Photo by: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Slowing down the slowdownGovernment takes new measures to boost cooling economy

China Adds Stimulus With Third Interest-Rate Cut in 6 Months – Bloomberg, 10 May

‘China’s central bank cut interest rates for the third time in six months as it ratchets up support for an economy grappling with a debt overhang and property slump.’

China cuts interest rates to 5.1% as economy slows – BBC, 10 May

‘China’s central bank has cut interest rates for the second time this year, amid a continuing economic slowdown. It lowered its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 5.1%, saying the move was aimed at boosting development. Last year’s growth rate – 7.4% down from 7.7% in 2013 – was the weakest in 24 years. The cut is the third in six months and will take effect from Monday. It follows other measures designed to spur growth in China, including tax cuts.’

Why China’s slowdown matters – BBC, 8 May

‘After a long period of stunning growth, China’s economy is now slowing. The economy grew at an average rate of 10% a year for the three decades up to 2010. It has slowed markedly. Last year, the Chinese economy grew 7.4%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s most recent forecast is 6.8% for this year and 6.3% for 2016.’

IMF calls on China to allow greater currency flexibility – BBC, 7 May

The IMF said the mainland should reduce foreign exchange intervention. China’s currency is widely seen as undervalued and the country was accused for years of suppressing the yuan in order to boost exports.’


Troubles in the SEZmanpower shortage and wage hike in Pearl River Delta

China’s Manufacturing Hub Faces Labor Shortage and Higher Wages – Bloomberg, 7 May

‘Chinese exporters in the Pearl River Delta manufacturing hub are facing persistent labor shortages and rising wages even as the economy continues to slow.’

Pool of Migrant Workers Expands Slower than in Past – Caixin, 6 May

‘China’s pool of migrant workers is not growing as rapidly as in the past and they are making more while finding jobs closer to home, an official report says. The growth of China’s number of migrant workers – people who leave rural areas to find jobs in cities – has fallen for five straight years. The country had 274 million migrant workers at the end of last year, about 1.9 percent more than a year earlier, the report by the National Bureau of Statistics says.’


Evicted and demolishedevictions and redevelopment spark violence and ethnic tensions

China Jails Suzhou Eviction Protester for Eight Years – RFA, 8 May

‘Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu on Friday handed down an eight-year prison term to a retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier for attacking members of a demolition gang who came to raze his home.’

Tibetan Homes Deemed ‘Illegal’ Are Torn Down in Qinghai – RFA, 8 May

‘Authorities in China’s northwestern Qinghai province began this week to demolish a Tibetan village containing houses deemed to have been built without official permission, leaving many families homeless…’


Year of the scapegoatcentral government blames local officials and banks for bad economic performance

China’s Premier Li Faults Local Governments and Banks – RFA, 4 May

‘During a one-week period last month, Premier Li Keqiang leveled criticisms, first at local officials and then at state-owned banks, for not cooperating with efforts to boost economic growth, which fell to a six-year low of 7 percent in the first quarter.’


Health care reform more Keynesian style measures

China to increase health care subsidies, deepen reform – Reuters, 9 May

‘China will increase its healthcare subsidies by 19 percent this year as part of efforts to deepen social reforms and strengthen safety nets, the government said on Saturday. Government healthcare subsidies for qualified urban and rural residents will be raised to 380 yuan ($61.21), from 320 yuan last year, the cabinet said in a statement posted on the website of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.’


The South China Sea sandboxChina, Vietnam and Philippines build outposts in South China Sea while pointing fingers at each other

Philippines accused of ‘whitewashing’ activity in S China Sea – Want China Times, 9 May

‘China on Friday said the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is not a tool for the Philippines to whitewash its wrongdoings, urging the Philippines to stop what it considers to be unfounded accusations and the hyping of China’s construction work.’

The world is wary of China’s “great wall of sand” in the sea – Quartz, 9 May

‘The leaders of Southeast Asian nations recently took the extraordinary step of warning China that its island-building activities in the contested South China Sea “may undermine peace, security and stability” in the region.’

Images show Vietnam South China Sea reclamation, China defends own – Reuters, 8 May

‘Newly released images show Vietnam has carried out significant land reclamation at two sites in the disputed South China Sea, though the scale and pace is dwarfed by that of China, a U.S. research institute said.’


 Image source: Wikipedia


War on opium (of the masses)local authorities retouch the urban landscape in a purge of Christian symbols

Chinese province seeks to ban crosses on church roofs – The Guardian, 8 May

‘Authorities in one Chinese province have forcibly removed hundreds of crosses from rooftops in cities and towns and are trying to bring in a ban, saying the religious symbol violates building codes.’

Chinese Province Issues Draft Regulation on Church Crosses – New York Times, 8 May

‘Cities in Zhejiang, one of China’s most prosperous provinces, are studded with Christian churches, Protestant and Catholic alike. Until recently, many of them had been topped by large crosses soaring into the sky, often illuminated with neon lights at night.’


War on corruptionthe clampdown on corruption continues

Anti corruption in China jumps to energy companies – Turkish Weekly, 7 May

‘China’s corruption investigation in the leading state owned companies included country’s biggest energy firm and experts say that the investigations are a combination of political purges and a bid to curb resistance to reform China’s largest state-owned enterprises.’

Shanghai Enacts Curbs on Business Dealings of Officials’ Relatives – New York Times, 5 May

‘Responding to calls by President Xi Jinping to rein in corruption in China, Shanghai has enacted strict rules to keep the spouses and children of top local officials from entering private business and profiting from their government connections.’

China prosecutors investigate former investment boss for graft – Reuters, 5 May

‘Chinese prosecutors are investigating the former chairman of a top investment body in the southwestern province of Sichuan for corruption, state media reported on Tuesday, as the world’s second-largest economy deepens its probe into deep-seated graft.’

The trouble with China’s anti-corruption campaign – BBC, 5 May

‘A ruling in Shanghai banning the husbands, wives and children of top officials from running businesses is meant, of course, to allay the deep public concern about official abuse of power. But, as has so often been the case throughout China’s much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign, the tougher the rhetoric grows the wider the ridicule becomes.’


Reform and it’s discontentsMao era traveling movie projectionists demand pensions

Chairman Mao’s propagandists protest over pensions saying they have been betrayed – The Telegraph, 6 May

‘Elderly film projectionists who took the Communist Party’s message to rural China held a sit-in outside government offices in Changsha…”


Sit-in in front of government office in Changsha


Shades of greengovernment promises a policy of environmental legalism that will put greater emphasis on responsibility of officials

China ‘to Hold Officials Accountable for Life for Environmental Problems’ – Caixin, 8 May

‘Zhang Yong, a deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, said officials who fail to prevent problems such as pollution of waterways or soil contamination cannot be promoted or hold other positions.’

Lead poisoning lawsuit tests China’s resolve over pollution – CNBC, 5 May

‘A lawsuit filed by residents of a Chinese town against a chemical plant that they say is responsible for high levels of lead in the blood of local children is shaping up as a test of the central government’s resolve to tackle pollution.’

China tackles pollution, but has long way to go on labor – The Guardian, 4 May

‘Air pollution is easily China’s best-recognized environmental challenge. There’s no denying the devastating, nearly incomprehensible levels of smog in Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai and many other Chinese cities – the pollution is so bad that you can even see it from space.’


Sino-Russian relations – \^-^/R+C=BFF!\^-^/… or at least until the next border dispute

Xi’s presence in Moscow’s V-Day celebrations highlights shared resolve to safeguard world peace – New China, 10 May

‘Along with leaders from many other countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday joined his Russian host, Vladimir Putin, at the grandest Victory Day parade at Moscow’s Red Square since 1991. Xi’s presence and the unprecedented participation of Chinese soldiers in the parade delivered a clear message: China and Russia are seeing eye to eye on upholding the post-war international order and safeguarding world peace.’

Russia and China Sign Cooperation Pacts – New York Times, 8 May

‘On the eve of a celebration commemorating to the defeat of Nazi Germany, the presidents of Russia and China on Friday signed 32 bilateral agreements designed to highlight the warming of relations between the countries even as Russia’s have soured with the West.’

Chinese Institute to Help Design High-Speed Train Project in Russia – Caixin, 4 May

‘A research institute at China’s major railroad construction company will help design a Russian high-speed rail project, a source at China Railway Group Ltd. says. A consortium of China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. Ltd. (CREEC) and two Russian companies won the contract on April 30 to design the 770 kilometer line linking Moscow and Kazan, a city east of the Russian capital, the person said.’


Cross-Straight relationsKMT government tries to maneuver between pressure from mainland China and growing nationalism on Taiwan while US military worries it’s decommissioned “unsinkable aircraft carrier” will slip in to wrong hands

No change in China’s military posture toward Taiwan: Pentagon – Want China Times, 10 May

‘Preparation for a Taiwan conflict with the possibility of US intervention continues to dominate China’s military modernization program, according to an annual report on China’s military developments released Friday by the Pentagon.’

China Backs Regional Cooperation For ‘Chinese Taipei’ Amid Meeting of Ruling Party Chiefs – RFA, 4 May

‘Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday offered to endorse greater participation for Taiwan in international organizations during a meeting with the chairman of the island’s ruling Nationalist Party, provided Taiwan accepts that it is a part of China.’


iRobotsFoxconn introduces robots into restaurants and bids investments for a green makeover

Foxconn’s robots diversify their work portfolios – Want China Times, 9 May

‘After the launch of a humanoid it built for SoftBank, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group has recently successfully introduced robots into China’s restaurants and is estimated to be producing 10,000 robots per year…’

Foxconn seeks $1.7B for ‘green’ goals – Arkansas Online, 4 May

‘Foxconn Technology Group is in talks with U.K. investors to raise about $1.7 billion for “green” initiatives as the maker of iPhones boosts its work on projects designed to save energy.’


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