The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.04.13

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

Tuo Zhen (庹震), head of propaganda for Guangdong Province, started 2013 with a bang. As China Media Project explains in A New Year’s greeting gets the axe in China:

The big breaking media story in China today concerns the “New Year’s Greeting” (新年献词) at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly, a newspaper with a longstanding reputation for harder-hitting journalism. According to accounts on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, Southern Weekly‘s “greeting,” an annual tradition with notable precedents (including Chang Ping‘s 1999 letter, which is being actively shared today), was censored directly by propaganda officials without the knowledge or consent of editors.

The South China Morning Post covered the censorship in outrage at Guangdong newspaper forced to run party commentary:

In a rare, open challenge, journalists at the Southern Weekly said they were outraged that the propaganda office ordered changes to the paper’s first edition of the new year, just a day before its publication yesterday, without the consent of the page editor who had already signed off on the page and left work.Some were furious that an introductory message headlined “Pursuing dreams”, which said Chinese people were closer to achieving their dreams because of the hard work of the party, was forced into the package. They said they believed it had come from provincial propaganda chief Tuo Zhen and also complained that it contained factual errors.

Interestingly, CCTV ran a segment ([子午线]舆论场:南方周末新年献辞引热议 新闻频道_央视网) highlighting those factual errors, in what looks to be a criticism of Tuo Zhen and the regional propaganda officials.

The censors are trying to contain the fallout, as China Digital Times notes in Ministry of Truth: Southern Weekend New Year Piece:

Central Propaganda Department: Urgent notice: Upon receipt of this message, controlling departments in all locales must immediately inform all reporters and editors that they may not discuss the Southern Weekend New Year’s greeting on any public platforms. (January 3, 2013)

If you are on Chinese social media and start seeing “尺度” or “尺度部长”, those are references to 庹震.

Not a very harmonious way to start 2013…

Agilent Technologes may have a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) problem. A netizen accused a Sinopec manager of taking bribes from Agilent China. The Sinopec official denies accepting escort service in bribery case (South China Morning Post):

The scandal involves US-listed technology company Agilent Technologies, which had been accused of bribing Zhang with sex service provided by male sex workers in a high-end Beijing club, said media reports. Some of the escorts were reported to be African.Agilent had secretly videotaped Zhang, reports said. It later threatened her with the tape when the company competed for a big contract to sell machines to Sinopec for an 18-billion-yuan plant to produce petrochemical ethylene in Hubei province’s Wuhan.Zhang then worked with Agilent and helped it to win, said reports.

The only responsible response for Agilent’s board may be to spend the money to investigate the claims, even if they have no merit. Do not be surprised to see more foreign firms caught up in China’s online anti-corruption frenzy.

Evan Osnos of The New Yorker has an excellent take on the problems foreign journalists face here in China, the American Press, and the State Department:

But the U.S. can do much more, both privately and publicly. In public, the State Department, at a senior level, should strongly object to pressure on American journalists, with the same energy it has directed at obstacles to the free conduct of other American businesses in China, or violations of intellectual-property and human rights. In private, media reciprocity should become a priority, and U.S. officials can remind their counterparts that Beijing’s ambitious plans to expand Chinese media in the United States are vulnerable to a backlash. This problem will not get solved on its own.

Osnos says that France, when faced with a similar issue, resolved the problem by threatening to deny visas to many Chinese state media news workers. I imagine Congress will not be happy to hear that France took a tougher line than the US…

There may still be hope for Chris Buckley. China’s Foreign Ministry told the Wall Street Journal that:

“The Chinese government always deals with issues related to foreign correspondents in China based on law and regulation,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written response to questions. “His application is still under consideration,” it added.Mr. Buckley, an Australian national, has declined to comment on the matter. A spokesman for the Australian embassy in Beijing has also declined to comment.

Today’s Links:


China Poised for 2013 Rebound as Debt Risks Rise for Xi – Bloomberg  Incoming President Xi Jinping may find China’s investment-driven economic recovery in the Year of the Snake jeopardized by mounting risks in the finance industry.  Gross domestic product is poised to expand 8.1 percent this year, up from 7.7 percent in 2012, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed last month by Bloomberg News. At the same time, an increase in lending fueled by trust companies and underground banks enhances the risk of loan defaults that would be “severely damaging” to the economy, Standard Chartered Plc says.//how sustainable? not, say the bears. very, say the bulls, pointing to potential for urbanization and rural reform. muddle along, says Sinocism, with good opportunities on long and short sides, and no “collpapse” in sight

China’s ‘weibo’ accounts shuttered as part of Internet crackdown – The Washington Post – includes a somewhat nonsensical quote from me at end..blame the jet lag//Among those whose weibo accounts were disabled in December were journalists Shi Feike, an investigative reporter, and Cheng Yizhong, founder and former chief editor of the Southern Metropolis Daily. Also blocked were Sichuan blogger and activist Ran Yunfei, and Xiao Han, an associate professor at the China University of Political Science and Law.

Cheap Meth! Cheap Guns! Click Here. – interesting by Kristof, a bit exaggerated for useful effect//  It’s a tribute to China’s stunning economic development that the country now has some 540 million Internet users, more than any other country. It’s sad to see current leaders reverting to a tighter vision of the Internet. “How can we develop our skills,” one Chinese friend asked me rhetorically, “if we can’t even visit some of the most popular Web sites around the world?”

用户真实身份信息注册与韩国实名制并非一回事 – 新华国际 – 新华网  xinhua on why china internet real name registration will be different than south korea’s. and that websites will not be charged to verify against official id database. sounds more thought through than some believed//

人民日报-人民日报历史上第一块新闻评论版,与您见面了。自今日起,每周一至周五的工作日,我们将在这里,与您一起倾听、评述、思考。 – People’s Daily launches a News Commentary section, first one has big article about reform, this article from the editors explaining the launch, will now aggregate some of the well-known commentators like “钟声”、“人民时评”、“本报评论部”、“声音” etc

China’s anti-corruption drive is a sideshow – – But those who do business in China remain sceptical. To many, the anti-corruption drive is merely a form of score-settling. Money continues to leave China, as more and more wealthy people put their money out of the reach of their peers. The stock market in China has always been influenced more by capital flows than by economic fundamentals. That means the beneficiaries of the anti-corruption campaign are more likely to be Hong Kong property developers than listed Chinese companies. That is also why the hedge fund managers who like luxury goods as a proxy for the growth of corruption in China continue to hold the shares of companies such as Richemont and Prada. Mainland sales of watches and jewellery may go down but sales offshore are likely to continue as prudent Chinese continue their extravagant purchases – just not in China itself.//perhaps, but do not expect the previous growth rates…I still think the seriousness of this crackdown is not yet full appreciated

Driving China’s Rural Families to Cities – Economic Observer Online – Beijing likely to be exempt from any hukou reform..otherwise city would be swamped// Summary:There have been recent signals that the long-held hukou system will be reformed. This is necessary not only on moral grounds, but in order to urbanize rural residents, boost domestic consumption and delay the end of China’s demographic dividend…  In addition, particular attention should be paid to the communication with the urban public. Authorities should hire professional public relations agencies instead of using the traditionally blunt propaganda tactics. New communications methods are needed to make the urban population realize that upholding their interests should not be built on the premise of suppressing the rights of others.  A lifestyle built on such a basis is a disgrace. Urban residents should welcome their rural compatriots, who have been victims for too long of an unfair system.

Chinese Groups Slowly Carve Out Space in Work Against H.I.V./AIDS – At a meeting with advocates for AIDS patients, Mr. Li, a large red ribbon pinned to his jacket, promised more government support and shook hands with H.I.V.-positive people. The image resounded in a society where those infected are routinely turned away from hospitals and hounded from their jobs. “Civil society plays an indispensable role in the national battle against H.I.V./AIDS,” he said, according to the state news media. Activists remain wary, however, noting that the government has made similar promises in the past. And despite the high-level support and a policy in Guangdong allowing grass-roots groups to register directly with the government — instead of being forced to find an official sponsor, as in much of the country — many organizations say they still are stymied by dizzying bureaucratic hurdles or rejected for missing unannounced deadlines.



China Service Industries Grow at Faster Pace as Economy Rebounds – Bloomberg  The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index was at 56.1 in December after a 55.6 reading the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing said in Beijing today. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Beijing defers wealth distribution reform plan| Some persons attributed this to vested interests at play, as well as industry monopolies acting as a major barrier to reforms. The lack of effective coordination among government agencies formulating the plan was also considered a factor responsible for delaying the launch of the plan. Some media reports even said that privileged interest groups, monopolistic firms and property development and resource companies were the three forces impeding the plan’s launch. An official with the commission said the problems involved in income distribution were comprehensive, longstanding and complicated and that the plan should be based on long-term and thorough consideration.

收入分配改革方案倒计时_财经频道_一财网 – good piece from first financial on the delayed income distribution reform plan…looks like mentions of monopolies now allowed in press again// 温家宝总理在2012年两会记者会上说:“在我任职的最后一年,政府还将要做几件困难的事情,一定要做,努力做好,而不留给后人。”他说的第一件事情,就是要制定收入分配体制改革的总体方案。在十八大报告提出“两个翻番”目标的背景下,收入分配的完善将起到助力作用,同时这也关乎改革发展成果的共享。时值迎新2013年之际,本报为此梳理了收入分配改革的攻坚难点和前景展望。

Pre-owned house sales in Beijing at 23-month high |Economy | – significant repressed, real housing demand in beijing. there is no uniform nation real estate market in china..any analyses that talk about the “china market” without discussion the different regional and municipal markets not worth the paper or the bits they are written on// Sales of pre-owned homes in Beijing reached a 23-month high in December, due to shrinking supply and some panic buying. A total of 17,920 units were sold and registered online last month, a 24 percent increase over the previous month, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development — the highest rise recorded since the government launched measures in February 2011 to curb runaway property prices. Local agents reported that as well as the unit numbers increasing, prices were also rising. “We sold out a three-bedroom apartment along Beijing’s North Fourth Ring Road three weeks ago, at a price of 4.9 million yuan ($786,000). “But the selling price of a similar apartment has now increased by more than 100,000 yuan,” said Yu Hui, an agent with HomeLink, a real estate brokerage firm, who said demand is outstripping supply in many areas, which is pushing up prices.

Serving up Chinese consumers|Economy| – The service sector is likely to be the next big driver of domestic consumption in China, helping to bring about long-term and sound economic expansion, experts said. By 2012, consumption was already contributing more to the growth of China’s gross domestic product than investment, a result in part of low inflation, an increase in disposable incomes and the support provided by a series of government policies. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics suggest that consumption contributed 4.2 percentage points to the 7.7 percent GDP growth the country achieved in the first three quarters of 2012.

Beijing marks New Year with shopping spree – Xinhua |– wonder how online sales did//Beijing marked the “coldest New Year” from January 1 to 3, with temperatures constantly dropping below minus-10 degrees Celsius, and the bitter cold might have contributed to the business boom by luring many holiday goers into air-conditioned shopping malls. Statistics from Beijing Commercial Information Consulting Center show the 100 major commercial and service enterprises in the city recorded 2.34 billion yuan (372 million U.S. dollars) in sales during the three-day holiday, rising 8.4 percent from a year earlier.

重回一二线城市_杂志频道_财新网 – Caixin also has article in last 2012 issue about the growing real estate risks in 3rd and 4th tier cities, how developers are moving back to th 1st and 2nd tier cities, something we have seen with the spike in land acquisitions recently// 2012年以一二线城市为主战场的房企业绩增长显著,三四线城市泡沫积聚,2013年去库存压力巨大

楼市风险排名靠前 开发商撤离三四线城市_财经频道_一财网 – first financial on property market risks increasing in 3-4th tier cities, says to many rushed in, created far too much supply, now pulling out, returning to tier 1 and tier 2 cities..very bad for the LGFVs and debts in the 3rd and 4th tier cities// 大量开发商在短期内云集,导致三四线城市楼市供需矛盾急剧逆转,供大于求的现实让很多开发商开始逃离。

Ceiling of First Cross-Border RMB Loan at 50Bln Yuan in Pilot Zone-Caijing – Chinese authorities have targeted the ceiling that companies could borrow from banks in Hong Kong at 50 billion yuan, in its launch of the so-called first cross-border yuan loan in a pilot zone near the special administrative region, Caijing learned.Sources close to the matter told Caijing that the most probable target ceiling is 30-40 billion yuan, and will be no more than 50 billion; companies in the city of Qianhai, a special economic zone in Shenzhen near Hong Kong, could borrow the Chinese currency under a quotas system just as QFII (Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) and RQFII (Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor).

Hong Kong Luxury Sales Rebound on Confidence in Mainland – Bloomberg – Some luxury companies have been betting that Chinese shoppers will loosen their purse strings after the leadership change, which began in November and will be completed at a meeting of the National People’s Congress in March. The transition will clear uncertainty about political appointees and economic policy, and encourage the giving of business gifts, Kent Wong, managing director at the world’s largest jeweler, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd. (1929), said late last year. At the same time, the Communist Party under Xi has said that it wants to discourage official extravagance.//nice admission that firm is heavily reliant on corruption

How innovative is China?: Valuing patents | The Economist– There is no reliable way to measure a patent’s value. But one can use a rough-and-ready yardstick: in how many places did the inventors seek a patent for the same technology? If it is a good idea, they will try to patent it in lots of places. If they just want to pocket a Chinese subsidy, they won’t bother. Data from the UN’s World Intellectual Property Office suggest that some of the apparent spurt in Chinese innovation is illusory. Or at least, patents in China are probably less valuable than those in America or Europe.

远离“影子银行”?463号文刹车公益性项目举债|影子银行|公益|融资_21世纪网 – 财政部等四部委2012年12月24日联合下发一项文件,试图制止地方政府及其融资平台近期采用的违法违规融资行为。该文件标注为财预[2012]463号,是由预算部门汇总成文。财政部研究机构专家认为,这提醒地方在编制2013年财政预算时要考虑其中的要求。

迎新年_王路明_博联社 – photos of villagers getting ready for new year. useful reminder to those who forget how far so much of china still has to go, how much potential there is if Xi/Li can really implement smart rural reforms

For China, Inc., Naked Is Not Enough – Silicon Hutong – There is a growing cohort of public relations firms that are opening practices focused on helping Chinese companies build better reputations among global audiences. This is a good thing: heaven knows, no group of companies is more in need of this kind of help than Chinese enterprises. What is discouraging, however, is that many senior professionals in the PR industry continue to misdiagnose the problem

China Law Blog–Doing Business In China Just Got Even Tougher – I also keep hearing the same sorts of thing from my firm’s own clients.  Just today, I spoke with a very savvy China veteran who contacted us to provide legal assistance to a company in which he is a part owner.  During our conversation, he told me that he would never have an American company own a China WFOE outright because that simply presents too easy a target for China.

Who is Kun Huang? | Public Company Prisoner researcher who helped Alfred Little research, in jail in China//



中共官员的“好时光”将成为过去时?_多维新闻网 – corruption crackdown mean the good days are over for Chinese officials?//【多维新闻】中共十八大闭幕已经一个月,“改革与反腐”成为中共新领导层和官方媒体密集强调的关键词。2012年最后一天,中共新任总书记习近平第一次主持最高层次的反腐败工作会议。有消息人士向多维新闻透露,中共或将在2013年出台更加具体、细致的反贪制度,中国的反贪局面有望启动一个明显区别于以往的新局面,无论“打苍蝇”还是“打老虎”都会成为常态化。因此有评析称中共官员的好时光即将成为过去。

习近平的博士生论文曝光_多维新闻网 – pictures of Xi Jinping’s PhD dissertation

SOE tried to cover up blast|Society| – The country’s top work safety watchdog on Thursday condemned a subsidiary of a State-owned enterprise which tried to cover up a deadly explosion at a railway tunnel project in North China and called for heavier punishment for such violations. The explosion, which killed eight people and injured five, occurred around about 2:40 pm on Dec 25 when the workers were setting explosives in a tunnel under construction in Shanxi province, according to the Work Safety Committee of the State Council… However, the construction company, a subsidiary of the China Railway Tunnel Group, did not report the accident to the government until it was exposed by netizens and confirmed by the government five days later on Dec 30.

清华教授:把反腐希望完全寄托制度是天真想法 -财经网–   荀子云:“有乱君,无乱国;有治人,无治法”(《荀子·君道》)。这绝不意味着不需要制度建设,更不能代替制度建设。但是,我们也必须认识到,中国过去几千年的历史告诉我们:只有从人心和风气这个突破口出发,有些制度才能真正建立起来。因此,在进行制度建设时,不能盲目崇洋、空谈法治;一定要研究中国文化自身的逻辑,认识中国社会的规律。制度建设永远都不错,但是为了制度而制度,不思考制度建设的艰难曲折,难免流于空谈,不切实际。“正人心而后正天下。”这是南宋学者陈亮上孝宗皇帝书中所言。事隔800多年,今天读来依然振聋发聩,相信它能对我们反腐败提供一些启示。

王建勋:天下没有免费的自由-财经网 – 任何试图控制言论的行为,往往适得其反。赵克罗的例子表明,争取言论自由可能要付出代价。但相对于被沉默的恐惧,付出这种代价是值得的中国有句古训:言多必有失。它告诫人们少说话,否则容易出漏子,甚至酿成大祸。即使心知肚明,即使义愤填膺,最好的处世哲学也是莫言。河南省政协常委赵克罗近来因在微博上批评南阳平坟运动而“栽了跟头”,不仅被指“给河南及南阳造成严重负面影响”,而且还丢掉了下届政协委员和常委的“乌纱帽”。他在公开忏悔书中称:“原以为省政协常委有权对政府进行民主监督,参政议政,看来我是太天真太幼稚啦,自己太把省政协常委身份当回事啦。”随后他甚至发出“遗书”。

新华社调查称江苏广东等地政府变相突击花钱 新华社——经济参考网– some local governments blowing the remainder of their 2012 budgets at year end in spite of orders not to, a xinhua investigation finds..shocked…中央政治局关于改进工作作风、密切联系群众的八项规定,要求厉行勤俭节约,严格遵守廉洁从政有关规定。中央纪委监察部不久前发出通知,明确提出党员领导干部要严格遵守财经纪律,严禁以各种名义年终突击花钱和滥发津贴、补贴、奖金、实物。记者近日在福建、江苏、广东、广西等地采访发现,一些单位仍存在年初“粗线条”制定预算、年末突击花钱甚至乱花钱、违规花钱现象,如何用好老百姓的“钱袋子”考验着各级政府和领导干部的作风。

习近平拜邓捧毛 上任后四度提及毛泽东 -Duowei– duowei on xi’s repeated citations of mao zedong recently, as noted in sinocism a few days ago// 中共十八大后,习近平上位中央总书记,通过低调南巡深圳向邓小平雕像献花塑造了改革派形象。但同时,也有观察人士表示,除了拜邓塑改革派形象外,习近平真正崇拜的对象可能是毛泽东,这可以从他上任后四度顺手拈来毛泽东的诗句、典故得到佐证。 据观察,习近平上任后第一次提及毛泽东是在2012年的11月17日十八届中共中央政治局举行第一次集体学习上。习近平当时表态称:“马克思列宁主义、毛泽东思想一定不能丢,丢了就丧失根本。”而自1997年中共十五大之后,官方已甚少使用这一说法。有分析人士认为,习近平旧话重提,不只是回应外界有关“去毛”(删除毛泽东思想)的猜测,更有安抚党内外左派之意。

Zhang Weiying 张维迎 | The China Story – Zhang Weiying 张维迎 is a prominent Chinese economist best known for his advocacy of free markets and entrepreneurship. He is a vocal critic of big government exerting too much interference in market activities. He’s also a champion of judicial reform, arguing in favor of the constitutional protection of private property.

郑州“房妹”全家被曝拥有29套房_网易新闻中心 – 新京报讯  河南省郑州市二七区房管局原局长翟振锋的女儿有两个户口、名下11套房产事件再有新进展。昨日,爆料人称,查出翟振锋的儿子、“房妹”的哥哥翟政宏有两个户口,名下14套房产;翟振锋妻子拥有4套房。至此“房妹”一家已爆出拥房29套。

China activists urge visits to confined wife of dissident –  unclear if this is more helpful to Liu Xia or the dissidents who are visiting her// Her eyes showing anguish behind her glasses, Liu Xia whispers urgently into the ear of one of the Chinese activists who barrels past the guard at her Beijing apartment – a place that has become her prison.  The brief video of their Friday encounter, which spread online Monday, did not capture her words. But fear appears written on her face. In her whisper, Liu expressed concern that she and her family would suffer for the activists’ audacious move, Chinese dissident Hu Jia told reporters days after the rare visit.



餐桌上的新风-中国军网——解放军报 – more from People’s Liberation Daily on new style at meal time…not good for moutai if not ignored..what will happen to all those tegong moutai supplies? //   近期以来,我们党和军队有许多新风引人赞叹和关注。从习主席与战士同吃自助餐,到网上热传的习主席在河北省阜平县看望慰问困难群众时“四菜一汤”的菜谱,以及军内外传出的转变作风的美谈,让群众感到新风扑面。

China sees red over uni paper–The Age another diplomatic own China seen in Australia for this and not renewing Chris Buckley’s visa..nice way to start the new year// Chinese diplomats complained to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian National University’s Australian Centre on China in the World about an alleged lack of balance in the centre’s China Story Yearbook 2012.They also blocked internet access to the report from mainland China.In return, the Chinese embassy received a 13-page lecture about diplomacy, free speech and Maoism from the centre’s director, Geremie Barmé, one of the world’s leading sinologists.

China to boost public diplomacy, exchanges |Holiday International | The unveiling ceremony of the China Public Diplomacy Association is held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (center right) and the association’s first president Li Zhaoxing (center left). The association is a non-profit organization aimed at boosting China’s public diplomacy.

The New Eyes in East Asia’s Skies – The Diplomat– With Japan’s Global Hawk purchase apparently imminent and at least three U.S. Air Force RQ-4s stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the skies of northeast Asia are about to become busy with the latest in U.S. unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) technology. The intended targets of this technology – North Korea and China – are unlikely to welcome the attention, although in China’s case, last November’s Zhuhai Airshow made it clear that Beijing’s no slouch when it comes to unmanned aerial technology, either.James Hardy is Asia-Pacific Editor of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.

The Commons: Beijing’s “Blue National Soil”–James Holmes in The Diplomat– wouldn’t it help US position if it signed the UNCLOS?// Every seafaring nation has a territorial claim to regional waters and skies beyond the 12-nautical-mile limit prescribed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. These expanses belong to no one, and everyone. Beijing defines offshore waters as “blue national soil.” If that’s more than a catchy phrase, it envisions exercising the absolute territorial sovereignty at sea that governments exercise within their land frontiers. It would reserve the right to infringe on freedom of navigation. (And yes, of course there are a few other outliers that make similar claims. But they’re too weak to pose more than a nuisance.) By custom and international covenant, the global commons belongs to no one. It is blue international soil, open to unfettered commercial and military use by all nations and off-limits to ownership by any…Why not splash footage all over the Internet, social media, and other outlets the next time an Impeccable incident occurs, along with some helpful commentary to put the incident in perspective—depicting it as the affront to the common good that it is?

As China’s navy grows, end of Deng’s dictum of keeping a low profile? | South China Morning Post– “The popularity of Mahan’s work in China seems to emanate from similarities in the geostrategic situation between the United States of 1890 and modern day China,” said Professor Robert Rubel, dean of the centre for naval warfare studies at the US Naval War College. In 1890 the key policy of the United States was the Monroe Doctrine, a continental strategy of hemispheric defence. Similarly, China had until recently adopted a strategy of taoguang yanghui, literally “keeping a low profile and hiding brightness”, a path set by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping . Analysts see Hu’s statement as tantamount to the end of Deng’s diplomatic dictum.

Reality forces Washington to take new military approach in East Asia – – dangerous if china believes us military will weaken..may embolden certain actions that do not mesh with reality?// It is not difficult to see that in the next 10 years, as the US’s tide of war recedes, its national defense budget will be cut by as much as $489 billion. The US, with its declining national strength, can only bow to reality. The variation and combination of the two theories will generate more complex situations than a single theory does, and will bring an even more negative effect to the Chinese navy. The author is a researcher with China Navy Research Institute

Michael Auslin: Asia’s Challenge in 2013: Nationalism – – and why on earth would we “disregard his rhetoric”? // Mr. Xi, too, is speaking of China’s nationalistic “revival” these days. Even if we’re to disregard his rhetoric, Beijing insists that Tokyo’s nationalization of the islands upset the decades-old status quo, and is unwilling to talk about ways to reduce tensions until Japan backs off. A miscalculation or accident in the waters around the Senkakus could indeed lead to conflict, though full war is unlikely. China-Japan tensions, though, have already damaged trade ties and could cause further economic disruptions in one of the most integrated regions in the world.

A Journey Through the Melting Ice of the Arctic Seas : The New Yorker US military and science research Arctic budgets sufficient? // ABSTRACT: A REPORTER AT LARGE about the writer’s journey through the Arctic seas aboard a cargo ship. The ice-class bulk carrier Nordic Odyssey docked at the port of Murmansk, Russia, on July 5, 2012. It had come to pick up sixty-five thousand tons of iron ore and take it to China via the Northern Sea Route—through the ice of the Arctic seas and then down through the Bering Strait.

Senator Lugar on the PRC and Korean Unification — National Committee on North Korea– Released for publication by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on December 31, 2012, this December 11, 2012 Minority Staff Report, “The Impact of the People’s Republic of China on Korean Peninsula Unification,” raises for Senate consideration the potential role of China in the future of the two Koreas.  According to Senator Lugar, China’s historical claims to territory within the borders of the Korean Peninsula and the expanding investment by China within North Korea point to a situation where China may attempt to manage, if not oppose, the process of Korean Peninsula unification. The . . . report includes extensive information regarding China’s trade and economic interaction with North Korea and the growing investment by Chinese companies inside North Korea.

Another Attempt to Deny Japan’s History – – Few relationships are as important to stability in Asia as the one between Japan and South Korea. Yet Japan’s new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, seems inclined to start his tenure with a serious mistake that would inflame tensions with South Korea and make cooperation harder. He has signaled that he might seek to revise Japan’s apologies for its World War II aggression, including one for using Koreans and other women as sex slaves.

Chinese activist allowed to go home-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily– liu already back in china. will he be treated as a hero?// The Seoul High Court yesterday decided not to extradite Liu Qiang, the 39-year-old Chinese man arrested earlier last year for throwing firebombs at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to Tokyo, saying that Liu should be considered a political prisoner. “We cannot approve the extradition of Liu to Japan because his crime was a political crime,” the court said in a statement yesterday. “In other words, Liu committed a crime with the aim to protest against [Japan’s] political order. And in a case where a political criminal makes an escape to another country [Korea], the criminal can be protected.”

Taiwan undersea oil plans raise neighbors’ eyebrows – – Taiwan, a normally quiet claimant to portions of the disputed South China Sea, plans to explore for undersea oil there, a move likely to test fragile relations with China and upset major Southeast Asian nations.

Rhodium Group » Chinese FDI in the US in 2012 2012 was a record year for Chinese investment in the United States. Chinese firms completed U.S. deals worth $6.5 billion, a 12% increase from the previous record of $5.8 billion in 2010. This new record reflects both the growing determination of Chinese firms to expand overseas and the attractiveness of U.S. markets and assets to these investors.  The most alluring sectors in the U.S. are oil and gas extraction, advanced manufacturing operations that help Chinese firms to move up the value chain, and assets that allow investors to store value and gain stable returns such as utilities, real estate or hospitality. Deals closed in 2012 show this diverse mix of motives, with large-scale investments in the extractive industry (Sinopec’s $2.5 billion stake in Devon Energy), high-tech manufacturing (Wanxiang’s $420 million stake in GreatPoint Energy) and entertainment (Dalian Wanda’s $2.6 billion purchase of AMC).

人民日报-有一种智慧叫“顺应” 钟 声– 世界多极化、经济全球化深入发展,文化多样化、社会信息化持续推进,科技革命孕育新突破。面对人类历史上前所未有的大变革大调整大变化,国际社会的确需要构建一个价值观联盟。这样一个价值观联盟越强大,就越有利于保持国际形势总体稳定,越有利于走好转型之路。需要强调的是,这个联盟的价值观是时代的要求,而不是哪个国家随意确定、随意代言的。世界潮流浩浩荡荡,顺之则昌,逆之则亡。

Is This Any Way to Treat Your Banker? – By Shen Dingli | Foreign Policy China is not america’s banker. BS headline..Shen and other Chinese strategists’ calls for US to cut defense budget a bit self-serving…//China recoils in horror at America’s fiscal dysfunction



Record-high number of mainlanders visit Taiwan in 2012 – Xinhua |– A record-high 2.2356 million people from the Chinese mainland visited Taiwan in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 49 percent, according to statistics released by relevant Taiwan authorities. Of the mainland visitors, 1.7675 million came in package tours, 190,000 as individual tourists, 50,000 for health checkups or plastic surgeries, 75,600 for business and 151,500 for other professional purposes.



光纤到户建设强制性国标发布 明年4月1日起实施 – meanwhile, China is pushing to build much faster internet access through fiber to the home…contradictory policies, or confident they can handle the growing censorship and network loads?// 为贯彻落实国务院关于“加快宽带中国建设”、“加快普及光纤入户”的要求,推进光纤到户建设,今日中新网IT频道从工信部网站了解到,近期工信部通信发展司组织编制的两项光纤到户建设的强制性国标——《住宅区和住宅建筑内光纤到户通信设施工程设计规范》和《住宅区和住宅建筑内光纤到户通信设施工程施工及验收规范》将定于2013年4月1日起正式实施。

CHINASCOPE – Beijing City to Implement Real Name Registration for Mobile Phone Users – The requirement for real name registration for cell phone users is not new. In 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice requiring real name registration for phone users. However, it was not fully implemented due to the lack of support from relevant laws and regulations. The NPC’s new regulation, Xinhua believes, will give local governments and telecomm companies a strong push to effectively implement mobile phone users real name registration.

Chinese Web Gamers at 51% Discount a Buy to Opennheimer – Bloomberg – halcyon days over..mature firms, not sure they dont deserve a decent discount// Chinese online gaming stocks trading at a 51 percent discount to the nation’s equities listed in the U.S. is a signal to buy the shares on prospects the companies will use cash to pay dividends, according to Oppenheimer & Co. Web game developers Shanda Games Ltd. (GAME), Ltd. (CYOU), Giant Interactive Group Inc. (GA), NetEase Inc. (NTES) and Perfect World (PWRD) Co. Ltd. trade at an average 6.7 times estimated earnings, compared with a multiple of 13.7 for stocks on the Bloomberg China-US Equity Index. (CH55BN) This gives them one of the most enticing valuations in the technology and Internet sector, Andy Yeung, a New York-based analyst at Oppenheimer, said by phone yesterday.

Study: Actually Only About 20,000 Twitter Users in China [INFOGRAPHIC] -TechinAsia

Seven publishing trends that will define 2013–PandoDaily  nice mention for Sinocism// Spotify founder Daniel Ek told Sarah Lacy at PandoMonthly that the music streaming company’s next challenge will be to help users make sense of the millions of songs now instantly available for free. The same challenge exists for news media and longform stories, which spread at lightning speed thanks to social sharing. In 2012, we already saw the rise of human curators, such as Dave Pell (NextDraft), Jason Kottke, and Bill Bishop (Sinocism), and Pinterest ushered in an era of self-powered curation. As read-it-later apps such as Instapaper, Readability (with which I’m so enamored that I called it the one indispensable app of 2012), and Pocket get faster and better, the mania for curation will only accelerate. In general, I’m picking that “more signal, less noise” will be a big theme of the Web in 2013 – a point reinforced by Gdgt co-founder Ryan Block’s New Year’s Eve Bits Blog post about simplifying our technological footprints.

‘Lost in Thailand’ tops ‘Titanic 3D’ in China –“Lost in Thailand,” a low-budget comedy about two businessmen searching Thailand for their boss, has grossed $160 million since its mid-December debut. That makes it the highest-grossing Chinese film ever and catapults it past “Titanic 3D,” which was the biggest foreign film in China in 2012, according to the Associated Press.



贴近生活,品味人生——2012摄影回顾_视界·视觉日记_何小康_博联社 – nice photos of life in china in 2012 by he xiaokang

Enter the Dragons – Mara Hvistendahl – The Atlantic – The future that awaits our dragon baby, however, is less certain. Although China’s birthrate remains precipitously low—one dragon year will not reverse the consequences of the decades-old one-child policy—officials warn about a squeeze as dragon children grow up. Blessed at birth, they may be cursed in life, forever paying the price for their parents’ calculations, in crowded schools, fierce rivalry for university places, cutthroat battles for first jobs.



New Year holiday breaks train travel record – Xinhua |– China’s railways carried a record number of passengers on the first day of 2013 due to a surge in the number of middle- and short-distance travelers during the three-day New Year holiday, the Ministry of Railways said Thursday. About 5.67 million passengers took trains on New Year’s Day, marking a rise of 16.3 percent from the number recorded during the same period last year, the ministry said.

Chinese Tourists Lost in Thailand Boosts Hotels: Southeast Asia – Bloomberg – “China is really just blowing everyone out of the water,” said William Heinecke, chief executive officer of Minor International Pcl (MINT), Thailand’s biggest hotel operator. “In percentage terms, numbers from Europe and the U.K. are down. In actual numbers, they’re still the same or slightly higher. But the big growth is coming from Russia and China.”

The cultural cliches the travel industry uses for Chinese tourists by Skift– For instance, Switzerland, a sophisticated tourism marketer as far as countries go, is in a Chinese marketing overdrive: As its mainstay German travelers are shying away, Chinese are among the fastest-growing groups, populating the Alps and buying its famous and pricey watches.It recently came out with detailed norms and guidelines for its hotel industry on working with Chinese travelers, titled “Swiss Hospitality for Chinese Guests.” And the document, while very detailed and useful, resorts to plenty of cliches about Chinese culture in general, some surely useful, and some borderline offensive. We’ve extracted the best one below:

California Law Banning Shark Fin Sales Survives Legal Attack – Bloomberg A federal judge in California refused to block enforcement of the state’s shark fin sales ban, rejecting arguments that the law discriminates against Chinese- Americans. The law serves a legitimate local purpose based on concerns that shark finning, in which fins are removed from caught sharks and the carcasses thrown back into the water, kills millions of sharks annually causing a serious threat to the ocean ecosystem, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said in a written ruling today.



Dissent and the demands of literature: Mo on Mo | The Economist – comments much better than the piece// It is, then, easy to conclude that Mr Mo, having grown up in poverty and with very little, is grateful for where life has taken him and for what his country has done for him and allowed him to do. China has changed beyond recognition since the time that Mr Mo was a child. It may not be a freer place now than it was then. But it at least is richer and cleaner with a better life for many if not all of its citizens. It takes a brave man to appreciate that. And then there are other, braver, men to demand more.

Book review: ‘The Fate of Zhuangzi in Modern China’ by Liu Jianmei | South China Morning Post  English version soon//The book gives a historic overview of people’s reception of the ancient sage since the May Fourth Movement. In many ways, this epitomises the rediscovery of individualism.  The book is structured around Liu’s analysis of major modern Chinese writers’ takes on Zhuangzi. They include the founders of modern Chinese literature Hu Shi and Lu Xun, as well as contemporary authors such as Liu Xiaofeng, Han Shaogong and Gao Xingjian, who is perhaps Zhuangzi’s most kindred spirit in modern Chinese literature. Readers interested in Zhuangzi will undoubtedly enjoy Liu’s erudition on the subject and her critical analysis of modern writers’ (mis)interpretations of the philosopher.

6 thoughts on “The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.04.13

  1. Imagine a letter like Mr.Osnos’ complaint about China written by Holman Morris, the courageous Colombian journalist who was awarded a scholarship to Harvard but denied a visa by our State Department: “It’s time for the Department of Foreign Affairs to take up the matter of Colombian reporters in America, and American reporters in Colombia….”. The rest of the story, as they say, writes itself. America is a sovereign nation and our government, in its efforts to protect us, has every right to deny visas to journalists and does so almost weekly. Who are we – or the presumptuous Mr. Morris – to complain?

    Imagine a similar letter from one of the widows of the Al Jazeera journalists we’ve recently bombed, shelled, or shot to death. Or from the distraught wife of the Al Jazeera journalist whom we imprisoned without charge and tortured, for ten years? Is that journalist free yet?

    Mr. Osnos’ complaint, however, raises a much more serious issue: good manners.

    As the guest of the Chinese people – the status of every journalists in every foreign country – he is in China on sufferance. And when he finds himself in a culture as utterly foreign as China’s he would, as a considerate guest, be careful not to give offense. If he wants to offend a government he should return to our shores for there is much offense to be given and our press is manifestly failing in this task.

    Mr. Osnos can take pride in his work there. He leaves behind a government over 80% of whose people approve of its policies, and 85% of whom trust its media above all other sources of information and feel free to publicly criticize much more severely than even Mr Osnos. When Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government heard these figures (from surveys by Pew, Edelman, and others) they sent their own team of surveyors and statisticians. Harvard’s conclusion: 95% of the Chinese people support and trust their government.

    So, come back, Mr. Osnos, your criticisms there thave done their work and China is now on the right track. Only 17% of us, however approve of our Government’s policies and trust it as a source of information.

    • I’m sorry. Your comment is pretty offensive. 
      I only want to say two things before I get involved in an all out brawl. 

      1. Public opinion polls in China are laughable and for you to cite one of these as evidence (without even giving any source at all) is elementary. No respectable academic or news organization believes that any of those polls stand up to legitimate scrutiny. Additionally, even proper public opinion polls are a dangerous way to judge as a ‘source of information’ as this is dangerous circular reasoning. “I only get my information from Source X, so therefore I think Source X is very reliable”. That just doesn’t pass a normal logic test. Furthermore (I’m sorry I can’t contain myself), you cite 17% for the American public. Now, you don’t cite anything close to resembling evidence so I can probably assume that you made these up. However, were I to give you the benefit of the doubt, I would assume that you got this number from the public’s approval of congress, which is right around that. (as a sidenote: the approval of the president and the judicial brances are much higher) How did you extrapolate the public approval of congress (which is always this low) to approval of “our Government’s policies and trust it as a source of information.” You’re really just getting ahead of yourself.

      2. As a journalist, Mr. Osnos has a higher calling than the Chinese government. He must abide by Chinese laws when applicable but he has higher priorities and obligations to himself and to his profession. Someone is suppose to no longer voice moral concerns because he or she is in China? These are universal concerns that Mr. Osnos (and your concerns over the U.S. treatment of journalists) feel that have no dependence on his or anyone’s nationality.

      3. With apologies to Mr. Bishop for intruding on his excellent letter, your comment is offensive and patronizing to Evan. Your comments read just like a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, and like the Chinese government your legitimate points are overshadowed by your fascination with refusing to even address the criticism that is leveled at it. So tell me, directly, do you think the Chinese government is justified in refusing to renew a visa for a journalist because that journalist’s employer posted a damning (but by all accounts true) story about the Chinese government. And, like the Chinese government, I would assume that you would simply respond with, “In China, people need to follow China’s rules”. But, unfortunately, you (and the Chinese government) are missing the point. The point is not whether Christopher Buckley, Evan Osnos, Xi Jinping or you should follow China’s laws. The point is whether or not the law in question is just and effective. I venture to guess, however, that you will instead hide behind ‘sovereignty’ instead of engaging in actual discussion. The disagreement, as always, lies with the basic right to question and influence one’s government, illustrated by my favorite line, “Who are we to complain”. Well, I, you, we all are ‘one to complain’. The fact that you are arguing for (or against) government actions and engaging in a discussion like this shows that you too believe that we can voice our concern. And I would also ask you or anyone else why they are quick to color all arguments with nationalistic undertones. I would venture to say that Mr. Osnos or any other ‘foreign’ critic (especially journalists) are saying what they’re saying not because they are American or trying to ‘contain’ China, but because they are a human being who cares about the direction that the world’s most populous and oldest country takes in the future.

      Despite my best intentions…I still got too agitated…

      • Neither the Pew Charitable Trusts, nor the Edelman Corporation, nor Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government consider these polls unreliable in the least. They’ve been conducting them for decades throughout the world and their methodology is fully described on their websites. If you have personal experience that suggests otherwise you should share it with us.
        The public approval of Congress is a sufficient marker to make my point: our leaders get low marks from us; their leaders get high marks from them. And “them” are smarter than us (as Kissinger ruefully observed) and vastly more experienced in discriminating between good and bad governments.
        Mr. Osnos is a hired hand who works for a nationalistic, capitalist “mouthpiece” that depends on the grace and favor of our government. If Evan wants a regular paycheck he will write what his employer requires–which is what all his colleagues did in the lead up to the Iraq war.
        You seem to have skipped the moral concerns that I raised in my first three paragraphs: suppression, bombing, shooting, torturing, imprisonment of dissenting journalists without trial. Any one of these horrific offenses — which we commit daily and on a vast scale against journalists and other innocent people — should be sufficient to occupy Mr. Osnos. Especially when the offenses of which he accuses China are minor by comparison.
        Finally, “the basic right to question and influence one’s government” is neither basic nor an absolute right. Our government denies it successfully, daily, in our courts against its own citizens. It has no tolerance whatever for non-citizens criticizing it and excludes, imprisons, tortures or murders those who do. So we should not be surprised to find that the government of China occasionally grows impatient with our brand of scurrilous journalistic sensationalism and, gasp! fails to renew a passport or two.
        Just as you yourself might fail to re-invite to your home a particularly obnoxious guest.

        Godfree Roberts
        Chiang Mai

        • Full response later if necessary (have to finish Walking Dead), but 2 things:

          1. You lost all credibility when you said this, “Mr. Osnos is a hired hand who works for a nationalistic, capitalist “mouthpiece” that depends on the grace and favor of our government. If Evan wants a regular paycheck he will write what his employer requires–which is what all his colleagues did in the lead up to the Iraq war.” I’m pretty sure your comment about the Iraq war was directed at the New York Times coverage. Mr. Osnos works at the New Yorker.   Unfortunately, your argument relies on ad hominem attacks about Mr. Osnos (even if they are unwarranted). Attacking him doesn’t actually address the argument he’s making. Anyone can make the argument so attacks directed against the person won’t take down the logic behind the argument. 

          2. I only asked one thing in my reply and I’ll repeat it here, “So tell me, directly, do you think the Chinese government is justified in refusing to renew a visa for a journalist because that journalist’s employer posted a damning (but by all accounts true) story about the Chinese government.” Its not whether we ‘should be surprised’ its whether the Chinese government should be doing it. Its that simple. 

          • We do not know why the journalist’s visa was not renewed. However, were I the responsible official I would not grant the renewal. I feel that our journalists are even more destructive of our own polity, but that is no reason for a foreign government to tolerate their destructiveness.
            So, yes, the Chinese government is comfortably within its rights if it chooses not to grant a visa for an irresponsible or hostile foreign agent, whatever that agent’s role may be.
            Do you feel that the US government should be refusing to grant visas to foreign journalists?
            Godfree Roberts
            Chiang Mai

          • I’m sorry what evidence do you have that “journalists are even more destructive of our own polity”. Did you just get done reading Leviathan or something? Care to explain the blanket ‘journalists are destructive’ a bit further? You kind of just throw it out there. Additionally, explain how Chris Buckley is an ‘irresponsible or hostile foreign agent’.
            I don’t think the U.S. should be refusing to grant visas to foreign journalists especially based on reporting.

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