The Sinocism China Newsletter 02.15.17

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

Just links today:


1. China warns U.S. against fresh naval patrols in South China Sea | Reuters “We urge the U.S. not to take any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security,” Geng told a regular news briefing on Wednesday. The United States last conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the area in October, when it sailed the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur near the Paracel Islands and within waters claimed by China.

Related: 南海舰队组织联合演练 回应美国航母编队巡航_凤凰军事 解放军报2月15日报道,南海舰队在远海训练编队联合防空作战。这是一场由航空兵、岸基防空力量以及水面舰艇共同参加的一场联合防空作战演练。参与的水面舰艇有我军目前最先进的052C/D型驱逐舰,航空力量有J-11BH/BSH等,岸基防空力量有红旗-9。有意思的是,美国海军昨天刚刚宣布将派航母“卡尔·文森”号航母编队到南海巡航,此次中国南海舰队的联合演练就包含了以岸基防空力量为主的岛礁对空防御。

Related: China considering making foreign submersibles travel on surface | Reuters The draft revisions, reported by the official China News Service late on Tuesday, make no direct mention of the South China Sea. “Foreign submersibles, passing though territorial waters of the People’s Republic of China, should travel on the surface, raise their national flag, and report to Chinese maritime management administrations,” the news service cited the draft revision as saying, without giving details.

2. EU preparing early China summit in message to Trump – sources | Reuters The European Union is preparing an early summit with China in April or May in Brussels to promote free trade and international cooperation in the face of a more protectionist and inward-looking Washington, three EU officials said. China and the EU hold a summit every year, usually in July, and a date has yet to be fixed formally for 2017. One of the officials said Beijing had requested it to take place as early as possible // Comment: Xi sees lots of opportunity from Trump. He only decided to go to Davos after Trump elected, PRC decided to hold an OBOR conference, this summit

Related: EU capitals seek stronger right of veto on Chinese takeovers-FT Germany, France and Italy have called on Brussels to grant them a right of veto over Chinese high-tech takeovers, in a sign of the growing protectionist backlash against Chinese investment in Europe’s most sensitive industries.

3. China death toll from bird flu soars to 79 in January | South China Morning Post January’s total fatalities from the virus far surpass the numbers for the same month over the past three years

4. China’s #2 Circuit Court “Nine” & criminal petitions | Supreme People’s Court Monitor when analyzing what Chinese courts do and how they operate, moving away from grand theory and into the specifics of what they do provides (to this foreign observer and I trust Chinese ones as well) more nuanced insights. It helps to understand better what the circuit courts are doing, how Chinese courts operate, how Chinese judges think, and what practical solutions Chinese judges evolve in the context of their political, legal and social environment. What exemplifies this is a report that the #2 Circuit Court did on petitioning appeals related to criminal cases (第二巡回法庭刑事申诉来访情况分析报告). The report concerns petitions for retrial made under the Criminal Procedure Law’s trial supervision procedure.

5. Chinese students in the US are using “inclusion” and “diversity” to oppose a Dalai Lama graduation speech — Quartz There’s also suspicion among some academics that CSSA, which represents students at UCSD and dozens of other US universities, sometimes serves as a conduit for Chinese consulates to promulgate Communist Party orthodoxy on overseas campuses. Last week, an official at the Chinese embassy in London reportedly phoned Durham University’s debate society, urging it to cancel an appearance by Anastasia Lin, a Chinese-Canadian beauty queen and vocal human rights activist. The school’s CSSA issued a statement also condemning Lin’s appearance. In its initial statement opposing the Dalai Lama’s appearance, UCSD’s CSSA wrote that it had “been in contact with the People’s Republic of China Consulate General in Los Angeles at the earliest opportunity since the matter arose,” and “was waiting for the advice of the Consulate General.” Li tells Quartz that this part of the letter is “a mistake.”  // It was certainly a mistake to announce they had reached out the consulate for instructions…Wonder if the FBI is investigating these students’ links to the CCP. 

Related: 中国留学生抗议美大学毕业典礼邀达赖 将与校长谈判新闻腾讯网 UCSD校长2月2日宣布邀请达赖参加该校毕业礼,并称其为“流亡藏人的精神支柱与领袖”。2月3日,CSSA发表声明称,“达赖喇嘛不单纯是一个宗教人士,更是一个长期从事分裂祖国,破坏民族团结的政治流亡者。近年来以美国为首的一些西方国家政要多次允许达赖喇嘛到访,如今UCSD校方领导更是与达赖喇嘛亲自会面,这些行为不仅干涉了中国的内政,伤害了广大UCSD华人学生学者的感情,更是给中国和这些国家的关系带来了消极的影响。”

6. The 13th Five-Year Plan | U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Report China is an important market for U.S. firms, but policies outlined in the 13th Five-Year Plan seek to create new Chinese competitors that will be able to challenge U.S. companies abroad while slowly closing market opportunities in China for U.S. and other foreign firms in important high-tech sectors such as biopharmaceuticals, robotics, and aviation. This staff report analyzes the 13th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government’s most important strategy to address its economic, social, and environmental challenges over the next five years, focusing on key national targets (including subsequently announced localization and innovation targets), market access commitments, and its implications for the U.S. employment, innovation, and economic growth.

7. China urges Japan to take on right historical view in education – Xinhua Japan’s education ministry on Tuesday released a draft of new curriculum guidelines which require elementary and junior high schools to teach that China’s Diaoyu Islands and a group of disputed islands currently under the control of the Republic of Korea, are “inherent” territory of Japan. 日本中小学课改将钓鱼岛篡改为“日固有领土” 

Related: Taiwan protests over Japan’s claim to Diaoyutai in revised textbook guidelines | Taiwan News Japan’s education ministry announced a plan on Tuesday that lists the contested Diaoyutai (釣魚台), known as the Senkaku (尖閣列島) in Japan, as an “inherent territory” of Japan in its revised curriculum guideline designed for elementary and junior high school students. Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan lodged a formal protest against the claim and reiterated Taiwan’s sovereignty over the archipelago.

8. PRC Religious Policy: Serving the Gods of the CCP | China Leadership Monitor – Jessica Batke Beijing’s update of national-level religious regulations is part and parcel of a larger governance effort. This effort is designed to construct a latticework of legislation for managing citizens’ activities and minimizing international influences. If these regulations are implemented uniformly—which is always a big if in the PRC—in some cases they will offer greater certainty about what is allowed under the law. In others, they will restrict activities that previously had not been clearly regulated. Beijing’s negotiations with the Vatican over bishop ordinations reflect the same desires: to cement the party’s role in defining the permissible in Chinese religious life, to check foreign influence, and to continue to regularize social-management efforts. // Comment: Ms. Batke recently left the State Department, now at Chinafile. Big gain for ChinaFile


China’s New Credit Surges to Record in January – Caixin Global Several bankers have told Caixin that since mid-January, the central bank has been issuing informal directives to both large state-owned banks and smaller commercial lenders, urging them to rein in credit. But with demand for credit still strong, banks have been using a range of off-balance sheet lending to funnel money through the shadow banking sectors. “The central bank’s verbal directives can control the loans recorded on banks’ balance sheets, but they can’t really keep total social financing in check,” said Huang Jie, a banking industry analyst with China International Capital Corp. (CICC), one of the country’s top investment banks.

China’s Holdings of Treasuries Dropped in 2016 by Most on Record – Bloomberg A monthly Treasury Department report released in Washington on Wednesday showed China held $1.06 trillion in U.S. government bonds, notes and bills in December, up $9.1 billion from November but down $188 billion from a year earlier. It was the first monthly increase since May.

U.S. Steel Withdraws Hacking Claim Against Chinese Rival – WSJ Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel on Wednesday said that it will continue pressing claims on alleged antitrust violations in China and third-country shipment to avoid tariffs for various steel products, and that it reserves the right to refile charges of cybertheft. But the move Wednesday to drop the intellectual property claim, at least for now, is a setback in a case that trade lawyers hoped would have set a precedent.

Trump’s Trade Pick Needs Waiver Over Work for China and Brazil – Bloomberg Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s pick as U.S. Trade Representative, represented an entity controlled by the government of China in a trade dispute with the U.S. in 1991, according to filings with the U.S. International Trade Commission. He also worked on behalf of Brazil in 1985, according to disclosures filed with the Justice Department required by the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

What’s in the short leash on China’s insurers – risk or politics? | South China Morning Post Talk that China’s insurance regulator Xiang Junbo may be under investigation is, however, different. It’s not only because he decides who gets to sell life insurance in China – the most juicy business in the country – but also because of the deep involvement of political heavyweights in the industry. The rumour, which appeared on Friday in Ming Jing News – a Chinese-language magazine and website that trades in salacious gossip and rumours about Communist Party cadres – has not received official comment by the insurance regulator. Questions faxed to the regulator’s Beijing office have received no reply.

Why inequality in America is worse than it is in China-CNBC In a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found that inequality in both the U.S. and China has grown rapidly over the past few decades. In China, the top 1 percent earned 13 percent of personal income in 2015 — double their share in the 1980s. In the U.S., the top 1 percent earned 20 percent of income. That’s also roughly double the level from the 1980s.

Bitcoin trade plunges in China after tighter regulation – People’s Daily Online BTCChina, Huobi and OKCoin, the country’s three major Bitcoin trading platforms, have seen their daily transaction volume tumble from around 20,000 last week to around 6,000 at Tuesday’s close

China Mulls Resuming Coal Output Curbs for Six Months – Bloomberg The National Development and Reform Commission may resume curbs that cap output at an equivalent of 276 days of capacity after heating season ends in mid-March, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

China completes $1.15 trillion investment in major projects by end-2016: state planner | Reuters The nation’s investment in clean energy came in at 1.18 trillion yuan, making up about 15 percent of total investment. Another 679.9 billion yuan has been spent in targeting pollution issues, such as air pollution prevention projects.

总理部署《中国制造2025》 20多部委通力落实总理媒体报道中国政府网 在国务院印发《中国制造2025》一年多后,20多个国务院部委通力配合,为细化落实这一“建设制造强国的行动纲领”编制出一套细致的“框架图”。“国家制造强国建设领导小组启动的《中国制造2025》‘1+X’规划体系的编制工作已于近日全部完成,11个配套实施指南已经全部发布实施。”工业和信息化部有关负责人日前透露。

Didi Drivers Forced to Live in Shanty Town After China Crackdown – Bloomberg In Beijing and other major cities, non-resident drivers are now banned. That’s left many struggling to pay off loans they’d taken out to buy cars.

U.S. Firms in China See Chance for Reset on Market Access – WSJ European companies have also hardened their position. “We stayed away from the ‘R’ word for a long time,” said Jörg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, noting that the body used the term “reciprocity” in a document for the first time after German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned it in talks with Chinese officials last year.


Former senior Chinese official jailed for 15 years for graft | Reuters Zhou Benshun was the top official of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing and is China’s most important steel producer. He had earlier worked with one-time domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who was jailed for life in 2015 after a secret trial in China’s most sensational graft scandal in 70 years. The two are not related despite sharing a family name.

Missing tycoon Xiao Jianhua had diplomatic passport from Caribbean state | South China Morning Post Missing mainland billionaire ­Xiao Jianhua received a diplomatic passport from Antigua and ­Barbuda just days before ­President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang met the prime minister of the tiny ­Caribbean ­nation in Beijing. A copy of the passport – which was issued on August 8, 2014, and expired on the same date in 2016 – was passed to the South China Morning Post by a senior Antiguan diplomat, who said the 45-year-old tycoon was appointed as an “ambassador-at-large” for the country because of his extensive network.

Chinese Activist Stands Trial For Subversion Over ‘Xitler’ T-Shirt-RFA An activist in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin stood trial on Wednesday for subversion after he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with satirical nicknames for President Xi Jinping, including “Xitler.” Kwon Pyong, an ethnic Korean whose name in Mandarin is Quan Ping, stood trial at the Yanbian Intermediate People’s Court on Wednesday, charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” his lawyers told RFA.

China investigates former party boss of Bank of Jiangsu over graft | Reuters Wang Jianhua is suspected of “severe disciplinary violations”, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a brief statement, using its normal euphemism for corruption. It gave no other details. Wang had previously held the post of Communist Party Secretary of Lianyungang, a city in Jiangsu province, before taking the current role at the bank.

党的十八大以来治国理政的一条根本经验 2017年02月15日 来源:《求是》2017/4 作者:秋 石 Comment: “Autumn Stone in Latest Qiushi on fundamental experience of governance since the 18th Party Congress

中共中央党校 – 学习时报网_党史视角下“政治意识”的推进历程 重视和强调党的政治意识,这是中国共产党鲜明的特点,也是我们党的力量源泉。在党的历史上,政治方向、政治路线一旦出现问题,形势就会变得复杂,局势也会随之艰难,党的前途命运则可能出现危险局面。历史经验和现实面临的任务告诉我们,全党上下只有绷紧政治意识这根弦,自觉站稳政治立场,紧密团结在以习近平同志为核心的党中央周围,从政治高度看问题、办事情,保持清醒的政治头脑以及敏锐的政治观察力和鉴别力,才能真正做到服从大局、围绕核心、自觉看齐。


Robert Harward plans a housecleaning of Trump’s National Security Council staff | Foreign Policy If, as expected, Harward accepts the job today, he is likely to bring in his own team, from deputy on down, with a focus on national security types with some experience under their belts.  //Comment: Hope Senior Asia director Matt Pottinger is OK. He is a true professional serving his country, knowledgeable, clear-eyed about the PRC and nature of the challenge

Net Politics A Fancy Bear Finds Its Way Into the Middle Kingdom – Net Politics If APT28–known to be operated by Russian intelligence services–is active in China, then it is would appear to violate an agreement Presidents Xi and Putin signed in 2015

Drone swarming technique may change combat strategies: expert – People’s Daily Online After a record-breaking formation of 1,000 drones performed at the Guangzhou air show on the Chinese Lantern Festivalon Saturday night, military experts predicted that the swarming technique applied in drones might change future combat strategies.

Soldiers warned over loose talk near military bases – People’s Daily Online An article titled “Be vigilant for ‘eyes’ around military camps” published in Zhongguo Guofangbao (China’s National Defense) on Monday said that some soldiers are in close contact with vendors and businesses near their bases, and inadvertently reveal details of their military schedules. The newspaper said that officers from a troop in Xiamen, East China’s Fujian Province, began to pay close attention to security after hearing gossip from nearby residents.

India ‘playing with fire’ by hosting Taiwan MPs: Chinese media – India Today A delegation from Taiwan, the first under the new Tsai Ing-wen government, is visiting India as part of stepped up engagement following the setting up of a parliamentary friendship forum in December, 2016.

Liftoff for heavy-duty gas turbines – China Daily Breakthrough made for use in aircraft carriers

Expert: What’s behind China’s trial launch of DF-5C intercontinental missile – China Military DF-5C was exposed less than two years after DF-5B’s debut. What technological innovations does it have? “Being able to carry ten MIRVs, DF-5C can strike independent targets in a region of hundreds of kilometers and adjust the timing and sequence of the strike, thus largely improving the penetration capability and strike effectiveness, ” Wang Yunfei, an expert on military strategy, told the reporter. DF-5C makes the deterrence of China’s strategic nuclear force more flexible and effective, he added.

Chinese Views on South Korea’s Deployment of THAAD | China Leadership Monitor-Michael Swaine The THAAAD decision worsens an existing strong sense of Chinese resentment against alleged efforts by the U.S. to peer deep into China from nearby areas, extracting sensitive military information in order to degrade China’s security. More importantly, for most Chinese, the THAAD deployment decision also represents a betrayal by South Korea and a related strengthening of Washington’s overall effort to counter or contain China. //  Comment: The faster the US gets this deployed the better

“脖子以下”军改,习主席强调“三有”新闻腾讯网 钧正平工作室

Killing of Kim Jong Un’s Brother Intrigues North Korea’s Estranged Ally China – WSJ Another user joked that Mr. Kim may have been assassinated because of a linguistic mix-up. “Mole: Big brother is getting ready to board the plane. Fat Kim: No way in hell can we let him ascend the throne,” the second user wrote, referring to Kim Jong Un by a nickname widely used in China. In Chinese, “board the plane” and “ascend the throne” are homonyms.

锻造“四铁”部队 培养“四有”军人 —— 学习陆军某部“大功三连”先进事迹 2017年02月15日 来源:《求是》2017/4  作者:李作成 刘 雷 Comment: Latest Qiushi on forging a “four irons” military and cultivate “four haves” soldiers


Vol. 2, Issue 7 – Global Taiwan Institute The Role of PLA Base 311 in Political Warfare against Taiwan (Part 3)

Hong Kong takes aim at middlemen in wake of Panama Papers scandal | Reuters Through legislative proposals published without any fanfare last month, Hong Kong’s Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB) seeks to impose anti-money laundering laws on non-financial businesses and to require private companies to disclose who their true owners are. The new rules would introduce a direct licensing regime for agents that set up and manage the paperwork for thousands of trusts and “letter box” shell companies that have no real business operations. The FSTB says it is concerned that the system may be used by criminals to conceal and launder illicit proceeds.


China’s Tencent Eyes Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek — The Information $$ hinese Internet company Tencent Holdings is in talks about a possible investment in Go-Jek, Indonesia’s biggest mobile ride-hailing and delivery service, people familiar with the matter said. Go-Jek, backed by Sequoia Capital, is the market leader in Indonesia and was valued at around $1.3 billion last year in its previous fundraising.

Tencent is using AI to analyze fashion trends-TechInAsia After processing billions of photos on Qzone – a newsfeed-like feature on QQ, one of Tencent’s social messaging apps – the company’s AI research team Youtu Lab identified popular fabric types and colors, down to specific RGB values (“light black” – or (22, 20, 24) – was the winner). The AI team also found that young consumers have a strong preference for patterns, such as flowers and letters.

Foreigners Barred from Live-Streaming on Chinese Apps | China Film Insider The culprit is a new set of regulations that came into effect in January and have given the government stricter control over China’s wildly popular live-streaming apps. For one, the rules require online broadcasts to “be beneficial to the promotion of socialist core values.” The 10th article specifies that platforms should not allow hosts from outside of China to open channels without first applying to the country’s Ministry of Culture.

PLDT, China’s Huawei join forces in 5G deal | AFP Chinese electronics giant Huawei is joining forces with the Philippines’ largest telco in the hopes of rolling out a 5G wireless network in the Asian archipelago by 2020, the Filipino company said Tuesday.

Apple Weighs Chinese Supplier for Next-Gen iPhone Screens – Bloomberg Apple Inc. is in discussions with China’s BOE Technology Group Co. to supply next-generation displays for future iPhones, a key component that’s being provided by a Samsung Electronics Co. unit, people familiar with the matter said.

Huawei Is Developing Its Own Voice Assistant for Smartphones – Bloomberg A team of more than a hundred engineers is in the early stages of developing the technology at its Shenzhen, China offices, one of the people said. The efforts are extensive and are aimed at Apple Inc.’s Siri, Inc.’s Alexa, and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Assistant, not smaller players, the person said.

Latecomer Meituan Makes Foray into Online Car-Hailing Market – Caixin Global China’s largest group-sales website, Meituan-Dianping, has discreetly rolled out an online car-hailing service — a bid by the latecomer to seize new opportunities in a market recently streamlined by stringent regulations.


The Problem of Rising Bride Prices in China’s Bare Branch Villages | What’s on Weibo Within a timeframe of 17 years, bride prices in China’s rural areas have increased more than six-fold. For many unmarried men in relatively poor provinces such as Gansu, marriage has now become an unattainable goal.

Fighting on Behalf of China’s Women — From the United States – The New York Times Back in China, over the following two days, five women who would become known as the Feminist Five — Wang Man, Wei Tingting, Zheng Churan, Li Tingting and Wu Rongrong — were detained as they planned a public awareness campaign about sexual harassment on public transportation. Ms. Lu had worked closely with the women, and when she heard that the police had visited her Beijing apartment, she decided to stay in the United States.

China penalises 6.7m debtors with travel ban-FT China has banned almost 7m people from taking flights and high-speed trains over the past four years as a penalty for not repaying their debts, the country’s Supreme Court has announced.  //  Comment: Mother in law has a friend on this list. Debt incurred by her ex husband but she was sued and court ruled against her.

China Is Heading for a Major Clash with FIFA-Newsweek reliable reports indicate that the English Premier League has hired investigators to examine China’s portfolio of English club acquisitions for connections to the government. Standards of governance within China are often opaque, an issue compounded when the state is involved and the country’s investors are moving capital across international boundaries. Ideally, FIFA should intervene to provide guidance and leadership. The problem is, football’s world governing body appears to be rather in thrall to China at the moment.

Chinese Father of Four Forced to Undergo Vasectomy | Sixth Tone After spending more than 10 years away from his hometown of Luokan, in the southwestern province of Yunnan, a 42-year-old man was forced by local authorities to undergo a vasectomy upon returning for the lunar new year holiday. He was taken away by family planning officials on Feb. 8, and the operation was concluded the next day.


Environment minister to lead inspection teams to six regions – Global Times Chen Jining, minister of environmental protection, together with four vice ministers, will spend as long as one month in six provinces and municipalities starting Wednesday for the special inspection on air pollution in the first season of 2017, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday.

Drug resistant bacteria are rampant in China’s poultry products, study shows | South China Morning Post Microbes that cannot be killed by antibiotics are found easily in entire production chain, according to multinational research


农业供给侧结构性改革改什么、怎么改? —— 来自四个省的实践经验 2017年02月15日 来源:《求是》2017/4 Comment: Latest Qiushi on supply side agricultural reforms


China Scholars and Twitter-China Quarterly Comment: List of foreignChina scholars on Twitter

寒门难出贵子 教育扶贫被指定向失准政经频道财新网 中国第一部教育扶贫蓝皮书指出,教育扶贫政策尚未覆盖所有教育贫困群体,不宜与国家贫困标准简单对应。目前,中国贫困地区和贫困人口的教育发展状况也并不乐观,农村初中生辍学比例上升,教育投入仍然不足,存在教育费附加征而不返或随意挪用现象


The Rare Writer Who Hates the Word ‘I’ – The New York Times By Yiyun Li, the book on Amazon 


China Focus: Beijing targets first-class city construction, management – Xinhua At the end of this year, four city departments will move to the office complex in Lucheng Town, Tongzhou District. The move is part of wider efforts to address overcrowding, congestion and pollution in the capital, as its population exceeds 21 million.

Police Target Celebrity Drug District With Crime-Busting App | Sixth Tone The app, called “The Chaoyang Masses,” or “Chaoyang Qunzhong” in Chinese, solicits tips relating to criminal or otherwise suspicious activity from the general public. The hope is that the app will aid the 1,500 police officers in Beijing’s Chaoyang District — the city’s largest — in stamping out drug-related crimes among its wealthy, sometimes famous residents.


Literature in Translation Program – VSC/Luce Chinese Literature in Translation Fellowships — Vermont Studio Center an exceptional opportunity for international writers and English-language translators to create new work individually and in collaboration

Hearing on China’s Advanced Weapons | U.S.-CHINA Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 419 Washington, DC

第一期“网络舆情分析师(中级)”实训研修班招生–舆情频道–人民网 People’s Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Center is taking applications for the next round of classes for “Online Public Opinion Analysts”

Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters

Send comments/tips/complaints to

If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.

And if you really like Sinocism, feel free to donate some money, with Bitcoin or a credit card. Thanks.