2 June, 2005

go west, gone? good!

China is set to abandon it’s ‘Go West’ program, says Paul French (via CDT). If true, that’s welcome news. While the west does need development, central planning is not the way to do it. China is prospering today because it is abandoning central planning.

Thankfully Go West may soon finally go away. The long running and largely useless campaign to drive investment to the remoter western fringes of the country has been a disaster and it now seems that Beijing feels ready to (sort of) admit that, take a deep breath and move on. Go West was launched about five years ago to stimulate economics development. China claims that the policy has led to US$48 billion being invested in the region, but little of this has been FDI (at most US$3 billion). The vast majority has been central government funding for various projects. In general Go West was a leap too far for foreign investors and for most Chinese investors too.

French notes that there may be problems with disavowing the program because "it was a major plank of the Jiang Zemin administration and is considered one of Jiang’s gifts to the nation." I haven’t been here long enough to make a fully reasoned judgment about this, but it strikes me that Premier Hu Jintao is quite a player and is eager to dismantle Jiang’s legacy. That’s not necessarily a good thing in a broad sense, but here I wouldn’t mind Hu pulling off another coup.



by @ 6:56 pm. Filed under China, Economy, Northeast Asia

drugs and chinese food

ESNW has a great post explaining why Shapelle Corby would have likely recieved the same treatment in the US as she has in Indonesia. Also explained, why some Chinese restaurants suck:

If you are a successful wholesale drug distributor, you can make millions of dollars a month.  But you can’t take that bag of cash and deposit it at your local bank.  You need to launder the money to make it legitimate.
… one of New York City Chinatown’s most famous drug distributors, who had the nerve to buy three restaurants in the heart of the New York City Chinatown (around Mott Street and Bayard Street), but operate them with staffs which produced lousy food and held bad attitudes.  Within weeks, everybody in Chinatown knew that these were money-laundering operations, because there was no other way to explain lousy food and bad service!

by @ 3:56 pm. Filed under China, Northeast Asia, Global/grober

wikipedia to get sued

Newsflash! Online encyclopedia Wikipedia is shortly to be sued (Singapore Review via Singabloodypore):

is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful
figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate
qualifications. For example, in America, politically powerful families
such as the Kennedy family and Bush family in American politics are
sometimes accused of nepotism by critics…
Families elsewhere have also dominated politics of their
homeland, such as … Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (first Prime Minister of
Singapore) and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, who recently succeeded Goh
Chok Tong as Prime Minister of Singapore."

Family dictatorship
family dictatorship is a form of dictatorship that operates much like
an absolute monarchy, yet occurs in a nominally republican state and is
not part of its laws. When the dictator of a family dictatorship dies,
one of his relatives (usually his son) becomes the new ruler of the
country. This transition often occurs after years of "grooming" the
dictator’s successor as heir apparent."

UPDATE: : Simpleus has picked up the ball and run with it. More here.

by @ 3:46 pm. Filed under Singapore, Southeast Asia

fearless deviant

Andrea takes issue with Singabloodypore, noting that she does not live in fear:

Steven, I don’t know you, but I disagree that Singaporeans live in a climate of fear. I don’t think anyone fears for their very life if and when we speak out politically. I’ve run a personal weblog with mildly political opinions (okay, I may be understating it a bit) for over four years now, and I’ve never felt that the authorities would come and execute me summarily (or extra-judiciously). I think you’re overstating things somewhat.
Living in a climate of paranoia and self-censorship, however…


Here’s a conspiracy for you:

Bloggers.SG convention is being held at a time when those studying
overseas are back in Singapore on holiday so that the government can
video record them on spy cameras and make sure their host countries get
told they are potential terrorists so they will get strip-searched and
thrown into prison upon their return. Voila, someone else’s ‘problem’.

by @ 3:38 pm. Filed under Blogs, Singapore, Southeast Asia

raw data

Harvard student Lamont has the data, now he needs a thesis:

This morning I conducted some more test runs on the Xinhua data from
the 1980s and 1990s. It seems there are enough references to certain
other terms for me to build a more solid analysis.
trends appear when I did a count of the frequency of references to
"Taiwan" in Xinhua stories. In the early 1980s, there were only a few
hundred refs per year, but this spiked in the late 1980s (corresponding
with the re-opening of personal contacts between the two sides) and mid
to late 1990s. By 1999, about 2000 stories per year mentioned Taiwan in
the lead paragraph. This could warrant further study.

I await the conclusion.

by @ 3:22 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Northeast Asia

police state: discuss

I was going to post this in the comments section of Peking Duck, but it’s slightly more off-tangent than most of the comments. So, I’m bringing it here. Question, is China a police state?

My answer:

China is a police state. It is an authoritarian state, although it could be described in other terms:

… when a totalitarian government gets cozy with large financial and manufacturing concerns, it rings a twentieth century historical bell. I’m thinking how a certain "peoples’ car" - ein Volkswagen - got to start…." PJ O’Rourke (1998).

Jail and torture can be expected for dissidents - in the US they can expect tenure or food stamps.

That China is a ‘police state’ isn’t an issue for me. It’s simply a statement of fact.

The issue is how China should be engaged. It’s not a North Korea or Burma, but it’s not yet a Singapore or Malaysia.

As a pro-engagement person, I think in a decade or two - should all go well - it could be among the latter ’soft’ police states. But it’s not there yet.


by @ 1:15 am. Filed under Uncategorized

ban bali offline

I had hoped Jakartass would be part of the asiapundit team by now, given his earlier pledge to volunteer. No worries though, I can still rob items from his site until he is formally on board.

..a website lobbying for the Indonesian Government to introduce the "Unconditional Presidential Pardons" into law, has been shut down by the owners despite having tens of thousands of hits in a day, most supportive, whilst others were not so supportive!

by @ 12:30 am. Filed under Indonesia, Southeast Asia

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