Tag Archives: translation

Daily Update, June 21, 2012

This is an experiment. In my new position, I need to keep close track of news developments. Perhaps a good way to do this is to build a daily briefing, in the tradition of Bill Bishop’s update at Sinocism or Politico’s morning e-mail, or indeed of this blog’s former practice of posting Del.icio.us links. Only time will tell just how daily this actually is, and here goes a first shot. Of course, this is far from comprehensive.

South China Sea

  • China has raised the status of three island groups from county- to prefecture-level. This raises the level of the Hainan Province administrative body with purported jurisdiction over the Paracels and the Spratlys.
  • “Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun summoned Vietnamese Ambassador to China Nguyen Van Tho on Thursday to lodge a solemn representation to the Vietnamese side on passing a national law of the sea.” The law reportedly asserted sovereignty over the islands.
  • A South China Morning Post article considers the potential for the Philippines to bring China to international arbitration or tribunal unilaterally, despite the convention that both parties need to agree to such a resolution.
  • The Philippines will conduct a flyover of the Scarborough Shoal, and its ships will return if foreign vessels are present in the region, President Aquino said.
  • Both the Philippines and China had previously reportedly pulled out their vessels from the area surrounding the Scarborough shoal, a land feature in the South China Sea claimed in various ways by each country. The reason? Supposedly, bad weather.
  • Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and Singaporean counterpart Ng Eng Hen met on June 18and discussed the South China Sea, among other issues.

Air-Sea Battle Concept

  • U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke on the Air-Sea Battle “concept”/”doctrine” at Brookings May 16. No mention of China, but the opening of the Arctic is noted, as is electronic warfare.

Scientific Collaboration With China

  • A U.S. Congressional committee chairman may or may not have called China “the enemy.” While a colleague questioned White House advisor John Holdren—previously a key figure in the Harvard environmental politics world—House Science Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Tex.) had something to add. “I don’t think you’re gonna get the answer that you expected to get, Mr. Rohrabacher,” Hall said, referring to his colleage. “I too have seen our president bow and scrape to the enemy on many occasions.” The line of questioning was on scientific collaborations with China.

China–U.S. and China–World Investment

  • A Missouri man has been stuck in China over a business dispute for several months, the Associated Press reported. I think Dan Harris of China Law Blog would offer a  forehead-slapping motion over the following: “Because of the unpaid debt to Chinese suppliers, and citing Fleischli’s status as NorthPole’s legal representative in China, a court in Xiamen ordered Fleischli detained. … Fleischli hadn’t even realized he was NorthPole’s legal representative, a role that makes Fleischli the point of contact for the company.” Why you pay attention to business laws.
  • In my first contribution to Fortune Magazine, I explore what’s behind some sizable investments apparently by Chinese individuals in Toledo, Ohio. The article will run in super-short form in the magazine, but this version is more complete.
  • Foreign investment in China may get a bit simpler, reports the Wall Street Journal: “the China Securities Regulatory Commission said it would lower entry requirements and simplify the approval process for applicants under the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors program, the primary program for foreign investors to enter China’s capital markets. It also will allow qualified foreign investors to hold more shares in domestically listed companies and enter the country’s interbank bond market.”

Daily Translation (another experiment)

  • Beijing has a new bike sharing system, but a long-time Beijing resident with an out-of-town ID has sued the company for discrimination. So far, only Beijing residents with new Beijing IDs can use the system. I translated part of a Caixin story for fun. If you read Chinese, just go read it.

New Beijing bike-share company sued for discrimination (Translation)

The following is a partial translation of a Caixin article, 北京公租自行车涉嫌户籍歧视被起诉, published June 20 and written by Wang Qingfeng (王箐丰).

Caixin Online (Journalism Intern Wang Qingfeng) — Just this month, Beijing saw the launch of a public bike share service. On June 20, long-time Beijing lawyer Li Fangping called the hotline to register for the just opened Chaoyang District bike share service, but Li was told those with IDs from outside Beijing were not eligible for the service. Li then decided to sue the bike share provider, Goldnet Communication Technology Beijing Co., Ltd.

Beijing’s Dongcheng and Chaoyang districts reportedly opened the bike share system June 16 with 2,000 bikes at Jianguomen, Sanlitun, and 63 other locations. Those with second-generation Beijing ID cards can use a bike for free if under an hour, after which the fee is 1 RMB/hour, with the maximum daily fare set at 10 RMB for up to three days. …

The Beijing government information office’s official weibo wrote on June 18: “According to the operator, because the system is in its pilot phase, only second-generation Beijing IDs are supported. Even first-generation Beijing IDs will not work. But opening the service to all of our Beijing friends is the next step in the process.”

I personally have been a big fan of a similar service in Washington, D.C., which is also coming this summer to New York, and has already shown up in Boston and Boulder, Colo.

Police-led protests? Satire and the 'Jasmine Revolution' [translation]

Twitter and several online communities lit up last night with talk of gatherings in several cities in China that had apparently been organized online and were given the moniker “Jasmine Revolution.” The people who gathered, according to the reports I’ve seen, were quickly dispersed or arrested by police.

My first note is to caution that this is fundamentally different from the mass mobilizations in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere. These gatherings were comparatively small, and were apparently primarily composed of members of a relatively small online sphere of radical discourse.

My second note is to translate an apparently satirical blog post that I saw first through a listserv posting.* This is a rough translation, but it gets the story across. The post comes with numerous pictures, a few of which after the jump.

The new term was about to start and our teacher sent out a memorization assignment [前赤壁赋/qiancibishu, a work from the Northern Song dynasty that I don’t know anything about]. I tried to do the memorization in a quiet place, but made awful progress. I wondered if it would go better at Wangfujing [a major commercial street in Beijing].

I was just studying in front of McDonalds, and unable to concentrate, I realized several police cars and some police officers had shown up. Then, out of the crowd came a team of people [police] who suddenly dispersed, some standing nearby and others at a distance.

I tried my best to concentrate, but soon there arrived a group of photographers.

Later, more people came and stood at the door of the McDonalds, and quite a few more police showed up. The police presence gradually grew, and the crowd gradually dispersed.

When I left, I noticed that the police at the perimeter had moved closer.

What was happening? I took a few pictures.

(All of these pictures can be downloaded at Picasa)

Why would people stop to watch an unusual number of police? The People’s Police love the people; the people love the People’s Police? [This I believe is a play on a slogan.] When I was taking pictures, someone hit me in the head. How could whoever did this be so audacious as to attack people [renmin] in front of almost 100 police. And how could the People’s Police turn a blind eye?

If you know the truth, please don’t say it. Let people live with their illusions.

Of course, it is possible this was meant as an honest story, but it seems thick with sarcasm to me. The implication here is that the police were somehow complicit in the event. The post is written from the perspective of an innocent, diligent student. The reader is perhaps expected to understand that the beating suffered during the process of taking pictures was at the hands of a plain-clothes police officer.

[UPDATE: A less satirical post is translated at Sinocentric. –Feb 20 23:33:29 PST 2011]

* I’m not sure where this was first posted, but the Picasa name and the blog here seem to match. Those more familiar with Chinese blogs please advise!

More pics after the jump.

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Environment tax likely in China's next 5-year plan (my translation)

[This is a bit of an experiment. I’m laying bare a bit my mediocre Chinese translation skills, but thought I’d provide a translation of an interesting interview. I hope to continue doing this sort of thing and to sharpen my abilities. Any corrections or comments very welcome! For now, here we go:]

Greater Possibility of an Environmental Tax in the 12th Five-Year Plan [ORIGINAL IN CHINESE]

The main reason for the tax is not to increase government revenue; it is aimed at improving the ecosystem and promoting energy savings.

Ping Ya

August 9, 2010, 9:25 a.m., Renmin Wang, People’s Daily Overseas Edition—According to media reports, the issue of an environmental tax in China has reached the stage where the Ministries of Finance and Environmental Protection and the Tax Bureau are asking the State Council for instructions on implementing the tax, possibly reaching the public in 2013.

The so-called enviornment tax is an integrated policy designed to include the social costs of pollution and ecosystem destruction in the manufacture and purchase prices of goods, giving natural resources economic value through market mechanisms. What difficulties come along with proposing an environment tax? What trades and industries might such a tax affect? And why do local governments especially support an environmental tax? Su Ming, associate director of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science of the Chinese Ministry of Finance answers questions.

Environmental taxation relatively behind, overall

Q: There are a lot of rumors recently about the introduction of an environmental tax. We’ve heard several government bodies have reached an agreement. What’s the probability of the tax being introduced in 2013?

Su Ming: I think the environment tax is very important. First, in the development of the taxation system, the environmental taxation regime is so far lacking. Such a regime is important to the development of a comprehensive taxation system. Second, implementing an environmental tax will assist in ecosystem and environmental improvements and natural resource preservation goals. The central government is also very interested in an environmental tax, and has repeatedly proposed its study. I personally think it’s relatively likely the environmental tax will be included in the 12th Five Year Plan.

Q: We know an environmental tax is a system of taxes rather than an individual tax, so it’s possible levying such a tax could result in repeat taxation. For example, a carbon tax has also drawn interest. If an environmental tax were implemented, would there still be a carbon tax?

Su Ming: The environmental tax system would include the carbon tax, so the scope of “environmental tax” is larger than “carbon tax.” However, the individual taxes of the environmental tax would be introduced one step at a time rather than all at once, beginning with the most crutial. It’s important to understand with the carbon and environment tax issues that they come together.

No Resistance From Local Govermnents

Q: The idea of an environment tax was proposed many years ago, but it hasn’t yet been implimented. Where does the difficulty lie?

Su Ming: It’s easy to talk about implementing a tax, but actually doing it is difficult. Because the implementation of a tax and its collection policies involves many interests including the government, private enterprise, consumers, and individuals, the design process is multi-faceted. These interests and their relationships present the hardest challenge. Moreover, an environmental tax involves the development of some industries to the extent that it involves economic development levels, employment, macroeconomic and microeconomic conditions, and business and individual actors all affected to different degrees. Therefore, taxation policy objectively faces certain challenges.

Q: You just mentioned interest group input. In April, the Jiangxi Province government applied to have the environmental tax launch in their province. They must already have the conditions ready for an environmental tax and want to be the first experiment. How big an influence does the environmental tax have on local income?

Su Ming: The primary goal of implementing an environmental tax is not to increase government revenues. It is aimed at improving ecosystems and the environment and conserving resources. These are the original intentions of the national environment tax plan. I think increasing revenues is a secondary concern. The second way of looking at it, whether it’s an environmental tax or a carbon tax, such taxes can improve financial regulation and increase revenues. From the perspective of local governments, then, there is no reason to resit the policy. That’s my understanding.

Large Impact on High-Pollution Business

Q: If an environment tax is introduced, what industries and business will see the largest impact?

Su Ming: Simply put, the environmental tax would most effect high-emission, high-energy-consumption, or relatively large industries, for example steel, chemicals, oil, cement. But the impact is big and it isn’t. The core question is how to set up the tax rate. High and low rates have different influences, so from a feasibility perspective, I take a scholarly perspective and examine how best to start out the tax rate low, and then perfect and adjust the policy one step at a time, whether it’s an environment tax or a carbon tax.

Moreover, there are many kinds of environmental taxes. For example, in the past we haven’t called it a tax, but that doesn’t mean there was no fee leveled on any pollutant emissions. In the past we have fees to collect, so to some degree the regulation of pollutants is already in the process of changing from a fee system to a tax system. Thus in setting tax rates, we look at past fee levels. Fees and taxes thus have a certain relationship.