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China has adopted new rules on the Internet that have the same effects of a law (Xinhua). Real-name registration is included in the data and privacy protection legislation, though the implementation costs are high and may make a rollout a very long time coming. Regardless, the new requirements for real-name registration will likely have a chilling and warning effect, even though true anonymity is already nearly impossible on the Chinese (or any) Internet.
Keith Bradsher of the New York Times writes about the new rules in China Toughens Restrictions on Internet Use and reveals a few more details about the attacks against VPNs:
The Chinese government has been experimenting over the past two years with ways to identify and block VPNs, said Xiao Qiang, the leader of a team of Chinese Internet researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. But the government did not begin deploying that capability on a considerable scale until September, and it has stepped up its use of blocking since then, particularly in the weeks leading up to the Communist Party’s National Congress in early November, he said.
Although many had expected the blocking of Web sites and VPNs to recede after the party congress, that has not happened. Mr. Xiao said that the Chinese blocking of VPNs was “technically savvy and politically self-destructive,” in that it may allow the authorities to more effectively monitor communications and interfere with the dissemination of politically sensitive information, but at a high price in terms of antagonizing computer users across China.
The article concludes with a quote from yours truly:
Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader in the 1980s and 1990s, famously observed that in opening up the country’s economy to the world after the Cultural Revolution, some “flies” would inevitably come in. Bill Bishop…said that the latest policy moves suggested, “They’ve got some very smart computer scientists trying to figure out how to keep the digital flies away.”
This is the last Sinocism of 2012. Thanks for all your support and I wish you a very happy new year.
I do not like making predictions but did identify some trends to watch in China in 2013 for The New York Times a couple of weeks ago–For China’s ‘Great Renewal,’ 8 Trends to Keep an Eye On.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Who is the Canadian linked with 11 reverse-merger failures? – The Globe and Mail– the China stock frauds would not have happened without the foreign bankers, lawyers, accountants, and IR pros// Researching stocks in 2010, Carey noticed the same Caucasian man sticking out amid groups of mostly Chinese executives in the traditional snapshots taken at ceremonies celebrating a company going public on Nasdaq or other stock exchanges. .. The mysterious redhead, Carey learned, was a Canadian by the name of S. Paul Kelley. He’s a venture capitalist from Oakville, Ontario. It turned out Kelley had helped bring not just Telestone but a raft of other Chinese companies onto the North American capital markets via reverse takeovers.
Premier-in-Waiting Li Keqiang: “Solve the Housing Issue” for Migrant Workers-Caijing – Chinese premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang pledged Thursday to “solve the housing issue” for migrant workers by building affordable houses, during his visit to Jiujiang, a city in northwest Jiangxi Province. In the first visit paid to a local place since he was named to the No.2 spot in the ruling Communist Party in November, the man slated to replace Wen Jiabao in March has talked about issues of concerns including housing policies, medical care and employment with the former peasants who make a living by leaving homes and going to cities in search of jobs.
POLITICS AND LAW
Xi warns about risks to Party|chinadaily.com.cn– During a visit to the non-Communist parties on Monday and Tuesday, Xi referred to a famous conversation between Chairman Mao Zedong and Huang Yanpei, one of the founders of the China Democratic National Construction Association, one of the eight non-Communist parties. Mao and Huang exchanged opinions on the rise and decline of dynasties in 1945, when the Communist Party of China was still based in Yan’an, Shaanxi province. Huang said many dynasties in China’s history fell since they were susceptible to sluggishness after staying in power for a long time, although at the beginning they were diligent and frugal.
媒体查明郑州“房妹”系区房管局原局长之女_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示：近日，记者实名爆料称一位90后女孩在郑州拥有11套经适房，其为郑州房管局官员直系亲属。12月28日，该女孩的父亲，郑州市二七区房管局原局长翟某证实其女名下有多套房产，但属于家庭经商所得。郑州房管局当日也发声明称，该事件中的多套房产均非经适房。
授权发布：全国人民代表大会常务委员会关于加强网络信息保护的决定 – 新华时政 – 新华网 – full text of new Internet law
全国人大常委会通过加强网络信息保护的决定 – 新华直播 – 新华网 – who cast the 1 vote against the new Internet law?// 以145票赞成、1票反对、5票弃权表决通过了全国人大常委会关于加强网络信息保护的决定；
China’s legislature adopts online info rules to protect privacy – Xinhua | English.news.cn– The 12-article decision includes an identity management policy requiring Internet users to use their real names to identify themselves to service providers, including Internet or telecommunications operators. “Network service providers will ask users to provide genuine identification information when signing agreements to grant them access to the Internet, fixed-line telephone or mobile devices or to allow users to post information publicly,” the decision says. Network service providers will strengthen management of information released by users, the decision says. Service providers are required to instantly stop the transmission of illegal information once it is spotted and take relevant measures, including removing the information and saving records, before reporting to supervisory authorities, the decision says.
The Rise of China’s Cybercrats | Sinocism March 2011 – From the perspective of Zhongnanhai, the people responsible for planning and building China’s Internet filtration systems are geniuses. Not only did they foresee the threats from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, they also built the systems to effectively neutralize them.
China tightens internet controls – FT.com – Ever since launching the internet in 1994, Beijing has tried to introduce a system of real-name registration for users. However, many earlier attempts failed and analysts said the new mandate was still unlikely to succeed in confirming the identity of China’s more than 500m web users.
China tightens loophole on hiring temporary workers | Reuters – a move meant to tighten a loophole used by many employers to maintain flexible staffing. Contracting agencies have taken off since China implemented the Labor Contract Law in 2008, which stipulates employers must pay workers’ health insurance and social security benefits and makes firing very difficult.
Democratize or Die | Foreign Affairs -Huang Yasheng-Eric Li’s article in these pages, “The Life of the Party,” pays no such lip service to democracy. Instead, Li, a Shanghai-based venture capitalist, declares that the debate over Chinese democratization is dead: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will not only stay in power; its success in the coming years will “consolidate the one-party model and, in the process, challenge the West’s conventional wisdom about political development.” Li might have called the race too soon.
The Life of the Party | Foreign Affairs–Eric Li is Kishore Mahbubhani 2.0? This piece may give Minxin Pei and Gordon Chang aneurysms.// Some in China and the West have gone so far as to predict the demise of the one-party state, which they allege cannot survive if leading politicians stop delivering economic miracles. Such pessimism, however, is misplaced. There is no doubt that daunting challenges await Xi. But those who suggest that the CCP will not be able to deal with them fundamentally misread China’s politics and the resilience of its governing institutions. Beijing will be able to meet the country’s ills with dynamism and resilience, thanks to the CCP’s adaptability, system of meritocracy, and legitimacy with the Chinese people. In the next decade, China will continue to rise, not fade.
山西民营企业家卫宪法：亿万富翁亡命天涯 – 新华法治 – 新华网– 山西一位民营企业家遭当地民政局官员非法拘禁后致企业易主，亿元资产被零元转让，开通微博后又遇神秘失踪。”6年前我是民营企业家，亿万富翁，现在是亡命天涯的流浪汉。我的钱不是赌没了，也不是赔没了，而是被人抢了。”卫宪法在微博中说
习近平连番动作有预案 策划团队浮出水面_多维新闻网 – 多维新闻】Duowei on the planning that went into Xi Jinping’s very well-planned rollout campaign// 自习近平顺利接任中共最领导人后，一系列不间断、高频率的政治动作令中国民众与各地媒体应接不暇。截止到12月27日，习近平在上任仅一个半月的时间里，他的政治脚步已经遍及中国党、政、军、经济、社会等各个层面。接近中共高层的消息人士向多维新闻透露，习近平高度密集的政治行为并不是随意的、临时性的决定，其背后有一个强大的策划团队，他们预先制定了一份较为详细周密的时间表，甚至包括所有政治行为可能引起的反应，也都列在他们的预案之内。
With Focus on Unity, China Looks to Nationalist Past – NYTimes.com – Mr. Xi has spoken of a “great revival of the Chinese nation,” apparently to be accomplished through further opening the economy, tackling official corruptionand building up the military. This month, on his first trip outside Beijing, Mr. Xi traveled to several cities here in Guangdong Province; the tour included visits with senior officers of the People’s Liberation Army and a photo opportunity on a naval destroyer. Though he did not visit the Whampoa academy, the message Mr. Xi was telegraphing was the same one Mr. Sun had relayed a century ago. “When Sun Yat-sen founded the Whampoa academy, his goal was to unite China and to revive China as a nation, which is exactly the same mission that Secretary Xi is on,” said Zeng Qingliu, a historian with the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences who wrote a television script for a drama series on Whampoa. “Under that goal and that mission, Chinese people from all over the world and across the country were attracted to Whampoa.”
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
中国打响钓岛领空争夺战 战机云集福建_多维新闻网– China putting more J-10s at Shuimen airfield in northern Fujian, close to the Diaoyus?// 果不其然，解放军在福建北部临东海山的水门军用机场出现异动，有歼-10、苏-30等大批战机进驻。水门距离钓鱼岛仅仅380公里，歼十完全覆盖了这个作战距离，在理论上歼十15分钟就可飞抵钓鱼岛上空迎战日本的F15战机。中国国防部27日对此并没有否定，回应称涉及军事部署，不便回答。.. 果不其然，解放军在福建北部临东海山的水门军用机场出现异动，有歼-10、苏-30等大批战机进驻。水门距离钓鱼岛仅仅380公里，歼十完全覆盖了这个作战距离，在理论上歼十15分钟就可飞抵钓鱼岛上空迎战日本的F15战机。中国国防部27日对此并没有否定，回应称涉及军事部署，不便回答。
China 1950 paper says Senkakus are Japan’s | The Japan Times Online – good luck with this//BEIJING — A Chinese government document from 1950 appears to refute China’s current claim to the Senkakus by indicating the islets are part of Japan’s territory and referring to them by their Japanese name, a just-obtained copy revealed.
Xinhuanet launches Africa Edition – Xinhua | English.news.cn– By the edition, Xinhuanet intends to present Africa to the world in a more comprehensive and objective way with a more open vision. Focusing on the progress the African countries have made, their different stories, and voices of the most common folks, the edition will be a panorama of what is happening in Africa.
HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
Taipei tells China to note indignation over passport – Taipei Times – Taipei’s efforts to explain its indignation with the passports were dismissed as invalid by Beijing, which said pro-independence activist were just making a fuss
TECH AND MEDIA
Despite Latest Alibaba IPO Rumors, Yahoo Deal Incentive for 2015 – Kara Swisher – News – AllThingsD – Today, in the latest loosely-sourced report, a newsletter quoted a Chinese-language site on a leaked memo that allegedly said the preparations would begin in the second half of 2013 for a public offering in late 2013 or early 2014. Maybe not so fast, according to sources close to the situation, who note that incentives in a recent stock buyback with major shareholder Yahoo could drive a public offering to the end of 2015. The timeframe is not a deadline, of course, but Alibaba benefits more if it does its IPO by then. Sources said the IPO will depend entirely on market timing and there is not a current plan to do so soon.
Update: Sina Retracts Denial of Alibaba Investment Rumor | Marbridge Consulting – China Internet News – Sina has other disclosure issues besides this..and they could really use a professional IR firm// Following reports yesterday that Chinese internet company Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) has denied rumors that e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group would invest in its Sina Weibo microblogging service, Sina spokesperson Liu Qi has retracted his denial of the investment. According to Liu, his statement regarding a possible Alibaba Group investment was misunderstood. He clarified, saying, “What I meant to say is that I was not fully informed on the matter. Sina is a listed company and all financial information related to the company is disclosed.”
Sina CEO: Restructure, Focus on Weibo, Go “Mobile First” – In the email, seen by 36Kr (via TheNextWeb), Chao reviews the outgoing year and looks ahead to what it needs to do in 2013. He calls the monetization of Sina Weibo – with things like social commerce, social gaming, and its recently rebranded e-payments service – “a good start” without explicitly saying that Weibo is making very little money from its 400+ million registered users.
网传京东一采购经理因贪腐被刑拘 涉案金额百万_互联网 a 360buy purchasing manager arrested for taking kickbacks
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Uncertain Future for Architectural Treasures – Caixin – No data is available, but anecdotal evidence and business reports suggest increasing numbers of cultural significant structures in underdeveloped parts of the country are being sold and moved to wealthy cities. Other buildings, like the Confucian temple in Zhongyang, are being moved by developers so hungry for land that they’re willing to pay for a delicate relocation. Many buildings cannot be moved legally. Under Chinese regulations, the central government can designate certain cultural structures state-owned and immovable. But ownership of anything not on list is subject to local government control.
河南党报头版力挺平坟运动 批赵克罗“不足为训”_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】12月27日，中共河南省机关报《河南日报》在头版社评位置，发表题为《理性对待 凝聚共识》的文章，对于近来引发众多批评之声的“平坟运动”表示，平坟复耕是殡葬改革的重要一环，“是一项一举多得、利国利民的好事”，并指明批评质疑平坟运动和多党合作制的河南政协常委赵克罗“偏颇之词，无中生有”，“实在不足为训”。
Freedom of faith is a sacred right | m.ucanews.com– I witnessed the historic moment on July 7 when Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai pledged to defend his faith.In that moment, he pointed his finger to the sky and declared, “People look at appearances, but God looks into our hearts. The truth is there. We make a plan and God accomplishes it.” When I recall this moment, warmth fills my heart. I saw the image of Jesus in Bishop Ma, and it gave me tremendous strength and a firm conviction that he is the backbone of the paralyzed China Church. Bishop Ma has been under house arrest since his episcopal ordination, but the terror this inspired is not new for the China Church.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Desperate Cash Infusions Driving Blood Trade – Caixin – The tumor was growing, and the family of cancer patient Xia Jianqing was growing desperate. Doctors at a military hospital in Beijing had warned Xia’s family that he would die without the blood needed for a lifesaving operation. But the hospital had no blood to spare, forcing the family out of desperation to shop for blood on the street. The patient’s sister, Xia Guoqing, said they turned to one of the many criminals who roam Beijing hospitals, the local Red Cross of China Blood Center and even city streets offering bags of blood. The family paid more than 10,000 yuan, she said, and doctors performed the operation.