Xi Jinping’s campaigns are different than those of his predecessor.
The latest example is the “Cleaning the Web 2014” campaign against indecent material. These cleanup campaigns are an annual event that, after a period of noise and naming and shaming, have historically faded away without putting a dent in the huge of amount of lewd content on the Chinese Internet.
Yesterday the campaign claimed an Internet tiger. Sina, one of the country’s top portals, got the full propaganda treatment as the government announced that it was revoking two key licenses and detaining employees for further investigation because of lewd content found on the site. The Thursday CCTV Evening News and page one of the Friday edition of People’s Daily publicized the decision.
Sina, which between its news site and Weibo service has a long history of figuring out how to work with the regulators, appears to have assumed this year’s campaign would be similar to the previous ones. The authorities punished Sina twice in 2013 for indecent content but clearly management figured they could find ways to skirt the law.
They were wrong, and the punishment and humiliating propaganda push are very clear warnings to all the other major Internet players. As occurred with the online rumor crackdown that started last summer, arrests are an escalation that focus the mind and may actually change behavior.
It could have been worse for Sina though, as had this crackdown come during the Weibo IPO roadshow the deal might have failed. Why was Sina the target and not one of the other Internet giants, all of whom have indecent content? I have some guesses but do not know anything for certain.
There also appears to be a cleanup going on among some of the Internet regulators, as yesterday’s newsletter noted.
Just a reminder that the newsletter is still not back to daily on a consistent basis but will be coming out with more frequency than over the last five months.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
Japan, U.S. fail to reach broad TPP accord before Obama’s departure – 毎日新聞 Japan and the United States were unable to secure a broad deal in marathon two-way talks on a Pacific trade accord despite last-minute efforts to solve remaining issues before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves Tokyo, Japan’s economy minister Akira Amari said Friday.
Related: Abe secured only half of key goals at meeting | The Japan Times Prime Minister Shinzo Abe managed to achieve half of the two critical goals he set for Thursday’s summit with U.S. President Barack Obama: He succeeded in getting America’s pledge to defend the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, a vow likely to keep China in check. But Abe failed to achieve the other goal, namely a broad agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks. This was also a setback for Obama, who lobbied hard to seal the free trade deal. The two were thus unable to issue a joint statement after their talks.
Related: Obama Stands With Abe – WSJ Editorial Page A Chinese spokesman this week referred to the U.S.-Japan alliance as a relic of the Cold War. A few years ago he might have had a point, as the difficulty of relocating Marine bases on Okinawa showed. But Beijing’s desire to return to the days when neighboring countries paid tribute to the emperor has brought the alliance to the fore again. Presidential visits are mostly about symbolism, and Mr. Obama’s trip sent the needed message of solidarity with a democratic ally.
Related: Commentary: Misreading Obama’s commitment over Diaoyu islands is dangerous – Xinhua This is a standard U.S. policy, a political cliche, the meaning of which should not be exaggerated. As Obama explained: “This is not a new position.” However, what is extremely dangerous is that Abe and his nationalistic government might be encouraged to challenge China’s bottom line in territorial disputes in the belief that Obama’s pledge is a shield that gives them immunity from all punishments. Unfortunately, it is just another typical Tokyo illusion. Shortly after this commitment, Obama refused to draw a “red line” on China-Japan territorial disputes by saying his government took no side on the issue, and shied away from the question of whether America will intervene militarily if an armed incursion targeting the disputed islands happens
China Strips Sina of Publication, Distribution Licenses Over Lewd Content – WSJ.com the suspension of Sina’s licenses marks the first time the government has used its annual campaigns to go after the country’s largest listed Internet companies. In the past, sites would be taken down and social-media accounts suspended, but the operations of companies like Sina were generally left alone…Although China carries out annual campaigns to combat the distribution of lewd content over the Internet, the most recent crackdown has been significantly more severe than those of recent years.
Related: [视频]“扫黄打非 净网2014”专项行动：新浪网涉嫌传播淫秽色情信息被查处 S
China Sets Heavier Punishments for Polluters – WSJ.com Passage Thursday closes what has been an unusually vigorous debate among policymakers, academics and activists. Participants said the amendments enshrined in law promises made last year during a high-profile gathering of top Communist Party brass. They set the stage for additional regulations expected to require greater protection of air, water and soil. The amended law will take effect Jan. 1, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Related: 新环保法“开闸”环境公益诉讼 新华社——经济参考网 Economic Information on how the new environmental law will allow for lawsuits against polluters // 4月24日，
Is China Really Prepared to Shift to Market-Driven Interest Rates? | Institutional Investor—Part 1 of two very smart articles by Teneo’s James Shinn. Part 2–China’s Rate Liberalization Stakes: Who Wins, Who Loses? | Institutional Investor
Young Chinese Maoists set up hippy commune – Telegraph Filled with nostalgia for an era they never experienced, admirers of Chairman Mao have set up a commune where young Chinese can escape the pressures of capitalism
From Half the Sky to ‘Leftovers’ | ChinaFile There’s very little evidence that urban women have turned their scarcity into economic gain,” [Leta Hong Fincher] writes in Leftover Women, the result of three years voluminous research towards a Ph.D. at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, which will be released on May 1 in the United States by Zed Books. Hong Fincher presents compelling evidence women’s rights in China have seriously regressed since Mao Zedong proclaimed, “Women hold up half the sky.”
Middle-class flight: Yearning to breathe free | The Economist Not everyone who obtains a green card abroad wants to leave China. Some are global travellers who want a more convenient passport for border crossings. Some want an emergency-exit hatch should the Chinese economy get into trouble or the police come knocking. But many others are going for good, and unlike past waves of Chinese emigrants, they include accomplished mid-career professionals who have little to gain financially by leaving.
Flower Town | the Anthill nice story about changes in a Sichuan village
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
The “Real Pain” Is About To Begin As Chinese Currency Slumps To 19-Month Lows | Zero Hedge Remember, as we noted previously, these potential losses are pure levered derivative losses… not some “well we are losing so let’s greatly rotate this bet to US equities” which means it has a real tightening impact on both collateral and liquidity around the world… yet again, as we noted previously, it appears the PBOC is trying to break the world’s most profitable and easy carry trade // below 6.25, lots of pain for some. My year end prediction of 5.8-9 not looking too smart right now
房地产税立法草案或年内“破茧” 新华社——经济参考网 Draft of property tax law expected by end of the year…nationwide property registry now not expected to be complete until 2016, really expect any kind of significant move on property taxes before 2016 at the earliest, without even considering the political obstacles? //
Commodity Markets Shift to Brighter View of China – WSJ.com many investors and analysts are betting prices have bottomed. They contend China’s government is likely to avert an economic meltdown and that growth will stabilize at current levels around 7%. While that is below the double-digit expansions of the past decade, the economy is now so large it will continue to suck in rising quantities of raw materials for years to come, they argue.
Land Sales: The Ever-More Lucrative Habit China’s Officials Just Can’t Kick – China Real Time Report – WSJ last year, local government officials sold 367,000 hectares of land, up 14% from the year before. The sales were a bonanza for local government finances, raising 4.2 trillion yuan ($682 billion), a 56% increase over the previous year. By contrast in 2012, governments sold 322,800 hectares, representing only a 3% rise over the previous year. That year, the 2.7 trillion yuan raised by sales was up a comparatively less dramatic 15% from 2011. (The Ministry’s annual reports don’t provide data on earlier years.)
溢价180% 恒大41.6亿北京再夺地_财经频道_一财网 Evergran
Bond Market Belgian Mystery Draws China Focus – Bloomberg Is China the answer to the mystery of why Belgium is now home to so many U.S. Treasuries? The euro area’s sixth-largest economy has boosted its holdings by $140.6 billion since the start of December, making it the third-biggest holder of the world’s benchmark debt, with $341.2 billion in February. That’s almost twice what it had a year earlier.
Adidas Deals With Striking China Factory by Moving Orders – Bloomberg Sports and casual shoe brands including Nike Inc. (NKE), Asics Corp. (7936), New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., Puma SE (PUM) and Timberland Co. are made by Yue Yuen, the world’s biggest branded footwear maker and operator of the 1.4 million-square-meter (15 million square-foot) Dongguan complex in southern China. Employees at the complex, where more than 40,000 people work, are striking in a dispute over compensation since April 14.
POLITICS AND LAW
Beijing Tells Petitioners: Please Stay Home – China Real Time Report – WSJ The bureau’s new rules include instruction to government departments to close cases where they are the target of a complaint within 60 days — if they accept the case — and to not extend that period more than 30 days. The state bureau said a complainant unhappy with the initial decision can appeal one step up the bureaucratic ladder within 30 days.
Qinghai official probed for suspected serious violations: CCDI – Xinhua Mao Xiaobing, the Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Xining, capital city of Qinghai province, is under investigation for suspected serious violations of discipline and law // lots of ties to mining industry
华润金融CEO吴丁被带走调查_金融频道_财新网 Caixin reports that China Resources Capital Holdings CEO Wu Ding has been detained/
Chinese prosecutors target bribers in graft fight – Xinhua The campaign will target repeat offenders and cases that involve a large number of bribers, large amounts of money and result in grave consequences, according to a statement released on Thursday after a meeting for the anti-graft offices under various prosecuting organs. SPP figures show that some 5,676 people were prosecuted for bribery last year, accounting for 31.4 percent of total suspects involved in bribery cases and up 17.3 percent year on year.
元老频频亮相踏春 周永康贺国强处境艰难_中国_多维新闻网 Duowei says lack of public appearance by He Guoqiang may be sign he is in trouble, says one of his sons is linked to Song Lin and China Resources//与之相类似的还有温家宝在纪念习仲勋的纪
习近平谈秘书工作：别认为靠山硬就有恃无恐_网易新闻中心 Xi Jinping sends a warning to official secretaries…in speech in 1990, now getting play//习近平尤其提到，“（秘书）不能认为“机关牌子大、
近代西方国家政治制度的发展轨迹 _ 2014/08 _求是理论网 Red Flag reiterates it is not a fan of Western political systems //
China’s Police Will Carry Guns Unlike Any Others – China Real Time Report – WSJ “They also choose nonstandard (proprietary) ammunition to make ammo supply more complicated for criminals who might obtain revolvers from policemen.” In other words, even if a gun is stolen from a police officer, finding the correct ammunition to reload it could be difficult because technically only the police would have access to it.
Kweichow Moutai Q1 net profit lags forecasts | Reuters Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd , China’s top seller of fiery liquor baijiu, on Thursday posted its weakest quarterly profit growth in three quarters due to the Chinese government’s crackdown on luxury spending.
China tells officials to fly discount on government travel – Yahoo News The new rules ban officials from travelling on full-price tickets and force domestic airlines to offer discounts of at least 12 percent. Government employees are also required to take domestic carriers as much as possible when traveling abroad, according to the rules jointly released by the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Administration of China on Tuesday
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
China, U.S. should respect each other, say Premier Li – Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with a delegation led by the U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (L) in Beijing, capital of China, April 24, 2014.// Rep Paul Ryan on trip, per Linkedin Ryan’s brother Stan is still at Cargill in Shanghai
Invitee Masuzoe in Beijing amid chill | The Japan Times Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe arrived in Beijing on Thursday in hopes of cooling tensions rising between China and Japan over territorial and historical issues. In the first visit by a Tokyo mayor since 2008,
U.S. Military Voices Worries Over South Korean Use of Chinese Telecom Gear | Washington Free Beacon The U.S. military command in South Korea voiced concerns this week that a Chinese telecommunications deal with South Korea could undermine the security of communications on the tense Korean peninsula. Chris Bush, a spokesman for the U.S. Forces Korea said the command is concerned that a deal between China’s Huawei Technologies, Inc. and the South Korean company LG could undermine operational security.
China welcomes Palestinian unity deal, hopes will help peace | Reuters China’s foreign ministry welcomed on Thursday a unity pact agreed between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestine Liberation Organisation, saying Beijing hoped this would help peace talks with Israel. While the United States said it was disappointed by the deal, which it said could make peace efforts difficult, China said it regarded the move positively. // Israel doesn’t agree
Illegal Uighur Immigration in Southeast Asia | cogitASIA CSIS Asia Policy Blog China will have to pursue nuanced policies among Southeast Asian nations, who will not automatically cooperate with repatriation requests. Pressure from Beijing will not be as effective in influencing governments in Southeast Asia to deport Uighurs as it has been in Central Asia. Thailand, for instance, must deal with criticisms from domestic human rights groups, international bodies, and its treaty ally, the United States. On the other hand, Thailand faces an enormous volume of refugees, including Cham, Rohingya, and Uighurs, from neighboring countries, and it could use China’s help.
越南在南沙岛屿建邮政站 借邮戳宣示“主权”_新闻_腾讯网 Vietnam sets up a postal station on one of Nansha/Spratly Islands
Justin Bieber visits Yasukuni Shrine, angers all of China – YouTube—Taiwanese Animators strike again
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Self-censorship ‘common’ in Hong Kong newspapers, say journalists | South China Morning Post Poll of journalists reveals self-censorship and intrusion by owners a regular occurrence, and public have a negative view of media freedom
China’s Taiwan Reality Check | The National Interest Blog No less an authority on the Chinese-Taiwanese issue than Richard Nixon imparted wise counsel to Beijing and Washington twenty years ago. The ultimate political realist, who created the original opening to China in 1972, wrote in 1994, even before Taiwan’s democratization process was complete: “The situation has changed dramatically since the Shanghai Communique. Realistic reappraisals of U.S. relations with Taiwan…and between Beijing and Taipei are overdue…The separation is permanent politically, but they are in bed together economically.” // but what can Taiwan do about it given the economic integration and China’s resolve for reunification, other than hope for the status quo?
TECH AND MEDIA
《财经》杂志第391期-互联网中国变局 latest issue of Caijing has a good cover package on China’s Internet
Alibaba Plan Puts IPO Record in Sight – WSJ.com Alibaba is expected to officially file for the IPO in the next couple of weeks, though that filing isn’t likely to settle the size and composition of the offering, people familiar with the discussions said. The filing may indicate that both the company and insiders plan to sell shares, but details likely will be completed at a later stage, they said.
Baidu Profit Beats Estimates Advertisers Lured – Bloomberg Revenue increased to 9.5 billion yuan. That compares with the 9.53 billion-yuan average of 13 analyst estimates, and the company’s February projection of 9.24 billion yuan to 9.52 billion yuan in revenue for the quarter.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Northwestern Chinese City Counts Cost of Major Water Pollution Scandal – Caixin Lanzhou Veolia officials have admitted that the results publicized on April 10 came from a sample taken on April 2. Assuming the benzene leak began on April 2, the people of Lanzhou unknowingly drank benzene-contaminated water for nine days. Lanzhou Veolia statements have varied throughout the course of the episode.
They’ve Made Designer Monkeys with Genome Editing—Are Humans Next? | MIT Technology Review Until recently, Kunming, capital of China’s southwestern Yunnan province, was known mostly for its palm trees, its blue skies, its laid-back vibe, and a steady stream of foreign backpackers bound for nearby mountains and scenic gorges. But Kunming’s reputation as a provincial backwater is rapidly changing. On a plot of land on the outskirts of the city—wilderness 10 years ago, and today home to a genomic research facility—scientists have performed a provocative experiment. They have created a pair of macaque monkeys with precise genetic mutations.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Tainted Food in China Cited in Cyclist’s Failed Doping Test – NYTimes.com – NYTimes.com The International Cycling Union, known by its French initials U.C.I., said Wednesday that Mr. Rogers’s disqualification in that race would stand but that any further sanctions would be dropped as “there was a significant probability that the presence of clenbuterol may have resulted from the consumption of contaminated meat from China.”
强推京津冀一体化_杂志频道_财新网 Caixin on the renewed efforts towards “Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration”…but there are reasons this has made little progress since first mooted ten years ago // 停滞多年的京津冀一体化再度升温。与以往不同的是，
北京通州12.6万平方米自住房网上申购 限价1万_房产_腾讯网 126,000 sq m of subsidized housing to hit the market in Beijing’s Tongzhou, at 10,000 rmb/m, qualified buyers can apply to purchase online over the next 30 days…huge demand for these types of subsidized homes
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
A Chinese Novelist Goes Global – Scene Asia – WSJ At its heart, “Decoded,” rendered in lyrical prose and beautifully translated by Olivia Milburn, is about the fragile line between insanity and genius. Mr. Mai spoke to the Journal about censorship, his family struggles during the Cultural Revolution and dealing with rejection as a writer. Edited excerpts: // the book on Amazon