China going forward 2012

Why do you think Chinese leaders are so nervous? They know that a billion people out in the hinterlands are watching elite Chinese on television and envying the newly rich from Shanghai and Guangzhou who buy Louis Vuitton luggage for their trips abroad. That’s why the Chinese talk so much about “balanced growth” — to spread some of the new wealth and ease resentments against the rich in the coastal cities.


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/davos-and-disconnected-elites/2012/01/27/gIQA5AKPWQ_story.html

Prosperity brings about the rise of a middle class. Historically, there has never been a Chinese middle class until the end of the 20th century. This truth, along with the citizenry’s desire for freedom of expression and justice instead of corruption, has also been evident in recent weeks in Russia where the new middle class has demonstrated against the regime of Doong Chi Putin.

What is happening in Russia is quite different, and quite unusual: a revolution of the middle class, a class that is inherently nonrevolutionary.


www.nytimes.com/2012/01/21/opinion/lets-not-rush-to-win-in-russia.html

China’s economic rise hasn’t brought moves toward democracy


www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/11/130091/chinas-economic-rise-hasnt-brought.html

Prior to the rise of the communist state, in the days of the imperial China, the government and its bureaucracy were the locus of power. Unlike medieval Europe, there was no Church to contend for power with the king or the demands of a merchant class that benefited the state. The size of China’s middle class is larger than the population of Canada and the United States.

China’s economic future rests with the consumerism of the growing middle class. Chinese consumers like to haggle over price and tend to purchase items like irons and rice cookers. They also research, due diligence, before buying.

The issue of Taiwan could be resolved by economic ties. Wise Party policy will acknowledge that a sum, a modest tax forwarded to Beijing, will constitete ade facto recognition that Taiwan is part of the mainland. Missiles and the threat of invasion is unproductive.

Projected energy use China

PLA generals who threaten world war to defend Iran, the rogue state of the world, should be constrained by Big Brother, The Party. Wen Jiabo, leader of The Party, recognizes that China’s burgeoning energy needs may not be met utilizing radioactive oil.

Egypt imports more than half of its wheat, a staple in the Egyptian diet. East Asian countries, China in particular, have raised the price of this commodity and can pay any cost. Egypt is poor with much of its population living on < $2 per day.

U.S. ambassador: Political situation in China “very, very delicate”

Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, January 18, 2012 – 6:16 PM

The Chinese people are increasingly frustrated with the Chinese Communist Party and the political situation in China is “very, very delicate,” U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke said on Wednesday.

“I do believe that there is a power of the people, and there is a growing frustration among the people over the operations of government, corruption, lack of transparency, and issues that affect the Chinese people on a daily basis that they feel are being neglected,” Locke told NPR’s Steve Inskeepduring a Wednesday interview, part of a media blitz Locke is conducting during his visit to Washington.

“Do you think that the situation is fundamentally stable in China right now?” Inskeep asked Locke.

“I think, very delicate — very, very delicate,” Locke responded. “But there were calls earlier this year for a Jasmine Revolution and nothing came of it. I think it would take something very significant, internal to China, to cause any type of major upheaval.”

Locke said that since he took over the ambassadorship from former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, he has become aware of public demonstrations large and small throughout China that ordinary people were using to pressure the government to address their grievances. He singled out a recent protest in the southern Chinese city of Wukan over the confiscation of land without reasonable compensation.

“[The people] basically prevented anybody from the outside from coming in and brought the city to a halt and forced the Chinese government communist leaders to send people to address their grievances,” Locke said.

The discord inside China is partly a result of the income and wealth disparity between China’s growing middle class and the masses of poor, rural residents, Locke said. He also said the Chinese government’s human rights record was worsening.

“[I]t’s very clear that in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and since then, there’s been a greater intolerance of dissent – and the human rights record of China has been going in the wrong direction,” said Locke.

Asked for comment at today’s State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland backed up Locke’s comments on human rights and the rule of law in China.

“[Locke] obviously speaks for the administration in expressing continued concern that we seem to have an increasing trend of crackdowns, forced disappearances, extralegal detentions, arrests and convictions of human rights activists, lawyers, religious leaders, ethnic minorities in China,” she said.

But Nuland declined to repeat Locke’s assertion that the Chinese government was potentially unstable.

“I think our message to the Chinese government on these issues is the same message that we give around the world when we have human rights concerns, that governments are stronger when they protect the human rights of their people and when they allow for peaceful dissent,” she said.

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/01/18/us_ambassador_political_situation_in_china_very_very_delicate

In China, the Grievances Keep Coming

By YU HUA
Published: January 1, 2012

Beijing

A PECULIAR feature of Chinese society is that a complaint process runs parallel to, but outside, the legal system.

Victims of corruption and injustice have no faith in the law, and yet they dream that an upright official will emerge to right their wrongs. Although a complaint mechanism is in place at all levels of Chinese government, petitioners seem to believe that the central authorities are less susceptible to corruption, and so make Beijing their destination. By some estimates, more than 10 million complaints are filed around the country each year, far more than are heard by the regular courts.

Law in China, at least on paper, is more firmly established than it once was, and some legal experts propose doing away with the grievance system. But the government has retained it — perhaps it, too, lacks confidence in China’s laws. Also — and crucially — it wants to leave the petitioners some slender hope, a fantasy that one day injustice will find redress. If all hope is lost, petitioners may take more extreme action.

Often, the State Bureau for Letters and Visits simply goes through the motions of registering the complaints, then asks the petitioners’ local governments to look into them. But years of failure have sharpened the petitioners’ wits. They know that the only way they can put pressure on their local governments is by persistent, repeated visits to Beijing, and they realize that collective visits are even more effective. The government rigidly controls demonstrations, but the collective submission of a complaint remains a means for ordinary people to exert pressure.

At the same time, some petitioners have come to focus more on the process of lodging a complaint than on the outcome. Seeing the judiciary as biased and the grievance process as a sham, they treat petitioning as a means of extortion.

Here’s an example. In the fall of 2007, during the Chinese Communist Party’s 17th Congress, a man from Shandong Province phoned his village chief and told him he was in Tianjin and about to board a train for Beijing to appeal a miscarriage of justice. The village chief was shocked: if the petitioner were to appear in Tiananmen Square at such a prominent moment, not only would the chief lose his job, but his immediate superiors — the township and county chiefs — would be disgraced as well. He begged the villager not to go to Beijing. All right, the man said, but there was a price for his acquiescence: 20,000 yuan, about $2,600 at the time. The village chief put down the phone, withdrew this sum from public funds, and personally delivered it that very day, to the man’s wife.

The pay-off should not surprise us. Alarmed by worsening social unrest, government officials have adopted “stability maintenance” as a mantra — and a pretext to stifle protest. While the grievance process coexists politely with the regular legal system, the insistence on maintaining stability is, all too often, utterly at odds with it.

The priority now given to keeping order has enabled local officials to regain the initiative when there are complaints or protests. In the name of maintaining stability, the interception and detention of petitioners seems perfectly reasonable, and higher-ups look the other way.

After the collision of two high-speed trains near the southeastern city of Wenzhou last July, relatives of those killed and injured rushed to the scene. Three days later, law offices in Wenzhou received an urgent notice from the local judicial bureau and lawyers’ association: “The train collision is a major, sensitive incident that bears on social stability.” The notice directed lawyers to “immediately report” all requests for legal assistance to the judicial bureau and the lawyers’ association and not to “respond to such requests without authorization.”

When the contents of this circular were revealed by the news media, an uproar ensued. The lawyers’ association took responsibility and issued an apology, saying it had issued the notice without judicial permission.

But the lawyers’ association takes orders from the judiciary, so this apology was greeted on the Internet with derision. It reminded me of the old adage, “A soldier fears his superior more than he fears the foe.”

The recent episode in Wukan, a village in southern China where residents staged an uprising that received international attention, reflected the uneven balance among the grievance process, the legal system and the insistence on stability. Local officials ignored complaints about corruption involving the sale of farmland and then cracked down on the subsequent protests. The uproar was eventually resolved through political arrangements, not judicial action.

In China, an extramarital love interest who comes between a happy couple is known pejoratively as “Little Three.” The expression appears in a joke about three kindergartners who want to play house.

“I’ll be the daddy,” the boy says.

“I’ll be the mommy,” one girl says.

Another girl frowns: “I guess I’ll have to be Little Three.”

If the law, the grievance process and stability maintenance were ever to play house, I think we’d see the following exchange:

“I’m the daddy,” Stability Maintenance says.

“I’m the mommy,” Grievance Process says.

The Law pouts. “Well, I’m Little Three.”


www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/in-china-the-grievances-keep-coming.html


Residents of Wukan rallied to demand the government take action over illegal land grabs and the death of a local leader on December 15.

A Village in Revolt Could Be a Harbinger for China

By MICHAEL WINES
Published: December 25, 2011

BEIJING — China’s state-run media have had a field day this autumn with Occupy Wall Street, spinning an almost daily morality play about capitalism gone amok and an American government unable or unwilling to aid the victims of a rapacious elite.

Occupy Wukan is another matter entirely. The state press has been all but mute on why 13,000 Chinese citizens, furious over repeated rip-offs by their village elite, sent their leaders fleeing to safety and repulsed efforts by the police to retake Wukan. But the village takeover can be ignored only at Beijing’s peril: There are at least 625,000 potential Wukans across China, all small, locally run villages that frequently suffer the sorts of injustices that prompted the outburst this month in Wukan.

“What happened in Wukan is nothing new. It’s all across the country,” said Liu Yawei, an expert on local administration who is the director of the China program at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

A second analyst, Li Fan, estimated, in an interview, that 50 percent to 60 percent of Chinese villages suffered governance and accountability problems of the sort that apparently beset Wukan, albeit not so severe. Mr. Li leads the World and China Institute, a private nonprofit research center based in Beijing that has extensively studied local election and governance issues.

On paper, the Wukan protests never should have happened: China’s village committees should be the most responsive bodies in the nation because they are elected by the villagers themselves. Moreover, the government has built safeguards into the village administration process to ensure that money is properly spent.

Village self-administration, as the central government calls it, is seen by many foreigners as China’s democratic laboratory — and while elections can be rigged and otherwise swayed, many political scientists say they are, on balance, a good development.

Actually running the villages, however, is another matter. Village committees must provide many of the services offered by governments, such as sanitation and social welfare, but they cannot tax their residents or collect many fees. Any efforts to raise additional money, for things like economic development, usually need approval from the Communist Party-controlled township or county seats above them.

In practice, the combination of the villages’ need for cash and their dependence on higher-ups has bred back-scratching and corruption between village officials and their overseers. China’s boom in land prices has only broadened the opportunity for siphoning off money from village accounts.

And the checks and balances — a village legislature to sign off on major decisions, a citizens’ accounting committee to watch over the village books — have turned out to be easily manipulated by those who really hold the power.

“Land sales are where the big money is,” Edward Friedman, a political science professor and a China scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a telephone interview. “Every level can see how much better the level above it is doing. And each one wants to live at least that well. The system has within it a dynamic which makes people feel it’s only fair that they get their share of the wealth.”

The opportunities to get that share are vast, apparently. In 2003, a candidate for village committee chairman in Laojiaotou village, in Shanxi Province, spent two million renminbi — then about $245,000 — to campaign for an office that paid 347 renminbi a month, the Chinese journal Legal News reported at the time.

In interviews this month, leaders of the Wukan protest said it was common knowledge that local government and Communist Party officials had spent millions of renminbi to buy potentially lucrative posts. They maintained that Wukan’s village committee stayed in power in part by threatening any challenges to its continued rule.

None of those allegations could be quickly confirmed. One verified statistic, however, is compelling. Of the nine members of Wukan’s village committee, five had held their posts since the committee system itself was set up under Mao Zedong’s successor, Deng Xiaoping.

The same was true of the village’s Communist Party secretary, Xue Chang, who had held office since 1970 before being replaced amid Wukan citizen protests in September.

Though a village in legal terms, Wukan is bigger than most such entities. It sits in urban Guangdong Province, abutting a natural harbor on the Pacific Ocean that is ideal for development.

Many details of the practices that incited Wukan’s protests are murky. Even before the residents chased their village committee leaders from town on Dec. 11, the village committee’s accounting ledger had been taken away, ostensibly for an audit.

Leaders of the protest contend, however, that the village committee sold off or granted long-term leases to nearly 60 percent of the village’s 11 square miles over an 18-year period beginning in 1993. The sales were said to include roughly four-fifths of the village’s 1.5 square miles of farmland and much of its forests.

Just how the land was sold remains unclear. Under Chinese law, such sales are supposed to require approval of the villagers, who collectively own the land and are supposed to share in the proceeds. But the approval process is vague; in practice, most decisions are left to the elected village committee or an appointed village legislature that acts on behalf of the residents.

The sales also required approval by Donghai township, the level of government just above Wukan. In some cases, officials in Lufeng, the county seat whose territory includes Wukan, were also involved in setting up sales.

The land went to hotels, homes, factories, power companies and even private funerary temples. One wealthy villager, Chen Wenqing, gained a business interest in Wukan’s harbor and a 50-year lease on a large tract of land used as a pig farm.

A plan this year to sell Mr. Chen’s farm and an equal amount of villagers’ farmland to developers of a luxury housing and retail project was the final straw, though, mobilizing villagers to protest. Beyond seeking a public accounting of that project and others like it, angry residents called for democratic elections to replace village officials, many of whom have been in power for decades.

Villagers say they have no idea where the proceeds from any of the sales or rentals went. “From 1993 onward, not one time were we told,” said Lin Zuluan, a protest leader. “No voting, no compensation, nothing. We didn’t even know what was going on.”

Mr. Lin said that most residents, unfamiliar with the workings of a village system, had no idea of their rights. That seems plausible; one recent academic study concluded that three in four residents of villages that had been surveyed had no information about village finances.

In Wukan, villagers did sense that something was wrong, and had complained vigorously — between July 2009 and last March, seven times to Guangdong Province officials and five times to officials of Lufeng, the county seat. But none of those complaints appear to have been addressed.

It took a de facto revolt by Wukan’s residents to force Guangdong Province officials to step into the crisis, calling the villagers’ grievances legitimate and promising to address them. Wukan’s village committee chief and its party secretary are under investigation, a move that probably will end in stiff punishment.

The state-run press has hailed the Guangdong response as a model of government responsiveness and a template for handling public grievances in the future.

Yet some observers of Chinese governance are less sanguine. In their view, Wukan’s uprising highlighted systemic defects in China’s local governments, and only a housecleaning — not an isolated slap on the wrist — will address them.

The trouble, they say, is that almost nobody benefits from a housecleaning — not village leaders or township and county officials enriched by land sales and other corrupt deals. And not higher officials whose influence is only diminished if they get rid of lower-level supplicants.

“What will change things is if you change the incentives by which make you make your money,” said Mr. Friedman, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Allowing peasants to own and sell their land — and not a village committee — would suggest a serious effort to break the corruption cycle, he said. So would breaking up the cozy network of village and local government officials who stand to benefit from land sales.

For the moment, at least, those sorts of reforms do not appear to be in the cards. “The vested interests in the present system are very strong,” he said. “And I don’t think there’s a Deng in the office who has enough clout to change things.”

www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/world/asia/in-china-the-wukan-revolt-could-be-a-harbinger.html

Dealing With China’s Troubles
Published: December 26, 2011

China’s economy seems to be in trouble, which could be a very big problem for the world unless China’s leaders and trading partners ensure that economic strains in the world’s largest exporting nation do not lead to trade confrontations around the globe.

China’s housing bubble appears to be imploding, steel production is falling along with the demand for new construction and real estate developers are tottering, putting banks at risk. The Chinese government, which had been trying to curtail credit to slow the bubble’s rise, abruptly changed course last month, reducing the amount of money banks must keep in reserve at the central bank for the first time since 2008. On top of everything else, foreign demand for Chinese exports has slowed.

A hard landing in China would have an immediate impact from Brazil to Russia, whose exports of steel, lumber and other commodities fed China’s construction boom. And it will slow the world economy, which relies on China as one of the only remaining engines of growth.

But the bigger risk could be a trade war. Chinese leaders eager to hang on to power by showing continued economic growth may be tempted to pursue beggar-thy-neighbor strategies and subsidize exports in ways that would further destabilize a fragile world economy already buffeted by a crisis in Europe.

There are worrying signs that Beijing is going the wrong way. Earlier this month, it imposed a volley of duties against American-made sport utility vehicles. It will have little economic importance as few of these vehicles are sold in China. But analysts viewed the move as a warning that China will retaliate against Washington’s efforts to combat its subsidized exports. And the pace of appreciation of China’s currency has slowed markedly.

The Obama administration must also act with care. It is justified in challenging illegal trade practices, including pursuing its case at the World Trade Organization against illegal subsidies of Chinese makers of solar panels. But it should act multilaterally, including mustering other countries to add to the pressure on Beijing to act by the rules. Unilateral initiatives, like those in Congress to punish China for its cheap currency, are likely to cause more harm than good.

The ball is, however, in China’s court. Beijing must understand that it is a bad idea to double-down on an export-led strategy. There are better alternatives, including sensible stimulus measures like investing in low-income housing and expanding government-run health insurance. These would boost consumer spending and growth, reducing China’s dependence on export markets and investment bubbles. A policy switch like this would stimulate global growth. Sticking to the old game plan will drag the world down.

www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-finds-promise-and-peril-in-pursuit-of-russian-energy/2011/11/27/gIQA1H9hzO_story.html

4 U.S. Makers of Towers for Wind Turbines File Complaint Over China’s Steel Subsidies

By MATTHEW L. WALD and KEITH BRADSHER
Published: December 29, 2011

WASHINGTON — Four domestic companies that make most of the steel towers for wind turbines in the United States filed a trade complaint against China and Vietnam on Thursday, seeking tariffs in the range of 60 percent. The action is a significant new skirmish in an emerging green energy trade war.

The allegations are much like the ones that solar panel manufacturers made in a similar case filed against Chinese manufacturers in October, namely that government subsidies were allowing foreign manufacturers to sell below cost in the United States, damaging the domestic industry. The filing is likely to increase the already escalating trade frictions between the United States and China.

Chinese officials were not immediately available for comment. The official Xinhua news agency had no immediate comment or reports on the issue.

The companies bringing the complaint buy high-quality plate steel and cut it so that it forms a slightly conical shape when it is rolled into a cylinder. They weld the long seam in the rolled structures, called cans, and then stack the cans to form taller units, each with a flange at top and bottom. The units are shipped to wind farms where they are bolted together to form a tower. Towers can reach 300 feet and weigh 350 tons, and the largest ones sell in the range of $600,000, a price largely determined by the price of steel.

The industry installed about 2,900 towers in 2010 and probably more in 2011.

Imports of towers from Vietnam and China roughly doubled in 2011, according to Alan H. Price, a lawyer at the firm that filed the case, Wiley Rein, which also filed the solar panel case. At one of the companies he represents, Katana Summit, an executive said that imports had been taking market share for the last several years and now had about half the market.

“Like in so much of clean energy sector, there’s tremendous Chinese government subsidies that have gone into this sector and distorting it,” Mr. Price said in a telephone interview. The complaint seeks duties of more than 64 percent on Chinese imports, and more than 59 percent for Vietnamese imports.

The United Steelworkers has previously brought cases against foreign steel manufacturers. It is not directly involved in this case, but a spokesman, Gary Hubbard, said, “We are encouraged that domestic producers of wind towers are standing up to fight unfair trade practices by foreign producers in renewable energy products.”

The case was filed by the Wind Tower Trade Coalition — comprising Trinity Structural Towers, DMI Industries, Katana Summit and Broadwind Energy — at the Commerce Department, which has 20 days to decide whether to initiate an investigation. In addition, another government agency, the International Trade Commission, will hold a hearing in about three weeks to decide whether there is reasonable indication that the domestic industry is suffering from the imports or is under threat from them. It should reach a preliminary determination in 45 days. If the commission says there is an indication of a threat, the Commerce Department would reach a preliminary determination within six months on whether the two countries are guilty of dumping. At that point, duties could be imposed.

A final determination would take about a year, if the wind coalition wins all the earlier rounds.

At Katana Summit, Kevin L. Strudthoff, the president and chief executive, said that his industry’s problem was probably similar to the situation of the domestic solar panel industry. In fact, the American wind industry is also subsidized, mostly through a production tax credit, but by all accounts the scale of Chinese subsidies is far larger.

His company, which is privately held, operates factories in Columbus, Neb., and Ephrata, Wash., employing about 195 people.

The wind industry faces problems beyond imports, however. Its biggest subsidy, the tax credit, expires a year from now, and to collect, wind machines must be in service by the end of 2012. Because many of the components take months to fabricate, ship and install, the credit is expiring “effectively about now,” Mr. Strudthoff said. Because of the uncertainty about whether the credit will be extended, he said, his customers, the turbine builders, have stopped stockpiling inventory and are ordering only what is needed to meet orders they have already taken.

www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/business/us-companies-file-complaint-over-chinas-steel-subsidies.html

Possible U.S., China trade dispute looms

HONG KONG – Strained trade relations between the world’s largest economies will be further tested this year as the U.S. weighs anti-dumping duties on a range of Chinese products.

The U.S. government will decide whether China-made solar cells, high-pressure steel cylinders, galvanized steel wires and steel wheels from China are dumped, or sold below cost, in the U.S.


www.usatoday.com/money/world/story/2012-01-08/china-trade-tensions/52455994/1

China raises the ante on trade with new tariffs

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/china-raises-the-ante-on-trade-with-new-tariffs/2011/12/16/gIQABBCGPP_story.html

Is a Chinese economic slump on the horizon?

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-a-chinese-economic-slump-on-the-horizon/2012/01/06/gIQAfPL9jP_story.html

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s Predictions for 2012: China’s growth model tests its limits

China’s Communist Party is gambling that this year’s tap on the brakes has been just enough to curb the housing boom and stop inflation pushing up to danger levels, but not enough to tip the economy into a hard-landing.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor

8:00AM GMT 21 Dec 2011

The great hope is that Goldilocks growth can be kept on track to ensure an orderly transition of power in October 2012, when a new generation of leaders takes charge of the 1.3bn strong nation for the first time in a decade.

The front-runner for General Secretary appears to be Xi Jinping, China’s “Redder than Red” mystery man.

With public debt at just 15.4pc of GDP (IMF data), China has the fiscal firepower if needed to shore up growth if the downturn proves harder than expected. The central bank can open the monetary spigot, slashing the reserve asset requirement for banks and lifting the restrictions on the property market. That at least is the theory. The question is whether it will be so easy in practice to calibrate a soft-landing after the post-Lehman credit blitz.

The IMF said outstanding loans have increased by almost 100pc of GDP over the last five years, roughly double the intensity of the credit boom in Japan before the Nikkei bubble burst or in the US after the subprime housing bubble burst. The boom has pushed house price-to-income ratios to 19 in Beijing, and 15 in Shanghai and other eastern cities.

This has become a threat to social stability. Poorer Chinese can no longer afford to buy or rent property. The government is rushing through plans to build 36m homes for low-income families at a cost of $850bn, but it is not yet clear where the money will come from.

Professor Victor Shih from Northwestern University said the government implicit’s debt is near 100pc of GDP when hidden borrowing by local authorities is included. It is questionable whether the banking system can easily pump up the economy again, even if ordered to do so.

Fitch Ratings warns that there has already been a “massive build-up in leverage”, eroding the ability of lenders to generate genuine economic growth by expanding credit. The IMF says banks could be “severely impacted” if the soft-landing turns hard. The receding tide this year is likely to reveal whether or not banks are bathing naked.

Capital is already leaving the country. China’s $3.2 trillion foreign reserves have begun to shrink. Officials in Beijing have warmed of a “grim” year to come, muttering about the possible need for a weaker yuan. Any such currency move would set off a storm in Washington, risking a trade war.

The Politburo knows that China’s growth model has hit its limits, with over-reliance on exports. Investment is running at 46pc of GDP and the national savings rate is 54pc, both signs of a massively distorted economy.

The great task is to unleash consumption, and that in turn will require a cultural revolution. Not much happened on this front in 2011. Perhaps 2012 will show a flicker of movement.


www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8966305/Ambrose-Evans-Pritchards-Predictions-for-2012-Chinas-growth-model-tests-its-limits.html

Go East, Young Man

By JONATHAN LEVINE
Published: January 8, 2012

Beijing

NOT long ago, I was stuck in a dead-end job near Greenwich, Conn. I was in my early 20s, overeducated with a series of non-performing degrees from New York University and Columbia, and frustrated. When I saw the Occupy Wall Street protesters on TV, fed up with the economic status quo in the United States, I saw myself.
Or rather, I saw my old self, before I figured a way out.

To the occupiers and their sympathizers, I say vote — not with the ballot, but with your feet. Now that your encampment has disbanded, don’t just leave Zuccotti Park: leave America.

For China. At least, that’s what I did. It was the best decision I ever made.

In February of last year, I moved to Beijing, having landed a job teaching American culture and English at Tsinghua University. While I was not a global neophyte, I had never set foot in Asia. China had 1.3 billion people, and I didn’t know any of them.

But now, after living almost a year here, I feel that China is my second home. My work is fulfilling and my workload is manageable enough to give me time to travel. I have found friends among China’s large expatriate community, my colleagues and, of course, my eager students. The food is outstanding and caters to both the gastronomically meek and the profoundly adventurous.

Most of all, my experiences here have been enriched by the Chinese people themselves. Their patience, courtesy and hospitality leave me in no hurry to return home anytime soon.

And guess what? I’m not so special.

China wants you. Job prospects are abundant. The effects of the Great Recession of 2008 may be felt in the United States for years, but they barely scratched China. Demand for native English speakers is white-hot. ChinaJob.com, TheBeijnger.com and Dave’s ESL Cafe are just a few of the places where you can search for work.

There are problems here, of course. China is a nation that unapologetically rejects Western democracy — and yet I am surprised to find that Chinese citizens and the news media have as much freedom as they do. For my money, CCTV News English, a channel offered by China’s major state television broadcaster, is more fair and balanced than Fox News.

Pollution is bad. Beijing, like much of China, is often enveloped in what local residents euphemistically call “mist.” But there are nice days, too, more than you might think.

Many critics have rightly pointed out the shocking failures of the Chinese food safety system — the most famous being the tainted-baby-formula scandal of 2008. But what you may not know is that China meted out swift justice in that case to the perpetrators. That is more than can be said for the handling of many corporations in the United States that have harmed their consumers and remain unpunished.

We live in grim times, but fortune favors the bold. So if you are reading this from some occupied encampment, a soul-crushing cubicle, your parents’ basement or anywhere else in America really, maybe you should consider paying me a visit.

I’ll buy you a duck.

www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/opinion/china-as-a-destination-for-job-seekers.html

China going forward 2012



About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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