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« Kaixin OpEd - September 2010 | Main | Kaixin OpEd - July 2010 »

Kaixin OpEd - August 2010





Kaixin's Daily OpEd



The Wall Street Journal   31/8/2010

Was Essay a Bank Chief’s Plea for Reform?

When the leaders of major state-owned firms emerge to make a statement in English in which they speak on behalf of their whole industry and not just their own firm, it seems safe to assume something’s up.

Kaixin OpEd - Kaixin hopes that this article is not suggesting that reform equates to making the banking system in China similar to Americas'/Wall Street.

The Global Financial Crisis and its continuing aftermath has clearly shown how corrupt and dysfunctional the American (and a fair proportion of the ‘wests’) banking system is.

The banking system in China undoubtedly needs some reform, and I am sure they will attend to it.

Chinese banking with Chinese Characteristics!


The Wall Street Journal   China RealTime Report   30/8/2010

Beijing Pressures Japanese on Wages

BEIJING—Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao bluntly warned Japan that its companies operating in China should raise pay for their workers, part of a testy exchange on an issue that threatens to become a new irritant in relations between the Asian neighbors.

Kaixin Oped - These uppity Chinese ..... how dare they demand fair wages. They just don't seem to understand, the 'west' (I include Japan as part of the 'west', well, for now) consumes and China does the work.

It's simple really, and for the last three decades it all worked fine. Well, except that the 'west' gorged out on greed and sloth and gave a fair whack of their wealth to China.

Well .............. now we want it back!

Oh, and by the way ...... stop buying our companies and real estate with our money ........


China Daily   30/8/2010

Sino-Japan partnership to help global recovery

BEIJING - China and Japan, the world's second and third largest economies, agreed on Sunday to seek and develop "new engines" for growth, a move that will also help stabilize the global economy.

Premier Wen Jiabao said during a meeting with a Japanese delegation that the "green economy and industries" would be a major part in bilateral economic cooperation.

Kaixin OpEd – This could be very interesting. The potential and conequences for this century are enormous.

Japan must remember the consequences of heeding America’s advice to let their currency appreciate in the late 1980’s.

That caused a recession in Japan that has lasted to this day, over 20 years.

Japan must be watching China handle the same call from America with interest. China is resisting and pointing out, quite accurately in Kaixin’s opinions, that most of the economic problems with America are of its own making.

If China and Japan come together to form a strong economic relationship, then they will be a match for America.

If the other nations in Asia come together then they will become an economic power bloc in their own right.

This will indeed be an interesting century.


Chinese-Japanese economic ties endure financial crisis: Wen

BEIJING - Trade and economic ties between China and Japan had endured the global financial crisis and were back on positive track, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here Sunday.

Kaixin OpEd - Note how the western media haven't caught on just yet.


High-speed railways in S. China to exceed 5,000km

FUZHOU: China will complete building 5,000 kilometers of high-speed railways in the mainland's southern region by 2012 to accelerate its economic integration with the business vibrant Hong Kong and Macao, a senior industry official said Saturday.

The rail tracks, to be laid in the sprawling pan-Pearl Delta region which includes eight provinces and an ethnic autonomous region of the mainland, will account for nearly 40 percent of the country' total in the coming three years.

Another 5,000 kilometers will be completed in the region from 2012 to 2015, said Lu Dongfu, vice minister of the Ministry of Railways, at the 6th Pan Pearl Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum held in Fuzhou, capital of southeast China's Fujian Province.

Kaixin OpEd - I can’t help but ponder that after the stimulus in Australia we ended up with Gucci Tin Sheds in our schools and a huge debt.

China has oodles of infrastructure, including 5000 kms of high-speed railway, and they did it with money in the bank, not debt.


'Difficult moments' predicted

BRUSSELS - China and the European Union (EU) begin week-long talks on Monday to coordinate their stance concerning bilateral and international issues ahead of a string of upcoming global summits. But an official often referred to as Europe's foreign minister who will be leading the EU team in the talks predicted that the bilateral relationship would continue to experience "difficult moments".

Kaixin OpEd - Of course they will have difficult moments. EU officials are firmly rooted …… in the past when it comes to China.

They wheel out their …. oh so politically correct platitudes and treat China with condescending inanities.

Still, it will be their problem. China is getting on with it. Europe can be part of this new century if they want. If they would rather stay in the 20th century, then that is their lookout.


The New York Times   28/8/2010

China: A Stealth Move to Make an Underwater Claim

China  said Thursday that it had used a small, staffed submarine to plant the national flag deep beneath the South China Sea, where it has tussled with other nations in territorial disputes.

Kaixin OpEd - America is pissed off because they didn't get there first.


The Wall Street Journal   28/8/2010

Shining Light On China’s ‘Gray Income’

It’s become increasingly widely accepted among researchers that better-off Chinese people not only hide their money from the taxman, they also don’t honestly answer the survey questions that government agencies use to figure out household incomes. The clear implication is that official income figures are too low.

Kaixin OpEd - Probably.

You can't changes 1000's of years of thinking in just 30 years.

And there is another way to look at it ......

The ‘west’ has evolved fairly open and relatively corrupt free institutions; law, government, bureaucracy, business. Government’s raise their money through taxes, fees and charges. That money is redistributed to pay for the institutions, bureaucracy and the business of government. A significant proportion of the rest is used to achieve essentially socialist aims, ie: social justice.

Also, a significant portion is wasted.

High taxes are needed to keep the whole edifice corrupt free and achieve the socialist aims.

It’s a good system and one we in the west understand.

We see other systems, which demand money for services rendered, particularly government or bureaucracy, as corrupt. We laud our system as open and transparent.

China evolved its institutions over millennia. Its bureaucracy is based on Confucian principles. Also, the other great feature is that not much money is spent by the government on paying officials. Rather, the officials charged directly for their services. Hence, over millennia, entrance to an official post via the examination system was a way of advancing yourself and your family.

Entrance to an official post also required that other great Chinese institution, ren ji guan xi. In the west we call it networking, or the old school boy network. However, it is much more subtle than that and must be understood if you want to (successfully) do business in China.

Taxes in China are very low by western standards. One of the key skills for a successful account in China is to have excellent ren ji guan xi with the relevant officials in the tax department.

There is a direct relationship between taxes and how much a government official is paid, in any society.

High taxes and high pay for government officials mean they do not have to find revenue from other services. Low taxes and low pay to government officials mean that other services generally attract a …. non official fee.

In China it is best to think of these, non official fees, as a direct form of taxation. It is very efficient really, as you only have to pay for the service you want.

It has worked for millennia in China. It is different to the west, but it works and like all things that work, probably doesn’t need fixing.

As China increasingly engages with the west then it will undoubtedly evolve to meet the demands of doing business with these wai guo ren (foreigners). Well, at least become better at the P.R. However it is fanciful to think that a system that has evolved over millennia can be speedily or completely changed. To paraphrase Deng Xiaoping, China will do business the western way – with Chinese characteristics.


Spending by Women Jumps

Despite concerns about China’s consumer spending, a new study suggests that women in Beijing and Shanghai are pulling their weight.

Kaixin OpEd - I'm surprised this venerable rag did not complain that because Chinese women weigh significantly less than women from the 'west', the weight being pulled is also comparatively less; therefore it is a fraud by the Chinese.


China Daily   28/8/2010

China to expand trade with Arab, central Asian countries

YINCHUAN - China's only Muslim autonomous region is hoping to set up a free trade zone to expand two-way trade with Islamic countries, the local government said Friday.

"We are hoping to further trade and economic cooperation with the world's Muslim community," said Ma Fu, head of the commerce department in Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

Kaixin OpEd - How smart is that!?

While the world’s attention is focused on America and how it will extricate itself from the GFC, China has been diversifying its markets.

China knows it cannot rely on America.

While America is busily having wars with Islamic nations, China is forming economic relationships.

I tend to think of China as the wise old man, with lots of patience, America as an adolescent youth full of hormones, with little wisdom, plenty of opinion and no patience whatsoever.


The Wall Street Journal   26/8/2010

Turning Savers Into Shoppers

China’s consumers are optimistic, but they continue to be obsessed with saving money rather than spending it, and a main culprit is still fears about health care, according to a new survey.

Kaixin Oped – Why!!?? To get the over-indebted ‘west’ out of its economic hole?

I doubt this exhortation from the venerable WSJ  is not for China’s economic health.

China is in great economic shape precisely because the Chinese people are frugal and save. The ‘west’ maxed out on credit so they could consume without the need to work. In effect, leaving it to their children (and grandchildren) to pick up the tab.

A cursory glance at what is happening in China will tell you that they do shop. They love shopping. As the wealth of China has increased, they shop till they drop.

BUT!!!!! They do it with real money, NOT credit. (Yes, credit is playing an increasing part in their economy, but not a vital part).

As long as the Chinese people keep a healthy balance between savings and debt their economy will remain strong and they will pass on a positive legacy to their children.

The ‘Flower’ generation of the ‘west’ has systematically stolen the wealth from their children.

A generation of hippies who would rather sit around smoking dope have done just that.

The result has been the GFC, which is nowhere near ending in the ‘west’.

What is the hippie’s solution?

Definitely NOT WORK.

No, it’s blame it all on the Chinese for working and saving and get them to pay the bill.

I think the Chinese are a little too smart for that.


The Wall Street Journal   China RealTime Report   25/8/2010

The Revaluation That Wasn’t

On June 19, China made headlines  by announcing that it was unmooring its currency somewhat from the dollar and letting it move in a “flexible” fashion. While Beijing warned against expecting big currency movements, the expectation globally was that the yuan would appreciate significantly against major currencies.

Kaixin OpEd – This is pathetic – tap tap tap on the watch, “It’s been three minutes and nothing has happened!”.

Is America ever going to grow up?

This fixation on the short term is like a teenager worried about zits.

China has made it abundantly clear. America’s economic woes are self-inflicted. China will integrate the Yuan into the international currency world at its own pace and on its own terms

Cries from desperate American politicians looking for someone to blame for their own incompetence is an un-edifying sight. Followed by the lap-dog American media....... and the U.S. thinks China has State control over the media.

Grow up America and take your medicine. Hard work and thrift will solve your economic woes, not shifting the burden onto another country.


Global Times   24/8/2010

English struggles expose stifled school system

By Harvey Dzodin

Recently I spent a week judging a national English language competition for Chinese youngsters from pre-school through high school. This exhilarating experience confirmed for me much that I had heard about the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese educational system.

I was struck by the fact that everyone had memorized their introductions with care and precision. Unfortunately, I was equally struck by the fact that with a few exceptions, most of the students interacted poorly with each other, even though they knew the topic in advance. It was clear that they just didn't understand.

This was made clear in the question-and-answer session where memorizing was impossible. Most students could not answer the most basic questions and few had the ability to even fudge the answer. Most could be observed repeating the question to themselves under their breath. Their frustration was obvious. It was frankly painful to watch and I shared their pain.

I had heard from many of my Chinese friends that Chinese education was heavy on memorizing and regurgitating undigested information back, but light on thinking and synthesizing. My experiences at the competition certainly drove this point home.

Now it's easier for me to understand why there are no Nobel Prize winners yet who were residents in China when they won, but many winners of Chinese extraction. It also goes some of the distance to answering the riddle of why so many things are made in China, but few are invented here.

I think that part of the reason must rest on the fact that this is still a very Confucian society. Few here dare contradict their teacher or professor, whereas in the West, reasoned challenges are encouraged. Another reason is that the concept of face is so important here. Venturing outside of the safe harbor of mere facts to putting the facts together to reach a conclusion might result in making a mistake and a public loss of face. By contrast, our system encourages the massag-ing of information.

Kaixin OpEd - Excellent insight into the Chinese Education system and indeed the Chinese mind. Xiaosui, who was a teacher in China confirms this.


The New York Times   20/8/2010

Letter From Europe
Building Up Connections With China

KILIANSHOF, GERMANY — The thread that ties China’s 1.3 billion people to this tiny village of 55 in the geographical heart of Germany isn’t immediately visible. But it’s there.

Kaixin OpEd - Great article about how to do business in China. The pitfalls and the rewards.


The Age   18/8/2010

Sorry state of play when China leaves us for dead on climate

Gillard believes and Abbott doesn't - but neither will do anything anyway.

LET'S try a round of word association. China on climate change. What's the first thing that comes to mind? For those paying passing attention to what qualifies as a climate change debate in Australia, the answer is likely to be: villain-in-chief.

A series of announcements over the past month underlines what Ross Garnaut has been saying for a while - that China is miles ahead of Australia on the path to a greener economy, and the gap is widening.

Kaixin Oped - Adam Morton is right. While the 'west' talks a lot about climate change, China is actually doing something.

Adam Morton is also correct, China sees it as an opportunity to be a world leader in 'green' technology.

My next car will be made in China and it will be either all electric or some mix. Who knows what the future holds when the government encourages R&D (That's Research and Development, Julia and Tony).

I am not sure whether climate change is caused by man or not. However, that is not the issue. There does appear to be change and just on environmental grounds alone, man-made pollution of all kinds should be curbed or eliminated.

If significant climate change is on the way, and if man is causing it, then problem solved. If it is not man-made, but some climatic event, then at lease we will be ahead of the curve with technology.

As to Carbon Trading. As long as it is tightly controlled by government and not handed over to Wall Street, I support it. What I would not like to see, is it become another form of gambling for Wall Street.

I expect the government in China will keep tight control.


The Wall Street Journal   18/8/2010

New Parenting Advice in China: Listen

A child-rearing book that has been a runaway success in China has this piece of advice: Listen to your child.

That may not sound like revolutionary parenting advice, but as Yin Jianli, the book’s author has found, it has struck a chord with many Chinese parents as just that.

Kaixin OpEd - Chinese Mums love to ensure the point they are making is well and truly made. They go on, and on, and on …….

I noticed that our son’s face went blank and he simply waited for the noise to abate before getting on with what he was doing.

As he became a teenager he started to rebel and there was much conflict.

My advise, as a parent from the ‘west’, was to listen more and talk less. Instead of being hung up on whether he became extremely successful in everything, perhaps she could be happy if he was happy.

I suggested that before she lectured Yi, she ask herself, “Am I saying anything new?”

If you don’t have anything new to say, then don’t say it.

It seems to be working so far.


China Daily   16/8/2010

Japan PM shuns shrine, apologizes at ceremony

TOKYO - Japan's new liberal prime minister shunned a visit to a shrine that has outraged Asian neighbors for honoring war criminals, breaking from past governments' tradition and instead apologizing on Sunday for the suffering World War II caused.

Kaixin OpEd: About Time! This is a significant step forward for China-Japan relations and for Asia

This is why:

China Daily   17th May 2010

Expert confirms 3,000 victims at Japan’s Unit 731

An expert confirmed that he and his fellow researchers have uncovered new archives proving at least 3,000 people died from human experiments carried out more than 60 years ago by Japan's infamous Unit 731, china.com.cn reported Friday.

Jin Chengmin, an expert on Unit 731 from the Harbin Academy of Social Sciences in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, said they have gotten the names of the more than 3,000 victims who died from biological experiments at Unit 731 in the Pingfang district of Harbin during China's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression from 1937 to 1945.

Besides the victims' names, the files also include their ages, occupations, places of birth, education levels, and some even contain their photographs.

The list of the victims' names will be displayed in a museum that shows the evidences of crimes of Unit 731.

Kaixin - The reason for the continuing tension between China and Japan over issues such as this and the Nanjing Massacre is that Japan will not recognise its culpability nor apologise in any meaningful way.

Nanjing Massacre -  The Nanking massacre has emerged as a fundamental keystone in the construction of the modern Chinese national identity.

Unit 731 - Unit 731 (731 部隊, Nana-san-ichi butai?) was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese personnel.




The New York Times   14/8/2010

I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor
Central Asia's New Silk Roads

China is creating an infrastructure to open landlocked wealth to the world. The West should build on its success.

Kaixin OpEd - Don't miss this move west in China. It's a big one, that will drive China's economic growth for decades to come.


The Wall Street Journal   14/8/2010

China Editorial Takes Aim at U.S.

China is keeping up its barrage of words directed at the U.S., this time with a fiery editorial written by a general in the country’s state-run military newspaper, which calls for the country to be prepared to respond if it is attacked by the U.S.

Kaixin OpEd – What paranoid nonsense in the venerable WSJ! America sails an aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea and threatens China. China responds by saying it will defend itself. China is not taking aim, America is. China is defending itself. There is a difference.


China Daily   14/8/2010

China says to keep reining in housing market

BEIJING -- Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Friday that the government would continue to regulate the housing market and resolutely crack down on speculative property investment and other unreasonable market demands.

He said the government would continue to increase the supply of affordable housing for low-income families in order to consolidate the effects of the regulation over the past months.

He pledged to ensure healthy development of the real estate industry and improve people's living conditions.

Kaixin OpEd – Note that the Chinese Government wants to ‘regulate’ the property market and to ‘increase the supply of affordable housing.’ They are not all that interested in a housing collapse.

One of the side effects of using capitalism to create wealth in China has been real estate speculation.

Deng Xiaoping was a shrewd and visionary leader. He was also a communist. So, why embrace capitalism? As he said, labels are irrelevant. He used what is labelled ‘capitalism’ to unleash the economic potential of China. Unfortunately, communist principles as implemented in the USSR and China had not created economic wealth.

It is Kaixin’s view that while the principle is sound, the implementation has been flawed to date.

Deng Xiaoping sought to find a new way to a communist state based on the socialist principle of equality but with a sound economic base to implement that principle.

Deng Xiaoping was not hung up on ‘labels’, he was interested in effective policy. You could call it ‘capitalism’ and snigger behind your hand, you could call it ‘communism with capitalist characteristics’, you could call it ‘capitalism with Chinese characteristics’, you could call it a camel for all he cared. As long as it was effective, as long as it unleashed the wealth of China.

One of the ‘negative’ side effects of ‘capitalism’ is speculation. Hence, a series of ‘bubbles’ throughout the economic history of the ‘west’.

The latest bubble was the result of Greenspan, the master magician, giving away money and miss-pricing it to solve America’s economic woes. He was a one-trick pony. Got a problem? Give money away. People haven’t got houses, lamented President Bush. Easy, said Greenspan, de-regulate the banks and give the people enough money to buy a house. Easy, peasy pudding and pie. Greenspan turned American real estate into tulips. When there wasn’t enough water, the tulips died, and, with breath-taking stupidity, the Americans blamed China.

You gotta wonder…..

American politicians didn’t want to point to their voter base and suggest they may be to blame. It was easier to blame it on the Chinese and their strong Yuan policy. Problem solved!

After all, we helped Japan solve their strong Yen policy in the late 1980’s, didn’t we????

China is now a world economic power. Deng Xiaoping’s ‘camel’ policy has worked wonders. And this is only the beginning of the century. Thirty years is but the blink of an eye for a dragon.

The Chinese government will address the negative issue of speculation. They don’t have a magic wand, but they do have determination and they don’t have to answer to a greedy and lazy voter base, nor to Wall Street.

There is huge pent up demand in China for real estate, and huge wealth to back it. There is no American style tulip bubble in China, just little pops here and there. Chinese real estate prices will not collapse. They will stabilise and allow the majority of Chinese to catch up. In effect, the socialist principle of economic equality for all.

The Chinese government now has economic wealth to spare. So it is implementing its ‘affordable housing’ policy. Another socialist principle.

And where did the wealth come from? Deng Xiaoping’s ‘camel’ and the hard work of the average Chinese.

See Kaixin's 'China Real Estate' for more information


China Daily   13/8/2010

Home alone in the countryside

Children of migrant workers left in villages nationwide are at serious risk of physical and psychological dangers, mental health professionals have warned following the tragic deaths of five children.

About 58 million left-behind children live in the Chinese countryside, according to a survey by the All-China Women's Federation in 2008.

The number is almost three times of what was recorded in the government's 2000 census.

The rise has been attributed to the vast number of parents who have flocked to cities in search of better salaries, leaving their offspring in the care of older relatives.

Yet, as their numbers have increased, so too has concern over poor educational standards and their general safety, particularly during the summer months.

( Six-year-old Chen Ting from Yingshang county, Anhui province. Both of her parents are migrant workers in Foshan, Guangdong province. ) 


Kaixin OpEd - Before the 'west' points the finger in righteous indignation, perhaps we should consider that we were and are quite happy to benefit from the low cost labour provided by her parents. There is a moral in here, somewhere, don't you think?


The Sydney Morning Herald   12/8/2010

China must reform or die

A Chinese two-star general has warned his conservative Communist Party masters and firebrand People's Liberation Army colleagues that China must either embrace US-style democracy or accept Soviet-style collapse.

Kaixin OpEd – Note that the general is well known for his outspoken views. Pro-democracy supporters will see him as visionary. The average Chinese that we speak to will barely take notice.

As Xiaosui constantly points out when the issue of democracy is raised, China needs a strong central government. When China has been divided it has been weak and exploited. Contemporary Chinese of Xiaosu’s age well remember the stories about the Japanese occupation and the civil war in China.

Now China has peace and prosperity. The average Chinese does not want to rock the boat. The concept of democracy is for the academics and the diss-affected who all think they could run the country better, if only they could seize power. They obviously can’t rise through the ranks of the Communist Party, so they are seeking an alternative route.

The average Chinese know this, and ignore them.

Xiaosui says that over this century, as the general education standard is raised and as China becomes strong then democracy, with Chinese characteristics, may evolve.

She strongly resists it being forced on China by either the ‘west’ or the diss-affected in China.


The Age   11/8/2010

China property prices stall

China's property prices rose at the slowest pace in six months in July as the government cracked down on speculation to prevent asset bubbles.

Kaixin Oped – The ‘west’ just can’t get their head around the Chinese property market. They just can’t comprehend that property can be purchased with cash or minimum debt, as happens in China for the moment.

I am sure once the ‘western’ banks get a toe-hold that will change. Yet they will be fighting a millennia of tradition. A millennia of debt-aversion.

See Kaixin’s ‘China Real Estate’

The expansion of these gigantic cities has been fast, disruptive and unprecedented in world history. It has also been accompanied by rapid price increases. But they have occurred primarily in the first-tier cities. Markets cannot easily price what they have never witnessed before. CHINA DAILY ’   



The Wall Street Journal   11/8/2010

China Trade Surplus Widened in July

BEIJING—China's trade surplus for July widened to its highest level in a year and a half, government data showed Tuesday, likely adding to the pressure on Beijing to allow faster yuan appreciation.

Kaixin OpEd - Jeez, they don't give up, do they? See Kaixin's 'Yuan Revaluation & Internationalisation'


Russell Leigh Moses: Shut-Out, Shut-Down, Shut-Up

Russell Leigh Moses is a Beijing-based analyst and professor who writes on Chinese politics. He is writing a book on the changing role of power in the Chinese political system. Read more by Mr. Moses

For those genuinely interested in change from below in China, these past few months have been a disappointment.

Faced with challenges from civil society, the hardline response by the Communist Party has been to shut-out, shut-down and shut-up


Kaixin OpEd – That’s interesting. Russell Leigh Moses is obviously an informed commentator. However, we are in contact daily with our friends in China. Xiaosui reads the Chinese press online. We have satellite TV, so Xiaosui is able to watch the news direct from China.

We hear nothing but praise for the government in China.

Sure, like people all over the world, our friends like to grumble about the government. Yet, it is like grumbling about a member of your family. It is OK for you to grumble but woe betide anyone else who does.

Sure, there are the usual gaggle of the disaffected who make a loud noise. The ‘western’ media pick up on this and give them media time. This distorts the reality on the ground.

Chinese people essentially want two things: i) To enjoy a peaceful life within China & ii) For China to have a peaceful rise to power. They are not interested in either internal or external wars.



China Daily   11/8/2010

Big city residents are lonely, survey finds

SHANGHAI - An overwhelming majority of people living in China's big cities feel lonely and overburdened, a recent survey has found.

The survey, conducted by Fashion Health magazine, polled 69,000 people nationwide, of whom more than 90 percent said they felt lonely living in big cities.

Kaixin OpEd - Welcome to the 'west' and the small family living apart. You can't be lonely with your family around you. You can be in a nursing home or alone in an apartment.


Editorial - Growing worry

The likely presence of the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington on the Yellow Sea in the coming months has triggered fresh public backlash in China.

The US Department of Defense confirmed Aug 6 that the aircraft carrier would participate in a series of military drills to be jointly conducted with the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the Yellow Sea over the next few months.

Washington and Seoul have chosen to ignore China's security concerns time and again, and this should not be allowed to fester at China's doorstep. This brinksmanship is an open defiance of China's security environment. It has already aroused strong indignation in Chinese society, and the Chinese media.

Kaixin OpEd - America has long been used to sticking its nose in if it served America’s interests. Sometimes it was welcome and sometimes not. Since the fall of the USSR, America has become belligerent. Iraq and Afghanistan are two extreme examples. Yes, the issue of containing terrorism is relevant and the issue is not simple.

However, perhaps it is time America respected the views of a nation or a region and if not invited, not come to the party.

Asia is working out how to live together in harmony. It does not need an American policeman with huge boots and very little understanding of Asian culture to help.

Then again, the last thing America wants is a strong and united Asia strongly aligned to China. Britain used the policy of divide and rule for centuries. Perhaps Clinton has brushed up on her history books.

Also, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that America deeply distrusts the rise and rise of China. Not so much now. Now China is obviously committed to peaceful growth. That growth benefits the world. However, who can say what will happen when China starts to challenge America in power, both economically and militarily.

Every country puts the interests of its citizens first. That is how it should be in the absence of a global village.

A powerful China could well threaten America in the future. So, logically, it is best to contain that power in its early stages and either delay the growth of that power, or better still, stop it.

That is America’s policy, we would argue. China’s policy is the opposite.

Oh well ………….


China Daily   10/8/2010

Film on China's 1976 quake sets box office record

BEIJING - A film telling the story of an earthquake that devastated a Chinese city in 1976 had raked in a record 532 million yuan ($79.4 million) at the Chinese mainland box office as of Sunday, the film's distributors said Monday.

"Aftershock," directed by Feng Xiaogang, became the highest-grossing Chinese-made movie in less than three weeks after its national premier on July 22. It surpassed the takings of "The Founding of a Republic," which earned 420 million yuan, a statement from Huayi Brothers Media Corporation said.

WSJ 31/7/2010 - Critics Say ‘Aftershock’ Whitewashes China’s Past

Just when “Aftershock,” the latest blockbuster movie on a devastating earthquake in 1976, is enjoying sweeping success across cinemas in China and praise from the mainstream media, it’s also attracting an unexpectedly harsh look from some of China’s intellectuals and commentators.

Kaixin OpEd – Xiaosui was ten years old at the time of the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976. She compares the response China was able to mount to the recent earthquakes in China to the feeling of despair and impotency they all felt after the Tangshan Earthquake.

After the Cultural Revolution, China was on its knees economically and emotionally. It is easy to point fingers in hindsight, and certainly there was obviously much to criticise in the governments handling of the situation. However the world has to carry some of that responsibility. The world had isolated China for decades and labelled it a pariah State. That not only crippled it economically, but made it deeply suspicious of the ‘west’. Combined with Mao’s paranoia it was a toxic mix for the Chinese people.

China, I think, wants to move forward not dwell too deeply in the past. Aftershock is a movie essentially to entertain, not to inform. It is not meant to be a documentary. If it initiates some discussion of history, that will be an added positive outcome.



China Daily   8/8/2010

Luxury brands wrest back China market

HONG KONG - Top global luxury brands like Burberry and Coach are pouring funds into China's multi-billion dollar luxury market, wresting control of their brands from Chinese partners as they swoop back into a market set to become world No 1.

Many piled into China over the last decade, pairing with re-sellers and joint venture partners, but with so much at stake, they are severing these ties and bringing their own considerable financial and marketing muscle as well as expertise to China.

Kaixin OpEd - It is an interesting switch, isn’t it? From supplying lost cost widgets to the ‘west’ the ‘west’ is looking to sell luxury goods to wealthy Chinese.

Hmm, it brings to mind an article I penned some time ago in response the Global Financial Crisis:

Tai gui le (too expensive)

Those were the first Chinese words I used. I had walked out of the customs area at GuangZhou airport and was an obvious mark for the helpful young men who descended on me. One led me off with much gesticulating and obvious heartfelt concern for my well-being. The asking price for helping to negotiate around 60 metres was 100 Yuan. I did not know if that was too expensive but I did know that all prices had to be negotiated, so I negotiated. He looked crestfallen, as if I had insulted his mother, grandmother and a string of ancestors. I probably just looked confused. Hence the final price was 60 yuan, which was probably three times as much as I should have paid.

On time 99% of the time. Dream on. The one announcement burned into my psyche is along the lines of, rattle, squawk, static,  we regret to inform you that flight CS - 983 to Nanning has been delayed'.  They pack many more people into Chinese domestic aeroplanes. I got an un-interrupted view of the cabin wall, while resting my knees in my ears. 

On the flight into GuangZhou I saw how a country can accommodate 1.4 billion people. They do it in countless high-rise apartment blocks.  I was intrigued to see farmers working the land beside the airport and in and about the high-rise apartments and factories. That was to become a feature of China for me: the 21st Century beside millennia of tradition, poverty side by side with wealth. In the West we rely on fossil fuels to plant and harvest our food and transport it to where the population is. In China, they rely on labour to a far greater extent do the same thing [though that is obviously changing]. Hence, if there is a major oil shock, the industrial capacity of China will be affected, but they will still be able to feed themselves, basically. How will we do that in the West, since we cannot even plant the crops, let alone have the widespread knowledge to do so? I am not a doom-sayer, indeed I am optimistic about the [re]emergence of China. However, I know which world leaders will be more relaxed about a world oil shock in the short term.

I was going to China to marry a lady, Xiaosui, who I had met while teaching English. Indeed, she owned the school and with her I have met many very interesting and often highly placed people. My China experience was not travelling and sightseeing, it was not going from doss house to doss house and living on noodles, it was not travelling on public transport {though I did go on an extended overnight train journey to KunMing, of which I will regale you with tales of woe and discomfort later}, it was not business, it was not teaching. It was fitting into the heart of a Chinese family and a close network of friends in a small Chinese city largely un-influenced by the west. Indeed, in my first five months I only met two Europeans. I lived in an apartment in the centre of the city beside a lake. So, my view of China is personal and not in the least bit objective.

From the official government web sit on Nanning 'The total population is 6.3470 million, consisting of over 36 minorities, such as Zhuang Nationality, Miao Nationality, Hui Nationality, Yao Nationality, etc. Among all the population, 1.4039 million are urban residents. People of all nationalities are living together friendly and harmoniously. The unique local traditions and the diversified ethnic cultures have provided Nanning with an open, tolerant and creative cured {sic}."

Nanning is located about 250 north of the Vietnamese border. It has always been the trading city between China and Vietnam and still is. It hosts a major Expo each October for SE Asia and is looking to become a hub for SE Asian commerce. Like all cities in China, it is constantly evolving and growing with apartment blocks springing up like the proverbial mushrooms. As I was being driven around, rather alarmingly, in the local taxis {more of that later}, I could not help thinking to myself that if the people in America are wondering where all their money has gone, I can tell them. It is being used to build high-rise buildings and factories in China.

I think of America and China as two houses side by side. America had built a large mansion and tended its gardens very well, growing food and flowers. Beside it was a small mud hut with the land being inefficiently tilled. Then the people in the mud hut started to make clothes for the rich people next door, who soon forgot how to make their own clothes. Then the people in the mud hut built a second mud hut and asked the people in the rich mansion if they could help them set up a factory and show them the technology to make widgets, of which the people in the rich mansion where particularly fond and which were a real pain to make. Best of all, the people in the mud hut could make the widgets for less and less money. And as widgets only had a limited life, that was a good thing, since they could keep on buying them from the people in the mud hut for ever and ever, cheaper and cheaper. There was obviously no need for the people in the rich mansion to work ever again, the people in the mud hut would do it for them. And so on and so on. However, the people in the rich mansion soon found that without working they could not buy widgets, or clothes. So rather than work they first spent their savings [which didn't take long, since they were very meagre indeed], then they persuaded their friendly central bank to print lots of money and being devilishly clever, they paid for the widgets with bits of paper. Ha Ha Ha, sucks on you Chinese.

BUT!, those little bits of paper are still real claims on the wealth of the Rich Mansion.

Over time, the people in the rich mansion not only gave all their money to the people in the mud hut and told them how to make just about everything, they, rather than work, borrowed money to purchase their widgets from the people in the mud hut  -- who all the time were very polite and smiled a lot, while reading Sun Tzu, 'The Art of War'.

Now ­ the people in the rich mansion - which is starting to need some maintenance, I gotta tell you - are in effect renting from the people in the mud hut, who have watched in amusement as this young nation full of hormones goes around the world fighting everyone and throwing its wealth away.  'The Art of War' counsels that you should never extend your lines or dissipate your strength on far away battles, and that the nation that does will surely lose the war.

Postscript:  I use the references to 'The Art of War'  in a tactical and strategic sense not a military sense. China is certainly not looking for a war {in the western sense} with any county. Well, possibly with the exception of Taiwan ... in the fullness of time ..­. when it is propitious .­.. when the people in the rich mansion are fixing their leaking roof.


Oh, and taxi drivers in China should charge at least double for a journey in the front seat of their taxi. It is far more exciting than any theme park ride.




China Daily   7/8/2010

China assists Pacific Islands countries

PORT VILA: China will continue to provide assistance to help the Pacific Island countries build capacity to tackle global financial crisis and climate change, and support the sustainable developemnt of the island countries, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai on Friday.

The Chinese vice foreign minister made the remarks at the the 22nd Pacific Islands Forum's Post Forum Dialogue Meeting, which was held in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila on Friday.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to developing the friendly cooperation with the Pacific Island Countries and will continue provide economic and technology assistance to the island countries, he said.

"China is ready to maintain the high-level exchanges,deepen economic and trade cooperation, further strengthen cooperation with Pacific Islands regional organizations," he told the delegates.

"China will push forward its relations with the island countries to a higher level based the five principles of Co- existence," he added.


Carrying Forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the Promotion of Peace and Development

Speech by Wen Jiabao Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China At Rally Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence




   1. Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty (互相尊重主权和领土完整)
   2. Mutual non-aggression against anyone. (互不侵犯)
   3. Mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs (互不干涉内政)
   4. Equality and mutual benefit (平等互利)
   5. Peaceful co-existence (和平共处)


Caixin Online   6/8/2010

Following the Money, Reporter Becomes Fugitive

Investigative reports uncovering fraud and corporate misconduct at the Zhejiang Kan Group sent a 28-year-old journalist on the run from the local police

(Shanghai) – A sudden squall when an arrest warrant for a journalist was issued by Suichang County Public Security Bureau disappeared within a span of 36 hours after scattering across national headlines.

Kaixin Oped - The Chinese Media (see Global Times above as well) are fighting back. They are fighting for a more open China. This will take some time, but it is a fight that will eventually benefit all Chinese we believe.


The New York Times   6/8/2010

Chinese Paving the Road to Freedom With Cash

BEIJING — “They’re all millionaires. They’ve made it,” said Mikael Charette of the thousands of wealthy Chinese — his clients — who apply to emigrate to Canada every year on that country’s investment immigration program.

Kaixin OpEd - Well worth a read. The Chinese people we speak to aren't really interesting in living overseas now. After all, if they are middle class they have a much higher standard of living in China. Wealthy Chinese are protecting their wealth and trying to ensure their children have the best prospects. Over the next decades, people in the 'west' will start to see China as a place to live and be educated.


China Daily   6/8/2010

Foreign au pairs part of the family - VIDEO

 With no knowledge of the Chinese language and no second thoughts, Javier Cantu boarded a flight to Beijing carrying only his luggage and an eagerness to learn.

The 22-year-old University of Texas senior said he always spends his summers traveling around the world; China is the 32nd country he can add to his list. But this trip is no ordinary vacation. He moved in with a family from Beijing, which he thinks is the most valuable way to learn about Chinese culture.

"If I can stay with a family long enough, I am going to learn the language, because I'd be completely submerged in it," he said. "That was my motive."

The Li family was specifically looking for a native English speaker to come help their kids begin learning. Rather than a formal setting with specific class times, Javi treats them to ice cream, but only after they properly ask for it in English.

"The children may grow up and say, 'my family had a big brother before who came from another country, and I want to go to another country,'" Li Lin said. "I have two children, and I hope when they grow up, they can be free."

Some say China's growing global appeal is a result of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and this year's World Expo in Shanghai. Others say China's emergence onto the political and economic world stage is responsible for drawing people from overseas.

Michael Xie said he thinks it's a combination of all of that. Xie is the manager of the International Department of the Beijing-based HHS Center, a group dedicated to matching foreigners with Chinese families looking for au pairs and language teachers to live with them. Since opening in 2007, the program has seen a consistent increase in applicants, bringing 6 au pairs to China in the second half of their first year, 28 au pairs in 2008 and 53 in 2009.

Kaixin OpEd – Now, that is interesting. I often marvel at the life Xiaosui experienced in the 1970s. China was very poor and the standard of living for many people was in effect poverty level. Sometimes without even enough to eat. I (Graeme) ponder that my life in the 1970’s was little different to now in material comfort. Oh yes, the widgets of which we are so fond in the ‘west’ have improved in technological terms, but they are little different: colour TV, stereos, kitchen appliances, home appliances, private motor vehicles, enough to eat, plenty of consumer goods. China had none of that for the average person.

Now China in many ways is more advanced than the ‘west’ in most of those areas. When Xiaosui first came to Australia in 2007 she asked why our Internet was so third world. Her friends in China could not believe how backward we were.

Now, the Chinese upper middle class are hiring au pairs!

I commented on this transfer of wealth yesterday. Basically, you can’t sit on your ar.e for 30 years while your next door neighbour works and expect to have the same standard of living. Even if you next door neighbour started out poorer than you.

… Americans (and most people in advanced ‘western’ economies) became increasingly lazy after 1979 when Deng Xiaoping took the leash off the Chinese economy and negotiated access to the American market.

“Why work, when we can have a Chinese peasant do it for us.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

Millions of peasants making just a few cents a widget adds up over the years. It was a transfer of wealth from America and the ‘west’ to China. America and the ‘west’ decided that work was old hat; financial engineering was the way to go.

Which all led to the Great Financial Crisis, founded on the delusion that you did not have to create real wealth at all. The financial geniuses on Wall Street turned American houses into tulips with the inevitable consequence.

The Chinese peasants are still only making a few cents a widget, and working as hard as ever. But, they have put the price of the widget up a couple of cents.

The money flow from west to east is increasing. This is finally worrying America. Rather than actually address the problem by working, Americans now blame the Chinese peasants for working too hard and defrauding the American worker. America wants to play US$ exchange rates and steal the money back. Anything but work!!!

This century will see the rise and rise of China. The transfer of wealth from the west to the east will continue until the west finally realises it has to actually work to create wealth.

Could take some time …


US-Vietnam nuke deal 'destabilizing'

BEIJING - The "advanced negotiations" between the United States and Vietnam to share nuclear fuel and technology disrupt international stability, Chinese analysts have said.

"The US is used to employing double standards when dealing with different countries ... as a global power that has promoted denuclearization, it has challenged its own reputation and disturbed the preset international order," said Teng JianqThe US and Vietnam - two former Cold War foes - are in advanced talks to share nuclear fuel and technology, which could "unsettle" China, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Hanoi will reportedly be allowed to enrich uranium on its own soil, a move that is also expected to hamper global nuclear nonproliferation effortsun, deputy-director of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, on Thursday.

Kaixin OPEd - The double standard is truly alarming. Perhaps my observations are accurate:

America has long been used to sticking its nose in if it served America’s interests. Sometimes it was welcome and sometimes not. Since the fall of the USSR, America has become belligerent. Iraq and Afghanistan are two extreme examples. Yes, the issue of containing terrorism is relevant and the issue is not simple.

However, perhaps it is time America respected the views of a nation or a region and if not invited, not come to the party.

Asia is working out how to live together in harmony. It does not need an American policeman with huge boots and very little understanding of Asian culture to help.

Then again, the last thing America wants is a strong and united Asia strongly aligned to China. Britain used the policy of divide and rule for centuries. Perhaps Clinton has brushed up on her history books.

Also, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that America deeply distrusts the rise and rise of China. Not so much now. Now China is obviously committed to peaceful growth. That growth benefits the world. However, who can say what will happen when China starts to challenge America in power, both economically and militarily.

Every country puts the interests of its citizens first. That is how it should be in the absence of a global village.

A powerful China could well threaten America in the future. So, logically, it is best to contain that power in its early stages and either delay the growth of that power, or better still, stop it.

That is America’s policy, we would argue. China’s policy is the opposite.

Oh well ………….


China Daily   5/8/2010

My visit to Tibet
By Sirkka Korpela

Like so many other people in the West, for a long time I have had a very romantic idea of Tibet as a mystical fantasy land. When, before the Beijing Olympics, somebody asked me what I thought about the riots in Lhasa, I realized I didn't really know anything about the past or the present reality in Tibet! This made me decide to start learning about the history and the current reality in Tibet.

Contrary to the romantic idea prevalent in the West, I learned that before 1959 Tibet had been a feudal, almost medieval society, where serfs were bound to their masters'land and to their accumulating, hereditary debts to the landowners; slaves could be bought and sold and their hands could be lopped off or eyes gauged out for almost any offence against their masters from the small nobility class. There were no schools besides religious teachings in the monasteries and very few people could read or write.

I also learned how Tibet had been used as a geopolitical pawn by foreign powers, especially the United Kingdom, and for destabilization efforts by the CIA during the Cold War.

This summer I finally had a chance to go to Tibet and see the reality with my own eyes.

Kaixin OpEd – This article will be dismissed by most people in the ‘west’ as propaganda. I had not paid that much attention to Tibet as an issue until I met Xiaosui. I accepted the ‘western’ propaganda. Xiaosui pointed out that there were two sides to the issue. She also told me of the long history of Tibet and it relationship to China. This is all set out in Kaixin’s ‘China & Tibet’.

I am now amused when I listen to people become excited over those terrible Chinese who have destroyed the Tibetan Culture. I notice that most have never been to Tibet. Those that have went with the intention of finding fault with anything to do with China.

“The train is a travesty that destroys Tibetan culture and is only there to facilitate more Han Chinese going to Tibet,” is the mantra.

They never seem to ask the Tibetans what they think. I, like Sirkka Korpela, have now done a lot of research on Tibet. I have not been there but at least I have opened my mind.

I suggest that people in the west open theirs and try not to be led by the nose. If you are truly concerned, then I suggest you research the issue and go to Tibet to speak to a wide range of people.

China & Tibet


Global Times   4/8/2010

Global Times

Editorial - How can we make the world like us?

The recent news that China is now the world's second largest economy generated little enthusiasm from the Chinese public.

Has China's ascending status brought the nation the admiration and the acceptance of other countries?

The Chinese people have long regarded national strength as fundamental to winning respect and affection from the rest of the world. Many Chinese people still swallow the bitter memories of past poverty and the humiliation associated with it.

Many believe wealth is a true test of a country's status and ability, and nothing can bond partners closer than mutual economic benefit.

China finds it necessary to show the world what it can do. In today's international community, national strength is still the deciding factor of a country's influence. It is also an effective stimulus to domestic audiences. However, topping the power rankings is not a guarantee a country will be loved by the rest of the world.

While China continues to exert a more confident image, it is also meeting some resistance from the world, even from its old friends. From the snooty coverage by overseas media outlets to various polls of public perception in foreign countries, these suggest that China is facing a challenge to improve its image.

The key to persuading the world that China is a positive force lies in finding and conveying ideas that resonate in people's heart. Like a person with only a strong figure but empty mind, he or she can find few followers.

Kaixin - The headline contains, perhaps, the nub of the issue. It can be read two ways. i) How can we make the world our friend and treat us with respect, or, ii) how can we make the world the same as us, mould it to our image.

The first extends the hand of friendship, the second is a threat.

The ‘west’ tends to see China as shrouded in mystery and double meanings. The headline tends to re-enforce that view.

The ‘west’ is not going to like China because of what it achieves, or because it has become rich and powerful. That threatens the ‘west’.

The Olympic Games (and the World Expo) were a double-edged sword for China. For those in the ‘west’ who support China and do not feel threatened, we are pleased to see just how far China has come as a nation since 1979. It is the proclamation of just what  ‘emancipation of the mind’ can achieve. However, the ‘ears’ of most people in the ‘west’ are still ringing with 60 years of anti-communist China propaganda. Most people in the ‘west’ know very little about China. They feel threatened, and let their politicians know in no uncertain terms.

Quite persistence and patience will win the day. The rise and rise of China is ensured. How the world sees that rise is really up to China. It first has to overcome fear and suspicion from the ‘west’. That cannot be dispelled with talk alone, only with actions over time.

Keep on telling the story, eventually people will listen.

Also, remember, that while America probably accepts that rise of China is peaceful for now. It does not guarantee that in the future, when China can match America economically and militarily, it will remain peaceful. Every nation’s first priority is to protect its citizens. America, perhaps, sees it is best to contain China now to prevent their citizens facing a threat in the future. Something to ponder …..



The Australian   3/8/2010

U.S. enlists China's worried neighbours

BARACK Obama's stance on Chinese naval ambitions is hardening, and Asian states are glad of it.

Like two circling titans, the US and China have now locked arms in a struggle for global pre-eminence that will define international politics and power for the next half century.


Kaixin OpEd - First published March 2010 'Where to now America?'

America states that is obligated to sell arms to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act under Sec. 3302 Enacted 10 April 1979:
Sec. 3302. Implementation of United States policy with regard to Taiwan

(a) Defense articles and services:
In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 3301 of this title, the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.
(b) Determination of Taiwan's defense needs:
The President and the Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan, in accordance with procedures established by law. Such determination of Taiwan's defense needs shall include review by United States military authorities in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress.
(c) United States response to threats to Taiwan or dangers to United States interests:
The President is directed to inform the Congress promptly of any threat to the security
or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan and any danger to the interests of the United States arising therefrom. The President and the Congress shall determine, in accordance with constitutional processes, appropriate action by the United States in response to any such danger.
 This Act came into force the same year the United Stated formalised relations with China pursuant to the following document:


Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between China and US January 1, 1979


The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to recognize each other and to establish diplomatic relations as of January 1, 1979.
The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China reaffirm the principles agreed on by the two sides in the Shanghai Communique and emphasize once again that:
--Both wish to reduce the danger of international military conflict.
--Neither should seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region or in any other region of the world and each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony.
--Neither is prepared to negotiate on behalf of any third party or to enter into agreements or understandings with the other directed at other states.

--The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.

--Both believe that normalization of Sino-American relations is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the cause of peace in Asia and the world.
'The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China will exchange Ambassadors and establish Embassies on March 1, 1979.'
This was followed in 1982 with an
agreement with China to reduce and eventually eliminate sales of arms to Taiwan:
‘The US describes arms sales to Taiwan as a "long-standing commitment to provide for Taiwan's defensive needs".
But Gong Li, deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies at the Central Party School, said Washington was missing a key point.
"The US claims that it must fulfil its promise of protecting Taiwan; however, it should also remember its declaration in the joint communique (signed in 1982) that it would reduce arms sales until they are totally stopped.
"With good prospects for cross-Straits relations, there is no need to sell Taiwan those weapons at all. Under the circumstances, the US action is improper."’

Over the intervening years America has consistently, against formal protests by China, sold arms to Taiwan.
In 1979 China was vulnerable to the U.S and has been so until the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). The Olympics showed the world the new China. The GFC showed just how strong China was economically. The world started to take notice and, after 50 years of anti-Chinese rhetoric and propaganda by western governments and media, people started to feel threatened.
Uncle Sam was happy to have those little Chinese people making widgets for them and lending the money created to the United States, but was not after a partner on the world stage. Uncle Sam had become used to dictating terms to the world.  After all, it had won the cold war, which clearly showed that democracy and capitalism triumphed over communism. Like a giant Labrador puppy it has been loping around the world spreading the good news, whether you wanted it or not.
China, from 1979, heeded Deng Xiaoping’s advice and kept a low profile while growing strong. China swallowed the many insults hurled at it along the way, of which sales of arms to Taiwan was just one. However, Deng did not envisage China remaining a weak power indefinitely. At some stage it would have to take its place on the world stage; 2008, the Olympic Games, was the public announcement of that.
However, the Chinese people remembered the insults and the bullying.
Since the Global Financial Crisis China has emerged strong than ever. Possibly, it is now time to do something about those insults.
Why did America approach China in 1972? It had no need to, it had China contained. It certainly could not have been a sudden feeling of bon homie and good will towards China. I sometimes think that Uncle Sam mistakes f…ing a country for making love.
No, it was not bon homie or a sudden desire to trade with China. It was to contain Russia. After the Vietnam war America was tired and weak. It must have realised that if China and Russia got back together they would be a formidable force to be reckoned with. The best way to stop that was to become friends with China. My friend’s enemy is my enemy.  There was no love lost between Russia and China so things proceeded. 
In 1979 President Carter signed the ‘Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between China and US’.
Why did China sign? China knew that if it was to stand up in the world it had to get the United States off its back. By 1979 Deng Xiaoping was effectively in power and he knew that China needed a market if it was to become economically strong from which all else would follow.
Back  to the Communiqués and Acts that heralded rapprochement between America and China:
‘The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.’
‘The Government of the United States of America acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China.’
So, pursuant to that wording, sale of arms to Taiwan is a direct attack on China. Taiwan is not a separate country defending its sovereignty, as America would have us believe. Yes, America reserved the right to have independent relations with Taiwan and to pursue commercial interests, but there is no formal wording about arms sales. That is reserved for the domestic Act.
In the same year, April 1979, America enacted the Taiwan Relations Act. A domestic Act that has no international legal standing as far as I can tell. The wording in this Act show an arrogant nation that will send arms to Taiwan at America’s sole discretion and ‘based solely upon their [ America’s] judgment of the needs of Taiwan,’.
That is a little like me enacting a law that my neighbour has to give me his house. It would be like China enacting a law that said that America has to send all its arms to China.
Law on any level has to be enforceable. In 1979, and until now, America could enforce the Taiwan Relations Act with the use of force.
Can it now?
In 1982 America crossed its heart and said it would be a good world citizen and slowly reduce sales of arms to Taiwan, eventually ceasing sales altogether. It was a little like President Obama’s pledge of friendship and rapprochement with China in 2009; the Nobel Peach Prize winner who is now pushing China to the brink.
From WWII America build up military bases around the world. It contained China with bases in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.
During that time America could enforce its arms sales. It could enforce it domestic law.
Over the years China has been building up relationships with its neighbours in Asia. There is now a strong Trade Group, CAEXPO:


The Objective of CAEXPO
Based on the Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, with the sole objectives of promoting the building of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, and striving for mutual benefits and common prosperity, the China-ASEAN Expo focuses on regional economic and trade cooperation and provides tremendous opportunities for the business communities from all over the world.
The sponsors
Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China
Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam
Ministry of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia
Ministry of the Trade of the Republic of Indonesia
Ministry of the Trade of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia
Ministry of Commerce of the Union of Myanmar
Department of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Philippines
Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Singapore
Ministry of Commerce of the Kingdom of Thailand
Ministry of Trade of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
ASEAN Secretariat
 Japan is now looking at China and questioning its relationship with America. A significant step towards that was recently taken when Japan publicly acknowledged that is was the aggressor nation in the 1930’s and took responsibility.
Which country in the Asia region is going to support an American military strike? I would suggest, none.
From a practical point of view, they would all become the battleground for America’s foreign policy. Their country and peoples would suffer huge damage and loss. North Korea would side with China and march into South Korea. Japan would have to consider the benefit of becomes a cinder in the pacific, as would Taiwan. The Philippines like wise, though it is further away. 
All those countries, I would argue, would rather have peaceful trade with China and ride with the dragon to mutual prosperity. Imagine the pressure from the Taiwanese business groups, many of whom have factories in China and rely on trade with China. Imagine if China ceased all trade with Taiwan and ejected all Taiwanese from China citing that if they regard themselves as a separate foreign country, then they can all go back home.
If my analysis is correct, then America has effectively lost it bases in Asia.
And, which countries in the world will support America? America’s credibility on waging war is a little in tatters after Iraq. On the Dialogue programme the presenter ended the discussion on this issue with the observation that China is a member of the UN Security Council and will use its position to the full extent.
The Chinese people clearly support their government and do not want it to back down this time. They are prepared to accept any consequences that flow from that.
To be absolutely clear, China does not want a war. It prefers discussion to resolve issues. However, it also remembers the insults and knows that at some time it has to stand up to America. As one commentator noted, ‘America is lurking behind the peaceful rise of China.’
Is this the time?
I believe that the America administration ran up the flag when it sent Congress the notice of the arms sale. It was good for its domestic political agenda and they wanted to see if China would blink again.
A spokesman for the Washington Brookings Institute, Dr Kenneth Lieberthal, on CCTV-9 last night re-affirmed that America had no choice in the matter of the arms sale as it was bound to comply with its domestic law. He noted that the Pentagon had made the assessment that Taiwan was vulnerable to attack and under the law had to supply arms to redress the balance. That the sale was just rounding out a process stared by the Bush Administration. Finally, he expressed surprise that China was so concerned this time. He clearly stated the Washington was not stirring up trouble, that China was over-reacting. So, America argues, if anything develops China is at fault. My comment – what self satisfied and dangerous rot.
All the reports from China is that it will not blink this time. China has made its position absolutely clear. It has told America what it would do in terms of trade sanctions. China knows clearly that they will also be hurt, but is prepared to accept that. China is now waiting to see if America blinks.
A senior PLA General has said that if America continues to snipe at China then a ‘soft war’ in 2010 is inevitable. My concern is that one slip, and a soft war could well become very hot indeed.
So, where to now America?


Global Times   2/8/2010

Grass not always greener on other side of ocean

A friend of mine asked me last month whether I thought she should move to Canada or the US. At about the same time, another friend who just had a baby and gained a promotion told me that emigration is the next priority on his agenda.

Both are well-educated young professionals living a comfortable life in Beijing.

It shouldn't surprise me. After all, I have been reading constantly in recent months about a fresh wave of emigration that seems to have become a fad among the newly wealthy in China.

There aren't specific statistics to show how many of the rich have left China. But the major destination countries for immigrants all feel the impact.

Among the reasons the Chinese elites give for their push for emigration are cleaner air, a more orderly society and better education for their children.

But my suspicion is that not all Chinese immigrant wannabes have fully understood the price they have to pay for these perks, because even in an information era like ours, knowledge isn't always equal.

Kaixin – This is certainly the experience of most of the Chinese we know who are living overseas, or have lived overseas. Xiaosui’s friend moved to New Zealand with her husband. He was an engineer and she was a lecturer at University. His qualifications were not fully recognised and he struggled to get a well paying job. When he did get a job in the engineering field his pay was substantially less that his peers. Her university qualifications were not recognised at all, so she could only get office work with a Chinese firm specialising in Student Visas. Her husband got sick of it and went back to China to open a factory. The New Zealand firm contacted  him and asked him to return, as they had just been asked to install and maintain a large piece of machinery which had been manufactured in China. He declined and is now making squillions in China manufacturing and exporting.

Xiaosui’s friend is a university educated teacher. Her qualifications are not recognised in Australia so she works as a waitress. She works with several Chinese, all university educated. They would rather work at a menial job than sit at home and do nothing. Xiaosui’s friend recounts the story of an Australian women who came to work for one night and left saying ‘the work is too hard, I’m going back on the dole.”

However, it is not the none-recognition of qualifications, or the menial work that most upsets our Chinese friends. It is the insistent and insidious racism. This is more evident in the low paying jobs where they are working with ill-educated people with definite prejudices.

As an Australian, I was completely taken aback at this when Xiaosui first came to Australia. I had thought Australia had moved past all this. I was wrong.

Learning a new language and fitting into a new culture is hard.

There are no Chinese that we know who would encourage their friends to follow them.

When China first opened up after 1979, going overseas was the thing to aspire to. China was poor and people had just been through the trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Overseas qualifications were highly sought after in China.

Not now.

China is now rich and rising. The lifestyle of the middle class in China is generally far higher than most overseas countries, including America, England, Europe, Australia.

Combined with the problems outlined above, leaving China has ceased to be a good choice for most Chinese.

It is Kaixin’s opinion that within the next 10 – 20 years people from the ‘west’ will be wanting to live in China.




Kaixin's Daily OpEd








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Set in Zanzibar in 1910, it is the story of two people from different worlds falling in love. Susan immerses herself in Zanzibar. Asim falls in love with this woman from the nation that killed his wife. Susan is a spy. Asim is the chief advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar. Germany and France are holding secret negotiations to form a Pan European alliance, which would isolate Britain and destroy her power. Susan and Asim are caught up in all this and their love is finally dashed on the cold, hard reality of international high politics.



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 Chapter One


'A maharaja’s ruby cast on a Persian carpet by the blackest of hands'



Their souls danced, honouring his promise.

The ancient dhow stirred in the soft morning breeze. Like a sleepy lion, it began to move through the water, snuffling about the other boats on the harbour; some scurrying, some at anchor, some darting before a brief gust of wind. The lateen sails a bustling panorama of blood-red and sun-bleached white.

Aft, the woman's eyes searched the skyline, drinking in the architecture of Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar; its jagged, cluttered silhouette so familiar, so much a part of her soul.

Abruptly, her eyes ceased their restless searching, jagged by an invisible hook, transfixed by the grand buildings on the northern shore, Beit-al-Ajaib, the House of Wonders, Palace to the great Sultan of Zanzibar. The distinctive architecture captured in the tropical light: coconut white outlined by contrasting shadow plays of pepper black.

A smile, ever so slight, started to play on the edge of her mouth then disappeared. A memory that should have been fond instantly turned to sharp unbearable pain. Her eyes hardened and moved on.

Without warning the captain threw the rudder over. Stumbling, the woman barked her shin on a wooden box, a rough-hewn coffin. She recoiled, knocking over an untidy stack of cane baskets. Imprisoned in the baskets, rusty cockerels, their scruffy heads straining through the latticework, snapped at her, cried out to her; their raucous din overwhelming her, drowning her.

Dimly, through the fog of noise, the strident swearing of the sailors in Kiswahili seeped into her conscious. Understanding, she smiled mirthlessly.

The coffin had been carelessly stowed, a chore, rather than a labour of respect or love.





London 1910


“Hello, who are you? I am Oliver, is Edward at home?”

The words were spoken by a tall, impeccably dressed young man as he rushed into Edward’s flat shaking off surplus water and calling for whisky while shoving his umbrella into a stand. It was a blustery, grey, bitterly cold February afternoon in the heart of London. He brushed a curl of soft auburn hair from his forehead and smiled charmingly.

Susan laughed, her hazel eyes dancing with the exhilaration of the new. “Yes, he is having a bath. I think he is trying to get warm. I’m Susan, Susan Carey, his sister.”

“Ahhh yes, from Australia. How do you do?” said Sir Oliver, smiling broadly and offering his hand. He noticed the laughter in her eyes, and the depth, particularly the depth, intensified by jade flecks that made them striking and alluring. “So, you have arrived, good trip I trust.”

“I am very well thank you, and yes, it was a good trip,” replied Susan.

He laughed and glanced at the sitting room, “whisky?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, please come in…….. that was silly of me, after all, it is your flat.”

Oliver smiled and gestured for Susan to lead the way. He followed her into the room, and after helping himself to a generous portion of whisky, walked over to the fire.

Shortly after, Edward, wrapped in a huge ruby-coloured dressing gown and wiping soap from his ear strode into the room. He was of similar age to Oliver, late twenties, well built, if slightly podgy, with dark auburn hair and a full moustache. Susan looked up and smiled to herself, she could see now where he had picked up some of his new mannerisms.

“Thought I could hear voices. I see you two have met, no need for introductions then.”

As he was speaking, Edward walked to the side table and grabbed a whisky decanter by the neck. He glanced at Oliver who nodded. A long finger snaked into one of the tumblers followed by the distinctive clink of crystal. He swept the decanter off the table and carried it to where Oliver was sitting. After pouring the whisky, he sank into a lounge chair and sipped from his glass, enjoying the warm glow as it spread through his body.

Suddenly he sat up exclaiming, “Sorry sis, would you like something to drink?”

“Kind of you to remember, but no thank you, and yes, Oliver has already inquired.”

Edward nodded and sank back into his lounge chair.

They chatted, tentatively at first, getting to know one another. Edward had not seen Susan for two years and was unsure how his sister would take his new relationship. Oliver was intrigued by Susan. An attractive, self-assured young lady of high intelligence with a degree was a rare find. And, as fate would have it, she was also a trained and experienced teacher. He suggested a picnic at Oxford, which was met with ready acquiescence. Arrangements were made for the following Sunday.

“I’ll see if the Rolls is available,” mused Oliver. “Must ring father, haven’t spoken to him in ages.”

Oliver, Sir Oliver Marchmaine, was an unaffected young man of intense intelligence who saw life as a great adventure to be lived to the full. He was also unyieldingly loyal to his country, England, which is why he had joined Military Intelligence on leaving Oxford.

It was 1910 and Europe was stirring. It was a time full of interest, intrigue and danger. The European chessboard was becoming increasingly complex, the moves more subtle. A time when an unexpected move or feint could have profound consequences.



Regaining her balance, the woman’s eyes were drawn, hesitantly at first, resisting back to Beit-al-Ajaib. She wondered if it was still the same. Still the same centre of power and intrigue that had been so much a part of her life all those years before; that had defined her life.

She remembered those first few moments, remembered standing in the foyer of the palace, .………… remembered the breathtakingly beautiful Persian tapestry ........

The sea breeze stirred her clothes. She smiled a little sadly, and in her mind the tapestry gently swayed. Two small apparitions ran giggling up the stairs: two small exquisitely rich burkas disappearing along the first floor landing. Childish squeals of mischief and joy left in the air.......

“Move to seaward, you accused of Allah! Move!”

Her thoughts were clawed back to the dhow, the captain crashing the tiller over to avoid another boat on the crowded harbour. The woman instinctively ducked her head to avoid the heavy boom as it swung over her, the rusty cockerels squawked their raucous indignation, their heads straining through the latticework, relentless.

The collision avoided, the dhow continued on its way. The cacophony dying down to the occasional command by the captain or the cry of a seagull.

The woman's thoughts returned to Beit-al-Ajaib

  …………. laughing and giggling, girls of seven or eight. A door on the first floor slammed and all sounds of them disappeared. Silence. The woman smiled. She could see herself, a young woman, dressed plainly, unselfconsciously, her sexuality tantalisingly just out of reach, hidden beneath the thin veil of her clothing. She remembered standing alone in the foyer, looking around, perplexed. Asim came through a door to the left of the tapestry.


The woman started and looked around. Then, realising, was cold again. Alone again. Alone, rocking to and fro to the rythm of the sea. Alone, beside a rough-hewn coffin.






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Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

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