The Sinocism China Newsletter 12.16.15

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

Busy day, only made a cursory scan of Chinese media so no doubt missed more than usual.

Today’s Links:


1. At U.N., China Tries to Influence Fight Over Internet Control – The New York Times Over the last six months, United Nations diplomats have negotiated over the text of a document set to define the policies and frameworks of how the Internet is governed in the future, and who has a role in the process. The final version presented on Wednesday at the General Assembly contains a word that civil society groups, businesses and many Western governments oppose: multilateral. Multilateral is code for states making the rules. The inclusion of the word was largely spearheaded by China, which worked to enshrine state control over the Internet in the document, said negotiators who were involved in the process. During the discussions, representatives from China demanded repeatedly that the word would be included, according to participants and draft versions of the document that laid out which countries made each submission…The document is being formally adopted just as China holds its World Internet Conference, which started Wednesday. The conference is part of a global lobbying effort by China aimed at promoting a concept called “Internet sovereignty //  Beijing has a plan and is implementing well on it

Related: Highlights of Xi’s Internet speech – Xinhua Xi, as the leader of the country with the world’s largest number of Internet users, discussed a host of issues ranging from cyber security to global Internet governance.

Related: 在第二届世界互联网大会开幕式上的讲话–时政–人民网 full text of Xi’s speech

Related: [视频]习近平出席第二届世界互联网大会开幕式并发表主旨演讲新闻频道央视网( CCTV Evening News report on Xi’s speech. Linkedin’s Reed Hoffman gets several shots in the report, looks he was biggest US tech exec Lu Wei got for this conference. Does Mr. Hoffman understand what he is endorsing by his participation, or does he just not care? Hoffman was also in the center of the group VIP photo, just behind Xi and Liu YunshanStill looking for full translation of the speech

Related: Global Internet Governance 2.0? – China Media Project Basically, folks, the World Internet Conference this year is all about China’s attempt to remake global Internet governance, the international aspect of what Xinhua News Agency yesterday characterised as “Version 2.0” of China’s Internet governance. Look at the Chinese-language full-text version of Xi Jinping’s address today and there can be little mistaking this primary agenda. I’m taking my cues from the online version available from Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po, which is available here. I have no time at the moment to get the entire thing up in English. But what I do have follows. And I’ll add to it as time permits.

Related: China Headlines: Xi slams “double standards,” advocates shared future in cyberspace – Xinhua Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Temir Sariyev, Tajik Prime Minister Qohir Rasulzoda, First Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov, the International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Zhao Houlin and World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab also addressed at the opening ceremony. Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs read a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the meeting. Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, chaired the opening ceremony.

Related: Xinhua Insight: “Version 2.0” of China’s Internet governance – Xinhua Schedules are usually tight for Chinese leaders near year-end, and Xi’s attendance highlights China’s readiness to share its Internet governance experience and learn from the international community. Insiders said China’s efforts in Internet governance can be summed up as “cleaning cyberspace in accordance with the law; exploiting it with an open mind.” “China is exploring a new way of Internet governance with rule of law at its core,” said Lu Wei, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the top Internet regulator.

Related: China Touts Its Great Firewall in Push for Internet Control – WSJ Some U.S. technology companies, concerned about being pressured to endorse this perspective, were wary of sending senior executives there, according to industry groups. Many sent lower-level executives, though the list of attendees included LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman—whose service is accessible in China—and Jimmy Wales, a co-founder of Wikipedia, which is blocked there. They were also concerned that organizers might repeat last year’s attempt to get participants to sign on to a declaration embodying China’s vision

Related: World Internet Conference,Wuzhen Summit official site, still looking for list of all the American tech execs attending

Related: Xi, Xiaomi and the censorship game: Foreign visitors at World Internet Conference in China given free smartphones and cheat codes to access blocked websites | South China Morning Post The phones come pre-installed with an app offering helpful information such as the conference agenda, and are theirs to keep, they said. Moreover, guests from overseas who are attending the annual three-day event say they have been granted special access to websites that are usually blocked on the Chinese mainland, including Facebook, Twitter and Google.

2. Obama administration authorizes $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan | Reuters The U.S. administration formally notified Congress on Wednesday of a $1.83 billion arms sale package for Taiwan, including two frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and other equipment, despite opposition from China.

Related: China strongly opposes U.S. arms sale to Taiwan – Xinhua China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang on Wednesday summoned Kaye Lee, charge d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in China, and made solemn representations to the United States over its arms sale to Taiwan. // don’t imagine there be much real fallout to this long ago approved deal

3. Second Interview With the Wenzhou Pastor: After the Demolition Comes the “Transformations” « China Change the cross removal campaign must be understood in the context of the Xi Jinping government’s tightening control of ideology. The authorities see Christianity as something outside their authoritarian sphere, and an imperialist legacy that identifies more with Western values. Indeed, it is one of five categories of citizens whom the government deems a threat to the security of the regime, along with rights lawyers, dissidents, Internet opinion leaders, and disadvantaged social groups. The government sees Christianity as an independent political group.

4. ‘It would be shame if a plane fell from the sky’: China’s warning to RAAF over South China Sea flights – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) “The Chinese people cannot understand why the Australian military would get involved, and to be honest, they have less patience to prevent a flare up,” the newspaper said. “Australian military planes better not regularly come to the South China Sea to ‘get involved’ , and especially don’t test China’s patience by flying close to China’s islands. “Everyone has always been careful, but it would be a shame if one day a plane fell from the sky and it happened to be Australian.”-Global Times

Related: Australia’s air force in the South China Sea: Flying quietly and carrying a medium-sized stick- The Interpreter it seems clear that rumours of an Australian response to China’s island building activities, which have been doing the rounds in Canberra, are true. Indeed some believe that this was not the first flight and that the RAN has also been involved, though that remains unconfirmed…there is a distinct possibility that China might decide to use this incident as an excuse to push Australia. Over the past eight years or so, China has made a habit of seizing on events to test new Australian governments

Related: China’s Rejection of South China Sea Arbitration Is Lawful and JustifiableCHINA US Focus | CHINA US Focus PH “arbitration staged mainly by US legal team, & even litigation fees…funded by U.S. agencies.”  //  is that allegation true?

Related: People’s Daily: The DOC brooks no distortion – XinhuaThe People’s Daily on Wednesday carried the third of a series of commentaries on the Philippines’ South China Sea arbitration farce. Following is a translated version of the full text:  //  getting a bit hysterical, seem to be worried will lose, laying the propaganda groundwork?

Related: 《南海各方行为宣言》不容妄议(钟声·菲律宾南海仲裁案闹剧系列评论(三))–观点–人民网 公平正义的国际法治不可能因为一场闹剧就被扭曲改写,《宣言》不会因为几句歪理便成为废纸一张,各成员国都有责任和义务维护《宣言》的有效性和权威性,使其继续发挥“定海神针”的作用。

Related: 罔顾事实法理何言公平正义(钟声·菲律宾南海仲裁案闹剧系列评论(四))–观点–人民网 再如,仲裁庭还恶意曲解《联合国海洋法公约》和习惯国际法的关系。仲裁庭一口一个《联合国海洋法公约》,企图让《联合国海洋法公约》管所有海上的事情,却对习惯国际法熟视无睹。国际法人士都应清楚,《联合国海洋法公约》所规定的各项国际海洋法律制度,本就是总结各国的海洋历史实践与共同意愿而成,《联合国海洋法公约》原文中也无一不体现着对习惯国际法的尊重。而仲裁庭以今否古,违背了《联合国海洋法公约》的基本宗旨和精神。   仲裁庭无视菲方滥诉的基本事实,照单全收菲方的诬告言辞。其妄下定论在先,曲解证据和判例在后的做法,对倡导公平正义的国际司法将是莫大的伤害。// 4th in a series of Philippine arbitration propaganda histrionics

Related: China’s Harassment of Civilian Ships and Aircraft in the South China Sea Reminds Us Why We Need More U.S. Freedom of Navigation Operations – Lawfare If it is true that China is now impeding civilian freedom of navigation, the U.S. case for conducting more freedom of navigation operations in the region is even stronger. Once established, military dominance is easily abused. U.S. and other nations’ freedom of navigation operations can keep countries like China honest and ensure the free flow of the billions of dollars of trade that flows through the region every day.  Sure, the U.S. freedom of navigation operations will not resolve the South China Sea disputes.  But one only has to watch the BBC report, or listen to Admiral Swift’s speech, to realize how much worse off we would be without them

5. Suspect in Xinjiang Mine Attack Spoke of Jihad, Chinese News Reports Say – NYTimes But in recent years, violence has also drawn inspiration from the “global cyberjihadism,” Mr. Bequelin said. “We are right to deconstruct what China is saying in its official communication about terrorism and about Xinjiang,” Mr. Bequelin said in an interview this week. “We should nonetheless not forget that there is an amount of violence there that seems to be inspired or is taking on a jihadi mantle.” // remarkable statement, shows how much foreign views towards the growing Xinjiang mess have shifted

6. The Complex Impact of Urbanization in Xinjiang | The Diplomat Hardly a year ago the city of Horgos didn’t exist. It was little other than a rural expanse of small towns, villages, and lavender fields on the farthest fringe of China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, right on the border with Kazakhstan. Once a vibrant junction on the ancient Silk Road, Horgos endured a long descent into obscurity as the trade routes that were its lifeblood dried up, leaving it marooned from the rest of the world by sheer distance, mountains, and deserts. Now, it is precisely this frontier position that has brought Horgos and many of Xinjiang’s other cities to the forefront of China’s national policy, and the influx of development and urbanization which has followed has severely affected the region’s local people and traditional cultures.

7. New Residence Permits for Cities Come with Fewer Benefits than Proposed-Caixin The cabinet is linking fewer public services to a new residence permit or card that will soon be available to people who move to big cities than it initially considered offering because lower officials are worried about footing the bill for the changes, experts say. On December 12, the State Council released the details of the new residence permit program that gives holders access to certain public services, such as schooling and health care, and also opens the door to changing household registration, known as hukou, and getting even more services.

8. The Children of China’s Cancer Slum: Drug Costs Putting Young Lives at Risk – Bloomberg Business Surging health-care costs are turning into one of the biggest threats to the world’s second largest economy and its consumers. About $115 billion will be spent on pharmaceuticals in China this year. As patients struggle to pay, international drug companies face slower growth in the country and government pressure to curb prices. For families, their biggest adversary isn’t only the disease, but the prohibitive cost of care.


U.S. and WTO Partners Announce Final Agreement on Landmark Expansion of Information Technology Agreement | United States Trade Representative “Expanding the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) to cover a wide array of additional products promises to be a major boost to U.S. technology exports and the jobs that support them,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. It’s great news for the American workers and businesses that design, manufacture, and export state-of-the-art technology and information products, ranging from high-tech healthcare devices to advanced semiconductors to software media. It also importantly demonstrates that the WTO can deliver results with pragmatic approaches and helps build momentum for our ongoing talks in Nairobi. ITA expansion will eliminate hundreds of tariffs on billions of dollars in additional American technology exports all over the world. ”

Amid China’s Crackdown, Securities Reform Quietly Gathers Pace – Bloomberg Business Brokerage executives have been detained, futures markets have been more or less shut down and tougher rules may squeeze out algorithmic trading. Yet behind the scenes, China’s securities market reforms are picking up speed again, six months after being set back by a $5 billion equities rout.

China central bank projects 2016 growth at 6.8 pct – Xinhua China’s central bank projected its baseline forecast for 2016 growth at 6.8 percent on Wednesday, expecting the number of positive factors to gradually increase despite downward pressure on the economy. The rate is slightly lower than the central bank’s forecast of 6.9-percent expansion for 2015, according to a working paper by the People’s Bank of China. Citing overcapacity, profit deceleration, and rising non-performing loans as major drags on the economy, the paper said supportive factors such as the recovery of real estate sales, lagging effects of macro and structural policies and some modest improvement in external demand would help underpin broader growth.

Mass Layoffs in China’s Coal Country Threaten Unrest – The New York Times The mine’s owner, the Longmay Group, the biggest coal company in northeastern China, announced in September that it planned to lay off 100,000 workers. The elimination of about 40 percent of the work force at 42 mines in four cities is the biggest reduction in jobs that anyone could recall in this steadily declining rust belt near the Russian border. China has managed mass layoffs at creaky, state-owned businesses like Longmay before, averting the threat of strikes and unrest by suppressing protests and offering payouts and job training

铁腕清理 钢铁业将掀兼并重组潮 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 《经济参考报》记者从权威渠道获悉,作为供给侧改革的重要组成部分,国家正在酝酿重拳治理产能过剩问题,将加快建立更为有效的退出机制,利用市场化手段进一步化解产能过剩。种种迹象表明,在国家加码治理产能过剩的过程中,钢铁行业首当其冲。 然而,尽管近十年来国家对钢铁业产能过剩频频调控,但是收效甚微,国内钢铁行业面临高产能和需求低迷的双重压力,产能过剩风险正在积聚,全产业正面临一场前所未有的破产重组潮。

Chinese Officials Have a Solution to Steel Glut: Use More – Bloomberg Business In a closed-door gathering of more than 300 Communist Party leaders in Beijing in October, Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan proposed tripling the amount of steel used in construction, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. He argued that using 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of steel per square meter, compared to about 50 kilograms now, would ease overcapacity and improve housing quality, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.


Thaw in China-Russia Relations Hasn’t Trickled Down – The New York Times BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Russia — Lured by warming relations between the two countries, Li Lihua, a Chinese entrepreneur, has invested all of her money in this frigid Russian outpost on the border with her country. She has opened Chinese restaurants, purchased factories and started a $120 million housing project to build affordable apartments aimed at young, upwardly mobile Russians. But Ms. Li says that capital for the housing development has dried up as the Russian economy sinks. She now worries that she will have to sell off other parts of her business to move forward on the project.

《看客》第472期#国境线# III·龙熊之变_网易新闻 136 西伯利亚——曾是沙俄统治者所青睐的流放之地,高尔基笔下的“死亡与枷锁之乡”。这片广袤而资源丰富之地连接着“龙”“熊”两国漫长的边境线,在彼此依赖而又相互制约的关系中,龙与熊都紧握手中的筹码,在博弈中共存。摄影/Justin Jin 编辑/孙滢 何苒苒 标签: 俄罗斯 中俄 看客 西伯利亚——曾是沙俄统治者所青睐的流放之地,高尔基笔下的“死亡与枷锁之乡”。这片广袤而资源丰富之地连接着“龙”“熊”两国漫长的边境线,在彼此依赖而又相互制约的关系中,龙与熊都紧握手中的筹码,在博弈中共存。摄影/Justin Jin 编辑/孙滢 何苒苒

Chinese Refugee Arrested in Thailand, Repatriation Feared Likely-RFA Another Chinese asylum-seeker has been arrested in Thailand, where he had applied for political refugee status with the United Nations, fellow activists said on Tuesday. Wang Junli, who had been in the country for more than a year, and who held a letter of protection from the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), was arrested by Thai police on Sunday, according to a Chinese source in Bangkok who asked to remain anonymous.

Hey, China, this is why democracies beat autocracies in a fight. (So back off the South China Sea.) – The Washington Post report on an academic study

A Classic Reference with Renewed Relevance: Download “The PLA as Organization v2.0”! | Andrew S. Erickson RT @AndrewSErickson: At 478 data-packed pages, this is THE source on China’s military structure. Download “The PLA as Organization v2.0”:

South China Sea: Australia steps up air patrols in defiance of Beijing-Sydney Morning Herald In a move that is likely to grate with the Chinese government, an RAAF P-3 Orion aircraft carried out patrols in the air space in recent weeks, prompting a demand from Chinese naval forces in the waters below to explain itself. Defence confirmed the recent flight, though only after the plane’s presence happened to be noticed by a BBC journalist in the area, who recorded an Australian crewman telling the Chinese navy that the plane was “exercising international freedom of navigation rights”.

China tightens rules on maps amid territorial disputes | Reuters China Central Television (CCTV) said publication and display of maps that do not comply with national standards would violate the new rules, as would carrying or mailing them across the country’s borders. Content “that endangers the country’s sovereignty, safety and interests cannot be marked on maps,” government mapping official Li Weibin said in the broadcast.

Girls, Interrupted: North Korean band’s Beijing no-show | NK News – North Korea News KT’s fourth hypothesis is more plausible: that this was a protocol problem. There are several versions of this story. In Kim Jong Un’s ideal world, President Xi Jinping and the entire top Chinese leadership would have come to clap his protégées. That was never going to happen. Xi is a busy man, and (let’s face it) musically the Moranbong are nothing special: no better than hundreds of Filipino showbands who pay their dues in hotels all over Asia every night.

PRC Scholars on Mobilization of Public Opinion in 2012 Diaoyutai/Senkakus Affair | 高大伟 在美国华盛顿人的博客 The authors conclude that the mobilization of the masses was effective and did help give China the high ground in the battle for world opinion.  They add that nonetheless more work needs to be done to properly guide international opinion so that, even as China quite properly stands up for itself, it will also use soft power to maintain and project China’s peaceful image.  This will prevent other countries with their own agendas from spreading the “China threat theory”.

Canada caught in middle of China’s dissident dragnet – The Globe and Mail For Chinese dissidents who have fled arrest and harassment at home, Thailand has long been a safe haven. They slip across borders to Myanmar or Laos, hide in churches and eventually arrive in Bangkok to wait, hoping to resettle to a country where they can commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre without risking detention. But the small group of asylum-seekers in Thailand now fears its haven is no longer safe. Over the past six months, Chinese authorities have repatriated hundreds of people from neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, some using methods that critics have called abductions

China falls off the map in GOP debate – The Washington Post The first two hours of the broadcast featured two utterances of the word “China” but only as asides. As the evening waned, the country came up in answers to questions about — what else? — North Korea. Carly Fiorina, Christie and Jeb Bush all alluded, in different ways, to the threat they see in China’s rise. The theme was “show ’em we mean business. ” New policy prescriptions were few and far between, and the main focus was elsewhere./ I wonder if they show this debate in the party schools as an example of the downsides of unfettered democracy…

UK protests to China over heavy police tactics at trial – Britain has taken the rare step of rebuking the Chinese authorities after UK officials and journalists were manhandled as they tried to cover the trial in Beijing of one of China’s leading civil rights lawyers. Hugo Swire, Foreign Office minister, met Chen Fengxiang, a senior Communist party official, in London on Wednesday, while British diplomats raised their concerns in Beijing.


Can an Alibaba ‘Morning Post’ Aid China’s Image Overseas? | ChinaFile Conversation The South China Morning Post, in a privately-owned capacity, where the new masters have explicitly blessed the editors with the power to edit—albeit with a world view different from the mainstream Western media—will have a subtler ability to shape coverage and attitudes. That may be anathema to many in New York, London, Washington, the intellectual salons of Hong Kong itself, and newsrooms around the world where journalists love to sit in commiseration with their colleagues. But to ordinary readers surfing the web and coming across a South China Morning Post story on their twitter feed, their Google search, or their Facebook timeline in Lagos, Mexico City, Bangkok, Vancouver, or Dubai, that will probably be just fine—and very influential. // what I expect

Alibaba’s Jack Ma Vows to Defend South China Morning Post’s Independence – WSJ “Trust us. Why do people have to think that if we have it, it will lose its independence? Why not with others?” he said. “We also read the newspapers. We also want media independence and fairness. What basis is there that with us, there will be no more independence?” Asked about critics who say Alibaba would feel pressure from Chinese leaders to change the newspaper’s coverage, he said, “I think those people think too little of us.”

Alibaba in talks to buy Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper | Chinese internet giant Alibaba is in talks to buy Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, just a week after it purchased the city’s main English language daily, the South China Morning Post. A source with direct knowledge of the deal has told the Australian Financial Review discussions to buy the Chinese language paper, which also prints in Canada, began in July and are ongoing. // really?

Looking for Smarter, Sexier Chinese State Media? There’s an App for That. | Foreign Policy To deputy editor Wei Xing, the Paper‘s growing influence is a sign that even government-funded media, with its limitations, can make a journalistic contribution in China. “Yes, all our money comes from the government. But we can still make different news as well. Or rather,” he paused, seeking a description of content that doesn’t have a clear propaganda slant, “normal news.”

Bona Film Group Limited Enters Into Definitive Merger Agreement For Going Private Transaction This amount represents a premium of 6.5% over the Company’s closing price of US$12.86 per ADS on June 11, 2015, the last trading day prior to June 12, 2015, the date that the Company announced it had received a “going-private” proposal, and a premium of 28.7% to the volume-weighted average closing price of the Company’s ADSs during the 60 trading days prior to June 12, 2015.  //  buying it way too cheap. Have been a long-term, tiny shareholder, only pure US-listed play on exploding china film market

China Women’s Fashion Sites Said to Explore Possible Merger – Bloomberg Business China’s, a fashion retailer backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., and rival are discussing ways to cooperate that could include a merger, according to people familiar with the matter. Discussions about potential cooperation are in an initial stages, with the e-commerce operators yet to agree on issues including roles for the founders, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Both startups are backed by Hillhouse Capital Management.

Kungfu Bear’s $16 Massage App Shows Shakeout for China Startups – Bloomberg Business In the current shakeout, startups hit the hardest are those in the online-to-offline, or O2O, business, where consumers use an app or website to order grocery deliveries, laundry, in-home manicures or car rides. Dozens of apps often started in a single niche, and many would use venture cash for subsidies to pull in customers and suppliers. In Beijing this year, it became common to get free rides as Uber Technologies Inc. and local rivals battled for market share. The freebies are disappearing now. Venture firms are holding back on writing checks and many startups struggle once they can no longer subsidize services.


Letter from Mao Zedong to Clement Attlee sells for £605,000 | Politics | The Guardian Typed missive, sold at Sotheby’s auction to private Chinese collector, was written to then Labour leader in 1937


Why are Chinese fishermen destroying coral reefs in the South China Sea? – BBC News I’d been told that Chinese fishermen were deliberately destroying reefs near a group of Philippine-controlled atolls in the Spratly Islands but I was not convinced. “It goes on day and night, month after month,” a Filipino mayor told me on the island of Palawan. “I think it is deliberate. It is like they are punishing us by destroying our reefs.”  //  are Filipino fisherman not also poaching and destroying reefs? Or just not at same scale?

Closer Look: Why the NDRC Gets Mocked for ‘Protecting the Environment’-Caixin The reason the country’s top economic planner gave for not cutting gas and diesel prices on December 15 as it was scheduled to – to protect the environment by discouraging fuel consumption– has been questioned and mocked online. Indeed, the legal basis for the move, which has more to do with saving China’s oil giants from financial losses, is shaky.

China launches world’s most sensitive dark matter hunting probe | It will carry out both indirect detection of dark matter and studies into high energy cosmic rays. The probe, originally known as DAMPE (DArk Matter Particle Explorer), was built in collaboration with the University of Geneva and Italian universities in Bari, Lecce and Perugia. It was then tested at CERN in Switzerland.


A Shifting Education Model in China Moves Away From Its Sole Emphasis on Test Scores – The Atlantic

Why Aren’t You Banned Yet? » The LARB Blog Why Aren’t You Banned Yet? On academics, self-censorship (or the lack thereof), and China


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