Category Archives: China

China’s Trajectory: Looking at the Possible Futures for the Middle Kingdom











First up, Gordon Chang, who has been writing about this for years – is he right now?:

China’s Third Era: The End of Reform, Growth, and Stability


Next, the other side of the argument: Francesco Sisci, the dean of Beijing’s foreign press corps, in three articles, the last of which appears as an appendix in the second link. Of particular interest to me is this last and oldest one (from 2007), reprinted from the Italian La Stampa (the translation and editing could use some work), regarding democracy in China…

Why China won’t fall apart

What China Sees in Hong Kong (includes as an appendix “China’s Inevitables: Death, Taxes—and Democracy”)





All are good, interesting reads. You will not rue the time you spend to further educate yourself about China.

2013_smog beijing_China-1


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Some news today (Sept. 28, 2014) about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong:  “Hong Kong police used tear gas Sunday and warned of further measures as they tried to clear thousands of pro-democracy protesters who had gathered outside government headquarters in a challenge to Beijing over its decision to restrict democratic reforms for the semiautonomous city. . . . The demonstrations — which Beijing called ‘illegal’ — were a rare scene of disorder in the Asian financial hub, and highlighted authorities’ inability to rein in the public discontent over Beijing’s tightening grip on the city. The protesters reject Beijing’s decision last month to rule out open nominations for candidates under proposed guidelines for the first-ever elections for Hong Kong’s leader, promised for 2017.”

Link 1 – 7:45 AM EDT

Link 2 – 4:53 PM EDT

APTOPIX Hong Kong Democracy Protest

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2014/09/28 · 19:47

“When doing business in China, trust no one.”

Interesting set of links from a law blog about doing business in China… This one reminded me of the best book on the subject, Mr. China

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China – Nice Overview

While I don’t agree with all of this site’s points, it definitely is eye-candy and a handy reference for someone wanting to get up to speed on China. Reuters did an unusually good job with this one…


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2013/03/05 · 08:42

Thoughts on China…

I am reading through Jonathan Spence’s (史景迁) book God’s Chinese Son about the horrific Taiping period (1845-64, 20 million dead) and Hong Xiuquan, who believed himself to indeed be God’s Chinese Son and who seemed to come from nowhere to upset the equilibrium in China. This got me to thinking that there have been a number of interesting articles that suggest the equilibrium in China may be in some danger of wobbling again. Here is a selection:

You’ll never be Chinese” – “When the bubble pops, or in the remote chance that it deflates gradually, the wealth the Party gave the people will deflate too. The promise will have been broken. And there’ll still be the medical bills, pensions and school fees. The people will want their money back, or a say in their future, which amounts to a political voice. If they are denied, they will cease to be harmonious.”

Great Leap Backward: China’s Leadership in Crisis” (older, but interesting) – “Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears that party leaders are now willing to risk destabilizing their system in audacious bids for power. This new boldness is especially evident from the assorted allegations that Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai were planning a coup and that Zhou aided Chen’s dramatic escape to Beijing. It is clear, whatever the truth of the stories carried by social media, that sharp Maoist political tactics are making a comeback in China today. As in the early days of the People’s Republic, leaders are evidently playing for keeps, willing to employ the roughest means.”

Two Prisms for Looking at China’s Problems” – “But to my eye, we may well find a significant and lasting disruption… Consider a broader historical perspective: How often in world history have countries enjoyed 30-plus years of extremely rapid growth without a major economic tumble somewhere along the way? One can be optimistic about China for the long term and still be fearful for the next turn in its business cycle. “

Five years on, the Great Recession is turning into a life sentence” – “China is sufficiently alarmed by the flint hardness of its “soft-landing” to talk up trillions of fresh stimulus.”


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“Declining European Demand for Asia’s Exports Compounds Sputtering Growth”

The European debt crisis is contributing to economic slowdowns across Asian countries in 2012. Both developed and developing economies, including China, Japan, India and South Korea, are experiencing drops in demand for their products. Compounding problems, European banks are pulling back on loans to Asian economies, hindering their access to credit.   There are problems for countries that are dependent on export-led growth when global demand slows. It is a case study in why Chinese leaders need to change the composition of national GDP away from exports (foreign demand) and more towards household consumption and business investment (domestic demand).

Video here.

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Blind Justice

I first became aware of Chen Guangcheng through Philip Pan’s excellent book, “Out of Mao’s Shadow” (published in 2008 – here is a video presentation on the same subject by the author – he starts talking about Chen at about the 28:50 minute mark, and briefly again at 35:25). Chen is a self-taught lawyer who has quite a reputation in resisting abuses of the “One Child Policy”.  I was amazed by his escape from house arrest last week (Chen is blind, and the security apparatus has lost a lot of face).  He ended up trying to find sanctuary at the US embassy, but it was apparently badly handled by the US State Department (dissidents are inconvenient for diplomats and their formal relationships in authoritarian states – I know this from family experience).

Here is a selection of information about this issue:

CNN Transcript: Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng

Texas pastor a key player in Chen Guangcheng case

Chen Guangcheng’s family and friends face tempest of retribution

Fears grow over future of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng after Hillary Clinton flies out




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