Picture China: Mao Portrait, ‘Yellow Umbrella’ App, Giant Yellow Duck

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 21:06
The day's China news in pictures: a paramilitary policeman stands juxtaposed against a portrait of Mao before Tiananmen Square, a Hong Kong app developer poses with his "Yellow Umbrella" app, starring local pro-democracy protesters, a giant yellow duck floats in Shanghai and more.
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With New Poll, Hong Kong Protesters to ‘Fight For Democracy in a Democratic Way’

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 20:18
Leaders of protest groups demanding democratic elections in Hong Kong say they are planning to poll supporters on Sunday, to ask whether recent concessions offered by the government are acceptable.
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China Wants to Make Judicial System More Independent, Professional

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 19:56
China’s Communist Party vowed to address public frustration with the country’s legal system by making it more independent and professional, even as leaders reasserted their dominance over the courts.
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Realising China’s sustainable growth rate

FT China Feed - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:25
Beijing’s reforms have the potential to increase government expenditures and boost consumption
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China Asked to Back ICC Case Against North Korea

China Digital Times - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:23

The U.N.’s chief investigator into North Korean human rights issues has asked China to support an International Criminal Court case against Pyongyang, rejecting the widespread assumption that Beijing will inevitably shield its neighbor and ally. From Mirjam Donath at Reuters:

Michael Kirby, a former Australian judge who led the independent U.N. inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in North Korea, told reporters at U.N. headquarters that it was by no means certain Beijing would block an ICC referral.

“I don’t think a veto should be assumed,” Kirby said. “China is a very great pal with great responsibilities as a permanent member. Veto is not the way China does international diplomacy. China tends to find another way.”

[…] Kirby emphasized that China has only 10 vetoes, the lowest number of any of the five permanent members. That is a fraction of the dozens of times Russia and the United States have vetoed resolutions in the 15-nation council. [Source]

China defended North Korea against the U.N.’s “unfair criticism” earlier this year, however, and has barred the organization’s investigators from operating on its side of the border. At the same time, it has grown increasingly resistant to international pressure on its own rights situation.

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Panda Sluggers: U.S. Democrats Bash China

China Digital Times - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:11

At Slate, William Saletan describes a wave of China-bashing by current Democrat campaigns in the U.S.:

Exploiting American anxiety about Asia is a long, unsavory tradition. As the Soviet Union unraveled in the 1980s and 1990s, many candidates turned their xenophobic fire from Russia to Japan and Korea. The threat was no longer military; it was economic. Now the enemy is China, whose economy, by some measures, has just surpassed that of the United States. Democrats, tired of looking soft on ISIS or Ebola, are talking tough on China. And they’re trying to make Republicans look un-American.

[…] Republicans have done their share of Asia-baiting over the years. They’ve played on fears of competition (Chinese people saying, “We take your jobs”) and depicted the Chinese army marching in front of the United States Capitol. In Kentucky, a PAC supporting McConnell has countered the left’s China-baiting with its own flier in which Asians appear to thank Obama for attacking the American coal industry. A few Republicans have mentioned China in the context of United States debt (“borrowing from China”) or the futility of unilateral restrictions on carbon emissions (“The Chinese are building coal-fired plants”). But I’ve yet to see a 2014 Senate race in which a Republican is using China the way Democrats are using it. Republicans don’t need a foreign boogeyman. They have Obama. [Source]

Read more from CDT about anti-China rhetoric in U.S. political campaigns, from a racist 2012 political Super Bowl ad to Obama and Romney’s use of China as a “punch bag” during presidential debates the same year. At Foreign Affairs, Elizabeth Economy warns against such an adversarial tone from those in office:

[… A]lthough little in Xi’s domestic or foreign policy appears to welcome deeper engagement with the United States, Washington should resist framing its relationship with China as a competition. Treating China as a competitor or foe merely feeds Xi’s anti-Western narrative, undermines those in China pushing for moderation, and does little to advance bilateral cooperation and much to diminish the stature of the United States. […] [Source]

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Apple and Facebook Chiefs Navigate China Visits

China Digital Times - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:09

Following accusations that Apple threatens China’s national security while China tries to intercept Apple users’ cloud data, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing to “exchange views” on digital security on Wednesday. From Gillian Wong at The Wall Street Journal:

In an interview with Chinese news portal, Mr. Cook said the Cupertino, Calif., gadget maker will also increase investment in China by an unspecified amount. “In the future China will become Apple’s biggest revenue contributor,” he said, according to “It’s just a matter of time.”

[…] Mr. Cook’s trip is being portrayed by some Chinese media outlets as part of the company’s attempt to assuage concerns the Chinese government or public might have about the security of data stored on its phones. In July, state broadcaster China Central Television called a location-tracking function on the iPhone a “national security concern.” Apple has said it doesn’t keep user data.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Mr. Cook and China’s Vice Premier Ma Kai “exchanged views on protection of users’ information” when they met on Wednesday. [Source]

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and #Apple CEO @tim_cook Wed met in Beijing to discuss protection of users' information

— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) October 22, 2014

Despite mutual suspicion, Apple has developed what—which first revealed the recent iCloud attack—has called “a cozy and snuggly […] bromance” with China. In January, it announced plans to deepen ties with the colossal China Mobile carrier, while in August it sought to dispel unease about its use of China-based servers.

Concerns about factory conditions have also been a longstanding problem for the company in China. Cook tried to sweeten the image of Apple’s supply chain with a visit to a Foxconn production line for the new iPhone 6 in Zhengzhou:

Great to meet talented people like Zhang Fan, who helps make iPhone 6 in Zhengzhou. An early highlight of this trip.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 23, 2014

Also making an appearance in China was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who held a half-hour Q&A session at Beijing’s Tsinghua University as he took up a place on the advisory council of its School of Economics and Management. Speaking in Mandarin, Zuckerberg expressed hope that Facebook might one day win greater access to the country. From Austin Ramzy and Paul Mozur at The New York Times:

[…] Mr. Zuckerberg’s new association with Tsinghua University shows how Facebook is playing the long game in China. The hope appears to be that engagement with China, along with Facebook’s current operations selling advertisements to Chinese companies, will help the company some day open a form of its website in China.

[…] When asked about Facebook’s plans in China, Mr. Zuckerberg took two big gulps from his water bottle to laughter, and then said, “We’re already in China,” to more laughs.

“We help Chinese companies increase foreign customers, they use Facebook ads to find more customers,” he explained, citing how Lenovo uses Facebook to advertise in Indonesia. He added that Facebook had worked with Hangzhou and Qingdao to help those Chinese cities attract visitors via their Facebook pages.

“We want to help other places in the world connect to China,” he said. [Source]

Zuckerberg’s Chinese was greeted warmly by his audience, but met mixed reactions elsewhere.

Loving all the Zuck hate from the Chinese-speaking white guy contingent. You guys realize you sounded just like that in college right?

— Megha Rajagopalan (@meghara) October 23, 2014

Mark Zuckerberg's Chinese is not bad at all. Bravo! Basically demonstrates the level anybody can achieve in 2-3 yrs.

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 23, 2014

This is the vote that counts RT @akaDashan: Mark Zuckerberg's Chinese is not bad at all. Bravo!

— Aaron Back (@AaronBack) October 23, 2014

Judge for yourself from video of the session on Facebook, or read further highlights from Quartz and more on Zuckerberg’s language skills at The Washington Post.

While Facebook tries to break into China, the country’s leading smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has announced plans to break out, moving services for international users outside the Great Firewall. While citing performance as the main reason for the move, International VP Hugo Barra added that “it also better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations.” From Jon Russell at TechCrunch:

Xiaomi got itself into hot water this summer when it was found be sharing a range of user information with a server in China. A report from security company F-Secure found that the device’s IMEI number, customer’s phone number, phone contacts and text messages received were all shared but — importantly — there was no way for customers to opt out.

As with all things China and privacy-related, the revelation raised concerns that the information could be accessible by the Chinese government.

Xiaomi quickly offered an opt out for users, but moving their data overseas — MIUI services will be housed in Amazon AWS data centers in Oregon, USA, and Singapore — is the best response to any claims of nefarious intentions. [Source]

The Economist looked this week at the overseas expansion of Chinese smartphone brands, including Xiaomi. The obstacles ahead of them, from pronunciation to security fears and likely legal battles, appear steep but surmountable, it argues.

Another local firm on the move is OnePlus. Reviewers in developed markets have been raving about its clever handsets, which offer top-notch performance and features for around $300—less than half the list price of the latest iPhone. Carl Pei of OnePlus argues that unlike its rivals, his firm was “born a global company”. Since its founding late last year, it has targeted 16 countries—including such challenging markets as America and Britain. “It helps that a lot of people don’t know that we are a Chinese firm,” he confides.

[…] A serious threat to Chinese firms as they head overseas is lawsuits from Apple and Samsung, who themselves have long been entangled in nasty battles over intellectual property (IP). Ben Qiu of Cooley, an American law firm, believes that “Xiaomi is in dangerous waters of potential patent-infringement claims on the international markets.” But he argues that the firm’s clever management team, which includes former Google executives, can navigate these perilous seas because it is well prepared for legal and regulatory battles. [Source]

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Heard in the Hutong: China’s Legal Reform

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:45
China’s top party leaders met in Beijing this week for a plenary meeting devoted to governing the country according to law – the first time in its history the party has held a plenum on legal issues. As the meetings wound up, China Real Time hit the streets in Beijing to hear what residents think of the country’s legal system.
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Man of the Week: Cutlassfish Zhou

China Digital Times - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:07

Word of the Week comes from the Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

周带鱼 (Zhōu Dàiyú): Cutlassfish Zhou

Nickname for the nationalistic and anti-American writer Zhou Xiaoping. Zhou, who is loose with facts and quick to slander, has been praised by President Xi Jinping for his “positive energy.”

Zhou Xiaoping earned his nickname during the crackdown on Big Vs in 2013. In an August 26 blog post, Zhou excoriated Charles Xue (Xue Manzi to his followers), the Weibo celebrity and Chinese-American businessman who was detained for “soliciting prostitutes,” only to appear on CCTV days later apologizing for his online behavior:

To promote sales of water purifiers, Xue Manzi claims China’s water is poisoned. Because of this, Zhoushan’s cutlassfish farms cannot sell anything, leaving countless fish farming households to face bankruptcy. Xue is guilty of a most terrible crime. Who will punish him?

薛蛮子为净水器促销,诋毁中国水质有毒,造成舟山带鱼养殖场滞销,当地无数养殖农户面临破产,罪大恶极,谁来追究? [Chinese]

Cutlassfish, it turns out, cannot be farmed, and netizens will not let Zhou forget that point.

“Cutlassfish Zhou” is blocked from Weibo search results as of October 23, 2014, but searches for “Brother Cutlassfish” (带鱼哥) turn up several thousand comments.


文盲李世威: Because he refuted Cutlassfish Zhou point-by-point, Fang Zhouzi‘s Sina blog has been preemptively shut down. Soon we may not be able to see his Weibo or WeChat, either… (October 22, 2014)

方舟子因逐条反驳周带鱼所写正能量的文章,其新浪博客被预防性关闭,其微博、微信也可能即将看不了了…… [Chinese]

Want to learn more subversive netizen slang? Check out Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang. Available for $2.99 in the Kindle, Google Play, and iTunes stores. All proceeds from the sale of this eBook support China Digital Times.

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Photo: Umbrella, by Ge Li

China Digital Times - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:00
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China to boost socialist rule of law

FT China Feed - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 08:39
The scale of challenge is exposed by a skirmish in a remote village that left eight dead
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Xiaomi Moves International Users’ Data Out of China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 04:49
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi says it’s been moving data belonging to international users to servers outside of China, its latest effort at assuring users of privacy.
Categories: China

Pro-Democracy Banner Occupies Hong Kong’s Iconic Lion Rock, Spawns Memes

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 04:10
After occupying Hong Kong’s major roads, pro-democracy protesters have occupied a landmark dear to the hearts of the city’s residents.
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Banker Video-Bombs Live Interview With Hong Kong Protesters

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 02:57
A senior J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. banker walking to lunch on Wednesday interrupted a live roundtable webcast on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests to express his frustration over the continued street blockage.
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Investing in China’s Education Industry

China Briefing - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 00:34

China's education industry presents a rich, albeit immature, field of investment opportunities, with its highest growth in niche markets overseas school entrance prep and vocational certification. In this article, we survey some of the latest developments in the industry.

The post Investing in China’s Education Industry appeared first on China Briefing News.

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Yan Lianke: Finding Light in China’s Darkness

China Digital Times - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:40

Writer Yan Lianke was just awarded the Franz Kafka Prize in the Czech Republic. At the awards ceremony in Prague, he delivered a speech which has been translated and excerpted in the New York Times, in which he discusses his motivation behind becoming a writer:

Today’s China is no longer the China of my childhood. It has become rich and powerful, and because it has solved the basic problem of providing 1.3 billion people with food, clothing and some spending money, it has come to resemble a bright ray of light that illuminates the East. But beneath this light lies a long shadow.

When I look at contemporary China, I see a nation that is thriving yet distorted, developing yet mutated. I see corruption, absurdity, disorder and chaos. Every day, something occurs that lies outside ordinary reason and logic. A system of morality and a respect for humanity that was developed over several millenniums is unraveling.

Life is gloomy and depressing. Everyone is waiting for something dreadful to happen. This uneasy and fearful expectation has produced a collective sense of anxiety.

[...] It is a writer’s job to find life within this darkness. [Source]

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Picture China: Protester Plant, Wedding Gown of Face Masks, APEC

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 21:44
The day's China news in pictures: pro-democracy protesters plant a snake plant in Hong Kong, a Chinese artist wears a wedding gown made of face masks, a worker yawns inside the ballroom for APEC finance ministers meeting and more.
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China Economy on Track for Sweeping Reform, Report Finds

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 21:29
China’s leadership is making real headway in an ambitious program to liberalize its economy and if all goes to plan it will maintain a respectable 6% growth rate in 2020, according to a new detailed analysis of the reform agenda laid out at last year’s third plenum of the Chinese Communist Party.
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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Holds Q&A Session in Chinese

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 20:57
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg impressed a Chinese audience at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Wednesday by delivering a speech and a Q&A session entirely in Chinese.
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China Ex-Security Chief Zhou Yongkang Faces Likely Expulsion From Communist Party

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 20:21
Chinese President Xi Jinping has forcefully delivered his anticorruption commands for almost two years, and is expected to outline on Thursday how he plans to drive home the message.
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