China

As Chinese and Indian Troops Face Off at Border, Presidents Hold Polite Visit

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 19:14
Indian and Chinese security forces were locked in a confrontation on their countries' disputed border Wednesday as China's president arrived in India on a trip aimed at boosting economic ties between the two Asian giants.
Categories: China

In China, Companies Learn Business of Human Rights

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 18:48

Human Rights Watch’s China Director Sophie Richardson writes at The Globe and Mail that with harsh tactics reported in a string of recent antitrust probes, “in effect, the government’s tactics against human rights activists have now migrated to the private sector”:

In recent weeks, the American Chamber of Commerce, the European Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S.-China Business Council have publicly expressed frustrations over the Chinese government’s targeting of particular firms, denying access to legal counsel, a lack of due process and transparency, and the seemingly arbitrary imposition of fines and other punishments. The companies suggest that laws in China are being misused or distorted in ways that burden them more than domestic firms, and that they have been subject to “intimidation tactics” and denied “full hearings.”

[…] It’s hard to deny the common interests of both [the foreign business and domestic activist] communities. An independent, professional legal system in China should be able to both enforce contracts and protect peaceful speech; a truly free press can report accurate, timely information to hold diverse interests accountable. The ability of people to share their ideas freely is essential for a competitive business environment and a less abusive, opaque political system.

As some of the world’s biggest, best-known firms – with far greater leverage against the government than individual activists – begin to voice their concerns, there are opportunities for change. […] [Source]

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Tougher Scrutiny of Foreign Teachers in China

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 18:08

The South China Morning Post reports that recent discoveries of sex offenders working in Chinese foreign language training schools were one issue that prompted the Beijing municipal government to raise hiring standards for foreigners working in the city:

Beijing has issued new guidelines calling for stricter scrutiny of foreigners working in the capital – especially teachers from abroad – after child sex scandals in Beijing and Nanjing last year.

Mainland officials called for closer supervision in April last year after two foreigners – one with a criminal record for child pornography and the other on the run from child-sex charges – were found to have obtained jobs as English teachers.

The new guidelines, expected to come into force on October 31, will require all candidates to face suitability checks.

People will also need to have more than five years of teaching experience before working in the city’s institutions and schools.

Foreign language workers would need to provide teaching qualifications when applying for “teaching related jobs” in all pre-school institutions, primary and middle schools, international schools and education training centres, the government-owned Beijing Daily reports. [...] [Source]

A separate article from the South China Morning Post outlines the findings of an independent investigation conducted by the paper, in which they discovered just how low the bar was for English teachers at many Beijing institutions:

The mainland is a huge market for English language teaching. According to the Ministry of Education, about 360 million students learned English in some capacity last year.

There are some 50,000 schools or institutes, ranging from night schools to private schools teaching the language, and the market is estimated to be worth about 30 billion yuan (HK$38 billion) a year, according to a China News Service report.

The insatiable demand for English language tuition had made finding a job for most native speakers, particularly those with white skin, little more than a formality.

[...] Armed only with a basic résumé, a Post reporter walked in to a language school in a modern, high-rise building in Beijing’s central business district. The reporter was immediately asked to register as a teacher at the school without an interview or further questioning.

Classes comprised either young children aged three to five, or young adults, the head of the school said. Asked whether a work visa or background checks were required, the school said they were not necessary. [...] [Source]

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Xi Jinping Starts First Presidential Tour of India

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:33

If I have to describe potential of India-China ties I will say- INCH (India & China) towards MILES (Millennium of Exceptional Synergy)!

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 16, 2014

Xi Jinping arrived today in India on his first presidential trip to the country, where he was personally received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Xi’s trip to India marks the first by a Chinese president in eight years, and the third in the modern history of the two nations. A report from the New York Times looks at what’s on the table as Xi arrives in India:

China has the ability to channel billions of dollars into Indian infrastructure and manufacturing projects, allowing Mr. Modi to pursue the job-creation agenda that was at the heart of his campaign. China, meanwhile, needs calm on its southwestern border to offset tense relationships with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United States. State-run Chinese newspapers have lavished praise on Mr. Modi, intimating that he has the potential to set India on a Chinese-style economic growth trajectory.

But those interests are balanced by deep historical mistrust on security matters.

Indeed, even as India prepared an opulent riverfront dinner for Mr. Xi in Gujarat this week, troops and slogan-chanting civilians were facing off along the disputed border between China and India, where the two countries fought a brief war in 1962. India has discussed beefing up maritime cooperation with the navies of Australia and Japan and proposed tighter defense and energy ties with Vietnam — all moves that could be seen as a challenge to China. Meanwhile, China is building ports and other facilities throughout South Asia, a so-called string of pearls strategy that India views warily. [...] [Source]

Prior to his election as Indian Prime Minister in May, Modi had serve as Chief Minister of Gujarat, where he began forming a relationship with Beijing. From the South China Morning Post:

Long before Modi fashioned himself as a national leader, Beijing’s talent scouts zeroed in on him when he began to reach out to China for investment in the western Indian state of Gujarat, of which Modi was chief minister.

The initial attraction was his pro-business approach and a no-nonsense administrative style that makes the state a rare investor-friendly island in a sea of bureaucratic sloth. But Beijing was also acutely aware that, as a rising star in India’s then main opposition party, Modi brought more to the table than an investor’s paradise, and began to cultivate him.

Modi has visited China four times. In 2011, he made a particularly high-profile five-day trip in which he was accorded a welcome generally reserved for heads of state. For his part, Modi carried red visiting cards printed in Chinese. [...] [Source]

Modi meets with Xi shortly after an amiable encounter with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prompted speculation that the Indian leader could be on board to help counter China, a view that others rejected. For his part, Xi stressed Sino-Indian friendship ahead of the trip, and postponed a stopover to longtime ally Pakistan. Modi’s reception of Xi also showed affinity; Xi was met by the Indian leader personally—a rarity for Indian heads of state—on his 64th birthday and in his home state of Gujarat. As Xi and his wife enjoyed an honorific welcome, news of a skirmish on the Sino-Indian border had just broken, putting the countries’ long running territorial dispute on display. From The Guardian:

More than 200 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army entered what India considers its territory last week and used cranes and bulldozers to build a 1.2-mile road, the Hindustan Times reported.

Indian soldiers challenged the Chinese troops and asked them to withdraw, before demolishing a temporary track they had built, said the report, which has not been denied by Indian authorities.

[...] Though similar incidents occur regularly along the 2,200-mile border, this new faceoff underlines the persistent tensions between the two emerging powers – even if both currently appear eager to improve a patchy relationship. [Source]

Another source of geopolitical tension was also highly visible as Xi arrived. The Wall Street Journal reports that Tibetans in the capital have staged a protest against the visit, and that security is tight in the city:

On Wednesday morning, Indian television network NDTV showed footage of what it described as a group of protesters near the Chinese embassy in New Delhi being escorted away by police while shouting anti-China slogans. At New Delhi’s main Tibetan neighborhood, Majnu Ka Tilla, activist groups reported increased police presence.

A spokesman for the Delhi police, Rajan Bhagat, said that, “Based on our past experience and inputs, we have tightened security in the capital to ensure the Chinese premier’s visit goes on smoothly.” As of shortly after noon on Wednesday, no arrests had been made, he said, adding that security had been tightened “all across the city.”

The Tibetan Youth Congress, an organization calling for Tibetan independence, last week dispatched a letter to India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to raise the Tibet issue with Mr. Xi. “We believe that a lasting peace and security for India along her Himalayan borders lies only in a free Tibet,” the letter said in part. [Source]

The Indian government reportedly asked the Dalai Lama to reschedule a planned gathering in Delhi that would overlap with Xi’s visit.

Areas of geopolitical contention will likely take the back seat to matters of trade and development in discussions between the leaders. The South China Morning Post reports on why Modi sees economic opportunity in his relationship with China:

Central to the so-called Modinomics is attracting foreign investment and creating manufacturing jobs for millions of young Indians. Between 2004 and 2011, China generated 16 million manufacturing jobs on top of an existing 112 million, says Free University of Brussels professor and author of China and India: Prospects for Peace, Jonathan Holslag. India, in contrast, only created 3 million jobs on an initial total of 11 million. This unemployment problem will only worsen over the years as 6.5 million Indians are expected to join the labour force every year until 2030.

India’s creaking infrastructure and notorious bureaucratic sloth aren’t helping either, forcing even Indian industrialists to look elsewhere. Chinese investment in India amounted to US$657 million in 2012 compared to US$723 million of Indian investment in China. It’s not for nothing that Modi has been asking the world to come and manufacture in India, promising them “red carpet, not red tape”.

China forms an integral component in this jobs focus. As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi successfully drew Chinese capital to his state. Now that he is expected to replicate his so-called Gujarat model of development across the country, he has moved rapidly to remove regulatory hurdles to facilitate Chinese investment on a wider scale. In a country where suspicion of China runs deep, that would require all of Modi’s famed administrative prowess but he has already made substantial progress. [Source]

Xi Jinping too sees economic opportunity in the bilateral relationship. The Hindu published an op-ed written by Xi himself today, entitled “Towards an Asian Century of Prosperity:”

As emerging markets, each with its own strengths, we need to become closer development partners who draw upon each other’s strengths and work together for common development. With rich experience in infrastructure building and manufacturing, China is ready to contribute to India’s development in these areas. India is advanced in IT and pharmaceutical industries, and Indian companies are welcome to seek business opportunities in the Chinese market. The combination of the “world’s factory” and the “world’s back office” will produce the most competitive production base and the most attractive consumer market.

As the two engines of the Asian economy, we need to become cooperation partners spearheading growth. I believe that the combination of China’s energy plus India’s wisdom will release massive potential. We need to jointly develop the BCIM Economic Corridor, discuss the initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and lead the sustainable growth of the Asian economy.

As two important forces in a world that moves towards multipolarity, we need to become global partners having strategic coordination. According to Prime Minister Modi, China and India are “two bodies, one spirit.” I appreciate this comment. Despite their distinctive features, the “Chinese Dragon” and the “Indian Elephant” both cherish peace, equity and justice. [...] [Source]

For more background on the state of Sino-Indian relations and on Xi’s India trip, see:

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Coming Out in China: Parents of LGBT Fight for Their Children’s Acceptance

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:45
Coming out can be tricky in China, a country where traditional family values are strongly ingrained and pressure to marry and have a child is unrelenting. One group is hoping to change such perceptions by encouraging the parents of gay people to tell their stories too.
Categories: China

Photo: Skyline of Urumqi, by SiZhe Hu

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 13:20

Skyline of Urumqi

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Uyghur Scholar’s Separatism Trial Begins

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 13:16

The separatism trial of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti began in Urumqi on Wednesday. AFP’s Tom Hancock reports that the prominent critic of Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang refuses to accept the charges against him.

Prosecutors will argue that Tohti’s writings on his website Uighur Online, and his lectures at the Minzu University in Beijing, show that he was a leading member of a “separatist criminal organisation”, according to his attorney Li Fangping.

[…] Separatism charges can carry the death penalty in China, but the wording of the indictment means life imprisonment is the heaviest sentence Tohti can face, said his lawyers – adding he has been denied food and kept in shackles during his detention.

“Ilham will not accept the charge,” said Liu Xiaoyuan, his second defence lawyer. “Looking at his articles and statements we haven’t seen anything which would constitute separatism.”

“A scholar expressing opinions on current events is not the same as separatism,” he added. [Source]

Hancock and AP’s Hélène Franchineau tweeted from near the courthouse as the trial got underway amid a heavy security presence.

At Urumqi's courthouse where Ilham Tohti's trial is held. Security tight, no one allowed near. 8 panels blocking view pic.twitter.com/XsGBaiYuMF

— Hélène Franchineau (@Helene_FR) September 17, 2014

To block view to court where Ilham Tohti is on trial today, officials hastily erected Xinjiang promotional panels pic.twitter.com/OILF5E8Rry

— Tom Hancock (@hancocktom) September 17, 2014

Slogans on panels blocking view to Urumqi's courthouse with Tohti's trial: "make the world understand Xinjiang", for China-Eurasia expo

— Hélène Franchineau (@Helene_FR) September 17, 2014

Beside being shackled and denied food, Tohti has reportedly not received photographs or warm clothes sent by his family, while specially relocated Han prisoners have been monitoring him on behalf of the authorities, verbally abusing him and in one case starting a fight.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on Tohti’s trial on Monday, providing more information on the charges against him and arguing that his prosecution would only make tensions in Xinjiang worse. The group also posted a detailed timeline of the case.

“Tohti has consistently, courageously, and unambiguously advocated peacefully for greater understanding and dialogue between various communities, and with the state,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “If this is Beijing’s definition of ‘separatist’ activities, it’s hard to see tensions in Xinjiang and between the communities decreasing.”

[…] “The long-term solution to Xinjiang’s unrest is not further repression, but greater understanding of Uighurs’ grievances and perspectives,” Richardson said. “If Tohti – a peaceful, articulate critic – is given a harsh sentence, what confidence can any Uighurs have that their very real grievances will ever get a hearing with Chinese authorities?” [Source]

Ilham Tohti’s views on Uyghur-Han relations are expressed in a 2011 essay, ‘My Ideals and the Career Path I Have Chosen,’ which was translated and posted at China Change in April. In it, he explicitly disavowed separatism and extremism, writing that “national pride runs deep within my veins” and that “I strongly believe that my efforts and inquiries will become part of China’s progress.”

[… H]aving witnessed a great number of cases of ethnic conflict and killing, political unrest, and failed social transformation during my extensive travels throughout Central Asia, Russia, and South Asia, my desire grew stronger and stronger to completely devote my energies to researching Xinjiang and Central Asian issues, so that tragedies  abroad won’t take place in China.

[…] I love my mother deeply, who suffered great hardships in raising me. I love my still impoverished and long suffering ethnic group. I love this land which has nurtured me. I earnestly hope my homeland can become as prosperous and developed as the interior of China. I worry about my homeland and my country falling into turmoil and division. I hope that China, having endured many misfortunes, will become a great nation of harmonious interethnic coexistence and develop a splendid civilization. I will devote myself to Xinjiang’s social, economic and cultural development, to the interethnic understanding, and to finding the way to  achieve harmonious ethnic coexistence amidst the social transformation today. These are my ideals and personal objectives, and the choices I have made have their roots in my family’s history; my upbringing; my mother’s teachings; and my education as well as personal experiences.

[…] As Xinjiang faces the danger of escalating ethnic conflicts, and discussions of ethnic problems tend to be radical, I believe that one of our most important tasks and missions is for us to use rational and constructive voices to compete against more extreme ones in the market place of ideas, moving social sentiments toward a more positive direction. [Source]

Ilham Tohti’s U.S.-based daughter Jewher Ilham, who has campaigned for her father’s release, discussed the charges against him with The Washington Post’s Simon Denyer:

In April, Jewher testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China about the constant harassment her father and their family have faced over many years. She told of how she came home one day to an empty house, to find that her father, stepmother and two young brothers had been sent away by the authorities to the island of Hainan: how one of her young brothers was prevented from registering at school and denied a passport in 2012, and how security personnel rammed her father’s car in 2013 and threatened to kill the entire family. Her stepmother has been put under constant surveillance at home, while Tohti’s eldest son, now 8, has become withdrawn and introverted, she testified. “Having witnessed our father being taken away, he now has nightmares.”

In a telephone interview from Indiana on Tuesday, Jewher called the charges against her father “ridiculous,” and completely out of character. While many parents in China hit their children to educate them, Jewher said he father had never hit her and didn’t believe violence could solve problems. “How could he advocate violence? He was very moderate, he would try to help people – he didn’t want people to fight.”

[…] If he truly wanted to advocate ethnic hatred, she argued, “why would he let me stay in a Chinese school [in Beijing], where all of my classmates, all of my friends were Han Chinese? He would have sent me back to Xinjiang.” [Source]

超过了字数限制,所以只能截图发来。这是刚才我在推特上发布的文字的英文版。(1) pic.twitter.com/BTUamgUebL

— Jewher.Ilham (@JewherIlham) September 17, 2014

超过了字数限制,所以只能截图发来。这是刚才我在推特上发布的文字的英文版。(2) pic.twitter.com/Ki82fFLn1z

— Jewher.Ilham (@JewherIlham) September 17, 2014

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Phrase of the Week: Have Everything But Daddy

China Digital Times - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 08:50

五行缺爹 (wǔ xíng què diē): have everything but daddy
To slavishly follow a person or thing; to overcompensate for a person or thing lacking in one’s life. A play on the idiom “have all five elements but earth” (五行缺土 wǔxíng qūe tǔ), describing the inauspicious state facing someone born without earth in his/her astrological sign, who must make up the difference by incorporating “earth” into his/her life in other ways.

Netizens coined this term soon after Xi Jinping became president of China and secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party as a response to official use of a colloquial term of endearment for the leader. In an effort to bring Xi closer to the people, state media often call him “Daddy Xi” (习大大 Xí Dàda). “Daddy” (dada) comes from the Shaanxi dialect of Mandarin. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was born in Shaanxi, so “daddy” is a nod to this heritage. The same term can also mean “uncle,” but either way connotes familiarity and warmth. When ordinary citizens give Xi a sycophantic reception, netizens will joke that these devotees ”have everything but daddy.”

Example: In celebration of China’s 30th Teachers’ Day in September 2014, Xi Jinping visited Beijing Normal University. State media focused on the rockstar reception Xi enjoyed, when 500 students and teachers gathered to cheer. China Youth Daily reported students shouted slogans like “The Secretary-General has worked hard for us!” (总书记辛苦了!). One teacher said Xi’s reception was like a “superstar concert.”

On September 10, 2014, Weibo user AKTulip responded sarcastically to the rockstar treatment of President Xi, “If you don’t know what ‘daddy’ means, look it up on Baidu. Shouting in the streets like this, do you have everything but daddy?” (方言里”大大”什么意思不懂可以去百度,这样满街乱叫,你们是五行缺爹吗?)

Want to learn more subversive netizen slang? Check out our new eBook, Decoding the Chinese Internet: A Glossary of Political Slang! Available for $2.99 in the KindleGoogle Play, and iTunes stores. All proceeds from the sale of this eBook support China Digital Times.

The Word of the Week comes from China Digital Space’s Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon, a glossary of terms created by Chinese netizens and frequently encountered in online political discussions. These are the words of China’s online “resistance discourse,” used to mock and subvert the official language around censorship and political correctness.

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Bad Timing: China Activist’s Trial Opens With U.S. Envoy in Town

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 04:53
Oftentimes, foreign diplomats in China will try to bring attention to dissident trials by showing up at the courts. Sometimes, if they’re the U.S. ambassador, they can shine a spotlight just by being in the neighborhood.
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Top Chinese banks set for $81bn injection

FT China Feed - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 03:38
Move is latest attempt by the authorities to prop up flagging growth and is seen by many as a response to the economy slowing last month
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The Development Divide: China Leads India in Health, Education, Life Expectancy

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 03:17
The economic trajectories of the two countries are closer than you might think. But when it comes to human-development indicators, China is decades ahead and widening its lead.
Categories: China

China propels diamond sales to $79bn

FT China Feed - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 03:07
De Beers says global diamond sales rise 3% to reach record, helped by growing demand from China which now accounts for 15% of market
Categories: China

Uighur activist goes on trial in China

FT China Feed - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 02:49
The case against economics professor Ilham Tohtim, who faces charges of ‘separatism’, comes amid a broadening Chinese crackdown on dissent
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Foxconn Struggles to Meet New iPhone Demand

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 02:46
Apple fans may have to wait for weeks to get the new iPhones as Apple’s major assembler Foxconn appears to be struggling to boost its production to meet strong preorders.
Categories: China

Macau Casino Hopes To Lure Gamblers With $20 Million Rolls-Royce Fleet

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 01:38
Hong Kong-listed Louis XIII Holdings Ltd. just made the biggest single order in British luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce’s history.
Categories: China

Tibetans in India Protest Xi Jinping’s Visit

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 01:37
Activist groups are calling for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise the Tibetan issue with President Xi Jinping.
Categories: China

‘Maritime silk road’ a boon for Sri Lanka

FT China Feed - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 00:56
Xi Jinping’s plan is a boon for the south Asian island which has relied on Chinese investment and loans to fund infrastructure projects
Categories: China

China SOE reform no bonanza for bankers

FT China Feed - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 23:54
Sinopec and Citic deals presage what investment bankers hope will be a steady stream of work, but whether that will be profitable is less certain
Categories: China

5 Things to Look Out for During Xi Jinping’s Visit to India

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 23:42
The Chinese president begins a three-day trip to India on Wednesday as Beijing aims to sweeten New Delhi up to keep it from tilting towards U.S. and Japan. Here’s what to expect during the visit.
Categories: China

Xi Jinping Implores Chinese Tourists to Stop Eating So Many Instant Noodles While Overseas

Wall Street Journal China Real Time Report - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 23:08
China’s president has some words of advice for his country's globetrotting citizens: Eat more local seafood and fewer cups of noodles.
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