Archive

Archive for January, 2009

Should Obama Learn to Engage the Chinese People through the Internet?

January 30th, 2009 106 comments

President Obama has not exactly started out making a great impression that he will bring U.S.-China relations to a new high – what with unwelcomed vague belligerent references against communist and authoritarian governments in his inaugural speech, followed up by now Treasury Secretary’s Geithner’s sharp tone and use of the legally-loaded term “currency manipulation” in Geithner’s confirmation hearings (I don’t want to get into the “currency manipulation” debate here since we will have specific posts on those topics soon). Read more…

(Letter from ag2559, Opposing Viewpoint) China and the Economic Crisis

January 28th, 2009 26 comments

Intro: China’s accumulation of foreign currency is a hotly debated topic. Secretary of Treasury Geithner recently characterized it as “currency manipulation,” a legal term of art which allows the United States to take retaliatory measures.

I have written a paper that approaches this practice from a different angle, and recommends a different solution. The paper can be downloaded here http://ssrn.com/abstract=1332842

In this paper, I revisit the historic ideas surrounding miserliness and usury. I explain why these were economically pernicious activities, and why they were socially stigmatized or made illegal. The paper then moves onto international relations. I argue that China has been acting as miser and usurer on the world stage, at the expense of its own needs and global productivity. The world needs to balance spending vs. saving/investing/lending, and if there is too much of the latter then a rebalancing is inevitable. China has been doing too much of the latter, and the current economic crisis is that rebalancing.

The preferred solution to this problem is not trade protectionism, but rather increased trade. Over the past decade Americans have spent trillions of dollars on Chinese goods and services. This created employment in China and helped the country achieve its potential. The Chinese have responded by hoarding and lending that money. But a relationship where Americans spend and Chinese save and lend is not viable. Only when China takes the dollars Americans spend to employ Chinese, and uses it to employ Americans, will there be a sustainable relationship that can tap the productive potential of both countries. The United States has taken the first step and spent to establish this relationship. It is now China’s turn to spend, to advance that relationship.

I am interested in comments before the paper is published, so please do not hesitate to write me at the link above with any feedback.

Note: post title and content changed per the author’s request. -admin

Categories: General Tags: , , ,

Something to chuckle about #2

January 26th, 2009 27 comments

Apparently, at least one of the columnists at the Washington Post reads this blog. Sebastian Mallaby, a veteran from the Economist and contributor to Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Prospect, the National Interest, the New York Times, Policy Review, Slate and the New Republic, and specializing in globalization, trade, investment trends, international development and economic policy, has apparently taken my advice for Tim Butcher to heart. Mr. Mallaby decided to follow up with Tim Geithner’s recent and much discussed comment about China’s  “manipulation of currency” and penned a piece that’s not safe for your computer if you are drinking coffee while reading it.
Read more…

Welcome Year of the Ox – and Happy New Year!

January 26th, 2009 63 comments

1-oxchinese-zodiac-oxIt should be Chinese New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day throughout most of the world by now …  so I just want to wish everyone here a very Happy and Prosperous Year of the OX (牛)!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox symbolizes prosperity and is associated with fortitude and hard work. Those born under the influence of the Ox are natural leaders, are dependable, and possess innate abilities to achieve great things. Read more…

Opinion: Dear Mr. Dalai Lama … please tear down this wall!

January 24th, 2009 431 comments

On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.

For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming.  The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile.  But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time… Read more…

(Letter) Members of Chen’s Immediate Family Plead Guilty To Money Laundering Charges

January 22nd, 2009 7 comments

The money laundering saga of self-proclaimed son-of-Taiwan Chen Shuibian continues.

On Wednesday, Chen Shuibian’s son Chen Chih-chung and daughter-in-law Huang Jui-ching both pleaded guilty to money laundering charges in exchange for leniency.

According to China Times, the main terms of the plead bargain includes: Read more…

Obama sworn in as 44th U.S. President

January 21st, 2009 126 comments

Today we witnessed again another routine yet extraordinary democratic transfer of power in the world’s most powerful country.  For many, this particular occasion carries an especially momentous meaning because not only has America elected her first black (should be mixed) president, but Obama has also promised dramatic changes in the role the government plays in domestic governance as well as the way U.S. – as the world’s lone super power – exercises diplomacy abroad. Read more…

Climate Change: Tibetan Plateau in Peril

January 20th, 2009 7 comments

Too often when we discuss Tibet, we reflexively focus our attention on the political spat between the CCP and the Dalai Lama.  However, Tibet is much more than the current political spat.

For one thing: there is the people; the indigenous culture; the land – and of course the important environmental role the Tibetan Plateau plays in regional as well as global environment.

The following is a video from Asia Society on the Peril the Tibetan Plateau is under – as well its implication for all of us in light of global climate change. Read more…

Serfs' Emancipation Day for Tibet

January 19th, 2009 74 comments

The following article appeared in the BBC News Online today:

Serfs’ Emancipation Day for Tibet

By James Reynolds
Beijing

China has declared a new annual holiday in Tibet called Serfs’ Emancipation Day, to mark the end of what it says was a system of feudal oppression.

The local parliament in Tibet has passed a bill which declares 28 March as the new holiday.

The announcement comes in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the escape into exile of the Dalai Lama.

The 49th anniversary a year ago led to widespread protests by monks and others in and around Tibet.

Read more…

Categories: culture, education, General, News, politics, religion Tags:

Chinese American Art & Culture

January 19th, 2009 4 comments

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Heart Sutra: Calligraphy by Wendy Lee

The San Diego Chinese Art Society recently presented the Thirteenth Annual San Diego International Music & Arts Festival. Sometimes we tend to forget about Chinese who have emigrated to other countries but continue to keep in touch with their culture in a new environment. The San Diego Chinese community has many organizations dedicated to keeping their ancestral culture alive, and the events these organizations hold are supported not just by Chinese Americans but by the San Diego residents from all ethnic groups.

Read more…

Categories: culture, education, General, music Tags:

Hakka Tulou in Fujian Province

January 17th, 2009 52 comments

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Huaiyuan Lou Tulou; built in 1907

We’ve had discussions about Hakka culture in the past with several of our commenters being of Hakka ancestry, so I wanted to show some photos taken by Ted of tulou (土楼; 土樓) in Fujian province. 60% of Hakka are from the Xingning/Meixian area of Guangdong province and over 95% of overseas Hakka were originally from that region, but tulou exist only in Fujian.

Read more…

(Letter) Cramer Is Bullish on China

January 15th, 2009 31 comments

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

Taiwan's Alternative Music Scene

January 14th, 2009 19 comments

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We covered China’s  underground music scene in a previous thread and with the new year approaching, I wanted to introduce some alternative artists from Taiwan.  I’m sure everyone already knows the most popular Mando-pop stars, so here are a few that are a little less known. Most of these musicians either made their debuts or saw an upsurge in their popularity over the course of 2008. An article I read recently in the Taipei Times was the initial catalyst in my search for finding newer artists.

Read more…

Categories: culture, General, media, music, politics, video Tags:

On the Mind-Numbing, Sensationalistic Use of Emotionally Charged Words in International Politics

January 12th, 2009 176 comments

The recent tragedies in Gaza have reminded me again the mind-numbing role the sensationalistic use of emotionally charged words can play in international politics.

Recently, Israel railed against the Vatican when Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Vatican, characterized Gaza as a “concentration camp.”  According to the NY Times: Read more…

(Letter from Arctosia, Opposing Viewpoint) Chinese Government publishes list of “vulgar” websites and information

January 7th, 2009 64 comments

For many Chinese website operators, 2009 didn’t start very well. China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre, a semi-government agency, has published a list of websites which contain “vulgar and unhealthy information” deemed to be harmful to the country’s youth. The list (in Chinese) can be found here.

The interesting thing about this list is that it covered majority of the most popular websites in China. Google was ranked number one “vulgar” site (see, e.g., NYTimes article), followed by Baidu and Sina.

I’m very confident that every Chinese netizen have visited at least one of such vulgar websites. I myself must have visited at least 75% of the websites listed and would probably be diagnosed as psychotic under the Chinese guideline. Read more…

Reflecting on 45 Years of Modern Sino-French Relationship

January 7th, 2009 10 comments

Later this month will mark the 45th anniversay of French’s diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China.

I had not known that 45 years ago, France was the first major Western nation, despite stiff American opposition of that time, to recognize the People’s Republic of China.

I also had not known that – contrary to the faux paux spats that occurred between the two nations the last year – the modern relationship between France and China had actually started on a high note of mutual respect and admiration. Read more…

(Letter from Otto Kerner, Opposing Viewpoint) What if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet as a private citizen? Some details …

January 4th, 2009 226 comments

In a recent letter, I wondered aloud if it might be possible for the Dalai Lama to retire from politics and return to Tibet as a private, nonpolitical citizen. Is it possible that the goodwill created by such a move could prove more productive in the long-run than political negotiations would?

I got to thinking about some of the details that would need to be settled in order for this to be possible. I came up with eight specific points, although the eighth is a bit of an epilogue and would not be implemented until the government decides things are going well. Read more…

As Trade Slows, China Rethinks Its Growth Strategy

January 3rd, 2009 55 comments

A recent article in the NY Times with excerpts below, talks about the continued deepening of China’s economic slowdown. When calculated in China’s own currency for a true local effect, the situation is worse than expected even a few short weeks ago. There is recession in the USA, recession in Japan, cancelled orders and lack of re-orders hitting the Chinese businesses dedicated to export markets.

The Chinese government’s plan is to stimulate the local economy and encourage its people to lower their savings rate. But with the lack of a health care plan or retirement programs, people seem to be saving more, not less. What is the best way for China to head off a recession? Should they establish a rudimentary health care plan for their citizens? Or is the money better spent in other areas? Read more…

Categories: General, News, politics, technology Tags:

(Letter) The Mystical Gaza Chinese Rocket

January 1st, 2009 55 comments

While it is widely reported that Hamas have fired 122mm Grad rockets into Israel, an upgrade from the Qassam, few media have gone further and stated that the new rockets were Chinese-made.

Simple Google searches seem to suggest the reason very few media outlets have made the Chinese connection is because this is somewhat dubious:

– According to Wikipedia the Soviet designed Grad rockts have been profliferated to over 50 counntries, with over a dozon countries manufacturing them.

– None of China’s 122mm Grad rockets were ever exported according to SinoDefense.com: 1) Type 81-90 rockets were never successfuly exported and was decommissioned in the 1990’s; 2) Closest spec’ed WS rocket, WS-1E, never entered production.

So it is a mystery how did Hamas ever get their hands on supposed Chinese-made rocked when it doesn’t exist.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,