Wandering China

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

China will take time to cut censorship

‘The Internet has a tradition of bit by bit increasing openness. It tends not to go backwards…a government that is used to working with an uninformed citizenry might take a while to move to a position where the citizens are informed. So I can imagine that China might need to move carefully in that direction, but I think we should do everything we can to make it easier for a government which censors the Internet to move in that direction.’ Tim Berners-Lee

– – –

China will take time to cut censorship
AFP
Source – The Straits Times, 27 Jan 2010

DAVOS (Switzerland) – CHINA will gradually move to cut censorship of the Internet, but it will take a long time, the man credited with inventing the World Wide Web said on Wednesday.

Commenting on Google’s threat to pull out of China, Tim Berners-Lee said Beijing was having to move ‘carefully’ in opening up Internet openness, but said the ‘genie is out of the bottle’ in terms of access.

‘I think that openness increases steadily. Every time you open it the genie comes out of the bottle and it’s very difficult to put it (back) in the bottle,’ he told AFP.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, he said: ‘The Internet has a tradition of bit by bit increasing openness. It tends not to go backwards…a government that is used to working with an uninformed citizenry might take a while to move to a position where the citizens are informed. So I can imagine that China might need to move carefully in that direction, but I think we should do everything we can to make it easier for a government which censors the Internet to move in that direction.’

The comments come after Google, responding to cyberattacks on the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists, said it can no longer censor Web search results in China – even if that means it has to leave the country.

Google has not yet stopped censoring search results on google.cn, but Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said last week it would happen soon. — AFP

Filed under: Censorship, Charm Offensive, Communications, Davos 2010, International Relations, Internet, Straits Times

MONDAY VIEW: Gloom for the West as China inexorably rises

This view from the Daily Mail in the UK is one that sees the relationship between China and West becoming rockier.

Chinese vice-premier Li Keqiang, who strode to the podium at Davos with a wave and a smile, “China’s rise will benefit everyone, he argued. His country bought over a trillion dollars of foreign goods last year – the world’s second-largest importer. ‘China’s contribution to world economic recovery is obvious,’ he said. Free trade, he added, must be conserved at all costs.

– – –

MONDAY VIEW: Gloom for the West as China inexorably rises
by Sam Fleming
Source – Daily Mail, 31 Jan 2o10

Tension: Officials in the US and Europe fear relations with China could deteriorate - AP Photo

A statistical recovery, but a human recession. That was the verdict of Larry Summers, one of the few White House emissaries to touch base in Davos for the World Economic Forum.

Barack Obama’s normally brash economic adviser gloomily argued America is facing a ‘structural’ unemployment problem that will not be cured by a few quarters of positive GDP figures. The level of joblessness is ‘disturbing’, he said.

His downbeat assessment could be applied to most of America’s closest allies. Indeed, Davos on occasion felt like a requiem for Western capitalism, as delegates from Europe and the US contrasted the rise of China and other emerging powers with the shattered state of their own economies.

It was, after all, principally the big US and European banks that failed. And while emerging economies are forecast to expand at least six per cent this year, with China motoring up by at least eight per cent, the West seems condemned to near-stagnation.

The bleak prognosis from Summers contrasted with that of Chinese vice-premier Li Keqiang, who strode to the podium at Davos with a wave and a smile.

China’s rise will benefit everyone, he argued. His country bought over a trillion dollars of foreign goods last year – the world’s second-largest importer. ‘China’s contribution to world economic recovery is obvious,’ he said. Free trade, he added, must be conserved at all costs.

But while politicians around the world continue to laud the benefits of Chinese growth, behind the scenes the mood is getting somewhat ugly.

Officials in the US and Europe fear there could be a deterioration in relations with Beijing this year. The stand-off between Beijing and Washington over Google, and the execution of British citizen Akmal Shaikh, are recent examples of serious public fallouts.

Trade relations are also frayed, with Western companies becoming increasingly angry about China’s refusal to offer them a level playing field. A recent report by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China described the country as ‘less and less appealing as an investment destination for European companies’, citing examples of discrimination against foreign enterprises.

Exchange rate policy could be the spark that turns these tensions into something more explosive. For years China has defiantly suppressed the value of the yuan, giving exporters a competitive edge.

True to form, People’s Bank of China deputy governor Zhu Min insisted in a Davos discussion on Saturday that exchange rate misalignments are a ‘small part’ of imbalances that are skewing the world economy.

But that is a view that Western governments are unlikely to tolerate with equanimity, given their exporters’ struggle to gain market share and the haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs.

If China’s economic success is sustained – which is by no means guaranteed – it could well turn into a running sore. Currencies will jump back to the top of the agenda, something French President Nicolas Sarkozy is already pushing for.

Without progress Western politicians could well start raising trade barriers, as anger about the jobless recovery intensifies.

The White House, which is accused of worrying too much about healthcare and not enough about the economy, will be the key institution to watch.

While protectionism has thus far been the dog that didn’t bark in the global crisis, the topic is clearly exercising the mind of Mr Summers.

The National Economic Council director pointed out that the great American economist Paul Samuelson began to argue late in his life that free trade is not always win-win for everyone.

When a nation’s unemployment is significant, demand is tumbling, and mercantilist policies are being pursued abroad, there can be qualifications to arguments for free trade, said Summers, who is Samuelson’s nephew.

Those words ought to ring alarm bells in Beijing. The relationship between China and the West is about to get much rockier.

Filed under: Charm Offensive, Davos 2010, Economics, Finance, International Relations, Politics

Davos2010: China says domestic demand ‘key’

Highlight – “Mr Li, who is tipped to replace China’s premier Wen Jiabao, also said it was vital to raise the living standards of poorer rural communities.”

– – –

Davos2010: China says domestic demand ‘key’
Source – BBC, 28 Jan 2010

Li Keqiang has been tipped as the next Chinese Premier. Photo Source - BBC

China’s vice-premier, Li Keqiang, has told a forum at the World Economic Forum in Davos that domestic demand is key for China’s economic growth.

Reflecting international concerns, he said China had been “excessively reliant on investment and export”.

Mr Li pointed out that domestic spending improved in 2009, with sales of consumer goods up 15.5% last year.

He said the government had already taken successful steps to boost consumer demand.

For example, they had introduced a plan to subsidise home appliances, such as TVs and fridges, for farmers which had encouraged spending.

Mr Li, who is tipped to replace China’s premier Wen Jiabao, also said it was vital to raise the living standards of poorer rural communities.

China’s economy has grown rapidly but the development has been uneven across the country – with jobs concentrated in the coastal regions.

Nearly 10 million people move from countryside to cities every year, according to Mr Li. He said income in the central and western areas was still very low.

Other countries are keen for China to start importing foreign-made goods in order to help the broader global economic recovery.

No mention was made of its own currency, the renminbi, however. China has come under international pressure to revalue because it is felt to be artificially low, disadvantaging competitors.

“Everyone wants China to play by global rules, rather than go its own way – and revalue its currency as a first step”, said the BBC’s Economics editor Stephanie Flanders. “But in their public remarks today, Chinese officials gave little indication of wanting to play ball.”

Filed under: BBC, Davos 2010, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance

Follow me on Twitter

Archives

Calendar

February 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,575 other followers

East/West headlines of Rising China

East/West headlines of Rising China

About Wandering China

Click to find out more about this project

Support //WC

Support Wandering China now - buy a Tee Shirt!

Be a champ - Support Wandering China - buy a Tee Shirt!

The East Wind Wave

China in images and infographics, by Wandering China

China in images and Infographics, by Wandering China

Wandering China: Facing west

Please click to access video

Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
web stats

Flag Counter

free counters
Online Marketing
Add blog to our directory.