January 17, 2013

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Next Made-in-China Boom: College Graduates (January 16, 2013, The New York Times)

China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities. The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe.


Why Southern Weekly said No (January 11, 2013, China Media Project)

In a talk here at the University of Hong Kong more than a month ago, I made the modest suggestion that two initial steps toward political reform in China might be more tolerant treatment of the media and greater respect for the rights of ordinary Chinese. In the discussion that followed several people objected to the feebleness of these hopes. Shouldnt we expect more? they asked. But over the past week, even these feeble hopes have faced powerful resistance in China. And never would I have guessed that the first test, and Chinas first major news episode of 2013, would unfold at my old newspaper, Southern Weekly.

What Censorship Fight Says About Chinas New Leadership (January 11, 2013, China Real Time)

If Xi and his colleagues were scamming the public and cadres about getting the Party to act differently, they could have returned to the default mode of their predecessors, and thump Southern Weekly by other means. That they chose not to do so probably means that they recognize that theres little support for the same-old tactics in the ranks.

Real Progress: Parsing Chinas Censorship Protests (January 14, 2013, China Real Time)

To try to get a better handle on the context surrounding the fracas, China Real Time got in touch with Ying Zhu, a professor of media studies at City University of New York, who recently took a deep look at Chinas state broadcaster in Two Billion Eyes: The Story of China Central Television

While not shocked by the Southern Weekly journalists conflict with propaganda officials, Ms. Zhu described the secondary protests it inspired as a sign of real progress in Chinese society.

Xi questions propaganda chiefs handling of censorship row (January 14, 2013, The Asahi Shimbun)

In an apparent attempt to quell the uproar over censorship, Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed displeasure toward the media control division and said he would not punish journalists who disobeyed its latest order, sources said. Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, appears to have given top priority to preventing the row from expanding further and threatening his new leadership installed in November.

Why Abolishing Chinas Hated Labor Camp System Is Harder Than It Sounds (January 15, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Last week, chinas Re-education Through Labor system returned to the center of public attention. Re-education through labor, or laojiao in shorthand Chinese, has long been a reviled means for police to jail Chinese citizens without due process.

Chinese Society Through The Prism Of Past Revolutions (January 15, 2013, Forbes)

I have often observed that I know of no country that has changed as much in the past 30 years as China has, in terms of the kind of practical freedom people experience in their day-to-day lives. The greatest challenge facing Chinas leaders is how or whether a fundamentally closed political system (rule by an elite) can cope with the dramatically more open economy and society that present-day China has become. Thats why theyre reading Tocqueville.

Same Bed, Different Dreams for Chinas Leaders, Critics (January 16, 2013, China Real Time)

China has been doing a lot of dreaming lately. Analyzing these dreams might have driven Sigmund Freud to despair. The dream sequences started appearing ahead of the Communist Partys national congress in November as the state media served up the China Dream as a counterpoint to the American Dream which was portrayed as too crass and materialistic.

China to survey disputed Diaoyu Islands (January 16, 2013, UPI)

China said it will survey the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea to "safeguard China's marine rights," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. The survey of the islandsknown as the Senkaku Islands by Japan which administers themwill be part of a larger project of island and reef mapping started in 2009, spokesman Hong Lei told reporters, a state-run Xinhua news agency report said.

China Arrests 7 in New Effort to Stop Tibetan Self-Immolations (January 16, 2013, The New York Times)

The authorities in northwest China have detained seven people they say organized the fatal self-immolation of a Tibetan villager in October, photographed his burning body and then sent the images abroad. The arrests, announced Tuesday by Xinhua, the official news agency, suggest that the Chinese government is increasing the use of its newest strategy against the politically motivated suicides in Tibetan areas of China: punishing friends and relatives of those who self-immolate.

Tea? Reining in dissent the Chinese way (January 16, 2013, BBC)

In the Chinese political language, "to be invited for tea" has become a euphemism for being questioned by the police. The invitation comes from the authorities in the form of a phone call, and a knock on the door. Those being invited range from celebrities who have expressed strong views on a topical issue to well-known dissidents and young people who get bold on the internet. The questioning normally lasts a few hours – tea might or might not be drunk during the session. The security people will ask you about your activities and issue warnings to stop or face the consequences.


Testimony of a Christian Artist (January 11, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

In this anxious and impulsive world, its hard to find someone who understands gratitude or truly feels happy. In the entertainment world, being able to maintain a pure heart is especially precious. Even so, on the Weibo microblog of Christian artist Yang Xin we often read about how much she thanks God. And it is precisely because of Biblical guidance that Yang Xin can hold on to her beliefs in the chaotic world of entertainment.

God Has Not Forgotten England and Europe (January 15, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

When it comes to missions, the world has been focused on the Chinese Church, and the Church is united in the belief that God will make China into a missions-minded country. Regarding Europe, most people may think that the Church is in decline, even facing such a bleak reality as having to auction off church buildings. Yet Pastor Li, who attended a revival meeting in England this year, said that God showed him a different reality.

Definition of Urban House Church in China (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)

Urban house church in China is merely a branch or type of Chinese house church. Therefore, before we define urban house church in China, we shall define the concept of Chinese house church.


Study: Chinas Pessimistic Little Emperors Pose Economic Risk (January 11, 2013, China Real Time)

Chinas only children tend to be more pessimistic, more self-centered and more risk averse, traits that are likely to affect the countrys labor market and have economic implications, according to a study conducted by a team of four researchers from Australian universities.

Their Horizons Widening, Chinas Web Users Look Abroad And Want More (January 13, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Web users are citizens of the world. They are quick to compare everything from Internet speed to freedom of speech with their international peers.

Beijing's 'Airpocalypse' Spurs Pollution Controls, Public Pressure (January 14, 2013, NPR)

In the Chinese media, there's been some soul-searching about why the problem has been so intense. The China Daily took the country's rapid urbanization process to task, commenting in an editorial, "The air quality in big cities could have been better had more attention been paid to the density of high rises, had more trees been planted in proportion to the number of residential areas, and had the number of cars been strictly controlled."

Chinese air pollution hits record levels in pictures (January 14, 2013, The Guardian)

On Saturday, Beijing experienced its worst pollution reading since the air quality monitor on was installed in the US embassy in 2008. Until this year, Chinese authorities have underplayed the country's spells of noxious atmospheric pollution. This weekend, however, Beijing's local government issued an alert, warning vulnerable people to stay indoors. The wave of pollution peaked on Saturday and by Monday remained hazardous. It is expected to last until Tuesday

What happens when China goes grey? (January 14, 2013, The Diplomat)

Many observers assume China has no pensions or healthcare insurance for the 185 million people over the age of 60 (13.7% of population), the highest official retirement age for most workers. They may well believe this explains why Chinese families save so muchmore than 30% of household incomeand therefore spend less on consumer goods, including imports from trading partners. But this line of reasoning is faulty because China already has large and rapidly growing public pension and health insurance programs in the cities, and is in the process of extending them to rural areas.

The Peoples Money (January 15, 2013, China Digital Times)

The currency of the Peoples Republic of China is the renminbi , literally the peoples money. As comedian Zhou Libo explains, the Great Helmsman appears on all banknotes worth one yuan and above, while different ethnic minorities are featured on notes of smaller denominations

Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants in China (January 14, 2013, The Atlantic)

China's Great Firewall of Internet censorship has become household knowledge in recent years, but the extent to which the country controls all forms of media is less well known. It has, however, become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world's second largest film market. It's a struggle because every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China's all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn't acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best. But even after a script is approved and the film is shot and edited, SARFT can swoop in and block the film for any reason.

At Rush Hour in Beijing, Riders Beg, And Many Taxi Drivers Say No (January 15, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Chinese media is reporting en masse what at first glance seems impossible, even ridiculous: During rush hour in Beijing, taxis can be found parked idle at the curb in the busiest parts of the city, as would-be passengers struggle to find a ride. As Beijing residents complain that it is becoming harder to hail a cab in the city, cabbies grumble that low fares, high monthly fees and gridlock make driving during rush hour a money-losing endeavorand that it is hard to scrape by even when driving conditions are good.

 Photos: Netizens speak out about life in the Smog Capital (January 16, 2013, Shanghaiist)

China: One-child policy is here to stay (January 16, 2013, NBC)

China has quelled speculation its controversial "one-child" policy is to be scrapped, instead announcing Wednesday that family planning laws to curb the birth rate will remain. "The policy should be a long-term one and its primary goal is to keep a low birthrate," Wang Xia, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said. The pronouncement comes after months of speculation that the decades-old restriction would be abandoned.

Deadly Fire Launches Debate Around Underground Child Care (January 16, 2013, China Real Time)

A fire that broke out at a foster home in impoverished Lankao County in central Chinas Henan province earlier this month claimed seven lives, including six orphans, launching the childrens foster mother into the center of controversy. But it has also brought to light underground and under-regulated system of care for abandoned children.


An Oxford in Changzhou? International schools spread across China (January 13, 2013, Reuters)

In choosing a smaller city, Oxford International College – no relation to the British university – is tapping into a growing market of upwardly-mobile Chinese willing to pay as much as 260,000 yuan ($41,700) a year for a Western-style education and a ticket to college overseas for their children.

Photos from Mao Zedong's hometown (January 13, 2013, The Globe and Mail)

Mark MacKinnon and John Lehmann discover that in Shaoshan, Mao Zedong is Mao the devout Communist, Mao the great military leader, Mao the poet, Mao the dutiful son. Left out entirely is Mao the madman whose ideological campaigns led to the deaths of tens of millions of Chinese and the impoverishment of the entire country.

Keketuohai: Chinas Little Yosemite Park (January 15, 2013, Far West China)

Located on the tip of northwest Chinas Xinjiang province, near the border of Mongolia, sits one of the most fascinating and little-known national parks in all of Asia – Keketuohai Geological National Park.


Beijing hospitals struggle to cope with smog-related illnesses (January 15, 2013, Shanghaiist)

As Beijing enters its fourth day of smothering smog, the city is already seeing a major spike in pollution-related illnesses.

Is China Really Killing Us? Economic Observer Podcast (January 17, 2013, Economic Observer)

How much should we be worried about air pollution compared to other health issues? Are air purifiers and purified water jugs worth the money? And how do the expectations of Chinese patients compare with patients back in the U.S.? Listen as Dr. Saint Cyr answers these questions and describes what its like practicing medicine in China.


China's inflation jumps to 6-month high (January 11, 2013, AP)

China's inflation spiked to a six-month high in December after a freezing winter pushed up vegetable prices, possibly complicating efforts to sustain a shaky economic recovery. Consumer prices rose 2.5 percent over a year earlier, up from November's 2 percent and the fastest rise since June, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. That was driven by a 14.8 percent jump in vegetable prices after the coldest winter in seven years led to smaller harvests. Prices in some areas rose as much as 40.8 percent.

Why China loves Apple (January 15, 2013, CNN)

The social pressure of having an Apple product is strong, especially as the wealthy elites set the trend. If a middle class Chinese consumer cannot afford an expensive car or watch, sporting an iPhone may be just as good. Even the bad press surrounding Foxconn, the main manufacturer of Apple products, did not make too much of a dent on the company's sales.

China's Internet population surges to 564 million, 75 percent on mobile (January 15, 2013, ZDNet)

More Chinese citizens than ever have access to the Internet thanks to mobile technology driving Internet penetration. According a governmental report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), an estimated 51 million new Chinese users accessed the Internet in 2012, bringing the number of online users to 564 million, an increase of ten percent. This, in turn, has boosted the countrys penetration rate by 3.8 percentage pointsreaching 42.1 percentsince the end of 2011.

7 Chinese cities listed in '10 most air polluted cities in the world (January 16, 2013, Shanghaiist)

The Asian Development Bank and Tsinghua University recently released the ''National Environmental Analysis'', which reported that among the world's ten most air polluted cities, 7 are in China: Taiyuan, Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Jinan and Shijiazhuang. The report also points out that only 1% of China's 500 cities have met the air quality standard recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Chinas high-speed rail gets back on track (January 16, 2013, Washington Post)

What a difference a year makes for Chinas high-speed rail ambitions, and for the Chinese economy. After being abandoned and left to lie dormant, the scrubby farm fields around Bazhou, in northern China, have sprouted rail bridges, elevated track beds and neat rows of workers dormitories. The fields are well on their way to becoming a link in the countrys rapidly expanding high-speed rail network. It is a sharp turnaround from late 2011, when China slammed the brakes on its rail program, suspending virtually all new investment after a bullet-train crash killed 40 people and raised questions about the quality of the track that had already been laid.

New cable set to improve cross-strait links (January 18, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

A COMMUNICATIONS cable directly linking the Chinese mainland with Taiwan will be put into use tomorrow, according to a Chinese mainland spokesman. Construction of the submarine fiber-optic cable has already been completed, Yang Yi, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said yesterday. Once put into use, the cable will make it much easier for people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to communicate, Yang said. Yang said it is "good news" for the mainland and Taiwan, as it is another step in developing the "three direct links" of cross-Strait mail, trade, as well as air and shipping services. At a length of 270 kilometers, the cable connects Fuzhou City in Fujian Province and Taiwan's Tamsui.


Video: Why Clothes Might Not Be Made in China Much Longer (January 17, 2013, China Real Time)

Manufacturing companies are bypassing China and moving factories to cheaper locales in Southeast Asia. Lever Styles Stanley Szeto explains why his company is gradually moving production to Vietnam and Indonesia.


Chinese Emotions for which There Are No English Words (January 17, 2013, Sinosplice)

A friend pointed me to this article: Emotions For Which There Are No English Words. A nice intersection of some of my favorite topics: semantics, translation, psychology, and infographics.


“宗教与法治”暑期班学员交流讨论会综述(一)(Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)

我国网民规模达5.64亿 基督徒可以利用网络更快更广传福音 (January 16, 2013, Christian Times)


The New Party Politburo Leadership (January 14, 2013, China Leadership Monitor)

The processes of generational turnover of Chinas leadership at the Chinese Communist Partys 18th National Congress extended patterns of formal politics that trace their roots to Deng Xiaopings political reforms of the 1980s, that advanced in the Jiang Zemin era in the 1990s, and that matured under outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao in the 2000s. As such, the transition in the party leadership at the 18th Congress marked another step forward in the institutionalization of Chinese leadership politics.

Over Eighteen: Chinas Political Spectrum Today (January 15, 2013, The China Story)

As the dust begins to settle following the Eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP) held in November 2012, and the transition period of party-state leaders draws to a close with the upcoming National Peoples Congress session in March, it may be time to reflect on the outcomes of the latest leadership turnover.

Eight Musts Coalesce into Consensus (January 17, 2013, Copyright and Media)

This article was posted yesterday in the Observer News Weekly (), and seems to be the first major policy declaration from the Xi administration.

Winter Heating or Clean Air? Unintended Impacts of China's Huai River Policy (Social Science Research Network, January 2009)

This paper assesses the role of heating entitlements in generating stark air quality differences across China. During the 1950-1980 central planning period, the Chinese government established free winter heating of homes and offices as a basic right via the provision of free coal fuel for boilers.


Listening to the Heart (January 7, 2013, ChinaSource)

Factory Girls, by Leslie ChangAmong her conclusions, Chang observes that the lives and struggles of the factory girls " were emblematic of their country todayand of the China of my family too, who strived to make up for everything they had lost or left behind. In the end, across time and class, this is the story of China: leaving home, enduring hardship, and making new life" (404).

Eight Questions: Tom Miller, Chinas Urban Billion (January 17, 2013, Real Time Report)

Urbanization is the new hot topic for Chinas leaders, as they look for renewed sources of growth for the worlds second-biggest economy. The choices they make have enormous consequences for everything from rebalancing Chinas demand toward stronger consumption to determining the future path of energy consumption. Few are better qualified to understand the challenges than Tom Miller, author of a new book called  Chinas Urban Billion: The Story Behind the Biggest Migration in Human History.

Image credit: graduation caps, by John Walker, via Flickr