Today’s China Readings May 11, 2012

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

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We hear a lot about Weibo and censorship. Baidu, which failed in its own attempt to run a microblogging service, has in some ways benefited from the rise of Sina and Tencent Weibo, as so much of the regulatory focus, pressure and costs have shifted from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, and specifically microblogging. (塞翁失马焉知非福?)

But the regulators have not forgotten about Baidu and yesterday they forced Baidu to shut the Chongqing and Liaoning Baidu PostBar message boards for 48 hours due “illegal and harmful information”-近期,在重庆吧发现违法有害信息,需要作集中清理。为此,本网站决定,自5月10日上午10:00–5月12日上午10:00暂时关闭重庆吧。由此给您带来的不便,敬请谅解。No word on exactly what the illegal and harmful information was, but given the geographies we can probably guess.

Today is anti-China protest day in the Philippines. Let’s hope it is a non-violent non-event. China has made some calming noises, including noting that China, Philippines resume Huangyan Island diplomatic contact. China is also making clear there will be economic costs to the Philippines, by canceling tours to the country as well as stepping up inspections/quarantines of Philippine fruit imports, among other actions. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail, as the Global Times urges-Cool heads must prevail in Huangyan spat.

If you have not seen this yet do check out Bizarre Sea Monster Captured On Deep-Sea Drilling Camera. No word on how much this would sell for in Guangdong.

Today’s links:

  • Facebook IPO Said to Get Weaker-Than-Expected Demand – Bloomberg
  • Jamie Dimon Misrepresented “London Whale” Risks, Admits to $2+ Billion Loss Plus Risk Management Black Eye « naked capitalism
    Dimon consistently misrepresented the seriousness of the exposures as soon as the press was onto it. Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal were digging, and Dimon was dismissive, calling the concerns a “tempest in a teapot”. JPM shares are down over 5% in aftermarket trading. The CEO misled investors, but no one seems to care much about niceties like accurate and timely disclosure these days.
  • Cool heads must prevail in Huangyan spat-Global Times
    The month-long Huangyan crisis has cost Chinese society quite a few resources. Besides the public’s emotion and diplomatic maneuvers, the military might also have made plans for the use of force. But in the South China Sea region, the future may be rife with similar incidents.
  • Shanghaied – By Geoff Dyer | Foreign Policy DYER IS DEAD ON, I MADE THE SAME POINT LAST WEEK
    Why you shouldn’t believe everything you read about China. Hint: not even the journalists really know what’s going on…
    Political stories in China can be like quicksand. White House reporters might not get to talk too often to the president, but they can speak to people who were in the room with him when he makes a decision. In China, foreign reporters have to rely on more removed sources: advisors, Chinese journalists, foreigners who have recently met senior leaders, and lower-level bureaucrats. All sources have an agenda, but the more tenuous their link to power, the harder it can be to decode their bias — or assess their credibility. Even with reporting on Bo’s fall, stories about his phone-tapping antics and links to the death of Heywood depended heavily on anonymous sources. Trying to gauge the political machinations of a group of a few dozen standing committee members, kingmakers, and PLA generals is at best an imperfect task when much of the information is coming third-hand…
    for the Beijing press corps, which finally has an eager audience, the biggest temptation is to turn the Bo saga into a broader political morality play between the hardliners who have stifled political reform since the 1989 Tiananmen protests and the liberal reformers, if there indeed are any
  • China has banished Bo but not the ‘bad emperor’ problem – FT--Fukuyama weighs in
    informal rules observed by a small clique of insiders cannot really substitute for a formal rule of law. As we can see today, modern liberal democracies constrained by law and elections often produce mediocre or weak leaders. Sometimes democracies elect monsters, such as Adolf Hitler. But at least the formal procedures constraining power through law and elections put big roadblocks in the path of a really bad emperor. Despite having beaten back Mr Bo’s challenge in the short run, the Chinese system has not solved this institutional problem yet. It now has a real opportunity to do so, which I hope the new leadership coming into power will take up.
  • Heard on the Street: China’s Equity Markets: The Party You Can Never Leave –
    China’s equity markets are like the Hotel California. Checking in is getting easier. Getting out is still tricky.
  • 51Job Down Most in 2012 as Growth Sours: China Overnight – Bloomberg
    Concern over China’s slowing economy is “clearly casting a shadow over enterprises in their hiring activities,” said Chief Executive Officer Rick Yan on a conference call with analysts after the earnings were released.
  • 人民日报-出国夏令营不得以营利为目的
    government issues notice about kids going abroad for summer camp. not a bad thing if they start regulating, esp the sketchy agents/brokers
  • 人民日报- “新闻敲诈”败坏了什么?
    brief article on “news blackmail” i.e pay me or i will write something bad about you, makes page 1 of people’s daily
  • 人民日报-对进口菲律宾水果加强检验检疫
    china to increase inspections of philippine fruit. people’s daily p 4
  • China Confidence Unshaken by Bo Crisis in Global Poll – Bloomberg
    China’s deepest political turmoil since 1989 has failed to shake confidence in the strength of its economy and allure of its markets, a Bloomberg poll indicated.
  • Chinese teen sentenced to 12-year jail term for assault|Society|
    A teenager convicted of setting fire to a girl who turned down his romantic advances received a first-instance verdict of 12 years and one month in jail on Thursday in an east China court.
  • Suspect in fishermen killing handed over to China[1]|
    Naw Kham (C), head of an armed drug gang, kneels during a transferring at Laos’ Vientiane Wattay International airport, May 10, 2012. Naw Kham, a drug lord suspected of masterminding the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River last year was transferred to Chinese police here on Thursday.
  • China, Philippines resumes Huangyan Island diplomatic contact|Politics|
    China has reaffirmed its stance to the Philippine side and requested the country respect China’s sovereignty over Huangyan Island, he said, urging the Philippines to refrain from actions that will escalate and complicate the tensions.
  • Can Long Ding, A Kicker Who Grew Up In China, Make An NFL Team? | Keeping Score |
    Long Ding is trying to be the first China-born player to suit up in the NF
  • More spies in U.S. than ever, says ex-CIA officer – CBS News
    As the chief of the CIA’s National Resources Division, the highly-sensitive, secret domestic operation, he conducted counter-intelligence within the U.S. “If you look at the threat that is imposed upon our nation every day, some of the major nation states — China in particular — [have] very sophisticated intelligence operations, very aggressive operations against the U.S.,” says Crumpton. “I would hazard to guess there are more foreign intelligence officers inside the U.S. working against U.S. interests now than even at the height of the Cold War,”
  • Exclusive: potential China link to cyberattacks on gas pipeline companies –
    Those analyzing the cyberspies who are trying to infiltrate natural-gas pipeline companies have found similarities with an attack on a cybersecurity firm a year ago. At least one US government official has blamed China for that earlier attack.
  • JPMorgan Loses $2 Billion in Chief Investment Office – Bloomberg
    JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the firm lost about $2 billion on synthetic credit securities after an “egregious’” failure in its chief investment office, which the bank says focuses on hedging.
  • Wall Street’s immunity – Glenn Greenwald –
    Of all the ignominious actions of the Obama administration, the steadfast, systematic shielding of Wall Street from criminal liability is probably the most corrupt in the traditional sense of that word. In Newsweek this week, Peter Boyer and Peter Schweizer have an excellent examination of what happened and why, tying together crucial threads. First they lay out the basic facts, including the core deceit of the President’s campaigning for re-election like he’s some sort of populist crusader
  • Scott Kennedy: Beijing Can’t Outgrow Corruption –
    GOOD ESSAY, BUT DOES ANYONE IN POWER REALLT WANT TO GET ALL THE GRAFT OUT?//Trying to get graft out of the Chinese system is like trying to take the sugar out of an already baked cake.
  • U.S. Tries to Press China Sea Rights With Pact –
  • Chinese media warns of war with Philippines – Telegraph
  • British tourist arrested in China ‘for sexual assault’ – Telegraph
    A British tourist has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a local woman in Beijing.
  • Why Can’t Obama Bring Wall Street to Justice? – The Daily Beast
    Despite his populist posturing, the president has failed to pin a single top finance exec on criminal charges since the economic collapse. Are the banks too big to jail—or is Washington’s revolving door at to blame? Peter J. Boyer and Peter Schweizer investigate:
  • China’s Chen says officials launch crazed reprisals on family – Yahoo! News
    Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and a family lawyer have accused local officials of detaining two of his relatives and hounding and harassing others in revenge for his recent escape from house arrest and for sparking an international furor.
  • Emerging Advisors Group – Home
    Jonathan Anderson is the former Global Emerging Market Economist at UBS Investment Bank
  • 中国船员在泰国遭劫杀_腾讯新闻_腾讯网
    alleged Mekong river killer extradited to beijing
  • 记录点点滴滴 | 印象笔记
    Evernote’s Chinese service
  • Evernote Launches Separate Chinese Service | Evernote Blogcast
    Today, Evernote unveiled its new, completely separate, Chinese service called Yinxiang Biji (印象笔记) to give our users in China a great Evernote experience. The name means Memory Notes or Impression Notes. As a happy coincidence, the second character, 象, means elephant. The previously existing Evernote service is not affected and will continue to run separately.
  • China stays open-minded in coping with new media
    A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said here Wednesday that the CPC and Chinese government insist on an open-minded and inclusive attitude in coping with new media.
    Efforts have been made by the CPC and Chinese government to guide officials to treat new media in a scientific and correct way, help them better harness new media and strengthen guidance of public opinion in the network, Li said.
    Li Yuanchao, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Organizational Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when addressing the third China-Singapore Forum on Leadership.
  • Restoring sanity to Lin’s story-Global Times
    Seeing a crowd of people gathered around the tomb and reading poems, Hu Jie could not hide his surprise.
    This group had come together from across the country to honor the memory of Lin Zhao, an outspoken female student who was labeled as a “rightist” for criticizing Chairman Mao Zedong and executed in 1968. The mourners, ranging from college students to retirees, read poems that Lin had written in blood during eight years in prison. They all took notice and pointed at the surveillance camera set up near the tomb to show they are not afraid.
  • China restructures local operations of Big Four auditors | Reuters
    China released new rules for the world’s top four auditing firms on Thursday that include a requirement for their local operations to be led by Chinese citizens within three years.
  • Jiang putting himself in limelight with
    Former president Jiang Zemin is back in the limelight after creating high-profile calligraphy for an airport in his hometown, a gesture one analyst said shows he is still capable of wielding some influence in the leadership reshuffling later this year.
    Jiang (pictured) drew the six-character name for the Yangzhou Taizhou Airport, which opened on Tuesday, and large red characters transposed from his writing now sit atop the airport roof.
  • 中国军网-休想抢走中国半寸领土
  • Distracting the public « Jeremy Goldkorn
    The Global Times English and Chinese versions have published an editorial headlined Peace will be a miracle if provocation lasts. State and commercial media, newspapers large and small, and all the news and social media websites (e.g. QQ, Sina, Netease) are reporting on the standoff. Jingoism by no means limited to the usual pro-government newspapers and media commentators. A browse through the comments on Sina Weibo or any other Internet forum you choose shows overwhelming public support for a war.On my own Weibo account, I posted the question “Would ordinary people support a war with the Philippines?” Usually the comments on my posts tend be very critical of the government and cynical about China and its place in the world, but the answer to this question was a rather bloodthirsty yes.
  • Chan case not a sign of growing tensions with journalists
    China refused to extend the press credentials and visa of Melissa Chan, English correspondent of the Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera in Beijing, and hasn’t allowed the channel to find someone to replace her. The news network said that its Beijing bureau was “forced out of China.” Foreign media claimed that Melissa Chan was the first accredited foreign journalist to be expelled from China since 1998.In the past 14 years, there has been a lot of friction between China and other countries. China has seen many occasions when foreign media discredited the country with a biased perspective. But the Chinese government takes a restrained attitude toward them, as most Chinese officials acknowledge that it only makes things worse for a country’s image if they take a confrontational position with foreign journalists.
  • 解放军报发表署名文章:休想抢走中国半寸领土_频道_凤凰网
  • Chinese Travel Agencies Suspend Trips to Philippines –
    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese travel agencies have suspended tourist packages to the Philippines and promised refunds to customers who have booked trips, Chinese state media reported Thursday, as tensions over disputed islands in the South China Sea escalated.

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One thought on “Today’s China Readings May 11, 2012

  1. Excellent as always! For more on the subject of calligraphy and power in China, check out Brushes with Power: Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy by Richard Kurt Krauss and Calligraphy and Power in Contemporary Chinese Society by Yuehping Yen.  Both are rather expensive, especially Yen’s book.

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