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October 31, 2007

Youtube returns

China's Net Nanny relents: Youtube is back.

China's Future: A Clockwork Orange?

Dave at the Mutant Palm casts doubt on the 'surplus males' problem that frequently finds its way into China reporting by digging into a 2002 paper, "A Surplus of Men, A Deficit of Peace: Security and Sex Ratios in Asia's Largest States"

Guinness confusion continues for China's aspiring record breakers

Chris O'Brien at Beijing Newspeak covers the story of China's Longest Firecracker (20km) and the Guinness organizations in China, both official and unofficial.

October 30, 2007

Yunnan to dismantle 'hukou' system

GoKunming reports:

The Yunnan government has announced that beginning on January 1 of next year, Yunnan province will eliminate the current hukou registration system that essentially binds rural Yunnanese to their officially registered place of residence - often their place of birth or where their parents are registered. This reform of the system currently in use will enable millions to legally move and integrate into cities for the first time.

Wekipedia in China

From Sexy Beijing's new blog:

We might not be able to access Wikipedia in China (or Youtube or Blogger or...) but at least we can wake up in the morning in Beijing and get a piping hot loaf of 'Wekipedia' bread.

Economy, human rights and the West

A thoughtful blog post from The Daily Telegraph's Beijing correspondent Richard Spencer.

Girls cocks

Black and White Cat has posted some choice Chinglish signs, and a selection of bad Chinese tattoos on Western skin.

2nd airport for Beijing?

The China Daily reports:

Despite the expansion of Beijing Capital International Airport nearing completion, the civil aviation authority is already considering the construction of a fourth runway or second international airport to cope with soaring passenger numbers.

CEO blogging China - opinions and links

Debbie Weil is a former journalist and business women, whose book about CEO blogging has recently been translated and published in China. Her blog about her experiences on a recent China book tour includes interviews with a range of experts in social media (including Danwei people about whom she says nice things) and is full of links to articles about corporations and what they should do about blogging.

October 29, 2007

Japanese AV star in Chinese village

Japanese AV (adult video) star Nonami Takizawa recently did a photo shoot in a village near Shanghai. Photos and video appeared on the Internet, enraging some nationalistic Chinese netizens who nonetheless first took the time to watch the video. The video is currently on the top of video-sharing site Youku's home page. See ESWN for more about the affair.

The state of next-gen piracy in China

Frank Yu, formerly with Microsoft China, talks to PlayNoEvil about the availability of game console hacks and mod chips:

Yes, the Xbox 360 hardware is totally broken for pirated games...however, if you leave your mod chip active MS will detect it and shut you out of Xbox Live. I have heard rumours of mod chips that can be switched off so that it toggle between a modded Xbox and an unmodded one to go on Live. I have brought many MS Xbox people to the shops here in China that do the modding (its not illegal to install the chip as far as I know but it is illegal to technically sell the console)

The article contains a link to an earlier report on the seizure of 10,000 modded consoles from a bootleg shop in Hong Kong last week.

Satire/Self-immolation at China Daily?

Is someone taking the piss out of Olympic propaganda efforts at The China Daily? Adam Minter investigates.

October 28, 2007

New top cop

Xinhua reports:

China's top legislature on Sunday approved the cabinet nomination of Meng Jianzhu, former Party chief of east China's Jiangxi Province, as the country's new minister of Public Security.

Meng, of Han nationality and born in 1947 in Wuxian County of Jiangsu Province, joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1971.

Meng is (surprise, surprise!) an engineer.

China's nominees for Best of the Blogs

Oiwan Lam at GVO presents an annotated list of links to this year's nominees for the BoBs. As number of the blogs are hosted on the currently-unavailable Bullog service, use the backup links included in the list.

October 27, 2007

Fly on the hall

At Spot-On, Jonathan Ansfield writes on the 17th Party Congress, how journalists reported on it, how journalists reporting on it were handled, and what everyone else thought:

To really get the populace riled up about a Party Congress nowadays, Beijing has to screw up their lives. That was the net effect, in any case, of the routine traffic stoppages to make way for the convoys of delegates, the added blocks on thousands of web sites and pre-Congress beatings of several dissidents. Beijing even ended up rerouting the annual international marathon. At Capital Airport, domestic airlines began closing their gates fifty minutes ahead of time, instead of the normal thirty.

The 500-meter wheeze

At Slate, Michelle Tsai explains how pollution at the Beijing Olympics could affect athletes:

It is possible to develop a tolerance to ozone over just a few days, but that doesn't mean athletes should spend extra time training in Beijing. In fact, Olympics coaches advise competitors against arriving too early and recommend wearing activated carbon filtration masks. That's partly because inhaling the tiny particulates in the air can have a cumulative negative effect on your physical performance.

October 26, 2007

The joyous return of a delegate-hero

CDT presents a gallery of photos of party secretary Li Lianyu's return to Pizhou after participating in the 17th Party Congress in Beijing. People line the streets as Li marches at the head of a grand procession. Li intends to turn Pizhou, Jiangsu Province, into a world-renowned tourist city and manufacturer of environmentally-sound furniture. Non-widgetized gallery with translated BBS commentary at Global Voices Online.

ICBC to take 20% stake in South Africa's largest commercial bank

The Financial Times broke the story but now even Xinhua has a report:

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's biggest lender, announced on Thursday it has reached an agreement to acquire a 20-percent stake in South Africa's Standard Bank for 5.46 billion U.S. dollars.

ICBC will become the top shareholder of the Johannesburg-listed Standard Bank, the largest commercial bank in Africa. The deal is expected to be completed at the beginning of next year...

...The Standard Bank has 1,501 branches and has a presence in 18 African countries and major financial centers in Europe, North America and Asia.

Maggie Cheung ♥ Beijing-based architect

The That's Beijing blog has a post about the progress of the new CCTV building in Beijing. The post is also about Rem Koolhaas protégé Ole Scheeren (36), who is the Beijing-based architect supervising the project, and now dating Hong Kong screen idol Maggie Cheung (43).

The Book Gods of contemporary Chinese art

Book Patrol takes a look at book-related artwork by Xu Bing and Huang Yong Ping, whose work is showing at the Seattle Asian Art Museum through the beginning of December.

Translating democracy

Richard McGregor at the Financial Times points a cynical eye at how China is putting Hu Jintao's ideals into practice:

What does the theory of the "scientific outlook on development" have to do with the creative spark that produces great novels and uplifting theatre? I should have known better than to ask this of Tie Ning, head of the official Chinese Writers Association, on the sidelines of the Communist party congress....

Naturally, as head of a group under "the guidance" of the party, Ms Tie believes Mr Hu's theory is essential for fiction writers. "'Scientific development' is, of course, highly relevant, because one of its important meanings is to 'put people first'," Ms Tie told me. (The latter slogan is another one of Mr Hu's favourites.)

Via China Digital Times

October 25, 2007

Non-Youtube videos about China

John at Sinosplice collects a number of China-related videos available on the (currently) unblocked Stage6 website.

October 24, 2007

The most famous junk collector in China

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Gaoxing, the new novel by Shaanxi writer Jia Pingwa, is based on the life of Liu Gaoxing, a real migrant worker in Xi'an. Liu grew up with Jia and has told the Chinese media his story.

Chang'e on her way to the moon

Xinhua and China Daily report that China's first lunar probe lifted off at 6:05 this evening.

The local television station has reported that at least 1,000 journalists have flocked to the town. "Journalists can be seen everywhere, carrying video cameras or long lens. You can't miss them," said a local TV reporter.

To the moon today

From The China Daily:

The nation's first moon orbiter is scheduled to blast off at around 6 pm [today] from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

'It will be launched between October 24 and 26 and our first choice is around 6 pm on October 24,' Li Guoping, spokesman for the China National Space Administration, said Monday...

...The lunar orbiter is expected to enter the Earth-moon transfer orbit on October 31; and the moon's orbit, 380,000 km from Earth, on November 5.

Irrationally exuberant: is Alibaba really worth US$7.8bn?

Paul Midler at 'the china game' runs some numbers and asks whether Alibaba is useful to serious businesses:

Alibaba.com is a website that provides information on China manufacturers (Yahoo! owns a 39% stake). The website serves as a kind of directory. Consider it a Yellow Page for prospective importers. Those who say that website is a great business model emphasize the company's first-mover advantage. Many also get excited about this being a 'B2B play'- the phrase is so '2000', but never mind that part. My lack of enthusiasm for the IPO has more to do with many uninspired experiences with the company's website. To be frank, I just don't get it. Aren't the best China supplier relationships those where the supplier and buyer are known to each other, where the two have an on-going work relationship?

via China Law Blog.

More voices of reform in China

Richard Spencer talks to Beijing-based lawyer Li Heping about surveillance and harassment:

One of the great statistics of reform is that there were 3,000 lawyers in 1980, but 150,000 now, just a quarter of a century later.

But the status of those lawyers who take on the government I find curious. Some, like Gao Zhisheng, get into trouble after being particularly outspoken. Others seem to veer in rather an unpredictable way between a respected position and being targets of thuggery.

The Three Gorges: a wiser approach

At ChinaDialogue, Jianqiang Liu writes about the changes in China's public attitude toward the Three Gorges Dam project:

Despite almost 20 years of debate and criticism of the dam - and the fact that its negative effects are already being felt - there had, until that moment, never been an official admission of its problems. This sudden admission from the Three Gorges Construction Committee is a sign that the central government is starting to look objectively at the dam's negative consequences - and will try to do something about them.

For the past 20 years, the public impression of the dam project in China has been shaped by an endless stream of glowing propaganda. Finding out the truth about the project (and not only about its environmental effects) has not been easy, including for journalists like me.

October 23, 2007

Citic vs China Daily

The Traveller's Tale blog comments on a recent China Daily opinion piece congratulating CITIC, a state-owned investment company, for not putting money into Bear Stearns. Today, CITIC announced a billion dollar deal with the American securities firm.

Blue skies, lackluster scenery at the Beijing Marathon

Oliver Robinson recaps the recent Beijing Marathon for tbjblog:

...the promotional material promised participants the best of the capital's "modern and historical" aspects but, in reality, runners were treated to little more than the best of Beijing's wastelands.

It'd be unfair, however, to blame the organizers for the marathon's uninspiring route, which had to be changed last minute owing to the happenings at this month's National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Hong Kong's Olympic racism

The Asia Sentinel looks at how recent rule changes have essentially made ethnicity a condition for participation on Hong Kong's Olympic delegation:

Until recently, qualification to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics was determined by length of residence, in keeping with the territory's dependent status and the multi-ethnic origins of a significant part of its population. But now the Hong Kong government, perhaps abetted by Beijing, is changing the rules in a move that borders on outright racism.

Although qualification by length of residence remains the case with other dependent territories, such as Bermuda, it is being made a condition of joining a Hong Kong Olympic team that individuals have a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport, which requires that the person be of Chinese nationality. This is contrary to practice across the whole Olympic movement.

Theme park opens in Anhui

Xinhua reports that a "Disneyland-type amusement park" has opened in Wuhu, Anhui Province:

The FantaWild Adventure Theme Park is almost the same size as the Hong Kong Disneyland, but has more emphasis on water features with 720,000 square meters of water surfaces. The park's "high-tech" facilities are at the forefront of its promotion, and its 300 features include "Mysterious River Valley", "Volcano Vesuvius" and "Dinosaur Island".

October 22, 2007

The new Politburo lineup

The new members of the Standing Committe of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party have been announced. They are:

Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang.

This link leads to an IHT article that reviews the new Committee.

Ali Baba to announce IPO today

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Today, Alibaba Group, its parent company, which is 39%-owned by Yahoo Inc., is expected to officially announce the initial public offering of Alibaba.com to Hong Kong retail investors. The IPO is expected to be the biggest ever by a Chinese Internet company, raising as much as $1.3 billion, with trading in Hong Kong set to begin early next month.

Cop catches suspect using Google Earth

John Kennedy at GVO translates a post from GSeeker:

GSeeker reader "jiang shuai" recommended a XinhuaNet story today, of Li Xiangchun of the Changbing village, Maweitingjiang township police station in Fuzhou, who has been using Google Earth to create satellite maps of his jurisdiction. Roughly, the story goes, Lin Xiangchun spent a month inputting the key spots of his jurisdiction onto a Google Earth image. This took place over January and February of this year. From this, we observe the following few points:

October 20, 2007

British soprano in North Korea

From a story by Michael Rank in Asia Times:

This 38-year-old British soprano may not be a household name in the western world, but she's a superstar in North Korea where she has given dozens of concerts and appeared countless times on the rigidly state-controlled television.

Suzanne Clarke has performed every year since 2003 in the culturally and politically isolated country, where she has sung everything from Mozart to Gershwin and from Verdi to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Endangered wildlife on Ali Baba

WildlifeExtra.com reports:

Alibaba, the huge web trading site part owned by Yahoo! is none too picky about what is sells, and the fuss is growing. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has recently launched a campaign to boycott Yahoo! due to their promotion of shark fin sales.

It's a shame that a system that is so good at filtering 'sensitive' words from the Internet is so bad at stopping the trade of useless luxury products made from endangered animals.

Sloppy journalism vs Party stooge

A Danwei article critical of a Western media report about 'black jails' started a comment storm and a rebuke that we are stooges. You be the judge.

Buzz words from the Party Congress

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Cynical bloggers are mocking the entire event as a big act, but the Communist Party still thinks socialism is the best. This is a review of the buzzwords on the Internet and in the reports coming out of the Communist Party's quinquennial gathering.

Youtube blocked in China...

...And illiterate Youtoubers descend on Danwei's comment section to complain.

October 18, 2007

Same same but different

RTHK on the Internet presents streamable programs on the interaction of Cantonese and English in Hong Kong:

Cantonese and English are languages from different ends of the earth. They look different, sound different, and on the face of things have little in common. But in Hong Kong, they come together in our daily lives in some colourful and unexpected ways.

In a series of special features, Radio 3's June Ng and Hugh Chiverton will be finding out what lies between the two tongues. As they work, they'll be blogging some highlights and asking some questions.

Pork prices fall

The Financial Times reports:

According to China’s chief economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, the cost of pork in supermarkets has fallen for two weeks in succession. Outside the pig farms, the other barometer being watched by the central government is the grain harvest in the northern autumn. The signs at the moment are that it will be good.

Hu Jintao's speech - full text in English

An English translation of Hu Jintao's long speech given at the opening of the 17th party Congress is online at this link.

Youtube blocked in China

On the evening of October 17, the Chinese Net Nanny blocked access to Youtube. The block seems to be a response to Youtube starting Chinese language versions for Hong Kong and Taiwan, but may also be connected with the Communist Party's 17th Congress that started on October 15.

Party Congress a dizzying ordeal in the media

At the Zhongnanhai blog, Paul explains why a report on Nicholas Sarkozy's meeting with Vladimir Putin can't air on the radio during the 17th Party Congress.

Down the rabbit hole

Imagethief deconstructs the White Rabbit candy wrapper.

Waiting for the smoke to clear

At China Dialogue, Gaoming Jiang writes on China's problems with pollution caused by farmers burning the crop stubble off their fields:

When Qufu held its International Confucius Culture Festival the local government cracked down on the stubble burning to avoid the embarrassment of smoke veiling the proceedings. The authorities threatened fines of 4,000 yuan (US$532) and 15 days detention for farmers caught flouting the ban. But even that failed to stop the practice. Local farmers ended up playing a 24-hour game of cat and mouse with the authorities, waiting until the police had ceased their patrols to start burning the crop stubble.

Related on Danwei: Rural smoke envelops Beijins.

October 17, 2007

One step closer to the moon

China has come one step closer to having a mine staffed by a million Henanese workers on the moon. Xinhua reports:

A senior Chinese official said here Tuesday that researchers and technicians are making final preparations for the launch of the country's first moon orbiter, Chang'e I, at the end of October.

Zhang Qingwei, minister in charge of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND), who is attending the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said in an interview with Xinhua.

Is Crazy English here to stay?

Wu Nan at CDT looks at Li Yang and his Crazy English teaching regimen:

Li's resume says that in 1993 he translated for Richard Bush, the current director of the Brookings Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, who used to advise Congress about U.S.-China relations. His resume also says Li was interviewed by BBC, ABC, RTHK, NHK and other foreign press. In China, this is another way to say how famous he is. But so far there's no available independent reports to verify Li's resume and his legend.

October 16, 2007

Greenhouse gasses and the Chinese steel industry

Adam Minter at Shanghai Scrap explains why China's steel industry produces a disproportionate amount of pollution:

I've never been particularly sympathetic to Chinese claims that pollution control is a first world responsibility that a developing country - like China - cannot be expected to share. That's ridiculous. China could install and operate pollution control equipment on every one of its steel mills (the technology is simple, well-known, and easily built and installed) - and still have lower steel-making costs than the developed world. However, there is another, more complicated side to this story suggesting that - even if China suddenly met developed world steelmaking environmental standards - it would still be the world's dirtiest steelmaker.

The birth of China's moon program

CDT translates a Global People feature on the Chang'e I moon probe:

Now with the moon orbiter almost on the launching pad, China's chief scientist for the moon program Ouyang Ziyuan says this is a sure thing for the Chinese who started the process in a difficult way but worked consistently over the years.

Ouyang's work on the moon started 25 years ago with a half-gram moon rock sample, a gift from former US President Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski during his trip in 1978.

Democracy - as long you agree with the leaders

From The Financial Times:

Hu Jintao, China’s Communist party chief, on Monday vowed to introduce greater democracy to the world’s largest political organisation but reminded members they must “always agree” with their leaders.

The other main message Hu delivered was that economic growth remains a priority.

October 15, 2007

Socialism is the best!

The Communist Party's 17th Congress has started this morning with a call by Hu Jintao for Party members and the Chinese people to hold high the 'great banner of socialism with Chinese Characteristics' in their strive for building 'a moderately prosperous society in all aspects.'
You can find the Xinhua reports on this morning's activities on pretty much any Chinese news website you care to visit.

October 14, 2007

China takes aim at US on quality control

The Wall Street Journal presents some items from an "eclectic list" of defective American imports to China.

Mr. Li's list also cited shipments of more than 430 Hummer trucks, models H2 and H3, manufactured by General Motors Corp. of Detroit - and imported into China by unknown third-party suppliers - that Mr. Li's office says didn't meet Chinese safety requirements. "The shape of the front, large headlights don't have clear-cut boundaries between bright and dark" so that "when two cars are driving toward each other, it could have a negative influence on the driver's vision, to cause dazzling," according to Aqsiq. The government also cited problems with smaller amber-colored lights on the vehicles and markings on the speedometer that didn't meet Chinese standards.

via China Law Blog.

October 12, 2007

Beijing police brawl over pastor

AP reports on a scuffle between two groups of police over where to hold Hua Huiqi, the pastor of a house church in Beijing and an activist against demolition:

Chongwen police moved Hua out of their jurisdiction on Monday to Fengtai on the city's southwestern edge, but the Fengtai police brought him back to his home yesterday, said Hua's friend Zhou Li.

A fight broke out between the eight Fengtai police and a greater number of Chongwen police and men hired by the developer, New World China Land, Zhou said.

via Travellers Tales.

RMB From FLG

Jonathan Ansfield calls up a long-distance number printed on the back of a 1-yuan note and talks to a representative from the Global Service Center for Quitting the CCP.

October 11, 2007

New gas field in Xinjiang

The China Daily reports:

PetroChina has discovered another major gasfield in western Xinjiang, a source from the company's Tarim unit confirmed Wednesday.

'The gasfield, known as Dabei III, boasts an estimated reserve of as much as 130 billion cubic meters, and will serve as an important backup supply source for the west-east gas pipelines,' he said on condition of anonymity.

October 10, 2007

The Knot chosen as China's Oscar entry

For Variety, Clifford Coonan looks at the Oscar submissions from China's various regions:

For awhile, it looked as if China was going to nominate Lust, Caution instead of Taiwan—a territory Beijing sees as a renegade province, not a sovereign nation. Lee's stock is rising in the People's Republic of China—his Shanghai-set film was surprisingly given a mainland release with some snipping, and he also is involved in Olympics coordination next year.

The Knot was very carefully constructed to have a multiterritory Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese production pedigree and a theme of healthy and happy pan-Chinese cross-strait relations.

Chinese pills for American ills

The Wall Street Journal reports:

—Linhai, China When a small drug maker here got Food and Drug Administration approval for an AIDS drug this past summer, the Chinese pharmaceutical industry quietly passed an important milestone. As far as the agency can tell, it is the first time a Chinese company has won permission to export finished pills to the U.S.

Expect a lot more pharmaceutical makers here to get the green light over the next few years.

October 9, 2007

CultRev+40: The Grand Tour

FEER's Traveller's Tales blog introduces "One of the few amusing books to emerge out of the Cultural Revolution":

Twenty Snobs and Mao: Travelling de luxe in Communist China (Readers Union, 1969) by Colette Modiano—the memoir of a French writer shepherding a group of rich French, Italian and Swiss epicureans around the Middle Kingdom. Here is one of those rare occasions when Gallic snideness is used to perfect effect.

The Dazhai Spirit gets religion

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What does it mean for Chinese society when Dazhai, formerly a collectivist agricultural utopia, finds itself home to a large, privately-financed Buddhist temple?

Is ad-blocking a criminal offense?

The author of Coral QQ, a popular ad-blocking patch for Tencent's messaging software, was arrested in Shenzhen for IP infringement.

Nonsense reporting about China

The October Golden week holiday seems to have stopped certain Western commentators from checking their facts about China. Slate's latest Dispatch from China contains factual errors and misleading interpretations, and Ars Technica spreads a rumor about China blocking all RSS feeds.

Translation and its discontents

Poor-quality translation is hardly the only problem plaguing China's bottom-line-driven publishing industry, but it's certainly one of the more entertaining.

"Shenzhen Speed" - then what?

Michael Zhao at CDT translates an article from Xiaokang magazine on Shenzhen:

As some look at redefining Shenzhen's role down the road as an example of China's larger economic shift to come, its significance cannot be overstated. There are two schools of theory, one maintains that Shenzhen should still emphasize its "special economic zone" status, the other suggesting it redefine itself and focus on its geographical advantage, expanding cooperation with Hong Kong and developing along with Hong Kong.

17th National Congress: Who should you interview?

Qian Gang writes for CMP:

Top party leaders will of course be at the top of your interview wish list this month. But no one, least of all officials in the upper echelons, will agree to an interview ahead of this key political session. It's possible Hu Jintao will choose to visit with some particular foreign news icon, as Deng Xiaoping did with Oriana Fallaci and Jiang Zemin with Mike Wallace.

But most foreign journalists will have to settle for Chinese academics, political experts and historians. Here are a few at the top of our list:

Mean Streets

Jonathan Ansfield writes about the recent residency crackdown for Spot-On:

If Chinese don't care about their own laws, how can you be expected to? That's the attitude some foreigners take. Don't ask, don't tell. As opaque as this environment can be, you can always feign ignorance. And often, just when the public security organ starts to look like Stasi, it turns into Keystone Cops.

See also: PSB Harrassment at China Expat's Daily Tea Leaves.

When will China produce political genius?

At CDT, David Kelly translates a piece by Liang Jing on the genius of Zeng Qinghong:

Everyone who has dealt with Zeng Qinghong is aware that he is no mediocrity, so what kind of talent is he actually? In my opinion, he is an eccentric or perverse genius of the behind-the-scenes power game. What is in fact intriguing about him is that rather than being outstanding in the presence of others, he is the most adept at pulling strings behind the scenes. He lacks high principles, nor pursues success in some cause, but is an exotic flower nurtured in the China's distorted political ecology.

Foreign companies make money in China

The Wall Street Journal has published a report by Jason Dean and Andrew Batson noting that 'foreign firms are cashing in after years of anticipation' listing Sun Microsystems, Caterpillar, Nokia, Motorola, Intel, AstraZeneca and and KFC parent Yum Brands as companies that make or expect to soon make significant chunks of their global profits in China.

Removing the blocked RSS rumor

At the Global Voices Advocacy blog, John Kennedy traces the spread of the 'China's blocking RSS feeds!!!' rumor and presents some work-arounds. See also.

October 8, 2007

Beiing subway wiki

David Feng has started a wiki about the Beijing subway, including station by station information for the newly opened line number 5.

Red - the new black

Arts Council England presents an analysis of Sino-British publishing trends:

[W]e commissioned this report...to provide an understanding of how the Chinese literary publishing industry works:

  • what are its trends and who are its key players
  • what government support can be anticipated, particularly for translations
  • what are the mechanisms for the export and reception of literature from China to the UK and vice versa
  • what are the barriers and opportunities associated with this transaction
PDF and Word versions are available.

What Michael Corleone and Yongzheng taught me about succession struggles

The Granite Studio presents two views of possible party succession at the upcoming 17th Party Congress, one from Li Datong and another inspired by the Kangxi Emperor:

...nobody is going to lose their head over this, that time has passed. Certainly the CCP leadership has shown itself capable of orderly transitions of power. But a situation where three or four likely candidates have five years to jockey for position ahead of the next party congress is one fraught with possibilities. New cliques will certainly form as officials circle around one of several centers of power. Control over different media outlets and for screen time on CCTV will put pressure on the propaganda bureau to either choose sides or get out of the way. Patronage will be the name of the game. The possibilities for corruption or, at the very least, policy gridlock would be high.

New Beijing subway line opens

Yesterday afternoon Beijing's new number 5 subway line opened. There were long queues of passengers hoping to get souvenir tickets. The new line bisects the eastern half of Beijing from north to south. Ticket prices for all subway lines were also cut to two yuan (USD 0.25) for a one way journey anywhere on the subway network.

October 5, 2007

China's media cautious on Myanmar

At Asia Times, Dinah Gardner looks at how the Chinese media reported the Burma protests:

Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis News was one of the few mainland papers that printed photos of a dying Nagai. But even the paper, one of China's boldest publications, did not dare show the whole photo. The image carried on their website was carefully cropped to cut out the armed soldier....

And while a small number of papers did print the uncropped photo–the Beijing Times, for example, published both versions - the Nanfang Daily's treatment reflects the country's overall timid media response to the momentous events that unfolded on its doorstep last week.

What's the retirement age for the Politburo again?

Dave at the Mutant Palm examines Politburo arcana:

OK, I give up. Is it formal? Informal? 68? 70? Was it set during the 14th, 15th or 16th Party Congress? And if we can't get this basic rule clear, what's the point of placing bets on who's in and out based on age?

October 3, 2007

Gome buys out Beijing Times Suning advertisement

Suning placed a thick advertising supplement in the 1 October issue of the Beijing Times. Gome agents bought up all the copies for twice the cover price, and distributed the papers, sans-Suning ad, for free at their own stores. ESWN translates an account from Tianya.

October 2, 2007

What the Chinese are reading about Burma

Beijing Newspeak has published a translation of a Global Times article about the situation in Burma.

French company gets huge fine for patent infringement

While most IPR infringements are punished with laughably small fines in China, a court in Wenzhou has ordered France's Schneider Electric to pay Chint Group of Wenzhou $45m in damages for infringing its patent, the largest amount ever awarded in an intellectual property case in the China. The Financial Times reports:

The Intermediate People's Court in Wenzhou city, eastern Zhejiang province, told Schneider to stop making five types of miniature circuit-breakers, which it ruled were based on patents held by low-voltage equi­p­ment maker. The court also awarded Chint Rmb334,869,872 ($44.6m) in damages.

New roads in Beijing

A new blog called Beijingology has details of several new roads opened in Beijing during the last few days.

Chinese readers buy into Rothschild conspiracy

The Financial Times looks at the success of Currency Wars by Song Hongbing, an exploration of the shadowy hand behind the Federal Reserve Bank. The truth? Or just a rehash of western conspiracy theories?

Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Federal Reserve remains a puppet of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds.

Such an over-arching conspiracy theory might matter as little as the many fetid tracts that can still be found in the west about the "gnomes of Zurich" and Wall Street's manipulation of global finance.

But in China, which is in the midst of a lengthy debate about opening its financial system under US pressure, the book has become a surprise hit and is being read at senior levels of government and business.

October 1, 2007

China's 58th birthday party

Liuzhou Laowai has pictures a video of a local banquet to celebrate National Day.