The Sinocism China Newsletter For 12.11.12

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

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In my latest Dealbook column In China, New Leadership and New Style I look at the most recent economic data, the weak state of the recovery, and Xi Jinping’s trip to Shenzhen.

Ed Wong of the New York Times examines both Xi’s trip and his emphasis on the “Chinese Dream” and “Renewal” in Chinese Leader’s Visit to Shenzhen Hints at Reform:

The emphasis on a “Chinese dream” is particular to Mr. Xi, and could prove to be a recurring motif throughout his tenure. The notion of a grand revival — “fu xing” in Mandarin — has been popular with Chinese leaders for at least a century, but Mr. Xi appears to be tapping more deeply into that nationalist vein than his recent predecessors, perhaps recognizing that traditional Communist ideology no longer has popular appeal…

Mr. Delury, the historian, said there was a millennia-old concept of rejuvenation in dynastic China that the party might find relevant now. It was called a “middle revival,” or zhong xing, and was used to describe a period midway through a dynastic cycle when an empire had to revive itself to move past the failings of weak leadership.

“To rally the troops, there’s a call for zhong xing,” Mr. Delury said. “The archetype is you have these strong founding emperors, and then you have an inexorable weakening, and then there’s a crisis, and a strong leader emerges in the middle who pushes the zhong xing. It gives the dynasty a second life.”

The U.S. National Intelligence Council released its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report (Global Trends 2030), which among many other things predicts that China will surpass the US as the world’s largest economy (Bloomberg) sometime before 2030.

Tom Orlik at the Wall Street Journal has a terrific look at a new report on China’s employment and income inequality. Without deep structural reform the NIC’s prediction may be a bit premature.

Today’s links:


11月用电量同比大增9%左右 新华社——经济参考网 – growth in electricity usage up sharply in November//《经济参考报》记者从多个权威渠道获悉,电力快报显示11月份全社会用电量同比增速超过8%,最终数据预计在9%左右,增幅较10月大幅回升。专家分析称,作为经济先行指标,连续两个月的用电量提速进一步印证我国工业经济正在企稳,将转入中速发展阶段。

China Economic Watch | Land Reform and Local Government Finances – The central government has set out a new policy that requires multiple subordinate levels of the bureaucracy (i.e., the local governments) to undertake actions directly against their economic interest. The extent to which local governments can avoid adhering to the new policy depends greatly upon the amount of attention the central government devotes to the policy’s implementation.  The level of compliance will also be determined by whether implementation and enforcement are clearly assigned or split between several bureaucracies.

“一号文件”将再聚焦“三农” 提高农村吸引力_财经频道_一财网 – more speculation that the 2013 #1 policy document will be about rural issues// 此前,“一号文件”已连续9年关注“三农”问题,近日,《第一财经日报》记者采访的多位人士均表示,2013年的中央“一号文件”或将聚焦农业经营体制的改革创新。

人民日报-习近平在广东主持召开经济工作座谈会时强调 坚定必胜信心 增强忧患意识 坚持稳中求进 推动经济持续健康发展 – top story in today’s People’s Daily on Xi’s remarks at an economic meeting in Guangdong// 习近平强调,面对错综复杂、快速变化的形势,要保持清醒头脑,牢牢把握主动权。加快推进经济结构战略性调整是大势所趋,刻不容缓。

University Graduates Have Hard Time Finding Job, Initial Survey Finds – Caixin – The first academic attempt to survey the country’s unemployment conditions revealed that college-educated younger people find it more difficult to land a job, even compared with people who have little formal education.  Last year, 16.4 percent of the urban population aged between 21 and 25 with an undergraduate degree or above said they were unemployed, compared with only 4.2 percent for those in the same age cohort that did not go to school or dropped out before middle school, the report said.

In Search of Solutions – Caixin interviews World Bank President Jim Yong Kim – During his visit to Beijing, Kim gave an exclusive interview to Caixin. He spoke about the bank’s relationship with China and his expectations for its future involvement in global development. The following is an excerpt from that interview.

PE圈潜规则:帮人赚了大钱顺便喝点汤|PE|规则|大钱_互联网_科技时代_新浪网– First Financial looks at some of the corruption in China’s PE industry// “围猎”投资项目是PE本能,眼看作为出资方的LP吃肉,资金受托人GP喝汤已经成为圈内公开的秘密。所谓的喝汤就是一线投资人员搭顺风车利用自有资金投资项目获益,但这样的行规有时也会误入歧途,比如投资人员与被投企业达成默契捞取灰色收入。这样的潜规则随着复星创投原总裁陈水清涉嫌商业贿赂落网而曝光于公众视野。近日,陈水清案的细节经媒体披露。多位业内人士告诉《第一财经日报》记者,陈水清的一些做法在业内并不鲜见。“喝汤”调侃折射出的是目前PE行业内部风控和外部监管的难题。例如,PE人员收受被投企业的“佣金”或是类似于一级市场老鼠仓的“提前投资”,这些行为游走在灰色地带,若涉嫌违法亦存在取证难的问题。

Tax Experts: China May Crack Down on Capital Gains – Private Equity Beat – WSJ  John Gu, China national leader, mergers and acquisitions tax at KPMG Advisory (China) Ltd. also thinks China will be pursuing this tax revenue more aggressively. “Ultimately those gains are perceived to have been derived from China and are thus subject to tax,” he said. The tax could hit a firm’s internal rate of return heavily. “This is a big tax cost,” said Zhou.

Crossing the 50 Percent Population Rubicon: Can China Urbanize to Prosperity? – Eurasian Geography and Economics – Volume 53, Number 1 / January-February 2012 – Bellwether Publishing, Ltd. – A U.S. geographer and noted authority on China’s urbanization reacts to the historic change in the country’s 2012 population (breaking the 50 percent urban threshold) by challenging the popular narrative that equates China’s advancing urbanization with a forthcoming consumption boom fueled by a burgeoning middle class.

China’s Xi: work for best economic performance amid difficulties – Xinhua | – Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission (CMC), speaks during a meeting held with government officials and entrepreneurs in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, Dec. 9, 2012.

Viral Online Critique of Chinese Property Reform: “No Tax Is a Good Tax” | Tea Leaf Nation – It has been billed as the answer to rampant property speculation, local government reliance on revenue raising through land sales, and even income inequality. But a recent announcement from Finance Minister Xie Xuren, giving further details on China’s property tax reform, has been greeted with contempt by some observers in China’s blogosphere.

Carson Block Goes Short Unafraid as Gangsters in China Chase Him – Bloomberg –

Chinese Factory Workers & the Toys They Make – Imgur – Photo series

Where next for China listings? – MarketWatch  While there is undoubtedly a problem with many Chinese listings in the U.S., there appears plenty blame to go round — be it the auditors, investment-bank sponsors or even U.S. regulators who waved through the IPOs. Perhaps a good test is whether new regulatory action can lead to improved behavior.  That seems what Hong Kong’s SFC has in mind. China’s listing hiatus will likely do little without reform that improves behavior of listed companies. It is hard to predict where the U.S. action will end — some fear it may mean the end of Chinese listings in the U.S. altogether

Chinese Investors Buy 80% of AIG Plane Unit for $4.23 Billion – Bloomberg  The investors in International Lease Finance Corp. include New China Trust Co., China Aviation Industrial Fund and P3 Investments Ltd., New York-based AIG said today in a statement. The buyers have an option to take an additional 9.9 percent stake, according to the statement.



Liu Qibao is back, hard as ever – China Media Project  and calling for researching stronger internet management// The unexplained absence last week of newly-appointed propaganda chief Liu Qibao (刘奇葆) generated a great deal of speculation in Chinese-language media outside China — particularly after reports that Liu’s former second-in-command in Sichuan, Li Chuncheng, is facing corruption charges.  In shades of Xi Jinping’s sudden re-emergence after a strange and troubling absence in September, Liu Qibao reappeared last Friday, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency, but with no attempt to explain the gap

China party chief stresses reform, censors relax grasp on internet | Reuters – while killing popular VPNs in Beijing to limit access to global Internet. one world, two Internets…// China’s largest microblog service unblocked searches for the names of many top political leaders in a possible sign of looser controls a month after new senior officials were named to head the ruling party.

With a Flair for the Common Touch, China’s New Leaders Give Web Users “Great Hope” | Tea Leaf Nation  the next question greeting China’s leadership is whether it can keep its actions consistent with its new, fresher image. Erstwhile PM Wen Jiabao was well known for his affinity for the heart-rending photo-op, but his inability to affect real reform during his 10-year tenure earned him the nickname “best actor” (影帝) from cynical netizens. @谢润良, a poet, gave voice to this sentiment: “Good; a new high leadership, a new lifestyle, a new working style. I hope what we are seeing is consistent with what actually exists; if so, there’s great hope for everything.”

如何打破截访恶循环_杂志频道_财新网 – story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing

揭秘北京“黑监狱”_杂志频道_财新网 – story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing

上访者张耀东之死_杂志频道_财新网 – story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing

专访王长江:党内民主——顶层设计关键一环-财经网– 在中央党校党建部主任王长江看来,党内民主是顶层设计中关键的一环,唯有在党内民主改革上“动真格的”,方能杀出一条长治久安的道路;而不改革,“肯定是死路一条”。这位对民主、世界政党比较有着极深研究的学者,在十八大召开前后,两度接受《财经》记者采访,将党内民主的要义、现实难题、实现路径娓娓道来。

傅洋:高举宪法,还权于民-财经网 – Fu Yang, Peng Zhen’s son, and head of Li Zhuang’s law firm, on the constitution and rule of law. some interesting stuff in Caijing’s commentary channel//回顾过去的30年,不坚持社会主义民主和法制建设,改革开放就不可能取得今天的成绩。改革开放之初,政治体制改革保证了经济体制改革的顺利进行,今后的政治体制也要随着经济和社会的发展做出相应的调整。1986年邓小平在听取中央负责同志汇报当时经济情况以后曾明确地说:“现在看,不搞政治体制改革不能适应形势。改革,应该包括政治体制的改革,而且应该把它作为改革向前推进的一个标志。”// 作者系彭真之子,现为康达律师事务所主任。本文系本刊记者马国川根据采访整理

Dalai group implicated in immolations –– According to Xinhua, Lorang Konchok was contacted in early 2009 by some key figures with the “media liaison team,” a “Tibet independence” organization within the Dalai Lama clique, and he continuously sent the latter information about incidents of self-immolation.At the requests of the “media liaison team,” Konchok took advantage of his position and influence in the monastery and often encouraged others to commit self-immolation, telling local monks and followers that self-immolation was not against Buddhist doctrines and those who did it were “heroes.”

王钦敏当选全国工商联主席 令计划到会祝贺_网易新闻中心 – Ling Jihua makes an official appearance

刘云山引用李瑞环文集趣解“空谈误国”_新闻_腾讯网 – 12月10日,中央政治局常委刘云山来到北京市西城区主持召开座谈会,就“把学习宣传贯彻党的十八大精神引向深入”,听取20位参会者的意见。

重庆治吏新风下的社会图景 – 京华时报·京华网 – more on the mess Bo made in Chongqing, and how things are reverting to “normal”…still wondering how much Bo paid out in propaganda payments to the various “Chongqing Model” shills..and did he just pay Chinese to hype it?// 借势此波反腐热浪,本报今起推出系列报道“反腐亮剑”,聚焦反腐热点事件和议题,同时探析制度性反腐的可行性样本。

Chengdu Ex-Mayor Faces Corruption Charges | Chengdu LivingChengdu Living– Although a few people are dazed at how quickly such a seemingly untouchable person could be removed from office, most Chengdunese have taken to Weibo to cackle at the downfall of a man they new as “Li Tear Down the City” for all of the construction projects he pushed through during his tenure as vice-mayor and then mayor of Chengdu. “The greatest thing he ever did was destroy what was left of our cultural heritage,” wrote @可以可以3. “Death to Li tear Down the City!” For a man as powerful as Li Chuncheng – he ran media, real estate, and investment arms through his office, and is accused of selling dozens of official posts – there is no single indictment to cover all the things he may have had a hand in

New allegations against wristwatch mayor sent to Beijing – The Sina Weibo user who posted photos showing the mayor of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, wearing expensive wristwatches said Sunday he has sent new evidence of corruption to the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection after the provincial government dismissed his corruption accusation against the mayor.

深圳官员被指给50名亲友安排工作 回应称系中伤_新闻_腾讯网 – Shenzhen official accused of giving jobs to 50 friends, netizen charges online..local government now “investigating”

Police chief fired for allegedly covering up son’s assault on cop | South China Morning Post – Drink-driving son assaults police and father allegedly tries to cover it up; incident brought to light after video posted online

儿慈会被指48亿去向不明_北京新闻·综合_新京报电子报 – 网络举报可疑账目;儿慈会致歉,称财务人员失误弄错小数点

The liberal arts 18th Central Committee|– Of the 205 members of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, around 90% have a liberal arts educational background, subverting the common stereotype of science and technology wizes in the country’s top echelons. Eighty percent of central committee members were born in the 1950s and have a master’s or doctorate degree.

王岐山荐书:希望大家看一下《旧制度与大革命》_财经频道_一财网 – wang qishan recommended Alexis de Tocqueville’s book The Old Regime and the Revolution at a 11.30 meeting// 这位现年64岁的官员着西装但没打领带,提前10分钟到会场,并打破以往由副书记主持会议的惯例,在脱稿发言和互动交流中,听取了专家学者对党风廉政建设和反腐败工作的意见和建议。



人民日报-拉帮结派“制衡”不了中国(国际论坛) 钟 声 – Zhong Sheng not a fan of the Philippines’ comments about Japan and the Asia security environment

Philippines sees Japan as balance to China ambitions | Reuters – A stronger Japan would act as a counterbalance to the military rise of China, something that is worrying smaller Asian nations as tensions grow over conflicting territorial claims in the region, the Philippines said on Monday.

China navy ships pass contiguous zone in southwestern Japan – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun– Two destroyers and two frigates were spotted between Yonagunijima and Iriomotejima islands around 5 a.m. that day, the ministry said. The vessels appeared heading toward the disputed Senkaku Islands at 20 kph (11 knots), but changed course to a northwesterly direction and left the contiguous zone around 10 a.m.

Super rich investors stuck in immigration limbo – Canada – CBC News – Three years later, Zhou, 41, is still in China. He’s also in limbo, caught in an immigration backlog along with thousands of other millionaire businesspeople around the world who are trying to enter Canada under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program.

人民日报-发展中国家的可靠朋友和真诚伙伴(高举和平、发展、合作、共赢的旗帜) 钟声 –

人民日报-为国铸造长空利剑(时代先锋) ——追记航空工业英模罗阳 –

“U.S. Economic Engagement with the Asia Pacific”–remarks by Undersecretary Hormats – hear this was quite successful, was at JW Marriott by Shinkong// On this last point, it is worth noting that one indicator of the new ways in which we are engaging China on this very important investment issue is Ambassador Gary Locke’s first-ever Investment Forum, which was held in Beijing just a few days ago. I was privileged to be asked to deliver the keynote speech, and in that speech, I spelled out suggestions for promoting Chinese investment in the U.S. and also addressing some of the challenges that have to be overcome to improve our bilateral investment relationship.

California’s Richest Suburbs Revitalized – Derek Scissors on Fox News – Senior Research Fellow Derek Scissors discusses how Chinese immigrants are moving into California’s richest suburbs on Fox News’ ‘Special Report’.



Back in the swim – – For Ye Shiwen, China’s 16-year-old swimming sensation, there was no period of fun or relaxation after winning two golds at the London Olympics. Her parents had promised to take her to Hong Kong Disneyland but it turned out there wasn’t enough time. In early August, on the same day that she returned to Hangzhou, her hometown in eastern China, she got back into the pool and resumed her training

China’s nail houses, in geospatial context | Ogle Earth – There are other nail houses out there, but in several cases Google Earth’s imagery hasn’t yet caught up with recent news. If you find any yourself, let me know and I’ll add them to the collection.



Chinese liquor maker Moutai rebuts contamination accusation – Xinhua |– reasonable suspicion that he was somehow short Moutai before releasing this// Moutai’s statement came after a netizen named “Shui Jing Huang” claimed last week in his personal blog that a sample of the company’s liquor had been found to contain toxic levels of plasticizer.The alleged Hong Kong investor posted pictures of the test report on Sunday night, causing Moutai’s emergency trading suspension.

Toxic DEHP Said to Be Found in China’s Top Liquor Brand Moutai-Caijing – The news sent China’s liquor industry into another confidence crisis, with liquor makers dropping across the board in Monday morning trade

China view: Robert Parker sells Wine Advocate stake to Singapore investors | Grape Wall of China –Robert Parker might live halfway around the globe but his influence is still felt here in China, where investors and importers regularly cite his scores. In the past few weeks alone, I have been told a half-dozen times — while hemming and hawing over a wine — that Parker gave it 90+ points. (I’ll take a hundred bottles!)

The Robert Parker bombshell | Felix Salmon – Felix will never accept that China might actually produce decent wine, esp in Ningxia// Corporate clients? Chinese wine? Tasting events? These are huge new steps for TWA — and, contra Teague, much bigger steps than the decision to accept advertising. I don’t think there’s any good way of rating Chinese wines: either the scores will be low, thereby annoying the very customers they’re supposed to appeal to, or they will be high, and ruin TWA’s reputation for impartiality among its 40,000 US subscribers. There might come a day when China produces world-class wines, but that day has not yet come, and no one knows that better than Robert Parker and Lisa Perrotti-Brown.



Behind Nobel Prize Winner Mo Yan, a Jewish Translator – Tablet Magazine– “They say translators are frustrated writers,” Howard Goldblatt explained as he waited impatiently in his blue stick-shift BMW behind a silver sedan. “I’m not a frustrated writer. I’m a frustrated Formula-1 driver.” Goldblatt, 74, is the foremost Chinese-English translator in the world

2012诺贝尔颁奖典礼|莫言获2012诺贝尔文学奖|2012诺贝尔奖_新闻中心_新浪网 – Sina’s coverage of the Nobel Prize awards ceremony, and especially Mo Yan’s

莫言诺奖:吻合西方想像的中国农民文学 – 纽约时报中文网 国际纵览 – scathing discussion of Mo Yan’s writing in Chinese New York Times