"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
We are headed back to Beijing this weekend but will only be there for a couple of days before going on vacation until the end of August. We are not going to Beidaihe this year but will be somewhere with very limited Internet access. There will likely be only three more issues of the newsletter in August, with a return to a more consistent schedule in September.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
‘No need to over-interpret’ spy probe on Canadian couple, says Chinese diplomat | South China Morning Post “We’re trying to reach North Korea with God, with Jesus, and practical assistance,” Kevin Garratt said in a sermon last year, according to an audio file shared online, which has since been taken off the internet. Dandong is a major trade hub between China and North Korea, but also a gateway for Christian missionaries trying to proselytise in North Korea. One missionary told the Post that authorities along the entire border line have recently been cracking down on Christian activists there, pushing their activities further underground.
Related: Spying case heightens China-Canada tensions, reflects split in Ottawa | Reuters China’s decision to investigate two Canadians for suspected spying highlights a sharp and unexpected deterioration in bilateral ties just months ahead of a trip by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Beijing. The detention of the couple, long-time residents in China who ran a coffee shop on the border with North Korea, could also make life tougher for the small group of Canadian government ministers who favor closer economic links with Beijing.
Related: 环球-社评：对付西方间谍，会抓还要会说 G
Related: China says to punish Audi, Chrysler for monopoly behavior | Reuters Chrysler is owned by Fiat SpA (FIA.MI) while Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) owns Audi, and both are premium brands in China. The regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said an ongoing investigation into the two companies showed they had “conducted anti-competitive behaviors”. “They will be punished accordingly in the near future,” NDRC spokesman Li Pumin told a press conference in Beijing.
Related: China car probes mark anti-monopoly war|chinadaily.com.cn The NDRC launched anti-monopoly probes into the auto sector at the end of 2011 to safeguard competition in the market and protect customer rights. If a firm manipulates prices by controlling production, distribution and sales of a product, it violates the Anti-Monopoly Law, which came into force in 2008. According to the Anti-Monopoly Law of China, enterprises which have been involved in a monopoly may be fined between 1 and 10 percent of their total sales of the previous year.
Related: China anti-trust regulator conducts new raids on Microsoft, Accenture | Reuters A Chinese anti-trust regulator conducted new raids on Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and partner in China Accenture PLC (ACN.N), the agency said on its website on Wednesday, after saying last week Microsoft is under investigation for anti-trust violations. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) raided offices in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian and Hubei, it said. The SAIC also raided the Dalian offices of IT consultancy Accenture, to whom Microsoft outsources financial work, according to the regulator.
China Said to Exclude Apple From Procurement List – Bloomberg Ten Apple products — including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — were omitted from a final government procurement list distributed in July, according to officials who read it and asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The models were on a June version of the list drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Finance, the officials said. // one of my 2014 predictions: “There will be more China pain for US technology companies in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Do not be surprised if Beijing bans military and security personnel and cadres above a certain rank from using Apple products” ..so not quite right but still 5 months left in the year…definitely had some misses so far with the predictions, esp around rmb, real estate and alibaba
How big are CNOOC’s oil reserves?–Lowy Interpreter Back in early June, Geoff Miller asked: ‘are resource constraints are driving China’s Asia’s policy?’ A recent stock exchange filing by China’s state-owned oil company CNOOC may illuminate Chinese motivations. Researchers have previously noted the significant long-term decline in CNOOC’s domestic offshore oil reserve life. Based on updated information presented in the filing, and assuming CNOOC’s forecast production rates, the company may run down its reserve life to barely six years by 2015*. This compares to almost 15 years in 2001, and it is well below the 10 years normally considered comfortable for an ‘upstream’ oil exploration company. CNOOC has traditionally been Beijing’s offshore monopoly producer, so the condition of CNOOC is critical to China’s future energy strategy.
China fails the soft power test | Business Spectator When hundreds of European sinologists were given a conference program handbook on the 24th of July, they were “surprised and dismayed” to find pages had been torn from the handbook. The pages contained information about the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, a semi-official Taiwanese academic organisation that supports and promotes Chinese studies. As it turns out, Chinese officials presenting at the conference had secretly seized conference materials and removed these ‘offending’ pages from the handbooks. Vice Minister Xu Lin, director general of the Confucius Institute, ordered her underlings to remove the pages, according to a public report issued by the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS).
微信将清理谣言等有害信息 重点面向公众号-搜狐IT new cleanup of Wechat coming? rumors of an announcement of harshest moves to date Thursday by the government. The Tencent exec quoted in this article may be trying to get ahead of the news with this disclosure…the Internet cleanup begun in Q2 2013 has not stopped and shows no signs of stopping. The commanding heights have been seized on Weibo but not on Wechat…the Guo Meimei media assault may fit within this broader campaign…her case the perfect swamp of rumors, sex, money, online promotion and violation of “Socialist Values”, among other things // 今日，腾讯公司微信业务相关负责人透露，
Related: How Weibo Is Changing Local Governance in China | The Diplomat While most studies of Chinese social media focus on censorship, Weibo is helping to improve local governance in China…While research on Chinese state–netizen relations tends to emphasize confrontation, the more mundane and conciliatory use of social media by local governments in Chinese Internet users everyday life should not be downplayed or trivialized. An overarching “confrontational” framework tends to overlook real, prolonged possibilities of authoritarian resilience. // very true, part of the move towards to more responsive and accountable authoritarianism
Only 9 Chinese cities reach air quality standards – Xinhua Only nine of 161 Chinese cities reached the new — and stricter — air quality monitoring standards in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhanjiang, Yunfu, Beihai, Sanya and Lhasa are the cities which reached the standard, the ministry said.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
地方政府放松限购后又松绑限贷 加大楼市刺激_21世纪网 more signs of loosening mortgage loans to help real estate markets // 5日，广西宣布将适当放宽二套房贷款政策，大力促进住房消费。
人民日报：棚户区改造将还上经济欠账 拉动GDP增0.21%_市场_地产频道首页_财经网 – CAIJING.COM.CN 加大对棚户区的改造力度，
Baoshan sees three year “winter” for Chinese steel | | MacroBusiness It may take three years for the domestic steel sector to “get through the winter” He said surplus steel amounts to 200 million tons while steel consumption is estimated around 800 million tons this year The capacity utilization ratio of the steel sector is lower than 80% and downstream demand growth remains low Warned that the risks in the steel chain have accelerated exposing other issues such as iron ore financing risks and it is unclear when the impact on the steel sector will end
Shanghai Realtors Boycott Property Listing Company – Caixin On August 5, a group of 13 Shanghai real estate agencies, including Centaline Property Agency Ltd. and 5i5j Realty Service Co. Ltd., announced a ban on listing properties on SouFun. The alliance accused SouFun of breaching an agreement reached after a pricing dispute in June that aimed to keep listing fees from rising too quickly.
China Mobile Shopping Market Overview for Q2 2014-2017e — China Internet Watch iResearch estimates China mobile shopping market is going to exceed RMB800 billion (US$129.7 billion) this year, 30% of total total online shopping transactions; over half of China’s online shopping transactions will be on mobile by 2016.
China PBOC Repeats Support For Small Firms; Cut Funding Cost | MNI The People’s Bank of China reiterated that it will use targeted measures to give more financial support to the agriculture sector and small business where money is most needed. The central bank said in a statement following a meeting with local PBOC officials Wednesday that it will also push for implementation of measures to lower funding cost for Chinese companies.
China Default Storm Seen as Record Private Bonds Mature – Bloomberg The small companies that dominate China’s private market for high-yield bonds face rising default risks as their debt obligations soar to a record and economic growth slows to the lowest in more than two decades. Privately issued notes totaling 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) come due next quarter, the most since authorities first allowed such offerings from small- to medium-sized borrowers in 2012, according to China Merchants Securities Co.
Early Look: China’s Economy Seeing a Summer Rebound – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s economy likely did well in July, according to the latest data and economists’ forecasts, thanks to a combination of government stimulus and resurgent demand for Chinese exports. Since growth showed signs of slowing earlier this year, Beijing has upped its spending on infrastructure projects like railways and social housing, while putting pressure on local governments to step up their own investment projects. At the same time, policymakers have tried to make it clear that they haven’t given up on planned economic reforms
POLITICS AND LAW
今年北戴河会议近期召开-财经频道-手机搜狐 Beidaihe Meetings starting soon? // 有消息显示，今年的北戴河会议拟于近期召开。在这个打虎正猛、
Taking the Next Step in Fight against Corruption – Caixin Hu Shuli Editorial The Central Discipline Inspection Commission must now be strengthened and intra-party regulations reinforced. Simply relying on the party to clean itself up is not enough, which is why policymakers have set legal reform as the theme for the fourth meeting of this Central Committee. There are five ways to accelerate legal reform: the authority of the constitution and the law must be maintained; the reform of administrative and law-enforcement systems must be deepened; the powers of courts and prosecutors must be executed legally, separately and impartially; the authority of the judiciary must be strengthened; and the protection of human rights must be upgraded. Corruption in its different forms has, in effect, been a kind of looting, resulting from the alienation of public power. Xi Jinping once said that before the country could be ruled by law, it should first be ruled by the constitution, and that the life and authority of the constitution lies in its implementation.
女贼专偷官员被抓 被举报官员中2人落马–新闻中心-中国警察网 a thief targets officials, has turned in several (anonymously) after robbing their homes, says two have gone down…it’s where the money is she says
For Chinese Officials at Risk of Corruption, a View of Life Behind Bars – NYTimes.com The National Development and Reform Commission has sent some 200 “high risk” personnel for visits of prisons that hold officials convicted of graft. The visits, which occurred in early July, were announced Tuesday evening on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the ruling Communist Party’s chief anticorruption body
China central authority calls for implementation of “mass line” – Xinhua China’s central authority has issued a circular for implementing the Party’s “mass-line” campaign with rules and regulations. The circular called for continued rectification of four undesirable work styles such as formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. It urged officials at all levels to address the issues concerning the immediate interests of the people. The circular urged officials to strengthen grassroots Party and state organizations, and make rules and regulations to consolidate the results of the mass line campaign. It also called for strengthened discipline. // 中央党的群众路线教育实践活动领
Xinjiang Chief Signals New Curbs on Births for Minorities – Bloomberg China plans to adopt the same family planning policies for all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, the western province’s Communist Party chief wrote in an essay, signaling further curbs for the Uighur Muslim minority. Southern Xinjiang will “implement family planning policy equally on all ethnic groups, to lower and stabilize an appropriate birth rate,” Zhang Chunxian wrote in the August edition of Qiushi, an official magazine of the party.
In a Xinjiang City, No Room on the Bus for Those With Veils or Long Beards – NYTimes.com The ban, which took effect Monday in Karamay, a city in northern Xinjiang near the border with Kazakhstan, is directed at “five groups of people,” said The Karamay Daily. These are anyone wearing headscarves, veils, hijabs or clothing bearing the crescent moon and star traditionally associated with Islam, as well as men with long beards. The ban will be in place until the conclusion of a local sports competition on Aug. 20, the newspaper said.
Jailed Uighur Scholar Rejects China’s Separatism Charges as ‘Distorted’ – NYTimes.com During a three-hour meeting with his lawyers, Mr. Tohti expressed indignation over the charges, describing them as “distorted,” according to the lawyers, Li Fangping and Liu Xiaoyuan, who met with him Tuesday at a detention center in Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang. Mr. Tohti has been held there for nearly seven months. “He said the charges do not align with the facts,” Mr. Liu said by telephone from Urumqi. “He said he never set up a separatist cabal.”
新疆莎车2干部公路上遇暴徒 拒喊“圣战”口号遭杀害_凤凰资讯 reports that two cadres in Yarkand killed after being accosted on road and refusing to shout “Jihad” slogans
习近平：弘扬“两路”精神 助推西藏发展-新华网 Xi’s speech on 60th anniversary of completion of roads connecting Tibet with Qinghai…lots more infrastructure and economic development coming for Tibet // 新华网北京8月6日电 中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平近日就川藏、
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Contradiction blots Obama’s legacy – Global Times Condescending to China and Russia, Obama treats both nations separately. He wants to draw more Western attention to China, so there could be more efforts to contain China. Obama paying close attention to China resulted in his “rebalancing to Asia” strategy. He hasn’t shown much belligerence to China and Russia since he took office, but apparently, he lacks strategic insight and the power to control his government and be a good decision-maker. His advocacy is always ambiguous and easily misguided by some emergency issues. Diplomacy will not be a proud part of his legacy.
7th Fleet returns to its old base in China – Stripes Central – Stripes Seventh Fleet leaders and flagship USS Blue Ridge arrived in Qingdao, China, for a goodwill visit Aug. 5. Qingdao is the home port of the People’s Liberation Army Navy North Sea Fleet. But from 1946 to 1949, it was the 7th Fleet’s home port, according to a 7th Fleet news release.
Beijing invites US to link up over Africa – FT.com China has invited the US to co-operate in financing and building infrastructure in Africa and other parts of the developing world, an unprecedented proposal that has potentially sweeping implications for the future of international development aid. Chinese officials first approached Washington last year to discuss working together on a $12bn dam project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, US officials said, but the talks gathered momentum at the annual China-US summit in July in Beijing.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Women’s voices: “Leftover” and proud | The Economist It is encouraging to see women give voice to justified complaints. Last November, 17 university students participated in a photographic protest of sexual defiance. Around the same time, Xiao Meili, a 24-year-old women’s rights activist, embarked on a 144-day, 2300km walk from Beijing to Guangzhou to raise awareness about sexual assault (in Chinese). An earlier campaign was a spin-off of the Occupy movement, “Occupy the men’s toilets”. Now, in Beijing, women’s issues have come to the stage in a dramatised collection of personal stories called “The Leftover Monologues”.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
China’s rural time bomb: half a billion elderly people with chronic diseases and no care Published in the journal International Health, the findings show that China has huge numbers of vulnerable people with high health needs who are missing out on basic preventive care and treatment, says the author of the study, Dr Dai Baozhen of the Department of Health Policy and Management, at Jiangsu University. Dr Dai says one of the main reasons for this sorry state of affairs is the lack of funding for preventive health in rural China. Most rural residents are covered by the New Cooperative Medical Insurance Scheme, which provides modest reimbursement for inpatient treatment for acute illness. However, the New Cooperative Medical Insurance Scheme does not cover much outpatient treatment and does not reimburse village clinics for preventive health checks such as measurement of blood pressure or diabetes checks. Even if it did, the scheme also fails to cover basic ‘disease management’ approaches needed to curb chronic diseases.
Backed by Investors, Health Apps Flex Muscle – Caixin Can a mobile device cure cancer? Not now. But Chinese investors targeting apps that help people make doctor appointments, order medicine and track a child’s temperature see huge potential for mobile-accessible health services. Among the interested investors are venture capital and private equity firms that ponied up some of the US$ 100 million for 33 health care-related app developers and service providers that was raised in China between January 2010 and March, according to the data and investment firm Zero2IPO Ventures.
Closer Look: Why E-Cars Are Not Selling in Beijing – Caixin The capital planned to put 20,000 e-cars on its roads this year, but so far only some 330 have been sold
FOOD AND TRAVEL
China takes shark fin soup off the menu – Telegraph New survey shows an 82 per cent fall in sales of shark fin after a ban at government banquets and a celebrity media campaign
Newspaper Blows Lid Off Fake Lamb Skewer Industry In China | TheNanfang A newspaper in China has done an extensive undercover investigation into the ubiquitous lamb skewers (or chuanr) sold on street corners in nearly every city in China. The goal was to determine if the tender meat-on-a-stick was actually lamb, as we’re led to believe. Unsurprisingly, the paper got a clear answer: they’re nearly all fake.
Direct flights link China’s Guangzhou, New York – Xinhua China Southern Airlines, the country’s largest air carrier by fleet size, launched non-stop flights between Guangzhou and New York on Wednesday. The flights, the first non-stop service between Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, and New York, are expected to help cope with the increasing air traffic between the world’s two largest economies. China Southern Airlines will use 309-seat Boeing 777-300ER planes for four round-trip flights per week. A single trip takes about 16 hours.
Beijing Hopes to Keep Skies Bluer for Regional Forum – China Real Time Report – WSJ The city plans to heavily reduce the use of government vehicles for two weeks while it hosts a meeting of senior officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic and Cooperation forum later this month, the Beijing News reported Tuesday. Beijing will suspend bus services for government officials and reduce the use of government vehicles by 70% from Aug. 6-21, the newspaper said. The measures will help “ensure good air quality and unimpeded traffic flow” during the APEC meeting, it said. Residents will also be encouraged to use public transportation as much as possible and to reduce their use of private cars, it said.