Wandering China

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

China pollution ‘threatens growth’ [BBC]

Hot on the heels of Premier Wen Jiabao declaring that sustainable growth was key in China’s new phase of Five-Year Plans, Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian sounds the warnings that China is no longer in harmony with nature, that its environment now threatens to choke its growth. This is the first time in nearly two years that Chinese ministers has ‘dared’ to publish their own thoughts like this. Go here to read the speech (in Chinese). This has yet to be posted on the English version of its website – Ministry of Environmental Protection English website. For an English transcript of another one of Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian’s speech on ‘…the [n]eed to Fight against Heavy Metal Pollution, Safeguard the Public Interests and Maintain Social Stability’ , go here.

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China pollution ‘threatens growth’
Source – BBC, published February 28, 2011

Photo - Reuters

The man in charge of protecting China’s environment has warned that pollution and the demand for resources threaten to choke economic growth.

Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian said conflict between development and nature had never been so serious.

He said if China meant to quadruple the size of its economy over 20 years without more damage, it would have to become more efficient in resource use.

Otherwise, he said, there would be a painful price to pay. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Disaster, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Politics, Population, Resources, Social, Strategy

Premier sets 7% growth target [China Daily]

Judging from my experience at the Shanghai World Expo last year, it is not a surprise that sustainable growth is a key driver for the 12th 5-Year Plan (2011-2015). The war cry is no longer about just ‘recklessly’ getting rich first. Also, the quotes below (orange infographic to the right) offer a poignant glimpse into the heart of Premier Wen Jiabao.

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Premier sets 7% growth target
By Hu Yuanyuan China Daily
Source – China Daily, published February 28, 2011

Environment ‘must not be sacrificed for rapid development’

Premier Wen Jiabao chats with netizens at xinhua.net.cn on Sunday. It is the third consecutive year that the premier has conducted an online talk prior to the annual sessions of the top legislature and advisory body, scheduled for early March. Pang Xinglei / Xinhua

BEIJING – An annual growth target of 7 percent over the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) has been set to ensure sustainable development, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday.

“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption,” Wen said during an online chat with Internet users.

The target was lower than the 7.5 percent set for the previous five years, when the country’s economy actually grew at an annual rate of around 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.

China’s GDP growth reached 10.3 percent last year. Most economists expect growth to be around 9 percent this year, and slightly less in 2012.

Increased efforts will be made to improve people’s living standards, and the government will adopt new performance evaluations for local governments to hasten economic restructuring.

The criterion for assessing their performance is “whether the public are happy or not … but not by how many high-rise buildings and projects he had been involved in,” Wen said.

He also promised to strengthen efforts to contain increases in prices of food and other commodities, which have stoked inflation. Maintaining price stability has always been a priority as “rapid price rises have affected people’s lives and even social stability”, he said, adding adequate grain supplies and abundant foreign exchange reserves would help curb inflation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Inflation, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Media, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

China V Japan [Independent UK]

According to the CIA World Factbook (2010 figures), the size of the U.S. economy is still almost 3 times larger in terms of GDP (nominal). 14,620,000 versus 5,745,000 million. In terms of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), the U.S. is about 1.5 times larger at 14,720,000 million verus 9,854,000 million.

This article reveals a skeptic’s view on China’s overtaking of Japan as the the world’s second largest economy (I believe the writer got it wrong by over-stating China took over as the world’s largest) and it is met by an interesting response from a reader below.

The idea that lack of democracy and a free press are prerequisites for economic success is one of those oft repeated mantras which has very little basis in reality where China is concerned and begs all sorts of questions about how much democracy or press freedom exists in the ‘democratic’, western orientated world anyway. What has always been important to the Chinese is the freedom to live and work in a secure and orderly environment and the greatest threat to that is corruption, a problem which the present government recognises and is combatting vigorously. (A dose of the Chinese prescription – a mandatory death penalty for high level corruption and a few high profile cases ‘pour encourager les autres’ – would do no harm in the West either.)

Press freedom? Those who need the information can usually get it, in China or anywhere else and, as the ongoing furore over the Wikileaks revelations shows, official commitment to freedom of information is more lip service than commitment in the West.

‘Wasteful, prestige investments at vast cost to the environment and quality of life?’ Well, It is, I suppose, a moot point as to whether the most prominent examples of this are to be found in China or in the West. Lack of resources to expand? That is precisely why China is so carefully cultivating its links with Africa and South America and that, presumably, is what all those American dollars will be used for.

peterthomasson

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China V Japan
By Sean O’Grady
Econoblog
Source – The Independent, published 14 February 2011

The news that China has overtaken Japan as the world’s largest economy comes as no great surprise. Indeed for those of us who are proud of a time-lord like perspective, it is merely a sign that China is returning to the role in the world economy she played up until the 1500s. Then, as now, her huge size meant that she was a sizeable player in the world.

After Deng’s reforms in 1989, she has unleashed again what would appear to be a formidable mercantile and entrepreneurial talent too long submerged during the Mao era (though the Chinese nation remains deeply grateful to him for unifying their fissiparous state, a necessary pre-condition for today’s progress). Anyway, some over excited souls are predicting that China might overtake America by 2020 or 2030. I’m not so sure it will be that fast, or even happen at all.

First, China still suffers from her lack of democracy, a free press and the rule of law, which are the necessary long term concomitants of a healthy economy. Without those, too many of her resources have been misallocated into wasteful prestige “investment”, usually at vast cost to the environment and quality of life. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Greater China, Human Rights, Independent UK, Influence, International Relations, japan, National Medium- and Long- term Talent Development Plan, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade

15 planes sent per day to evacuate Chinese from Libya [China Daily]

16,000 Chinese have been evacuated from Libya; now 15 planes daily carry home stranded citizens over the next two weeks.  To know more, read this human interest story ‘Chinese in Greece [are] relieved to be out of Libya‘ (China Daily, 27 February 2011). Also, check out ‘China concerned about Libya, slow to rebuke Gaddafi’ (Reuters, in Yahoo News, February 22, 2011)

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15 planes sent per day to evacuate Chinese from Libya
Xinhua
Source – China Daily, published February 27, 2011

BEIJING – China on Saturday decided to hasten evacuation of its nationals from Libya, as Chinese aviation authorities prepare 15 planes per day during the next two weeks to carry home citizens stranded in the northern African country.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) convened an emergency meeting in Beijing on Saturday and decided to send the extra aircraft every day from Feb 28 to March 10 to neighboring countries near Libya for the massive evacuation.

In line with the CAAC’s arrangements, China’s major airlines will carry out the airborne evacuation missions and bring home stranded Chinese citizens as soon as possible.

During the period, Air China will send five passenger planes every day to the island of Crete, Greece. China Eastern Airlines will fly four planes every day to Malta. China Southern Airlines will dispatch four planes to the island of Djerba, Tunisia; and Hainan Airlines will also fly two planes daily to Crete, Greece.

As of Saturday afternoon, nearly 16,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated from Libya, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Filed under: China Daily, Chinese overseas, Democracy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Jasmine Revolution, Middle East, Overseas Chinese, Politics, Soft Power, Strategy, xinhua

Inside Story – Modernising China’s military [Al Jazeera/Youtube]

Boosting China’s capability via modernisation in a simple self critique – ‘A military without a world view is one without a hope‘ (Liberation Army Daily)

Filed under: Al Jazeera, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, International Relations, Media, military, Politics, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Video

Shanghai announces ‘one-dog policy’ [BBC]

One-child to one-dog, this article certainly sees the humour. Two pertinent points, however that were highlighted.

1. Once banned by for being a ‘bourgeois decadence’, keeping a pet dog is now seen as trendy

2. This being China, people will no doubt find a way to get around the rules. When restrictions on the numbers of homes families could own here tried to slow the rise in house prices, there were reports of couples getting divorced but still living together just so they could buy more properties.

Unsurprisingly, this BBC article chose to highlight that British Bulldogs were one of the dogs not welcome under the new rules.

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Shanghai announces ‘one-dog policy’
By Chris Hogg
Source – BBC News, Shanghai, published February 24, 2011

Once banned by for being a 'bourgeois decadence', keeping a pet dog is now seen as trendy. Photo - BBC

The city of Shanghai – which already follows China’s one-child policy – has announced a new rule for households.

From May a one-dog policy will be introduced, and more than 600,000 unlicensed dogs will be declared illegal.

The new regulation has been the subject of long and heated debate among the city’s lawmakers.

Last year more than 140,000 people told police they had been bitten by an unlicensed dog.

There are four times as many dogs without the proper paperwork in Shanghai as there are animals with a permit.

Pooch permits
The new rule means owners whose dogs are not registered with the authorities will have to give them away.

Those who already have two licensed dogs will be able to keep them, but only new applications from households without hounds will be accepted.

Of course, this being China, people will no doubt find a way to get around the rules.

When restrictions on the numbers of homes families could own here were introduced to try to slow the rise in house prices, there were reports of couples getting divorced but still living together just so they could buy more properties.

The police say they are expecting they will have to adopt many of the dogs once they are declared outlaws.

They are also banning the keeping of what they call “attack dogs”.

British bulldogs are among those that will not be welcome here under the new rules.

Filed under: Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Environment, Lifestyle, One-Dog Policy, People, Population, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

The Lost Bladesman 2011 (關雲長) – Official Trailer [Youtube]

More Chinese public diplomacy through cultural capital in media representation. – This time, one of the most classic Chinese heroes – the ‘Saint’ of Force, Guan Yu who is revered interestingly in Hong Kong by both sides of the law – the police and the triads comes to the fore. They pray and worship the same God that is Guan Yun-Chang.

Loosely, if Captain America is used as a diagrammatic opposite committed to one’s nation beyond reason, Guan Yu would be the Chinese version – all about brotherhood and loyalty to that brotherhood to the death, beyond reason.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, Media, military, Nationalism, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Video, Youtube

[Chery J1] $11,990: New car for the price of a 1986 Corolla [The Age]

Australia | Hot on the heels of Great Wall Motors (whose tagline is ‘The Great Cars of China are Here’) and Geely Motors (the relatively recently minted owners of Volvo), comes Chery attempting to set new standards in affordability by offering $11,990 for a brand new cut-price hatchback. The price? Apparently the price of a 1986 Corolla.

For more on the Chery, check out their international site here. Founded in 1997 by 5 Anhui state owned investment companies, they rolled out their first in 1999. By 2007, they had rolled out their millionth. Quite some milestone indeed.

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$11,990: New car for the price of a 1986 Corolla
Richard Blackburn
Source – The Age, published February 24, 2011

Cherry J1 - Photo - The Age

Chinese car maker Chery is about to turn the clock back 25 years for new car buyers, with a new small car going on sale next week for just $11,990 drive-away.

That price is less than a Toyota Corolla cost in 1986.

The cut-price hatchback, called the J1, will be joined by the J11 compact SUV, which at $19,990 drive-away is the cheapest softroader on the market by a considerable margin. That price includes leather trim and standard airconditioning. A third vehicle, the Corolla-sized J3, will go on sale in the middle of this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Economics, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Nationalism, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Transport

China’s state giants continue global push [Straits Times]

How times are a’changin. For millennia the Chinese dynasties built great walls to hole themselves in and today Beijing heralds in a state-aided global push. Question is – is the world ready for household Chinese names to permeate their lives? Made in China or constructed by Chinese is one thing, but ‘Created by China’ is quite another.

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China’s state giants continue global push
By Grace Ng, China Correspondent
Source – Straits Times, published February 23, 2011

Photo - ST

‘They have achieved good economic benefits,’ Mr Shao Ning, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, told a news conference.

The central state-owned enterprises’ (SOEs) overseas profits made up 37 per cent of their earnings, he added.

It is not a small sum. Profits jumped 10 per cent to 994.5 billion yuan (S$190 billion) in 2009, and skyrocketed to reach about two trillion yuan last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Media, Nationalism, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Soft Power, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

China’s Alibaba bosses step down after fraud probe [The Age/AFP]

Alibaba, the Chinese site which helps customers in the West source for goods from more than half-a-million Chinese factories has had its bosses brought down; by fake storefronts guilty of defrauding customers.

‘In general, the fake suppliers offered popular consumer electronics at very low prices, with small minimum order quantities and less reliable payment methods, the company said, without giving further details of the products… Alibaba shares closed down 3.47 percent in Hong Kong on Monday at HK$16.68 ($2.14)’

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China’s Alibaba bosses step down after fraud probe
D’Arcy Doran
Source – The Age, published February 21, 2011

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.com said Monday its chief executive and head of operations had resigned after a probe found fraudulent suppliers had used the site to cheat buyers.

David Wei and Elvis Lee resigned as chief executive officer and chief operating officer respectively, accepting responsibility for “systemic breakdowns” that allowed the fraud to happen, the company said in a statement.

“The investigation confirmed that Mr Wei and Mr Lee and other members of senior management were not involved in any of the activities that led to the claims by buyers against fraudulent suppliers,” the statement said. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Corruption, Crime, Domestic Growth, Economics, Fraud, Internet, The Age, Trade

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