Weibo Celebrity Ren Zhiqiang Steps Down From Property Firm

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 03:13
Chinese property mogul Ren Zhiqiang, well-known in China for his blunt and controversial comments about high housing prices, politics, economy and social issues, is retiring from his Beijing-based firm Hua Yuan Property Co. next month.
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China’s Foray Into Africa Helps Add Ammunition to Ebola Fight

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 03:01
When Ebola’s spread picked up pace in West Africa, China had unlikely resources to mobilize: the state-owned enterprises and thousands of Chinese laborers already working in the hardest-hit areas.
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A Hong Kong Media Mogul and His Protest Tent

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:17
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has spent time at a protest encampment next to the government complex in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district for 25 days now.
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Kenny G. Lilts Through the Hong Kong Protests

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 02:13
Observers wondering who exactly the ‘foreign influences’ are that Beijing has so darkly accused of helping spur protests in Hong Kong got one possible glimpse -- in the shape of American saxophonist Kenny G.
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End of the Line: Terminating an Employee in China (Part 1)

China Briefing - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 01:17

Heightened pressure in China's labor market means that employers are commonly required to terminate employees to optimize their business operations. Legally speaking, this is by no means an easy thing to do, especially under the comparatively stringent regulations on terminating employment contracts since 2008.

The post End of the Line: Terminating an Employee in China (Part 1) appeared first on China Briefing News.

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Squeezing the Water Out of China’s Spongy Growth Numbers

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:32
China's economy slowed down a fraction in the third quarter of the year. If you believe the figures, that is.
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Photo: Beijing Railway Station, by Steve Balla

China Digital Times - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:06

Beijing Railway Station

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Rights Group Details Abuse in ‘Black Jails’

China Digital Times - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:49

A new report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders gives an in-depth look at so-called black jails, or detention facilities that are operated extralegally by local officials. Black jails are frequently used to detain petitioners who travel to Beijing from the provinces to present their grievances to the national petition office, the Bureau of Letters and Visits. CHRD’s report focuses on women detainees and the abuses they suffer under the system. Didi Kirsten Tatlow writes for the New York Times:

Many of the inmates of black jails are people who have traveled to larger cities in search of redress for injustices they feel they have suffered in their hometowns. Typically, these petitioners are abducted by “enforcers” hired by their hometown officials who fear the petitioners may embarrass them by revealing local abuses to their superiors. The petitioners are often incarcerated twice, once at the place where they are first seized and then back in their hometowns. Women are more likely to petition over grievances, often on behalf of their families, accounting for the gender imbalance in the black jail population, the group said.

The scale of the system is suggested by the fact that Chinese lawyers and activists compiled a list of 89 facilities in Wuxi alone that they said were being used as black jails, the report said.

It found that while both men and women were beaten and abused in a multitude of ways, women especially were the target of sexual abuse; rape was common, as were being stripped naked and other forms of mistreatment. [Source]

Read the full CHRD report here.

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China Brushes Off iCloud Attack Accusations

China Digital Times - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:04

On Monday, censorship monitor reported apparent efforts to intercept Chinese Apple users’ data, attributing the attacks to Chinese authorities and warning Apple that its efforts to maintain a “cozy and snuggly relationship” with them would not protect it from interference. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying brushed off the suggestion in a Tuesday press briefing, Xinhua reports:

“I have no information of this report yet,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

“China is resolutely opposed to hacker attacks in all forms and China itself is a major victim of cyber attacks,” she said.

[…] The spokeswoman said “wild guesses and malicious blemish” will not help solve cyber issues. [Source]

The latter comment follows senior diplomat Yang Jiechi’s admonition to Secretary of State John Kerry that “due to mistaken U.S. practices, it is difficult at this juncture to resume Sino-U.S. cyber security dialogue and cooperation.” Last week, People’s Daily Online accused the U.S. of using “gimmicks” to demonize China on cybersecurity:

The documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that US National Security agency has tried to gain access to sensitive data in the global communications industry. The documents describe a range of clandestine field activities that are among the agency’s “core secrets” when it comes to computer network attacks. This clearly reveals the true colors of the US for all its posturing as the world’s policeman.

[…] China defends its cyberspace security resolutely. The Chinese government and military have never launched any cyber attacks. Confronted with threats of internet attack, China remains committed to combating cyberspace crime. The US can smear China all it wants; it will not succeed in erasing its image as a network attacker. [Source]

But many security experts agreed with’s conclusion that Chinese authorities are strongly implicated in the iCloud attack. From Paul Mozur, Nicole Perlroth And Brian X. Chen at The New York Times:

“All signs point to the Chinese government’s involvement,” said Michael Sutton, vice president for threat research at Zscaler, a San Jose, Calif., security company. “Evidence suggests this attack originated in the core backbone of the Chinese Internet and would be hard to pull off if it was not done by a central authority like the Chinese government.”

The targeting of Yahoo, Google and Apple also potentially reveals a new Chinese government effort to adapt to initiatives by Internet companies — most notably new encryption techniques — to protect user data from government spying.

“The Chinese government could no longer sniff traffic, so they intercepted that traffic between the browser and the iCloud server,” Mr. Sutton said.

[…] “As more sites move to encryption by default — which prevents the censorship authorities from selectively blocking access to content — the Chinese authorities will grow increasingly frustrated with their ability to censor that content,” said [a] GreatFire spokesman. [Source]

Others quoted by the BBC and The Wall Street Journal agreed, though the consensus was not quite complete. From Scott Thurm:

[… S]ome security analysts raised skepticism that Beijing, with sizable resources at its disposal, would order an attack that is so easily detected.

“This doesn’t seem like the sort of attack an adversary with the resources of a government would attempt, since connecting users would see a very obvious security warning from their browser. It’s more likely the sort of attack you’d see from someone with limited resources,” said Kevin Milner, a researcher working on Internet infrastructure security at Oxford University. [Source]

The Intercept’s Morgan Marquis-Boire suggested to Motherboard that the attack’s extreme bluntness could be a deliberate message.

Without specifically referring to China or the report, Apple published a new support document on verifying browser connections to “Apple is deeply committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and security,” it said. “We’re aware of intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information, and we take this very seriously. These attacks don’t compromise iCloud servers, and they don’t impact iCloud sign in on iOS devices or Macs running OS X Yosemite using the Safari browser.”

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Picture China: Hong Kong Talks, Flips, Vegetable Market

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 21:13
The day's China news in pictures: Hong Kong protesters watch formal talks between student leaders and city officials, a man jumps in front of a statue in Beijing, elderly women sort vegetables at a roadside market and more.
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Apple’s iCloud Service Gets Hit With Attack in Mainland China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 20:56
Apple Inc. ’s iCloud service for users in mainland China has been hit by an attack that could allow perpetrators to intercept and see usernames, passwords and other personal data, activists and security analysts said.
Categories: China

How to Manage a Slowdown: China’s Leaders Navigate a Tricky Road

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 20:47
China’s economic slowdown is widely expected to continue into next year, increasing pressure on Beijing leaders to take more-strenuous growth-spurring measures and to continue moving slowly on their plans for fundamental economic reform.
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Ni Hao, Pard! Bull Riding Comes to China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 20:26
Professional bull riding’s Great Chinese Hope carefully lowered himself onto 1,000 pounds of ornery bucking bull. Focus, he said he tells himself. No distractions. After the bull settled a bit, the rider shouted that he was ready to go.
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The Top 10 U.S. States Where Chinese Are Investing in Real Estate

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 15:01
In many American cities, the landlords are increasingly Chinese.
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Minitrue: Fang Zhouzi Digs into Zhou Xiaoping (Updated)

China Digital Times - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 13:08

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

Do not hype the article “Fang Zhouzi Attacks Zhou Xiaoping: Sleepwalking Through America, Then Denouncing the Country’s Crimes.” If you have already posted the story, please remove it immediately. (October 20, 2014)

《方舟子打假周小平:梦里游趟美国便控诉美国罪恶》一文不炒作,已经转发的请立即删除。 [Chinese]

Zhou Xiaoping is a hyper-patriotic blogger praised for his “positive energy” by President Xi Jinping at last week’s Beijing Forum on Literature and Art. Zhou has accused the U.S. of using the Internet “to poison Chinese civilization” and has questioned the cancer diagnosis of former Google China CEO Kai-fu Lee.

Fang Zhouzi, himself no stranger to controversy, counters claims about American ills made in Zhou’s essay “Dream-Broken America” (梦碎美利坚), such as that the minimum wage in many U.S. cities is “between three and five dollars [an hour],” and that “even a meal at a roadside cafe costs $20-$40 per person.” Fang digs in:

Ignorant as I am, I have just heard about the “Internet writer” Zhou Xiaoping. Since he is an “Internet writer,” he must have a body of work. I searched a bit and found he’s only written a handful of blog posts. Does this make him a writer? The bar has truly been set low.

[...] Zhou Xiaoping took a sleepwalk through America, then opened his mouth to denounce the country’s crimes. It takes experience living in the U.S. to see through some of his nonsense, but for many of his claims, one need only look online to find that he is wrong. A web search will quickly show that this “Internet writer” is bold enough to lie even about the price of American cars and the market for unaccessorized iPhones. Does he think netizens are as easy to fool as politicians?


[……]周小平只是在梦里游了趟美国,然后就开始信口开河控诉起美国的罪恶。他的这些胡言乱语,有的需要有在美国生活过的经验才能识破,有的则根本不需要,只要上网一查就知真假。这个“网络作家”连美国汽车价格、iPhone裸机销售价格之类很容易上网查明的事实都敢胡说,是把网民全当成像当官的那样容易糊弄吗? [Chinese]

President Xi’s praise for Zhou has raised eyebrows on both Weibo [Chinese] and Twitter:

Xi Jinping says the blogger, Zhou Xiaoping, who specializes in character assassination exhibits “positive energy.”

— John Pomfret (@JEPomfret) October 18, 2014

Following & reading Zhou Xiaoping 周小平, sincerely trying to understand how this might be considered “positive energy”. Very depressing.

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 20, 2014

Zhou Xiaoping’s basic thesis: any disagreement Chinese people may have with govt orthodoxy is direct result of skillful White House strategy

— 大山 Dashan (@akaDashan) October 20, 2014

Update: A post from Fei Chang Dao notes that Fang Zhouzi’s microblogging account was shut down by Tencent hours after he posted an announcement that his essay and related weibo had been deleted.

Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.

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Hong Kong Talks End Without Significant Breakthrough

China Digital Times - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:05

As street protests in Hong Kong entered their fourth week, government officials entered into an unprecedented public debate with student leaders Tuesday evening, in which both sides presented their views but didn’t yield any significant breakthroughs. The Wall Street Journal provides a summary of participants and issues discussed. Ireland’s Independent newspaper reports on the talks:

In opening remarks, student leader Alex Chow said that an August decision by China’s legislature ruling out so-called civil nomination has “emasculated” Hong Kong.

“We don’t want anointment,” said Mr Chow, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of three groups leading the protests.

[...] “An unequal nominating committee is no good for the wealth gap in Hong Kong,” Mr Chow said. “Should it continue to serve business conglomerates, won’t it continue to deprive the political rights of the one million people living in poverty?”

The officials stuck to the government line that Hong Kong’s mini-constitution cannot be amended to accommodate protesters’ demands, while also saying that many others do not share their views. [Source]

The talks did not result in any concrete changes in policy, but the government representatives took a softer line on student demands than they have in the past. Michael Forsythe and Alan Wong report for the New York Times:

Carrie Lam, 57, the second-highest ranking official in Hong Kong, told the students that the government was willing to submit a new report to Beijing acknowledging the surge of discontent that followed the Aug. 31 decision by China’s National People’s Congress on the election guidelines.

In what appeared to be a further softening, she also said the rules could change in subsequent elections.

The students stuck with their demands to push for immediate changes to Hong Kong’s election law. They want the 2017 elections for the city’s highest post, the chief executive, open to a wide range of candidates. But Mrs. Lam’s offer did spark some interest.

“What is the next step?” Alex Chow, 24, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, asked after hearing Mrs. Lam’s offer. “Do you have a time frame? Do you have a road map to see in which direction our constitutional development is going?” [Source]

Prior to the talks, Chief Executive C.Y. Leung spoke with several foreign media organizations and also presented a more conciliatory approach to student demands than he has previously. From Agence-France Presse:

In an interview on Tuesday, Leung said that while Beijing would not back down on vetting his successor, the committee tasked with selecting those candidates could become more democratic.

“There is room for discussion there; there’s room to make the nominating committee more democratic and this is one of the things we’d very much like to talk to not just the students but the community at large about,” he said.

The offer is still a long way from meeting the core demands of protesters who say anything other than public nomination of candidates is unacceptable.

But Leung’s comments are the first indication of a potential negotiating point as talks began between senior government officials and student leaders at a nearby medical college. [Source]

For Forbes, Heng Shao lists six takeaways from the talks, which were intended to be the first-round in an ongoing dialogue, but students have not yet decided whether or not to continue. Number two on Shao’s list:

2. The Occupy Movement Itself

Neither has Chief Executive C.Y. Leung nor mainland media spoken favorably of the protests, which are deemed illegal by the Hong Kong government and the central government. During the dialogue, however, Lam characterized the student protesters as “peaceful” and having “exhibited a strong sense of civic awareness.” “We appreciate that,” she said. She admits that the “social campaign was of a massive scale with far-reaching implication.” But in light of the ongoing stand-off in Mong Kok, where many of the protesters are members of the working class, Lam warned that the movement has deviated from its “peace and love” objective and is “bordering on riot.” [Source]

Alex Chow and 4 other leaders of #OccupyCentral students attended 1st formal talks with Hong Kong govt officials Tue

— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) October 21, 2014

Televised debate a huge milestone for Hong Kong, and transparency everywhere. This doesn’t even happen in the west. Well done.

— Cam MacMurchy (@zhongnanhai) October 21, 2014

Students are really on their game. Calm and prepared, but also showing passionate conviction. #HongKong #UmbrellaRevolution

— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) October 21, 2014

I can’t remember a time when Hong Kong people are so enthusiastic about television that’s not Korean love dramas.

— Alan Wong (@byAlanWong) October 21, 2014

Carrie Lam says repeatedly that Hong Kong is not independent and must respect conditions set by Beijing #OccupyHK

— Joanna Chiu (@joannachiu) October 21, 2014

Watching live-stream of #HongKong govt & student protest leader talks. It’s literally suits vs t-shirts. #OccupyHK

— Kristie Lu Stout CNN (@klustout) October 21, 2014

The Hong Kong students seem less like radicals and more like a well-prepped debate team, with arguments divided among them in advance.

— Philip P. Pan (@panphil) October 21, 2014

I am so proud of these kids. If these students represent Hong Kong’s future, the city needn’t worry.

— Cam MacMurchy (@zhongnanhai) October 21, 2014

Carrie Lam thanks the police. Fair. But does not mention excessive force, key point for people outside. #HongKong

— Emily Rauhala (@emilyrauhala) October 21, 2014

Talks between #OccupyHK student leaders and govt reps now begin (students left) Who’s who here

— Joanna Chiu (@joannachiu) October 21, 2014

Remarkably respectful Hong Kong debate over. Two sides remain far apart. But both clearly searching for a way forward.

— Philip P. Pan (@panphil) October 21, 2014

After the debate, Mong Kok breaks into a cacaphony of street forums.

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

In Mong Kok, hundreds gather to watch debate projected into small screen.

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

So much for a city that, cliche held, didn't care about politics.

— Chris Buckley 储百亮 (@ChuBailiang) October 21, 2014

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China bank funds buy stake in Mediobanca

FT China Feed - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:52
Italy has been focal point of Beijing’s €5bn Europe investment push
Categories: China

Talks to end HK protests make little progress

FT China Feed - Tue, 10/21/2014 - 08:39
Government offers few concessions to protesters in televised dialogue
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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.
Categories: China

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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