Bureau Chief, Vietnam
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Jan 23, 2014

How Caterpillar got bulldozed in China

23 (Reuters) – Asia’s top mergers and
acquisitions bankers gathered two years ago at the swanky Island
Shangri La in Hong Kong to celebrate the top deals of 2012. As
the transactions were being toasted, one was unraveling.

Advisers on Caterpillar Inc’s $677 million purchase
of ERA Mining Machinery Ltd picked up an award for cross-border
deal of the year. The purchase was billed as a coup for
Caterpillar, the world’s top maker of tractors and excavators.
ERA was the holding company for Zhengzhou Siwei Mechanical &
Electrical Equipment Manufacturing Co Ltd, one of China’s
biggest makers of hydraulic coal-mine roof supports. Siwei would
help Caterpillar gain traction in the world’s largest coal
industry.

Jan 15, 2014

Early holidays point to grim outlook for China’s small factories

DONGGUAN/KUNSHAN, China, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Scores of
factories in China’s manufacturing heartlands have closed
earlier than usual for the country’s biggest annual holiday due
to weak orders and rising costs, workers and owners say,
suggesting a rocky outlook for a key sector of the economy.

While official trade data remains mildly positive, visits to
five factory towns in coastal industrial hubs found that in some
areas perhaps a third of manufacturers had already begun closing
weeks before the Lunar New Year break in late January.

Dec 11, 2013

China professor says sacked for criticizing president and not recanting

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A Chinese university has fired a professor for failing to admit wrongdoing in posting an article criticizing President Xi Jinping, the academic said on Wednesday, underscoring questions about academic freedoms for foreign colleges setting up shop in China.

Many liberals had hoped that the new government under Xi, who became president in March, would be more tolerant of calls for political reform.

Dec 5, 2013

China bars banks from bitcoin transactions

SHANGHAI, Dec 5 (Reuters) – China’s government banned
financial institutions from trading in bitcoin on Thursday, in
what analysts said was a restrained first step towards
regulating the digital currency that has exploded in popularity
in China and soared in value in recent months.

A statement by the central bank and four other agencies said
that, while the computer-generated currency does not yet pose a
threat to China’s financial system, it carries risks. It did
not, however, curtail the use of bitcoin by individuals.

Nov 30, 2013

A jail by another name – China labor camps now drug detox centers

KUNMING, China (Reuters) – Li Zhongying was freed from a Chinese labor camp ahead of schedule in September because, guards told her, the government was scrapping ‘re-education through labor’, a heavily criticized penal system created in the 1950s.

Several hundred other inmates were not so lucky, she said. Like Li, they were held without trial and forced to do factory work under what she called “cruel” conditions. They remained because they were drug offenders, she told Reuters.

Nov 23, 2013

China bolsters East China Sea claim, warns of “defensive measures”

SHANGHAI, Nov 23 (Reuters) – China on Saturday bolstered its
claim to islands that Japan says it owns, warning that it would
take “defensive emergency measures” against aircraft that failed
to identify themselves in airspace over them.

Ties between the Asian powers have been strained for months
by the dispute over the East China Sea islands, called the
Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan, which are believed to
be surrounded by energy-rich waters.

Oct 21, 2013

Hollywood must think bigger about China, says producer Janet Yang

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – With a few exceptions, Hollywood studios are moving far more slowly than Chinese companies in the world’s second-largest movie market, said U.S. producer Janet Yang, whose works include “The Joy Luck Club” and “Shanghai Calling”.

Many studios, like Paramount Pictures with its “Transformers” franchise, have been taking steps to appeal to China’s fast-growing audiences by hiring Chinese actors or featuring Chinese products in their films.

Sep 12, 2013

Mr Clean catches China’s graft tigers by the tail

SHANGHAI, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Behind China’s aggressive
drive to root out corruption is Wang Qishan, a
historian-turned-economist who once felt so bad about getting
free parking that he reportedly sent a colleague back to pay the
fee.

President Xi Jinping launched the anti-corruption campaign
after becoming Communist Party chief in November.

Aug 28, 2013

China leaders fear Bo comeback if sentence is not harsh: sources

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Senior figures in China’s ruling Communist Party fear ousted politician Bo Xilai could stage a political comeback one day if he is not dealt a harsh sentence in his trial for corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power, according to sources.

Bo was a rising star who analysts say was seen as a potential rival to President Xi Jinping for leadership of the Party and country before his career was spectacularly derailed by a lurid murder scandal involving his wife.

Aug 26, 2013

At trial, Chinese prosecutor demands Bo be severely punished

JINAN, China (Reuters) – Chinese prosecutors demanded a heavy sentence for ousted top politician Bo Xilai on Monday, the fifth day of his landmark trial, saying his “whimsical” challenge to bribery, graft and abuse of power charges flew in the face of the evidence.

Bo was a rising star in China’s leadership circles when his career was stopped short last year by a murder scandal in which his wife Gu Kailai was convicted of poisoning a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who had been a family friend.