China Readings for December 16th

"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner

  • China abroad: Sun Tzu and the art of soft power | The Economist
  • Crazy English couple go to court|Society| – BEIJING – The wife of Li Yang, founder of a well-known English education institution in China, Crazy English, is determined to divorce her husband and is fighting in court to get the properties she says she deserves from the marriage.
  • Talk Radio KSFO 560 AM – Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, a major manufacturer of Chinese drywall, agreed Thursday to pay at least $800 million to settle claims with thousands of American homeowners.
  • Obama to sign indefinite detention bill into law – Glenn Greenwald – – Can any rational person review these events and try to claim that Obama is some sort of opponent of indefinite detention? He is one of American history’s most aggressive defenders of that power. As Human Rights Watch put it: “President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.” There is no partisan loyalty or leader-reverent propaganda strong enough to obscure that fact.
  • Will China’s New Movie Restrictions Result in Fewer Hits? – China Real Time Report – WSJ
  • LumDimSum » Blog Archive » Two Thumbs Up: Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB)
  • Letter from China: Hollywood Hot Under the Collar in China : The New Yorker
  • Q&A: University of Kentucky Enrolls in Chinese Social Media | TechRice
  • What’s Up in China: Hint, It’s Not War With the U.S. – James Fallows – International – The Atlantic
  • Twitter Tops Social Media Buzz List – 10,000 Words – Interestingly, Bill Bishop who covers digital media in China, commented on Mashable, “no mention of Sina Weibo. #oneworldtwointernets.” As of May, Sina Weibo (pronounced “way-bwuh”), the “Chinese Twitter,” had eight times more users than their U.S. counterpart, and launched an English mobile interface earlier this fall. They also announced plans for an English version of the website, but gave no specific release date. It has over 450,000 users in the U.S., which according to the Wall Street Journal includes Tom Cruise, Bill Gates, and San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.
  • King & Wood and Mallesons Confirm Ambitious Merger Plans – The Asian Lawyer– China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons Stephen Jaques today officially confirmed plans for a merger to create the largest law firm based in the Asia-Pacific region.The long-anticipated deal will see the firms merge their Hong Kong offices and operate under a common King & Wood Mallesons brand. The two firms’ mainland China and Australia offices will remain financially distinct and operate together a Swiss Verein structure. Both firms say over 95 percent of their respective partnerships voted in favor of the deal.

    The combined firm will number some 1,800 lawyers, and is positioning itself clearly as an alternative in the region to the large U.S. and U.K. firms that have traditionally dominated major cross-border deals.

    “The Wall Street and Magic Circle firms have strong practices out here but it’s not their backyard,” says Handel Lee, a King & Wood partner who is part of the committee driving the deal. “This is not where they live. They followed their clients here but this is not their main region. For Mallesons and King & Wood, we are here and this is our territory.”

  • Why is Bill Gates selling nuclear tech to China? – Ideas@Innovations – The Washington Post– TerraPower, a nuclear-power start-up backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold and a handful of top-tier Silicon Valley venture capitalists, has been in negotiations to sell its breakthrough traveling wave reactor technology to China’s National Nuclear Corporation.The negotiations between Gates and China should be a wake-up call for the United States government for both obvious and not-so-obvious reasons.
  • AFP: Russia needs ‘China-style’ web controls: official – china no doubt happy to sell russia a solution//
    Russia needs Chinese-style government regulation of the Internet, a top official said Wednesday, after election protesters organised nationwide rallies through social networking sites.
    “Attempts to stop people communicating are in principle counterproductive and even immoral. But we cannot ignore the use of the Internet by criminals and terrorist groups,” Russia’s Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty newspaper.
    “Of course there should be reasonable regulation in Russia, just as it is done in the United States, China and many other countries.”
  • China needs common ground online – China Media Project– Lately, the stink has been rising online and offline.Traditionally, internet users with differing value orientations in the online space have been quite cut off from one another. For example, KDNET’s Cat’s Eye section and the Utopia website have had their own respective web followings. If anyone from either side incautiously stepped over the line into the other camp, they risk being “pelted with stones”, branded “slaves of the West” or “brain-damaged.” While the two sides could be sharp and mean-spirited in their words, however, they got along fairly well. In fact, the “left” and the “right”, the extreme and the moderate, those advocating “national interests” and those advocating a “grassroots focus,” even as they held tight to their respective positions showed a higher level of tolerance and intellectual vigor than could be seen in the traditional media and in [China’s] rigid institutions.
  • Wukan and the “fourth danger” – China Media Project– Chinese President Hu Jintao’s speech to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1 this year was mostly self-congratulatory, a grocery list of everything the Party professes to have done right. But Hu did pause for a stern moment in which he enumerated what he called the “four dangers”: loss of vitality (精神懈怠), insufficient capacity (能力不足), alienation from the people (脱离群众) and rampant corruption (消极腐败). These internal challenges, said Hu, are now “more strenuous and pressing than at any point in the past.”The third of these challenges, alienation from the public, can be glimpsed daily on China’s internet, as users fume over myriad injustices and the government’s often cruel and cockeyed way of dealing with them (like burying train cars within 24 hours of a major railway disaster). The credibility of China’s institutions is often questioned so routinely that leaders need only issue a denial of an accusation for internet users to be certain of its truth.

    But it’s number four on Hu Jintao’s list, corruption, that arguably presents the most immediate threat to the Party’s standing, and to social and political stability in China. Corruption, particularly at the local level — but surely at every level — is behind most of the social ills and animosities that boil over daily in China into “sudden-breaking incidents” officials do their utmost to crisis-manage.

  • SOPA Undermines the U.S. in Its Negotiations for a Free, Open Internet | Electronic Frontier Foundation– China no doubt delighted by US government hypocrisy//But all is not well on the Internet. In spite of this landmark OECD policy framework, efforts at online censorship and spying abound. Members of the U.S. government itself are attempting to push through legislation measures that would subvert many of the core principles found in this document. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) enable online censorship on a massive scale and threaten to break the Internet, all in the name of intellectual property enforcement. These bills could encompass any foreign site accessible from the U.S. They give the U.S. government and individuals the ability to leverage Internet intermediaries to ‘blacklist’ sites accused of copyright infringement. Such actions are inconsistent with OECD principles aimed at ‘limiting intermediary liability’. Finally, the DNS blocking contemplated by these bills would undermine the usability of the DNSSEC security measures that are meant to authenticate domains and deter tampering with the DNS system. The reliability and integrity of the DNS is an important part of OECD’s aim of promoting Internet security, to which the United States is supposed to be committed.
  • Photos: Chinese river turns bloody from pollution from dyehouses | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 – Hearing about water pollution is one thing; seeing it in its true colors is another. To residents on the lower reach of Jian River in Luoyang, Henan province, the sight of their drinking water source taking on a bloody color signifies the doomsday.
  • Americans face Guantánamo detention after Obama backdown | World news | The Guardian – Defence funding bill allows American citizens to be arrested as terrorists on home soil and held indefinitely without trial
  • China News Headlines | Hong Kong’s premier newspaper online | – Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun has been hailed for his iron-fisted approach to organised crime in the southwestern municipality, but the 52-year-old is now making headlines as an academic with a growing list of credentials.
    Earlier this month, Wang was hired as an adjunct professor by a top mainland college, the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), even though he has little experience of full-time college studies.
  • Joseph Sternberg: All the Hot Air in China – – Cutting carbon emissions requires restructuring the economy. Which is why Beijing won’t do it.
  • China vows crackdown on leaders of village revolt – Yahoo! News
  • Luxury brands turn cautious on China | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –– Although 2011 is shaping up as another good year for luxury goods sales in China, luxury brands are turning a bit more cautious after fierce expansion in the country over the past few years, according to a new research report.“Some brands are making conscious decisions to reduce the pace of expansion and focus more on store performance improvement,” said Bain&Company in its latest report on China’s luxury market. The management consultants say growth gradually softened in the fourth quarter and quote luxury brand company executives as saying they are only “cautiously optimistic” for next year as they “don’t have enough visibility”.
  • Chinese netizen pisses on Korean flag, posts it to Youtube – The Kukmin Ilbo reports that a Chinese netizen—believed to be either a Joseon-jok or a Chinese student studying in Korea—posted a two minute video of himself pissing on the Korean flag.
  • China’s Rebalancing Stuck on Hold –– “If only the rest of the world would get its act together, we could focus on rebalancing our economy properly instead of loosening credit to goose up investment again.” That’s what China’s policy makers were probably thinking as they dispersed from their annual Economic Work Meeting in Beijing this week. Unfortunately, until these policy makers warm up a bit more to market-based reform—they didn’t, again, at this session—they are going to keep finding it difficult to rebalance.The concern over now for delaying rebalancing is Europe. The continent is China’s biggest export market, and exports overall absorb some 40% of the country’s industrial output. But China has been suffering a slowdown as it has tamped down on 6%-plus inflation this year, something which is its own doing.
  • Foreign investment in China falls in November – Yahoo! News
  • Chinese Dating Site Implements Real Name Policy, Kills Your Amusing Nickname | Tech in Asia
  • Twitter Is 2011’s Most-Buzzed About Social Network – no mention of Sina Weibo. #oneworldtwointernets
  • U.S., China May Clash on Climate Pact Loophole – Bloomberg
  • Chinese property: game over? | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –– China faces its first real estate crash.  That’s the sobering conclusion of Jamil Anderlini’s report in Wednesday’s FT on the country’s property market. After a four-year boom in which official data shows prices doubled, the signs of a “looming Chinese property bust” are multiplying.The article appears on the same day as the Conference Board, the US research group, forecast a steeper-than-expected economic slow down for China.  The news helped push the Shanghai stock market down nearly 1 per cent to its lowest level for nearly three years. Grim.

    Anderlini’s report includes some startling numbers: 80,000 property developers own enough land to build nearly 100m flats; together with the existing vacant flats that’s enough for 20 years; and property construction accounts for 13 per cent of GDP, so if property slumps so does the economy as a whole.

  • Huayi Bros Wins IPR Infringement Suit against Youku | Marbridge Consulting – China Internet News – Chinese online video site Youku (NYSE: YOKU) has been found guilty of IPR infringement by Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court for broadcasting the film “If You Are The One II” without obtaining the online broadcasting rights from film production company Huayi Brothers’ (300027.SZ), and has been ordered to pay RMB 190,000 in compensation.
  • Inside the Ring – Washington Times– At the recent U.S.-Chinese defense talks in Beijing, the subject of the Pentagon’s new Air Sea Battle Concept, a program to counter China’s growing anti-access and area denial weapons, was not discussed.Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters in Beijing on Dec. 8 that there was no mention of the secret defense program in Asia during her talks with Chinese military officials, called the Defense Consultative Talks.

    “We did discuss the U.S. posture changes, particularly in Australia,” Ms. Flournoy said.

  • Marines promoted inflated story for Medal of Honor winner | McClatchy– What’s most striking is that all this probably was unnecessary. Meyer, the 296th Marine to earn the medal, by all accounts deserved his nomination. At least seven witnesses attested to him performing heroic deeds “in the face of almost certain death.”Braving withering fire, he repeatedly returned to the ambush site with Army Capt. William Swenson and others to retrieve Afghan casualties and the dead Americans. He suffered a shrapnel wound in one arm and was sent home after the battle with combat-related stress. Meyer’s commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Williams, commended him for acts of “conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life … above and beyond the call of duty.”

    But an exhaustive assessment by a McClatchy correspondent who was embedded with the unit and survived the ambush found that the Marines’ official accounts of Meyer’s deeds — retold in a book, countless news reports and on U.S. military websites — were embellished. They’re marred by errors and inconsistencies, ascribe actions to Meyer that are unverified or didn’t happen and create precise, almost novelistic detail out of the jumbled and contradictory recollections of the Marines, soldiers and pilots engaged in battle.

  • China Property Debate Heats Up –– Debate is heating up in China over the country’s property-market controls, as some government figures are urging a partial loosening of restrictions in the key sector.In a commentary published Tuesday, Li Daokui, a prominent academic adviser to the central bank, stressed that China must ensure a soft landing for the real estate sector, and suggested that the government should “fine tune” some of the controls that have brought down prices to-date.

    Enlarge Image

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
    Two workers walked past a signboard for a property project in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong province on Dec. 13.

    At the same time, official voices are stressing that there should be no change in policy

  • 北京在做研究性PM2.5监测 暂没有业务性监测 – 宏观 – 21世纪网 – 核心提示:有观察者质疑说,北京污染最严重的前门站和车公庄站,从监测子站的名单上消失
  • 联通定制200万台 小米供应链考验 – 产经 – 21世纪网 – 12月13日,小米科技内部人士向本报记者透露:小米手机已被中国联通选为定制手机,首批定制200万台。
  • Washington Quarterly: Al-Qaeda and the Rise of China: Jihadi Geopolitics – Council on Foreign Relations – Brian Fishman explains why Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadi thinkers are concerned with China’s rise, as the country becomes increasingly tied to regimes they believe are fundamentally corrupt.
  • 员工爆料SOHO中国欠薪_中国经济网――国家经济门户 – SOHO Shanghai salespeople stage mini-protest over unpaid wages?