ZGBriefs Newsletter for April 12, 2012

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April 12, 2012 ZGBriefs is a condensation of news items gathered from published sources. ZGBriefs is not responsible for the content of these items nor does it necessarily endorse the perspectives presented. Get daily updates from ZGBriefs on Twitter @ZG_Briefs. To make a contribution to ZGBriefs, please click here and then select Donate Through Paypal. FEATURED ARTICLE China’s e-publishing revolution puts writers on a fast track to freedom (April 11, 2012, Guardian Books Blog) A new phenomenon in China fiction published exclusively online is giving young writers the opportunity to get their work read quickly and free from censorship. GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS China warns military to ignore internet rumours (April 6, 2012, BBC News) China’s official military newspaper has warned soldiers to ignore internet rumours and maintain absolute loyalty to the party. This follows the arrest of six people and closure of 16 websites last week, after rumours of a coup spread online. A leftwing website that expressed support for dismissed political leader Bo Xilai has also been shut. The moves are believed to be linked to China’s leadership change later this year. Crew of Chinese cargo ship hijacked off Iran ‘rescued’ (April 6, 2012, BBC News) The 28-strong crew of a Chinese cargo ship seized by pirates in the Gulf of Oman off Iran’s coast have been rescued, China’s state media say, citing the nation’s embassy in Tehran. The vessel was attacked by Somali pirates on Friday morning near the Iranian port of Chabahar, Xinhua said. China immediately asked Iran to take the necessary steps to rescue the crew, Xinhua said. However, it gave no further details of the rescue operation. Fang Lizhi, China dissident who inspired Tiananmen, dies (April 7, 2012, BBC News) Chinese dissident Fang Lizhi, whose speeches helped inspire the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, has died in the United States, aged 76. Once China’s leading astrophysicist, he was expelled from the Communist Party in 1987, accused of stirring up unrest. He publicly supported the Tiananmen protests but played no public part. After the crackdown on Tiananmen by the Chinese authorities, Mr Fang and his wife took refuge in the US embassy for a year before leaving China for good. The couple feared they would face charges which carried the death penalty. Despite Chinese requests, the Americans refused to hand them over, and in 1990, they were allowed to leave for the US. China calls for support amid Bo Xilai fall-out (April 11, 2012, BBC News) China has urged support for its probe into disgraced leader Bo Xilai, a day after news of his dismissal and the detention of his wife over the death of a UK businessman shocked the country. A widely-published piece in party newspaper People’s Daily praised the “correct decision”, saying it showed respect for the rule of law. Mr Bo’s removal from key party posts was announced late on Tuesday. It followed weeks of speculation over the former Chongqing party chief. Mr Bo, 62, was once tipped as a future leader. But he has now been removed from his posts on the Communist Party’s hugely powerful 25-member Politburo, and the 300-member Central Committee. His wife, Gu Kailai, is being investigated in connection with the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, Chinese authorities have also announced. Disabled rights lawyer Ni Yulan and husband sentenced to jail (April 11, 2012, Shanghaiist) Land rights lawyer Ni Yulan (), who has now been permanently crippled from police torture, has been sentenced to jail by a court in Beijing along with her husband Dong Jiqin (). Both were charged with “picking quarrels, provoking trouble and wilfully destroying private and public property”, with Ni Yulan herself additionally charged with fraud. Ni was sentenced two years and eight months behind bars, while her husband was given a two-year term. Cheng Hai, the defendant lawyer, said the couple would appeal against the “unjust” verdict. Ni’s daughter Dong Xuan () said her mother has had no access to medical help during her time in detention and might have got a neck tumor. Philippine warship in standoff with China vessels (April 11, 2012, AP) The Philippines’ largest warship was engaged in a tense standoff with Chinese surveillance vessels Wednesday at a disputed South China Sea shoal, after the ship attempted to arrest Chinese fishermen but was blocked by the surveillance craft. Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario has summoned Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing in an attempt to resolve the impasse diplomatically. Del Rosario’s office said in a statement that the Scarborough Shoal “is an integral part of Philippine territory” and Filipino authorities would assert sovereignty over the offshore area. The Chinese Embassy has accused the Philippine warship of harassing the fishermen. RELIGION China Said to Detain Returning Tibetan Pilgrims (April 7, 2012, The New York Times, by Edward Wong) Hundreds of Tibetans who attended an important Buddhist ceremony in January in India have been detained without charge by Chinese security officers on their return to Tibet, according to family members and friends living in exile in India, international human rights groups and officials with the Tibetan exile government. This is the first time that the Chinese authorities have detained large numbers of Tibetan pilgrims returning from the ceremony, held regularly in India among other places. Many of the pilgrims are elderly and have been detained for more than two months in central Tibet, or what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. The detainees are being interrogated and undergoing patriotic re-education classes, and have been ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama, who presided over the ceremony, known as the Kalachakra, say people who have researched the detentions. The detainees are being held at hotels, schools and military training centers or bases; some are being forced to pay for their lodging and meals. HEALTH 24 million Chinese with limb disabilities need rehab services (April 6, 2012, Xinhua) Some 24.12 million people who have lost their limbs or have limb problems should resort to rehabilitation services, according to the China Rehabilitation Research Center. The figure was revealed Friday at a launch ceremony for a charity program in which Samsung promised to donate 50 million yuan (8 million U.S. dollars) over the next five years to support projects and treatments by the Department of Prosthesis Manufacture under the center. According to an unnamed official with the department, China has some 70 million people above the age of 60 in need of rehabilitation services in addition to the disabled, and the fund will enable the center to relieve rising demand. Ministry to withdraw 38 food additives (April 10, 2012, China Daily) China plans to withdraw 38 types of food additive from the market, in response to rising concerns over food safety. Analysts said the targeted additives are used in many food products, including candies, cakes, and canned meat and fruit. The food additives are mainly used for preserving freshness, and improving taste and appearance. The draft proposal was posted on the Ministry of Health website on Friday for public comment until April 20. China busts woman for illegal backseat ultrasounds on moms wanting sons (April 10, 2012, AP) Police in China have arrested a woman for performing ultrasound tests in the back seats of cars and illegally telling mothers the gender of their fetus, state media said Tuesday. It is forbidden in China to tell expectant parents which sex their child will be because the practice has encouraged parents with a traditional preference for sons to abort female fetuses, skewing the ratio of boys to girls. Sonograms are allowed but gender identification is forbidden. The official Xinhua News Agency said a woman surnamed Hu was arrested last month in Wuhan and is suspected of being part of a group of three people and a network of middlemen who provided gender testing across the city of 4.5 million. Women usually paid around 700 yuan ($110) for the service, it said. EDUCATION / CULTURE China’s first Sino-American university opening in 2013 (April 5, 2012, Xinhua) New York University Shanghai (NYU Shanghai), the first university jointly operated by China and the United States, will enroll its first undergraduates in 2013, announced the preparatory council of the NYU Shanghai on Thursday. The assessment of student applications will be based on both their performance in China’s national college entrance examination and an NYU-style student screening process. Of the first 300 undergraduates, it is expected that 51 percent will come from the Chinese mainland, and 49 percent will be international students. China sets out school bus law after deadly crashes (April 10, 2012, BBC News) China’s cabinet has issued new rules governing school bus safety in the wake of a series of deadly crashes that sparked public anger. The regulations set out specifications for school buses and punishments for offences such as overloading. However transport for kindergarten pupils and high school students is not covered under the rules. SOCIETY / LIFE Five Face Charges in China Over Sale of Youths Kidney (April 7, 2012, AP) The authorities have indicted five people in central China on charges of involvement in illegal organ trading after a teenager sold a kidney to buy an iPhone and an iPad. Prosecutors in the city of Chenzhou charged the suspects with intentional injury for organizing the removal and transplant of a kidney from a 17-year-old high school student identified as Wang, his surname, the official Xinhua News Agency said late Friday. A woman on duty on Saturday at the Chenzhou Beihu District Peoples Procuratorate court in Hunan Province confirmed that the defendants were facing charges of intentional injury. The defendants include a surgeon, a hospital contractor and brokers accused of looking for donors and leasing an operating room to conduct the procedure, Xinhua said. 123 million Chinese over 65 (April 8, 2012, Shanghai Daily) AROUND 123 million Chinese were aged over 65 at the end of 2011 – 9.1 percent of the total population, the Health Aging Symposium announced yesterday. Chinese seniors aged 80 or above are set to account for 30 percent of over-65s by 2050, and the ratio of working-aged Chinese to seniors will drop from 10:1 in 2000 to 2.8:1 by then, the symposium said. World Health Organization statistics show that globally the number of people aged over 60 has doubled since 1980, and by 2050 there will be 395 million aged 80 or above, four times current figures. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that globally in the next five years, over-65s will outnumber under-5s for the first time. Premarital sex is common, survey finds (April 10, 2012, China Daily) A new survey indicates that Chinese society is growing more permissive about premarital sex. In the survey in March, 71.4 percent of respondents said they had sex before getting married, 43.1 percent said they approve of premarital sex, and only 24.6 percent voiced disapproval. The findings stand in stark contrast with a 1989 survey in which only 15 percent of respondents said they had premarital sex. The recent survey was created by Insight China, a magazine affiliated with Qiushi, the Party theory magazine, and conducted by Tsinghua Media Survey Lab at Tsinghua University. There were 1,013 respondents, 56 percent of them men and 44 percent women, from 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Almost 70 percent of respondents were from 20 to 39 years old. Sixty-four percent have received a college education. Their careers varied from professional manager, private company owner to civil servant and student. In addition to the 71.4 percent who said they had sex before marriage, 43.1 percent said they approved of premarital sex. Only 24.6 percent voiced disapproval. One-child policy to stay despite experts’ critique (April 11, 2012, Shanghai Daily) China aims to stabilize its population at about 1.39 billion people by 2015 by sticking to the existing family planning policy, dampening experts’ hopes of an unwinding of the tough rules, according to a plan the central government posted on its website yesterday. The central government projected that during the next five years the nation’s population will grow more slowly due to a drop in the number of fertile women in their 20s. The number of elderly people will keep rising, and the labor population will reach a peak and then decline slowly. The elderly population will increase quickly at first as people born in the nation’s first baby boom in the 1950s enter their old age. China reached a milestone last year when the government announced that, for the first time, the urban population surpassed the rural one. Chinese Internet Users React to Bo Xilai Scandal (April 11, 2012, VOA) Heavy keyword censorship on Chinese microblogs did not stop Chinese Internet users from hotly debating the deepening scandal surrounding former high-profile politician Bo Xilai, whose wife is under investigation for the murder of a British businessman. Wednesday, searches for those involved in the case produced no results on China’s most widely used microblog service, Sina Weibo. Related searches, such as for Chongqing, the city where Bo had been party secretary, prompted the response: According to Chinese rules and regulations, the following results are not being shown. Users circumvented the blocks by referring to the political scandal as the major news. A Sina Weibo list of the 10 most debated topics on Wednesday, widely reposted online, included three Bo Xilai-related phrases. Two Chinese students shot dead in Los Angeles (April 12, 2012, China Daily) A gunman opened fire on a BMW near the University of Southern California campus on Wednesday, killing two international students from China in what may have been a bungled carjacking attempt, police said. The gunfire erupted around 1 am local time, shattering the windows on the new 3-series luxury car. The woman was slumped in the front passenger seat, and the man was found outside the vehicle. They were both dead on arrival at a hospital, authorities said. Investigators say it may have been a carjacking attempt. Witnesses said the car was in the roadway, not at the curb, at the time of the shooting. “This is every parent’s nightmare,” police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. Post probe finds that 1 in 3 letters never arrive (April 12, 2012, Shanghai Daily) One in three letters posted in China do not reach their destination, according to a investigation by China Central Television. Despite numbers of letters mailed dropping dramatically as electronic communications have grown, millions still send and receive letters. CCTV reporters sent 100 letters by regular mail to 33 Chinese provinces and cities and eight overseas cities. Of these, only 67 reached their destination. This falls way short of regulatory requirements that at least 95 percent of mail should be delivered correctly, CCTV said. The investigation also found that some letters arrived much later than delivery times set out in regulations. Reporters tracked one letter that took 20 days to make the journey from Haidian District to Pinggu District in Beijing. SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT 100b spam phone messages sent in 2011 (April 9, 2012, Xinhua) They are the scourge of cell phone users everywhere and it is no wonder. It is estimated that nearly one hundred billion spam messages were sent in 2011, people.com.cn reported Monday. More than 10 billion were intercepted by the security software 360 mobile phone guard for 70 million users. It’s estimated that 100 billion spam messages harassed China’s one billion mobile phone users in the past year. On average cell phone users receive 11.4 unwanted messages each week, with 22.6 percent of the total messages sent in the later half of 2011, according to a survey released by Internet Society of China. Shenzhou-9 spacecraft delivered to launch center (April 10, 2012, Xinhua) The manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 was delivered to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China yesterday, a spokesman with the country’s manned space program said. The assembly of the Shenzhou-9 and its associate vehicles was complete, but its carrier rocket, the Long March-2F, had not been delivered as it was undergoing tests, the spokesman said. China will launch the manned Shenzhou-9 spacecraft between June and August this year and strive for a manned space rendezvous and docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module. Hail kills three, injures dozens as storms sweep China (April 11, 2012, BBC News) Three people have been killed and many more injured in a series of hailstorms across China. The deaths on Tuesday and Wednesday were in eastern Jiangxi province, where 900 homes were damaged. In south-western Guizhou province, 25 people were injured as hailstones 3.5cm (1.5 inches) in diameter and weighing 18 grams (0.6 ounces) damaged buildings and destroyed crops over a wide area. The storms forced more than 700 people from their homes in the area. Power lines were brought down and telecommunications disrupted as the local government sent medical and relief teams to the affected regions. Tibet likely location for new international astronomical observatory (April 12, 2012, Xinhua) A remote area in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region may be chosen as the location for a new international astronomical observatory, a leading astronomer said Thursday in Lhasa. The planned observatory will enable scientists from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to build large-scale telescopes and carry out joint research programs, said Yao Yongqiang, chief researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In an interview with Xinhua, Yao said a possible location for the new observatory will be in the mountains of Tibet’s Ngari prefecture, at an altitude of 5,100 meters. BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / FOREIGN TRADE China inflation growth dims hopes of interest rate cut (April 8, 2012, BBC News) China’s inflation rate grew more-than-forecast in March as higher fuel and food costs pushed up consumer prices. Consumer prices grew by 3.6% in March from a year earlier, up from 3.2% in February. Analysts had forecast an increase of 3.3%. Premier Wen Jiabao has cited inflation is one of China’s main economic worries and has set a target of 4% for 2012. Analysts said the data may prompt the central bank to hold back on monetary policy easing for now. SPECIAL SECTION: THE PURGE OF BO XILAI China can’t hush up stories like Bo Xilai any more (April 10, 2012, The Guardian) So, bye bye Bo Xilai. Tripped up by your wife and a dead Lao Wai. (April 11, 2012, Rectified.Name) After Removal of Official, China Rushes to Unify Party and Limit Damage (April 11, 2012, The New York Times) Goodbye Everybody: Social Media Censors Battle the Bo Xilai Deluge (April 11, 2012, China Real Time Report) Chongqing Dispatch: April 11, 2012 (April 11, 2012, Inside-out) Bo Xilai scandals top todays headlines (April 11, 2012, China Media Project) What they’re saying about Bo Xilai’s sacking (April11, 2012, Shanghaiist) Bo Xilais lessons for your China business (April 11, 2012, China Law Blog) China scandal unlikely to upend Communist Party’s apple cart (April 11, 2012, The Los Angeles Times) The fall of Bo Xilai and spreading rumors as civil disobedience in China (April 11, 2012, Seeing Red in China) Inside China: Murder, Xi wrote (April 11, 2012, The Washington Times) Bo Xilai and His Wife: Rumors of Murder in China (April 11, 2012, Letter from China) Fall of China official roils Chongqing, with some public dissent (April 11, 2012, The Los Angeles Times) Gu Kailai: spectacular fall from grace of charismatic lawyer and politician’s wife (April 11, 2012, The Guardian) Chinas Communist leaders, fearing Bo Xilais following, unite over his ouster (April 11, 2012, The Washington Post) Bo Xilais Fall Ends One Story, Begins Another (April 11, 2012, China Real Time Report) Demise of Bo Xilai paves way for Liu Yandong, China’s most powerful woman (April 11, 2012, The Telegraph) Britons Wanderings Led Him to Heart of a Chinese Scandal (April 11, 2012, The New York Times) Bo Xilais Gift to Chongqing: A Legal Mess (April 12, 2012, China Real Time Report) Peoples Daily: People must unify their thinking (April 12, 2012, Danwei) Bo Ouster May Calm China Passage to Slower Economic Growth (April 12, 2012, Bloomberg) Fearful Final Hours for Briton in China (April 12, 2012, Wall Street Journal) Surname of Ex-Officials Wife Adds New Twist to Mystery (April 12, 2012, The New York Times) LINKS TO DETAILED ARTICLES AND ANALYSIS China is deeply flawed. Its dominance is not inevitable (April 5, 2012, The Guardian, by Jonathan Fenby) The country’s success will continue only if its elites initiate the political and economic reforms it desperately needs. Fang Lizhi obituary (April 8, 2012, The Guardian, by John Gittings) Chinese intellectual whose attempts to open up the post-Mao Zedong political system fuelled the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square Fang Lizhi (April 8, 2012, The Atlantic, by James Fallows) Back in 1988, when the Tiananmen Square crackdown and Fang Lizhi’s celebrated exile to the United States were still a year or more in the future, Orville Schell did a long article about Fang and the prospects for Chinese reform in the Atlantic. It is still very much worth reading, on the occasion of Fang’s death this week. Financial Reform In China? Dont Bet On It. (April 9, 2012, China Law Blog) Much has been written over the past several days regarding Wen Jiabaos comments on financial reform in China. Particular interest has been focused on his comments regarding breaking up Chinas biggest banks. My own view is that the likelihood of such reform in the near future is just about zero. The reason I think this is because carrying out such reforms will require China to reform its entire system of governance and nobody in China is proposing that. The Google of China: The Secret of Baidu’s Runaway Search-Engine Success (April 9, 2012, Time, by Li Jing) Baidu is exactly like its founder: it advocates minimalism. It believes in only going where there’s a big market and doing what it knows how to do perfectly, rather than what it feels like doing. Baidu does not follow trends. How the internet is powering the fight against Beijing’s dirty air (April 10, 2012, The Guardian, by Christina Larson) Chinese social media and public pressure have pushed pollution up the agenda in Beijing, says environmentalist Ma Jun. The people behind your iPad: The workers (April 11, 2012, Marketplace, by Rob Schmitz) Last week, Marketplace’s Rob Schmitz actually got inside a Foxconn factory in the southern city of Shenzhen. He didn’t meet anybody who was poisoned on the job. He didn’t meet any 13-year-old workers. Nobody he talked to had been hurt in an explosion. He says the stories he heard were more about China than Apple. In the first of two reports, Rob introduces us to the people behind our iPads. Photos: Memorial rites honoring Genghis Khan held in China’s Inner Mongolia (April 11, 2012, Xinhua) In Chinese city, millions ready ‘to believe’ (April 11, 2012, Baptist Press) The waitress clears empty dishes from the table at a work banquet when Carter Hubbs*, a Christian in China’s western city of Chengdu, turns to a co-worker seated near him and decides to find out where the man is spiritually. LINKS TO BLOGS The end of the expat package? (April 6, 2012, Sinica) Curious where your “fat expat package” has gone? This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn welcome Will Moss of Imagethief and David Wolf of Wolf Group Asia for a dissection of the expat job market: what sort of jobs are available in China these days and what it takes to get on what we lovingly call the FEP. Wen Jiabaos Reform Push More Than Just Political Theater (April 6, 2012, China Real Time Report) Is Premier Wen Jiabao taking a run at reform again? Thats the question that has been rattling around in China-watching circles ever since Wens final press conference at the National Peoples Congress last month, during which he warned in sharp terms about the dangers of nostalgia over mass movements and insisted that without political reforms it is impossible to continue economic reform, and the gains we have made may be lost. Democracy comes to China via Wukan (April 7, 2012, East Asia Forum) The small fishing village of Wukan came together to elect a new village committee on 3 March. This election followed six months of protests over unsatisfactorily low compensation for land evictions a common complaint across China. Ten Ted Talks On China (April 8, 2012, China Law Blog) Here are the ten, along with their summaries Chinese students studying abroad bring change to Chinabut what kind? (April 8, 2012, Offbeat China) There will be shifts in values. Thats for sure. The question isshift to where. More patriotic or more pro-West? Is Mike Wallace the reason Chinese leaders don’t give interviews? (April 9, 2012, Passport) More than any other reporter, Mike Wallace, the charmingly aggressive 60 Minutes correspondent who passed away this Saturday at the age of 93, may be the reason for Hu’s reticence. Eight Questions: David Wolf Makes the Connection (April 11, 2012, China Real Time Report) In his new book Making the Connection, David Wolf, chief executive of marketing strategy firm Wolf Group Asia, traces the rise of Huawei and ZTE from regional equipment suppliers to global telecommunications giants, taking time to attack myths around the companies along the way. Facebook + Instagram + China = Take a Deep Breath (April 11, 2012, Rectified.name) So, Facebook bought Instagram for a billion bucks. Awesome for those guys. I, alas, did not get rich in either of the Internet startups I participated in. But you cant put a price on experience, right? Deep sigh. Chinese Social Media Is Less Scary Than You Think (April 12, 2012, Tea Leaf Nation) Whether youre a China-watching newbie or a seasoned pro looking to stay sharp, Chinese social media can be a great way to understand what the Chinese grassroots are talking about while enhancing your language skills in a myriad of ways, from learning the newest slang terms and watching the language evolve in real time to making your language practice time convenient and exceptionally entertaining. Chinas well educated garbage men Sorting through the waste of superfluous degrees (April 12, 2012, Seeing Red in China) When you hear the words migrant worker, what kind of person comes to mind? Are they young or middle age? Are they poor? Are they educated? Infographic: China online population overview (April 12, 2012, Offbeat China) China has about half a billion internet users, one fifth of the entire global online population. Size-wise, it is the largest. A typical Chinese internet user spends about the same amount of time online per week as a typical US internet user does. But when it comes to online behavior, Chinese internet users have some very unique characteristics that are different from their global counterparts. Chengdu and Chinas new future (April 12, 2012, Chengdu Living) Fortune Magazine and the city of Chengdu held a joint press conference here on April 10th announcing Chengdu as the site of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum. This is the fourth FGF held in China since 1999, with the most recent eight years ago in Beijing in 2005. New clarity on China internet outage (April 13, 2012, China Real Time Report) When Chinas internet goes haywire, its not just eager microblog users who notice. Thursdays two-hour blip, during which a chunk of China’ internet stopped, likely set off alarm bells at major internet companies across the globe as they scrambled to ensure their networks werent the ones blocking Chinese traffic. ARTICLES IN CHINESE (April 9, 2012, Gospel Times) 7 (April 12, 2012, Gospel Times) (April 12, 2012, Gospel Times) (Pushi Institute for Social Sciences) (Pushi Institute for Social Sciences) LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS Analysis of House Churches and the Relationship between State and Religion (Pushi Institute for Social Sciences) The Kingdom of God in Yurts: Christianity Among the Mongols in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (April 10, 2012, Mark Shan’s Upper Room) RESOURCES The China History Podcast Lazlo Montgomery presents topics covering 5000 of Chinese history and culture Chinese Grammar Wiki (All Set Learning) ZGBriefs is a weekly compilation of the news in China, condensed from published sources and emailed free-of-charge to more than 6,000 readers in China and abroad. ZGBriefs brings you not only the most important stories of the week, but also links to blogs, commentaries, articles, and resources to help fill out your understanding of what is happening in China today. 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