Danwei Noon Report

China in Zambia

Danwei Noon Report is a daily roundup of new and old media coverage about China from Chinese and English sources.

Time for the military to obey the rules of the road?
China intervenes in Zambian election
The Financial Times reports:
The Chinese government has intervened in Zambia’s upcoming presidential election in a forceful sign of the commodity-hungry country’s growing economic and political clout in Africa.

Li Baodong, China’s ambassador in Lusaka, said Beijing might cut diplomatic relations with Zambia if voters elected Michael Sata, an opposition candidate, as president, Zambian media reported on Tuesday.

His remarks are the first sign of overt political interference by China in African affairs in decades, reflecting Beijing’s rapidly expanding role as an investor on the continent and as a client for long-term supplies of raw materials. China is a leading investor in Zambian copper, the country’s biggest export product by value. (Link)

Army drivers must obey traffic laws
The Me Old China website has a story about new calls from the Chinese army to make their drivers actually obey the traffic laws:

The People's Liberation Army issued an order this weekend calling on drivers of military cars to obey the law and drive better as part of a campaign in Beijing that's also targeting party and government officials... (link, see also Why local governments turn bad)

Government to audit newspaper circulation
Sohu has a story about the Publicity (nee Propaganda) Department, the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), the Postal Administration and the State Council working together to audit the circulation of city newspapers in Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Harbin, Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Taiyuan, Xi'an, Chengdu and Guangzhou.

Starting this month, the initiative will use undisclosed methods to survey the reach of 44 newspapers, including Beijing Evening News (北京晚报), Beijing Youth Daily (北京青年报), Beijing Times (京华时报), The Beijing News (新京报), Xinmin Evening News (新民晚报), Yangcheng Evening News (羊城晚报), Southern Weekend(南方都市报), Huaxi Metropolis News, (华西都市报), Chengdu Business News (成都商报), Yanzhao Metropolis News (燕赵都市报), Huashang News (华商报).

As everyone knows, when the government releases statistics, they are always very accurate, so at long last we can look forward to discovering the real print runs and sales figures for these newspapers. (Link - in Chinese)

Giant cartoon characters tower over Tibet.
Friendlies and Lhasa at Tian'anmen in October
From the Beijing Times comes this rendering of the flower displays that are being planned for National Day festivities in Tian'anmen Square in October. The displays often portray major social events of the past year - recent years have featured a replica of the Shenzhou V spacecraft and copious amounts of Olympics-related layouts. This year continues the Olympic theme with giant, 5-meter-tall figures of the Five Friendlies cavorting through a pastoral scene. Representing science and technology is the Qinghai-Tibet railroad display, in which a model train will be set against a replica Potala Palace. The displays will be finished and opened to the public on 27 September. (link - in Chinese)

Chinese nannies for rich U.S. families
This appears to be one of those stories that will keep showing up in the American media for sometime: some rich Americans want their children to learn Chinese and are hiring Chinese nannies to help their children grow up bilingual (link).

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Audits of newspapers

For the record, the GAPP in 2005 created the 国新出版物发行数据调查中心 Sino Publication Audit Center (SPAC), see details on their site www.sinoabc.org
It is said to be independent but is managed and sponsored by the GAPP (under supervision of vice-GM Mr Shi Feng, who supervises the magazine business)

The idea was to imitate the well-known press audit organizations in developed press markets, BPA (USA...), ABC (UK, USA), OJD (France, Spain), etc., which are independent and sponsored firstly by advertisers, the main users of their audits giving exact circulation figures for newspapers and magazines. These audits are usually freely available online, see for ex. www.bpaww.com or www.hkabc.com.hk

In Beijing the creation of SPAC was following a training period in the UK at UK ABC's, with the blessing of the FIPP. SPAC (and the GAPP) also organizes every year now a seminar about the press business, with foreign speakers. What was suprising with the creation of SPAC, as well as the above mentioned audits in this post, was that the powerful advertisers and press associations were not involved, and that it was hard to see the interest of the GAPP and its press publishers (they are all controlled by the government, one way or the other, at least for magazines; newspapers are more directly controlled by the CCP). Because it is well know that in China, especially for the 20 RMB magazines, which make money mainly with advertising (e.g. fashion magazines), audits would be a catastrophy, as they all lie and that their claimed circulation figures are usually multiplied by 4 or 5. Indeed, big advertisers start being a bit fed-up, such as Zenith last year, which started doing its own surveys concerning magazines, before renegotiating rate cards for some magazines... For the record one of the largest press auditor in the world, BPA from the USA, has opened an office in Beijing and started auditing a few titles (mainly controlled circulation titles, such as Fortune, Forbes, IDG's ComputerWorld, etc... others like Time-Out tried a season and stopped, why ?).
Concerning the SPAC and governmental audits, the reality is that the SPAC, and all these audit efforts by the government, are not directly related to an independent demand from advertisers. The governments, central and local, want to know for themselves what's going on with their press publishers, not to help advertisers. Main reason goes back with the demand to press groups in the 90's to be more independent financially (while still remaining non-independent concerning editorial of course), but today for some press groups, the big and increasing flow of advertising money and some scandals worries the governments (or make them jealous) and they want to know more about what's going on... Of course, the SPAC has very little means and experience, advertisers won't have access to these governmental figures, and all this will end up probably with banquets and red envelops probably... So if you are a serious advertiser, better call BPA, or even just an international auditor such as the big 4 or 5, if you want a serious and independent audit (and even that won't be easy; best thing is to start with a visit to the printer)...

Chinese nannies...
(a joke)
It works for taking care of oldsters as well. Wasn't it Rupert M who launched the fashion ?

Welcome back Cestmoi!

In Taiwan, back in the bad old days, one way people researched newspaper circulation was to uncover how much blank newsprint each paper was ordering.

anyone know how to translate "au pair" into Chinese? is it the same as nanny?

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