Pomfret's China

April 2009 Archives



April 1, 2009 10:27 AM

James Fallows and his new book, my take

Here's my take on "Postcards from Tomorrow Square," a (relatively) new book by James Fallows, which I thoroughly enjoyed.




April 1, 2009 3:50 PM

Obama and Hu, a U.S.-China Luvfest

Niall Ferguson coined the term "Chimerica" to describe the close and often bizarre co-dependence of the United States on China and vice versa over the past decade. Americans were China's consumer of choice, gobbling up hundreds of billions in Chinese-made stuff. China was our ATM, lending us hundreds of billions of dollars. It was fun while it lasted.

But "Chimerica" is still alive. The US and China are positioning themselves as the twin saviors of the world's economy. Just witness today's luvfest between President Obama and China's Communist Party boss Hu Jintao. Obama announced he would travel to Beijing next year to, according to the White House, "intensify coordination and cooperation on global economic and financial issues." Doesn't seem like any troublesome issues were mentioned. No mention of their squabbles over the Chinese yuan, China's recent assault on the dollar as the world's dominant currency or even the ugly stand-off between US and Chinese naval vessels a few weeks back.

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April 2, 2009 5:17 PM

China Is Officially a Superpower, or Not

Are you a superpower when Timothy Garton Ash says so? The award-winning writer has a grand piece in the Guardian today in which he states:

Today - 2 April 2009 - may yet be marked as the day on which, through the catalysis of a global economic crisis, China definitively emerged as a 21st-century world power.

Not so fast.

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April 3, 2009 12:35 PM

Obama as Peacemaker between Sarko and Hu

The U.S.-China luvfest continues!

You have to love this notion of President Obama helping China and France come to a deal at the G-20. As this Bloomberg story said Obama pulled Hu and Sarkozy to a corner of the room during the G-20 meeting in London's Excel Center.


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April 3, 2009 2:06 PM

China Ponies Up Significant Scratch to the IMF

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that China will provide $40 billion extra to the IMF. That's a big chunk of change. Especially for China. In total the IMF is raising $750 billion.

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April 7, 2009 12:13 PM

Sky-High Expectations for China? Not So Fast.

Earlier this year Zbigniew Brzezinski ran an op-ed in the China Daily around the time he was in Beijing celebrating the 30th anniversary of the normalization of relations with China. In the piece, Brzezinski called for the creation of a G-2 between the United States in China. The implication of Brzezinski's piece was basically: forget about the G-7 or the G-20. If you want to get something done in the world, that road runs from Washington through Beijing.

Brzezinski proceeded to outline an ambitious agenda for the new U.S.-China world axis. It would be responsible for solving the Iranian nuclear problem; sorting out the various messes in Afghanistan and Pakistan; bringing peace to the Israelis and the Palestinians - and then, once they were done with all that, solving climate change.

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April 9, 2009 1:32 PM

New Report on China's Economic Prospects


Here's Nouriel Roubini's take on China's economic prospects. [PDF]

Pretty negative and definitely a different line from the triumphalism emanating from the authorities in Beijing.




April 14, 2009 6:00 PM

Are China's Rich Different?

There's a wonderful report out recently by McKinsey on China's rich. Let me go through a few of the factoids, which paint, I think, a telling picture of what it's like to be a yuppie in the People's Republic.


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April 15, 2009 6:04 PM

It's Official: China Is NOT a Currency Manipulator

News flash. China is not a currency manipulator. Source: the same guy who said China was a currency manipulator just two months ago.

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April 16, 2009 8:01 AM

China's Decent GDP Numbers Show It's Muddling Through

China announced today that it's economy grew 6.1 percent when compared to the first quarter of last year. Not bad, actually. Retail spending up. Fixed investment up. Industrial production up. All signs are pointing to a decent recovery. Twenty years after China faced its most serious political crisis with the death of Communist Party general secretary Hu Yaobang that touched off the Tiananmen Square protests, China is facing and apparently facing down its most serious economic crisis since its opening to the West. China is muddling through.

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April 16, 2009 4:37 PM

Abortions and Unmarriageable Men in China

Research published last week in the British Medical Journal has confirmed what Chinese demographers have believed for years. Chinese couples have been aborting female fetuses at an alarming rate. So much so that, according to the paper, "in 2005 males under the age of 20 exceeded females by more than 32 million" and that China will see "very high and steadily worsening sex ratios in the reproductive age group over the next two decades." In one year alone, 2005, more than one million more boys were born than girls.

Think of that. An army of 32 million essentially unmarriageable men. That's a recipe for serious social disorder. I wrote a long piece about this in the Post in 2001. This report adds detail and texture.

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April 20, 2009 10:09 AM

Jackie Chan's Jab at Freedom

Jackie Chan believes that the Chinese people need to be controlled! He's beffudled about democracy. He doesn't know about freedom.

Speaking at the Boao Forum in southern China, Chan said this: "I'm not sure if it is good to have freedom or not. I'm really confused now. If you are too free, you are like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic."

And this: "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we are not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

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April 21, 2009 3:14 PM

From the Rolls Royce Phantom to the ... Geely GE!


Geely GE
GE's latest.

This car had its coming out party at the Shanghai auto show. One thing you have to give China's rip-off car manufacturers: they think big. Check out the throne back seat!









April 29, 2009 9:40 AM

China and Taiwan Get Snuggly

Speaking of luvfests, is anyone noticing the blossoming romance between China and Taiwan? Today, China announced that the World Health Organization has invited Taiwan to attend the 62nd World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.

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April 29, 2009 12:07 PM

The G2 Mirage

There's a really smart piece in the current issue of Foreign Policy by Elizabeth Economy and Adam Segal on, basically, the stupidity of the ideas behind the US-China "G2."

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