New thread, links, etc.

Please feel free to talk about anything, as long as you’re nice.

Also, please listen to this new piece on National Public Radio’s Marketplace. It’s about sex shops in China, and I’m interviewed briefly. An amazing subject; sex shops there are a world of difference from those in the West.

There’s also a lengthy new article by James Fallows on the possibility of more companies, especially tech start-ups, choosing to manufacture their goods in the US, not only in China. An important new trend?

Finally, there’s a disturbing new article on the surging AIDS epidemic in China. Some heartbreaking stories. (It’s World AIDS Day today.)

And now you can continue the never-ending debate on China’s system vs. America’s, if you don’t think you’ve yet said it all.


Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 292 Comments

A “free for all” makes it harder to focus.

But since the host is talking about sex, one cannot avoid the issue of the upcoming ITU conference in Dubai during Dec. 3-14, where the world’s nations get together to decide the fate of the Internet. Most of the nations on Earth are in favor of banning porn and child molestation from the Web. America stands in the minority.

Main fight is going to be over whether ICANN should be stripped of the sole power to maintain domain names.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

Open threads are always free for alls. You can ignore my links; I just put them there because I find them interesting but don’t want to put up separate threads about them.

Banning porn on the Internet would be like trying to empty the Yangtze with a bucket. Child pornography should of course be banned and carry high criminal penalties. But mainstream pornography is there to stay; for millions of people, unfortunately, it is the Internet, and that holds true for many in China as well. It’s banned there, too, but anyone with a wi-fi connection and a VPN can hook up to torrent sites and get all the porn they want.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:11 am | Comment

Underage stuff is obviously disgusting. But for “mainstream porn” (if there is such a thing), well, if it’s depicting consenting adults, and consumed by consenting adults, fighting that is like pissing into the wind. I imagine politicians of all stripes, nationalities, and religious persuasions dabble in that sort of stuff far more than they would like us to know or believe, regardless of what they say at conferences.

I do agree, though, that there should be more equitable control of domain names, even if Al Gore did invent the internet.

December 2, 2012 @ 4:38 am | Comment

Re: Blood products/HIV/AIDS. In addition to a host of collection issues which are also discussed in Seeing Red in China, Chinese hospitals need to greatly improve their general infection control procedures.

Lets hope Xi’s recent hospital visit and dressing down of staff has some effect, but I doubt that it will produce any significant improvements, given general staff morale and way the health system is unfunded.

Blood is a big business commodity:

“AN AUSTRALIAN cardiac surgeon has been jailed in China after his local partner allegedly stripped him of the business he founded and listed it on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The case of Du Zuying, who was a heart and lung transplant specialist at St Vincent’s Hospital and Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, is perhaps the most startling in a series of murky prosecutions of ethnic Chinese Australians since the 2009 arrest of the Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu.

The company Dr Du founded, China Biologic Products, supplies blood plasma products to Chinese hospitals and is now valued at just under $300 million”.

John Garnaut
Read more:

Truly, the Australian Federal govt (and Bob Carr) is one of the most gutless entities in the Western world.

December 2, 2012 @ 5:11 am | Comment

The CPC should act the national hero, and BE the reformer of the Chinese society for all millennia. The CPE led SWCC is already the best in Chinese history for over 1,000 years. It should take the most advantage of one-party efficiency (while it lasts) to do great things for the Chinese people.

One child policy was a good one, served its time, and should now be modified.

Mao experimented with bare feet doctors (more like bare feet paramedics, to great effect, and brought healthcare to the masses in a way never before achieved in China. Today national health insurance already serves over 90% of all Chinese citizens, although the ocverage is not comprehensive (yet). Given that Chinese medicine is “50 years behind” that of advance countries like America, the CPC can be proud of the fact that the life expectancy at birth in China is just a few short year behind that in America.

What is the next “big thing” that would be good and can be imposed by decree? How about presumed consent to organ donation upon death? This would not be new – quite a few European countries and Singapore already have it – but it certainly would be new for a 5,000 year old Chinese culture that still largely believes in dying without a complete corpse (死无全尸) is a horrible thing.

Only the CPC can pull this off for China. This would be a new iteration of getting rid of the old, and bringing in the new (破旧立新).

With (realistically) 20,000,000 “sets” of transplantable human organs (from cornea to hearts to lungs and even to faces) available each year, China can also develop medical tourism in earnest, and with all moral imperative.

December 2, 2012 @ 5:48 am | Comment


Thanks for the links. This a very critical issue for China, but one that will likely get much worse as China ages. Xi may very well have slogans, but without the money, what can he realistically hope to achieve?

December 2, 2012 @ 5:52 am | Comment

What is the “next big thing” for China? China already knows how to manufacture, and is learning quickly how to cost effectively do R&D. The one area that would be profitably developed is how to wield the financial tools of the brave new world advocated by America.

I am personally convinced that a bunch of “wise” Americans, mostly financial types, decided about 30 years ago that as globalization progresses and manufacturing jobs migrate to lower cost countries, America has to develop a new set of comprehensive competitive advantages.

Thus started FINANCIAL ENGINEERING as the industrial policy for America.

It is not hard to understand why FINANCIAL ENGINEERING looks so attractive. It is not constrained by natural resources, labor, or even regulations, and sky is the limit in terms of growth potential. Save for limited high tech, and certain historical sectors such as aircraft, and natural resource plays (agriculture, shale gas), America is no longer competitive in a globalized economy across a wide swath of industries, where production will go to the lowest total cost suppliers. America’s cost and input factors (labor, regulations, etc.) are simply too costly. Under such constraints, in WHAT areas would America still be competitive? Extreme scale gambling is one such area (at $700 Trillion, or about 50 TIMES the American GDP, the derivatives casino is the largest in human history by far) – especially if: (a) the gamblers also playing croupiers are backed with the full faith and credit of America (Washington continues to subsidize the American banksters (to the tune of almost $10 Trillion dollars in low and no cost loans since 2008), and (b) the gambling contracts (derivatives contracts) are rigged (written to be one way by the best of Wall Street minds).

Today, this financial AIDS is pushed by America on all fronts, including the TPP, which strips the member countries of sovereign control over capital flows.

So how can China counter such onslaught of “new technology”??

In the spirit of “you dance your way, I will dance my way,” Beijing let the people decide, and to take advantage of the still asymmetric nature of the markets.

Call to all Chinese Soros: this can certainly be a very profitable juncture. I shorted the Yan around 78, and it looks pretty. Short everything Japanese, stocks, the Yen, etc., and see what another 24 months of sustained boycott will do. Total profits on the short side is already in the tens of billions of dollars (not all to me, LOL), but you get the picture. It would make up for the Japanese failing to pay war reparations, and for their welching on the CWC (refusing to remove, remediate and compensate for the 1,000,000 pcs. of chemical warfare ordnance buried all over China by the JP military).

The beauty is that this is largely asymmetrical, as it is still very difficult to short Chinese securities (except for the few that are listed overseas, or have ADRs). Also, no government intervention is required.

December 2, 2012 @ 6:10 am | Comment

Stepping back a bit, China should be socio-culturally well placed to deal with one aspect triggering the spread of HIV/STDs. It is not bedevilled by that other virus – Evangelical christianity – which is prosecuting vicious anti-gay attitudes/legislation in the majority of African countries.

Literally tons on the net, but this link will do:

(Not to forget purely indigenous forms of christianity such as Ethiopia.)

While China does not exactly accept gay rights organisations, it doesn’t exactly persecute the hell out of gay folk either.

The PSB should keep a very close eye on overseas evangelical contacts within China, and individuals directly associated with the Vatican cult should automatically be treated with extreme prejudice.

Obviously, the christianity gig in China is far more complex than I have indicated above, ….

December 2, 2012 @ 7:12 am | Comment

Another bridge collapse, another tofu project, local provincial village official apparently was using cheap materials.

This is not what harmonious society should. CPP needs to uproot corruption.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:08 am | Comment

KT, funny you should limit yourself to Evangelical Christians. I suppose thats just to contrast that to the tolerant and accepting way gays are treated in Islamic areas of the world. Right? The problem isn’t religion, its the stupidity. Too damn many people running around thinking God whispers in their ears only.

You might want to also look at other christian denominations. The Anglicans for instance. The Mormans and Catholics favor civil unions, but oppose marriage for same sex partners.

Restrictions of the internet run square into the Consitution’s First Amendment protections. While other countries are in no way bound by American laws, America is. No way the US government can agree to anything that restricts Americans’ First Amendment rights. The US ends up defending porn on the internet by opposing any inroads on net content.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:14 am | Comment

And since this is an open thread….who is the better guitarist, Roy
Buchanan, Stevie Ray Vaughn,Clapton, or Hendrix? And so the bloodletting has its beginning.

December 2, 2012 @ 10:20 am | Comment

Oh Clock, just as water finds its level, I guess logical fallacies like tu quoque are all that you have to aspire to. Sometimes you make me miss math…he was stupid as dirt but at least had a brain; you, on the other hand…

December 2, 2012 @ 10:41 am | Comment

@ Goju. I think I have asked before: is Goju taken from that…um ….dead strange Miike movie.

That was simply a broad brush-stroke post arising from the fact that I’ve been cruising a lot of African sites of late. Plus reporting by BBC on anti-gay legislation presently being enacted in Uganda.

I suppose I should also fess up. Worked in medical education in the STD Sexual Health area for many years.

In no way was I letting Islam off the hook. There male sexual anxiety rules supreme.

And since I’m on a blog sabbatical at present, and very much doubt if I will get my big post on Islam written, so I might as well mention the centre piece of that scribbling here, namely Passionate Uprisings: Iran’s Sexual Revolution by the anthropologist Pardis Mahdawi. Stanford University Press 2009. Talk about a massive amount of nookie taking place is a supposedly Shiite fundy state. Even got a bit rich for me, when she discussed orgies organised by children of mullahs.

Just one review example to illustrate my point, and it is a highly recommended read.

And just to keep this post light and lay down some parallels with recent China, try reading this:

Rape and sexual abuse is absolutely rife in the Islamic world.

At least in Iran young women are now physically fighting back: komites/members of the morality police in Tehran have the shit kicked out of them quite often nowdays, when attempting to enforce female dress codes.

Music: rarely listen to much these days since I’ve adopted a post-modernist and only read about it.

December 2, 2012 @ 11:18 am | Comment

Goju is from Goju-ryu karate. One of the styles I studied.

Lots of interesting things going on in Iran. Very strong and determined opposition movement. Do you follow Michael Totten? He posts from some incredibly dangerous places and seems to have a much diffeent take on things in the ME than the MSM.

Africa is truly insane. Unbelievable abundance of resources, and everyone just seems to focus on killing each other. Lots of leftover issues from colonial times, but at some point they got to stop laying waste to the continent and get their colledtive shit together. A Unified Africa would rival the economic power of China or the US.

December 2, 2012 @ 12:10 pm | Comment


“Today national health insurance already serves over 90% of all Chinese citizens, although the ocverage is not comprehensive (yet).”

China certainly deserves credit for expanding coverage rapidly, but we ought to examine the make-up of the coverage and its financial sustainability. As has been noted by consultancy firms and academic researchers like Karen Eggleston, China has pursued a “wide but shallow” approach to coverage, and out-of-pocket expenses for those covered still constitute 50% of spending. A family member of my own underwent a serious operation (“covered” by insurance) in the early aughts that cost him more than 100000 RMB. I would also be concerned about county level subsidies since the financial meltdown.


“Lets hope Xi’s recent hospital visit and dressing down of staff has some effect, but I doubt that it will produce any significant improvements, given general staff morale and way the health system is unfunded.”

I too doubt it. Hospitals are release valves for distrust and anger toward the government, and how can they not be when people have to travel thousands of miles and wait in line for days to have access to one of the few hospitals receiving adequate funding to specialize in certain procedures. Chinese doctors have been put on the front line, and they are getting a beating.

December 2, 2012 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

@Handler 15

Yes, in an ideal world everyone has 100% of health care covered by the Gov’mint. But China is much less well off compared to Canada (yet).

Life is about choices. This is not being cynical, but I am sure someone actually went through some actuarial computations to see whether totally cutting off smoking would be beneficial, and the calculation came down of protecting tax revenues in order that the government can do what it does to better the people’s lives in other ways.

But there are in fact many new things that can be tried (and measured, and adjusted) to better the health care in China. The original barefeet doctor concept would be a good start. Universities can give scholarships for doctors (which is an undergrad degree in China) who are willing to serve in rural areas for 5 years after graduation. In terms of facilities, Beijing could build mini facilities adjunct to local schools – like an expanded nursing room, but with 2-way video link to county level hospitals, to use tele-medicine where it comes to slightly more involved cases, so that the rural doctors can also train with the more experienced city doctors on the job. Stock each of these rural health stations with a couple thousand dollars’ worth of commonly used medicines, and the quality of the health care development can be greatly improved for rural areas of China.

Also, as China is richer every year, it is time to attack smoking.

December 2, 2012 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

“Universities can give scholarships for doctors (which is an undergrad degree in China) who are willing to serve in rural areas for 5 years after graduation.”

It hasn’t been successful with teachers, and I can’t see it being successful with “doctors” because the cost of tuition is not commensurate with income they’d be giving up. Perhaps just as importantly, their career prospects would be severely curtailed from the beginning since extended apprenticeships and nepotism are a critical part of the medical community. What you’d essentially be hoping for is an expansion of the number of medical degrees awarded, but rapid educational expansion in China has been coupled with declining competency as unqualified individuals find themselves enrolled. Moreover, this would require a substantial increase in the equipment and infrastructure used for training in universities as well as the new “mini-facilities”, and I’m afraid this would largely be redundant. Medicine is easy to get in China. Proper diagnostics and surgery, which is rarely covered by insurance, is much harder to come by.

December 2, 2012 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Yes, its a pretty crummy system when the Purchasing Dept and Human Resources are the most sought after employment areas in a hospital. As serious hospital reform is very hard to envision, a bit of tinkering with the existing system would improve public confidence.

1. Vastly improved infection control protocols.
2. Guaranteed patient confidentiality.
3. Doctors actually spent a lot more time talking/explaining signs/symptoms, procedures, etc to patients. This is key.
4. A much higher base salary for docs and nurses.

How the hell can one achieve No. 3 when, for example, the doc for stomach conditions has a thru put of about 60 patients per day. Having got to know a group of docs and nurses over a long period of time, I could go on forever. And they were very nice people who were doing their best in a totally f… institutional model.

Also enjoyed putting my feet up on the conference table in the opulent cadres boardroom during breaks.

December 2, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

A Beijing court has imprisoned 10 men for illegally detaining citizens who tried to lodge complaints with the central government.

A step in the right direction.

December 2, 2012 @ 7:20 pm | Comment

IN REFERENCE TO THE ARTICLE, I think the only way we’re really going to hear both sides of the coin is by letting Mainland Chinese residents speak. Then we can get the full story. But that’s not going to happen for the forseeable future.

So we can only rely on state backed/washed media and foreign journalists with a couple of very rare exceptions such as caixin which is actually in hong kong now. China smack does well too.

So anything as far as comments are concerned don’t really have any lasting value. Let Mainland Chinese people criticize Mainland China just like British criticize Britain. A foreigner’s perspective is much different.

That’s one thing I learnt from my time in China and from my Chinese friends. We’re the same. Good people with corrupt incapable leaders. Go China!

December 3, 2012 @ 7:12 am | Comment

Canada has universal health care, and it is something most Canadians value and cherish. In a recent survey, it actually ranked in importance above the economy, among those Canadians surveyed. It’s part of the social safety net that Canadians enjoy more than most other nations. Comprehensive health care and social safety nets are something Chinese lack, and something Chinese governments can put their wherewithal towards, CCP or otherwise. Of course it requires up-front investment, but studies (in western nations anyway) suggest that timely affordable prevention and care is actually cost-effective by improving productivity of those who would otherwise be absentees from illness, and also because treating relatively mild disease early is cheaper than having to treat advanced disease later on. It’s a case of pay less now, or pay more later.

KT was alluding to HIV earlier. In my province, HIV treatment is free (not just the medical care, but the drugs too). Took a substantial initial and ongoing investment. BUt the incident HIV rate is now the lowest in Canada, which means the government is actually saving money from not having to treat a bunch of new patients who otherwise would’ve been infected.

Zhu #16 is actually (and surprisingly) not unreasonable. As opposed to teachers as cited by Handler, rural incentives do work, at least in my province. Ultimately, you have to make it financially worthwhile to spend time in booney-town. The way my province handles it is to forgive student loans, and also to pay premiums to doctors willing to work in the sticks, such that they are well-compensated for being in the middle of nowhere. I think that would be feasible in China, or anywhere for that matter. It just requires the willingness to provide funding for it.

As for smoking, the bean counters will have to decide if taxes from cigarettes off-sets the health care expenditures for treating smoking-related diseases. But prohibition isn’t the answer either. You’ll just be creating new business for criminals. Hike taxes to make it financially stupid to smoke, but also provide affordable means for people to try to quit.


To T-co,
agreed. But many a baby-step in right directions in the past have gone nowhere. We’ll see how this goes.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:19 am | Comment

To curl,
yeah, the CCP is great and Chinese are so fortunate to have them, but they shouldn’t hope to have input into their own governance, they shouldn’t look to pass judgement on the CCP’s performance, and they certainly shouldn’t hope to be able to crack jokes at the expense of the CCP either. THe CCP is great cuz they say so, and everything else is criminal.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:25 am | Comment

This, too, might be a step in the right direction.

December 3, 2012 @ 8:18 am | Comment

@t_co, #19 – seems not necessarily…

December 3, 2012 @ 8:26 am | Comment

“And now you can continue the never-ending debate on China’s system vs. America’s, if you don’t think you’ve yet said it all.”

Heheheheheh. I do love all the Chinese-Americans telling us how great China is.

December 3, 2012 @ 10:35 am | Comment

Or when you’re not even from X country, or talking about X country but some guy just has some axe to grind so it always gets brought up. Like every country in the world is the 5xst state of X country. That really confuses me. Smacks of insecurity.

Whoever said China should be democratic anyway? I think following human rights, free media and maybe some control on that corruption monster would be fine for me. Keep the quasi capitammunism if it works. One party, ten parties. Who cares? Giving the citizens innate freedoms and dignities are just a sign of functioning rule of law and good governance. It’s the ultimate goal of communism anyway – perfect equality. I’d be sweet with that. Works for Singapore. Sorta.

December 3, 2012 @ 7:35 pm | Comment

The CPC is great because it delivers.

December 4, 2012 @ 2:32 am | Comment

And the broken tape recorder drones on. More Kool-Aid, anyone?

December 4, 2012 @ 3:24 am | Comment

“The CPC is great because it delivers.”
Isn’t that one of Wen’s quotes? But you are right, it sure does pay to be a servant of the people…

December 4, 2012 @ 4:44 am | Comment

Mike, thanks a lot for that link. I hope zhuzhu reads every word. Then he’ll say other countries are corrupt, too.

December 4, 2012 @ 4:50 am | Comment

Unfortunately, it looks like the little step T-Co alluded to in #19 never really occurred.

It seems many people did want to believe it, and did want it to be true. I wonder if that sentiment will amount to anything in the grand scheme of all things CCP.

December 4, 2012 @ 6:21 am | Comment

It seems many people did want to believe it, and did want it to be true. I wonder if that sentiment will amount to anything in the grand scheme of all things CCP.


December 4, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Comment

Look, the CPC is not GOD, and it is not capable of solving all of China’s problems all in 7 days, giving the limited resources and human foibles. But the question is NOT whether the CPC led SWCC is perfect – it should instead be: IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER? And the answer is an emphatic “NO.” No other system in the world today, or in human history, is or can be better for the Chinese people of today, because NONE has been able (empirically) to DELIVER the public goods that the CPC did, and is still delivering.

The average growth for China’s economy for the next 20 years, a whole generation, is 8%. America? 2% if you are lucky. Canada? Even lower.

Of course there is corruption. Even Hong Kong has corruption, with ICAC going full blast. That does not matter at the end of the day. It is whether the people’s lives improve that matters.

December 4, 2012 @ 9:45 am | Comment

@Goldthorpe 34

OK I read it. What does it mean? The fact that in America folks can supposedly talk – is that meaningful at all? WHICH country sees the living standards of the people double every 7 to 8 years in the last 34? Which country will see 8% economic growth for the next 20 years?

Facts are facts. The psudo-democracy means NOTHING when the words and expressions of the plebeians are duly IGNORED, and votes mean nothing when both parties are hijacked by the same banksters, and gave bi-partisan support to fork over another $10 Trillion dollars (that the plebeians do not have) to the banksters after 2008. Democracy does not solve problems. Good government does – and that is what Beijing has, in spades. Beijing plans great plans, and executes the plans capably.

There was a report today that American public companies are priced much higher (at 15 P/E) compared to their China counterparts (about 8.5 P/E), even though the Chinese companies grow at 3 to 4 times the rate in comparison. I see that not as a weakness but rather a strength. There is still time for the Chinese population to accumulate real wealth, the fruit of all that wonderful planning and growth, before effective floating of the RMB, at which time the P/E will equalize, and either the Chinese public companies will go up 5 or 6 times, or the American ones will seek their level accordingly.

With the CPC, there is no $700 Trillion derivative casino ultra leveraging – touch the stones to cross the river, means that the prospects and the gains are real. There is little froth. The gains and the strengths are real.

December 4, 2012 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Zhubster – which country are you living in?

Thought so.

Nuf sed.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:15 am | Comment

Here’s one to thing about. China manufacturing vs. Vietnam. China Law Blog says China is where it’s at and Vietnam is just a Province:
China Briefing says Vietnam will get more attractive than China:
Two China business blogs, two different opinioning.
WHO is right Dan Harris or Chris Devonshire?

December 4, 2012 @ 10:27 am | Comment

@Tan Binh

Looks like it’s China in this article. Oddly I don’t see a lessening of immigration from China to here or indeed the US. Matter of fact, seems house prices in Auckland are high because of Chinese parking their money somewhere safe and to get a NZ passport and

Seem “Which country will see 8% economic growth for the next 20 years?” isn’t something people are willing to bank (pardon the pun) on, including Zhuzhu above.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Comment

Everyone needs to go check out this new story now, the top ten myths about China by one of its shrewdest observers.

My favorite:

3. There is good corruption and bad corruption, and China’s corruption hasn’t slowed things down. Economists see signs that so much money has gone to waste and corruption or simply to poor uses that China now needs to spend two or three dollars in financing to generate a dollar of growth in the G.D.P—a ratio that is up from one to one just six years ago.

But they’re all superb. I’d like to paste the whole thing here.

December 4, 2012 @ 11:00 am | Comment

“Is there anything better” is the wrong question for an environment that for over 60 years has tolerated no alternative. THere isn’t anything better because nothing else has been allowed. It’s that correlation bit yet again. Could there by something better? Absolutely. Capitalism without CCP characteristics (like lack of law, up-to-eyeballs corruption, and crappy human rights, for starters) would be a good place to look.

And sure, you want to improve people’s lives. You just don’t need all those lousy CCP characteristics in order to do so. It seems the zoo-keeper thinks it’s the CCP, or nothing at all. To compound his lack of grasp of logic, I guess it makes sense for him to throw in a logical fallacy of false dichotomy.

And, OMG, give the US system a break already. Yeah, we know he lives in the US while prescribing stuff for Chinese people from afar. But jeez louise, open your eyes and learn something beyond US borders. No one has ever said China needs a US system, but that is all you ever seem capable of arguing against.

December 4, 2012 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

To be fair the lack of law, up-to-eyeballs corruption, and crappy human rights are not necessarily only CCP characteristics but the characteristics of classic chinese society, china until today has yet to see an established real modern society on par with the few nations on earth.

December 4, 2012 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

I guess another way to frame the question, then, is whether modern Chinese are satisfied to be rooted in some of the historical shortcomings of classic Chinese society. If they are, then the CCP is all they need, cuz the CCP has shown no capacity for improving upon those things. But if modern Chinese want to become a modern society, then the CCP has shown after 60 some odd years that it isn’t up to the task.

December 4, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

What are you expecting then? Although chinese have risen up countless times before they have only done so when their lives really become unbearable (in the sense that basic survival cant be covered), even if you do not believe in CCP propaganda are you expecting the majority of chinese citizen facing the risk of dying off the next day right now? Not to mention CCP like any other dynasties made sure that there wont be any working alternative beside themselves, which is one of the reasons why most of them could last through a few centuries before time is up. And you may not like it (or even believing in it) chinese people do have different political mentality and they tend to do risk counting like for so many other things, even the so called “modern” Chinese may not have realized the course of the modern(western) society, most still rely only on ideals not any different than the commies themselve once were.

Also do you believe that like the revolutions in Egypt, Libya or Syria (or Irak/Afg style) a similiar revolution in china would be the better alternative? Sadly the people do pay attention and its probably safe to say that there isnt much encouragement even from the news outside of the great firewall. Wonder what went wrong with chinas Jasmine Revolution? Well one can always tell himself that its just below the earth prepared to pop out at any moment.

December 4, 2012 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

Revolutions rarely results in better change, but delaying peaceful evolution makes violent revolution pretty much inevitable. Unfortunately, certain Chinese stakeholders have an incentive to delay peaceful evolution as much as they can, which makes them, in essence, free riders on political stability. The other unfortunate circumstance is that evolution sped up too quickly risks revolution.

Hence the challenge confronting Chinese policymakers is the classic political Goldilocks conundrum–how to get the pace of change “just right” so that China can reach its full potential and take her place in the sun.

December 4, 2012 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

To riverer,
I actually readily liken the CCP to the dynasties of yore, so I’d be happy to go with your analogies. And as I’ve always said, if Chinese citizens are actually satisfied with the CCP, and more importantly, are content to continue with the status quo, that’s most wondrously fantastic. But that’s for them to decide. Forgive me, however, for having an extremely healthy cynicism listening to people wax on about what Chinese people apparently do and do not want, and what type of political mentality they may or may not have.

No, I didn’t think the Jasmine thing of the last 2 years was an issue, because, as you say, Chinese people aren’t starving to death tomorrow. The economic circumstances were rather different from those middle eastern states.

But as T-Co suggests, and you seem to acknowledge, dynasties have a finite shelf-life before reaching their best-before dates. And sure, in the past, Chinese people were in a pattern of dynastic turnover and renewal. But “modern” Chinese people needn’t be bound by those same historical habits. I have no reason to believe that Chinese people are inherently incapable of political evolution.

December 4, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

“Hence the challenge confronting Chinese policymakers is the classic political Goldilocks conundrum–how to get the pace of change “just right” so that China can reach its full potential and take her place in the sun.”

More like how they can keep their place on the gravy train until running the country becomes the next generation’s problems. China’s policymakers – at least if you’re talking about the men sitting in the Politburo – are far more concerned with the bottom line for them and their families than they are for the nation as a whole. At the moment, China’s prosperity enriches them, but things may be approaching the point where China’s economy may not be growing so quick but the leadership still wants to fill the familial coffers the same as Wen Jiabao and Bo Xilai did.

December 4, 2012 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

@Richard 40

“China now needs to spend two or three dollars in financing to generate a dollar of growth in the G.D.P—a ratio that is up from one to one just six years ago.”

Er, not to point out the flaw in that schadenfreude, America needed US$10 Trillion in financing to prop. up nary 2% growth since 2008. That is $2.5 Trillion a year, on 2% of $14.5 Trillion GDP, which works out to more than $90 per $1 in GDP growth for America.

$90 is slightly larger than the “two or three dollars in financing,” if you have not noticed. The difference is that with one party efficiency, the Chicoms spent that financing on Main Street, while the democracy in America, with bipartisan support, spent it all on the banksters.

No comparison.

December 5, 2012 @ 3:28 am | Comment

The pigheaded one clearly needs more coffee. 2.5T/(14.5T x 2%) = 8.6.

OK, not 90 to 1. But 8.6 is still higher than 2 to 3. Moreover, quality is more important than quantity. What you spend the money on matters. China’s investments buy REAL growth, as urbanization going at full tilt, with another billion people to move from rural to urban settings in the next few decades.

Contrast that with the decades long de-civilization efforts under the American democracy.

It is truly amazing the difference it makes in having real leaders chosen by a meritocracy, as vs. having clowns masquerading for national leaders, chosen in liars’ contests (campaign promises, be they made in America or Canada, are just that – such an oxymoron that NOBODY expect that they be kept).

December 5, 2012 @ 3:44 am | Comment

Er, not to point out the flaw in that schadenfreude, America needed US$10 Trillion in financing to prop. up nary 2% growth since 2008. That is $2.5 Trillion a year, on 2% of $14.5 Trillion GDP, which works out to more than $90 per $1 in GDP growth for America.
$90 is slightly larger than the “two or three dollars in financing,” if you have not noticed. The difference is that with one party efficiency, the Chicoms spent that financing on Main Street, while the democracy in America, with bipartisan support, spent it all on the banksters.
No comparison.

Zhu, this is one of those cases where comparing to America is not only counterproductive, but stupid. Just because America does it terribly does not mean China should do it badly.

National debt is the exhaust a sociopolitical system puts out, when it tries to prop itself up against the laws of economic gravity. Sooner or later, the fuel runs out and gravity wins. China is at a rare moment right now where it can make painful economic choices with less risk of systemic collapse. Wait too long, and China turns into Japan, or worse yet, Greece. In this regard, when the Party transfers Chinese savings into inefficient stimulus, it delays the day of reckoning, worsens the shock, when it comes, and mortgages the future of China’s children. Is that what we want?

December 5, 2012 @ 5:27 am | Comment

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