China Readings for September 7th

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

These are my links for September 7th

  • China Says It Will Tighten Arms Sales Procedures – – Good luck//
    BEIJING — China will tighten its procedures for selling weapons abroad after the disclosure last week that state-owned arms manufacturers were negotiating arms sales to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government as it sought to fend off rebel fighters this summer, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.
  • Asia Society announces finalists for Bernard Schwartz Book Award – Think Tanked – The Washington Post– The 2011 finalists are:•Mao’s Great Famine: A History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, by Frank Dikötter

    •No Man’s Land: Globalization, Territory, and Clandestine Groups in Southeast Asia, by Justin V. Hastings (Cornell University Press)

    •The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers, by Richard McGregor (HarperCollins Publishers)

    •Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia, by Dan Slater (Cambridge University Press)

    •Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, by Tuong Vu (Cambridge University Press)

  • Could Regulatory Winter Be Coming For China Internet Investors? | DigiCha– Coincidences are rare in China, especially when they involve state media. In the space of a few weeks we have heard from various official or semi-official media about the dangers of online rumors, the risks from excessive foreign ownership of China’s Internet companies, new rules that could potentially invalidate the corporate structure of most Chinese Internet companies, rumors of a real name registration policy for microblog and other social media users, and the launch by Sina of new rumor busting features. Tightening is coming, the question is how far it will go.(Note I do not include the CCTV attacks on Baidu ($BIDU). Given the limited media coverage outside of CCTV, the reports appear to be related to some CCTV-Baidu specific issue.)

    Clearly investors should be factoring in more regulatory risk, though it is unlikely that we will see major services like Sina or Tencent Weibo shut. But do not be surprised to see new microblog restrictions that reduce some of its vitality and increase Weibo content management (aka censorship) costs for Sina and Tencent. However, I would be shocked if Weibos were neutered to such an extent that they are no longer viable products. As Keso argued months ago in Three Reasons The Government Is Unlikely To Shutdown Sina Weibo:

    1. People need an outlet for their views and emotions, and a visible one is safer than an invisible one;
    2. Sina Weibo is controlled by people the government trusts, and the risks from shutting Weibo are greater than the risks from not shutting it;
    3. The government can use Weibo to its advantage. (See China Media Project-China’s Leaders Embrace Social Media.)

    A bigger risk to Sina investors may not be a Weibo shutdown but a Weibo restructuring, along the lines of Alipay’s “conversion” to a 100% locally owned firm. Microblogs are at least as important to national security as are online payments, so it is not inconceivable that the government could “encourage” a Weibo spinout into a foreign shareholder-free firm. It is also possible that Sina management might not be too unhappy with such a scenario, as they have almost sold off their entire Sina stakes and appear to have already allocated shares for themselves in a Weibo subsidiary. Remember, I am speculating here about possible scenarios, not actually saying this will happen.

  • Chinese Government Officials Confirm HRBN and DEER Committed Multi-Million Dollar Land Fraud — Time for U.S. Regulators to Act – Harbin Electric (NASDAQ: HRBN) and Deer Consumer Products (NASDAQ: DEER) stocks should both be halted from trading until their managements restate their financials to correct egregiously exaggerated prices they claim they paid for recent land use rights purchases.  In the case of HRBN, management claims they paid $23 million cash as of June 30th, 2011 as a deposit on $38 million of land use rights priced at 500,000 RMB per Mu, double the government’s offering price.  This $23 million prepayment was in fact never made.  In the case of DEER, management reported paying $37 million to purchase land use rights but failed to disclose receipt of $21 million in rebates.  Our report today provides concrete evidence consisting of multiple recorded phone calls, on site visits and emails with government officials proving beyond any doubt that HRBN and DEER are both guilty of conducting very similar fraudulent land use rights purchase schemes to steal money from their shareholders.  HRBN’s auditor, Frazer Frost, failed to respond to our attempt to share our findings last week.  DEER’s management has repeatedly refused to address our findings and tried unsuccessfully for several months to conceal the truth.  This morning we handed over all our evidence to officials at NASDAQ and the SEC prior to publishing this report.
  • China’s Peaceful Development – – as long as neighbors do what china wants. all those new weapons systems are not just jobs programs
  • Endless War and the culture of unrestrained power – Glenn Greenwald –– But it’s not merely the existence of ongoing Endless War that is so destructive — both to the nation perpetrating it on the world and to its victims. Far worse is what is being done to prosecute that war, the transformation of government institutions and their relationship to the citizenry to sustain it, and, most enduringly of all, the mentality that it has spawned and entrenched. Yesterday, The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson examined recently emerged evidence that the U.S. and Britain purposely sent detainees to be tortured by their good friend (now known as The New Hitler) Moammar Gadaffi, but it is her last paragraph that really captures the true State of Things — now more than ever — in post-9/11 America:Its dealings in Libya are not the C.I.A.’s only problem; nor is the C.I.A. the only problem. The Washington Post has two new pieces in its “Top Secret America” series that one should read. The first, by Julie Tate and Greg Miller, is on the C.I.A.’s shift away from learning things and toward killing people considered dangerous (and who makes that call?), with analysts becoming “targeters.” The other, by Dana Priest and William Arkin, is about the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, which has held some thousand prisoners “in jails that it alone controls in Iraq and Afghanistan.” (“We’re the dark matter. We’re the force that orders the universe but can’t be seen,” a SEAL told the Post.) The “C.I.A.” binder in Tripoli included “a list of 89 questions for the Libyans to ask a suspect,” the Times said. We should have at least that many — many more — for our own government.
  • $52 Steaks on Menu as AT&T Feted Lawmakers During T-Mobile Push – Bloomberg – Corruption American-style. But the fiddles these bastards are playing are all made in China//
    AT&T supplemented its own in-house lobbyists with 18 outside firms pushing for the merger, Senate records show. The firm of former U.S. senators John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat, and Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, received $240,000. A company headed by former U.S. Representative J.C. Watts, an Oklahoma Republican, got $100,000.
    K Street
    Former House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin’s firm was paid $50,000, while Wiley Rein LLP, a law firm on Washington’s K Street co-founded by former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Richard Wiley, received $160,000.
    Clyburn Consulting LLC, where the principal is William Clyburn Jr., a cousin to Representative James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, received $60,000. James Clyburn is father of Mignon Clyburn, one of three Democrats on the FCC. The agency is continuing its review of the merger.
  • Chinese oil spill raises concerns for foreign groups –– Dunno, sounds like conoco fouled china’s waters, though quite as bad as BP fouled US waters//An oil spill off the coast of China at a field operated by ConocoPhillips has sparked concerns about discrimination against foreign companies and underscored how Chinese regulators are getting stricter on pollution.
    China, the world’s biggest consumer of energy, has ambitious plans to develop offshore oil and gas, particularly in the challenging but gas-rich terrain of the South China Sea.

    But China’s first publicly disclosed spill from an offshore oil rig, in Bohai off the northern coast, has been met with a harsh response from regulators that many believe signals a new era of tightening regulations for offshore drilling in China.

  • China and Gadhafi Not as Friendly as Some Assume – China Real Time Report – WSJ– The relationship between Beijing and Tripoli during the 42-year reign of Col. Moammar Gadhafi included a narrative of brothers-in-arms solidarity and plenty of anti-imperialism rhetoric. But now that it appears to be ending, that relationship looks like it was more delicate than most realize.In recent years, the Libyan regime clashed with the Chinese on everything from the rising power’s inroads into Africa to Col. Gadhafi’s economic and political ties with Taiwan. China, which is scouring the world for resources to feed its economy, saw its crude imports from Libya more than double since 2008. But its state-owned oil companies seemed to lack the needed political capital with the Gadhafi regime to gain significant stakes in crude-oil assets in Libya, home to Africa’s largest proven oil reserves.
  • 北京第一高楼的隐喻_财新网 What Does Beijing Highest Building Symbolize? Caixin – 如何彰显一个城市或机构的强盛、富裕,令人仰视?目前看,最容易的就是摩天高楼了
    【财新网】(记者 王玉虎)下周,高达510米的北京CBD核心区标志性建筑“中国尊”将开工奠基。根据CBD管委会发布的消息,“中国尊”预计五年内建成,建成后将超过目前北京第一高楼——330米的国贸三期,标注北京的新高度。
  • A world of diminishing returns for celebrity advertising in China | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times –– Apparently China’s celebrities are overworked.According to a new report from Ogilvy & Mather and Millward Brown, Middle Kingdom’s Celebrities-to-be: Faceless People and Unsung Heroes – Imperatives for Celebrity Advertising in China, famous global brands are confusing the poor Chinese consumer by using the same celebrities for a bewildering range of different products.
  • 50 State Attorney General Effort to Sell Out to Banks Makes Even More Egregious Offer « naked capitalism – RULE OF LAW AMERICAN STYLE:
    The so-called 50 state attorney general mortgage settlement negotiations (a bit of a misnomer, since at least 4 attorneys general appear to be out, and various Federal banking regulators are alos party to the deal) are looking more and more like a desperate effort to reach any kind of a deal so as to save the officialdom’s face. The only good news is the banks are so insistent on total victory that despite the efforts to pretend the talks are making progress, the odds of a deal being consummated still look remote.It is nevertheless frustrating to continue to see the media depict the flailing about by the attorneys general headed by Tom Miller as progress. I’ve been involved in negotiations for much of my career, and I’ve never seen so much incompetence on open display. The Financial Times headline, “US banks offered deal over lawsuit” is substantively misleading. You can’t credibly put forward a proposal unless your side has signed off on it. Yet he has just made an offer that his own side may not support. And this isn’t the first time Miller has pulled this trick.

    Per the Financial Times:

    According to five people with direct knowledge of the discussions, state prosecutors have proposed settlement language in the “robosigning” case that also might release the companies from legal liability for wrongful securitisation practices.

    Some state officials have expressed concern that they have offered the banks far too broad a release from liability. Others say the broad language was perhaps inadvertently crafted and will be tightened as negotiations continue. Participants on both sides stressed the talks remain fluid.

  • Li Yang of Crazy English to get dumped by wife? – Shanghaiist – The woman that’s been going on Sina Weibo to accuse Crazy English founder Li Yang of domestic violence, says she now wants to divorce him for the sake of her children.
    She also revealed that the celebrity English teacher has gotten in touch with her — via text message — asking her to shut down her Weibo account which has now attracted to close to 30,000 followers.
  • The Battle Over Zomia – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education– The region of Zomia had not been mapped for very long when people started quarreling over it. Political scientists, historians, geographers, anthropologists, and especially Southeast Asianists. Even a few anarchists weighed in.Much of the most recent debate has been spurred by the Yale University professor of political science and anthropology James C. Scott, who describes the region in his latest book, The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale University Press, 2009). In the preface, he anticipates the criticism that will come “bearing down” on him for his unorthodox take on the practices of the region’s hill peoples: “I’m the only one to blame for this book,” he writes. “I did it.”

    Two years later, the book’s already considerable reach is being extended with new foreign editions. “I’m delighted with the attention it’s gotten,” says Scott. As for the criticism that keeps coming, in journals and at conferences, “I’ve got a thick skin.”

    Zomia does not appear on any official map, for it is merely metaphorical. Scott identifies it as “the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation-states.” Though the scholars who have imagined Zomia differ over its precise boundaries, Scott includes all the lands at altitudes above 300 meters stretching from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to northeastern India. That encompasses parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma, as well as four provinces of China. Zomia’s 100 million residents are minority peoples “of truly bewildering ethnic and linguistic variety,” he writes. Among them are the Akha, Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Mien, and Wa.

  • China starts to reshuffle engineers of economic boom – Yahoo! News – China has begun work on an 18-month reshuffle of its top economic and regulatory policy officials as part of a leadership transition that will see President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao hand their posts to a younger generation.
    Sources and analysts with ties to China’s ruling elite say the political musical chairs among ministers, cabinet officials, agency chiefs and provincial governors is under way and will run its course by early 2013.
    In the meantime, with officials unsure of where they will end up, the jockeying could lead to a slowdown in the reform agenda in the world’s second-largest economy. That slowdown could approach policy paralysis as a Communist Party Congress late next year finalizes the changes to the teams that have led China’s runaway growth over the past decade.
  • Privatisation in China: Capitalism confined | The Economist – Taken collectively, these iterations of state engagement reflect how China’s government has not only held on to economic control but found subtle ways to extend it. At the very least, they constitute an important series of large-scale economic experiments with implications for China’s economy and, because of China’s size, the world’s too. Some may see in this a path to follow. China has come far since the trials in Shunde and Zhucheng, but the state has always controlled the itinerary.
  • Politics in emerging markets: The new middle classes rise up | The Economist– rebellion?Rebellion is in the air in China, too. In mid-August one of the largest demonstrations since the Tiananmen Square protests took place on the streets of Dalian, a north-eastern boomtown, which forced the authorities to shut down a chemical factory that had been damaged in a storm. Demonstrations and capitulations on this scale, though not unprecedented, are highly unusual. This one was reminiscent of the outcry that took place in 2007, in the southern city of Xiamen, over plans for a similar project. That event is usually seen as the first big example of a new willingness by China’s middle class to confront the government over environmental abuses. Moreover, the Dalian protest erupted only weeks after an explosion of popular anger, mostly expressed through micro-blogging services such as Sina Weibo, which blamed official neglect for a rail crash between two new high-speed trains that killed 39 people. The criticism was so widespread that even state-supervised media joined in.
  • World Chinese-Language Media Cooperative Alliance holds training for overseas Chinese journalists « Exporting China’s Development to the World– As the Chinese-language Budapest newspaper Xin Daobao 新导报 reported in its 17 August issue, the second training of the World Chinese-Language Media Cooperative Alliance 世界华文媒体合作联盟 was held on 15 August at the China News Agency in Peking. Chinese-language journalists from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Russia, Sweden, Hungary, Malaysia and (surprisingly) Hong Kong attended.The Alliance was founded a year ago by the China News Agency. Its director, Liu Beixian, who serves as the secretary-general of the organisation, said that its goal was to increase the cohesiveness 凝聚力 and impact of Chinese-language media.

    This effort is another sign that various Chinese government organisations are paying increasing attention to “united front work” with Chinese-language media overseas.

  • Xinhua-300 million Chinese expected to travel during upcoming holidays– During the upcoming holidays, travelers will mainly flock to attractions in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Chengdu, according to the report.Meanwhile, 2.2 million are expected to head overseas to popular tourism destinations such as the Maldives, Thailand’s Phuket Island, Indonesia’s Bali Island, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

    They will spend about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars on international travel, said the report.

  • Xinhua-S China’s Hainan overhauls kindergartens after two children suffocate to death inside shuttle buses – The circular came shortly after two kids were inadvertently left inside their shuttle buses and suffocated to death amid high temperatures.
  • Xinhua–Man surrenders to police after murdering seven in east China – used a 20 cm long knife. just imagine of there were no gun control in China.
  • China’s VP urges policy coordination amid tumbling world economy – world bank head zoellick meets Xi Jinping. Peoples Daily online goes w bowing pic
  • Heard on the Street: Dodging China’s Loan Controls –– Credit controls are not all bad news for China’s companies. For those with cash, they have created a profitable opportunity: lending it.Filings with the mainland’s stock exchange show 40 listed firms made loans totaling $1.25 billion in the first eight months of the year. The highest interest rate was 24.5%, nearly four times the benchmark set by the central bank. For one retail company, 85% of its profit in the first half of the year came from lending activities.

    That adds to the growing list of ways in which firms have worked around the government’s controls on lending, which have increased steadily since the start of last year. Zhou Dewen, director of the association of small businesses in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province, says black-market loans and the use of IOUs to pay suppliers are increasingly prevalent.

  • Mohan Malik: Asia’s Great Naval Rivalry –– Media reports last week of a Chinese warship confronting an Indian navy vessel in the South China Sea come as that part of the world is the scene of diplomatic tussling. In recent months, the Philippines and Vietnam objected to Chinese harassment of oil exploration vessels and fishermen. Last year, Beijing let it be known that it would not tolerate another maritime power operating in the South China Sea—which its officials have described as a “core interest.”It is clearer by the day that this trend will lead to some kind of showdown. China’s growing economic strength, military might and hypernationalism at home are spurring actions abroad that bring it into increasingly dangerous conflicts. The best solution to defuse tension would be to get the biggest naval powers in the region together and draw up general rules for sea navigation and commerce.

    India is maneuvering for advantage in those spheres of influence that overlap with China. Vietnam could be to India what Pakistan is to China—a friend because it could be the enemy of its enemy…

    India, for one, is wary of leaving its trade and energy supply routes in the Pacific Ocean to the goodwill of China’s navy.

    //boom times ahead for weapons manufacturers, esp naval ones. arms raise in Asia just getting started

  • 康菲称“骗你的”报道不实 “傲慢”康菲谁在撑腰? – very long story in china securities news about conoco phillips.
  • China’s Peaceful Development – – as long as neighbors do what china wants. all those new weapons systems are not just jobs programs