Wandering China

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

China’s Expanding Life Spans—and Waistlines [Bloomberg] #RisingChina #Health #Urbanisation

Checking the rear view mirror of China’s rise: Urbanisation and public health concerns over the creeping obsolescence of physical activity in China’s time-compressed concrete jungles.

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China’s Expanding Life Spans—and Waistlines
By Christina Larson
Source – Bloomberg, published June 11, 2013

Photograph by Wang Zhide. ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

Overweight students exercise in a gym during a weight-loss summer camp in Weifang of Shandong Province. Photograph by Wang Zhide. ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images

Over the past two decades, China’s population has grown richer, older, more urban—and fatter. From 1990 to 2010, public health authorities in China made significant progress in stemming several of the medical challenges common in poor countries, including reducing childhood mortality and rates of infectious diseases. However, China’s population now faces additional health pitfalls exacerbated by urban smog, more sedentary lifestyles, and the rise of KFC (YUM) and cheap fast food.

In short, China’s public-health challenges now look more like America’s, for better and worse. That was a main finding of researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Peking Union Medical College, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which published a collaborative paper on public health in China in the June 8 issue of the British medical journal the Lancet. Their findings draw upon data in the World Health Organization’s 2010 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study.

From 1970 to 2010, the average life span for men in China climbed 12.5 years (to age 72.9). The average lifespan for women climbed 15.5 years (to age 79). A major factor behind these gains has been a steep drop in childhood mortality, due in part to improved neonatal and maternal care. In 1970, 100.6 children out of a thousand died in China before they reached age 5; by 2010, that number had dropped to 12.9 deaths per thousand. (Meanwhile, even as people are living longer, fewer are being born: The average number of children born to each woman in China dropped from 4.77 to 1.64 over those 40 years.) The result is a quickly graying country.

Please click here to read the full article at Bloomberg.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Finance, Food, Government & Policy, Health, Ideology, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Peaceful Development, Population, Poverty, Reform, Resources, Social, The Chinese Identity, Trade

Skype’s Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It [Business Week] #China #Media

A perspective of the virtual battlefield at the gates across the Great Firewall.

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Skype’s Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It
By Vernon Silver
Source – Business Times Mobile, published March 08, 2013

Jeffrey Knockel is an unlikely candidate to expose the inner workings of Skype’s role in China’s online surveillance apparatus. The 27-year-old computer-science graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque doesn’t speak Chinese, let alone follow Chinese politics. “I don’t really keep up with news in China that much,” he says. But he loves solving puzzles. So when a professor pulled Knockel aside after class two years ago and suggested a long-shot project—to figure out how the Chinese version of Microsoft’s Skype secretly monitors users—he hunkered down in his bedroom with his Dell laptop and did it.

Since then, Knockel, a bearded, yoga-practicing son of a retired U.S. Air Force officer, has repeatedly beaten the ever-changing encryption that cloaks Skype’s Chinese service. This has allowed him to compile for the first time the thousands of terms—such as “Amnesty International” and “Tiananmen”—that prompt Skype in China to intercept typed messages and send copies to its computer servers in the country. Some messages are blocked altogether. The lists—which are the subject of a presentation Knockel will make on Friday, March 8, at Boston University, as well as a paper he’s writing with researchers from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab—shed light on the monitoring of Internet communications in China. Skype’s videophone-and-texting service there, with nearly 96 million users, is known as TOM-Skype, a joint venture formed in 2005 with majority owner Tom Online, a Chinese wireless Internet company.

The words that are subject to being monitored, which Knockel updates almost daily on his department’s website, range from references to pornography and drugs to politically sensitive terms, including “Human Rights Watch,” “Reporters Without Borders,” “BBC News,” and the locations of planned protests. (The system he traced does not involve voice calls.) Knockel says his findings expose a conflict between Microsoft’s advocacy of privacy rights and its role in surveillance. Microsoft, which bought Skype in 2011, is a founding member of the Global Network Initiative, a group that promotes corporate responsibility in online freedom of expression. “I would hope for more,” Knockel says of Microsoft. “I would like to get a statement out of them on their social policy regarding whether they approve of what TOM-Skype is doing on surveillance.”
On Jan. 24, an international group of activists and rights groups published an open letter to Skype, calling on it to disclose its security and privacy practices. Microsoft, when asked for comment on Knockel’s findings and activists’ concerns, issued a statement it attributed to an unnamed spokesperson for its Skype unit. “Skype’s mission is to break down barriers to communications and enable conversations worldwide,” the statement said. “Skype is committed to continued improvement of end user transparency wherever our software is used.” Microsoft’s statement also said that “in China, the Skype software is made available through a joint venture with TOM Online. As majority partner in the joint venture, TOM has established procedures to meet its obligations under local laws.” Hong Kong-based Tom Group, the parent of Tom Online, didn’t respond to e-mailed requests for comment for this story. In an October 2008 statement addressing TOM-Skype censorship, it said: “As a Chinese company, we adhere to rules and regulations in China where we operate our businesses.” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t immediately respond to faxed questions seeking comment.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Cyberattack, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, History, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Peaceful Development, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, Trade, U.S.

Don’t try to contain China #Bloomberg #ContainChina #US

Containment = back to the wall. Classic trick in the book, little sophistication. The outcome can only be bloody. Perhaps that is the true intent. Play up the us and them, stoke Chinese nationalism, rejuvenate the US military complex.

Pankaj Mishra makes a great point – But the U.S. should resist seeing this as an opportunity for a wider “strategic containment” of China. It would further stoke Chinese nationalism, which remains a potent force. In any case, Asian countries would dislike being forced to choose between Beijing and Washington. With words followed by deeds, Obama could do well to dispel these unworkable Cold War binaries at this volatile moment.

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Don’t Try to Contain China
By Pankaj Mishra
Source – Bloomberg, published February 11, 2013

In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama has an important opportunity to dispel some of the tensions brewing in northeast Asia, and to stress the political and economic imperatives of a post-Cold War peace across the region.

The U.S. “pivot to Asia” — a major shift in foreign policy priorities — has already provoked fears of encirclement and accusations of meddling from China. Last week’s revelation that the Chinese navy trained its weapons radar on a Japanese warship, not far from the disputed Senkaku islands, underscores the real challenges before the U.S in east Asia.

Relations between two of the world’s largest economies have deteriorated to the point where an overly patriotic pilot or drunken naval captain could set off hostilities. The U.S. is bound by treaty to defend Japan, whose position on the Senkaku islands — no dispute, and therefore no discussion necessary — is less than convincing. Increased American diplomatic and military maneuvers in Asia as part of its pivot are now prone to even more menacing interpretation by the Chinese.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.
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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, East China Sea, Government & Policy, Hard Power, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Mo Yan’s #Nobel: Parable of a Patsy? #China [Bloomberg]

This same article is published in Singapore’s Straits Times but the word patsy was not used. Rather the title for the Chinese majority island state read, ‘Nobel winner’s intriguing parable’.

Semantic arm twisting in agenda setting for different audiences as such, by the fourth estate, is apparent here.

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Mo Yan’s Nobel: Parable of a Patsy?
Adam Minter
Source – Bloomberg, published December 15, 2012

On Monday night, the Chinese author Mo Yan accepted his Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm. It was a big event for him, and an even bigger one for China’s newspapers and microblogs.

The interest was predictable: Mo is the first non-dissident Chinese national to win a Nobel Prize, and his award is thus celebrated as a moment of international recognition that has long eluded the world’s most populous country. In 2010, Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident author and activist won the Peace Prize — the first Chinese national to win any Nobel – – much to the chagrin and embarrassment of the Communist Party he critiqued. Fair or unfair, Mo and his prize were destined to be viewed in Liu’s shadow, and Mo was destined to be asked about — and perhaps made to answer for — Liu.

The Chinese view Mo first and foremost as a soft-spoken writer of muscular, often cruel novels of the Chinese countryside. He inspires tremendous national pride (especially since the Nobel). Before his big win, Mo had never demonstrated much interest in speaking up politically. His name is actually a pseudonym that means “Don’t Speak,” and he claims to have adopted it in honor of his father’s orders to him during the Cultural Revolution.

Still, Mo is surely not naive about political matters. His role as vice chairman of the state-chartered Chinese Writers’ Association makes him a target of critics who seek to diminish his work as soft-core agitprop and certainly informs his understanding of the costs and benefits of speaking up on political issues.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at the source.

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Nobel Prize, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities,

China Auto Buyers Shun Japanese Cars in Islands Tiff [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Businessweek: Sino-Japanese socio-economic faceoff manifests in auto industry over the Diaoyu/Senkaku spark + How not all foreign carmakers are yet to leverage on this gap.

Found in the comments section…

The onus is on Japan. Ishihara and Noda arbitrarily and insanely created this crisis by spitting on the 40 year old tacit agreement between china and japan that the island issue should be shelved so that other ties could develop. Japan is not only in the wrong here, but is the weaker party as it certainly needs China more than the reverse. Sure both countries will suffer, but Japan is certainly more vulnerable.

What we are seeing is genuine anger by chinese at all levels against a Japan that has never fully come to terms with their war crimes. Their leaders issue token verbal apologies one day and visit war shrines to convicted war criminals next. The CCP could not have foresaw or planned for the provocative action by Ishihara and Noda. Besides, they have enough problems to deal with at home than to have this issue as another headache. Japan needs to step up if it really wants better ties with China and a more peaceful and prosperous Asia in general. Online comment by Charles Custer

Related – China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan (profile on Forbes here, with an interesting writeup by the Plaid Avenger here) was due to deliver a closing keynote lecture but has now withdrawn, escalating tensions. See – Chinese bank governor withdraws from IMF summit in Japan amid islands row (Guardian, October 10, 2012)

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China Auto Buyers Shun Japanese Cars in Islands Tiff
By Bruce Einhorn
Source – Bloomberg Businessweek, published October 10, 2012

Anti-Japan demonstrators overturn a Japanese-made car in Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, China. Sales of Toyota and Honda vehicles nosedived in China during September as anti-Japanese sentiment flared over a territorial dispute. Photo – Businessweek, 2012

Toyota’s China sales plunged 49 percent last month, compared to September 2011. Honda was off 41 percent and Nissan was down 35 percent.

If the territorial dispute doesn’t subside soon, anti-Japanese sentiment in the world’s biggest auto market threatens to mar prospects for companies such as Nissan that have major hopes for the Chinese market. In May, Nissan’s chief executive officer, Carlos Ghosn, was in Hong Kong to open the global headquarters for the company’s luxury brand, Infiniti. The idea was to base the brand in Hong Kong, rather than back in Japan, in order to be closer to the vital Chinese market.

Automakers aren’t the only ones suffering from the impact of the islands dispute. Japanese airlines are hurting as fewer Chinese tourists travel to Japan, and China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, is staying away from IMF and World Bank meetings in Tokyo, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Communications, Culture, Diaoyu Fishing Boat Incident 2010, Domestic Growth, Economics, History, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , , , , , ,

China Protests Erupt As Japanese Group Lands On Disputed Island [Bloomberg]

East China Sea flashpoint escalates after Japanese group lands on Senkaku/Diaoyu islands just after Chinese activists landed on August 15 to symbolically mark the date Japan surrendered to Allied forces during the second word war.

It is not often Hong Kongers and Chinese are on the same page. But when it comes to a collective sense of injustice over disputed territories they seem to share a combined voice. Perhaps that is the greatest threat to world harmony – stirring the 1.4 billion Chinese to temporarily forget self-serving narratives to regroup into a collective front.

My dad thinks another way to look at this as a problem is how the CCP manages the frustrated citizens (even a frustrated PLA) who might just seize the opportunity to vent under the pretensions of 爱国 (loving the country) without considering the wider picture of economic and strategic interdependence.

Go here for an international Chinese state media perspective (Anger erupts at Japanese landing, China Daily USA edition)

Also – to get a sense of what Chinese opinion leaders are thinking, Global Times offers an important op-ed with perspectives including those of military leaders – Diaoyu impasse calls for new ideas (August 20, 2012)

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China Protests Erupt As Japanese Group Lands On Disputed Island
By Ma Jie and Frederik Balfour
Source – Bloomberg, published Aug 20, 2012

People hold placards and shout slogans as they attend a rally to protest against Japan’s claim of islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province on August 19, 2012. Photograph – STR/AFP/GettyImages

Protests erupted in China and Hong Kong over the weekend as Japanese activists landed on an island in the East China Sea claimed by both countries, intensifying a dispute between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Demonstrations yesterday in more than 10 Chinese cities featured calls for a boycott of Japanese goods, the state-run China Youth Daily said today. Japan asked the Chinese government to protect its citizens living in China, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

“Japanese moving around China should be aware of their surroundings and demonstrations in their area,” Fujimura told reporters in TokyoChina Daily said the protests of varying size in cities including Beijing, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen were mostly peaceful and the newspaper urged people to be “rational” and not violent. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , ,

China Poodle ‘Babies’ Spur $1.2 Billion Pet-Care Market [Bloomberg]

Once banned as a ‘bourgeois decadence’, having a pet dog has become trendy and increasingly expensive as China moves up the hierarchy of needs – it has seen a 35% jump in pet ownership since 2000. Now there are 33 million households with cats or dogs. And the businesses come marching in… as Chinese are reported here to have become more likely to spend and treat their sick pets than putting them down. On keeping pets and Chinese characteristics, does anyone remember Shanghai declaring a one-dog policy last year?

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China Poodle ‘Babies’ Spur $1.2 Billion Pet-Care Market
by Daryl Loo and Naomi Kresege
Source – Bloomberg, published August 17, 2012

About 33 million households in China keep a cat or dog, according to Euromonitor. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

Wang Xingru and her husband chose a fluffy brown alternative to parenthood named Jing Jing. Before welcoming the year-old toy poodle into their Beijing apartment last summer, the couple spent 5,000 yuan ($786) in veterinary fees, including shots and medication.

This month they paid 288 yuan for a fur-trim, perm and pedicure for the 8-inch-long (20-centimeter) pooch. The treatments add to a pet-care market in China that Euromonitor International Ltd. estimates will reach $1.2 billion this year, helped by a 35 percent jump in pet ownership since 2000.

“We don’t want kids because we feel it’s too expensive and tiring,” said Wang, 39, a legal officer for a state-owned company. “And I don’t want to become a full-time housewife.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Bloomberg, Culture, Domestic Growth, Lifestyle, One-Dog Policy, Pets, Social, The Chinese Identity, , ,

Chinese ’Nationalistic’ Education Draws Protesters In Hong Kong [Bloomberg]

90,000 Hong Kongers say no to the imposition of Chinese ‘thought control’ on young ones starting from six years old. Anticipating a few steps ahead of the fifty years no change promise by the mainland?

For more check out

Thousands Protest China’s Plans for Hong Kong Schools (New York Times July 29, 2012)

From AFP TV,

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Chinese ’Nationalistic’ Education Draws Protesters In Hong Kong
By Rachel Evans
Source – Bloomberg, published July 30, 2012

Tens of thousands of parents, students and social activists marched through Hong Kong yesterday to oppose plans for national education lessons that detractors say will stifle independent thinking.

With many clad in black and white to symbolize the contrast between right and wrong and carrying placards stating “We don’t need no thought control,” demonstrators protested government plans to introduce the subject in state-run primary schools from September. The authorities will extend the classes, which aim to foster Chinese identity, to secondary school pupils from 2013 and phase in the lessons over three years.

The rally took place less than a month after pro-Beijing candidate Leung Chun-ying was inaugurated as the city’s chief executive. Government talks with opponents to delay the new curriculum collapsed over the weekend, the South China Morning Post reported in its Sunday edition. Textbooks will give a pro- Communist Party account of China’s history and political system, according to Willy Wo-Lap Lam, an adjunct professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Education, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hong Kong, Human Rights, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, , ,

Wen Warns China’s Economic Recovery Yet To Show Momentum [Bloomberg]

I suppose the bearish are usually out in full force when news of Chinese slowdown hit the headlines. Restructuring however, seems eminent as China attempts to sort out its domestic challenges with its banking and property sectors to cautiously prevent a hard landing as many naysayers have been predicting.

For more, Here’s What China’s Slowdown Means For The Rest Of The World (Business Insider) which states, ‘The impact of lower Chinese demand could fall hardest on Asian economies that supply industrial components to its vast manufacturing industry, as well as exporters of oil, iron ore and other commodities such as Australia and African nations. Chinese imports of steel, copper and oil have declined by volume over a year ago.’

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Wen Warns China’s Economic Recovery Yet To Show Momentum
Source – Bloomberg, published July 16, 2012

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao warned the momentum for a recovery in economic growth isn’t yet in place and that “difficulties” may persist for a while, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Even so, the current pace of economic expansion is within the targeted range and government measures to stabilize growth are “bearing fruit,” the premier said during an inspection tour in southwest Sichuan province, according to a Chinese- language report from Xinhua yesterday. The article didn’t mention government policies toward the property market.

Wen’s comments follow data that showed Asia’s largest economy had the weakest expansion in three years as Europe’s fiscal crisis sapped exports and a crackdown on property speculation curbed domestic demand. At the same time, a recovery in home sales and a jump in investment signaled lower interest rates and banks’ reserve requirements may be starting to arrest the slowdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Influence, New Leadership, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, , ,

U.S. Navy Bets $42 Billion On Carriers In China’s Sights [Bloomberg]

The American military industrial complex does it again with 45 states involved in preserving the symbolism of American force projection. Check out the Aircraft Carrier Base Industrial Coalition here.

Force multiplier or force liability? Giant moving target or otherwise, this seafaring behemoth come will only encourage asymmetrical countermeasures. No lessons learnt from Star Wars mythology I suppose. All it takes is one inspired fighter to down a super star destroyer. China’s DF21 missile with a reported range of 1500km threatens to do just the same preventing the carriers from being deployed at an effective range of 300 nautical miles (Check out this full report from the Congressional Research Service, more on the DF21 on page 7)

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U.S. Navy Bets $42 Billion On Carriers In China’s Sights
By Roxana Tiron
Source – Bloomberg, published June 19, 20

The U.S. Navy is betting $42 billion on a new class of aircraft carriers, the world’s biggest and costliest warships ever, even as the Pentagon budget shrinks and China and Iran arm themselves with weapons to disable or destroy the behemoths.

The Navy says the new carriers — rising 20 stories above the water, 1,092 feet (333 meters) long, moving at 30 knots (35 miles per hour) with almost 5,000 Americans on board — can project U.S. power around the globe.

“A carrier is 4 1/2 acres of sovereign U.S. territory,” Captain Bruce Hay, a Navy pilot who helps set requirements for the new carrier, said in an interview. “An aircraft carrier is a piece of America, and we’re going to do what it takes to keep them relevant because a carrier is presence and American resolve all at one time.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Influence, International Relations, military, Strategy, U.S., Varyag

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