"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
Apologies for the radio silence. I neglected to mention in the last newsletter that between finishing a year-end project and the holidays, publishing would be very sporadic until the first week of January. Today’s issue is a long one so it should keep you occupied for a bit.
Thanks for reading Sinocism this year, lots of changes coming in 2015, most good ones I hope.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. China launches major crackdown on flow of illicit funds to Macau | South China Morning Post Beijing is to launch a major crackdown on the multibillion-dollar flow of illicit funds through Macau casinos in a coordinated security drive that will see the country’s powerful Ministry of Public Security play a leading role. The unprecedented move – confirmed by documents seen by the Post that were sent to Macau’s banks late yesterday by the city’s monetary authority – turns up the heat on controversial VIP junket operators who generate the bulk of Macau gaming revenues as they come under increasing law enforcement scrutiny amid the “tigers and flies” anti-corruption drive by President Xi Jinping. // I seem to remember when the crackdown started that some analysts said look to Macau as a barometer of how real this crackdown is. It sure looks real, and I am quite convinced it is a mistake to call the corruption crackdown under Xi a “campaign”, as I argued here back in July. Much more attention should be paid to the CCDI structural reforms Wang Qishan is pushing. I would call it a “new normal”, structural shift towards anti-corruption work. Yes I know the narrative, no free press, no independent judiciary so doomed to fail, and no princelings (yet) so a sham. But I think people have been far too dismissive of some of the changes Wang is making within CCDI system, and the no princelings bit is premature. First, find a princeling who thinks it is business as usual. Second, Xi and Wang are less than 24 months into this and can’t hit everything at once, especially as Xi is still consolidating power. It may fail, but the crackdown is already much deeper and longer than almost anyone expected, and the signs are that it is intensifying, not slowing, and looks to be still in its early days inside the PLA.
2. 四集专题片《作风建设永远在路上》 CCDI has released episode 3 of its 4 part documentary on the anti-corruption efforts…lots of interesting details have been released in the first three, lots of coverage in Chinese media
3. China Said to Plan Sweeping Shift From Foreign Technology to Own – Bloomberg legitimate national security reasons to do this, especially in the wake of the Snowden revelations, something China has been pushing for many years (remember the 863 Program?) and lots of domestic financial interests in this switch as well. Sad but unsurprising to see the US tech firms getting Huawei’d in China, doubt there is much the US government can do to help // China is aiming to purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to Chinese suppliers, according to people familiar with the effort. The push comes after a test of domestic alternatives in the northeastern city of Siping that was deemed a success, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. Workers there replaced Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows with a homegrown operating system called NeoKylin and swapped foreign servers for ones made by China’s Inspur Group Ltd., they said.
4. 经济参考网 – 竞争性国企不要求绝对控股 员工持股将优先于引入其他的战略投资者 《经济参考报》
Related: 国企改革顶层设计即将瓜熟蒂落 市值管理成新动力-手机和讯网 “
5. Cyber Sovereignty Must Rule Global Internet | Lu Wei in Huffington Post wonder if running this will help Huffington Post’s plans for a Chinese language site // It is the essence of the development of the Internet that the Internet should bring peace and security to humans, should deny access to criminals and terrorists, should help younger generations to grow in health and should also serve the interests of developing countries since they need the Internet more than others. We should realize that the Internet has turned the world into a global village. Big convergence, great development and deep fusion are the trends of this era, and co-sharing and co-governance are the choices of the history. In this spirit, I therefore put forward five propositions:
Related: Zuckerberg’s pandering to China threatens Web’s values – SFGate By Amy Chang of CNAS // Why was Zuckerberg’s gesture toward Lu especially concerning? Because China is actively promoting a counter-narrative to the traditional Western notion of an open, free, networked society. China, and in particular Lu, have been proposing the concept of sovereignty in cyberspace, implying China’s ability to control its own Internet, censor information that may threaten the regime, and administer Web traffic within its own borders. China has employed this language in state-sponsored media, in government white papers, in U.N. meetings, and in literature distributed at Internet governance conferences. The message conveyed in these efforts is the antithesis of what Silicon Valley stands for. In the past several years, companies have stood up for its principles of free access to information and freedom from censorship and monitoring.
Related: Why Facebook Needs Sheryl Sandberg – Businessweek in 2011 Zuckerberg believes that Facebook can be an agent of change in China, as it has been in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. Sandberg, a veteran of Google’s expensive misadventures in the world’s most populous country, is wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there. // Does he still believe this, and that it justifies the compromises Facebook would have to make? Has Lu Wei read this story?
Related: Open Internet not at odds with regulation – Global Times We think the Firewall is a stopgap arrangement, whose function will diminish as Chinese cyberspace becomes more developed. Being an open society has become one of China’s core beliefs, and an open Internet has been widely recognized by the people. China has no choice but to try to integrate its cyberspace with that of the international community. Given its recent activities in this area, such as hosting the World Internet Conference and actively participating in the 7th China-US Internet Forum, China is exerting itself to move in that direction. Meanwhile, China will not allow the Internet to be a lawless territory. Along with prosperity and freedom, order and the rule of law also matter in cyberspace. Chinese social management requires activities in cyberspace to be secure to real society // 社评：谷歌“临时开禁”引发的思考评论环球网
Related: China’s Internet Gambit | CHINA US Focus-Rogier Creemers China’s fundamental proposition is that different countries must have the power to decide for themselves how they wish to govern their respective cyberspaces. Rejecting concepts of universal values, China argues that the online sphere is a mere extension of the real world, and thus must be subject to the same governmental scrutiny. With particular reference to questions of national security, China often points to the hypocrisy of a “Western” perspective that publicly advocates online openness, but has condoned the vast expansion of worldwide surveillance and monitoring. National governments, they say, should have the final word in deciding on threats concerning social stability and political integrity.
6. Sinica Podcast: Domestic Abuse in China Sinica is delighted to host Su Wenying and Cai Yiping, two leading advocates of women and children’s rights who join us for a discussion of domestic violence in China. Our conversation starts with a discussion of the current legal landscape, and moves on to the prevalence of domestic abuse with some surprising stats about how education and social status does and does not affect the prevalence of violence in this country, before we look at public awareness of the problem, and ask to what extent it seems likely to change anytime soon.
Related: The Rise and Fall of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network – China Development Brief The birth and death of the ADVN are not mere blips in the record of Chinese social movements. The curtain has fallen on fourteen years of hard work, raising a serious question: Is this the end of the NGO operating model that, under a particular State-society relationship, combines the social capital of domestic governmental bodies and the financial resources of international organizations? How can the women’s movement and similar social movements develop and be reborn in a new environment and a society that is rapidly changing? These are all extremely practical and important questions awaiting answers from the field.
7. China halts anti-dumping probe into EU, Japan dialysis kit makers | Reuters The investigation, launched in June, was a potential challenge to the international firms who currently dominate the global and Chinese dialysis market. Beijing said at the time it would examine any negative impact on Chinese rivals. “The Ministry of Commerce will from today halt the anti-dumping investigation into hemodialysis devices imported from the European Union and Japan,” the ministry said in a short statement on its Internet site on Wednesday.
8. Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It | ChinaFile – Arthur Kroeber In short, China is a successful authoritarian developmental state which is now rich enough to start setting its own rules rather than just accepting other peoples’. That is the Xi project. To recognize this fact does not require one to celebrate it, or to ignore the costs of the authoritarian strategy. So long as it insists on clamping down on information networks, China can never become a global technological leader or anything close to it. So long as it deprives citizens of political and civil rights considered basic in virtually every other middle- or upper-income country in the world, it will remain a cultural desert and its “soft power” will be stunted. These are real costs, and big ones. But they are costs the leadership has decided to bear, and it is a fantasy to think they will be punished for this decision not to emulate the liberal democratic ideal. China, to steal John Connally’s famous phrase about the dollar, is its own country, and other people’s problem. It will develop in its own way, on its own terms, and others will just have to work with it as best they can.// a well-argued “contrarian” view in the face of the overwhelming media/pundit consensus of doom
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
China Investors Bet This Time Is Different in Stock Rally – Bloomberg President Xi Jinping supports rising share prices, while the market has “matured” after losses during the past five years erased more value from the Shanghai Composite Index than any other global equity gauge, according to Zhang. “If Xi wants to realize the Chinese dream, he has to boost the stock market, which makes us ordinary people happy,” Zhang, who plans to make an initial purchase of about 100,000 yuan ($16,153) and is considering using borrowed money to amplify his wagers, said in an interview on Dec. 9. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the benchmark index jumps to 10,000, or 231 percent above yesterday’s close.
W.T.O. Fails on High-Tech Tariff Deal – NYTimes.com when the Chinese agreed to a deal during the Obama visit, did they tell the US side that this was all they could agree to and they needed the US to give them cover at Geneva? // the talks broke down in the middle of a face-off between China and South Korea over liquid-crystal display television screens, a market where China strongly wants to expand. After difficult negotiations, South Korea was willing to lower tariffs on LCDs. But the Korean delegation wanted China to offer at least a face-saving concession, most likely in advanced lithium batteries, a product in which China already has a billion-dollar trade surplus, according to an American official with knowledge of the talks. China rebuffed appeals from American and Korean negotiators, even from the head of the W.T.O. “I think it says very profound things about China’s ability to negotiate,” the American official said. “The world’s most successful trader of information technology is incapable of having a negotiating conversation.”
SEC.gov | SEC Charges Avon With FCPA Violations The SEC alleges that Avon’s subsidiary in China made $8 million worth of payments in cash, gifts, travel, and entertainment to gain access to Chinese officials implementing and overseeing direct selling regulations in China. Avon sought to be among the first allowed to test the regulations, and eventually received the first direct selling business license in China in March 2006. The improper payments also were made to avoid fines or negative news articles that could have impacted Avon’s clean corporate image required to retain the license. Examples of improper payments alleged in the SEC’s complaint include paid travel for Chinese government officials within China or to the U.S. or Europe as well as such gifts as Louis Vuitton merchandise, Gucci bags, Tiffany pens, and corporate box tickets to the China Open tennis tournament. // any way to find out who they paid, and which media outlets they bribed? Ridiculous if this all the penalty Avon gets. DoJ also looking at this?
Slowdown in China Bruises Economy in Latin America – NYTimes.com China’s voracious hunger for Latin America’s raw materials fueled the region’s most prosperous decade since the 1970s. It filled government coffers and helped halve the region’s poverty rate. That era is over. For policy makers gathered here last week for the International Monetary Fund’s conference on challenges to Latin America’s prosperity, there seemed to be no more clear and present danger than China’s slowdown.
China, CEE countries eye land-sea express passage to speed up delivery – Xinhua China and three Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries on Wednesday agreed to build a land-sea express passage linking a Greek port and the landlocked Hungary to speed up transportation between China and Europe. The consensus was reached when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with his counterparts from Serbia, Hungary and Macedonia one day after the leaders’ meeting between China and 16 CEE countries in Belgrade.
China Criticizes Steep U.S. Tariffs on Solar Panels – NYTimes.com The new tariffs, announced Tuesday by the United States Department of Commerce, include antidumping duties of 26.71 percent to 78.42 percent on imports of most solar panels made in China, and rates of 11.45 percent to 27.55 percent on imports of solar cells, a key component, that are made in Taiwan. In addition, the department announced antisubsidy duties of 27.64 percent to 49.79 percent for Chinese modules.
There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally – Bloomberg The benchmark gauge in China has soared 33 percent since August through last week, more than any other major market in the world, yet most developing-nation equity funds aren’t benefiting from the rally at all. In fact they’re plunging. The problem is that while Chinese policy makers have taken some steps to free up capital flows, the moves haven’t gone far enough to persuade MSCI Inc. to include the country’s locally traded shares in its flagship emerging markets index. And if a market isn’t in the index, fund managers who benchmark their performance to the gauge typically won’t put money into it. With Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong failing in their role as substitutes, Brazilian shares falling into a bear market last week and Russian stocks tumbling, not since 2010 has the lack of mainland China securities been felt so keenly by investors.
China’s Second LGFV Bond Sale in Doubt as State Support Pulled – Bloomberg For the second time in less than a week a local government financing vehicle in China looks set to not complete a bond sale as scheduled after investors discovered the notes won’t receive state backing. A 1 billion yuan ($161 million) offering of securities scheduled to be sold yesterday by a financing unit in Urumqi, the capital city of China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, may not proceed after investors refused to hand over the money, Caixin reported today, citing people it didn’t identify. China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, will have the final say on whether the bond sale will be canceled or not, Caixin said.// 【独家】“14乌国投债”或中止发行
传不动产登记明年3月起实施 二手房应声而降财经频道一财网 中 央编办批复在国土部挂牌不动产登记中心后，
China to focus on 9 reform areas in 2015 – Xinhua China will accelerate reform in nine areas next year including the capital market and market access for private banks, according to the Central Economic Work Conference concluded on Thursday. Reform will be speeded up in administrative approval, investment, pricing, monopolies, franchising, government purchased services, and outbound investment. This takes into consideration both the need for the next year and the long-term interests, according to a statement released after the conference.
POLITICS AND LAW
Why Marx Still Matters: The Ideological Drivers of Chinese Politics | ChinaFile one must be careful in ascribing certain traits to Marxism alone. Many of the traits that we have to come to associate with the Chinese version of Marxism can often be drawn back to China’s imperial political culture. In fact, one could argue that one of the reasons Marxism was so attractive to the modernizers who built up the Party during the 1920s was because it provided an intellectual tool to transform society that shared some of its crucial components with Chinese political concepts that they were well acquainted with—in many cases because they had been educated with the classical Confucian canon or grew up in scholar-official families. Marxism’s focus on the realization of a utopian society, for instance, was not too dissimilar to the Confucian yearning for Grand Harmony. Similarly, the Leninist idea of rule by knowledge elites resonated among thinkers for whom the imperial examination system was anything but a distant memory.
CPC disciplinary watchdog to supervise more central Party, government organs – Xinhua The Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) disciplinary watchdog will establish resident offices in four CPC central organs to intensify anti-graft work, it was decided on Thursday. Similar branches will also be set up in the country’s top legislature, top political advisory body and the General Office of the State Council, or the cabinet. It is the first time the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has sent resident supervisors to the CPC Central Committee’s General Office, Organization Department, Publicity Department and United Front Work Department, and the National People’s Congress, the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the General Office of the State Council.
Q. and A.: John Osburg on the Angst Found Among China’s Newly Rich – NYTimes.com John Osburg, 39, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester, is the author of “Anxious Wealth: Money and Morality Among China’s New Rich,” based on research he conducted in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu. The book paints a detailed picture of the complex ways in which men and women try to buy favors and get ahead in business ventures
十起冤案追责盘点：赵作海案等三起已追责新闻腾讯网 The Beijing News looks at who is responsible for miscarriages of justice in ten recently publicized/overturned cases
曝光专区——中央纪委监察部网站 CCDI launches special section on its site to report New Year and Chinese New Year transgression by officials
Former SOE Head Handed Death Sentence for Fraud Scheme – Caixin Zhang Xinhua, former general manager of Guangzhou-based Baiyun Nonggongshang United Co. Ltd, was found guilty by the city’s intermediate People’s Court of embezzling 72 million yuan worth of state-owned assets and taking another 100 million yuan in bribes. The court also convicted him of causing a loss of 284 million yuan in state-owned assets.
CPC stresses “mass-line” legacy – Xinhua Party organizations should reflect on the progress and effect of the campaign and resolve remaining problems, according to a Monday statement by the campaign organizers. Promises to correct bad practices must be met one by one, the statement read. Backsliders will receive guidance from higher level officials. Wherever undesirable work styles recur or violations of rules are found, leading officials will be held responsible.
China Rail Chief Ally Ding Given Jail, $400 Million Fine – Bloomberg Ding Yuxin, also known as Ding Shumiao, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined 2.5 billion yuan ($403 million) for paying bribes and engaging in illegal business, the court said. She was also ordered to forfeit 20 million yuan of personal assets, according to a post today on the court’s Weibo social media service account.
令家“合伙人”打虎记澎湃新闻-The Paper 自今年10月底传出被查消息以来，
《求是》刊令计划撰文：民族工作坚持8个必须 Ling Jihua in latest “Qiushi” on the “8 necessarys” in ethnic policy work// 一、必须坚持党对民族工作的领导。; 二、必须坚持中国特色社会主义道路。; 三、必须坚持维护祖国统一。; 四、必须坚持各民族一律平等。; 五、必须坚持和完善民族区域自治制度。; 六、必须坚持各民族共同团结奋斗、共同繁荣发展。; 七、必须坚持打牢中华民族共同体的思想基础。; 八、必须坚持依法治国。
【正解】西式民主在中国行不通 田文林 求是网
Dalai Lama says his role should cease after his death The Dalai Lama said he took heart from hearing Xi talking about Buddhism recently. “This is something very unusual,” he told France24. “A communist, usually, we consider atheist.” Asked if the remarks led him to believe Xi was ready to discuss genuine autonomy for Tibet, the spiritual leader said there were “some indications”. “But at the same time, among the establishment, there is a lot of hardliner thinking still there. So he himself sometimes finds it’s a difficult situation,” he said.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Another PLA Officer Said to Run Afoul of Anti-Graft Investigators – Caixin Ma Xiangdong, director of the political department of the PLA Nanjing Institute of Politics, was detained by military investigators in early December, sources with knowledge of the matter said. Ma holds the rank of senior colonel. His detention came shortly after an investigation was launched into Dai Weimin, a major-general and the deputy dean at the Nanjing Institute of Politics. Dai was suspected of taking huge bribes related to land and construction projects. Ma is suspected of selling admissions when he was the head of the training bureau of the PLA’s General Political Department around 2009, a source close to the matter said. The training bureau is in charge of selecting government-sponsored military students for admission into military colleges and other education institutions.
Anti-graft drive will go on as China can’t afford to lose corruption battle: PLA Daily | South China Morning Post In a rare candid commentary, the PLA Daily said that a proper understanding of the campaign was needed if the “pernicious influence” of former Central Military Commission vice-chairman Xu Caihou was to be eradicated. It pointed to misperceptions within the army and the public about whether the drive could continue or might lose the support of rank-and-file officers. There were now two opposing sides in the campaign, which had reached a critical point, and the military should know there wouldn’t be any let-up in the fight.
President Xi orders PLA to clear up bad influence from Xu Caihou – Xinhua Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks during an inspection tour to the Nanjing Military Area Command of the People’s Liberation of Army (PLA) on Sunday. The armed forces should learn a lesson from Xu, former vice chairman of CMC, and “fully clear up the bad influence” left by this case in the army’s ideological, political and organizational work as well as the style of work, Xi said.
军报谈反腐：周永康徐才厚都动了 还有谁动不了新闻腾讯网 12月17日，
Reporters in China Say Media Freeze Is Intensifying – NYTimes.com The good news is that unlike last year — when the Chinese government delayed the issuance of some journalist visas, prompting the intervention of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a state visit in December — the authorities appear to be renewing hundreds of annual resident journalist visas without a hitch this year. That includes reporters from The New York Times and Bloomberg News, two media outlets that last year were targeted for their investigative coverage of the wealth of the families of China’s top leaders. But the progress on visa renewals obscures what many correspondents say is a mounting hostility toward Western media outlets operating in China.
NYT should review biased China coverage – Xinhua The New York Times has demonized the word “communist”. Although China has adopted market reforms and opened up to the world for more than thirty years, the newspaper remains blind to China’s progress and attributes all the problems that have arisen during China’s develop as results of “dictatorship”, “lack of democracy” and “lack of freedom”. Such a Cold-War mentality prevails in the New York Times, especially when it comes to issues related to China’s Tibet and Xinjiang. Such misleading reports will only intensify the prejudice in the minds of some Americans and weaken the foundation for the healthy development of bilateral relations.
U.S. Links North Korea to Sony Hacking – NYTimes.com North Korea has been a notoriously hard target for computer penetration. But four years ago the National Security Agency launched a major effort to penetrate the country’s computer operations, including its elite cyberteam, and to establish “implants” in the country’s networks that, like a radar system, would monitor the development of malware transmitted from the country. But it is hardly a foolproof system. Much of North Korea’s hacking is done from China. And while the attack on Sony used some commonly available cybertools, one intelligence official said, “This was of a sophistication that a year ago we would have said was beyond the North’s capabilities.”
China pledges 3-billion-USD investment fund for CEE countries – Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that his country will create an investment fund of 3 billion U.S. dollars to facilitate financing in the cash-strapped Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Li made the announcement at the third leaders’ meeting between China and 16 CEE countries in Serbia. The latest pledge came two years after the world’s second-largest economy set up a 10-billion-dollar special credit line to support cooperative projects with CEE countries.
Canada Unveils New Plan to Attract Wealthy Immigrants – WSJ Besides the minimum investment and net-worth requirements, immigration lawyers said the new program has strict conditions for entry. For instance, applicants must be proficient in either English or French and hold an education diploma that is the equivalent of a Canadian postsecondary degree. Language has been part of the requirement for immigrating to Canada, but not for investment-based immigration. French language institutes have sprung up in China, as wealthy Chinese discovered a back door into Canada that involves applying for entry into Quebec, as long as the applicants have a working knowledge of French.
Vancouver being transformed by new wave of brash, rich Asians looking for safe place to ‘park their cash’ | National Post Vancouver is to some degree a victim of its own success, a conundrum it must somehow learn to cope with. That isn’t lost on Kevin Li, creator of the Ultra Rich Asian Girls youtube series.
Thousands take to street in Nicaragua to protest China canal deal｜WantChinaTimes A massive demonstration rocked Nicaragua’s capital of Managua as protestors opposed to the construction of a US$50 billion Nicaragua Canal took to the streets on Wednesday. Protesters said the construction will damage local freshwater sources and the environment, reports Shanghai-based newspaper the Paper. Some protesters held banners reading “Chinese gets out!” and “No canal.” The project, which is to begin construction on Dec. 22 and scheduled to be completed in 2019, will dwarf the neighboring Panama Canal. It will be 278 kilometers in length and pass through Central America’s largest lake.
Audio: Sherrod Brown on U.S.-China Relations – Council on Foreign Relations Sherrod Brown, United States senator and chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, joins Lorne W. Craner, founder of Redstone Global, to discuss a new approach to U.S. policy toward China. Brown says that although integrating China into international systems and furthering dialogue may have been the best course in the past, China is failing to comply with international standards in trade, human rights, intellectual property, industrial policy, cybersecurity, and other issues. A tougher strategy of ‘principled resolve’, he says, is needed to hold China accountable for its actions.
David Ignatius: A U.S.-China ‘reset’? – The Washington Post The dialogue was organized by the Aspen Strategy Group, co-chaired by Nye and Brent Scowcroft, the former U.S. national security adviser, and the Central Party School, which trains senior members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. I attended as a member of the Aspen group; the ground rules prevent me from quoting the participants by name.
After the Abe-Xi summit: What comes next in Japan-China Relations (pt. 5)? – Dispatch Japan Today we hear from Jonathan Pollack, a long-time China-watcher from the Brookings Institution.
Natuna Is Indonesian, Not Chinese: Jokowi Adviser | The Diplomat “The sovereignty of Indonesia cannot be negotiated…we are very, very firm on this,” Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, former commander of the Indonesian special forces, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. On the South China Sea issue, Luhut said that while Indonesia could help in “bridging” differences between ASEAN claimant states and China, it would also not shy away from exploiting resources in what it viewed as its own waters.
China’s unpredictable maritime security actors | Lowy Institute KEY FINDINGS China’s recent assertive actions in the maritime domain are not part of a grand strategy to coerce China’s neighbours in a tailored manner. The restructuring of China’s maritime law enforcement agencies, announced in March 2013, led to a power struggle between the State Oceanic Administration and the Ministry of Public Security. Consequently, genuine integration of the new China Coast Guard has not yet taken place. The People’s Liberation Army could be taking a more active role as coordinator of maritime law enforcement in China’s near seas.
U.S. and China Conduct Anti-Piracy Exercise – USNI News In a rare bilateral exercise, the U.S. and China conducted anti-piracy training off the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden, the Navy said in a Thursday statement. The guided missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) joined at least two of People’s Liberation Army Navy ships for the exercises that included visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercises, communication exchanges and “various other aspects of naval operations,” read the statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Hong Kong Graft Investigators Search Home of Guotai Junan’s Wong – Bloomberg Hong Kong anti-graft investigators searched a home of Wong Tung Ching, deputy chief executive officer of a unit of Guotai Junan Securities Co., China’s third-largest brokerage, the company said. Independent Commission Against Corruption officers seized securities trading-account records and an agreement relating to a placement from the firm’s office, Guotai Junan International Holdings Ltd. (1788) said in an exchange filing today. The raids were on Dec. 15. Noone has been arrested, the company said.
UK consulate mum on Chen bombshell on wartime governor Britain’s consulate general in Hong Kong said Wednesday it had no comment on a recent speech by a former senior Beijing official in which he criticized the wartime colonial governor for “surrendering to Japan”. “We are unable to comment on this,” a spokesperson for the British mission, told EJ Insight by e-mail. On Friday, Chen Zuo’er, a former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said former Hong Kong governor Mark Aitchison Young was ultimately responsible for the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese.
Special Report: How China spies on Hong Kong’s democrats The mainland Chinese intelligence services have long been suspected of running covert operations in Hong Kong, but this has now been confirmed for the first time, Reuters has learned, with one of their surveillance teams taken into custody. The pair was part of a team watching To, according to the people familiar with the operation. Other teams have been assigned to track key figures in the pro-democracy movement and critics of Beijing’s rule in the city, they say, with the aim of uncovering compromising information. The arrested pair was quickly released without any public announcement. The police declined to divulge their identities to Reuters.
Why Jimmy Lai quit–EJ Insight With a 75 percent stake in Next Media, Apple Daily’s listed parent, Lai controls the newspaper and other media assets. His resignation as chairman, announced Sunday, just hours before he was arrested for illegal assembly in Hong Kong’s two-month-long democracy protests, simply means he is no longer involved in the running of the business. Sources close to the group say Lai considered stepping down for some time owing to his growing involvement in the democracy campaign. Senior executives view his exit as a way to reduce his influence on the business, leaving it to professional managers.
Hong Kong, the Resilient City | Foreign Policy Economic and political data show that dire warnings about the pro-democracy protests have proven inaccurate.
TECH AND MEDIA
Net Videos Will Be Censored Just Like TV Shows, Regulator Says – Caixin The top media regulator will use the same censorship policies for online video content as it does for traditional TV shows and films, said Cai Fuchao, director of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Cai made the comments at the 2nd China Internet Audio-Visual Conference, a three-day meeting in the southwestern city of Chengdu, on December 17. Websites offering streaming of TV and film content need to acquire clearance from the regulator before putting it online, he also said.
Jack Ma vs Lei Jun: who is really Asia’s richest man?-TechInAsia But yesterday, a US$200 million investment into appliance manufacturer Midea by smartphone maker Xiaomi revealed some new numbers that might make the analysts reconsider. As it turns out, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun owns a whopping 77.8 percent of his company – way more than Jack Ma owns of Alibaba at just 6.3 percent…Xiaomi last month began fundraising at a valuation of US$40 billion to US$50 billion – higher than Sony and Lenovo. While that figure is hotly contested, Xiaomi’s explosive sales growth means it’s not totally far-fetched. That puts Lei Jun’s share of Xiaomi at US$31 billion to US$38.9 billion, well above Ma and somewhere in the range of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Xiaomi Wins Partial Reprieve on India Smartphone Sales – Bloomberg An India court partially lifted a sales ban on Xiaomi Corp., saying the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor could import devices as long as they use chips from Qualcomm Inc. A two-judge panel of the Delhi High Court cleared those sales until another hearing on Jan. 8, Kapil Sibal, an attorney representing Xiaomi, said today.
China Mobile’s Dead End on the WiFi Highway – Caixin China Mobile sources told Caixin, China Mobile has decided to gradually phase out its five-year-old TD-SCDMA network while shifting its focus to the 4G network. The telecom plans to continue providing a stable 3G network, sources said, but won’t spend any more to expand it. Moreover, China Mobile hopes to transfer every WiFi customer to 4G. “Currently, only 30 percent of the TD-SCDMA network is used,” said Huang Leping, vice president of Nomura Securities. “With more users transferring to the 4G network” China Mobile’s “massive investment” in the homegrown 3G system “will never see returns.”
Leaked Emails: Sony Execs Scared of “Desperately Unfunny” Interview The truth is, Sony’s been worried about this for a long time. The company was so concerned about angering China that Nigel Clark, the head of international marketing, emailed a script of the movie to the general manager of SPE China, Li Chow, back in December 2013. Chow writes that “it is unlikely that Sony will be hurt by making the film” but suggests changing “the part… when they sneak into China to get into N. Korea”:
Xiaomi plans to launch sub-CNY500 smartphones in 2015 according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Former sports champion rumored to lose 2bn yuan on gov’t website｜Economy｜News｜
ThePaper.cn and Propaganda 2.0 – China Digital Times (CDT) The Paper is an ambitious effort to achieve this. It is an offshoot of the Oriental Morning Post in Shanghai, a print newspaper that is losing circulation and advertising revenue, and barely turns a profit. When Han Zheng, Shanghai’s party chief, urged the newspaper in 2013 to produce a new digital platform, its editors were thinking the same. With funding of 100m yuan ($16m) from the Post’s state-owned parent, the Shanghai United Media Group, the Paper was formally launched on July 22nd. Its mission was clear from the beginning. Just before the launch it hosted a visit by Mr Lu, the regulator: a signal of his support.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
8-Year-Old with HIV Banned from Chinese Village One of the top ten trending topics on Sina Weibo of December 17th 2014 is the case of a young HIV-infected boy expelled from his village (#艾滋男童被联名驱离#). Over 200 inhabitants from a village in Sichuan province (Xichong country) have signed a joint referendum on the banishment of the 8-year-old.
China’s mountain hermits seek a highway to heaven | USA News.com Hundreds of small huts dot the jagged peaks of the remote Zhongnan mountains in central China, where followers of Buddhism and local Taoist traditions have for centuries sought to live far from the madding crowds. “The Zhongnan mountains have a special aura,” said Hou, who moved to the hills almost a decade ago and wrapped himself in a long black robe, smiling as the wind rustled the surrounding woods.
The Abbot [百岁和尚灯宽] – Liao Yiwu [廖亦武] | The Bamboo Sea I have lived for over a hundred years. I’m gradually ambling my way to the ritual of reincarnation. As a Buddhist, one needs to contain displeasure, anger, and complaining. I have tried to abide by these principles during the past decades and try not to dwell on my past. In recent years, many of the villagers who participated in torturing me have come to seek help because they are poverty-stricken and can’t send their grandchildren to school. I have given them money and support. The money is not mine. It was raised from Buddha’s followers. It’s a sin to keep the money. I remember very well what those villagers did to me in the past, but I don’t harbor any ill will toward them. When you start to blame and hate people, retribution will befall you.
The NSA Listened as Chinese MiGs Shot Down American Warplanes — War Is Boring — Medium Many of the partially-to-heavily redacted documents are signals intelligence reports written in the aftermath of aircraft losses. Most of the trove references American pilots lost over North Vietnam. But Chinese fighter jets intercepted and shot down American aircraft on several occasions, killing several pilots. It’s a little known and politically sensitive aspect of the war in Vietnam. Some of the details are still classified.
Book review: ‘China 1945,” Mao and America, by Richard Bernstein – The Washington Post Bernstein tells the story of the United States, China, Japan and the U.S.S.R. during the last, dramatic year of World War II in Asia. The central question he explores is this: In the late 1940s, could the United States and China have avoided four decades of antagonism, thereby allowing America to dodge the depredations of the Korean War, a defeat in Vietnam and, it is implied, our current tensions with Beijing? In the 1970s, in the wake of the Vietnam War, U.S. scholars were almost united in arguing that yes, if only the United States had seized the opportunity to befriend Mao Zedong in 1945, the history of America and Asia would have been completely different. But in keeping with today’s hard-boiled view of China’s communists, Bernstein has marshaled a powerful rebuttal. There was, he insists, never a “lost chance” for the United States in China. Mao was as devious as, if not more so than, his mentor, Joseph Stalin. // the book on Amazon
The Blind Voice of the New Silk Road | the art of life in chinese central asia The Voice of the Silk Road is a celebration of an amateur love for Uyghur music. The contestants sing because they love to sing; they sing because they want to be famous; and they sing because they think their voice is a voice of the contemporary Silk Road. When 16 year-old Perhatjan shuffled onto the stage, everyone in the Xinjiang Arts Institute Concert Hall knew there was something special about him. The four judges — the famous flamenco player Arkin, the king of Uyghur pop Abdulla, the hyper-masculine pop rocker Mahmud Sulayman, and a little known female opera singer named Nurnisa — couldn’t see him; their tall red swivel chairs were facing the audience. Although he later said he was 16 years old, Perhatjan looked like he was about 12. Also, he was blind.
China’s Brave Underground Journal—II by Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books “What I had hoped for was a Willy Brandt moment,” Wu said to the group, and the writers nodded at the reference to the former West German chancellor who in 1970 fell to his knees before a monument to the Nazi-era Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a signal moment of penance in Germany’s postwar rehabilitation. “But it became more complex than I thought.” As Wu had hoped, the discussion heated up after 2012. When Chen Xiaolu, the general’s son, apologized last year, Wu urged Song to take the next step and apologize formally herself. Several classmates said they would join her, and several teachers from that era, now in their nineties, agreed to participate. In January, Song returned to her old high school, where a bronze bust of Bian stands on a pedestal in a conference room. Bowing before it with several other classmates, Song pulled out a written apology, saying she felt “eternal regret and sorrow” for her actions.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Story Map: What is the impact of China’s mega water diversion scheme? | Beth Walker – China Dialogue Our interactive map illustrates the impact of China’s controversial South-North Water Transfer project, as water finally reached Beijing last week
China moves to keep nuclear work local | Business Spectator With the global nuclear industry focused on China, the Chinese government has used the heft of its huge market to secure transfers of key technology and gradually localize production. In the process, China is achieving a political aim to source sensitive manufacturing at home and satisfying a practical need to avoid complications posed by faraway suppliers.
The tale of a virtuous woman and a morally perished city in China: Yang Yun and Beijing. — Medium Today I paid a visit to the Chaoyang District Mental Health Institute…Yang Yun is the director of the center….Yang Yun’s late husband opened the Institute in the ‘90s. She continued to manage the institute after he passed 4 years ago, and often approaches foundations for funds. Here are her responses to my questions.
U.S, China making progress on biotech crop talks: USDA’s Vilsack | Reuters The countries are “moving toward an understanding of how we might be able to establish a strategic dialogue on biotechnology,” Vilsack told Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang in a bilateral meeting in Chicago. Biotech crops are a key trade issue between the countries because China has rejected more than 1 million tons of U.S. corn containing traces of a type of genetically modified corn, Agrisure Viptera, in the past year. The strain, developed by Syngenta AG, is approved for planting in the United States but not for import by Beijing.
Tuliu: Leveraging China’s Rural Land Reform – TechNode It’s only in recent times that Chinese peasants have been allowed to mortgage, lease or sell their rights to agricultural land or land occupied by their homes. Taking advantage of the easing of these restrictions, Tuliu.com (“land transfer” in Chinese), providing information and web and mobile applications for trading or leasing rural land, is one of the first of its kind in mainland China. As with other real estate websites, on Tuliu land rights holders as well as agents and brokers can post listings. Buyers can search for land by city or category, or submit their requests. But when it comes to trading, Chinese peasants must still depend on agencies like Tuliu, as the new rural land transfer policies initiated by the Chinese authorities are complicated.
经济参考网 – 部分地区三农金融坏账抬升 专家称现代农业和金融尚未形成可相互依托的体制 经济下行周期，
Illegal clubs run in two Beijing temples – Global Times In a large dining room in Zhizhu Temple, a chair carved with inlaid dragons – an imitation of an emperor’s throne – is displayed, reported Xinhua. An employee at the restaurant said that the throne is a replica of the original in the Forbidden City, and that diners usually take pictures sitting on it. The temple also features a stage for performing Peking Opera for “officials” who visit the restaurant. The report said that the restaurant typically charges at least 800 ($129) yuan per person, with dinners reportedly costing as much as 2,000 yuan. The Global Times also found another Western-style restaurant named Temple Restaurant Beijing in Zhizhu Temple. An employee there said that the average per-person spend is at least 500 yuan, exclusive of a 15 percent service charge.
China’s NDRC Approves New $12.9 Billion Beijing Airport – Bloomberg The new airport will be built in the south of the city, the agency said. Beijing Capital International Airport, which served 83.7 million passengers in 2013, was the busiest in the world last year after Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, according to Airports Council International. // and already at or near overcapacity
I can’t even make myself open the SFGate piece.