Massive Flight Delays in Shanghai Cement Reputation of China’s Uncertain Skies

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 07:15
A new chapter in China’s long and inglorious history of airport delays is being written in Shanghai, but the details of how it started and when it will end are as opaque as the banks of smog that hover over the nation’s busiest runways.
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Casualties of China’s one-child policy

FT China Feed - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 05:03
Ricki Mudd, adopted by a family in the US, traces her birth parents in China and documents on film her life caught between two families
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Less Cheap, More Like an iPhone: The New Xiaomi Phone is Unveiled

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 03:07
Chinese phone maker Xiaomi Inc. emerged three years ago from nowhere to become one of the top-selling brands in China’s competitive smartphone market on the strength of its top-shelf specs and cheap prices. As of this year’s first quarter, Xiaomi had 11% of China’s smartphone market share, on par with Lenovo Group and trailing only Samsung Electronics, which commands some 18% of the market, according to data from research firm Canalys.
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Foreign food chains face China disruption

FT China Feed - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 02:48
Authorities step up checks on all mainland processing plants of a key supplier after allegations that it was passing off expired meat as fresh
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Journalist Fired Over Work for Hong Kong Website

China Digital Times - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 02:30

The New York Times’ Kiki Zhao reports the sudden firing of journalist Song Zhibiao over commentaries he wrote for a Hong Kong website. China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Film, Radio and Television barred journalists from working for media organizations outside mainland China earlier this month as part of a raft of new media regulations. Song was previously removed from a post at China Fortune’s parent publication, the Southern Metropolis Daily, after criticizing the government in a commentary on the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Ren Tianyang, the executive editor of Southern Metropolis Daily, said by telephone that he did not know the reasons for Mr. Song’s departure.

[…] Chen Min [also known by the pen name Xiao Shu], a former editor at Southern Weekend, a sister newspaper of Southern Metropolis Daily, until he himself was dismissed in 2011 because of his criticism of the government, said that the firing of Mr. Song and recent instructions not to cooperate with foreign media outlets “reflect the authorities’ deep insecurity, their profound distrust of society as a whole and their growing concern that they are losing control of public opinion.”

[…] “They purge you from traditional media, then crack down on you on Weibo,” Mr. Chen said. “And then they see you can still have a voice in overseas media. So, how to control that? They cut down the journalists.” [Source]

Orville Schell and David Schlesinger commented on recent restrictions in a previously featured ChinaFile conversation last week. Rogier Creemers and Wen Yunchao have since joined the discussion. Wen describes the development of friction between commercial media including the Southern Media Group and the authorities, while Creemers explores the triggers for the recent tightening of control:

What has changed […] is the perceived extent to which foreign presence is seen as harmful to domestic “information security.” After the Snowden revelations and the escalating tensions surrounding cybersecurity, the government has become increasingly concerned about domestic reliance on foreign telecommunications software and hardware, and has intensified efforts to develop indigenous technology. Shortly after Gao Yu was detained, Beijing reportedly ordered large, strategic state-owned enterprises to cut ties with foreign consultancy firms, apparently out of fear that these might engage in industrial espionage.

But perhaps most importantly, foreign reporting on China has vastly improved in quality and quantity in the past few years, and is reaching a quickly-growing domestic readership. Successive reports about the leadership’s wealth published by, amongst others, The New York Times and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, have further fuelled growing domestic disaffection, and challenged the credibility of official news outlets.

In response, the leadership now seems to be bent on erecting new barriers between domestic and international information environments: what happens in China, must stay in China. Conversely, what is outside may only enter under strict controls [….] [Source]

See the latest installment in The New York Times’ investigations of leaders’ wealth via CDT.

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In China, Online Sellers Already Taking iPhone 6 Preorders

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 01:31
The buzz around the upcoming launch of a pair of larger-screen iPhones has escalated in China with dozens of sellers on Alibaba’s online marketplace offering preorders for the new device.
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China’s Unusual Decision to Spy On Naval Exercises

China Digital Times - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 01:00

Jeremy Page at The Wall Street Journal reports that China sent a surveillance vessel to waters off Hawaii to monitor an international U.S.-led naval exercise in which China itself is participating for the first time:

China’s debut at the monthlong Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, exercises has been hailed by Chinese and U.S. officials as evidence of an improving military relationship, despite escalating tensions over territorial disputes in Asia.

But the presence of the surveillance ship, which can monitor other vessels’ electronic signals and communications, underlines the tensions between the two sides, and could harden political opposition in the U.S. to closer military ties with China.

“The U.S. Pacific Fleet has been monitoring a Chinese Navy surveillance ship operating in the vicinity of Hawaii outside U.S. territorial seas,” Capt. Darryn James, chief spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement.

“It has not entered the territorial seas of the U.S. and it is in accordance with international law regarding freedom of navigation,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s not been disruptive to Rimpac and we don’t expect it to be.” [Source]

China’s involvement in the naval exercise has attracted congressional opposition due to American legal restrictions on military cooperation with it, as well as the participation of Japan and the Philippines, with which China is engaged in ongoing territorial disputes. Jane Perlez at the New York Times reports:

The Obama administration invited China to join the exercises, known as Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, despite opposition by congressional critics who argue that China’s actions against United States allies — Japan in the East China Sea and the Philippines in the South China Sea — should not be rewarded with a role in the world’s biggest multinational navy exercise.

Moreover, these critics argue, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000, which was intended to prevent the transfer of American technological advantages to the Chinese, limits contact between the United States and Chinese militaries.

Concerns about the Chinese Navy’s assertive behavior were heightened in December when a Chinese warship almost collided with an American guided-missile cruiser in the South China Sea, coming within 100 yards of the American cruiser. The incident took place not far from where the Liaoning aircraft carrier was deployed in exercises. Mr. Hagel called the Chinese maneuver “irresponsible,” and the United States Navy said the American vessel was conducting routine freedom-of-navigation operations in international waters.

[...] The organizers of Rimpac, have been careful to keep China out of exercises on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which have been led by Japan, with which China has tussled over territorial claims. Some exercises have been off limits to China — the storming of a beach, hunting for submarines — because the presence of Chinese Navy personnel would violate the restrictions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000. [Source]

At The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Erickson and Emily de La Bruyere argue that China’s decision to survey the joint Rimpac exercises will likely limit its own ability to denounce the United States and other foreign countries for carrying out similar surveillance operations in the South China Sea.

Beijing has long argued—in opposition to international norms and the consensus of the vast majority of nations (pdf) —that it has the authority to prevent surveillance activities outside its territorial waters but within its claimed EEZ. On this basis, it has bitterly opposed lawful U.S. surveillance activities and engaged in dangerous harassment of U.S. platforms involved in them, most prominently in the Impeccable Incident of 2009.

Now, driven by its own maritime interests and trajectory, China is shifting on this issue, pursuing approaches that will complicate future opposition to similar U.S. surveillance activities.

“Chinese maritime intelligence collection operations increased in 2012,” the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Samuel Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April last year, “with historic first such missions into the Indian Ocean and within the U.S. exclusive economic zones off of Guam and Hawaii .” China’s acknowledgement at the 2013 Shangri La Dialogue of its conducting military surveillance in America’s undisputed EEZ may presage reduced opposition to similar activities in China’s own EEZ as China rises as a maritime power with access interests of its own.

For now, however, Beijing is living a contradiction while Washington adheres to long-established principles (pdf). [Source]

Admiral Greenert, the United States chief of naval operations, had discussed several maritime cooperation proposals with China when he visited the country’s aircraft carrier last week. Jeremy Page at The Wall Street Journal reports:

Adm. Greenert said he tried to build on eight proposals for cooperation made by Adm. Wu last September. One was China’s attending the naval drills off Hawaii. Another was implementing a code for unplanned encounters at sea, or CUES, signed by 21 Pacific naval powers in April.

[...] He also said he met for the first time last week with China’s State Oceanic Administration, which oversees the coast guard, and discussed whether they, too, could observe elements of CUES.

“They were open to the concept and saw the value in pursuing it,” he said of the officials overseeing the coast guard, which has often been used to enforce China’s maritime claims.

Other areas of proposed cooperation include sending officers to each other’s naval academies and war colleges, and arranging simple joint exercises at short notice in the Gulf of Aden, the Mediterranean, the South China Sea and the East China Sea, he said. [Source]

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Traditional Chinese Medicine Session: Caption Contest

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 00:41
How many words is a picture really worth? In a recurring feature, China Real Time is asking readers to dream up captions for recent news photos.
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McDonald’s, KFC Scandal Exposes Limits of Foreign Reputation for Food Safety in China

China Briefing - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 00:04

China's newest food scandal exposes the complex workings of brand reputation in China and the economic and political forces bearing upon it.

The post McDonald’s, KFC Scandal Exposes Limits of Foreign Reputation for Food Safety in China appeared first on China Briefing News.

Categories: China

Sea troubles reveal China’s foreign policy

FT China Feed - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:57
Beijing is no longer simply responding to prodding or provocations from surrounding states but acting on its own initiative
Categories: China

Live like a Red Army guerrilla for a day

FT China Feed - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:40
Dubbed ‘red tourism’, China’s under-35 tourists are increasingly choosing to visit sites that glorify the Chinese Communist party
Categories: China

Red tourism: Let a million Chinese bloom

FT China Feed - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:40
China’s newly affluent visit sites that deify Mao
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Amid Tensions in Asia, U.S.-China Military Ties Improve

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 23:33
China is seeking greater access to U.S. aircraft carriers and guidance on how to operate its own first carrier, testing the limits of a newly cooperative military relationship.
Categories: China

McDonald’s, Yum Meat Supplier in China ‘Appalled’ by Allegations

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 22:31
The U.S. owner of a meat supplier in Shanghai apologized and promised a swift response Monday after McDonald's Corp. and Yum Brands Inc. suspended purchases in China in the wake of allegations it sold expired chicken and beef to restaurants.
Categories: China

Heard in the Hutong: Will China’s Rise Lead to Conflict?

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 21:56
With Xi Jinping currently finishing up a trip to South America following a meeting of BRICS leaders in Brazil, China Real Time hit the streets of Beijing to find out what residents think about China’s place in the world.
Categories: China

Tibetan Leader Knows Value of Taking the Long View

China Digital Times - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 21:45

At the New York Times, Ellen Barry spoke with Lobsang Sangay, head of the exiled Tibetan government in Dharamsala, about politics, sports, and his administration’s approach towards Beijing. 

Mr. Sangay likes sports. He can explain why: You win, or you lose. Then you close the book on that episode and start over. This could not be more different from the mission that he took on in 2011, when he left a comfortable life at Harvard to begin a five-year term as sikyong, the leader of the Tibetans’ exile administration. This coincided with a momentous decision by the Dalai Lama, the exiles’ head of state since 1959, to devolve his political power to the new prime minister.

Since Mr. Sangay took over, it has been difficult to close the book on anything. China, which once gave lip service to negotiations on Tibet’s status, has refused to meet with him or his representatives. Western countries are increasingly squeamish about getting involved. With the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday a year away and no clear plan for succession, anxiety has settled like a pall over Dharamsala. Some activists criticize Mr. Sangay for being too rigid with China, others for watering down Tibetan demands in an attempt to bring Beijing to the table. Meanwhile, it is his job to inspire confidence when there is little sign of progress.

Considering all this, Mr. Sangay is surprisingly even-keeled. Asked why, he says he falls back on the Buddhist notion of impermanence. He also uses what he learned as a fan of the Red Sox, during the long years before the team’s luck turned.

“There is this unfulfilled desire, unfulfilled aspiration,” he said. “That keeps you going.” [Source]

Read more about Tibet via CDT, .

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How a Burned Out Shangri-La Celebrated the Fire Festival

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 19:36
Thanks to a devastating fire six months ago, Shangri-La's center city is now a giant construction project. Yesterday, Shangri-La celebrated its Torch Festival. How? With a giant fire, of course.
Categories: China

Netizen Voices: Yum Brands Scandal

China Digital Times - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 17:12

Yum Brands Inc.—the parent company that owns KFC, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut—has faced its share of trials in a China. In 2012, Yum’s earnings took a hit after it was revealed that KFC was using chickens with excessive levels of antibiotics. Since then, as Chinese media does its part to guard the interests of a population with justified concerns about food safetyforeign chains have faced much scrutiny. Over the weekend, Shanghai-based Dragon TV (东方卫视) ran a report [Chinese] showing factory workers at a Yum supplier mixing meat as much as a year past its expiration date with fresh product, and tossing meat picked from the floor into the processor. Food regulators have since suspended operations at the plant, and both KFC and McDonalds issued apologies on their Weibo accounts. The New York Times reports:

The program, broadcast Sunday evening on Dragon TV, showed hidden-camera footage of workers at a meat-processing plant operated by Shanghai Husi Food using out-of-date chicken and beef to make burger patties and chicken products for McDonald’s and KFC. In some cases, workers were shown scooping up meat that had fallen onto the assembly line floor and throwing it back into a processing machine.

In response, the Chinese units of McDonald’s and KFC said in news releases posted from their official Sina Weibo social-media accounts that they had halted use of all products from Shanghai Husi, which is owned by the OSI Group, based in Aurora, Ill.

The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said in a Sina Weibo post late Sunday that it had suspended production at Shanghai Husi and had begun a joint investigation with the local police into accusations that the processing plant was using out-of-date meat in its products. [Source]

CDT translates the release from McDonald’s Weibo account (@麦当劳):

麦当劳: McDonald’s takes seriously the Dragon TV report on Husi. We have issued the following statement:


McDonald’s takes seriously the Dragon TV report on Husi. At first notice, we notified all of our national stores. We have immediately stopped using all Husi meat products, and have sealed off all Husi products for safety. At the same time, the company immediately created a group to launch a thorough investigation of Husi and all companies connected to it. We will publicize the results of the investigation as soon as possible. Food safety is our top priority at McDonald’s. In order to guarantee that our customers can enjoy our products without worry, McDonald’s strictly observes national laws and regulations and related standards, and holds our suppliers to the same standards. We have zero tolerance for violations of law and regulation.

McDonald’s (China) Co. Ltd.

July 20, 2014 [Chinese source]

McDonald’s weibo assurance attracted over 4,000 user comments. Following are a few of the top-voted responses, translated by CDT:

王哲理-C: Good thing my family’s poor. We can’t afford to eat your fancy Western fast food. From now on, everyone should give up McDonald’s. If you want to eat something good, make it yourself. Health really is the most important thing.


大苑子-: Those ingredients were from a Chinese supplier. It’s Chinese people hurting themselves.


羊羽叔叔: Get the hell out of China! The food safety bureau should eat McDonald’s and KFC!


KFC’s statement attracted nearly 4,500 comments. Currently, the most discussed theme (话题) on Weibo is “#McDonald’s, KFC Supplier Exposed#” (#麦当劳肯德基供应商被曝光# )—the hash-tag has been used over 82 million times. The “hottest subject” (热门主题) is “Famous Fast-food Supplier’s Dirty Tricks,” and here are a few of the most popular comments:

银教授: I was buying a sandwich at KFC and the cashier said to me, “Sir, your coupon has expired. You can’t use it.” “Oh,” I replied, “so you know that you can’t use things that are expired?”

在肯德基买汉堡,服务员对我说:“先生,您的优惠卷已过期,不能用了。” “哦?你还知道过期的不能用?”

哑巴: Are my values off? After watching the report, I feel like McDonald’s and KFC are victims, too. The report says McDonald’s often went to Husi for inspection, but that they were duped every time by false accounts. These fast food restaurants don’t have the ability to check every batch of ingredients. They can only select large, “dependable” suppliers. And isn’t it the responsibility of the health inspection department to determine “dependability”? Does Husi also provide expired meat to restaurants in other countries?


NightMeteora: The main question is whether government inspections are perfunctory.


陈剑殛: What’s your logic? If you ate maggoty pork at a restaurant and the restaurant said “the meat was purchased at a standard market, don’t blame us, blame the government,” would you honestly blame the government?


Reuters notes a slight fall in Yum and McDonald’s shares, and quotes a young Shanghai diner with little faith in the supply chain:

McDonald’s and Yum are the top two brands by sales in China’s $174 billion fast-food market, according to Euromonitor, but face a challenge as local firms try to tempt cost-conscious diners with healthy, home-grown fare. Both companies said they are investigating the issues highlighted in the report and said that switching suppliers will cause some temporary product shortages.

News of the scare spread quickly to diners negotiating Shanghai’s lunch-hour rush on Monday.

[...] Yet Chinese consumers may already have developed a comparatively thick skin when it comes to food scandals. “Isn’t everywhere like this?” asked student Li Xiaoye, 20, eating a beef burger in a Shanghai McDonald’s outlet. “I’ll keep going because wherever I eat, the issues are all the same.” [Source]

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Video: Who Speaks on Our Behalf?

China Digital Times - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 15:08

CDT has translated a Ming’en Media (明恩传媒) video comparing the amount of public interaction allowed at hearings in China with public hearings elsewhere in the world. This video was one of three Ming’en videos that China’s censors ordered to be taken down from video hosting websites in a directive in May.

(Click “CC” on the bottom of the YouTube window to view English subtitles.)

Click here to view the embedded video.

The video is currently available on Chinese video hosting website YouKu. Also see CDT’s translation of the Ming’en Media video “Who Made Us the Proletariat?

Translation by Mengyu Dong.

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