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Empty Ghost Towns in China Indicate Burst Housing Bubble

On July 21, 2013, China Review News published an article, which was originally from http://www.xinmin.cn/, on China’s “ghost towns.” According to the article, a ghost town is an empty town in China where the local government has built a lot of new apartments and commercial buildings at great cost. There are 12 large ghost towns in China, four of which are in Inner Mongolia.

In 2009, China’s real estate investments accounted for 10 percent of China’s GDP. In contrast, in the United States, real estate investment does not exceed 6 percent of its GDP. The writer believes that some housing bubbles have already burst.

Source: China Review News, July 21, 2013
http://www.zhgpl.com/doc/1026/4/0/4/102640407.html?coluid=53&kindid=0&docid=102640407&mdate=0721073650

VOA: When the Father of China’s Internet Censorship Resigned, Chinese Netizens Cheerfully Mocked Him

On June 29, 2013, Voice of America published an article on why Chinese netizens were so cheerful when a university president announced he would resign from his post as the president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications due to illness. The president was Fang Binxing, China’s best-known Internet censorship engineer, nicknamed the “Father of China’s Great Firewall.” The “Great Firewall” allows China’s regime to censor websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and anything that the Chinese authorities do not approve. When Fang sent his greetings on a Weibo (Chinese microblog) account, Chinese netizens responded with 250,000 “Go Away” messages. In 2012, when Fang spoke at Wuhan University, students threw eggs and shoes at him.

Fang’s resignation announcement sparked a new round of mocking. Some netizens even posted a sarcastic couplet poem to Fang: “Thousands of People Point Fingers at You When You Are Alive; One Excremental Name Will Follow You after You Pass Away.” The title of the poem was “A Life Journey Not Taken in Vain.”

Source: Voice of America, June 29, 2013
http://www.voachinese.com/content/beijing-principal-20130629/1691720.html  

Xi Jinping Strips the Amnesty Privilege from Politburo Members in the Anti-Corruption Campaign

An article, originally published by a Hong Kong monthly magazine QianShao, is being spread widely on the Internet. The article speculates that former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang might be the targeted “big tiger” in Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. China’s State media reported that Zhou’s crony, former secretary Guo Yongxiang, is being investigated. 

The article reports, “at an expanded meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee, Xi Jinping said that he drafted an anti-corruption proposal together with Premier Li Keqiang. The proposal requires that anti-corruption actions must target “Tigers” [high-level, heavy-weight officials]. Xi also defined "big tiger" and upgraded it to the level of a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.” 
“Meanwhile, Xi proposed to abolish the internal rule that ‘no investigation should be initiated on a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.’ Instead, Politburo Standing Committee members, whether incumbent or retired, must accept a criminal investigation as long as the evidence is solid and it has had a negative influence at home and abroad.” 
Source: Wenxuecity, June 25, 2013 
http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2013/06/25/2476767.html

Tightened Measures against Fraud on the College Entrance Exam Sparked Riot in China

Students and parents besieged proctors at a high school in Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province on June 8, 2013, because of tightened anti-cheating measures on the College Entrance Exam. The parents were protesting unjust treatment on the national college entrance exam, “Why is it that official’s children are allowed to cheat, but our children cannot cheat?” The proctors confiscated cell phones, set up wireless jammers that blocked cell phone and other signals, and frisked the students. Some male teachers were said to have "groped the girls’ chests.” The strict regulations angered many students and parents, who stormed the school after the exam ended. Several hundred students and their parents surrounded the school in protest, beating teachers, smashing the principal’s car, and ripping the school’s doors off their hinges. After the exam, a student’s parent beat the proctor who had confiscated that student’s cell phone.

Fraud on the College Entrance Examination is rampant in Zhongxiang and many places in China. Many of the local school officials, teachers, parents, and students are all involved in the fraud. Therefore, proctors from other cities were sent to Zhongxiang this year to tighten measures against cheating.

Source: China Gate, The Epoch Times, Education News, June 10 and June 19, 2013
http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2013/06/19/2465348.html 
http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/100661-college-entrance-exam-becomes-battleground-in-china/
http://www.educationnews.org/international-uk/anti-cheating-measures-on-college-entrance-exam-spark-riot-in-china/

Beijing News: Ten Listed State-Owned Enterprises Spent Over 2.9 Billion Yuan on Hospitality

On May 13, 2013, Beijing News published an article titled, “Ten Listed State-Owned Enterprises Spent over 2.9 Billion Yuan (U.S. $471,835,800.00) on Hospitality in order to Maintain Good Public Relations.”

In the 2012 annual reports, 1,720 listed companies disclosed a total of 13.3 billion yuan in "Business Hospitality Expenses." The ten companies that spent the most on hospitality expenses were all state-owned enterprises. The hospitality expenses were spent on “eating and drinking.” Since companies are not required to disclose their “Business Hospitality Expenses,” China’s big state-owned enterprises: “China National Petroleum, China Petrochemical, Construction and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,” have not disclosed any of this data.

Source: Beijing News, May 13, 203
http://www.bjnews.com.cn/finance/2013/05/13/263318.html

China’s Military Official: H7N9 Bird Flu Is a U.S. Conspiracy against China

Dai Xu, the Director of the Marine Security and Cooperation Research Institute and an Air Force Colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, asserted that the H7N9 virus is part of a U.S. conspiracy against China and Chinese authorities should simply ignore it. Dai posted his bird flu comment on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like site, late Saturday night on April 6, 2013. Dai said, “As for the recent bird flu fad, China’s top government departments must not deal with it extensively. Otherwise, it will be just like SARS in 2003! At that time, the U.S. was fighting Iraq and feared China might take advantage of the situation, so it deployed a bio-psychological weapon against China. The country was thrown into turmoil, just as the U.S. had hoped. Now, the U.S. is trying the same old trick. China should learn a lesson from the past and respond calmly.”

An earlier version of the post was subsequently deleted, but multiple other users preserved it in screenshots. It ended on a different note: “A few may die, but that’s not even one-thousandth of the deaths from car accidents in China.”

Source: BBC Chinese and The Wall Street Journal, April 7 and April http://www.bbc.co.uk/zhongwen/simp/china/2013/04/130407_china_bird_flu_conspiracy.shtml  
http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/04/08/new-bird-flu-is-a-u-s-conspiracy-chinese-military-official-says/

After Retirement, Former Top CCP Official Seeks Protection in a Taoist Temple

On April 4, 2013, the website of Voice of Taoism published a report about Wu Bangguo, an acknowledged Marxist atheist. Soon after his retirement, Wu visited a Taoist temple seeking protection and wealth from Taoist deities. Chinese Internet users ridiculed his worship of Taoist deities, calling it an "ironic scene."

Wu is a former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People’s Congress in China. He had vowed to adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Before he retired from his leadership position, he opposed any political reforms and universal values.

Source: Voice of Taoism, April 4, 2013
http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2013/04/04/2321729.html
http://www.daoisms.org/plus/view.php?aid=8416

China Issued a Smog Alert for the First Time

On January 27, 2013, smog was widespread over 1 million square kilometers in the mid eastern area of China. For the first time, China’s Central Meteorological Station issued a smog alert (blue level), which is separate from a fog alert. Visibility on some sections of road in Beijing was under 500 meters. The air quality across Beijing was in a state of “serious pollution.”   

Source: Reprint from Beijing News by China Gate, January 28, 2013
http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2013/01/28/2203120.html