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Shanghai, 1930s

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Golden age of Shanghai 1930s

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Google Exploring Shanghai’s Free-Trade Zone

Companies such as Amazon and Apple use Shanghai’s free-trade zone to run some of their value-added services in China, due to the area’s looser rules on foreign capital.

Yang Jie reports: The jury is still out on the business benefits of Shanghai’s free-trade zone— but one notable U.S. tech giant is among the firms that has dipped a toe into the pilot area’s waters.

“The free-trade zone’s rules make it easier for foreign companies to run e-commerce operations, for example. But they have little benefit when it comes to activities such as Internet search and e-mail, which are dependent on the location of the server and the storage of data”

Google, of Mountain View, Calif., set up a company in Shanghai’s pioneer free-trade zone last year, according to online filings reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Companies such as Amazon and Apple use Shanghai’s free-trade zone to run some of their value-added services in China, due to the area’s looser rules on foreign capital and greater freedom in terms of industries that foreign businesses can participate in.

The free-trade zone’s rules make it easier for foreign companies to run e-commerce operations, for example. But they have little benefit when it comes to activities such as Internet search and e-mail, which are dependent on the location of the server and the storage of data, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the issue. The company’s establishment was first reported on Monday by The Paper, a Shanghai-based media outlet.
Read the rest of this entry »


‘Sorry, My Bad’: Chinese Ad Company Who Snooped Apple User Data Apologizes

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Source: WSJ


Apple Speeds Up Electric-Car Work

Daisuke Wakabayashi reports: Apple Inc. is accelerating efforts to build an electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target ship date for 2019, according to people familiar with the matter.

The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California. Leaders of the project, code-named Titan , have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said.

‘We look at a number of things along the way, and we decided to really put out energies in a few of them.’

—Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO

Apple has hired experts in driverless cars, but the people familiar with Apple’s plans said the Cupertino, Calif., company doesn’t currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous. That capability is part of the product’s long-term plans, the people familiar with the matter said.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Apple’s commitment is a sign that the company sees an opportunity to become a player in the automotive industry by applying expertise that it has honed in developing iPhones—in areas such as batteries, sensors and hardware-software integration—to the next generation of cars.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

There are many unanswered questions about Apple’s automotive foray. It isn’t clear whether Apple has a manufacturing partner to become the car equivalent of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the Taiwanese contract manufacturer that builds most iPhones and is known by the trade name Foxconn. Most major auto makers build and run their own factories, but that hasn’t been Apple’s strategy with iPhones or iPads. Contract manufacturing in the auto industry usually is limited to a few niche models.

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The 2019 target is ambitious. Building a car is a complex endeavor, even more so for a company without any experience. Once Apple completes its designs and prototypes, a vehicle would still need to undergo a litany of tests before it could clear regulatory hurdles.

In Apple’s parlance, a “ship date” doesn’t necessarily mean the date that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features.

[Read the full text of Daisuke Wakabayashi‘s article here, at WSJ]

It isn’t uncommon for a project of this size and complexity to miss ship date deadlines. People familiar with the project said there is skepticism within the team that the 2019 target is achievable. Read the rest of this entry »


Rich Chinese Women Are Now Hiring Surrogate Moms in America for $150,000 

Due to restrictive Chinese laws on childbirth, American surrogate mothers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for Chinese citizens who are having problems conceiving.

Although there is an underground surrogacy network set up in China, authorities have been strict in their efforts to enforce their laws, making it dangerous and difficult to successfully bear children using Chinese surrogate mothers, according to CNNMoney.

While American surrogacy is expensive, costing upwards of $150,000 per child — of which $35-45,000 goes to the mother — it’s being chosen more frequently by Chinese citizens who desire parenthood. John Weltman of Boston-based agency Circle Surrogacy said:

“I’ve never seen anything like what I’ve seen with the Chinese. It’s like an explosion.”

Extraordinary Conceptions, a surrogacy center that helps clients meet with doctors, said they receive upwards of 10 inquiries from China a month, and around 40% of their clients are Chinese. Mario Caballero, the center’s executive director, said:

“It’s like anything else — once somebody discovers something, and word spreads, people realize there is another option.”

Dr. David Smotrich, a physician who has worked with hundreds of Chinese patients, said that there are a number of medical reasons that lead families to surrogacy. Read the rest of this entry »


Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

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China’s stock market, a crude knockoff of Western versions, was practically slapped together overnight and featured countless obvious structural weak points.

“Sure, it looked fine from the outside, but anybody who saw it up close knew that it was of such poor quality that it wasn’t built to last.”

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »


CRACKDOWN: China’s Censors Scramble to Contain Online Fallout After Tianjin Blast

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Censorship rates on Weibo up tenfold after the Tianjin blast 

Eva DouEva-Dou reports: The Tianjin warehouse explosion has horrified and gripped China’s netizens, with the topic racking up more views on social network Weibo than the country’s total population of nearly 1.4 billion.

It’s also sent the country’s Internet censors scrambling to make sure online discussion stays within approved confines.

TIANJI-skybox-WSJ

Censorship rates on Weibo were up tenfold after the Tianjin blast compared to earlier in the month, said King-wa Fu, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s journalism school who built censorship tracker Weiboscope.

Censorship of traditional and social media is common in China after disasters and has actually been looser this time than in some other recent tragedies. Whereas China’s local newspapers turned into clones after the capsizing of a ship on the Yangtze River in June, Chinese media reports on the explosion in Tianjin’s Tanggu district have been more varied. Discussion of the topic has also been widespread on social media.

[Read more here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

But some online comments go too far, such as those that criticize the government’s response or discuss the chemicals inside the warehouse, which officials say they have not yet been able to identify. Those types of postings have been scrubbed, according to Weiboscope and another censorship-tracking site, Free Weibo. Read the rest of this entry »


#Robot Waitress Debuts in #Zhejiang

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On Wednesday, a company in Yiwu, eastern China Zhejiang Province, has finally launched their first batch of catering robots that can deliver food to customers, and other types of robots such as security robots after a three-year endeavor. Such gorgeous-looking robots are expected to be available in the market very soon. These robots basically consist of human simulations and chasses, through which they can discern the chromatism on the floor and thereby make moves. Catering robots are able to endure weight of more than 35 kg while security robots patrol on their own.


May You Live In Interesting Times

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The latest drastic step by Beijing is a six-month ban on stock sales by controlling shareholders and executives who own more than 5% of a company’s shares. Any violation of the rule, announced Wednesday night, would be ‘treated seriously’

Shen Hong and Lingling Wei report: Since the last week of June, the Chinese government has intervened in the country’s stock markets nearly every day to stop their steep slide. But the harder NON-STOP-PANIC-EXChinese authorities try, the more it looks like they are losing control.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 5.9% on Wednesday and is down nearly one-third from its peak on June 12. Since then, $3.5 trillion in value has been erased from companies in the benchmark index—or nearly five times the size of Apple Inc.

China’s bond market and currency also began to get hit Wednesday as worries deepened that a contagion from stock-market losses could further trammel the country’s slowing economy. It felt even more ominous because Chinese officials had rushed out another raft of emergency measures earlier Wednesday to reassure the market.

An investor at a brokerage firm in the Chinese city of Heifi on Wednesday. Individual investors who began selling in mid-June helped unleash a downward spiral of more selling. Photo: Reuters

An investor at a brokerage firm in the Chinese city of Heifi on Wednesday. Individual investors who began selling in mid-June helped unleash a downward spiral of more selling. Photo: Reuters

The moves only heightened what is turning into an epidemic of anxiety among Chinese investors and a crisis of confidence in their leaders. Stocks were volatile early Thursday.

“The more the government intervenes, the more scared I am,” said Li Jun, who runs a fishing and restaurant business in the eastern city of Nanjing. He has spent about 3 million yuan, roughly wsj-chart$500,000, on stocks, using borrowed money for about one-third of the total.

Mr. Li has sold some of his investments every time the market “popped up a little” following a rescue announcement by the Chinese government. “I have no faith” in its ability to halt the losses, he says. Wednesday’s drop left the Shanghai index down 32% from its peak and at its lowest level since March.

The latest drastic step by Beijing is a six-month ban on stock sales by controlling shareholders and executives who own more than 5% of a company’s shares. Any violation of the rule, announced Wednesday night, would be “treated seriously,” China’s securities regulator said.

Early Thursday, China’s central bank said it has provided “ample liquidity” to a company owned by the country’s top securities regulator. The company is lending the funds to securities firms, which then will use the money to buy stocks.

The Chinese government has been praised for driving decades of economic growth and keeping the economy strong during the global financial crisis. In recent years, Chinese authorities have struggled with rising debt levels and the need to reform the economy away from government-driven infrastructure programs and toward consumer spending.

As it fought slower growth and a weakening real-estate market, the government turned its attention to the country’s languishing stock markets.

But Beijing’s inability to stop the recent decline has rattled investors who have long been used to seeing the government use its power to control markets.

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“Beijing’s latest bid to calm the market has had the opposite effect,” said Bernard Aw, market analyst at IG Group. “The panic is spreading, and authorities appear to be grasping at straws to hold back the tide.”

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew played down the possible world-wide impact of China’s stock-market mess, though he expressed worry that it could restrain the country’s longer-term growth if Beijing slows its promised economic overhauls. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Stock Market Chaos Could Be Worse Than Greek Debt Crisis: ‘The Disorder Could Be Monstrous’

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While the world worries about Greece, there’s an even bigger problem closer to home: China

A stock market crash there has seen $3.2 trillion wiped from the value of Chinese shares in just three weeks, triggering an emergency response from the government and warnings of “monstrous” public disorder.

“If China does not find support today, the disorder could be monstrous.”

And the effects for Australia could be serious, affecting our key commodity exports and sparking the beginning of a period of recession-like conditions.

“State-owned newspapers have used their strongest language yet, telling people ‘not to lose their minds’ and ‘not to bury themselves in horror and anxiety’. [Our] positive measures will take time to produce results,” writes IG Markets.

“All short-selling — the practice of betting that stocks will fall — has been banned, and Chinese media has rushed to reassure citizens.”

“If China does not find support today, the disorder could be monstrous.”

In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this “liquidity assistance” will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors.

The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis.

At the same time, Chinese authorities are putting a halt to any new stock listings. The market regulator announced on Friday it would limit initial public offerings — which disrupt the rest of the market — in an attempt to curb plunging share prices.

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“The market crash there is generating headlines, but it’s not going to have the same impact as a comparable crash would in a developed market.”

While the exact amount of assistance hasn’t been revealed, the WSJ reports no upper limit has been set.

All short-selling — the practice of betting that stocks will fall — has been banned, and Chinese media has rushed to reassure citizens.

Yesterday, shares in big state companies soared in response to the but many others sank as jittery small investors tried to cut their losses, Associated Press reports. The market benchmark Shanghai Composite closed up 2.4 percent but still was down 27 percent from its June 12 peak.

Experts fear it could turn into a full-blown crash introducing even more uncertainty into global markets as Europe teeters on the edge of a potential eurozone exit by Greece, after Sunday’s controversial referendum.

For Australia, the market crash in China is likely to impact earnings on key exports iron ore and coal, further slashing government revenue, while also putting downward pressure on the Australian dollar.

Jordan Eliseo, chief economist with ABC Bullion, said it was important to remember that the amount of wealth Chinese citizens have tied up in the stock market is relatively minor compared with western investors.

Stocks only make up about 8 per cent of household wealth in China, compared with around 20 per cent in developed nations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Chinese University’s Video Boldly Goes Where Others Have Gone Before

Te-Ping Chen writes: China has long struggled with the question of how to build world-class universities Fudan-tokyo-video-wsjthat encourage creativity and innovation. This week, that challenge was again in the spotlight after Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University – one of the country’s best schools – pulled a glossy promotional video from its website, following a public outcry over allegations of plagiarism.

Posted earlier this week, the video bears a striking resemblance to the University of Tokyo’s official promotional video, “Explorer,” which was released last year. In it, an astronaut walks through campus and the city of Tokyo, narrating in English in a contemplative voice.

“I took this city as an explorer, ate with strangers from the same bowl, laughed, partied together, became a family,” the astronaut intones in English, as the video shows footage of her busting various moves on a laser beam-lit dance floor. The video culminates with a shot of the main character removing her white helmet to reveal a woman identified as astronaut Naoko Yamazaki, class of 1993.

Fudan University’s film follows a similar arc, with the main character dressed in a flight suit and shown partying on a dance floor. When she whips off her helmet at the end of the video, it is revealed that she is Le Yafei, class of 2009 and a flight test engineer.

Social media users were quick to mock the video, which the university explained earlier this week was produced in English in keeping with its increasingly internationalized campus. Read the rest of this entry »


Beijing is Restricting How Often Residents of Neighboring Shenzhen Can Enter Hong Kong

Hong-Kong-train-station

China Reduces Mainlander Visits to Hong Kong

Isabella Steger writes: Can a tweak to a visa arrangement for mainland Chinese tourists coming to Hong Kong help ease tensions between the two places?

“The change was prompted by a marked increase in public anger in recent months against parallel traders. Protests have broken out in areas of Hong Kong near the border with the mainland, such as Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui and Yuen Long.”

On Monday, Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying confirmed a long-anticipated move by Beijing to address the influx of mainland visitors to Hong Kong in recent years. The move is aimed specifically at those who come from neighboring Shenzhen to Hong Kong to engage in so-called parallel trading, the practice of buying goods ranging from toiletries to food in Hong Kong to resell at a higher price on the mainland.

“Residents of these towns complain that parallel traders drive up the prices of goods and rents, pushing out small businesses serving locals.” 

According to the new arrangement, Shenzhen residents applying for an individual visitor visa to Hong Kong will only be allowed to enter the city once a week, rather than multiple times. The change is effective Monday. Residents of these towns complain that parallel traders drive up the prices of goods and rents, pushing out small businesses serving locals.

“Since 2009, Shenzhen permanent residents have been allowed to apply for one-year, multiple entry visas to Hong Kong…”

The change was prompted by a marked increase in public anger in recent months against parallel traders. Protests have broken out in areas of Hong Kong near the border with the mainland, such as Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui and Yuen Long. Read the rest of this entry »


BOOM: Shanghai in 1987 and 2015


China Is Getting its Very Own Comic Con

San Diego Prepares For 2014 Comic-Con - Comic-Con International 2014

‘Geekdom is a universal language’

Event producer ReedPOP is bringing Comic Con to China this spring.

“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for. Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.”

— Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP

The Shanghai Comic Convention will take place on May 16 to 17 at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center, ReedPOP announced Wednesday. The inaugural Chinese Comic Con follows on the company’s growth strategy of bringing its pop culture events to international markets, including India, Singapore and Germany.

[See Avengers: Age Of Ultron Concept Art]

“China is a massive frontier for ReedPOP, a huge market and boundless community of fans that we are eager and enthusiastic to build events for,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP, in a statement. “Geekdom is a universal language and we’re sure that the Chinese people will celebrate fan culture in their own unique and amazing ways.” Read the rest of this entry »


Xiao Shu: Yang Zili and the Paranoid Regime

Yang-Zili

A journalist’s plight demonstrates the depth of China’s present illness

Xiao Shu writes: Chinese journalist Yang Zili first appeared in international headlines in 2001 after being arrested in Beijing and charged with “subverting state authority.” His crime was starting the “New Youth Society,” a salon with the stated mission of “seeking a road for social reform.” Mr. Yang eventually served eight years in prison for his involvement.

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“We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding.”

Once released from prison, Mr. Yang joined the Transition Institute. Unlike many other nongovernmental organizations in China, the Transition Institute isn’t engaged in direct social action but rather focuses on research work as a think tank. While there, Mr. Yang studied Chinese social issues and proved to be a prolific writer. Much of his work was on equal access to education and migrant-worker rights. His friends applauded his return to the public sphere within a profession that still allowed him to promote social change.

“Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed.”

We had no idea how quickly the tide would turn. Mr. Yang is now in hiding. Chinese authorities last year detained three leaders of the Transition Institute and six people indirectly involved, including the lawyer Xia Lin. The organization remains paralyzed. It suffered this fate despite having a far more nuanced understanding of political struggle than did the New Youth Society in 2001.

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin - WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin – WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

“The decisive factor in the case against Mr. Yang was a set of written instructions from Jiang Zemin , China’s president at the time. ‘Because instructions had come down from heaven,’ Mr. Yang recalled years later, ‘every material fact was forcibly crushed.’ And so was the process of justice.”

The similarities and differences between these two cases reflect the deep uncertainty that all Chinese citizens face when confronted with contemporary “socialist rule of law.”

The New Youth Society focused on hot-button social issues like government corruption, unemployment among workers from state-owned enterprises, and rural development. Members were at first split over what to do with their activities. Either they could operate in secret, attempting to disguise their group from the authorities, or they could be entirely open, affirming their discussions in hopes of avoiding the impression they were being covert. Mr. Yang and others compromised: They didn’t actively promote their ideas, nor did they conceal them. Read the rest of this entry »


Stampede at Shanghai New Year’s celebration kills 35

A family member (C) cries on a bench at a hospital where some of the victims of a stampede by new year's revellers were sent in Shanghai on January 1, 2015. A stampede by New Year's revellers in Shanghai's historic riverfront area killed 35 people and injured dozens more, the city government said on January 1.   CHINA OUT   AFP PHOTO        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A family member (C) cries on a bench at a hospital where some of the victims of a stampede by new year’s revellers were sent in Shanghai on January 1, 2015. A stampede by New Year’s revellers in Shanghai’s historic riverfront area killed 35 people and injured dozens more, the city government said on January 1.  AFP PHOTO STR/AFP/Getty Images

Q13 FOX News

BEIJING, China (CNN) — At least 35 people were killed in a stampede at a New Year’s celebration in Shanghai, China, state media reported.

The stampede happened at about 11:35 p.m. Wednesday in a riverfront area known as the Bund, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. At least 42 people were injured, Xinhua reported.

Authorities are investigating the cause, Xinhua said.

A witness told the government-run news agency that people started scrambling after coupons that looked like dollar bills were thrown from the third floor of a building.

Reports of the stampede appeared on Twitter and China’s Weibo social network, with posts describing a chaotic scene and rescue efforts.

[van id=”world/2014/12/31/china-shanghai-stampede.cnn”]

Photos showed massive crowds packing a street near the river and emergency medical workers treating people on the ground.

Many of the dead were young students, CCTV America reported, citing Shanghai rescue authorities. Video from the Reuters…

View original post 135 more words


魔鬼 WEARS PRADA: Even with Slowed Growth China Mints 40,000 New Millionaires

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China created 40,000 new millionaires in 2013, bringing the total to 1.09 million, according to a new study

CNBC reports: The growth of 3.8 percent is a bit of an improvement from last year’s 3 percent gain. But it’s still only about half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011, suggesting that China’s economic slowdown and the government’s crackdown on corruption is slowing its millionaire manufacturing machine.

“Beijing and Guangdong have the most millionaires, with 192,000 and 180,000 respectively, followed by Shanghai with 159,000.”caviar

[punditfromanotherplanet celebrates the sublime, guilt-free enjoyment of breathtakingly expensive luxury goods]

According to the Hurun Research Institute, the number of people in China with personal wealth of 10 million yuanor $1.6 millionin mainland China reached 1,090,000, up from 1,050,000 in 2012.

The number of people in China worth 100 million yuan, or $16 million, increased by 2,500 people to 67,000.

justcaviar[We also celebrate the scandalous pleasure of obscenely affordable luxury items]

The slower millionaire growth comes as sales of high-end luxury goods in China—everything from watches and wine to handbags and Lamborghinis—have also cooled. But Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, said this year’s millionaire growth was still solid.

“Although we have been seeing a slowdown in spending, the money is still very much there,” he said in the report. Read the rest of this entry »


Journalists Detained in China

With the detentions of employees of a business news website, China is increasing oversight of journalists; above, a Beijing newsstand. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

With the detentions of employees of a business news website, China is increasing oversight of journalists; above, a Beijing newsstand.  Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

BEIJING— Brian Spegele reports: Police detained at least two editors and other employees at a major Chinese business news website and placed them under investigation for suspected extortion, state media reported, as the government steps up its scrutiny of journalists.

“Authorities have issued a series of orders in recent months to enforce greater control over media by demanding reporters heed the government line.”

[Also see – Journalists Ordered to Learn ‘Marxist News Values’, Uphold Principles of Communist Party]

State broadcaster China Central Television said two editors from the 21st Century Business Herald website were among eight people placed into custody Wednesday. At least two public-relations companies were also facing scrutiny as part of the investigation, CCTV said.

[More – CCTV broadcasts fresh bribery claims against baby formula firm Dumex]

Police in Shanghai, who are leading the investigation, didn’t answer telephone calls seeking comment.

The news website, in a statement posted to its microblog account, said it would “actively cooperate with public security organs in their investigation work.” Guangdong Twenty-First Century Media Co., a major Chinese publisher of business newspapers and magazines and controller of the site, declined to comment. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Latest Food Scandal? Painted Food

Customers eat steamed buns in a steamed buns restaurant in Shanghai, east China, Aug. 14, 2014.  Zuma Press

Customers in a steamed buns restaurant in Shanghai, east China, Aug. 14, 2014.  Zuma Press

Te-Ping Chen reports: From toxic milk to pork treated with paraffin wax, China has seen its share of tainted food. Now add to the list painted food.

“Previous lows in the annals of Chinese cuisine include the discovery of pork that glowed in the dark…”

[Glowed? See more – China Struggles with Food Safety]

Even by the standards of China’s many food-safety scandals, one recently reported incident involving a cook in eastern China’s Zhejiang province is eyebrow-raising. According to Xinhua, the 27-year-old cook, surnamed Chen, is currently on trial for painting abalones and goose paws to prettify them for customers.

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“…and a boom in spontaneously exploding watermelons…”

 [You know you want to read about China’s Exploding Watermelon Scandal]

According to the state-run news agency, since last March, Mr. Chen – who was employed at a hotel in Hangzhou, a popular tourist destination famed for the beauty of its West Lake –painted with “inedible pigment” about 12 abalones and 100 goose feet, which together were worth nearly $800. Both abalones and goose paws are delicacies prized in Chinese cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »


Foreigner Fell Unconscious in Shanghai…


Historians Denied: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Limits

The original document of Japanese war criminals in Jinan, Shandong Province.The Shandong Provincial Archives would reveal archives of ten Japanese war criminals since Aug. 15. Zuma Press

The original document of Japanese war criminals in Jinan, Shandong Province.The Shandong Provincial Archives would reveal archives of ten Japanese war criminals since Aug. 15. Zuma Press

“China has long complained about an anti-Beijing bias among Western scholars of the country, and has a clear interest in encouraging narratives its sees as correctives to foreign historians who are critical of the Communist Party.”

For WSJMaura Cunningham writes: At last week’s meeting of the Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China in Taipei, roughly 200 historians from Asia, the United States and Europe gathered to share their latest research. But during lunch hours and coffee breaks, the china-censoredone question that kept popping up wasn’t about any given paper or project. Instead it was: “How’s your archival access been lately?”

This wasn’t just idle conference chitchat.

“As one commenter at H-PRC noted, the mandate of archives now seems to be “wei dang shou dang; wei guo shou shi” (为党守档,为国守史), or “Defend the archives for the Party; defend history for the nation.”

Over the past few years, historians of China have grown increasingly worried about changes they’ve seen at Chinese archives that threaten to impede understanding of China at a time when such understanding is taking on a growing importance. Many archives in mainland China have been tightening access and imposing new restrictions on scholars, which can make conducting academic research in China a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

“By restricting access, will China get the history it wants? That’s doubtful…”

At the Dissertation Reviews website, which provides information about archival access in countries around the world, students of Chinese history have written in to warn fellow scholars about new regulations that make navigating the archives trickier than before. Read the rest of this entry »


赤身裸体在中国!Rebel China Nudists Defy Communist Party Ban on Nakedness

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“Many female tourists felt too awkward to approach the beach.”

Just months after a police crackdown on China’s top nudist destination, naturists ‘flout’ government rules which outlaw skinny dipping and naked sunbathing

For the TelegraphTom Phillips, Shanghai reports: Renegade nudists have defied a Communist Party ban on nakedness by flocking to a tropical beach in southern China without their swimming trunks.

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Dozens of naked bathers bared all on Dadonghai beach, a 1.4-mile stretch of sand known as China’s premier nudist destination, over the recent holiday weekend.

“The illicit display of buttocks brought a swift government response.”

Tourists at Dadonghai beach in Sanya, Hainan province, in November  Photo: Rex

Tourists at Dadonghai beach in Sanya, Hainan province, in November  Photo: Rex

“Photographs published on Chinese websites showed large groups of naked men smoking cigarettes and reclining on towels on the beach.”

Men “in various states of undress” had been spotted on the seafront, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily newspaper – “some naked, some with their underpants half stripped down”.

communistchinesehotsex

“Normal people wouldn’t do such things.”

— Luo Baoming, Sanya’s Communist Party chief

Police banned nudists from Dadonghai beach in Sanya in February following complaints from residents of Hainan, an island in the South China Sea that tourist chiefs promote as “China’s Hawaii”. Read the rest of this entry »


Explosion at China car parts plant kills at least 69, injures more than 180

August 2, 2014: Medical staff move a severely burnt victim of an explosion at an eastern Chinese automotive parts factory from a hospital in the city of Kunshan, Jiangsu province to a Shanghai hospital which is better equipped to handle severe burns. Dozens of people were killed Saturday by the explosion at the factory that supplies General Motors, state media reported. (AP Photo)

August 2, 2014: Medical staff move a severely burned victim of an explosion at an eastern Chinese automotive parts factory from a hospital in the city of Kunshan, Jiangsu province to a Shanghai hospital . Dozens of people were killed Saturday by the explosion at the factory that supplies General Motors, state media reported. (AP Photo)

BEIJING –  A suspected dust explosion at an automotive parts factory in eastern China that supplies General Motors killed at least 69 people and injured more than 180 others, most with severe burns, state media reported Sunday.

It was China’s most serious industrial disaster since a fire at a poultry plant killed 119 people in June last year, and again highlighted workplace safety that remains a concern.

Saturday morning’s explosion occurred when more than 200 workers were on the site of the factory, which is in an industrial zone in the city of Kunshan, officials from the city said at a news conference. Kunshan, in Jiangsu province, is about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) southeast of Beijing.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of large plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the plant, and news websites posted photos of the dead or injured lifted onto the back of large trucks, their bodies black, presumably from burns or soot.

Some survivors sat on wooden cargo platforms on the road outside the factory or being carried into ambulances, their clothes apparently burned off and their skin exposed.

The explosion occurred at 7:37 a.m. at a workshop in the factory, which polishes wheel hubs. Rescuers pulled out 44 bodies at the site, while 25 other people died at a hospital, officials said. At least 187 people were injured. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Military Tied to Prolific Hacking Group Targeting U.S. Aerospace Industry

In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 photo, a crew member of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy monitors on the deck of the China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing on the East China Sea for sea trials. The Liaoning departed for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing's drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

In operation since 2007, “Putter Panda” is latest group to be implicated by researchers 

For Ars TechnicaDan Goodin reports: Investigators said they have identified a secretive hacking group that has spent years systematically targeting US partners in the space and satellite industry, most likely on behalf of the Chinese military.

“Putter Panda is a determined adversary group, conducting intelligence-gathering operations targeting the Government, Defense, Research, and Technology sectors in the United States, with specific targeting of the US Defense and European satellite and aerospace industries.”

— Crowdstrike researchers

The group typically gains a foothold in sensitive networks by attaching booby-trapped documents to e-mails, according to a 62-page report published Monday by Crowdstrike, a firm that conducts forensic investigations on behalf of customers who have suffered security breaches. When employees click on the documents, the attackers are able to gain control over their PCs. The attackers then use the PCs to take control of servers housing blueprints, customer lists, or other sensitive data. The group, dubbed as Putter Panda, is connected to Unit 61486 of the People Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Third General Staff Department, according to the report. Read the rest of this entry »


Russia’s Elusive Quest for Influence in Asia

Putin arrives in Shanghai desperate to reorient Russia’s Asia policy amid tensions with the West and China’s rise.

RadchenkoFor The DiplomatSergey Radchenko writes:

One of the most useful exercises for understanding Russia’s geopolitical dilemmas is to take any of the number of commercial flights from Moscow to Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East. It is a journey of about eight hours, covering thousands of miles and a dozen time zones of virtually uninhabited space – in the words of a 1960s Soviet hit, “a green sea of the taiga.” It really does look like a sea from 30,000 feet, rolling in all directions: forbidding, vast, mesmerizing. For generations Russia has tried to come to terms with its size, sending explorers, colonists, convicts, peasants, soldiers, and Youth Communist league activists to build up islands of “civilization” across Siberia and the Far East.

REUTERS-Alexei Nikolsky-RIA-Novosti-Kremlin

“Putin’s current visit to China is a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock with a deal that could see Gazprom, now almost entirely dependent on the European market…”

They built cities dilapidated from inception, laid roads that turned to swamps, erected golden church domes and monuments to Lenin. They brought Russia to Asia and made Asia a part of Russia, leaving indelible marks on Russia’s identity, its present dilemmas, and its future directions. Putin’s arrival in China this week highlights the continued – indeed, growing – importance of Asia in Russia’s global calculus. Today, perhaps more than ever, Russia looks East, not West. It sees Asia’s potential markets, eyes its potential battlefields, and seeks a role for itself as a broker, a visionary, and a leader.

 [Sergey Radchenko is the author of Unwanted Visionaries: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War (Oxford Studies in International History) and Two Suns in the Heavens: The Sino-Soviet Struggle for Supremacy, 1962-1967, both are available at Amazon.com]

Russia’s Asia policy rests upon three pillars. The first is economic ties. Russia’s number one trade partner is China with an annual turnover of nearly $90 billion. Japan and South Korea jointly account for another $60 billion. All three import Russia’s natural resources, primarily oil and LNG. These products make up more than two-thirds of Russia’s exports to China and South Korea, and over 80 percent of exports to Japan. Minerals, timber, and fish account for most of the remaining percentage, while Russia’s industrial and “high tech” goods barely even appear in the statistical tables. Read the rest of this entry »


China and the U.S. are Racing to Turn Poor, Naive Millennials into Spies

mao-spy-web

Someone’s always watching. Reuters/David Gray

The FBI video describes Chinese intelligence officers plying the young American with cash and luxury liquor, and appealing to his fascination with China.

For QuartzLily Kuo writes: Chinese state media are accusing an “unnamed foreign country” of recruiting spies at Chinese universities and through popular blogs and social media. This week, a series of news reports claim that unsuspecting Chinese, some of them as young as16 years old, are being lured into working for foreign intelligence agents.

 “…an unnamed foreign country recruited at least 40 people in 20 provinces to give military secrets to an agent whose online alias was Feige or ‘Flying Brother.'”

The reports seem to be a response to a short documentary posted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations last month, telling the story of a 28-year-old Michigan native, Glenn Duffie Shriver who says he was was recruited to spy for the Chinese while living in Shanghai, and was eventually caught by US authorities. The FBI video describes Chinese intelligence officers plying the young American with cash and luxury liquor, and appealing to his fascination with China. Read the rest of this entry »


Gunboat Economics: China Seizes Japanese Ship — As Payment for Pre-World War II Debt

chinese_frigate_reuters

(AFP) — Tokyo warned Monday that the seizure of a Japanese ship in Shanghai over pre-war debts threatened ties with China and could undermine the very basis of their diplomatic relationship.

Authorities in Shanghai seized the large freight vessel in a dispute over what the Chinese side says are unpaid bills relating to the 1930s, when Japan occupied large swathes of China.

[ALSO SEE: CHINA ECONOMIC REVIEW: “GUNBOAT ECONOMICS”]

The move is the latest to illustrate the bitter enmity at the heart of Tokyo-Beijing ties, with the two sides embroiled in a dispute over the ownership of a small archipelago and snapping at each other over differing interpretations of history.

Mr Suga said Japan was "deeply concerned" about the seizure of a cargo ship in China

Mr Suga said Japan was “deeply concerned” about the seizure of a cargo ship in China

Shanghai Maritime Court said Saturday it had seized “the vessel Baosteel Emotion owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines… for enforcement of an effective judgement” made in December 2007.

“The arrested vessel will be dealt with by the law if Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. still refuses to perform its obligations,” the court said.

Chinese and Hong Kong media said the seizure was related to a verdict by a court in Shanghai that said Mitsui must pay about 2.9 billion yen ($28 million) in relation to the leasing of two ships nearly 80 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


World Student Rankings: China Is Cheating the PISA System

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Enough is enough: Beijing must supply national data to assessors and not simply the results of a small minority of elite students

 writes:  The results from a global exam that evaluates students’ reading, science and math skills are in and, once again, Chinese students appear to be reigning supreme while American students continued to underperform.

But before you shake your head ruefully and scoff at the decline of Western-style education, take a look at how the data is organized.

The OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exams are held every three years. Coming first and third respectively in the 2012 exams are the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong.

However, China is uniquely not listed as a country in the rankings — unlike the U.S., Russia, Germany, Australia and other nations judged on the basis of their country-wide performances. Instead, China only shares Shanghai’s score with PISA. (Hong Kong, a Special Autonomous Region of China, sends its own data.) Read the rest of this entry »


China Shows Off Moon Rover Model Before Space Launch

China unveils a model of a lunar rover at the China International Industry Fair 2013 in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013China unveils a model of a lunar rover at the China International Industry Fair 2013 in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013

China unveils a model of a lunar rover at the China International Industry Fair 2013 in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013China unveils a model of a lunar rover at the China International Industry Fair 2013 in Shanghai, on November 5, 2013

China offered a rare glimpse into its secretive space programme on Tuesday, displaying a model of a lunar rover that will explore the moon’s surface in an upcoming mission.

Beijing has ambitious space goals, including plans to send its first probe to land on the moon by the end of this year, state media reported in August.

The gold-coloured rover model, with six wheels and wing-like solar panels, attracted admiring crowds at the opening of the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai.

Read the rest of this entry »


A man filmed Shanghai from his 23rd floor apartment over 2 years and the result is this amazing time-lapse [VIDEO]

23rd1

Joe Nafis shares with us a collection of time-lapses taken over the course of two years from the 23rd floor of his apartment in Shanghai, beautifully capturing the vibrant, bustling and ever-evolving landscape of our favorite city. Watch and be amazed. [VIDEO]

23rd2Vlink

Video: Shanghaiist


Lovelorn Chinese bachelor cuts off penis, bikes to hospital

note: this is a stock image of a knife from Getty Images. No actual penis was harmed in the preparation of the illustration for this important news item.

Disclaimer: This is a stock image. No actual penis was harmed by this knife for this news item! / Getty Images

A Chinese man is without his penis today after he cut it off, in a fit of depression over the lack of romance in his life.

Once the man, Yang Hu, severed his junk, he apparently experienced second thoughts and also quite a bit of pain, reports the Daily Mail. So, he decided to ride his bicycle to a local hospital.

One thing Yang, 26, failed to bring with him to the hospital was his penis. Consequently, says the Daily Mirror, doctors sent him away — on his bike — to retrieve it.

Somehow, the man was actually able to return for his penis. However, when he finally got back to the hospital, penis in hand, there was more bad news. Doctors told him that he had lost so much blood that reattachment was no longer surgically possible.

Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Vintage U.S. Car Mania: Collectors Undeterred by Legal Barriers

People photograph a display of classic automobiles, including a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. (Photo: Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY)

People photograph a display of classic automobiles, including a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.                        (Photo: Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY)

The number of classic car collectors is growing in China despite the obstacles from a government that sees them as dangerous 

BEIJING – Calum MacLeod writes: As a boy, Sun Jian loved to watch war movies such as Patton, about the U.S. general and hero of World War II. He dreamed of owning a vintage U.S. Army jeep like the one old “Blood and Guts” sped about in as he led the fight against Nazis in Europe.

Now a successful real estate businessman, Sun, 47, finally got his jeep and wants to get his hands on more classic American cars. That is, if the Chinese government lets him.

China is becoming choked with automobile traffic in many of its cities, and authorities have banned from the roads vehicles over 15 years old out of concern that the older cars create more pollution. So importing classic cars is especially difficult, collectors complain. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Couple Accused of Auctioning off Daughter to Buy an iPhone

They merely wanted to act in the girls’ best interest…

They merely wanted to act in the girls’ best interest…

 reports: A couple in China is standing trial after allegedly selling their daughter for money to buy an iPhone.

Prosecutors say the couple, identified in local media only as Mr. Teng and Ms. Zhang, hatched a “sinister conspiracy,” hiding the woman’s pregnancy and then placing online daughter-for-sale ads before having a home birth and selling the baby girl for about $8,000, the Telegraph reports.

The couple, who are unemployed, told prosecutors they merely wanted to act in the girls’ best interest to place her with a family of means. They used the money for an iPhone and luxury shoes.

[Telegraph] TIME.com


Chinese Kids Know Their Smokes

Nearly nine out of 10 Chinese children aged 5 and 6 can identify at least one cigarette brand, and roughly one out of five say they expect to smoke when they grow up.

Students posed with cigarette models made from waste paper during a campaign ahead of the World No Tobacco Day in Handan, Hebei province, in May.

Students posed with cigarette models during a campaign ahead of the World No Tobacco Day in Handan, Hebei province, in May.

Brittany Hite reports: Those are some of the breathtaking results of a recent study by Johns Hopkins University on the effects of tobacco marketing on children in low- and middle-income countries.

The survey, which questioned 396 children Jialing town in Qi County, Shanxi province, found that 71% of Chinese 5- and 6-year-olds had someone who used tobacco in their household while 86% could identify at least one cigarette brand – higher than survey counterparts in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Pakistan or Russia.

The researchers said they chose Jialing, a small town in China’s northwest, rather than a place like Beijing or Shanghai because they thought it would be representative of what a typical child in China might see. Previous surveys have foundsmoking rates to be higher in the Chinese countryside than they are in cities.

Read the rest of this entry »


REPORT: China Holding Professor Over His Activities in Japan

BEIJING — A Chinese professor who specializes in Japanese affairs appears to have been detained by the Chinese government since late July and is being questioned about his activities in Japan, according to Chinese academics and Japanese news media reports. Read the rest of this entry »


China launches free trade zone in Shanghai

Workers finish off a large sign that reads "China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone", on September 23, 2013 (AFP)

Workers finish off a large sign that reads “China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone”, on September 23, 2013 (AFP)

Shanghai (AFP) –  China launched a free trade zone in its commercial hub Shanghai on Sunday, state-media reported, with the project seen as a testing ground for much-needed reforms in the world’s second largest economy.

The zone, which covers 29 square kilometres (11 square miles), “started operating Sunday”, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that it was “a test bed for the Chinese leadership’s drive of deepening market-oriented reforms and boosting economic vigour”.

Reforms in the zone will be closely-watched as a key test of China’s ability to make long-pledged structural changes as it attempts to shift its economic model in the face of slowing growth. Read the rest of this entry »


Woman survives 16 days trapped in well in China

BEIJING — A woman stranded for 16 days in an abandoned well in central China said Wednesday that she shouted for help every day and began to lose hope, but that she managed to survive on raw corn and rainwater.

Su Qixiu, 48, was gathering herbs when she fell into the 4-meter-deep (13-foot-deep) well in a village in Henan province on Sept. 1. Her husband and children unsuccessfully searched for her, but she was finally found Monday by a passer-by, state media reported.

“I shouted every day in those 16 days. And spoke a lot of nonsense. I was scared and felt hopeless,” said Su, who was speaking slowly and weakly in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from her hospital bed. Read the rest of this entry »


CHINA: Man Climbs 900-foot Building, Jumps Off

An Austrian climber reaches the top of a tower in China without using ropes, then leaps off

Austrian climber Michael Kemeter

In China, Austrian climber Michael Kemeter scaled a nearly 900-foot tower without ropes. The 23-year-old daredevil completed his feat by jumping from the top of the tower with a bright green parachute as excited spectators cheered for his safe landing. [VIDEO]

Newsfeed.Time.com


China Seeks Private-Sector Cash for Warships

chinese warshipHONG KONG — The state-backed China Shipbuilding Industry plans to raise as much as 8.48 billion renminbi through a private share sale to buy assets used for building warships, the first time Beijing is tapping the capital market to fund its military expansion.

The $1.4 billion move comes as China creates its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector seen taking a main role as the country gains a new sense of military assertiveness and deals with a growing budget to develop modern equipment including aircraft carriers and drones. Read the rest of this entry »


Was Your Chicken Nugget Made In China?

It’ll soon be hard to know

Chicken Nuggets with BBQ Sauce.
Here’s a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.

Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China.

The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.

Read the rest of this entry »