Today’s China Readings May 6, 2012

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

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Following last week’s New York Times report questioning a November 2011 anectdote about Bo Guagua and a red Ferrari, the Wall Street Journal has now corrected its famous Princelings story. The new lede reads:

One evening early this year, a red Ferrari pulled up outside a popular bar in Beijing, and the son of one of China’s top leaders stepped out, dressed in a tuxedo.

Bo Guagua, 23, had driven with the daughter of the then-U.S. ambassador, Jon Huntsman, from a dinner appointment to the bar.

The correction states:

Bo Guagua and a daughter of Jon Huntsman drove together from a group dinner appointment to a bar in Beijing one evening in 2011. A previous version of this article said the daughter was picked up at the U.S. ambassador’s residence.

The Journal insists Bo did drive a red ferrari that evening, they just got the locale wrong. The New York Times says it never happened. Does anyone know if Bo Guagua has hired public relations representation and has been lobbying for changes in this story or for changes in the story of the sources?

The journalists on both sides of this story are terrific reporters, among the best of the Western press corp here. I am guessing that the Journal team is especially concerned about the impact on any possible prizes for their strong Bo Xilai reporting, and may even believe the New York Times did this intentionally to damage the WSJ’s chance in the prize competitions. I can not even imagine that that was the motivation of the excellent Times reporters, but would not be surprised if the report generated much glee back in New York Times headquarters.

Given the long, rancorous history between Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets and the New York Times, should we expect some sort of a “counterattack” from the Wall Street Journal? Perhaps they will dig into the rumors going around about imminent changes in the New York Times editorial efforts in China?

  • China’s Luxury-Car Boom: The Ferrari With the Dragon Tattoo | Rumble Seat by Dan Neil –
    It was inevitable: Global car makers are rushing to cater to China’s new rich. But will Chinese tastes reach our own showrooms? Dan Neil reports from Beijing
  • Why a Partial Yahoo-Alibaba Sale Must – And I Underscore Must – Not Get Done Too Quickly – Forbes
    I don’t know any — I repeat any – shareholders who’ve said recently, “ah man, these guys have to do a deal with Alibaba before June.”  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Most shareholders don’t want to see Thompson do some quickie dumb deal that gives away the farm just so he can feel better about keeping his job.Yahoo! shareholders have a Chinese tiger by the tail in their holding in Alibaba Group.  They bought the 40% (it’s currently a 42% stake but, on full dilution, it’s a 40% stake) stake in 2005 for $1 billion (along with throwing in the not so impressive Yahoo! China assets).  Now, let’s say the up-round valuation is going to be $40 billion.  That means they’ve gotten 16x their money in, as the 40% stake is now worth $16 billion.
  • Texas pastor Bob Fu drives support for Chinese dissident | Reuters
    Fu estimated that about 10 percent of its supporters were drawn to ChinaAid because of anti-abortion issues, while the rest were motivated by broader human rights concerns.”That’s the beauty of this community – they are not a bunch of crazy proselytizers,” Fu said.
  • Types of yakuza and their businesses : Japan Subculture Research Center
  • The Flowers of War – Caixin Online
    Grandiose but shallow is a common flaw with mainstream Chinese movies but that has not stopped the film industry from reaping the financial rewards. The violent scenario of “Flowers of War” has been criticized as excessive. Certainly compared to many smaller movies that fail to be approved by government censors, the restrictions put on this movie were very limited. Commercialization and the double standard of suppression towards some and pandering and privilege towards others have eroded the artistic spirit of Chinese movies.
    At least Christian Bale’s everyday conduct shows that he is not afraid to practice what he preaches. The weaknesses and struggle yet humanity and conscience of the mortician he plays in “Flowers of War” is also embodied in himself as an actor. In this industry, that kind of sincerity has long since become a rare commodity.
  • Chen Guangcheng’s Final Escape? –
    the whole world was watching ai weiwei and liu xiaobo too//
    Given what they have been through, that is difficult to dispute. But there were only a few dozen people watching when the burly men from Mr. Chen’s hometown shoved him into that car in the summer of 2005. If the Chinese security apparatus moves against Mr. Chen now, the whole world will be watching.Philip P. Pan is an assistant foreign editor at The New York Times and the author of “Out of Mao’s Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China.”
  • Friends Like These – By Dan Blumenthal and Lara Crouch | Foreign Policy
    How influential is Blumenthal?//
    As China grows less predictable and the United States less willing to shoulder its responsibilities, familiar patterns of bilateral relations must change. The first step is for both countries to recognize that weakness in either country will not benefit the U.S.-China relationship or international order. America must be prepared for a less stable China. While continuing to check destabilizing Chinese activities, the key objective for Washington is to press harder for the stability that can only come with democratic reform. China should desist from undermining American efforts to preserve regional and global stability, and instead encourage the United States to maintain its commitments. And both sides need to prepare for the possibility that by the time the next big summit rolls around, China may be in decline and America may still be on the rise.
  • Fears of spying threaten U.S. license for China Mobile –
    Law enforcement officials say a license for the telecom giant to offer international service to American customers could allow theft of intellectual property and espionage…
    Officials from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department’s national security division are concerned that the move would give the company access to physical infrastructure and Internet traffic that might allow China to spy more easily on the U.S. government and steal intellectual property from American companies, according to people familiar with the process who declined to be identified because the deliberations are secret.
    Those officials, known collectively as “Team Telecom,” review FCC applications by foreign-owned companies. They could advise the FCC not to issue the license, but may instead demand a signed agreement designed to satisfy security concerns, the people said
  • Yahoo, Alibaba Working on New, Taxable Deal –
    stupid of $yhoo to sell at anything less than $60B valuation
  • In China’s Floundering Steel Sector, the Burden of Politics –
    Beijing has tried to address problems in the steel sector — which accounts for 3 percent to 4 percent of gross domestic product — by forcing state-owned mills to consolidate or to migrate toward more complex, higher-value goods.If there is one solution the country has not pushed, it is allowing the worst performers in the steel sector to go out of business. Nor does that seem likely in the steel industry, which Mao Zedong identified nearly half a century ago as a symbol of Chinese economic and political prowess.
  • The Ruins of Yuanmingyuan – Caixin Online
    Chinese history has yet to find a home for Yuanmingyuan, the ‘Old Summer Palace’ enjoyed by five Qing Dynasty emperors
  • China, including Tibet – Travel Experts, Custom China Tours – WildChina
    hear good things, and that it is a very lucrative business. run by wife of China journalist John Pomfret
  • From China Activist’s Flight, a Diplomatic Crisis –
    The Chen Guangcheng saga, based on interviews with government officials, activists and others in the negotiations, began with the promise that American relations with China had entered a new, mature phase. It ended demonstrating how much distance and suspicion remain between the two powers…
    U.S. officials, in their rush to complete negotiations Wednesday before a separate set of high-level U.S.-China talks was set to begin, appeared to have misjudged Mr. Chen’s fragile emotional condition…
    It’s also possible the U.S., in negotiating with China’s foreign ministry, overlooked the country’s competing power centers jockeying for position. The foreign ministry has traditionally carried little clout in the Chinese power structure, and analysts say the fate of Mr. Chen was almost certainly decided by top Communist Party leaders. .
    U.S. officials, for their part, felt Mr. Chen turned on them after hours of negotiations, one calling him “self absorbed.” Mr. Locke, the U.S. ambassador, complained about the activist’s change of heart, according to a senior administration official who spoke with him. Mr. Locke “feels like the guy is unfairly attacking the U.S.,” the official said.
  • Chen Affair Highlights Christian Ties –
    BEIJING—The dramatic events surrounding activist Chen Guangcheng this week have spotlighted deepening ties between Chinese rights activists and underground Christian groups, which have found solidarity in the face of intensifying government persecution.Mr. Chen isn’t a Christian, according to people who know him. But his escape to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from brutal home confinement in eastern Shandong province was at least partially helped by a group that has long covertly aided Christians in China.
  • [toread] App Store-iVMS-4500 lite
    iVMS-4500 lite is a mobile phone surveillance application based on iPhone OS 3.0, which supports the full line of Hikvision products, including the DS-7000/8000 series DVRs (dual stream models), DS-7300/8100 series DVRs , DS-9000/9100 series DVRs, DS-6000/6100 series digital video servers, as well as network cameras and speed domes that support standard H.264 video codec.
  • Chinese business close to renting land in Iceland|Society|
    Chinese business tycoon Huang Nubo said he’s close to making a deal to acquire a property in Iceland for tourism investment.
    A new arrangement would see Huang rent the property rather than buy it, he told China Daily at his office on May 4.
  • Shenlong ‘Divine Dragon’ Takes Flight: Is China developing its first spaceplane? | China SignPost™ 洞察中国
    Meanwhile, across the Pacific, Beijing may be entering the spaceplane era faster than many would have predicted. A similarly-militarily-relevant system appears to be emerging with the development of China’s own vehicle. Multiple Chinese-language media outlets state that on 8 January 2011, China completed a test flight of the Shenlong (神龙/Divine Dragon) spaceplane.
    The test flight announcement from a Sha’anxi TV station came within a month of the U.S. X-37B orbital vehicle’s return to earth after its first test flight and come almost simultaneously with China’s test flight of its J-20 fighter prototype. This reflects China’s growing technical proficiency in the aerospace sector. It hints at China’s pursuit of space systems that can potentially switch quickly between civilian and military missions.
  • Kristol calls Romney weighing in on Chen ‘foolish’ –
    Bill Kristol questioning the wisdom of Mitt Romney weighing in as hard as he did on the Chen Guangcheng story on Thursday, when the facts were still emerging in the case:”I’m happy to be critical of the Obama administration as anyone is, but I think this is fast moving story. And if I were advising Governor Romney, I’d say you don’t need to get in the middle of this story. If this turns out badly, and it would be a terrible thing, it will turn out badly. People will know. … To inject yourself into the middle of this way with a fast moving target I think is foolish. […]There is no need to butt into a fast moving story when the secretary of state is in Beijing with delicate (negotiations).”

    This was echoed by Foreign Policy managing editor Blake Hounshell, who tweeted, “Did Romney make a mistake by inserting himself into Chen saga?”

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