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China Today...

August 21,2013

Only yesterday we said we'll postpone China Today until September, but here at Community Affairs Consultants, we have a soft spot for natural disasters because they affect so many innocent people. At Community Affairs Consultants, we have family in Liaoning Province , so we weep for the 37 million people affected by floods in Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin. Reports are that 85 have died and 105 victims remain missing from heavy flooding which has also damaged close to 1 million hectares of crops. Our hearts also go out to the family and friends of the 22 people killed from flooding in the South in Guangdong Province where the waters originated with the relics of Typhoon Utor. Let's wish for a quick recovery. 

August 20, 2013

We will continue our China Today after US Labor Day, September 2, 2013. Barring any dramatic events in the land of many of our friends, our comments on China Today will resume on September 3, 2013. To all, have a great end of summer.

August 13, 2013

Two men have been sentenced to death and three others sentenced to jail terms of nine-years to life in connection with a deadly event in Xinjiang Province earlier this year. Twenty-one people, including 15 PRC security personnel died during the April 23 incident in Kashgar prefecture. Chinese authorities have blamed a "violent terrorist group" for that incident and others that have been occurring in remote Northwest Xinjiang.

While nobody could ever condone the attack upon and death of that many security personnel, the PRC should realize that the entire Xinjiang Province is a unique and self-evolving environs. This is the same region which was briefly declared East Turkestan until China swiftly reclaimed it in 1949. Recently authorities have blamed Uighur extremists seeking autonomy for the region for much of the violence in the area. In 2009, 200 people, mostly Han, were killed during rioting in the Xinjiang capital. Also, in June this year, 35 people died in rioting some 100 miles south of the capital. The Muslim Uighur minority makes up about 45% of the population of Xinjiang, Han about 40%. Observers are pointing at ethnic tensions as much the source of violence in the far Northwest province.

Noting an increase in Han migration into the region in recent years, observers cite the marginalizing of Uighur traditional culture as the source of much of the tensions in the region.

Whatever the explicit reasons are for unrest, they all translate to a changing nation, region, people and environment; and with every change comes a secondary effect and the PRC will undoubtedly seek the most peaceful solutions to its radically changing society.

August 12, 2013

The worse flooding in 15 years is underway on the Nenjiang River, Heilongjiang Province, PRC. The Northeastern Province has seen thousands of acres of crops damaged from days and days of continuous rain. As a result of the deluge, authorities have had to release water from a dam on the Nenjiang thus causing damage to the infrastructure of the province. CCTV is reporting that water upstream of the dam has risen to dangerous levels.

August 11, 2013

Our friends in Shanghai complained we failed to mention them during the present heat wave across the PRC, but friends, it wasn't intentional, rather we wanted to bring you some good news, for it appears that the oppressive heat will be retreating soon, in about five days. Shanghai, we know that you've suffered through four consecutive days of temperatures over 104 degrees F, but according to some weather reports, for the next couple of days your daily high temperatures should dip below 100 degrees F and then abate farther in about five days. Remember, the calendar says Autumn, so think cool (lol).

August 10, 2013

Chinese, who are sweltering from the unusual heat across the country, shouldn't think that this climate change event is unique to the PRC. Even though the calendar says Autumn has arrived, above normal temperatures still persists across the vast landscape of China. Similarly, across Europe, new high temperature records, are also being set. In Ljubljana, Slovenia, the all-time record high temperature was broken five-times in six days as the mercury topped 104.4 degrees F on August 8th. In Austria, according to reports from the Weather Channel, which has never had a temperature reading of 104 degrees F or higher, reportedly hit 105 degrees F also on August 8th. Hungary reported triple digit readings and Croatia reported temperatures over 110 degrees F. So, PRC you are not alone. But you can hedge for the future; tell some people in the major cities to leave their new shiny cars at home and walk to the market, to utilize mass transportation and to remember this Autumn as the Autumn the climate really 'summerized'. 

August 9, 2013

Promising economic news this morning shows that China's industrial out put grew by 9.7% over last years numbers. These new number also beat the forecast growth of 9%. Good news also came in the area of fixed asset investment in urban areas that grew to 20.1% in the first seven months of 2013. However, inflation has crept up to 2.7%.

August 8, 2013

It's sweltering in Shanghai! On August 7th., the Chinese City broke a record for the highest temperature reading ever when the mercury boiled to 105 degrees F. That was the second consecutive day in Shanghai with a temperature reading above 105 degrees F. There are reports of temperatures climbing as high as 113 degrees F on Nanjing Road West. Many other cities in China are dealing with this unprecedented heat and with many Chinese people still without air conditioning, we urge our Chinese friends to stay cool and to check in on the elderly and pets during this oppressive heat.

July 22, 2013

In light of the recent natural disaster in Gansu Province, China, we at Community Affairs Consultants offer our prayers , condolences, thoughts and support to the victims and their families.

June 13, 2013

On the evening of June 12th, 2013, I had a debate on China with a Radio Personality in New York City. My opponent suggested China was traveling the World "buying up everything" at which he mulishly added "the people shouldn't sell to China".

Before I could respond to the Radio Personality, a dumb-founded element of surprise swept over me - crippling my cognitive abilities. The Radio Personality shocked me with his revelation. How could a learned man - born, raised and educated in one of the enclaves of the former British Empire, utter such nonsense? For a couple of seconds, I reasoned and laid blame to the Radio Personality's mentality to a secondary effect of his colonial past. But that would be a lie for I too was a product of his birth country, and I, in no form, faith or fashion, fathom such views.

So the Radio Personality's comments must be dismissed as mere utterances from an individual with limited knowledge and scope of geo-politics, simple economics(elementary supply and demand)and sociology. But the funny thing is that he would never admit such and I'm afraid of the dissemination of a 'poison tongued' syndrome. History is crowded with bad experiences perpetrated by bad actors who used limited and improper information to propagate personal agendas. I know the Personality is no such actor, but imagine his thoughts shared by many and within that group, a subset of influential; then the World would be more chaotic.

In contrast to the Radio Personality, I offer this view on China and it is only fitting that I should acknowledge a resounding flare for Chinese culture, history and especially the people...I should also admit that my beautiful wife is Chinese from the artful oasis that is Shandong Province.

China has a robust and growing economy which it needs to maintain to support a population in excess of 1.3 billion. To sustain its growth China must acquire large volumes of raw materials. China has large amounts of these needs onshore, yet the reserves do not come close to the country's needs. So China must import.

What makes China's acquisition of these needed raw materials unique and fitting to me - a life-long student of history, is the 'cash and carry' system. Later I might be declared wrong on this, but I'll stick with my a fore conjecture. Instead of an expansionist theory and doctrine used by developing nation states in prior centuries on the premise that a State needed to expand or die, China's twenty-first century approach seems to be what I shall now term "The Acquisitionist Assertion". 



China's acquisitionist assertion is understandably necessary. Lower than hoped economic numbers coming out of China speak as to the gravity of the tasks facing the PRC.

The Obama-Xi Summit was a relaxed solid introduction between the two Presidents. China's shared belief of the US policy of a denuclearized North Korea was definitely a sweet kiss to seal a second date with the US. However, matters of cyber-security, military cooperation and the valuation of the Chinese currency are to be settled.

Looking forward...

China, I believe, is a wonderful case study of modern Nation State building. The plan by the Beijing Government to move some 250 million people into urban areas is unprecedented and worthy of study and observation. The fact that Beijing must sustain a high economic growth to retain stability in a country of 1.3 billion is a daunting task. The fact that Beijing must closely monitor its far Northwest provinces for signs of insurrection is mandatory. The fact that Beijing must retool its Banking system daily to avert runaway inflation and other fiscal crises is noted.

But China, as it has for more than 5 000 years, continues. The beautiful Chinese people are strong and industrious. You've done well so far China. Look to the horizon China, variables few economists or sociologists have forecast are looming. For the good of the people, gird yourself Beijing.

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