Posted by Kendall Harmon

A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that neither world power has a clear advantage when it comes to the hearts and minds of people in Africa. Among the seven sub-Saharan African countries polled this year, at least six-in-ten in each nation say they have a favorable view of the U.S., including roughly three-quarters or more in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Senegal. Broad majorities also rate China positively. The one exception is South Africa – just 45% express a favorable view of China, compared with 68% for the U.S.

Such questions are particularly important to U.S. officials this week as presidents and prime ministers from across Africa converge on Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The meeting is billed by the Obama administration as the “largest event any U.S. President has held with African heads of state and government” and is meant to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and African nations. Meanwhile, China has become Africa’s largest trading partner – surpassing the U.S. in 2009 – and just this year announced the formation of the “Africa Growing Together Fund,” a $2 billion investment vehicle created in partnership with the African Development Bank Group.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAfricaAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China faces what would be the second default in the nation’s onshore bond market after a builder said it may fail to make a payment next week, the latest sign of stress in the world’s biggest corporate debtload.

Huatong Road & Bridge Group Co., based in the northern province of Shanxi, said it may miss a 400 million yuan ($64.5 million) note payment due July 23, according to a statement to the Shanghai Clearing House yesterday. Chairman Wang Guorui is assisting authorities with an official investigation, it said, without elaborating. Wang was removed from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanxi Committee on July 9 for suspected violations of the law, according to an official statement and media report last week.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hong Kong has beautiful vistas, per capita income of $38,000 and partial autonomy from China that includes broad civil liberties, but on Tuesday it also had as many as 500,000 people in the streets in the largest public rally in a decade. Days before, 800,000 Hong Kongers—nearly a quarter of the electorate—ignored government warnings and voted in a mock referendum calling for democratic rights.

These developments in a vital economic hub have China displeased. The Beijing government tried to head them off last month by clarifying its Hong Kong policy in an official white paper, but the effect was to highlight Beijing's heavy hand, stoking local anger. Soon cyberattacks targeted the online polling system of the pro-democracy referendum. And as Hong Kongers rallied on Tuesday, China's mainland Web censors were in overdrive, erasing even more material than on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre last month.

Beijing won't find much relief ahead if Benny Tai has his way. Over the past year, the youthful 49-year-old law professor has gone from leading legal seminars for Hong Kong civil servants to being branded an "enemy of the state" by Beijing-backed media. His offense: founding a group called Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which threatens civil disobedience in Hong Kong's main business district unless China delivers free elections for the local chief executive in 2017. Mr. Tai believes that if 10,000 people credibly threaten to paralyze the city's commercial core, Beijing will sue for peace.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many find it hard to understand why China is acting so aggressively in regard to its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. What do leaders in Beijing hope to achieve by alienating its neighbors and undermining regional stability?

Their reasoning is actually simple enough. China wants to wield much more power and influence in Asia than it has for the past few centuries. And for China to have more power, the United States must have less.

They know that America’s position in Asia is built on its network of alliances and partnerships with many of China’s neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. And they believe that weakening these relationships is the easiest way to weaken US regional power.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted June 21, 2014 at 9:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On June 1, my friend Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Reformed Church in Chengdu was arrested while distributing anti-forced-abortion leaflets. The stated grounds for detaining him were “illegal advertising.” He was let go after half an hour. Three days later, Mr. Wang was detained again. This time the arresting officers produced no identification and gave no reason for taking him in. After 12 hours of interrogation, he was finally released at midnight.

When I posted an account of the harassment on Weibo, a microblogging platform, several people protested against the injustice — and many wrote in support of the government’s actions. One netizen commented, “The cops have done a beautiful job!”

I wondered how many of the hostile comments were sincere and how many were made for money: The government employs a cyberpolice force of propagandists known as the 50-Cent Party. But given other recent events, and China’s agonizing history with organized religion, I believe that a good number of the pro-government comments reflected genuine opinion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 20, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Intense Protestant missionary activity, most of it from America and Britain, began [in Wenzhou] in the late nineteenth century. Wenzhou now has the largest percentage of Christians in the country—estimated at 15%. No wonder it has been called a “Christian Jerusalem”! What is particularly interesting is that the Christian community, most of it Protestant, has a large number of successful business people, known locally as “boss Christians”. Some of them expressed the opinion in a study that Protestantism would become the majority religion in China, and that this would not only be good for the economy but would help China become a great power (a prospect they welcomed). Until now, there have been relaxed relations between the Christian churches and the local power structure (state and party).

Christianity in China has exploded in numbers in recent decades. The phrase “Christianity fever” was used to describe this. I generally rely on two demographers of religion, Todd Johnson and Brian Grim. In their book The World’s Religions in Figures (2013), they estimate the total number of Christians in China at 67 million (about 5% of the country’s population). There are other estimates, the highest, by the World Christian Data Base (an Evangelical outfit), at 108 million (about 8%). This may be wishful thinking. Official Chinese government figures are much lower (possibly wishful thinking too, as is typical of all statistics released by authoritarian governments). Johnson and Grim estimate that the total of Protestants is 58 million (4.3 of the country’s population), with Catholics far behind at 9 million (0.7%). I would think that the Protestants are mainly Evangelical, many of them Pentecostal/charismatic. All these estimates include both churches that have been officially registered by the government, and those that have not. The distinction is important: The latter category of Christians (often referred to as belonging to “underground” or “house” churches—rather a misnomer, as some of them are very much “above ground” and worshipping in large buildings). However, even if tolerated by local authorities, the members of unregistered churches are very hard to count. I would therefore guess that totals of Christians including both categories are under-estimated.

Just what happened in Wenzhou? And what does it mean beyond that charming little town of nine million people?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissions* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted June 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Justice Department on Monday accused five members of the Chinese military of conducting economic cyber-espionage against American companies, marking the first time that the United States has leveled such criminal charges against a foreign country.

Industries targeted by the alleged cyberspying ranged from nuclear to steel to solar energy, officials said. The hacking by a military unit in Shanghai, they said, was conducted for no other reason than to give a competitive advantage to Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Chinese weapons supplier on Friday rejected claims that it sold Syria chlorine gas, an unusual statement from a tight-lipped company that reflects Beijing's desire to distance itself from chemical weapons.

In a statement, China North Industries Corp. said a "comprehensive review" of company records revealed that it has never exported chlorine or chlorine products to Syria. The company, known as Norinco, said it is "a responsible major international defense company" that conforms to the Chinese government's goals on non-proliferation.

The statement followed a report Tuesday from the group Human Rights Watch that documented what it said were signs of the use of chlorine gas in northern Syria in April. Images on the group's website showed yellow canisters with the markings "CL2," the chemical symbol for chlorine gas, and "NORINCO." Chlorine is lethal in high concentrations and was used in chemical warfare as early as the World War I.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaMiddle EastSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 16, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Province of British Columbia formally apologized to Chinese Canadians Thursday for historical wrongs and racism dating back to Confederation.

Premier Christy Clark read the apology into the legislature, which was supported by the Opposition NDP and other MLAs.

“On behalf of the Province of British Columbia, and on behalf of the entire legislative assembly, we sincerely apologize for the provincial government’s historical wrongs,” said Clark.

“We are sorry for the discriminatory legislation and racist policies enacted by past provincial governments. We will ensure that this never happens again.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China may exempt electric-car buyers from paying purchase taxes as part of expanded state measures to bolster sales of such vehicles after past incentives failed to spur demand, Vice Premier Ma Kai said.

The government may cut or waive the 10 percent auto-purchase tax for new-energy vehicles -- China’s term for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles -- and slow down the reduction of government subsidies beyond 2015, according to comments from Vice Premier Ma Kai posted on the Chinaev.org website. Ma also urged local governments to help companies develop electric-car rental services.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & TechnologyTravel* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 2, 2014 at 9:13 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A devoted Chinese father who carries his disabled son 18 miles to school every day will be provided with government-funded accommodation nearby.

Yu Xukang walks the huge distance with his son, Xiao Qiang, strapped to his back in a specially constructed basket.

The 40-year-old, from Fengyi township in Yibin county in southwest China’s Sichuan province - 2,000 miles west of Shanghai - refused to give up on the boy now aged 12, despite the fact that both his arms and legs are twisted and his back is hunched.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyTravel* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted March 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China is likely to see a series of bond and financial product defaults as the government accelerates financial deregulation and allows more private ownership in the state-dominated sector, Li Keqiang, Chinese premier, said on Thursday.

Future defaults of financial products in China are “unavoidable” but the government will take steps to ensure they do not pose a threat to the wider financial system, Mr Li told journalists at his annual media conference.

China saw its first domestic bond default in recent history a week ago when Chaori Solar, a small Shanghai-based solar panel producer, failed to pay interest on Rmb1bn ($162m) worth of bonds it sold two years ago.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Banking System/SectorPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I found this very powerful--take a look.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted February 26, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to the late Roberto Goizueta, a former boss of The Coca-Cola Company, April 15th 1981 was “one of the most important days…in the history of the world.” That date marked the opening of the first Coke bottling plant to be built in China since the Communist revolution.

The claim was over the top, but not absurd. Mao Zedong’s disastrous policies had left the economy in tatters. The height of popular aspiration was the “four things that go round”: bicycles, sewing machines, fans and watches. The welcome that Deng Xiaoping, China’s then leader, gave to foreign firms was part of a series of changes that turned China into one of the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world.

For the past three decades, multinationals have poured in. After the financial crisis, many companies looked to China for salvation. Now it looks as though the gold rush may be over.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted January 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beijing's skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog Thursday as the capital saw the season's first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe.

The air took on an acrid odor, and many of the city's commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they hurried to work.

"I couldn't see the tall buildings across the street this morning," said a traffic coordinator at a busy Beijing intersection who gave only his surname, Zhang. "The smog has gotten worse in the last two to three years. I often cough, and my nose is always irritated. But what can you do? I drink more water to help my body discharge the toxins."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & TechnologyTravelUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Amid conflicting news reports over changes to the one-child family planning policy in China, disturbing reports continue to arrive about serious abuses of human rights.

On Dec. 31 the BBC reported that a Chinese obstetrician is on trial, accused of stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers.

Zhang Shuxia was accused of selling seven babies, according to the BBC. Apparently she told the parents their infants were sick, and persuaded them to give the children to her.

Just the day before, Radio Free Asia reported that four Uyghur women in China's north-western region of Xinjiang have been forced by authorities to undergo abortions—one of them nine months into her pregnancy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 14, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shanghai warned children and the elderly to stay indoors for at least a seventh day out of the first nine this month, intensifying pressure on local authorities to control the worst smog since government monitoring began last year.

The city’s air quality index was at 238, or “heavily polluted” at 5 p.m., according to the local monitoring center. A warning to stay indoors is triggered any time the index exceeds 200. The index surged to a record 482 on Dec. 6 into the “severe” level, the highest of a six-tier rating system, according to the China Daily. That prompted the government to order cars off the road and factories to cut production.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

2 Comments
Posted December 9, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China’s yuan overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in 2013, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

The currency had an 8.66 percent share of letters of credit and collections in October, compared with 6.64 percent for the euro, Swift said in a statement today. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia were the top users of yuan in trade finance, according to the Belgium-based financial-messaging platform. The yuan’s share of global trade finance was 1.89 percent in January 2012, while the euro’s was 7.87 percent, Swift said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCurrency Markets* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Police in the central province of Henan arrested the pastor Zhang Shaojie, leader of the Church of Nanle County , and more than 20 Christian staff and faithful. The authorities have not stated the reason for detention, but some sources speaking to ChinaAid argue that the pastor has "angered" the authorities for the defense of his faithful against the abuses committed by Communist officials.

Zhang is part of the Three-Self Movement, the "official" Protestant Church built by Mao Zedong in the early years of his government.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

All Girls Allowed (AGA), a leading faith-based organization pushing for an end to the one-child policy, previously stated on Nov. 5 that "all previous speculations about a possible relaxation of China's One-Child Policy have now been put to an end, as the Ministry of Health and Family Planning announced on October 29th that the policy will remain unchanged."

Today, AGA released a new statement:

All Girls Allowed welcomes the news of the policy's relaxation, but expresses disappointment that the Chinese government has not gone the logical and compassionate route—abolishing the policy altogether. ... [T]he greatest indictment against the One-Child Policy is the use of coercion in its enforcement. Untold numbers of forced abortions and sterilizations continue to take place to this day, making it the greatest violence against women and children in the world today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China will loosen its decades-old one-child policy by allowing two children for families with one parent who was an only child and will abolish a much-criticized labor camp system, its ruling Communist Party said Friday.

The changes were part of a key policy document released by the official Xinhua News Agency following a four-day meeting of party leaders through Tuesday in Beijing. The document also seeks to map out China's economic policy for coming years.

The labor camp — or "re-education through labor" — system was established to punish early critics of the Communist Party but now is used by local officials to deal with people challenging their authority on issues including land rights and corruption.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison Ministry* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted November 15, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dean of St John's Cathedral must curb plagiarism by its preachers by setting up strict guidelines and a committee to investigate the practice, a Baptist University academic says.

The call from Chan Sze-chi, a senior lecturer in the school's religion and philosophy department, comes amid new evidence of plagiarism by several senior priests at the Anglican cathedral and its affiliate, Emmanuel Church, in Pok Fu Lam.

Reverend John Chynchen delivered a sermon at St John's Cathedral in August that was written by an American pastor in 2004 and published on a website called Sermons That Work.

Read it all and for those interested the website for the Cathedral in Hong Kong is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted November 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Long queues of people waiting to go to church, sermons broadcast on loudspeakers in a busy public place…these are two of the many extraordinary things that I witnessed on a recent visit to China.

I travelled there with Bible Society colleagues from 7 different countries at the invitation of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). It was an important official visit to cement our already good relationship with SARA, which has enabled us to work closely with the Church in China to print more than 100 million Bibles at the Amity Printing Press in Nanjing since 1987.

From Beijing to Nanjing and then onto Shanghai we spent time talking to officials from SARA and meeting key Chinese Church leaders from the Three Self Patriotic Movement/China Christian Council (China’s Protestant Church) and the Catholic Church. It was fascinating to hear about the incredible growth of Christianity in China, in part fuelled by the wider availability of Bibles.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted October 16, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A senior Chinese official has warned that the "clock is ticking" to avoid a US default that could hurt China's interests and the global economy.

China, the US's largest creditor, is "naturally concerned about developments in the US fiscal cliff", vice finance minister Zhu Guangyao said.

Washington must agree a deal to raise its borrowing limit by 17 October, or risk being unable to pay its bills.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankG20 Stock MarketThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetThe National DeficitForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

2 Comments
Posted October 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last month I boarded a train with my wife, Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan poet and activist, to travel from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, where her mother lives. Plainclothes police were waiting for us at the platform in Lhasa. They ushered us to a nearby police station, where they spent an hour going through our belongings. They were thrilled to find in my backpack a “probe hound,” as we call it in Chinese — a little electronic device that can detect wireless eavesdropping. They asked me why I, a writer, was carrying it. I told them I needed to know whether my home in Lhasa was being monitored.

They confiscated the device.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 20, 2013 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

People around the globe believe that China will inevitably replace the United States as the world’s leading superpower, but that doesn’t mean they like the prospect, according to a new study on global attitudes.

The survey that the Pew Research Center conducted in 39 countries confirms much of the conventional wisdom in Washington about the shifting balance of power between the United States and China.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New protesters arrive every couple of minutes at the unmarked gates of the Ministry of Health in Beijing, coming in the faint hope that the national authorities will be able to help where their local hospitals and clinics have failed.

One young mother carries a tattered notebook full of medical records, baby ultrasounds and official letters. She says she is trying to get treatment for her son, now aged eight, who has organ damage after drinking toxic infant formula as a baby. Another young woman unfurls graphic pictures of her injuries after a violent beating by police, and says she is here to protest against a local hospital that refused to treat her.

Extreme underfunding and overcrowding mark the Chinese medical system. Its dysfunctions also spawn rampant abuses and corruption that can make it a treacherous place for drug companies. As pressures rise on the Chinese government to act over poor healthcare quality and rising healthcare costs, officials have embarked on round after round of crackdowns and investigations into hospitals, doctors and drug companies.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This spring, China's navy accepted the Pentagon's invitation to participate in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific — RIMPAC — naval exercise to be held off Hawaii. This will be the first time China takes part in the biennial event.

Our allies should signal their intent to withdraw from the exercise if China participates. Failing that, the invitation should be withdrawn. RIMPAC is for allies and friends, not nations planning to eventually wage war on the United States. Russia sent ships in 2012, but while its senior officers may occasionally utter unfriendly words, they are not actively planning to fight the United States. Analyst Robert Sutter was surely correct when he wrote in 2005 that "China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans."

That assessment, unfortunately, remains true today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted May 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Beijing is engaged in systematic cyber spying on the US military and private businesses to acquire technology to boost military modernisation and strengthen its capacity in any regional crisis, according to the Pentagon.

In its annual report to Congress on the People’s Liberation Army, the Pentagon gives new emphasis to the threat of cyber-espionage from China, an issue that has been the subject of top-level complaints to Beijing by Washington.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Liao Yiwu was a reluctant dissident.

A Chinese poet and storyteller nourished on Beat generation literature, he picked fights, drank to excess and despised politics.

“I have never taken an interest in mass movements or foreign imports such as democracy, freedom, human rights and love,” he declared as the student pro-democracy movement unfolded in Beijing in 1989. “If destruction is inevitable, let it be.”

Then came the Tiananmen crackdown. Mr. Liao was transformed....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted April 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The fascinating story of the recovery of Christianity and other religions going on in China today.

Listen to it here

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted February 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation last year as measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods, official figures from both countries show.

U.S. exports and imports of goods last year totaled $3.82 trillion, the U.S. Commerce Department said last week. China’s customs administration reported last month that the country’s trade in goods in 2012 amounted to $3.87 trillion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted February 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even if her dream is only dorm-room reverie, China has tens of millions of Ms. Zhang [Xiaoping]s — bright young people whose aspirations and sheer numbers could become potent economic competition for the West in decades to come.

China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities.

The aim is to change the current system, in which a tiny, highly educated elite oversees vast armies of semi-trained factory workers and rural laborers. China wants to move up the development curve by fostering a much more broadly educated public, one that more closely resembles the multifaceted labor forces of the United States and Europe.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Dozens of companies have been delisted from our exchanges due to economy irregularities and outright fraud," said Dan David, vice president of GeoInvesting, LLC, a firm that monitored the Asian investment craze. "They raised hundreds of millions, some companies, that is outright money that was taken from investors that they'll never see again."

[Mary] Schapiro said the SEC opened 40 cases against Chinese firms during her tenure, targeting financial schemes she described as "brazen" and "extraordinary." Schapiro, who stepped down in December, said that when she asked Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan for help during a trip to Beijing in July her requests were rebuffed.

"We haven't yet achieved a level of cooperation that makes it possible for us to get access to Chinese companies the way we need," Shapiro said. "We will fight hard to try to secure recovery for U.S. investors. But it's harder when we don't have the cooperation of the foreign government."

Read it all and watch the video report (recommended)

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 11, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Understanding the developing attitude of the central banks, and the effects of their actions, obviously remains central for investors in all financial assets. The “big picture” for global financial assets, involving very low government bond yields and a gradual shift of risk appetite into credit and equities, is unlikely to change until one of two events takes place.

The first would be a decision by the central bankers themselves that the era of unlimited quantitative easing must end, either because of the risk of inflation and asset price bubbles, or because of concerns about fiscal dominance over the monetary authorities. The second would be a realisation by the markets that further action by the central bankers is irrelevant because they have run out of effective ammunition. Either of these events would probably remove the central prop from the equity bull market which began in March, 2009, but neither seems very likely in 2013.

There is certainly no sign that the central bankers themselves will call a halt to the extension of their balance sheets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReserveThe United States Currency (Dollar etc)Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaJapanEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

0 Comments
Posted December 31, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Chinese government is once again imposing new restrictions on Internet use.

A decision approved today by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress institutes an "identity management policy," according to China's official Xinhua news agency. Such a policy requires Internet users to use their real names when registering with an online provider or mobile carrier.

Though most Chinese Internet users already use their real names to sign up for online accounts, the new policy makes it the law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chinese leaders issued an order last year quietly directing universities to root out foreigners suspected of plotting against the Communist Party by converting students to Christianity.

The 16-page notice — obtained this month by a U.S.-based Christian group — uses language from the cold war era to depict a conspiracy by “overseas hostile forces” to infiltrate Chinese campuses under the guise of academic exchanges while their real intent is to use religion in “westernizing and dividing China.”

The document suggests that despite small signs of religious tolerance in recent decades,China’s ruling officials retain strong suspicion of religion as a tool of the West and a threat to the party’s authoritarian rule. And with the country’s top leadership in transition and looking to consolidate power, Chinese religious leaders worry that the stance is unlikely to change in the near future.

Read it all and note there is a link to the 16 page document itself for those interested.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In my two most recent novels, “The China Gambit,” and “The Spanish Revenge,” I deal with China’s rising military power, the growth of Islam, and the possibility of collaboration between Islamic nations and China. Based upon recent developments, there are strong reasons to believe that Islam and China will form an alliance.

As the 21st century unfolds, the trend is toward three major power blocs in the world: The West, led by the United States; China; and the Islamic nations. Increasingly, these nations are coming together for a common purpose, which was demonstrated by the recent cease-fire negotiations in which Turkey worked with Egypt to support Hamas, a pawn of Iran. What all of these have in common is their Islamic religion. In contrast, in China, Mao suppressed religion....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

2 Comments
Posted December 13, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Students across the United States have made some gains but continue to lag behind many of their Asian counterparts in reading, math and science, according to the results of two international tests released Tuesday.

U.S. fourth-graders’ math and reading scores improved since the last time students took the tests several years ago, while eighth-graders remained stable in math and science. Americans outperformed the international average in all three subjects but remained far behind students in such places as Singapore and Hong Kong, especially in math and science.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationGlobalization* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030, a forecast from the US intelligence community has found.

Within two decades China will overtake the US as the world's largest economy, the report adds.

It also warns of slower growth and falling living standards in advanced nations with ageing populations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyForeign RelationsIraq War* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEurope

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During a recent book launch in Rome, a noted theologian said that China will be home to the majority of the world's Christians within the next two decades.

“Interfaith dialogue is something that China, which will have the world's largest Christian population in 20 years, lives with every day,” said Harvey Cox during the presentation at the city's Jesuit Gregorian University.

Cox presented the book “Catholic Engagement with World Religions: A Comprehensive Study, in dialogue with its two editors” on Nov. 30 with Cardinal Karl Josef Becker, a German theologian of the Vatican's the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches

1 Comments
Posted December 4, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Xi Jinping has been confirmed as the man to lead China for the next decade.

Mr Xi led the new Politburo Standing Committee onto the stage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, signalling his elevation to the top of China's ruling Communist Party.

The party faced great challenges but would work to meet "expectations of both history and the people", he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[China's]...economy has gone from being rather smaller than Italy's to the world's second largest, and is now home to one million US$ millionaires. By the time the new generation of leaders hands over power to the next in 2022, China could be challenging the US for top spot.

This transformation has changed the way the world does business. Cheap Chinese labour has helped dampen prices in the West for everything from moccasins to mops to mobile phones. It is now the biggest investor in Africa, promising to shift the continent's focus away from Europe and the US for the first time in two centuries. And China is now the biggest foreign holder of US government debt - a threatening stick, or a foolhardy bet?

The key question now is whether the new leaders can keep the economy growing at the same rate as in the past, and help the rest of the world recover. Most Western analysts expect it to slow from 10% a year to a still impressive 6-7%, but argue that deep reforms are needed if China is to become a rich rather than middle-income country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

2 Comments
Posted October 15, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Both India and China have intense national testing programs to find the brightest students for their elite universities. The competition, the preparation and the national anxiety about the outcomes make the SAT testing programs in the U.S. seem like the minor leagues. The stakes are higher in China and India. The "chosen ones"—those who rank in the top 1%—get their choice of university, putting them on a path to fast-track careers, higher incomes and all the benefits of an upper-middle-class life.

The system doesn't work so well for the other 99%. There are nearly 40 million university students in China and India. Most attend institutions that churn out students at low cost. Students complain that their education is "factory style" and "uninspired." Employers complain that many graduates need remedial training before they are fully employable.

For now, the U.S. university system is still far ahead. But over the next decade, there will be a global competition to educate the next generation, and China and India have the potential to change the balance of power.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaIndia

0 Comments
Posted September 30, 2012 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At 4pm on September 14, 2012, Pastor Bike (Zhang Mingxuan), Chairman of China House Church Alliance, and 17 co-workers from Yunnan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and South Korea, began distributing gospel tracts at the train station of Dezhou city, Shandong Province. Twenty minutes later, police from the police station of Decheng District took them away for interrogation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Read this for background first if you are not aware of the story).

Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, has weighed in on speculation that forced abortions in China may be halted in some areas. He says there is very little chance of that happening.

“Reports that the Chinese Party-State has ended its practice of forcibly aborting women pregnant in violation of the one-child policy are premature,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In character and location, the city of Hefei in China's Anhui province and the privileged seaside resort of Beidaihe on China's eastern coast could not be more different. But today they will be intimately connected, as the trial opens of Gu Kailai – until recently known as the Jackie Kennedy of China – for complicity in the murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood.

The link is Ms Gu's husband, the former Communist Party boss of Chongqing, Bo Xilai, whose lineage and ambition would doubtless have qualified him for a villa at Beidaihe – the traditional summer retreat of China's politial elite – this crucial year had the Heywood affair not intervened. As leader of one of China's fastest growing cities, he was a serious player, but a contentious one, too, because of what were seen as his unfashionable – and perhaps dangerous – conservative views.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted August 13, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The scandal engulfing four Olympic badminton teams has abruptly ended the career of one of China's most promising players.

Yu Yang announced Wednesday she was quitting the sport after the Badminton World Federation disqualified her and her doubles partner, along with three other teams, for "not using one's best efforts to win a match."

"This is my last match," Yu Yang wrote in a microblog to her 1.3 million followers. "Farewell Badminton World Federation; farewell my beloved badminton."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationSports* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted August 2, 2012 at 6:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent reports of women being coerced into late-term abortions by local officials have thrust China’s population control policy into the spotlight and ignited an outcry among policy advisers and scholars who are seeking to push central officials to fundamentally change or repeal a law that penalizes families for having more than one child. Pressure to alter the policy is building on other fronts as well, as economists say that China’s aging population and dwindling pool of young, cheap labor will be a significant factor in slowing the nation’s economic growth rate.

“An aging working population is resulting in a labor shortage, a less innovative and less energetic economy, and a more difficult path to industrial upgrading,” said He Yafu, a demographics analyst. China’s population of 1.3 billion is the world’s largest, and the central government still seems focused on limiting that number through the one-child policy, Mr. He said. Abolishing the one-child policy, though, might not be enough to bring the birthrate up to a “healthy” level because of other factors, he said.

Read it all and make sure you have perused this earlier article also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & TechnologyWomen* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2012 at 7:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China is on the cusp of a deflationary vortex.
This was signalled late last year by the sharpest contraction in the (real) M1 money supply since modern records began. The hard data is now confirming the warnings.
Consumer prices have been falling for the last three months, producer prices have been falling for four months. This is not a food cost story. It is systemic.
"While an economy-wide generalized deflation is yet to be seen, the deflationary spiral looks to have started in some industrial sectors, attesting to considerable stress with the economy. Persistent deflation can be poisonous," said Xianfang Ren from IHS Global Insight in Beijing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

2 Comments
Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The meeting will take place from 9 to 16 June, organized by the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and hosted by the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. The CCC, with its 23 million members, is the largest member constituency of the WCC in Asia.

The WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit will attend the meeting. This will be his first visit to China since he took office in 2010.

The main deliberations of the CCIA meeting will take place in Nanjing. This will include a seminar on “Understanding China” invoking diverse perspectives on market reforms and development in socialist systems, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, China’s religions and religious polices, churches in China and other themes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations

0 Comments
Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng stole the show at an emergency Congressional hearing this month by calling into the chamber during a live television broadcast, few people noticed who was holding the cellphone.

But those within the tightknit community of Chinese dissidents in the United States, and their supporters, immediately recognized the man, who had arranged for Mr. Chen’s voice to be carried to Washington directly from his Beijing hospital bed: Bob Fu, a Chinese-born pastor who operates out of a squat, whitewashed house opposite a Family Dollar store here in Midland.

“When it comes to contacts in China, Bob’s network can’t be beat,” said Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey, who convened the hearing to put pressure on the Obama administration and help ensure that Mr. Chen, a self-taught lawyer, would be allowed to leave China with his family to study law in the United States....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralHouse of Representatives* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As China’s leaders have been preoccupied with a political struggle leading up to a once-in-a-decade leadership change this autumn, there are increasing signs that the Chinese economy may be running into trouble.

China announced Thursday that growth in imports had unexpectedly come to a screeching halt in April — rising just 0.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, compared with expectations for an 11 percent increase. Businesses across the country appeared to lose much of their appetite for products as varied as iron ore and computer chips.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted May 11, 2012 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Going to a U.S. high school and learning to learn like Americans are what increasing numbers of students in China are hoping to do in order to improve their chances of getting into an American college, CCHS says. As an evangelical private high school with experience teaching students from China, CCHS has been taking in more of these overseas students and is starting to refer others to like-minded Christian high schools in the U.S.

Foreign students like Mr. [Tom] Zhou now make up about a third of the 217-person student body at CCHS, the U.S.'s oldest accredited school founded by and catering to evangelical Christians from China, according to superintendent Robin Sun Hom. The school also has students from Taiwan and even one Mandarin speaker from Venezuela.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted April 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Chinese government clamped down on activists and online media in the wake of the dramatic escape of a blind human-rights advocate from home imprisonment, an embarrassing development for Beijing that could complicate U.S.-China relations if he is found to be in U.S. protective custody.

At least three activists were detained following the escape last week of Chen Guangcheng, a legal advocate who has fought forced abortions under China's one-child policy.

Meanwhile, popular Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo blocked use of the words "blind man" and "UA898," a United Airlines flight from Beijing to Washington that Mr. Chen was rumored to have taken out of China. News of his escape hasn't appeared in major state-run media.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted April 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some of the same spoilers that interrupted the recovery in 2010 and 2011 have emerged again, raising fears that the winter’s economic strength might dissipate in the spring.

In recent weeks, European bond yields have started climbing. In the United States and elsewhere, high oil prices have sapped spending power. American employers remain skittish about hiring new workers, and new claims for unemployment insurance have risen. And stocks have declined.

There is a “light recovery blowing in a spring wind” with “dark clouds on the horizon,” Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said Thursday....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEurope

1 Comments
Posted April 20, 2012 at 9:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moving hastily to curb possible political fallout from a scandal involving Bo Xilai, a major Communist Party figure, China’s top leaders have decided to expel him from the Politburo, the 25-member body that runs China, according to two sources with knowledge of the case.

Already ousted from his regional party role and under house arrest, Mr. Bo will placed under formal investigation, the sources said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hearkening back to Cold War anxieties, growing signs of spying on U.S. universities are alarming national security officials. As schools become more global in their locations and student populations, their culture of openness and international collaboration makes them increasingly vulnerable to theft of research conducted for the government and industry.

“We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,” Frank Figliuzzi, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director for counterintelligence, said in a February interview in the bureau’s Washington headquarters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationGlobalizationScience & TechnologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The senior leadership of the Chinese government increasingly views the competition between the United States and China as a zero-sum game, with China the likely long-range winner if the American economy and domestic political system continue to stumble, according to an influential Chinese policy analyst.

China views the United States as a declining power, but at the same time believes that Washington is trying to fight back to undermine, and even disrupt, the economic and military growth that point to China’s becoming the world’s most powerful country, according to the analyst, Wang Jisi, the co-author of “Addressing U.S.-China Strategic Distrust,” a monograph published this week by the Brookings Institution in Washington and the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University.

Mr. Wang, who has an insider’s view of Chinese foreign policy from his positions on advisory boards of the Chinese Communist Party and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contributed an assessment of Chinese policy toward the United States. Kenneth Lieberthal, the director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, and a former member of the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, wrote the appraisal of Washington’s attitude toward China.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An urbanization drive perhaps unparalleled in human history has turned China into a continent-sized construction site. Some of the new buildings have won international acclaim, such as Beijing's "Bird's Nest" stadium built for the 2008 Olympics. But far too many are eyesores, complain architects and online critics.

When the architecture website http://www.archcy.com asked readers to vote for China's top 10 ugliest buildings, Li Hu, a Beijing-based partner at U.S. Steven Holl Architects, said, "Choosing 10 is very hard, choosing a million is perfectly possible.

"Development is too quick. Architects don't have time to reflect," says Li, who blames the ugly edifices in part on interference by government officials, a lack of imagination by architects and corruption.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

2 Comments
Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US, Japan and the European Union have filed a case against China at the World Trade Organization, challenging its restrictions on rare earth exports.

US President Barack Obama accused China of breaking agreed trade rules as he announced the case at the White House.

Beijing has set quotas for exports of rare earths, which are critical to the manufacture of high-tech products from hybrid cars to flat-screen TVs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaJapanEurope

2 Comments
Posted March 14, 2012 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China’s defense budget will double by 2015, making it more than the rest of the Asia Pacific region’s combined, according to a report from IHS Jane’s, a global think tank specializing in security issues.

Beijing’s military spending will reach $238.2 billion in 2015, compared with $232.5 billion for rest of the region, according to the report. That would also be almost four times the expected defense budget of Japan, the next biggest in the region, in 2015, the report said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted February 16, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chinese officials denied a visa to a top State Department envoy and refused to meet with her to discuss issues of religious freedom days before this week’s high-profile visit to Washington by China’s vice president, according to rights advocates and others.

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, was scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8, according to several rights advocates who were invited to brief her ahead of the visit. But as the date drew near, Chinese leaders refused to grant her meetings with government officials.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted February 15, 2012 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There was a time when Devon Chang had difficulty reconciling his two chosen faiths: Christianity, which he embraced in 2005 at the age of 19, and the Communist Party of China, which had embraced him a year earlier. Did his submission to an almighty God not mean he must renounce the godless club of Marx and Mao?

Not necessarily. A fellow convert’s university lecturer suggested that if all Communist Party members found Jesus, then Christianity could rule China. “So it’s a good thing for me to become a Christian,” Mr Chang reasoned.

The party does not quite see it that way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted February 15, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described as a "travesty" Russia and China's veto of a UN resolution condemning Syria's crackdown against anti-government protesters.

Speaking in Bulgaria, Mrs Clinton said efforts outside the world body to help Syria's people should be redoubled.

The US, she said, would work with "friends of a democratic Syria" to support opponents of Syria's president.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEuropeRussiaMiddle EastSyria

0 Comments
Posted February 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[A]..mix of political control and market reform has yielded huge benefits. China’s rise over the past two decades has been more impressive than any burst of economic development ever. Annual economic growth has averaged 10% a year and 440m Chinese have lifted themselves out of poverty—the biggest reduction of poverty in history.

Yet for China’s rise to continue, the model cannot remain the same. That’s because China, and the world, are changing.

China is weathering the global crisis well. But to sustain a high growth rate, the economy needs to shift away from investment and exports towards domestic consumption. That transition depends on a fairer division of the spoils of growth. At present, China’s banks shovel workers’ savings into state-owned enterprises, depriving workers of spending power and private companies of capital. As a result, just when some of the other ingredients of China’s boom, such as cheap land and labour, are becoming scarcer, the government is wasting capital on a vast scale. Freeing up the financial system would give consumers more spending power and improve the allocation of capital.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.

The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.

"Back then, even one straw belonged to the group," says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. "No one owned anything."

Read (or better listen to) it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted January 23, 2012 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Enraged Chinese shoppers pelted Apple Inc's flagship Beijing store with eggs and shoving matches broke out with police on Friday when customers were told the store would not begin sales of the iPhone 4S as scheduled.

Apple said later after the fracas at its store in Beijing's trendy Sanlitun district that it would halt all retail sales of the latest iPhone in China for the time being, but said the phones would be available online, through its partner China Unicom or at official Apple resellers.

Sales at Apple's other store in Beijing and three in Shanghai went more smoothly, with stocks quickly selling out.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2012 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christmas means different things around the world, but in China one of the things it’s come to stand for crackdown. In recent years Chinese courts have chosen the holiday season as the time to hand down the harshest sentences to political dissenters, possibly in the belief that their rulings will received the least attention abroad. On Dec. 26 a court in the southwestern city of Guiyang sentenced longtime dissident Chen Xi to 10 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power,” Reuters reported.

Chen was active in the 1989 protest movement, organizing a pro-democracy group in Guiyang and later serving 13 years in prison after the government crushed the Tiananmen demonstrations. Chen Xi, who is also known as Chen Youcai, was arrested on Nov. 29, a week before the Guizhou Human Rights Forum, a group to which he belonged, was declared illegal, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an activist group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted December 30, 2011 at 6:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We believe that this pivot toward Beijing is no routine oscillation in North Korean policy. The drive to normalize relations with the U.S. from 1991 to 2009 had been real, sustained and rooted in Kim Il Sung's deep concern about the regime's future in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Perhaps there was no better demonstration of the North's approach in those years than the situation on Oct. 25, 2000 — the 50th anniversary of the entry of the Chinese People's Volunteers into the Korean War. Who was in Pyongyang on that date meeting Kim Jong Il? The Chinese defense minister? No, he was cooling his heels while Kim met with the U.S. secretary of State. That was no accident of scheduling on Pyongyang's part; it would not happen again today.

If the paradigm shift is real, we expect the North in the near to medium term to make far less overt trouble. Less tension on the Korean peninsula? What could be wrong with that? Nothing, as long as it is understood that such tranquillity will also provide a veil for the North's continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons and increasingly sophisticated delivery systems. With the onset of stability and growing Chinese-North Korean cooperation, Pyongyang may well calculate that the outside world's focus on the North Korean nuclear program will become diffuse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaKoreaNorth Korea

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2011 at 6:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Buddhists from around the world chose India on Wednesday as the headquarters of a new international Buddhist organization and united in their criticism of the Chinese government for trying to prevent the Dalai Lama from speaking at their meeting here in New Delhi.

It was something of a victory for India in what observers increasingly see as a contest with China to win the favor of Buddhists around the world. India is the land where Buddha gained enlightenment and taught, but China has the largest population of Buddhists today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaIndia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsBuddhism

0 Comments
Posted December 3, 2011 at 8:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy Servant Channing, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Asia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Critics say Germany is falling between two stools. It has backed EMU rescues on a sufficient scale to endanger its own credit-worthiness, without committing the nuclear firepower needed to restore confidence and eliminate default risk in Spain and Italy. It would be hard to devise a more destructive policy.

There is no change in sight yet. Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated on Thursday that Germany would not accept joint EU debt issuance or a bond-buying blitz by the ECB. "If politicians think the ECB can solve the euro's problems, they're trying to convince themselves of something that won't happen," she said.

Yet she offered no other way out of the logjam, and each day Germany is sinking a little deeper into the morass.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Germany

1 Comments
Posted November 18, 2011 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States planned to deploy 2,500 Marines in Australia to shore up alliances in Asia, but the move prompted a sharp response from Beijing, which accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

The agreement with Australia amounts to the first long-term expansion of the American military’s presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. It comes despite budget cuts facing the Pentagon and an increasingly worried reaction from Chinese leaders, who have argued that the United States is seeking to encircle China militarily and economically.

“It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region,” Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in response to the announcement by Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaAustralia / NZ

3 Comments
Posted November 17, 2011 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When the novelist Murong Xuecun showed up at a ceremony here late last year to collect his first literary prize, he clutched a sheet of paper with some of the most incendiary words he had ever written.

It was a meditation on the malaise brought on by censorship. “Chinese writing exhibits symptoms of a mental disorder,” he planned to say. “This is castrated writing. I am a proactive eunuch, I castrate myself even before the surgeon raises his scalpel.”

The ceremony’s organizers forbade him to deliver the speech. On stage, Mr. Murong made a zipping motion across his mouth and left without a word. He then did with the speech what he had done with three of his best-selling novels, all of which had gone through a harsh censorship process: He posted the unexpurgated text on the Internet. Fans flocked to it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetBooksLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Privately, U.S. officials have long complained that China and Russia are out to steal U.S. trade secrets, intellectual property and high technology. But in public they've been reluctant to point fingers, and instead have referred obliquely to "some nations" or "our rivals."

That changed Thursday, with the release of a new report by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive to Congress titled "Foreign Spies Stealing U.S. Economic Secrets in Cyberspace." The report names China as the world's leading source of economic espionage, followed by Russia.

"China and Russia, through their intelligence services and through their corporations, are attacking our research and development," said Robert Bryant, U.S. national counterintelligence executive, during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., presenting the espionage report.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEuropeRussia

0 Comments
Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted November 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Breathless but beaming, Sheng Zisu sounds confident after five months in a maze-like Buddhist encampment high on the eastern Tibetan plateau, nearly 400 miles of bad road from the nearest city.

"Look around. They could never find me here," Sheng, 27, says of parents so anxious about their only child's turn to Tibetan Buddhism that they have threatened to kidnap her.

Sheng is far from her home — and from the bars where she used to drink and the ex-boyfriends she says cheated on her. She is here with 2,000 other Han Chinese at the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Serthar, Sichuan province, the rain-soaked mountainous region of southwest China.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsBuddhism

0 Comments
Posted November 3, 2011 at 11:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

European leaders have reached a "three-pronged" agreement described as vital to solve the region's huge debt crisis.

They said banks holding Greek debt accepted a 50% loss, the eurozone bailout fund will be boosted and banks will have to raise more capital.

Shares on European markets rose sharply on news of the deal.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankG20 Stock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Foreign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010FranceGermanyGreeceSouth AmericaBrazil

0 Comments
Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a child growing up in Kaifeng in central China, Jin Jin was constantly reminded of her unusual heritage.

"We weren't supposed to eat pork, our graves were different from other people, and we had a mezuza on our door," said the 25-year-old, referring to the prayer scroll affixed to doorways of Jewish homes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaMiddle EastIsrael

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2011 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who in thy providence didst call Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe to the ministry of this Church, and didst send him as a missionary to China, upholding him in his infirmity, that he might translate the holy Scriptures into languages of that land: Lead us, we pray thee, to commit our lives and talents to thee, in the confidence that when thou givest thy servants any work to do, thou dost also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Primates of the Global South coalition of provinces have opened ecumenical relations with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) — China’s official state Protestant Church.

The 12-day visit to China by 11 senior archbishops led by Singapore’s Archbishop John Chew — who represent a majority of the communion’s members — has sparked public controversy in evangelical circles with some conservatives perturbed by the outreach to the Communist Party-approved state church.

The visit will also pain supporters of the current institutional structures of the Anglican Communion, as the China trip marks the establishment of an international Anglican ecumenical movement independent of the London-based instruments of communion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

4 Comments
Posted October 5, 2011 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China and Russia have vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria over its crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The European-drafted resolution had been watered down to try to avoid the vetoes, dropping a direct reference to sanctions against Damascus.

But Moscow and Beijing said the draft contained no provision against outside military intervention in Syria.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEuropeRussiaMiddle EastSyria

0 Comments
Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the surface, economists at the International Monetary Fund and most banks are still estimating China’s growth rate to be over 9 percent this year. China continues to run very large trade surpluses. New construction starts have soared with a government campaign to provide more affordable housing.

And yet, the country’s huge manufacturing sector is starting to slow and orders are weakening, especially for exports. The real estate bubble is starting to spring leaks, even as inflation remains stubbornly high for consumers — despite a series of interest rate increases and ever-tighter limits on bank lending.

Because China’s mighty growth engine has been one of the few drivers of the global economy since the financial crisis of 2008, signs of deceleration could add to worries about the global outlook.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEngland / UKEurope

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...China itself must ultimately be a victim of this warped structure as well, and that is where we are in late 2011. Act III of the global denouement is unfolding. The world will have to lance the debt boils of Asia as well before clearing the way for another cycle of global growth.

The facts are simple. China dodged the Great Contraction of 2008-2009 by unleashing credit on a massive scale.

Zhu Min, the IMF's deupty chief and a former Chinese official, said loans had jumped from 100pc of GDP before the crisis to around 200pc today -- if you include off-books financing from letters of credits, trusts, and such like.
To put this in perspective, a study by Fitch Ratings found that credit in America rose by just 42pc of GDP in the five-year period before the housing bubble popped. It rose by 45pc of GDP in Japan from before the Nikkei cracked in 1990, and 47pc before the Korean crisis in 1998.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEngland / UKEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

0 Comments
Posted September 19, 2011 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Premier Wen Jiabao said his country and will play its part to "prevent the further spread of the sovereign debt crisis," but warned that China will not sign a blank cheque for states that have failed to carry out full reform.

"Countries must first put their own houses in order," he told the World Economic Forum in Dalian.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Italy

0 Comments
Posted September 14, 2011 at 11:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At All Saints Roman Catholic Church Cathedral in Nairobi, African workers were recently singing lively Christian worship songs as they broke ground for the construction of a new office block for the Nairobi Archdiocese.

However, they were not working for an African or British construction company. China Zhongxing Construction is building Maurice Cardinal Otunga Plaza, one of many church contracts Chinese construction companies have won in recent years as China has expanded its influence in Africa. Now, Chinese firms build many bridges, roads and stadiums across the continent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenyaAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted September 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Chinese have long understood that America's sea control in the western Pacific has been the military foundation of its strategic primacy in Asia, and that the US Navy's carriers are the key. They have therefore focused the formidable expansion of their naval and air forces over the past 20 years on trying to deprive the US of sea control by developing their capacity to sink American carriers. In this they appear to have been strikingly successful, to the point that US military leaders now acknowledge that their sea control in the western Pacific is slipping away.

But for China, depriving America of sea control is not the same as acquiring it themselves. Its naval strategy has focused on the much more limited aim that strategists call ''sea denial'': the ability to attack an adversary's ships without being able to stop them attacking yours. These days, sea denial can be achieved without putting ships to sea, because land-based aircraft, long-range missiles and submarines can sink ships much more cost-effectively than other ships can. This is what China has done.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaEurope

8 Comments
Posted August 30, 2011 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

... let me say that in English: the European Union is cracking up. The Arab world is cracking up. China’s growth model is under pressure and America’s credit-driven capitalist model has suffered a warning heart attack and needs a total rethink. Recasting any one of these alone would be huge. Doing all four at once — when the world has never been more interconnected — is mind-boggling. We are again “present at the creation” — but of what?....

As for America, we’ve thrived in recent decades with a credit-consumption-led economy, whereby we maintained a middle class by using more steroids (easy credit, subprime mortgages and construction work) and less muscle-building (education, skill-building and innovation). It’s put us in a deep hole, and the only way to dig out now is a new, hybrid politics that mixes spending cuts, tax increases, tax reform and investments in infrastructure, education, research and production. But that mix is not the agenda of either party. Either our two parties find a way to collaborate in the center around this new hybrid politics, or a third party is going to emerge — or we’re stuck and the pain will just get worse.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentThe National Deficit* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaAsiaChinaEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010Middle East

0 Comments
Posted August 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This was the subject of today's Adult Sunday school. Make sure you did not miss Walter Russell Mead's piece wherein he uses Daniel 5 as a means by which to understand our times. His reflections formed the basis of our deliberations--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult Education* Culture-WatchHistory* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaJapanEurope* South Carolina* TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted August 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though Beijing has few options other than to continue to buy United States Treasury bonds, Chinese officials are clearly concerned that the country’s substantial holdings of American debt, worth at least $1.1 trillion, are being devalued.

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” read the commentary, which was published in Chinese newspapers.

Beijing, which did not release any other official statement on the downgrade, called on Washington to make substantial cuts to its “gigantic military expenditure” and its “bloated social welfare” programs.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsStock MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetThe National DeficitForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

3 Comments
Posted August 6, 2011 at 9:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China, Europe, America, Japan: each of in its own way is moving toward comprehensive bankruptcy: financial, spiritual, social. Recent tremors in world financial markets are a warning from the invisible hand that we are skirting dangerously close to that final frontier, but we will miss the point if we do nothing more than put our financial affairs in slightly better order.

The great crime of Belshazzar and his cronies was to become disconnected from real values and real events. They used the sacred vessels of the Temple for an unholy palace banquet; at a time of great danger to the realm they distracted themselves with good food and good wine. They ignored the great source of meaning that enlightens and guides the world to focus their attention on shiny objects: gold, silver, brass.

All this and more describes our global leadership today.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyEuropean Central BankThe U.S. Government* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEurope--European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010

4 Comments
Posted August 5, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chinese rating agency Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. said Wednesday it has cut the credit rating of the United States from A+ to A with a negative outlook after the U.S. federal government announced that the country's debt limit would be increased.

The decision to lift the debt ceiling will not change the fact that the U.S. national debt growth has outpaced that of its overall economy and fiscal revenue, which will lead to a decline in its debt-paying ability, said Dagong Global in a statement.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetThe National Deficit* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

6 Comments
Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

9 Comments
Posted August 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On a recent Sunday at the Beijing Zion Church, Pastor Jin Mingri laid out a vision for Christians in China that contrasts starkly with the ruling Communist Party's tight reins on religion.

"Let your descendants become great politicians like Joseph and Daniel," said Mr. Jin, referring to the Old Testament figures who surmounted challenges to become political leaders. "Let them influence the future course of this country," the pastor said in one of several sermons to his 800-member church.

Mr. Jin is one of a growing group of Protestant leaders challenging China's state-run religious system, in an escalating struggle largely unnoticed by the outside world. For the first time, China's illegal underground churches, whose members are estimated in the tens of millions, are mounting a unified and increasingly organized push for legal recognition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China has moved to shut down several fake Apple stores found in Kunming city.

Three of the elaborate fake stores, which mimicked the look of the real thing, came to the world's attention after being exposed on a blog.

Following the publicity, trade officials investigated and found five stores in Kunming posing as official Apple retail outlets.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Chinese officials are fiercely attached to the one-child policy. They attribute to it almost every drop in fertility and every averted birth: some 400m more people, they claim, would have been born without it. This is patent nonsense. Chinese fertility was falling for decades before the one-child policy took effect in 1979. Fertility has gone down almost as far and as fast without coercion in neighbouring countries, including those with large Chinese populations. The spread of birth control and a desire for smaller families tend to accompany economic growth and development almost everywhere.

But the policy has almost certainly reduced fertility below the level to which it would have fallen anyway. As a result, China has one of the world’s lowest “dependency ratios”, with roughly three economically active adults for each dependent child or old person. It has therefore enjoyed a larger “demographic dividend” (extra growth as a result of the high ratio of workers to dependents) than its neighbours. But the dividend is near to being cashed out....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

1 Comments
Posted July 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When China's state-run Catholic Church ordained a new bishop for the Diocese of Shantou last Thursday (July 14) without the Vatican's approval, it represented the latest step back from years of progress in a complex relationship.

Yet the main causes for the shift may have little to do with Rome, experts say, and instead lie in momentous geopolitical events in other regions of the globe, and deep social changes within China itself.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

2 Comments
Posted July 22, 2011 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If we continue as now seems likely, a crunch is coming – in fact three crunches – our global footprint greatly exceeding what the Earth can support, climate destabilisation becoming severe, and fresh water becoming insufficient to feed the Earth’s large population. These crunches will not, by themselves, destroy humanity but they will cause a Darwinian situation; when the going gets tough there will be survival of the fittest. By mid-century, the Earth could be like a lifeboat that’s too small to save everyone.

To be politically correct, organisations don’t use the term ‘Darwinian’ or talk about ‘survival of the fittest’, but I am increasingly finding that at elite dinner parties there is already discussion of who the survivors will be. China has enormous fighting spirit and will soon be the world’s largest economy. In 2030 it will have 1.4 billion people. The average footprint of a Chinese person is a small fraction of an average American. The Chinese government does more detailed future planning than perhaps any other government and is determined that China will be one of the survivors. China has been buying the steel and resources it will need in the future. To the largest extent possible it has already cornered the market in rare Earth metals needed for high technology.

The USA combined with Canada will be a survivor, because it is economically powerful and resourceful, and with Canada it has a large amount of land, much of which will benefit from global warming – the breadbasket of the future. Europe, in my mind, is a question mark. Japan will struggle....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaCanada

5 Comments
Posted July 16, 2011 at 11:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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