Today’s China Readings May 2, 2012

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

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Remember the November 2001 explosive Wall Street Journal story on China’s princelings, the one that led with the almost too good to be true to story of Bo Guagua picking up one of Ambassador Huntsman’s daughters in a red Ferrari?

Unfortunately, that lede appears to actually have been too good to be true. The New York Times reports In China, Details in Bo Guagua Episode Are Refuted that the WSJ got the story wrong and appears to blame the error on the inaccurate recollections of Ambassador Huntsman, among others. This a major screwup that highlights the challenges of reporting in China and unfortunately casts a pall on the recent, excellent WSJ reporting about the Bo Xilai case. It is also worrisome that you can not rely on the US ambassador for accuracy, and makes one wonder what was in the reports he sent back to DC.

The demonization (妖魔化) of Bo Xilai’s wife Gu Kailai continues, with Reuters reporting in Bo’s wife dressed as Chinese army general after Heywood death that she showed up to a meeting in a PLA uniform and talked crazy. I assume we will soon see stories of her sexual proclivities, possibly including horses (pandas wouldn’t really work)?

Time Magazine has an important story on the challenges for reporters covering the Bo case, writing in The Bo Xilai Scandal: A Method Behind the Rumor Mill? that “in some cases it’s clear that the dissemination of information regarding the Bo scandal, as well as some so-called independent analysis from Chinese experts, has been orchestrated.”

The Party is masterful at propaganda and spreading disinformation, it has had weeks to get its disinformation campaign in place, and while of course there are leaks, perhaps including some from the tiny number people who may know what really happened, and not just those quoting from official, propagandized Party circulars on the case, I am increasingly skeptical of some of the reports coming out, both in Chinese and in English. Clearly we need to apply the Mosaic Theory to China politics.

  • 西城3000探头布“视频天网”-和讯网
    Beijing’s Western District Connects 3000 surveillance cameras to district’s central viewing platform, 20 police monitoring 24/7. Part of the 天网 (celestial network?) surveillance project. 西城区3000余个监控探头已全部连入西城公安分局的视频巡控二级平台,20余名专职民警及辅警将全天候实时监控。今天上午,西城公安分局巡警支队视频巡控中队正式规范化运行视频巡控二级平台,在全区铺设一张“视频天网”。
  • 经济数据泄密 涉及多名南开校友 – 北京新闻·警法 -新京报电子报 Several Nankai U alums caught up in economic secrets case. 泄密者为国家统计局原官员、央行研究室原副主任及公司分析师;均因故意泄露国家秘密罪获刑新京报讯 (记者张玉学)近日,原国信证券股份有限公司宏观经济分析师林松立,因犯故意泄露国家秘密罪,被西城法院判处有期徒刑6个月,缓刑1年。据悉,该案是“泄露经济数据系列案”中第4起宣判的案件。4起案件中,有3起为串案,其中2人为毕业于南开大学的博士,泄密对象包括他们的14名南开校友。
  • Review & Outlook: Beijing’s Financial Scapegoat –
    The dramatic escape of dissident Chen Guangcheng has drawn attention to China’s political repression. Another high-profile story is doing the same for the country’s financial dysfunction.
    Wu Ying, a 30-year-old Wenzhou entrepreneur, had her death sentence for “illegal fundraising” overturned by the Supreme Court last month after her case attracted widespread public sympathy. But there’s a twist: Ms. Wu abruptly fired her lawyers last week and replaced them with an attorney inexperienced in criminal law. This raises suspicions that the authorities are putting pressure on her defense team.
  • 患者死亡 全院医生被逼下跪磕头(图)_网易新闻中心
    entire hospital staff kneels/kowtows at funeral of dead patient, whose family is very powerful…//
  • Himalayan glacial lakes’ size growing: study – Xinhua |
    LANZHOU, May 1 (Xinhua) — The number of glacial lakes in the Himalayas has reduced in recent years, but their total area has increased, according to research revealed on Tuesday.
    Wang Xin heads a 30-year study on the subject organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hunan University of Science and Technology.
  • 人民日报-奢华之风已成公害(人民论坛) 吴建民
    People’s Daily on the gluttony of officials//
  • 北京外来打工者成购彩票主力 问题彩民几成赌徒_新闻_腾讯网
    Migrant workers major players of Beijing lottery. How many have gambling problems, and isn’t the “underclass” the main player of lotteries worldwide?
  • Indonesia Chases China As Middle-Class Consumption Soars – Bloomberg
    While some other fast-developing countries such as China struggle to switch from an export-led to a consumption-based growth model, Indonesia is ahead of the game: Consumer spending accounted for 55 percent of gross domestic product in 2011; the comparable figure for China in 2010 was 35 percent.
  • China’s Left Behind Children – by Deborah Jian Lee and Sushma Subramanian | Foreign Policy
    Kind of discredits the political-academic rhetoric about the return of Confucianism?//
    Breakneck growth has made China an economic miracle. But will the destruction of families prove to be too high a cost?
  • FT Alphaville » Chinese palaces, in central Ireland
    For anyone who’s ever looked at the Chinese property boom and had the phrase ‘Ireland of Asia’ cross your mind… this one’s for you.
    Here’s a computer-generated pic of a “Euro Chinese Trading Hub” which could be coming soon to the Irish town of Athlone (pop. 20,138):
  • The Dallas Fed Presentation On Ending Too Big To Fail – Business Insider
    Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher is a staunch hawk on monetary policy, and a major opponent of bailouts.
    As such, he’s one of the highest ranking people in the country who’s demanded that major banks be broken up, so that nobody is ever again too big to fail.
    Fisher has now actually put together a full presentation arguing that we must end too big to fail now, not just on principal, but for the purposes of reviving the economy.
  • The New Great Game: Development, Not Domination, in Central Asia – Raffaello Pantucci & Alexandros Petersen – International – The Atlantic
    The U.S., China, and Russia are taking a different approach to this region, long a chessboard for great powers.
  • Escape Poses New Riddle for U.S., China –
    Activist Chen Guangcheng’s Unwillingness to Leave His Nation Appears to Allow Little Room for Negotiations
  • Unease Mounting, China and U.S. to Open Military Talks –
    Limited military talks between China and the United States — an arena in which the two sides view each other with mounting unease — open here on Wednesday as a prelude to a wider-ranging economic and strategic dialogue between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and their Chinese counterparts…
    Chinese authorities have closed the website of a high-profile liberal research institution, its founder, who just won a U.S. award for advocating the importance of liberty, said Tuesday.
    In the military talks, Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and the acting under secretary of defense for policy, James N. Miller, will lead the American delegation, and Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, is the head of the Chinese delegation.
    With the discussion generally limited to cyberwarfare and maritime issues, the talks will not include space weaponry or missile defense, two areas in which the Chinese are concentrating military expenditure, Obama administration officials said.
  • China Closes Unirule Website
    Chinese authorities have closed the website of a high-profile liberal research institution, its founder, who just won a U.S. award for advocating the importance of liberty, said Tuesday. Mao Yushi, the 83-year-old market economist who founded the Unirule Institute of Economics in Beijing, said he would still go ahead with plans to travel Wednesday to Washington to receive the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty from the libertarian Cato Institute.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Richard Grenell hounded from Romney campaign by anti-gay conservatives – Right Turn – The Washington Post
  • In dispute with China, Philippines foreign secretary has had enough – CNA ENGLISH NEWS
    Manila, April 30 (CNA) The Philippines’ secretary of foreign affairs is refusing to meet with the Chinese ambassador to the country to discu
  • 余英時 北明: 孔子學院及其影響——專訪余英時(下) – 纵览中国
  • 余英時 北明: 孔子學院及其影響——專訪余英時(上) – 纵览中国
  • Frustrated With China, General Electric Turns Its Eye to Australia –
    because it doesn’t pay bribes?//
    reflects a significant rethinking of China’s value for GE, which, after years of missed targets and slow growth in the country, has turned its attention to resource-rich locations that have friendlier rules for investing and fewer national champions as rivals. GE isn’t giving up on China, where its annual sales have hovered at around $5 billion for much of the past half-decade.
  • 淘宝腐败黑幕调查 – 封面故事 – IT时代周刊–一本有独家见解的杂志!
  • Chen Guangcheng must weigh loss of stature against protection of U.S. asylum – The Washington Post
    The fate of exiled Chinese dissidents like Xu could prove instructive for Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who escaped effective house arrest last week and is believed to have taken refuge in a U.S. Embassy building in Beijing.
  • When half a million Americans died and nobody noticed | News | The Week UK
    Was the US drug Vioxx responsible for far more deaths than has been acknowledged so far?
    ARE American lives cheaper than those of the Chinese? It’s a question raised by Ron Unz, publisher of The American Conservative, who has produced a compelling comparison between the way the Chinese dealt with one of their drug scandals – melamine in baby formula – and how the US handled the Vioxx aspirin-substitute disaster
  • The American Conservative » Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison
    In contrasting China and America, pundits often cite our free and independent media as one of our greatest strengths, together with the tremendous importance which our society places upon individual American lives. For us, a single wrongful death can sometimes provoke weeks of massive media coverage and galvanize the nation into corrective action, while life remains cheap in China, a far poorer land of over a billion people, ruled by a ruthless Communist Party eager to bury its mistakes. But an examination of two of the greatest public-health scandals of the last few years casts serious doubt on this widespread belief.
  • BBC News – Rupert Murdoch ‘not fit person’ to lead News Corp, say MPs
    Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”, MPs have said. The cross-party culture committee questioned journalists and bosses at the now closed paper, as well as police and lawyers for hacking victims. Its report has concluded that Mr Murdoch exhibited “wilful blindness” to what was going on in his media empire.
  • Alleged Taobao scandal stirs sensation | Companies |
    continued corruption in jack ma run companies.//
    HANGZHOU – Some employees at, China’s largest online retailer, have reportedly conspired with business owners to cheat consumers, sparking outcry online.
    IT Time Weekly, a Chinese commercial magazine, reported on April 20 that some employees at Taobao, a unit of Alibaba Group, have taken bribes from online shop owners and secretly helped them remove consumers’ malicious comments and raise credit ratings.
    The story also reported that some employees misused advertising tools on the Taobao transaction platform, and some have even started their own businesses to reap hefty but illegal profits.
  • Dick Fuld: “The Bros Always Wins” « Dealbreaker: Wall Street Insider – Financial News, Headlines, Commentary and Analysis – Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Banks
    “how do you spell stupidity in Chinese?” Lehman email dissing a CITIC deal
  • Ties to Romney ’08 Helped Fuel Equity Firm –
    did romney’s kid learn from china princelings, or vice versa?//
    About a month after Mitt Romney ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in February 2008, his eldest son, Tagg, and Spencer Zwick, the campaign’s top fund-raiser, met with a beef company executive who had been a major campaign donor over dinner at the posh Torrey Pines resort in San Diego.This meeting, however, was not about politics. Instead, the younger Romney, who had been a senior adviser to his father, and Mr. Zwick presented the executive, John R. Miller, with a business proposition: the opportunity to invest in a private equity fund they were starting, Solamere Capital.Neither had experience in private equity. But what the close friends did have was the Romney name and a Rolodex of deep-pocketed potential investors who had backed Mr. Romney’s presidential run — more than enough to start them down that familiar path from politics to profit.
  • Without Mentioning Chen, Obama Nudges China on Human Rights –
    President Obama on Monday gently prodded China to improve its human-rights record but pointedly declined to discuss the case of a prominent Chinese lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, now said to be under American protection in Beijing. His remarks highlighted the delicacy of an unfolding diplomatic dispute that analysts say may prove fiendishly difficult to resolve.
  • Exclusive: Bo’s wife dressed as Chinese army general after Heywood death: source | Reuters
    the demonization 妖魔化 of gu kailai is in full force. when are we going to get “leaks” about her sexual proclivities? and will they involve horses?
  • Leaders in Beijing Feared Arab Spring Could Infect China – Bloomberg
    Some members of China’s ruling Politburo, the reports reveal, began musing about whether bribery and other abuses of power were undermining the Communist Party’s authority at least 16 months before the corruption scandal surrounding deposed party leader Bo Xilai shined an international spotlight on the issue. The reports were described by five U.S. officials familiar with the contents who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the intelligence is classified.
  • ‘Global boss ‘ false flattery for Chinese central bank – People’s Daily Online
    Chinese central bank was recently labeled as the global “boss” in the banking industry.The latest report from the Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) shows that the total assets of People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the Chinese central bank, grew by 119 percent in the past five years, reaching 28 trillion yuan (about 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2011. Its asset size exceeded the Federal Reserve Board and the European Central Bank (ECB) and became the central bank managing largest assets scale in the world.The Chinese central bank at once received flattery from all sides.
  • AP News: Running blind: Chinese activist’s dramatic escape
    Chen Guangcheng’s blindness was a help and a hindrance as he made his way past the security cordon ringing his farmhouse.
  • NYPD Raids Activists’ Homes Before Tomorrow’s Occupy Wall Street Protests
    were they wearing jackboots?//
    A day before Occupy Wall Street hopes to shut down New York and cities across the country in massive May Day protests, the NYPD visited at least three activist homes in New York and interrogated residents about plans for tomorrow’s protest.
    Today “there was definitely an upswing in law enforcement activity that seemed to fit the pattern of targeting what police might view as political residences,” said Gideon Oliver, the president of the New York Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which offers legal to support to Occupy Wall Street. “They were asking what are your May Day plans, do you know who the leaders are—these are classic political surveillance questions.”
  • U.S. barnyards help China supersize food output –
  • Supporter: China police admit blind activist’s escape was legal, despite local security cordon – The Washington Post
  • Australia not safe for Chinese students
  • Chen Guangcheng ––Editorial
    Corrupt officials and disregard for the rule of law are the true threat to China, not Mr. Chen and others who courageously defend human rights. Mr. Wen says he wants political reforms. This is his moment to show that China is ready to embark on a more honorable and sustainable path.
  • In China, Details in Bo Guagua Episode Are Refuted –
    wsj got its blockbuster ferrari lede wrong? how embarrassing//
    many of the details in the public account of that evening turned out to be incorrect, according to interviews with the son; Abby Huntsman Livingston, a daughter of the ambassador, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.; and three others present at the dinner.The interviews help reveal how what began as gossip made the rounds in expatriate circles in Beijing until it became an accepted truth about the Bo family. One person who told the version of the story that eventually surfaced was Mr. Huntsman. At least two diplomats in Beijing said they heard it from him before he left Beijing in late April 2011. (The New York Times reported this April that American officials had said Bo Guagua came to the ambassador’s residence in a Ferrari. )Ms. Livingston, one of two Huntsman daughters at the dinner, said in her role as family spokeswoman, “My dad’s version of the story has always been a reflection of what we told him.”
  • 林治波的微博 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿
  • Mongolia Wary of Chinese Investment – Deal Journal – WSJ
    For adventurous frontier investors in Asia, last year was all about Mongolia. Now Myanmar is the darling of 2012, as it slowly opens up to the outside world.China, though, never lost its interest in Mongolia. State-owned giant Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., also known as Chalco, has made large investments in the resource-rich country in recent weeks. But a recent deal in Mongolia has hit a stumbling block, and signs are starting to show that country may be slowly closing its doors to foreign ownership, especially from China.
  • Source: Obama ads feature Swiss bank account –
    imagine what a prc political campaign would look like
  • The Bo Xilai Scandal: A Method Behind the Rumor Mill? | Global Spin |
    With such sources willing to talk and various unnamed citizen journalists sending tips to overseas Chinese news websites, we are now awash in information and innuendo regarding the Bo case. Often it’s hard to distinguish between the two. The Internet provides a crucial forum to discuss Bo’s downfall and present a narrative different from the sanitized version available in China’s circumscribed official media. That’s all for the common good.Yet in some cases it’s clear that the dissemination of information regarding the Bo scandal, as well as some so-called independent analysis from Chinese experts, has been orchestrated. While reporting this week’s TIME’s magazine story about Bo, I talked within a 24-hour period to five Chinese (academics, advisers and state-linked journalists) with access to the halls of power in Beijing. Three of them compared Bo to Hitler, each saying that Bo was manipulating a naive populace just like the German dictator once did. I would have believed one person coming up with a Hitler analogy on his own. But three? Then two of the five gave the exact same convoluted explanation of how Bo’s transgressions were worse than that of Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair. I pushed one of the experts, and it became clear he didn’t really know much about the Lewinsky scandal at all. Later that day, a Chinese journalist told me that the media publication he worked for had received an internal notice comparing Bo’s actions to that of Clinton. While his media organization did not run any editorial comparing Bo and Clinton, I was the recipient of this talking point from two different people.
  • North Korean Exports To China Surge 40% In The First Quarter – Business Insider
    According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (via Yonhap News), trade between China and North Korea reached an all-time high of $1.37 billion.
    Exports from North Korea to China jumped 40 percent to $568 million, while imports into North Korea jumped 40 percent to $800 million.
  • China Manufacturing Continues To ‘Contract-And-Expand’ Even As April PMI Misses Expectations | ZeroHedge
    perhaps tonight’s dismal miss and plunge in Aussie PMI is a better reflection of a real-time sensitive-to-China growth indicator…
  • U.S. News – Who is Fu? Chinese exile is ‘God’s double agent’
    After the dramatic nighttime escape of Chen Guangcheng from house arrest in his Chinese village, one of the first people to know that the blind lawyer was safe in Beijing was thousands of miles away — a man in Midland, Texas.
    Pastor Bob Fu, 44, says he knew of Chen’s escape three days before the security guards surrounding the house discovered it. He says he was among the first to receive and post a 15-minute video of Chen, made in hiding, appealing to Chinese President Wen Jiabao to bring to justice the local officials who illegally imprisoned him and his family for months. Fu says he also had a hand in preparing U.S. officials for Chen’s escape and arrival at the U.S. Embassy, while also helping lay the groundwork for alternatives, the details of which he says he cannot divulge.
  • China Manufacturing Growth Accelerates, PMI Shows – Bloomberg
    China’s manufacturing expanded for a fifth month in April, reducing the case for policy makers to open the taps on credit in the world’s second-largest economy.
    The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 53.3 from 53.1 in March, China’s statistics bureau and logistics federation said in a statement today. That’s the highest reading in a year and compares with the 53.6 median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.
  • The Only Honest Man?—General Liu Yuan Calls Out PLA Corruption | Hoover Institution
    by James Mulvenon and Leigh Ann Ragland
    On 18 January 2012, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Gu Junshan was arrested on charges of profiting from the illegal sale of military property. Analysts buzzed that the combination of General Liu’s high princeling status, his pending elevation to the Central Military Commission, and the support of heir apparent Xi Jinping may make this anti-corruption effort different and more effective than those in the past. This article examines the issue of PLA corruption, reviews recent cases, and assesses the likely success of General Liu’s efforts.
  • Sidwell Friends School: News » Interim Upper School Chinese Teacher
    Sidwell Friends Upper School seeks a Full-time Interim Chinese teacher. Applicants must be qualified to teach all levels of Chinese and have a native or near-native proficiency in Chinese.

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2 thoughts on “Today’s China Readings May 2, 2012

  1. Look, it’s simple. Neither Bo Xilai, Bo Guagua nor Gu Kailai were genuinely demonized prior to the mysterious political/[military??] machinations in Beijing the night of March 19, 2012. 

    Now, the entire Bo family is magically “criminal.”


  2. The longer Chen Guangcheng is missing, with his & his family’s welfare, unknown, the more he becomes a One-Man-Tiananmen.#cgc #1mtam

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