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  1. #21
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    China to form high-speed railway network by 2015

    July 25, 2012

    China will have established a high-speed railway network covering almost all its cities with a population of more than 500,000 by 2015, according to a latest official program.

    The State Council, or China's cabinet, late Tuesday issued a plan for building a comprehensive transportation network during the 2011-2015 period.

    According to the plan, China should basically complete the construction of a high-speed railway network with a total operating length of more than 40,000 kilometers by the end of 2015.

    Analysts expect China's railway equipment manufacturing industry will see rapid growth.

    "We forecast the country's railway construction will accelerate and the investment in the construction will also speed up in the next few years," according to Sinolink Securities Co., a Chinese brokerage company.

    China will initially establish a comprehensive transportation network with a total length of 4.9 million kilometers, mainly including railways, roads and inland waterways, according to the plan.

    Global Times
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    China China
    China dives into North Sea waters

    BBC Scotland news website | July 25, 2012



    Nexen has a strong presence in the North Sea with the Buzzard field and Golden Eagle development

    China stormed into the North Sea oil and gas industry this week as deals worth about £11bn were signed with major players.

    The deals saw two Chinese state-controlled oil companies take stakes in North Sea operations.

    China's biggest offshore oil producer CNOOC announced a $15.1bn (£9.7bn) deal to take over Canadian rival Nexen.

    If approved, the Chinese would take control of the UK's largest producing oil field - Buzzard - and the Golden Eagle development, which includes both the Golden Eagle and Peregrine reservoirs in the North Sea, about 43 miles off Aberdeen.

    On the same day, Beijing-based Sinopec said it was paying $1.5bn (£970m) for a 49% stake in Canadian oil firm Talisman's UK North Sea business.

    Talisman has about 2,500 staff and contractors and is involved in 11 North Sea installations.

    Together, the deals would give the Chinese firms control of more than 8% of oil and gas production in the UK North Sea.

    Meeting demand

    So what lies behind this sudden burst of interest from Beijing?

    One explanation lies in China's need to meet growing demand for energy as its population and economy grow at breakneck speed.

    Its massive trade surplus has also been driving the country towards investing into producing assets.

    These latest acquisitions underline that China wants to be more than just a buyer of oil. It also wants to own oil fields.

    Aberdeen University oil and gas expert Prof Alex Kemp explains: "It is certainly from the Chinese point of view part of a wider strategy to obtain more equity oil to enhance their security of supply.

    "They have had a big increase in import requirements and they are worried about over-reliance on Middle East supplies given the political issues there."

    The deals will also offer an opportunity for the Chinese to undertake oil swaps.

    These work as a two-way deal, whereby the commodity is sold to a company in Europe in return for which oil is supplied to them from a location closer to China. Such a move would tackle the problem of transporting oil halfway around the world.

    Chilly waters

    The latest deals have suggested that the two Chinese companies have slightly differing reasons for dipping their toes into the chilly waters of the North Sea.

    According to Dr Keun-Wook Paik from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Sinopec and CNOOC have different characteristics.

    In the case of Sinopec, he says, the company has been looking at how to diversify its supply sources and build up a speciality in offshore development.

    On the other hand, its smaller counterpart CNOOC has been more proactive in seeking foreign deals, even though it has had its reversals in recent years.

    In 2005, CNOOC's attempt to buy US-based oil giant Unocal - now part of the Chevron group - was blocked by American authorities following a political backlash.

    "Since Unocal, CNOOC have been struggling to find a major M&A (merger and acquisition) which would allow them to expand the company's turnover level quite significantly," says Dr Paik.

    He argues that CNOOC has "all the time been looking for offshore opportunities" but their focus lay outside the European region.

    The acquisition of Nexen would boost its production output by a fifth and substantially increase proven reserves.

    Global expansion

    But Sinopec has been no slouch either in terms of global expansion, most notably with the $7.3bn (£4.7bn) acquisition in 2009 of Addax Petroleum - an international oil and gas exploration and production company focused on Africa and the Middle East - and the $7.1bn (£4.58bn) takeover of Repsol's Brazilian assets in 2010.

    The two Chinese companies may have all but ignored the North Sea in the past but that has very much changed, according to Dr Paik.

    "Previously they thought that the North Sea had virtually dried up," he explains.

    "In recent years they have seen a number of major discoveries in the Norwegian area of the North Sea and realised there were opportunities."

    Dr Paik believes the Chinese will be looking at more opportunities to expand their regional base in Europe.

    "They will try to figure out how to develop a stronger working relationship with European companies," he adds.

    Prof Kemp agrees that more deals could follow.

    "These are two state-owned companies and they have deep pockets and they will look at other opportunities when they come in here.

    "That is all to the good because there are smaller companies finding it difficult to access capital."

    The entry of the two Asian firms could prove to be a boon for North Sea production, if the experience of Aberdeen firm Dana Petroleum is anything to go by.

    Dana, which was taken over by the Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) in late 2010, reported soaring revenues last year boosted by a big rise in production.

    It said revenues increased by 80% to $1.7bn (£1.1bn), with production increasing by 50% to almost 62,000 barrels a day.

    The figures were lifted by multiple drilling successes in Egypt but Dana also reported exploration and development successes in the UK North Sea.

    BBC
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    China China
    The Evolving Concept of Social Capital, Markets, Market-Based Processes and Socialist Construction

    By James M. Craven | July 27, 2012



    [Editor's note: Prof. Craven's lengthy but critical paper was originally delivered in September, 2004 at International Symposium on the Reform of Property Rights and Enterprise Development in Transitional Countries at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. The 4th Media, however, believes this paper is still very much relevant to today's world in many aspects, particularly for the upcoming 18th CPC Congress in October, 2012.]

    “Every nation in the world has its own history and its own strengths and weaknesses. Since earliest times excellent things and rotten things have mingled together and accumulated over long periods. To sort them out and distinguish the essence from the dregs is a difficult task…Of course this does not mean that we do not need to learn from foreign countries. We must learn many things from foreign countries and master them…We learn foreign things because we want to study and develop Chinese things…We must not be like the Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi who blindly rejected all foreign things. Blindly rejecting foreign things is like blindly worshipping them. Both are incorrect and harmful…In learning from foreign countries we must oppose both conservatism and dogmatism…To study foreign things does not mean importing everything, lock, stock and barrel…We must give our attention to the critical acceptance of foreign things, and especially to the introduction of things from the socialist world and from the progressive people of the capitalist world…” (Chairman Mao Zedong, “Talk to Music Workers”, pp. 85-88, in Chairman Mao Talks to the People: Talks and Letters 1956-1971, Stuart Schram ed., Pantheon Books, N.Y. 1974)

    Introduction

    The People’s Republic of China stands as one of the major political-economic powers and social formations in the world today; it ranks about sixth place in terms of most economic aggregates commonly used to rank-order different economies in size and influence in the global economy. For a nation that had been kept backward, fragmented, feudal and colonized by foreign imperial powers and internal contradictions until the People’s Revolution in 1949, and, for a nation that has been subject to imperial encirclement, threats of nuclear annihilation, destabilization campaigns and demonization and ostracization in the global economy for many years, with a large population of 1.4 billion people with myriad wants and needs awaiting fulfillment, the present level of development and standing of China is no small achievement And there is no doubt, in the opinions of many observers, that “socialist values and consciousness”, created and reinforced by the developing “social capital” of Chinese socialism, have constituted a significant and material force in those achievements—often against overwhelming odds and against technologically-sophisticated and vicious foreign forces bent on isolating, demonizing, destabilizing and sabotaging socialist construction in China.

    Yet despite the tremendous advances made by the Chinese people, much work remains to be done and many wants and needs remain unfulfilled causing China to explore, at various periods of Chinese history, diverse approaches, models, instruments, measures and paths of growth and development. According to the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002:

    “We must be aware that China is in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so, for a long time to come. The well-off life we are leading is still at a low level; it is not all-inclusive and is very uneven. The principal contradiction in our society is still one between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. Our productive forces, science, technology and education are still relatively backward, so there is a long way to go before we achieve industrialization and modernization.” 1

    Since 1978, China has experienced the progressive widening of markets, market relationships and categories along with some changes in political, economic, cultural, legal and social institutions and superstructure necessary to facilitate widening and deepening market involvement in socialist construction. Some of these policies and initiatives have included: export-led growth; increasing reliance on long-term foreign direct investment (FDI both into and originating from China); increasing privatization; lowering of trade barriers; decentralization of planning; increased authority for (and responsibilities on) local governments; increasing integration into global networks of manufacturing, finance, trade; critical technology transfers; new forms of enterprise organization (e.g. Individual Family Contracts (IFCs) in agriculture, Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), privatization and self-financing of state-owned enterprises(SOEs) and SBCs or share-based cooperatives); labor market reforms; currency exchange-rate stabilization; etc.

    But the debates, inside and outside of China, have continued to rage: Does this emerging market socialism model represent simply a necessary—and necessarily hybrid—model that is based upon, and is addressing, the myriad real-world legacies, constraints, conditions and forces with which China has to deal, and that will, or can possibly, result in using markets and capitalism to build socialism in China?. Or, as some would argue, does this hybrid model represent the reverse of using socialism (real or nominal) to build and extend markets, market-based processes and wholesale capitalism thus subjectively or objectively sabotaging long-run conditions and prospects for ongoing socialist construction throughout China?

    The Allure of Neo-Liberalism

    The neo-liberal narrative, and the narrative of neoclassical economics upon which it is largely based, are quite alluring and seductive. Starting with some unproved—and largely metaphysical—“axioms and postulates that form a view of eternal and immutable “human nature”, basic economic—and even non-economic—outcomes are said to be the inevitable and predictable results of the unfolding or playing-out of human nature—on both the supply and demand sides of a given market—under “given” conditions, institutional arrangements and constraints; and the macro is said to be nothing more than the sum of the aggregated micro. What could be more natural and “efficient”, the neoclassicals argue, than a system (Capitalism) that, rather than trying to deny or suppress or change eternal and immutable “human nature”, instead, harnesses, celebrates and utilizes human propensities and instincts that form human nature in order to produce optimal social outcomes not even intended by the “Economic Man” (who is asserted to be atomistic, calculating, rational, selfish, competitive, egoistic, materialistic) “agent” who is owning, buying or selling only for himself/herself in accordance with his or her own “rational self-interest? It of course never occurs to the proponents of neo-liberalism and neoclassical economics (who have only recently got around to the concept of social capital) that maybe what they are observing is not some eternal and immutable “human nature”, but, rather, the social capital of capitalism doing one of the things it is supposed to do: creating and reinforcing the very “human nature” (and associated human values, behaviors and proclivities) that is necessary for the functioning, imperatives (e.g. mass consumption, markets, profits, market shares etc) and expanded reproduction of capitalism itself. These proponents also deny that these supposed eternal and immutable propensities and proclivities of “human nature”, operating on the micro levels of the economy, when aggregated to the macro levels, can, rather than producing optimal macro outcomes, instead, produce social chaos, instability, mass alienation, environmental degradation, hollowing-out of industrial bases, involuntary unemployment, lack of mass access to health care, loss of mass acceptance of the system, etc.

    Here we have systems through which forces of supply and demand for various commodities interact—markets. They are often portrayed as rather technical, mechanical, impersonal and endogenously self-equilibrating (in response to “exogenous” shocks) sub-systems that are relatively value-free, requiring only supporting institutions of private property and a relatively business-friendly and non-interventionist state. Markets are said to represent the most superior (in terms of narrow and contrived definitions of “efficiency” and the greatest good for the greatest number) mechanisms (that stand opposed to the mechanisms of tradition and command) for posing and solving the classical “What”, “How” and “For Whom” questions faced by all societies at all levels.

    The neo-liberal and neoclassical narratives operate like “String Theory” (“The Theory of Everything”) in Physics. Where the narratives and visions of Quantum Mechanics at the micro or particle level (focusing on micro chaos and only probabilities and no certainties) contradict the narratives and visions of General Relativity on the macro levels (focusing on general order, equilibrium, stability, symmetry and certainty) the claim is made that String Theory bridges and reconciles the two contradictory visions and narratives. The same claim is made by the neo-liberal and neoclassical theorists. When markets are allowed to do what markets do, when they are left relatively free and unfettered by over-regulation, when they are supported by “given” and “appropriate” politico-legal-cultural-social policies and institutions (superstructure or social capital), then, out of the potential chaos of greed/selfishness/profit/utility-driven interactions at the micro level, we get stability, equilibria, efficiency, growth, development, employment, incomes, global competitiveness, comparative-advantage-based trade, invention/innovation, etc on the macro level. The macro “order”, “stability” and “certainties” will supposedly follow from the potential chaos and “probabilities” at the micro level in the long-run; that is, if short-term adjustments and “sacrifices” can be accepted and handled by the masses and the state. The greatest good for the greatest number, consumer and producer “sovereignty”, efficiency, demand and supply reflecting revealed preferences of those with the most dollar votes, political as well as economic democracy and “rising tides lifting all boats” or the so-called “trickle-down effects” are but some of the promises of neo-liberalism and the neoclassical paradigm. As Edward Luttwak, put it:

    ‘At present, almost all elite Americans, with corporate chiefs and fashionable economists in the lead, are utterly convinced that they have discovered the winning formula for economic success—good for every country, rich or poor, good for all individuals willing and able to heed the message, and of course, good for elite Americans: PRIVATIZATION + DEREGULATION = TURBO-CAPITALISM = PROSPERITY’ 2

    Markets, the neo-liberal and neoclassical proponents argue, are the ultimate in democratic institutions; even more democratic than de jure institutions such as legislatures, voting, elections, government etc. Consumers, looking to maximize total utility, with given incomes, expectations, information about prices and preferences cast their dollar votes while producers, driven by the imperatives to maximize and realize total profits, with given technologies, information about prices, and given resources respond to those with the most dollar votes; they act like ongoing public referenda according to this narrative. And then, markets do what market do:1) commodification; 2) price determination; 3) act as information systems (about conditions, trends and profit/utility opportunities); 4) resource allocation; 5) rationing; 6) clearing surpluses and shortages.

    Supply and demand interact and prices are determined. Prices communicate information about market conditions, trends and possibilities and allow calculation/estimation of comparative profit or utility potentials by sellers and buyers in order for them, as “sovereign individuals”, to determine what is likely to maximize total profits or utility and thus What shall be produced or consumed. Prices of inputs and outputs, along with the imperatives to minimize total cost on the supply side, or maximize total utility on the demand side, then allow determination of “optimal” production and utility functions and thus “How” to produce or consume and the allocations of given resources. Further, prices and relative prices of commodities answer the “For Whom” question through rationing (those willing to pay the most are most likely to get the commodities being supplied) while the relative “incomes” of inputs (land, labor and capital) and supposedly based upon their relative marginal contributions to the value of total output, reflect and shape the distributions incomes and wealth among the owners and sellers of those inputs.

    It is all a nice and neat narrative. In the neoclassical theory and narrative: all exchanges are “voluntary” and mutually beneficial to the participants otherwise they would not have occurred; causality is unidirectional with “ultimate” independent variables (e.g. tastes and incomes on the demand side and technology and input costs on the supply side) acting as “exogenous variables” that trigger endogenous and self-equilibrating responses in and through markets; the economy is thus propelled from equilibrium state (harmony and balance of contending interests) to equilibrium state in response to exogenous shocks and variables.

    The determinants of those “exogenous independent variables” are not the subject of inquiry for the neoclassical/neo-liberals. They have little or nothing to say about the real-world of monopolies, oligopolies, engineered supply and demand magnitudes and elasticities (e.g. Enron), administered prices, imperialism, social systems engineering, ideologically-driven embargos, asymmetric information, asymmetric ownership, asymmetric powers in international organizations like the UN or WTO, asymmetric access to political influence and justice, etc. These real-world phenomena are never even discussed in their textbooks let alone seen as inexorable or likely outcomes of the systemic structures and survival imperatives of capitalism itself. If these phenomena are ever even recognized, they are dismissed as simple anomalies and exceptions not disturbing the overall narratives.

    When the widening and deepening of markets, market relations and market institutions result in such crises as recurring and mounting unemployment, environmental degradation, wealth and income inequality, alienation among the youth, commodification of the “sacred”, inflation, loss of mass access to health care, increasing capital and labor migration, losses of traditional societies, budget and trade deficits, exchange-rate instability, etc, such outcomes are typically characterized by the neo-liberals and neoclassicals as either “growing pains” in countries like China3, or, in market-based economies, that have been “growing” for some time and in which some of the same crises are nonetheless evident, such crises are said to be the result of excessive government intervention and regulation, lack of appropriate and supporting politico-legal institutions (the subject of this symposium), imperfect information, non-market (government) corruption, trade protectionism, etc—not letting markets freely do what markets do.

    Systemic Imperatives of Market-based Economies

    Under market-based—capitalist—economies and processes, all entities, whether individuals, firms, organizations or even whole economies in global competition, are locked into certain fundamental and interrelated imperatives that shape what might be termed the “teleological logic” of capitalism. These fundamental survival-competitive imperatives also apply—in varying degrees—to socialist social formations when operating in global markets governed by capitalist institutions as well as to entities operating in and through markets within socialist social formations. These interrelated fundamental imperatives are:

    1) Realization of Maximum Possible Total Profits;
    2) Accumulation of Capital: Expanded Reproduction (Widening and Deepening) of the Capital Base and the Capital-Labor Relationship;
    3) Maximization of Productivity and Enhanced “Efficiency”;
    4) Effective Competition.

    These competitive entities (individuals, groups, firms and whole national economies) must attempt to produce and actually realize maximum possible profits in order to have the retained earnings and/or creditworthiness as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition for continual expanded reproduction of their productive bases. These entities must continually attempt to reproduce and expand (widening and deepening) their productive bases and relations as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition of maximization of productivity and overall efficiency. These entities must attempt to maximize productivity and enhance overall efficiency as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition of effective competition (leading to expanded market share and power, name recognition, etc). And these competitive entities must attempt to effectively compete as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition of further production and realization of maximum possible total profits. Further, these fundamental imperatives of survival and effective competition create further derivative imperatives that shape the content, parameters and effects of human behavior as well as of “human nature” itself. For example, tactics such as outsourcing, union busting, not paying true costs of profits/benefits received and/or not receiving true profits/benefits for costs paid, or environmental degradation, flow from the imperative to minimize total costs (along with the greed and selfishness celebrated by the social capital of capitalism) that itself flows from the imperative to effectively compete that flows from the imperative to realize maximize possible total profits.

    Different systems embody, create and reinforce different structures, contradictions, conditions and imperatives of survival within those structures and under conditions that in turn shape the content, frequency, effects and “permissibility” or taboos of human behavior. One of the purposes of social capital is to create, teach, reinforce, sanction, celebrate, legitimate or de-legitimate certain relationships, values, norms, customs, institutions, habits, myths, traditions, ideologies and paradigms in accordance with certain systemic imperatives among which is the imperative for expanded reproduction of the whole system itself. Sometimes, however, the types of habits, norms, values, paradigms and behaviors most necessary on the micro level, may, when aggregated, produce macro effects or contradictions opposite of those intended or predicted from behaviors on the micro levels.

    From the perspective of the “profits-for-power-and-power-for-profits” and competitive imperatives of a typical businessperson or entity in a market-based/driven economy, the type of person/customer that would be ideal would likely possess the traits and proclivities of Homo Oeconomicus incarnate. This person would typically be: narcissistic; highly subject to fads and peer pressure; unable to delay gratification—wants it all and wants it now; predatory and calculating—for the next profit or utility opportunity; unable to assess real and long-term costs and benefits—caught-up in the illusory, the superficial and in the moment; a pleasure-obsessed conspicuous consumer— acquiring and expressing identity and “individuality” through consumption and types of commodities consumed; highly competitive; materialistic; acquisitive; rational—but only in the narrow and bounded sense; self-centered and self-absorbed; unwilling to sacrifice in the short-term for long-term goals or a transcendent causes; willing to go into debt to finance current conspicuous consumption; ultra-individualistic equating individualism with “individuality.”;etc.

    This type of “Homo Oeconomicus”, celebrated by and the cornerstone of neoclassical economic theory, is, however, for most people, not the type of person one would like to have as a son or daughter-in law, friend, mother or father, husband or wife, brother or sister, member of a military unit in combat, voter, public servant, neighbor during a natural disaster or someone involved in or guiding socialist construction. Indeed, even within capitalist social formations, the requisite social capital of markets and capitalism, without which markets could not do what markets typically do—and that is necessary for the expanded reproduction of capitalism as a whole—involves potentially contradictory missions or purposes. On the one hand, the purpose of social capital in market-based societies is to teach, legitimate and reinforce those ideas, values, norms, habits, myths, traditions, behaviors, proclivities, institutions and productive and other relationships necessary for creating and expanding markets, profits, capital accumulation, etc—e.g. values and proclivities such as ultra-individualism, conspicuous consumerism, etc. On the other hand, the purpose of social capital also involves teaching, legitimating and reinforcing certain forms and levels of social awareness and concern, cohesion, cooperation, reciprocity, civic engagement, personal sacrifice for the nation, buying into the system, etc.

    When markets are introduced and expanded within socialist social formations, the requisite social capital of markets becomes potentially not only internally contradictory with respect to expanded reproduction of markets and market-based processes, but also, such requisite social capital can—and will likely—become a destructive and sabotaging force against socialist construction and the expanded reproduction of socialist relations and institutions—even allowing for some varying and diverse definitions of what socialism is about and the positive effects of markets in terms of building productive forces rapidly.
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    The Evolving Concept of Social Capital

    The term social capital was first coined in 1916 by L. Judson Hanifan4 to refer to social networks and institutions/norms of reciprocity (goodwill, fellowship, sympathy and social intercourse) associated with them. Hanifan, by his own admission, employed the term “capital” (anything that has been produced and used to produce—for profitable exchange—something else) to catch the eye–and patronage–of the business community. Hanifan suggested that these social networks and institutions could, on micro as well as macro levels, enhance productivity, competitiveness, employment and income creation, etc. in some of the same ways that physical capital and human capital can, also, produce the same effects.

    Subsequent to Hanifan’s apparent coinage of the term social capital, the term and concept was reintroduced—and partly redefined—at least six times up to the present: 1) in the 1950s by sociologist John Seeley5 to refer to ‘memberships in clubs and associations’ that act just like negotiable securities in producing career advancement and tangible returns to individuals; 2) in the 1960s, by urban economist Jane Jacobs6 to refer to the collective value and effects of informal neighborhood ties and associations; 3) in the 1970s by economist Glenn Loury7 to refer to wider social ties lost by African Americans as one of the legacies of slavery; 4) in the 1980s by social theorist Pierre Bourdieu8 to refer to the actual or potential resources linked to durable networks of institutionalized relationships of mutual recognition and assistance; 5) in the mid-1980s by economist Ekkehart Schlicht9 to refer to the economic value and productivity-enhancing effects of organizations, moral order, cooperation and cohesion; 6) in the late 1980s by James Coleman10 to refer, as Hanifan had done, to the social arrangements, relationships and institutions creating and shaping the environment or social context of education.

    The above-mentioned definitions of social capital are all closely related and narrow in their focus. They focus on immediate relationships—institutionalized or informal—and the networks, and norms of reciprocity that serve as tangible assets and have economic impacts not only on the micro level (personal career advancement, obtaining employment, political influence, personal safety etc) but also on the macro level in terms of enhancing productivity, reducing information and transactions costs, enhancing competitiveness, enhancing community safety and reducing crime, encouraging cooperation, limiting destructive forms and levels of competition etc.

    A wider definition of social capital, one employed in this paper, is closely akin to the concept of Social Structures of Accumulation (SSA)11 which involves a complex of institutions (political, social and economic) and domestic and international relations supporting and legitimating the process of capital accumulation (which includes not only accumulation of wealth and physical/human capital but also expanded reproduction of fundamental and defining socio-economic-political relationships of the whole system itself. This is also close to the classical Marxist concept of “Superstructure”.

    Even allowing for the more narrow definition of social capital employed by Putnam et al., recent studies reveal the steady erosion of social capital in the U.S. in the last thirty years. They have more or less consistently documented solid trends reflecting steady declines in various indices of: political and civic engagement (voting, contributions, electoral participation, signing petitions, writing polemics, working on political campaigns, running for political office); community involvement ( charitable work and donations, blood donations, religious participation, memberships in professional associations, clubs and societies). These studies have also documented steady increases in various indices of alienation and apathy among various age cohorts of the U.S. population (dinners outside the home, incidents of road rage, polling on social trust and trust in political figures, daily television viewing and percent of population using television as central form of entertainment, percent of population disobeying traffic signs and rules, polling on greed trumping community involvement among college freshmen, suicide rates in various age cohorts, percentage of population reporting frequent malaise—headaches, insomnia, indigestion—and percentage of population reporting overwork and multiple jobs as a matter of necessity rather than choice).

    These trends in the U.S., revealing steady erosions of social capital with the ripening of U.S. capitalism, are highly correlated with other social outcomes: increases in child abuse; decreases in quality and effectiveness of educational institutions; increasing television watching and reduced effective literacy among children; increases in crime; decreases in health and perceptions of being healthy among the general population; decreases in perceptions of social-connectedness among the general population; increasing membership in dangerous cults like offering messiahs, instant gratification and easy answers to complex problems; increasing divorce rates; increasing tax evasion, anti-statism and distrust of politicians or political solutions to current problems; decreasing percentages of the population willing to trust or help fellow citizens who are strangers.

    When the work of Putnam et al was extended to the international level, exploring similar data and trends in eight major capitalist societies (Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Great Britain and the United States), in all cases, except Sweden, the trends in social-capital-erosion in countries other than the United States strongly paralleled (in timing and patterns of change) those of the United States.12 Also paralleling these trends, and consistent with the wider definition and socializing-ideological functions of social capital, in all of these countries, the central themes of culture (television, movies, literature, games, art, music, etc) are increasingly centered on and around promoting and celebrating narcissism, ultra-individualism, competition, ruthlessness, duplicity, pleasure maximization, instant gratification, materialism, luck, returns without sacrifice, predatory calculation and manipulation and other concepts and values definitely useful from the standpoint of mass consumption and profitability but also definitely inimical to socialist construction however one may define socialism.

    Conclusion

    China has come a long way in promoting levels and forms of human progress for the broad masses of people that were simply unknown in the China before 1949. This achievement is truly remarkable when one considers the legacies that were inherited along with the extent to which China has been subject to imperial aggression, isolation, ostracization, embargos, social systems engineering campaigns, demonization and even outright threats of nuclear annihilation—causing diversions of precious and scarce resources for defense instead of directly into development. The current problems that China faces simply cannot wait and the imperative to develop the productive forces as rapidly as possible to deal with the myriad issues, constraints, inequalities and crises faced by China should be evident to all but the most insulated and callous of observers and critics. Certainly socialism cannot be built and defended without the participation and allegiance of the broad masses of Chinese people who must, first of all, simply survive in order to participate in socialist construction.

    On the other hand, socialism is not simply about building productive forces or dealing with the “What, How and For Whom” questions differently than they are dealt with under capitalism. Socialism is not an end-state but rather a long protracted process and it is also about teaching and reinforcing human values and relationships that are very different from—and stand in contradiction/opposition to—the types of values and relationships embodied in the social capital of capitalism and most conducive to the expanded reproduction of capitalism: greed, selfishness, ultra-individualism, competition, narcissism, instant-gratification, predation for profit/utility opportunities, inequalities of wealth and incomes, commodification of everything including the sacred, etc. As William Hinton summed it up:

    “Socialism is after all not something given, something fixed. It is a process, a transition from one state to another…As such it bears within it many contradictions, many inequalities that cannot be done away with overnight or even in the course of several years or several decades…Yet as long as these inequalities exist they generate privilege, individualism, careerism, and bourgeois ideology. Without a conscious and protracted effort to combat these tendencies they can grow into an important social force. They can and do create new bourgeois individuals who gather as a new privileged elite and ultimately as a new exploiting class. Thus socialism can be peacefully transformed back into capitalism.”13

    The basic values, institutions and relationships most conducive to the expanded reproduction of capitalism act as weeds in the garden of socialism threatening to choke off the new flowers in the emerging garden. That is precisely why the introduction and expansion of market and market-based institutions, values, relations and imperatives within the framework of a socialist social formation, which may be tactically necessary as was the case with the NEP in the Soviet Union, must be handled carefully and from a position of strength and willingness to sacrifice if necessary. This is especially the case when it is clear that the major capitalist power, the U.S., seeks hegemony in the global community of nations and regards itself as locked into a global war of conflicting systems and ideologies (Capitalism versus Socialism) in which it is prepared to use cultural, political, economic and military means—covertly or overtly—to ensure the victory of neo-liberal capitalism and its associated institutions, values and relationships on a global scale. As James Petras put it:

    “U.S cultural imperialism has two major goals, one economic and the other political: to capture markets for its cultural commodities and to establish hegemony by shaping popular consciousness. The export of entertainment is one of the most important sources of capital accumulation and global profits displacing manufacturing exports. In the political sphere, cultural imperialism plays a major role in dissociating people from their cultural roots and traditions of solidarity, replacing them with media created needs which change with every publicity campaign. The political effect in to alienate people from traditional class and community bonds, atomizing and separating individuals from each other.” 14

    No doubt that significant changes in institutions—political, legal, social, cultural and economic—will take place as markets and market institutions/relations/values are introduced more and more in China to help to handle domestic conditions and facilitate China’s increasing integration into a global economy organized on capitalist foundations and categories. The real challenges will be not to lose sight of the ultimate goals and necessity of socialism, to appreciate the roles and effects of social capital (along with physical and human capital—under socialism as well as under capitalism), to assess and appreciate the true costs (private plus social) and true benefits (private plus social) of markets, market relationships, values and institutions under socialist construction, and, not to wind up “bringing a tiger in through the back door to chase out the wolf at the front door.”

    By James M. Craven (Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaaiipooyii) Professor, Economics; Chairman, Business Division, Clark College, Vancouver, WA.

    End Notes

    1.“Report of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China”, 2002 quoted in “Some Basics on China “(online edition) by D. Raja and He Yong, Political Affairs Net, at http://www.politicalaffairs.net/arti...eview/256/1/32, p. 1

    2. Edward Luttvak quoted in Frank, Thomas, One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism and the End of Economic Democracy, Anchor Books, N.Y. 2000, p. 17

    3.“China’s Growing Pains” in The Economist, August 26, 2004

    4. Hanifan, Lyda Judson, “The Rural School Community Center”, Annals of the American Academy of Political Science, 67 (1916): pp. 130-138. Note: An excellent overview of the development of the concept of social capital, for which I am indebted, can be found in: Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon and Schuster, N.Y. 2000 and also in Putnam, Robert D (ed), Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, Oxford University Press, N.Y. 2002

    5. Seeley, John R, Sim, Alexander and Loosley, Elizabeth; Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life, Basic Books, N.Y. 1956

    6. Jacobs, Jane, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Random House, N.Y. 1961

    7. Loury, Glenn, “A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences” in Women, Minorities and Employment Discrimination, Wallace, P.A. and LeMund, A (eds),

    Lexington Books, Lexington Mass. 1977

    8. Bourdieu, Pierre, “Forms of Capital” in Handbook of Theory and Research for The Sociology of Education Richardson, John (Ed), Greenwood Books, N.Y. 1983

    9. Schlicht, Ekkehart, “Cognitive Dissonance in Economics” in Normengeleitetes Verhalten in den Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker and Humblot, Berlin, 1984

    10. Coleman, James, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital” in American Journal of Sociology, 94 (1988)

    11. see Diebolt, Claude, “Towards a New Social Structure of Accumulation” in
    Historical and Social Research, Vol 27, No. 2/3 2002; also see Gordon, David M:
    “Stages of Accumulation and Long Economic Cycles” in Hopkins, T and Wallerstein, I (eds) Processes of the World System, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1980; Bowles, S “Social Institutions and Technical Change” in Di Matteo, M; Goodwin, R.M. and Vercelli, A. (eds) in Technological and Social Factors in Long-Term Fluctuations, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1989; and Kotz, D.M; McDonnoug, T; Reich, M (eds) Social Structures of Accumulation , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1994

    12. Putnam, Robert (ed) Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in
    Contemporary Society, Oxford Univ. Press, N.Y. 2002

    13. Hinton, William Turning Point in China, p. 20 quoted in Monthly Review , July
    -August 2004, Vol. 56, No. 3 p. 128

    14. Petras, James, “Cultural Imperialism in the Late Twentieth Century”, internet Ed

    The 4th Media News
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    Life expectancy climbs in China

    August 10, 2012

    China's average life expectancy rose to 74.83 years as of the end of 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

    The NBS used data from the sixth national census to calculate the figure, which was 3.43 years longer than in 2000, the NBS said Thursday.

    A spokesman for the NBS population department said life expectancy will continue to climb due to improved medical services amid the country's rapid economic growth.

    Analyzed by gender, the average life expectancy among Chinese men was 72.38 years, 2.75 years longer than it was in 2000. Meanwhile, the average life expectancy for Chinese women rose 4.04 years to 77.37 years.

    The female-male gap widened to 4.99 years in 2010 from 3.7 years in 2000, according to the NBS.

    Xinhua
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greater China View Post
    Life expectancy climbs in China

    August 10, 2012

    China's average life expectancy rose to 74.83 years as of the end of 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

    The NBS used data from the sixth national census to calculate the figure, which was 3.43 years longer than in 2000, the NBS said Thursday.

    A spokesman for the NBS population department said life expectancy will continue to climb due to improved medical services amid the country's rapid economic growth.

    Analyzed by gender, the average life expectancy among Chinese men was 72.38 years, 2.75 years longer than it was in 2000. Meanwhile, the average life expectancy for Chinese women rose 4.04 years to 77.37 years.

    The female-male gap widened to 4.99 years in 2010 from 3.7 years in 2000, according to the NBS.

    Xinhua
    Chinese govt must be congratulated on its achievement in a neighbourhood where govts supposedly democratic pay scant attention to their people
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    I love hearing good news about China --- they are hard working good ethical people!! Always Pakistans shoulder to cry on!!
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    China China
    Remembering Lei Feng, China's 'Good Samaritan'



    "To live is to serve the people - live to make others happy." That's a famous quote from Lei Feng, a member of the People's Liberation Army and one of China's most longest lived heroes.

    More than four decades have passed since he died at the age of 22, but Lei Feng's selflessness and noble outlook still make him a national hero.

    The entire nation commemorates Lei Feng in March every year. Many people, especially students, volunteer their time to serve the others.

    With volunteering still popular, our reporter Wu Jia spoke with Wu Hongmei, the author of the new book on this legendary figure, "Do as Lei Feng Did".

    Reporter:
    Hardly any Chinese people born before the 1990s would be unfamiliar with this song, "Lei Feng is a good example for us to follow".

    And now there's a new book called "Do as Lei Feng Did", which reveals a number of interesting stories from Lei Feng's life before he became famous throughout the country.

    Lei Feng was born into a farmer's family in central China's Hunan Province and orphaned before he was seven years old. But instead of dwelling on his misfortune, Lei Feng started actively working to lead a more meaningful life.

    The author of the book, Wu Hongmei, says Lei Feng was a unique person. His life goals were so different from the teenagers of his time and he always stuck to his vision.

    "After graduating from primary school, he made it his goal to be a good farmer. Lots of children at the same age chose to further their studies at that time, but he just chose to be a farmer. He had heard that model farmers had a chance to meet Chairman Mao Zedong. And he so wished to see him."

    Later, Lei Feng made it his goal to be a good worker and soldier. And he lived up to all his goals over the course of his short life, even though it meant he had to give up advantageous material conditions.

    Instead of working as a civil servant, he became a skillful iron and steel worker who made 39 Yuan or 5 US dollars a month. That was a very high salary at that time.

    But to fulfill his dream of being a soldier, he gave up a rewarding career in the factory and joined the army, where his monthly allowance was just 6 yuan.

    He met troubles when he first tried to join the army. The author Wu Hongmei tells us this story.

    "Since Lei Feng was too short and thin to pass the physical examination, he was rejected at first. But he just had the special personal charisma. He could easily persuade all the strangers around him to support him and made the interviewers feel it would be a pity if the army didn’t recruit a man like him. I feel he's so incredible."

    During his two years in the army, Lei Feng remains faithful to the principles of the Communist Party of China. His active, friendly and optimistic character impressed many people around him. Unfortunately, he died in an accident two years later.

    Technically, Lei Feng never managed to achieve his wish of meeting Chairman Mao due to his accidental death at the age of 22. But he achieved much more in another sense. Chairman Mao made him a national model and promoted the long-lasting spirit of his way of seeing life.

    Unlike the other books that have been published on Lei Feng, "Do as Lei Feng Did" investigates the soldier's relevance as a successful man and model for career people.

    Many career advisors today advise people to set their goals in life and stick to them despite all the passing temptations. Lei Feng did just that half a century ago.

    Even more importantly, Wu Hongmei says Lei Feng derived his motivation in life from his firm belief in showing love for everybody.

    "Lei Feng had a deep love for the country, the Communist Party of China and the people. That was his belief. And that kind of belief is extremely powerful in guiding one's actions. No matter whether it is as lofty as a love for all mankind or as ordinary as a dream to buy a house or a car, finding something to believe in is a crucial element on the road to one's success. Lei Feng found something, therefore he succeeded."

    It has been forty-four years since Chairman Mao penned the famous phrase "Learn from Comrade Lei Feng" on March 5, 1963. So how much do children today know of this hero?

    We asked some children aged four to thirteen.
    "Yes, I read stories about Lei Feng in books."
    "My parents told me stories of Lei Feng. He's a good man."
    "No, I have no idea."
    "I've heard of him. He's always willing to help others."
    "Yes, I know about Lei Feng. My teachers told me stories about him."

    Unlike their parents, who grew up reciting quotes from Lei Feng and singing songs about the "Lei Feng Spirit", most children today only know Lei Feng as someone who is always ready to help.

    Wu Hongmei says she hopes her book can shed new light on Lei Feng. It reveals a lot of previously unknown stories about the soldier, which will better inform the public, and especially children, who he was and what we can learn from him.

    Instead of blindly following the routine volunteer campaign every March, Wu Hongmei believes it may be more constructive to spend some quality time re-figuring Lei Feng, not as a political heroic icon, but as a determined man who knew what he wanted and went all out for his dreams.

    CRIENGLISH.com

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Docudrama Forever Lei Feng completed



    August 16, 2012

    The six-episode docudrama entitled Forever Lei Feng has been recently completed. Jointly shot by the General Political Department (GPD) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Qiushi Journal, etc. and made by the Military Program Center of the China Central Television (CCTV), the docudrama is scheduled to be first broadcast on CCTV-7 from August 15, 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the honorable death of Lei Feng at his post.

    This docudrama reflects the real situation of "Learning from Lei Feng" activities which have been constantly carried out throughout the country and the military, as well as the Lei Feng spirit (the spirit of serving the people wholeheartedly) which has been promoting the construction of social moral in the past 50 years.

    It also shows the great significance and realistic requirements of promoting the normalization of "Learning from Lei Feng" activities, profoundly displays the internal relations between the development of the times and the inheritance of the Lei Feng spirit, and reveals the long-lasting vitality of the spirit.

    PLA Daily
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    Female panda born in Sichuan

    A female panda cub was born in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province in the wee hours of Aug 25.



    The new panda cub in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province. Huang Zhiling/China Daily

    "This is the third panda birth this month, after a female cub was born on August 12 and a male cub on August 19," said base chief Zhang Zhihe.

    Yuan Yuan, the docile mother panda, was born on Aug 1, 2004.

    She has given birth to four cubs previously, all of whom are alive, Zhang said.

    She fell in love and mated with her partner Yong Yong in spring. On August 22, she became irritable and was walking around a lot.

    After nearly four hours of labor, she gave birth at 5:10 am on Aug 25 to a female cub weighing 137 grams, Zhang said.

    Both the mother and cub are under the intensive care of base keepers around the clock, he added.

    Set up in 1987, this base has solved the three problems pertaining to panda breeding–the difficulty for pandas to become in heat, the difficulty for them to become pregnant, and the difficulty for them to look after their cubs.

    The base is home to 112 pandas.

    CCTV
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    North Korean movies were once popular in China during the 1970s. The most successful one was The Flower Girl. However, such films haven't been screened for ages. North Korea remains mysterious to the Chinese audience. An older audience might see these films for nostalgic reasons, while a younger audience might go out of interest in modern North Korean society.
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    China China
    The China-Mongolia dynamic: can’t live with China, can’t live without China



    Mongolia and China have never exactly gotten along. For the past millennium the two countries invaded and ruled each other in turn.

    In the thirteenth century, Kublai Khan swept into China and founded the Yuan dynasty, putting Mongolians on the Chinese throne for nearly a century.

    Then in the 17th century Mongolia was conquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty.

    Both have gone their own way for the past hundred years, but the history lesson is worth remembering, because Mongolia’s mining development today is dependent on its giant, resources-hungry neighbour.

    As a result, the China-Mongolia dynamic plays a big role in shaping foreign investment policy – like the foreign investment law that was passed earlier this year in response to Chalco’s attempt to buy a majority stake in a Gobi desert coal mine.

    Even though Chalco has since walked away from that deal, China already plays a dominant role in the Monoglian mining sector, according to a recent report by analyst Gavin Bowring at consultancy Gavekal:

    Chinese companies have secured an effective stranglehold over Mongolia’s resources; they control up to 70% of resource assets, having bought mining and exploration licences (about 4,000 in total) from politicians and well-connected business groups.

    Although most projects are small scale they constitute the bulk of current mining activity. As the biggest customer for Mongolian production, Chinese entities have used their control over rail, road and storage linkages to ensure they pay low price. In this face-off between Ulan Bator and Beijing the reality is that China Inc has most bases covered.
    The result of this dynamic is a slow rise in resources nationalism among Mongolian voters, with several nationalistic parliamentarians selected in the June elections. According to Bowring this doesn’t bode well for foreign investors, Chinese or not:

    The focus of populist anger has been China’s tightening control over Mongolia’s economy and claims that politicians sold the country’s commodity birthright too cheaply. The challenge facing Mongolia’s new government is to rebalance its relationship with foreign investors—in particular Chinese firms—without killing the proverbial golden goose.
    It won’t be an easy balancing act.

    Financial Times
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greater China View Post
    Female panda born in Sichuan

    A female panda cub was born in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province in the wee hours of Aug 25.



    The new panda cub in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Sichuan province. Huang Zhiling/China Daily

    "This is the third panda birth this month, after a female cub was born on August 12 and a male cub on August 19," said base chief Zhang Zhihe.

    Yuan Yuan, the docile mother panda, was born on Aug 1, 2004.

    She has given birth to four cubs previously, all of whom are alive, Zhang said.

    She fell in love and mated with her partner Yong Yong in spring. On August 22, she became irritable and was walking around a lot.

    After nearly four hours of labor, she gave birth at 5:10 am on Aug 25 to a female cub weighing 137 grams, Zhang said.

    Both the mother and cub are under the intensive care of base keepers around the clock, he added.

    Set up in 1987, this base has solved the three problems pertaining to panda breeding–the difficulty for pandas to become in heat, the difficulty for them to become pregnant, and the difficulty for them to look after their cubs.

    The base is home to 112 pandas.

    CCTV
    I think without Chinas vigour and efforts - the panda would be extinct. China must be commended for this
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    China China
    Xi attends activities for science popularization day

    September 15, 2012



    Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (2nd R, front) attends an activity to mark this year's National Science Popularization Day at China Agricultural University in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 15, 2012. [Xinhua]



    Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Saturday called for strengthening public food and health knowledge in an effort to steer public attention toward food safety issues and prevent misconduct in the industry.

    Xi made the remarks while visiting Beijing-based China Agricultural University for activities marking the National Science Popularization Day.

    More than 5,200 events will be organized across the country for this year's science popularization day that is running under the theme of energy conservation, environmental protection and health and safety. Activities in Beijing are focused on food and health.

    In an exhibit section showcasing instant melamine checks for milk products, Xi said, "Food safety is a significant livelihood issue. While strengthening supervision and punishment, the whole society should be mobilized to focus on the issue in order to create a sound social environment."

    After watching children conduct interactive experiments, Xi encouraged them to develop healthy eating habits. He also called on teachers to arrange more activities to promote science that cater to young people's tastes.

    "With a huge population and scarce land and water resources, our country must rely on technology to ensure the supply of agricultural products," Xi said, urging agrotechnology workers to continue to boost the country's independent innovation and international competition power in the field.

    Praising the university for cultivating many agrotechnology talents, Xi urged the institution to explore more effective ways to utilize technical achievements in serving agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

    Moreover, Xi called on various universities and science and technology associations to play greater roles in promoting scientific knowledge among grassroots units such as communities, villages and factories.

    Xi was accompanied by senior officials including Liu Yunshan, Liu Yandong and Li Yuanchao during the activities.

    Xinhua
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    HK Economic Journal: Beijing planning to halt sales of rare earths to Japan over Diayou Islands

    China is continuing its plan to peacefully reclaim the Diayou Islands (discovered and claimed by China in 1403 and stolen at gunpoint by Japan in 1895).

    Firstly, we weaken Japan economically by boycotting Japanese cars and goods. Secondly, we weaken Japanese companies by restricting Chinese rare earth supplies. Thirdly, when the Chinese J-20 and J-31 stealth fighter fleet is ready in fifteen years, we will impose an exclusion zone against Japan around the Diayou Islands and enforce Chinese sovereignty.

    Rare earths a victim of Japan-China islands spat | The Australian

    Rare earths a victim of Japan-China islands spat

    by: Robin Bromby
    From: The Australian
    September 24, 2012 12:00AM
    ...
    The Hong Kong Economic Journal is reporting that Beijing is planning to halt sales to Japan of rare earths, a serious threat seeing that Japan is the second-largest user of these elements (after China).[/COLOR] It was also interesting that one of the slogans being shouted outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing by protesters was 'Stop the sale of rare earth elements to Japan'.
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    Car industry: Japan loses, others gain

    2012-9-28



    Japanese cars are displayed in Weifang, Shandong Province on September 16. While sales of German, US, South Korean and French vehicles rose in August, Japanese car sales dropped by 2 percent year-on-year in August, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Photo: CFP

    Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp on Monday resumed its production at all of its nine factories in China that had been halted since September 18, despite the ongoing territorial dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands.

    "The situation is developing, and there might be changes [regarding the resumption] … I will have to keep in touch with the factories," Ma Chunping, public relations director at FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co, one of Toyota's joint ventures in China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

    "The halt in production has definitely had an impact on us, but it is not yet clear how many units were affected," Ma said.

    Japanese carmakers Honda Motors, Nissan and Mazda also restarted or partially restarted their operations in China, after the massive anti-Japanese protests across the country subsided last week.

    Huge losses

    Japanese companies were in a rush to resume output, since a brief idling of plants in one of the world's fastest-growing markets had incurred hefty losses on them, according to analysts.

    Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda may have lost 14,950 units of vehicle output due to production suspensions between September 17 and 21, during the height of the Chinese demonstrations against the Japanese nationalization of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, according to an estimate sent to the Global Times by US consulting firm IHS Automotive on Tuesday.

    That would translate to lost revenues of about 1.5 billion yuan ($238 million), based on an average sticker price of 100,000 yuan for a Japanese car in China.

    Of these companies, Nissan was hit the hardest.

    "Nissan has the highest exposure among the Japanese auto companies rated by Fitch, with China absorbing about 26 percent of its global car sales during the 2012 fiscal year," US credit rating agency Fitch Credit Ratings said in a research note on September 18.

    "Honda's and Toyota's exposure to China was also significant at about 20 percent and 10 percent of their respective total global unit sales during the same period," it noted.

    Nissan and Honda did not reply to e-mails seeking comments sent by the Global Times by press time.

    Because of the recent deterioration in bilateral relations, China on Monday postponed a meeting with a Japanese delegation to observe the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations.

    "The underlying territorial dispute remains unresolved, so anti-Japanese sentiment in China will stay strong and many Chinese consumers will avoid Japanese brands," Yang Jian, managing editor of Automotive News China, wrote in a commentary on September 21.

    "That is not good news for Japanese automakers, which only recently have recovered from last year's earthquake in Japan."

    Guangzhou Automobile Group, which owns two joint ventures with Toyota and Honda respectively and relies heavily on sales revenues from the joint ventures, has seen 14.8 billion yuan of its market capitalization vaporize since August, according to numbers from the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

    The company's stock closed down 1.9 percent at 5.14 yuan a share on Tuesday in Shanghai. It dropped by 31 percent from the closing price of 7.44 yuan on August 1. Its valuation stood at 33.1 billion yuan as of Tuesday.

    The company also delayed a Friday launch of the first model it is jointly producing with Mitsubishi Motors in Changsha, Hunan Province, to October, "because of the serious anti-Japanese situation in Changsha," China Economic Times reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed source with the China-Japan joint venture.

    Some Japanese brand vehicles and Japanese stores were smashed during protests in Changsha last week, the newspaper reported.

    Many dealers of the Japanese brands were also told by the automakers to stop any high-profile promotions and not to participate in local auto shows, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Tuesday.

    Competitors advance

    China was projected to sell 19.5 million units of light vehicles in 2012, and would contribute to 90 percent of the growth in Asia in 2013, which was expected to come in at nearly 37 million units, LMC Automotive, a leading automotive forecasts and intelligence supplier, said in a press release in August.

    Anticipating such phenomenal growth, automakers have been actively expanding their output and research capacities in the country, including Japanese companies.

    However, the current setback has proved to be detrimental to the Japanese carmakers, and, in such a competitive market, Japan's loss is others' gain.

    Japanese carmakers' archrival BMW AG has been making strides in China.

    Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, BMW's Chinese partner listed in Hong Kong, recorded an unaudited profit attributable to equity holders of 1.3 billion yuan for the first half of 2012, jumping by 41.5 percent year-on-year, the company said in its interim report on August 29.

    The company's profit performance beat analysts' expectations. One of the reasons is that Brilliance China Automotive's Shenyang factory, which is dedicated to making the BMW 5 Series, has been over-utilized, according to Australian investment bank Macquarie Capital Securities.

    From May through August, 5 Series production has averaged 9,869 units per month in the factory, as opposed to an official annual capacity of 100,000 units, Macquarie said in a research report on September 20.

    "Although the Brilliance-BMW Automotive joint venture [BBA] is facing higher costs, … its higher volumes are enabling it to negotiate lower procurement costs," Macquarie noted.

    Luxury brand Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover division recently got a verbal approval from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission to go ahead with forming a joint venture with Chery Automobile Co in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, the Economic Observer reported Tuesday, citing sources close to both firms.

    It took only four months for the joint venture to get the go-ahead, a record in five years, the report said.

    The US automaker General Motors also gained from the Japanese losses. It announced Monday in Shanghai that GM and its joint ventures sold their two millionth vehicle in China this year on September 21.

    "This is the third time in GM's history in China and the earliest ever that it sold 2 million vehicles in a calendar year," the company said in a press release.

    On September 22, GM and its partners opened a 5.67-square-kilometer, 1.6 billion yuan proving ground in Guangde county, Anhui Province, the largest of its kind in China.

    Meanwhile, Toyota will cut production of its premium Lexus vehicle by about 20 percent as anti-Japan protests hit sales in China, Reuters reported Tuesday.

    "Toyota's sales fell about 30 percent after some of its stores in China were damaged during violent demonstrations," the Nikkei said.

    Toyo Tire & Rubber, a supplier to Toyota Motors, said it was mulling a scale-back of expansion in China, as the political dispute hurt businesses, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing CEO Kenji Nakakura.

    Global Times
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    High-speed rail links Zhengzhou and Wuhan | chinadaily.com.cn

    2012-09-29



    A bullet train moves in Xinzheng, central China's Henan Province, Sept. 28, 2012. The high-speed railway linking Zhengzhou of central China's Henan Province and Wuhan of Hubei Province went into operation on Friday, shortening the minimum running time of trains between the two cities from previously 4 hours and 28 minutes to 1 hour and 56 minutes. (Xinhua/Zhao Peng)

    Bullet trains cut travel time between the two cities to less than two hours

    A new high-speed railway, which connects the capital cities of Henan and Hubei provinces in Central China, was put into service on Friday, creating a new north-south corridor in the national high-speed rail grid.

    The first pair of bullet trains started to run on the Zhengzhou-Wuhan line at 9 am on Friday.

    The new line decreases the travel time between the two cities to two hours, down from four and a half hours.

    Construction began on the 536 km line, with a total investment of 57 billion yuan ($9 billion), in 2008, with a top designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

    For now, the new line will carry 24 pairs of trains every day, with a speed limit of 300 km/h, railway authorities said.

    The line is a major part of the 2,300-km Beijing-Guangzhou high-speed railway, China’s longest high-speed line in planning, which is expected to open by the end of the year.

    China slowed progress of high-speed railway construction after a deadly train crash in East China’s Wenzhou in July 2011, but high-speed railways are still growing to meet the huge market demand. Authorities plan to build more than 16,000 km of high-speed lines by 2020.

    Zhang Junbang, head of the Zhengzhou Railway Bureau, said at the line’s opening ceremony that the new line is connected with many existing high-speed lines, creating a larger fast-track network in the region with great social and economic benefits.







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  17. #37
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    AFP: China rocket puts Venezuela satellite into orbit

    "China rocket puts Venezuela satellite into orbit
    (AFP) – 4 hours ago


    Venezuela has said the $140mn satellite will be used to monitor troop movements on the country's borders (AFP, AFP)

    BEIJING — A Chinese rocket on Saturday successfully launched a Venezuelan earth-observation satellite into orbit, state media said.

    The satellite, dubbed "Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda" after the major Venezuelan independence figure, was launched from the northwest Jiuquan base in the Gobi desert using a 'Long March' class rocket, said Xinhua.

    The launch comes four years after the first-ever Venezuelan satellite, named "Simon Bolivar" , which was built with Chinese help, was also put into orbit using a Chinese rocket.

    Last year, Venezuela announced the new $140 million satellite would be used to monitor troop movements on the country's borders and illegal mining, as well as study climate change and the environment.

    The two countries have forged close economic ties in recent years as leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sought to reduce dependence on Washington, with top officials overseeing agreements worth billions of dollars in the oil, energy, construction, and technology sectors.

    They signed an agreement last week to develop together Las Cristinas in southern Venezuela, one of the world's biggest gold mines, with plans to exploit both the yellow metal and cooper there.

    Beijing has extended some $30 billion in credit to Caracas, and Venezuela in turn sells some 640,000 barrels of oil a day to China."
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    China delivers first 318,000-deadweight-ton VLCCs to Iran


    China's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard (SWS) built the 318,000-deadweight-ton "Hua San" VLCC (very large crude carrier) in 2008 for Singapore. An identical supertanker named "Panda" has been built and is on its way to Iran.

    China delivers first VLCCs to Iran - Tehran Times

    "China delivers first VLCCs to Iran
    30 September 2012

    A Chinese shipyard delivered the first one of 12 supertankers to Iran, giving Tehran extra capacity to transport its oil to Asia.

    Industry sources said the arrival of the 318,000 deadweight ton "Panda" in the Persian Gulf in early October will help Iran expand its fleet, which is now very busy with carrying Iranian crude supplies to various destinations across the globe, specially in Asia.

    The very large crude carrier (VLCC) left Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding on September 18, Business Recorder reported, adding that the vessel was initially due to sail to Iran in May, but the sanctions delayed its delivery. A second vessel, the Souvenir, is conducting sea trials in China, but it is unclear when it would begin commercial operations.

    "The first of Iran's VLCCs is on its way to Iran. It is unclear how the tanker is being insured in light of the Western sanctions, but I'm sure Iran has found a way," said a Singapore-based oil shipping executive who declined to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

    Seven more VLCCs are scheduled for delivery by the end of this year, with the remaining four being built in 2013, giving Iran greater flexibility to store and transport its oil.

    The 12 new VLCCs, together capable of transporting 24 million barrels of crude, will significantly expand the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC)'s fleet of 39 ships.

    The 12 vessels were commissioned at Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, a unit of China CSSC Holdings Ltd based in financial hub Shanghai, and Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd, based in Northeastern port Dalian.

    Each builder won an order for six vessels, with the total order financed mostly by China's Export and Import Bank, officials said, a policy bank that funds China's massive trade business and Chinese firms' overseas investment.

    The Iranian firm has by now settled more than two-thirds of the $600 million bill with at least one of the two shipyards, said the second executive, who declined to be named due to the sensitiveness of the matter.

    NITC was privatized in 2000 and is now owned by three Iranian pension funds. It operates a fleet of 39 vessels including 25 VLCCs, one of the world's biggest crude oil transporters.

    Most of NITC's ships were built in South Korea, according to the company website.

    This is not the first time NITC has built crude carriers in China. Between 2002 and 2004, five VLCCs were commissioned in China's Dalian, the company posted on its website.

    The EU imposed a set of sanctions on Iran in July to ban import of Iranian supplies and providing insurance for vessels carrying Iranian crude.

    In a move to defuse the sanctions, Tehran offered to use its own fleet for supplying crude to its main customers in Asia. Iran also started providing up to $1 billion of insurance cover to Iranian vessels shipping oil in a bid to keep its crude flowing to its top four customers: South Korea, China, India and Japan.

    The four countries, which buy more than half of Iran's oil exports, have continued purchasing Iranian crude irrespective of the EU and U.S. pressures.

    Iranian officials have always stressed that the EU decision to impose a ban on Iran's oil supply is ineffective, and added that there are always many customers for Iranian crude.

    (Source: Reuters)"
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    Last edited by Martin; 30th September 2012 at 18:01.

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    Qingdao, China

    Modern China is built on the following:

    1. Leadership from the CCP

    2. Hard work of the Chinese people

    3. "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" (i.e. capitalism). Credit belongs to Deng Xiaoping for 1978 economic reforms.

    4. A focus on developing technology. Yuan Longping (i.e. Father of Hybrid Rice) is near the top of my list.

    5. A secure environment safe from foreign military power. Credit belongs to the Mao administration for developing a 3.3-megaton thermonuclear bomb in 1967 and the DF-5 ICBM "first flight" in 1971.

    6. The military is the last of the Four Modernizations. Credit belongs to Deng Xiaoping for the rational allocation of development resources.

    7. China joined the WTO in 2001. Thanks Uncle Sam! China gained access to worldwide markets for Chinese products and became a massive manufacturer on a global scale. Huawei is an excellent example.

    Huawei 2010 Profit Gains 30% on Higher International Sales - Bloomberg

    "Huawei 2010 Profit Gains 30% on Higher International Sales
    By Bloomberg News - Apr 17, 2011 7:00 PM ET
    ...
    Huawei got 65 percent of its revenue from international markets last year, up from 60 percent in 2009, according to data in the report.
    ...
    Huawei’s international sales jumped 34 percent to 120.4 billion yuan last year, the annual report said. Its sales in China gained 9.7 percent to 64.8 billion yuan. The China market declined to 35 percent of Huawei’s sales last year, from 40 percent in 2009."


    [Note: The list of important factors is not arranged in hierarchical order of importance.]

    ----------

    The status quo is conducive for more continued Chinese economic, technological, and military growth. I'm in favor of the status quo until China matures into the world's largest economic and military power.

    Afterwards, we'll start planning on bringing Diaoyou Islands and South Tibet back into China. I expect Taiwan to negotiate an "One Country, Two Systems" deal.
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    Last edited by Martin; 5th October 2012 at 15:47.
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  20. #40
    Senior Member Express's Avatar
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    Pakistan Pakistan
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post

    Qingdao, China

    Modern China is built on the following:

    1. Leadership from the CCP

    2. Hard work of the Chinese people

    3. "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" (i.e. capitalism). Credit belongs to Deng Xiaoping for 1978 economic reforms.

    4. A focus on developing technology. Yuan Longping (i.e. Father of Hybrid Rice) is near the top of my list.

    5. A secure environment safe from foreign military power. Credit belongs to the Mao administration for developing a 3.3-megaton thermonuclear bomb in 1967 and the DF-5 ICBM "first flight" in 1971.

    6. The military is the last of the Four Modernizations. Credit belongs to Deng Xiaoping for the rational allocation of development resources.

    7. China joined the WTO in 2001. Thanks Uncle Sam! China gained access to worldwide markets for Chinese products and became a massive manufacturer on a global scale. Huawei is an excellent example.

    Huawei 2010 Profit Gains 30% on Higher International Sales - Bloomberg

    "Huawei 2010 Profit Gains 30% on Higher International Sales
    By Bloomberg News - Apr 17, 2011 7:00 PM ET
    ...
    Huawei got 65 percent of its revenue from international markets last year, up from 60 percent in 2009, according to data in the report.
    ...
    Huawei’s international sales jumped 34 percent to 120.4 billion yuan last year, the annual report said. Its sales in China gained 9.7 percent to 64.8 billion yuan. The China market declined to 35 percent of Huawei’s sales last year, from 40 percent in 2009."


    [Note: The list of important factors is not arranged in hierarchical order of importance.]

    ----------

    The status quo is conducive for more continued Chinese economic, technological, and military growth. I'm in favor of the status quo until China matures into the world's largest economic and military power.

    Afterwards, we'll start planning on bringing Diaoyou Islands and South Tibet back into China. I expect Taiwan to negotiate an "One Country, Two Systems" deal.
    I wish our leaders would look at this model
    The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Express For This Useful Post: Greater China,Martin


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