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(Letter) Cramer Is Bullish on China

No, not Cosmo Cramer. Jim Cramer of CNBC`s Mad Money fame tonight made Xinhua China 25 his [China] Play of The Day, and expressed his bullish confidence in China`s dictatorship.

This is while self-appointed expat China experts are making doom-and-gloom, Panarin-esq predictions that China will suffer fatal crisis or fall from revolution, from range of issues: unemployment, to porn sweep, to an essay few have read.

Please allow me to add one more possibility – PETA will take China down (Pamala Anderson will let y`all know when to get out of Dodge).

Cramer bullish on China

  1. S.K. Cheung
    January 16th, 2009 at 03:56 | #1

    “I might suggest that modern Chinese history has had its own share of small groups of committed individuals whose ideas did not receive their due when first published or spoken but whom we now look back upon as transformational figures” – I hope Mr. Jenne is correct.

    I think Cramer is bullish on China’s economy. Might be a stretch to say he is bullish on China’s model of governance.

  2. TonyP4
    January 17th, 2009 at 15:56 | #2

    Cramer is a good entertainer. Do NOT follow his recommendation blindly. He has no credential. An article in the web finds his recommended stocks normally rose in price shortly (due to his followers) and then fell back.

    After falling more than 60% of the peak values, Chinese stocks have one way to go – up though we may not have a bottom yet.

    It is easy to buy FXI, an ETF than buying individual stocks if you do not have deep knowledge in Chinese stocks. Some have ridiculous P/E (Price/Earning, a yardstick for the value of the stock). Some will be out of business like our CircuitCity, but I bet some established ones will double or even triple in 3 years after the global recession. If my prediction is not materialized, do not blame me. If it does, please send me my share of your profit. :)

    China just becomes the third largest economy (but still a poor country by GDP per capita) and it is growing while US is not. The logic tells us the foreign market should be better than the US long-term. However, the US companies helping these foreign countries should do good too. The recent example is a local Boston company (American Superconductor if I remember right) shot up in stock price when they announced China is buying their conversion technology to move electricity generated by wind power in inner Mongolia.

  3. Steve
    January 17th, 2009 at 16:51 | #3

    I certainly don’t see China falling apart or undergoing a crises greater than any other country in responding to the downturn in business. But I would be wary of investing in Chinese stock, simply because I have no inside knowledge of how these companies are run and I’m not yet ready to trust the accounting methods used by many of these businesses. They’re just not transparent enough. If the USA with its more thorough audits and accounting methods can still have a few “Enron” fudging of the books and subsequent meltdowns, it makes me pretty wary of the stock market in general.

    Jim Cramer is a smart guy, but he didn’t see the meltdown coming and as TonyP4 said, his predictions haven’t proven to be any better than anyone else’s. David Swensen, who managed Yale University’s endowment fund to an average annual return of 17.2% over the last ten years, is probably a better guide to follow.

    There will be “gold mine” companies in China over the coming years. But I’d hate to try and pick ‘em unless I was actually in the country and could see their operations.

  4. January 17th, 2009 at 19:05 | #4

    Well, it is hard to say. For the time being it certainly looks like the crisis is not hitting China as bad as the West (almost all of us expats that just came back from Christmas in Europe/USA did the same remark). But this does not mean that it cannot get worse. The opaque nature of the CPC government is a knife with 2 blades: on the one hand it is great to control the people and ensure good conditions for business. On the other hand it keeps all the info to itself, so if there are big problems, we will only know it when it is too late.

    On more thing: when bloggers or “experts” like the ones you link speak about crisis, they don’t necessarily say it IS going to happen. They are considering possibilities, mostly with the idea of analyzing: “if it happens, HOW will it happen”. Because one thing is for sure, Charles, it might be 2009 or 2029, but some day, the CPC regime is going to collapse. Why? Very simple, because efficient as it is economically, it is a regime that is built on lies, and void of any real substance. Nobody in China believes in communism anymore, and the only justification of the regime are its material achievements. Any economist can tell you that growth cannot last forever.

  5. TonyP4
    January 17th, 2009 at 20:25 | #5

    Yes Steve, you’re right that Chinese accounting method is still in the infancy stage even after 30 years. They need to copy Western standard accounting systems fast, and train a lot of accountants. There are a lot of graduates that are still looking for jobs, but not in accounting areas. I trade FXI and very seldom on Chinese stocks. I do not trust their accounting data in general.

    Hi Chinayouren, China’s communism is a market-driven socialism or some call it communism with Chinese characteristics. Many would argue with you ‘it is built on lies’. It is partly true. However, if you compare China 30 years ago and China today, they’ve far less lies than before – so it has been improved at worst.

    I think it will grow for a longer while than most expected. It is too low to start with (even today’s GDP per capita about $2,500 US is still low for a developing country). Over 10% GDP growth is not sustainable for any country for ever even for China.

    It is hard for CCP to collapse. It is rich (but its wealth has not been distributed to its citizens) and powerful. Chinese citizens are busy making money to improve their material lives and the outside world will not send soldiers to ‘liberate’ China even there were a civil war with Taiwan. Most ‘trouble makers’ are from academia. Recently I see less and less. The next upheaval may be from unemployed workers who have a taste of good living once.

    This is my POV. Politics is just politics and everyone has its own POV. Hence, I respect your POV which is quite different from mine.

  6. Charles Liu
    January 18th, 2009 at 03:13 | #6

    I just love this:

    “some day, the CPC regime is going to collapse”

    I rest my case. I will never get why some ya laowai hate China so much, you’d go and live there, yet wish the worst for them.

    BTW, did the CPC lie about WMD, like our very own shinning beacon of freedom and democracy?

  7. Steve
    January 18th, 2009 at 03:44 | #7

    @ Charles Liu: Charles, I’m not predicting the CCP is going to collapse so no doom and gloom from me, but why do you equate the CCP with China? It’s a party that controls the government. If changes came along that caused them to lose power, China would still be China and I don’t think the country would fall apart.

    I don’t equate the Republican or Democratic party with Americans. I don’t equate Labor or Tory with the English. I’m just not following your reasoning here. Doesn’t the CCP contain just a very small proportion of the Chinese people; in fact, a much smaller percentage that political parties in most countries? Why would chinayouren’s prediction cause you to think he hates China? I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with you, I just don’t get your reasoning.

  8. Charles Liu
    January 18th, 2009 at 04:50 | #8

    Steve, I am objecting to the word “regime“. You don’t find this kind of loathing and distain a bit too “party line”?

    For example, do you agree with “only justification of the regime are its material achievements”? I disagree – what about grassroot democracy, election and impeachment of village officials? Expansion of election to township and district level?

  9. January 18th, 2009 at 08:04 | #9

    ““some day, the CPC regime is going to collapse”

    I rest my case. I will never get why some ya laowai hate China so much, you’d go and live there, yet wish the worst for them. “

    Charlie, are you really incapable of seeing the difference between the CCP and China? A hell of a lot of Chinese people want to se the back of the Communists as well, in case you haven’t noticed.

  10. January 18th, 2009 at 08:17 | #10

    Errr . . . Charles, In case you didn’t get the memo, the Taishi government is still in place.

    Here’s the break-down from the agit-prop daily:

    “Introduced by another villager surnamed He, they got to recognize and collaborated with Yang Maodong, who is a legal advisor with the Beijing-based Shengzhi Law Office, and Lu Banglie, who is a deputy of Hubei Province’s Zhijiang City People’s Congress. On July 29, following the advice of Yang Maodong an Lu Banglie, Liang and Feng went to the Panyu District Civil Affairs Bureau to submit a photocopy of a motion to recall the village committee head Chen Jinsheng, with the signatures of more than 400 villagers, accusing Chen and the committee for undergoing “bribery during the re-election campaign,” “selling village land illegally during hi first term”, and “not explaining to villagers where the land selling proceeds went.” However, they did not submit the original copy of the signed motion, which is required by law for starting a recall.

    On August 3, they instigated about 100 villagers to take the village committee office building by force, besieging it and even restricting the freedom of the village committee officials, which caused village committee no longer functional. On August 16, Liang and Feng organized about 150 villagers to prevent the police from enforcing their duties for more than 2 hours when the policemen were trying to detain those villagers who organized others to obstruct the work of the village commitee by occupying it by force. On August 31 and September 2, Feng and Liang, together with some other villagers, went to stage a sit-in protest on the sidewalk to the east gate of the Panyu District government.

    On September 5, Feng Qiusheng and several others submitted the original copy of the motion to recall Taishi village committee head Chen Jinsheng with the signature of 892 villagers. The Panyu District civil affairs bureau immediately asked the town government to validate and verify the signatures. The vefification found that some names were fake, and the names of some dead people were also among the motion signatures, but 584 signatures were determined to be true and valid. The number was enough to start a recall procedure as stipulated by law. Then, the legal procedure to impeach the village committee director began.

    On September 3, Taishi held a villager representatives’ meeting. At the meeting, it was agreed, through voting, to carry out an audit of the “25 problems” allegedly to exist with the village committee. From September 12-16, Panyu District government dispatched a work group to audit the finances of the village, giving a detailed check to the “25 problems” brought up by the villagers. At the same time, the Panyu District Civil Affairs Bureau directed the village to follow the law to form a recall committee with seven villagers. Later, Panyu District Government made public the audit and investigation results to more than 500 Taishi villager representatives.

    After the investigation and audit results were made public, most of the villagers who signed on the recall motion came to know the truth, many said the original alleged reasons to recall the village head did not hold, and therefore withdrew their signatures from the recall motion. Between September 26 and 28, the village recall committee validated the number of voters who requested withdrawing signature,and confirmed that,of 584 original villagers who signed the recall motion, 396 requested withdrawal. Thus, the final confirmed number of valid signatures was only 188, which was fewer than one-fifth of the total number of the registered Taishi voters(1,502). Thus, the recall motion no longer met the legal requirement. The Taishi village recall committee declared on September 29 that the motion to recall village committee head Chen Jinsheng automatically ceased to be valid. “

    Of course, brain-washed folk like myself might be inclined to doubt that the villagers had a sudden change of heart, and that instead they got intimidated back into line. In fact, this is what the villagers said when asked:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/may/02/worlddispatch.china

    As for district level elections, puh-lease, most people have no idea who the candidates are, no campaigning is allowed, and a communist majority is always ensured.

    So no, no meaningful democratic reforms have taken place under the CCP regime since 1978, or even 1949 for that matter.

  11. Steve
    January 18th, 2009 at 16:00 | #11

    @ Charles Liu #8: I had no idea you were objecting to the word “regime”. I thought the word “collapse” was what you were driving at. Now, I never use the word “regime” since to me it’s more French than English, i.e. the “ancien regime”, so I looked it up:

    re⋅gime   /rəˈʒim, reɪ-, or, sometimes, -ˈdʒim/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ruh-zheem, rey-, or, sometimes, -jeem]

    –noun 1. a mode or system of rule or government
    2. a ruling or prevailing system.
    3. a government in power.
    4. the period during which a particular government or ruling system is in power.

    Also, ré⋅gime.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Origin:
    1770–80; < F régime < L regimen regimen

    Like I said, it’s not a word I typically use, but I can’t find any negative connotations in its use. Why do you object to it and think someone who uses it hates China?

    Concerning local elections, I’m inclined to believe local elections are fixed at this stage. FOARP’s article is but one example of what happens in many towns and small cities. I’m not surprised it’s happening, but I am surprised when a village such as Taishi has had its situation well publicized where Beijing knows what is taking place, yet they do nothing about it. If the central government wanted to make an example out of Taishi, they could have those corrupt party officials out of office in no time and put all the local thugs in jail. But they don’t do it.

    When a villager with a local unresolved complaint, according to law, goes to Beijing to appeal to the government, it’s not unusual for the government to assist the local authorities in abducting that person and sending them back to their local village. This is clearly in violation of CCP law. Until the law is upheld and people can exercise their constitutional rights, the rest of it is just superficial verbiage. Until the central government actively engages in reducing and eventually eliminating corruption and intimidation, the Chinese people will continue to protest. I can’t tell you how many Chinese friends have said whoever has the most money wins the court case, with personal examples to prove what they say.

    Reforming local government would be to the central government’s benefit. I just don’t understand why it’s not done. Can you give me the reason?

  12. January 18th, 2009 at 16:28 | #12

    @Charlie boy – thing is, I don’t actually see that many (or any) expats predicting that ‘China will fall’, I do see some expats predicting that the CCP will fall, but that’s a different thing, or at least it is for everybody except hopeless CCP fanboys like yourself.

    However, neither of the two expat blogs that you quote actually said even that (are you going to apologise?), the only person who’s gone that far out on a limb that I know of is Daniel Drezhner, a writer over at Foreign Policy, who was accused by many including myself of engaging in wishful thinking, but he is not a China expert. In fact I believe he has never lived in China.

    As for the economy, I’ve gone on record as saying that, in my amateur opinion, China could do better than other countries during the current recession. Jim Cramer? I lost all respect for him when I saw that interview telling people to get all their money out of the stock market, he may be bull-something, but I’m not sure he’s bullish.

    Oh, and since you’ve put the whole “If you hate (insert country name here) why don’t you leave?” thing in play, why don’t you tell us why, if you love China so much, you don’t just up sticks and move there? Is it because the people of Seattle need your help? Can you tell us what you’ve actually done in the way of ‘community activism’ other than spread rubbish all over the internet? Can you tell us what you have actually done that has benefited the Asian-American population of Seattle? As far as I am concerned, Charlotte Stant hit the nail right on the head about you being the kind of person who gets high off of China’s rise, but doesn’t want to pay the price-tag.

  13. January 18th, 2009 at 17:05 | #13

    @Steve#11 – Thanks for the explanation of regime.

    “I never use the word “regime” since to me it’s more French than English” – Wow, is that the same reason why you only order Liberty Fries at the MacDonalds? :)

    As for “collapse”, it doesn’t necessarily have a negative tone, I just check the dictionary. It does have a meaning of “sudden fall”, but nothing more. And the truth is I just used if for lack of a better word, my vocabulary in English is limited!

    But Charles, it doesn’t matter how I explain it, you keep insisting here and on my blog that I am anti-China, and it is really anoying. I am with FOARP, if you think you like Communism so much, why don’t you move to China. But I warn you you might be dissapointed because, frankly speaking, European countries like mine are by all measurable standards more “socialist” than China.

  14. Steve
    January 18th, 2009 at 19:31 | #14

    @ chinayouren #13: Ha ha, I think they used to call them “freedom fries”, didn’t they? Now you’re reminding me again why I never voted for Bush. ;)

    I don’t know, for some reason I never think of using the word “regime” anymore than I’d use “hegemony” in a normal sentence, unless I was talking about Louis XIV. That doesn’t make it a bad word to use, just not one that comes to mind when I write.

    “Collapse” seems like a good word to describe the sudden fall of a governing party. The Republican party has collapsed lately… like the sound of that. Now if we could only get the neo-cons to collapse. :P

    I agree with you that most European countries are more socialist than China. Once the “iron rice bowl” collapsed (wow, used that word again), there’s nothing very socialistic about the system anymore. As someone described earlier, the term I’ve been using for years is “The Gilded Age” where the rich are very rich and the poor are very poor, and it’s easy to be exploited if you are not rich. Hopefully it’s just a phase and the society will even out over time.

    Will the governing structure change in the coming years? Of course. All governing structures change over time. China will be no different. The CCP knows this and are trying to come up with a way where things can change to the satisfaction of the people while their party still maintains power. Place your bets on the outcome, because that’s all anyone can say about the future. The only real truth is that it’ll take a shape that no one predicted.

  15. Charles Liu
    January 18th, 2009 at 20:41 | #15

    Steve, to claim the word “regime” isn’t used in a negative conotation by dictionary is beneath you. Please explain why our own regime (like that?) and media associate, not “government”, but this word, with North Korea, Iran, China, Burma, Liberia, Zimbabwe?

    As to election being fixed, please read my citation on impeachment again. The data came from a Chinese dissident group, and it showed 30+ successful impeachment of village leadership in the years surveyed.

    Also, please look into the district-level People’s Congress election. From what I’ve read 10 people can nominate a candidate, and there is a primary process (“sea election” Hai2 Shuan3) similiar to our own. These district PC deputies represent their district to elect higher level PC deputies – this is a “sausage making” indirect election process similar to our own.

    Only “material achievements”? Again I disagree.

  16. January 18th, 2009 at 23:25 | #16

    Charles, say what you like. Re-posting without comment and without apology messages from nutcases calling for the killing of the drafters of Charter ’08 has hurt you a lot in my eyes. As for the rest, 90% of the people I spoke to who voted had no idea who they were voting for, and the impeachments recorded may well have been the ones that the party wanted to happen anyway. We at least know that in one case the local government were able to bully the people into silence, and central government did nothing. No, China is not a democracy, stop trying to pretend that it is, you are only wilfully deceiving yourself. Even the old Soviet Union had elections of this type – indeed, it could at least claim to have a major puppet opposition party in the Agronomists (as well as a dissident nationalist movement which was latter discovered to be entirely a puppet of the KGB) whilst China has only 8 minor puppet parties (the largest of which is the ‘Revolutionary Committee of the KMT’. ‘Sea elections’ where ten people can nominate a friend who is then not allowed to campaign are meaningless, elections in which no manifestos are published are meaningless, elections in which there can be no criticism of the ruling party are meaningless, elections in which the opposition candidates can be locked up or murdered are meaningless. These elections are meaningless, and you should not try to present them as anything other than what they are.

  17. Steve
    January 18th, 2009 at 23:34 | #17

    @ Charles Liu: I have no problem if you want to call any government a regime, including my own. The word doesn’t have any negative connotation with me at all. You might not be crazy about the word, but for me it’s not a big deal and certainly not worth arguing about.

    If you’ve read my other comments on this blog, you know that I generally take a positive attitude towards China and talk about the improvements I’ve seen over the last ten years, which is my time over there living or visiting. I’m not contesting the improvements, but I’m not ignoring the problems either. The success or failure of any of those impeachments is dependent on the area party leader and whether that leader will allow it. Some will and some won’t. Again, when a leader is corrupt and Beijing knows there is a problem, why don’t they step in to fix it?

    Can ten people nominate a candidate? Or can ten CCP members nominate a candidate?

    “Only “material achievements”? Again I disagree.”

    Is this addressed to me? If so, I can’t find the context you took it from. If I said “only material achievements”, mea culpa because I think China has progressed in other areas beyond material achievements. However, they still have a very long way to go in terms of local elections and fair enforcement of the law.

  18. Charles Liu
    January 19th, 2009 at 03:35 | #18

    Steve @ 17, “Can ten people nominate a candidate? Or can ten CCP members nominate a candidate?”

    Anyone can nominate candidate:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/08/content_288018.htm

    “independent candidates in Beijing’s district people’s congress elections. The independent candidates are nominated by groups of 10 or more voters”

    Here’s an example of one such independent candidate beating out CCP. Dr. Xu is a well known human rights activist:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-12/17/content_291055.htm

    Here’s an archive of some past election news from China

    - 30% non-party candidated elected to village committee [in Shangdong prov.]

    - Beijing villiage/township voters snuff party candidates (45 party candidates lost, 33 out-of-ballat winners) in district deputy direct election. Prior to election voters expressed their “3 no vote” sentiment: “no vote for candidates we don’t know, no vote for people who don’t serve us; no vote for people who don’t speak for us”.

  19. Wukailong
    January 19th, 2009 at 04:17 | #19

    I think Charles is correct when it comes to the word “regime,” at least because it seems slightly derogatory to me. Of course, taken to mean a “government, especially an authoritarian one,” I don’t object to the term per se, I would just prefer media to stay as neutral as possible. Otherwise it might become more like the latest Xinhua blurbs against the “splittist Dalai clique” or “Taiwanese independence forces”. ;)

  20. Steve
    January 19th, 2009 at 04:46 | #20

    @ Wukailong: I guess “regime” is in the same class as “hegemony”, the word of the day whenever anyone refers to the CCP or the US government. Reporters tend to be lazy. ;)

  21. Charles Liu
    January 20th, 2009 at 08:50 | #21

    Someone just posted this in Letters section, further disputing ULN’s “only material achievements” judgement on the Chinese government.

  22. Wukailong
    January 20th, 2009 at 09:53 | #22

    Even if there were only material achievements, they go a long way in giving people new opportunities that are non-material. I guess everyone can agree on this?

  23. Steve
    January 20th, 2009 at 13:44 | #23

    @ Charles Liu #18: Thanks for that post, Charles. I wasn’t up on the election process and how it worked. I’d say that was definite progress! I wonder why it’s allowed in some places and not in others? Why do you think the central government doesn’t get more involved in some of the smaller cities to allow what is happening in others?

  24. Charles Liu
    January 20th, 2009 at 20:27 | #24

    Steve, I think beyond the rhetorics and static views on this subject, few in the West really appreciates how far China has come since the “nut and bolt” style of voting (I’m sure you’ve heard of that cold war era joke.)

    To answer your question, I don’t know either (perhaps it has something to do with jurisdictional divide for metropolitian cities?) I too am ignorant of China’s election progress and challanges thus far. What I do know is, Carter Foundation’s advocacy and work with the Chinese government on village democracy 15 years seems to have paid dividends for township and district election. Will it continue to expand? I hope so.

  25. S.K. Cheung
    January 21st, 2009 at 06:08 | #25

    Gosh, didn’t know “regime” could get someone’s goat like that. Maybe it should be added to Allen’s list of overly-sensationalized words. In Canada, sports franchises with a consistent management team over a significant period of time will get that handle hung on them. And the CCP has certainly been at it for a while. Maybe we can use the word “tenure” instead. However, unless you’re a professor, tenures, like regimes, tend to end sometime. Perhaps it is this finite aspect of a “regime” that some object to. Perhaps a more dynastic term would be more palatable.

    I don’t believe Chinayouren said the CCP “dynasty” has only provided material(istic) achievements; I believe what he said was that these achievements are the only justification for the CCP dynasty’s continued existence. Even for the CCP fans around here, it seems the main reason for their support of the CCP is what she has achieved economically, such as the oft-mentioned GDP growth. It’s not because the CCP has made incredible strides with law and order, corruption, social disparity, and the host of other ongoing problems. So maybe the crux of the objection boils down to the word “only”…seems once again to be making a large mound out of a small one.

  26. Steve
    January 21st, 2009 at 06:37 | #26

    @ S.K. Cheung #25: I agree that at one time the Chinese people I know were willing to support the CCP only because of the material achievements but were not happy with corruption and lack of certain freedoms, etc., but I detected a change in attitude in the run up to the Olympics. Friends who were apolitical were very upset at the treatment China received by the various press outlets, and felt they were raining on China’s big day. I believe their support for the CCP is now much stronger than this time last year. Even though the Olympics are over, there is still a residual resentment there and a “circling the wagons” attitude remains.

    Now the world’s economy is in trouble and when that happens, people tend to be more patriotic and stick together. Other considerations take a back seat when your livelihood might be affected. So I see a continuation for at least the next year of strong support for the government. It’ll take awhile for people to forgive and forget about the pre-Olympic coverage. As long as the economy remains in reasonably good shape, the government support should continue to remain strong.

  27. S.K. Cheung
    January 21st, 2009 at 06:58 | #27

    To Steve:
    I agree, in the “short” term, the CCP is not going anywhere. I’d be surprised if the CCP were to go anywhere in my lifetime. So with any luck, and knocking vigorously on wood, 5 or 6 decades will qualify as “short” term. As for CHinayouren’s assertion, however, I don’t think it’s so far-fetched. One could ask, for example, how strong CCP support would be if the Chinese economy tanked. My guess is that such support would head south as well. And if that’s the case, then if China’s material(istic) improvements are not the only justification for the CCP dynasty, they’re certainly the main one.

  28. Charles Liu
    May 13th, 2009 at 04:58 | #28

    UPDATE: As as May 12, anyone listened to Cramer and bought FXI is up $10 per share.

  29. Charles Liu
    July 25th, 2009 at 00:46 | #29

    Update: as of 7/24, FXI is $42.26

  30. raventhorn4000
    July 25th, 2009 at 00:54 | #30

    “how strong CCP support would be if the Chinese economy tanked. My guess is that such support would head south as well.”

    So as it should be, a government that cannot govern, will lose its privilege of authority.

    I don’t know if any government can survive when their economy tanks.

  31. Charles Liu
    September 11th, 2009 at 07:49 | #31

    Update, as of 9/11, FXI si $42.58.

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