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The New York Times published round two of its investigation into the family wealth of Premier Wen Jiabao. Lobbying, a Windfall and a Leader’s Family is likely to cause ripples in Beijing and more hassles for the New York Times in China.
Rumors are going around Beijing of a 2013 anti-corruption and rectification campaign-中共新班子欲清党 大陆网络传北京整风 (Beijing). Wang Xiangwei of the South China Morning Post addresses the corruption problems in his most recent column tackling graft is Xi Jinping’s priority and reiterates the risks to the Party of doing too little or too much:
…there appears to be consensus within the party leadership that a harder crackdown on corruption is urgently needed to soothe widespread social discontent and restore the party’s credibility…
But as one cynical saying doing the rounds goes, the state will collapse if the party does not tackle corruption, but the party will collapse if the anti-corruption push is too hard. This will put Wang [Qishan]’s political skills to full test.
A significant corruption crackdown would be bad news for luxury goods merchants as well as firms in the food, entertainment and service sectors who rely on the graft economy. Businesses with exposure may want to begin to factor this risk into their 2013 budgets, at least for the downside case. Perhaps some of the recent uptick in capital flight and emigration is as much about fears of losing one’s head in an investigation as it is about sentiment towards China’s prospects? If I were a dirty official I would want to hedge in a leadership handover year, especially when the corruption scourge is so obvious.
Li Chengpeng eloquently argues in his essay “Patriotism with Chinese Characteristics” that corruption is unpatriotic. I have noted what appears to be greater emphasis by Xi Jinping on nationalism and the “great renewal of the Chinese nation” and would not be surprised if it is part of a strategy to use nationalism as a cudgel in a corruption campaign and an assault on some of the entrenched special interests.
Chongqing may be able to raise revenue by launching a mature film label. Beijing Cream introduces us to the 18 year-old who got ugliest official of the decade Lei Zhengfu fired and a whistleblower says scandal videos feature more Chongqing officials (Shanghai Daily). What is the term for the scum that rises to the top of a hotpot?
Speaking of films, I highly recommend “Beijing Blues 神探亨特张“. It is a grey, gritty, gripping portrayal of life as a Beijing cop. No wonder it won the best film award at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Festival. You can watch it free online if you have a Chinese IP address. For those who think the Internet in China is slow, I streamed it in HD to my TV. The Internet here is usually only slow if you try to connect from the Chinese Internet to the global one.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
BoC Chairman may Leave Office at Year-End for Central Bank Governor-Caijing – Bank of China Ltd. Chairman Xiao Gang is expected to leave the state-owned bank by year-end, paving way for the chief likely position in the country’s central bank, online news portal Netease reported, citing unnamed sources.
专家称中国经济已软着陆 未来看好居民消费_财经频道_一财网 – Goldman Sachs’ Ha Jiming says China’s economy has achieved a soft landing
China’s economy to expand by 8.4% in Q4: report – Xinhua | English.news.cn – The economy is expected to grow by 8.4 percent year on year in the October-December period, up from the 7.4-percent growth seen in the third quarter, the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009, according to the report released by the Institute of Economic Research of Renmin University of China.//seems optimistic
中央经济工作会议12月召开 明年GDP目标或定7.5%_财经频道_一财网 – 2012 central economic work conference to be held in December, GDP target for 2013 likely to be set at 7.5% // 2013年中国经济的增长目标是目前市场舆论的焦点。《
China’s Big Four and the PCAOB | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis – I think it is appropriate that the PCAOB has not acted quickly on the Big Four Form 4 registrations. The PCAOB does not need to win this issue on a technicality. Instead as Doty indicates, we need to find a solution that works for all of the Chinese and Hong Kong CPA firms that are registered with the PCAOB. Doty still has this arrow in his quiver, and don’t be surprised to see it soon if there is no rapid progress in negotiations between the United States and China on audit oversight.
For VW, the Path to Global Dominance Leads Through China – Bloomberg – The capital of landlocked Gansu province, which borders the Gobi Desert, is home to a total of 11 dealerships for VW and its sister brands, Audi and Skoda. With a population of 3.6 million, and GDP per capita of about $4,100, Lanzhou is the type of smaller city away from China’s prosperous east coast that VW is targeting in its next phase of expansion.
China Wage Gains Hurt by Weaker Profit Damp Consumption – Bloomberg – “Given the poor profit picture, wage growth is bound to slow down in the coming quarters and this is set to reduce the robustness of consumption,” said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc in Hong Kong, who formerly worked at the World Bank in Beijing. “The expected slowdown will impact the rebalancing in the sense that it will reduce the relative role of consumption in the short term
限购权威屡遭地方挑战 发改委急查资质造假–中国经营报 – NDRC checking home buyers to ensure not finding ways around purchase restrictions// “北京市发改委近期确实对我们的销售情况进行了检查，
风声再起：房产税“扩围”鼓点渐急-中国金融新闻网 – 尽管存在各种争议，但是作为一种税制改革，
同比猛增千亿 银监会再停政信信托_中国经营网_中国经营报 – 11月20日，有消息称，部分信托公司已经接到银监会通知，
Analysis: Caveat emptor as foreigners rush to ride China rebound | Reuters– The shift in foreign investor attitudes is clear. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global survey of fund managers, covering 248 managers with $695 billion of assets under management, found confidence in China’s economy was at a three-year high. In October, Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong .HSCE, known as H-shares and the main gateway for foreign investors into China, jumped 7.6 percent to easily outpace other regional benchmarks.
POLITICS AND LAW
Chongqing mafia boss says jailed lawyer was framed | South China Morning Post– Li Zhuang, the former lawyer of convicted mafia boss Gong Gangmo, was summoned on Friday, along with his attorney, by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for a meeting that lasted more than an hour, The Beijing News reported. The summons came after Li, who was released from jail in June last year, submitted a petition earlier this month seeking a review of his case and accusing officers of wrongdoing in their investigation.
China’s princelings come of age in new leadership | Reuters – But now, according to several analysts, most senior party members have fallen in line with what late economic tsar and one-time standing committee member Chen Yun once said: “The land under heaven should one day be handed to princelings, who can be trusted not to dig the party’s grave.”
最高法副院长：贯彻“全面推进依法治国” 走宪政之路_政经频道_财新网 – 最高人民法院副院长江必新日前发文指出，要把宪政作为党的领导、
江平：近年司法改革与国际潮流趋异 实际上在倒退 -财经网 – 近期的改革特别是政治体制改革或者司法改革，实际上是倒退的。
人民日报-全党必须警醒起来（人民论坛·新征程 新使命） ——凝聚未来中国的力量之三– 全党必须警醒起来，是面向全党的战略提醒，
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Is China Buying Russia’s Su-35 Fighter? | Defense News | defensenews.com– If the deal goes forward, China’s fighter capabilities become much greater and the military challenge to regional powers increases. The Su-35s Saturn engines give it a unique supermaneuverability capability. The principle hurdle has been overcome, said a U.S. defense analyst. Russia has just “caved-in” to demands by China to reduce the initial procurement from 48 fighters to 24 fighters.
Canadian iconoclast Daniel A. Bell praises China’s one-party system as a meritocracy – The Globe and Mail– “There is a morally legitimate model of political rule that has more or less guided political reform over the last two or three decades,” Prof. Bell said in an interview at his tidy home in Shunyi, an upper-class suburb of the capital where he lives with his Chinese wife, a senior executive at Goldman Sachs China, whose father fought for the winning side in the Communist Revolution, and their teenage son. Set across the street from Beijing’s elite Dulwich College, Prof. Bell’s well-kept house as well as his background suggest his family is of the class he thinks should rule China. He met his wife, Song Bing, at Oxford University in 1988, a time when only top students with impeccable Communist credentials were allowed to leave China to study.
A New Map in Chinese Passports Stirs Anger Across the Region – NYTimes.com “I think it’s one very poisonous step by Beijing among their thousands of malevolent actions,” Nguyen Quang A, a former adviser to the Vietnamese government, told The Financial Times, which first reported on the modified passports. A senior diplomat based in Beijing told the paper that the new map represented “quite a serious escalation because China is issuing millions of these new passports and adult passports are valid for 10 years. If Beijing were to change its position later it would have to recall all those passports.”
TECH AND MEDIA
人民日报-我国无人驾驶汽车完成高速公路测试 – page 1 people’s daily–china’s driverless car completes highway test
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Elton John dedicates Beijing concert to Ai Weiwei; Ai says ‘I’m in love with him’: Shanghaiist – Performing in Beijing’s MasterCard Center, Elton is said to have dedicated his concert Sunday evening to the dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The respect is clearly mutual, Ai and John met up together before the concert and in a tweet Ai said: “I’m in love with him, although we only spent less than ten minutes together. He’s sincere and generous.”
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
China’s Qinghai hires 9,000 grassland keepers – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Global warming and excessive herding have degraded Qinghai’s grasslands, jeopardizing local agricultural development and the fragile ecosystem in the source area of the Yangtze, Yellow, and Lancang rivers.
On patrol with a shark ranger in Indonesia’s marine treasure trove – NBC News The faraway islands in Western Papua, regarded by many marine experts as having the potential to help restore the world’s ailing coral reefs, are vulnerable to the unchecked exploitation of a lucrative treasure that is rapidly disappearing from Indonesia’s waters: sharks. China’s growing appetite for the de rigueur shark fin soup has attracted fishermen from elsewhere in Indonesia and Southeast Asia to the waters around Raja Ampat’s 1,500 islands.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
“A Bite of China” Episodes online in English – Food Media & News – Chowhound – all seven episodes of the landmark CCTV series “A Bite of China” are online and downloadable. They’re hard to find on the website, so I complied a list of links to all seven. A must if you want to learn more about the food of China.
Beijing-Guangzhou train to take much less time – Xinhua | English.news.cn – The high-speed rail route from Beijing to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou will open next month, cutting the 2,200-km journey time by 14 hours, according to the Ministry of Railways.
I was at Elton John’s show last night at Wukesong (er, MasterCard Center). I have nothing to add except that the dedication was made after the second song – Benny and the Jets – and there was no audience reaction. I doubt very much that the Chinese in attendance even understood what Elton said. Really good show – Elton John may be old, but he’s still lots of fun. Many empty seats.