China

Hong Kong Government, Pro-Democracy Protesters Hold Talks: Recap

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 05:12
Talks in Hong Kong are kicking off this evening after pro-democracy street protests, now in their fourth week, have rocked the Chinese territory.
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China’s Xi Plumbs ‘Dark Core’ of Tradition for Answers on Law

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 02:30
The dominant image that Xi Jinping ’s China projects to the world is one of a country that is thrusting determinedly outward. At home, however, the Chinese president is headed in a very different direction.
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Intel’s Take on Chinese Startups and Innovation

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 02:05
Intel Capital President Arvind Sodhani talks about his firm’s strategy of investing in Chinese startups, how the approach fits in with Intel’s core business, and the state of innovation in Chinese tech companies.
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Apple’s Sales Slow in Greater China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 01:38
Record demand for new larger-screen iPhones helped buoy Apple’s earnings but the technology company’s revenue growth in Greater China slowed sharply in the last quarter due to a delayed launch in mainland China.
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Smog Is Driving Tourists Away From China, Report Says

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 01:02
The outlook for tour operators in the Middle Kingdom is dim – thanks in part to the blanket of smog obscuring much of the country, notably its capital city.
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Rory McIlroy Pulls Out of Tournaments in China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 00:43
Rory McIlroy, the world’s top golfer, has pulled out of two big tournaments taking place in China in the coming weeks as he is involved in a legal wrangle with his former management company.
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Despite Sales Bump, All Is Not Well in China’s Real Estate Market

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:52
China home sales enjoyed a bit of a bump last month, but Beijing’s Tuesday data dump suggests the country’s vast property sector faces more suffering ahead.
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Winning, and Watching, Hearts and Minds in Xinjiang

China Digital Times - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:35

With tensions continuing to rise between local Uyghur residents of Xinjiang and Han authorities, a series of recent violent incidents have killed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people. Meanwhile, authorities continue to employ harsh tactics to crack down on what they deem “separatist” behavior. Now a new program promises a softer approach to “win the hearts and minds” of Uyghurs by sending hundreds of thousands of Party officials to rural regions to interact with the local population. But as Tom Phillips reports for the Telegraph, the plan also includes a more sinister purpose:

“The basic idea is to visit families, build unity and bring them benefits,” said one of the 12 officials in Bayandai village. “It is a project to win people’s hearts and to improve the local economy and people’s lives.”

But there is also a second, largely unspoken task for the team, and for the rest of the officials who are fanning out across 8,000 villages in Xinjiang: to gather intelligence on the lives of the villagers and create a vast community surveillance network in this huge and troubled region.

“Nominally they are there to listen to the people,” said Dr James Leibold, a specialist on China’s ethnic policy from La Trobe University in Australia. “But one of the things they have also been tasked with is surveillance.”

The teams have been told to interview each household in their village and compile detailed reports on their employment status as well as on their observance of Islam, noting down, for example, whether the women wear veils and the men have beards. [Source]

According to the Telegraph report, the plan would, “help thwart terrorist activities and extremist thought.” China has blamed the recent violence on the rise of religious extremism from abroad, but other observers believe it is an extreme response to systematic government repression of the Muslim minority group.

While evidence of sustained links between global jihadist groups and Uyghurs in Xinjiang remains sketchy, some jihadist groups have condemned the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs. A publication affiliated with Al Qaeda recently called Xinjiang “occupied Muslim land”, calling for it to be “recovered [into] the shade of the Islamic Caliphate.” James Griffiths reports for the South China Morning Post:

Produced by the jihadist organisation’s As-Sahab media wing, the 117-page debut issue of Resurgence includes a feature titled “Did You Know? 10 Facts About East Turkistan,” referring to the name for Xinjiang used by those who advocate independence from China.

While much of the article is inaccurate – it claims, for example, that teaching the Quran is illegal in China (Islam is one of the country’s five recognised official religions) – it shows how China’s actions in the region, such as encouraging the migration of Han Chinese into Xinjiang and restricting religious dress, are being used by jihadist organisations to confirm their belief that Muslims are under threat.

[...] “In recent years [jihadist organisations] have expressed an interest in the alleged oppression of Xinjiang Uygurs by the Han Chinese,” Ahmed Hashim, a terrorism expert and associate international studies professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, told the South China Morning Post. “China is being seen as an oppressive power as it grows in strength.” [Source]

In July, the leader of the Islamic State gave a speech in Iraq in which he vowed to get revenge on a number of countries, including China, which had “seized Muslim rights.”

Read more about Xinjiang, Uyghurs, and violence in the region, via CDT.

© Sophie Beach for China Digital Times (CDT), 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
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Expensive Cameras the Latest Corruption Tell-tale

China Digital Times - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:28

Global Times reports that high-end photography gear has become a sign of officials’ illicit income, in a similar vein to the luxury wristwatches which have betrayed many of their owners:

The Xinhua News Agency carried an article on September 23 about officials accepting bribes and using public funds to pay for their hobby.

For instance, an unidentified “senior official” used a police helicopter during a trip in Henan in order to take overhead photos of swans in the Yellow River, Xinhua reported.

His plan was fruitless, as the loud noise of helicopter scared the swans away.

Xinhua reported that [recently dismissed Henan official Qin Yuhai] claimed that his all of his equipment was gifts from a local businessman. Qin allegedly got rid of his most pricey lenses and accessories before authorities launched an official probe that yielded millions of yuan in equipment.

[…] For corrupt officials, photography also provides a convenient way to transmit bribes. Because art appraisal can be subjective, amateur works can be sold legitimately for astonishingly high prices. [Source]

Reuters’ Ben Blanchard reports that the gift loophole may soon be closed:

Currently, officials can defend themselves from accusations of receiving bribes by saying money or other goods received, like luxury watches or bags, were just a present from a friend, the official China Daily reported.

It is only considered a crime if a link can be made to some sort of abuse of power, it said.

[…] The gift rules will probably be changed at a regular meeting of the National People’s Congress opening on Oct. 27, the newspaper said.

“The draft is likely to deem that accepting gifts or money of a considerable amount would be punishable for all government officials,” it added. [Source]

© Samuel Wade for China Digital Times (CDT), 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
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Watch: Fire Breathing Dragon-Horse Faces Off Against Spider in Beijing

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:23
It was ballet meets Transformers at a three-day performance put on by the French company La Machine to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and China.
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Hong Kong Leader Warns Poor Would Sway Vote: Readers React

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 23:04
Readers react to comments made by Hong Kong’s leader, who says a popular vote would give the city's poor too much power.
Categories: China

Economists React: China’s Slowing Growth Is OK – For Now

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:31
Economists weigh in on the health of the Chinese economy and what the government should do next to sustain reasonable growth.
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Picture China: Lego Protesters, Leaflets in Tiananmen, Leaders on Plates

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:27
The day's China news in pictures: A Lego creation depicts Hong Kong protesters confronting riot police, Chinese paramilitary police pick up protest leaflets thrown at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, decorative plates featuring Chinese leaders are seen in a shop window and more.
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Economics underpins HK political divide

FT China Feed - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:00
Dynamism comes at the price of the widest income gap in the developed world
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Hong Kong Leader: Popular Vote Would Give Poor Too Much Power

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 20:08
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that if the government met student demands and allowed candidates to be nominated by the public, Hong Kong’s poor and working class could dominate the elections.
Categories: China

As China Mulls Legal Reform, Its Judges Are Leaving in Droves

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 20:01
Dealing with the disillusionment in the judiciary is one challenge for President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders going into a policy meeting, where promoting rule of law is top on the agenda.
Categories: China

New 3-D Musical Brings China’s Terracotta Warriors to Life

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 19:31
A retired Denver surgeon is bringing China’s ancient terracotta warriors to life in an offbeat, Broadway-style extravaganza.
Categories: China

Is Your China Manufacturing Business Ready for Next Year’s Flood of Cheaper Vietnamese Products?

China Briefing - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 19:17

Vietnam’s lower operating costs – in terms of both land-use rights and worker salaries – mean that inevitably, production of low and medium tech products will leech away from China into ASEAN. Here is a checklist of the issues your China manufacturing base will face as a result of this.

The post Is Your China Manufacturing Business Ready for Next Year’s Flood of Cheaper Vietnamese Products? appeared first on China Briefing News.

Categories: China

Party “May Never” Open All Files on Painful Past

China Digital Times - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 18:17

Reuters’ Ben Blanchard reports comments from a senior Party scholar on the dim prospects for public release of sensitive historical documents:

Xie Chuntao, Director of the Party History Teaching and Research Department of the Party School, which trains rising officials, said the party had reflected deeply on its mistakes.

[…] “Everyone has reached a consensus that the mistakes of the past will certainly not be repeated today or in the future.”

Only a “small number” of the party’s historical files were still sealed, he said.

“Some involve the state’s core interests, and some are not convenient to be released,” Xie added.

“From a historical research it is to be hoped that it would be best if they are all opened. But I fear this cannot happen, and may never happen.” [Source]

© Samuel Wade for China Digital Times (CDT), 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
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China Accused of Infiltrating Apple’s iCloud

China Digital Times - Mon, 10/20/2014 - 17:44

Apple’s aggressive promotion of encryption for its devices’ internal storage has won praise from privacy advocates and criticism from U.S. law enforcement, met in turn with vigorous counterargument and talk of a reopening of the “Crypto wars” of the 1990s. As Apple itself has argued, however, data stored in the cloud remains relatively vulnerable. Censorship monitor GreatFire.org highlighted this risk on Monday, revealing an apparent attempt to intercept Apple users’ iCloud data across China:

This is clearly a malicious attack on Apple in an effort to gain access to usernames and passwords and consequently all data stored on iCloud such as iMessages, photos, contacts, etc. Unlike the recent attack on Google, this attack is nationwide and coincides with the launch today in China of the newest iPhone. While the attacks on Google and Yahoo enabled the authorities to snoop on what information Chinese were accessing on those two platforms, the Apple attack is different. If users ignored the security warning and clicked through to the Apple site and entered their username and password, this information has now been compromised by the Chinese authorities. Many Apple customers use iCloud to store their personal information, including iMessages, photos and contacts. This may also somehow be related again to images and videos of the Hong Kong protests being shared on the mainland.

[…] This attack will come as a surprise to Apple. In the past, the company has had a bromance with the authorities and have blindly acquiesced when asked to remove apps from the China app store. With such a close, cozy and snuggly relationship, it is hard to imagine that the executives at Apple felt that they would get this kind of treatment in China. Tim Cook is looking in his mirror now and crying “What did I do wrong?”.

This episode should provide a clear warning signal to foreign companies that work with the Chinese authorities on their censorship agenda. […] [Source]

The post includes evidence of the attack and advice on how to avoid it.

One recent development in the Cupertino-Beijing “bromance” was Apple’s decision to host Chinese users’ information on servers within the country, leased from China Telecom. The company claimed that encryption would prevent unauthorized access, but questions remain over its vulnerability to legal requests from authorities.

Meanwhile, Apple’s new Yosemite desktop operating system has been found to transmit search and location data, though this can easily be disabled.

© Samuel Wade for China Digital Times (CDT), 2014. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
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