The Sinocism China Newsletter For 10.12.12

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

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Mo Yan has won the Nobel Prize For Literature for “hallucinatory realism” (Reuters), the first Chinese national to receive the prize. Gao Xingjian won the prize in 2000 as a French national.

China is officially very proud, as Xinhua declares in Mo Yan’s success represents recognition: Chinese writers’ group. Tencent has set up a special site dedicated to Mo Yan’s win, although the win poses a bit of a conundrum for the government as Chinese Websites Censor “Nobel Peace Prize” and “Liu Xiaobo” But Not “Nobel Literature Prize” and “Mo Yan (Fei Chang Dao).

Not everyone is happy with Mo’s win. Ai Weiwei has branded the Nobel Prize for Literature decision an ‘insult to humanity’ (The Independent).

The Telegraph asked Margaret Hillenbrand, a lecturer in modern Chinese literature, University of Oxford, to explain Mo’s writing:

Mo Yan’s writing can be lyrical and elegiac, earthy and absurd; often it is all these things at once. If his fiction has a unifying preoccupation, it is the ravages of China’s 20th-century past, from the Boxer Rebellion to the Cultural Revolution to the One-Child Policy. All of this history is refracted through a mordant gaze, and it is arguably Mo Yan’s skill at sideswiping that has allowed him to treat such troublesome themes without getting on the wrong side of China’s cultural czars too disastrously.

The AP has an excellent story on Mo Yan, and includes a quote from his American translator:

“He’s one of those people who’s a bit of a sharp point for the Chinese officials, yet manages to keep his head above water,” said his longtime U.S. translator, Howard Goldblatt of the University of Notre Dame. “That’s a fine line to walk, as you can imagine.”

Time Magazine had Lunch with China’s Mo Yan in 2010:

Mo Yan ought to be in his element. The 55-year-old Chinese writer (Mo Yan is a pen name, Guan Moye his real one) is in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, a place he has described as the wellspring of his creativity. It’s also the location of most of his vivid, at times brilliant, novels. Local Communist Party officials are honoring the town’s famous son with a lavish lunch, but as the dishes are served — three kinds of fish, oysters, sea cucumber — the author looks increasingly surprised. “I had no idea that Gaomi had a restaurant of such high quality,” he finally blurts, to the amusement of his hosts.

The New Yorker’s Richard Brody has written a good post in Mo Yan, “Red Sorghum,” and the Power of Movies.

Mo Yan’s translated books are on Amazon, and early reports say his sales from Chinese online bookstores are already up 4-5x.

Today’s links:


Land Sales Start to Rebound, Consulting Firm Says – Caixin – land purchase surge because developers think land prices have bottomed? local governments desperate and big real estate firms helping with a back door bailout? banks/Beijing want land prices to go back up so they can avoid showing devastating losses on their books for year end mark-to-market accounting?  some or all of the above?// Land transfer revenues for ten major Chinese cities totaled 48.5 billion yuan in September, up 49 percent from August, a report by E-house China R&D Institute released on October 10 said. The September figure was the highest of the year and a sign that the market has warmed, Wu Xiaojun, an analyst for the real estate consulting firm in Shanghai, said.

保利地产78亿元一日摘得两地王 房企再现高溢价抢地潮_中国经济网??国家经济门户 – large land purchases by the top real estate firms continue. Poly spends 7.8B RMB in one day//

大型房企联合“血拼” 土地市场成寡头游戏?_财经频道_一财网 – First Financial on the increase in land buying by the big real estate firms, asks if this is an “oligarchs’ game”

China: Rise in forced evictions fuelling discontent | Amnesty International – In a new 85-page report, Standing Their Ground, Amnesty International highlights how forced evictions – a longstanding cause of discontent within China – have increased significantly in the past two years in order to clear the way for developments.

China Room to Ease Seen Fading as Pork Costs End Inflation Lull – Bloomberg – have to find a way to break the pig boom and bust cycle// “Inflation will rise in the fourth quarter as pork and other food prices are expected to climb and housing costs are creeping up,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. “This means there is no room for the central bank to cut interest rates.”

禾库猪崽交易_漆鄂华_博联社 – pictures from a rural china pig market. visual argument to support the speculation that the 18th party congress political report is rumored to list “agricultural modernization” as one of the 新四化--industrialization, urbanization, informatization and rural modernization…

China’s Banks Said to Resist Cutting Lending Rates – Bloomberg – as they seek to maintain the profitability of their lending operations, officials at the top four lenders said…The banks are limiting discounts for their best corporate clients to 10 percent of the benchmark lending rate, the officials said, asking not to be identified as they’re not authorized to speak publicly.

Yuan Rises to 19-Year High, Tests Upper Limit of PBOC Range – Bloomberg – China’s yuan rose beyond 6.28 per dollar for the first time in 19 years, moving to within 0.01 percent of the upper end of its permitted trading range, amid speculation policy makers will act to revive economic growth.

不良贷款率3% 融资“怕”弥漫温州_财经频道_一财网–First Financial – as of August, bad loan/NPL rate in wenzhou has shot up to 3%?

多路资本加速“输血”保障房 深度报道——经济参考网 – long economic information news look at the growing financing channels for subsidized housing

80户大中钢企前八月利润为负 新华社——经济参考网–Economic Information News – ugly financial numbers for China’s steel mills in first 8 months of this year. 80 large firms had losses//《经济参考报》记者10日从中钢协权威人士处获悉,1至8月份,纳入钢协统计的重点大中型钢铁企业累计销售收入23686.09亿元,比去年同期下滑6.21%,利税431.22亿元,比去年同期下滑66.8%,利润总额-31.84亿元,同比下滑104.22%。值得注意的是,其中,8月当月钢铁行业数据“触目惊心”,当月销售收入2794.5亿元,利税0.95亿元,利润收入-41.96亿元,盈利状况下滑至年度最低点。

China Advances High-Speed Rail Amid Safety, Corruption Concerns – Engineering blitzkrieg continues despite financial and human toll.//loaded sub-headline from National Geographic editors?

China’s Rich May Be Loving Luxury Goods Too Much – U.S. Business News – CNBC – But ISI points to another, less noticed warning sign. Chinese millionaires, it says, may be overspending.The average millionaire in China spends $22,214 a year on luxury goods (including tourism).

Solar Silicon to Bottom as China Halts Factory Expansion – Bloomberg – While the resulting glut gutted margins as it depressed prices to near or below output costs, most producers will avoid shutting plants, Joe Osha, an analyst for Bank of America in San Francisco.

Rhodium Group » Chinese Direct Investment in California – The report explains where China is as an outbound investor relative to its past, its future, and other countries and assess California’s position as a destination for Chinese OFDI flows compared to its sister states.

Chinese investment benefits and policy for U.S. and Calif. –New report | Transpacifica –

Zoomlion: in case you get steamrollered | beyondbrics – You might think that Zoomlion, a Chinese construction machinery maker, ought to focus on bricks-and-mortar projects, but it just can’t seem to resist the siren call of high finance.



Bo Xilai as a Catalyst for Political Reform – CaixinHu Shuli pushing even harder for reform in the weeks before the 18th Congress. Wonder if she really believes that allowing media to be a true watchdog would actually bring down the Party as corruption has gotten so bad?// – Another effective safeguard against official corruption is offered by media coverage. Thus, the media should be allowed carry out its role and responsibility as a watchdog. Efforts to improve the media’s position should play an important role in the political reform process. This is a change that can be implemented immediately. The Bo scandal inflicted significant damage at a huge cost. It told us a lot about official corruption and focused a searing light on reasons for political reform. But the real lesson we’ve learned from this disgraceful case is that action is needed, as soon as possible.

Commentary: Reform of labor re-education system inevitable – Xinhua | – after prolonged public complaints and a series of scandals, China’s controversial re-education through labor system will finally be reformed, a move that is inevitable as the country endeavors to improve human rights and its legal and judicial system.

High-stakes choices for China’s leaders – – There is no great clamour for western-style democracy, but China’s digital media buzzes with calls for more accountable governance and for an end to the corruption that fuels the ostentatious consumption of the super rich. Mr Xi’s first, second and third priority will be to sustain party authority in the face of this rapid and unpredictable social upheaval.

Chinese Professor’s Widely-Mocked Essay: Democracy Held Back By “Insufficient Theory” | Tea Leaf Nation – The unintended hilarity of its headline aside, the essay actually acknowledges the urgent need for democratic reforms of China’s political system and the possibility of power-sharing by the Communist Party, leading some commentators to speculate that its publication is a sign that China’s incoming leaders may be contemplating serious steps towards political reforms.

党媒刊文倡政改 胡温磨刀习近平亮剑_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】北京时间10月11日,《人民日报》旗下《人民论坛》杂志刊发有军方背景的政治研究学者公方彬题为《新政治观 创新点与突破口》的文章。这篇从题目到内容都略显务虚,但文中所提的问题被认为直指中共目前面临最严重问题的文章,得到了各大门户网站的首屏推荐,并将题目改为《人民网:迟迟未政改因理论准备不足 非惧怕民主》。对此有支持者认为,这只是十八大后将进行政改的信号,批评者指出这或是又一次纸上谈兵、引蛇出洞,也有人结合近期胡、温的有关政改的表态,认为这或是决策层所主导的讨论,甚至不排除是在为抛弃“毛泽东思想”做舆论铺垫。甚至有观点认为,这一系列的动作是在习近平的主导下开展的,为自己接班后施展拳脚夯实基础。

Injured Japanese Car Owner in Xi’an Anti-Japan Protest Sues Police-Caijing – One victim seriously injured in last month’s anti-Japan protest in Xi’an sued local police on Tuesday for lack of effective response in September 15th’s protest which turned into violent.



Huawei’s U.S. competitors among those pushing for scrutiny of Chinese tech firm – The Washington Post–this is going to hurt Cisco in China a lot// Companies in the cutthroat field of telecommunications received a remarkable marketing document recently, one aimed at causing suspicion about one of their biggest competitors, the Chinese firm Huawei.“Fear of Huawei spreads globally,” the report reads. “Despite denials, Huawei has struggled to de-link itself from China’s People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese government.” The paper’s author was Huawei’s main U.S. rival, the California-based company Cisco Systems.

中国官员应邀访日就钓鱼岛争端磋商_网易新闻中心 – Luo Zhaoyao, head of Asia Section at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has accepted an invitation to visit Japan to consult about the diaoyu/senkaku islands dispute, Chinese and Japanese vice ministers of foreign affairs to consult over the dispute

钓鱼岛是中国领土,铁证如山!–国际–人民网 – 5,000 character article in today’s People’s Daily on irrefutable evidence that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China…

Review of CNOOC takeover bid of Canada’s Nexen gets 30-day extension – Xinhua

China Ship Upgrades Enable Underwater Surveillance | SIGNAL Magazine – Recent improvements in Chinese destroyer technology have opened the door for greatly expanded surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, particularly for undersea operations. Advances range from new power plants and weapons to radars and sonars that provide versatility known to other modern navies.

Chinese Company Sets New Rhythm in Port of Piraeus – – The cargo volume here is three times the level it was two years ago, before the captain, Fu Cheng Qiu, was put in charge by his employer, Cosco, a global shipping giant owned by the Chinese government.

Long Reliant on China, Myanmar Now Turns to Japan for Help – – China and Japan have diverging interests in the country. Japan is eager to tap into Myanmar’s cheap labor force and extend its massive network of factories spanning Thailand and Indochina. China is more focused on extracting Myanmar’s natural resources like natural gas, gems, timber and rubber as well as electricity from hydroelectric dams.



Did Chinese IPhone Workers Really Go on Strike? – Bloomberg – amazingly irresponsible coverage of this story by many Western media// In the end, the fact that such a poorly sourced story has become a major news event tells us much more about how Foxconn and Apple are covered in the press than they do about conditions in the factories. Neither company should be viewed as a victim, but neither should their critics be granted a waiver on having to prove the truth of their claims.

What Would China be Like if the Internet Wasn’t Censored? – Tech in Asia – But what would an open internet look like? And what would have to change to make China’s internet open? I put the question to a number of experts — people who have been watching China’s internet and technology spheres for years — to see what they think might happen.

Qihoo 360’s Latest War: Duking it Out With “Science Cop” Fang Zhouzi – Qihoo suggests that both Fang and Sima are bought-and-paid-for puppets of Baidu (which, readers will recall, Qihoo is currently engaged in a battle with for a share of China’s search market).

Insurers Struggle with Internet Strategies – Caixin – Only about 1 percent of all insurance policy sales nationwide are handled online, according to a Taikang executive, even though about 40 companies have built digital infrastructures needed to reach netizens. By comparison, the Internet was the platform for about 25 percent of all insurance policies sold in the United States in 2010.

US app ads help fund Chinese mobile ‘propaganda’ — paidContent – Redmond, Washington-based mobile advertising firm Red Loop Media says it has won a contract to power mobile ads for China’s state news network.China Xinhua News Corporation (CNC)

Chief Operating Officer, China at Google in Beijing , China – Job | LinkedIn

Chinese mobile firm Huawei facing international blacklisting | Technology | The Guardian – Australia, the US and Canada have been moved to act over security fears at one of the world’s fastest growing companies



» Chinese Entrepreneur Gives Free Geely Cars To Owners Of Japanese Vehicles Destroyed During Diaoyu Island Protests – Or Does He? Beijing Cream– never trust a man who wears a lime green suit i guess// The reporter then points out that the entire setup has turned into a promotion for Chen, with banners that boast new products and developments. “We can say this activity’s commercial aspect is very thick,” the reporter says to end the segment.

China’s ‘Leftover’ Women – – What better way to upgrade population quality than to frighten “high-quality” women into marrying and having a child for the good of the nation? The Women’s Federation columns on sheng nu all share the same goal: convince single, educated women to stop being so ambitious and get married already

The Useless Tree: A Vain and Flawed Confucius – The piece is also interesting in what it shows us about Lin Yutang.  He’s a fascinating guy.  An early-to-mid-twentieth century modern bicultural interpreter and translator.  By that I mean, an intellect positioned between China and America who worked to bring ideas and cultural practices from each to the other.  Confucius, thus, poses something of a problem for him

Beijing Morning Post investigation reveals horrid state of pet dog market in the city | Danwei – It has often happened in China that buying a dog can turn into a nightmarish experience. The same little puppy that looked so lively in the shop window would suddenly become sick beyond help and die. The front page of the Beijing Morning Post today features a harrowing investigation into the dirty secrets of the pet dog market in China.

Quest for admission to Harvard ends in $2 million tangle – Metro – The Boston Globe – Students pass in front of Harvard’s Widener Library. To Gerald and Lily Chow, education consultant Mark Zimny must have seemed like the answer to many parents’ prayer.



Chinese environmental activist goes on trial over books | World news | – Liu Futang won the environmental press award, co-organised by the Guardian, in April. Three months later the 65-year-old was detained while receiving treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes at a hospital in southern Hainan province.



Napa Winegrowers Win Brand Protection in China as Exports Grow – Bloomberg – China granted the Californian area “geographic indication” status, Linda Reiff, executive director for the vintners, said. The move follows similar recognition from importers including the European Union, Canada, India, Thailand and most recently Brazil, and will enable Napa vintners to improve their targeting of one of the world’s fastest-growing wine markets.

The best way to see this daily post is to subscribe by email, especially if you are in China, as Sinocism is blocked by the GFW. You can also follow me on Twitter @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop

3 thoughts on “The Sinocism China Newsletter For 10.12.12

  1. Mo Yan isn’t particularly brave, but he’s an excellent writer (though he often requires a much better editor than generally exists in China, where editors often do little more than proofread and check for political transgressions – i.e., Mo’s books are perhaps a third longer than they should be). He’s got a genuine gift for language and the absurd. Although he’s no outspoken CCP-hating dissident, there is very biting satire to be found in his best work. One can hardly walk away from reading Mo Yan and mistake him for a Party-loving shill. The choice of Mo Yan for this year’s award is super interesting – he’s a much better writer than many who’ve won in recent years, and far less political. Given that no Chinese writer can be overtly critical of the system, the Nobel committee was forced to choose between categorically denying the prize to any Chinese writer or awarding it to someone who fails to measure up to our (i.e., the West’s) high standards of courage, outspokenness, etc. Criticism of Mo says more about us and the Nobel prize than it says about Mo. I wish he wasn’t such a timid guy (e.g., that he’d spoken out in defense of Liu Xiaobo when he had a chance, and not simply hung up the phone). Nevertheless, I have absolutely no problem with the idea that the decision to award this year’s literature prize to Mo was base solely on the quality of his writing – and nothing else. In the end, I’m no courageous dissident either. Can’t really blame a guy for wanting to stay out of prison.

    It’s a bit funny that the Party is so supportive. Again, Mo may not challenge the establishment, but he’s hardly painting beautiful portraits about life in the wonderful People’s Republic. Likewise, a number of Mo’s most pointedly satirical novels are hard to find in mainland bookstores and some that are available have been “gelded” in places. Howard Goldblatt typically referred to Taiwanese versions of Mo’s novels when doing his English translations.I know that Howard Goldblatt (Mo’s principal translator into English) has been agitating on behalf of Mo Yan since at least the late 1990s. I know Howard – he’s a wonderful guy. I imagine he’s delighted at Mo’s final success.

  2. It seems that Mr. Mo is somewhat braver than we thought. Good for him. His public comment expressing hope for the release of Liu Xiaobo should placate most of Mo’s critics (but certainly not Ai Weiwei). I wonder how the authorities here in Beijing will respond. Will Mo still be allowed to travel to Norway to accept the prize? If so, will he mention Liu Xiaobo in his acceptance speech or during interviews? Of course, the Western media will be all over this. No doubt, the authorities here in China will invite him to drink tea and discuss the matter.

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