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News roundup: 5 million yuan rewards for informants in Xinjiang

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op China news for February 21, 2017. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at supchina.com/subscribe.
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Rewards for informants and GPS trackers for cars in Xinjiang

Officials in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region have ordered residents in one prefecture to install GPS trackers in their vehicles so authorities are able to keep permanent tabs on their movements, according to The Guardian. Meanwhile, the Global Times reports that in another prefecture, authorities have announced rewards of up to 5 million yuan ($726,000) for informants who report on terrorist activities. The moves come after last week’s large military parade that followed a violent knife attack in which five victims died, as well as three perpetrators who were killed by police.

Dalian Wanda deal for Golden Globes in trouble?

The Wrap, a website that covers the U.S. entertainment industry, reported yesterday that Chinese real estate behemoth Dalian Wanda’s bid to acquire Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Productions was “dead.” Today, however, Reuters says that the deal is “under pressure but is not yet over,” according to unnamed sources. Dalian Wanda already owns the American film producer Legendary Entertainment and cinema chain operator AMC Entertainment Holdings. Both Reuters and The Wrap interpret the trouble as fallout from the Chinese government’s recent squeeze on capital outflows and greater scrutiny of foreign acquisitions by Chinese companies. In a separate story, Reuters states that Chinese investors are finding that “their cash is losing its cachet” because of the growing difficulties Chinese companies are having transferring yuan into foreign currency.

Chinese investigative journalism in 2016

The Global Investigative Journalism Network has published a list of the “best investigative stories” by Chinese journalists in 2016, including English summaries of each story and links to the original Chinese articles. The stories cover a range of subjects from the trade in illegal vaccines to the suspicious death of a young environmentalist in police custody.

Hip-hop parodies about China’s politics and economy

Big Daddy Dough is the stage name of an American financial professional with an unusual hobby: making parody rap songs about China. He has released an album of them, which you can download for free; you can also watch some of his music videos shot in Beijing here.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor in Chief


Today on SupChina

A Spring Festival celebration in Qingdao” is a video feature from SupChina’s Jia Guo that was filmed in her hometown in northeastern China.  


This issue of the SupChina newsletter was produced by Sky Canaves, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, and Jiayun Feng. More China stories worth your time are curated below, with the most important ones at the top of each section.


BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

  • Dozens of Chinese firms apply to use ‘Ivanka’ as their trademark / South China Morning Post
    Chinese companies have submitted at least 65 applications to use “Ivanka,” the name of the eldest daughter of Donald Trump, as a trademark for products ranging from cosmetics to wallpaper to alcohol. Most of the applications are still being processed. China’s law and regulations allow for businesses to use foreign names and the Chinese translation of them as trademarks. However, it remains to be seen whether those applications would be approved. The president himself was last week granted trademark protection in China for the use of his surname in the construction industry.
  • Alibaba expands bricks-and-mortar retail push with Bailian deal / Reuters
    On Monday, China’s biggest ecommerce company, Alibaba, announced a partnership deal with Bailian, the country’s largest retailer by store numbers, to use big data to drive sales at bricks-and-mortar stores. As online sales growth slows, the deal is expected to help Alibaba capture a bigger share of the retail market. Under the agreement, the two firms are expected to “cooperate on supply chain technology using Alibaba’s big data capabilities.” Bailian, which operates 4,700 outlets in 200 cities, will integrate Alipay payments with its existing membership program.


POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

  • Is China pushing Trump to talk to North Korea? / NYT (paywall)
    Tensions heightened in the difficult relationship between China, North Korea, and the U.S., with the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half brother in Malaysia and the confirmation by China’s Ministry of Commerce on Saturday that it would soon cease coal imports from the rogue nation. The New York Times noted the contrasting pulls of these two events, as China likely views its compliance with sanctions as a large concession to the U.S. to get U.S.-North Korea dialogue kickstarted. Yet news of the assassination means that even informal talks with North Korea at this time could be seen as rewarding bad behavior. All steps at this point would be incremental, however, as North Korea has refused more than 50 times to attend any dialogue that has denuclearization on the agenda, while Bloomberg reports that the fuel and commodity exports of China to North Korea are a much stronger lifeline than coal imports.
  • China jails former head of safety watchdog for 15 years for graft / Reuters
    Yang Dongliang 杨栋梁 was the head of the State Administration of Work Safety when a massive industrial explosion in 2015 in the northeastern port city of Tianjin killed 170 people. He was sacked days later, and it was revealed that the company at the site of the explosion had no license for storing or handling the dangerous materials that blew up. Though state media reports on this 15-year sentence did not mention the 2015 Tianjin explosions, he was convicted of “accepting bribes to grant contracts to companies,” including during an earlier time when he was vice mayor of Tianjin.


SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • Chinese pioneering online feminist publication censored for ‘breaking national regulations’ / Weibo
    On Monday night, Women’s Voice, a popular Chinese website that focuses on women’s rights and gender equality, was suspended from posting to social media platform Weibo for 30 days for “recently publishing content that broke relevant Chinese laws and regulations.” Though Weibo did not specify the post in question, Women’s Voice noted that the only recent post that had been censored was about a planned women’s strike in the U.S., set to take place on March 8, International Women’s Day. In response to the incident, the Chinese online feminist community fought back by posting photos of women holding posters that read, “I want my voice back.” (Note: Most links above are to Chinese sources.)
  • Noah’s Ark–inspired mega-church ignites firestorm / Sixth Tone
    Despite a barrage of criticism surrounding it, a mega-church is under construction in Changsha in central China’s Hunan Province. Located in parkland that stretches over 150,000 square meters, the church project, which also includes an institute for biblical studies and a lake, is described by an official statement as a measure to “implement the nation’s religious policy.” However, though backed by the local government, the church is under attack in Chinese media for “converting a public space into an arena for Christianity-related events.” It is also being criticized by local residents for its staggering cost, estimated at 110 million yuan ($16 million), as well as its location: Mao Zedong was born in Hunan. Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party is officially atheist.

By The editors
Jeremy Goldkorn, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, Jiayun Feng, and Sky Canaves.
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