This issue of the newsletter is going out to about 15,300 subscribers. Thanks for reading, apologies again that it is so sporadic these days.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
China unveils landmark urbanization plan – Xinhua The long-awaited plan // China on Sunday unveiled an urbanization plan for the 2014-2020 period in an effort to steer the country’s urbanization onto a human-centered and environmentally friendly path. Urbanization is the road that China must take in its modernization drive, and it serves as a strong engine for sustainable and healthy economic growth, according to the plan released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, the country’s cabinet. “Domestic demand is the fundamental impetus for China’s development, and the greatest potential for expanding domestic demand lies in urbanization,” according to the National New-type Urbanization Plan (2014-2020). // 授权发布:国家新型城镇化规划（2014－2020年）
Related: 专家称北京或实行积分落户制_新闻_腾讯网 Beijing Times looks at Hukou implications from the new urbanization plan, says Beijing may implement points system for granting very limited number of hukous//《规划》提出，要有序推进农业转移人口市民化，按照尊重意愿、自主选择，因地制宜、分步推进，存量优先、带动增量的原则，以农业转移人口为重点，兼顾高校和职业技术院校毕业生、城镇间异地就业人员和城区城郊农业人口，统筹推进户籍制度改革和基本公共服务均等化。
Related: China Plans to Spend Over $163 Billion Redeveloping Shantytowns – Bloomberg The nation will redevelop shantytowns involving more than 4.75 million households this year, CCTV reported yesterday, citing the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. China will promote fiscal and financial reforms that support urbanization, it said, citing a plan for 2014 to 2020 issued by the Communist Party of China and State Council.
Related: China plans investment and reform to ease urbanization drive | Reuters The plan will create “huge” demand for investment in public infrastructure, with authorities seeking a substantial increase in social housing as well as the development of expanded urban underground transport networks by 2020. Every city with more than 200,000 residents will be covered by standard railways by 2020, the plan said, with high-speed services connecting cities with more than 500,000 residents. The civil aviation network, meanwhile, will cover about 90 percent of the population.
Xi leads China’s military reform, stressing building of strong army – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is head of a leading group for deepening reform on national defense and the military, on Saturday stressed the country’s military reform should be guided by the objective of building a strong army. Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks during the first plenary meeting of the group under the CMC. CMC vice chairmen Fan Changlong and Xu Qiliang serve as the leading group’s deputy heads. //Saturday CCTV Evening News on this 习近平主持召开中央军委深化国防和军队改革领导小组第一次全体会议_央视网
Related: 全军和武警部队党委会议室统一悬挂领导人题词指示_新闻_腾讯网 新华网北京3月16日电 经习近平主席和军委领导批准，全军和武警部队各级党委（支部）会议室统一悬挂毛泽东、邓小平、江泽民、胡锦涛、习近平重要题词指示。总政治部近日下发通知，对部队搞好悬挂布置工作提出要求。
Alibaba Group Issues Statement Regarding Commencement of IPO Process | Alizila Alibaba Group has decided to commence the process of an initial public offering in the United States. This will make us a more global company and enhance the company’s transparency, as well as allow the company to continue to pursue our long-term vision and ideals. Should circumstances permit in the future, we will be constructive toward extending our public status in the China capital market in order to share our growth with the people of China. // surprised Beijing letting another Internet crown jewel list in the US
Related: Alibaba Plans Equal Sway for Banks in IPO – WSJ.com Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are expected to get equal billing for their jobs as co-lead underwriters of the IPO, according to people familiar with matter.
Related: HKEx chief Charles Li Xiaojia urges reform as Alibaba opts for New York | South China Morning Post Stock exchange chief Charles Li Xiaojia says the city must be ready to reform its share-listing rules if it wants to stay a globally competitive financial centre, but it was right to stick to principles that saw it lose out yesterday to New York for the potential HK$100 billion listing of Alibaba.
央行“狠招”继续 第三方支付机构遭“围剿”_21世纪网 PBoC may have just throttled Yu’e Bao and its ilk, not just killing the virtual QR code-based credit cards but also limiting transfers and payment outs. According to this article Tencent and Alibaba are so worried that they are actually working together to figure out a way to get the PBoC to back down //21世纪经济报道记者独家获悉，央行近日向多家机构下发《支付机构网络支付业务管理办法》、《手机支付业务发展指导意见》草案，进行征求意见。 意见中指出，个人支付账户转账单笔不超过1000元，年累计不能超过1万元；个人单笔消费不得超过5000元，月累计不能超过1万元。 “这是央行第三次征求意见，不出意外，也很有可能是最后一次征求意见。反馈意见只给三天，已经于13日截止。最后一次征求意见稿和前两次相差巨大，很多政策出乎意料。”上述人士表示。
Related: Central Bank Tells Companies to Delay Issuing E-Credit Cards – Caixin The central bank said the virtual credit cards should be put on hold until more research is done on how the operators can verify the identity of users and protect their information. It also said it would conduct an evaluation of virtual credit cards’ security and compliance with regulations. The document also says Alipay and WeChat’s services permitting users to pay by scanning QR codes – those blotches of black and white that can be scanned using a phone’s camera – are not safe and should be stopped.
Bloomberg Brief: “China Yuan Band Widening Advances Reform, Threatens Growth”
Related: China doubles yuan trading band, seen as sign of confidence | Reuters Analysts said the move was a sign of confidence that the central bank had successfully fought off a plague of currency speculators, and at the same time signaled that regulators believe the economy is stable enough to handle more promised reforms going forward.
Related: Yuan $150 Billion Bet Inflates Dollar Swap: China Credit – Bloomberg Morgan Stanley said in a Feb. 26 report $350 billion of Target Redemption Forwards have been sold since the start of 2013 and $150 billion of products remain. Adam Gilmour, Citigroup Inc.’s head of Asian foreign exchange & derivatives sales, agrees with the estimate and said Chinese companies are the main holders. Target redemption forwards were the major investment of Hong Kong-based Citic Pacific Ltd. when losses of as much as $2 billion on Australia dollar bets forced it to seek a bailout from its parent Citic Group.
From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China | Reuters In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese. “The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it,” he said from an undisclosed location. “China is not only our enemy, but it is the enemy of all Muslims … We have plans for many attacks in China,” he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter
Related: Suspected Uighurs rescued from Thai trafficking camp | Reuters About 200 people rescued by police from a human trafficking camp in southern Thailand are suspected Uighur Muslims from China’s troubled far-western region of Xinjiang, Thai police sources said on Friday.
Xinhua: Malaysian Handling of Missing Jet is ‘Intolerable’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ In an editorial brimming with reproach and frustration, China’s official Xinhua news agency accused the Malaysian government of “dereliction of duty,” calling the Southeast Asian nation’s failure to release information more fully and quickly “intolerable.” It also took a swipe at the United States, saying it should be more forthcoming about what it knows.
Related: Chinese public question the missing voice of Chinese media in search of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 | Offbeat China frustration towards the country’s mainstream media is making the rounds among Chinese public as the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) stepped into the 10th day…So far, the Chinese media got an “F” as many called their performance “a complete failure.”//missing plane also highlights massive capability gap with the US
Related: Missing Malaysian airliner reveals huge market for bogus passports | McClatchy In China, a nation with a formidable security apparatus and worries about cross-border terrorism, a search of the Baidu search engine easily produced at least 12 Chinese companies marketing forged passports. A man who answered at the phone number listed on the Longxiang website Friday said his company could forge a Chinese passport in a day’s time, with delivery to Beijing in three days, at a cost of 2,600 yuan _ about $430.
Teslas in California Help Bring Dirty Rain to China – Bloomberg The link is graphite, a vital component in batteries used in Tesla’s Model S, Toyota’s plug-in Prius and other electric cars, as well as in electronic gadgets including iPhones. It’s mostly mined and processed in China where graphite pollution has fouled air and water, damaged crops and raised health concerns. Now, in response, Chinese authorities are closing dozens of graphite mines and processors in a bid for cleaner air even as global demand for the commodity is surging.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
After the NPC: Xi Jinping’s Roadmap for China | Brookings Institution Arthur Kroeber–it is possible that reforms may be thwarted by powerful bureaucratic and business interests: some reforms (like the property tax) have been proposed in the past but gone nowhere. On the whole, Xi’s success at whipping officialdom into line by the anti-corruption and mass line campaigns suggests he will be more effective than his predecessor, but there is no guarantee. Finally, there is the worry that Xi’s program succeeds, and validates highly centralized and authoritarian style of governance that could harm China’s long-term prospects for development into a more open and liberal society.
楼市转向 一线城市房价首现松动 新华社——经济参考网 Economic Information on real estate prices softening in tier 1 cities // 《经济参考报》记者获悉，继杭州、南京、秦皇岛等二三线城市甩盘或大幅降价促销后，一线城市也现促销优惠迹象。近日，保利地产在广州的三个项目同时推出1成首付优惠活动，时代地产旗下项目更是全线88折优惠。这意味着，一直被认为不会降价的一线城市，价格已出现松动迹象。 对此，业内人士表示，房地产市场已从过去捂盘惜售转而加速推盘，在僵持阶段下，不排除一些房企迫于资金等压力尽快出盘以回笼资金。
China Details Plans to Liberalize Interest Rates and Encourage Private Banks – NYTimes.com “China’s financial reforms are likely to advance faster than many had expected in 2014,” HSBC analysts led by Qu Hongbin, co-head of Asian economic research, wrote Tuesday in a research note. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, said he expected the country to remove its ceiling on bank deposit rates — the last and most significant government restriction on interest rates — as early as next year.
Backed by revised law, Chinese consumers get new armor｜WantChinaTimes The law regulates merchandise and service transactions through the internet, television, phone and post for the first time, allowing e-shoppers to unconditionally return goods for refund within seven days after transactions. However, it requires consumers to pay logistics costs for returning the purchase and lists products not suitable for unconditional returns and refunds, such as digital downloads, bespoke products, fresh and perishable goods as well as products about which the two sides agree on the return policy in advance.
China consumer show targets camera maker Nikon in annual ritual | Reuters Japan’s Nikon Corp has moved to allay consumer fears in China after being criticized on a closely watched consumer show that said the camera maker had sold defective products in China and denied local consumers fair treatment in aftersales service… The “3.15” expose often spooks multinational firms and their public relations teams into crisis mode, but this year left other big international firms relatively unscathed, choosing to focus on smaller, domestic players
Audit committee chairmen beware | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis Dune Lawrence of Bloomberg wrote an excellent expose on Agfeed last Dec-ember. That earned her a personal attack by TheBlot, a publication allegedly backed by Benjamin Wey, who had promoted many Chinese reverse mergers, including Agfeed. Accounting watchdog Francine McKenna wrote a lengthy piece on the alleged Agfeed scam. All of this is very entertaining stuff. What is significant about the Agfeed situation is that the charged individuals include audit committee chairman K. Ivan Gothner of Wilbraham, Massachu-setts. While this is not the first time that the SEC has charged an audit com-mittee chairman, it is a rare occurrence and I believe the first against the audit committee chairman of a U.S. listed Chinese company.
State Grid Invites Private Investors to Build Charging Stations for E-Cars – Caixin Head of electricity distributor says move follows government call to let market play more active role in allocating resources
U.S. Cheddar Cheese Costs Most Ever as Demand From China Doubles – Bloomberg “Rising Chinese demand for dry-milk products from New Zealand curtailed cheese production and boosted demand for U.S. supplies,” Dave Kurzawski, a senior broker for INTL FCStone LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “People had whittled down inventories looking for rising production in New Zealand to slow exports. Demand simply exceeded the gains in production.”
China’s thirst for milk gives U.S. dairy farms a boost – latimes.com American dairy farmers see an opportunity as demand booms in China. In a Nevada town, a new factory will produce milk powder just for export.
Special Report: How China’s official bank card is used to smuggle money | Reuters Internal discussion documents prepared by UnionPay and by financial authorities in Macau and China show these fake sale cash-backs are widespread in such retail stores. The practice violates China’s anti-money-laundering regulations as well as restrictions on currency exports, according to Chinese central bank documents reviewed by Reuters. Chinese authorities also fear the UnionPay conduit is being used by corrupt officials and business people to send money out of the country.
China UnionPay says tightening checks on Macau card use | Reuters China’s UnionPay bankcard payment network has tightened checks on suspicious transactions in Macau to combat money laundering, Xinhua cited the company as saying on Thursday. The move follows reports about the illegal use of UnionPay’s cards to obtain cash through fake sales.
Jilted U.S. Investors and Debtors on the Run -Caixin U.S. investor Bill Wells went hunting for profits in China but was eventually hung out to dry. Now, he wants to know what happened. Wells and his Tennessee-based firm Pope Asset Management LLC (PAM) are trying to recover US$ 15 million invested six years ago in a now-defunct pharmaceutical company, Laiyang Jiangbo Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. Yet the prospects look grim, based on Wells’ ongoing probe and a Caixin investigation.
Deferred taxes and VIEs revisited | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis I am expecting all of the other companies with VIEs in this situation to follow the Ikan lead so they will not be forced to restate their financial statements. All except for the Ernst & Young clients, of course. While individual fact patterns have some effect on this analysis, the difference in approach between E&Y and the other Big Four firms is not understandable. Somebody has this wrong, and the SEC ought to help the firms sort out who that is.
When will I Cu again | FT Alphaville Copper is hedged in financing deals and is 100% cash backed. (It is rare to get financing deals with copper prices un-hedged these days.) As a result, falling copper prices do not trigger financing deal unwind…
Analysts slash China GDP forecasts, see support | beyondbrics Investment banks slashed forecasts for China’s GDP growth on Thursday after Beijing reported the biggest slowdown in investment for more than a decade and the slowest retail sales expansion for nine years. Confidence was further undermined by news that a well-known steel mill has failed to repay loans that came due last week.
POLITICS AND LAW
Latest issue of the China Leadership Monitor, especially Alice Miller’s How Strong Is Xi Jinping? and Joseph Fewsmith’s Mao’s Shadow
China to tighten public security – Xinhua According to the ministry, Beijing police will continue tightened public patrols after the “two sessions” that concluded on Thursday — the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The ministry will also reinforce public security in sections of key cities, such as Shanghai, Changsha, Kunming, Urumqi and Lhasa, in order to effectively prevent and crack down on criminal activities.
Make discipline inspection “Sword of Damocles”: anti-corruption chief – Xinhua China’s anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan on Saturday called for efforts to innovate disciplinary inspection and make it “the Sword of Damocles” that hangs above those in power as a deterrent. Wang, secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC), made the remarks at a meeting to deploy disciplinary inspection work in 2014…According to the schedule, it will soon send inspectors to the Ministry of Science and Technology, Shanghai-based Fudan University, state-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), the provincial-level areas of Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning, Fujian, Shandong, Henan, Hainan, Gansu, Ningxia, and Xinjiang, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in a new round of inspections. // 中央第3轮巡视定京津等14地 首次”专项巡视”_网易新闻中心
Outburst by Prominent Party Official Reverberates Online – NYTimes.com As Wang Rulin began reading from what was apparently a written response, Wang Qishan interrupted, telling him to “Make it short!” When Wang Rulin said he couldn’t, Wang Qishan bristled in annoyance. “No doubt your response is about how my speech was important in such and such way,” he said, according to the accounts. “I didn’t have a script for my speech,” he continued. “So how could you have such a long printed response? Wouldn’t you say this is formalism? There’s no need for you to read it anymore!”
Central gov’t reception fees halved amid frugality campaign – Xinhua Reception expenses at Chinese central government organs were cut by about 50 percent following a set of anti-bureaucracy and formalism guidelines introduced more than one year ago, according to the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s discipline agency. Money spent on meetings, official overseas trips, and purchase of official vehicles decreased by about 53 percent, 39 percent and 10 percent respectively, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a report on its website late on Friday.
In China, brutality yields confessions of graft–AP In a rare display of public defiance, Zhou and three other party members in Hunan described to The Associated Press the months of abuse they endured less than two years ago, in separate cases, while in detention. Zhou, land bureau director for the city of Liling, said he was deprived of sleep and food, nearly drowned, whipped with wires and forced to eat excrement. The others reported being turned into human punching bags, strung up by the wrists from high windows, or dragged along the floor, face down, by their feet. All said they talked to The Associated Press despite the risk of retaliation because they were victims of political vendettas and wanted to expose what had happened. Party officials denied any abuses had taken place.
China’s Xi Broadens Graft Crackdown to Boost Influence – Bloomberg “This is the most ambitious anti-corruption campaign since at least Mao’s days,” said Anthony Saich, a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who heads a training program for Chinese officials and executives.
Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Informatization Established | China Copyright and Media From Xi Jinping’s speech (excerpts translated hereunder), it seems that this new leading group will have comprehensive powers over the entire online sector, including economic, political, cultural, social and military matters, and it can be expected that it will start formulating strategies and policy objectives relatively soon. Xinhua expects particular moves to be made in formulating development plans for information and network technology research, development and industrialization, structures combining military and civil structures, even stronger online information content management rules, regulations to protect core information infrastructure, etc. There will also be increasing support for professional training programmes.
“网络强国”催动治理升级（评论员观察）–观点–人民网 “星沉海底当窗见，雨过河源隔座看”。短短几十年的时间，中国从一个后发国家迈入信息化时代，变化可谓沧海桑田，这一过程正蕴含在我们对现代国家的追求之中。今天我们建设网络强国，离不开政治、经济、社会、文化等领域全面发展的坚实基础；同样地，网络空间的拓展与巩固，也正是国家发展和治理转型的契机。 （白 龙）
China’s New Media Species, Now Endangered?–Foreign Policy WeChat’s emergence as a news-sharing tool has much to do with its reputation as a place where people can easily transmit sensitive content that can’t be seen elsewhere because of China’s tight news and Internet censorship. WeChat has proved to be an ideal environment for so-called “self-media”: news feeds on a wide variety of topics that are created, or at least collated by, individuals and small groups with no media organization to fund them — or censor them. This emerging environment was shaken Thursday by the sudden shutdown of dozens of WeChat news feeds, a move that many interpreted as an attempt to rein in the platform’s freewheeling spirit // at least two I follow have now been reinstated, this move more about Marxist-Leninist control of news dissemination, does not appear to affect any of the core functionality of Wechat, most of the 200m+ users here of Wechat probably did not even notice it
Censors were at WeChat officers before crackdown on accounts | South China Morning Post The Beijing-based industry insider, who asked not to be named, said the censors asked WeChat to conduct self-censorship in relation to popular public accounts that provided sensitive content on national politics, while they also named some accounts to be shut down.”It might be related to some sensitive articles published by Tencent recently” the source said…
Crackdown hits popular accounts on Tencent’s WeChat | South China Morning Post An internet operator who did not want to be named said the momentum to tighten control of new media platforms – especially WeChat – has been building since Lu Wei, a former Xinhua executive and Beijing vice-mayor, assumed the post of director of the State Internet Information Office last year. Online news outlet Caixin reported last month that Lu doubled as general office director of the party’s new leading group on internet security, chaired by President Xi Jinping.
How Chinese Internet Censorship Works, Sometimes | ChinaFile In news media outside China, discussions of Chinese Internet censorship often center around how Chinese Internet users creatively circumvent filters and blocks, especially when the censorship hides Chinese politicians’ graft. While the power of netizens should never be discounted, the cases of Zhou and He illustrate the multiple ways in which Chinese censorship still often manages to succeed by either pushing the agenda of authorities or silencing critical stories.
Full Text: Work report of NPC Standing Committee – Xinhua
Full text: Report on China’s central, local budgets – Xinhua
Influential overseas Chinese selected to give advice at CPPCC session – Globaltimes Among the approximately 2,000 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), one group is quite special. It was a group of 35 Chinese-looking “foreigners.” Initially from China, they had all acquired foreign nationalities. Despite living overseas for decades they could all speak Putonghua but some had unusual accents.
全国500城住房信息联网工程“难产”_网易新闻中心 the 500 city database of home ownership is having a “difficult birth”…no doubt because hard to conceive when most officials don’t want to touch it // 核心提示：2010年住建部提出要对40个重点城市的房地产交易、个人住房产权信息变更等实时监控。截至2012年5月17日，全国仅有广州、福州、厦门、南京、无锡和苏州6个城市宣布与住建部联网。2013年6月底住房信息联网工程将扩展到500个城市。不过时间已过，联网依然“难产”。
最高法院院长周强:加大力度打击”医闹”_网易新闻中心 Zhou Qiang on why it would have been dangerous to not execute Xia Junfeng//“夏俊峰是一名摊贩，杀了两个城管，造成一人重伤。但是就因为夏俊峰是摊贩，对方是城管，大家对城管有偏见，所以有些人、甚至有些社会上的大V就鼓动说这人不能杀。”周强介绍说。 “但是这种人不杀就非常危险，就好像两个人关起门来吵了一架，你把人杀掉了，如果这样也是正当防卫，这个社会就会天下大乱。”周强借此强调公正司法的重要性。
无锡周氏老宅曝光 周家笃信风水_图片频道_财新网 slideshow of the Zhou Yongkang family home in wuxi…big believers in fengshui. Tencent News partnered with several media outlets to fly a drone over the compound but the video is no longer available…
【特稿】富商周滨的叔叔们_政经频道_财新网 财新网之前曾多次报道的北京商人周滨，其父周元根(后读书时因与同学重名，改掉了这个乡土气的名字)，也就是周元兴的大哥，早年即赴京读书，之后一直在外工作，举家定居北京。周元兴的三弟周元青曾任无锡市惠山区国土局副局长，在厚桥供销社当过营业员的三婶周玲英后来也在无锡、北京、四川等地开公司，常居无锡市内。// the best story on Zhou Yongkang’s family I have read so far…from Caixin…the description of officials making the pilgrimage to the sweep the Zhou family tomb as a way of sucking up is classic
周滨之妻曾策划央视所播电视剧 牵涉女星梅婷（全文）_网易新闻中心 作为神秘商人周滨的“代理人”，中旭系实际控制人吴兵远不止“能源商人”这一重身份。在吴兵和中旭系庞杂的业务结构中，影视艺术以及投资难以为人忽视。2001年5月，北京中旭传媒文化有限公司(下称中旭传媒)在京设立，由此，中旭传媒成为吴兵在影视艺术领域拓展业务、“打通业缘”的平台和起点。 尽管中旭传媒因经营不善注销，但中旭系的股东却在不同时点以不同方式相继介入北京盛世风华影视文化有限公司(下称盛世风华)、北京博尚文化传播有限公司(下称博尚文化)、星韵风华文化传播有限公司(下称星韵风华)等公司。这些交易的对手均指向一人，即影视明星梅婷。
李先念之女：父亲不让儿女经商 我们做到了(图)_新闻_腾讯网 interview with Li Xiannian’s daughter Li Xiaolin, says he taught the kids to not go into business and they listened // 李小林说：“父亲教育子女非常严格。他对外人比我们宽容。父亲就是要求我们做普通人的工作，不要去追求当官，不能赚钱，更不需要出名，把工作做好就行了。这就是我们的家风”。
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Corruption probe of PLA’s Xu Caihou dropped because of terminal cancer | South China Morning Post The senior colonel expressed disappointment that Xu was not punished. “When Xu was taken away for investigation, many mid-ranking cadres like me were very happy. We believed at the time that Xu would be ‘the biggest tiger’ that would be caught in the massive anti-graft campaign,” he said. “We were very disappointed to learn that Xu was exempt [from prosecution] because of his illness.” The sources said they were told the investigation of Xu was dropped after he handed over his ill-gotten gains and that his terminal cancer “equates with the death penalty”.
Xi likely to meet Obama during European tour | South China Morning Post Both presidents will attend global Nuclear Security Summit being hosted in The Hague later this month during Xi’s four-nation visit
China makes proposals on political solution to Ukraine crisis – Xinhua “To that end, we would like to propose three recommendations,” he said. “First, to establish as soon as possible an international coordinating mechanism consisting of all the parities concerned to explore means to a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.” Secondly, Liu said, all parties in the meanwhile should refrain from taking any action that may further escalate the situation. “Thirdly, international financial institutions should start to explore how to help maintain economic and financial stability in Ukraine,” he added.
China’s Perspective on the Ukraine Crisis-Carnegie-Tsinghua Center In this podcast, hosted by Carnegie–Tsinghua’s Paul Haenle, Professor Su Hao of China Foreign Affairs University explained that China faces a difficult balancing situation with the crisis in Ukraine. On the one hand, Su said, China and Russia have a strategic partnership, and Beijing understands Moscow’s concerns about the protection of its interests and people in Crimea. On the other hand, China does not support Russia’s undermining of international norms and law in Ukraine. Su suggested that China would cautiously encourage both sides to respect international norms and reduce tensions.
Xi Jinping plans India visit in post-election outreach – The Hindu The proposed visit is being framed by officials as signalling Beijing’s intent to take ties forward with the new dispensation in New Delhi that will be in place after the Lok Sabha elections. Chinese officials conveyed the desire during last month’s 17th round of boundary talks in New Delhi, sources familiar with the initial discussions said. The details of the visit had not been fully finalised, and would be done so only after the Lok Sabha elections, the sources said.
Transcript of Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s Interview with South China Morning Post ｜ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan China and Japan should resume talks on establishing a maritime defence communication mechanism and other practical issues, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told the South China Morning Post.
China to protect Japanese military brothel as war crime evidence – Xinhua China plans to protect buildings once used as a notorious military brothel by invading Japanese troops during World War II to serve as a reminder of war crimes. Experts confirmed the seven buildings, located in Liji Alley of Nanjing City, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, as the original site of two Japanese-run “comfort woman” stations, the largest of their kind in Asia.
Sinica Podcast–Will China Dominate the 21st Century This week on Sinica, we are pleased to present a live show recorded earlier this week at The Bookworm, where Kaiser Kuo interviewed Jonathan Fenby, author of the book Will China Dominate the 21st Century.
US Hits ‘Provocative’ China Move On Philippine Ships | Defense News The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was “troubled” by Sunday’s incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. “This is a provocative move that raises tensions. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said
Philippines offers U.S. forces access to military bases | Reuters The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China’s increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalize terms before U.S. President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.
Full Steam Ahead: China’s Ever-Increasing Military Budget – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s remarkable increases in defense spending have significantly strengthened its military capabilities, particularly vis-à-vis potential conflicts on its immediate periphery. But it won’t always be this easy or simple. Not only is economic growth slowing, but domestic and social headwinds are worsening. PLA personnel and equipment costs are surging.
China’s Claims of Defense Spending Boost in Doubt | Defense News “According to my records, 2013 is the second year in a row in which China’s actual defense spending wound up being significantly less than was announced at the beginning of the year,” said Roger Cliff, senior fellow with the Asia Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “The announced budget in March 2013 was … an increase of 10.7 percent over 2012. Actual expenditure in 2013 was … an increase of only 7.6 percent over 2012.” The announced increases also never account for inflation, Cliff said. “Inflation in 2013 was expected to be 3.2 percent, official inflation figures for 2013 haven’t been released yet, as far as I know, so the increase in defense spending from 2012 to 2013 was only 4.3 percent in real terms.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Li Ka-shing’s Remedy for ‘Coddled’ HK -Caixin The city’s residents are growing uneasy with the wealth gap, the octogenarian tycoon concedes, but his solution is education, not populism
Ruffling feathers- China Daily Asia The International Christian School in Hong Kong, where a ‘Morality Contract’ imposed on staff banning them from gay relationships or living together outside marriage, has been heavily criticised.
Why Spy on Taiwan When Taiwan Gives Information Away for Free? | The Diplomat During an interpellation session on the Legislative Yuan on March 11, Tsai Der-cheng, the director-general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (NSB), indicated that International Integrated Systems Inc (IISI), a Taiwan-based company that received a contract to maintain the nation’s new electronic household registration system, may have subcontracted its software to an unnamed Chinese Internet firm. Tsai was quizzed after a “confidential report” on the subject was allegedly brought to the attention of legislators.
TECH AND MEDIA
Closer Look: JD.com, Tencent Both Have to Like their Big Deal – Caixin Tencent will give JD.com prominent placing on WeChat, the country’s most popular messaging app, and share the Tenpay payment service that is built into WeChat to improve the online shopping experience. The partnership boosts the expected value of JD.com’s IPO to at least US$ 8 billion, analysts say. JD.com filed an IPO application with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on January 30. It will likely start its road show in April after releasing an audited annual financial report for 2013. Many analysts say JD.com wants to avoid listing at the same time as Alibaba out of fear the industry leader will steal its thunder. //hear the IPO was having a hard time so Tencent got a very good deal and now the IPO should do well, in spite of Alibaba’s efforts to disrupt it
SEC FORM F-1 Weibo Corporation Sina Weibo files for an IPO, may be sign of impending top of this latest surge of Chinese internet stocks. mooted valuation is very rich. An interesting read, especially the risk factors. Alibaba plans to exercise its option to increase its stake to 30% at time of the IPO. Per the filing CEO Charles Chao owns less than 2% of Weibo. Perhaps the rumors that he and other members of management cashed out when Alibaba invested last year are true. But investors may worry that the CEO and management overall now own such a small percentage of the company
Twitter CEO’s China Call: Reconsidering The Market? | Young’s China Business Blog Word that Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo is making a trip to China just 4 months after his company’s IPO will almost certainly set to world tweeting about whether the social networking giant could be considering a play for the world’s largest Internet market.// A Dealbook column I wrote last September-Twitter’s Plans May Run Into China’s Attitudes Toward the Internet
阿里62亿控股文化中国成《京华时报》幕后老板|文化中国|京华时报|阿里_新浪财经_新浪网 事实上，文化中国在业内绝对不是无名小辈，该企业涉足影视剧制作、游戏开发、报纸杂志等多项产业，并取得不小的成就。阿里巴巴62亿元的投资，也创下了2014年中国互联网最大的并购金额，凸显了阿里巴巴布局文化产业的决心(笔者注：文化中国目前市值仅为53亿港币，阿里这次入股相当于把文化中国的估值提高了1倍，可见阿里巴巴拿下文化中国下了多大的血本)。//Alibaba will now control the Beijing Times through its deal for ChinaVision Media, a company which has seen at least one scandal, as Caixin reported in 2012 in Media Executive Hired by Da Vinci Resigns
石油央企有限开放 阿里巴巴谋划入股中石化销售公司_21世纪网 21CBH—Alibaba is considering investing in a Sinopec sales subsidiary//从可靠消息渠道了解到，阿里巴巴已与中石化展开接触，并开始招聘精通线下加油卡销售运营的专业人才，“一旦合作谈成了，相关人员将立即就位”。知情人士告诉记者。
阿里主动退出战局 打车软件补贴战火将熄_财经频道_一财网 Alibaba ending its subsidies for taxicab app//快的打车联合支付宝钱包发出“致用户的一封信”，快的打车放低姿态，相应降低了补贴标准，并宣布从3月5日起在北京试点老年人免费打车的公益活动。
China Is Decentralizing Movie Censorship. But Will It Make a Difference? – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s state film regulator is outsourcing movie censorship to local bureaus, but industry experts say they are skeptical the move will do much to liberalize the country’s film scene. Domestic films soon will be censored by regulators in the province where film production companies are based, rather than by a national one, extending nationwide a program that had been in place in five provinces since 2010
Giant Investment Offers to Buy Online Game Unit for $3 Billion – Bloomberg The $12-a-share price is an 18.5 percent premium to Giant Interactive’s closing price of $10.13 on Nov. 22, before Giant Investment made its initial offer, the companies said in a statement.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
‘Crazy English’ founder Li Yang loves beating his wife and wants everybody to know: Shanghaiist Li Yang, the “Crazy English” founder recently went on one hell of a rant about his American ex-wife Kim Lee. In a video you can watch here (it’s in Chinese with no subtitles) crazy Mr. Li says the following: Those who know I hit my wife, raise your hand! I am the spokesperson for domestic abuse! I was doing something to educate Americans! My American wife was always criticizing China, accusing our Party of lying. In such a situation, could I not hit her? […] Everyday accusing Beijing, saying that AQI is lying. She was lucky I could bear it, in America I would have shot her with a gun!
“Baby hatch” halted in southern China city – Xinhua A baby hatch in a southern China city has been halted on Sunday amid mounting pressure from the increasing number of babies, local authorities said. The baby hatch in Guangzhou City, capital of Guangdong Province, has received 262 babies since it began operation late January, causing tremendous pressure on its operator, the Guangzhou City Welfare Center (GCWC), said Xu Jiu, the center’s director.
The Siege of Tsingtao – Caixin Jonathan Fenby reconstructs the first and only battle of World War One fought in East Asia with a focus on agreements which would set the stage for future foreign relations// book on Amazon
Communism Is the Goal at a Commune, but Chinese Officials Are Not Impressed – NYTimes.com “What we’re doing is here is basically communism,” said Xue Feng, 57, the soft-spoken founder of Shengmin Chanyuan, or New Oasis for Life, whose 150 members include illiterate peasants and big-city corporate refugees. “People do what they can and get what they need.” But Marxism doesn’t often look like that in modern-day China, and New Oasis has unnerved local officials in Yunnan,
The Armory Show Show Puts China Into Focus – Scene Asia – WSJ “The theme is to show the dynamism of contemporary art in China,” said Philip Tinari, director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, who curated the fair’s Armory Focus: China section. The works from China will also serve as an eye-opener for New York’s jaded art world, not least because many of the artists on show have never exhibited overseas – mostly, these days, by choice.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Xinhua Insight: Antiviral drug scandal fuels concerns about children’s safety – Xinhua For the past several days, life has been awash with anxiety, despair and anger for the hundreds of parents whose children attended two kindergartens caught in an antiviral drug scandal. The Hongji Xincheng and Fengyun kindergartens in Xi’an City, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, are accused of having administered antiviral drugs to children since 2008, local authorities announced on Thursday. The two kindergartens have a total of 1455 kids.
Production: Vaccines from the East : Nature China is poised to become a major global vaccine maker, but first it must overcome serious problems with quality control.
Preparations begin for mass production of H7N9 vaccine – CHINA – Globaltimes.cn In February, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center announced that they have developed a genetically engineered vaccine for the H7N9 bird flu virus and have now entered the clinical trial application phase.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
北京煎饼薄脆市场黑幕:黑作坊生产 散发难闻异味_网易新闻中心 even Beijing’s jianbings aren’t safe? Report on nasty way the crunchy part is made//新华社发 “煎饼果子”是很多人早餐的重要选择，但是热腾腾、香喷喷的煎饼中夹着的那层薄脆，看似并不起眼，却来历可疑。新华社“中国网事”记者日前对北京薄脆市场进行了暗访，结果令人揪心。
Beijing’s Smog Ain’t Going Nowhere – China Real Time Report – WSJ The real culprit is heavy industry. In the Beijing and the surrounding area, 58% of PM2.5 (minute particles that are the most dangerous for human health) comes from coal combustion in the power, steel, cement and brick industries, Dragonomics said, citing a Greenpeace study. Producing close to half the world’s steel and well over half of its cement, China is an industrial colossus. With the steelmaking industry centered in Hebei province, just outside of Beijing, the capital happens to sit at the center of one of the biggest concentrations of industrial activity on earth.
北京100个市级部门“晒”预算 市委党校首次公开_网易新闻中心 100 Beijing Municipal departments publicly release their budgets // 新京报讯 今天，北京100个市级部门将“晒”出今年的预算。今年全市“三公经费”预算总额为9.72亿元，比去年减少1.41亿元，公务接待费降幅最大。 根据相关法规，北京市两会结束审议预算后，市财政局将在1个月之内批复各部门预算，之后各部门须在20个工作日之内公开部门预算。按照惯例，北京近年来多在3月20日之后公开，今年是公开最早的一次。
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
A Short Look at the Long Literary History of Spies in Asia | The LARB Blog One of the most noteworthy books set to hit the U.S. market next week is Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne’s English translation of bestselling Chinese espionage author Mai Jia’s latest thriller, Decoded, which was published in other markets last year and has already generated a good deal of interest in the U.K. This is just the latest development in a broader publishing tale: the resurgence of interest in Asia generally, and China specifically, as a settings for stories of intrigue.
Amazon.com: Night Heron eBook: Adam Brookes A lone man, Peanut, escapes a labor camp in the dead of night, fleeing across the winter desert of north-west China. Two decades earlier, he was a spy for the British; now Peanut must disappear on Beijing’s surveillance-blanketed streets. Desperate and ruthless, he reaches out to his one-time MI6 paymasters via crusading journalist Philip Mangan, offering military secrets in return for extraction. But the secrets prove more valuable than Peanut or Mangan could ever have known… and not only to the British.
JOBS AND EVENTS
China Defense and Security Conference 2014 Tickets, Washington – Eventbrite The Jamestown Foundation will hold its Fourth Annual China Defense and Security Conference on March 25 in Washington, D.C.