The U.S. is suggesting that the Australian Government is being too timid on the issue of human rights with China. All because Australia refused to attend a summit, the subject of which is how to deal with a "rising China".
The summit will be attended by the U.S., Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. Australia will instead be briefed on the meeting afterwards. Interestingly, New Zealand is also taking a pragmatic approach when dealing with China, that is while voicing human rights "concerns" they are still willing to pursue closer ties with China. I wonder if NZ would think of backing out of this summit too?
Of course, there is the whole political asylum seeking issue in Australia. The Aussies won’t want to offend China too much by then basically attending a "how to contain China" (at least that is how the Chinese would see it, I assume) meeting?
Fons has a great look into the looming shakeout in China’s newspaper industry. While, as the Asia Times notes, China is the largest single global newspaper market in non-adjusted terms, Fons argues that many of the recently launched newspapers simply don’t have an audience and exaggerate (or invent) circulation data. Read the China Herald for more, including this rather bold prophecy.:
TV media are still far away from such a shake-out, since they are able to generate more revenue and are more important for the government to get their message out. But the dilemmas of the print media are not limited to them.
In the US statistical evidence shows that by April 2014 the last news paper reader will disappear, unless something is being done. In China that might happen much faster.
The possibly-banned in China Running Dog offers an assessment of Hu Jintao’s language on bridging the urban-rural wealth gap and
promoting ‘democracy’ opposing negative phenomena:
…grizzled readers of the propaganda statements issued by China’s leadership cannot fail to detect a change in tone over the last few years. In what appears to be a direct response to the mayhem that seems to have descended upon China’s shit-poor hinterlands, Hu Jintao is calling for the construction of the ‘harmonious society’, ‘consisting of democracy, the rule of law, equality, justice, sincerity, friendship and vitality.’
Ominously, Hu also draws attention to the fact that a new spate of ‘independent thinking’ is also ‘posing further challenges to China’s policy makers’. ‘Negative and corrupt phenomena and more and more rampant crimes in the society will also jeopardize social stability and harmony,’ he said.
And so, what Hu giveth, Hu taketh away. Democracy works best, of course, without independent thinking, and if ‘negative phenomena’ are banned, the masses will have no choice but to just grin and bear it.
Simon World offers a great roundup of blog opinion on CNOOC’s bid for Unocal. The top-spot goes to this item from Hemlock.:
From Chevron’s point of view, it’s not fair. But
assuming CNOOC’s bid passes muster with regulatory and legal
authorities, that’s too bad. Chevron has ‘lost’ one potential
opportunity but still has its money and the possibilities it offers.
Unocal’s owners are clear winners, getting a juicy price for their
asset. We CNOOC owners gain an overpriced acquisition at subsidized
financing costs – let’s say it nets out. So does that leave the Chinese
taxpayer as the main possible loser? Or are the sneaky commie hordes
the ultimate winners?
Rebecca McKinnion reports that sites hosted at Blogs.us have been blocked in China. TypePad has confirmed the blocking of its service as well, although it should be noted that the initial TypePad block seems to have been scaled back. Some TypePad sites, including this one, can be seen in China (or at least here in Shanghai plus in Chengdu and Beijing).
For those doing a tally, blocked services include Blogger, sections of TypePad, Blogsome and Blogspirit. Those who are on any of these providers are welcome to use the below advertisement.:
A serial rapist was caught with the help of close-captioned surveillance in Kuala Lumpur, raping at least five people. He also serves as proof that it isn’t the woman’s fault that someone rapes her - an unfortunately common theory here among some conservative Muslims - after all, his victims ranged from a 43-year-old Irish woman to a 10-year-old Kuwaiti boy.
Rebecca McKinnion has posted a must-read item at YaleGlobal Online on how foreign technologies are being used to censor the internet in China.:
Are US companies responsible when the Chinese government deploys their technology to stifle free speech on the internet? If the internet is going to change China in the long run anyway, how much does their complicity really matter?
According to ONI, it is difficult to believe that Cisco, Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems, Juniper, and 3COM do not know how their products will be used by certain customers. There needs to be greater public examination of exactly how US technology companies are conducting their business. What do they know, and when do they know it? There should be consequences for companies found to be deliberately aiding censorship and political repression.
BusinessPundit links to a Harvard Business School item that offers a wide (though not unfamiliar) discussion on the differences between US and Asian corporate leadership.:
To a significant degree, large American firms are at
a later stage of development than many Asian firms—they have passed
from founders’ family leadership to professional management and to
capital obtained from the capital markets (rather than obtained from
government—directly or indirectly—or from family fortunes). In this
transition they have adopted particular styles of leadership responsive
to boards (often led by outside directors) and to Wall Street.
It is possible, but not certain, that Asian firms will follow this
evolutionary path. The political connections so important for top
business leaders in Asia, whether in democracies or one-party states,
are not unknown but are much less important in America. It is a
characteristic of Asian top executives that they have such connections
that are important to their businesses. In America, the chief executive
officers of very large firms often have virtually no direct connections
to top politicians—the government is treated at arm’s length and
business is done by business people.
It’s an interesting read, but nothing that would be a surprise for anyone who has spent significant time in Asia. I would be more interested in turning the issue on its head: how important are ‘connections’ for expatriate executives who work within Asia. In China, it would seem to be high - almost every foreign-business press conference or event has a government component. In Singapore, conversely, the PAP only seems to come out for major infrastructure projects or pet projects (i.e., biochem developments). Expat managers have far less need to build government contacts.
Also, it would be interesting to note how much management styles and business practices differ within countries.
When I lived in Taiwan from 1996-98, it seemed as if Japanese popular culture was making the biggest impact on East Asia, but now South Korea looks to be stepping in as the driving force of the entertainment industries of not only Northeast Asian countries, but also in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan:
South Korea, historically more worried about fending off cultural
domination by China and Japan than spreading its own culture abroad, is
emerging as the pop culture leader of Asia.
From well-packaged television dramas to slick movies, from pop music to
online games, South Korean companies and stars are increasingly
defining what the disparate people in East Asia watch, listen to and
This AP story via The Taipei Times points to the complicated situation of being Catholic in contemporary China. Whose authority does one recognize?
Hundreds of Catholics packed Shanghai’s cathedral yesterday for the
consecration of a new bishop who leaders of the official
government-backed church hope will help ease a rift with Rome. Joseph Xing Wenzhi (邢文之), 42, was made auxiliary bishop in a ceremony led by Shanghai Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian (金魯賢), the representative of the government church who at age 89 is giving up many of his administrative duties.
China’s government has no formal relations with Rome and rejects the pope’s authority to pick bishops.
However, Jin said in an interview earlier this month that both Rome and
Beijing authorities have tacitly agreed to Xing’s appointment as his
top aid and successor.
Many Chinese Catholics reject the authority of Jin and others in the
official Church, preferring to worship in underground congregations
with their own clergy. They regard another elderly priest, Joseph Fan
Zhongliang (范忠良), as Shanghai’s true bishop.
Fan, who reportedly suffers from Alzheimer’s
disease, has been under virtual house arrest for the past five years.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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