Today’s China Readings July 4, 2012

Residents of Shifang, Sichuan who violently protested against a new copper and molybdenum factory appear to have won the first round, as the local government has suspended construction. But do not expect things to end well for the leaders of the demonstrations.

Han Han wrote an excellent post on the Shifang situation (什邡的释放 ), which China Digital Times has translated. Per the CDT translation, Han Han writes that:

You know, the Chinese people are really a lot like crawfish. They are quite adept at enduring hardship and soldiering on. They can live in any kind of environment. But even though they have two claws, they’re easy to stab in the back, powerless to pinch their attackers. Once they are startled, their first reaction is to back off. Even so, they are still brought to the dinner table in the end. The powerful and the rich feast on them, wipe their mouths and say, “Not bad, but a little spicy.”

And so I want to tell the Shifang government that this is not an earthquake, this is not an emergency. People’s requests for improving their environment must be respected. You leaders change every few years. You take on environmental destruction with nice-looking certificates of achievement. If you do well you get promoted, if you don’t you get jail. The best of you emigrate, the worst of you are shot. But none of you actually live in the pollution. Only ordinary people live there. Even though you already stopped the plan to mine molybdenum copper, I think the pent-up public anger this project released comes from a deep-rooted animus that’s about more than molybdenum copper. The proposed plant started it, but now it has become a mass incident. I hope that the people’s resistance can proceed in a rational, smart and safe way. You should seek negotiation. Don’t suppress the movement, don’t give people an excuse to mob, riot, steal, break and loot.

The Economist has an excellent take on Bloomberg’s recent expose of the extended Xi family wealth, and not just because it links to two different Sinocism posts. In Wealth and power: It’s a family affair The Economist writes that:

The system also gives those in power precious little incentive to advocate for meaningful political reform. Too many people have too much “skin in the game”. Political openness would threaten not only the Party’s grip on power, but also a whole system which provides direct and indirect financial benefits to millions of relatively well-connected individuals. Factionalism abounds of course, but the divide is less between “reformers” and “hardliners” than it is between different political power-brokers and within their networks of patronage. Such competition becomes particularly fierce in the run-up to one of these once-in-a-decade leadership transition, as in 2012.

Given the stakes involved, it would seem Chinese officialdom should have no trouble appreciating a famous admonition made by an American polymath, Benjamin Franklin, some 235 years ago this week: “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

The International Herald Tribune has a fun look at Moutai, and Xi Jiu, in One Chinese Liquor Brand Is the Life of the Party and concludes with a Henry Kissinger quote to Deng Xiaoping: “I think if we drink enough Moutai we can solve anything.” As Deng knew well, drinking baijiu with foreigners really can solve just about anything, and always in China’s favor.

And just because it is so awesome, check out this Mazu 妈祖 sculpture cake my better half, the owner of CCSweets, made for a wealthy Beijing client.

Happy Fourth of July. I plan to enjoy watching Chinese-made fireworks while cooking on a Chinese-made grill, eating with Chinese-made utensils, and sitting on Chinese-made deck furniture. At least the burgers aren’t made in China. Yet.

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  • Zhang Yimou denies part in Railway promo –
    A costly five-minute China Railways advert recently became a target of public criticism after its original release two years ago, according to a report by Zhengzhou Evening Newspaper on July, 2.
    Zhang Yimou’s name, one of China’s best-known directors, could be clearly seen in the end credits of the costly five-minute promo film. However, only very few had noticed this before as it wasn’t until recently that the film came into the spotlight as an example of one of the irregularities of the Ministry of Railways.
  • China vows to improve food safety in 3 years |Society |
    maybe this will finally make a difference. or maybe there will just be more incentive to cover things up//
    Food safety will become a measure of local governments’ performance in their annual assessment for the first time, the statement said.
  • Chinese dominate global bank profits |Markets |
    are there any real global bank profits left?//
    Chinese banks took almost a third of total global bank profits last year, up from 4 percent in 2007, as they grabbed market share given up by struggling European peers, The Banker magazine, based in the UK, said in its latest annual bank ranking list.
  • Japan ‘must end outdated policy’ |Politics |
    Japanese politicians and prominent academics from China and Japan urged Tokyo on Tuesday to abandon its outdated foreign policy of leaning on the West and accept China as a key partner as important as the United States.
    The Tokyo Consensus, a joint statement issued at the end of the Beijing-Tokyo Forum, also called on both countries to expand trade and promote a free-trade agreement for China, Japan and South Korea.
  • Suction-type sewer vehicle introduced for rainy season in Shanghai – Xinhua |
    just imagine what they will suck up. or better yet, don’t
  • Xinhua issues first digital magazine – Xinhua |
    Xinhua News Agency has issued its first digital, interactive e-magazine, “Read China,” which is now available from Apple’s App Store.
    The e-magazine informs readers of important financial and economic news and provides professional analysis of China’s economy, Xinhua said Tuesday.
  • Did Silvercorp Metals Exaggerate the Original Size of its Ying Mine? « Leading the Fight Against Chinese Stock Fraud and Corruption
    In China, SVM filed a criminal complaint (acknowledged here in this Chinese media report) with the public security bureau in the small town of Luoyang where SVM’s key operating subsidiary, Henan Found, is based.  Under pressure, the local cops aggressively responded to SVM’s complaint and arrested, terrorized, and forbid my researchers from communicating with me or performing any further research on Chinese companies….The local cops then confiscated all my researchers laptops and extracted all the data, including a copy of my own personal address book.  Soon afterwards, a large number of phone numbers and addresses from my personal address book appeared in this New York Supreme Court filing (clearly cut and pasted, including capitalization and misspellings) in which SVM tried to persuade the Court to help the company illegally gain access to my confidential bank and brokerage account info.
  • China Telecom Completes Fund-raising for Online Video Branch – Caixin Online
    China Telecom, one of the country’s top telecom operators, has completed the first round of financing for its online mobile video branch, as the company restructures its value-added service subsidiaries.
    An employee of China Telecom’s Shanghai branch said that Tianyi Shixun Media Co., the China Telecom business division that develops mobile video service and the Internet video portal, has secured 380 million yuan from China Merchants China Direct Investments Ltd. and other investors.
  • Hubei Lakes Perform Disappearing Act – Caixin Online
    The province’s lake area is an incredible shrinking curiosity that dozens of environmental regulations and billions of yuan in restoration projects have been unable to revive
  • 望海楼:辉煌十年,中国成功之道在哪里–新闻报道-人民网
    the the july 3 people’s daily overseas edition article praising collective leadership and saying the politburo standing committee is made up of 9 members (which of course it is now)//
  • 《人民日报》:九常委制度不可动摇_多维新闻网
    is the front page article in the july 3 people’s daily overseas edition praising collective leadership and saying the politburo standing committee is made up of 9 members a signal that speculation that the pbsc will shrink from 9 to 7 members at the 18th party congress incorrect?//
  • BBC News – Angola’s Chinese-built ghost town
    Designed to house up to half a million people when complete, Kilamba has been built by the state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) in under three years at a reported cost of $3.5bn (£2.2bn)…Spanning 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres), the development is the largest of several new “satellite cities” being constructed by Chinese firms around Angola, and it is believed to be one of the largest new-build projects on the continent.
  • 新疆反劫机案有功者每人获奖10万元_网易新闻中心
    100,000 rmb reward each for 10 people who helped stopped the “6.29 hijacking incident” in xinjiang
  • 凯雷抄底桔子水晶:汉庭或接盘桔子酒店|凯雷|抄底|桔子_21世纪网
    Carlyle investing north of $100m into Orange Hotels? I was an original angel investor in Orange, long ago got out, long story, happy to see these guys going back
  • Is China Scared of a Coup? | China Power
    Observers probably should see PLA loyalty as a prerequisite for political reform, when the challenge of reform involves breaking down an ossified party bureaucracy that seems to encourage corruption-based interest groups. And the constant refrain that CCP should control the PLA may be a sign that reform discussions are real, if uncertain in implementation.
    Although some rumors about military nationalization may be true, this alternative explanation is plausible. If the PLA’s loyalty to the party, especially to Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, cannot be assured, then there is little reason to expect Chinese leaders to risk a bruising debate capable of publicly splitting the leadership. The key lesson of the tumultuous events of 1989 was that leadership should not show public disunity. The PLA loyalty drumbeat suggests this is a real concern. Continuation probably should be taken as sign of growing instability within the leadership and an end to the current possibilities of internal CCP reforms.
  • Investigation: Mitt Romney’s Offshore Accounts, Tax Loopholes, and Mysterious I.R.A. | Politics | Vanity Fair
    perhaps Bloomberg should put the team that tracked the Bo-Gu and Xi family assets onto the case.
  • Han Han: The Liberation of Shifang – China Digital Times (CDT) China Digital Times (CDT)
  • 什邡的释放_韩寒_新浪博客
    han han on shifang protests. nice play on words in the title//
  • Tainted meat fears sap athletes’ game –
    Chinese athletes may not be performing as well as they could, as they forsake meat for fear of chemical contamination that would interfere with urine tests. With the London Olympics around the corner, this poses quite a problem.
  • Construction halted in Shifang over health concerns –
    Li Jincheng, Secretary of the Shifang City Committee of the Communist Party of China, told reporters that the project was halted in response to public concern over environmental and health issues, asking the residents to remain rational and “have faith in the Party committee and government to properly address the matter.”
  • No power for media, no power for citizens – China Media Project
    On July 1 social media in China buzzed with the news that Shi Junrong (石俊荣), a reporter for the Xi’an Evening News in Shaanxi province, had been suspended after writing a report about local government officials smoking costly luxury cigarettes (see Shi’s blog here). Up until his reported suspension, Shi was the Wei’an city bureau chief of the Xi’an Evening News, which is overseen by the top Party leadership in the city of Xi’an…Shi Jurong’s Sina Weibo account is still active here…Making waves today in China — at least in media circles — is an editorial on the Shi Junrong case written by journalist Cao Lin (曹林) in China Youth Daily, a newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Youth League with a longstanding reputation for solid journalism against the odds. The paper has given us top journalists like CMP fellows Li Datong, He Yanguang, Lu Yuegang and Liu Chang, to mention just a few.
  • Min Jiang–China’s National Search Engine Jike
    This paper was presented at the 10th Chinese Internet Research Conference held May 21-22, 2012 at the Annenberg School of Communication @ USC. It discusses the functions and implications of China’s national search engine Jike from multiple theoretical perspectives.
  • National Identity, State Ideological Apparatus, or Panopticon? A Multiperspectival Analysis of Chinese National Search Engine Jike by Min Jiang :: SSRN
    This paper addresses a major gap in the information and communication technology literature by exploring the symbolic, social and political implications of Jike, China’s national search engine and the first of its kind in the world. A multiperspectival approach is adopted, incorporating semiotic, political economy, and postmodern theoretical perspectives. Semiotic analysis of Jike’s interface design, its celebrity CEO, and discursive construction of “the national team” shows Jike taps into a popular reservoir of national pride to strategically brand itself as friendly, high tech, and patriotic. A political economy analysis of Jike indicates a changing mode of state propaganda production where the market subsidizes the Party press’s digital infrastructures and “thought work.” The paper also raises awareness of Jike’s potential panoptic capabilities as the state advances its ambitions of a digital propaganda empire under the auspices of economic development and modernization of the Chinese society.
  • Made in China: Why knockoffs disappeared from Beijing markets –
    China finally appeared to match its talk on the sanctity of intellectual property rights with some enforcement – but only for two weeks.
  • One Week In, New York Times’ Chinese Social Media Accounts Shut Down, Site Still Up | TechCrunch
    So much for that experiment in freedom of speech. Last week, the New York Times launched an online Chinese edition of its newspaper — and with it a social media presence in the country. As of today, the NYT Chinese site is still working, but the social media presence is not: a visit to the New York Times’ Sina Weibo page — confirmed to us last week by the New York Times as officially theirs — brings up a “user does not exist” page. Ditto qq, Sohu, and 163 — other popular social networking platforms with New York Times accounts (although we never confirmed their authenticity with the paper).
  • China kicks off reshuffle ahead of leadership handover | Reuters
    China kicked off the first major step in a political reshuffle ahead of a generational leadership change with the appointment on Tuesday of a new Communist Party boss for Beijing, the Chinese capital’s top official.
    Guo Jinlong, 64, the city’s mayor since 2008 and an ally of President Hu Jintao, replaces Liu Qi, 69, as Beijing party boss, in a decision announced at the end of the municipal party congress.
  • China Slowdown Cuts Luxury Spending, Hong Kong Retailing – Bloomberg
    China’s slowdown dragged Hong Kong’s retail-sales growth to the weakest pace since 2009 as shoppers visiting from the mainland cut back on purchases of luxury goods such as jewelry and watches.
  • Protests Force Factory Plan to be Canceled –
    how may will be arrested? shifang hit hard in wenchuan quake//
    Shifang Government Cancels Project Amid Crackdown on Widening Environmental Protests..
    The area previously has faced environmental concerns over chemical plants. Following Sichuan’s devastating 2008 earthquake, which left nearly 90,000 dead or missing, the destruction of two chemical plants in Shifang forced the evacuation of 6,000 people.
  • Market Reforms Needed to Solve China’s Water Woes-Caijing
    Experts have proposed the establishment of a national water rights system and the introduction of a trading mechanism for water use rights to solve China’s water woes.
  • Taiwan to seal F-16 upgrade deal with US on July 5|Politics|News|
    Taiwan’s military said Monday that a proposal by the United States to overhaul the country’s aging F-16A/B jet fighters has passed a review and will send back the approved proposal to the US Air Force to seal the deal on July 5.
  • Challenges of Localizing the “Big Four”-Caijing
    The new rules for the Big Four face two major hurdles: first, effectively transforming joint ventures into special general partnerships; and two, cultivating excellent local partners and selecting senior partner
  • Distorted Market Rules Create Football Mess-Caijing
    The CFA is unable to conduct effective business development and promotion efforts as the operator of the league; instead, it exploits clubs for limited income from league matches.
  • Study Links Cat Litter Box to Increased Suicide Risk – Yahoo!
    A common parasite that can lurk in the cat litter box may cause undetected brain changes in women that make them more prone to suicide, according to an international study.
  • Jiaolong a stepping stone for China’s military sophistication: experts|Politics|News|
    The design of the Jiaolong, China’s manned deep-sea research submersible, can provide valuable lessons to the People’s Liberation Army Navy, Fang Shujia, vice president of China Shipbuilding Industry Society, told Duowei News, a news website operated by overseas Chinese.
  • Chinese citizens query impartiality of state-run lottery|Society|In-depth|
    With the news that a man in Beijing has hit a record lottery jackpot of 570 million yuan (US$73.46 million) having brought the country’s lottery into the limelight, some are now questioning the fairness of the process of determining the winner, reports the weekly Investor Journal in the Chinese capital…The questions have some basis, as the Chinese lottery is run by government agencies that are more concerned with selling lottery tickets than preventing insider manipulation, says Cheng Yang, a well-known lottery expert quoted by the weekly.
  • Chinese internet companies scramble to launch their own phones|Economy|News|
  • Chinese scrumpers pick priceless peaches – Telegraph
    The three men broke into a three-acre plot belonging to the Zhengzhou Fruit Tree Research Institute in the central Chinese province of Henan, a government facility where scientists have worked for 13 years to grow the perfect peach.
    Inside, they filled three bags with perhaps the rarest peaches in China, whose trees cost roughly two to three million yuan (£200,000 to £300,000) to cultivate.
  • It’s Maid vs. Vertu in China’s Latest Class Controversy – China Real Time Report – WSJ
    Offers of legal help are pouring in for a Chinese maid after a court overturned her 10-year jail sentence for stealing her employer’s ultra-luxury cellphone, and ordered a retrial.
    The case has aroused much public debate in China about whether the law favors the rich over the poor.
  • Is Baidu About to Launch a New Social Network in Vietnam?
    how will baidu manage references to spratlys and paracels? and will vietnamese really want to put their lives on a chinese product? gaming is one thing, and remember the government enacted policies to limit chinese mmorpgs. tencent already in vietnam through games and equity investments
  • China Stocks Rise for Third Day on Policy, Property Speculation – Bloomberg
    China’s stocks rose for a third day as a pick-up in the property market helped the nation’s service industries expand at a faster pace and speculation grew the government will further ease monetary policy.
  • Chinese Temple Where Women Pray for Kids Plans $118 Million IPO – Bloomberg
    The managers of Putuo Mountain, a Buddhist shrine where worshippers go to pray for healthy children, want to raise 750 million yuan ($118 million) in an initial public offering, China Daily reported today.
  • Activision to Bring New, Free Version of ‘Call of Duty’ to China –
    wonder how the content will be modified for china//
    To help bring the game to market, Activision signed a multiyear agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd., 0700.HK +2.65% a popular Internet company in China that offers games, social networking and e-commerce.
    Martin Lau, Tencent’s president, said his company was devoting “substantial” resources toward promoting the game, though he declined to say how much. But, he said, the title will be positioned as a star product in the company’s game lineup.
  • Management Team – Crimson Hexagon
    prof gary king’s social media analytics firm.
  • Watching How China Censors –
    based on the report they published king et al are overstating the predictive ability, at least for China//
    Once the data is collected, the challenge is to make sense of it all. Harvard University professor Gary King recently found that social-media analytics technology he developed could be applied to China’s censorship patterns. It might even be able to predict major news events before they happen…Mr. King in 2007 co-founded Boston start-up Crimson Hexagon Inc., which measures consumer sentiment on social media sites for large companies like Microsoft and Starbucks. Instead of simply scanning for keywords, Crimson’s software uses an algorithm to analyze data based on a set of categories and themes determined by the user….Last year, Mr. King used Crimson’s social-media databank to begin analyzing a large set of China social-media data that encompass more than 11 million posts made on 1,382 Chinese forums.
  • Chinese Stock Surge Tied to Tear-Gas Use? – China Real Time Report – WSJ
    Have protests in a Chinese city sent up shares of a company that makes the hot stuff in tear gas?..That was the chatter on the Sina Weibo microblogging service on Tuesday as shares of Chenguang Biotech Group Co. leaped 10% on Tuesday, the daily limit for shares traded in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Chenguang Biotech says on its website that it produces a number of food products, including capsaicin, which it says can be used to make tear gas.
  • One Chinese Liquor Brand Is the Life of the Party –
    Moutai is merely the most popular brand in the baijiu family of China’s grain-based alcohols. Sales have reportedly been falling across the board recently — perhaps due to astronomical price increases and widespread, spot-on counterfeiting — although one brand, Xi Jiu, has been faring quite well. The rise and promise of Xi Jiu was spotted by Bill Bishop of the perceptive Sinocism blog
  • 刘淇卸任北京市委书记 郭金龙或成地方诸侯龙头_多维新闻网
  • Mao College Town Booms Signaling Offset to Slowdown in China – Bloomberg
    The boom in Changsha and other inland cities is cushioning China and the world at a time when global growth is slowing, and may help relieve the damping effects of the debt crisis in Europe, China’s largest export market. First-quarter growth in Changsha was 10.8 percent, compared with 8.1 percent nationally.
    “The key target of government spending is in central and western Chinese places like Changsha,” said Zhu Haibin, Hong Kong-based chief China economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “Economic growth in inland provinces has been stronger than coastal areas and the trend is expected to continue for another five to 10 years.”
  • Wen Eases Off as China’s Cities Seek to Revive Home Sales – Bloomberg
    Liu’s sales are a casualty of an economic slowdown tied to China’s efforts since 2010 to prevent a housing bubble with curbs on lending and property ownership. Now, outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao is tolerating some piecemeal measures to support the market. They include the introduction in May of home subsidies in the eastern city of Yangzhou, discounts on mortgages for first-home buyers in Beijing, and raising the tax threshold on purchases of some homes in Shanghai.

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2 thoughts on “Today’s China Readings July 4, 2012

  1. The matsu cake is indeed ‘niubi’, but seeing the client I guess I didn’t realize sinocism had so much ‘skin in the game’ with China’s elite. If you bring down the system what then for your partner’s business?

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