Next Step for China’s Controversial Dancing Grannies? Endorsement Deals

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 14:20
For the legions of dancing retirees in China whose late-night public gatherings have made them the target of noise complaints and worse, one popular Beijing group may have hit on the solution: corporate sponsorship.
Categories: China

Business as usual the Chinese way

FT China Feed - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:27
What is going on in China fits a pattern of Beijing pushing reform, pausing to avoid too much disruption, then pushing reform again
Categories: China, Tencent Offer Early Preorders of Microsoft’s Xbox in China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 04:02
Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. will use its alliance with Inc. to offer early advance sales of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One consoles in China.
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China Regulatory Brief: RQFII Expansion & Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement

China Briefing - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 01:14

In this China Regulatory Brief, we review recent expansion of the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) program and a new bilateral currency swap agreement between China and Switzerland.

The post China Regulatory Brief: RQFII Expansion & Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement appeared first on China Briefing News.

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Plug-In Potential: Why Daimler Is Bullish on Electric Cars in China

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 00:46
China has so few chargers that one electric-car enthusiast even built his own charging network. But hope springs eternal for auto executives, with one saying China is on its way.
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Big Mac or Big Mackerel? McDonald’s in China Runs Low on Beef

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 22:17
Big Mac lovers who go to McDonald’s in China are asking one question today: “Hey, where’s the beef?”
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A Million Sign Hong Kong Petition as Democracy Fight Ratchets Up

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 20:33
The bitter political fight over Hong Kong’s democratic development is deepening.
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China Quake Stories in ‘Fallen City’ to Broadcast on PBS

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 19:51
“Fallen City,” the feature-length directorial debut for Zhao Qi, will have its national broadcast premiere on the PBS documentary series POV on Monday.
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Tiny Luxembourg Wants a Piece of China’s Offshore Currency Market

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 19:00
Luxembourg wants to be at the heart of a new trend in global finance: the rising use of China's currency outside its home market.
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HK’s House News Closes Citing Political Pressure

China Digital Times - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 17:55

Hong Kong pro-democracy website, blog, and news aggregator House News (主場新聞) has shut down due to a combination of political pressure and low advertising revenue. The South China Morning Post reports:

In a letter posted on the website’s front page, Tony Tsoi Tung-ho, said he and his family had been increasingly influenced by the spreading “white terror” in society, as a number of democracy advocates had been followed, had their past investigated and been smeared.

“As a businessman who frequently travels to and from the mainland, I have to admit that I felt very scared every time I crossed the border,” Tsoi said in the letter.

He is one of 10 professionals to have publicly vowed to take part in the civil-disobedience movement Occupy Central.

[...] House News was founded in 2012 by Tsoi, former adviser to the Central Policy Unit Lau Sai-leung, writer and cultural critic Leung Man-tao and columnist Gregory Sung Hon-sang.

Leung said Tsoi had been paying almost HK$600,000 a month to keep the website running but they could never balance the books. “Despite our popularity, many big companies don’t place advertisements on our website because of our critical stance towards the government and Beijing,” he said. [Source]

At Global Voices, Oiwan Lam translates selections from Tsoi’s shutdown note, as well as commentary from media experts and House contributors:

I am terrified.

Hong Kong has changed. To act as a normal citizen, a normal media outlet and to do something right for society is becoming difficult, or even terrifying — not that you feel alienated, but fearful. The ongoing political struggle makes people very anxious — many democrats are tracked and smeared. Their past records have been dug up. A sense of White Terror lingers in society and I feel the pressure as well. As a businessman who travels frequently to mainland China, I admit that every time I walk past the border, I am scared. Am I being paranoid? It is difficult to explain the feeling to outsiders.

My family feels the pressure and they are worried about me. As the atmosphere gets more tense, the pressure around me becomes more disturbing.

[...] At the beginning, we had a business model in mind. But in an abnormal society and market, the revenue generated from The House News advertising is not proportional to its impact. Our budget is not big, but since our launch, we never have had a balanced budget. The biggest problem is that in the near future, the atmosphere in Hong Kong will become more tense. We can’t see any hope from a business point of view. Some people asked me if any of our clients withdrew their ads. My answer is no. They never advertise on our site in the first place. Our core value has been twisted, and now the market is also twisted. [Source]

Mainland-Hong Kong tensions have recently been on the rise. Amid widespread worry that Beijing won’t allow universal suffrage in the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, the State Council Information Office released a white paper in June asserting Beijing’s “complete jurisdiction” over the semi-autonomous region. When Occupy Central activists launched an unofficial referendum on electoral reform which attracted nearly 800,000 participants, Beijing ordered news of the campaign be deleted, and state-run media responded by declaring the poll illegal.

The Hong Kong Journalist’s Association recently released a report calling the past year in Hong Kong the “darkest for press freedom in several decades,” which mentioned police obstruction of journalists trying to cover protests, and brutal attacks on members of the Hong Kong press. Earlier in 2014, international press freedom advocacy groups the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders both noted Beijing’s expanding influence on Hong Kong media by using economic clout to encourage self-censorship.

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In Scarred Tibetan City, Devotion to Sanctity of Life

China Digital Times - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 16:20

Following the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed thousands in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, the New York Times’ Andrew Jacobs looks at the growing local popularity of “mercy release”—the practice of saving animals who would otherwise die from natural causes or slaughter. The report examines the significance of the practice to Yushu’s local Tibetan Buddhists, a budding “mercy release” industry on the Tibetan plateau, and controversy as the trend catches on throughout China:

[...] Buddhist monks say the growing interest in “life liberation” or “mercy release,” as it is sometimes called, is part of a surge in religious devotion that followed the quake, which flattened much of Yushu. Donations to local monasteries have soared, they said, as have ordinary acts of kindness among strangers in this city of 120,000 roughly 1,300 miles northwest of Hong Kong.

“To save these lives is not only for me and my family but for all the people who died in the earthquake,” said Gelazomo, who like many Tibetans goes by a single name.

[...] From early morning until dusk, the soul-savers work to extract creatures that have become stranded as the river, which is fed by snow-draped mountains, recedes in summer. The shrimp, about the size of a fingernail clipping, are almost impossible to see in the sunbaked muck and only make themselves known by writhing faintly. After collecting them in buckets or paper cups, the diggers set them free into the river.

[...] Across the plateau, the practice of life liberation supports a growing mini-industry. Since 2008, the Kilung Monastery in Sichuan Province has saved hundreds of yaks, sheep and goats through a program financed largely by believers overseas. For $1,000 a yak and $100 a goat, participants can buy an animal headed to the slaughterhouse. A nomadic family will also set aside an animal in their herd and dedicate it to providing wool ($165) or milk ($35). The monastery accepts online payments, including Visa and MasterCard.

[...] The practice, though, has its detractors, who say releasing tropical creatures in northern climes begets a different kind of cruel death — by winter’s freezing temperatures. Across Asia, especially in cities with large Chinese communities, caged birds are sold outside temples; once released, the birds are sometimes trapped again and resold, but more often they are unable to fend for themselves and die.

The practice, environmentalists say, also leads to the introduction of invasive species, with potentially ruinous results. [...] [Source]

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Artful Dodge: Why Chinese Collectors Are ‘Borrowing’ Their Own Pieces

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 14:25
A Shanghai-based art collector stirred controversy when he took a sip of tea from the $36.3-million Ming-dynasty tea cup he bought at auction in Hong Kong earlier this month. Also interesting is what he did with the cup next.
Categories: China

GSK chief floats break-up option

FT China Feed - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 12:00
CEO Sir Andrew Witty has opened the possibility of the group being broken up in the future as he pushes through a sweeping overhaul of UK drugmaker
Categories: China

U.S. Says China Tested Anti-Satellite Missile

China Digital Times - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:48

The Associated Press reports that China’s military has successfully conducted a missile test on Wednesday. Washington believes that the Chinese missile has the capacity to destroy satellites. From the Sun Herald:

The U.S. says China has tested a missile designed to destroy satellites and is urging Beijing to refrain from destabilizing actions.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the “non-destructive” test occurred Wednesday. She said a previous destructive test of the system in 2007 created thousands of pieces of dangerous debris in space.

Harf said Friday that the continued development and testing of destructive anti-satellite systems threaten the long-term security and sustainability of the outer-space environment that all nations depend upon. [Source]

According to state-run media, the latest Chinese missile test was the third such tests in the past four years. Ting Shi at Bloomberg reports that the recent success indicates advances in China’s missile-defense capabilities.

China said its third anti-missile test in four years was a success, indicating progress in developing missile-defense technology.

[...] “The anti-satellite and missile defense technologies have steadily improved and can now manage to intercept missiles in flight,” according to Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the People’s Liberation Army’s from General Staff Department. “But there haven’t been operational military deployment yet.”

China said it held its first anti-missile test in January 2010, followed by a second successful firing in January 2013.

The fact that the army has held three successful tests indicates the China’s missile program is entering “a new stage,” Yue said. [Source]

The Chinese government has issued a censorship instruction encouraging media to promote the success of the anti-missile test.

Elsewhere, the People’s Liberation Army is conducting several other military exercises that will require twelve domestic airports to delay one-quarter of their daily flights through the middle of August. Dexter Roberts at Bloomberg reports:

Those who fly China’s not-so-friendly skies are about to spend even more time grounded. “Passengers in east and central China will face mass flight delays until Aug. 15, the China Daily reported on July 22. At least the cause and culprit seem clearer this time: “Twelve airports were ordered to reduce scheduled flights by 25 percent due to large-scale People’s Liberation Army drills.”

China’s official English language paper cited as its source a report by, the website of China National Radio. National radio reporters, in turn, spoke to China’s civil aviation authority, which confirmed that delays are expected at Hongqiao and Pudong airports in Shanghai, as well as in major cities nearby, including Nanjing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Wuxi, Jinan, and Qingdao. Without mentioning the military directly, the authorities explained that the delays will be due to the “influence of high-frequency exercises by other users.”

The advance warning hasn’t appeased China’s long-suffering air commuters. “Under the guise of national security, they are putting their own interests above the national interest,” wrote one person on Sina Weibo (SINA) on Tuesday. “In fact, this also reflects the position of the people in the eyes of the army and the government. This happens because they not respect the people’s interests,” wrote an additional commenter earlier today, on the same site. [Source]

At South China Morning Post, Sijia Jiang looks at the potential impact that the air traffic restrictions will have on airfares and airline profits in China:

Aviation industry experts believe airfare rises of as much as 10 per cent could be needed to compensate for the lost income, a sufficiently large bite to trigger disclosure statements to stock exchanges.

[...] A reduction of 25 per cent in flights to eastern China for three weeks in the busy summer holiday season would erode airlines’ revenues, Lau said.

[...] The Big Three state-owned airlines – Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines – have all issued profit warnings before their interim results due next month.

Air China is expecting first-half profit to shrink by as much as 65 per cent from last year’s 1.1 billion yuan (HK$1.37 million), while China Southern is expecting a net loss of 900 million to 1.1 billion yuan for the same period. China Eastern said its profit would be less than 50 million yuan.

Patrick Xu, an analyst at Barclays, estimated that a 10 per cent increase in ticket prices would be needed to compensate for the reduction in flights. “We expect the overall earnings impact to be neutral, as an increase in yield will offset, at least partially, the capacity cut,” he said. [Source]

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Photo: Wall flower, Dali City, by Stephan Rebernik

China Digital Times - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:47

Wall flower, Dali City

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Safer food should be freely copied

FT China Feed - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:02
Stroll through a local market in China and there is little sign of quality control or hygiene while dishes are washed in cold water with little soap
Categories: China

China’s military and economic fortunes

FT China Feed - Sun, 07/27/2014 - 09:32
Beijing gives an air of invincibility in the debate over its might but seems on the brink of implosion in the one about the fragility of its economy
Categories: China

Minitrue: Alibaba and the ‘Red Second Generation’

China Digital Times - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:52

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

Do not republish reports related to Alibaba “red second generation” shareholders. (July 26, 2014)


As Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is preparing for an upcoming New York IPO, the New York Times’ Michael Forsythe recently reported on shareholding companies’ family ties to top Party leadership, a situation creating an opportunity to profit for some princelings and members of the “red second generation.” The Times also ran a Chinese-language version of the story. Earlier this week, search terms related to Alibaba’s political ties became sensitive words on Weibo.

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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China Plans Rail Extension to India Through Tibet

China Digital Times - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:27

According to a state media report, China plans to construct two railway lines in Tibet that will extend up to the borders of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. The railroads are expected to be completed by 2020. Edward Wong at The New York Times reports:

China plans to extend by 2020 a railroad on the high trans-Himalayan plateau of Tibet to the borders of India, Bhutan and Nepal, according to a report in People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.

The extension would lengthen a 157-mile rail route that is expected to open next month from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to Shigatse, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, a revered spiritual leader. In 2006, China opened the first railway to Tibet, linking Lhasa to China via the province of Qinghai.

The planned lengthening was criticized by Tibet advocates who said it would bring too many ethnic Han migrants to Lhasa and other Tibetan areas. The Wednesday report in People’s Daily cited Yang Yulin, deputy head of the railways administration in Tibet, saying that two additional rail lines would be added from Shigatse — one to Yadong, a point near the Indian and Bhutan borders, and one to Jilong, an area near the border with Nepal. [Source]

At The Telegraph, Malcolm Moore looks at India’s response to China’s railway project and how it has impacted border tensions between the two countries

The extensions of the Shigatse line towards Arunachal Pradesh, most of which China claims as its own territory, has alarmed Delhi.

In a sign of its nervousness, the Indian government last month announced that it would build 54 border posts in Arunachal Pradesh on top of the area’s 30 existing posts.

“The railway will contribute to solving border disputes between China and India,” the state-owned Global Times newspaper reported. [Source]

Meanwhile, Adam Pasick at Quartz reports that a proposed Sino-Myanmar railway project has been abandoned recently due to concerns over the potential cost and environmental impact involved

A $20-billion Burmese railroad project that would link the Chinese province of Yunnan to the Bay of Bengal was cancelled this week due to fears over the project’s environment impact and objections from the public. It was the latest backlash to China’s attempt to expand its influence in its “near abroad” of southeast Asia.

The railway between Burmese city of Kyaukpyu and the Chinese city of Kunming was supposed to follow the gas and oil pipelines (the former is operational, the latter almost finished) that have been the target of widespread protests by Burmese who are outraged that a country largely without electric power is shipping its natural resources to China.

Civil society groups in Burma have long protested the Sino-Burmese railway, with groups in the country’s Rakhine state saying it was one of 10 major infrastructure projects—including the China gas pipeline, major mining works, and hydropower projects—that were granted without the approval of local people who would be affected. Under a memorandum of understanding that has now expired, China was to finance most of the cost of the railroad in exchange for a 50-year concession to operate it.

“This is because we care about the people’s desires. Most people view the project as having more disadvantages than advantages,” a Burmese official told German press agency DPA. [Source]

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