9 August, 2005

late tuesday linkage

Via the Avian Flu Blog, a map (pdf) of poultry and pig concentration and possible avian flu transmission routes from migratory birds.


It’s Singapore’s national day, Daniel Drezner asks ‘how long Singapore can remain an outlier?’.

Whenever people start talking about the interrelationships between regime type, the rule of law, economic development, and political corruption, the outlier is always Singapore.
Think that economic development inexorably leads to freedom of the press? Hello, meet Singapore.
Think that authoritarianism automatically leads to corruption? Have you met Singapore?
Think that no government can plug its country into the Internet while still retaining a vast web of censorship.

The Swanker also offers a National Day post, along with a motivational poster that will not likely grace many Singapore government offices.:


The city state’s people are far more fun than its gahmen, as mr brown’s ‘One Singapore Minute‘ photo meme . And Singabloodypore’s mention of protest punks, blogs and gay pride should dispell some of that myth of a conservative culture.

Away from a 40-year old nation… in another step at preserving a 5,000-year-old culture, China will ban lip synching from September 1.

I have just run across the State Council’s Regulations on the Administration of For-Profit Performances (营业性演出管理条例),
issued July 7, 2005 and effective as of September 1, 2005. Among other
things, lip-synching is now prohibited, and punishable by a fine of up
to 100,000 yuan

Mei Zhong Tai is outraged that ex-Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui considers defense spending synonomous with a different sort of protection money. Michael Turton, the Budding Sinologist’s regular sparring partner, meanwhile ponders whether Lee is on crack.

A study in South Korea has come up with a rather obvious conclusion, long hours at the office result in less active sex lives.

Atanu Dei says Mother Teresa was no saint.

Sepia Mutiny ‘uncovers’ the world’s longest strip tease.

The Indian girls in Toronto are busy making big bucks with sari stripping. They wear sari to attract traditional clients from getting rich India and strips in front of them.

Industrialists, politicians, Bollywood directors, actors and
producers all are heading towards Toronto to experience this massive
display of Indian sex!

The number of girls involved in sari stripping and sex market exceeds hundreds. They speak fluent Canadian English, are brought up in Canada and have Indian heritage.

Arms Control Wonk takes a look at obstacles to the recent US-India agreement on nuclear cooperation.

As well as Singapore’s 40th, there’s another anniversary today. I posted on Hiroshima on Saturday, today Japundit remembers Nagasaki.

Also from Japan, a legal argument that it’s not indecent to masturbate on public transit.

There’s a lot of bloggage on Japan’s failed Post Office reforms and snap election that I won’t post about. Tak notes that Wikipedia has it all.

3854983_c23b52ef57_oNK Zone has a superb wrap of the Six Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear program. At OneFreeKorea, ahead of the anniversary of the peninsula’s liberation the author ponders ingratitude.

by @ 9:17 pm. Filed under Japan, South Korea, Blogs, Singapore, China, India, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, North Korea, World record watch

china economic roundup (i)

Welcome to the first of what will be a semi-regular feature, a roundup of blogging on China’s economy.

Via China Digital Times, Robert Reich in the American Prospect warns that the US housing bubble is being fueled by Chinese money

Here’s where the China connection comes in. A major reason why mortgage rates have stayed low is that there’s a lot of money around. And much of that money has been coming from abroad. China and the rest of Asia have been putting their spare cash into America, in order to prop up the dollar and make it easier for them to export to us.
But that’s about the change. We’ve been pressuring them to let their currency rise, and they’re getting the message. We don’t know yet how much they’ll let it rise. But the writing’s on the wall, in Chinese characters. And other Asian nations are following China’s lead.
You don’t have to be a zen master to see this means less Asian money flowing into the United States. Which in turn means long-term interest rates — including mortgage rates — will start to rise. It’s just supply and demand: less money around, and the cost of borrowing goes up.

Incidentally, Asiapundit warns that Shanghai’s property bubble is being fueled by speculative inflows.

In the wake of failed takeover bid’s for Unocal and Maytag, Horse’s Mouth anonymous guest blogger Martyn notes that China hasn’t been creating many world beaters even when acquisitions have been successful.:

Fortune 100 list 2004 of China’s top listed companies predicts that fewer than five will become global leaders ten years from now. However, George Baeder of international strategy consultants Monitor Group says, “That’s probably an optimistic view.” I would tend to agree with him.
Chinese companies have also, to date, made some horrific foreign investment decisions and not just related to paying inflated prices for extremely dodgy assets. TCL purchased French multinational Thomson last year, including America’s 86-year-old RCA. “We thought we could sell RCA as a premium brand, but in fact it had already deteriorated into pretty much a low-end brand,” says TCL’s Vincent Yan. TCL had forecast a turnaround at RCA by the second half of this year. That has now been moved back to the first quarter of 2006 and looks extremely optimistic.

The Big Yuan reports that China’s loans from the World Bank are coming under fire.:

The World Bank, whose charter aims to fight poverty in developing nations, continues to lend about $1 billion to China annually, and according to the International Herald Tribune, these loans are increasingly coming under fire. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, feels that while these loans are being used to develop roads and infrastructure the PRC is able to invest more into its own armed services. He says, “We have to be very vigilant.”

But, Talk Talk China muses that corporate China may have some advantages, although these stem from a lack of ethics.:

While the West is mired down in debates over globalisation and corporate social responsibility, conservative governments in the US restrict stem cell research, and EU governments dither over GM food safety, one begins to see a real opportunity opening up for China to take the lead in these areas, perhaps finally finding its own place in the world — and leaving the West behind in the dust, nursing its ethical qualms.

At the Economist’s View, a look at the winners an losers from China’s currency revaluation.:

If employment and manufacturing do increase, there are transitional costs to consider as the article notes.  Rising interest rates will cause less activity in sectors such as housing and more activity in other sectors such as (hopefully) computer chips.  But during the transition unemployment could potentially increase.  Nevertheless, to the extent that such rebalancing is healthy for the economy in the long-run, there is a long-run benefit that follows the short-run cost, but the cost does need to be acknowledged.

While a stronger yuan may cut into China’s manufacturing exports, there’s one export that might see an increase. After all, ill-gotten gains just became two percent more valuable. (Update: the five billion yuan figure was reported in the Standard, Xinhua is reporting the amount is 50 billion dollars) :

4,000 Chinese officials fled China last year with an estimated 5 billion Yuan [HK$4.80 billion-US$600 million] in graft money in tow. The currency figure seems a little low to me since this only amounts to US$150,000 for each of the 4,000 fugitives, not enough to even buy a house in Canada or the US. I figure that this figure is probably substantially understated since a higher number would imply that the problem is nowhere near under control.

Via Survived Sars, a link to an excellent brief from the Jamestown Foundation on the limits of Chinese Economic reform:

There have always been two Chinas: a maritime China, caught up in the economic growth of modern times and looking beyond her frontiers; and a continental China, agrarian, bureaucratic, conservative, and unaware of the economic advantages of international capitalism. It is this second China that consistently controls the political power within Beijing. Economic growth has mainly been concentrated in maritime cities, while the vast hinterland remains very unevenly integrated into a national economy. Given its size and rate of growth, this inequity between reformed and unreformed areas may greatly distort free-market trading systems.

by @ 8:06 pm. Filed under China, Money, Asia, Coming collapse, East Asia, Economy, Northeast Asia, Economic roundup

suicide bombing in fuzhou

A Lebanese blogger yesterday argued that the US shouldn’t be the primary target of al Qaida’s ‘jihad’:

If al Qaeda truly wanted to make the world a better place for Muslims,
the US would not be the first country they would attack. Muslims live
incredibly free and profitable lives in the United States. And Muslims
can be seen thriving in all areas of employment and life as
shopkeepers, doctors, artists, and professors.
But in China, this is not the case.  Muslims are horribly oppressed by the Chinese government.
Chinese government is officially atheist and has no problem toppling
every pillar of Islam. Chinese cuisine is packed with pork, and alcohol
is a popular commodity (okay, that’s not really a kep point). The
Chinese government indirectly supports the genocide of Muslims in
Darfur (albeit by other Muslims).

In an unrelated matter, which is still a creepy coincidence, yesterday a suicide bomber detonated himself on a bus in in Fuzhou:


The Horse’s Mouth reports:

One suicide bombing exploded on a bus in Fuzhou City, Fujian Provice, at around 2:30pm, August 8. According to official news, the explosion was caused by a 42-year old farmer who had cancer. But it is hard for police to reach such a conclusion so quickly. The news said there was one killed and dozens injured, it did not mention whether the bomber was killed.
What Witnesses Said
witness said there were at least five killed, some said more than 20.
Witness saw one body was removed and rescuers tried to find survivors
and picked up body parts.
Police confiscated the cameras who have taken pictures.

This , citing Xinhua, reports 31 injured and - assuming the word ’suicide’ in the headline means the bomber died - also one fatality.

ESWN has more.

Should this be reported on by Fox News it will be interesting to see if this is referred to as a ‘homicide bombing.’

by @ 7:32 pm. Filed under China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Terrorism

lee teng-hui sounds off

The Taipei Times reports that former President Lee Teng-hui has spoken out about cross-strait relations, saying that it is "impossible" for China to attack Taiwan:

"Given the US nuclear submarines patrolling in the Pacific Ocean and all of their equipped nuclear warheads, China can’t move at all. It would take at least an army of ten divisions for China to attack Taiwan, which is an impossible mission," Lee told the members.

It is unclear how Lee arrived at his conclusion, given that the People’s Liberation Army is usually estimated to have at least 20 infantry divisions, 10 armor divisions, and five mechanized infantry divisions, not including its air, naval and special forces.

Lee said that Beijing was restrained by the US’ military deployments, so the best measure China could exert to influence the Taiwanese people was to arrange visits by opposition leaders, Lee said.

Lee also spoke against the proposed "Small Three Links" in the Penghu islands, and decried visits by KMT leadership to the mainland.

Lee’s pro-independence leanings are well-known, and he still remains active in Taiwanese politics.  Since he is no longer president, he is able to speak his own mind and say things that would be unacceptable coming from President Chen.  Indeed, President Chen has found that he has to be more tactful since coming to power in seeking to further his own agenda.

by @ 2:48 am. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

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