China Readings for November 15th

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

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  • Obama to China: Behave like a grown up | Reuters legal warfare?// China shot back that it refused to abide by international economic rules that it had no part in writing. “First we have to know whose rules we are talking about,” Pang Sen, a deputy director-general at China’s Foreign Ministry said. “If the rules are made collectively through agreement and China is a part of it, then China will abide by them. If rules are decided by one or even several countries, China does not have the obligation to abide by that.”
  • World’s Most Expensive Tea: Panda Poop  the world’s fanciest tea will soon be created from the dung of panda bears. The tea is a passion project of a Sichuan University lecturer named An Yashi, who says it will cost $80,000 per kilogram when it hits markets. He says it will have antioxidant properties similar to those of green tea
  • China rejects reports on budgetary spending on stability management BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — A Ministry of Finance official said Monday that foreign media reports about the country’s hefty budget on keeping internal stability are misleading. Some foreign media reports emphasized that China paid more on weiwen, or stability management, than on military purposes, saying the move suggests China has to address “growing public discontent” by spending huge sums of money. “In government categories, China only has budgetary funds for necessary public security, which covers, for example, public health, public transportation and construction safety,” said the official, adding that some reports have misinterpreted or distorted the fact. “Many countries spent more on public security than on national defense,” the official said.
  • xinhua-China launches crackdown on illegal media organizations, fake reporters  The campaign primarily focuses on illegally-published newspapers and those with serial numbers of foreign publication registered overseas, according to the statement. The drive also targets media organizations operating without government approval, especially those established under the names of foreign media, as well as consulting firms disseminating illegal publications, the statement said. Under Chinese publishing regulations, foreign publications must be licensed by the government. Foreign publishers, news agencies or editing offices that engage in unlicensed publishing, printing and distribution are considered illegal.
  • Scapegoating others no answer to U.S. economic woes-Xinhua For the United States, it should put its house in order before chiding others. Since the onset of U.S. subprime crisis in 2007, it was the country’s domestic economic problems that triggered a disastrous financial crisis that swept the world. Excessive spending for many years has added up debts. Meanwhile, traditional strong industries such as finance and auto were devastated by the crisis, pushing up unemployment. In face of such serious domestic problems which probably could trigger a new global economic tsunami, many U.S. politicians seemed only to care about how many votes they could get, without having a single thought about what kind of the global responsibilities the country should take. Thus it should come as no surprise that the angry “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are calling for an end to the political tricks in Washington. Squeezing China, especially on the yuan, is an old trick in the run-up to U.S. presidential election. Such a tactic of scapegoating others may attract some voters’ attention, but is definitely no answer to America’s real problems.
  • Book: Rahm Emanuel Dumped Tons Of Freddie Mac Stock Days Before It Collapsed  this corruption may be even more insidious// Then-Rep. Emanuel reportedly sold up to $250,000 in Freddie Mac stock on February 21, 2003 days before it dropped by 10 percent — and weeks before it was publicly revealed that the entity was under criminal investigation for inflating earnings. The allegations are revealed in Peter Schwiezer’s new book “Throw Them All Out,” which will hit bookshelves tomorrow.
  • CONGRESS INSIDER TRADING SCANDAL IS OUTRAGEOUS: Rep. Spencer Bachus Should Resign In Disgrace And people say Chinese officials are corrupt// On the evening of September 18, at 7 p.m., Bachus received [a] private briefing for congressional leaders by Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke about the current state of the economy. They sat around a long table in the office of Nancy Pelosi, then the Speaker of the House. These briefings were secretive. Often, cell phones and Blackberrys had to be surrendered outside the room to avoid leaks. What Bachus and his colleagues heard behind closed doors was stunning. As Paulson recounts, “Ben [Bernanke] emphasized how the financial crisis could spill into the real economy. As stocks dropped perhaps a further 20 percent, General Motors would go bankrupt, and unemployment would rise . . . if we did nothing.” The members of Congress around the table were, in Paulson’s words, “ashen-faced.” Bernanke continued, “It is a matter of days before there is a meltdown in the global financial system.” Bachus was among those who spoke. According to Paulson, he suggested recapitalizing the banks by buying shares. The meeting broke up. The next day, September 19, Congressman Bachus bought contract options on Proshares Ultra-Short QQQ, an index fund that seeks results that are 200% of the inverse of the Nasdaq 100 index. In other words, he was shorting the market. It was an inexpensive way to bet that the market would fall. He bought options for $7,846 on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened at 8,604. A few days later, on September 23, after the market had indeed fallen, he sold the options for over $13,000 and nearly doubled his money.
  • China’s Subsiding Land Prices – China Real Time Report – WSJ That’s bad news for local government, who received almost 40% of their income from land sales in 2010. If prices fall, officials will be forced to sell higher volumes of land to make ends meet. It’s also bad news for developers, many of whom are sitting on large volumes of undeveloped land whose value may have to be written down. Jinsong Du, property analyst at Credit Suisse, says that China Overseas Land, which made substantial purchases at the top of the market at the end 2009 and beginning 2010, could be particularly at risk.
  • 攀钢的“钛图谋”:价格“心电图”的背后 – 产经 – 21世纪网 – big story brewing at Pangang Group Steel Vanadium & Titanium. for one, chairman went to US and has not returned, rumored to have been detained over corporate espionage
  • 淘宝系一天交易额超52亿 电商“光棍节”疯狂吸金 – 家电·电商 – 21世纪网 – “去年‘光棍节’绿盒子的销售额是1050万元,今年‘光棍节’,绿盒子在淘宝商城的四家店铺销售总额已超过3000万,加上绿盒子官网、拍拍、淘宝集市等各种电商渠道,一天的销售额突破4000万,几乎是去年的4倍。”昨日,当记者致电绿盒子公关经理李娅婷时,电话背景中一片忙乱的嘈杂声,她正在绿盒子嘉善地区2.5万平方米的仓库给货品打包。
  • 2000亿铁路救急款幕后_杂志频道_财新网 – 2000亿元铁路救急贷款为什么以及如何下发?2000亿元能挽救铁路的信用危机吗
  • 西安一肉夹馍店发生爆炸_资讯频道_凤凰网 – horrible gas explosion in Xian. lots of pictures
  • China unlikely to budge on thorny South China Sea dispute | Reuters – (Reuters) – Pressured at home and increasingly sensing a concerted regional effort to contain its territorial claims, China will be in no mood to make concessions on vast areas of the disputed South China Sea at two key east Asian summits in Indonesia this week.
  • Agenda | US-China Forum on the Arts and Culture
  • Heard on the Street: Big Relief For China’s Small Banks –– Is the People’s Bank of China providing some relief for cash-strapped smaller banks?So much happens under the surface that it is difficult to say for sure. But there are tantalizing suggestions that the answer is yes.
  • Is Israel Behind Iran’s Deadly Blast at Its Military Base? – TIME – the Mossad — the Israeli agency charged with covert operations — did it. “Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” the official tells TIME, adding that other sabotage is being planned to impede the Iranian ability to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. “There are more bullets in the magazine,” the official says.
  • Analysis: Botched Mars mission shows Russian industry troubles | Reuters – Russia’s unsuccessful launch of a Mars moon probe points up the problems of a once-pioneering space industry struggling to recover after a generation of brain drain and crimped budgets.
    An unmanned craft, launched last Wednesday in what was meant to be post-Soviet Russia’s interplanetary debut, got stuck in Earth’s orbit and may drop down into the atmosphere within days.The failure rattled Russian space officials but came as no surprise to many industry veterans who saw the ambitious mission to bring back dirt from the Martian moon Phobos as a pipe dream.
  • BAC selling stake in China Construction Bank – MarketWatch – NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.48% said Monday it reached and agreement to sell 10.4 billion shares of China Construction Bank. The Charlotte, N.C.-based lender said the sale will result in a pretax gain of $2.9 billion and an after-tax gain of $1.8 billion
  • President Obama’s focus is on China during Asia-Pacific trip –– Containment. And that is what China’s Asian neighbors want//The president is expected to signal that the U.S. can serve as a reliable counterweight to Beijing, and that it wants to shore up alliances in the region.
  • Obama to China: Behave like ‘grown up’ economy – TODAY News – – President Barack Obama served notice on Sunday that the United States was fed up with China’s trade and currency practices as he turned up the heat on America’s biggest economic rival.
    “Enough’s enough,” Obama said bluntly at a closing news conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit where he scored a significant breakthrough in his push to create a pan-Pacific free trade zone and promote green technologies.
  • ’60 Minutes’ on ‘honest graft’ – John Bresnahan –– CBS’ 60 Minutes went after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in a Sunday story covering allegations of insider trading and “soft corruption” by powerful members of Congress.60 Minutes based its report, which also focused on former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and ex-Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), on research by Peter Schweizer, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. Schweizer said he and his team of eight student researchers found “forms of honest graft” by lawmakers.
  • Russian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko’s aid to Iran offers peek at nuclear program – The Washington Post– When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1991, Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Soviet weapons scientist in need of a new line of work. At 57, he had three decades of experience inside a top-secret nuclear facility, and one marketable skill: the ability to make objects blow up with nanosecond precision.Danilenko struggled to become a businessman, traveling through Europe and even to the United States to promote an idea for using explosives to create synthetic diamonds. Finally, he turned to Iran, a country that could fully appreciate the bomb-maker’s special mix of experience and talents.
  • Canadian PM eyes China after US pipeline delay – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday that he was looking at exporting more oil to China after the United States delayed a decision on a controversial pipeline.
    President Barack Obama’s administration last week put off a decision on Keystone XL project after a major protest campaign by environmentalists, who say the pipeline would be prone to accidents and worsen climate change.
  • Chinese executioner says job not “complicated” – Yahoo! News – Hu Xiao says his job as one of China’s executioners is usually not very complicated, except for the time when a prisoner he was about to kill stood up and ran toward his loaded rifle.
    The rare glimpse into the ranks of China’s executioners appeared in the Beijing Evening News newspaper on Monday.
    Hu, a veteran judicial police officer, described the routine of shooting dead prisoners convicted of murder and other capital crimes in China, which rights groups say carries out more judicial killings each year than anywhere else in the world.
    “In fact, it’s not as complicated as outsiders think. We all use rifles, stand about four meters from the condemned prisoner with a barrel one meter-long, take aim, press the trigger, and that’s that,” Hu told the newspaper.
  • New Huntsman web video criticizes Romney on China stance – CNN Political Ticker – Blogs – Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – The other GOP candidates may have hesitated to target Mitt Romney during presidential debates, but rival Jon Huntsman continued this web attacks on Romney Monday with a new online video critiquing his China policy proposals.
  • North by Northwest China Wine Challenge: The Winners | Grape Wall of China – Fourteen judges gathered in the Hilton Beijing last Saturday to try two dozen Chinese wines from the north and northwestern regions of the nation. To the best of my knowledge, the wines were made solely with grapes grown in China. The operations included Grace Vineyard and Chateau Rongzi from Shanxi, Jade Valley from Shaanxi, Helan Qing Xue, Silver Heights and Domaine Helan Mountain from Ningxia, Hansen from Inner Mongolia, Sunshine Valley from Gansu, and 1421 from Xinjiang.
  • Pakistan and China stage war games – Yahoo! News
  • A Desperate Apartment Seller In Beijing | Sinocism– Sunday I received an email from a real estate broker offering a huge discount on an apartment in Fortune Heights (御金台), one of Beijing’s top apartment buildings, located in Beijing CBD. The reason for the discount? The seller desperately needs to raise 20 million RMB for his company.I have roughly translated and paraphrased parts of the original email:
  • China Sent 157,588 Students to U.S. Colleges, Most of Any Nation – Businessweek– Students from China at U.S. colleges and universities surged 23 percent this year to 157,558, accounting for more than a fifth of all international scholars in the country.For the second year in a row, China sent the most students to the U.S., followed by India, which sent 103,895, and South Korea, with 73,351, according to a report released today from the Institute of International Education, a nonprofit organization based in New York.The total number of international students in the U.S. climbed 4.7 percent in the 2010-2011 academic year to 723,277, with the fastest growth coming from China and Saudi Arabia, which sent 22,704 students, a 44 percent increase.
  • China’s Total Local Debt May Top Audit Estimates, Observer Says – Bloomberg – China’s local government debt may be almost 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) higher than the figure given by the nation’s audit office, if loans taken out by township governments are included, the Economic Observer reported, citing research from an independent institute.
    Borrowing by townships, an administrative tier of government below provinces, cities and counties, wasn’t included in a report by the National Audit Office in June that put debt from those three levels at 10.7 trillion yuan, the weekly newspaper said in a report on its website dated Nov. 12, citing Beijing Fost Economic Consulting Company.
  • Hidden Property Loans may Reach CNY10 Tril, Imperiling Banks-Caijing– The existence of hidden loans will greatly affect the results of stress tests on property loans in future. A top banking executive on the condition of anonymity said the recent round of stress test has already factored in the “hidden property loans.”Despite this, however, results of the stress tests would be deflected on uncertainties and inaccuracy in the grey loans.The risks associated with Chinese banks’ property loans are “totally controllable” even in the worst case scenario where real-estate prices fall 50 percent, Former head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission Lu Mingkang told a financial forum last Friday.
  • Philippines rejects new Chinese territorial claim – Yahoo! News – An official says the Philippines has dismissed a Chinese claim to territory less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from a Philippine province in the latest dispute in the increasingly tense South China Sea.
  • 江泽民频繁现身有深意_多维新闻网 – 因此,江泽民在近期接连现身,以及中共乐此不疲的宣传,可能是在向外界发出信息:江现在仍然发挥着影响力,中国政局仍然稳如泰山,十八大按部就班,大家该干嘛干嘛去吧。
  • Manager of Portfolio management at Baidu, Inc. in Beijing – Job | LinkedIn
  • China railway officials fired for fraud over “trash” bridge – Yahoo! News – BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Railways Ministry fired 10 officials for fraud for allowing contractors to use substandard materials, including “waste,” to build railway bridges, state media reported on Monday.
    It was the latest setback for the ministry, which has been plagued by a string of management, safety and financial problems.
    China Railway No.9 Group Co, the main contractor for a 2.3 billion yuan ($363 million) project in northeast China’s Jilin province, illegally subcontracted to unqualified companies in October, the China Daily said.
  • Analysis: Obama toughens tone with China as businesses vent – Yahoo! News – The head of Boeing chose his words carefully as he explained to President Barack Obama the “dilemma” that Corporate America faces in trying to do business in China.
    “We see a world where our interests lay in both competing with China … and also engaging with China for access to its market,” Jim McNerney, Boeing Co’s chief executive officer, said on Saturday as he interviewed Obama at the APEC business leaders’ summit.
  • Fund file: China’s dismal marathon | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –– For fund managers wondering whether China will confound nay-sayers and begin to offer the prospect of lucrative returns for foreign fund managers, the answer has not changed. It is: no, not yet.On the contrary, near term profitability is shrinking, according to a report in Monday’s FTfm.In fact, consulting firm Cerulli Associates paints an extremely dismal picture of current prospects in China.“China’s retail fund industry is bracing through an immaculate storm,” Cerulli’s report says.
  • Whither The China Fantasy? | Sinocism – Do Western nations have any credible leverage that they are willing to use in this time of economic turmoil? No. So either people continue to fantasize or start to recognize reality.
  • China’s economic rise hasn’t brought moves toward democracy | McClatchy– The juxtaposition of the two events — a stage-managed election marred by thuggish behavior and the West’s lender of last resort looking for cash — was a reminder of a central question surrounding China’s growing strength on the world stage:What are the consequences of an opaque, authoritarian government hurtling toward such immense international power?The lack of a clear answer has created an ambiguous and, to critics, an unsettling situation.
  • Companies That Aid Syria Crackdown Deserve Sanctions’ Slap: View – Bloomberg – Terrible things tend to happen when Syrian security officials catch their quarry. Dissidents are detained, tortured and sometimes killed.
    It is thus disturbing to learn that U.S. and European technology companies are working to help the regime of President Bashar al-Assad monitor Internet traffic to keep tabs on citizens. A Bloomberg News investigation revealed that the Italian company Area SpA has been installing a wide-reaching surveillance system for the Syrians, using equipment from the U.S. company NetApp Inc. (NTAP), France’s Qosmos SA and Germany’s Utimaco Safeware AG.
  • Letters · LRB 17 November 2011-Mishra vs Ferguson – It is not my habit to reply to hostile book reviews, but a personal attack that amounts to libel is another matter. Pankaj Mishra purports to discuss my book Civilisation: The West and the Rest, but in reality his review is a crude attempt at character assassination, which not only mendaciously misrepresents my work but also strongly implies that I am a racist (LRB, 3 November).
  • Ai Weiwei Speaks Out on His Detention – The Daily Beast– China’s most famous dissident artist, Ai Weiwei, speaks out about the ordeal of his Detention.“It’s beautiful to know that people still have the desire to speak out,” Ai says. “This demonstrates how people support us. They have never had a channel to express themselves.”Ai has found supporters in surprising places—even in detention. Some of the guards, he said, “don’t believe what they see either. They keep saying, ‘I’m just doing my job.’ Even the first person interviewing me said, ‘I have to do my job very strictly. But you can always answer, ‘I don’t know, I don’t remember.’ I thought, ‘Wow, this is one of my guys here,’?” Ai says. One interrogator apologized: “?‘Gosh, maybe you’re well known, but I don’t know you. Sorry, I’m a bit embarrassed. I had to go online and check you out.’?”..Ai believes the world shares responsibility for what’s happening in China, and he wants to force the international community to pay attention. “Today, the West feels very shy about human rights and the political situation. They’re in need of money. But every penny they borrowed or made from China has really come as a result of how this nation sacrificed everybody’s rights,” he says. “With globalization and the Internet, we all know it. Don’t pretend you don’t know it. The Western politicians—shame on them if they say they’re not responsible for this. It’s getting worse, and it will keep getting worse.”
  • China Shock of 5% Growth Seen Deferred by Migrant Manufacturers – Bloomberg – Rising labor costs and a shrinking supply of workers in coastal areas are threatening to sap China’s strength in exports, which account for more than a fifth of gross domestic product. To cope, the maker of women’s and men’s fashion footwear has chosen to tap a pool of cheaper labor in Yongzhou, Hunan province.
    “Within a year, our Guangzhou factory will only make samples,” sales manager Leon Zeng said.
    The more companies that join Guangzhou Constant in keeping production within China’s borders instead of decamping to Asian neighbors such as Bangladesh, Vietnam or Indonesia, the longer the world’s second-largest economy may avoid slumping to less than 5 percent annual growth, an outcome investors in a Bloomberg poll forecast by 2016.
  • 央视春晚取消“观众最喜爱节目”评选_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示:日前,经央视春晚宣传组证实,龙年春晚将取消“我最喜爱的春节联欢晚会节目评选”。央视表示,取消评选的原因是是多年来评选结果与实际不符,并且对今年“回家过大年”的主题没有意义。