UPDATE JANUARY 1, 2015: I have graded each of the ten predictions on a 1-10 scale, with a final grade of 80. The grade and comments for each prediction are in bold below. Feel free to speak your mind in the comment section.
I am not making predictions for 2015 as it is a sucker’s game. END UPDATE.
I am taking the plunge with some predictions for 2014. My 2013 predictions, made December 2012 in The New York Times, probably rate a B or so.
- 2014 is the Year of the Horse but it will also likely become known as the Year of the Grind as Beijing works through its many political, economic, environmental and social challenges; 8. Slow progress made in some areas, the place did not collapse, but still much more grinding to be done in 2015 and beyond.
Xi Jinping will continue to consolidate power. The apparent ongoing purge of Zhou Yongkang and his allies will result in Xi having more control over both the security services and the military than any leader in decades; 10. It seems a no-brainer now, in spite of the murmurings (that I think are BS) in some quarters that the image of a smart, powerful Xi is an illusion, the creation of the elders who believed Chinese people want a new strongman.
Xi’s appointment to head the leading group for comprehensively deepening reform is positive for reform prospects. Some had expected Premier Li Keqiang to lead the group and now see this move as a diminution of Li, but given that the scope of the group is much broader than just the economy it makes more sense for the General Secretary to lead it. Only Xi may have the authority and the bureaucratic power to push through reforms that affect so many entrenched interests (though of course reform will also bring new opportunities to some). If Xi is successful in rebuilding Party discipline through the Mass Line Campaign and the corruption crackdown then there is a decent chance the reforms will succeed. But there is a reason some in Beijing say that Xi is the Party’s last chance to make the changes needed to keep it in power; 8. Reforms are happening, albeit slowly, but there are good reasons to believe the 2014 political work has cleared the way for significant progress in 2015.
The corruption crackdown will intensify and while it will not solve the root issues it will be more successful than most have predicted. Zhou Yongkang may be the first tiger to fall in 2014 but there will be others. There will be increasing pockets of resistance as cadres are squeezed but Xi appears to have the power base to continue the crackdown. And business prospects will not improve for luxury goods merchants; 10. And the crackdown (calling it a campaign is a mistake I believe) will intensify in 2015, and I expect more tigers and even some “red nobility” will go down.
The economy will continue to struggle, in large part to due to the excessive buildup of corporate and government debt. The recent audit and the listing of “resolving risk associated with local government debt” as a key task in 2014 by the Central Economic Work Conference are signs of both how worried Beijing is and how serious it is taking the debt mess. There are no quick fixes though, moral hazard is a huge issue and while a debt crisis is unlikely (but never say never) Beijing’s options are increasingly constrained and any overly aggressive efforts to rein in credit growth could dramatically slow the economy. GDP growth should come in around 7% (and there will be plenty of debate about how “healthy” or real” that growth is), the Shanghai Composite will end 2014 15% higher, the RMB will appreciate to between 5.8-5.9 to the US Dollar and first-tier and maybe second-tier city real estate markets will continue to see price appreciation, though at least one high profile real estate developer will be taken down as a scapegoat for the high housing prices; 4. The official GDP number will come in a little higher than 7%, I was directionally correct on the stock market but massively underestimated the move, the RMB depreciated slightly, 1st and 2nd tier real estate markets dropped.
The Party has made much progress towards its goal of seizing the commanding heights of the Internet and those efforts will continue, as will a continued shift in social media usage from Weibo to Wechat. The stepped up control of the Internet will continue part of the broader, ongoing ideological tightening; A very grim 10, actually could be 11 for those who want to combine spinal tap with China prognostication.
Alibaba and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange will both make concessions by the second quarter that will allow the company to list on the HKSE. The IPO will be bigger than Facebook’s even though Tencent’s Wechat will increasingly be seen as serious threat and Laiwang, Alibaba’s Wechat clone, will have little traction; 4, listing went ahead in the US in Q3 but was bigger than Facebook’s and Laiwang is nowhere compared with Wechat.
There will be more China pain for US technology companies in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Do not be surprised if Beijing bans military and security personnel and cadres above a certain rank from using Apple products; 10, even though nothing officially happened around Apple, though there have been rumors. Many US tech firms are a facing a “new normal” of being “Huawei’d” here, and there is nothing they or the US government can do about it.
There will be progress on cleaning up the environment though the problems are so huge that not much will change substantively in a year. But there will be more bureaucratic will and policy support as Beijing has come to realize that the environmental disaster is one of the core threats to the country. One of my predictions for 2013 was that the environmental issues would lead to “more protests as citizens become more aware of their rights and are emboldened to protect them.” In fact there were fewer large scale ones than in 2012 as Beijing narrowed the public sphere; 8, Beijing made it clear in 2014 that it is serious about cleaning up the environment, but the political and economic challenges are immense.
Verbatim from last year’s predictions: China’s external environment is increasingly complex. Mr. Xi is likely to work hard on maintaining stable relations with the United States, while at the same time expanding China’s military capabilities and asserting its regional interests. China has unsettled its neighbors with its approach to the disputes over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the various islands in the South China Sea. Both issues look intractable, so a solution is unlikely in 2014. Expect a quickening arms race in Asia, increasingly nationalist rhetoric, continued tensions with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines and growing risks of misunderstandings — and possible mishaps — as the various countries send more vessels into the disputed areas.
What I will add for 2014 is that there will be increasing recognition that Beijing has a well-crafted strategy, not ad-hoc and uncoordinated actions, that it believes will demonize and isolate Japan in the region and force the US to choose between supporting an increasingly unpopular regional partner or applying pressure on Japan such that other countries will see the US as an unreliable ally. I am not convinced it will work but it does look to be a significant part of Beijing’s strategy. And Prime Minister Abe is starting to look like a gift for Beijing. 8, as there is still not “increasing recognition” that Beijing may have a well-crafted strategy.
Of course any unforeseen, exogenous events could render some or all of these non-operative…
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This week’s interesting readings:
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
China Focus: China maintains pressure with 5-year anticorruption plan – Xinhua The Communist Party of China (CPC) has vowed to firmly fight corruption and maintain its “high-handed posture” in the next five years. “If the problems of work styles and corruption are not handled properly, they will critically harm the Party, and even lead the Party or nation to perish,” said a five-year (2013-2017) plan on building a system to punish and prevent corruption, issued by the CPC Central Committee on Wednesday.
【舒立观察】谁来打破利益藩篱杂志频道财新网 Hu Shuli in her January 6 editorial on why it is so important that Xi Jinping is chairing the comprehensively deepening reform small leading group// 中国以往不少已经形成决议的改革，
影子银行整顿风声鹤唳 一财求证传言始末金融资本财经频道_一财网 Another attempt at a shadow banking crackdown about to hit? China Business News reports on a surge in rumors that a Document #9 is about to be released by the CBRC, to plug the loopholes financial institutions found after the release of Document #8 last year. Implementation would be painful //银 监会“9号文”迟迟未能落地，不断膨胀的银行同业业务急需规范。
Related: Rawhide in China | FT Alphaville Faced with a mountain of maturing loans this year, China has given local governments the go-ahead to issue bonds as a way of rolling over their debt to avoid defaults. The announcement by the National Development and Reform Commission, a top central planning authority, is the most explicit official endorsement of a massive debt refinancing operation that has become unavoidable and is already under way, analysts said.
Related: 资金掮客：1天筹资超200亿 行长也跟我们套关系_网易新闻中心 long 21st Century Business Herald story on brokers who find short-term deposits for banks to help them meet their monthly, quarter-end and especially year-end loan-deposit ratios// 2013年的最后一天，
Related: China LGFV Sells First Dollar Bond as Yuan Borrowing Costs Rise – Bloomberg Shanghai Chengtou Corp. sold the first onshore dollar-denominated bond by a local-government financing vehicle in China as yuan borrowing costs surge. The funding unit issued $200 million of AAA rated notes with a 3.3494 percent coupon on Dec. 27, according to a statement posted on the website of the Shanghai Clearing House on Dec. 31. The bond was priced to yield 300 basis points more than six-month Libor, the statement said.
Related: 地方AMC扩容_杂志频道_财新网 Caix
河北日报-习近平同志在正定 15,000 word piece in Hebei Daily on January 2 on Xi Jinping’s time in Zhending, Hebei
为了国家长治久安——怎样理解全面深化改革的总目标_ 2014/01 _求是理论网 “For the long term peace and stability of the nation”. Qiushi 秋石 in Qiushi (Seeking Truth) on understanding the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform// 党的十八届三中全会通过的《
Beijing PM 2.5 reading fails national standard – Xinhua The average PM 2.5 reading for Beijing in 2013 was more than double the national standard, the city’s environmental authority reported Thursday, suggesting tough challenges ahead for the pollution-plagued Chinese capital in its anti-smog campaign. Beijing’s average PM 2.5 index, which measures airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers, stood at 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said in a press release. The reading was 2.56 times the national standard of 35, which was set by the State Council in 2012 in a set of revised air quality standards that included indices for ozone and PM 2.5.
Related: Shanghai paying price of China’s campaign against industrial pollution | Reuters Beijing always gets priority, especially as the Shanghai Gang’s influence wanes? // Chinese steel production is moving from its heartland in Hebei province in the wake of government efforts to tackle pollution near Beijing, but Shanghai could be paying the price as steel mills around the commercial capital ramp up output. Stricter environmental checks in Hebei have also created opportunities for polluting industries such as cement and glass-making plants in provinces near Shanghai.
How China and American can keep a Pacific peace | The A-List–Kurt Campbell Until recently, there was a subtle tension between the party and the military over rules of engagement for People’s Liberation Army assets. It appears, however, that there is greater co-ordination under Xi Jinping, his successor…the US and China have very distinct strategic cultures with different objectives when it comes to operational encounters, and finding an acceptable paradigm will be challenging. Yet find it they must: global stability depends on avoiding a collision.
Mandiant, which rooted out Chinese hackers for the NYT, is being snapped up for nearly $1 billion FireEye, Inc. has purchased the Alexandria-based firm in a $989 million mix of stock and cash, executives said Thursday. The deal, which closed on Dec. 30, involves 21.5 million shares of FireEye and $106.5 million in cash. With Thursday’s announcement, Mandiant will become a publicly-held company for the first time. The decade-old firm does $100 million a year in sales, and its 500 employees serve around 500 customers, most of which are in the Fortune 500, said CEO Kevin Mandia in an interview.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
China Local Debt Rises to $2.95T: Video – Bloomberg Bloomberg’s Tom Orlik reports on China’s debt risks which amounts to 53% of GDP which auditors are saying is controllable. // Orlik doesn’t see a crisis ahead
Pimco Sees Dim Sum Refinancing Boom on Cash Crunch: China Credit – Bloomberg “A lot of local and Dim Sum bonds are coming up for maturity so there will be a lot of refunding needs,” said Raja Mukherji, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian credit research at Pimco, manager of the world’s biggest bond fund. “Given that onshore rates have been ticking up in China, corporates may choose to go to the offshore bond markets and extend their maturity.”
China’s Runaway Train Is Running Out of Track – Bloomberg The detailed blueprint for market reform published by the Communist Party in November encouraged many. China’s leaders clearly recognize that its economy needs to move in a new direction. But the first crucial step, weaning China away from its addiction to debt-fueled stimulus, is proving a lot harder than many imagined. China’s leaders are riding a runaway train that they don’t quite know how to stop. And they’re running out of track. // we’ll see how little track they really have. I’d bet it is more than the author thinks, though he shies away from giving a specific timeline. Surprised there is no mention of the recent debt audit, or that the central economic work conference for the first time listed resolving risk associated with local government debt as a key task. 2014 is not going to pretty, but good luck to those betting on a real debt crisis.
‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini gets bullish on global economy Threats of a euro zone implosion, another U.S. government partial shutdown, a debt-ceiling fight, a hard landing in China, or a war between Israel and Iran will be far more subdued, he said…”In sum, the global economy will grow faster in 2014, while tail risks will be lower. But, with the possible exception of the U.S., growth will remain anemic in most advanced economies, and emerging-market fragility – including China’s uncertain efforts at economic rebalancing – could become a drag on global growth in subsequent years,” he said.
Closer Look: Investment Bankers, Companies Got Extra Reason to Cheer on New Year’s Eve – Caixin Six companies received the prized permission from the CSRC that night. One is bound for the main board, two for the Small and Medium Enterprise board and the rest for the ChiNext board. By the time the last one was announced, 2014 was only less than half an hour away. This brought the total number of companies to get IPO permission in 2013 to 11. All of the permissions were made on December 30 and 31, after the regulator froze domestic IPOs for almost 15 months. Despite the general enthusiasm for reopening new stock issuance, not all investment bankers are keen on testing new IPO rules published on November 30. The rules hold underwriting institutions more responsible for the accuracy and validity of companies’ IPO materials and are seen as a step toward a registration-based IPO system.
Burgeoning Delivery Industry Grapples with Poisoning Death – Caixin Shipping companies trying to figure out how to screen packages after leaked chemical kills man whose parcel was tainted during delivery
Lure Of China’s Gray Economy Reaches Rich And Poor : NPR Wu notes that the phenomenon of gray income has been around throughout China’s history. Ancient texts record that a contemporary of Confucius complained about the problem of gray income 2,500 years ago.
China’s Plan to Create Six Rare Earth Groups Approved by Cabinet-Caijing China’s State Council, the cabinet, has approved a plan to merge the country’s rare earth companies into six large groups, the Economic Information Daily reported, citing an authority. The long-discussed plan, led by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), aims to better protect and develop the precious minerals which are used to make everything from consumer electronics to car components to defense systems.
China Exclusive: No rush to rebalance China’s economy: economist – Xinhua The whole world says China needs to rebalance its economy, and the Chinese government agrees. But one economist now says: “Wait a minute.” And he is not a nobody. Yukon Huang is a prominent economist and the World Bank’s former country director for China. In a recent interview with Xinhua, Huang said “rapid growth is essentially an unbalanced process.” “Unbalance is not the problem,” Huang said. “The problem is to make sure that you invest in the right things.”
证监会关注互联网金融违规营销 业绩宣传涉嫌误导投资者-财经网 CSRC looks to crack down on sales practices of some Internet finance products, force their marketing to abide by same rules as traditional finance products do
How China crashed the Nafta party | Kevin P Gallagher and Enrique Dussel Peters | Global development | theguardian.com Looking back, our research shows that China has significantly penetrated many of the new markets opened by Nafta. In a paper published by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, we document the extent to which Chinese products have taken away market share in the US, and how China has begun to take Mexican markets from the US as well.
On Defensive, JPMorgan Hired China’s Elite – NYTimes.com In the months and years that followed, emails and other confidential documents show, JPMorgan escalated what it called its “Sons and Daughters” hiring program, adding scores of well-connected employees and tracking how those hires translated into business deals with the Chinese government. The previously unreported emails and documents — copies of which were reviewed by The New York Times — offer a view into JPMorgan’s motivations for ramping up the hiring program, suggesting that competitive pressures drove many of the bank’s decisions that are now under federal investigation.
POLITICS AND LAW
稳中求进 改革创新 奋力开创改革发展新局面 _ 2014/01 _求是理论网作者： 本刊社论// 全面深化改革，全党在看，群众在盼，国际社会也在关注。
Xi Jinping’s proposals for economic reform reminiscent of Deng Xiaoping | South China Morning Post The so-called “Leading Group for Overall Reform” was announced at the party’s third plenum last November. Zhang Lifan , a political analyst formerly with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says Xi’s appointment makes the group the most powerful central agency in charge of reform in China’s modern history. The new agency will have equal footing with the Central Finance and Economy Leading Group, which is positioned as the agenda-setter and co-ordination unit for financial and economic issues.
Chinese Firm Linked to CNPC Suspected of Fraud in Iraq – Caixin Caixin found that the sole shareholder of Hermic, Li Wei, was a mid-level manager of CNPC who once worked as a subordinate of Zhu Junfeng’s in CNPC’s Sudan operation. That project started in 1996 as the company’s first overseas operation. Zhu, 53, was a veteran of CNPC’s activity overseas. He has worked in CNPC’s Shengli Oilfield, in the coastal province of Shandong, with former CNPC head Jiang Jiemin. Jiang headed the country’s regulator of state-owned assets until September, when the Communist Party said he was being investigation for “serious discipline violations.” Zhu was the head of the Sudan branch until he was sent to Iraq with many of his team members.
Li Ming, ad executive who knew disgraced ex-official, dies age 47 | South China Morning Post An entertainment industry magnate connected to disgraced deputy police chief Li Dongsheng has reportedly died of a heart attack at age 47. News of Li Ming’s death started to circulate among the mainland’s social media late on Thursday and was confirmed yesterday by Li’s company, Beijing Galloping Horse Media….A report on news portal Caixin cited anonymous sources as saying the entertainment magnate was taken away by authorities a week ago to “assist an investigation”. It said Li liked to drink and had suffered heart problems for some time, but the report was no longer accessible by late last night.//a friend has worked for him for years. An amazing guy with very deep connections, apparently in part because he kept his mouth shut and went to jail after 1989
Chinese disciplinary body’s spending drops – Xinhua Money spent on receptions, meetings and printing decreased by 61 percent, 59 percent and 13 percent respectively last year compared with the figure in 2012, according to a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) statement on Saturday. The drops are the result of an “eight-point” anti-bureaucracy and formalism rule that was introduced at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in late 2012.//and many hoops to go through now for any international travel, and no more junkets. everyone wonder how long this can last, but so far much more effective and enforced than most expected
西安拟投资380亿元再建阿房宫 惊动习近平_网易新闻中心 Xian officials may not be spending 38 Billion RMB to rebuild Qin Shihuang’s Epang Palace, now that Xi Jinping has weighed in // 在中国，通常来说，
Gift giving gets complicated |From the Press |chinadaily.com.cn The Spring Festival holiday is approaching, and despite the gift industry feeling the impact of the government’s new policy to combat extravagance and waste, the sales of a new product called “gift list” is flourishing, says an article on gmw.cn. Excerpts: The “gift list” is a new way to present gifts. But instead of visiting shops and shopping malls to buy gifts and personally giving them to family members, friends or officials, people just use e-commerce and express delivery to send the gifts to the intended person. By doing so, people can avoid supervision over gift giving using public funds and subsequent investigations.
China to carry out spot checks on officials’ asset declarations | Reuters China will begin conducting spot checks this year on assets and other personal information reported by officials to the ruling Communist Party and punish those with hidden wealth, state media reported. The internal declarations are not made public, and in the past a lack of oversight had largely reduced the system to a formality.
New foreign assets rule comes into force – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn Under the new rule, Chinese citizens and organizations need to declare any overseas financial assets and liabilities. Foreign individuals and organizations that make economic business transactions on Chinese territory are also required to declare their international receipts and payments to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
李崇禧落马细节：收钱从不客气 要的都是整数_网易新闻中心 some details on Li Chongxi’s corruption detention // 李崇禧一再遭遇举报但屡次化险为夷，颇耐人寻味。 一位曾在四川省纪委挂职锻炼的广元市干部称，据他了解，
Chinese official stresses increased capability in guiding public opinion – Xinhua Senior Chinese official Liu Yunshan on Friday stressed increased capability in guiding public opinion and the creation of a “positive and upward” atmosphere on the Internet. When delivering a speech at a national conference attended by local publicity chiefs, Liu emphasized the leadership of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) over the media, the correct guidance of public opinion, and the pooling of “positive energy.” // 全国宣传部长会议在京召开 刘云山要求更加积极主动奋发有为做好各项工作
2013年”打谣”成效显著 2014年”治谣”如何亮招？新闻中心中国网 沈阳认为，
“终身副教授”的最后一课 – 国内 – 南都周刊 Southern Weekend on Prof. Chen Hongguo’s resignation // 按原来的教学计划，
The One-Year Plan–Foreign Policy–Damien Ma That’s why reform will be the central task as China gallops into 2014, the Year of the Horse. As Chinese leaders have repeatedly exhorted the government to “roll up its sleeves” and get things done, 2014 will prove to be a pivotal year in how the balance between reforms and economic growth plays out. Here are six areas to watch:
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
U.S. waived laws to keep F-35 on track with China-made parts | Reuters The Pentagon repeatedly waived laws banning Chinese-built components on U.S. weapons in order to keep the $392 billion Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter program on track in 2012 and 2013, even as U.S. officials were voicing concern about China’s espionage and military buildup. According to Pentagon documents reviewed by Reuters, chief U.S. arms buyer Frank Kendall allowed two F-35 suppliers, Northrop Grumman Corp and Honeywell International Inc, to use Chinese magnets for the new warplane’s radar system, landing gears and other hardware. Without the waivers, both companies could have faced sanctions for violating federal law and the F-35 program could have faced further delays.
变革世界 梦想中国 _ 2014/01 _求是理论网 Wang Yi in the new Seeking Truth on the 2013 success of the start of the new administration’s foreign policy
Zheng Chuanfu and Han Weiguo made army deputy commanders | South China Morning Post The official newspaper of the Beijing Military Region, Zhanyou Bao, said Zheng attended an internal meeting at the end of December as a deputy commander. Zheng was chief of command for Inner Mongolia in 2006 and Shanxi in 2003. He is also a standing c ommittee member of the Communist Party’s Beijing Committee. The paper added that Major General Han Weiguo, 57, also attended the meeting as a deputy commander. Han previously served as commander of the 12th Group Army based in Nanjing , Jiangsu province
U.S. icebreaker Polar Star to help vessels trapped in Antarctica: AMSA – Xinhua The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has requested the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaker Polar Star to assist the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon)which are stuck by ice in Antarctica. AMSA has identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the trapped vessels. The U.S. Coast Guard accepted this request on Saturday and will make Polar Star available for the rescue operation, AMSA said in the latest statement.
China to centralize military command to improve operations | Reuters In the past, regional level military commanders have enjoyed major latitude over their forces and branches of the military have remained highly independent of each other, making it difficult to exercise the centralized control necessary to use new weapons systems effectively in concert. The English-language newspaper, citing the Defense Ministry, said that China will implement a joint command system “in due course” and that it has already launched pilot programs to that effect.
Inside the Tale of North Korea Execution by Ravenous Dog – NYTimes.com no video, no reason to believe this story. because if this happened and 300 people had to watch it, you know there is a video somewhere // Though Wen Wei Po has taken editorial stands that favor party policy, it is not an official mouthpiece of Beijing. And some scholars in Hong Kong have criticized what they call the newspaper’s low editorial standards. (It is true, however, that analysts have been saying for months that China, North Korea’s patron, is unhappy with Mr. Kim for ignoring its entreaties to stop its nuclear weapons and missile tests.) The Straits Times commentary brought more attention to Wen Wei Po’s North Korea report. Then on Friday, some Western news organizations ran stories about that original article. NBC News, for example, summarized the article in an online report co-written from Beijing, with the caveat that it had no independent confirmation of the assertions.
Next stop, Mars: Chinese scientists eye red planet probe within four years | South China Morning Post Scientists across China are pushing forward with a project to send a probe to Mars, possibly in four years, but the research is being done largely out of the public eye. The technological challenges involved are much greater than those posed by the soft landing of the Chang-e 3’s rover on the moon in December, specialists involved in the programme say.
Hack job tries to link Snowden and China – Salon.com For little more than a speculation-drenched hack job, Gordon G. Chang’s article in The Daily Beast Friday boasted a strident title: “Snowden lied about China contacts,” the headline proclaimed. But yet the piece — which has angered the NSA whistle-blower’s cadre of supportive journalists (myself included) — is entirely devoid of fact. Chang’s suggestion is that Snowden has been in close working contact with the Chinese government, contrary to the whistle-blower’s claim that “I have had no contact with the Chinese government… I only work with journalists.” So let’s look at Chang’s evidence. // Chang: Snowden Lied About China Contacts
Womp! This Country Was Named The Greatest Threat To World Peace The U.S. was voted the biggest threat by far, garnering 24 percent of the vote. Pakistan was a very distant second with 8 percent, followed by China (6 percent) and Afghanistan (5 percent).
FBI: SF Chinese Consulate Fire Set Intentionally – ABC News No one was hurt in the Wednesday night blaze that charred the building’s doorway, damaged the lobby and burned upward toward the roof. //suspect apparently in custody, but no details. All over Chinese media, government wants compensation and prosecution, says several incidents in the US have not been solved
‘Ping-Pong Diplomacy,’ by Nicholas Griffin – NYTimes.com When the game of table tennis became the focus of diplomatic efforts to defuse Cold War tensions between the United States and China, no detail was too small to warrant careful scrutiny. As Nicholas Griffin demonstrates, in a book filled with well-chosen examples, the Chinese team visiting Colonial Williamsburg in 1972 was comfortable eating apple pie and singing “Home on the Range.” But “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” was dicier: the line “life is but a dream” was politically incompatible with the teachings of Chairman Mao. Thanks to some fancy footwork on the part of a translator, the line quickly turned into “life is full of steam.” // book on Amazon
TECH AND MEDIA
Chinese mass media asked to promote Mandarin – Xinhua China’s television and broadcasting watchdog has asked the country’s hosts and broadcasters to take the lead in promoting Mandarin. Television hosts and broadcasters should speak Mandarin when hosting programs, except in special cases, and slang that violates language specifications should be prohibited, according to the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. They are asked to abide by Chinese syntax rules and not to coin new words or non-standard expressions, the administration said, adding that imitating pronunciation of some dialects and local expressions is also prohibited.
20G海量用户信息被盗卖 支付宝内鬼泄密 – 经济观察网 － 专业财经新闻网站 on the recent arrests for a massive 2010 Alipay user data theft // 导语：李明下载支付宝用户信息后，
高晓松爆料：崔健有望上春晚_网易娱乐-网易新闻客户端 Gao Xiaosong says that Cui Jian will make an appearance on this year’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala
《甄嬛传》为什么走红？ _ 2014/01 _求是理论网 Seeking Truth on the popularity of the TV series The Legend of Zhen Huan…interesting says that “viewers liking it is a hard truth” and should be the driving force in programming…// 电视连续剧《甄嬛传》
China’s 2013 box office nears 21.8 bln yuan – Xinhua China’s box office sales in 2013 neared 21.8 billion yuan (3.6 billion U.S. dollars), according to official figures revealed on Friday. Domestic films raked in about 12.8 billion yuan, registering a year-on-year increase of 54.3 percent and accounting for 58.7 percent of mainland box office revenues last year, said Zhang Hongsen, head of the film bureau under the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.//what would the foreign receipt percentage be without quotas and release date manipulation to benefit domestic films?
4.7 million reasons China got the latest season of Sherlock three weeks before the US – Quartz For millions of fans, the agonizing wait for the return of the hit detective show Sherlock is over. The BBC broadcast the first episode of the third season at 9pm (GMT) on Jan. 1. A few hours later, Sherlock hit the Chinese internet via Youku, China’s biggest online streaming site. In less than 24 hours, it’s gotten 4.72 million views (link in Chinese). But US fans half way around the world aren’t as lucky: The show’s US premiere is set for Jan. 19. //episode 1 on Youku, need a PRC IP address to watch, and not the most watched TV show overall on Youku the day it was released
‘Saturday Night Live’ comes to China’s Internet – Yahoo News The late-night U.S. comedy sketch show that regularly mocks politicians, popular culture and celebrities is being shown exclusively on the website of Sohu Video, a unit of Chinese online media group and Nasdaq-listed Sohu.com Inc. Ten episodes from the current 39th season of “SNL” are available now.
21st Century Fox Sells Stake in Chinese TV Company – NYTimes.com The television, cable and movie conglomerate owned by Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox, said on Thursday that it would sell its 47 percent stake in Star China TV. The move was the latest step the company has taken to reduce its position in China.
Qualcomm’s China Challenge Greets Incoming CEO Mollenkopf: Tech – Bloomberg “Qualcomm has a big advantage on the LTE side,” said Wayne Chen, general manager of Lenovo’s mobile business unit. “When we go outside of China, they have a very good image in mature markets.” Qualcomm controls more than 90 percent of the market for smartphone processors with built-in baseband chips that supply the fastest data download speeds. It’s been offering baseband processors for LTE for more than two years while Intel Corp. and other chipmakers are just starting to introduce rival products.
Twitter / niubi: Sunday New York Times section A has China Daily insert. When did this start & how much does China Daily pay 4 this?
Apple insists it did not work with NSA to create iPhone backdoor program | Technology | theguardian.com Documents released Monday showed the NSA had worked on software that would allow it to remotely retrieve virtually all the information on an iPhone including text messages, photos, contacts, location, voice mail and live calls. // these disclosures probably won’t help Apple in China
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
中国富商法国坠机警示：敬畏之心须有 tycoon who died after buying French vineyard made some of his money in a resort project that led to a nasty battle with a Buddhist temple in Chongqing. The temple was in Lei Zhengfu’s district…Lei, Bo Xilai, Wang Lijun are in jail now, the developer and his son are dead…perhaps just a coincidence… // 面对寺方抗议，柏联集团反指重庆温泉寺盗伐林木，
Q. & A.: David Der-wei Wang on C.T. Hsia, Chinese Literary Critic – NYTimes.com C.T. Hsia, the Chinese literary critic who died in New York on Dec. 29, aged 92, had a “legendary career” as “a true cosmopolitan, shrewd, critical and brilliant,” says David Der-wei Wang, the Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature at Harvard University, in an interview on the significance of the life and work of his mentor and friend.
Sotheby’s insists authenticity of calligraphic work – Xinhua a big mess for Sotheby’s. Taking on the Shanghai museum, even if it is wrong, is going to be damaging. But agreeing with their claims, true or not, is also very damaging. Wonder if there is more than just scholarly disagreement at play here // International auction house Sotheby’s on Friday insisted that an ancient work of Chinese calligraphy sold at an auction in September was a genuine piece by Su Shi, a famous Chinese poet of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The statement came in response to accusations from three researchers from the Shanghai Museum saying that the calligraphic work was a forgery from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
CAS academic faces further plagiarism accusations – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn More accusations of plagiarism were directed at a Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) academician, after he was first accused of the transgression by a former student last year. Wang Zhengmin, the CAS member, allegedly copied the technology of an Australian-made artificial cochlea during his development of China’s homemade product in 2003, reported China Central Television (CCTV) on Thursday.
Turning the Table on Museum Displays, Chinese Huanghuali Wood Furniture Gets a Chance to Shine – Scene Asia – WSJ Huanghuali wood furniture has long had its fans. Collectors have prized its color, its scent and its distinctive grain—not to mention the simple elegance of the designs crafted by Chinese artisans. But now it’s finally getting a seat at the big table, so to speak, being recognized by the National Museum of China as worthy of a bit more attention with its own display alongside the museum’s more celebrated ancient bronze ware, paintings and porcelain. // anyone “sponsor” this exhibit?
The Great Wall of Qi | Jottings from the Granite Studio There have been Great Walls found as far south as Yunnan and as far north as Mongolia. With many walls still yet to be unearthed or discovered, it would seem that the debate over what makes a wall “Great” will continue.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
China rules out vaccine death link – Xinhua There have been 17 deaths following BioKangtai vaccinations reported between Dec. 13 and 31. All have been investigated or are under investigation. Nine of the cases have nothing to do with the vaccines, director of the disease control bureau of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Yu Jingjin told a press conference. Preliminary analysis of the eight other cases have also found no link between the deaths and the vaccines, but the cause of the deaths will be confirmed only after autopsies, Yu said. // hope not another coverup
How a massive meth bust in China is tied to traditional medicine – Quartz But why this small village? Boshe and the surrounding city of Lufeng are also a major distribution center for Ma Huang, a herb commonly used in Chinese medicine to alleviate wheezing, coughs and congestion, according to a report (in Chinese and with great pictures) in the Southern Metropolis Daily. Ma Huang is also known as Ephedra Sinica, a plant traditionally cultivated in arid northwestern China, which is a natural source of ephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine and also in Western medicines for asthma, among other ailments.
Predictions for China’s Environment in 2014 | ChinaFile If 2013 was the year so many government air quality plans were forged, 2014 is the year they will begin to be wielded. A few examples from the transport sector specifically: starting January 1, the nationwide implementation of a cleaner gasoline standard means that all cars will emit less pollution; a parallel cleaner diesel standard will follow by the end of the year. In Beijing, new limits on the population of vehicles will make winning the city’s notorious license plate lottery even more unlikely, while thousands of electric and gas-fuelled buses and municipal trucks will begin to hit the streets. The year 2015 and beyond will bring even more aggressive goals, especially sweeping new regulations and targets for the greater Beijing, Yangtze River Delta, and Pearl River Delta regions.
China pledges further support for solar industry | Reuters The State Council, China’s cabinet, said in July that the country aimed to more than quadruple solar power generating capacity to 35 gigawatts by 2015 in an apparent bid to ease a glut in the domestic solar power industry. The State Council, in a statement published on its website, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was taking measures to “promote the healthy development of the photovoltaic industry”.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Wal-Mart Adds DNA Tests in China After Donkey-Meat Recall – Bloomberg Wal-Mart withdrew all products from vendor Dezhou Fujude Food Company Ltd., after fox DNA was identified in samples, the retailer said yesterday in a statement. Yucheng, China authorities put Dezhou Fujude officials in “criminal detention,” and Wal-Mart is considering legal action, according to the statement. Wal-Mart said it’s offering compensation to customers and that the testing it’s adding goes beyond what is legally required in China
China’s Forbidden City implements Monday closure – Xinhua The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in central Beijing will be closed to the public every Monday for renovation and maintenance starting on Jan. 6, it announced Sunday.
Master con woman who scammed Beijing’s high society – Telegraph 32-year-old Wang Ti convinced Beijing’s new aristocracy that she was one of them – a woman of class and refinement, with impeccable connections to the top of the Communist party. Over three years she conned two dozen victims out of nearly £6 million in order to fund an irrepressible taste for the finer things in life.
Beijing subway network stretches to 465 km – Xinhua The subway network in the Chinese capital of Beijing reached 465 km as a new section of Line 8 opened on Saturday. The metro network hauled an average of 8.76 million passengers per day from January to November, up 30.5 percent over the previous year, according to the municipal transport commission on Monday. It moved a daily maximum of 11.06 million passengers, according to the commission.
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
Amazon: China Alone: The Emergence from, and Potential Return to Isolation by Anne Stevenson-Yang China’s emergence as an economic power over the last 20 years has astonished the world, as have the longevity and adaptability of its political system. Is this a whole new model or, as Anne Stevenson-Yang argues in this book, just one of China’s historical cycles of centralization and fragmentation, expansion and isolation? China’s ability to centralize its resources enables great leaps forward. But the unitary state lacks any checks or balances and creates massive abuses of power and ultimately a return to isolationism. China now may be on the brink of such a turn inward.
JOBS AND EVENTS
Job Offer – Full-Time Sous Chef for Senior Diplomatic Residence Company: US Embassy, Beijing