China Readings for October 17th

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

  • Thousands of Stone Age tools unearthed in north China– Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone implements dating back about 40,000 to 70,000 years in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, sources said Thursday.Archaeologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Erdos Bronzeware Museum started excavating an area in the basin of the Ulan Mulun River in April, discovering more than 4,200 stone implements, including stone flakes, saw-shaped tools and remnant stones, according to Hou Yamei, the leader of the excavation team.
  • Thailand, China to cooperate closely in probe into killing of Chinese sailors– Chinese and Thai authorities will closely cooperate with each other in investigating the killing of at least 12 Chinese sailors on a section of Mekong River earlier this month, senior Chinese and Thai officials said here on Sunday.”We hope the Thai authorities will continue to give every possible convenience to the Chinese work team in Thailand and strive for progress in investigation,” said Guo Shaochun, head of a team of officials dispatched by the Chinese government for works related to the attack.
  • Taobao should respond to vendors’ requests: MOC– JACK MA HAS CREATED A HUGE MESS, ESPECIALLY BAD TIMING GIVEN ALL THE PROBLEMS SMSs ARE HAVING//The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) urged Taobao Mall, a unit of Alibaba Group, to actively respond to the pertinent requests of small merchandisers who protested the website’s membership fee hike.

    The MOC is very concerned about the recent protests against Taobao Mall, the country’s largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, and will try to defuse the conflict in order to stabilize prices and support small businesses, according to a statement posted on its website.

  • It’s Not Just the Currency – New York Times OpEd– We have no sympathy for the desire of China’s autocrats to stifle political freedoms, but their fear that a swift change in course could lead to social and political upheaval is legitimate. Even if China’s leaders were persuaded of the need to change, it could not happen overnight. If the currency rose too fast, it would slash exports, bankrupt many firms and increase joblessness. Other needed components of reform — like raising interest rates and freeing credit from state control — could bankrupt firms and banks if done too abruptly.In June, a report by the International Monetary Fund argued that, alone, a 20 percent revaluation of the Chinese currency would do little to improve the trade balances of its largest trading partners, including the United States. It recommended a reform package for China that included letting the renminbi rise at a brisker pace, allowing interest rates to rise, expanding social spending and allowing workers to move freely in search of better jobs.

    A more expensive renminbi is part of the answer for China and its trading partners. But the trade problem won’t really be addressed until China’s consumers start saving less and spending more — including on American products.

  • Village China in Anhui– Village China, comprised of Village China Experience and Village China Project, was founded by members of a team who participated in the cross-cultural Yin Yu Tang house project at the Peabody Essex Museum.  The invaluable cultural lessons offered by the Yin Yu Tang house project is well documented in a recent article in the Martha Stewart Living magazine.   Moved by their own deep educational experiences in Huang Cun, the hometown of Yin Yu Tang, concerned with the value in modern times of preserving traditional village culture manifest in Yin Yu Tang, and wanting to benefit Yin Yu Tang’s home village, the group decided to create an institute to:To broaden the understanding of traditional Chinese rural culture through immersion in the lifestyles of one specific Huizhou village, Huang Cun.

    To preserve the village of Huang Cun so that it can maintain its rich identity as a typical Huizhou agricultural society; to assist Huang Cun’s residents in developing a plan for thoughtful, sustainable progress while honoring their existing traditions and thereby become a model to further inspire preservation and sustainable development in other villages throughout China.

    To preserve the specific building, Zhong Xian Di, its history, its historic fabric and construction techniques.

  • “变形”中的海岸线 – 宏观 – 21世纪网 – 中国的海岸线被彻底改变,海岸边的人们、海岸边的景观也再回不到过去。
  • 借贷之城再发大案 苏叶女案或涉及10亿元 – 行业情报 – 21世纪网– 1B+ RMB underground “bank” in Ordos Mongolia collapsing. again.//9月26日,鄂尔多斯东胜区经侦大队的铁门口贴上了一纸通告:兹因我局办理苏叶女非法吸收公众存款一案现已经进入立案侦查阶段,限仍未到我局报案的出借人在2011年10月26日前到经侦大队报案。



  • Huawei goes on attack against US restrictions –– THIS IS A DUMB STRATEGY. HOPE WILLIAM PLUMMER MAKING A HUGE SALARY//Huawei, the Chinese telecoms company, has launched an aggressive counter-offensive
    against the US government, saying it is high time the US detail “unsubstantiated” national security concerns in the wake of a decision to block the business from building a national emergency communications network.
    “Stop the manufactured fear. If you have something to say, substantiate it,” said William Plummer, Huawei’s vice-president of external affairs. The comments represent the most assertive response the company has made since the US began systematically blocking the company from acquiring US assets in 2008.
  • China needs a long-term solution for its property woes –– The good news is China managed a property slowdown in 2004 without far-reaching macroeconomic consequences. And the bubble story assumes, often mistakenly, that local anecdotes of speculative activity and oversupply are national. It also ignores rising household incomes, urban house price-to-income ratios and rising demand for new and refurbished homes. A shake-out of weak developers and property assets, and some recapitalisation of banks are all manageable.The bad news is that China has a big problem with leverage in local and provincial governments, which are responsible for infrastructure and land development. This has been likened locally to China’s subprime equivalent.

    Local governments have significant exposure to property values and collateral and are heavily indebted with liabilities of at least 30 per cent of GDP. Many are facing cash-flow problems and are prone to default, with large refinancings and repayments due in the next two years.

  • Little to trust in organic labeling of food — Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 — English Window to China New– MOST food certified as organic in China falls below required standards because of poor regulation of certification agencies, according to industry insiders.Wang Hao, who has opened an organic food store in Beijing, said some suppliers “simply change the packaging and turn normal food into organic,” the China Times reported.
  • China Bailing Out Europe (Again)? Don’t Make The Head Of Greater China Research At Standard Chartered Bank Laugh | ZeroHedge
  • Letter from China: Can Twitter Be Made in China? : The New Yorker– From June 2011//When I asked Bill Bishop about this, he said that the chances of a major Weibo push into the U.S. is overhyped—“If Sina tries a massive global expansion for Weibo right now, I think investors will give them a haircut”—and suggested that English Weibo will probably just be a way for Western firms to establish a place on Sina. But he also raised an intriguing angle: “Perhaps we need to differentiate between U.S.-Europe-and-Japan versus the developing world. A lot of governments, especially after this Mideast Spring, are likely quite welcoming of the Chinese approach to net management.”

    He has a point: the real story will not be when Weibo breaks into English, but when it débuts in Farsi, Arabic, and Burmese.

  • Inside Tencent Weibo International Edition – A Tiny Experiment, No Twitter-Killer | TechRice– First, let’s not fool ourselves and see this as a move to destroy Twitter, ’cause that ain’t going to happen. So please spare us the “Watch Out Twitter” articles. This is a tiny experiment, not a Twitter-killer.According to Tencent Weibo’s Chief Commander  Xing HongYu, the English version is the first step in capturing the international market, non-Chinese speaking users. My guess is the target is mostly Asia Pacific users from countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.

    Also it’s expected for Tencent to push yet another of its product on to the international stage after its QQ International, which hasn’t had much of an impact.

  • The Party’s no fun for children of the revolution– The event was ostensibly a private tribute to the leaders who had closed the door on the Cultural Revolution exactly 35 years before by arresting the widow of Chairman Mao and three other radical Politburo members who were later labelled ”the Gang of Four”.All the major figures of that momentous historical disjunction – including the then party chief Hua Guofeng, Marshal Ye, Mao’s chief bodyguard Wang Dongxing and Li Xiannian, who was later promoted to president – were represented last week by their children. Also present that evening were children of the then head of China’s intelligence network, the navy and assorted vice-premiers, ministers and generals.

    Marshal Ye’s nephew, a powerful princeling in his own right called Ye Xuanji, hosted the event and highlighted the unsung achievements of Mao’s successor, Hua Guofeng.

  • Sinica podcast on the 1911 Revolution | Jottings from the Granite Studio – For those who have not yet reached their saturation point for 1911 centennial pontificating, be sure to check out David Moser (my opposite number at CET and a brilliant scholar based here in Beijing) and I discussing all things Sun Yat-sen and 1911 on this week’s Sinica podcast produced by the good people at Pop-up Chinese and hosted, as always, by the inimitable Kaiser Kuo.
  • 国家博物馆被曝以每场25万出租场地办私人婚礼_新闻中心_新浪网– 工作人员称场租25万元,若想办婚礼可联系场馆办公室;国博表示不存在市场操作的费用  本报讯 昨日,有市民爆料称,中国国家博物馆5楼正在举办私人婚礼。记者实地探访,相关工作人员称,租用场地费用是25万元。


  • We’re taking China’s pesticide perpetrators Tesco and Lianhua to court | Greenpeace East Asia– Here at Greenpeace we’re demanding the major supermarkets completely halt their use of illegal pesticides or at levels exceeding the legal limit, then ban the worst of the worst pesticide use immediately for their fresh and unpacked produce and finally absolutely no selling of GE food. And we’re not only walking up to the head offices of these chain supermarkets and demanding it – we’re hauling them into court and doing it. And we’re not only walking up to the head offices of these chain supermarkets and demanding it – we’re hauling them into court and doing it.In Beijing we’re bringing in Tesco to the Beijing Secondary People’s Court (北京市第二中级法院), while in Shanghai Lianhua will have to answer for their illegal activities at the Shanghai District Court (上海地方法院). This follows our recent report that revealed the two supermarkets’ dirty pesticide habit. Examples included a green vegetable from Tesco turning up methamidophos and monocrotophos, the use of which has been prohibited in China since the beginning of year 2007. And at Lianhua a Chinese leek sample contained pesticide residue procymidone levels of 1.05 mg/kg (far exceeding the Chinese MRL standard of 0.02 mg/kg).
  • Mustang: A Kingdom on the Edge – Al Jazeera Correspondent – Al Jazeera English– While Tibetan Buddhism is squeezed inside of China’s borders, there is a place where it still survives intact: Upper Mustang – a once forbidden kingdom high in the Nepalese Himalayas.Al Jazeera’s Steve Chao travels there to document the fight to preserve an ancient culture, as China expands its influence into Nepal, and the modern world slowly creeps in.
  • Myanmar Relaxes Media Grip –– Myanmar residents knew something unusual was afoot this August when state-run newspapers suddenly dropped their regular slogans denouncing the BBC and the Voice of America for “sowing hatred among the people,” followed by moves to unblock their websites in the country.Pictures and articles about famed dissident Aung San Suu Kyi began showing up in the press for the first time in years. Journalists have started posting articles online without the approval of government censors—previously a no-no—and even dared to criticize government policies in print.