Today’s China Readings April 22, 2012

  • Neil Heywood: Old Harrovian passed on information to MI6 | Mail Online
    well, MI6 would have been negligent not to talk to him about the Bos
  • Getting Ahead in the Communist Party: Explaining the Advancement of Central Committee Members in China-American Political Science Review
    PDF-By VICTOR SHIH, CHRISTOPHER ADOLPH, MINGXING LIUSpectacular economic growth in China suggests the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has somehow gotten it right. A key hypothesis in both economics and political science is that the CCP’s cadre evaluation system, combined with China’s geography-based governing logic, has motivated local administrators to compete with one another to generate high growth. We raise a number of theoretical and empirical challenges to this claim. Using a new biographical database of Central Committee members, a previously overlooked feature of CCP reporting, and a novel Bayesian method that can estimate individual-level correlates of partially observed ranks, we find no evidence that strong growth performance was rewarded with higher party ranks at any of the postreform party congresses. Instead, factional ties with various top leaders, educational qualifications, and provincial revenue collection played substantial roles in elite ranking, suggesting that promotion systems served the immediate needs of the regime and its leaders, rather than encompassing goals such as economic growth.

  • 审计署:汶川灾后重建现豪华办公楼_新闻中心_新浪网
    “luxury” office buildings for government departments built in Wenchuan post-quake rebuilding, now a top trending topic on Weibo
  • Chinese experts argue TCM toxicity|Science-Tech|chinadaily.com.cn
    A leading traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) expert said Tuesday that there is no need to worry about the toxicity of TCM, as the time-honored therapy is backed by developed theories and drug-making techniques.
    Zhou Chaofan, a researcher with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua amid Australian researchers’ recent accusations that they found toxins, allergens and elements of endangered animals in some TCM products.
  • Pentagon releases results of 13,000-mph test flight over Pacific – latimes.com
    The Falcon hit Mach 20. At that speed, an aircraft could zoom from Los Angeles to New York in less than 12 minutes — 22 times faster than a commercial airliner.
  • 新疆规定官员操办婚丧嫁娶须向纪检机关报告–时政–人民网
  • California Farmers Retool to Feed China – WSJ.com
    California’s agricultural Central Valley has thrived for decades on Americans’ seemingly endless appetites. Now, with U.S. market growth slowing, farmers are going after a different group of consumers: middle-class Chinese attracted to Western fare like milk and almonds.
  • Lunch with the FT: Han Han – FT.com
    China’s most-read blogger talks to David Pilling about the downfall of Bo Xilai and why his fellow citizens must reform rather than revolt
  • Fidelity China Special Situations fund manager Anthony Bolton has been shanghaied in China – Telegraph
  • Surveillance State evils – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com
    Who is today’s Frank Church?//“Th[e National Security Agency’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“

    That dramatic warning comes not from an individual who is typically held up as a symbol of anti-government paranoia. Rather, it was issued by one of the most admired and influential politicians among American liberals in the last several decades: Frank Church of Idaho, the 4-term U.S. Senator who served from 1957 to 1981…

    just look at what happens to people in the U.S. if they challenge government actions in any meaningful way — if they engage in any meaningful dissent. We love to tell ourselves that there are robust political freedoms and a thriving free political press in the U.S. because you’re allowed to have an MSNBC show or blog in order to proclaim every day how awesome and magnanimous the President of the United States is and how terrible his GOP political adversaries are — how brave, cutting and edgy! — or to go on Fox News and do the opposite. But people who are engaged in actual dissent, outside the tiny and narrow permissible boundaries of pom-pom waving for one of the two political parties — those who are focused on the truly significant acts which the government and its owners are doing in secret — are subjected to this type of intimidation, threats, surveillance, and climate of fear, all without a whiff of illegal conduct (as even The New York Times‘ most celebrated investigative reporter, James Risen, will tell you)…
    Note, too, how this weapon has been not just maintained, but — as Binney said — aggressively expanded under President Obama. Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowing has been, in large part, designed to shield from the American public any knowledge of just how invasive this Surveillance State has become. Two Obama-loyal Democratic Senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — have spent two full years warning that the Obama administration is “interpreting” its spying powers under the Patriot Act in ways so “twisted” and broad that it would shock the American public if it learned of what was being done, and have even been accusing the DOJ and Attorney General Holder of actively misleading the public in material ways about its spying powers (unlike brave whistleblowers who have risked their own interests to bring corruption and illegality to the public’s attention — Binney, Drake, Bradley Manning, etc — Wyden and Udall have failed to tell the public about this illegal spying (even though they could do so on the Senate floor and be immune from prosecution) because they apparently fear losing their precious seat on the Intelligence Committee, but what’s the point of having a seat on the Intelligence Committee if you render yourself completely impotent even when you learn of systematic surveillance lawbreaking?).

  • China says Philippines violates international maritime law in claiming South China shoal – The Washington Post
    Do the Philippines assume the US will come to the rescue? //
  • Suspected Sale by China to North Korea Stirs Concern – NYTimes.com
    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration says it believes that a Chinese manufacturer sold North Korea the chassis and other parts for a missile-transport vehicle displayed in a military parade this week, a senior official said Friday, raising new concerns about China’s ability to enforce a ban on military sales to North Korea.
  • China Revs Up Propaganda Machine to Disgrace Bo Xilai – NYTimes.com
    As it announced the purge, the party unleashed the full arsenal of its propaganda machine against Mr. Bo, pressing news organizations across the nation into an extraordinary campaign urging support for the party’s decision to oust Mr. Bo, editors and media executives say. ..
    At least one figure with a crucial stake in the political drama has appeared to take a route outside the state news media to send a message. Jiang Zemin, the former top leader and a onetime ally of Mr. Bo’s father, met Tuesday with Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, a Starbucks spokesman said. Political analysts here said an appearance at this time by Mr. Jiang, reported to be ailing at 85 and long absent from public life, signaled to other politicians that he still played a role in party decisions, including in the Bo crisis.Bill Bishop, an analyst in Beijing who noted the meeting on his blog, said, “He’s clearly not doing it because he’s a coffee fan.”

  • At Wal-Mart in Mexico, a Bribe Inquiry Silenced – NYTimes.com
    Around Walmart China’s Management turmoil last year there were brief reports in the Chinese press about financial “improprieties” at Walmart China, but those reports were quickly scrubbed. Maybe there was something to them, if this is how HQ views bribery and FCPA…//Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, an examination by The New York Times found.

  • 5 Secrets Anonymous Should Steal From China – By Adam Segal | Foreign Policy
  • Bo Xilai and China’s corrupt ambition – The Washington Post-David Ignatius
    Here’s where the United States plays a steadying role for a still-shaky China. When the Chong­qing police chief, Wang Lijun, walked into the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in early February, he was carrying the equivalent of political dynamite. He apparently had documents to back up his allegations about Bo and his wife and their cronies. But after debriefing the cop, the State Department contacted senior Chinese officials in Beijing (as opposed to Bo’s henchmen in the province), who came to Chengdu and put the talkative police chief on a plane to the capital, where he’s now in custody.The United States could have gone public with the scandal and made trouble for the Chinese, big-time. Instead, the State Department (backed by the White House) decided to treat it as an internal political matter involving a corrupt local police chief. Some Republican legislators are complaining that Washington spurned a potential defector, but that’s silly. Using such a local police chief to play political games would have been a mistake, and administration officials made the right call.

  • Chinese Firewall Test – ViewDNS.info
    Chinese Firewall Test for can anyone in china reach sinocism without a vpn? thanks in advance
  • The Year of the Stray Dog – NYTimes.com
    I pulled over and let my tears flow — down my face and in my heart. After a long while, after my tears dried, I started the car again. I was on my way back to Beijing, panting and anxious, like a stray dog lost in a dark tunnel.Yan Lianke is a Chinese writer of novels and short stories based in Beijing. His works include “The Dream of Ding Village,” about the blood-selling scandal in his home province of Henan. This article was translated from the Chinese by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz.

  • Love, dissident-style: The saga of Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan – The Globe and Mail
  • Gehry Luxury Tower Boasts Hong Kong’s Priciest View – Bloomberg
  • Brazil’s All-In Bet on Amazon Dams Jeopardizes Economic Growth – Bloomberg
  • Confirmed: He Who Sits the Most Dies the Soonest – Neil Wagner – Health – The Atlantic
    A study of more than 200,000 Australians adds to the growing body of evidence that people who sit the most die the soonest. It also found that you can’t exercise this effect away, though exercise does help reduce it greatly.The study’s simple message is that spending more time standing and less time sitting prolongs life.

  • Rhino Poaching Threatens South Africa’s CEO-Owned Game Farms – Bloomberg
    Barry Lok grimaced as he gazed at the rotting carcass of his rhino bull, Kruger, lying under a tree on his farm northwest of Johannesburg. His heart had been pierced by a poacher’s bullet and his horn, worth its weight in gold, sawn off to be sent to Asia.
    Kruger’s slaying spells more than the loss of a beast Lok loved for its “prehistoric beauty.” Lok, like private rhino owners including Nicky Oppenheimer, the richest South African, must now either pay heavily for more security or sell livestock and contribute to the species’ demise.
    Rhino poachers in South Africa, home to about 90 percent of the world’s population of the endangered animals, are increasingly targeting private game owners as the level of rhino killing rises toward a record. Demand is rising in China and Vietnam, where rhino horn powder is believed to cure cancer. Last year 125 rhinos were poached from private farms in South Africa, a 52 percent increase from 2010.
  • China Court Overturns Death Penalty for Wu Ying in Fraud Case – NYTimes.com
    Jerome A. Cohen, a scholar of Chinese law at New York University, said in an e-mail interview that the supreme court decided that the accused need not be sentenced to immediate execution, opening the way for a new sentence, including death with a two-year suspension. That usually means that the convicted person will never be executed; after two years of good behavior, he or she might get a life sentence.“But, by sending the case back for resentencing, it leaves open the possibility that Wu may immediately get an even lighter sentence than a two-year suspended death penalty, such as 15 years,” Professor Cohen said. “This seems a typical Chinese judicial compromise between what those who call for the death penalty wanted and what Wu’s many supporters, both popular and professional, have called for.”

  • Our generals in Afghanistan need more accountability – The Washington Post
    By Andrew J. Bacevich, Saturday, April 21, 5:20 AMFor too long now, command accountability for our troops’ misconduct in wartime has been more theoretical than real. The latest scandal to erupt in Afghanistan — photographs of American soldiers amusing themselves with dismembered Taliban corpses — suggests that it’s past time to confront this problem.

    On the question of accountability, the military’s ethic is clear: With authority comes responsibility. More specifically, commanders bear responsibility for everything that happens within their jurisdiction. This decree supposedly applies to high-ranking generals as much as lowly lieutenants.

  • Laos Rejects China Rare Earth Plant
    The Lao government turns down a Chinese company’s application based on environmental concerns.
  • Vericant: Your China admissions partner
    Our China-based team helps schools identify qualified Chinese applicants through video interviews and proctored writing samples.
  • Over 100 Wuhan grads accused of admissions fraud|Hot Issues|chinadaily.com.cn
    A university in Hubei province is investigating an academic scandal in which more than 100 graduates are suspected of obtaining a master’s degree by fraud.
    Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) said on its micro blog on Thursday that it is looking into the case.
    At least 100 graduates, who did not have undergraduate education and were unqualified for graduate school enrollment, gained admission into the Langfang campus of WUT’s School of Economics by providing fraudulent bachelor’s diplomas, according to the Guangzhou-based New Express.
  • News of Visit to Consulate Reached Obama – WSJ.com
    President Barack Obama was briefed on a former provincial police chief’s overnight stay in a U.S. consulate in China in February while it was in progress or soon after it ended, a senior administration official said Friday, shedding new light on how significantly the U.S. viewed the encounter at the time.
  • Amazon.com: China Airborne (9780375422119): James Fallows: Books
    More than two-thirds of the new airports under construction today are being built in China. Chinese airlines expect to triple their fleet size over the next decade and will account for the fastest-growing market for Boeing and Airbus. But the Chinese are determined to be more than customers. In 2011, China announced its Twelfth Five-Year Plan, which included the commitment to spend a quarter of a trillion dollars to jump-start its aerospace industry. Its goal is to produce the Boeings and Airbuses of the future. Toward that end, it acquired two American companies: Cirrus Aviation, maker of the world’s most popular small propeller plane, and Teledyne Continental, which produces the engines for Cirrus and other small aircraft.

    In China Airborne, James Fallows documents, for the first time, the extraordinary scale of this project and explains why it is a crucial test case for China’s hopes for modernization and innovation in other industries. He makes clear how it stands to catalyze the nation’s hyper-growth and hyper- urbanization, revolutionizing China in ways analogous to the building of America’s transcontinental railroad in the nineteenth century. Fallows chronicles life in the city of Xi’an, home to more than 250,000 aerospace engineers and assembly workers, and introduces us to some of the hucksters, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and dreamers who seek to benefit from China’s pursuit of aerospace supremacy. He concludes by examining what this latest demonstration of Chinese ambition means for the United States and the rest of the world—and the right ways to understand it.

  • Neil Heywood had plans for major British-themed shopping centre – Telegraph
    Before his death in a hotel under suspicious circumstances in November, Neil Heywood had solicited meetings and lunches to discuss a “House of British Brands” shopping centre that he wanted to build in the Chinese capital, the sources said.
  • Bo Xilai’s wife ‘bewitched the men of Bournemouth’ – Telegraph
    The Chinese politician’s wife accused of the murder of old Harrovian Neil Heywood had remarkable power over men, claimed those who knew her while she lived in Britain.

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