The Sinocism China Newsletter – November 29, 2015

Bill Bishop , November 30, 2015 11:49am


1. Chinese Report on Climate Change Depicts Somber Scenarios – The New York Times “There’s deepening awareness of the gravity of the problems,” Zhang Haibin, a professor at Peking University who was among some 550 experts who prepared the report, said in an interview. He noted a shift since the first such assessment was issued nine years ago. “From the first to the second to this third report, the negative impacts of climate change on China are increasingly apparent.”  // 《第三次气候变化国家评估报告》发布 Has the US given China too much leverage on other issues in order to achieve a climate deal, as China needs to clean itself up regardless given the multiple environmental disasters it has created for itself?

Related: Chinese President Xi arrives in Paris for climate change conference | CCTV America The Chinese president will deliver a speech at the conference on Monday, raising China’s proposals on countering climate change before leaving for state visits to Zimbabwe and South Africa and a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.

Related: Behind China’s Evolution From Climate Deal Holdout to Leader – Bloomberg Business “The fact that the United States and China at the presidential level joined arms and stepped forward in November of last year in the ramp up to 2015 and put forward strong targets together, these two historic antagonists at the presidential level, was a big shot in the arm to the negotiations,” Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy on climate change, told reporters Oct. 23 during a conference call.

Related: Interview: We will make every minute and second count to reach climate deal: China’s chief negotiator – Xinhua China’s chief negotiator Su Wei said on Sunday that he expected negotiators to make full use of time in Paris in order to reach a global legally binding climate agreement by December 11. “Time is quite pressing, we will make every minute and second count,” said Su Wei in an interview with Xinhua prior to the start of a United Nations climate conference in Paris.

Related: China meets pollution reduction targets ahead of schedule: Minister – Xinhua China has achieved the pollution reduction targets for major pollutants outlined in its 12th Five-Year Plan, six months ahead of schedule, Environment Minister Chen Jining said Sunday. Nonetheless, a substantial improvement of the environment will only be possible if pollution is reduced by a further 30 to 50 percent, he said. // really?

Related: Official Figures for Major Smog Pollutant Last Year ‘Off by Half’-Caixin The government underreported by half last year’s emissions of a pollutant from burning coal that plays a major role in the smog covering many of China’s big cities, an expert says. The country emitted 30 to 31 million tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) last year, said Luo Jianhua, secretary general of the China Environment Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization controlled by the government. // 骆建华:雾霾元凶之一SO2或被严重低估(更新)政经频道财新网

Related: Beijing issues highest smog alert of the year as capital chokes on ‘very unhealthy’ air | South China Morning Post Local authorities issued the orange alert – the second highest in the four-tier system – meaning industrial plants were required to cut or shut down production, construction sites should stop transporting materials and waste, and heavy-duty trucks were banned from the roads.

Related: Gates to Announce Multibillion Dollar Clean-Energy Fund – Bloomberg Business Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp., will be joined by at least 27 other private investors in the so-called “Breakthrough Energy Coalition,” including Africa’s richest man, Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman and founder Jack Ma; and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman.

2. China vows breakthrough in long-awaited military reform by 2020, including restructuring PLA headquarters and commands | South China Morning Post A new disciplinary commission and a military audit department would be set up within the military to tackle corruption, Xi said, adding that measures would also be taken to improve the military legal system. A new political and legal commissar for the military would be appointed, he said. “An overall structure should be formed to empower the Central Military Commission to be in charge of both administration and command of the PLA,” Xi was quoted by state-run Xinhua as saying at the end of a three-day meeting attended by about 200 top military officials. // not a sign that Xi is weak or that his power has peaked, as some observers seem to believe. And still a chance Liu Shaoqi’s son Gen Liu Yuan is promoted into leadership in the reformed PLA discipline/anti-corruption function

Related: 习近平:全面实施改革强军战略 坚定不移走中国特色强军之路-新华网 Xinhua/CCTV evening News report on the PLA reforms 

一图读懂|全面实施改革强军战略 Xinhua publishes infographic on the planned PLA reforms.

Related: 坚决贯彻落实习主席改革强军决策指示<BR/>以强烈的使命担当打赢改革攻坚战 – 解放军报 – 中国军网 Sunday PLA Daily editorial on implementing the mooted PLA reforms

Related: 军报:彻底肃清郭伯雄徐才厚案 迎接军改大考_腾讯新闻 这次专题党课的一个鲜明特点,是党委书记普遍深入剖析周永康、薄熙来、徐才厚、郭伯雄、令计划、苏荣等案件,反躬自省、引为镜鉴,不遮不掩晒问题,抽丝剥茧摆教训,一针见血点危害。

3. 妄议中央大政方针绝不是发扬党内民主 人民日报热点辨析:认清“妄议”的错误和危害 韩慧 其二,削弱党的权威和领导地位。一些人在贯彻执行中央决策部署时打折扣、搞变通,形成“上有政策、下有对策”和“上下不贯通、政令中梗阻”的不良局面,损害了中央权威和党的执政能力。这些其实都与妄议中央大政方针有很大关系- (作者单位:济南大学政治与公共管理学院)。 //  People’s Daily page 7 piece tries to explain “improper discussion of central party policies妄议中央” (from Article 46 of the new Party Discipline regulations), says intent is not to limit intra-Party constructive speech but to tamp down “unconstructive” speech. The author notes that inaction, improper policy implementation are related to “improper discussion of central party policies”. Article 46 of the new Party Discipline regulations looks in part to be a tool to attempt to force the bureaucracy to implement reform and other policies that are coming from the Center but not being properly carried through, a common problem across China’s history that long predates the CCP. Bureaucratic resistance and inaction is not actually evidence that Xi has not consolidated power, especially in the sources of hard power like the PLA, PSB, MSS and CCDI. 

Related: We’re not having this discussion – China Media Project The humour in these comments is probably lost on those unfamiliar with political jargon in China, but both taunts draw attention to a term that has rightly come in recent weeks to symbolise the Communist Party’s intolerant attitude toward dissenting views under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. The term, “improper discussion of [the policies] of the central Party,” or wangyi zhongyang (妄议中央), kicked up a storm online after being included in the Party’s new Disciplinary Regulations, released on October 21. // interesting piece, focus more on the ideological dimension

4. 完善社会治安综合治理体制机制 Wang Yongqing, secretary general of the Central Politics and Law Committee, writes in latest Qiushi on perfecting the comprehensive social management system, with visions of Big Brother and the Minority Report in this description of using “big data”// 新一轮科技革命蓄势待发,特别是信息科技向数据科技的发展,不仅更新了我们认识世界的思维方式,也给我们加快建设社会治安立体防控体系提供了新途径新手段。     ■ 我们要坚持维权和维稳相统一,把源头治理、动态管理、应急处置有机结合起来,完善社会矛盾排查预警和调处化解综合机制,牢牢掌握预防化解社会矛盾的主动权… 大数据表示的是过去,但表达的是未来,其意义就在于通过对海量数据的整合、挖掘,揭示传统技术方式难以展现的关联关系,让我们更清楚地理解事物本质、把握未来走向,从而发现新规律、提升新能力。我们要坚持用数据说话、用数据管理、用数据创新,全面采集人、地、物、事等基本信息和吃、住、行、消等动态信息,加强关联分析、碰撞比对,使预警更加科学、防控更加有效、打击更加精确。   // wonder if any of the US-listed China Internet firms are helping the government with its Orwellian forays into big data and artificial intelligence?

Related: The Chinese government could use big data to track individual students’ political views – Quartz A new report (link in Chinese) from Studies in Ideological Education, a publication put out by China’s education ministry, suggests using big data to track the political views of individual university students. The report—written by a member of the propaganda department committee at University of Electronic Science and Technology in Chengdu—advocates creating a “political ideology database” that pulls data from library records, surveys, social media, and other sources to collect “quantifiable, accurate, and personalized information” and “improve the effectiveness of ideological education.”

5. Bank chief stresses financial security for more open China- China Daily Financial security is essential to a national security, and the success of financial reform hinges on stability in the sector, Zhou Xiaochuan said in an article published in the People’s Daily on Wednesday. He called for a mechanism to be put in place to monitor and counter risks, and for better regulations against money laundering and terrorism financing…Nevertheless, he said China will stick to its opening-up policy in the financial arena

Related: 周小川罕见警告“金融攻击” 专家称备战小概率事件滚动新闻新浪财经_新浪网 “周小川提到防范金融攻击和制裁,我认为不是针对当前某个特定现象,这应该是一个原则性的说法。”上述全球投资人士也告诉记者,决策层并非首次提到“金融攻击”的问题,“更应该理解为是对未来更高程度的开放,提前做好防范的意思。”

Related: 深化金融体制改革(学习贯彻党的十八届五中全会精神)–人民网 – 周小川

6. The Yuan Grows Up – Bloomberg View Editorial At a board meeting on Monday, the International Monetary Fund is likely to announce that China’s currency, the yuan, will join the dollar, yen, euro and pound as part of the global currency basket known as the Special Drawing Right. Don’t dismiss this as an inconsequential technical adjustment. It’s a milestone for the world economy. // IMF decision announcement coming 11.30

7. China pledges resolute measures to root out poverty by 2020 – Xinhua China’s top leadership on Saturday pledged resolute measures to help the remaining 70 million poor people shake off poverty and enjoy essential social services by 2020. Major tasks for governments over the next five years will include ensuring the poverty-stricken people to have enough to eat and wear, and to enjoy compulsory education, health service and housing, according to a two-day high-profile conference on poverty alleviation and development, which ended Saturday in Beijing. // [视频]习近平在中央扶贫开发工作会议上强调 脱贫攻坚战冲锋号已经吹响 全党全国咬定目标苦干实干 13 minute CCTV Evening News report on the meeting. Xi looks to have gotten a haircut

Related: 坚决打赢脱贫攻坚战–观点–人民网 ——一论学习贯彻习近平总书记中央扶贫开发工作会议重要讲话 本报评论员  //  p1 11.30 People’s Daily comment on poverty reduction

8. The Book of Changes | the Anthill Twenty five years in Chinese jazz – by David Moser  //  among the most interesting expat writing I have read on China in a long time, wish Moser wrote more

You can read the rest of today’s newsletter here.

Bill Bishop

Author and curator of the daily Sinocism newsletter.