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14th January 2012


The Lion Awakes 

Daily News, Culture & Current Affairs about China

See how China sees the world, see how the world sees China











 Xiaosui Zhou is the owner & editor of Kaixin

These are stories of her time growing up in China

during the Cultural Revolution




Photo Essays of China





People's Daily


China cannot stop buying Iranian oil

t is said that the United States wants China to cooperate with it through stopping buying oil from Iran, so as to tighten sanctions against Iran. However, China has no reason to blindly follow the economic sanctions against Iran initiated by the United States, no matter which side is considered. Particularly, it is impossible for China to stop buying Iranian oil.


China to boost Central Asia energy ties

BEIJING - China will continue to expand energy ties with Central Asian countries, which have proven to be a fruitful model of mutually beneficial cooperation, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Thursday.

Zhang Hanhui, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of European-Central Asian Affairs, said the Central Asian economy showed strong momentum last year with 7 percent growth in GDP, and cooperation between nations in the region and China has great potential to be upgraded to a new level.

Chinese energy enterprises have participated in oil and gas development in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, he said.


Officials to discuss S. China Sea issues

BEIJING - The Fourth Senior Officials Meeting of China and 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) will be held in Beijing from Friday to Sunday.


China to boost Central Asia energy ties

BEIJING - China will continue to expand energy ties with Central Asian countries, which have proven to be a fruitful model of mutually beneficial cooperation, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Thursday.


Group calls for investment treaty with China

WASHINGTON - An American lobbying group predicted that the United States economy will grow by 3 percent by the end of the year and called for the US government to temper its adversarial position with China.


China should stay calm, alert about US strategy adjustments

On Jan. 5, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a defense strategy report titled “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense”, which highlighted the country’s determination to maintain its status as a “military superpower” despite budget pressures as well as its plan to shift its military focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

The United States shifts its focus to the Asia-Pacific region mainly for four purposes. The first purpose is to “sustain U.S. global leadership” and to ensure its absolute safety and absolute advantages, as the report’s title reveals. The second is to take advantage of the Asia-Pacific region’s strong economic growth to solve its own economic problems. The third is to make waves in the region in collaboration with its allies. The fourth is to form an alliance in the region to counter China’s rise.


FM warns US on exploiting Tibet issues

BEIJING - China on Wednesday said it opposed foreign countries using Tibet-related issues to interfere in its domestic affairs after the US expressed "serious concern" over three self-immolations by Tibetan monks.

"The Chinese government has always attached great importance to and guaranteed the various basic rights of ethnic minorities, including their freedom of religious belief," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said, responding to a question about Washington's concerns and demand that the Chinese government protect human rights.

"We firmly oppose such remarks and practices making use of Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's domestic affairs, which could disrupt Chinese social stability and national unity," he said, adding that China has always administered religious affairs in accordance with the law to maintain religious order.


China defends Iran oil trade despite US push

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese leaders pledged Wednesday to enhance cooperation to advance the global economic recovery, but still left the Iran sanctions dispute unresolved.

Geithner met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping Wednesday amid escalating international tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions a day after the White House accused Tehran of ”blatant disregard for its responsibilities.”

Washington is ”in the early stages of a broad global diplomatic effort to take advantage of this new legislation to significantly intensify the pressure on Iran,” a senior US official told journalists in Beijing Wednesday.

However, China Wednesday said it was ”not reasonable” to expect it to comply with what it says are ”unilateral” sanctions imposed by the US. ”Iran is also an extremely big oil supplier to China, and we hope that China’s oil imports won’t be affected, because this is needed for our development,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun told a news conference.


Attack on Iran 'would be a disaster'

BEIJING - China strongly opposes the use of military force against Iran or Syria, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday, warning that a war in the region will be a disaster both on a humanitarian level and for the world economy.

Chen Xiaodong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of West Asian and North African Affairs, also told China Daily that unilateral sanctions intensify the causes of conflict rather than resolve them.

China, ROK hail development of bilateral ties

BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) hailed the development of ties since 2008's establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation in a joint press communique issued here on Wednesday.

Coming amid ROK President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China, it says the two countries are pleased with achievements scored during the visit.

The two sides spoke highly of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, saying they are committed to work together to make two-way trade volume hit 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2015.


China's foreign trade surges 22.5% in 2011

BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's foreign trade surged 22.5 percent in 2011 from a year earlier to 3.64 trillion U.S. dollars, the General Administration of Customs said Tuesday.

The country's annual trade surplus narrowed 14.5 percent year-on-year to 155.14 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, the administration said.


Asia remains most attractive investment spot in 2012

Asia, in particular the emerging economies on the continent, remains the most attractive investment destination in the world this year, according to the recently released 2012 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index. China, India, Brazil, the United States, Germany, and Australia take the top six positions, confirming that the world economy's center is shifting from the West to the East.

Huge FDI inflows into Asia

Xie Dongming, an economic analyst at OCBC Bank in Singapore, said Asia is undoubtedly still the most attractive investment destination, and Asian stock and bond markets are also extremely attractive to foreign investors.


China to step up land reform this year

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China is planning to launch new pilot projects to promote land reforms this year, Xu Shaoshi, the country's minister of land and resources, said here Monday.


U.S. accusation groundless: FM

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday said an accusation against itself in a strategic defense guidance released by the U.S. Department of Defense is "groundless and untrustworthy."

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks at a press conference, adding that China's strategic intent is clear, open and transparent.

The U.S. on Thursday unveiled a revised national defense strategy, vowing to strengthen the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region despite fiscal constraints.

The document says China needs to clarify its strategic intent as its military power grows.


China to experience mild inflation for long time

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, recently noted that China should not slacken its efforts to curb rising consumer prices, and should continue to properly manage inflation expectations.

Given the country's national conditions and development level, its economy is prone to overheating. Internationally speaking, Consumer Price Index growth in emerging markets is generally higher than in developed countries, so inflation must be taken seriously, said Zhou.

Structural factors for inflation still exist.


China to boost diplomatic efforts in Asia in 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- China will strengthen diplomatic efforts in Asia in 2012 and enhance coordination with Asian countries, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here on Sunday.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Liu said the regional situation will continue to undergo profound changes in 2012, posing challenges for China's diplomatic work. To properly handle differences, China will enhance political trust and expand common interests with countries in the region, in a bid to create a favorable environment for China's economic growth and contribute to peace in both Asia and the world.

There will be important meetings between Chinese leaders and their counterparts from other Asian countries in 2012, including the Seoul Nuclear Summit, the BRICS Summit in India, the Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos, and the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, Liu said.


'Cold war thinking' has no place in Asia

BEIJING - Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin on Sunday urged Asian countries to discard their "cold war mentality" when handling sensitive regional issues, saying that "exclusive security partnerships" fall short in terms of coping with the current complex regional situation.

His words came in the wake of China's occasionally tense relations with its neighbors in Asia last year, which were further complicated by Washington's strategic shift in the Asia-Pacific region.


Asst. foreign minister: China active in resolving hot regional issues

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- As a responsible country, China has been active in resolving hot regional issues, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here on Sunday.


Regional free trade talks in the pipeline

BEIJING - Talks on a China-Japan-Republic of Korea free trade agreement (FTA) are expected to start in the first half of this year, with May seen as the earliest date, following the conclusion in December of studies and research into its potential consequences, a source close to the matter told China Daily.

"If there is no strong opposition from inside the Republic of Korea (ROK), talks on the China-Japan-ROK FTA will be officially launched during the first half of this year, in May at the earliest," said the source from the Ministry of Commerce who asked not to be named.


Transformation needs courage, wisdom

The global economy is experiencing a transformation. In order to change the current imbalanced situation, all countries need to adjust their own economic structures.

The difficult point of this economic transformation is that while the economic structure must be adjusted, economic recovery must be realized as soon as possible. It will not be an easy task to properly handle the relations between transformation and recovery.

There are also bright points in the transformation. The joint rise of the emerging economies is providing the impetus for the transformation, and East Asian economies' role in driving the global economy is strengthening remarkably.

Although the global economy is facing many difficulties, it will not stop progressing. The arduous transformation will build a new platform for the next economic take-off.


28th China Harbin Int'l Ice and Snow Festival kicks off

Two kids play with each other in the Ice and Snow World in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Jan. 5, 2012. The 28th China Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival and the 13th Harbin Ice and Snow World opened here on Thursday. Made of 180,000 cubic meters of ice and 160,000 cubic meters of snow, the Ice and Snow World will put on show a wide range of ice and snow sculptures, including those of many cartoon figures worldwide.





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China Daily


China's forex reserves drop

BEIJING - China's central bank said Friday that the country's foreign exchange reserves as of the end of the fourth quarter last year had fallen to $3.18 trillion, down $20.6 billion from the previous quarter.

The net quarterly decrease was a rare case in recent years for the country, which is currently the world's largest holder of foreign exchange reserves


Premier Wen looks at the big picture

China and the US should focus on common interests, premier says

BEIJING - China and the United States should enhance economic and trade cooperation rather than politicize economic issues, leading government officials said on Wednesday.

"China insists that dialogue is better than confrontation, cooperation is better than containment," Premier Wen Jiabao said as he met US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

"We should take care of the core interests and concerns of each other, and resolve friction appropriately," Wen said.

"Both countries should take concrete measures and promote cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure and high-tech, in a wider, closer, more balanced way."

Wen's remarks came against a backdrop of economic and trade friction between China and the US.


US 'stoking up tensions' to gain regional role

BEIJING - The United States' recent published Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG), which calls for a renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific, may contribute to regional instability, analysts said.

The DSG, released by the Obama administration on Jan 5 stated that "while the US military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region".

The report, though not China-centered, said that "over the long term, China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the US economy and our security in a variety of ways".

Analysts said that strategic shift in US defense policy aims at stoking up regional tension and may accelerate the militarization of the region.


Foreign investors shy from buying

It's a frustrating time for overseas investors in Chinese real estate, especially those looking to turn a quick profit.

One potential investor, a managing director in Hong Kong for a leading US fund, looked into many real estate projects in China last year but did not sign any deals.

Instead, he sold a number of big projects ahead of pre-set investment deadlines.

He requested anonymity because of company policy against speaking to the media. But he was clear about his exasperation at not being able to achieve his objectives.

"Despite the ongoing correction in China's property market, investment opportunities are not as competitive as the EU and US," he said.

All investment decisions for his global real estate fund are made by its New York office.


Millions on move as peak travel season starts

BEIJING - China started the Spring Festival peak travel season Sunday, with tens of millions of passengers, mainly migrant workers and college students, on the move in the world's largest seasonal migration.

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on January 23 this year. It is the most important traditional Chinese festival for family reunions.

A total of 3.16 billion passenger trips are expected during the 40-day peak travel season, or Chunyun (Spring transportation) in Chinese, up 9.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.


Nation 'at key point' in growth

BEIJING - Urbanization, upgrading the manufacturing sector and developing strategic industries are keys to boosting the country's domestic demand, as China is at a crucial point of stabilizing growth and improving its economic structure, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

At this moment, China's economy is facing challenges from both home and abroad, Li told a meeting of engineers and scientists.

With stabilizing prices and maintaining solid growth as priorities, the country should also speed up economic restructuring, as constraints from energy, resources and the environment are getting tougher, Li said.

Urbanization is an important engine for expanding domestic demand and stimulating economic and social development.

He said the government should extend basic public services to more people and encourage qualified migrant workers to settle down in cities in an orderly manner by helping them solve problems related to education, medical service and housing.


US defense policy challenges trust

WASHINGTON / BEIJING - US President Barack Obama's revamped national defense strategy may challenge mutual trust with China, experts said.

While promising to make the US armed forces smaller and leaner, Obama pledged to shift the country's military focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

The nation's military review says that US economic and security interests are "inextricably" connected with the area and the US military accordingly will "of necessity rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region", including strengthening Asian allies and investing in the strategic partnership with India.


Official says US 'should adhere' to int'l law

BEIJING - Attempts to resolve the South China Sea issue through the intervention of an external "referee" won't work, a senior Chinese diplomat said.

Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the remark as US President Barack Obama reaffirmed Washington's growing focus on the Asia-Pacific as well as its military's "enhanced presence, power projection and deterrence" in the region.

Beijing is firmly against such moves as they "significantly undermine" peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and jeopardize the common interests of all regional countries, Yi said during an online interview on Friday.


Your hair or your uncle? There can only be one!

With the approach of the Chinese New Year, many Chinese people have to make a choice: to cut their hair or lose their uncles (here, 舅舅 jiùjiu, your mother's brothers).

It's obvious uncles are much valuable than haircuts, especially during the Spring Festival, when uncles are quite useful for handing out lucky new year's money (压岁钱 yā suì qián). So no matter whether you are a boy or a girl, in order to save their uncles' lives, everyone would prefer to have their hair cut before the eve of the Spring Festival (除夕夜 chú xī yè). That's why barber shops are always so busy this time of the year.

How did this custom come about?



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XinHua News


Falling forex reserves, yuan funds trigger concerns of capital outflow, policy easing

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- China's central bank said Friday that the country's foreign exchange reserves as of the end of the fourth quarter last year had fallen to 3.18 trillion U.S. dollars, down 20.6 billion U.S. dollars from the previous quarter.

The net quarterly decrease was a rare case in recent years for the country, which is currently the world's largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.


China faces greater pressure to ensure energy supply in 2012: energy chief

BEIJING, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's energy chief said here Tuesday that the country is under greater pressure to ensure energy supply this year as both demand and international competition for resources grows.

Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration (NEA), made the remarks when speaking at a national energy work conference.

"It is always worrisome to have to sustain supply of energy and resources for a country with 1.3 billion people," Liu said.

As China is facing a "grim situation" in energy saving and emission reduction, Liu noted, it is urgent to restructure the country's energy use and control the gross consumption volume this year.

To ensure a stable energy supply, China will optimize the layout of energy exploration, start construction of energy-transmission projects and other major energy programs while boosting reserves of oil, natural gas and coal in 2012, Liu said.


China vows to continue development of west, northeast

BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to boost the development of the country's less-developed western and northeastern regions, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council Monday.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, has approved guidelines for the development program of China's west and the revitalization of the northeast old industrial bases in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), according to the statement.

The two regions have been at a new starting point in history, said the statement. 


Rush for home kicks off

BEIJING, Jan. 09 (Xinhuanet) -- The Spring Festival peak travel season started on Sunday with tens of millions of passengers, mainly migrant workers and college students, on the move in the world's largest seasonal migration.

It is estimated that the rail system will handle 235 million passenger trips in the 40 days, or 5.88 million passenger trips each day.

Some 34.88 million trips by air, and 2.85 billion road trips, will be made during the period.


Land supply up 37 pct in China last year amid property tightening

BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's land supply went up 37 percent year-on-year in 2011 amid the government's tightening measure on commercial property market, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) on Saturday.

Most of the land supply last year went to the country's 10 million government-subsidized affordable housing units that began construction in 2011, according to MLR.

In the meantime, land supply for commercial residential housing totaled about 96,700 hectares last year, up only 4 percent from previous year.

Planned land supply quota for construction last year were up 16.25 percent year-on-year from 180,000 hectares in 2010.


China looks to step up its partnership with India

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese diplomat said here on Sunday that China will make concerted efforts with India to promote the countries' strategic and cooperative partnership in 2012.

"China is willing to make joint efforts with India to continuously implement the important consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, maintain high-level exchanges, enhance strategic mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and properly handle issues concerning the bilateral relationship," Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

"China hopes that the two sides will support each other and learn from each other, so to push for better and faster development of Sino-Indian strategic and cooperative partnership," Liu said.


China attaches importance to Africa's concerns, interests: FM

WINDHOEK, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- China will, as always, attach importance to Africa's concerns and interests, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here on Thursday.

"We will support African countries in their efforts to independently resolve African issues, seek balanced economic and social development and uphold their own legitimate rights and interests in international affairs through unity," Yang said.

"We will make even greater contribution to peace and development in Africa and to the common development of China and Africa."

Yang said that African countries share a stronger wish to strengthen cooperation with China, and have proposed to broaden the scope, increase the scale and upgrade the level of our cooperation. This will go a long way in boosting China-Africa cooperation.


China's railways carried 5.1 mln passengers on New Year's Day

BEIJING, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Over 5 million people traveled across China by train on New Year's Day this year, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) said Monday.

Increasing numbers of mid-and short-distance travelers contributed to the heavy traffic, according to the MOR.

A total of 137 temporary trains were put into service on Sunday, the first day of the three-day New Year holiday, the MOR said.




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Global Times



Helping Iran weather a looming storm

The Pentagon threatened to respond to Iran's attempts to develop nuclear weapons and block the Hormuz Strait on Sunday. The US obviously sees using force against Iran as a final resort.

China's position when faced with a possible Iran war is difficult. It has huge oil interests there and Iran is of vital importance in alleviating its strategic pressure. But China cannot ally itself with Iran in opposing the US. Therefore, China must make efforts to prevent a war against Iran.

Some hold that Russia should block the US since it has more interests in Iran than China. This is just wishful thinking.

The strategic value of Iran to China is growing bigger than it is to Russia, no matter whether from the perspective of oil demands or geopolitical importance.

We should not expect Russia to act as a shield for China. China needs to act in accordance with its interests over Iran. It should coordinate with Russia and the two should support each other in this matter.

China has made clear its opposition to further sanctions against Iran. Despite pressure from the US and European countries, China should continue trading with Iran.


How to make 3 billion trips in 40 days

The socalled chunyun (Spring Festival travel season), the most intensive and impressive travel rush of the world began Sunday in China.

It is said that approximately 3.1 billion trips will be made by public transport within 40 days. It is impossible to satisfy all those involved.

China has made its utmost efforts to make chunyun successful on a scale unseen around the world in terms of human migration. However, the pains it causes constantly remind Chinese of the country's unique situation: for a country with a population of 1.3 billion, modernization will never go on smoothly.

Without chunyun, China would not develop highspeed railway so quickly and without ticket touts and the urgent demands of migrant workers to go home for Spring Festival, there would be fewer debates about China's grassroots legal system construction or about the plight of separated families in the countryside.

Every year around this time, chunyun is the top subject of public opinion, bringing many key topics back to the debating table, such as people's livelihood, equality and bureaucracy.





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News and Current Affairs


Chinese FM Visits Africa










China launches 3D TV on New Year´s Day

China has marked the New Year with the start of 3D TV service. After a trial run, the 3D TV will be ...




Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."



The Wall Street Journal


China Reserve Changes Weighed

BEIJING—China may eventually invest more of its $3.2 trillion foreign-exchange reserves in stocks, enterprises and other assets as it looks for ways to boost returns on its reserves, according to Jiang Jianqing, chairman of China's largest state-owned bank.


City of Beijing to Continue Property Curbs

SHANGHAI—The Beijing municipal government will continue home-purchase restrictions this year to curb speculation and reduce prices, city mayor Guo Jinlong said Thursday.

Beijing house prices fell 11%, last year. Private house sales in the city fell 14% in the period. Close to 90% of homes sold in 2011 were to first-time buyers, Mr. Guo said in an annual work report to city officials.

There have been calls for the Beijing government to ease restrictions on home purchases by people who aren't permanent residents. The city does not allow home purchases by those who haven't paid social-security or income taxes for five consecutive years. Some had called for this requirement be reduced to three years but Beijing's vice mayor Chen Gang said that is "impossible," according to a Beijing News report.


U.S. Sanctions China Firm for Iran Energy Deals

The U.S. sanctioned three companies Thursday for doing business with Iran’s energy sector, including China’s state-run Zhuhai Zhenrong Co., Iran’s largest supplier of refined petroleum products.


As Economy Loses Shine, Shanghai Mayor Ponders ‘Complex’ Year Past

Shanghai’s people are letting off steam as their powerhouse economy loses momentum.

Delivering an annual work report to city officials Wednesday, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng cited evidence of across-the-board economic weakening last year and said the government needs fresh approaches to resolving “social conflicts.” ...


Economists React: China’s Inflation Falls Again

Inflation in China slowed slightly in December with the country’s consumer price index rising 4.1% from a year earlier, down from 4.2% in November. It was the fifth month in a row that China saw moderating inflation. Analysts weigh in:


Fund Managers Warm to 'Dim Sum'

BEIJING—More global fund managers are venturing into the nascent market for yuan bonds sold outside mainland China, a trend that market participants hope will add liquidity to a market central to Beijing's effort to expand the use of its currency.


Geithner Prods China, Japan on Iran Oil Imports

BEIJING—Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged Chinese officials to greatly reduce China's imports of Iranian crude oil, and explained to them details of a new U.S. sanctions policy against countries that don't curtail their purchases.

Google Softens Tone on China

Two Years After Censorship Clash, Company Renews Push to Expand in World's Biggest Internet Market

Google Inc., which pulled its Web-search engine out of mainland China two years ago after a confrontation with Chinese authorities over censorship, has renewed its push to expand there, in an acknowledgment that it can't afford to miss out on the world's biggest Internet market.


Rolls-Royce's Million-Dollar Car for China Market - VIDEO

Rolls-Royce is targeting China's growing number of millionaires with a limited-edition vehicle for the year of the dragon. The WSJ's Jason Chow reports.


South Korea Touts China Trade

Leaders of China and South Korea stressed constructive talks on the second day of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's three-day visit to the Chinese capital, in an apparent attempt to highlight positive relations amid uncertainty surrounding North Korea's stability.

Still, in a signal of the tense relations between Beijing and Seoul, China's state-run media this week played up their differences—a somewhat unusual choice during a high-profile state visit.


China Posts Surprising Trade Surplus Growth

BEIJING—China's trade surplus widened unexpectedly in December as imports slowed sharply and exports were surprisingly resilient.

The trade surplus rose to $16.52 billion from $14.53 billion in November, widely beating the median $7.8 billion forecast in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of 11 economists.

The data is a positive sign that weakness in major developed economies isn't hurting Chinese exporters as much as many forecasters expected. At the same time, however, weaker-than-expected imports could be a negative sign that China's domestic demand is weakening.


Chinese Wallets Are Open

Official Figures Appear to Underestimate Household Spending

China's households are spending more than you think.

The share of household consumption in China's gross domestic product has fallen from 46% in 2000 to 33% in 2010. That is far lower than the 70% level in the U.S., and below the Asian tigers when they were going through their period of rapid growth in the 1990s. It is the proof point of the argument that China's consumption is weak, with investment and ...


Obama Panel to Watch Beijing

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama plans to create a U.S. government task force designed to monitor China for possible trade and other commercial violations as part of a larger White House effort to get more assertive with Beijing this election year, people familiar with the matter ...


Geithner's Asia Trip to Focus on Iran

WASHINGTON—U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner headed to Asia Sunday to seek support from China and Japan for boosting financial pressure on Iran in an effort to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.


China Looms Over Coming Taiwan Election

TAIPEI—Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of economic opening to China has frustrated a key constituency: struggling middle and low-income workers, who could cost him elections this week. That outcome would alarm Beijing and heighten uncertainty in an area that has long been a flashpoint in U.S.-China relations.


New Loans, Money Growth in China Beat Forecasts

BEIJING—Lending and money supply in China both grew faster than economists' forecasts in December, data from the People's Bank of China showed Sunday, in a signal that could help ease concerns about an economic slowdown in China.




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The New York Times


Wen Jiabao in Middle East as China Evaluates Oil Policy

The Chinese prime minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates may suggest that China is reconsidering its strategic alliance with Iran.

Warming to U.S. Plea, Japan Pledges to Cut Oil From Iran

The move was in response to a request from the visiting United States Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who was rebuffed by China on the matter a day earlier.


China Braces for Turbulent Year

The Year of the Dragon has historically brought upheaval in China, or at least been a turning point. The next one begins Jan. 23.


China Balks as Geithner Presses for Iran Curbs

Beijing again dismisses a U.S. plan for a campaign against the Iranian nuclear program.

Taiwan Vote Lures Back Expatriates in China

The growing political heft of the Taishang, the name given to Taiwanese in China who have staked their livelihoods on its economy, has become a point of contention in a presidential race that has raised questions about embracing Beijing.

Chinese Exports Grow, but Imports Show Signs of Weakening

Over all, the Chinese trade surplus shrank to $155 billion in 2011, from $183 billion in 2010, as imports picked up and demand for Chinese goods in Europe and elsewhere weakened.


Asian Firms Tap Western Business Schools

Fueled by an appetite for growth, corporations in China, India and other markets in Asia are sending an army of managers and


China as a Destination for Job Seekers

Moving to China was the best decision I ever made.


What China Can Teach Europe

Competition among the huge cities in China is an important reason for the country’s economic dynamism.


Chinese News Agency, Xinhua, Warns U.S. Against ‘Militarism’

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, took a position on the Obama administration’s new military strategy that was sharper than the line publicly taken by Beijing officials.



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Asia Times Online


Taiwan vote may trip up US and China

The United States and China share many reasons to hope Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is re-elected in Sunday's elections. All the same, victory for the anti-unification Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen in the close race is unlikely to spur major policy shifts in Washington or Beijing. While Tsai is reluctant to roll back cross-strait relations, China has little incentive to punish the island.
- Jens Kastner


South China Sea: Call for US build-up
A think-tank with close ties to the administration of President Barack Obama has called for Washington to pursue a policy of "cooperative primacy" in the South China Sea to both avoid future conflict with Beijing and preserve freedom of navigation and the independence of smaller countries in the region. First though, the US needs to bolster its navy, the report suggests.
- Jim Lobe



Hu warns successors
over 'peaceful evolution'

President Hu Jintao's call for China to resist ideological infiltration by "hostile forces" was widely seen as a declaration of war against Western culture, similar to spiritual pollution campaigns in the 1980s. However, Hu was actually warning those who will take power at this year's 18th Communist Party congress to stay awake to the greatest threat to communist rule - "peaceful evolution".
- Wu Zhong


Grim future for Wukan model
Optimism that China's land seizures, inequality and corruption could be solved by simply listening to activists rather than through suppression, as apparently happened in Guangdong's Wukan village, is undermined by pressures on local governments to contribute to the national growth rate. With land transactions accounting for at least half of revenues, regional administrations are unlikely to soon stop cracking heads. - Willy Lam


China's new role in the making of Europe
If China opts to support the eurozone it will become a significant investor in European integration, while helping to create a world where the United States dollar loses absolute pre-eminence. The level of Sino-European interdependence achieved during China's renaissance will likely accelerate as Europe better understands China's governance and as Beijing greater appreciates the complexities of the continent. - David Gosset (


Guangdong boss bets on velvet glove
Villagers from Guangdong's Wukan have welcomed the provincial authorities' decision to investigate land seizures that spurred attention-grabbing protests there. While local party chief Wang Yang hopes his handling of the case secures a Politburo Standing Committee seat at this year's leadership shuffle, his softer line is up against Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai's more "ruthless" approach to crime and corruption.
- Kent Ewing


Invisible walls in Xinjiang
The tree that bleeds: a Uighur town on the edge
by Nick Holdstock

A snapshot of Xinjiang province's Yining city four years after deadly ethnic riots in 1997, this book provides insights into how fraught relations between Uyghurs and Han Chinese were worsened by Beijing's divisive rules and policies, particularly in education. The separate dormitories, canteens and admissions described as the ethnicities "pretend the other doesn't exist" make recent violence easier to understand. - Michael Rank


China sends a message to Nepal
The most recent manifestation of Nepal's political crisis is handwringing over the postponement of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit. Beijing's decision gives traction to the perception that the Nepalese government, under (India-educated) Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, is determined to strengthen relations with India - at China's expense if necessary. - Peter Lee


China and Japan find
common ground

A significant monetary agreement between China and Japan could become a platform for political convergence. In the short term, the currency swap makes it easier for Beijing and Tokyo to help America and Europe. In the long term, a new regional order could be built around North Korea that sees Japan and the US become China's important strategic partners.
- Francesco Sisci


China rallies behind supreme leader
China's desire for a smooth power transition saw it swiftly back Kim Jong-eun following his father's death, with Beijing inviting him for a visit and urging Seoul and Washington not to promote regime change. China is not only concerned over instability causing a refugee influx, it also needs a Northeast Asian buffer against the United States' "return to Asia".
- Yvonne Su


Trying times in US-China ties
Both China and the United States enter 2012 fragile, needing one another to be strong while at the same time resenting the vestiges of strength each appears to have over the other (China bridling at America's regional position and military power while America resents China's seemingly stable economy). This is in a nutshell the peril: both have as much to gain from seeing the other stumble as from pursuing stability.
- Benjamin A Shobert


A future with China
China and the Credit Crisis: the Emergence
of a New World Order
by Giles Chance

The book explores the inter-connection between United States policy and China's participation in globalization. The presentation on what the current economic crisis means for the future of the US dollar and the necessary adjustment by the world's financial and regulatory systems to incorporate China's needs are balanced and satisfying. Yet the most important reason to read this work may be what it has to offer about how these troubled times will reshape US-China relations.
- Benjamin A Shobert


Getting the dragon onboard
The Chinese may have an attitude whereby they want to exploit the rest of the world for their own benefit. They do not see themselves yet as a responsible leader of the world economy. The issue is how can China be brought to stand alongside Europe and America? So asks Giles Chance, author of China and the Credit Crisis in a conversation with Benjamin A Shobert





An extreme traveler, Pepe's nose for news has taken him to all parts of the Pepe Escobar globe. He was in Afghanistan and interviewed the military leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Masoud, a couple of weeks before his assassination







Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

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Caixin Online


Forced Demolitions Getting Creative

New rules last year set out to end forced demolitions, but local officials have instead resorted to legal loopholes to continue the controversial practice.


How Britain and China will Rise or Fall Together

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, Sino-British engagement i


To take the next step in its development, China must commit to a broad range of structural reforms this year

Gao Hua, Controversial Historian, Dies at 57

The historian's major work the 1940s is still banned in the mainland for exposing the Communist Party's power struggles at the time.


Soft Power and Hard Choices

What tools do Chinese policymakers have on hand to counter the influence of U.S. cultural exports?


Strategize, Adapt, Reform

In an interview, the influential governor of China's central bank retraces 2011 economic policy steps and forecasts the 2012 pace


Water Diversion Blues

Rapidly growing cities need more water, and plenty of it – but experts say China faces a sobering outlook on the impacts of water diversion projects


A Garment Industry in Tatters

South Africa was once a good fit for Chinese clothing manufacturers, but wage issues are threatening their existence


China to Put Brakes on Foreign Investment in Auto Sector

The turnaround in preferential policies to promote foreign investment comes after the withholding of core technologies to Chinese companies, say analysts

Policymakers Issue New Guidelines on Foreign Investment

China revised its foreign investment catalog, making the first changes since October 2007

China is running a deficit in 'intellectual trade' with the United States and needs to make a greater effort to understand its partner and rival




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