crop Land – Businessweek Released every January_ the zhongyang yihao wenjian_ or 1 Central has for last 11 years focused on agricultural economy_ a reflection of importance leadership puts upon countryside and its rural population. Previous versions have emphasized everything from scientific technological innovation water conservancy to raising incomes modernization

七常委将各选一县为第二批实践活动联系点_网易新闻中心 央视网消息:党的群众路线教育实践活动第一批总结暨第二批部署会议1月20日在北京召开,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平出席会议并发表重要讲话,对第一批教育实践活动进行总结,对第二批教育实践活动进行部署。他强调,要充分运用第一批活动经验,紧紧扭住反对“四风”,从群众最关心、最迫切的问题入手,着力解决关系群众切身利益的问题,解决群众身边的不正之风问题,把改进作风成效落实到基层,真正让群众受益,努力取得人民群众满意的实效。

China Focus: Starred hotels lose shine amid China’s austerity drive – Xinhua funny, 5 stars trying to lose stars to attract government business that can no longer go to 5 star hotels // Another report released by the China Tourist Hotel Association shows that in the first half of 2013, the average lodging rate of China’s hotels with three-star ratings or higher dwindled by six percentage points to 53 percent from the same period in the previous year. The average revenue generated by hotel catering businesses dropped by 17.2 percent, while that of meetings and other events dropped by 17.8 percent. Five-star hotels were worst hit as their total revenues declined by 14 percent, more than all other types of hotels, said the report.

It’s farewell to the golden chopsticks – FT.com Creative senior officials can get around any prohibition_ however draconian. But down at the lower end of pecking order_ those such as Ms Lu will be struggling through Chinese version an annual performance review performed in iambic pentameter – canteen. Gone are days when she had chance finding iPad bottom her iron rice bowl.

官方首次披露中纪委、监察部参与司法体制改革_网易新闻中心-网易新闻客户端 中央纪委、监察部网站近日发布,中央纪委常委、监察部副部长黄晓薇已担任中央司法体制改革领导小组成员。这是官方首次正式披露,中央纪委、监察部已参与中央司法体制改革工作。

当司法公开遇上网络新媒体–法治–人民网 “所有发布内容由信息所涉部门拟定,微博管理员进行初审,微博领导小组办公室主任负责二审,领导小组组长负责三审。重大敏感信息需报信息所涉部门主管院领导审批。”郭京霞说,按照一般法律类问题、案件程序问题、实体问题、廉政类问题等分类,分别制定不同方案,确保回复及时、语言得体、方法得当。

Singer Song Zuying rallies East China sea troops as dispute continues over Diaoyus | South China Morning Post Folk singer Song Zuying braved the cold this week to rally troops stationed at an unspecified base in the East China Sea as tensions continue to build over the disputed islands in the waters. // but she reportedly will not appear at the CCTV Spring Gala for the first time in 25 years

Oil Tycoon Denies Hu Yaobang’s Family Is Linked to His Business – Caixin  Oil tycoon Wang Letian says that the family of former Communist Party general secretary Hu Yaobang was not linked to his deals for oilfields. Wang bought several fields in 2008 in the northwestern province of Shaanxi from state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) via an intermediary, Zhou Bin, the son of a former top leader. Zhou is currently embroiled in a corruption investigation. Wang said that he paid for the oil fields and buying them through an intermediary was a choice he made only reluctantly because private oil companies had no access to productive reserves. Media have reported that Wang’s daughter, Wang Yuanyuan, is married to the grandson of Hu Yaobang

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China renews Western journalists’ visas after months-long standoff – The Washington Post Several Western journalists who faced expulsion from China were issued renewed visas by the Chinese government Thursday, ending a months-long standoff. The country is still on track to force at least one New York Times reporter to leave for the second year in a row, however. // except for the New York Times’ Austin Ramzy, who may have to leave at the end of January. If he goes, he apparently will move to Taiwan to re-open the New York Times Taipei bureau, which would be a huge win for Taiwan. No word if Bloomberg has seen a spike in terminal sales; Otherwise have to wonder what they achieved with their “softer” approach to China. And now that Mike Forsythe has joined the NYT in Hong Kong, Bloomberg looks even worse…

China’s Xi to pay first visit as president to Europe in March | Reuters Xi will participate in a Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on March 24-25, which U.S. President Barack Obama will also attend to discuss efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism with other world leaders. One diplomat said Obama and Xi, who became president in March last year, are likely to hold talks on the sidelines of that meeting.

Time to Escalate? Should the U.S. Make China Uncomfortable? | ChinaFile Conversation In the January/February issue of Foreign Policy, Elbridge Colby and Ely Ratner of the Center for a New American Security argue [their piece] that when the U.S. plays peacemaker it encourages China to raise the stakes, pursuing ever greater levels of adventurism with the confidence that Washington will step in and make sure things don’t get truly out of hand. “China is taking advantage of Washington’s risk aversion by rocking the boat,” they write, “seeing what it can extract in the process and letting the United States worry about righting it.” Instead, they conclude, the U.S. ought to pursue a military and diplomatic strategy that includes lowering its tolerance of provocations at sea, deepening military ties with Japan, and building stronger alliances with other countries in the region “to inject a healthy degree of risk into Beijing’s calculus, even as it searches for ways to cooperate with China.”

INSIDE THE RING: China trying to drive U.S. out of Asia: Official – Washington Times Former State Department official Kurt Campbell recently explained why 20 years of Pentagon efforts to build trust with the Chinese military have been difficult: China wants to drive the U.S. military out of Asia, and operates under a different strategic culture from that of the United States.

Robert Gates on China – All Things Nuclear Secretary Gates’ interest in establishing a meaningful dialog with his Chinese counterparts is reassuring. He does not provide enough information or context in the book to assess whether his suspicions of the motives and behavior of his PLA counterparts are justified, but his frank account of his interactions with them are an instructive indication that the U.S. strategic dialog with China is not as productive as the official press releases would lead us to believe.

Japan Steps Up | The Weekly Standard Amid those positive developments in the emergence of Japan as the model of a strong democratic partner, there is the unfortunate revival of some very bad history, maliciously exploited by China, insistently clung to by South Korea, and gratuitously served up by Japan.  The Japanese prime minister chose to fan the flames  by his recent visit to Yasukuni Shrine which honors not only Japanese war dead but convicted war criminals who inflicted great suffering on the Korean and Chinese people and the populations of Southeast Asia during World War II. Abe’s visit succeeded in tarnishing democratic Japan’s admirable image by linking it to Imperial Japan’s shameful record, forcing the world to revisit that painful period and taking democratic Asian eyes off the real and present dangers posed by their aggressive authoritarian neighbors.

徐才厚随习近平露面破双规传言_中国_多维新闻网 Xu Caihou makes an appearance…so much for those rumors?// 据中国官媒新华社的报道,随同习近平出席晚会的有,范长龙、许其亮、张万年、郭伯雄、徐才厚、常万全、房峰辉、张阳、赵克石、张又侠、吴胜利、马晓天、魏凤和,以及梁光烈、乔清晨、陈炳德、李继耐、靖志远。之前被传深陷谷俊山案且已被双规的原中央军委副主席徐才厚现身,并出现在官方报道的名单中。在央视新闻联播镜头中,徐才厚排在习近平以及原中央军委副主席张万年、郭伯雄之后第四个出场,与一众“部队老干部”握手,现中央军委副主席范长龙、许其亮紧随其后。

PLA General ‘Profited from Military Housing Projects, Land Deals’ – Caixin Sources close to the investigation into Gu say he profited from the projects and land deals. The inquiry found Gu owns dozens of apartments in downtown Beijing. Gu told investigators the apartments were supposed to be gifts for other people, several source said. Gu received a 6 percent “rebate” from a 2 billion yuan sale of a plot of land owned by the military in Shanghai, a source close to the investigation says. Gu and his relatives also profited from development projects in his hometown of Puyang, in the central province of Henan.// 谷俊山的“红色血统”_政经频道_财新网

Xi Calls for Reform to Fight Graft-Caijing Disciplinary authorities will review the situation by inspecting reports of officials’ declaration of assets, Wang said.   He told disciplinary officials to keep a close watch on corruption activities involving government officials, including bribery, embezzlement, dereliction of duty and abuse of power.   “We should have zero tolerance for corruption,” Wang said.   More than 180,000 officials were punished by disciplinary authorities last year, an increase of 13.3 percent from 2012, according to the commission.   It will introduce further measures, such as banning government meetings at scenic spots, Wang added.

Chinese inexperience a factor in warships’ near-miss : U.S. admiral | Reuters Chinese operational inexperience and communications difficulties on both sides contributed to a near-collision between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship in the South China Sea last month, the head of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific said on Wednesday.

China’s Treasury Holdings Climb to Record in Government Data – Bloomberg China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries increased $12.2 billion to a record $1.317 trillion in November, data released on the Treasury Department’s website showed.

N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers – NYTimes.com Among the most frequent targets of the N.S.A. and its Pentagon partner, United States Cyber Command, have been units of the Chinese Army, which the United States has accused of launching regular digital probes and attacks on American industrial and military targets, usually to steal secrets or intellectual property.

Lawfare › Two Thoughts on the Sanger/Shanker Story on NSA Infiltration of Foreign Networks the USG penetration of Chinese networks revealed in this piece looks a lot like the things the United States has been complaining about the Chinese doing in the United States for years.  This implicates an old bugaboo for me – the obviously self-serving hypocrisy in the USG’s high-handed complaints in recent years about Chinese penetration of U.S. networks.  The NYT quotes an NSA spokesman drawing the usual distinctions: “We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”  But I agree with Peter Singer of Brookings, who is quoted in the story as saying that “[t]he argument is not working . . . To the Chinese, gaining economic advantage is part of national security.”  The USG argument is effectively that we want the Chinese to spy on and steal information from us only in the ways we spy on and steal information from them, because the ways we spy on and steal from them, if done to us, won’t cause us as much harm as the espionage and theft strategies that best serve Chinese interests.  This obviously self-serving argument is not going to convince anyone outside the United States

‘Cultural threats’ among five focuses of new national security panel, colonel says | South China Morning Post China’s new national security committee will target five types of “unconventional security threats”, including extremist forces and ideological challenges to the culture posed by Western nations, a senior colonel has said. Gong Fangbin said existing government agencies were not well equipped to handle the new “highly intertwined and complicated” security threats.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Taiwan To Slash Armed Forces By Up To 20% | Defense News | defensenews.com Defence Minister Yen Ming said the military would be cut to 170,000-190,000, but that defense capabilities would not be compromised in the project to build “smaller but leaner and more professional armed forces.”

Beijing tightens censorship of books by Hong Kong and Taiwan authors | South China Morning Post Beijing has tightened controls on book publishers and ordered publications by authors from Hong Kong and Taiwan to go through a stricter approval process. The directive was sent to all chief editors of major Chinese publishers in early December and came with immediate effect.

Central Hong Kong Sees Near-Record Pollution Levels in 2013 – Bloomberg nowhere in China or near it to hide?

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Tiger Global snaps up Alibaba shares at lofty valuation–USA Today Top tech investment firm said to buy roughly $200 million worth of shares in secondary market transactions valuing Chinese e-commerce company at about $125 billion

Yu E Bao Deals with the Pressure of Being No. 1 – Caixin Wang Dengfeng, a Tian Hong fund manager who oversees the money market fund connected with Yu E Bao, said in a recent interview that controlling risk is his company’s biggest priority. Yu E Bao limits its investments to just 29 banks on a safe list, he says, and prudence demands that, “We don’t venture outside the list.” An excerpt of the interview follows.

Text, Chat, Profit: Tencent Launches Investing on WeChat – China Real Time Report – WSJ The new service is no doubt aimed at competing with Alibaba’s service, which was introduced last year. It’s also likely a ploy by Tencent to entice users to link their bank and WeChat accounts. The fund, called Licaitong, offers an impressive 7.3940% seven-day annualized yield, besting Yu’e Bao’s rate by almost 1%.

China Focus: China’s new rules stop box office cheats – Xinhua In 2013, box office sales neared 21.8 billion yuan (3.6 billion U.S dollars), and domestic films raked in about 12.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 54.3 percent. However, industry experts believe that real box office sales are at least 10 percent more and cheating by some cinemas has gravely affected tax revenue, as well as hitting the enthusiasm — and bottom line — of film makers.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma tells employees in a letter company faces unprecedented challenges – China Real Time Report – WSJ In a letter to employees dated Monday, which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal,  Ma praised employees for a banner year, but also warned of difficulties to come as the company seeks to compete for the more than 500 million people in China who connect to the Internet using smartphones.

China’s Sina, Baidu and Other Big Websites Are Hit With Disruptions – Digits – WSJ When people in China entered website addresses into their browsers Tuesday_ many were sent to a single IP address_ identified by Internet security companies as belonging Dynamic Technology. The company provides services help view content blocked Great Firewall — system of filters and blocks that prevents users from accessing range websites like Facebook Twitter.//still unclear if a hack or a misstep by the great firewall engineers

“Despicable Me 2” remains atop Chinese box office charts – Xinhua grossed 211 million yuan since its debut on the Chinese mainland on Jan. 10

China crackdown on online video uploads | ABC Radio Australia Chinese internet users will now be required to register their real names to upload content to Chinese online video sites, an official Communist Party body says. // 广电总局:网站不得转发非实名用户上传微电影

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Can China Innovate Without Dissent? – NYTimes.com as a scientist who has taught in China, I don’t believe that China will lead in innovation anytime soon — or at least not until it moves its institutional culture away from suppression of dissent and toward freedom of expression and encouragement of critical thought.–Stephen L. Sass, professor emeritus of materials science and engineering at Cornell University

Chinese schools: Evaluating Shanghai’s high test scores | The Economist There are other important questions to consider when looking at Shanghai’s test scores, and at test scores globally. One, a question posed previously by Mr Loveless in other contexts, is whether such standardised tests even measure the right things. Are schools teaching well to tests but failing to teach children to be creative thinkers? The Chinese system’s heavy emphasis on tests—especially on the gaokao test for university admission—favours privileged urban children with the right hukou status, but it may not serve them so well in life. That may help explain why parents from China are spending so much money on houses in American cities like Palo Alto, which has some of the country’s finest public schools.

EB-5 Visas for Investors See Record Demand – WSJ.com Last year, 6,895 Chinese nationals were issued visas through the program, outpacing all other nationalities by a wide margin, according to State Department data. South Koreans, the next largest group, were issued 364. A single EB-5 application can account for multiple visas for investors’ immediate family.

宋彬彬就文革道歉的历史迷障_真话 不为人知的是,从她所属的政治派系来看,属于宋彬彬的时代,不过是两个多月的时间。1968年8月5日,卞仲耘被打死那天,她所在的保守派红卫兵已经失势,正深陷政治形势变迁的苦闷中。8月18日,她站上天安门城楼给伟大领袖戴上袖章之时,不是登场,而是谢幕。这一天之后,她所属的保守派红卫兵,已经被革命大潮甩在了身后,甚至成为了“革命”的对象。

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Bird flu spikes in China ahead of Lunar New Year – Yahoo News China has reported more than 50 H7N9 infections in 2014 after the strain jumped from birds to people for the first time last year. The virus remains hard to catch and most cases have been linked to contact with poultry, but scientists worry that could change if it mutates into a form that allows it to spread easily among people.

China tightens inter-departmental H7N9 coordination – Xinhua China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said on Tuesday it is now coordinating closely with other departments to prevent and control the H7N9 avian flu. The NHFPC has strengthened the coordination system with other departments to share information and study work plans, and in the meantime, it has analyzed H7N9 cases so as to guide local health departments to diagnose and treat patients as quickly as possible.

The People’s Hospital | The Health Care Blog I was just recently in Guiyang, the capital of the Guizhou province in China and had a chance to visit the Huaxi District People’s Hospital (HDPH), one of the largest “secondary” hospitals in the province.

河北省长立军令状:钢铁新增一吨产能就地免职_网易财经 Hebei governor talking tough about not allowing new steel, cement or glass capacity, to fight air pollution // 顶着大批人员再就业的压力,河北省下定要过几年紧日子的决心,立下军令状,三年让大气质量有所好转,五年有所改善。河北省省长张庆伟立下军令状:钢铁、水泥、玻璃,新增一吨产能,党政同责,就地免职,必须执行

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Air China | Air China Commences Beijing – Hawaii Service probably good news for hawaii real estate agents too // The new service, CA837/8, is the first nonstop air link between Beijing and Hawaii. It’s operated three times a week on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday with widebody A330-200. The outbound flight departs from Beijing at 1:30 Beijing time and arrives in Hawaii at 16:30 local time. The return flight takes off from Hawaii at 22:00 local time and arrives in Beijing at 5:20 Beijing time on the third day.

 

BEIJING

Two Luxury Developments Inch Closer to Hitting Market in Capital – Caixin Beijing Deputy Mayor Chen Gang said at the second session of the 14th Beijing Municipal People’s Congress on January 17 that prices for high-end properties should be left to the market. Homes in the luxury Taihe and Yueyuan projects will sell for more than 65,000 yuan per square meter. The total value of the two projects will pass 5.2 billion yuan, Centaline Property Agency says…In November, the city stopped issuing pre-sales permits to luxury housing priced at 40,000 yuan per square meters or more. The policy slowed the high-end property market.

2014年1月国贸CBD北京高端楼盘性价比最高且价格最低的房源 Note from realtor re Beijing CBD properties for sale. most expensive is 1800m park hyatt for 450m RMB.

北京1月土地出让金有望突破400亿 新华社——经济参考网 beijing may sell 40B rmb in land in January

Beijing’s Plans to Fix Traffic Problems with ‘Congestion Fee’ Stuck in Slow Lane – Caixin Beijing has been very ambitious in its plans to expand public transport links. The city government wants public transport as a share of total transport to rise to 52 percent by 2017, from the current 44 percent…Ding Yan, an environmental protection official in Beijing, shared similar concerns. “Although the Beijing public transport system is developing at quite a rate, it is still not capable of supporting the city’s huge population.”

知情人称北京市要疏散500万人口到周边地区_网易新闻中心 核心提示:日前,中国国际经济交流中心常务副理事长郑新立在受访时称,北京与河北已达成一项协议,北京将向周边疏散500万人。为重新规划北京,有学者提议在六环外设“畿辅新区”,范围涵盖北京大兴、天津武清、河北廊坊、固安等,可容纳超过500万人口。 // a researcher suggests moving 5 million people to the outskirts of Beijing, to relieve the pressures in the city

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

Positions Vacant | China Policy Assistant will work alongside analysts and management to publish China Policy materials within our four sectors of analysis: social policy; economy; energy resources and climate; and governance and law. They will also help design presentations.

China’s Recent Past: A Hacked History and Hot Toddy with Jeremiah Jenne | The Hutong Place: The Hutong Date: Sunday, January 26th Time: 3-5 pm

 

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