19 June, 2005

pants on fire

Via Asia Economy Watch:

A senior Chinese official said Friday that China’s State Council will soon decide how to put into practice a plan for the government to purchase equities in order to restore confidence in the nation’s equities markets.
He said it was not a bail-out and pointed out that Hong Kong made a large profit selling shares it had bought in a similar plan to rescue its stock market during the Asian financial crisis of 1998.

Flashback: When Hong Kong bought stock in 1998 it was to hit speculators who were betting that the SAR and mainland would delink the HK dollar and renminbi from the US dollar, thereby allowing their currencies to follow those of the rest of the region downward. The press release is here.

Presently, no one is speculating that the renminbi will be revalued downward. The currency situation is diametrically opposite to that of 1998. The speculation is that any revaluation will go the other way. If there was confidence in the market - at the very least a belief that it had bottomed - than those few foreign investors that are allowed to buy Mainland shares would likely be doing so simply as a currency play.

And - despite hitting eight-year lows recently - in terms of  price-earnings valuations Mainland China’s sharemarkets are still overvalued in comparison to those of Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Still, if they do bail out the stock market in a direct manner, it may be better than the piecemeal measures that have been taken. Moreover it would be welcome over some of the ones that have been alleged:

…a mysterious rise in the value of the three pilot companies chosen to
begin the experiment of divesting their state-owned stocks suggested
that the government was attempting to prop them up.

But no one should pretend it is anything other than a bail out.

by @ 11:37 pm. Filed under China, Money, Asia, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

aung san suu kyi

Gateway Pundit has a collection of links on the Lady’s 60th birthday.


Fabian and Carl have further linkage. All three note international leaders have sent best wishes to the Lady, who remains under house arrest at the whim of the junta that runs Burma.

With the exception of , Malaysia’s former prime minister, I have not noted any reported comments from Asean’s leadership.

by @ 6:25 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Asean, Myanmar/Burma, Southeast Asia

but what about japanese media?

Laowiseass offers lessons on the foreign press to students of journalism at Peking University.:

I know you still may not get it or get it but not accept it because as children growing up under communism, paternalism and Xinhua News Agency, you cannot imagine press that doesn’t follow the leader and defend the family honor as defined by papa. Try one more time to get your brain on top of it … News readers avariciously want to know about negative news involving their country, and the media serve their readers, part of this free market media concept that we’ll push on you next semester. And if papa happens to get stuck in your stinky ink, there’s not a whole lot he or Senator So-and-so or the Minister of Such-and-such can do about it except wet their pants.

by @ 12:10 pm. Filed under Culture, Japan, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media

peasant protests

Simon has been corresponding with Pundita, and has been keeping track of the conversation here. Today, she looks at the (what I trust to be State Department’s view) on the rise of rural protests in China:

What we’re seeing today in China is a growing rebellion among the rural
peoples. This could spell bad news for the ruling party and foreign
companies using China as a plantation.
Beijing hasn’t released
figures since 2003 on the number of yearly riots and with good reason;
riots are breaking out all over the country. The 2003 figure was
58,000. That figure is surely a drop in the bucket next to what’s going
on today, which is a ruthless land grab that the peasants are
increasingly fighting.
The story in China would be familiar to
students of America’s Robber Baron history phase. Corporations that
want to build a plant and officials who want to clear land for
government projects are using thuggery to eject the people from the
land. The cops are paid not to intervene. So the people have no choice
but to pick up arms. There’s a lot of sympathy building in China for
the ones who fight back, so Beijing is increasingly reluctant to punish
the peasants who skirmish.

by @ 11:13 am. Filed under China, Asia, Coming collapse, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia

a pickled diet

Drunkenness in Northeast Asia is not frowned upon to the degree that it is in the West, SE Asia or (obviously) the Middle East. Heavy drinking not only accepted, it is also often ‘expected.’ Business entertainment in South Korea, Japan and China usually will involve drinking sessions. The most unusual thing about this report from The White Peril is not that members of Japan’s Diet had drinks during the parliamentary recess… no, the unusual thing is that it was mentioned in the house:

That Tokyo stress gets to everyone, though, including LDP members of the Diet:
The session [of the House of Representatives on Friday] began its recess at 5 p.m. and reopened just before 9 p.m. Tomoko Abe (Social Democratic Party), who had stood up to argue against voting [to extend the Diet session], looked out over the red faces of several members and spoke. "We should all get out of here right now," she said, raising her voice. "If this is going to be the ‘Pickled Diet,’ there’s no need to extend the session."
DPJ leader Katsuya Okada censured the Prime Minister:
"Prime Minister Koizumi and former Prime Minister Yoshio Mori were both casting votes red-faced. You’d think they’d understand how to comport themselves during these sorts of proceedings."

Via Dean’s World, who also explains ‘red faced’ and starts a debate about political correctness and social taboos.

by @ 10:53 am. Filed under Culture, Food and Drink, Japan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

china’s web registration

China Tech News (CTN) is reporting that if China does make good on its threat to block unregistered domestic websites, it may also affect sites that have registered (via China Digital Times):

About 80% of China’s 660,000 domestic websites are built through renting a virtual host computer which is based on sharing the same IP address and servers. Once a particular Chinese user breaks the rules, many others who share the same IP address and server will be affected.

This currently happens with the Great Firewall, where some overseas sites with clearly innocuous content are not directly accessible in China because they share resources with other sites that the government finds questionable. However, I think it would be more difficult for the state to apply such broad blocking tactics domestically.

The details on the number of sites that have registered isn’t really clear. CTN’s June 17 report notes:

MII says about 30% of websites in China still have not registered
for an Internet Content Provider (ICP) identification number. As a
result, not only will these websites face closure, but they will also
bring risks to others who share the same IP address with them.

That rough estimate is four percentage points lower than the more-definite and widely reported number provided by the ministry 10 days earlier.

Tue Jun  7,10:59 AM ET,

Private, noncommercial bloggers or Web sites must register the complete
identity of the person responsible for the site, it said. The ministry,
which has set a June 30 deadline for compliance, said 74 percent of all
sites had already registered.

Private estimates had put the percentage of registrations in the first week of June at a much lower number, though the BlogHerald report noted here was referring to bloggers and not websites (individual bloggers using hosting services do not need to individually register). Still, as Fons noted, government statistics are not trustworthy.

"People can come up with statistics to prove
anything. 14% of people know that." - Homer Simpson

by @ 9:37 am. Filed under Blogs, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Media, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Censorship

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