Friday Links: Mo Yan’s controversial statements about censorship, optimism around Xi Jinping as anti-graft campaign expands, and book recommendations

Via NBC News Photo Blog, explanation after the jump.

Just a reminder that Beijing SantaCon is tomorrow, and the Beijinger Super Quiz is Sunday. Your weekend-is-here links.

About that picture: “Developers bought a cemetery and paid villagers to relocate the remains of their loved ones. All except one. The grave has not been moved as the family is waiting for an auspicious date to do so and a reason from the developer for choosing this site, according to the owner of the tomb. The developers are now offering to pay nearly $160,000 to have it moved. The building is scheduled to be completed by April 2013, but for now, construction continues around the gravesite.”

Mo Yan on censorship. “Mo said he doesn’t feel that censorship should stand in the way of truth but that any defamation, or rumors, ‘should be censored.’ // ‘But I also hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principle,’ he said in comments translated by an interpreter from Chinese into English. // …In addressing the sensitive issue of censorship in China, Mo likened it to the thorough security procedures he was subjected to as he traveled to Stockholm. // ‘When I was taking my flight, going through the customs … they also wanted to check me — even taking off my belt and shoes,’ he said. ‘But I think these checks are necessary.’” [AP]

Corollary, Mo Yan on Liu Xiaobo, from the same article: “Although Mo has previously said he hopes Liu will be freed soon, he refused to elaborate more on the case. // ‘On the same evening of my winning the prize, I already expressed my opinion, and you can get online to make a search,’ he said, telling the crowd that he hoped they wouldn’t press him on the subject of Liu.”

Optimism about Xi Jinping — guarded, perhaps, but optimism nonetheless. “The new leadership also seems to recognize that while the Hu strategy created a hardline center of some strength, it left reformers in the Party hankering for something more. It also left those on the other end of the Chinese political spectrum wondering when the country would get back to socialism. That stratagem of playing each off against the other was clever politics for Hu, but it stalled progress in reforming the Party. // Xi and his supporters need a new way forward, because any major reform needs to find some middle ground between these two major political forces—not the same sort of crafty combat that kept political opponents pinned down fighting each other, but a coalition for change.” [Russell Leigh Moses, WSJ]

Corollary: His foreign policy direction. [China Daily]

China is an open system with closed minds. “So how is China preparing it citizens to become global leaders? By preserving ancient habits and purposely stifling knowledge while instructing its citizens to become the world’s most creative thinkers. The Party is pushing its behemoth state-owned enterprises to ‘go global’ and beat the leading multinationals as it exhorts scientists and entrepreneurs to transform China into a technology and innovation powerhouse.” [James McGregor, Quartz]

Senior official being investigated. “China’s anti-corruption commission has begun an inquiry into a top official in the southwestern province of Sichuan, state media reported Wednesday. He’s the most senior person to be investigated since Xi Jinping became Communist Party leader last month. // Li Chuncheng, Sichuan’s deputy party chief, has not been seen in public since November 19 according to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. Li was promoted last month to be one of the 171 alternate members of the party’s central committee. He had served in Sichuan since 1988.” [Voice of America]

And another. “Song Jianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, is being investigated by the party’s discipline authorities over allegations of rigging a car licence plate scheme, China’s Economy and Nation Weekly reported on Thursday. // Song is accused of manipulating Beijing’s car plate lottery, according to a source interviewed by the Economy and Nation Weekly. Car buyers applying for plates are selected by lottery because of high demand. About 1.26 million applicants competed for fewer than 20,000 plates this month alone. // So when the name ‘Liu Xuemei’ was drawn in seven consecutive rounds, many people suspected foul play. Netizens soon discovered that Liu Xuemei was the name of the director of the vehicle and driver management department of the Ministry of Public Security.” [SCMP]

Xi Jinping and his party learning political spin. “But it seems that Xi may have been studying Bo even as he condemned him. If Xi continues to develop his own brand, it suggests that he has made a real change of focus, from Hu’s efforts to repair the party’s legitimacy by internal reform to direct appeals to the people. It might also mean — and this would also be a major contrast to Hu — that he has enough support from the Standing Committee to act in a way that could strengthen him at their expense.” [The Diplomat]

I will be obtaining this book: The Party Line: How the Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China. “Journalism traditionally in China has been the Communist Party’s “eyes and ears” for understanding the country’s mood, author Doug Young says in his newly released book about China’s media. // Reporters at the state news agency Xinhua ‘spy’ for the party, he says, often performing a role typically done by the CIA, America’s spying organisation.” [SCMP]

Also this one. “The latest example is ‘Restless Empire,’ a wonderful book by the Norwegian-born and American-educated historian Odd Arne Westad. ‘Restless Empire’ tells the story of the foreigners who helped China become what it is today, from China’s first interactions with the West to the current era. In doing so, Westad upends, but ever so politely, a slew of misconceptions about China that have been concocted by his academic predecessors both in the West and in Asia.” [Reviewed by John Pomfret, Washington Post]

China is now happy with 7.5 percent growth. “China’s leaders are likely to stick with the 2012 economic growth target of 7.5 percent when they chart a course for 2013, allowing higher levels of fixed-asset investment to offset weak export demand, sources involved in internal discussions about the plans say.” [Reuters]

Candice Lee WildChina Explorer Grant 2013 Application Video interlude:


The kind of foreigner-in-China story that’s enjoyable to read, in which the protagonist teams up with locals to combat an unruly honker. [China Hope Live]

Tracy McGrady’s tough start in the CBA. [NiuBBall]

Weird: policy dictates children can’t get hukou (registration papers) unless mother wears contraceptive ring. [Sino-US]

Coal mine accident. [AP]

“Xi Jinping: A Radical Reformer After All?” [SinoScoop]

Finally, finally…

iPad band, via China Daily

    5 Responses to “Friday Links: Mo Yan’s controversial statements about censorship, optimism around Xi Jinping as anti-graft campaign expands, and book recommendations”

    1. King Tubby

      A good roundup Mon General, which would be further improved with a Sex and Sleaze entry plus supporting images.

      It will be interesting to see if SinoScoop measures up to its mission statement.

      Finally, give your basketball entries a big miss: football is the world game and Sino football is the class fool.

      • The Tao

        Someday you’ll have to explain why you dislike basketball so much. It is, you know, the most popular sport here by some metrics.

    2. King Baeksu

      What is the official rate of corruption among public officials in China? I seem to recall reading recently that it was 61%. Does that sound about right?

      I’ll believe Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign is legit when he sacks 61% of the CCP membership, or about 50 million cadres.

      Taking down a few high-level chickens will do nothing to scare 50 million rampaging monkeys, and Xi knows it.

      Indeed, if he were really serious, he’d be informing the Chinese public how his sister and other kin managed to accumulate hundreds of millions of dollars from sweetheart business deals and government contracts.

      What, the paper that published that report is still blocked in China? Right. Nothing to see here, folks, move along!

    3. John

      Love the link to Russ’ post on WSJ. Jonas and I took his courses when we were students here 5 years ago, at UIBE. The man is a living legend.


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