29 Aug 2008

Keywords: social unrest, Olympics, China-Japan relationship, Tibet, monetary policy, anti-monopoly, Chen Shui-bian


1.1 Social Instabilities

 1.11 Unknown Cause for the 7.21 Kun Ming(昆明) Explosions

China Newsweek reposts that the two explosions on the public transports on 21st July, have caused public fears and increased security alerts. Many rumors have spread. But neither the officials, nor the reporter seem to have the interest or capacity to reveal them. The local authority hints the possible linkage with East Turkistan Independent Movement and its timing has caused severe pressure. So what is the purpose of the report? I am not sure. But at the end of it, the reporter told an undeniable but perhaps unnecessary truth, life goes on. (080804CNW, p. 52-4) The report is not significant at all, but why he reported that way is interesting.

1.12 Cause for 7.19 Meng Lian (孟連) Contestation

On 19 July, the county government of Meng Lian tried to arrest some rubber farmers. They were resisted and the police fired upon the contesters, one was killed and several injured. Caijing points out that the spontaneous contestation was due to entrenched grievances. The country has become a production centre for rubber. Many minorities of the county who owns collective land rights have delegated their rights to the rubber companies and then worked there. (080804CJ, p.38- 42)

While the companies grow and earn more money, the workers and original owners of the land were in despair. Social inequality becomes conspicuous whereas with help of local authorities, the companies continue to aggregate land. Indeed, in the town where the contestation started, one rubber company owns 57% of the rubber land and its president is the deputy chairman of local CPPCC. In response, the farmers aggregate under several activists who would represent their rights and in the meantime sell their rubbers directly. These actions have caused a series of minor confrontations and they were regarded as sources of social instability by the local authorities. Another report is available at Oriental Outlook. (080814OO, P.42-5)

 1.2 Olympics

1.21 The Art of Compromise

The Southern Weekly conducted an interview with Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) who try to narrate the preparation of the opening. In the 20000 words interview, Zhang explicilty states that the final product was an art of compromise, which he thought to be necessary and overwhelmingly satisfied with. Interestingly, he knows the major perspectives and foresees most of the criticisms, but still he thinks that the end product should be the one he had presented. Why and how? It seems to be a combination of top-down pressure, bottom-up expectation and his personal artistic ambition and his attachment to the meaning of (the rise of) China. (080814SW) 

1.22 The Necessity of Control

Out of the 77 demonstration applications in the designated zone, none of them were given green light. According to Xinhua, 74 of them after constructive deliberation with authority, agreed to withdraw their applications; 2 of them did not provide required documents, 1 of them is beyond the scope the regulation. New Yorker Times reporters, Nicholas Kristof narrated his ‘impossible mission’ to become 1 of the 77. (080817XHN; 080816NYT)

1.23 Political Success with Economic Disappointment

The Beijing landlords didn’t get the occupancy they hoped for – 60% of the units were vacant during the game. ‘The ongoing Beijing Olympic Games have brought excitement and success for many, but for landlords in the Chinese capital who had hoped to reap a small fortune from the flood-in of tourists, the Games have turned out to be a big disappointment.’ reported Xinhua. (080827XHN)

1.24 Updates: The withdraw of Liu Xiang ; An inquiry into the Age of He Kexin; and the calculating and interpretation of the Medal Race  

1.3 The Rise of China, in what sense?

1.31 The Old Debate: Individualism vs Collectivism

The most striking is the divide of our world is between the societies with an individualist mentality and the ones with a collectivist mentality, said David Brooks at New York Times. (080811NYT) ‘If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.’ It is obvious a simplified and obsolete analogy and he attracts the routine criticisms from ‘their side and our side’. Nonetheless, it is interesting to refer to the sociological perspective — i.e., who, and how and why they said so. Besides, it can be read side by side with an article from a Chinese journalist who went back to his village and was forced to see and talk about Olympics days after days by his family and villages. Although couldn’t ask the question ‘what is the relevance of China having a medal to you’, they simply needed it and had vetoed his proposal of viewing other popular dramas that they once attached to. (080825_1510)

1.32 To help China to embrace the Future, said Tony Blair

It is a genuine attempt by a Western Leader to deliberate the content and meaning of the Rise of China. To him, the rise of China, economically and politically is a fact. The recently visit, has impressed him. The people and entrepreneurs in particular, are so energetic, so proud of their country and so enjoyed towards their autonomous capacity. He, to a certain extent, courageously admits that stability is a necessary foundation to future those dreams. China will face the challenges of being a global player, and the continuous interaction would put forward the challenges to include political, economic as well as cultural dimensions. It is the time to set pace and form on the dialogue with China, he said. (080826WSJ)

1.4 The Death of a Communist, on time for a closure? 

Overshadowed by the Olympics, the news of the passing away of the former supreme leader, Hua Guofeng (华国锋) on August 20, 2008 wasn’t particularly noticed by many. The CCP did not say much about his achievements and demerits, but generally the media and internet response are positive, he certainly has his limit, especially in the so called Two Evers principle, it was a matter of entrenched macro-history and his personal attachment to Maoism. Still, he was considered a kind and generous man, although not good at political struggle, his determination to eliminate the Gang of Four had marked history and opened the possibility for future reform.


2.1 Positive Future for Sino-Japanese Relationship

Oriental Outllok, cooperating with Yomiuri Shimbun (読売新聞,), launched a survey on the attitude of Japanese towards China. They claims that it is no longer applicable to categorize the relationship as good or bad, as constructive elements have gradually developed between two nations. For instance, 3/4 of the Japanese welcome the Olympics, over 80% of the interviewees saw President Hu’s visit as a success, they have very positive orientation and interpretation towards each other’s characters, and finally they agrees that the economic cooperation between the two countries would be win-win. Nonetheless, the trust of Chinese towards Japanese is relatively higher and the former also have a more optimistic interpretation towards Sino-Japanese Relationship.

  • Dalai Lama offers Beijing Olive Branch

Written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kriskof, the article revealed Dalai Lama’s public statement recently that he could accept Communist Party rule for Tibet, abandoned his previous version of Hong Kong model. This is a courageous concession and a signal of his yearning to reach a deal with the Chinese government, commented Kriskof. He even hints the possibility of Dalai Lama going to Beijing in October, as a visit to commemorate the earthquake victims. That move is however, constrained by the fact how many Chinese as well as Tibetan would welcome such move; the endeavors of the religious leader and the CCP oligarchy; and the meaning of Tibetan issue in international arena.  (080814NYT)


3.1 Direction of Macro-Economic Policy

According to Ming Pao, the leadership has agreed on the direction of the monetary policy, after the meeting in Bei Dai He (北戴河). Broaden domestic demand and control inflation would be the main focuses. The Deputy Director of the Economic Research Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission, Wang Yi-Ming (王一鳴) confirms the report, and insists that the Olympics would not be the watershed for the Chinese economy. He claims that the relative economic slow down was highly correlated to the external economy and was a normal reflection of the economic cycle in China ― the economic foundation is still strong. His comments were shared by the Chief Economist of the World Bank , Lin Yi-fu (林毅夫), who listed the favourable factors, from the external trade associated with Olympics, expanding domestic consumption, manufacturing and constructing investments, and continuous FDI. (080818MP)

3.2 Application of the Anti-Monopoly Law

The Anti-Monopoly Law has been enacted since August. The first defendant would likely to be Microsoft. Southern Weekly reposts that the plaintiff, a lawyer (董正伟) has initiated the litigation, asking for US$1 billion compensation, and received a acknowledgement from Ministry of Commerce. (080819SW) However, according to the advisers and makers of the law, it is far from satisfactory. There are many conditional articles for company to exploit, the (administrative) adjudicators only have advisory power and do not have the capacity to enforce their rules, and the lack of relevant regulations has limited its applicability. (070905SW)

3.3 Developed vs Developing Worlds? Collapse of the Doha Round Negotiation

On 29 July, the WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy announced that after 7 years of negotiations, the Doha Round Negotiation collapsed. The major disagreement is over India’s insistence that developing countries must be able to protect their agricultural sector against sudden surges of subsidized imports from the US and EU. The State and most of the western media put the blame on India. (080730NYT) The Washington Post, however, contributes an editorial criticizing China’s share the veto with India in ending the free trade dream. (080730WSJ) WSJ proclaims, ‘China’s role in the demise of the Doha Round is particularly dismaying, considering China has reaped huge benefits from global trade in the seven years since it joined the organization — with strong U.S. support.’ In other words, China has disappointed them. Caijing Magazine offers the reasons why signing the agreements would hurt billion of subsistence farmers. And it is not a crime of one or two nation against the free world, instead, more of a contest between the developed and developing worlds. Practically, the collapse would not significantly change the content of trade, but it certainly hurts the integrity and legitimacy of WTO in resolving trade disputes. (080804CJ, p.44-46)

3.4 The 30 Years Reform Series in Oriental Outlook, Southern Weekly and Ciajiang (To be delivered in a summary report)


4.1 Scandals on Former President Chen Shui-bian

It is the most interesting political drama even made, said a Taiwanese commentator. The scandal, first revealed by the Taiwan Next Magazine, has continued to develop. New evidences and new victims have emerged in daily, if not hourly basis. Chen and his wife quit DPP as scandals continues, the amount is said to be in billions TWD; it is perhaps combination of a personal act and institutional necessity; some DDP members confirmed that they have received money from Ah Bain; some officials of Chen’s administration hided the internal report and foreign request, and former Director of the Investigation Bureau is facing charges, and so on. (China Times delivers a chronicle report on its website)

4.2 Emerging/Consolidated Democracy, Accountability and Reflection towards China

(080826HKEJ; 080824MP; 080828SW)


5.1 Donald Tsang’s rating drop continuously

5.2 Intense intra-camp and inter-camp contestations in Leg Co Election