Some Juicy Political Gossip. With Lots Of Chinese Names Involved

February 11, 2012

Some Juicy Political Gossip. With Lots Of Chinese Names Involved

Lang Li writes from Chongqing: Here’s some seriously juicy political gossip from the heart of China. The word is that Wang Lijun, deputy mayor of Chongqing, a  municipality of 29 million people, has vanished. Rumour has it that he has sought political asylum in the US consulate in Chengdu. Apparently, after debriefing him, the Americans decided that he was too hot a potato to keep and sent him on his way. Just imagine what the Chinese government would have made of the claim that the US had granted him political asylum. Beijing would have accused the Americans of drugging, kidnapping or waylaying him. The question here though is this: ‘What did Wang tell the yanks?’ The fallout from Wang’s downfall may have a negative effect on Bo Xilai, the dynamic first Communist Party secretary of... 

Is China Pushing America And Europe Out Of Africa? Sure Is

February 11, 2012

Is China Pushing America And Europe Out Of Africa? Sure Is

Samuel Marshall writes from Addis Ababa: How about that huge tower block that the Chinese have built for the Organisation of African States in the  Ethiopian capital? Yes, the Chinese are smart. They go for high profile projects that stand out so that the locals cannot miss them. They are saying to all Africans: ‘We’re building your future’. The arrival of the Chinese has come as a shock to the American and European dispensers of aid. The Anglo-Saxon approach is to treat the locals as overgrown children who need to be taught the rules of modern life. What are their priorities? Human rights, equality of the sexes, freedom of the individual and the rule of law. The Americans are worse offenders than the British, the French, the Germans and the Scandinavians. Uncle Sam downgrades the... 

Setting The Record Straight About That Veto That Russia And China Used

February 10, 2012

Setting The Record Straight About That Veto That Russia And China Used

Anton Goryunov writes from Damascus: All you people out there who’ve been going apeshit, accusing Russia and China of supposedly encouraging President Bashar al-Assad to kill more of his people by blocking a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, get a grip. Have you actually bothered to read the text of the draft of that resolution? No? Well, before you go on bashing Russia and China, accusing them of all the crimes in the world, have a glance through it and see for yourself that it made absolutely no sense, just like most of UN documents. The resolution proposed imposing a dead line on the Syrian regime of three weeks to stop all hostilities and pull out its troops from all the major areas of conflict. How exactly is that possible in a country that is ravaged by civil war, with the opposition... 

Has China Shot Itself In The Foot By Vetoing The Resolution On Syria?

February 9, 2012

Has China Shot Itself In The Foot By Vetoing The Resolution On Syria?

Martin McCauley writes from Beijing: China’s veto of the UN Security Council’s resolution on Syria was greeted with jubilation in Damascus. However, it produced the opposite effect in many Arab capitals. For the first time, China’s policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries may cost it dear. The guiding principle of Beijing’s foreign policy since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 has been to promote harmony and stability worldwide. The main reason for this is that the Middle Kingdom has a voracious appetite for energy and raw materials to promote its rapid economic development. Its economy is energy intensive. For example, China needs four times the amount of oil as the United States to increase production by one unit. It is opening a new coal fired power station... 

Beijing Is Facing A New Threat: The Abduction Of Its Nationals Abroad

February 8, 2012

Beijing Is Facing A New Threat: The Abduction Of Its Nationals Abroad

Anonymous writes from Beijing: A problem is facing the Chinese governement: how to protect its nationals working around the world. A few days ago criminals had abducted 25 Chinese factory workers in the Sinai peninsula, supposedly to alert everyone to foreign labour taking away jobs from the locals. The Egyptians figured that if they seized Chinese workers, they would get an immediate response from Cairo and Beijing. They were right. The workers were quickly released, presumably with a pay-out to soothe local grievences. The week before 29 Chinese construction workers were abducted in the South Kordofon region of Sudan. China’s response was to dispatch a Ministry of Foreign Affairs team to consult with the Sudanese authorities. Releasing the workers topped the agenda but Beijing was concerned... 

Bashar Al-Assad Is Following In Gaddafi’s Footsteps: Fighting To The Death

February 1, 2012

Bashar Al-Assad Is Following In Gaddafi’s Footsteps: Fighting To The Death

Martin McCauley writes from Tampa: The Syrian army has retaken some of the Damascus suburbs held by the rebels. Activists report that 2,000 soldiers and 50 tanks have moved into Kfar Batna, Saqba, Deraa and elsewhere. House to house arrests followed. The Free Syrian army engaged in a tactical withdrawal in the face of such military force. Does this mean that President Bashar Al-Assad has decided to carry out his threat to destroy opponents of the regime? His detractors grimly comment that he is not called Bashar for nothing. He is hell bent on grinding the protesters into the dust. He has initiated urban warfare in the capital. This destroys parts of one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East. It is a heavy economic price to pay, Assad is willing to reduce the country to penury to... 

Bashing The Chinese Is The New Sport In America Among Republicans

February 1, 2012

Bashing The Chinese Is The New Sport In America Among Republicans

Martin McCauley writes from Tampa: Well there you have it: Mitt Romney has won the primaries in Florida convincingly, dashing Newt Gingrich’s hopes of gaining the Republican presidential nomination. Although the latter has insisted that whatever happens in Florida, he would go on fighting all the way up to the National Convention. Very doubtful that, but time will show. Still, what is interesting is that both men have been attacking President Barack Obama over his policy towards China. Romney accused him of being soft on the Middle Kingdom, identifying China as America’s greatest challenge in the 21st century. Mind you, you don’t really need to be Sherlock Holmes to work that one out. So what does Romney suggest? He says America must ‘stand up’ to China, that Beijing is manipulating... 

Is China Really Set To Dominate The World In This Century? No, It’s Not

January 30, 2012

Is China Really Set To Dominate The World In This Century? No, It’s Not

Anton Goryunov writes from Beijing: I’m really getting fed up with hearing all sorts of ‘experts’ on China telling us that the 21st century would be ‘China’s century’ and that it is quickly turning into an economic superpower while beefing up its military arsenals. Some keen fans of China are even predicting that Mandarin would become the official language in many parts of the world by 2050, give or take ten years both ways. The idea is that China has managed to flood the whole world with its cheap goods, while buying up assets here and there, supposedly in preparation for a global take-over. Lots of praise is showered on the way the Chinese communists have adapted themselves to the new realities of a limited market economy, having realised that if they continue to have the monopoly... 

Asking: Has The Private Sector In China Any Future?

January 27, 2012

Asking: Has The Private Sector In China Any Future?

Martin McCauley writes from Beijing: Is there a future for the private sector in China? Good question that. Must be tormenting a lot of people out there. Especially in China. But seriously: the financial crisis that began in 2008 has seen a remarkable upsurge in investment in state owned enterprises (SOEs) in China. The losers have been the privately owned enterprises (POEs). There are about 130 mega-companies and several thousand smaller SOEs. They are gradually extending their control due to their financial clout. They used bank credits to acquire thousands of well run and profitable POEs. As over 90 per cent of government investment goes into SOEs, can the POEs fight back? Another tactic deployed to crush competition from the private sector in the prosperous coastal cities has been to deny... 

Which Way Will China Go? Let’s Hope Its New Upcoming Leaders Know

January 23, 2012

Which Way Will China Go? Let’s Hope Its New Upcoming Leaders Know

Martin McCauley writes from Beijing: This is a watershed year in China. For the first time since the revolution in 1949, a new leader will be chosen who has no direct link to those who made that revolution. Xi Jinping will almost certainly be elected secretary general of the Communist Party of China at the 18th Party Congress in October 2012. As such he becomes President of the People’s Republic and chair of the Central Military Commission in due course. Such offices make him the second most powerful politician in the world. Only President Barack Obama stands above him. Xi will not enjoy the imprimatur of being associated with Mao’s seizure of power. As a fifth generation leader, he will have to fight for legitimacy and demonstrate that he can lead China forward in the modern world. He... 

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