The Sinocism China Newsletter 05.08.14

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

Today’s Links:


Critical Questions: China-Vietnam Tensions High over Drilling Rig in Disputed Waters | Center for Strategic and International Studies And this comes right before the ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting that starts May 10. Whatever restraint China showed while Obama was in Asia seems to have been temporary, but noteworthy that it was shown while he was here //China can make a legal case, however flimsy, for control over the continental shelf on which HD-981 sits. But that area is clearly in dispute. To unilaterally drill on it is a violation of UNCLOS’s admonition that states in a dispute, “in a spirit of understanding and cooperation, shall make every effort to enter into provisional arrangements,” and shall not “jeopardize or hamper the reaching of [a] final agreement.” It is also clearly contrary to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea that China signed with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Vietnam

Related: USNI-Hanoi: Chinese Ships Rammed Vietnamese Patrol Boats in Escalating Oilrig Dispute what Hanoi says are pictures and video of the ramming

Related: China urges against Vietnamese interference in territorial water exploration – She said Vietnamese harassment of Chinese companies conducting normal activities runs counter to international law and basic norms of international relations as well as China’s sovereignty and administration rights.

Related:  China v Vietnam: Not the usual drill | The Economist Vietnam is not an American ally, though relations have been warming in recent years, partly because of the Vietnamese fear of China’s rise. And if America proves impotent in the face of this Chinese “provocation”, it may help undo whatever progress Mr Obama made on the reassurance front.

Related: China-Vietnam clash in the Paracels: history still rhyming in the Internet era? | southseaconversations 讨论南海 The most remarkable resonance is with the 2007 confrontation in the Paracels, made public for the first time in a CCTV documentary late last year (see Scott Bentley’s excellent writeup on The Diplomat). That time, Chinese law enforcement ships were likewise escorting an energy survey operation, in a similar area of sea (on the Vietnamese side of Triton Island), which about 30 Vietnamese ships were attempting to disrupt. In 2007, following a brief period of standoff, the China Marine Surveillance ship Haijian-84 was instructed to ram the Vietnamese ships. The whole CCTV doco can be seen here, and the relevant footage is right here with English subs:

11 Chinese poachers arrested | The Philippine Star A local fishing vessel with five crewmembers, including the captain, was also intercepted in the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Maritime Command-led operations with the support of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Western Command. “At about 7 a.m. May 6, 2014 at Half Moon Shoal, Palawan two vessels were captured. One local with five Muslim crewmen and carrying more or less 40 turtles and the other one is from China with 11 crewmembers and carrying more or less 500 turtles,” a senior security official said.

Related: 中方警告菲律宾勿主动挑衅 要求立即放人放船_新闻_腾讯网 China warns Philippines about provocations, demands immediate release of Chinese fishermen…the ones the Philippines claim poached 500 endangered sea turtles…

Blame the media, China property edition | FT Alphaville The bank that brought “adaptive pricing” to the China property euphemism table just two weeks ago is getting quite a bit blunter. We’ll spare you more charts today, but here’s a chunk or two from Citi’s Oscar Choi and Marco Sze who have been forced into a shower of scare quotes by weaker than expected April data

Related: 楼市降价风暴刮至一线城市 避风港地位沦陷_财经_腾讯网 Chinese media really making the point that real estate prices are dropping, even in tier 1 cities

Related: 北京二手房降价趋势确立 房源激增加深观望情绪_新闻_腾讯网 Beijing second hand home prices dropping, sales listings increasing, market freezing up–CBN// 《第一财经日报》记者最近在市场走访时发现,楼市的低迷正在影响业主的价格预期,二手房报价普遍下调。与此同时,二手房供应量正急剧上升,陡然增加的供应,又加深了买方观望的情绪。

Related: 惊惧楼市寒意 投资客抛房疾走_房地产_中证网 front page Thursday of China Securities Journal on investors panicking, dumping Shenzhen real estate // 投资客曾是楼市勃兴时最为活跃的一个群体,而在市场陷入低迷时,他们也最先感受到寒意。近期,全国多个地区房屋成交低迷,楼市资金不断撤出。而号称“炒房”技术发源地的深圳,则出现投资者集中抛盘现象。

Related: 二手房降价蔓延:4月份北京87%房源挂牌价下调_21世纪网 21CBH on real estate prices dropping in Beijing

Related: 消息称北京一房企欲退地 楼面价超区域新房销售价格-财经网 The Beijing News reports that the winner of an April 10 Beijing land auction, a smaller local developer, wants to back out of deal, will likely lose its 423m RMB deposit. The developer paid 2.1B RMB for the Fengtai plot and the effective price per square meter of building area, not including construction costs or any other expenses, is higher than what what neighboring places selling for…failing land sales either means things get ugly fast or the government has to step in 

Related: 北京首套房贷利率松动可打9折 最快1天可放款_网易新闻中心 Beijing loosens mortgages for first time home buyers, processing applications faster // 《法制晚报》记者走访北京市场发现,首套房贷款利率出现“松动”,北京农商银行给出9折优惠。另外,多家银行的放款时间加快,年初至少需要1个月以上的时间,现在基本在10个工作日左右,最快的甚至1天放款。

Beijing detains, parades journalist Gao Yu on state TV for ‘leaking state secrets’ | South China Morning Post Gao, 70, shared a secret document with editors of a foreign website in August last year, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. Gao was “deeply remorseful” of her actions and “willing to accept legal punishment”, the report said, ending speculation over her whereabouts two weeks after she disappeared. China’s national broadcaster CCTV paraded her confession in a early morning news broadcast on Thursday, blurring out her face but identifying her by her full name. //the video 北京女子涉向境外非法提供中央机密文件被拘  was Document #9 the document in question?

Related: Foreign espionage plots target China’s college students: state media | South China Morning Post Interestingly, the accusations in the article bear a striking resemblance to the scenario played out in a video clip made and released by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last month that bluntly warned US students to be wary of the recruiting efforts made by Chinese intelligence agencies.

Related: Virtual Espionage Challenges Chinese Counterintelligence | The Jamestown Foundation The espionage case publicized within two weeks of a new set of Central Military Commission directives on security and developing security consciousness highlight another aspect of China’s insecurity over cyber. Despite Chinese authorities’ successful investigative efforts of individual cases, they cannot seem to staunch the creative approaches foreign intelligence operations and the leak of information online. Old tenets of secrecy no longer seem as effective as problems multiply with increasingly reliance on information technology

Mainland crackdown on illegal use of payment cards in Macau casinos | South China Morning Post Macau is facing a major capital-flight crackdown amid Beijing concerns that tens of billions of yuan in illicit funds are being funnelled out of the mainland and into casinos in contravention of national currency controls. China’s state-backed bank payment card UnionPay last night announced a raft of measures in what it described as a “committed” drive to “combat overseas money laundering, capital flight and other illegal bank card use” in the former Portuguese enclave

李春城落马多涉土地项目 彭州石化或成寻租工具_深度_新京报网 The Beijing News has lots more detail on detained official Li Chuncheng and his bad dealings, as well his reliance on fengshui and “superstitions” // 李春城许多“政绩”的背后,都有利用职务为他人谋利的线索,涉及其弟李春明、紧随他到成都的“哈尔滨帮”、本地商人汪俊林、邓鸿等人,触角涉及征地拆迁、土地开发、政府工程、市政交通等多个方面。此外,彭州石化项目贯穿李春城成都主政13年,一大批权力人物从中实现“权与利”的结合。

Related: 李春城四川沉浮录_杂志频道_财新网 this week’s issue of Caixin also has a long story on Li Chuncheng…// 以李春城、郭永祥移交司法为标志,经过近两年的调查,一个中共建政以来腐败规模、程度和政治权力史无前例的重大涉黑贪腐集团系列案,正逐步完成立案调查阶段工作,更多案情真相将渐次浮出水面

Chinese Birth Tourism to the U.S. Grows–Tea Leaf Nation immigration officers can deny entry even if they have a valid visa…// Speaking louder than CCTV’s cautionary words about birth tourism may be the covert actions of the network’s own employees. Investigative journalist Chai Jing and anchor Dong Qing, both well-known to millions of Chinese, are rumored to have given birth in the United States in recent months. (Neither woman has confirmed or denied these reports.) Chai has cultivated the public persona of an intelligent and sensitive reporter who cares deeply about China’s social problems and underclass. Dong, on the other hand, is best recognized as the glamorous, perfectly-coiffed host of CCTV’s Chinese New Year Gala, an annual variety show watched by an estimated 700 million people.

How is China Doing in Africa? | ChinaFile Conversation On his current weeklong tour of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new $12 billion aid package intended to address China’s “growing pains” in Africa. China is by turns lauded for bringing development to the continent and chastized for what some see as a neo-colonial engagement that’s too exploitative of Africa’s natural resources. Whatever the view, one thing is certain: China is in Africa to stay. We asked our contributors, new and old, in China and Africa, to assess Beijing’s progress so far



China April Trade Beats Consensus; $18.5 Bln Surplus In Line | MNI Chinese trade data almost consistently fails to come in as expected, but it’s a rare occurrence these days for monthly export and import numbers to beat economist forecasts. The surprising rise in export and import growth seen in the April report is a positive for the country’s economic outlook and provides another reason for Beijing to resist easing policy significantly. Strong improvements in trade with the U.S. and Europe helped compensate for relative weak exports to Japan.

Why Chinese Stocks May Still Make Sense Over the Long Run | BlackRock Blog | Global Market Intelligence a bold (crazy?) call

World Ore Glut Outweighs Slowest China Growth Since ’90 – Bloomberg Owners are securing the extra cargoes because project expansions started over the past several years by miners including Rio Tinto Group (RIO) and BHP Billiton Ltd. are now producing ore. While that’s creating a global glut and pushed iron ore into a bear market, global prices are undercutting China’s by the most in five years. The commodity will average the least since 2009 this year and fall every year through 2017, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

人民币贬值原因揭晓 3月份外汇占款新增1700多亿_证券时报网 Securities Times says recent FX data proves PBoC behind the RMB depreciation // 分析人士认为,央行口径新增外汇占款与全口径新增外汇占款较为接近这一事实,在一定程度解释了今年以来人民币持续贬值的原因:外汇占款数据显示,央行通过向商业银行全力买入美元、卖出人民币,引导人民币持续走软,最终用意在于增加套利投机成本、打破人民币单边升值预期。



纪委暗访腐败配价值2万元特制眼镜 可记录全程-法治频道-新华网 The Beijing News looks at how Wang Qishan’s CCDI inspectors go undercover, says they can use 20k RMB glasses that can record everything…Google Glass eat your heart out?

慑于王岐山铁腕 权贵抛资产断尾自保_中国_多维新闻网 Duowei says Wang Qishan’s corruption crackdown leading some of the most elite to dump assets in fear of investigations, and that he recently called in previous CCDI head and retired PBSc member He Guoqiang for a talk over his sone’s activities. No idea if true, but do know that right now almost no one seems to feel safe // 【多维新闻】中共反腐铁腕无远弗届,连前政治局常委也难以幸免。继周永康之子周滨被查之后,贺国强也因为其子敛财问题遭到王岐山当面问话。多维新闻从权威渠道获悉,此两案所造成的震慑效应悄然显现,与之前贪官恐慌性抛售地产相类,众多中共高层亲属日前也胆战心惊如履薄冰,纷纷抛售名下股票、债券、房产等资产以求自保。

Power Company Official ‘Is Target of Investigation’ – Caixin The director and Communist Party boss of a branch of the country’s largest distributor of electricity is the subject of an investigation, industry sources say. Zhu Changlin, who became director and party chief of the north branch of State Grid Corp. last year, was being investigated, the sources said on May 6. It was unclear what the inquiry is about or who is performing it.

【舒立观察】根治“身边人腐败”_杂志频道_财新网 Hu Shuli on corruption and official secretaries, one of the key conduits for graft // 秘书腐败与领导干部腐败,表象不同,根源则一,即权力未受有效监督和制约。欲根除腐败,必须把权力装进笼子。根本出路在于建设法治社会

湖北省国资委副主任王侃接受组织调查_政经频道_财新网 Hubei SASAC vice director Wang kan under investigation

瑞士将公开外国账户信息 专家称有利于中国反腐_新闻_腾讯网 Chinese media says the changes to Swiss bank secrecy laws will help China’s corruption crackdown…

温州警方捣毁在养猪场卖淫窝点 嫖客最大75岁_网易新闻中心-网易新闻客户端 Wenzhou police bust a brothel at a pig farm..Deliverance nightmares recurred…

人民日报评论员:旗帜鲜明反对宗教极端思想–观点–人民网 page 1 People’s Daily commentary on opposing religious extremism, part 4 of a series on Xi’s Xinjiang visit

大话石油改制-财经网 latest cover story in Caijing is on reform at the SOE oil majors // 推动石油央企的混合所有制改革,当务之急是破除垄断、开放准入、透明地质数据、让油气资产自由流转,从而让“三桶油”之外的市场主体有独立生存的可能;同时要完善石油央企的公司治理结构,真正建立现代企业制度。

Shenzhen court gives Hong Kong publisher Yiu Man-tin 10-year prison sentence | South China Morning Post A Shenzhen court sentenced Hong Kong publisher Yiu Man-tin to 10 years in jail yesterday for “smuggling ordinary goods”, his lawyer said. The retired engineer-turned-publisher, 73, who is also known as Yao Wentian, was detained on October 27. Prior to his arrest he had been preparing to publish a book entitled Godfather Xi Jinping by dissident and writer Yu Jie, according to his family and friends.

地方金融办将被剥离融资职责 新华社——经济参考网 《经济参考报》记者从多个渠道获悉,中编办前不久向各省级金融办下发了《关于完善中央与地方金融管理体制的意见》,征求地方对未来中央和地方金融分层监管的意见。这一轮意见征求结果已于3月底前完成,并反馈给了中编办。据悉,《意见》初步划定了地方金融办的监管责任,包括小额贷款公司、担保公司、地区性OTC(场外交易市场)、典当四类;提出“省级政府的金融管理职责不能够层层下放到市县政府,但是可以在市县设置监管机构实现垂直管理”。值得一提的是,还明确规定,地方金融管理机构不能够承担地方发展融资职责和出资人职责。



China releases 1st national security blue book- The China National Security Research Report says, among other things, that terrorism here in China is taking on new characteristics. The report says with Chinese overseas interests expanding and strengthening, the risk of China facing more international terrorism is being intensified. The report warns terrorist activities are having an impact on Chinese nationals abroad. The Blue Book also says domestic terrorism in China is being influenced by international terrorism. // 中国发布首部国家安全报告 呼吁联俄拉欧稳美_新闻_腾讯网

China wants Zim mineral proceeds as collateral for loans – official | The Source China wants Zimbabwe to use its mineral proceeds to guarantee any future loans, a Chinese official said on Tuesday, adding that Beijing had already extended nearly $1,5 billion in the last three years to Harare’s ailing economy. In February, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the two countries were negotiating what he termed a comprehensive financial rescue package. However, the minister has recently admitted that China, among other potential donors and investors, remain apprehensive about extending financial aid to debt-ridden Zimbabwe.

Norway’s Leaders Snub Dalai Lama in Deference to China – It was the first time that top officials in Norway, which has historically portrayed itself as a bastion of political tolerance, had snubbed the Dalai Lama, a congenial, 78-year-old Buddhist theologian who spends most of his time traveling and speaking about nonviolence and human rights. He has been to Norway at least three times before.

Terrorism Fears Push Muscular Approach to ‘Overall National Security’ | The Jamestown Foundation–Willy Lam On at least four occasions the past month, Xi indicated his administration would devote maximal resources to maintaining state security in the following eleven areas: politics, territorial, military, economy, culture, society, science and technology, information, ecology, resources, and nuclear. “Upholding national security is of utmost importance to consolidating the party’s ruling status,” said Xi at the first meeting of the Central National Security Commission (CNSC)—the country’s highest policy-making organ on state security—on April 15.

Lawmakers meet high-level Chinese official | The Japan Times A group of senior Japanese lawmakers on Monday held talks with Zhang Dejiang, ranked third in the Communist Party of China, and is likely to mention Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s readiness to hold his formal first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year. The head of the delegation, Masahiko Komura, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters that he relayed Abe’s hopes off meeting with Xi on the sidelines of this year’s summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in November in Beijing to former Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Sunday night



China’s Xi stresses benefits of ties after Taiwan protests | Reuters Xi, meeting with former Taiwan presidential candidate and politician James Soong in Beijing, appeared to address those protests indirectly, saying China wanted to know more about the concerns of people in Taiwan. “Based on the concept that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are of one family, there is no difficulty that cannot be overcome as long as each side feels for the other and treats the other with sincerity,” Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.



Some Chinese vent over Alibaba’s big foreign stakeholders-Reuters- didn’t see this listed in the risk factors section of the IPO filing // Angry Chinese nationalists finally woke up on Wednesday to the fact that Japanese and American companies own more than half of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba, and have done for years. “Who is Jack Ma working for?” asked some on microblogs, hours after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd filed a prospectus for an initial public offering of its shares in the United States, which some say could be the biggest listing ever of a technology stock.

Son Makes $58 Billion on Alibaba With Buffett-Type Return – Bloomberg Fourteen years ago, Son’s SoftBank Corp. (9984) started with a $20 million bet on a then-unknown Web portal connecting Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers. That site evolved into China’s biggest Internet shopping mall and SoftBank’s stake is now estimated to be worth about $58 billion, an exceptional return even by Silicon Valley’s standards.

‘Unparalleled Ruthlessness’ Awaits: Jack Ma’s Letter to Alibaba Employees. – China Real Time Report – WSJ “It is by the odes that the mind is aroused. It is by the rules of propriety that the character is established. It is from music that completion arises.” Aliren, the past 15 years have been difficult and exciting. Every single day of the future is bound to be extraordinary and complicated. If we don’t put in the effort today, we might not see the sunshine the day after tomorrow.  No business runs smoothly all the time. As we persevere in persevering, we must change for the customer, we must change for the world and we must change for the future

Alibaba, ShopRunner plan to launch joint China service | Reuters ShopRunner, whose partners include Neiman Marcus and Nine West, will use Alibaba’s domestic logistics infrastructure to launch in China later this year, ShopRunner Chief Strategy Officer Fiona Dias told Reuters on Wednesday. // something that may hurt Amazon’s China hopes

重新学习做商业_杂志频道_财新网 Caixin cover this week on Gome, one of China’s biggest offline electronics retailer, and its remaking

Rumor: China Mobile, Apple to Split Carrier Billing Revenue 15:85 | Marbridge Consulting According to a source close to the matter, under the previously announced carrier billing partnership between China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) and US consumer electronics giant Apple’s China App Store, China Mobile will receive a 15% share of all China App Store revenue for purchases carried out using China Mobile carrier billing. The proportion of revenues awarded to app developers will be determined by Apple on a per-app basis.

Tencent Establishes WeChat Business Group | Marbridge Consulting Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent (0700.HK) has officially announced a new round of internal restructuring, establishing a WeChat Business Group responsible for the company’s WeChat (Weixin) mobile messaging application and WeChat open platform, as well as Tencent’s “WeChat Pay” third-party payment service, WeChat’s “Wei Shenghuo” O2O m-commerce platform, and other WeChat-related services

Chinese PC Online Games Market Expected To Double Key takeaways from Niko’s Chinese PC Online and Console Games Market Report include: The market is expected to double from $11.9 billion to $23.4 billion, from 2013 to 2018…In 2014 there will be 245 million Chinese PC online gamers eager to connect with friends via digital entertainment sources – roughly equal to 78% of the current population of the United States.



Fight Club PRC: On the road with China’s up-and-coming MMA fighters | THAT’S MMA may still be a small niche pursuit by Chinese standards, with the recent tournament in Shanghai attracting just 2,000 spectators, but its popularity is growing, especially compared to more traditional forms of combat sports. Believed to have arrived in the country in 2005, MMA has since gained a firm foothold, with gyms promoting the new discipline opening across the country. There are now five such gyms in Beijing alone, each boasting several hundred members – the majority of whom are teenagers and adolescents.

Ferrari driver killed, Hyundai driver badly hurt and accused of drunken driving following Monterey Park crash Fu Duan, 21, of Temple City, died in the collision, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Joe Bale said. /this says Duan from Hubei, was studying at Pasadena Community College, had borrowed the 300k car from a friend 据知情人士透露,死者名叫段夫,祖籍湖北,曾就读中国人民大学附属中学,现在加州帕萨迪纳社区学院读书。据称段夫并非法拉利车主,车是他向朋友借的,他的朋友花30万美元买下这辆车,还没来得及上牌照。

The new opium of a stressed people –  Global Times, controlled by the Communist party mouthpiece People’s Daily, said last month that there was nothing more trendy these days than proclaiming oneself a Buddhist – especially of the Tibetan variety. //wish there more in here about the reasons…guilt for things done on the way to riches is one I see a lot

Artists finding inspiration in China’s bad air – Los Angeles Times From afar, Yao Lu’s works look like poetic scenes of mountains, rivers and waterfalls, with craggy trees and little pavilions. Examine them closely, though, and you’ll see heaps of detritus and rubble.



北京“小升初”方案公布 将两次派位_政经频道_财新网 new rules on Beijing primary and secondary school enrollment released, no more quotas via “gongjian”, other important changes, says that of the 30,000 kids enrolling in primary school in Chaoyang District for 2014-15 school year, 16000 will be kids without Beijing hukous. Ending gongjian a big deal, takes away a privilege of SOE and Government employees in the capital // 取消“共建生”名额,实行随机派位招生;同时,2014年朝阳区3万“幼升小”学生中,非京籍学生约1.6万,超过京籍学生

北京多所高校拟迁郊区 人民大学将搬到通州 _新闻_腾讯网 several Beijing Universities to build new campuses in Beijing suburbs, including People’s University which reportedly will build a new one in Tongzhou

Smog fees boost Beijing budget|Society|China Daily Hiked-up fees on polluting enterprises in Beijing have helped the city to rake in 88 million yuan ($14 million) so far this year, the city’s environmental watchdog said. The bureau collected 8.34 million yuan during the same period last year

The Great Wall at Simatai Re-Opens 10 Watchtowers » LumDimSum For the past 4 years (since June 2010), Simatai has been saying they would re-open “next year”.  We were beginning to lose hope until late March this year, they finally re-opened to the public.



The Worst of All Possible Universes and the Best of All Possible Earths: Three Body and Chinese Science Fiction | The experience of Three Body caused science fiction writers and critics to re-evaluate Chinese science fiction and China. They realized that they had been ignoring changes in the thinking patterns of Chinese readers.



口袋唱片之美国音乐制作人Dave Liang “上海复兴方案”2014年中国巡演 _豆瓣 Dave Liang’s “Shanghai Restoration Project” has a China tour starting 5.16-时间: 05月16日 ~ 05月27日 每天20:00-22:00 地点: 北京 东城区 北京 上海 南京 成都 重庆 武汉 长沙 广州 深圳

Follow me on Twitter @niubi