Author Topic: China  (Read 266891 times)

Crafty_Dog

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DougMacG

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Re: Bloomberg: Donald Trump has some surprising allies in China
« Reply #652 on: January 14, 2019, 04:18:27 AM »


https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-13/donald-trump-has-some-surprising-allies-in-u-s-china-tariff-war?fbclid=IwAR0BvUte8X1mDIElL85VoKzZIydP0dneA5eO4cq5hDRo4gXxf3WBieScdfI

"Some wealthy entrepreneurs are moving their money offshore because they fear their tainted earnings will be confiscated."

Better get their familes out too.

Great story.

ccp

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Re: China
« Reply #653 on: January 14, 2019, 04:50:36 AM »
"great story"

especially coming from Bloomberg.

I am getting their mag now - just ordered something and offered their mag for free
and after looking through part of the first two issues there is was not any pro Trump offerings that I could find.


Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Chinese Economy hurting, threat from housing sector
« Reply #654 on: March 01, 2019, 08:31:04 AM »


Bad signs for the Chinese economy. Chinese leaders will kick off a two-week economic policy summit next week. A slew of negative data released this week underscores yet again just how much they’ll have to talk about. On Thursday, China’s official composite purchasing managers’ index, which gauges activity at mostly large, state-owned firms, fell to 52.4 in February from 53.2 in January – the lowest reading since Beijing began publishing the index two years ago. (Anything below 50 reflects a contraction.) Manufacturing dipped further into negative territory, dropping to 49.2 from 49.5 a month earlier, while services slowed from 54.7 to 54.3. (Part of this can be explained by an annual slowdown that accompanies the Lunar New Year holiday.) Meanwhile, data from China UnionPay shows credit card defaults surpassing 4 percent in at least a half dozen provinces. A survey of Chinese bankers showed widespread concern about the growing risk of a sudden spike in nonperforming loans. And official data showed prices for new housing in first-tier cities rising just 0.4 percent in January, compared to 0.9 percent in December, while prices for preowned houses fell 0.1 percent – the fourth consecutive month of decline. If real estate in China collapses, everything collapses.


Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Can China take care of its elderly?
« Reply #656 on: April 23, 2019, 03:53:40 AM »
An issue which I have repeatedly mentioned over the years:

April 20, 2019



By Phillip Orchard


Can China Take Care of Its Elderly?


Beijing is facing a pension crisis of its own making.


China’s elderly may soon be grumbling. Last week, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a study estimating that China’s main state pension fund could be exhausted by 2035 – in other words, before workers born in the 1980s retire. The previous day, Beijing announced that China’s seven wealthiest provinces will, for the first time, start helping foot the bill for local pension funds in poorer regions already running dry. The immediate issue may be fixable. But the underlying problems will get worse before they get better, cutting to the heart of the Chinese Communist Party’s predicament on how to preserve its compact with its people.


 

(click to enlarge)


Where’d the Money Go?
For a nominally communist state, China doesn’t actually have a particularly strong social safety net. Historically, the bulk of the social welfare burdens have fallen either to state-owned enterprises or a patchwork of pension systems run largely by provincial and local governments. A job with a state agency or state-owned enterprise, for example, was long referred to as having an “iron rice bowl” – meaning a guaranteed pension and virtually free healthcare and housing. Until China’s first labor law came into effect in 1995, unproductive state workers were difficult to fire, meaning they essentially enjoyed these benefits for life. Over the past two decades, however, China has sought to gradually pare down the state sector. By 2017, partially as a result, state-owned enterprises accounted for around 15 percent of employment across China, down from about 80 percent in 1978.

As jobs moved increasingly to the private sector, provincial and local government pensions were expected to pick up much of the pension slack. But this created a fragmented, underfunded system plagued by loopholes, conflicts of interests, corruption and notoriously poor collections enforcement. A 2018 survey by 51Shebao, a social insurance information provider, claimed that more than 70 percent of Chinese firms were behind on their social insurance contributions.

Adding to this problem, a shift triggered by China’s state-sector reforms and China’s resulting accession to the World Trade Organization has hammered provincial and local funds. As the most lucrative private sector industries sprouted up in the export-centric provinces along China’s southeastern coast, Chinese migrant workers followed. Yet, China has been slow to abandon its Mao-era “Hukou” household registration system, which forces most migrant workers to obtain health, education and pension services only in their home province. As a result, the firms employing migrant workers are often paying pension contributions to coastal governments, while poorer, interior governments are still often on the hook for these workers’ retirement. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, just seven of China’s 32 provinces account for nearly 70 percent of all pension contributions. Guangdong alone receives as much funding as the rest of the ten wealthiest provinces combined.

Already, pension systems are in crisis across China’s interior provinces and in the industrial “rust belt” in the northeast. Last year, for example, a funding shortfall forced authorities in Heilongjiang province to delay pension payments. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates as many as 16 provinces will fall short this year. The social risk associated with this problem has been made starkly clear over the past four years by a surge of protests by People’s Liberation Army vets, many of them upset about being denied pensions and other benefits.


 

(click to enlarge)


The issue is likely to get quite a bit worse, thanks in no small part to China’s infamous one-child policy. In short, China is getting old before it gets rich, with more than a third of China’s population expected to be older than 60 within 30 years. And retirees are living longer, too. The predictive power of demographics is often overstated. Nonetheless, China’s population curve poses staggering problems for the pension system. In 2018, there were 2.8 contributors for every retired person. By 2050, according to official estimates, this ratio will fall to 1.3 to one. With China facing a prolonged economic slowdown, Beijing will find itself increasingly having to choose whether to rob Peter or to pay Paul. Last month, for example, Beijing moved to address a private sector credit crunch with a $300 billion package of tax and fee cuts – including sharp cuts to pension contribution requirements.


 

(click to enlarge)


Bigger Problems

Narrowly speaking, the pension issue itself still may be fixable; it’s effectively a policy transmission problem. There’s enough money floating around, at least for the time being; China just needs to iron out major kinks in the system to get the funds where they’re needed. Toward this end, it has initiated some Hukou reforms, including new measures making it somewhat easier for migrant workers to register in second- and third-tier cities (where the government wants more workers to move anyway). It’s gradually doing away with family planning controls. It’s forcing state-owned enterprises to transfer 10 percent of their shares to government pension funds, while also allowing the funds to start investing overseas. Meanwhile, China has been taking steps toward more streamlined, centralized pension systems. On Jan. 1, for example, it created a national contributions pool and transferred responsibility for collections away from local governments, paving the way for the provincial transfers announced last week. To soothe disaffected PLA veterans, it launched a national-level veterans affairs administration last year.

China’s situation is not entirely unique. U.S. Social Security is likewise facing a funding shortfall stemming, in part, from demographics. And in nearly every country, wealthier regions are forced to subsidize livelihoods in poorer ones. In 2015, New York received 83 cents for every dollar its taxpayers sent to Washington, while Mississippi got $2.13.

But two broader challenges highlighted by the pension crisis are particularly intractable in China. One is the central government’s historical struggle to keep the wealthier coastal regions aligned with the rest of China – one of the country’s core geopolitical imperatives. The more acute coast-interior disparities become, the more wealth the coasts will be asked to transfer to the interior, and the more coastal resistance to Beijing’s writ there’s likely to be.

The second is the scope of the grand bargain the Communist Party has made with the Chinese public – and the extraordinary degree of risk embedded in this social contract. Essentially, Beijing gets full rights to micromanage the Chinese people. In exchange, it takes on full responsibility for the welfare of the people. In other words, when the state demanded they do so, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens gave up the right to have multiple children who, in keeping with core Chinese values, would see to their care in their golden years. Now, they’re finding the state may force them to spend these years destitute and alone. When Beijing scaled back the state sector, hundreds of millions left the interior to work in manufacturing on the coasts, propelling China toward untold wealth and global influence. Now, they’re finding that the state has neglected to make those who’ve gotten rich off their labor contribute their share to the social safety net – and that Hukou, a system designed for social control, is preventing them from getting what’s theirs.

Risky Bargain

Beijing can make a persuasive enough case that an economic slowdown is inevitable due to forces beyond its control. It’s capable of lowering public expectations of infinite growth and deflecting the responsibility of party mismanagement for the hard times to come. Xi and other senior leaders are constantly warning that China is not yet rich, that the project of national rejuvenation means constant preparation for hard times ahead. But Beijing cannot easily explain away problems plainly rooted in policy myopia, corruption and systemic dysfunction. And polls routinely show that what Chinese people want most from the party is not a headlong pursuit of national prosperity, but rather clean and responsive governance tailored to preserving the grand bargain.

This is why, under Xi, Beijing’s emphasis has shifted toward things like “quality growth,” pollution, corruption and social welfare. Xi has approached these sorts of issues with a heavy hand, focusing primarily on purifying the system of corrupt and recalcitrant elements. This is, in part, because so many other factors darkening China’s outlook are outside his control. He also presumably realizes that, as China’s external woes intensify, the party will need to prove that the power it has appropriated from the people is being wielded in service of their demands.

Ironically, though, this has meant strengthening the role of what Beijing can most directly control – the machinery of the state – and further narrowing space for political, civil and economic freedoms. Under Xi, Beijing has been strengthening state-owned enterprises, centralizing the bureaucracy, embedding party watchdogs at private firms and exploring new ways to supervise society. This, in turn, means the state is implicitly agreeing to shoulder ever more responsibility for the public’s welfare – and more of the public’s ire when it falls short.



Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China's great wall of debt
« Reply #657 on: April 23, 2019, 01:57:58 PM »
second post

China’s Great Wall of Debt: Shadow Banks, Ghost Cities, Massive Loans, and the End of the Chinese Miracle
By Dinny McMahon

The trickiest thing about writing anything lively and persuasive about the Chinese economy is just how many interlocking problems there are. Nearly any one of them could trigger a cascading crisis. Beijing’s success or failure in reining in shadow lending, for example, will determine the future of the private sector, local governments and countless asset bubbles. A collapse in any of these could spread to the broader banking system or, perhaps worse, property markets, which affect just about every corner of the Chinese system.

Put simply, China is locked in a high-stakes game of financial “whack-a-mole,” with staggering geopolitical consequences riding on the result. To explain the risks embedded in any particular one of them, ideally you’d explain them all. But weaving together a complete picture in fewer than 2,000 words — without rendering it unreadable with jargon and cliche — is a skill I’ve yet to master.

In “China’s Great Wall of Debt,” Dinny McMahon does the trick superbly, albeit in a brisk 285 pages. It ties together nearly all of China’s lurking demons — from shadow banking to ghost cities to zombie firms — explaining the underlying forces and pathologies fueling their spread, as well as Beijing’s limited options for dealing with them without risking an overcorrection that only accelerates the arrival of a crisis. It’s peppered with insights, illustrations and anecdotes, and at times even delves into a sort of black humor befitting the depth and scale of China’s pathologies. I listened to the first half of it aboard a kayak during a long day of bass fishing, which speaks to its pace and readability rare for books on the subject matter. I liked it so much, I went back and read it again the old fashioned away.

Phillip Orchard, analyst

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: China's BRI
« Reply #658 on: April 26, 2019, 07:23:17 AM »
    Mounting concerns over Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative will not deter China from doubling down on its overseas infrastructure expansion, as the country seeks to expand its export market amid an economic slowdown.
    Beijing, however, will seek to allay the concerns of participating countries by renegotiating costs and attracting third-party investors.
    The developing world could also gain more options in terms of infrastructure projects as China's major competitors, including the United States and the European Union, also plan similar initiatives.

Nearly six years since its inception, the Belt and Road Initiative, the sprawling Chinese program to connect Eurasia by land and sea, has generated enthusiasm and alarm in equal measure. The initiative's focus on infrastructure development, as well as Chinese financing options that are more enticing than those offered by many international institutions, has provided cash-strapped countries with their only effective means to improve infrastructure. From landlocked Ethiopia and Laos, to the ports of Piraeus in Greece and Doraleh in Djibouti, China has constructed and financed railways, ports and other facilities, brightening the prospects of local economies. These undertakings are just a few of the multitude of projects in the BRI, which China is bankrolling with $70 billion in investments and $400 billion in loans.

The Big Picture

China's Belt and Road Initiative entered its sixth year with a lot of momentum, but the project is also generating growing resistance and skepticism about the country's debt financing and its strategic intent. China's ability to react to these challenges — which include rival initiatives from major global competitors — will determine the fate of the project in the coming years.



On the flip side of the coin, however, the BRI has triggered local pushback, resulting in setbacks for some projects and sparking resistance from rival nations. The sheer size of many BRI plans has generated growing concern over financial sustainability, commercial viability, so-called "debt traps" and the large number of Chinese workers descending upon host countries to build some projects. This combination of anticipation and alarm will form the backdrop of the second Belt and Road summit currently underway in Beijing. Beijing will tout this year's attendance — at least 37 countries had planned to send representatives, up from 29 in 2017 — plus a broader geographic reach, as well as a longer list of signatories, including Italy, as proof of the initiative's progress. The concerns, anxieties and objections to the BRI, however, have spurred China's competitors to draft their own infrastructure initiatives in a bid to prevent more countries in Eurasia from falling under Beijing's sway. Ultimately, the degree that China manages to respond to the concerns, adjust its approach and adapt to greater international competition to fund infrastructure projects will determine the success of the initiative for years to come.

Sweetening the Pot

According to the RWR Advisory Group, at least 234 BRI projects had encountered problems by 2018 as a result of public protests, shifting political sensitivities, differences over financing and other issues. Malaysia, Pakistan and Myanmar, for instance, have sought to reduce the costs of their cooperation with Beijing, while others, such as Nepal, have canceled select projects. China's opaque approach in dealing with these projects, meanwhile, has also engendered skepticism about the potential for local corruption.

Elsewhere, Chinese companies have been accused of corruption and collusion with local politicians in Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia and Bangladesh in connection with large projects, while political players in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Zambia have questioned a number of aspects of the BRI. Farther afield, China's approach and its overt interest in the European periphery, India's neighbors, the former Soviet sphere and even the South Pacific have paralleled its geopolitical strategy, fueling concerns and anxieties among regional powers like the United States, European Union, India, Australia and (albeit to a lesser degree) Japan and Russia. Such concerns have prompted these powers to launch similar economic and infrastructure initiatives to compete with the BRI. Beijing's competition to build infrastructure is fiercest when it comes to Washington, which has worked to directly counter the East Asian giant by dangling the prospect of $60 billion in funding to countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

This map shows countries with at least some participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative

These difficulties, however, have done little to deter Beijing from intensifying its commitment to the initiative, which continues to be a domestic and foreign policy priority. China is also striving to line up more countries, especially in the developed world, to participate. For China, beyond the well-documented goal of improving the country's overland and maritime links with the rest of the world, the initiative is even more important in the current strategic context.

Because its domestic economy is slowing at a time when its top export destination — the United States — is also straining, Belt and Road has become one of China's few means of cultivating export markets, as well as absorbing surplus labor and industrial capacities. Indeed, thanks to the initiative and Beijing's support, China's state-owned cement and steel producers have widened their footprint in Central Asia, Latin America and Southeast Asia, while Chinese-produced cement, steel and aluminum have flooded into countries that are building large infrastructure projects. Ultimately, with Washington striving to counter Beijing anywhere and everywhere, China understandably sees the initiative as a diplomatic and strategic buffer that helps compensate for its geopolitical limitations.

This map show trade flows in 2018 from China to countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative

Pushing Back Against the Pushback

With these interests and concerns in mind, Beijing has quietly modified its approach to ease resistance. Over the past six months, the Chinese government has sat down with host countries to discuss project costs and financing terms. In negotiations on key BRI projects with Malaysia, China offered a 10 percent reduction on the $20 billion East Coast Rail Link; likewise with Myanmar, it substantially downsized the cost of the deepwater port of Kyaukpyu from $7.3 billion to $1.3 billion. Beijing's gesture has opened the door for discussions on other projects, as partners like Ethiopia, the Maldives and Pakistan are lining up to renegotiate the terms of their deals.

Beijing has also instructed its firms to take steps to boost oversight of their overseas investment activities, particularly in regard to risk assessments, environmental appraisals and respect for local sensitivities.

Beijing has quietly modified its approach to the Belt and Road Initiative to ease resistance.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government appears to have become more open to external investments and financing for the initiative. When Pakistan invited Saudi Arabia to join the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing expressed some initial displeasure before welcoming the development. Riyadh's participation (Abu Dhabi has now joined the CPEC as well) will likely open the door to more third-party investments from countries that have amicable ties with Beijing.

China, however, is also trying to court its rivals in an effort to remove obstacles and smooth resistance to its initiative. As part of China's recent detente with Japan, the two countries have discussed joint projects along the BRI, possibly in Southeast Asia or Europe. China, meanwhile, has approached core European powers including Germany to discuss the possibility of joint projects in Eastern and Central Europe, where both Berlin and Brussels believe Beijing's activities threaten the bloc's unity. Naturally, however, China faces a risk in opening up the project to third-party countries: a loss of control over financing. To date, state-backed Chinese companies and financiers are estimated to have provided over 80 percent of the funding for the BRI.

Beijing's openness to third-party investments reflects its growing acknowledgement that domestic funding alone cannot satiate the demand and would even threaten its own companies and banks if they assume all financial risk on their own. Indeed, with domestic state-owned enterprises and banks already burdened by large debts, serious debt defaults on BRI projects would hurt Chinese companies as much as it would hurt the host countries.

Still, despite China's move to cooperate with Japan and the European Union, lingering distrust and underlying competition have limited any concrete progress on joint projects. Ultimately, Beijing is likely to remain extremely cautious about external investment and financing given that its tight control over investments and funding has been a boon for its exports, labor force and ability to access precious commodities. As a result, Beijing will find itself unwilling to cede too much ground — especially at a time when its economy is under stress and it wishes to expand its geopolitical footprint.
Getting in on the Action

The upcoming summit will provide a clue as to how far Beijing is willing to push back against the local and international criticism to defend its signature initiative. Although Japan has cooperated with China somewhat on the BRI, it (along with India) have proposed an alternative to the initiative in Africa. And Australia, as Stratfor noted in a June 2018 analysis, "is pledging an extensive campaign of aid, trade and diplomacy in the South Pacific in the hopes of regaining the position it has lost to China in its traditional backyard." Elsewhere, the European Union submitted its own infrastructure and investment strategy for Asia last year, emphasizing sustainability and rules-based principles to counter China.

But the most direct opposition comes from the United States. As part of its great power rivalry with China, the United States established the International Development Finance Corporation, a mechanism that will distribute $60 billion in capital for infrastructural development. In part, the United States wishes to work with Japan and Australia, as well as the European Union and Canada, to offer alternative infrastructure investments in the Indo-Pacific to counter China's ambitions. Accordingly, Washington has begun engaging in talks with countries involved in large projects, offering consultation on risk assessment and project viability. Indeed, officials from the United States have reportedly assisted Myanmar's government to downsize the deep-water port of Kyaukpyu amid Naypyidaw's concern that its indebtedness to Beijing could compromise the port — something that Sri Lanka has already faced with the Hambantota Port as a result of Colombo's inability to repay its debt to Beijing.

A map showing China's port investments around the world.

As noted in a previous Stratfor analysis, none of these alternative proposals are likely to sideline China's enormous and well-funded infrastructure plan, as they all "lack China's capital, human resources and moral flexibility." But Beijing's willingness to adjust its approach to sustain the initiative, the increased external scrutiny on Chinese projects, as well as rival offers from China's competitors, will provide the developing world with more alternatives for partners. While Beijing has a head start in terms of the BRI, Washington has signaled its intention to muscle in on its major rival's preserve. And over time, as the two expand their competition into the realm of infrastructure, smaller countries will increasingly face a choice between the globe's major superpowers.

ccp

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I am just not sure I believe all these
« Reply #659 on: May 01, 2019, 10:33:47 AM »


ccp

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Re: China
« Reply #661 on: May 19, 2019, 09:59:13 AM »
was this in part of the one child policy or does female infanticide  occur besides that?

DougMacG

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Re: China
« Reply #662 on: May 19, 2019, 11:30:41 AM »
was this in part of the one child policy or does female infanticide  occur besides that?

Yes, that is the bulk of it.

"Seventy million unborn baby girls were aborted—killed in the womb simply because they were female."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_China#History

In the 1950s abortion was illegal in China.  By the 1970s one child policy was law and by 1975 sex selective abortions had started. 
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/china-s-new-birth-rule-can-t-restore-missing-women-and-fix-a-population/

https://www.unfpa.org/resources/trends-selective-abortions-girls-india

Leftist women here still think enabling 'doctors' to kill their baby girls 'empowers' women.  Hard to find a more powerful example of cognitive and moral dissonance and denial of heartbeat and feeling-of-pain science.

It didn't help the lives of their boys either!

It was one thing for a child to grow up with siblings and another thing for a generation to grow up with everyone around you an only child boy.



DougMacG

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Re: $ flees Chinese stocks
« Reply #664 on: May 22, 2019, 01:48:08 PM »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: China
« Reply #665 on: May 22, 2019, 02:38:33 PM »
They've been getting away with it for decades; our tech elite does not care that the tech is being stolen as long as they get mega rich; our government is running up over a $Trillion$ debt a year and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see; President Trump pulled an inside straight to get into office and now trails proven corruptable buffoon Slow Joe by ten points in the polls; the Chinese apparently have bought Duterte of the Philippines; the slo-mo capture of the South China Sea continues apace; and the Chinese get to simulatanously play good and bad cop with regard to the Norks.

And whatever economic pain there is can be blamed on Trump-- it's not like the Chinese people never get to hear non-official positions (thank you Goolag) , , ,

ccp

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Re: China
« Reply #666 on: May 22, 2019, 02:50:58 PM »
A guest on John Batchelor was saying how the Chinese have a law that bans technology stealing

but the Communists  simply don't enforce it.

just paying us lip service


DougMacG

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Re: China
« Reply #667 on: May 22, 2019, 05:22:18 PM »
A guest on John Batchelor was saying how the Chinese have a law that bans technology stealing

but the Communists  simply don't enforce it.
just paying us lip service

We reported on the new law in the trade thread:
https://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2563.msg115139#msg115139

In the following post, GPF says "The new law is vague..."

Good for Trump to stop everything instead of entering into a flawed, one sided agreement for the sake of a photo-op.  Obama with Iran could have learned from this.

G M

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Re: China
« Reply #668 on: May 22, 2019, 10:23:37 PM »
A guest on John Batchelor was saying how the Chinese have a law that bans technology stealing

but the Communists  simply don't enforce it.
just paying us lip service

We reported on the new law in the trade thread:
https://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2563.msg115139#msg115139


In the following post, GPF says "The new law is vague..."

Good for Trump to stop everything instead of entering into a flawed, one sided agreement for the sake of a photo-op.  Obama with Iran could have learned from this.

Obama didn't get snookered by Iran. He did exactly what he and Iran wanted.


Crafty_Dog

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Chinese savings rate shrinking fast
« Reply #670 on: September 04, 2019, 07:28:51 AM »
I have posted often of the implications of China's unique demographic profile due to the one child policy for quite some time now , , ,

https://www.theepochtimes.com/imf-warns-that-chinas-savings-rate-is-shrinking-fast_3066411.html

DougMacG

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Re: China
« Reply #671 on: September 04, 2019, 07:12:23 PM »
Does anyone remember when the Chinese currency was going to pass up the US dollar and become the global currency of choice for international transactions - by now? 

FYI, The yuan’s share in international payments dropped to 1.81 per cent last month.  Compare with the US$ at 40% and Euro at 34%.
https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3025021/chinas-dream-making-yuan-global-currency-hit-hong-kong

Transaction conducted in or through Hong Kong accounted for three quarters of the yuan’s offshore use, but 13 weeks of anti-government protests and the impact of a deepening US-China trade war have delivered a double blow to Beijing’s strategic plan to make the yuan a widely used international currency, according to analysts.
----------------
Back to the drawing board.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: HK protestors' cat and mouse games with authorities
« Reply #672 on: September 18, 2019, 01:06:33 PM »


 The Hong Kong Protester’s Toolkit for a Cat-and-Mouse Game With Authorities
Protesters believe their identities may be collected digitally by mainland China and their participation used against them in the future
Protesters in Hong Kong fear they are being monitored by the local government and potentially by China, a country at the cutting edge of mass surveillance. So demonstrators have developed hacks to avoid arrest and hide their digital tracks. Photo composite: Sharon Shi

By John Lyons and
Sharon Shi
Sept. 16, 2019 6:10 am ET

On a recent afternoon, Carl Chow headed into one of the big pro-democracy marches that have convulsed Hong Kong for months. He didn’t plan to break the law, but he took pains to hide his identity behind a surgical mask all the same.

“There are a lot of cameras all around and you don’t know who is standing beside you,” said Mr. Chow, a film student in his early 20s.

Hong Kong’s mostly young protesters say they fear their participation in the movement may follow them for life. They face arrest at protest marches deemed unauthorized by the city, or where clashes with police take place. Police have arrested around 1,450 protesters so far.

More ominously, they believe their identities may be collected digitally by mainland China and their participation used against them in the future. While there is scant evidence to prove this is happening, China’s advances in facial recognition and other techniques have made it among the world’s most aggressive surveillance states, they point out.

To ease these fears, even peaceful protesters take measures to hide themselves.

For example, they dress in black, making it difficult for authorities to single out any one person by their clothing, protesters say. They cover their faces with masks and neck scarves.

Many carry umbrellas to shield against security cameras or unfamiliar people with cameras.

“Actually, we can hide ourselves in a crowd,” said Mr. Chow.

The stakes are higher for the so-called protest frontliners, who often confront police in tear-gas laden skirmishes. Police target them for arrest and have charged some with crimes such as rioting that can carry jail terms of up to 10 years.

Also dressed in black, those at the frontlines have their faces typically completely obscured behind gas masks, helmets and goggles. They use laser pointers to blind police.

Protesters are careful with their communications. Most use the encrypted messaging app Telegram to exchange information about coming rallies.

They take pains to spray paint or tape over cameras along march routes, or in subway stations when coming or going from a protest. They are careful to pay in cash for their subway rides so their movements can’t be tracked via their regular subway fare cards.

The day Mr. Chow marched, some protesters destroyed surveillance cameras along the route, ripping out the internal workings of one, and felling another altogether. As some worked to destroy the cameras, others gathered around blocking the view with umbrellas.

Destroying the cameras reflects protesters’ fear that Hong Kong—a former British colony that was returned to China under a “one country, two systems” agreement in 1997—is losing its semiautonomous status and becoming more tightly controlled, and surveilled, by Beijing.

“We don’t want Hong Kong to become China,” said Mr. Chow before joining the crowd, tears pooling in his eyes. He didn’t participate in vandalizing the cameras.

For more than three months, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents have protested weekly against the encroachment of mainland China. The protests started to oppose a proposed new law that would have allowed the extradition of suspected criminals to China for trial. But they have since expanded to include other demands such as an inquiry into police violence and the right to elect the city’s leader through direct voting. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam recently pledged to withdraw the extradition bill, but the demonstrations have continued.

Write to John Lyons at john.lyons@wsj.com


ccp

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Why do we never hear any outrage (Uighurs)
« Reply #674 on: October 04, 2019, 07:47:56 AM »
from the billion Muslims about what is going in China?

for God's sake they are treated great in the USA and all we hear is bitching from them about persecution here
and look what goes in in the biggest communist tyrannical country in the world and to my knowledge at least in MSM not a peep of outrage about that from the Muslims:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/inside-chinese-camps-thought-detain-million-muslim-uighurs-n1062321
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 11:48:11 AM by Crafty_Dog »

G M

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Re: Why do we never hear any outrage (Uighurs)
« Reply #675 on: October 04, 2019, 05:58:46 PM »
Because they understand that China will methodically kill them all, if China decides it needs to.


from the billion Muslims about what is going in China?

for God's sake they are treated great in the USA and all we hear is bitching from them about persecution here
and look what goes in in the biggest communist tyrannical country in the world and to my knowledge at least in MSM not a peep of outrage about that from the Muslims:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/inside-chinese-camps-thought-detain-million-muslim-uighurs-n1062321

DougMacG

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China-Hong Kong, Footage of Police shooting Protester at this link
« Reply #676 on: October 05, 2019, 11:47:14 AM »
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/after-hong-kong-protester-shot-cycle-violence-threatens-more-tragedy-ncna1062431

It took 3 minutes for someone to help him.  The cop who shot him tackled the first person who tried to help. 

G M

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Re: China-Hong Kong, Footage of Police shooting Protester at this link
« Reply #677 on: October 05, 2019, 04:39:49 PM »
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/after-hong-kong-protester-shot-cycle-violence-threatens-more-tragedy-ncna1062431

It took 3 minutes for someone to help him.  The cop who shot him tackled the first person who tried to help.

As much as I side with the goals of the protesters, I would point out that charging US law enforcement with a metal rod would quite likely result in getting shot.

DougMacG

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Re: China-Hong Kong, Footage of Police shooting Protester at this link
« Reply #678 on: October 05, 2019, 07:24:27 PM »
As much as I side with the goals of the protesters, I would point out that charging US law enforcement with a metal rod would quite likely result in getting shot.

Agreed - but US LE would not have blocked medical assistance. (?) That was a chaotic scene; hard to read all of what was going on.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 12:08:17 PM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: China
« Reply #679 on: October 06, 2019, 01:59:27 PM »
Then there is the matter of flashing those green lasers into the eyes , , , OTOH without the  respect of authorities for a well armed people, what to do?





Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China as a Seller's Market: Serious Read
« Reply #683 on: October 14, 2019, 10:34:26 AM »
China as a Seller’s Market



Modern China’s past success was based on exports. Its future must be based on imports.



By Jacob L. Shapiro



China owes much of its current economic success to former ruler Deng Xiaoping, who famously opened up the economy to the rest of the world. His reforms transformed China into a manufacturing powerhouse, and in doing so, they turned the country’s biggest liability – a massive and impoverished population that upsets socio-economic harmony at home and constrains Chinese power abroad – into its greatest asset. China became the world’s factory because its workers could make things cheaper than workers in other countries could. The ratio of China’s exports of goods and services to its gross domestic product increased from 4.6 percent during the first year of Deng’s rule to a high of 36 percent in 2006 – long after Deng had passed away. During the same period, its GDP increased by a factor of 18.

The transformation into an export powerhouse reshaped the global economy. China made so many goods so proficiently that it drove prices down and gutted the manufacturing sectors of formerly competitive countries. China’s workforce simply undercut most everyone else. The economic roots of the current U.S.-China trade war, as well as of China’s massive current structural economic challenges, are born from these developments.

That, however, is China’s past. China’s export industry was arguably the most important indicator of China’s economic health and its international status from 1980 to 2006. But since 2006, the importance of China’s exports has fallen; the ratio of exports of goods and services to GDP dropped to 20 percent last year. The last time the ratio was that low, Bill Clinton was president of the United States. To understand China’s present and past means understanding China’s export strategy. China’s future, however, will be defined far more not by what it sells but by what it buys.

For much of world history, China was the most technologically advanced and economically robust civilization in the world. China believed it was the “Middle Kingdom” in part because it could credibly claim to be the center of economic gravity on Earth for millennia. When the British Empire was still in its infancy and wanted to trade with the Qing Dynasty, the British discovered much to their chagrin that they possessed nothing the Chinese were particularly interested in buying. Even as the British developed an obsession with Chinese silk, porcelain and tea, the Chinese looked down on British trinkets, preferring instead to trade for things like silver that they could buy things with at home. Britain had to become a drug-dealer to pique China’s interest, and even then, only succeeded at forcing its goods into the Chinese market at gun(boat)point.

This general self-sufficiency defined China’s behavior on the global stage. Contrast it with Japan, which has virtually no natural resources of its own. The demands of a modern, industrialized economy forced Japan to procure abroad what it didn’t have at home, moving it to create a massive maritime empire in the 20th century and culminating eventually in a disastrous military defeat at the hands of the United States. China, replete with natural resources, had no such need. But that is no longer the case. China is no longer self-sufficient. It now needs to buy things from abroad to maintain its way of life. How China manages this newfound dependence on foreign resources and goods will play a major role in Chinese behavior on the world stage in the coming decades.

An exhaustive analysis would be quite a tome, so we’ll focus on three of China’s most important imports: oil, cereals and microchips.

Oil

China is no longer the fastest growing oil consumer in the world – that honor now belongs to India. But China is still the largest single importer of oil in the world today – by a long shot. It imported more than 9 million barrels of oil per day in 2018, more than double India’s oil imports, and almost as much as Western Europe combined, according to OPEC. Since 1980, the amount of oil China imports has increased by a whopping 1,268 percent (not a typo).



 

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China’s top source of oil last year was Russia, which accounted for roughly 16 percent of crude imports. China’s dependence on Russian oil could come with its own geopolitical implications depending on how far China indulges in dreams of territorial revanchism. Russia, after all, controls oil-rich Sakhalin Island only because China was forced to surrender control in the 1860 Treaty of Beijing, which ended the Second Opium War.

But the largest collective source of Chinese oil imports by far is the Middle East. In 2018, China imported over 45 percent of its oil from nine Middle Eastern countries, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Iran and Kuwait. This means China is dependent not just on open maritime trading routes in the Middle East but increasingly on its ability to defend Chinese ships and on the political stability of a notoriously unstable region. This may force China to exert itself in the region’s political and security affairs.

Cereals: Wheat, Rice and Corn

China accounts for 21 percent of the world’s population but only 9 percent of its arable land and 6 percent of its water. Yet as late as the 1950s, China was actually a net exporter of grain, particularly rice. Then it became official policy of the Communist Party to maintain grain self-sufficiency as China’s population increased. The results were tragic. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, as many as 45 million starved to death as grain yields were exaggerated to meet Mao’s unrealistic targets.
The disaster of the “Great Leap Forward” only reinforced China’s need for grain security. Even as China became a net grain importer in 1961, importing increasingly more of it over time, China has (largely successfully) aimed to keep a 95 percent self-sufficiency rate for grain production while substantially increasing domestic grain production in the past two decades. And if the trade war is any indication, China won’t try to abandon this goal any time soon.

It’s a matter of debate whether China can continue to be self-sufficient. A recent Bloomberg report concluded that it would be impossible for China to produce enough grain for its growing population if it starts “eating like Americans.” A 2010 study by leading Chinese experts at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China’s Rural Technology Development Center determined that not only would China be self-sufficient in grains but that technological advances and agricultural sector reforms would allow China to contribute to food security worldwide. A February 2018 article in the NPJ Science of Food Journal was less effusive but no less optimistic about the future of China’s food security, partly because China’s aging population suggests grain consumption has already entered a slow decline.



 

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Whatever the case may be, the fact is that China has vastly increased the quantities of its cereals and grain imports – and indeed, of food in general – over the past two decades. In its report from May 2019, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization classified China as a major importer of coarse grains, rice, oil crops, sugar, meat and dairy. Even if China manages to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat, rice and corn in the future, it will remain dependent on imports of other major crops such as soybeans and on meat. There is, after all, a difference between survival and living well – and what might pass for self-sufficiency today may no longer satisfy Chinese appetites in even 10 years.



 

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The wealthier China gets, the more pressure its agriculture sector will be under, and the more China will look abroad for food. A recent report published by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the International Food Policy Research Institute said China would achieve food security and grain self-sufficiency by 2035 – tellingly, “food security” in this context does not just mean emphasizing structural reform on the supply side of agriculture, but also, according to the report, realizing China’s Belt and Road Initiative ambitions.

Microchips

Even if the United States and China manage to reach some kind of trade deal in the coming months, their rivalry over technology will define bilateral relations for a generation to come. According to a recent study by James Lewis for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, China is the world’s largest consumer of semiconductors, accounting for 60 percent of global demand. But it produces only about 16 percent of semiconductors used domestically, and only half of these are made by Chinese firms. Beijing’s goals to increase this to 40 percent by 2020 and to 70 percent by 2025, however, will be difficult to achieve. For the time being, China will be dependent on foreign suppliers of advanced chips.



 

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Over the past two decades, China has significantly increased its imports of electronic integrated circuits. But unlike, say, food and oil, the real value of microchips is in the technological expertise needed to produce them. China’s dependence on microchip imports will therefore manifest differently from its imports of goods and resources. China will continue to import chips with the goal of weaning itself off of any dependence on foreign technology or advanced parts. Whether and how fast China is able to do this will determine how aggressive China can be as it pursues its interests on the world stage.



 

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Unfortunately, no single statistic exists to evaluate how quickly a country’s technological prowess is increasing. In terms of value, China’s semiconductor imports in 2018 were almost equal to the value of China’s oil imports during the same year, underscoring their importance – and China’s dependence. Data compiled by the Sanford C. Bernstein private securities firm indicated that China purchased $160 billion worth of semiconductors in 2016 while selling just $25 billion of its own. That suggests China has a long ways to go to catch up overall, but the same data also showed that China sold just $2 billion of its own semiconductors in 2006, which means Chinese semiconductor sales increased over 12 fold in a 10-year period.

The less dependent China is on foreign technology, the more aggressive China can be in securing some of its other interests and the more demanding China can be in future negotiations with other global powers.

It is hard to overstate just what a monumental transformation China has undergone since Deng first came to power in 1978. The changes have brought to Beijing’s doorstep challenges no previous Chinese dynasty has ever had to face. China may opt to mimic the U.S. approach after World War II in shaping or even creating an international system bent to China’s needs. China may take the Japanese path and attempt to secure its needs through strength. Or perhaps China will chart its own characteristically Chinese course, securing its place in the world’s globalized economy in new ways this author has not imagined. Ambiguous as the how is, that China must do so is a certainty.






Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China's banking system in trouble
« Reply #687 on: November 13, 2019, 09:24:13 PM »
China's banking problems. Fragility in the Chinese banking system has Beijing shook. Since the beginning of the year, China has been grappling with a liquidity crunch that’s been hitting private sector small and medium-sized enterprises and local and regional banks the worst. Over the summer, the government was forced to abruptly take over a failing bank in Baoshang, scramble to prop up several other teetering banks and undertake a number of measures to keep credit in the economy at healthy levels (without, that is, exacerbating China’s staggering debt risks by opening the monetary stimulus taps too widely). These efforts may have staved off a cascading crisis, but they haven’t fixed the underlying problems. Data released last week showed that credit growth continued to slow in October, suggesting the central bank’s targeted measures have been insufficient. Also in the past two weeks, two lenders were hit with bank runs. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission on Tuesday pledged tighter management of small banks and insisted that bankruptcies would be allowed only if a slew of central government measures – from bailouts to forced mergers to outright takeovers – somehow failed. The Chinese banking system needs to go through a period of painful restructuring to develop the efficiencies the Chinese economy needs. But mass financial panic, which the CBIRC is trying to avoid, wouldn’t do the Chinese economy any favors.