Today’s China Readings June 14, 2012

The best way to read this blog is to subscribe by email, especially if you are in China, as Sinocism is still blocked here. The email signup page is here, outside the GFW. You can also follow me on @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop. Comments/tips/suggestions are welcome, and feel free to forward to recommend to friends. Thanks for reading.

Repressed demand for real estate and expectations of a relaxation of some of the more repressive real estate policies have led to a rise in sales. Reuters reports that China property sales rise in key markets and Caixin tells us that Listed Real Estate Firms See Sales Jump in May on the back of price cuts. An official of the China Banking Regulatory Commission told China Daily the CBRC “is preparing to relax regulations on bank lending to local government vehicles and the property sector.”

The official line may be that the the restrictions will remain mostly in place, but developers, investors and consumers increasingly expect a relaxation. The challenge for the government is that if it relaxes too quickly prices could spike immediately. An opinion piece in Caixin discusses some of the challenges for the government–Showdown Stage for Housing Price Controls.

Regular readers of Sinocism had an inkling of the loosening in the Sinocism May 23 note, in which I wrote that:

The Beijing municipal government has taken steps to revive its property market and transactions increased 40% from April to May–北京楼市“红五月”被放大 疑为政府托市. Shijiazhuang just raised its reference land price by 43% effective June 1–6月1日起石家庄基准地价上调涨幅近43%–prompting a Beijing developer friend to excitedly quote a famous Chinese poem that “ducks first know when the Spring river water begins to warm” (春江水暖鸭先知, from 苏轼惠崇春江晚景) to make his point on Weibo that the Shijiazhuang move is another early sign of loosening in the property market. One real estate market participant has posted to Weibo a chart of what it believes are the government’s recent signals about imminent moves to simulate the property market.

Fresh off new reports of backdoors in Chinese telecom gear, The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Lawmakers Press China’s Huawei, ZTE:

“In letters sent Tuesday to Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., the top lawmakers on the House intelligence committee outlined concerns about the companies’ ties with the Chinese government, including the role of a “party committee” at Huawei…The lawmakers also asked about Huawei’s relationships with five U.S. consulting firms and requested an expansive collection of documents, including the contracts between the firms and Huawei as well as the results of the firms’ consulting work for Huawei. Those firms include International Business Machines Corp., IBM, Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Evan Osnos explains in The Unwritten Rules in Chinese Technology why it may be difficult for the US Congress to learn what is really going on at Huawei and ZTE, writing that “part of the complexity about being a big Chinese company is that it’s not clear what information related to your relationship with the government counts as a secret.”

Reuters looks at Mitt Romney’s history with China in when Romney wasn’t so tough on China. China is once again an incendiary campaign issue, as Bloomberg documents in China-Bashing as Campaign Rhetoric Binds Obama to Romney. In February I wrote In A WSJ Op-Ed Mitt Romney Confronts The China Fantasy, Ignores His Own Hypocrisy? One question that remains unanswered is how much of a distribution, if any, Romney has received from Bain Capital’s hugely profitable investment in Youku, once a leading IPR violator and now the very legitimate, largest Chinese Youtube-clone.

The occasionally reliable Duowei claims in 独家:中共十八大政治局常委变7人制已成定局_多维新闻网 that it can report exclusively, with confirmation from three independent, knowledgeable sources, that there will be 7 members of the 18th Party Congress Politburo Standing Committee, down from 9 currently. Duowei goes on to speculate that the Politics and Law chair seat will be combined with the NPC chair seat, and the Propaganda seat will be merged with the CPPCC seat. Consider the source, as always. Gady Epstein wrote a bit about Duowei and its background in February in Reporting Chinese Politics: Hidden News.

Meanwhile, the top story in today’s People’s Daily details the the smooth progress in delegate selection work for the 18th Party Congress. Last month’s report by Reuters that the 18th Congress could be delayed looks to have been off, though of course we will not know until it is held.

We have new assholes du jour. Apparently three Mianzhu, Sichuan officials have been detained for stealing 300 million Renminbi in Wenchuan earthquake reconstruction funds–潜规则重回灾区:“绵竹镇长贪污灾后重建款”调查|绵竹|灾区|贪污_21世纪网 . As expected, this news has set off a bit of a firestorm on Sina Weiboas has the editorial in the People’s Daily stating that “criticizing everything about the country because of corruption is extremism.”

Today’s links:

The best way to read this blog is to subscribe by email, especially if you are in China, as Sinocism is still blocked here. The email signup page is here, outside the GFW. You can also follow me on @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop. Comments/tips/suggestions are welcome, and feel free to forward to recommend to friends. Thanks for reading.

Digest powered by RSS Digest

Subscribe to the Free Sinocism China Newsletter! Enter Your Email In The Box Below And Start Getting Smarter About China.