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  • China Matters

    Yes, It Looks Like the US Government Coordinated the 2012 Anonymous China Hacks

    On April 23, Mark Mazzetti reported in the New York Times that the FBI had used Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker it had in its clutches, to coordinate hacks in 2012 against Iran, Syria, Brazil, and Pakistan, and other targets.  The actual hacks were carried about by an associate of Monsegur, Jeremy Hammond, who was a dupe in that he did not know that Monsegur was turning over the information and access he gleaned to the US government.Jeremy Hammond is serving a ten-year jail sentence for other hacks.  I’m not clear if Monsegur is currently incarcerated; last reference I saw was to the cancellation of a 2013 court date that was expected to give him a suspended sentence for a previous guilty plea.  In addition to running the foreign hacks for the US gove...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Can Indonesia be a model for Myanmar’s political future?

    Author: Richard Robison, Murdoch University Myanmar has only just begun its transition from more than half a century of military rule and isolation from the rest of the world. A critical question is what political and economic systems it will eventually adopt. Vietnam and Cambodia offer one model. Both are effectively one-party democracies where the heavy hand of the state pervades social, political and economic conditions. Such a model would seem attractive to a regime that has for so long had little appetite for modern democracy, civil rights or accountable and transparent systems of law and regulation. Yet Myanmar is different. The regime does not possess the highly developed one-party apparatus that defines politics in Vietnam and Cambodia. Myanmar’s problem is h...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    The unknowns in China’s great urban change

    Author: Kam Wing Chan, University of Washington After more than a decade of mostly empty talk, China has finally announced a bold move to grant urban residential registration — known as hukou — status to 100 million people by 2020. The target is a major component of China’s new urbanisation plan, which represents a significant commitment towards achieving genuine urbanisation. At the third plenum last November, it was recognised that China’s dual rural–urban social structure, set up in the 1950s, remains a major obstacle to development. The hukou household registration permits for rural and urban residents separates those residents into two disparate social, economic and political spheres, resulting in many problems. Recognition of this opens up the p...more

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  • China Matters

    Maybe the End of the American Century Starts Here

    Failure of engagement to deliver ideal outcomes do not mean that deterrence will be more successful, or even more desirable.   I try to eschew dramatic, click-baiting headlines, but I think current developments in Asia are a big deal.  President Obama is visiting Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.He’s not visiting the People’s Republic of China.  He never planned to, because this trip is meant as an exercise in pivot-love, the bromance of Asian democracies + the United States dedicated to……well, let’s cut to the chase.Dedicated to the containment of the People’s Republic of China.The pivot to Asia, in my humble opinion, started out as a rather cynical exercise by the United States in encouraging pushback agains...more

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  • East Asia Forum

    Obama visits a troubled East Asia

    Author: Tobias Harris, Teneo Intelligence President Barack Obama’s state visit to Japan on 23–25 April comes at a fraught moment for the US–Japan relationship. The cautious US response first to China’s declaration of an air defence identification zone in November and then to Russia’s annexation of Crimea have Japanese elites concerned about what the US would do if China were to seize the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. The US government’s expression of ‘disappointment’ in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine has similarly led some Japanese elites to question the Obama administration’s commitment to Japan. As Seiichi Eto, a conservative Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker and special advise...more

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  • China Matters

    What Is a Uighur "Refuge"?

    To understand the context of this tweet from Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth:'Kenneth Roth ‏@KenRoth 17h Growing number of #Uighurs trying to flee to Southeast Asia speaks to severe repression in #China. Refuge needed. http://trib.al/RhN3crSit might be useful to understand that the United States maintains a refugee channel through Nepal for Tibetans from inside the PRC's Tibetan Autonomous Region to make their way to Dharmsala.The PRC is not happy with this arrangement, since most of the adults return to Tibet after their visit (the children stay in school in India).  The benign explanation is the parents got a shot of religious exhaltation by obtaining an audience with the Dalai Lama and go home to go on with the...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    China Might Slow, But the Region Won’t

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    National Committee on North Korea (NCNK)

    The National Committee on North Korea is looking for a new executive director in Washington. You can read the job description at the MercyCorps web page.  

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Capital controls against FDI in aviation: An example of bad governance in India

    by Anirudh Burman, Ajay Shah and Arjun Rajagopal. FDI in aviation was liberalised by the Reserve Bank of India on September 21, 2012 through a change in the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident outside India) Regulations, 2000 (link). Following that change, private players began putting together a number of complex transactions between Indian and foreign companies such as Jet-Etihad, AirAsia-Tata, and Tata-Singapore Airlines. On November 20, 2013, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revised its `Civil Aviation Requirements' or "CAR" (CAR 4.1.5 to 4.1.16) to state that a domestic airline company cannot enter into an agreement with a foreign investing entity (including foreign airlines) that may give such ...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    The Indian Constitution – Part 1

    So far I have asked around 10,000 Indians if they have read the Indian Constitution. Not one of them admitted to having read it. A few say yes initially but when probed a bit admit that they haven’t really read the whole thing. Some claim to have read the preamble. That is like saying that they have seen the movie merely because they have seen the ad in the newspaper or have had lunch because they checked out the lunch menu. The constitution is not a holy book, to be kept on an alter and worshiped, to be believed but not examined, to be considered divinely inspired and therefore implicitly trusted. With very rare exceptions, all Indians whom I have met believe that the constitution is great and wonderful. The operative word is “believe.” Although they...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    The rise of restructured private hospitals in 2nd and 3rd tier Chinese cities?

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  • The Peking Duck

    Tiananmen Square 25 years later

    This week witnessed the 25th anniversary of the death of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang, an event that ignited student demonstrations throughout China, but most famously in Beijing — we all know the story. It was only two days after his death that the students began flooding into Tiananmen Square. It is a futile exercise to look at the life of Hu Yaobang and ask, “What if…?” But it’s hard not to wonder. What if he had not been demoted in 1987 and if his program for political and economic reforms were put further into place? A touching interview with his son, Hu Dehua, looks at the opportunities China lost with Hu’s demotion. I enjoyed the part recounting how Hu spoke out against slavish devotion to Mao Zedong. Twenty-five y...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    DPRK opens more secondary schools

    According to RFA: North Korea has once again increased the number of secondary schools for gifted students, making the institutions less selective and reducing their role as guaranteed shortcuts to elite universities in Pyongyang, sources in the country said. Until recently, North Korea’s nine provinces and the capital Pyongyang each had just one advanced-track senior middle school, a type of combined middle and high school which runs on a more intensive curriculum than a regular secondary school. Some provinces now run more than one senior middle school reserved for top-notch students, sources said. “There are multiple gifted senior middle schools operating now in cities such as Chongjin and Hamhung,” one source told RFA’s Korean Service, referring to the capi...more

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    A New Kind of Test

    TIME has a brief piece on an interesting change in what the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) tests. “Students will no longer be rewarded for the rote memorization of semi-obscure definitions. Instead, the words that the SAT will highlight in vocabulary questions will be “high utility” words that students are likely to encounter in life and reading beyond those four hours in the testing location. Even the most studied students won’t be able to breeze through vocab sections, matching a word with definition B by reflex; they’ll have to read and gather from the passage exactly what a word means.” ...more

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  • Health Intel Asia

    Learning from the DKSH-Taiko Partnership

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  • Atanu Dey On India's Development

    Happy Bengali New Year

    The Bengali calendar is loosely tied with the Hindu Vedic solar calendar, based on the Surya Siddhanta. As with many other variants of the Hindu solar calendar, the Bengali calendar commences in mid-April of the Gregorian year. The first day of the Bengali year therefore coincides with the mid-April new year in Mithila, Assam, Burma, Cambodia, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand. [Wiki.] The wiki also states that Poila Boishakh coincides with the New Years in many other Southern Asian calendars, including: Assamese New Year, or Rongali Bihu (India’s Assam state) Burmese New Year, or Thingyan (Burma) Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey (Cambodia) Lao New Year, or Songkan / Pi Mai Lao (Laos) Malayali New Year, or Vishu (India’s...more

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  • North Korean Economy Watch

    China seeking to boost Chinese tourist numbers

    According to Yonhap: China has launched the second train service to North Korea, state media reported Monday, a move expected to boost travel between the two nations. The Sunday opening of regular rail services from China’s northeastern city of Jian to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang makes Jian the second city offering such service after another Chinese border city of Dandong, Xinhua news agency reported. North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive and isolated nations, but Pyongyang has stepped up efforts to attract foreign tourists since last year by offering more international and domestic flights. In Jian, Chinese tourists can apply for a one-day round trip, which is available once every four days, to North Korea for US$480 per person, the re...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Leadership of State agencies in India requires engineers and not drivers

    I recently wrote a column in the Economic Times titled Engineers, not drivers, about the problems of malfunctioning government agencies in India and the problem of constructing State capacity.  ...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Time for the CCP to apologize for the Cultural Revolution?

    There is a moving essay in yesterday’s NY Times by author Yu Hua about growing up during the Cultural Revolution. It starts with the story of teenage man and his father turning over their mother/wife to the police for an anti-Mao remark she made. After being tortured, she was shot to death. Last year the Chinese media told the son’s story, and he related a dream he kept having of seeing his mother and begging for forgiveness, but she remains silent. Yu Hua comments, Why, in those dreams, does Ms. Fang never say a word to her son? It’s not, I think, that she wants to punish him, for she knows that the true blame lies with others — with those who were in power at the time. She — like the souls of all who perished during the Cultural Revolution — is awa...more

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  • Ajay Shah's blog

    Opportunities at Macro/Finance Group, NIPFP

    The Macro/Finance Group at NIPFP has openings in analytical economics and public policy work. Economists We require individuals with a Ph.D. in economics or finance, with an interest in original research in our fields. These would be contractual appointments for a period of two years. One or more publications in international journals would be helpful, as would be the ability to carry research from inception all the way to publication. Policy research associates We require people who can participate in large complex projects in the field of public policy, ranging from envisioning the future to implementing it. Policy work is highly inter-disciplinary, spanning the fields of public economics, finance, economics, law, and public administration. Deep finance practitione...more

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  • The Peking Duck

    Ye Fu’s book of essays, Hard Road Home: China’s Golden Age of Liberation

    Before I discuss this touching, beautifully written book, I’d like to cite a quote from a book review I happened to read at the same time I was reading Hard Road Home. It was an excellent review of Frank Dikoetter’s new book on the Chinese revolution, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957. It offers this excerpt: By the beginning of 1948, when the pressure abated, some 160 million people were under communist control. On paper the party determined that at least 10 percent of the population were “landlords” or “rich peasants.”… The statistical evidence is woefully inadequate, but by a rough approximation between 500,000 and a million people were killed or driven to suicide…. By the end of 1951, close to two ...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Economic consequences of income inequality

    A lot of things have happened in China since my last entry – in the FX markets, in the banking system, in the announcements of default, and in the continuing lowering of growth expectations – but for all the turmoil, as I see it nothing has happened that was unexpected and that has not been discussed many times on this blog. For that reason I decided to post a rather long essay (sorry) on income inequality and on how I think we can best think about the impact of income inequality on the global economy. This is a loaded topic, and I suspect I am going to get a lot of responses claiming that my essay is totally brilliant or totally nonsensical based, mainly, on the political orientation of readers. This entry, however, is not intended to be political. Very few things ...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    Will emerging markets come back?

    I don’t often make reference to these kinds of things in my blog, but Saturday’s terrorist attack in the Kunming train station – in which 29 innocent people were hacked to death (the toll was especially high among the elderly who were unable to run away quickly enough from the killers) – fills me with dread and dismay. This kind of brutal massacre is not about sending a message to Beijing or to the world but is rather aimed at getting the authorities to overreact so as to create hatred within the country. I truly hope it does not succeed. There is a great deal of anger here in China but so far, I am glad to say, excluding some over-the-top responses in the internet world the authorities and Chinese people generally seem not to be overreacting. I wish there w...more

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  • Michael Pettis' CHINA FINANCIAL MARKETS

    What do bank share prices tell us about growth?

    Tom Holland had an interesting piece in the South China Morning Post three weeks ago in which he discusses the low valuations of Chinese banks. About a decade ago, if I remember correctly, Chinese banks were trading between three and four times book. Those valuations have dropped considerably since then: On Monday, the weighted average price-book value ratio for the 10 Chinese banks listed in Hong Kong fell to just 0.98. In other words, as an investor you would have been able to buy shares in Chinese banks for less than the cash you would have received – in theory – if the companies were wound up the following day and the residual value returned to shareholders. That’s a highly unusual state of affairs, especially in a rapidly developing economy like ...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Do China’s Millennials Want ?

    For a number of years, I had it pretty good.  I had a number of teams that were under me, were stable, and were producing.  It was at a time when a lot of questions were being asked about the post 80s generation in China, but for whatever reason I was immune. But, those days are over, and just yesterday I had another millennial go AWOL on me.  So, it was perhaps interesting timing that CNBC put up the article Millennials may be more like boomers than we realize highlighting how several studies point to a generation that is looking for meaning in their job, in their company, and for balance: A new study from Deloitte also found differences in workplace attitudes between millennials and older generations, saying that the former “want to work for organizations tha...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    What Would be the Impact if the Chinese Economy Tanked?

    One of the most interesting conversations I ever had was over drinks with a European central banker looking to learn about the reach of China. His core questions was “If China imploded, what could be the impact…. “, and for a couple of hours we worked through a few industries. How far their supply chains reached into China, regardless of where the products were sold, as well as what level of dependence those same firms/ industries had on China for top line growth. I’m sure it is a conversation many have had, but for me the big lesson was that few take the time to think about it enough, and regardless of what your feelings are on China’s potential for a “hard landing”, it is something I have always advocated creating scenarios f...more

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  • All Roads Lead to China

    The Year of the Horse is here! Bring on the Fireworks! Bring on the SMOG!

    LAst night, while enjoying a hot pot with friends and doing my best to ignore the CCTV New Year extravaganza, I was taking screen shots from my CN Air quality app to see if it would be possible to show the impact of fireworks on China’s air quality. As you can see, over the course of the night things got measurably worse.  Large areas of the country that started off the night in fairly good shape ( less than 100), quickly moved into 100-150 territory, and areas that were already in the orange ended up in purple (325+) and black (500+).  Which for us was striking given the fact that construction sites and factories have been idle for the last 7-10 days, and a large portion of the trucks have been taken off the road Which left us wondering what the source was.  ...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcards from the National People's Congress

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Twins!

    A

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  • ChinaBizGov

    China's Green Car Sales in 2012

    Just a few years ago, pretty much everyone (except Chinese auto industry insiders whom I interviewed) thought China was about to take ownership of the global green car market. (Here's just one example from the excitable Tom Friedman of the New York Times.)In 2009 China's industrial planners announced plans to have 500,000 green cars ("New Energy Vehicles" or "新能源汽车" -- a combination of electrics and hybrids) on Chinese roads by the end of 2011. That obviously didn't happen, so last year, that same target of 500,000 was pushed out to 2015.So how did green car sales fare in 2012? Overall, hybrids plus electrics grew a respectable 52 percent.So while sales grew pretty well in percentage terms, it is clear that overall numbers are still inconsequential when you co...more

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    What Causes Revolutions?

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  • Patrick Chovanec

    Enter the New Year

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    China, school violence and official reaction

    I wrote yesterday about growing questions in China about the differences between the U.S. reaction to the tragedy in Newtown and that of the tragedy in Henan Province, where, on the same say as the shooting in Connecticut, a man stabbed and slashed 23 students at a primary school. (All survived in Henan, where the weapon was a knife, not an AR-15.) As a commentary piece in the state-controlled Global Times noted: “The Chinese public has focused on the slow official response and the level of social reflection. Many are furious that while the Americans have started mourning nationwide, the Chinese appear insensitive to the Henan case.” Another story today, carried by China Daily, caught my attention. It describes an example of how profoundly off-key propaganda can ...more

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  • China Rises: Notes from the Middle Kingdom

    Postcard from a snowy Beijing

    The smell of roasting sweet potatoes in a city covered with snow put me in the mood to take a detour on my walk to work today  ...

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  • ChinaBizGov

    Comparing Corruption in China and the US

    Today's WSJ China Realtime reports on a study by a George Mason University economist who attempts to compare corruption in the US and China.  His conclusion is that corruption in America's Gilded Age (1877-1893)* was worse than corruption in China today.Perhaps the conclusion is correct, but the methodology used by this professor is flawed.  US corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US newspapers 1870-1930.  China corruption is measured by mentions of corruption in US (not Chinese!) newspapers 1990-2011.So he is measuring corruption in two countries by the number of times the newspapers of only one of the countries mentions the word.  Even if the researcher had used Chinese newspapers, the study still would have been flawed due to Commun...more

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  • ChinaBizGov

    GM and SAIC: Trouble in Paradise?

    General Motors (GM) and Shanghai Auto (SAIC) announced in December of 2009 that they were deepening their partnership beyond their joint venture in China.  Together they created a 50:50 joint venture, registered in Hong Kong, for expansion outside of China.  Now that partnership appears to be coming apart.Initially, the plan for the HK JV was for the two sides to work together in India and possibly elsewhere in the future.  (For further insight into this particular deal, please see Chapter 4 of Designated Drivers.) As for the India venture, GM would contribute two existing factories in India, along with its Chevrolet brand, and SAIC would contribute cash -- something that GM had been seriously lacking as it had emerged from bankruptcy earlier that same ye...more

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Dan Steinbock

Dr Dan Steinbock is a recognized expert of the multipolar world. He focuses on international business, international relations, investment and risk among the major advanced economies (G7) and large emerging economies (BRICS and beyond). In addition to his advisory activities (www.differencegroup.net), he is affiliated with major US universities as well as international think-tanks, such as India China and America Institute (USA), Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and EU Center (Singapore).

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