"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Where China stands after N.Korea’s fourth test | NK News – North Korea News-Andrei Lankov Greatly irritated by Pyongyang’s behavior, China still considers U.S. moves in Asia more threatening…The present author spent the previous week in China talking to a number of officials, scholars and researchers. In this article, I will share what I learnt as best I can. I hope the readers will understand that, in such a piece, I cannot afford to be too frank and name too many names, but it I believe it will do no harm to present a general outline of the current mood in Beijing. // Time for the US to end its fantasy that China has any interest in being a constructive partner in dealing with the DPRK?
Related: John Kerry Arrives in Beijing After Push to Urge Regional Unity on South China Sea – WSJ China’s territorial claims in the disputed waters, including the construction of artificial islands and airstrips, will be a major topic of discussion on Wednesday and have become an irritant in the bilateral relationship as the U.S. seeks China’s cooperation on other issues. One of those is also at the top of Mr. Kerry’s agenda here Wednesday: pressing China to do more to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear program following its fourth nuclear bomb test earlier this month.
Related: China denounces ‘irresponsible’ U.S. official’s remarks on North Korea | Reuters China is North Korea’s lone major ally. A senior State Department official told reporters North Korea had few avenues to conduct international business that don’t involve China, despite several rounds of economic sanctions, adding that Beijing could “clearly” do more. “Many of the remarks made no sense and were not constructive,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.
2. Xi urges sound planning for supply-side structural reform – Xinhua President Xi Jinping on Tuesday urged authorities to formulate targeted and specific plans to deliver structural reform on the supply side. Sound planning is the foundation for supply-side structural reform, which aims to improve productivity and realize people-first development, Xi told a meeting of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs. He stressed the importance of extensive research of the current economic conditions and to this end, he said, clear objectives were needed.
Related: [视频]习近平主持召开中央财经领导小组第十二次会议 研究供给侧结构性改革方案、长江经济带发展规划、森林生态安全工作新闻频道央视网(cctv.com) 央视网消息(新闻联播)：中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席、中央财经领导小组组长习近平1月26日下午主持召开中央财经领导小组第十二次会议，研究供给侧结构性改革方案、长江经济带发展规划、森林生态安全工作。习近平发表重要讲话强调，供给侧结构性改革的根本目的是提高社会生产力水平，落实好以人民为中心的发展思想。要在适度扩大总需求的同时，去产能、去库存、去杠杆、降成本、补短板，从生产领域加强优质供给，减少无效供给，扩大有效供给，提高供给结构适应性和灵活性，提高全要素生产率，使供给体系更好适应需求结构变化。
Related: Will China’s new “supply-side” reforms help China? | Michael Pettis It is only when credit growth begins to decelerate much more rapidly than nominal GDP growth that we can begin to talk hopefully about China’s moving in the right direction, and it is only when credit growth falls permanently below the growth rate of the economy’s debt-servicing capacity that China will have adjusted. The astonishing ability of the China bulls, both foreign and Chinese, to celebrate every unexpected decline in growth and every new surge in debt as if they somehow justified nearly a decade’s worth of denials of the urgency of China’s rebalancing has done so much damage to China that the sooner Beijing’s leaders finally turn against the bulls, as I believe they might finally have done, the better for the Chinese people and the Chinese economy.
3. The day Zhao Wei disappeared: how a young law graduate was caught in China’s human rights dragnet | World news | The Guardian Zhao Wei – who relatives and friends describe as a bubbly and kind-hearted young woman – is behind bars facing trial on political subversion charges that could see her jailed for the rest of her life. And each day her grief-stricken mother sinks into her daughter’s unmade bed, her hands trembling and tears streaking her face as she leafs through family photo albums chronicling happier times. “Every day I cry,” says Zheng, 61, sobbing as she reflects on the misfortune president Xi’s rise to power has unleashed on her family. “I just lie on this bed and I cry.”
Related: Beijing’s Televised Confessions | ChinaFile Conversation Recent days have seen two more in a long string of televised “confessions” on China Central Television, that of Swedish human rights activist Peter Dahlin and Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai. Did these gentlemen break any Chinese laws? What do these apparent admissions of guilt signal about China’s stance on international NGOs’ operations in China, and about Beijing’s view of freedom of expression in publishing? Who’s the audience for these “trials by TV”?
Related: Activists, Journalists and Celebrities: China’s Televised Confessions – The New York Times Here’s a look at some recent televised confessions that have captivated national interest // ConfessionTV…
Related: Swedish Radio interview with human rights activist Peter Dahlin – Nyheter (Ekot) | Sveriges Radio My girlfriend is released and there are no more allegations against her. I, however, have been released on medical and diplomatic grounds. This means that the allegations against me remain and if I return to China I will be put on trial for this crime.
Related: 中方否认释放涉危害国家安全瑞典人:驱逐出境国际新闻环球网 答：首先我要纠正你的说法，不是“释放”，是驱逐出境。 据向有关部门了解，瑞典籍人员彼得涉嫌资助危害中国国家安全犯罪活动罪。根据《中华人民共和国刑事诉讼法》有关规定，北京市国家安全局于2016年1月4日依法对其采取指定居所监视居住强制措施。经讯问，彼得对涉嫌犯罪经过供认不讳。根据中国相关法律，中方于2016年1月25日将其驱逐出境。
Related: The Peter Dahlin Case: Shock, Awe and Mystery — Jerome A. Cohen | 孔傑榮（柯恩） I can see why the PRC released him now. The authorities made their point, spreading intimidation and fear throughout both the domestic and foreign legal and NGO worlds. Now, having been widely condemned internally as well as externally, they ease the criticism by releasing the accused after what appears to be a reasonable, if secret, bargain. This is similar to the release of rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang after a prosecution that shocked many and occasioned strong protests, yet ended in an apparently less harsh than expected outcome after a complex negotiation. Unfortunately, most PRC rights advocates are not protected by the fame and connections of lawyer Pu or artist-activist Ai Weiwei or by the pressures of a foreign, friendly government. For them, shock, awe and prison remain the order of the era!
Related: President Xi Tightens Grip: CECC Cochairs Say No One is Outside His Reach | Congressional-Executive Commission on China Congressman Chris Smith, Chair, and Senator Marco Rubio, Cochair, of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) noted with deep alarm today troubling developments in mainland China and Hong Kong—evidence of a concerning trajectory for the rule of law and rampant human rights abuses under President Xi Jinping. “President Xi’s shift toward a hard authoritarianism is disturbing and counterproductive and will have global implications. // certainly harder authoritarianism, though not sure ever been soft in the PRC
4. ‘My Personal Vendetta’: An Interview with Hong Kong Publisher Bao Pu | The New York Review of Books The hongerdai [the “second red generation”—the children of the founding generation of Communist leaders] are liberated under Xi Jinping. In the past they had grievances, but now they feel that this is the best time for their interests: “We don’t want to rock the boat.”…I am interested in telling stories about human nature. The Communists are so against human nature. The world needs to know more about Chinese culture. But there’s no creativity in the mainland. I mean, books like Wolf Totem? Give me a break. Censorship has stifled creativity. // Bao Tong’s son, interesting comments about his Dad and that generation of Communists
Related: Pursuing critics, China reaches across borders. And nobody is stopping it. – The Washington Post Amid extraordinary moves to rein in criticism at home, Chinese security personnel are reaching confidently across borders, targeting Chinese and foreign citizens who dare to challenge the Communist Party line, in what one Western diplomat has called the “worst crackdown since Tiananmen Square.”
Related: Publisher warns of China’s campaign to ‘wipe out’ free speech in Hong Kong – CSMonitor.com Mr. Nee, the Amnesty researcher, said there’s little doubt that Beijing is undermining free speech in Hong Kong. Last April, he noted, the Cyberspace Administration of China published a report calling for a “sweep-out” of illegal publications that promoted “reactionism” through “content relating to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and ‘foreign harmful culture.’” The report called, in part, to “thoroughly cleanse and strike down all kind of illegal harmful information and create a clear and orderly online ecosystem
Related: Chinese Journalist Seeking Refuge in Thailand Disappears – The New York Times A Chinese journalist who was traveling across Thailand on a frantic quest for political refuge messaged his wife recently to say that he would soon reach the border with Laos. Then, two weeks ago, the journalist, Li Xin, disappeared. Now, Mr. Li’s wife, He Fangmei, and his supporters suspect he has joined a growing list of people at odds with Beijing who have been spirited into China across borders, especially from Thailand.
5. 王岐山在十八届中央纪委六次全会上的工作报告—中央纪委监察部网站 Full text of Wang Qishan’s work report at the 6th Plenum of 18th CCDI of the CPC
Related: China’s Anticorruption Campaign Will Continue, Party Watchdog Pledges – – WSJ People’s Daily, the party’s mouthpiece publication, backed Mr. Wang’s pledge in a commentary on Monday that says sustaining the campaign is essential if China wants to develop. “A big tree will eventually wilt if it is exposed for insects to bite,” it said. The newspaper also rejected any connection between the anti-corruption fight and China’s economic “self-adjustment” to a speed that is medium-to-high, instead of high. The commentary said anyone who can’t see how the anti-corruption fight is actually beneficial to the economy “can’t see the forest for the trees.”
Related: Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign | ChinaFile Welcome to “Catching Tigers and Flies,” ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012.
Related: No sand in eyes: China’s top graft-buster vows strengthened discipline – Xinhua Wang’s remarks, part of his speech at the sixth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) on Jan. 12, was made public on Sunday. As the new rules on clean governance and the disciplinary regulation have taken effect, party organizations must defend and implement them in a manner like “the eyes tolerate no sand”, said Wang, head of CCDI. He said an intra-party supervision regulation, which was formulated in 2003, should be revised to summarize the experience of the CPC governing itself since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. The relevant administrative supervision law, which monitors government officials, will also be revised, he added.
Related: 权威梳理:”7+5+7″,王岐山在中央纪委六次全会上的工作报告 王岐山在十八届中央纪委六次全会上的工作报告《全面从严治党 把纪律挺在前面 忠诚履行党章赋予的神圣职责》全文公布。 工作报告回顾了2015年的纪律检查工作，总结了中央纪委常委会的五条“工作体会”，部署了2016年7项主要任务。 这就奉上详细梳理，让大家伙儿一睹为快。
6. Why Does the U.S. Demand Innocent Passage in the South China Sea, But Not in the Persian Gulf? – Lawfare The brief Iranian detention and safe return last week of 10 U.S. sailors – and their equipment – would seem to have little in common with ongoing U.S. plans for Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. But the failure of the U.S. to openly criticize Iran’s detention of U.S. ships could seriously undermine the U.S.’s ability to push back against China in the South China. Why? Because reports from the U.S. Navy investigation of the incident strongly suggest that the U.S. ships detained by Iran were entitled to conduct “innocent passage” through Iran’s territorial waters under the principles codified by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
7. Free Trade With China Wasn’t Such a Great Idea – Bloomberg View The most recent example is a paper by celebrated labor economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson, titled “The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade.” The study shows that increased trade with China caused severe and permanent harm to many American workers...// flashing back to my free trade indoctrination classes at SAIS when “worker retraining” was always thrown in as an afterthought to smooth over the messy questions of what happened to the losers at the micro aka human level
8. Apple sells fewer iPhones than expected, sees China weakness | Reuters While revenue in Greater China rose 14 percent in the quarter, Apple is beginning to see a shift in the economy, particularly in Hong Kong, Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview. “As we move into the March quarter it’s becoming more apparent that there are some signs of economic softness,” Maestri said. “We are starting to see something that we have not seen before.” Analysts have long feared that Apple’s sales in China, one of its top two markets, would falter amid a broad economic slowdown.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
China Stocks Plunge to 13-Month Low Amid Capital Outflow Concern – Bloomberg Business The Shanghai Composite Index plunged 6.4 percent to 2,749.79 at the close. All industry groups slumped, ranging from commodity shares to new-economy sectors such as technology. Besides data showing outflows hitting an estimated $1 trillion last year, investors were concerned about a possible liquidity squeeze even as the central bank flooded the financial system with cash before the upcoming Chinese new year holiday. Some of the nation’s most accurate forecasters said the stock index may not bottom until it falls to the 2,500 level.
Soros hurts China’s feelings – chiecon Yesterday another Xinhua headline reads “Soros will pay a painful price for shorting China”. Then in today’s People’s Daily Overseas Edition, widely circulated in Chinese media, “Declaring war on China’s currency? Ha ha”. Here’s the opening salvo from the party mouthpiece
Hedge funds betting against China eye ‘Soros moment’ | Reuters Several hedge fund industry sources say expectations of substantial further yuan weakness are no longer a minority view. “It’s a popular trade. I can’t imagine a single western hedge fund has got short dollar-(yuan),” Omni’s Chris Morrison said. Derivatives traders say large bets have been placed in the options market on the yuan reaching 8.0 per dollar and data shows a raft of strikes between 7.20 and 7.60. The big division is over pace and scale.
China Capital Outflows Rise to Estimated $1 Trillion in 2015 – Bloomberg Business Outflows increased to $158.7 billion in December, the second-highest monthly outflow of the year after September’s $194.3 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. The total for the year soared more than seven times from $134.3 billion in the whole of 2014 to a record for Bloomberg Intelligence data dating back to 2006.
The China Meltdown-Sinica Podcast Joining Kaiser, Jeremy and David in the studio today to talk about the Chinese economy and its recent tailspin is none other than Tom Orlik, an economist at Bloomberg and author of the book Understanding China’s Economic Indicators. Tom has years of experience writing about China and joins to share his thoughts on what parts of the economy are doing decently and where the real problems lie.
Shanghai Plan to Cover Venture Capital Firms’ Losses Is Criticized-Caixin Under the regulation, if the sale of a VC’s stake in a startup fails to cover its original investment, it can ask the government for a payout amounting to 30 or 60 percent of the shortfall depending on the size and revenue of the firm it backed. The most any VC firm can receive in one year is 6 million yuan. The limit on individual investment projects is 3 million yuan.
姚建辉被举报不法拿地 宝能集团出面驳斥公司频道财新网 一家与宝能集团有土地纠纷的深圳地产商1月25日在北京召开了一场新闻发布会，举报宝能集团实际控制人之一姚建辉，称宝能集团在获取深圳宝能城项目土地过程中涉及违规。宝能集团有关人士对财新记者否认了违规一说，随后在官网发布声明驳斥。:
Chinese accuse graft suspect of funnelling cash into Sydney property | afr.com These were accepted in Hong Kong dollars, US dollars and yuan, allowing him to purchase six properties in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Australia, according to a statement issued on January 20 by an anti-corruption unit linked to the Guangdong provincial government.
The Surge in U.S. Mansion Prices Is Now Over – Bloomberg Business In the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia, where Zhang is struggling to sell the six-bedroom home, dozens of aging ranch houses were demolished to make way for 38 mansions built with Chinese buyers in mind. They have manicured lawns and wok kitchens and are priced as high as $12 million. Many of them sit empty because the prices are out of the range of most domestic buyers, said Re/Max broker Rudy Kusuma, who blames a crackdown by the Chinese on large sums leaving the country.
Beijing ‘unimpressed’ by Danny Alexander’s nomination for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – FT.com Beijing is unhappy with the UK’s decision to send former Liberal Democrat minister Sir Danny Alexander to its high-profile new development bank and has placed him in a job heading communications. Sir Danny will have a vice-presidential role at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but China is not impressed that Mr Osborne has chosen to send a “former politician”.
Ex-Changjiang Chairman Yang Falls to Death, Xinhua Reports – Bloomberg Business Yang Zezhu, who was being investigated for disciplinary violations, fell off a residential building in Wuhan city, Xinhua reported on its Weibo account, citing local police.
Leaked memo reveals China central bank’s dilemma in battle to keep yuan stable | South China Morning Post The People’s Bank of China is reluctant to further reduce the required reserve ratio for fear of such a move resulting in the weakening of the yuan, according to a leaked document.
China’s statistics chief Wang Baoan detained in graft investigation | South China Morning Post Wang, 52, was appointed as the bureau’s chief in April. Before that, he spent 17 years in the finance ministry, joining in 1998 as a deputy director of its general office. He was later appointed head of the ministry’s policy planning office. In 2007, Wang became head of the ministry’s economic construction office, which oversees the budget for state investment in infrastructure and is responsible for approving financial investment.
侠客岛：保安不保，37岁正厅，厉以宁门生财经上下游澎湃新闻-The Paper 据岛上的知情人士透露，上午参加有关会议时，就得知“统计局会出大事”，但谁都没料到竟是局长王保安。 时间拨回到2015年的10月底，这一次，是中央第八巡视组开展的专项巡视，轮到了国家统计局。
于建嵘：我国三类隐性失业人口正在形成热评评论频道首页_财经网 – CAIJING 【摘要】中国隐性失业典型特征是：劳动者在其工作岗位上要么待岗，要么无充足的工作可做，名义上就业了，实际上却处于一种失业或半失业状态。中国隐性失业人员的大量存在导致相当部分的劳动力资源没有能够得到充分有效的利用，处于闲置和半闲置状态。 // interesting piece from Yu Jianrong on the three types of “hidden” unemployed groups that are currently forming
地方2015年经济成绩单有喜有忧 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 《经济参考报》记者根据公开资料梳理，截至26日，全国已有29个省级地区公布了2015年的经济数据，其中天津、重庆、内蒙古、江苏等23个省市（自治区）的GDP增速跑赢全国总体增速；北京和上海两个直辖市的GDP增速为6.9%，和全国持平；辽宁省和山西省2015年GDP增速分别为3%和3.1%，目前在全国排行中垫底。
广东总债务率为59.4% 债务风险总体可控宏观一财网 截至1月19日，《第一财经日报》记者搜集到25个省(自治区、直辖市)的2015年负有偿还责任的债务数据，25个省份债务规模呈现从1000亿~10000亿元不等的格局。其中，江苏省政府债务最高，约10954亿元。紧随其后的是山东、浙江、广东、辽宁、贵州，债务规模均超9000亿元。目前债务总额最低的是宁夏，约1139亿元。
Insider Job: ABC Employees Accused of Stealing 3.8 Bln Yuan Worth of Bills-Caixin Suspects at country’s third-largest lender allegedly sold the bills for cash to buy stocks, and may have lost heavily due to market rout, sources say
POLITICS AND LAW
城市的事大家商量着办（法治头条·城市管理中的法治问题④）–法治–人民网 统筹政府、社会、市民三大主体，提高各方推动城市发展的积极性。城市发展要善于调动各方面的积极性、主动性、创造性，集聚促进城市发展正能量。要坚持协调协同，尽最大可能推动政府、社会、市民同心同向行动，使政府有形之手、市场无形之手、市民勤劳之手同向发力。政府要创新城市治理方式，特别是要注意加强城市精细化管理。要提高市民文明素质，尊重市民对城市发展决策的知情权、参与权、监督权，鼓励企业和市民通过各种方式参与城市建设、管理，真正实现城市共治共管、共建共享——摘自中央城市工作会议文件 // wonder how worried people should be about the trend to reinvigorate participation of the masses in social management
As editor-informant Li Xin disappears, journalists share their experiences with China’s security services – Committee to Protect Journalists Before his disappearance, Li told The Associated Press, “I believe there are many people like me who are working on behalf of the authoritarian government.” CPJ asked three journalists if they agreed with Li’s comment, and about their own experiences with China’s security apparatus. CPJ was not able to independently verify their accounts.
长安街知事：中央政法系统官员密集空降地方人事风向澎湃新闻-The Paper 中央政法委书记孟建柱指出：“要合理分解、科学配置权力，着力健全选人用人管人制度，加大干部交流轮岗力度。”不难判断，“空降”干部有助于理顺中央与地方的关系，加强中央对地方政法部门的领导。这些干部对中央推动依法治国的思路理解更加深刻，对各项政策方针的把握也更为准确。他们下到地方后，将全心全意地带领所在部门贯彻中央意图。此外，“空降”干部在一定程度上能够破除地方官场长期形成的关系网和小圈子，从而更加铁面无私地处理“面子问题”、“关系问题”，大刀阔斧开展改革。
New Law Reshapes Chinese Counterterrorism Policy and Operations | The Jamestown Foundation The law’s most important elements, however, address organizational changes to how the Chinese intelligence and security services conduct counterterrorism operations. The law creates a new counterterrorism policy system, which mirrors similar systems established for other security missions to improve coordination and information sharing.
Chinese courts pledge iron hand on terrorism, graft – Xinhua According to a statement released after a national meeting that brought together chief justices of higher courts across the country, courts will hand out “harsh” punishments for criminal offenses that threaten China’s national political and economic security as well as social stability.
习近平就政法工作作指示：提高维护国家安全和社会稳定的能力法治中国澎湃新闻-The Paper 新华网北京1月22日消息，中央政法工作会议当天在京召开。中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平近日就政法工作作出重要指示强调，全国政法机关要增强忧患意识、责任意识，防控风险、服务发展，破解难题、补齐短板，提高维护国家安全和社会稳定的能力水平，履行好维护社会大局稳定、促进社会公平正义、保障人民安居乐业的职责使命。
Activist in Xinjiang Sentenced to 19 Years for Online Writings and Rights Activities « China Change On January 15, rights activist Zhang Haitao (张海涛) was sentenced to 19 years in prison by the Urumqi Intermediate Court in the northwest Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The 44-year-old Zhang was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power” and “probing and illegally supplying intelligence abroad” (为境外刺探、非法提供情报罪). The court also ordered the confiscation of his personal assets of 120,000 yuan ($18,000). The accusations leveled against Zhang include publishing online articles attacking socialism, assisting the work of foreign media, and “rumormongering.”
Chinese state organs, firms display graft correction – Xinhua Twenty-six state organs and enterprises have begun issuing statements showing their correction of violations uncovered during graft inspections. Statements from 13 institutions have been available on the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) website, as of Tuesday. // original Chinese here
Membership in the Communist Party of China: Who is Being Admitted and How? | JSTOR Daily In China, the Communist Party’s 87.7 million members, or 1 in 16 Chinese, hold nearly every top position in government, military, education, state-owned enterprises, health care, and banking. “If you are not in the party, there is definitely a glass ceiling,” Dickson says. Thanks to a trove of statistics recently released by the CPC’s Organization Department, we’re learning more about members, like Lin, who make up China’s elite class. They are overwhelmingly male (75 percent), have at least a junior college education (43 percent), and are made up of farmers, herdsmen, and fishermen (30 percent), white-collar workers (25 percent), retirees (18 percent), and government employees (8 percent).
教育部纪检组长：加强监督高校教师课堂传播不当言论-凤凰新闻 比方说，我们现在加大了对执行政治纪律情况的监督检查，我们对高校一些教师，在课堂上传播一些不正当的言论，加强了监督检查。我们在监督的过程中，对驻在部门群众反映的一些突出问题进行了监督检查。比方说招生问题，我们认为它关系到老百姓的切身利益，也是对教育公平公正的一个实实在在的体现。我们抓住这些重点问题加大了监督检查。// China Graft Watchdog Monitors Teachers for ‘Improper’ Remarks – The New York Times
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
By 2030, South China Sea will be ‘virtually a Chinese lake,’ U.S. study warns – The Washington Post China’s will have so many aircraft carriers by 2030 that the South China will be “virtually a Chinese lake,” a new U.S. study has warned, arguing that the balance of power in Asia Pacific region was shifting away from the United States. Meanwhile, President Obama’s strategic “rebalance” to Asia has neither been clearly enough explained nor sufficiently resourced to cope with rising threats from China and North Korea, the report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found.// Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025 | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kerry fails to sway Cambodian leaders on South China Sea | Reuters In Phnom Penh, Kerry met Hun Sen, Asia’s longest serving prime minister, and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong for what Kerry described as “candid and constructive” meetings. Hor Namhong said Cambodia’s position on the South China Sea was unchanged. It believed individual countries should settle disputes among themselves without the involvement of ASEAN, he said. That mirrors China’s position that ASEAN is not a party to territorial disputes, so rows should be resolved bilaterally.
Chinese President Xi Jinping tipped to attend nuclear summit in US | South China Morning Post President Xi Jinping is expected to make his second visit to the United States in less than a year to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in March, according to national defence and military experts from both countries. During Xi’s state visit to the US in September, the two countries agreed to deepen cooperation on nuclear security. Beijing has not confirmed Xi’s attendance, but several Chinese academics and analysts at a China Energy Fund Committee conference in Hong Kong yesterday said he would probably go.
Rethinking U.S. Strategy Toward China | The Cipher Brief-John McLaughlin Because of all this, the U.S. will have to remain very flexible in its China policy, constantly prepared to blow the whistle when Beijing pushes past commonly accepted rules of international conduct, but prepared at the same time to reach out positively when our interests coincide. For the foreseeable future therefore, the U.S. will lack the clarity it has with unambiguous friends or unambiguous foes. It will have to calibrate policy in the murky zone between challenge and engagement.
In a Fortnight: Xi Jinping’s Middle East Diplomacy | The Jamestown Foundation Xi’s visits have two hallmarks: that China offers a neutral, “win-win” partnership to build stability, and economic rewards. Speaking at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Xi noted that “the international community should respect local actors and not seek to force a solution from without (CNTV, January 21).
China’s New Grand Strategy for the Middle East | Foreign Policy Not everyone will appreciate China’s new role in the Middle East, especially those in Washington accustomed to America as sole power broker in the region. But with escalating tensions in the region, and neo-isolationism’s spread within the American electorate, Washington should welcome Xi’s advances toward the Middle East. // especially if China finds its own quagmire in the region?
China’s Middle East Ambitions | Foreign Affairs As its flat-footed response to Russia’s Syria adventure reveals, the United States has little experience in dealing with other powers involved in the Middle East. It is vital that Washington gets a grip on how to approach China’s growing presence in the region, as these first steps will set the stage for how the world’s two great powers clash and collaborate over this troubled region
China Considers Larger Role in Afghanistan Peace Process – The New York Times One reason for China’s engagement is that a stable Afghanistan could become a critical transportation hub and market for Chinese goods, and, eventually, another investment opportunity for President Xi Jinping’s grand economic plans for Central Asia. Yet security concerns loom alongside the economic motive. China has become increasingly worried about the insurgent violence in its western frontier region of Xinjiang
China calls for Afghanistan reconciliation roadmap acceptable to all – Xinhua The Afghan government and all political parties should map out a reasonable reconciliation program. Pakistan could play a positive and special role. Stakeholders, including the United States, should take necessary measures to support the peace process, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang was speaking during a joint press briefing following talks with visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani.
Net Politics » An Expansive, and Dangerous, Chinese View on Cyber Deterrence Like many other open source writers, Yuan Yi, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences, takes a very expansive view of deterrence in cyberspace. According to Dean Cheng, China traditionally views deterrence, or weishe (威慑), as both deterrence in the Western sense–threats intended to raise the costs high enough so a potential adversary does not act in the first place–and compellence–displays of military power or threats to use military power in order to compel an opponent to take an action or submit. In the vast majority of cases where Yuan’s article refers to deterrence, it appears to be talking about offensive cyber operations and compellence. So the strengths of cyber deterrence, in Yuan’s view, include the fact that cyberattacks are more humane than nuclear, chemical, or biological attacks; deterrence is cost effective because cyber weapons are cheap; deterrence methods are diverse because cyber weapons can target multiple types of systems; and deterrence uses are repeatable and flexible because, unlike nukes, cyber weapons can be used multiple times. Western analysts tend to associate all of these characteristics with cyber offense not deterrence.
Stirring up the South China Sea (IV): Oil in Troubled Waters – International Crisis Group The South China Sea’s hydrocarbon resources are hotly contested though its reserves are unproven. While their potential economic benefit may be considerable, their foremost significance is political, as their division has implications for sovereignty and fundamental law of the sea principles. Exploration frictions have deepened geopolitical fault lines. Competition once framed by verbal warnings and diplomatic pressure today frequently takes the form of physical confrontation. A key factor is China’s growing capability and accompanying desire to expand its own exploration while preventing other claimants’ activity. In parallel, Beijing has advocated setting aside disputes and developing resources jointly, but as collaboration remains elusive, analysts in China have called for unilateral measures to pressure uncooperative parties. Better would be greater efforts to create mechanisms for preventing competition from becoming conflict, while seeking better understanding of motivations needed for eventual cooperation.
China To Launch The World’s Most Powerful Hyperspectral Satellite | Popular Science A key in this program is the China Commercial Remote-sensing Satellite System (CCRSS), to be launched later this year. It can collect data on 328 electromagnetic bands, offering very high resolution of up to 15 meters, according to the researchers from the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth in Beijing. In comparison, the U.S. TacSat 3, launched in 2010, collects only 300 electromagentic bands, at a lower resolution. While it is being launched for commercial users, like most other Chinese earth-observation satellites, it would also be available for military use.
China Finally Centralizes Its Space, Cyber, Information Forces | The Diplomat Information on the newly created independent branch is scarce, but semi-official sources indicate that it will comprise space, cyber, and electronic warfare forces. More interestingly, these sources suggest that it will integrate and consolidate intelligence, communications, and technical reconnaissance with cyber warfare and electronic warfare to create an information dominance force.
美国政府是怎样输出价值观的-来源：《红旗文稿》2016/02 作者：王维佳 翟秀凤 冷战结束以来，美国政府逐渐把向世界传播、输出美国价值观作为巩固其全球霸主地位的重要手段。特别是2001年“9·11”事件后，美国将文化价值观输出和意识形态安全放在了更加突出的地位，形成了以美国国务院分管公共外交和公共事务的国务次卿为具体职能领导的庞大机构。研究分析美国国务次卿及其下属部门的设立过程、职能变化、发展趋势等，有助于我们深入了解美国政府是怎样输出价值观的。
全军团以上党委层层召开专题会议集中揭批，肃清郭徐案件影响打虎记澎湃新闻-The Paper 新华网北京1月26日消息，这是一次巩固拓展党的群众路线教育实践活动成果、荡涤沉疴积弊的成功实践，是一次落实全面从严治党要求、重塑良好政治生态的成功实践，是一次大力弘扬严实精神、凝聚强军兴军强大正能量的成功实践。
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
蔡英文：九二歷史事實 推動兩岸關係 – 焦點 – 自由時報電子報 問：您剛才提到「政治基礎」，這個「政治基礎」的內涵是什麼？跟馬英九政府有什麼不同？ 蔡：我所講的「既有政治基礎」，包含幾個關鍵元素，第一是，一九九二年兩岸兩會會談的歷史事實、以及雙方求同存異的共同認知。第二，是中華民國現行憲政體制；第三，是兩岸過去廿多年來協商和交流互動的成果；以及第四，是台灣的民主原則以及普遍民意。
Assessing the Outcomes and Implications of Taiwan’s January 2016 Elections with Joseph Wu | Center for Strategic and International Studies Secretary General, Democratic Progressive Party
HSBC board to meet, China’s role in Hong Kong a factor in HQ debate | Reuters Reuters reported that a relocation to Hong Kong is unlikely to save the British bank much tax, and may actually increase its bill, while signs Beijing is encroaching on Hong Kong’s partial autonomy are further playing on directors’ minds. “The situation in Hong Kong appears to be getting worse. You have to wonder if the city will remain a suitable base for an independent-minded, top global financial institution,” said an HSBC insider, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Wife of ‘missing’ Hong Kong bookseller Lee Po reunited with husband in ‘secret’ meeting in mainland China | South China Morning Post Missing bookseller Lee Po – as the police now refer to Lee Bo – met his wife at a secret location on the mainland over the weekend, almost a month after he vanished mysteriously from Hong Kong.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Archaeologists find location where famous ‘Reforms of Shang Yang’ took place 2,000 years ago – People’s Daily Online how timely // In 383 BC, the Duke Xian of Qin moved the capital from Yongcheng to Yueyang. Yueyang thus became the new capital of the Qin state, lasting for 35 years. During that period, Shang Yang, an important Chinese statesman of the State of Qin, contributed to what would be termed Chinese Legalism. With the support of Duke Xiao of Qin, Yang enacted numerous reforms, transforming the peripheral Qin state into a militarily powerful and strongly centralized kingdom, as well as enhancing the administration through an emphasis on meritocracy. Qin finally conquered all other Warring States and eventually unified China in 221 BC.
China pushes inferno documentary into purgatory | Hong Kong Free Press Inspired by Dante’s “Inferno”, a medieval tale of a journey to the underworld, Zhao Liang’s latest documentary presents a bleak vision of China’s breakneck industrialisation.-Behemoth
Creation of China Daily’s Tibetan-style font|chinadaily.com.cn The “China Daily Tibet font” was created as a collaboration between China Daily and Founder Font, Beijing Founder Electronics Co., Ltd at the end of 2015.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Smog Problem Spiked in Many Cities in December, Ministry Says-Caixin Major indicators of air pollution, such as nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 – tiny specs of particulate matter in the air that can damage lungs – were all higher in 74 cities in the last month of the year than they were in December 2014, the ministry said in a statement on its website.
Wall St got China’s oil industry wrong – Business Insider Faced with weak domestic demand and overcapacity situation, Chinese refineries are expanding overseas markets. In recent months, the Chinese government began to allow teapot refineries to export product oil after granting them the import quota, as a result, the teapot refiners are likely to have higher run rate in 2016.
Dearth of Doctors in China Said to Put Children’s Health at Risk-Caixin The country has a shortfall of at least 200,000 pediatricians, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said. Nearly half of all registered pediatricians left their positions between 2005 and 2011 due to poor pay, long working hours and dim career prospects, its data show.
AGRICULTURE AND RURAL ISSUES
一号文件望聚焦三大方向 力推农业供给侧改革-产业·期货-新闻-上海证券报·中国证券网 中国证券网讯 按照惯例，一号文件将于1月底或2月初公开发布，按照之前媒体报道，今年的一号文件也有望继续聚焦农业现代化问题。另外，中央农村工作领导小组副组长、办公室主任陈锡文之前也表示，农业供给侧改革将是今年农村改革的大头。据业内人士分析，农村电商、农垦改革、农业供给侧改革或将成为此次一号文件的主要关注点。
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: Non-GMO Soybean Supply Shortfall in China China is learning that not all soybeans are equal and you have to pay a premium if you want to consume and produce “non-GMO” products. China’s shortage of non-GMO soybeans was one of the main topics of discussion at a meeting on the soybean market held by the Ministry of Agriculture during December 2015 in Heilongjiang Province. The area planted in non-GMO soybeans in China has been shrinking year by year while the demand for non-GMO cooking oil, food products, and protein supplements has grown. Meanwhile, the price of imported soybeans–which are predominantly genetically-modified–has been falling.
JOBS AND EVENTS
The China Exit Interview | SAIS-February 3, 2016 Washington DC Dean Vali Nasr, SAIS China Studies and The Paulson Institute invite you to a panel discussion “The China Exit Interview” with Bill Bishop, Writer of the Sinocism Blog, Gady Epstein, Media Editor at The Economist, Jeremy Goldkorn, Founder and Director of Danwei & Evan Osnos, Staff Writer for The New Yorker. The talk will be moderated by Evan A. Feigenbaum, Vice Chairman of Paulson Institute.
The WorldPost Is Hiring A China Correspondent // sad to see Matt Sheehan is leaving China, one of the brightest stars of the younger generation of foreign reporters
If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.
Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters
Send comments/tips/complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you really like Sinocism, feel free to donate some money, with Bitcoin or a credit card. Thanks.