Bags of cash help assuage the Guandong recession blues

The natives are restless, and as predicted, the CCP will try to keep them pacified with the only thing in China that talks. And we all know what that is.

When Chong Yik Toy Co. went bankrupt, the bosses fled without meeting their payroll and angry workers took to the streets in protest. Less than 72 hours later, the local government came to the rescue.

Armed with bags full of cash totaling half a million dollars, accountants began distributing the money so the 900 former employees would have something to get by on. The Chinese officials who made the emergency payments on Oct. 21 called it an “advance,” part of a “back-pay insurance fund.”

But the reality was obvious to everyone: It was a government bailout.

It’s a scary article. Even though China’s economy is soaring, especially compared to the competition, a drop from 10 percent to 8 or 9 percent is still catastrophic. The plans to spread the wealth to workers in floundering manufacturing businesses are widespread and dramatic. The cash is already being doled out, and the government is doing everything it possibly can – like relaxing anti-pollution regultions – to keep the factories up and running. The big question is, can China make the switch from an export-driven economy to one fueled by domestic spending? Personally, I think they can, but not without a lot of pain in the process. They have the cash on hand to make it happen.

The article is an important reminder, however, that we haven’t even seen the start of this crisis yet. Wall Street soared back recently and there’s a sense that the bailout has put everything back in place, and the worst is over. All I can say is watch the earnings reports in the days and months ahead, and we’ll all see just how deep and cruel this recession is. It’s so easy to forget all about it as we get swept up in the joy of seeing the Republicans dethroned. But Obama is inheriting a headache beyond comprehension, and once the confetti’s swept up and the empty champagne bottles dumped in the trash, we’re all going to have to deal with a new world order, namely, an emasculated America, an eagle with seriously clipped wings. And a China that’s still rising, if not as robustly as in recent years.


PRC meets ROC: “As important as US elections”

As Chinese diplomats prepare for their first meeting ever with Taiwan on the colony’s own soil, John Pomfret slams Taiwan’s “sclerotic” pro-independence activists and makes the case for improving ties to China as soon as possible for the good of Taiwan’s citizenry. He also slams the CCP for the usual reasos when it comes to their stance on Taiwan: they’re dogmatic and they’re stupid. Even the issue of calling Ma “president” becomes a huge deal.

The reason that I am not that optimistic that the Chinese will act like good guests and call Ma ‘president,’ is because in general the PRC is a lousy winner. Right now, its position — its military, its economy and its geopolitical heft — dwarfs that of Taiwan. So why not give a little? Call Ma ‘president.’ The reason is that China is run by a group of nine guys — on the standing committee of the Politburo. If any of these characters suggested that China back off of its global full-court press to limit Taiwan’s influence by addressing Ma Ying-jeou as ‘president,’ that official — and all the thousands of people who work for him and rely on him for patronage — would be weakened. China’s leadership is run by men (and they are 99.99 male) who are paranoid of being seen as too conciliatory. They basically don’t understand that in order to improve ties with Taiwan, China will need to woo not just Taiwan’s business class but its people. China’s failure to see this limits the Communists’ wiggle room on issues like these. The Chinese government will justify its failure to break any ground with Taiwan by cloaking itself in its “principled” stand. And Chen will return to Beijing with a few new deals but nothing else.

Now for the Taiwanese independence activists. Since Ma was inaugurated, there have been a number of protests against Ma and his moderate stand on China. Most recently on Oct. 25, 600,000 turned out against Ma. In late October, a Taiwanese legislator and six associates helped beat up a Chinese official, Zhang Mingqing, who was holding initial talks in Taiwan about Chen’s visit…[I]f you look at Taiwan’s situation honestly, the only way actually to ensure its continued existence as a government separate from China, is to improve ties with China. That’s what Ma is trying to do. Why would Tsai and her people want to stop it? The only reason I can determine is that they want to create a crisis because only in a crisis do their politics have any traction among most of Taiwan’s people.

I became disillusioned with Taiwan’s green movement a long time ago (sorry Michael, nothing personal) for very similar reasons. Just because the PRC is dogmatic and reactionary and obsessive doesn’t mean the ROC has to be as well.

Pomfret says the meeting is as significant as the US elections, but based on his own argument I’d have to disagree: at least the US elections will have a meaningful (and probably dramatic) conclusion. If it goes according to Pomfret’s scenario this will just be more of the same.

On a somewhat irrelevant note, I wish Pomfret would stop stringing a bunch of questions together, a habit he continues in today’s post. A commenter here once delivered some classic snark on this annoying tendency.


This guy is a Republican

I’ve never seen anything quite like this before. Stunning. Wonderful.

Can you imagine Bush doing something like that?

Update: Mormons have spent $20 million on this effort to legalize discrimination. Watch this scary video for some perspective.