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.
China to see Asia challenges in 2011, analysts
Beijing - China's relationship with neighboring countries in Asia will be a focus of the country's foreign affairs agenda in 2011, Chinese analysts predict.
It is believed that there are going to be continuing challenges for Beijing in Asia as a whole - ranging from security to new forms of cooperation.
"Regional security will remain a top issue for China," Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association told China Daily.
Citing ongoing and extensive media coverage of the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the uncertainty of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, Zhai said the situation is nerve-racking.
Obsolete way of measuring trade inflates surplus
BEIJING - Measuring global trade in line with the principle of "the country of origin" fails to reflect the complexities of global commerce where the design, manufacturing and assembly of products involve several countries, experts said.
"It is not always true that goods exported by a country are wholly made by that country," said Tu Xinquan, associate director of China National Institute of WTO at the University of International Business and Economics.
Therefore, the trade surplus between two countries can not be simply interpreted as one benefiting more than the other from the trade," Tu said.
Using the iPhone as a case, a research paper released by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) earlier this month showed that conventional trade statistics greatly inflated bilateral trade deficits between a country used as export-platform by multinational firms and its destination countries.
The paper said trade statistics in both China and the US consider the iPhone a Chinese export to the US, even though it is entirely designed and owned by a US company, and is largely of parts produced in other countries.
The entire $179 estimated wholesale cost of each iPhone is credited to China, while the country is only responsible for the last step of making the iPhones -- assembling, the value of which accounted for just 3.6 percent, or $6.5 of the total cost, according to the paper.
Sino-Russia pipeline opens
Flow of oil solidifies countries' cooperative economic relations
MOHE, Heilongjiang - Some 42,000 tons of crude oil passed through an oil pipeline linking Russia's Far East to Northeast China in the first 24 hours since it began operating on Saturday, an industry insider announced.
The pipeline, which originates in the Russian town of Skovorodino in the country's Amur region, enters China via the county of Mohe and ends 927 kilometers south in the city of Daqing.
"The operation of the China-Russia crude oil pipeline is the start of a new phase in China-Russia energy cooperation," Yao said at the launch ceremony on Saturday.
The pipeline will improve the structure of the nation's energy imports and promote economic development, he said.
Yao Wei (C), general manager of the Pipeline Branch of Petro China Co Ltd (PBPC), pushes a button to make the pipeline begin operating at a plant in Mohe county, Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, Jan 1, 2011.
High-tech industrial zones take lead in industrial innovation
BEIJING - China's 56 leading high-tech industrial zones have led the country's industrial innovation, playing an important role in the nation's social and economic development, a government statement said on Jan 1.
The statement came from the Ministry of Science and Technology's Torch High Technology Industrial Development Center.
The center is in charge of China's "Torch Program", which started in 1988 to boost Chinese industrialization through advanced science and technology.
ROK to speak on security as tensions start to ease
BEIJING - Republic of Korea (ROK) President Lee Myung-bak is expected to deliver an address to the nation regarding national security on Monday, amid moves to further ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
US special envoy to visit three Asian states
WASHINGTON - US Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) policy Stephen Bosworth will visit South Korea, China, and Japan from January 3-7.
"Ambassador Bosworth will arrive in Seoul January 4 and travel to Beijing on January 5," the US State Department said in a statement. "He will continue to Tokyo on January 6. In all three cities, he will meet with senior government officials to discuss next steps on the Korean Peninsula."
"Special envoy for six-party talks Ambassador Sung Kim will accompany Ambassador Bosworth to Seoul and Beijing," the department said.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao spent the New Year holiday visiting local people in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region in the first two days of 2011, conveying New Year greetings to the locals.
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.
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.
Rational quest for social equality
In 2010, Chinese society is filled with confusion. According to the China Private Wealth Report 2010 released Tuesday by Forbes, China is estimated to be home to 383,000 super-rich people, a number only second to the US.
Nevertheless, the nation is the home of increasing controversy over wealth. Many people, both poor and rich, find society unfair. The Internet magnifies that discontent.
China has learned how to create wealth and social vitality. However, it is not aware of how to balance social equality as clamored for by public opinion.
Elusive sense of security as 2010 ends
Looking back on the past year and the past decade, life has improved for most Chinese people.
Yet a sense of insecurity and anxiety has been increasing - people are worried about growing medical expenditure, children attending school, and the hopelessly skyrocketing house prices. Too many worries are preventing overloaded minds from relaxing.
With material wealth now dwarfing that of past generations, Chinese society is still missing one important thing: a sense of security. People place their savings in banks, not to profit from the meager interest rate, but to gain a sense of security about their future.
House prices in big cities have risen out of reach of most wage earners, but people still bite the bullet and combine the savings of their entire family, as many Chinese evaluate owning property with material security.
The Chinese civilization is thousands of years old, yet most of its history is set to turmoil and conflicts. Even the relatively peaceful 60 years of the People's Republic of China have seen upheavals. Many are not clear as to whether the progress of the country will reduce the unpredictability of their lives.
In years gone by, when everything was arranged by the government under the planning economy, there seemed to be a high level of security for society. People did not have to worry about what to eat or what to wear, as almost everyone ate and dressed the same. But that kind of security is not real. Without adequate personal belongings or options to pursue personal development, that sense of security is meaningless.
It is very hard to change the Chinese people's special obsession with security. Only when social stability becomes sustained can worries about security be quelled.
China expects further rate hikes to cool property market
The new year may be tough on people who plan to buy homes and those who already bought homes using bank loans, as China is very likely to announce new interest rate hikes this year after two increases in 2010, which will add to the financial burdens of home buyers.
A 30 Minute Current Affairs Programme on CCTV - 9 (In English) where current issues are discussed by experts from China and Internationally:
The New Asian Hemisphere
Kishore Mahbubani was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on August 16, 2004 after having served 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service.
His new book, The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, was published in 2008. The premise of this book is simple: If representative democracy is the best known form of governmance for nations, then it's also the best form for the world. His book sends one message to the West: Please give up in dominating the world.
International News Sources
The Wall Street Journal - China RealTime Report
The Wall Street Journal
Pictures of China
Wall Street Warms to China Story
Visiting China was considered an indulgence for most financial executives just a few years ago.
But when Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Warren Buffett, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s James Dimon, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.'s Henry Kravis and Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein all visited China in recent months, the trips were seen as something else entirely: crucial steps to keep their respective companies growing.
China has been important to global economic growth for years, of course.
That's all changing. China is opening its markets, slightly loosening the reins on its currency, and is emerging as a key to the future of almost every Wall Street firm.
Kaixin Oped – There is a lot of money in China and a lot of people who want to spend money.
China is still has the historical divide between country and city.
In the ‘west’ ‘rural’ is seen as a sort of utopia.
In China ‘ rural’ has been, and still is to a large extent, seen as banishment.
City in China meant education and a high standard of living. Rural in China meant poverty and a subsistence standard of living.
Xiaosui and western Kaixin talk about Mao in this context. Mao came from the country. As western Kaixin has come to understand China a little more he starts to understand Mao’s policies as particularly ‘country China’. He now quips, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”
Just a thought …
The first thirty years of China’s transformation was accomplished in the cities, rural was left behind. Indeed, rural China provided much of the labour for this economic transformation.
That was a necessary focus, and it has been spectacularly successful.
Over the last 10 years or so that focus has been slowly changing to rural China. Indeed the economic transformation of rural China is one of the central planks of the next 5 year plan.
If the cities are the head of the dragon, then rural China is the body of the dragon, and a big fat dragon it is.
Kaixin has opined before that the economic and entrepreneurial potential within rural China is enormous. It will drive the other major change of focus in China well into the 21st century; from andexport driven, and dependent, economy to one focused on domestic consumption, throwing off the shackles of that export dependence.
The spending power of city China is enormous, now.
The spending power of rural and city China, the head and body of the dragon, is almost un-imaginable.
That is why the powerful CEO’s are heading to China. They are not powerful CEO’s for nothing.
They have vision.
North Korea Issues New Year Warning
SEOUL—The annual New Year's message from North Korea's authoritarian regime urged the country's 24 million citizens as usual to work together for a stronger country, but it was more militant toward South Korea than last year's statement was.
Deng Xiaoping was inspired by social Darwinist ideas of China's leading scientists to create the one-child policy.
Susan Greenhalgh, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, starts out by attacking the West's "master narrative" about the one-child policy: A cruel communist state suppresses the reproductive desires of the Chinese people. Then she proceeds to show that this is an accurate reading of the reality.
Kaixin OpEd – As a Professor of Anthropology, Ms Greenhalgh’s opinions deserve respect.
There is always an assumption both by the academic concerned and the general public that the said academic is objective, does not bring a personal agenda to an issue.
This is, of course, patent nonsense.
Academics have a tendency to be … well … academic.
They are also human; they also have their biases, pet theories and foibles.
All the people that Kaixin talks to in China, yes all, support the one-child policy. These are the average people ‘on the street’. Some have born the brunt on the policy, but still support it.
What arrogance to believe that an ‘outsider’ knows better.
It stems, of course, from an ignorance of day-to-day life in China.
Kaixin, both Chinese and Western, is immersed in that day-to-day life.
Professor Greenhalgh is someone who is also reported to be deeply immersed in China. Kaixin must give her the benefit of the doubt. She walks the streets and talks to the people, Kaixin assumes.
Kaixin notes that Professor Greenhalgh did a fair amount of her research in rural China: ‘She is well-acquainted with China, where she has done much rural research.’ See above for Kaixin’s OpEd on City China v Rural China.
I have not done research on this issue (eugenics), but I do know a lot about Deng Xiaoping and so do the people in China we speak to.
Kaixin believes that Professor Greengage is gazing into academic dark spaces when she opines that the one-child policy had its gestation in eugenics.
If she sees the people of China as grey ‘automon’s’ of the State then she is not looking in the right places – see para above.
Yes, the one-child policy has had, at times, tragic consequences. However perhaps it is best to consider what would be the consequence of unbridled population growth in China, as per Mao’s exhortation to populate, populate, populate (the 3 populates Kaixin calls it.).
Perhaps the tragic consequences would be more, not less.
Something to consider from an academic dark space …
Having penned the above, Western Kaixin bought it to China Kaixin’s attention and asked for a comment.
When she stopped laughing, Xiaosui got angry.
She is heartily sick of the way the western press portrays China as an errant child, led by evil people. The errant child incapable of questioning those leaders.
Xiaosui was born in 1966 into the heart of the Cultural Revolution. Her family was labelled as ‘black’ and her father, a teacher, was sent to a prison farm with his whole family. There is little you can tell Xiaosui about political oppression.
Mao had control and the people’s voice was lost during those dark years.
Many in the west still see China that way, so they readily believe people like Professor Greenhalgh.
Since 1979 when Deng Xiaoping took effective power, China has steadily come into the light. As Kaixin puts it, ‘… the colour is coming back : unevenly but insistently.’
Xiaosui’s sister was in the first wave of women who came under the one-child policy. Xiaosui was, of course, subject to it. As is her brother.
All of Xiaosui’s family, friends and acquaintances were or are subject to it.
They all support it.
Kaixin is also, ‘well-connected in China’.
They are all middle-class, not rural.
Does Professor Greenhalgh’s observations only apply to the country people?
Is her ‘conspiracy’ theory true?
Did Deng Xiaoping unleash ‘eugenics’ onto an un-suspecting China?
Xiaosui is torn between laughing and shouting at this notion.
She points out that if the basis was to give an edge to the city then why did Deng Xiaoping change the policy shortly after it was implemented to allow rural families to have two children. Somewhat undermines the eugenic story, don’t you think?
She also points out that before Mao rural families had many children because so many died in the appalling conditions of rural life in China at that time. It was necessary to give birth to as many children as possible so that enough would survive to help with the work and look after the parents in their old age.
Mao’s policies did many terrible things to China, but not all. Rural health improved considerably. More and more children survived and people began to live longer.
What did not change was the age old thinking to have as many children as possible.
When Deng Xiaoping took the reigns in China, the rural population was exploding and unsustainable.
I would have thought this was basic anthropological research.
India has not addressed this issue, but it must at some time.
There is often an assumption, looking back, that if we had only taken a different path then things would have been better.
This is unknown. Things could have been better, they could have been worse.
China took an effective path to control its population. It had its tragic consequences and will continue to throw up unexpected consequences and problems.
However, why assume that an alternative, to do nothing, would have been better. Perhaps Professor Greenhalgh has thought of the solution, if only Beijing would listen to her opining from her lofty academic perch.
Kaixin suggests that in all alternatives there would be huge and unexpected challenges bringing their own tragic consequences.
China relaxed the policy in rural China almost immediately. It is now considering relaxing the policy in the cities.
Xiaosui got angry because of the negative way Professor Greenhalgh’s observations are reported in the WSJ.
She says that the Chinese people are happy to engage in dialectic based on mutual respect. The western media so often takes an ill-informed, patronising approach which is more than starting to rankle in China.
Addressing some points made in the WSJ Article:
‘ When Deng Xiaoping took charge of population control in the early 1980s, he was inspired not by Maoist ideology but rather by social Darwinist ideas advanced by some of China's leading scientists … this theory rested on the outmoded science of eugenics …’
Kaixin – We assume Professor Greenhalgh has unassailable evidence for this and it is not just from a group of academics staring into dark spaces. Xiaosui is adamant that such a policy could not have been kept secret and the Chinese people would have been outraged. More telling, she points to the immediate change in policy that allowed rural families to have two children. This somewhat demolishes the ‘eugenic’ conspiracy theory of Professor Greenhalghs’.
‘ … discriminated against whole classes of low-quality people: "rural residents …’
Kaixin – ‘low-quality people’ are Professor Greenhalgh’s chosen words. Either that or she got them from one of her Chinese academic friends. No surprises for guessing where he got it from. To understand the city/rural divide in China is to understand a lot about China.
‘ … while others (rural people for example) have been essentially abandoned as useless to the modernization effort."…’
Kaixin – The rural people were the basis for the modernisation of China. They were certainly used for the first twenty or so years. However it must be seen in context. Before Mao the living conditions for rural China were abject. Under Mao they improved greatly. During the first twenty years of China’s modernisation the wages sent back to the village from the city by the rural migrant works further improved conditions in rural China. So Kaixin strongly questions Professor Greenhalgh’s observation, ‘… essentially abandoned …’. Now the focus of Beijing is well and truly on improving the living conditions and opportunities of the people in rural China.
‘ Many urban Chinese have internalized the bias against the family and, as described by Ms Greenhalgh, feel little obligation to care for their parents, want no children and think only of getting rich.’
Kaixin – What a patronising generalisation. It has to come from the rarefied air of China’s academia.
‘Dark spaces abound everywhere, I grasp all around for meaning … find only air.’
It is far more complex that that. Yes, there is an observable move in that direct in the cities. However, it is also a function of rapid moderisation and economic growth. Chinese society in the cities are in a state of flux.
From a traditional value perspective, it is an un-expected and un-welcome consequence of the one-child policy.
From Kaixin’s perspective it is certainly not universal and cannot be used to make a generalised conclusion about society in China.
‘ … "State power now reaches not only into the bedroom, intruding on sexual negotiations and reproductive deliberations.... It also stretches into the womb, deemed the well-spring of generativity for the woman, her kin, and the community ... to the making of life itself." …’
Kaixin – This is where Professor Greenhalgh’s agenda is exposed.
‘ Ms. Greenhalgh is well-connected in China and enjoys considerable prestige in her field. Will Beijing's leaders listen to her suggestion and act?’
Kaixin – Kaixin is also well-connected, to the average people of China. Not the academic elite in their rarefied air … thank goodness.
Time dictates that Kaixin leave this response. Kaixin is preparing an article on China’s one-child policy from the perspective of ‘middle’ China, which will be available in the next week or so.
Cooking Oil's Surge Shows How Inflation Hits Chinese
SHANGHAI—These days, Liu Chuansheng nervously scouts five locations before he buys cooking oil, illustrating how a sudden spike in the price of the Chinese kitchen's most vital ingredient has become close to a national crisis.
Kaixin OpEd – Oh good, thinks the WSJ. China has not followed America’s economic model, so China must be wrong.
Sounds like a teenager to Kaixin.
China Expands Easing of Capital Controls on Exporters
BEIJING—China eased capital controls on exporters' foreign-currency earnings this weekend—a move that over time could damp inflationary pressures and slow growth in the massive foreign-exchange reserves that have made Beijing a heavyweight global investor.
The move, an expansion of a program that allows exporters to keep their foreign-currency earnings overseas instead of changing them into yuan, was announced Friday and took affect on Saturday.
Chinese exporters get almost all their revenue in dollars and other foreign currencies. In the past, they could use some of that money to cover foreign-currency costs such as imported materials for their factories, but they ...
IPOs, the Recovery: Starring China
After two years of subpar IPO activity in most of the world, 2010 saw the biggest offering come forth as the pace began to pick up—and there is optimism the trend will continue into 2011.
China Seeks Higher Payout From State Firms
BEIJING—China detailed plans to make state-owned companies turn over more of their profits to the government, the latest move in a struggle between leaders of the powerful state sector and proponents of using their earnings to fund more social spending.
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.
The New York Times
China Quietly Extends Its Footprints Deep Into Central Asia
While China is seizing the spotlight in East and Southeast Asia with its widening economic footprint and muscular diplomacy, it is also quietly making its presence felt on its western flank, once primarily Russia’s domain.
Chinese officials see Central Asia as a critical frontier for their nation’s energy security, trade expansion, ethnic stability and military defense.
When Innovation, Too, Is Made in China
A new Chinese government document offers a glimpse into how the nation intends to engineer a more innovative society.
China’s Big Zhang
November’s anti-inflation efforts haven’t stopped everyone from obsessing over rising prices.
Car Licenses in Demand in Beijing
The government is setting a monthly quota of 20,000 new vehicle licenses for the Chinese capital.
Revolution Isn’t a Party, but It Draws Tourists
Tourist attractions in Yan’an try to evoke the glory days of the Chinese Communist Party, and are profiting handsomely from “red tourism.”
East Is East, and West Is West, but the Twain Are Now Meeting in Opera
With gleaming new performing arts centers and hungry audiences, China is embracing Western grand opera and producing works of its own.
A scene from “Song of Farewell,” by Ye Xiaogang, one of many new operas created in China and performed last year in Beijing.
Chinese oil major CNOOC is attempting to turn the talk of domestic coal-bed methane exploration from plenty of hot air to white hot deals
(Beijing) -- China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) said it plans to spend 1.2 billion yuan to acquire a 50-percent stake in China United Coal Bed Methane Co., Ltd. in its bid to enter the Chinese coal bed methane (CBM) industry. The acquisition has won support from the State Council, China's cabinet.
Looking back at the year that transformed the topography of the euro area
On a global level, the past year will be recalled as the year when the world economy began to recover from the crisis. Output and trade bounced back, unemployment stopped deteriorating and capital flows to the emerging economies resumed. Inflation also made a come-back, not least in China.
But 2010 will also be remembered as the year when the European crisis erupted.
Chinese power plants have been staging brown outs, with some functioning only days of coal inventory – why the shortages aren't from the price of transportation
Already down to mere days of thermal coal inventory, a manager at a power plant in Anhui Province has been left completely empty-handed without a single thermal coal contract for 2011.
"We want to sign the contracts, but the coal producers don't," said the unnamed Vice General Manager in Anhui Province on December 22, with only three days of inventory left.
World on high alert as China inflation soars
Ominously, outrage is growing in the People's Republic over rising prices, writes Malcolm Moore.
CHINA could be hit by inflation of 7-8 per cent in the next two months, panicking Beijing's policymakers into dramatically raising interest rates, economists have warned.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard London
THE yuan yesterday strengthened beyond 6.6 to the US dollar for the first time since 1993 on speculation that China will allow the currency to advance in an effort to tame inflation.
The slowdown suggests the authorities are at last gaining traction in their ever-more zealous efforts to stop overheating, though many analysts say the credit bubble has already gone too far to avoid trouble this year.
Kaixin OpEd – What pejorative terms these hacks use.
‘ …panicking Beijing's policymakers’
‘ … ever-more zealous efforts’
These hacks are sitting at the feet of economists from the west, waiting for pearls of wisdom to drop from above.
I have to tell you, that is not a pearl of wisdom, it’s a dibble of spit.
These are the same western economists who either caused the GFC or completely failed to see it coming.
They now rush around, the masters of hindsight, and tell the China how to fix everything from their supposed economic problems to how to wipe dribble from their chins.
China has got it right so far …. it’s a fair assumption that China will continue to get it right.
China is fully aware that the worst thing it could do would be to listen to the advice from western economists.