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China Watch: Sina’s Sharp Drop, Ai’s Wife Questioned

Reuters
The logo for Sina’s Weibo microblogging service.

A list of what The Wall Street Journal’s reporters in China are reading and watching online. (NOTE: WSJ has not verified items in the ‘News’ section and doesn’t vouch for their accuracy.)

News:

* Sina Corp. dropped 5.4% in U.S. trading following rumors that short-seller Muddy Waters LLC would target it. Muddy Waters denied them. Observers said they stemmed from an opinion piece on Chinese Internet companies on the WSJ’s Chinese-language website, though it didn’t say Muddy Waters planned to target Sina. Shares of Sina have already been under pressure amid increasing investor skepticism of Chinese Internet stocks. (CWSJ/Business Insider/Forbes)

* Chinese police question Ai Weiwei’s wife (Guardian)

* The ordination of a Vatican-approved bishop could be in question due to the expected presence of an ex-communicated bishop. (Shanghaiist)

* China’s first aircraft carrier makes its second run. (China.org.cn)

Commentary:

* America is back in the Pacific and will uphold the rules – Tom Donilon (Financial Times)

* Is it China’s turn to pivot? How China needs to make nice with its neighbors. (The Diplomat)

Just Because:

* Bad passwords with Chinese characteristics (Penn Olson)

* Why “metal underwear” was a popular search term on Tuesday. (Baidu Beat)

China’s economy during the past 30 years has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy.

In 2009, the global economic downturn reduced foreign demand for Chinese exports for the first time in many years.

The government has also focused on foreign trade as a major vehicle for economic growth.

Nevertheless, key bottlenecks continue to constrain growth.

The two sectors have differed in many respects.

China has acquired some highly sophisticated production facilities through trade and also has built a number of advanced engineering plants capable of manufacturing an increasing range of sophisticated equipment, including nuclear weapons and satellites, but most of its industrial output still comes from relatively ill-equipped factories.

Over the years, large subsidies were built into the price structure, and these subsidies grew substantially in the late 1970s and 1980s.

China now ranks as the fifth largest global investor in outbound direct investment (ODI) with a total volume of $56.5 billion, compared to a ranking of 12th in 2008, the Ministry of Commerce said on Sunday.

“The growth rate (for ODI) in the next few years will be much higher than previous years,” Shen said, without elaborating.

China is expected to have 200 million cars on the road by 2020, increasing pressure on energy security and the environment, government officials said yesterday.

Although China is still a developing country with a relatively low per capita income, it has experienced tremendous economic growth since the late 1970s.

Despite initial gains in farmers’ incomes in the early 1980s, taxes and fees have increasingly made farming an unprofitable occupation, and because the state owns all land farmers have at times been easily evicted when croplands are sought by developers.

In terms of cash crops, China ranks first in cotton and tobacco and is an important producer of oilseeds, silk, tea, ramie, jute, hemp, sugarcane, and sugar beets.

Horses, donkeys, and mules are work animals in the north, while oxen and water buffalo are used for plowing chiefly in the south.

Offshore exploration has become important to meeting domestic needs; massive deposits off the coasts are believed to exceed all the world’s known oil reserves.

There are large deposits of uranium in the northwest, especially in Xinjiang; there are also mines in Jiangxi and Guangdong provs.

China also has extensive hydroelectric energy potential, notably in Yunnan, W Sichuan, and E Tibet, although hydroelectric power accounts for only 5% of the country’s total energy production.

Since the 1980s China has undertaken a major highway construction program.

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China Watch: Sina’s Sharp Drop, Ai’s Wife Questioned

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