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THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. China Arrests Ex-Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang, in Graft Case – NYTimes.com Today’s official announcement said the Politburo was briefed on Zhou’s suspected transgression at a meeting on December 1, 2013, and that it was decided then to start the internal Party process to build a case. On July 29, 2014 the official investigation was announced. It took about five and a half months from the announcement of the Bo Xilai investigation to the announcement of his expulsion from Party and transfer of case to prosecutors. In the Zhou case it has taken just over 4 months since the official announcement of an investigation. The process for fallen Politburo members Chen Xitong (in the Jiang era) and Chen Liangyu (In the Hu era) took much longer than it did in either the Bo or Zhou cases. As much as pundits may want to opine about leadership “conflict” over the Zhou case, from what is publicly available it sure looks like there has been pretty consistent, high-level consensus since at least 2013, if not long before. Zhou’s crony Li Chuncheng was taken down in early December 2012, just weeks after Xi became General Secretary at the 18th Party Congress. // “Corruption is a cancer that has invaded the party’s healthy tissue,” said an editorial in People’s Daily, the party’s main newspaper, on Saturday. “We must use investigating and dealing with Zhou Yongkang’s grave violations to thoroughly advance the struggle against corruption.” The decision by the Communist Party Politburo, a council of 25 senior officials, to expel Mr. Zhou and place him under a legal investigation made it all but certain that he would face trial, conviction and a heavy sentence from one of the party-run courts that were once part of his political fief.
Related: Zhou Yongkang arrested, expelled from CPC – Xinhua The investigation found that Zhou seriously violated the Party’s political, organizational and confidentiality discipline. He took advantage of his posts to seek profits for others and accepted huge bribes personally and through his family, the statement said. He abused his power to help relatives, mistresses and friends make huge profits from operating businesses, resulting in serious losses of state-owned assets. Zhou leaked the Party’s and country’s secrets. He seriously violated self-disciplinary regulations and accepted a large amount of money and properties personally and through his family. Zhou committed adultery with a number of women and traded his power for sex and money, it said, adding that other clues of suspected crimes by Zhou were also found during the investigation. What Zhou did completely deviated from the Party’s nature and mission, and seriously violated Party discipline. His behaviors badly undermined the reputation of the Party, significantly damaged the cause of the Party and the people, and have yielded serious consequences, the statement said. // 中共中央决定给予周永康开除党籍处分, 将周永康涉嫌犯罪问题及线索移送司法机关依法处理 . If the charge of leaking secrets holds, will that be used as a reason to hold all or part of the trial in secret?
Related: Corruption must be punished, discipline must be strictly upheld: People’s Daily – Xinhua The decisions to expel Zhou Yongkang from the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as investigate and arrest him demonstrated that the CPC Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the general secretary, has resolved to uphold the Party’s unity and punish corruption, said a commentary to be carried by Saturday’s People’s Daily. // 人民日报评论员：坚决惩治腐败 严肃党纪党规
2. State Council Releases Hukou Reform Proposal – Caixin The draft of the regulation is a follow-up implementation of reform guidelines laid out in a key report from the third plenary of the Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress. Under the regulation reforms, the household registration system would be strictly regulated to control the population in mega-cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Small cities and towns would scrap the hukou system outright and other cities will phase out household registration measures incrementally.
Related: Further hukou reform to benefit millions – Xinhua In China, big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou boast the lion’s share of the nation’s best resources, in particular elite-learning institutions and first-class hospitals. Such uneven development has spurred many to move to these places, resulting in the city struggling to provide them with sufficient benefits. The draft proposed different approaches on how migrant people can obtain “hukou”: It said megacities could adopt a “points system” based on employment, accommodation and social security. However, not everyone is a fan of the proposed reform measures, some experts have raised concern that this approach could create inequality. Lu Jiehua from Peking University, said many big cities favored “high-caliber personnel” over ordinary migrant workers.
3. China to boost growth quality in 2015 – Xinhua | China will focus on boosting economic growth quality and efficiency in 2015 and stick to the theme of seeking progress while maintaining stability, according to a high-level meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Friday. China will adapt to the economic “new normal,” keep economic growth within a reasonable range and emphasize growth mode transformation and economic restructuring, said a statement issued after the meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. The meeting, chaired by General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping, focused on next year’s economic work. // 习近平主持中共中央政治局会议 分析研究2015年经济工作
Related: China Vows Prudent Monetary Policy as Xi Heralds New Normal – Bloomberg Chinese leaders are set to hold their annual Central Economic Work Conference in the coming days to set an economic growth target for 2015. Today’s language about a prudent monetary policy reiterated the government’s previous stance, suggesting there won’t be major policy shift from that meeting, which the Ta Kung Pao newspaper reported will start Dec. 9.
4. China Regulator Urges Caution on Stocks as Trading Hits Record – Bloomberg Investors must consider risks while putting money into stocks, China’s securities regulator warned yesterday after a buying spree drove daily trading turnover to above 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion) for the first time. Illegal activities including stock manipulation have recently been “raising their head” and investors should invest rationally, Deng Ge, a spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said in a statement on the agency’s website. A stable market is important for the economy, Ge said. // Friday was a crazy day. Who needs to go to Macau, especially when it is so hard now, when you can just play the stock market casino from home?
Related: China’s stock market exceeds 1-trln-yuan mark – Xinhua The remarkable performance of Chinese shares was mainly led by formerly quiet heavyweights, such as those in the banking and oil sectors. China’s four major banks jumped on Friday. China Construction Bank soared by the 10-percent daily limit to close at 5.7 yuan per share, while the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China finished at 4.59 yuan per share, up 7.49 percent. Two oil giants, PetroChina and Sinopec, also witnessed strong growth amid a continued drop in oil prices in the international market, with their shares closing 9.88 percent and 4.96 percent higher, respectively.
Related: China Stocks Cap Best Weekly Rally Since 2009 on Record Volumes – Bloomberg “The market is becoming very speculative,” said Wang Zheng, the Shanghai-based chief investment officer at Jingxi Investment, which oversees about $120 million. “Such a rally is unsustainable for sure. The market will be in for a very wild ride up and down next week.” The Shanghai Composite’s 165-point swing this morning, all within the first 90 minutes of trading, was the biggest since November 2010. The index’s 21 percent rally over the past month, the most among 93 global indexes tracked by Bloomberg, is spurring investors to open share accounts at the fastest pace in three years and boosting turnover to record highs. The value of shares that changed hands on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges surged to 1.05 trillion yuan, while Shanghai’s volumes were 114 percent above the 30-day average
5. Ministry unveils detailed plan for artists’ grassroots stints – Xinhua China’s Ministry of Culture on Friday unveiled its scheme to send more than 3,000 artists to the countryside by the end of 2015 to seek inspiration and closer ties with the people. The artists, affiliated with various art groups under direct supervision of the ministry, will be sent out in 100 groups between early December through the end of 2015, said Vice Minister Dong Wei Friday at a ceremony to kick-start the campaign. The mission and goals of their time in the countryside include performing for locals, looking for creative inspiration, collecting experience from residents’ lives and pairing with grassroots artists in creative programs.
Related: China’s Soft-Power Deficit Widens as Xi Tightens Screws Over Ideology | The Jamestown Foundation According to Shanghai-based academic Zhang Weiwei, China should stop ceding “rights of discourse” to the West. “As a major power, China should get out of the constraints of narratives about ‘the West being the center’ and ‘the end of history’,” said Zhang, who was one of Deng Xiaoping’s English interpreters. “We must use our own language to answer big questions such as ‘where we came from’ and ‘what path should we take’ ’’ (Ming Pao, November 22; China.com.cn, December 20, 2013). Similarly, well-known Tsinghua University media scholar Li Xiguang noted that “the soft power of a country manifests itself in whether it had the power to define and interpret ‘universal values’ such as democracy, freedom and human rights.” Li indicated that in order to enhance the attractiveness of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” “we must let the whole world hear the stories that Chinese citizens have to tell about their democracy, liberty, human rights and rule of law” (People’s Daily, May 4, 2012; People’s Daily, February 7, 2012).
6. China’s influence threatens American universities, experts say – LA Times “U.S. colleges and universities should not be outsourcing academic control, faculty and student oversight or curriculum to a foreign government,” Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) said at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. He said he would call for a Government Accountability Office study into academic agreements American universities have made with China. Much of the debate centered on the Confucius Institutes
Related: China defends Confucius Institute after new doubts in U.S. | Reuters Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that all Confucius Institutes in the United States had been voluntarily applied for by U.S. universities. “All class and cultural activities are open and transparent. The Chinese side has provided teachers and teaching materials assistance according to requests of the U.S. side. It has never interfered with academic freedom,” she told a daily news briefing. “We hope everybody can make joint efforts to reject prejudice and work together to better build these bridges of friendship and make them stronger.”
7. China asks U.S. to help hunt more than 100 ‘economic fugitives’ | Reuters China has asked the United States to help it track down more than 100 people suspected of corruption and who China believes are in the United States, a U.S. official said on Friday. The official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said those on the list had Chinese names but it was not clear if they were all Chinese nationals. // what legal claims can the PRC make on assets owned in the US and other countries that are held in the names of relatives or mistresses of the officials, as is often the case? And if the evidence is good, how many years would it take to work through the US court system?
8. Video: The Cali Town Where Chinese Billionaires House Their Kids & Mistresses The CCDI no doubt enjoys this video… // China’s elite are buying up millions of dollars of glitzy real estate in the Arcadia area of Los Angeles for their children and mistresses
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BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
PBOC Failure to Trim Shibor Signals Bank Reserve Cut – Bloomberg “Clearly, the increase in Shibor despite the rate cut shows fund tightness,” said Zhou Hao, a Shanghai-based economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. “Bank balance sheets are already tight and they need funds to ease the thirst. The reduction in reserve ratios is likely to take place this month and more will come in the coming year.”
China removes Sinosteel president amid cash problems | Business Spectator China has removed Sinosteel Corp. President Jia Baojun and from his post after experiencing financial problems as a result of unpaid debts. News of Mr Jia’s removal had been circulating since September, but has only now been officially confirmed in a statement on the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
HSBC asks: how big is China? | beyondbrics Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC, takes a look at the size of various economies in terms of their international purchasing power: that is, by comparing their GDP in US dollars. The picture seems more familiar now, as the US continues to lead (with 22 per cent of the world share) while China only has about 11 per cent. However, as Neumann demonstrates in the chart below, this ratio has changed significantly over the last decade. The US share of the world economy in 2000 was 31 per cent while China had a measly 4 per cent. Additionally, emerging Asia’s combined GDP in US dollar terms is now neck to neck with that of the US.
POLITICS AND LAW
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FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Eric Garner, grand jury: How would we cover the decision not to indict a police officer if it happened in another country? In America’s largest city, the judicial branch declined to pursue charges against a security officer who was videotaped in broad daylight choking a man to death. This came less than two weeks after courts in the nation’s often overlooked central region reached a similar decision in the shooting of an unarmed teenager. Both victims were members of the country’s largest minority group, and the killings have set off nationwide protests that have often escalated into clashes between dissidents and the security forces. // wonder if Chinese media will pick this up
After the Abe-Xi summit: What comes next in Japan-China Relations (pt. 2)? – Dispatch Japan On Wednesday we began a five-part interview series on these topics. First up was Corey Wallace, a specialist in Japan foreign and security policy. Today we speak with Bob Manning, an international affairs and energy specialist with many years of deal with East Asia.
Xi’s Military Reform Plan: Accelerating Construction of a Strong PLA | The Jamestown Foundation Reporting in the Chinese press and PLA sources provides a general outline and areas of emphasis in Xi’s reforms. The plan reinforces ongoing reform priorities and attempts to succeed in areas that have been thwarted in the past. Some of the highlights with potentially significant consequences include an accelerated pace to modernization; the creation of peacetime joint commands to jump start the move to an integrated joint operations capability; an apparent increased emphasis on PLA Navy (PLAN) and Second Artillery Force (SAF) modernization; addressing problems of morale, corruption, attracting and training quality personnel; and overcoming a pervasive peacetime mentality.
天量下换仓？军工逾20股涨停-股票频道-和讯网 Hexun on the best military industrial complex stock ideas…
China Conducts Third Flight Test of Hypersonic Strike Vehicle | Washington Free Beacon The flight test of the developmental Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies Tuesday during a flight test in western China. The latest flight test followed earlier tests of the Wu-14 on Jan. 9 and Aug. 7. The three tests indicate that China’s development of a strike vehicle capable of traveling up to eight times the speed of sound is a high-priority element in China’s large-scale military buildup.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
“One Country, Two Systems” Falls Apart | RealClearWorld Taiwan’s local elections this week and Hong Kong’s public demonstrations send an implicit but clear message to Beijing: These two populations do not want to live under the rule of China’s Communist Party. The rejection embodied in these events has been building for years in both places. With it, Deng Xiaoping’s prescription for the futures of Taiwan and Hong Kong – “one country, two systems” – lies figuratively in ashes. President Xi Jinping now must decide whether he should hold firm or find ways to broaden his China Dream to accommodate the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong and Taiwan. // Is momentum building in DC for a more supportive policy towards Taiwan?
China’s Espionage Against Taiwan (Part II): Chinese Intelligence Collectors | The Jamestown Foundation This second installment on China’s espionage against Taiwan explores the organizational landscape of Chinese intelligence with a focus on their relationship to Beijing’s policymaking on Taiwan affairs. It provides four brief sketches of the Ministry of State Security, the Second Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Staff Department, the United Front Work Department and the Liaison Office of the PLA General Political Department. These institutions span the breadth of the Chinese state, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the PLA, complicating efforts to neutralize Beijing’s intelligence and united front work.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
EXPLAINER: Chinese license plates – what do they all mean? Luckily, though, you now have here the most comprehensive English-language guide to the license plates of China that you’ll find online – all in a handy pocket-sized (if you’ve got a smart phone) format to help you decipher registration codes wherever you go in the country.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Writing China: Luke Patey, ‘The New Kings of Crude’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s hunt for oil to drive its fast-growing economy has taken it into conflict areas like Sudan and South Sudan, a risky venture for both the reputation and bottom line of Chinese companies. In his book the New Kings of Crude, Luke Patey, a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, explains what’s behind the push, as told through the experience of state-owned oil firm China National Petroleum Corp
China looking to curb fertilizer, pesticide use | Reuters “We need to be determined to control the use of fertilizer and pesticides,” said chief economist at the agriculture ministry Bi Meijia. Zhejiang province in eastern China plans to cut the use of nitrogen fertilizer by 8 percent in the next three years, Bi said, and the whole country could cap the growth in use of fertilizer and pesticides by 2020.
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