China's Economic News

Discussion in 'China' started by Martian, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. Capt.Popeye
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    Chinese riots enter third day
    Rioters burned police and fire vehicles in a third day of unrest in southern China's manufacturing heartlands, witnesses have reported.

    Hong Kong broadcasters reported that armed police fired teargas as they sought to disperse the crowd and detained at least a dozen demonstrators.

    The clashes, which began on Friday after a fracas between security officers and a pregnant street vendor in Xintang, Guangdong province, highlight Chinese authorities' struggle to control social frustrations. It is thought that most protesters were migrant workers like the vendor.

    Last week hundreds of migrant workers clashed with police in Chaozhou, also in Guangdong, following a dispute over unpaid wages. In Lichuan, Hubei, as many as 2,000 protesters attacked government headquarters last Thursday after a local politician who had complained about official corruption died in police custody.

    Inner Mongolia recently saw its biggest street protests for 20 years, over the killing of a Mongolian herder who sought to halt coal trucks trespassing on grasslands.

    Although the causes seem to have been very different in each case, the spate of incidents underlines the challenge that authorities face in preventing widespread grievances bursting out.

    Unrest is thought to have become increasingly frequent, although data is hard to come by. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has estimated that there were more than 90,000 mass incidents in 2006, with further increases in the following two years.

    China has increased its domestic security budget by 13.8% this year, to 624.4bn yuan (£59bn).

    Police in Guangdong said on Sunday they had arrested 25 people after violence broke out on Friday night following a row between chengguan – low-level law enforcement officers – and a pregnant vendor during a crackdown on street stalls.

    State news agency Xinhua said that Wang Lianmei fell during the dispute, while other accounts said that the chengguan had shoved her. The officers have a reputation for thuggish behaviour.

    Other migrant workers from her province, Sichuan, quickly gathered, with some attacking police vehicles called to the scene with bottles, bricks and stones.

    Another crowd gathered on Saturday as rumours spread that police had killed Wang's husband, Tang Xuecai, and that she had been seriously injured. Local media said he appeared at a press conference on Sunday to say that his wife and their baby were fine and that he was happy with the government's handling of the case.

    "The case was just an ordinary clash between street vendors and local public security people but was used by a handful of people who wanted to cause trouble," said Ye Niuping, the local mayor, urging residents not to spread "concocted rumours".

    The South China Morning Post said Xintang appeared to have calmed down on Sunday afternoon, with armed police and armoured vehicles patrolling the area, but that as many as 1,000 later gathered despite the heavy police presence.

    "There were many people out on the streets late last night, shouting and trying to create chaos. Some of them even smashed police vehicles," said a worker from the nearby Fengcai clothing factory, adding that bosses barred employees from leaving the plant.

    An employee at a hotel in the area said police had told them to stay indoors.

    State news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that officials had sent work groups to villages, factories and residential communities to set the record straight.

    Guangdong police headquarters declined to comment and calls to the local police station rang unanswered.

    "There is a lot of pent up anger and frustration among ordinary people – not just migrant workers," said Geoff Crothall of Hong Kong's China Labour Bulletin, noting the different causes behind the recent outbreaks of unrest.

    But he added: "There are many towns in Guangdong which are still very much [divided between] locals and outsiders. Migrant workers are still doing the lowest paid, dirtiest jobs and suffer discrimination on a daily basis. That's going to cause resentment and anger to build up."

    Source:
    Chinese riots enter third day | World news | guardian.co.uk
     
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    China's reverse brain drain plan 'risks backfiring'


    [BEIJING] China's plans to attract 'overseas Chinese' researchers to help drive its scientific progress are being undermined by the "irresponsibility" of those being hired, a senior US-based Chinese mathematician has warned.

    Shing-tung Yau, a Chinese-born professor based at Harvard University, made the remarks at a seminar on mathematics in Beijing on 3 August.

    For 20 years, Yau has helped China organise international scientific exchanges and attract foreign researchers of Chinese origin to teach and do research in China.

    According to a report in the Beijing-based newspaper Science Times on 18 August, Yau said that many of the foreign researchers failed to do full-time research, as required by their contracts, yet were paid several times more than their local counterparts.

    “Some of them use their teaching time to travel across China attending academic meetings, while others just repeat research they have already published overseas,” said Yau.

    He said this has not only wasted precious research funds but also affected the careers of younger local scientists, who might otherwise fill the posts taken by the overseas professors, whom he calls "irresponsible".

    In recent years, several institutions including the ministries of education and science, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and leading universities have introduced programmes to attract leading foreign researchers — mainly overseas Chinese — to work in China for several months a year with attractive salaries, and tens of thousands of dollars of research funding.

    In April, the National Natural Science Foundation of China began offering annual grants of one million yuan (US$120,000) for up to four years to overseas Chinese researchers with foreign citizenship (see China offers research grants to overseas Chinese).

    Despite criticism by Yao and others, Ji Fusheng, a senior science policy researcher affiliated to the Ministry of Science and Technology, says that these programmes should not be blamed, as they have played an active role in helping China attract hundreds of internationally renowned researchers.

    A major problem, says Ji, is that many Chinese universities and research institutes only want to use their relationship with these leading overseas scholars to increase the institution's reputation and gain more research funding.

    They do not care whether the leading foreign researchers can do truly important research, Ji told SciDev.Net.

    He says employers should design better contracts for visiting scholars, and that the peer-review system for research they produce be more stringent to ensure the work is original.

    Link: China's reverse brain drain plan 'risks backfiring' - SciDev.Net
     
  3. Capt.Popeye
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    Pregnant and Bound for America: Why Chinese Want to Give Birth on U.S soil
    By Zhang Yan / Economic Observer / Worldcrunch

    When Liu Li boarded a plane for the United States, she had a little bit of makeup on, was wearing a loose dress, and had her hair up. She tried to hold her handbag in front of her belly in a natural way, just as the middleman had taught her. She was trying to look as calm as any wealthy Chinese lady would look when travelling abroad. But Liu Li couldn't help feeling terribly nervous: she was six months pregnant when she left for the United States, where she wanted to give birth to an American citizen.

    Liu Li knew that going through customs would be a lot easier than obtaining a U.S. visa. In order to obtain the tourist visa that enabled her to go to America for the delivery, she had to carefully choose her clothes, and spend a lot of time practicing her walking and interview techniques. She memorized a host of details about her hotel booking and about famous sight-seeing spots so as to convince the Embassy officer that she was just another Chinese woman going shopping in the States.

    The temptation of a 'born in the USA' child

    Giving birth to a child abroad is not a privilege reserved to the stars and the very wealthy. An increasing number of expectant middle-class parents also fancy giving their children passports that they can feel proud of. "The return on investment is higher than robbing a bank," the consultancy agent tells women such as Liu. When Chinese children are born in America, they automatically become U.S. citizens. Once they reach 21, their parents will be able to apply for green cards and emigrate.

    Those who would prefer a closer destination can go to Hong Kong, whose passport gives access to more than 120 countries without the need of a visa. Advantages include the fact that children will receive bilingual education (which will give them a foothold in the international world), and the fact that they will also enjoy the preferential policies for going to Chinese universities.

    After consulting quite a few agencies for expectant mothers, Liu Li chose a reputable one. Airplane tickets, fees for labor, pre- and post-delivery care cost her roughly 20,000. Since most airlines refuse to accept women passengers who are more than 32 weeks pregnant, Liu Li set off for America when she was six months pregnant and then checked into a Chinese birthing center in California.

    After her arrival, Liu Li realized that the area was full of facilities set up for Chinese women like herself. On the limited occasions when Liu Li goes to the Punete Hill Mall near her birthing center — the facility limits walks outside its premises to three per week, each time for about three hours — Liu Li bumps into lots of pregnant Chinese women. Birthing centers such as Liu Li's, which are mostly situated in America's beautiful west coastal areas, operate without a business license, and try to be as discreet as possible. In April, a number of illegally converted maternity centers in Los Angeles were discovered and shut down, which makes Liu Li very nervous.

    Incompatible nationalities

    Going to the United States to give birth and taking a foreign born child back to China usually proves relatively easy. The difficult part starts only later, as Song Jingwen is starting to understand. Because her son has a U.S. passport, the law does not allow him to be registered in his mother's local area, which means that he will not be automatically admitted to Chinese schools. Song will have to register him as a foreigner, and pay an extra fee. His access to education and health care also faces a lot of constraints.

    "Some parents obtain fake birth certificates for their children, or cheat the Chinese Embassy to get them Chinese passports. But then they can't get visas or go abroad," Song explains. She is still hesitating on what to do next. If Song gets her son a fake hukou (the Chinese registration system), which would make it easier for him to go to a local school, she fears that all the efforts she has made up to now could be in vain.

    A few years ago, Zhao Yong easily obtained a Shanghai hukou for his American born child. "Every time we want to go to the States, we have to get the Hongkong-Macao permit to go though Chinese customs, go to Hong Kong, then fly to the United States and enter the country with the American passport," Zhao Yong says. "The trip is a little bit complicated, but if we fly directly from Shanghai to the States, we won't be able to hide the truth."

    Under Chinese law, double nationality is prohibited. According to the American Embassy, once a child has obtained a Chinese hukou, he is considered to have given up his American nationality. The United States is not the only country with strict regulations. A child born in Hong Kong doesn't get the Hong Kong resident identity card right away, but has to go back to Hong Kong regularly — every year or two until he is 18 — in order to register as a "returned resident," and keep his nationality.

    The so-called 'citizen's welfare'

    According to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution (ratified in 1868), anyone born in United States automatically becomes an American citizen and obtains access to public education, university loans, voting, and so on... Even so, if one does not work in America or pay taxes after the age of 15, one can only enjoy very limited access to U.S. welfare benefits. "The system doesn't totally exclude people who don't pay taxes here, but those who do not pay as much tax as Americans do cannot expect the same benefits. But each state has different regulations," says Mr. Yang, a Chinese born man who works in New Jersey and has a green card.

    "Giving birth to a child in the States is a wonderful dream, but a very costly one too," Song Jingwen concludes. "People who choose to go down this path must know that they will not be paying only for birthing and post birthing care, but they will also be paying a lot more for the whole life."

    (All names used in this article are pseudonyms)

    Link: China's "Born in the USA" Frenzy - TIME
     
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    Dozens killed in Burma amid clashes over Chinese dams

    Jonathan Watts, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 June 2011 14.30 BST

    A bloody outbreak of fighting that has ended a 17-year ceasefire between Burmese government forces and a tribal militia was partly caused by the expansion of Chinese hydropower along the Irrawaddy river, conservationists claim.

    Dozens of people in northern Burma have reportedly been killed in the clashes between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army. Thousands more are trying to flee across the border after fierce fighting erupted this month around the construction sites of two Chinese-financed dams in the region.

    Amid growing fears that the conflict could escalate, the Burma Rivers Network said China's massive hydropower investments had widened the gulf between the government – which wants to benefit from cross-border electricity sales – and Kachin independence groups, which fear the dams will bring environmental, cultural and social disruption.

    "The conflict is closely related to the dams. The government has sent in troops because it wants to gain control of a region that hosts major Chinese investments in hydropower," Sai Sai, of the Burma Rivers Network, told the Guardian.

    Details of the fighting remain sketchy. The authorities have yet to acknowledge the conflict. The Irrawaddy magazine – which is published online by overseas critics of the Rangoon government – said stability in northern Burma had deteriorated rapidly with several explosions in the Kachin state capital, Myitkyina, the government closure of Sino-Burmese trading routes and the destruction of at least three bridges.

    Burma Rivers Network said power transmission pylons at Dapein dam had been toppled, the fighting had spread to Shweli dam and Kachin forces had vowed to widen the conflict to all areas under their control. The death toll is said to be close to 50.

    Dams are by no means the only cause of tension in the region. The uneasy standoff was shaken last year when the Kachin Independence Army rejected a proposal to fall under central government control as a border guard force. Since then the two sides have jostled over territory.

    But China's plans to finance, build and generate electricity from at least seven dams in the region may have given the government a greater economic and diplomatic incentive to take control of strategically important areas that have long been in the hands of Kachin forces. According to Burma Rivers Network the investment is worth $3.6bn and will result in annual power sales of $500m.

    The state-controlled firm behind the projects – China Power Investment – refused to comment. "We don't accept any interview on our overseas projects. Every company has their own business secrets," said a spokesperson from the Hong Kong-listed corporation.

    The Kachin Independence Organisation has co-operated with most of China's engineering plans, which are seen as beneficial to the economic development of the impoverished region. But it has fiercely opposed the biggest of the nine-planned dams: a 3,600MW hydropower plant at Myitsone, which is an area of great cultural and ecological significance. The environmental impact assessment on this first dam on Burma's stretch of the Irrawaddy also expressed grave concerns.

    In March the Kachin Independence Organisation sent an open letter to the Chinese government calling for the plan to be shelved: "We would not be responsible if civil war broke out because of this hydropower plant and dam construction."

    China has repeatedly emphasised the need for stability along its borders but it faces awkward questions about the conflict – which broke out a few weeks after President Thein Sein of Burma made his first visit to Beijing since taking office.

    Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, China adviser at International Crisis Group, said: "Hydropower projects in Myanmar are fostering strong popular resentment due to their unequal benefit distribution and lack of transparency, as well as environmental damage and forced displacement of communities.

    "Without addressing the negative impact of its companies China risks recurring instability on its border with Myanmar."

    Link: Dozens killed in Burma amid clashes over Chinese dams | World news | The Guardian
     
  5. Capt.Popeye
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    Report reveals huge scale of corruption among Chinese government officials
    Thousands of corrupt Chinese officials have stolen more than $120bn (£74.2bn) and fled overseas since the mid-1990s, according to a report by the country's central bank.

    The report, released this week by the People's Bank of China, says between 16,000 and 18,000 government officials and executives at state-owned enterprises smuggled about $123bn out of China between the mid-1990s and 2008.

    Officials are accused of smuggling money into the US, Australia, Canada and Holland, using offshore bank accounts or investments such as real estate or collectibles. They masked the thefts as business transactions by setting up private companies to receive the money transfers, according to the report.

    China has launched numerous efforts in recent years to curb graft, which is often a focal point of protests and is seen as a major threat to political and economic stability. Corruption among Communist party officials is still common, however.

    The report said that aside from punishing guilty officials, China should improve monitoring of asset transfers and revise methods of payment overseas.

    Chinese prosecutors have made some high-profile moves in the hope of deterring graft among the rank and file. In China's largest recent corruption scandal, the powerful party boss of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2008.

    Report reveals huge scale of corruption among Chinese government officials | World news | The Guardian
     
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    China's riot town: 'No one else is listening'
    Xintang, China (CNN) -- The authorities here are obviously nervous. My crew and I are sitting in a local government building being questioned by six propaganda officials.

    One of them is scribbling down our credentials in a worn pocket-sized notebook. My producer, Steven Jiang, is talking non-stop to one officer who looks especially nonplussed.

    We traveled to the manufacturing town of Xintang to investigate why thousands of migrant workers suddenly took to the streets just a week ago.

    We knew the unrest was triggered by what appeared to be a minor event -- a pregnant migrant worker and her husband got in a scuffle with city officials and she ended up falling on the ground.

    However, the ferocity by which this dispute exploded in a massive conflagration, pitting thousands of enraged workers against hundreds of riot police, took many by surprise.

    The unrest seems to belie the image of China as a bustling economy going from strength to strength, enriching the lives of millions across the country, especially in the industrial south. But the problem is many people feel they are not getting their fair share of the rapid growth.

    Since we arrived, the streets look relatively calm here. People are out shopping. Cars are on the roads.

    However, the frustrations the workers feel is palpable.

    We visited a job center and, for the first time since I started reporting in China years ago, workers approached us unfazed by our cameras. They were unafraid to vent their grievances to foreign TV journalists even as the police looked on.

    The workers complained of the lack of jobs, unscrupulous bosses hoarding back pay, and corrupt local officials.

    In China, with its one-party government, getting people to speak openly about the authorities is challenging and extremely rare, especially with the cameras rolling. It struck me these workers must feel no one else is listening.

    Economic uncertainty is the root cause of China's wave of discontent. However, unlike in the Middle East, people here are not calling for a new government. What they want is a way to right wrongs and not to be forgotten.

    We had been filming for several hours before the propaganda officials stopped us at a jeans factory to take us in for questioning. They told us Xintang had just been declared a special zone requiring additional permissions above and beyond our press credentials to report here.

    We apply for new permits but, not surprisingly, they aren't granted and we are told we have to leave.

    We need more video footage of the town so we negotiate a few more minutes of filming -- but we have to be escorted and are asked not to film the increasing security presence

    Migrant workers had told us more police patrol the town at night. Unfortunately, we won't be able to see that for ourselves.

    Link: China's riot town: 'No one else is listening' - CNN.com
     
  7. Capt.Popeye
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    China’s train wreck

    By CHARLES LANE, Published: April 23 2011

    For the past eight years, Liu Zhijun was one of the most influential people in China. As minister of railways, Liu ran China’s $300 billion high-speed rail project. U.S., European and Japanese contractors jostled for a piece of the business while foreign journalists gushed over China’s latest high-tech marvel.

    Today, Liu Zhijun is ruined, and his high-speed rail project is in trouble. On Feb. 25, he was fired for “severe violations of discipline†— code for embezzling tens of millions of dollars. Seems his ministry has run up $271 billion in debt — roughly five times the level that bankrupted General Motors. But ticket sales can’t cover debt service that will total $27.7 billion in 2011 alone. Safety concerns also are cropping up.

    Faced with a financial and public relations disaster, China put the brakes on Liu’s program. On April 13, the government cut bullet-train speeds 30 mph to improve safety, energy efficiency and affordability. The Railway Ministry’s tangled finances are being audited. Construction plans, too, are being reviewed.

    Liu’s legacy, in short, is a system that could drain China’s economic resources for years. So much for the grand project that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times likened to a “moon shot†and that President Obama held up as a model for the United States.

    Rather than demonstrating the advantages of centrally planned long-term investment, as its foreign admirers sometimes suggested, China’s bullet-train experience shows what can go wrong when an unelected elite, influenced by corrupt opportunists, gives orders that all must follow — without the robust public discussion we would have in the states.

    The fact is that China’s train wreck was eminently foreseeable. High-speed rail is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires huge borrowing upfront to finance tracks, locomotives and cars, followed by years in which ticket revenue covers debt service — if all goes well. “Any . . . shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial stress,†warns a 2010 World Bank staff report.

    Such “shortfalls†are all too common. Japan’s bullet trains needed a bailout in 1987. Taiwan’s line opened in 2007 and needed a government rescue in 2009. In France, only the Paris-Lyon high-speed line is in the black.

    This history counseled caution about introducing bullet trains in China, where the typical passenger was still a migrant worker, not a businessman rushing to a meeting. To be sure, there was an economic case to be made for upgrading China’s lumbering rail system: It would free up limited rail capacity for freight trains, thus reducing truck traffic on congested roads. Beijing’s initial feasibility studies envisioned the gradual introduction of trains that would move at a maximum 125 mph, according to Caixin, the Chinese economic magazine.

    But Liu Zhijun — part Cornelius Vanderbilt, part Sammy Glick — took over the rail ministry in March 2003 and urged officials to aim for speeds above 200 mph. “Seize the opportunity, build more railways, and build them fast,†he wrote.

    Liu exploited the communist leadership’s fascination with bigness and national prestige. Among the benefits he promised was a chance to squeeze foreign companies for bullet-train technology so that China could build and export its own. What happened next suggests that he — and others — also saw the potential for graft in such a vast undertaking.

    In 2004, the State Council signed off on Liu’s plan to build the world’s largest high-speed-rail network by 2020. The first leg, a 72-mile stretch between Beijing and Tianjin, would open in time for the 2008 Olympics.

    Word went forth that state-owned banks and local governments were to give Liu all the money, land and labor he required. When Chinese journalists found that Liu’s ministry was using cheap, low-quality concrete, creating a safety hazard, the Communist Party’s propaganda department quashed the reports, according to a January piece in the South China Morning Post.

    Students and other humble citizens greeted the first fast trains with complaints about high ticket prices. They crowded aboard buses instead. According to a recent report in China Daily, the government was forced to deploy 70,000 extra buses during the Chinese New Year celebrations in February.

    This month, I rode the bullet train from Beijing to Tianjin in half an hour — then returned by bus, which took two hours. Next to me on the decrepit, but packed, vehicle was a 17-year-old girl migrating to Beijing to search for work. She had never heard of the high-speed train, but when informed it cost $9, as opposed to $5.40 for the bus, expressed no regret at missing it. The bus driver assured me the girl was typical of his working-class clientele; to them, even a little money is more valuable than a lot of time. Small wonder that the Beijing-Tianjin line, built at a cost of $46 million per mile, is losing more than $100 million per year.

    Meanwhile, in the United States, Obama’s high-speed rail plan, originally set at $53 billion over six years, has gotten a thorough democratic vetting. Three freshly elected Republican governors spurned federal dollars for high-speed rail, fearing a long-term burden on their budgets; homeowners in liberal Northern California are fighting construction through their neighborhoods; and the president agreed with Congress to trim current-year spending as part of a budget deal.

    On the whole, I’d say China should envy us.

    Charles Lane is a member of the editorial page staff. Yale Law School supported his travel to China to participate in a conference on media law issues co-sponsored by Yale Law School’s China Center and two Chinese Schools of Journalism.

    Link: China’s train wreck - The Washington Post
     
  8. MAFIAN GOD
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    This is really a bad situation.
    I think India should not go for high-speed trains until next 2-3 decades or we will also have to face what Chinese Rail system is going through.:agree:
     
  9. Capt.Popeye
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    This is what Manmohan Singh alluded to during his recent chat with editors.
     
  10. Capt.Popeye
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    Leading on from the post above, some thing more about China's internal Debt situiation.
    So Could China Be the Next Greece?


     
  11. Capt.Popeye
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    China Appears to Censor Any Online Discussion Of Jiang's Heath
    What do Jiangsu Province, the minor pop idol Jiang Yirong and Huadong Hospital in Shanghai have in common? Over the past day, these and scores of other words and expressions have been blocked on much of the Chinese Internet, a result of the government’s unrelenting attempt to quash widespread rumors that the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin is dead or dying.

    Not surprisingly, the stepped-up effort to silence speculation about the well being of Mr. Jiang, 84, who officially retired as party chief in 2002 and as military chief in 2004, has generated even more rumors since last Friday after he failed to attend the 90th anniversary gala commemorating the birth of the Chinese Communist Party.

    The one thing the authorities have not tried is making an official public statement about Mr. Jiang’s condition. While China’s ruling party has not in recent years suppressed news about the death of a important leader, officials rarely, if ever, discuss the health of current or former leaders, and they ban news coverage of those subjects.

    “I don’t want to believe rumors, but what am I supposed to do when rumors always turn out to be true in this country?” said a posting on Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site that on Wednesday seemed to be suffering an especially zealous rash of censorship.

    In many instances, the offending words contain the character “Jiang,” the former leader’s surname, which also means “river” in Chinese. Huadong, also unsearchable, is the top-notch hospital where Mr. Jiang, the once jaunty Communist Party general secretary, may or may not have been treated for a heart attack, a stroke or infected mosquito bites — all ailments alternately blamed for his disappearance from public view.

    Speculative online accounts have repeated as fact the rumor that the respirator supposedly keeping Mr. Jiang alive would be unplugged on July 8. The number eight is considered lucky among the Chinese because it rhymes with the character meaning prosperity. (While the accounts are likely to be false, some commentators say an ailing Mao Zedong was taken off life support on Sept. 9, 1976, because the ninth day of the ninth month would be an easy date for the masses to remember.)

    Mr. Jiang last appeared at a major public gathering in 2009, when he joined other senior leaders reviewing a military spectacle marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

    Talk about Mr. Jiang’s impending demise has ricocheted across the Internet and then faded numerous times over the years. But his failure to show up at the 90th anniversary celebration, a required event for retired party elders as well as current leaders, raises the likelihood that he is in fact ailing.

    A Hong Kong television station went so far as to broadcast news of Mr. Jiang’s death before retracting the report. And overseas Chinese Web sites that specialize in political gossip have been claiming that Mr. Jiang died Tuesday night or that a large number of police officers were spotted outside the Beijing hospital that caters to senior leaders. (Not surprisingly, that institution, the 301 Military Hospital, can no longer be searched on the Internet.)

    Sam Crane, a China expert at Williams College, suggested that the government censorship machine was counterproductive. “It’s making them look very foolish,” he said. “The state is trying to control information so they can control the narrative, but in the Internet era that’s harder and harder to do.”

    The narrative about Communist Party leaders has always been a fraught business in China. The deaths of previous top leaders have proved politically disruptive. In 1976, after the death of the beloved Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, party leaders tried to suppress public mourning. In the end, as many as two million people defied the authorities by gathering in Tiananmen Square, where they criticized the Gang of Four, Mao and the excesses of his Cultural Revolution.

    A decade later, the unexpected death of General Secretary Hu Yaobang led to an outpouring of public grief in Tiananmen Square that morphed into a mass protest against the party. That episode, which ended in a hail of gunfire on June 4, 1989, shook the party to its core.

    The death of Mr. Jiang, whose tenure is not especially savored by Chinese liberals, would not be likely to draw such an emotional public response. But the Communist Party does not like to leave anything to chance.

    Roderick MacFarquhar, a China specialist at Harvard University, said that even if the rumor about Mr. Jiang’s failing health proved true, the party had never hidden public disclosure about the death of a senior leader. Any delay, even if brief, might be aimed at allowing the members of the Politburo Standing Committee to prepare his obituary and public eulogy, which would presumably be delivered by President Hu Jintao, who succeeded him as party chief.

    “They need time to prepare, not so much for the funeral, but for the description of the man and his place in Chinese Communist Party history,” Mr. MacFarquhar said.

    In the meantime, the government’s handling of the matter seems to be prompting a torrent of ridicule on the Internet, especially on Twitter and other overseas sites that are beyond the control of Beijing’s censors. On Wednesday, people began circulating photographs of Mr. Jiang shaking hands with the former leader Deng Xiaoping (“they meet again”) and a cartoon of a pair of trousers hanging on a clothesline that is meant to be a reference to a Chinese euphemism for death.

    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/world/asia/07china.html?_r=2&ref=china
     
  12. Capt.Popeye
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    The following news item while it is dated is not irrelevant in the light of two major related issues; Nuclear Safety ( considering Fukushima and its aftermath) and the perpetual tug-of-war between India and Pakistan in hoping to get Nuclear technology.

    China to Sell Outdated Nuclear Reactors to Pakistan
    Stephanie Ho | Beijing

    Photo: AFP
    Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu responds to questions during a press briefing in Beijing, March 22, 2011
    China is pressing ahead with nuclear energy cooperation with Pakistan, despite concerns that it is shipping decades-old technology to its South Asian neighbor. This comes as China suspended approvals for new nuclear power plants within China to review safety standards following the recent earthquake/tsunami disaster in Japan.

    Chinese authorities have already suspended approvals of new nuclear plants within the country because of safety concerns sparked by the disasters in Japan.

    But when Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu was asked Thursday about whether Beijing is similarly concerned about exporting outdated nuclear technology to Pakistan, she dismissed it as unrelated.

    Jiang says there are no direct links to the two issues. She says the Chinese government wants to see "orderly and reasonable" nuclear development in China, and is especially concerned about safety.

    As for Pakistan, though, she said only that China and Pakistan’s nuclear cooperation has been under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    China has provided two reactors to Pakistan’s Chasma nuclear power plant, with a deal that it provide two more. American officials have not expressed outright opposition, but have said if China goes ahead with Chasma 3 and 4, these actions would be "inconsistent" with commitments it made when it joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2004.

    Meanwhile, reports on Chinese nuclear websites show work on Chasma is continuing, even after the nuclear crisis in Japan.

    Mark Hibbs, an atomic energy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has closely followed the Chinese-Pakistani nuclear cooperation. He says China has been developing its own nuclear technology, but that it is outdated.

    "So far most of the reactors that the Chinese themselves have built on the basis of their own know-how reflects a technology which was available in the West and in advanced nuclear countries outside of China about 30 years ago," he said. "The Chinese are exporting this equipment - this is the technology which China has been exporting to Pakistan. I don’t believe right now that there is a major world market outside of Pakistan which is very interested in this technology."




    AP
    Daya Bay Nuclear Electricity Plant in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province (File Photo)
    Hibbs says France, Japan, and the United States provide the world’s most advanced nuclear technology, so he sees China as having commercial reasons for wanting to catch up. He says China also has geopolitical concerns for wanting to help Pakistan.

    "What is important for China is that this deal cements and underpins China’s strategic partnership with Pakistan in the political and military area," said Hibbs. "But it also provides a workplace for China’s nuclear industry to gain experience in building nuclear power plants abroad, an endeavor that the Chinese in the future very much want to do."

    Earlier this month, in another sign that the Chasma project is moving forward, the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to Pakistan’s request to safeguard the two new planned reactors there, to ensure that the nuclear material from the reactors is not diverted to make nuclear weapons.

    In 2008, the United States won a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group before it could go ahead with a controversial nuclear power deal with India. The cartel is made up of countries that work to ensure that civilian nuclear exports are not used to make weapons.

    China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation is expected to come up at the group’s annual meeting later this year, although the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Thursday did not indicate whether China would be seeking a similar waiver.

    Link: China to Sell Outdated Nuclear Reactors to Pakistan | News | English
     
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    China hails Hong Kong's 'irreplaceable role' in growth


    Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday Hong Kong plays an "irreplaceable role" in China's rapid economic growth and will be key to making the yuan an international currency.

    Li, the expected successor to Premier Wen Jiabao as head of China's day-to-day administration, also reassured the former British colony -- which returned to China in 1997 -- that its high level of autonomy will be retained.

    His visit comes amid strained ties with Hong Kong, while the city government itself faces rising public anger over soaring housing prices and increasing protests calling on Beijing to speed up promised political reforms.

    "The central government will continue to be firm on the 'one country, two systems' rule, and the policy of a high degree of autonomy which is to let Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong," the 56-year-old leader told a dinner reception.

    The premier-in-waiting urged Hong Kong residents to unite and work with chief executive Donald Tsang's government to focus on "boosting economic development, tackling social issues and gradually pushing for democracy".

    Tensions flared last month when Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the Chinese State Council, or cabinet, said local officials' colonial-era roots meant they "don't know how to be a boss".

    Hong Kong officials including Tsang publicly bristled at the criticism. The city maintains its own political and legal system, and guarantees civil liberties not seen on the mainland.

    It has been a key concern among the seven million population that Beijing is becoming more hands-on in the city's affairs, and the belief that it was bowing to Beijing has been cited as one of the reasons of rising public discontent.

    Earlier, Li unveiled economic sweeteners including making it easier for Hong Kong firms to do business in China, and reaffirmed the city's status as a hub for Beijing's ambitious goal to turn the yuan into a global currency rivalling the US dollar.

    He also said overseas investors would be allowed to buy mainland securities using yuan, starting with an initial 20 billion yuan ($3.13 billion) investment, but gave no timeline for the scheme.

    "Hong Kong's destiny and prosperity link closely with those of the motherland," the Chinese vice premier told an economic forum.

    He added it was key that Hong Kong "continues to bring out the unique advantage it has developed over the years and play its irreplaceable role in (China's) reform, opening-up and modernisation drive".

    Li arrived in Hong Kong Tuesday on a three-day visit as he looks to showcase himself ahead of an expected leadership reshuffle in Beijing next year.

    He presided over a signing ceremony Wednesday to launch Beijing's third, and so far biggest, sovereign bond issue in Hong Kong with plans to raise 20 billion yuan, and said China will gradually increase the size of issuance.

    So-called dim sum bonds worth about 70 billion yuan were issued in Hong Kong during the first seven months of the year, 95 percent more than the total for all of 2010, according to Hong Kong official statistics.

    "Hong Kong is blessed to enjoy the advantages of 'one country, two systems'," said chief executive Tsang.

    Outside, a small protest calling for the release of Chinese political detainees was held near the forum, but a heavy police presence kept activists out of sight. A larger protest was expected Thursday as Li wraps up his visit.

    Li, a former Communist Party chief in the northeastern industrial province of Liaoning, was China's youngest provincial governor, taking charge of the central province of Henan at the age of 43.
     
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    Sri Lanka signs $500 million port deal with China

    Sri Lanka on Tuesday announced it had clinched its largest ever single foreign investment deal by signing a $500-million contract with a Chinese-led consortium to build a new container terminal.

    The investment is the latest by China in the tropical island nation that has sparked concern from its closest neighbour and biggest trading partner, India, which sees Sri Lanka as part of its sphere of influence in South Asia.

    China Merchant Holdings International will own 55 percent of the three-way venture, with Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence holding 30 percent and state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority 15 percent, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

    "This is Sri Lankas single largest private-sector foreign investment project," the statement said, adding that it was signed during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's four-day visit to China last week.

    Planned to be built over five years, the first part of the Colombo project is expected to be ready in 2013.

    Two other Chinese firms, China Harbour and Sino Hydro, are building a $1.5-billion port in the Sri Lankan town of Hambantota, which is President Rajapakse's constituency.

    Sri Lanka hopes to double the amount of foreign direct investment it attracts this year to $1 billion from $516 million in 2010. It aims to use the money largely for infrastructure projects.

    China, which clocked over $1 billion worth of trade with Sri Lanka in the first six months of this year, has committed large loans to build railways, roads, electricity and an airport in the island.

    In 2010, China lent Sri Lanka $821 million which accounted for 25 percent of the island's foreign loans and the figure for the previous year was even higher at $1.2 billion.

    China is also developing port facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan, and has plans for rail projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

    Analysts have said New Delhi is concerned that Beijing's investments in South Asia are part of a bid by China to throw a geographical circle of influence around India.

    Last year, India said China was displaying "more than normal interest" in the Indian Ocean region.
     
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    China's foreign direct investment up 19.8% in July

    Foreign direct investment in China rose 19.83 percent in July year on year, data showed Tuesday, with analysts saying robust growth and expectations of a stronger currency attracted overseas investors.

    For the first seven months of the year, China took a total of $69.19 billion in foreign direct investment, up 18.57 percent from the same period a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

    Foreign companies invested $8.30 billion in the world's second-largest economy last month, the statement said.

    In June, the figure reached $12.86 billion, representing a rise of just 2.83 percent from a year earlier, due mainly to a slowing of investment from the United States and the European Union, the ministry said earlier.

    The ministry did not explain reasons for the strong performance in July, nor did it provide a breakdown of sources of the investment.

    Analysts say strong growth in China and expectations of a stronger yuan have attracted a growing number of foreign investors hoping for a better return on their money as the United States and Europe remain in the doldrums.

    But growing concerns that the flood of credit is helping to fuel inflation have triggered a round of monetary tightening as Beijing tries to rein in soaring consumer costs.

    Inflation hit a three year high of 6.5 percent last month despite the government hiking interest rates five times since October and curbing the amount of money banks can lend.
     

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