The Lion Awakes
Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China
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Special: Meeting China's Ministers
At the threshold of the new year of 2011, the start of China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), a developing China is dealing with some challenges, as it maintains its fast-paced growth. Looking into the future, China Daily interviewed some of the country's top officials to talk about China's achievements and its blueprint of to-dos.
The economic forecasts to keep in mind in 2011
China will enhance and improve macroeconomic regulation to ensure stable and healthy economic development, according to a statement released on Dec 12 after the annual Central Economic Work Conference.
Next year's macro-regulation should basically be proactive, stable, prudent and flexible.
The focus will be on better handling the relationship between stable and relatively fast economic development, economic restructuring and controlling inflation expectations in an active and stable way, the statement said.
Programs to boost handling of media
BEIJING - More training programs will be offered, at all levels, for spokespersons of government and Communist Party of China (CPC) departments next year to better serve foreign and domestic media organizations.
Wang said distance still exists between what the media expects and what the information office is doing, but setting up a smooth communication channel between officials and reporters is the target.
Kaixin OpEd – Kaixin reads widely about China in both the Chinese and Western media. Often the message out of China is lost in translation or is taken by the Western Media and twisted to its own agenda.
As an emerging power, China has no choice but to engage the Western Media.
This requires an understanding of how the Western Media works.
The Western Media is a great tool for getting a message across. However, if not handled correctly, it can chew the message up and spit it out.
China backs Six-Party Talks
BEIJING - Beijing on Thursday reiterated its support for talks between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after Seoul signaled a desire to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
"Talks and negotiations are the only correct and effective approach to solve issues on the Korean Peninsula and realize its long-term peace and stability," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular news conference.
China to guarantee subsistence for low-income groups
BEIJING - China's Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) has ordered measures to offset the impact of inflation on "people with difficulties" to ensure their ability to subsist, especially during the New Year and the Spring Festival.
Rising food costs alongside other factors have been driving up China's inflation. For instance, the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 5.1 percent last month, hitting a 28-month high.
Kaixin OpEd - Any assistance will all be spent and go straight back into the domestic economy.
Top 10 most viewed videos
China's most viewed Internet video site, what Chinese netizen are watching online in 2010.
Top 10 Best China Daily Videos
2010 was a big year for China and the rest of the world. And China Daily's multimedia team was there to show you video of the biggest stories and most interesting events and people of the year.
Foreign realty investors in govt lens
Crackdown on speculative home purchases on agenda for 2011
BEIJING - China will enhance the regulation of foreign institutions' investment in the country's property market and home purchases by non-Chinese citizens, as part of its efforts to curb the inflow of hot money and continue tightening of the real estate sector, a senior official said.
Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Jiang Weixin said at a national conference that China will crack down on speculative home purchases and curb excessive growth in property prices next year.
Efforts ease produce's path to marketplace
Major retail chains deal directly with farmers in trial, cutting costs
BEIJING - China is stepping up efforts to simplify the means of bringing agricultural products to the marketplace to reduce costs and address rising inflation.
These efforts will also help international retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour optimize their purchasing systems in China and ease the way for exports of agricultural products, said officials.
The 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) sets as a goal that consumers in medium and large cities will be able to buy one-third of their fresh produce at supermarkets, as opposed to the current 15 percent, said Minister of Commerce Chen Deming on Wednesday.
Fast trains come to remote regions
HAIKOU / Changchun - Two new fast train services opened in the country's most southern and northern areas on Thursday, enabling more people to enjoy the convenience of the world-class technology.
On the tropical Hainan island, a 308-kilometer-long railway links cities along its east coast. Trains on the line travel as fast as 250 km an hour.
The railway will cut travel time between the province's capital city Haikou and Sanya, a famous tourist destination, to 90 minutes.
On the same day, the snow-covered northeastern province of Jilin has embraced its Changchun-Jilin intercity railway.
A train traveling at 250 km an hour carried officials and media representatives from Changchun, capital of Jilin province, to Jilin city in less than 30 minutes. Rail trips between the two cities used to take 90 minutes.
Yellow River freezes up
A photo taken on Dec 29, 2010 shows ice on Yellow River at Sanshenggong Water Project, North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Yellow River has frozen up to 677 kilometers in Inner Mongolia so far.
China likely to set up rare earth trade body
BEIJING - China is considering establishing an industry association and a government unit for the rare earths industry to gain more control over the precious metals, senior officials said Tuesday.
The rare earths industry association is likely to be launched in May and will assist companies in exports and international cooperation, Wang Caifeng, a former official of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), who is setting up the group, said at a forum.
"We will be on the frontlines leading price talks with foreign buyers. Our role will be similar to that of the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA)," she said.
Chinese industry associations have served as agents through which companies negotiate with foreign suppliers and buyers, such as CISA representing Chinese steelmakers in talks with global miners on iron ore prices.
Military must be self-reliant: minister
Beijing - China's military buildup will correspond with the rapidly developing economy and enhanced national power, Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said.
In a recent interview with the Chinese media, Liang also said that China's armed forces could only depend on themselves, not others, to ensure modernization and the development of equipment.
"In the next five years, our economy and society will develop faster, boosting comprehensive national power. The developments will provide an even more stable material base to our defense and military buildup," Liang said at the headquarters of the Chinese military in Beijing.
"We'll take the opportunity and speed up modernization of the military according to plans already made," he said.
Top 10 farm produce with soaring prices
A number of commodities saw price hikes in 2010. Among these, soaring prices of agricultural commodities pushed the consumer price index (CPI), the major gauge of inflation, to a record high of 5.1 percent. While some prices have moderated due to government regulatory measures, others are expected to remain high for a longer period.
Wen: We are beating inflation
BEIJING - The government will be able to keep inflation in check, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday, after the central bank raised interest rates for a second time in just over two months.
Premier Wen Jiabao answers questions during a live broadcast by China National Radio on Sunday. During the program, Wen discussed issues which people are most concerned about, including reconstruction in earthquake-hit areas and property prices.
Benefits of country life back in fashion
As housing and land prices soar, villagers grow reluctant to surrender rural status. Wang Yan in Beijing reports.
As a child, Ji Wengang remembers most people in his village "going crazy" for the chance to become "real city folk".
It was 1992 and many farmers were spending from 4,000 yuan ($600) to as much as 20,000 yuan to swap their hukou (housing registration) from rural to urban. The nationwide frenzy was only ended by an urgent notice from the Ministry of Public Security.
Now 29, Ji is witnessing the complete opposite.
"Those who paid big money back in the 1990s must be regretting it now," said Ji at his home in Yiwu, a city in East China's Zhejiang province.
With rising house prices in urban centers, for many people, the benefits of having rural hukou - free land and yearly subsidies - now far outweigh anything cities have to offer.
Kaixin OpEd – This is an almost un-imaginable change in China.
It clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the government policy to focus on rural China.
This focus will unlock the huge reserves of natural and human capital in rural China.
It will drive domestic consumption will into the 21st century.
Little room for bikes in traffic plan, critics say
BEIJING - The municipal government's call for people to swap steering wheels for handlebars has appeared halfhearted to many.
The Beijing government issued a package of detailed rules on Thursday to address its traffic gridlock, including measures to improve infrastructure for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport.
Photo taken on Dec 8 shows an aerial view of the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge under construction. The main section of the bridge was joined up on Dec 22. The bridge links the main urban area of Qingdao city, East China’s Shandong province, with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas (located on the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula). With an overall length of 42.58 kilometers, the bridge will be open to traffic in the first half of 2011. The route between Qingdao and Huangdao will be shortened by 30 kilometers, cutting the travel time by 20 minutes at 80 kilometers per hour.
China's most-difficult-to-build railway to open
YICHANG, Hubei - A railway touted as the most difficult to build in the country that cuts through southwestern China's rugged mountains with hundreds of bridges and tunnels, will open this week.
The maiden train journey will leave Yichang city, central Hubei province, Wednesday morning and arrive in Wanzhou district, Chongqing, two hours later. The Yichang-Wanzhou Railway will become fully operational on Jan 11, 2011, said Guo Bing, an official with the Yichang section of the Wuhan Railway Bureau.
It used to take 22 hours to travel by train from Chongqing to Wuhan, but when the new line opens it will only take five hours. Travel time from other central or eastern Chinese cities to Southwest China will also be greatly reduced, railway officials said.
Engineers and work crews took seven years to complete the 377-kilometer railway on a stretch of mountains on the eastern edge of Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. In the most extreme case, it took nearly six years to drill a tunnel through Qiyue Mountain along the route.
The railway includes 159 tunnels and 253 bridges.
The Yichang-Wanzhou Railway is also China's most expensive railway in terms of cost per kilometer. It cost about 60 million yuan to build each kilometer of the railway, compared to 29 million yuan ($4.37 million) for each kilometer of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Don't call me Laowai (foreigner): Elyse's American dream in China
It's been 8 years Elyse Ribbons lives in Beijing. Elyse came to China unexpectedly and fell in love with Beijing, so decided to come here after her graduation. "There is a really good Chinese word yuan fen, that explains how I ended up in China.
Love Relay Concert - VIDEO
2010 Music Radio's "Kappa 1200: Love Relay Concert" was held in Beijing Yuetan Stadium Monday night. The event was organized by the Music Radio of Central People's Radio and the China Children and Teenagers Foundation, and cosponsored by Kappa. All profits from the event will be donated to the China Children and Teenagers' Foundation and will be used to support three years' worth of living expenses for impoverished children.
Last night, Fish Leong, Yoga Lin, Hebe, Zhang Jie, Bibi, Shang Wenjie, Yu Quan, Li Xiaoyun, Su Xing, Li Yifeng, Olivia, and Jiang Yuheng performed for the audience.
The 2010 Music Radio "Kappa 1200: Activity to Assist the Impoverished Students" has been going on for four months. Participants have experienced two in-depth face to face visits, three "smile collections," two golf tournaments, six road shows of love in different cities, and today they have finally come to the 2010 Love Relay Concert. The whole process has attracted the strong support of all walks of life. Everyone passed on his own love, and infected other peoples.
Post-80s in China-E06 - VIDEO
E06:"I'm ma ma"
Post-80s is a special word in China, which refers to people born in the 1980s.
Winter wonderland at Bird's Nest - VIDEO
The Bird's Nest, China's landmark Olympic stadium in Beijing, is hosting a snow festival which attracted thousands to enjoy a wide variety of winter activities.
Mounds of artificial snow, mini ski slopes and skating rinks were crowded with snow lover bundled up like Eskimos. Located in one of Beijing's most popular tourist spots, residents and visitors looking for a little winter fun don't have to travel far.
This is the festival's second year. Last year was the first time the event was held at the 526-million-dollar arena, and the representatives say they look forward to continuing to celebrate this new winter tradition.
The winter wonderland provides a fun, interesting snow world for locals and tourists to explore during the Christmas and the Chinese New Year period.
Tea culture comes to live at Wuyutai - VIDEO
Wuyutai is a name known to almost every tea lover in Beijing. First established in 1887, Wuyutai enjoys fame as one of the Time-Honored Brands of China, and is well-known for its high-quality tea products and hospitable service.
The history of the teahouse is encapsulated in its name. Wu Xiqing, its founder, came from Anhui province to open a tea store in Beijing during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Wu named the shop Yutai, which was later updated to include his family name.
Wuyutai is most famous for its secret jasmine tea recipe - a sought-after mixture of green tea and jasmine that rings the right note for tea lovers. And it is in the process of applying to make jasmine tea part of Beijing's intangible cultural heritage.
After over a century's development, Wuyutai Tea House, which was renamed Beijing Wuyutai Tea Co in 2005, has more than 190 chain stores, two tea houses and two stylish tea cuisine restaurants.
For over 120 years, Wuyutai has been holding up its traditional tea producing methods and has won high reputation and credibility among generations of tea lovers.
People in Beijing like to go to tea houses. In olden days, they used to be the center of social activity. Nowadays, tea houses are still considered an ideal venue for socializing. The preparation of tea is an important part of the Chinese tea culture. Different kinds of tea require different methods of preparation. Offering tea is considered a sign of respect, courtesy and gratitude.
Along with Wuyutai's renowned traditional tea products, the company has developed various new products to expand its market share; namely, tea-flavored moon cakes, ice cream, candy and cuisines.
At the end of 2006, Wuyutai recovered an old tea cuisine recipe that belonged to Wu Xiqing, who was also a gourmet cook and was keen on introducing tea elements to traditional Chinese cuisines.
At the Refreshments and Cuisine of Wuyutai Court (Wuyutai Nei Fu Dishes), you can not only enjoy tea beverages, but also taste tea-related cuisines. Wuyutai advocates a healthy and natural way of eating. The dishes on its menu are mouthwatering and creative.
For instance, Puer Tea with Natural Fried Chrysanthemum is cooked so delicately from fresh chrysanthemum flowers without losing the natural shape or color of the flower. And the Puer tea on the side neutralizes the flower's coolness with its warmth.
Fresh Shrimps with Biluo Tea is quite fun to eat. The teapot alongside the shrimp is an automatic dark-red enamel pot, which pours tea automatically as soon as a cup is placed on the base.
And the "brushes" on this pallet are not made for Chinese calligraphy but for your stomach. This snack is made of wheat flour mixed with cubilose, shark's fin, snow clam and papaya. The ink-like stuff on the inkstone is actually blueberry sauce. You can also choose chili sauce if you prefer.
And one appetizer is made from French goose liver and green tea pudding. There's a piece of Kuding tea leaf on each cube of pudding. The appetizer combines the bitterness of Kuding tea with the scent of green tea, as well as the creamy texture of goose liver.
Eating at the Wuyutai theme restaurant is more than just a tea banquet. While you are dinning here, you can also feel the traditional Chinese tea culture and see how it was rejuvenated under Wuyutai's business philosophy.
Kaixin's - Chinese green tea -Tie Guan Yin’s story 铁观音
A general view of the sheets of ice float in the Wuhai section of Yellow River in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Building Big - The Top 10
China has a tradition of building big. Tracing back to the Great Wall and the splendid imperial palaces, the ancient Chinese were addicted to the massive impact created by building gigantic constructions.
China never stopped constructing, especially after the government injected four trillion yuan to the market to stimulate the economy two years ago. The country's people decided to let the tradition continue by building new construction wonders in the cradle of civilization.
Following are 10 examples of how Chinese people endured the great legacy in the passing year:
A Li ethnic minority with tattoos on her face poses for a photographer in Baoting Li and Miao autonomous county, Hainan province Dec 9, 2010. Li women tattoo their skin as part of traditional customs but it is a tradition that the young don't follow nowadays. There are about 1,000 aging women who still wear such traditional tattoos in Baoting.
The man who was Mao's hero
The Bruce Lee legend never fades but it might surprise some to learn that among his legion of fans was Chairman Mao, who called him a hero.
Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) and Bruce Lee the martial arts legend (1940-1973) both declared - in their unique ways - that the Chinese people had "stood up".
Mao made this proclamation on the founding of the People's Republic of China, on Oct 1, 1949, Lee said it in a cinematic way that needed no translation when he kicked and smashed a wooden panel bearing the words: "Chinese and dogs not allowed", one of the iconic scenes steeped in fiery nationalism from Fist of Fury.
The words are supposedly from notices at the entrance of public parks in colonial Shanghai, and have come to symbolize the country's humiliation.
It turns out the Great Helmsman was a huge fan of the kungfu legend.
Vote for China's Top 10 Cultural Events in 2010
China's Economy by Numbers
Top 10 New Investment Ideas in China
A special coverage on people’s dreams in Beijing under its This is Beijing program, and this is the third part of five people's dreams.
The 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference
S.Korea's reunification plan hardly realistic
The South Korean Ministry of Reunification is going to submit a peninsula reunification plan to President Lee Myung-bak Wednesday, in which 2011 will be set as the first year to start preparing for unifying the two Koreas. South Korean media have interpreted the move as signifying a "reunification by absorption" policy by Seoul toward the North.
Peninsula reunification requires collaboration by both Koreas. This plan, which is proposed by the South while it carries out a military drill and includes a strategy which sets preparations in motion for the collapse of the North Korean regime, will hardly enhance ties between the two sides.
The Korean Peninsula is now plagued by the idea of a violent reunification. South Korea is adopting moves that go against its wider goals. The South hopes to see stability, but fails to patiently address its actions that undermine that very stability. It chooses to provoke the North with frequent military drills, which accrues suspension and hatred across the 38th parallel.
There are no credible reasons for China to instigate turmoil. China would like to help promote both Koreas in working toward peaceful reunification, a process which will help slowly dissipate historical quarrels.
China's history is filled with bitterness, and the nation deeply understands the pain of the Koreans. To say the least, China will not impede the peninsula's peaceful reunification. Therefore, it is peculiar that South Korea does not even consider China's advice.
From the perspective of the Chinese public, South Korea is behaving like a bull in a china shop.
Closely watching dynamics on the peninsula, we are able to see that South Korea's declarations about its reunification plan have created more tensions in the region.
The two Koreas agreed in 1972 on three principles: independence, peaceful reunification and national unity. The dangerous idea of gaining reunification through violence was directly rejected decades ago.
At the moment, what South Korea needs most is to remain calm. In the Hollywood blockbuster Inception, the main character uses a spinning top to judge whether he is in a dream or in reality. Now the spinning top for South Korea poses a series of question: Will its actions help reduce tensions? Will its policy help address issues with the North? Will its decisions facilitate cooperation among powers like China, Russia and the US? If the answers are yes, then South Korea is in reality. Nevertheless, if the answers are negative, South Korea is dreaming.
S.Korea playing by dangerous cliff
Without letting the world breathe a sigh of relief after North Korea showed restraint following South Korea's artillery drill on Monday, the South moved on with an even larger display of military exercises.
The North's firing back in November that left four South Koreans dead was an overreaction but the South's continuous bombast is putting it at a disadvantage that will draw international criticism.
The Korean leaders, military and think tanks appear to be trapped in their triumph after their Monday live-fire drill near the North Korean border. Many believe that if they try to be nice, Pyongyang will never stop; and if they play tough, the other side will back off.
But the two Koreas are not street hoodlums, nor bullies in the schoolyard.
Northeast Asia is one of the most prosperous regions in the world, though the DMZ still slashes the Korean Peninsula in two. It is unacceptable for regional interests that any side threatens the other with war, whatever the purpose may be.
South Korean leaders may have an illusion that they suffered a lot from the North's "provocation." But do they understand that the North Koreans also had to swallow bitter pills when the South launches military exercises with the US time and again? With the relighting of a Christmas tree along the border that has been associated with past propaganda wars, how will North Korea be expected to react?
China has always tried to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. When the North Korea tested nuclear bombs, China stood with the international community, voiced its condemnation and supported sanctions against the North.
But when the South loses its temper and insists on provocative military maneuvers along the border, China will not be siding with the South. The international community should also be clear about the situation, as it needs to pull the South back from the edge of the cliff.
If South Korea makes a wrong move that leads the two Koreas to war, the international communities can also consider applying sanctions against South Korea. Economic sanctions will also hurt the bustling South Korean economy.
No matter how strongly the South Korean military vows to retaliate should the North directly fire at the military or civilian targets in the South, we believe the two Koreas do not want a war. Neither side can afford an all-out military confrontation. The peninsula will never be a place for a school bully.
Kaixin OpEd - But what if that bully is our teenager friend, America ...
US destructive role in Northeast Asia
The protracted US backing of a vindictive South Korea has pushed the peninsula to the brink of war.
The reaction from the North, when faced with a live-fire artillery drill by South Korean forces on Yeonpyeong island, is predictable. Should the South proceed, a major military conflict cannot be ruled out.
This would spell out the worst scenario resulting from poor political judgment and lack of restraint from both sides. Apart from aimless bravado that may win plaudits from domestic supporters, there is nothing to gain for either side from a confrontation in which millions would suffer.
The US is thus not playing a responsible role. Despite its special envoy being sent to Pyongyang for dialogue, its support of these drills are only pushing North Korea to the edge.
While claiming to be standing guard for the South Korea, the US in fact will do the greatest harm to the South.
The escalation of the Korean crisis is bad news for China or Russia. However, tensions on the peninsula will provide the US, which is to blame for worsening intra-Korean relations, with a perfect excuse to "return to Asia."
It is time to take a closer look at the damaging power of the US role in Northeast Asia. At this critical moment of war and peace, Asian countries need to escape a Cold War mentality and maintain regional interests at heart.
US President Barack Obama has won a Nobel Peace Prize. If a second Korean war should break out during his second term in office, a war he did nothing to prevent, would his aura of peace be shattered?
No matter what China and the US do, the most important objective of all is for South Korea to keep a clear head. Should war break out, the biggest losses would be borne on the South. Despite support from the US and Japan, and sympathy from China and Russia, nobody would take those losses for South Korea. No matter what happens, it is impossible for South Korea to reunite the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea should also be mindful that a war will never fix the country's difficult straits. No matter how objectionable it may view negotiating and building a rapport with other countries, the North has to take this path.
As for China, it does not want to see any major crisis on the Korean Peninsula. But China is never going to bend to any challenge from outside. Should the troubled waters of the peninsula wet China's feet, somebody else may already be drowning.
Applause for North Korea's restraint
North Korea's reaction to the South's military drill Monday let the world see its calmness and restraint. The North's international image is being quietly altered, whereas the South is labeled by some observers as threatening the status quo.
There are also voices deriding North Korea's timidity in the face of the South's hard-line stance. North Korea should not heed them. No matter what motive it had, North Korea didn't retaliate Monday, which preserved the fragile peace on the peninsula.
Consequently, North Korea deserves the applause of the region for its diplomatic response. Those who laugh at North Korea's "cowardice" are actually onlookers seeking to extract their own interests from the chaos on the peninsula.
Before Monday's military drill, South Korea had also been restrained. It had tried to cast North Korea in the role of agent provocateur. However, this has not been the case at least in the past couple of days. Has South Korea itself slipped into that role? This question should be mulled over thoughtfully by its authorities.
A 30 Minute Current Affairs Programme on CCTV - 9 (In English) where current issues are discussed by experts from China and Internationally:
Inter-Korean tension grows
The Republic of Korea has resumed its scheduled live-fire drills near the disputed border island. The DPRK, its northern neighbor vows to shell their enemy harder than before. The two sides have been trading tough talk and gearing up for an open confrontation. Russia has called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to find a restraining solution.
But the US refuses to cooperate in what looks like a repeat of the Cold War. The US assumes the rotating presidency of the Security Council. The Whitehouse says that South Korea’s scheduled military maneuvers are unprovocative and routine.
China warns that the hostilities could spill over into the neighboring countries and must be prevented. But, Beijing is accused of not exercising sufficient pressure on its alleged ally, the DPRK, to stop the provocations.
International News Sources
The Wall Street Journal - China RealTime Report
The Wall Street Journal
Pictures of China
China Real-Time’s Top 10 Posts in 2010
From Apple and Avatar to WikiLeaks and Traffic Jams, these were the year’s most-read stories on China Real Time Report:
1. China to Overtake Japan in Global Wealth
China’s boosting its position as the second largest economy and its consumers are beefing up their pocketbooks.
2. Beijing: World’s Biggest Parking Lot
What happens when 2,000 new cars enter the road every day? A 10-day traffic jam.
3. Fox Premiers Its First Chinese Film
With $2 million-budget “Hot Summer Days.”, Twentieth Century Fox woos Chinese movie-goers.
4. An Overhead View of China’s Pollution
Where’s China’s position in the world’s most polluted places?
5. Clearing Up Confusion on Google and China
A look at the misunderstandings about Google’s surprise China announcement in January.
6. WikiLeaks: Singapore’s Lee Rates China’s Leaders
Singapore’s founding father throws in his two cents on China’s future and the people steering it.
7. A Chinese Take on Avatar
For many Chinese who saw James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi blockbuster, one theme resonated: economic exploitation.
8. China’s Military Ambitions: A Walking Tour
China’s flexing its military muscles, building up drone technology and anti-aircraft missiles.
9. Have an iPad? China Customs Says Pony Up
Buying cheaper iPads in Hong Kong just got more expensive. Here’s why.
10. China More Expensive Than the U.S.?
Think it’s cheaper to buy your eggs in China? Think again.
Is Mexico China’s Future?
While Mexico and China seem very different, the economists point out a number of similarities. On the positive side, the two nations focused on foreign trade as a growth engine and they eased central government control of the economy. On the negative side, their financial systems are inefficient, their non-tradable industries (communications, transportation and the like) lack competition; and their rigid labor rules discourage employers from adding full-time workers.
Finding ways to spur innovation in product-design and business models will be key to sparking domestic demand.
China's latest five-year plan promises to shift the economy away from its dependence on exports and more toward domestic consumption as an engine of growth. Key to achieving this will be enhancing the ability of the economy to innovate. Yet China's record on this score so far is mixed. Understanding why that is, and how to fix it, is key to estimating the likelihood China will succeed in its ambitious goals.
Kaixin OpEd – It seems to Kaixin that China is addressing this issue in two ways.
The first is to focus domestically on education, R&D, investment …
The second is to attract ethnic Chinese, who have been living and studying (and inventing) overseas, back to China.
Chinese Charter School Set for East Bay
Weighing the public education options for his two children, El Cerrito doctor Michael Jugo felt the East Bay fell short. He wanted them to have an advantage he didn't have growing up: learning Chinese at school.
"The writing was on the wall that there wasn't going to be an option for us without moving or paying private tuition," says Mr. Jugo, 38 years old, who learned Mandarin after college and speaks it at home with his kids, ages 2 and 5, and wife, who is Chinese-American.
Kaixin OpEd - The writing is indeed on the wall. But, you do not have to live in East Bay to learn Chinese. Xiaosui teaches it online.
Fading Magic in China’s Car Market
Is the magic starting to fade in the Chinese auto market?
A new report from consultants Roland Berger warns that, just as China’s market has mushroomed into a position of enormous importance for global auto makers, it is entering a phase of much slower growth than it has experienced recently.
U.S.-China Current Account Imbalance Could Disappear
Current account imbalances in the U.S. and China will shrink and maybe even disappear in the next few years, eliminating a threat to international economic stability, a former chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers posits in remarks set for delivery next month.
New Japan WikiLeak: A ‘Yuan-Yen’ Co-Prosperity Sphere?
Now comes an intriguing new cable originating from the U.S. embassy in Beijing, in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. In it, an unnamed “Japanese central banker” is quoted that China was seeking a “‘yuan-yen’ basis for trading in Asia.” There’s no elaboration on what exactly that means, though it’s followed by a sentence noting that finance ministry officials, also anonymous, decried the failure of “existing international financial institutions” to handle the crisis.
Brazil, Russia, India, China + South Africa = BRICSA
It’s official. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday that Brazil, Russia, India and China have agreed to invite South Africa to join their grouping of emerging economies, referred to as BRIC.
Kaixin OpEd – Do we detect a patronising tone in the article. Perhaps Kaixin is getting too sensitive …
Kaixin suggests that this is a highly significant move.
Africa has huge untapped reserves of natural and human resources. To date the ‘west’ has ignored Africa. China has always held out an open hand. A point derided by the 'west' as self-serving.
Still, a helping hand never-the-less.
And Africa remembers …
Did someone mention colonialism??
A first-hand account of how China's police treats the citizens it's supposed to serve and protect.
By TENG BIAO
On Dec. 23, the United Nations International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Forced Disappearance came into force. China has declined to accede to this convention. My experience that same day is just one of many examples of how the authorities continue to falsely imprison Chinese citizens.
Kaixin OpEd – On the surface, the police officers have damaged China’s ‘ face’ on an international level. This is now a lead story in the western media. It is a story that confirms many people’s opinion of China.
It is not that simple.
Kaixin does not dispute that it happened as Teng Biao describes. Kaixin certainly does not condone such heavy-handed behaviour.
Chinese Kaixin comes from the grass-roots of China, she represents the voice of the average Chinese person on the street.
Mr Teng Biao comes from the intellectual elite of China. Does he represent their voice or the voice of the average person?
In all societies there are issues to do with the police and the State.
In all societies it is the role of the intellectual elite to question the status quo.
This is healthy and brings about change.
Mr Teng Biao has taken on the role of questioning the status quo on China, an important role for the intellectual elite.
The status quo in any country wants to maintain just that, the status quo.
Just ask Mr Julian Assange, who is in fear of his life if thrown into an American jail.
Mr Teng Biao also challenges the status quo of a very powerful government.
There are bound to be issues.
Chinese Kaixin’s response is to say that the police are not stupid. They would not have acted that way without authority from further up. Note that the police made many calls. It is unlikely they were to their mothers. It is more likely they were to people much higher up.
Why were the actions of the police on the ground sanctioned?
Mr Teng Biao handed over his ID card very early on. The police on the ground, and those higher up, would have known of Mr Teng Biao’s background, his capacity to reach outside China.
It is interested to ponder why it was allowed to evolve as it did. Kaixin has no answers, but it is an interesting question.
Mr Teng Biao did as would have been expected. He bought the issue to the attention of the international media with the obvious consequences – first page headlines confirming China’s perceived penchant for violating human rights.
Chinese Kaixin asked why Teng Biao did not handle the matter within China.
Western Kaixin pointed out that most people in the west do not believe that the Chinese government would have addressed the issue. They would have suppressed it would be the opinion in the west. Therefore, this was a way of shining a light on the issue.
Chinese Kaixin points out that the average person on the street is not in fear of the government. They have a very good life, one that has been steadily improving for the last thirty years under the Communist Party.
The average person sees no reason to dissent. Their voice is getting stronger and they question the government, but they do not want to change it.
Kaixin believes that Mr Teng Biao represents a tiny minority in China.
He has highlighted an issue, but is it a big issue in China or just a consequence of the intellectual elite challenging the status quo.
Kaixin suspects that within the small world of the intellectual elite it is a big issue, but within the real world of the average Chinese it is a very small issue.
Kaixin sees, time and time again, how the average person use their collective voice in China through tech-democracy to bring about effective change from the government.
If Mr Teng Biao has exposed a big issue then it will be taken up. If not, it will wither on the vine and the average people in China will go about their business.
China Said to Move Closer on 'Carrier Killer'
BEIJING—China is moving closer to deploying a ballistic missile designed to sink an aircraft carrier, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command said in newspaper interview published Tuesday.
Kaixin OpEd – Considering the U.S parks an aircraft carrier within nuclear bombing range of Beijing at regular intervals … in effect sticking one right up China’s nose.
It is perhaps not surprising that China will eventually sneeze.
The New York Times
Shanghai Schools’ Approach Pushes Students to Top of Tests
By DAVID BARBOZA
Discipline helps explain why the city’s students outperformed those from about 65 other countries.
Discipline issues are rare at the middle school linked to the Jing’An Teachers’ College in Shanghai. The city is thought to have China’s best schools.
Would you like to learn Chinese with a teacher from China?
Xiaosui was trained as a teacher in China. She taught for many years in China. She set up her own small school in China. She has now lived in the west for three years. She speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese fluently. She is steeped in Chinese history and culture which she learned from her father who was also a teacher.
India and Iran Try to Keep Energy Link Open
While China has shrugged off the U.S. drive to impose sanctions against Iran, India does not have that option. India is “not left with much choice,” said Mr. Kumar. It is as if their “big brother,” in the form of the United States, “has told them to do this,” he said.
Indeed, the United States has long wanted India to stop processing payments to Iran via its central bank clearing system.
China faces up to growth cost
A REPORT from within China's own government has said the country's economic growth is inflicting about $A195 billion in damage on its environment each year.Most of these costs do not appear on corporate balance sheets or in government budgets, but they are accumulating year by year to form an environmental deficit that threatens the country's long-term prospects.
Kaixin OpEd – Western Kaixin with his other hat on, Environmental Law, has long argued that the world in general has never fully costed in the externality of environmental degradation.
The generations since the industrial revolution have had a subsidised ride courtesy of the environment.
As readers who have grown older and wiser know full well, there is no such thing as a free ride.
The environment will present the bill and it will future generations who will have to pay it.
At least there is now some effort to recognise the issue and go some way to addressing it.
China is not alone in this and it behoves the west ill not to recognise their own complicity.
The Liberty of Marriage
By Chen Zhiwu
What certificates of marriage from the Zhou Dynasty to today can tell us about the sociology of freedom
Despite millennia of autocratic rule in China, folk life has been central to the preservation of traditional forms of expression. One example of this is an early form of documentation for the custom of marriage. The "Zhou Rituals," recorded in the Zhou Dynasty show that marriage represented a civil contract only between individuals. When did the marriage license, a symbol of state authority, appear in China? Below is a marriage certificate in the 11th year of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty (1873). The seal says, "A Harmonious Union Lasting for a Hundred Years," and was split in two halves – one side each for the husband and wife to hold as parties to the contract.
Predictable yet ineffective policy moves by the Federal Reserve have sprung a zero interest rate trap
Truth is one of the first casualties of a financial crisis. During times of stress, central bankers embrace a time-honored tradition: They issue anodyne statements that are, as the saying goes, economical with the truth. Central bankers are also prone to seize upon standard "solutions" congealed into a crust of dogma by endless repetition and obeisance.
Kaixin OpEd – As readers of Kaixin would know, Kaixin has very little respect for economists or central w ….. bankers.
Economists are very good at measuring things. Their mathematical brains can see formula and equations in everything. They measure and measure and then put the numbers in a mathematical straightjacket.
Then they predict the future with these ‘magical’ equations. These equations that solve all the economic issues of the time and then some.
They are truly the gods of this new secular age!
They all line up for a Nobel Prize for Economics having solved, once and for all, the question of “What is ..”
The Nobel Committee, displaying its usual ignorance and trendy credentials, award the prize on the basis they simply don’t understand the economics and all those equations must mean something very very important …….. and, pass the chardonnay.
Of course the economic world is full of black swans that like to crap on these economists. The same economists who want to work out how to run the rattly old rust bucket they created without anyone ever having to work.
Kaixin is watching China with interest.
The senior economists in Beijing were probably all trained in America or at Oxford/Cambridge. They have the same academic background, but seem to be thinking outside the square.
Kaixin notes a sense of “Oh, so that’s what they are doing …” creeping into the western press when commenting on the issue of the internationalisation of the Yuan.
Kaixin suspects China will handle the next economic phase of its growth with a new form of economics, economics with Chinese characteristics.
The western economists will all shout in horror, or point to, with a patronising smile, what they call Economics 101. Iron laws.
The Chinese economists will smile politely and suggest that iron can be heated and shaped.
We shall see ….
In the mean time, the west will be flooded with money from helicopters and the rust bucket will chug along belching smoke and tears.