Sichuan Village Votes to Expel HIV-positive Boy

China Digital Times - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 20:50

At the Telegraph, Robert Foyle Hunwick reports that a village in Sichuan Province has unanimously signed a petition to expel an 8-year-old boy after he was diagnosed HIV-positive:

In a case that has drawn an outpouring of sympathy, all 203 members of Shufangya village in south west China’s Sichuan province, pressed their thumbs in red ink onto the petition to banish the boy, nicknamed Kun Kun by the Chinese state media.

Kun Kun, who was at the meeting, could only look on as his grandfather, with whom he lives, also signed.

“The villagers sympathise with him, he is innocent, and only a small child. But his AIDS is too scary for us,” said Wang Yishu, party chief of Shufangya village, to the People’s Daily website.

Kun Kun’s sad talehighlights a raft of social problems facing China’s rural communities, as well as efforts by the government to reverse some of the damage done by decades of failed HIV/AIDS policies. […] [Source]

Kun Kun is one of more than 60 million “left-behind children,” his biological parents having left him in the Sichuan village to earn money in the city. The Telegraph report notes that after learning of Kun Kun’s diagnosis, his stepfather—whose adopted parents are now watching the child—disowned the boy and stopped sending money. AIDS discrimination continues in China despite anti-discrimination laws. In recent years efforts to combat stigma surrounding the virus have been made by activists, NGOs, and theatrical film productions. Late last year, Li Keqiang’s efforts to urge AIDS empathy and activism was met with some skepticism; the premier has been accused of playing a major role in covering up the blood for cash scandal that left tens of thousands in rural Henan infected with the virus while he was provincial Party chief.

Coverage from the BBC notes a mixed response to the Shufangya petition on social media, and a local official’s stated plan to “conduct ideological education” in the village:

Kun Kun’s case sparked intense discussion on weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogs, where the reaction was a mix of scepticism, sympathy for the villagers, and pity for Kun Kun.

Some of the most popular comments questioned Kun Kun’s predicament. “Such a young child! How could he have contracted Aids?” said one user.

Others pointed out Kun Kun’s unruly behaviour and said he presented a “safety risk” to the villagers.

But many also expressed sympathy for Kun Kun and condemned the villagers’ behaviour.

“This has to do with many people lacking knowledge, and the crux of the matter is there needs to be more education to avoid more such situations,” said one user.

A local official told the paper that they planned to “conduct ideological education” for the villagers, and also look for an organisation to take in Kun Kun as his grandparents, who are his guardians, are elderly. [Source]

Read more about HIV/AIDS and AIDS discrimination in China, via CDT.

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Investing in China’s Art Auction Market

China Briefing - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 20:39

China’s art and antiques market is the world’s largest, with 2013 sales exceeding US$8.5 billion, up 28.8 percent from 2012. In 2013, the overseas market of Chinese art and antiques was US$2.3 billion. Foreign art investors seeking to enter the China's art auction market need to be concerned with distinguishing fakes, capturing deposits from affluent buyers and hiring professionals.

The post Investing in China’s Art Auction Market appeared first on China Briefing News.

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India Is Catching Up With China in Dirty Money Exports

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 20:02
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the “Make in India” campaign to make India an export powerhouse like China, the South Asian nation is already rapidly catching up with China in its exports of one unlikely commodity: black money.
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China’s 2014 Internet Memes

China Digital Times - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 18:13

At Quartz, Lily Kuo and Zheping Huang compile a list of this year’s most symbolic Chinese Internet memes that capture “the country’s hopes and fears.”

Daddy Xi

A nickname for Chinese president Xi Jinping, Xi dada “习大大,” or literally “Xi Big Big” first originated on China’s Weibo microblog last year. The moniker, which can also be taken to mean Uncle Xi in northern Chinese dialect, eventually broke through to the mainstream, becoming a common term used by Chinese state media and regular citizens.

The term gives Xi an air of accessibility—something he’s been going for since the beginning of his tenure as head of the Chinese communist party—but also a kind of paternalistic authority. ‘‘‘Uncle’ or ‘Daddy’ Xi,’’ after all, portrays him as something of a patriarch of the Chinese people, just as the emperor in imperial times was regarded as ‘father and mother of the people,’’Daniel Gardner, a history professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, told the New York Timesblog Sinosphere.

[…] APEC blue

When China pulled out all the stops to ensure that leaders attending the the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit last month in Beijing would enjoy clear skies, Beijing residents criticized the effort, seeing it as evidence that Chinese officials have the capability to clean up the city’s noxious air pollution, but lack the will except when world leaders come to town. APEC has a new meaning among Chinese netizens: “Air Pollution Eventually Controlled.”

Now APEC蓝” or “APEC blue” is used to symbolize the government’s unwillingness to do things for its own people, with a secondary meaning as anything that is beautiful but ephemeral. One Weibo user explained the term this way: “He’s not really that into you. It’s just an APEC blue.” Beijing smog, on the other hand, refers to something unattractive but long-lasting. “He is so into you. It’s like a Beijing smog on a Saturday in December,” the blogger wrote. [Source]

Read definitions of more Internet memes in CDT’s Grassmud Horse Lexicon.

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China’s Ebola Vaccine Enters Clinical Trials

China Digital Times - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 18:09

Xinhua reports that a China-made Ebola vaccine has been approved for human testing.

An Ebola vaccine developed by a military-tied research institute has been approved to enter the human test stage, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) General Logistics Department announced Thursday.

The restructured vaccine, developed by the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMC), is based on the 2014 mutant gene type and especially targets the strain plaguing west Africa. [Source]

The Chinese vaccine is the third Ebola vaccine in the world to enter clinical trials following those developed in the U.S. and Canada. Adam Jourdan at Reuters reports:

The news agency did not say when the trials would start, but other media said it would be this month.

British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC is one of the front runners in developing an Ebola vaccine along with a vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink. Both are in clinical trials, while other experimental vaccines are expected to start clinical trials next year.

[…] Chinese biotechnology firm Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology Inc is also involved in developing the vaccine, Xinhua said. [Source]

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China’s Glaciers Melted Over the Past 60 Years Could Cover Yellowstone Park

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:30
Climate change has resulted in the melting of an area of glaciers in China larger than Yellowstone National Park over the past 60 years, a recent academic study shows.
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Of Decay and Design: The Final Installment in Director’s Taipei Trilogy

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:30
Taiwanese director Chen Hung-I’s “Design 7 Love” is an urban romantic drama set against the backdrop of Taipei’s booming design industry, particularly interior design. The new film, which revolves around seven characters and their complicated romantic and workplace relationships, is the final installment of Mr. Chen’s Taipei trilogy.
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China’s Internet Propaganda Machine Revealed

China Digital Times - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 13:56

Blogger “Xiaolan” recently leaked a large archive of email correspondence from the Internet Information Office of Zhanggong District, Ganzhou City, Jiangxi from 2013 and 2014. Described as “evidence of the work of the Fifty Cent Party,” the more than 2,700 emails reveal one small part of the massive Internet propaganda apparatus used by the Communist Party to “guide public opinion” in the digital age. At Quartz, Nikhil Sonnad examines Zhanggong’s “surprisingly large, yet comically unsophisticated” propaganda department, corresponding with Xiaolan on how he managed to obtain Zhanggong documents, and examining emails tied to an online Q&A with Ganzhou Party Secretary and “propaganda innovator” Shi Wenqing:

Xiaolan—he only goes by that name—communicated with Quartz through encrypted chat messages. He said he was able to hack into Zhanggong’s propaganda department’s email account the easy way: by guessing the password.

“Generally, the passwords for government departments are the name of the department followed by ‘123456’ or something like that,” Xiaolan said. In this case, the mailbox password was “xcb123456,” with “xcb” representing the first letter of the romanization of each character in 宣传部—”propaganda department.”

[…] The internet exchange Quartz examined took place on January 16, 2014, with the online discussion hosted by Ganzhou Net, a local news portal managed by the propaganda department. (The full video of the interview is available online, in Chinese.) In its email announcing the Q&A to wangpingyuan, the department told each of them to post in the forum at least once, suggesting seven “discussion points” to focus on in their comments. Here’s one:

It’s almost Chinese New Year, but it seems like taxis are far more orderly than in past years. Also, taxi drivers are using their meters more reliably and the service is just generally better. Let’s keep it up!

Paid commenters tend to paste these suggestions word-for-word to meet their quotas and move on, and that’s what many of them appear to have done in this case.

[…] “These commenters just write their work report, send it, and are finished,” said Xiao [Qiang], the CDT editor. “Their tasks are totally mechanical.”

Not all paid comments are copy-and-paste jobs, however […] [Source]

Click through for more insight into China’s Internet propaganda machine. Also see CDT’s explanation of the Zhanggong leaks, a translated work report from the archive parroting frequent English-language defender of the CCP Eric X. Li, or Xiaolan’s original blogpost and instructions for downloading the entire archive (via CDT Chinese).

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100 Vietnamese Brides Disappear from Hebei Village

China Digital Times - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 13:44

China currently has a gender ratio of 117 men to 100 women, leading men in rural areas of China to find brides from Vietnam and other countries in southeast Asia. This in turn has generated a market for human trafficking as women are bought and sold by alleged “matchmakers.” Recently in villages near Handan, Hebei Province, more than 100 Vietnamese women have disappeared from their homes. BBC reports:

The bachelors had paid tens of thousands of yuan each to the Vietnamese matchmaker, named by local media as Wu Meiyu, who had been living in Hebei for more than 20 years.

Earlier this year she had gone around rural areas in Hebei looking for customers, promising them a Vietnamese bride for a 115,000 yuan ($18,600; £11,800) fee, the reports said.

On 20 November, the wives reportedly told their husbands that they were having a meal with other Vietnamese brides. They subsequently became uncontactable.

When the husbands went to Ms Wu’s home to confront her, they found out that she had left a few days earlier. [Source]

Bree Feng at the New York Times has more on the investigation into the disappearances:

The police in Quzhou County have reportedly detained three people in connection with the investigation and are searching for Ms. Wu and another suspect, who has the surname Li. Although news reports have put the number of missing women at more than 100, the police said that only 28 villagers had reported such fraud, China Daily reported last week.

Those who filed police reports were all from villages under the jurisdiction of Handan, which is best known as the birthplace of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

Stories of Vietnamese brides have become common in rural China, where many bachelors say they are squeezed out of the marriage market because they lack the funds to satisfy the demands of Chinese families. Unfortunately for these men, runaway foreign brides are also common — though 100 in one area is a larger number than usual.

Although the police suspect that the Hebei case involves marriage fraud, Chinese government officials and international rights organizations have expressed concern that some international marriages involve human trafficking. [Source]

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Chinese Villagers Sign Petition to Evict 8-Year-Old Boy With HIV

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 07:36
Villagers in a hamlet in Sichua province's Xichong county this month signed a petition to oust from their midst an 8-year-old, HIV-positive boy, according to official media.
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Avon Aims to Wash Off China Mud With $135-Million Graft Settlement

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:54
Details of a settlement between Avon Products Inc. and the U.S. government illustrate there’s nothing pretty about selling make-up in China.
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After the ‘Shock and Awe’: China’s Anti-Corruption Quagmire

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 04:01
Stories out of central China's Henan province highlight a major challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anticorruption crusade: to not only to halt graft but also--once malfeasance is contained--to prevent it from reappearing.
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Jack Ma vs. Wang Jianlin: A Gripping Fight Atop China’s Rich List

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 03:21
Internet mogul Jack Ma and property tycoon Wang Jianlin are wrestling for the top spot on China’s billionaire list this year, as e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shops are at daggers drawn over the future of Chinese consumption.
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A Glimpse Into How Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Works

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:59
Despite increasing media coverage, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi remains little-known, especially when it comes to its financial details or structure. For potential investors in the company, an important thing to remember is that Xiaomi isn’t just one company.
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Hong Kong Banks Shut Down US Accounts Rather Than Deal with FATCA

China Briefing - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 02:43

Since the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) came into effect in early July, many Hong Kong based banks have been refusing to open new accounts for, and even shutting down the existing accounts of, American individuals and corporations.

The post Hong Kong Banks Shut Down US Accounts Rather Than Deal with FATCA appeared first on China Briefing News.

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Chinese Consumer Demand in South Korea ‘Staggering,’ Analyst Says

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 00:58
The explosion of the so-called Korean wave in China has been startling even to close observers of Chinese consumer behavior like Erwan Rambourg, consumer goods analyst for HSBC.
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China Gets Even Colder for Reporters

China Digital Times - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 23:29

The Chinese government’s control over domestic journalists has only intensified since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, and the country is now the world’s leading jailor of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. While foreign reporters working in China generally operate with more freedom than their Chinese counterparts, authorities are tightening their reins as well through a variety of intimidation tactics, according to a report by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times:

Many foreign correspondents say it is increasingly difficult to carry out their work here. Tibet remains off limits, and the volatile western region of Xinjiang has effectively become a no-go zone, with police harassment making it nearly impossible to investigate the bloody clashes between ethnic Uighurs and Chinese security forces that claimed hundreds of lives in 2014.

Earlier this week, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China published a harrowing catalog of recent incidents that suggest a creeping intolerance for photographers, reporters and video crews working in places that are officially open to foreign journalists.

In recent months, more than a dozen correspondents have been roughed up, detained or shadowed by plainclothes police officers as they tried to work in far-flung provinces as well as the heart of the nation’s capital. In October, one wire service reporter said he was manhandled, chained to a metal chair and held for more than 14 hours after he attempted to conduct interviews at the main petition office in Beijing. The reporter refused to strip down for a physical exam but was forced to submit to a drug test and then falsely accused of injuring one of his interrogators. As retribution, the Foreign Ministry issued him a six-month press card, not the one-year card that is usually pro forma.

[…] In many ways, the growing intolerance of foreign journalists mirrors the hostility experienced by civil society groups, liberal academics and rights defenders under the two-year-old administration of President Xi Jinping. In internal speeches and editorials published in the state-owned news media, the Communist Party has characterized Western reporters as ‘‘hostile foreign forces’’ seeking to subvert single-party rule. [Source]

A number of foreign reporters who tackled politically sensitive subjects have seen their China visa renewals denied. In November, during a press conference with President Obama, President Xi implied that foreign journalists who had not been granted visas to work from China were themselves to blame.

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China housing market trims losses

FT China Feed - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:16
Prices still falling but at slower pace, with a rebound possible in big cities soon
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Stakes High as Xi Jinping Prepares to Visit Macau

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:10
When Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Macau on Friday for the 15th anniversary of its return to China, he will see firsthand the impact of his anticorruption drive.
Categories: China

Photo: Hangzhou – West Lake, by Michael Tyler

China Digital Times - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:36

Hangzhou – West Lake

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