December 13, 2012

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Beijing targets those who cross the street 'with Chinese characteristics' (December 11, 2012, Christian Science Monitor)

Beijings finest, ever vigilant on the law-and-order front, have set themselves a challenging new task: to eradicate the phenomenon known as crossing the road, Chinese-style. A new strike hard campaign, launched last week, is aimed at bringing order to traffic and security at the citys intersections, according to the Beijing municipal police website. Good luck to them.


Freed Chongqing Prisoner Talks about Reeducation-through-Labor (December 5, 2012, Seeing Red in China)

Of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Chinas arbitrary, extralegal reeducation-through-labor system, a young man in Chongqing named Ren Jianyu was recently freed, thanks to the downfall of Bo Xilai, even though his filing against the government for sentencing him to RTL is being rejected. In a fascinating interview with The Beijing News, Ren Jianyu speaks of his experience at the labor camp, and displays refreshing qualities of a younger generation of Chinese. Hannah translates. Yaxue

Life and death struggle (December 8, 2012, The Economist)

On November 30th Wang Qishan, the Communist Partys new anti-corruption chief, met leading experts on fighting corruption and told them that the partys survival depended on the outcome of their efforts. Trust cannot replace supervision, he told them. It was familiar rhetoricanti-corruption campaigns are almost as old as the partybut the anti-corruption folk delivered their own message in response. Ma Huaide of the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing told Mr Wang that he should force officials to disclose their family assets publicly.

With a Flair for the Common Touch, Chinas New Leaders Give Web Users Great Hope (December 9, 2012, Tea Leaf Nation)

Glad-handing with the locals. Kissing babies. Eating fast food. These are tried and true ways that American politicians seek to advertise their common touch; but when Chinas new leaders employ these methods, it is greeted as a pleasant surprise, maybe even a sign of reform.

Watch: Fresh anti-China protests in Vietnam (December 10, 2012, Shanghaiist)

The Just Sisters Defense: Chinas Sex-Scandal Surge (December 11, 2012, Letter from China)

But exposing the epic ineptitude of public servants is not the same as rooting it out as its spiritual source: a deep-rooted culture of impunity and entitlement that has grown without boundaries for three decades. That will be a far more difficult task.

Xi stokes economic reform hopes in China (December 12, 2012, Financial Times, via CNN)

Mr Xi is hardly the first Chinese leader to talk about the need for reform. But the tone of the pronouncements emerging from his weekend trip has been more forceful than those employed by past leaders. Among some China watchers that has stoked optimism that long-delayed needed updates to economic management, from freeing up the household registration system to making government budgets more transparent, could be in the pipeline. Yet others point out that since taking his new role as Communist party head last month Mr Xi has yet to introduce any substantive policy changes.

Torture and Betrayal in Bos Chongqing (December 12, 2012, China Digital Times)

As Chongqing cleans up after its deposed former Party chief Bo Xilai, a series of articles at Caixin describes the notorious case of Beijing lawyer Li Zhuan. Li went to Chongqing to defend alleged mobster Gong Gangmo during Bos signature Strike Black anti-mafia crackdown, but local authorities decided to make an example of him to keep other outside lawyers at bay. Gong and his brother, Gong Ganghua, were coerced into accusing Li of encouraging them to commit perjury, and the lawyer was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Xi Jinping orders PLA to step up its 'real combat' awareness (December 13, 2012, South China Morning Post)

New Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping ordered the People's Liberation Army to intensify its "real combat" awareness in order to sustain military readiness in his first reported visits to military bases during his just-concluded tour of Guangdong.Xi made the remarks during inspections conducted from Saturday to Monday in the PLA's Guangzhou military theatre of operations, a term usually used during wartime to emphasise the co-ordination of air, land and sea forces, the state-run Xinhua news agency said yesterday.

Tibet Is Burning (December 13, 2012, The New York Times)

I am sorry we Han Chinese have been silent as Nangdrol and his fellow Tibetans are dying for freedom. We are victims ourselves, living in estrangement, infighting, hatred and destruction. We share this land. Its our shared home, our shared responsibility, our shared dream and it will be our shared deliverance.

Japan accuses China of airspace intrusion over islands (December 13, 2012, BBC News)

Japan has accused China of violating its airspace for the first time after a Chinese government plane flew near disputed East China Sea islands. Fighter jets were scrambled after the plane was seen around 11:00 local time (02:00 GMT) near one of the islands, spokesman Osamu Fujimura said. Japan lodged an immediate protest with Beijing, he said. The islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have been a long-standing source of tension.

The world won't wait for China to change (December 14, 2012, Asia Times Online)

China's aging Chinese Communist Party leadership, still raw from the harshness of the political struggle that accompanied their ascent, view political reform as a process to be gradually drawn through opaque mechanisms for a decade. This allows the US to coax regional neighbors onside by painting Beijing as a threatening, destabilizing force. Paradoxically, US-China tensions could create new Asian powers.

China's leaders face stark challenges (December 14 2012 Asia Times Online)

China's new leadership faces one main priority - to bring stability within the country's boundaries and to prevent civil protest against the government. That will require resolving the looming demographic crisis while closing the wealth gap and curbing corruption. Meanwhile, overseas resources must be secured while avoiding conflict in the South China Sea. Xi Jinping faces a challenging decade.


The Gospel and Beijing (December 7, 2012, Chinese Church Voices)

In 1853 Hudson Taylor arrived in China to preach the gospel. A story is told about Taylor explaining the salvation of Christ to a Confucian scholar. The scholar was deeply moved and asked, How long have you British known about this Jesus? Upon hearing that the British had already known about Jesus for more than two hundred years, he asked in astonishment, If you have known about Jesus for so long, why are you only now sharing the news with us?

Tibetan protests: China holds monk for inciting immolation (December 9, 2012, BBC)

Chinese authorities have arrested a monk and his nephew for inciting self-immolation protests in Sichuan province, state media says. Xinhua reported that the monk confessed to encouraging and publicising the protests, under orders from exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Exiled Tibetans said the confession was forced and denied any involvement. A recent legal ruling stipulated anyone aiding immolations would be charged with murder.

China Revokes New Shanghai Catholic Bishops Title (December 12, 2012, AP, via Time)

In a fresh challenge to Vatican authority, China has revoked the title of a new Catholic bishop in Shanghai who outraged Chinese officials by immediately dropping out of the government agency that oversees the countrys officially sanctioned church, religious officials said Thursday. Ma Daqin, who was jointly named for the post in a rare consensus between Beijing and the Vatican, has been confined to a seminary since he announced his intention to drop out of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in front of a congregation during his July 7 ordination as auxiliary bishop. The move by Ma, 44, was seen as challenging Chinas attempts to run the countrys Catholic church independently of the Vatican.


Woman dies in Beijing because ambulance can't get through traffic (December 13, 2012, Shanghaiist)

In a country where traffic jams occasionally last for eleven days it was probably only a matter of time before a story like this came to light. A woman has died in Beijing when the ambulance that was transporting her to hospital got stuck in traffic. An emergency physician working alongside the paramedics vented her frustration online, "The scene of the accident is no more than 3 kilometers from the hospital, yet it took us a good 40 minutes to arrive there! Barely any cars made way for our ambulance! So woeful!" The tweet, posted to Weibo by user 'Monica-Xiaomo', was shared over 30,000 times.


China keeps a close eye on university student groups (December 9, 2012, Los Angeles Times)

Historically, China's universities have occupied central roles in many of the country's political upheavals. The Chinese government is all too aware of that fact and has devised elaborate systems to maintain social stability on campuses, including extending the reach of the Communist Party through its own powerful student organizations. This means that it can be a tortuous endeavor for students to simply engage in extracurricular activities. Registered groups are tightly controlled by a draconian bureaucracy, and unregistered groups like Beidou often face restrictions, intimidation and worse.

The Miao Guzang Festival - A Marathon in Eight Stages (December 11, 2012, Life on Nanchang Lu)

Our visit to Guizhou Province, an extraordinarily beautiful part of China with steep green hills, silvery mists and winding rivers, just so happened to coincide with a really big deal - the Guzang Festival, an ancestor commemoration that occurs once every thirteen years for the local Miao people.

HISTORY Photos from 1962 of Mainland Refugees Fleeing Famine Rejected by HK (December 12, 2012, Hong Wrong)

As war and famine ravaged the mainland, hundreds of thousands fled to British Hong Kong during the 40s, 50s and 60s

Watch: Laowai teacher sings for his students in Chinese, wows netizens (December 12, 2012, Shanghai)

An American who teaches English at Guangdong Medical University has wowed netizens after a video of him singing 'A Brighter Future' (, Hikutinkng), by the Chinese band Beyond, to his students went viral.

Chinas Middle-Class Parents Underwhelmed by Undergrad Degree (December 12, 2012, China Real Time)

As students, businesses and educators in the U.S. ponder whether the masters degree is the new bachelors degree, Chinas well-off tiger parents appear to have already decided. Three-quarters of middle-class Chinese parents expect their child to earn a postgraduate degree, while only 32% said they would be happy if their child stopped at the undergraduate level, according to a report on the lifestyles of Chinas so-called little emperors by Mintel, a global market research provider.

Photos: Baby panda's life cycle (December 12, 2012, Shanghaiist)

These photos, currently going viral on Weibo, show how the giant panda goes from a pink hairless freak to China's greatest, and cutest national treasure.

Photos: Capturing Tibet (December 13, 2012 China Real Time)

When National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita set out to chronicle a rapidly changing Tibet, he found traditional towns that have morphed into tourist destinations, motorcycle-riding local residents joining an expanding middle class, and outlying areas that feel more Tibetan than restive Tibet itself.


WeChat: the Chinese social media app that has dissidents worried (December 7, 2012, The Guardian)

Activists believe security services are using WeChat to monitor in real time the movements of some of its 200 million subscribers

Top 10 Chinese internet memes of 2012 (December 7, 2012, Global Voices Online)

With over 400 million Weibo (Chinas twitter) users, Chinese social media has become a prominent source keeping people updated about what's happening in China. As the year comes to an end, we've picked China's 10 most memorable Internet memes of 2012. They cover scandal, celebrity, humour and buzzwords.

Air rage on the rise in China (December 11, 2012, The Telegraph)

As airlines launch more domestic services in the country - with 70 per cent more flights operating today than in 2003 and 270 million passengers flying domestic routes last year - delays are expected to become more common due to airspace being crowded. The way passengers deal with delays is less common however. One reaction to a hold-up at Shanghai's main international airport this year caused a further 16-hour delay in itself, when 20 angry passengers invaded the runway and came within 200 metres of an oncoming plane from the United Arab Emirates.

Beijing targets those who cross the street 'with Chinese characteristics' (December 11, 2012, Christian Science Monitor)

Beijings finest, ever vigilant on the law-and-order front, have set themselves a challenging new task: to eradicate the phenomenon known as crossing the road, Chinese-style. A new strike hard campaign, launched last week, is aimed at bringing order to traffic and security at the citys intersections, according to the Beijing municipal police website. Good luck to them.

Photos of the Year 2012: China (December 11, 2012, China Real Time)

In China, social divisions are written in a little red booklet (December 12, 2012, Los Angeles Times)

For millions of Chinese, the difference between a life of struggle and one of opportunity comes down to a little red booklet known as the hukou. Introduced 54 years ago under Mao Tse-tung as a means of social control, this household registration permit limits where China's 1.3 billion citizens can live, work and go to school by splitting them into two categories urban and rural. Today, the hukou, inspired by family registers from centuries ago, has created a modern economic chasm between city dwellers and peasants that threatens China's economic future as a powerhouse world economy. The hukou system also has become a flash point in China's wealth gap. Pent-up frustration with the country's growing divide has erupted in violent protests and riots.

Eight Days a Week: China Releases Official 2013 Holiday Dates (December 11, 2012, The Beijinger)

The Chinese government has finally made our 2013 public holidays official. We've deciphered the holiday schedule and it's not pretty. Forced vacation is never fun but when it results in eight-day workweeks and the dissolution of far too many weekends, it becomes downright painful. Here are the dates so you can start preparing.

Mo Yan accepts Nobel prize, defends 'necessary' censorship (December 11, 2012, The Guardian)

Despite being branded a 'patsy' by Salman Rushdie after declining to sign petition calling for release of fellow Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, Mo Yan reiterated view that a level of censorship is 'necessary' in acceptance speech

Fancy dress (December 12, 2012, Analects)

Chinese author Mo Yan travelled last week to Sweden to collect the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. The decision to give the award to Mr. Mo (whose real name is Guan Moye; his pen name means Does not Speak) has not been without controversy. After the announcement of his triumph, Mr. Mo came in for a round of criticism from fellow writers and intellectuals, including many who feel that he is too cozy with the Chinese government.

Why the Chinese Dream Means One Thing to its Leaders, and Another to its People (December 12, 2012, Tea Leaf Nation)

A recent speech that Mr. Xi Jinping, Chinas new paramount leader, delivered during a tour to a museum exhibition called the Road to Revival has garnered wide online attention because of its mention of the Chinese Dream. In his speech, Xi defined the Chinese Dream as achieving the great revival of the Chinese nation. But what does this dream mean to ordinary Chinese?

China's Xinhua irks bloggers by using Twitter (December 12, 2012, The Telegraph)

Xinhua, China's state-run news outlet, has been operating an English language account on the social media network since earlier this year despite Twitter being blocked since 2009. Until last week Xinhua's account had managed to fly under the radar in mainland China. But a story about the agency's prolific tweeting in the domestic media has sparked anger among Chinese micro-bloggers and triggered renewed calls for the country's notorious Great Firewall to be dismantled.

Over 900 foreigners get "green cards" in Beijing (December 13, 2012, Xinhua)

Beijing has so far granted permanent Chinese residency to a total of 911 foreigners, the city's Municipal Public Security Bureau revealed on Thursday. Foreigners who have permanent residency in China share the same rights and responsibilities as Chinese nationals with the exception of politics and those aspects specifically excluded by law, said a spokesman with the bureau's exit and entry management department.

Photos: Factory workers portraits (Michael Wolf Photography)


China says inflation at 2.0 percent in November (December 8, 2012, AP)

China's main gauge of inflation rose 2.0 percent in November, up from the previous month's 1.7 percent, driven largely by food price increases, the government said Sunday. The 3.0 percent rise in food prices included an 11.3 percent boost in the cost of vegetables, which was due to cold weather disruptions, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Food prices are unusually sensitive in a society where the poorest families spend up to half their incomes to eat. China's economic growth has been slowing, falling last quarter to a three-and-a-half-year low of 7.4 percent as the country's leadership pursues a policy of targeted stimulus.

Signals of a More Open Economy in China (December 9, 2012, The New York Times)

In a strong signal of support for greater market-oriented economic policies, Xi Jinping, the new head of the Communist Party, made a visit over the weekend to the special economic zone of Shenzhen in south China, which has stood as a symbol of the nations embrace of a state-led form of capitalism since its growth over the last three decades from a fishing enclave to an industrial metropolis.

Chinese Firm Buys Massachusetts Tech Company (December 12, 2012, NPR)

On Tuesday, a federal bankruptcy judge gave the nod to a Chinese firm to buy a Massachusetts technology company. The company, A123 Systems, makes batteries for electric cars, but some in Congress are fighting to block the deal.

Microsoft Retools in Fight Against China Pirates (December 13, 2012, China Real Time)

For pirates in China, where illegal software sales greatly outmatch legal ones, a new version of Windows typically means a new treasure ship to plunder. [] So in addition to beefing up traditional security measures, Microsoft is trying something new in its seemingly endless battle with pirates in China: appealing to consumers to educate them about the dangers of purchasing computers that have unlicensed versions of Windows installed.

Beijing home sales grow 50 pct in first 11 months (December 13, 2012, Xinhua)

Sales of residential apartments in Beijing have grown over 50 percent in the January-November period, a sign of the market warming up despite government controls, official data has indicated.According to a survey jointly conducted by the Beijing Bureau of Statistics and the National Bureau of Statistics, more than 11.79 million sq meters of residential housing were sold in Beijing in the first 11 months of 2012, up 52.7 percent year on year.The figure does not cover subsidized housing, which is offered to low-income families to help them buffer the impact of high-flying home prices.


Some Chinese Christmas art (December 11, China Hope Live)

Heres some Chinese Christmas art from artist Dr. He Qi. Click the images to visit the artists website. And heres two interviews:

Film: They Chose China (blip.tv)

In this feature documentary, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Shuibo Wang (Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square) aims his camera at the astonishing story of 21 American soldiers who opted to stay in China after the Korean War ended in 1954. Back home in the United States, McCarthyism was at its height and many Americans believed these men were brainwashed by Chinese communists. But what really happened? Using never-before-seen footage from the Chinese camps and interviews with former PoWs and their families, They Chose China tells the fascinating stories of these forgotten American dissidents.


Mo Yans Jewish Interpreter (December 10, 2012, Tabletmag)

They say translators are frustrated writers, Howard Goldblatt explained as he waited impatiently in his blue stick-shift BMW behind a silver sedan. Im not a frustrated writer. Im a frustrated Formula-1 driver. Goldblatt, 73, is the foremost Chinese-English translator in the world. Over the course of his almost 40-year career, he has translated more than 50 books, edited several anthologies of Chinese writings; received two NEA fellowships, a Guggenheim grant and nearly every other translation award.

Murphy & Dana and Nanjing University (December 11, 2012, China Rhyming)

Back in March 2011 I blogged about the older buildings remaining at Nanjing University (here). Last weekend I heard Edward Denison speak on architecture in China at the University of Westminster China in Britain conference and he noted that these buildings were designed by the architects Murphy and Dana (the red star I presume was added later!) I didnt know that. So maybe take another look and read a history of Henry Murphy here who was responsible for many stand out buildings in Shanghai and across China.

Image credit: Traffic Jam, by ChezShawna, via Flickr