"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Who Deserves the Rap for Shanghai Death Trap? – Caixin Dozens of people died on the Bund while waiting for a New Year’s Eve light show that was cancelled weeks earlier.
Related: Shanghai officials ‘gorged on £413-a-head sushi as fatal New Year’s Eve stampede unfolded’ – Telegraph China’s financial capital is facing a major political storm following the revelation that hours before 36 people were trampled to death on New Year’s Eve senior Shanghai officials were feasting just a few blocks away at an exclusive Japanese restaurant where meals cost up to £413 a head. The Utsusemi (Empty Cicada) restaurant just off Shanghai’s historic waterfront Bund must rank as one of the city’s most glamorous eateries.
Related: Officials dine at high-end Bund restaurant before stampede – People’s Daily Online nicely timed for CCDI plenum. doubt they can delete their way out of this, would not be surprised if the Shanghai stampede is the trigger for a long awaited anti-corruption storm and political reshuffling in Shanghai // Officials of Huangpu district government in Shanghai had dinner at a high-end restaurant before joining in a New Year’s Eve laser display at a site near the deadly stampede in the district’s Bund area, according to a report on Monday by Caixin New Century Weekly. The restaurant specializes in Japanese food and has only four rooms. Customers cannot order dishes but choose instead from a set menu that has an average price per person ranging from 1,888 yuan ($304) to 3,888 yuan.
2. 习近平在十八届中央纪委五次全会上发表重要讲话 Tues
Related: 中纪委部署2015 外界寄望加快“治本”财经频道一财网 在第五次全会上，
3. Xi stresses role of county Party chiefs – Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday lauded the role of county level governments, however, he underscored the integral role officials played in ensuring efficiency. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was speaking with participants of the first seminar for county-level Party chiefs at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. Xi said county-level governments had taken on more responsibility in the implementation of reform measures, the promotion of rule of law and the enforcement of strict Party discipline. Thus, Party chiefs must acknowledge their authority and exercise self-discipline in their work. // 做焦裕禄式的县委书记心中有党心中有民心中有
4. Censored Chinese report links mystery coal tycoon Zhang Xinming to political elite | South China Morning Post but the article is still up on Sina at the time of this posting 山西前首富张新明被带走近半年 曾要求市委书记拜山头, and it is a great read // The article went viral online and was pulled because it alluded to several high-ranking officials and relatives with close ties to Zhang. Among them were three retired Shanxi leaders: former provincial party bosses Tian Chengping and Wang Maolin, as well as a former deputy party boss Yun Gongmin. The cadres were not named in the original report but other media outlets published the names when they reprinted the story, sources said. The Caijing report also said Zhang had close ties to the son of a major political figure, a reference understood to be to He Jintao, son of former anti-graft commission head and Politburo member He Guoqiang.
Related: The Chinese gangster moles who emerge as police | South China Morning Post Behind the corruption crisis in resource-rich Shanxi province hides another, even darker, power: organised crime gangs whose tentacles extend to law enforcement agencies – and who are using Macau casinos to generate their income. Much like in the Hollywood movie The Departed – itself based on the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs – gang leaders have placed moles in local police forces and have “bought” key members in the government, for whom they provide protection, according to mainland business magazine Caijing. // 山西政法无间道:黑帮成员考警校 卧底当内鬼 Tony Soprano would be in awe
Related: Son of former premier Li Peng relieved of graft oversight duties as Shanxi governor | South China Morning Post The provincial party’s enlarged conference decided to change the leadership’s division of responsibilities on December 31, with Li’s former supervisory responsibilities being passed to executive vice-governor Gao Jianmin, according to an announcement posted on the Shanxi government website on Monday. The announcement said Li, 55, would still be in charge of the province’s overall management.
5. China ‘beefs up’ social media rules by forcing people to use real-name registration | South China Morning Post China is “beefing up” its social media rules by forcing people to register with their real names if they want to use the mainland’s most popular Twitter-like service, Sina Weibo, internet forums, and other websites. The nation’s Cyberspace Administration did not reveal details about how the plan would be carried out in today’s announcement. // will this finally be implemented? So far every attempt has ended in BS, expect this time there will be a much bigger impact.
6. In China, Projects to Make Great Wall Feel Small – NYTimes.com Such enormous infrastructure projects are a Chinese tradition. From the Great Wall to the Grand Canal and the Three Gorges Dam, this nation for centuries has used colossal public-works projects to showcase its engineering prowess and project its economic might. Now, as doubts emerge about the country’s three-decade boom, China’s leaders are moving even more aggressively, doubling down on mega-infrastructure. In November, for instance, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission approved plans to spend nearly $115 billion on 21 supersize infrastructure projects, including new airports and high-speed rail lines.
Related: 山东高速十年净利润累计超百亿 员工年薪平均13万公司新闻中证网 Shandong Highways make more than 10B RMB in profits in 10 years from tolls. Are some of these infrastructure projects not cash-producing, or is the collected cash just not all going to where it is supposed to? // 去年年底以来，山东省政府作出“
7. Let Me Die, Chinese Mother Says as Cancer Bills Pile Up – Bloomberg Cancer presents a growing threat to Asia’s biggest economy. China has the world’s largest number of cancer cases and deaths, driven by a rapidly aging population, environmental pollution and lifestyle changes. If current trends continue, cancer could cost China about $5.6 trillion in lost output from 2012 to 2030, a group of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions estimated. The Chinese government is now coming up with ways to bolster insurance coverage for diseases like cancer. But the changes aren’t happening fast enough for patients like Xiao.
8. ‘Where’s Our Unity March?’ China Wants to Know | Foreign Policy Much discussion about the march centered on the contrast between Western sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo victims and what Chinese see as Western indifference to the deadly March 2014 coordinated knife attacks in the southwestern city of Kunming, which claimed 29 victims, and which many in China have dubbed “China’s 9/11.” The Chinese government quickly blamed that attack on Islamist terrorists from the Western province of Xinjiang, a restive region with a high population of Muslim ethnic minorities. After Western media outlets proved initially reluctant to echo the government’s assertion that terrorism was the cause, an angry backlash shook the Chinese blogosphere.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
China’s $300 Billion Errors May Mask Fund Outflows, Goldman Says – Bloomberg As falling confidence in the yuan will exacerbate any hidden outflows, the PBOC may aim to maintain a stable exchange rate, according to the Goldman Sachs economists. The U.S. lender expects the monetary authority to weaken its daily fixing for the yuan only slightly to 6.16 a dollar in three months and to 6.20 in a year, compared with 6.1195 today. It is not in the PBOC’s interest to allow the yuan to decline because that could lead to capital outflows and increase financial risk, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao said in a note today. The currency is unlikely to drop sharply in 2015, they added.
China faces biggest fiscal challenge since ’81 – Deutsche Bank report | Reuters With a slowing economy – in particular sliding land prices – hitting revenues, Deutsche Bank economists Zhiwei Zhang and Andrey Shi see a crisis looming. “China will likely face the worst fiscal challenge since 1981,” they wrote in a research report published Monday. “We believe this is the most important risk to the economy and one that is not well recognized in the market.”
Lessons in sustainable finance from local Chinese governments | FT Alphaville Local government financing vehicles in at least one wealthy province, Jiangsu, which borders Shanghai, accounted for more land purchases than property developers did in 2013 — the last year for which data were available — according to research collated by Deutsche Bank… Although Deutsche Bank only reviewed data for four provinces, concerns about the health of property markets in third-tier cities across China are mounting.
经济参考网 – 政府融资平台谢幕在即 2015年逾8万亿项目将求助PPP和政府发债
In a Record Year for Skyscrapers, China is Miles Above Everyone Else – China Real Time Report – WSJ The world built a record 97 buildings that were 200 meters (656 feet) or taller in 2014, and for the seventh year in a row, the Middle Kingdom completed the greatest number of them, according to a new report (pdf) from the U.S.-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. China’s output of 58 skyscrapers was a 61% increase from its previous record of 36 buildings in 2013, according to the report. Tianjin, the eastern sister city of Beijing, completed the most 200-meter-plus skyscrapers, totaling six. That’s more than all such skyscrapers built in the Philippines, the world’s No. 2 builder behind China with five.
China’s Gingko Tree Buys €270m Brussels Tower | Mingtiandi According to reports in the media, Gingko Tree, which serves as the investment arm of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), was the heretofore unrevealed financial partner of German fund manager Hannover Leasing, which led the estimated €270 million ($319 million) acquisition of the 26-storey Covent Garden complex.
China Renews Push to Curb Data Fraud-RFA On Dec. 25, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced it would no longer use local estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) from China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. “The central government will have the sole right to evaluate GDP and growth rates of every province and municipality,” said NBS director Ma Jiantang, as quoted by the official English-language China Daily. The decision, which is expected to be approved by the State Council, or cabinet, may put an end to embarrassing contradictions in GDP data, which have been frequently cited by China’s state-controlled press.
China bans U.S. poultry, eggs imports amid avian flu fears: USDA | Reuters China has banned all imports of U.S. poultry, poultry products and eggs amid recent reports of highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza found in the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday. All poultry and poultry related products shipped from the United States after Jan. 8 would be returned or destroyed, according to the agency and the U.S. trade group USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.
Rail merger threatened by insider trading allegations – People’s Daily Online Claims of alleged insider trading by senior executives of two State-owned railway vehicle manufacturers planning to merge have caused shares in the companies to fall and cast a shadow on the deal, which is expected to create the world’s largest train manufacturer by sales. Media reports have suggested that more than 20 executives of the two companies — CNR Corp Ltd and CSR Corp Ltd — and their relatives have been found to have bought and sold stocks in each company during the six-month period prior to their trading suspension in October last year before the announcement of the merging plan.
China’s Steel Exports Reach Record Before Tax Rebate Dropped – Bloomberg The country shipped 93.78 million metric tons of steel products last year, 51 percent higher than 2013, according to data released by the customs administration today. Exports climbed 4.6 percent to 10.17 million tons in December, the highest monthly figure on record.
China December trade more robust than expected, but concerns linger | Reuters Exports in December rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier in dollar-denominated terms, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday, handily beating a Reuters poll by nearly three full percentage points. Imports dropped by only 2.4 percent, where analysts’ consensus was for a far steeper decline of 7.4 percent. Officials were cautious when discussing how much positive momentum trade will deliver.
Former official of China’s FAW arrested – Xinhua Former deputy general manager of China’s FAW Group, An Dewu, has been arrested over allegations of bribery, Jilin provincial procuratorate said on Monday. The procuratorate is still building its case against An. State-owned FAW is a major automaker in China and has a joint venture with Volkswagen.
City uses joint bid for Winter Games to halt downhill slide – Xinhua Zhangjiakou is using the opportunities created by its joint bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics to kick-start its economy and reshape it along greener lines after a long period of slow growth. The city in Hebei province is bidding to host the games with Beijing. Their only rival is Almaty in Kazakhstan, and the winner will be announced on July 31 “Zhangjiakou is an old industrial center,” said Xing Guohui, the city’s Party chief. “It now has unprecedented opportunities, because of the bid and its closer cooperation with the capital, to retune its economy and hit all the right notes.”
Kaisa Group Defaults on Offshore Debt – WSJ Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. said late Monday it has missed $23 million in interest payments that it was due to pay last Thursday. Adding to Kaisa’s troubles, at least 15 Chinese financial companies have asked a court to freeze the firm’s assets, hurting the developer’s ability to sell off projects to raise funds and pay back lenders.
POLITICS AND LAW
Website’s Report that Disgraced Official’s Family Owns Property in Kyoto Is False – Caixin A report published on an overseas website saying that the family of a former senior official being investigated for corruption in China owns two luxury properties in the Japanese city of Kyoto is incorrect. A report on the website boxun.com said the family of Ling Jihua, a former vice chairman of China’s top political advisory body, got two properties from Li You, chief executive of technology conglomerate Founder Group. It did not say when Li gave the family the properties. Founder has said that Li and two other executives are helping authorities with an investigation, but little information is available about that probe. Boxun.com is a website in New York that accepts articles from the public, then its editors check the facts. Its report about Ling has appeared on Chinese social media platforms and websites, receiving a lot of attention from a public struggling to understand – or get reliable information about – an aggressive anti-corruption campaign that the Communist Party launched in late 2012.
Chinese spymaster Ma Jian detained in corruption purge – FT.com One person with knowledge of the matter said Mr Ma’s detention was related to corruption allegations involving Mr Zhou and billions of renminbi in business carried out by his associates in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Chinese media reports have suggested the detention could be linked to Ling Jihua, the former top aide to retired President Hu Jintao, who was detained just before Christmas and is also accused of corruption. Both Mr Ling and Mr Ma are reportedly involved in a high-profile investigation into Founder Group, a Peking University-owned technology and financial services company.
BBC News – The colourful propaganda of Xinjiang The murals below were painted on the walls next to a mosque in the old Silk Road district of Kashgar where 90% of the population are Uighur. They show what the Chinese government deems as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. They are a striking example of Chinese propaganda and highlight the government’s crude portrayal of ethnic relations in Xinjiang.
Freedom House-Confronting the Limitations of Chinese Communist Party Repression The Politburo’s Predicament—which examines the evolution of the censorship and internal security apparatus under the leadership of Xi Jinping—finds that the overall degree of repression has increased since Xi rose to power in November 2012 but at a cost to the Communist Party’s resilience.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
President of military hospital named army’s deputy chief of logistics | South China Morning Post Promotion part of reshuffle of top brass that has seen 70 new major generals // 全军和武警晋升少将逾70名 含独臂英雄丁晓兵
南京军区将领调整政经频道财新网 （实习记者 罗国平）2014年冬季将领例行调整：
PLA general Jia Tingan may be implicated in Wang Shouye case｜WantChinaTimes The life sentence handed down to the former deputy commander of the PLA Navy, Wang Shouye, was revealed recently for the first time in an article penned by Major General Zhang Jinchang, former deputy head of the infrastructure section at the General Logistics Department, in liberal reformist monthly journal Yanhuang Chunqiu. The report hinted that Wang’s ascension to the post of head of infrastructure of the General Logistics Department was due to Jia, then chairman of the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC), who like Wang comes from central China’s Henan province. Jia was secretary to former CMC chairman and Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin for a long time before serving in his current post as deputy head of the General Political Department
丝绸之路研究院落户北外 “Silk Road Research Institute established at Beijing Foreign Studies University” //本报北京1月11日电 （记者赵婀娜）
解放军报：“军队非党化”让苏军不战而降-搜狐评论 PLA Daily on how the “nationalization” of the USSR military destroyed it, in a discussion of Chinese translation of Gen. William Odom’s book “The Collapse of the Soviet Military” // 是以君子为国，观之上古，验之当世，参之人事，
The Fat Man’s Belly | Roads & Kingdoms interesting piece on Hainan, its history, development and role in South China Sea // Much later, in small office, Wu Zhongbin, vice director of the Haitang Bay Development Commission, looks up placidly from a stack of documents and maps. I’m here to learn about Sanya’s ambitious plans to enlarge and expand tourism facilities around Haitang Bay. We end up talking about the changes Wu has seen in his lifetime, first as a kid growing up barefoot and brown-skinned, then as a journalist for the local paper, and now as a government official.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
SJM’s Hotel Exec Said to Be Caught in Macau Sex Ring Bust – Bloomberg Alan Reginald John Ho was among those arrested and he heads up Lisboa Hotels Complex, a SJM unit which manages the casino operator’s Hotel Lisboa, said the people, who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. Alan is the nephew of SJM founder Stanley Ho, according to the South China Morning Post, which reported the arrests earlier today.
TECH AND MEDIA
乐视董事长贾跃亭回公司上班 刺激公司股价大涨-搜狐IT LeTV seems to have bounced back, CEO returns to work, stock surges
[WATCH] ‘Blackhat’ Review Of Michael Mann’s ‘Thrilling’ Cyberwar Drama | Deadline Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis and Wei Tang star in Michael Mann’s latest film, the oh-so-timely thriller ‘Blackhat’ that arrives, as I say in my video review above, amid seemingly endless real-world cyber attacks such as today’s shutdown of social-media sites for the U.S. military. In the movie, Hemsworth plays a convicted computer criminal furloughed from prison by Davis’ FBI agent to work with a team of American and Chinese computer specialists, including Wei Tang. They’re trying to fend off attacks by a shadowy criminal group that has already created havoc in Hong Kong and on Chicago’s commodities exchanges.
Facebook, Xiaomi discussed possible investment in the Chinese smartphone maker | Reuters Xiaomi’s Lei was partly put off by the potential for political fallout at home of selling a stake to Facebook while the U.S. social network is still banned in China, two of the people said, adding Xiaomi also feared a tie-up with Facebook could threaten its relationship with Google Inc, a crucial business partner. Xiaomi’s phones are built on Google’s Android operating system…In October, Zuckerberg was invited for dinner at Lei’s Beijing home along with Facebook business development chief John Lagerling and China head Vaughan Smith.
网信办关闭50家违规网站及公众号 涉及腾讯等-搜狐IT 其中，中国新闻报网、
Retailers prefer Tencent over Alibaba for O2O initiatives This infographic from Fung Business Intelligence Centre’s Distribution in China report, provides insights based on surveys of the leading brick-and-mortar retailers as they grapple with O2O strategies to meet the demands of China’s hyper-connected omnichannel consumers. Among the participants surveyed, 43% of retailers had already experimented with online-to-offline initiatives ranging from customer loyalty programs, to click-and-collect services, to accepting mobile payments. And while 65% retailers surveyed managed their O2O efforts in-house, many sought help from technology partners lead by Tencent (17%) and Alibaba (13%). Although Alibaba would appear to be the preferred partner with their ecommerce dominance through Tmall and Alipay, Tencent’s lead over their rival underlies the central role that WeChat is playing in O2O strategies because of the platform’s unique blend of CRM, social sharing, and mobile commerce capabilities.
General Mobile Technology Company | GMobi “the Xiaomi for the rest of the world” an investor says, Taiwan-based, Mediatek spinout
Huawei Revenue Increases 20% on Sales of Higher-End Smartphones – Bloomberg Revenue increased to at least 287 billion yuan ($46.3 billion) from 239 billion yuan in 2013, Chief Financial Officer Cathy Meng said at a press conference in Beijing today. Operating profit from what Huawei described as its main business increased 18 percent to between 33.9 billion yuan and 34.3 billion yuan. Officials of the closely held company declined to provide more details before the upcoming release of audited financial statements.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
CDT Bookshelf: Heather Inwood’s Verse Going Viral – China Digital Times (CDT) Heather Inwood, lecturer in Chinese cultural studies at the University of Manchester in the UK, explores the production and performance of contemporary Chinese poetry in her first book, Verse Going Viral: China’s New Media Scenes. Dr. Inwood focuses on the “scenes” of poetry production, rather than analysis of the works produced. Those scenes, both virtual and physical, on the printed page and at live performances, are where poets share and critique each other’s work, interacting as “poet-citizens.” Inwood finds that poetry is indeed alive and well in China, not just as the work of isolated individuals, but as the fruit of a shared cultural practice.
BBC World Service – The Essential, China’s New Online Drinking Challenge Thousands of videos have sprung up across China showing people sipping, drinking and downing the traditional Chinese spirit Baijiu. It’s called The Baijiu Challenge. The trend really got going when a man known as Three Litre Brother drank, you guessed it, three litres in under ten minutes.// get a nasty taste in the bank of my throat from this…yes baijiu can cause flashbacks…
山东曝贩婴新手段：地下产房现产现卖新闻腾讯网 37 infants rescued from human traffickers in Shandong
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
China Water Stress May Worsen Even With Transfer Projects – Bloomberg The findings from the University of East Anglia, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, paint a grim picture about China’s scarcity challenge for at least the next 15 years. The British university compiled what it called the first full inventory of physical water transfers and redistribution though trade between Chinese provinces. It showed those transfers won’t do enough to eradicate stresses on water supplies, said Dabo Guan, professor of climate-change economics at the university’s School of International Development.
China Imports Record Crude as Price Collapse Spurs Buying Spree – Bloomberg Overseas purchases increased to 30.4 million metric tons last month, according to preliminary data released by the General Administration of Customs today. That’s about 7.19 million barrels a day, up from the previous high of 6.81 million in April. For 2014, crude imports rose to 310 million tons, also an all-time high. Chinese demand is shoring up the global oil market as the country expands emergency stockpiles amid crude’s slump to the lowest level in more than five years. The Asian nation’s consumption is forecast to climb by 5 percent in 2015, while the government is set to hoard about 7 million tons of crude in strategic reserves by the middle of this year, predicts ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based commodities researcher.
China raises consumption tax on oil products – Xinhua China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, on Monday announced a cut on the retail price of gasoline by 180 yuan (29 U.S. dollars) and that of diesel by 230 yuan (37 U.S. dollars) per tonne. Meanwhile, tax on gasoline will rise to 1.52 yuan per liter from 1.4 yuan. The levy on diesel will be increased from 1.1 yuan per liter to 1.2 yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation.
Another Rise in Gas Tax Spurs Lawyers’ Transparency Complaint – Caixin Pair of attorneys say new rules for consumption tax increases are needed, as government announces third change in less than two months
Girl with Accidental HIV Infection ‘Should Be Compensated’ – Caixin Health authorities say that a girl’s infection with HIV from a blood transfusion four years ago was an unfortunate accident, but the five-year-old and her family should not be left alone to deal with the problem. Mao Quanan, a spokesman for National Health and Family Planning Commission, said a girl named Maomao likely contracted the virus from a donor who was not found to have HIV because the person was in a period during which it is hard to detect.
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Smithfield Pork Enters China Shuanghui set up a subsidiary company in Shanghai to manage the Smithfield pork business. It plans to set up processing plants for imported pork in Zhengzhou, Weiyang, Shanghai, and Shenyang. Construction on the Zhengzhou plant is planned for 2015. Shuanghui subsidiary plants in Heilongjiang Province gained access to the Russian market in late 2014. The first shipments in November were about 6000-8000 tons. The Shuanghui shipments to Russia are taking the place of…Smithfield pork which was banned by the Russians last year because it’s American. So…now Shuanghui’s Chinese pork is going to Russia, in effect, replacing Shuanghui’s Smithfield pork which is now being shipped to China. Got it.
Beijing closes private clubs in temples_News_Icrosschina Upon learning of the reports, the Beijing municipal discipline inspection authority of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as local industry and commerce, taxation and finance agencies, set up a special team and launched an overnight inspection of the sites, the statement said. The probe found that relevant government departments were also responsible for “severe” dereliction of duty and defiance of the CPC codes. Authorities ordered the closing of the clubs and vowed serious punishment for the departments and officials involved.