The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.16.13

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

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Today’s Links:


In Hollywood Movies for China, Bureaucrats Want a Say –  Pre-censoring, asking Chinese officials for creative input…seems like red meat for Republicans on the Hill who might want to beat on a key Democratic funding constituency..subpoenas would be entertaining…// One production currently facing scrutiny is Disney and Marvel’s “Iron Man 3,” parts of which were filmed in Beijing in the last month. It proceeded under the watchful eye of Chinese bureaucrats, who were invited to the set and asked to advise on creative decisions, according to people briefed on the production who asked for anonymity to avoid conflict with government or company officials. Marvel and Disney had no comment.

图解十八大报告–反腐倡廉–人民网   the 18th Party Congress report in powerpoint…from People’s Daily website

Major Toxic Spill Concealed for Five Days -Caijing Water samples taken from monitoring points managed by the Ministry of Water Resources showed aniline levels in the Zhuozhang River, which connects three provinces, reached 72 milligrams per liter after the accident, more than 720 times the national standard. Safety concerns prompted authorities in the two downstream cities of Handan, Hebei Province and Anyang, Henan Province to temporarily cut off drinking water supplies from the Yuecheng Reservoir. Water service was suspended for a large area of Handan for nearly two days before being restored to residents.

Local Officials Flood Into Beijing to Lobby and Network – Economic Observer – Liaison office officials in Beijing have seen many local leaders coming to the capitol lately. On the heels of the 18th Party Congress and Central Economic Work Conference, leaders are hoping to capitalize on new policies and network with new officials that could help their promotion prospects.

“北涝南旱”来了_杂志频道_财新网 – fascinating article in this week’s Caixin about shifting precipitation patterns in China, says Northern China has entered a much wetter 20-30 year cycle while Southern China has entered a much drier may not completely resolve the water shortages in Beijing in Northern China but perhaps there is reason for less near-term pessimism..article also discusses the need to upgrade flood control infrastructure in northern china, as it has been neglected in the recent 30 year dry cycle// 气候研究确认,1978年以来的中国北方少雨时期基本结束,未来20多年降水将相对增多,而南方恰好相反

媒体的责任是要追寻社会真相-中国青年报 – Interesting commentary on page 1 of China Youth Daily today about the media’s responsibility to pursue the truth about society//说到底,“报刊按其使命来说,是社会的捍卫者,是无处不在的眼睛。”媒体有自身的运作规律,新闻人也有自己的职业尊严。凡是有影响力的媒体,都有着自己的品质风骨,有对底线的坚守,对职责的敬畏。媒体的责任是要报道和追寻社会真相,是要给民意表达提供平台和渠道,是要履行监督权。支撑媒体公信力的,是事实和民众的力量。

Beijing leads nation on rich list |Economy | – Beijing real estate in good locations is not a bubble..just as in Manhattan, London, Tokyo and other world class cities, most people can not afford to live in the city center..just a fact, albeit a harsh one, and happening at much greater speed here than it did in those other cities, and before Beijing has built out the suburban and commuter infrastructure you see around Tokyo, London and New York…so creates a much greater sense of dislocation and resentment…written by someone in a nice apartment in a “good location”…// This is the finding of the 2012 China Wealth Report co-released by Boston Consulting Group and China Construction Bank. The report said there are more than 200 high-net-worth families out of every 10,000 families in Beijing. Based on a survey of 1,912 individuals with household net worth of at least 6 million yuan ($950,000), the report found that Beijing, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong were each home to at least 100,000 rich families in 2012, comprising 40 percent of the high-net-worth families nationwide.

Chinese Summer Schools Sell Quick American Credits – Global – The Chronicle of Higher Education– after this article expect lots of US schools to stop approving transfer credit requests..sounds sketchy, those US schools lose revenue, and they need the Chinese revenue// SIE International Summer School opened on the campus of East China Normal University, in Shanghai, in 2010. Mr. Liu and his friends worked through their contacts and found 13 faculty members, including some from Wabash, willing to teach that first year. He expected no more than 60 students. He got 240. Today SIE has 52 employees, and the Renren Network, known as the Facebook of China, is a major investor. More than 3,200 students have passed through the program, and the company has a Los Angeles-based director, Grace Hu, whose job is to connect with American universities. While they have no hard figures, Ms. Hu and Mr. Liu say about 90 percent of transfer-credit requests have been approved, at more than 240 institutions. SIE expects to operate on eight campuses this summer.


In China, Slowdown Is a Bigger Danger Than Growth – Bloomberg – Peter Orszag//In a similar vein, China specialist Susan Shirk of the University of California at San Diego warns that it is China’s “internal fragility, not its growing strength, that presents the greatest danger.” And Aaron Friedberg, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, writes that a less prosperous China “may be a less effective competitor in certain respects, but it could also prove to be less predictable, more aggressive, and hence even more dangerous and difficult for the United States and its allies to manage.” Friedberg says weak leaders in China might be tempted to rally popular support by confronting other countries. Slower growth in China is not inevitable, but it is a greater — and more dangerous — possibility than many in the U.S. may realize.

2012年新增外汇占款仅5000亿 猛降2万余亿_经济频道_财新网 – 有研究者认为,今年人民币升值预期还将持续,新增外汇占款规模还有可能继续上升;另有人则认为,资本项目的逆差会抵消掉经常账盈余,成为今年外汇占款下降的主要原因

New house sales surge in major Chinese cities[1]|– Many cities, including Beijing, saw the average square footage of housing sold weekly rise to more than double the amount sold during the previous period last year, the academy said.Strong demand for new houses has driven prices higher and relieved some financial pressure for property developers, said Zhang Dawei, marketing director of Centaline Group. “People are more willing to buy houses when prices go up. It’s an old tradition in China,” Zhang said. “Some potential demand has been unleashed, as home prices have rebounded recently.

QFII与RQFII大幅扩容影响深远-中国金融新闻网 – still fair to say no reforms in China’s financial markets?// 目前来看,中国资本市场改革的路线图越来越清晰。在证监会着力引入QFII及RQFII的背景下,资本市场的改革仍将以开放为先,发挥“以开放促改革”的作用。安邦咨询首席研究员陈功指出,中国资本市场的进一步开放,已不仅仅是资本市场的改革,而是更广泛意义上的资本项目开放,其影响将超越资本市场本身。

监事长任命程序遭质疑 北京银行称“依照法律”_财经频道_一财网 – 华远地产董事长、北京银行(601169.SH)董事任志强在微博上称:“今天北京银行开董事会。令中外所有董事震惊和愤怒的消息是,代表只有不到10%股权的小股东的北京市国资委党委居然可以给上巿公司的北京银行下达了撤销未到届应改选的现任监事长(保留了监事),并任命不是监事的人员担任监事长的命令文件。严重的违反了上市公司的管理规定和严重侵害了其他股东的利益。”

国土部:2012年全国地价无大幅波动 “地王”只有两块_财经频道_一财网 – 国土资源部规划院地价所所长赵松今天(15日)就《2012全年及第四季度重点城市地价监测成果》举行新闻发布会,各地地王频出,国土部监测情况究竟如何?未来土地政策是否将再起波澜?

China 2012 land sales and revenue data | China Market by Market – China’s 2012 public land sales and revenue data has come out in recent days, and I haven’t seen them reported in English yet. Here are some headline numbers with their source (all conversions made at 6.25 yuan to the dollar)

地方财政晒账本 多数省份财收超预算目标_网易财经 – 近日,各省市纷纷亮出2012年财政收入成绩单,虽财政收入增速下滑明显,但绝大多数省份均能超额完成预算目标,仅个别省市未达目标。不过,下到市县级别,情况则更为多元,2012年不少市县财政收入出现负增长。

China to boost agricultural modernization: vice premier – Xinhua |– China’s stepped-up urbanization should benefit agricultural modernization, and the two will complement each other, Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday. Urbanization will promise the largest potential for domestic demand, while agricultural modernization is an essential foundation of, and crucial support for, all economic and social growth, Li said. He made the remarks while chairing a meeting at the Academy of State Administration of Grain (ASAG) after visiting the academy’s grain storage laboratory and food safety laboratory.

China moves to cut farm produce distribution costs – Xinhua | to deal with the local gangs who control much of this process?//  The measures include lowering electricity and water usage fees for those engaged in the production and distribution of farm produce, cutting administrative fees at markets, facilitating the transportation of farm produce and reducing taxes on major products.The new pricing systems for electricity and water usage should be implemented before June 30 this year, the circular said.

China Defends Export Data After Economists’ Skepticism – Bloomberg – “Customs import and export statistics are based upon actual customs declarations,” the General Administration of Customs said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, responding to questions submitted by Bloomberg News on Jan. 11. “In our published export and import data, every dollar has a corresponding customs declaration document to back it.”

Li’s Urban Planning Drives Sends Invesco Into Machinery Stocks – Bloomberg – Yu Guang, who manages the $350 million Invesco Great Wall Energy fund, and Zhang Tao, who oversees the $480 million Harvest Research Selective Equity fund, are buying construction machinery stocks and railway companies. Their funds beat at least 92 percent of rivals in the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A gauge of industrial companies in the CSI 300 Index has rallied 20 percent since Dec. 4, trailing the 22 percent advance in the benchmark measure, when the official Xinhua News Agency cited the nation’s new leaders as saying they would promote urban development.

Rio Tinto Fourth-Quarter Iron Ore Output Beats Estimates – Bloomberg – Iron ore prices have recovered 78 percent since the September low to reach a 15-month high, and are forecast to average $120 a ton in the first quarter, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. An improvement in China’s economy, the biggest metals consumer, has helped commodity prices. A measure of manufacturing activity showing a third month of expansion has added to evidence that China’s recovery is extending into the new year.

Chinese shoppers are thriving – –

China gift crackdown hits watches, booze but foreign brands hold on | Reuters – A Chinese government crackdown on lavish spending by officials has pushed expensive liquor and high-end watches out of favour in the luxury gift-giving market, a survey from the Hurun Report, known for its annual China Rich List, showed on Tuesday.

Sany and Zoomlion Embroiled in Perilous Game -Caijing  Fierce competition between Sany and Zoomlion coupled with lack of business ethics has led to the accumulation of considerable risk, and repayment issues..An agent in the Xinjiang region noted that since the second half of 2012, sales representatives of Sany and Zoomlion have been pre-occupied with chasing down debt repayments. Assessment indicators for sales personnel include repayment rates, and employees face fines if they fail to achieve their targets.”Nobody wants to give up customers or sales, and meanwhile everybody is waiting for economic stimulus policies and the market to recover in 2013,” said the agent. “But without policy stimulus, a large number of downstream customers in Xinjiang will go under this year, and manufacturers’ repayment risk will be exposed on a large scale.”

Asia’s fading economic miracle | CER  George Magnus, 11 January 2013//Prediction is not destiny. Without vigorous reforms and stronger institutions, many Asian economies will struggle to transform themselves from middle income to wealthy countries.

What U.S.-China Auditing Dispute Means for Chinese Business Culture – China Real Time Report – WSJ Just as China had to accept international practices when it entered the WTO, it will have to adjust to requirements of openness by its trade partners in the auditing of Chinese companies when they invest outside China. This does not mean that Chinese business culture will change quickly, but change it must, and cooperation in the current dispute should help to foster improvement.

军工板块炒作四大理由曝光 个股涨势如虹 | 每经网 – Chinese military industry stocks have been on a tear…as this research report claims

偿债高峰期逼近 铁路全员“火线”加薪|铁路|加薪|偿债_21世纪网 – Raises for raliways employees, just before huge debt payments due…almost like they use the same compensation consultants as wall street once did//



Communist veteran Yang Baibing dies at 93 – Xinhua | – Yang Baibing, former director of the General Political Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, has died at the age of 93.

人民日报-中国共产党的优秀党员,久经考验的忠诚的共产主义战士,无产阶级革命家,我军杰出的政治工作领导者 杨白冰同志逝世 – People’s Daily Page 1 on death of Yang Baibing

1992–China Completes Its Biggest Shake-Up of Military Chiefs : Reshuffle: Deng reportedly launched the changes to curb the power of President Yang and his half-brother. – Los Angeles Times – China Completes Its Biggest Shake-Up of Military Chiefs : Reshuffle: Deng reportedly launched the changes to curb the power of President Yang Shangkun and his half-brother Yang Baibing.

人民日报-道路决定命运 刘海涛– 中国特色社会主义道路,既代表了当代中国社会的发展线索,又体现了世界历史进程的一般规律;既避免了资本主义的苦难,又实现了对以往模式的超越;既坚持了科学社会主义的基本原则,又根据时代条件赋予其鲜明的中国特色。面对世情、国情、党情的深刻变化,面对前所未有的发展机遇和风险挑战,最根本的就是要坚定走中国特色社会主义道路的自觉自信,毫不动摇坚持和发展中国特色社会主义,奋力开拓中国特色社会主义更为广阔的发展前景。作者为中共中央党校科学社会主义教研部副主任、教授

刘云山陕西调研获老乡回赠布鞋 当面试穿称合脚_资讯频道_凤凰网 – Liu Yunshan visits Yan’an// 1月11日至14日,中共中央政治局常委、中央书记处书记刘云山在陕西延安、榆林两地就贯彻落实党的十八大精神、开展群众路线教育实践活动进行调研。这是1月11日,刘云山在延川县禹居镇农村调研时与群众亲切交谈。 新华社记者饶爱民摄

人民日报-职能部门和新闻媒体如何良性互动?(追踪) 本报记者 郭舒然 方敏 –

中共舆论引导陷泥沼 “笔杆子”难抵民意汹涌_多维新闻网 – 如果一个政府亲口对自己的国民做出的承诺却总不能按时出台,那不仅会让老百姓感觉到无所适从,更有损政策的公信力。很可能,即使是制定出很好的政策,科学合理,能够惠民,但因为公众这种“将信将疑”“静观其变”的心态,对其不信任,拒不执行,或者敷衍塞责,效果也会大打折扣,形成恶性循环。拉低整个社会的诚信度和健康性。有网民称,对于“收入分配制度改革”,希望中国政府在有个“准谱”的情况下再向外发布消息,免得民众再次“空欢喜一场”。

北京外交公寓外50余农民工抗议欠薪_网易新闻 – pictures of 50 construction workers storming the jianguomen diplomatic compound in beijing demanding unpaid wages..given all the foreign journalists in there, anyone get video?

Cover-up suspected after deadly bus blast — Shanghai Daily – sounds like illegal explosives transport, not a bomb// A Zhongxing Mineral Industry Company minibus exploded on January 11. The explosion also caused fatalities on another bus traveling in the opposite direction. A police investigation showed, Gao Wanfeng, who was suspected of placing the explosives on the bus, was among the 11 deaths. Seven people on one bus and four on the other were killed while 39 were injured, the report said.

Will Xi Jinping Differ from His Predecessors? | ChinaFile–Andrew Nathan video interview

Dim Hopes for a Free Press in China – Xiao Shu oped



习近平下达军事斗争动员令 日已无法改弦易辙_多维新闻网 – Duowei out in front over the last few days with analysis that China is preparing for military conflict with Japan. Is this all part of a propaganda campaign to help China win without fighting? Or does Duowei know something?..didn’t Sun Tzu say to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill? 不戰而屈人之兵,善之善者也// 【多维新闻】继中国对钓鱼岛立体巡航后,日前歼-10飞临钓鱼岛,中方一步步对日挤压,都可视为是北京对日释放强硬信号:中国不怕擦枪走火后果。连日来,中日媒体大量报道两国军机在钓鱼岛空域对峙的新闻,认为两国在逐渐接近“擦枪走火”的分析越来越多。而就在出动战机后3天,中国军方传声筒《解放军报》刊载总参谋部颁发的《2013年全军军事训练指示》:2013年要强化打仗思想,做好打仗准备。这被认为是习近平下达军事斗争动员令,中日被指已为开战做好准备。

China plans Diaoyu Islands mapping – Xinhua | – China is to survey the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea as part of a program of mapping its territorial islands and reefs, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Shinzo Abe Snubs China on First Trip Abroad | Via Meadia – Notice also that Abe and his top officials are not going to Washington on their first trips abroad. Apparently “scheduling difficulties” prevented Abe from visiting the US first, as he originally intended. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Japan’s new leaders are intent on strengthening ties to Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries in the area, including Australia.

解放军陆军集团军番号公开 不再以“某”替代_新闻_腾讯网 – 昨天开始,陆军集团军番号不再以“某”替代,可以对外公开使用。央视新闻频道昨天的一则报道率先“尝鲜”。

CHINASCOPE – Xinhua: Stay Alert for U.S. “Offline” Network Attacks – Xinhua recently published an article analyzing strategic changes in U.S. network-based warfare. According to the article, the key focus should be offline attack technologies that can implant data, via wireless signals, into enemy systems that are not connected to the Internet. It was reported that the U.S. Army obtained this strategic technology five years ago…警惕美军“离线网络”攻击 

Chinese netizens honor fighter jet director as 2012 hero – Xinhua |– Web users honored the deceased production director of China’s homegrown fighter jet as a hero of 2012 at an awards ceremony on Tuesday. Luo Yang, production head of China’s new J-15 fighter jet, had a heart attack after days of observing landing tests for the J-15 aboard China’s first aircraft carrier. He died in the hospital on Nov. 25, 2012, at the age of 51.

‘China Model’ breaking hegemony of Western universal values – People’s Daily Online – Universal values have suddenly become synonymous with Western hegemony. It is just like the concept of civilization. Developed countries have claimed themselves as civilized countries, and become the authoritative judge of “good,” so the Roman Empire was described as being overrun by barbarians. In the modern era, Europeans have equated modernity with universality.



Book review: Democratizing Taiwan – Taipei Times   Bruce Jacobs’s new book is an important and accessible addition to a relatively small body of literature that looks specifically at the unique experiment that is Taiwan’s emergence as a democracy

Hong Kong’s Real-Estate Boom Conjures a Scary Development –   Rising demand has squeezed the haunted house discount to as low as 5%, says Mr. Ng. “The market is crazy now,” he says, complaining that he was able to purchase only one hongza in 2012. Even neighborhoods traditionally shunned for their proximity to funeral homes or cemeteries have seen their prices spike.  Hong Kong is a superstitious place where people regularly put out offerings of food and other gifts for dead relatives. For an entire month in the summer, the city observes the Hungry Ghost Festival, where spirits are believed to visit the city and need to be fed and entertained.



Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Step Down as CEO, Remains Chairman | Alizila wonder what is really going on..been rumors of health issues, hope he is OK// English teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma, who built Alibaba Group into an e-commerce empire to rival Amazon and eBay, says he plans to step down from his post as chief executive of the Chinese Internet giant this spring while remaining full-time executive chairman. In an e-mail to employees sent today, Ma, 48, wrote that although he would be giving up CEO responsibilities for the company he founded in 1999, he would as executive chairman focus his attention on setting strategic direction, helping to develop managerial talent within the company’s ranks, and strengthening Alibaba’s social-responsibility efforts.

人民日报:谁动了我的聊天记录(法眼) | 人民日报博客– 近年来,随着现代通讯技术和互联网技术的普及,公民个人信息资料屡屡被窃,不法分子通过倒卖公民个人信息牟取暴利,致使公民的个人隐私和财产安全受到前所未有的威胁。不久前出台的《全国人民代表大会常务委员会关于加强网络信息保护的决定》,为网络信息的保护,从源头上提供了一个有力的法律根据。..花50元就可偷看他人聊天记录

手机游戏爆发_杂志频道_财新网 – article in this week’s Caixin about the surge in the mobile game market

人民日报-与法国公司合作开拓市场 百度走进非洲 – Baidu’s France Telecom deal for Africa and the Middle East gets a page 3 People’s Daily article

新浪整肃草根微博 第三方营销公司受压_中国经济网  Sina putting the screws on Weibo marketing firms?

CNNIC Report: China Internet Users Reach 564 Million, More Than Half on Weibo  China’s web registry regulator, the CNNIC, has today released a new tranche of data showing the size of the Chinese internet landscape at the end of 2012. The report reveals that China now has 564 million internet users, meaning that web penetration is up to 42.1 percent of the populace..and 420 million mobile web users



Manchester United’s fishy China numbers | The Li-Ning Tower The world’s most valuable sports franchise just got a little richer yesterday after signing deals with two Chinese companies, drinks maker Wahaha and China Construction Bank. The deal themselves look straightforward enough: Wahaha becomes Manchester United’s first official soft drink sponsor, while CCB will produce the official Man Utd-branded credit card in China. But it was something from the club’s official press release that struck me, specifically the part where United’s commercial director Richard Arnold claims the club has a following of 108 million in China.

China Focus: Taxi drivers’ plight leaves passengers out in the cold – Xinhua |– A parking lot in downtown Beijing is packed with vacant taxis and idle drivers, despite complaints about the city having too few cabs. The cab drivers take naps, read the news, smoke cigarettes and chat with each other. But at the same time, passengers across the city can be seen desperately waving their hands in a futile attempt to hail a cab. “The roads are too congested. If we get caught in a traffic jam, the fare wouldn’t even be enough to cover the cost of gasoline,” a driver surnamed Zhang said.

[焦点访谈]打车怎么这么难(20130115)_新闻频道_央视网 – CCTV on difficulties of getting a cab in beijing…was also a topic on page 1 people’s daily last week..perhaps something is going to be done

林立果:中国摇滚第一人_江小鱼_江小鱼_博联社 Lin Liguo, not Cui Jian, China’s first rock & roller?– 林立果:中国摇滚第一人 江小鱼 如果说崔健于1986年5月9日为中国内地打开了一扇摇滚大门,林立果则是第一个为我们开启摇滚乐窗户的人,时间是1969年。 做为中国历史上第一个摇滚爱好者的群体存在,虽然他们比西方摇滚乐产生的1954年要迟15年诞生,但比人们通常所认为的中国摇滚乐的诞生时间1986年则要早17年。也就是说,摇滚乐在大陆的存在迄今也有43年的历史,而不是仅仅只存在26年。 如果说崔健是中国最伟大的摇滚传播者和创造者,而林立果则是真正的摇滚先行者。 崔健和林立果在文化上一脉相承,从外在服饰、精神符号到音乐形式,甚至价值观和与信仰有关的东西。崔健也认为林立果是中国第一个摇滚青年,是他让我们知道了世界上还有这么伟大的音乐。林立果多年的梦想,今天终于成为了现实,在我们生活的这块土地上,他所热爱的摇滚音乐已经成为中国青年最自由的表达方式和最欢乐的生活方式。 做为那个年代最先锋的摇滚青年,林立果他们企图通过政治改变中国,事实证明悲壮地失败了,80年代以崔健为代表的摇滚青年试图通过文化改变中国,到后来也不了了之了,历史走到今天,通过信仰改变人心,也许才可能是一条真正的救赎之路。



Li pledges measures in fight for clean air[1]| – Vice-premier calls for immediate action as capital can learn from experience of other major cities that tackled pollution, report Zhang Chunyan in London, Chen Jia in San Francisco and Wu Wencong, Tang Yue in Beijing.

人民日报-美丽中国呼唤共同行动(今日谈) 周人杰 – Page 1 People’s Daily–Beautful China’s Breathing Needs Joint/Collaborative Action

雾霾长期作祟 北京空气质量7年后仍难达标_财经频道_一财网 – 除了产业结构,能源选择、城市规划,包括每个居民的生活方式都需要调整,如果有国家的法规加以辅助的话会更好。”

China Exclusive: China issues first greenhouse gas bulletin – Xinhua |– Greenhouse gas emissions in China in 2011 increased to their highest level since data began being collected by network stations in 1990, according to China’s first Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The bulletin, released by the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on Monday, showed carbon dioxide levels measured at 392.2 parts per million at Waliguan station in Qinghai Province. This was a peak since the station began operating in 1990.

Beijing’s ‘Crazy Bad’ Air Pollution Creates Investment Opportunities – Private Equity Beat – WSJ – China-focused Northern Light Venture Capital said it is starting to target air-treatment companies, and is considering an investment into a Chinese air-purifier business called Beiang, which can help remove inhalable particles as small as 20 nanometers, said Managing Director Lei Yang, who’s based in Beijing.

Chinese Web Users Outraged After Days of Official Silence Follow Toxic River Spill | Tea Leaf Nation  On December 31, 2012, the name of Zhuo Zhang River suffered a more deadly taint. Thirty-nine tons of aniline — a toxic derivative of benzene used in dyeing processes — sliced through a crack in pipeline in Changzhi, Shanxi, and quickly spewed downstream. Within days, both the river and a reservoir were contaminated. (According to official accounts, the reservoir was disused and absorbed 30 tons of the leaked aniline.⁠) At a time when the flow of information was crucial, politics trumped life: The water supply to Handan, a major downstream city of more than one million residents, was not cut off until January 5, five days after the accident, when Changzhi officials notified the Shanxi provincial government for the first time.

China Says Beijing Pollution Lifting as Party Reacts to Critics – Bloomberg  With hospitals reporting more patients who complained of heart and respiratory ailments, the government shut dozens of factories and pulled government cars off the roads. The reaction reflects a growing awareness within the Communist Party that pollution is becoming a main instigator of social unrest, environmentalist Dai Qing said in an interview. “For so many years we all tried to do something and the authorities gave us no reply,” Dai said. “But once people have no water, no air, no land — something will happen. It’s very dangerous.”



Yesterday’s commentary discussed an article at ChinaFile about a recent Nick Kristof OpEd. I wrote that Jeff Wasserstrom was the author but in fact he jointly wrote it with Rachel Beitarie. Apologies to Ms. Beitarie for the oversight.

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