Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Years of saved pocket change buys van in China [BBC]

Chinese pragmatism and a penchant for saving represented in the media (the why is another big question altogether) . . . What a story to encapsulate the older Chinese ways, a glimpse. 100,000 yuan is a lot of notes. “I held onto the money waiting to see if they would accept it so that I could buy the car. The manager of this dealership decided to accept my cash, so that was really helpful to me,” he said.

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Years of saved pocket change buys van in China
Source – BBC, published August 27, 2010

A man has paid for a van in China with 100,000 yuan ($14,700; £9,500) in pocket change he gathered over years, state television reports.

Mr Zhao, a businessman, dropped bundles of notes, none worth more than one yuan – about $0.15 – at the dealership in Jining, in northern Shandong province.

Extra staff had to be brought in to work shifts to count it all, a clerk at the dealership said.

Mr Zhao received the notes from customers at his printing business.

Finding a dealership to accept the notes, many of them stained and torn, was not easy, he said.

“I held onto the money waiting to see if they would accept it so that I could buy the car. The manager of this dealership decided to accept my cash, so that was really helpful to me,” he said.

After hours of counting, the staff at the dealership confirmed he had provided exact change.

“Our finance department originally had three or four people counting the money, but that was certainly not enough,” said Chen Ying, a cashier with the dealership.

“So we added some colleagues from the sales department, they came in the morning and worked all day, and then we added another shift. We finally finished counting all of the money.”

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Filed under: Automotive, BBC, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Lifestyle, Media, Nationalism, People, Population, Social

Children’s gardens [China Daily]

With affluence, comes ‘more’ space for reflection and introspection – I hope this thinking will help more Chinese families find balance in raising their children in the face of a success framework based on purely economic imperatives. “Beijing authorities have decided to help such parents to go easy on their children. A draft to make foreign language teaching conform to children’s needs in the next five years says kindergartens will no longer be required to offer foreign language teaching programs.”

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Children’s gardens
Source – China Daily, published August 28, 2010

When should children start learning a foreign language? Can their learning abilities be damaged if they start too early? These are important questions with no definite answers, even though educationists have strong opinions on them.

In Wales, young children follow a play-based curriculum until the age of 7. But such a system could drive Chinese parents round the bend. Apart from learning to read and write and do simple arithmetic, our children are also forced to start taking lessons in music at a very young age. Parents say they don’t want their children to fall behind at the starting line.

Beijing authorities have decided to help such parents to go easy on their children. A draft to make foreign language teaching conform to children’s needs in the next five years says kindergartens will no longer be required to offer foreign language teaching programs. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Education, Environment, Lifestyle, Social

Hong Kong stages massive rally to mourn for hostage victims, demand apology and probe [Xinhua]

Big news in the South China sea region and the Hong Kongers (on many levels, from everyday folk to the celebrities to the authorities) are reportedly angry to the point of rallying in huge numbers (HK Police estimtae 26,000) to demand apology and truth.

The Hong Kongers I know in Melbourne are united in their anger against the Philippines police/authorities for ‘bungling’ the 11-hour hostage crisis on August 23.

I spent an hour sitting in a Hong Kong cafe over the weekend for breakfast and all that was showing (non-stop over the hour) on the news were analysis on the faults of the Philippines police sent in to solve the hostage situation. Few in the cafe were enjoying their meals – all eyes on fixed on the news reportage, from servers to kitchen hands to customers.

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Hong Kong stages massive rally to mourn for hostage victims, demand apology and probe
Editor: Zhang Xiang
Source – Xinhua, published August 29, 2010

People parade to express their condolences for the families of the bus hijack victims in Hong Kong, south China, Aug. 29, 2010. Eight Hong Kong residents lost their lives in a tour bus hijack occured in Philippine's capital Manila on Aug. 23, 2010. Photo - (Xinhua/Huang Xiaoyong)

HONG KONG, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents joined in a massive rally on Sunday afternoon to mourn for the eight victims of last Monday’s hostage crisis and demand the Philippine authorities to apologize for the tragedy and conduct a thorough probe soon.

Initiated by several political organizations, Hong Kong residents started to pour into the city’s landmark Victoria Park after around 1:00 p.m. local time in the day despite swelteringly hot weather.

In a brief ceremony before the march started, President of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Jasper Tsang, the city’s other lawmakers and other marchers observed a 3-minute silence to mourn for those killed in the tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Disaster, Hong Kong, International Relations, Media, People, Philippines Hostage Crisis 2010, Politics, Strategy, xinhua

Rising China tests the waters [Asia Times]

“For decades, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia have claimed sovereignty over all or part of the South China Sea. China’s claim, which encompasses roughly the entire body of water from China’s south coast past Vietnam and the Philippines, reaching almost to Singapore, is by far the most ambitious. Its claim is based on maps from the 1930s and some shards of Chinese pottery discovered on currently uninhabited islands.”

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Rising China tests the waters
By Abraham M Denmark and Daniel M Kliman
Source – Asia Times, published August 20, 2010

With joint exercises between the navies of the United States and Vietnam kicking off, Washington and Beijing’s rivalry over the South China Sea is heating up. Although exercises with Vietnam involve non-combat training such as search and rescue, they reinforce recent remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Speaking at last month’s meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Clinton affirmed that peacefully resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea amounted to a US ”national interest”. What followed was a sharp retort from one claimant – Beijing – with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi labeling Clinton’s remarks as an ”attack”.

Conflicting claims in the South China Sea, which involve China and five other nations in the region, have long flown under the radar in Washington. Only now, as the South China Sea makes headlines, has understanding of the issue increased. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Times Online, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Influence, International Relations, military, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power

N.Korea’s Kim heads home from China: reports [The Age]

N.Korea’s Kim heads home from China: reports
by Park Chan-Kyong
Source The Age, published August 29, 2010 – 4:24am

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was apparently preparing to return home from China, with Beijing’s diplomatic and financial support for an eventual handover of power to his son, reports said.

A convoy of about 20 cars, protected by 10 Chinese security vehicles, left a hotel in the northeastern city of Changchun where he was believed to have met Chinese President Hu Jintao, South Korean media said.

It stopped at an international food exhibition site and an agriculture university before returning to the hotel for a lunch break, YTN TV said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Influence, International Relations, North Korea, Popular Science Australia, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, The Age

Trade boost to bilateral ties [China Daily]

Milestone indeed, at least in the eyes of the Chinese. However…  “Japan has not yet recognized China as a market economy. Besides, Japan’s business environment and relatively closed market do not favor Chinese enterprises investing in Japan. Chinese companies face some practical problems, too, such as complex visa procedures and frequent tax inspections. It is necessary for the two sides to attend to these problems.”

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Trade boost to bilateral ties
By Zhang Jifeng
Source – China Daily, published August 28, 2010

China and Japan are witnessing two milestone developments. China is closing in on Japan as the world’s second largest economy in size and buying enough Japanese government bonds to become one of Japan’s largest creditors.

China and Japan hold the third high-level economic dialogue on economic recovery, bilateral exchanges and cooperation in the region, and the world as a whole, in Tokyo today. The dialogue is important for facilitating a sound development of Sino-Japanese strategic relations of mutual benefit and reciprocity.

Bilateral trade and mutual investment are two pillars of Sino-Japanese economic ties. Since the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1972, the two-way trade volume reached from $1 billion to $266.79 billion in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, History, International Relations, japan, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

India cancels China defence exchanges after visa row [BBC]

India cancels China defence exchanges after visa row
Source – BBC, published August 27, 2010

China reopened the Nathu La pass to border trade; an agreement on defence ties was signed in 2006. Photo – BBC

India has cancelled defence exchanges with China after China refused a visa to a Kashmir-based general.

The Indian government said that China had to be sensitive to India’s concerns, one of which is the disputed area of Kashmir.

As well as India and Pakistan, China also claims part of Kashmir. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, India, Influence, International Relations, military, Politics

China cuts power to big emitters [The Age/AFP]

Thanks to Ronald for pointing this out.

Unlike some parts of the world, big companies in China do not have the weight to lobby  against the government yet. As such, if China wants change, it can still do so expediently. However. This is a complex issue as China’s emissions are directly linked to its role in the Global Production Network as the ‘world’s factory’.

We easily forget that it is our consumption that drives the demand for ‘cheap’ Chinese goods. They have to supply under obligation, often at very unreasonable deadlines (product launches, or holiday seasons) and at very poor margins for profit. The result – cutting corners. The producers have little choice.

In any case, though this measure is plausibly heavy-handed, we need to remember we live in a finite world with finite resources. Action needs to be taken, and China has taken a big first.

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China cuts power to big emitters
AFP
Source – The Age, published August 16, 2010

Authorities in eastern China have cut off electricity to more than 500 factories for a month after they failed to meet emission reduction targets, state media reports.

The news on Monday came after China warned more than 2,000 companies in high-polluting and energy-intensive industries to shut down outdated equipment or risk having bank loans frozen, approvals for new projects dry up, and their power turned off.

The order from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was the latest salvo by Beijing as it tries to slash its world-leading greenhouse gas emissions and restructure the economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Chinese Model, Culture, Environment, Green China, Influence, International Relations, People, Politics, Population, Resources

The rise of China’s new money elite [Straits Times]

Useful insight into China’s money elite – a breakdown by Singapore’s Ho Kwon Ping of China’s elite archetypes. Definitely worth a read. These are some of the archetypes that will shape and are shaping China’s economic and social future, perhaps even political as well.

“As feudal rulers in Europe were challenged and eventually deposed by the new middle class, the rulers in China’s Zhongnanhai – the Forbidden City of the CCP – will find the pressure for reforms coming not just from radicalised political dissidents, but also from the most political reactionary but economically liberal entrepreneurial class.”

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The rise of China’s new money elite
Think-Tank
by Ho Kwon Ping
Source – Straits Times, published August 24, 2010

Photo – Straits Times

IT WAS only 11am, but we had already started tippling in his private dining room while he lit up his Cuban cigar. (For the connoisseurs, he drank Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac 1982, US$3,100 (S$4,200) a bottle; and smoked Cohiba Siglo V, US$30 per cigar.) Later, he proudly escorted me around his private museum, perusing his rare jades, priceless Chinese paintings and, in one corner, a bust of Mao Zedong.

I asked him why Mao.

‘Because he promoted population growth right after the Revolution,’ was his quick reply. ‘And created the world’s largest consumer market.’

I thought to myself: That says it all! Only 10 years old when the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, my friend the billionaire entrepreneur – ‘No. 64 on Hurun’s 100 Richest Chinese list, but I’ll cross 50 in two years,’ he assured me – remembered Mao for creating the world’s largest consumer market so my friend’s consumer electronics business and (you guessed it) property development could thrive. I had to admit that I had never thought of Chairman Mao in this light. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Lifestyle, Media, Nationalism, People, Social, The Chinese Identity

Asia Adult Expo: Despite conservative traditions, Asia’s sex industry is exploding [CNN-GO]

And the Chinese seem unleashed despite the cultural taboos – if anything here’s evidence that perhaps there’s not much difference between the ‘liberal’ West and the ‘conservative East’ – “there’s no denying that China has a massive pent-up demand for X-rated products…”

I am not sure about the unlimited growth this article purports, but surely it is a massive emerging market that will explode if tapped wisely, given the spending power the Chinese now have access to. Furthermore there’re all probably made in China anyways.

To round off, two bits of speculation. It is probably noteworthy an event such as this is held in Macau and not mainland proper, and second, getting the Chinese out of their shells and being comfortable with sex is surely going to have a dent on China’s population control policies – or perhaps that’s their intention – it is time for the Chinese to multiply (for domestic or external purposes). The last time this happened was when Mao promoted population growth after the revolution – thereby creating the world’s largest consumer market that now helps so many Chinese industries thrive. Of course it helps when you have a huge home base to tap on. Comments most welcome, please.

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Asia Adult Expo: Despite conservative traditions, Asia’s sex industry is exploding
By targeting women, sex toy manufacturers forecast near unlimited growth in Asia
by Tiffany Lam
Source – CNN Go, published August 24, 2010

Japanese adult video actress Anna Hisaki works the crowd at the Asia Adult Expo in Macau. Photo - Tiffany Lam, CNNGO

A busty girl in an air hostess costume waves an artificial vagina in my face then shakes it near her crotch. She unbuttons her shirt and slips out of her skirt, revealing a black bikini underneath. Now she returns to pumping the device to the beat of a Japanese pop song.

This was the scene at the press preview for last weekend’s Asia Adult Expo. Japanese sex toy company Tenga was hosting a product demonstration of Flip Lite, their best-selling masturbation sleeve, and the girl in front of me was Japanese porn actress Anna Hisaki. The male photographers around me looked like they couldn’t believe their luck.

Held at The Venetian Macau on August 20-22, the third Asia Adult Expo was a three-day sex fair during which sex toy manufacturers from around the globe paraded their latest curiosities. These included the world’s smallest vibrator and an inflatable President Obama sex doll. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, CNN, Culture, Economics, Lifestyle, Media, People, Population, Sex, Social, The Chinese Identity

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