China Readings for October 19th

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

If you like this free daily roundup you can subscribe to it either through RSS or email. See the links to either option at the top right of the page.

  • Scandals put a big dent in donations|Society| – One of the largest Chinese charities dedicated to fighting poverty has collected only about half of the money it expected to so far this year.
    On Monday, Liu Wenkui, deputy director of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, said the foundation has raised 150 million yuan ($23.5 million) since the beginning of this year, which is only half of the 300 million yuan it hoped to raise in 2011.
    Liu blames the disappointing results on the series of scandals that have hit charity organizations in recent months and the effect they have had on public opinion, according to the Beijing Times.
    In June, a young woman named Guo Meimei claimed online that she was the general manager of “Red Cross Commerce” – an organization the Red Cross Society of China says does not exist – and posted pictures of herself with a luxury car and bags. The behavior provoked a public debate over whether the charity had misused donations.
    In September, media outlets reported that a branch of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Henan province had embezzled charitable donations and lent large amounts of money to real-estate companies for the construction of luxury apartments.
  • Stage set to boost culture|Politics| – The importance of promoting culture, both domestically and internationally, was placed center stage at a key leadership meeting.
    A pledge was made to boost China’s cultural influence internationally and provide the sector with more resources domestically at a plenary session of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, which ended on Tuesday.
    President Hu Jintao addressed the meeting, which opened on Saturday.
    In a guideline endorsed at the conference, the leaders stressed that China is facing an imperative need to boost its “cultural soft power” and enhance the global image of its culture.
    Culture is emerging as an important part of the country’s comprehensive competitiveness, according to a communiqu released at the end of the meeting.
    The country should not only provide its people with an ample material life, but also a healthy and rich cultural life, the document said.
    “Culture has increasingly become a major element bringing together the people and the creative power of the Chinese nationality,” the communiqu said.
    “It is a major factor in the nation’s comprehensive competitiveness as well as the backbone of the country’s economic and social development.
  • China vaccinates 4.5 million in fight against polio – Yahoo! News – China vaccinated 4.5 million children and young adults over the last five weeks in the western region of Xinjiang in a fight against polio after the disease paralyzed 17 people and killed one of them, the World Health Organization said.
    Polio has broken out in China for the first time since 1999 and scientists say the strain originated from Pakistan. The outbreak marked the latest setback to a global campaign to eradicate polio, now endemic in only four countries — Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria.
  • Communist Party of China to hold 18th national congress in 2nd half of 2012 – The Communist Party of China (CPC) will convene its 18th national congress in the second half of 2012 in Beijing, the CPC Central Committee announced after concluding a plenum Tuesday.
  • China adopts cultural development guideline to boost soft power– Leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tuesday adopted a guideline that is aimed at boosting China’s soft power and maintain “cultural security” following the ongoing economic boom.The 17th Central Committee of the CPC closed its sixth plenary session and approved a decision on deepening the reform of China’s cultural system and promoting the development of the cultural industry.

    The country will work to improve Chinese citizens’ sense of identity and confidence in Chinese culture, according to a statement issued after the session.

  • 十七届中央委员会第六次全体会议公报(全文)–时政–人民网 – report of the 6th plenum of the 17th party congress
  • 人民日报-人民网 – classic people’s daily front page on Hu Jintao’s important speech after 6th plenum of 17th party congress
  • 腾讯参股开心网 投资额约一亿美元 – 产经 – 21世纪网– 10月17日,一则关于“腾讯收购开心网部分股份”的信息在网上不胫而走。至截稿时,腾讯、开心网双方都未对此发表正式通告。记者从一位投资界人士处证实了最新的消息:“腾讯参股开心网确有其事,投资额估计应在一亿美元左右。”


  • New Apple CEO TIm Cook Details International Market Strategy – Liz Gannes – News – AllThingsD
  • Chanos: China’s hard-landing has already begun – Hedge Funds – MarketWatch– China is heading into an economic storm, and the much-feared hard-landing of the world’s second-largest economy has already started, warned celebrated hedge-fund manager and China-bear Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates on Monday.“The numbers are falling faster than we thought,” said Chanos during an exclusive interview with MarketWatch on the sidelines of the 7th Annual New York Value Investing Congress.
  • Romney plan: Attack China, win the Valley – Michelle Quinn –– Mitt Romney seems to have settled on an unorthodox tack to win hearts and minds in Silicon Valley: Go after China.At first blush, the strategy looks like a surefire winner, allowing Romney to tap into populist protectionist sentiment and air tech industry grievances about intellectual property theft all at once.
  • Real-Name System Proposed for China’s Rowdy Microbloggers – China Real Time Report – WSJ– VERY DIFFERENT INCENTIVES FOR GOVERNMENT TO PUSH REAL NAME WEIBO REGISTRATION. AND TECHNICALLY NOT HARD TO DO. SEE THIS FROM AUGUST:Real Name Registration Requirement Coming For Weibo And Other Chinese Social Media?-DigiCha//the state-run Beijing Daily has published a stridently worded editorial calling for a major change in the way China’s microblogging services work (in Chinese). Blogger Catherine Yeung has translated the crucial passage:

    A basic measure to safeguard the integrity of the microblogging service is to establish a real-name system, whereby bloggers are required to show their real identity when they openly publish information or express their opinion. This encourages them to be responsible for themselves as well as for society. It is the only way to eradicate those who are hiding in a dark corner in disguise while they are brewing rumors and “firing illegal guns.”

    How credible is the threat?

    China’s Internet regulators have proposed using real-name registration to fight the “firing of illegal guns” in the past, though they’ve rarely followed through. Popular opposition and the difficulty of implementing an effective system for verifying users’ identities have generally made the effort more trouble than its worth.

  • Russia’s Eastern Anxieties –– Traffic around Tiananmen Square was even worse than usual last week as President Vladimir Putin rolled through town to cement the supposedly flowering Chinese-Russian relationship. A series of high-level deals were signed between Chinese and Russian state-owned enterprises and China announced a substantial infusion into the new Russian Direct Investment Fund.While cordial, an unspoken undertone to the meetings was Russian concern about growing Chinese influence in the former Soviet Union and particularly Central Asia.
  • Warming Revives Old Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic –– Tschudi, a Norwegian shipping company, has bought and revived an idled iron ore mine in the north of Norway to ship ore to China through the Northeast Passage. The voyage to Lianyungang in China took 21 days in 2010, compared with the 37 days typically required to sail to China through the Suez. Tschudi executives estimate they save $300,000 a trip.“Very few people in the shipping community know about this route,” Felix Tschudi, the chairman, said in an interview.
  • China not yet getting its message across|Comment| – Presented in the right way Chinese public diplomacy could communicate the hope and confidence needed to lift Europe and the US out of their financial crisis. China has a great story to tell. But polls show the message is not getting across.
    Websites now dominate information distribution inside China. That is also the case outside of China. But, it is very difficult to find websites in English about Chinese provinces, cities or major cultural attractions that make an impact oversea. Where there are websites, almost all lack a design that appeals to foreign cultural tastes. Many sites make assumptions about knowledge of Chinese culture that foreigners simply do not possess.
    Certainly it is the case that foreign media do not help with building understanding; much of what is happening in China goes unreported and what is reported is often negative. There is a vast opportunity for China to provide much more information in a style designed to appeal to foreign tastes.
    If China is to successfully use public diplomacy two issues need to be addressed.
    The first is that there is a vast lack of Chinese international communications skills. Maybe this is a reason why Chinese businesses and organizations “Going Out” do not communicate well. With the right training Chinese businesses and organizations could greatly advance Chinese public diplomacy. This lack of skills could be dealt with through strategic investment in training linked to boosting public diplomacy.
    The second issue is that China has become greatly dependent on foreign communications groups. Research shows that there are only two Chinese controlled communications companies with any global reach. For Chinese business and organizations following the “Go Out”policies it means they often have no choice but to use foreign controlled communications support.