Wu Liangyong: “environment unfit for daily life, responsibility very heavy on our shoulders”

This scrapbook of links and digital ephemera was compiled on 10 February 2015.

New York Times: China’s Fog Weighs Heavily on Shoulders of Its Premier Architect
Wu Liangyong: “Our environment is unfit for daily life, and the responsibility is very heavy on our shoulders,” he said. “The problem will be solved sooner or later; it’s just a question of the price we will pay.”

Innovation and confidence
People’s Daily: 人民日报经济茶座:马桶盖的潜力
“The potential of toilet seats” — an article pondering why Chinese people reportedly go to Japan to buy toilet seats, rice cookers, knives, and other daily use items that are easily available and manufactured in China.

Xi at the Helm
Xinhua: 习近平向全军老同志祝贺新春
Xi Jinping extends New Year wishes to all old military comrades

China.org.cn: Portrait of Xi selected as test for university candidates

More than 12,000 undergraduate candidates applying to the art school of Beijing University of Technology were asked to sketch a portrait of President Xi Jinping. The test has attracted quite a lot of attention…Yu Fang (pseudonym), told Beijing Evening News that as a fan of President Xi, she was excited to portray the State leader and she had to work hard to stop her hands from trembling.

Ideology and censorship
China Digital Times
: Minitrue: Support Attacks on Western Values in Education
New York Review of Books: China: Inventing a Crime

China Daily: Net regulator to meet US ambassador on WeChat

“The word ‘net’ also means law and order in Chinese culture. Every Internet user desires cyberfreedom, and order is the foundation,” Lu said. “Where there is no order, there will be no freedom.”

China Media Project: HSBC story deleted from Weibo

The following post from user “LifeTime” was deleted from Weibo sometime before 8:31AM today, February 10, 2015, less than 12 hours after it was posted. The post refers to the recent leak of client data from the Swiss branch of HSBC bank, and makes only passing reference to “Moral Sister” (道德姐), a nickname given to Li Xiaolin (李小琳), the daughter of former Chinese premier Li Peng.

People’s Daily: Chinese instructors removed from Harvard event for ‘Taiwan as country’ complaint

Some members of a Chinese student delegation to the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) in Boston have allegedly been expelled from the event due to “safety concerns” after they protested listing Taiwan as a “country” in the conference handbook.

Caixin: Hangzhou Police Are Alibaba’s Thugs, Webmaster Says after Detention

Employee of Shenzhen company that put articles critical of e-commerce giant on social media says officers traveled from another city to intimidate him

The economy
Xinhua: 统计局:1月份CPI同比上涨0.8% 涨幅创五年多新低
China January inflation slows to 5-year low

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — China’s consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, grew 0.8 percent year on year in January, the slowest rise in more than five years, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday.
Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China’s CPI, increased 1.1 percent year on year. On a monthly basis, consumer prices in January edged up 0.3 percent.
The NBS attributed the tempering growth to retreating food prices due to warmer weather during the period. A bigger comparison base last year, and global oil prices also helped drag down the price levels.
Meanwhile, China’s producer price index (PPI), which measures wholesale inflation, plunged 4.3 percent year on year in January, marking the 35th straight month of decline, pointing to continued weak market demand.
China’s economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years, and a string of economic indicators for the new year, including manufacturing and trade data, all suggested continued weakness.
In the latest move to support growth, the central bank last week decided to lower reserve requirement ratio (RRR), the minimum level of reserves banks must hold, by 50 basis points from Feb. 5, the first universal RRR cut since May 2012.

Foreign companies in China
New York Times: China Hits Qualcomm With Fine

American chip maker Qualcomm said it would pay $975 million for violating China’s antimonopoly law. As part of the deal, Qualcomm will also offer its licenses for third- and fourth-generation communications systems for high-speed wireless data to smartphones, at a sharp discount to what it charges companies elsewhere.

High speed rail and Mexico
People’s Daily: Chinese firm files for compensation over suspended Mexico rail project

International propaganda
“The Communist Party of China is with you along the way”

People’s Daily: 人民日报经济茶座:马桶盖的潜力










  《 人民日报 》( 2015年02月09日 17 版)

Caixin: Hangzhou Police Are Alibaba’s Thugs, Webmaster Says after Detention

(Beijing) – A webmaster in Shenzhen has accused police officers from a city some 1,300 kilometers away of being the thugs of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. after he was detained and told he should not be putting articles critical of the e-commerce giant on social media.

Xiang Dongshun, who works at Shenzhen Dimeng Network Technology Co. Ltd., told Caixin that on the evening of February 5 he was taken from his office in the southern city of Shenzhen by three plainclothes police officers. Two of them spoke Chinese with a different accent than the one heard in Shenzhen, he said.

Xiang said he was taken to the offices of the Shenzhen police department’s economic crimes unit and put in a windowless room with the two officers, who then questioned him for three hours about why the company was writing and posting articles critical of Alibaba and its e-marketplace Taobao. They also tried to force him to not put any more such posts online, he said.

“One of the officers told me that we (the company) don’t have the right or it’s not our job to criticize Alibaba for selling counterfeits and products without copyright clearance,” he said.

After his release, Xiang wrote an article on WeChat, the popular messaging app where the posts critical of Alibaba also appeared, with the title: “We condemn the Hangzhou police for acting as a thug for Alibaba in getting into a case in another province.”

The eastern city of Hangzhou is home to Alibaba’s headquarters.

Xiang said that the police officers warned that Alibaba could get rid of a company like Shenzhen Dimeng in a minute. He wrote: “‘Do you have any idea who is behind Alibaba?’ they asked. ‘If we told you, you would be scared to death,’ they told me.”

Xiang said the two officers who questioned him did not provide any identification. Xiang Jun, the CEO of Shenzhen Dimeng, visited the police station and was told by Shenzhen officers that they came from Hangzhou.

Xiang Dongshun said he was also told to sign a blank statement, but refused. He was released when several reporters visited the police station late that night.

Alibaba Group accused Shenzhen Dimeng of defamation on February 7, saying it launched “malicious attacks” against Taobao and Alibaba’s senior executives.

“We have made a report to police over what they’ve published, including claims that Alibaba and Taobao have evaded 5 trillion yuan in taxes, which exceeded the total GDP of 100 countries,” Alibaba said in the statement on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

This episode adds to Alibaba’s recent string of troubles since a widely publicized war of words erupted between it and the country’s commerce authorities over the extent of fake goods being sold on Taobao.

The feud with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) exposed problems related to counterfeiting and other irregularities at Alibaba, which prompted a U.S. law firm to launch a class action lawsuit against Alibaba for misleading investors in the months before its initial public offering in New York. Alibaba raised more than US$ 25 billion when it listed on the Nasdaq in September.

Hangzhou police confirmed on February 8 that they have received a complaint from Alibaba and are investigating.

Shenzhen Dimeng is a website that facilitates sales of heavy-duty machinery and industrial products. From January 19 to February 5, it put 11 articles critical of Alibaba on its WeChat account. The articles range in length from several hundred to 1,000 words. It is unclear why the company did this or who the authors were. The one accusing of Alibaba of grave tax evasion was viewed by over 100,000 readers.

Wang Yong, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law in the capital, said that the key element in determining guilt in a defamation case is whether allegations are intentionally fabricated.

Taobao has a problem with counterfeit goods – at least as far as the SAIC is concerned – and tax evasion is common in online transactions because they often lack receipts, he said.

“What Shenzhen Dimeng wrote about Alibaba in their posts is mainly opinion, so they don’t constitute defamation or harm its reputation,” Wang said.

(Rewritten by Li Rongde)

China Daily: Net regulator to meet US ambassador on WeChat
Lu Wei, head of the Chinese Internet regulator, and the US Ambassador to China Max Baucus are WeChat buddies.

And they will use the most popular instant messaging tool in the country to discuss the thorniest cyberissues the two countries face. It’s unclear whether they’ll use emojis – animated emoticons – in their chat threads. That might be a first in international diplomacy.

At a Chinese New Year reception held by the Cyberspace Administration Office of China, Lu told Baucus that he would welcome an exchange of views on Internet regulation via WeChat, a social networking tool developed by Tencent Holdings that boasts more than 400 million users worldwide.

“WeChat will be a very normal channel to exchange ideas for me and Baucus,” Lu said. China is imposing tougher Internet regulatory policies because of fears an unfettered Internet could damage information security and social stability.

“The word ‘net’ also means law and order in Chinese culture. Every Internet user desires cyberfreedom, and order is the foundation,” Lu said. “Where there is no order, there will be no freedom.”

China and the United States have had a number of skirmishes over cybersecurity and Internet freedom. “I heard the message of cooperation from Lu,” Baucus said. “I think we should focus more on the cooperation than on the differences.” He agreed that both parties should keep the dialogue channels open and functioning.

The US, the creator of the Internet and a key overseer, is gradually losing control over the biggest innovation after electricity, as a number of countries are asking for an intergovernmental body to oversee the net.

Fadi Chehade, chief executive of the cyberspace governing body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, warned on Monday that hopes to transfer control of ICANN from US hands to a globally representative body could be jeopardized unless a deal is reached before the 2016 US presidential elections, Agence France-Presse reported.