Archive for November, 2010

EU Investigates Google

November 30th, 2010 1 comment

The EU begins officially to investigate Google for alleged anti-competitive practices. According to this aljazeera report,

European Union regulators are to investigate whether Google has abused its dominant position in the online search market in what will be the first major inquiry into the internet giant’s business practices.

The competition watchdogs formally announced their investigation on Tuesday after complaints by rivals that Google gave their services “unfavourable treatment” in unpaid and sponsored search results.

Authorities will investigate whether Google’s services are being given preferential placement in search engine results, some of which may lead to consumer spending.

One of the complainants, British search site Foundem, said in a that its revenue “pales next to the hundreds of billions of dollars of other companies’ revenues that Google controls indirectly through its search results and sponsored links”.

French legal search engine and Microsoft-owned shopping site Ciao also lodged complaints against Google with the EU commission in February. Read more… Secret US Embassy Cables

November 30th, 2010 14 comments

Wikileaks made history on October 22, 2010, for making public the “391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs‘), documenting the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army.”

They are making headlines again, bigger headlines I think, for starting to release secret U.S. embassy cables from around the world. The embassy cables give a rare insight into the minds of world diplomats – albeit reported through the eyes and ears of the U.S.. The Germany based Spiegel Online had this to say about the new leak (“WikiLeaks Diplomatic Cables“):

251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy.

Read more…

127 Hours – Why the China Bashing?

November 28th, 2010 34 comments

Over Thanksgivings weekend, my family and I went to watch “127 Hours.” “127 Hours” is a movie about the inspiring story of Aaron Ralston – who after five days of getting pinned by a falling boulder while hiking in the desert in the Utah Canyons had to self-amputate his arm to save himself.  The movie is made by Danny Boyle – the same director who made Slumdog Millionaire.  While the movie itself is not particularly well-made (in my personal opinion, the music was too loud and the story telling comic-like), I’m writing because the movie apparently reduced Aron’s experience to a single “Lesson: Don’t buy a cheap made-in-China multi-tool!”  If Aaron had just brought along a set of non-Chinese-made swiss army knives – according to the movie – all would have been well… Read more…

Categories: Analysis, culture, Opinion Tags:

大汗颂 (Great Khan) by 郭尔罗斯组合 (Gorlos Band)

November 28th, 2010 No comments

Below is a performance by the Gorlos Band (郭尔罗斯组合), entitled “Great Khan” (“大汗颂”), at a music competition carried on CCTV. There is a mixture of throat singing and the Mongolian morin khur. It’s a really neat composition to say the least. The thing that struck me while watching this video is the fact that China’s continued lifting of millions of people out of poverty means more people will be freed to pursue other activities like music and art. More Chinese becoming more affluent means there will be greater demand and thus market for things uniquely whatever China is a composite of. Mongolian, Tibetan, Han, or whatever the inspiration, we are certain to see the ongoing explosion of things to come that is of China.

( version if you are inside China)

America enters Thanksgiving with trumpet for war over North Korea

November 24th, 2010 54 comments

DPRK shells ROK held island (China Daily)

As America enters this weekend of Thanksgiving celebration, North Korea’s recent shelling of Yeonpyeong Island (currently held by South Korea) will be widely discussed among family and friends. Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday to commemorate help the Massachusetts based Wampanoag Native Americans in the 1600’s provided to the newly arrived European pilgrims to cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. The darker truth was of course the Wampanoag being virtually wiped out by the pilgrims eventually. That darkness is still with us today, because if we pay any attention to the headlines in the U.S. in the last few days since the shelling (and killing of four South Koreans), it appears there are still many, perhaps mainly the U.S. media, who are preparing the American public for support of an eventual North Korea invasion.
Read more…

Russia and China pour water on U.S. ‘quantitative easing’

November 23rd, 2010 No comments

Putin and Wen announces quiting the USD

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has just jointly announced in St. Petersburg to no longer use the U.S. dollar in their two country’s bilateral trade. China Daily reported the news, headlining, “China, Russia quit dollar.” This is a reaction to the yet another round of printing by the Fed ($600 billion in fact).

“Quantitative easing” are new fancy words the U.S. government use to describe printing money out of thin air. (Would you be surprised if the U.S. media do not refer to this as “currency manipulation”?) At the recent G20 Summit, world leaders were upset at the U.S. for being so irresponsible as the USD is the reserve currency for the world. If Russia and China successfully execute on this arrangement in the coming years, I think other countries could follow suit.

A point by point rebuttal to the 2010 USCC Annual Report

November 23rd, 2010 3 comments

In my prior post, “The 2010 USCC Annual Report is ‘truthless, prejudicial’,” I ranted about the 2010 USCC Annual Report and reiterated Chinese Foreign Ministry call that the report was “truthless” and “prejudicial.” Some of you expressed privately that I should address the report seriously, especially, as this is an “official” position taken by a branch of the U.S. government.

Some of you also responded, since the U.S. is not interested in addressing the systemic problems locally and rather blame foreigners (China especially in this report), then let the U.S. march forward with her madness. In the long run, it will only result in America’s decline. Let it be, so the argument goes.

After giving it some thought, I think China and the rest of the world have a vested interest in America seeing our world for what it is, not to be cloaked in lies and prejudices. Read more…

柳叶湖美 (Beautiful Willow Lake) by 陈思思 (Chen Sisi)

November 23rd, 2010 No comments

(Youtube version if you are outside of China)

The 2010 USCC Annual Report is ‘truthless, prejudicial’

November 19th, 2010 6 comments

Recently, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) released their “2010 Annual Report” (complete in PDF) to the U.S. Congress, criticizing China over many issues. The USCC’s purpose is as follows:

To monitor, investigate, and submit to congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action. Public Law 109-108 directs the Commission to focus its work and study on the following eight areas: proliferation practices, economic transfers, energy, U.S. capital markets, regional economic and security impacts, U.S.-China bilateral programs, WTO compliance, and the implications of restrictions on speech and access to information in the People’s Republic of China.

Read more…

Software Piracy down by 13%, but how CCTV News reported it just sucked

November 19th, 2010 4 comments

CCTV is usually excellent. They have really good English language programming too. Occasionally I will run across programs or segments that make me want to cringe, like someone had just scratched his nails on a black board. In this segment, they are reporting 45% of software installed in all computers in China are pirated, and the trend over the last few years have been improving. From 2003 to 2009, this rate had fallen by 13% due to government crack down, cheaper versions available from domestic companies, and other factors. First, have a look at the video, and I will rant about it afterwards.
Read more…

Categories: media, News, Opinion Tags: ,

Michael Spence on China, U.S., and growth of the developing vs. developed economies in coming decades

November 18th, 2010 1 comment

the Economist recently interviewed Michael Spence (Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, and Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, Stanford University), and I thought his comments about China, the U.S., and the growth dynamics between the developing countries and the developed countries were rather interesting.

He talks about economics without the politics. It’s almost “weird” to find this type of discussion in America nowadays. He said that China is laying the ground work for transitioning into a more advanced economy over the next decade. He also said that the developing countries will maintain their growth even if the developed countries continue to limp along; the developing economies are no longer as dependent on the developed countries as was a decade ago. Elsewhere, I’ve read him articulating the U.S. has been consuming more than it produces for about a decade now and the U.S. will have to settle into a lower consumption “norm” when it re-emerges.
Read more…

COMAC C919 gets 100 orders

November 16th, 2010 3 comments

COMAC C919 orders signing ceremony

Six months ago, I wrote about the “COMAC C919, Challenging the Boeing and Airbus Duopoly.” The aircraft was scheduled for production release in 2016. And looks like the plan is proceeding well. The company has reported 100 of the planes having been pre-ordered by various airlines. So, here we are, six years before release, the C919 has already started making dents in this lucrative industry.

You may follow the above link to see who the suppliers are (for various subsystems of this aircraft) as well as other pertinent information about the market the C919 competes in. The C919 leverages COMAC’s experience from the ARJ21 which is expected to enter service this year.

The orders are making news around the world. Additional coverage by USA Today: “China wants to rival Boeing, Airbus with its C919 ‘big plane’.”

Africa, China, and the Western Media’s Smearing Campaign

November 16th, 2010 9 comments

I came across two writers today – by accident, really. On one hand is Zhang Hongwei, who labels himself an “international issue observer.” He writes in China Daily, “China not neocolonialist.” Zhang is annoyed at Western propaganda painting China a “neo-colonialist” in Africa. Never-mind slavery. Look at De Beers or BP or any other Western entities still exploiting the continent. Zhang writes:

Meanwhile, we can see that, even today, the pricing power of Africa’s most profitable mineral resources is still firmly held by Western multinational corporations, and as a result, African countries have benefited little from the exploitation of their resources. This is why African countries universally welcome China’s involvement and insist on cooperation with China.

On the other hand is Reason Wafawarova, a political writer from Zimbabwe on the continent of Africa, who writes, “Intellectual Responsibility – the Bane of Writers.” He says:
Read more…

Tianhe-1A ranked world’s fastest super computer

November 15th, 2010 5 comments

Engineers working on Tianhe-1A

In the current edition of TOP500, Chinese made super computer Tianhe-1A (at 2.57 petaflops/second) has just overtaken the American Department of Energy’s Jaguar system (at 1.75 petaflops/second) in performance to top the current super computers world rankings list. (Here is the press release: “China Grabs Supercomputing Leadership Spot in Latest Ranking of World’s Top 500 Supercomputers.”)

This news is causing a stir in the U.S. media. Some are questioning the benchmark itself (never-mind the “gracious” acceptance of it when American made super computers topped the list). Various take on this news: China Daily, CNet, and WSJ.
Read more…

长沙两天建成15层新方舟旅店 – 15 Story Ark Hotel goes up in Two Days

November 13th, 2010 6 comments

( version if you are outside China)

This is a time-lapse of a 15-story Ark Hotel in 长沙 (Changsa) being built; 48 hours for the basic structure and another 90 hours for the walls and windows. It can withstand a Richter scale 9 earth quake. It was built using 6x less materials than a similar building. More details here.
Read more…

Love of PR in a time of the stupid and the gullible

November 10th, 2010 19 comments

We must blame Allen, who touched off a burning neuron in my brain today, when he sent me a link to a website, where someone commented on how China can learn from India in the art of diplomacy.

So let the contrarian relativity debate begin:

Read more…

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Next Media Animation:“US-Sino Currency Rap Battle”

November 10th, 2010 4 comments

I am in Japan for another day and then heading back to the U.S.. Next Media Animation based in Taiwan has produced this video about the supposed currency battle between the U.S. and China. To me, the real truth is really a battle between the USD and the world’s currencies – not just China’s. Anyways, I thought the video was entertaining nevertheless. I don’t agree with the simple USD and RMB fixation as is in the Western media. For example, when the Japanese government intervened to weaken the Yen since the U.S. has weakened the USD so much against it, the Japanese government was severely lashed by the U.S..

YouTube records reportedly seized by Japanese prosecutors over leaked video

November 9th, 2010 2 comments

As written previously, “Japanese Coast Guard Diaoyutai or Senkaku Video Leaked,” the Japanese government is really upset over the partially leaked video. Japan Times has an article out on YouTube Japan’s records reportedly seized by Japanese prosecutors – “Coast guard probed over video leak; YouTube info reportedly seized.”

Separately Tuesday, prosecutors reportedly seized records from the operator of the video-sharing site YouTube to try to determine how the footage was posted online.

Further details of the records were not immediately known Tuesday evening.

YouTube is a subsidiary of Google Inc. of the U.S.

Although the Google camp has expressed willingness to cooperate with the investigation, the prosecutors believe it would be difficult for the search site to voluntarily submit user information, given its policy of keeping such data secret, the sources said.

Read more…

World Championships Volleyball: China vs. Japan

November 9th, 2010 2 comments

(left to right) China's Wang Yimei, Xue Ming and Li Juan celebrate (

The Chinese womens national team (中国女排) has had great successes throughout the years. They won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics. That same team took Bronze in Beijing in 2008. The U.S. Silver Medal team of 2008 was coached by Chinese star player Lang Ping from the 1984 Olympics Gold Medal team. The current Chinese team is mostly of a newer generation, and they are competing in Japan in the 2010 World Championships.

I was very happy to be able to watch them play at Tokyo few days ago (picture above), in round two of the 2010 World Championships.
Read more…

Categories: News, Photos Tags: , ,

Japanese Coast Guard Diaoyutai or Senkaku Video Leaked

November 5th, 2010 22 comments

In Japan, there is a decent amount of buzz over the leaked Diaoyutai or Senkaku video taken by the Japanese coast guard. Here is Japan Time’s report (“China ‘concerned’ over YouTube video; Tokyo probes Senkaku ship collision upload“) and China’s reaction (“Video cannot conceal Japan’s illegal actions“).

Read more…

Categories: News, Opinion, politics, video Tags: , ,

The Miss World Controversy

November 4th, 2010 5 comments

I don’t understand this.  There has been all sorts of accusation that Miss Norway did not win Miss World in China because of the political rancors that have been raised since the recent Nobel fiasco.

Well – here are a picture of the two ladies side by side.

Read more…

Categories: aside Tags:

Japan recalls ambassador to Russia over Medvedev trip to disputed islands

November 2nd, 2010 9 comments

Disputed Islands between Russia and Japan

The latest news in Japan is Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara recalling ambassador to Russia over Russian President Medvedev’s recent trip to some disputed island between the two countries.

The disputed islands are near the most northern tip of Japan. (Coverages from: Japan Times, China Daily, and Russia Today.)

Map to the left with the ‘A’ flag is one of the islands under dispute. In some ways this is similar to the dispute between China and Japan over Diaoyutai/Senkaku. Perhaps an all-or-nothing approach to ownership is too much of a out dated thinking.

In terms of news coverage, the thing that really struck me is how different Japan, Russia, and China reports than from how the U.S./U.K. media reports. In the case of the latter, they will put so much more spin or propaganda into the news. I am beginning to wonder if I should boycott U.S./U.K. media altogether.