Archive for the ‘People’s Republic of China’ Tag

Thoughts on China’s economy

Did you know that red was Karl Marx's favorite color?  Anyway, the PRC has a good flag.

Did you know that red was Karl Marx's favorite color? Anyway, the PRC has a pretty good flag.

Jonah Goldberg, editor and columnist for National Review Online, raises some interesting questions about the Chinese economy.  He is skeptical of all the claims that China will surpass the United States economically in 2027 (or whatever year people are now predicting) on account of some serious structural problems with China’s institutions.

Ask yourself this: Why are we in this financial crisis?

Any short list of reasons would include a lack of transparency in markets and regulatory rule-making; collusion between business and government; the politicization of lending practices (including the socialization of risk and the privatization of profit through giant governmental entities like Fannie Mae); and, of course, simple greed.

Does anyone honestly think China doesn’t have these problems ten times over? It has no free press, no democratic accountability, and no truly independent regulators.

After every Chinese earthquake, we discover that safety inspectors couldn’t be trusted to oversee the construction of schools and hospitals. And we’re supposed to believe that China’s corrupt model produces toxic baby formula but spic-and-span finances?

Goldberg calls China’s entire economy “one big Fannie Mae” and suspects it won’t be anytime soon that the People’s Republic surpasses the United States as the world’s leading economy, just as predictions in the 1980s that Japan would do so proved incorrect.

Communist China hopes the “right person” wins Nobel Peace Prize

Officials in the People’s Republic of China have expressed a hope that the “right person” will win the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.  (See my recent blog post on peace.)  “Some of the prizes went against Mr Nobel’s original purpose. We hope the prize should be awarded to the right people,” said a Foreign Ministry official.

Well, that’s very nice of them.  I think that—hey, wait a minute.  Who would the “wrong person” be?  Oh, yeah, pretty much anyone critical of China’s poor human rights record.  They’re still upset in Beijing that the Dalai Lama won the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize and are certainly not happy that one front runner this year is Hu Jia, who is currently sitting in a Chinese prison for “inciting subversion of state power” (i.e. criticizing the ruling party).  Mr. Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan, is presently under house arrest.

Another favorite of odds-makers is 41-year old self-taught lawyer Gao Zhisheng.  He won a human rights case for a member of Falun Gong and—wouldn’t you know it?—also happens to be occupying a Chinese prison cell right now.

Another strong possibility for the prize is Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai, who has lead the opposition to Robert Mugabe’s terrible rule in that country.  (See my blog post on the economic situation in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s villainous mismanagement.)

The 2008 Peace Prize winner will be announced at 11:00 am Central European Time this Friday, October 10th.  The prize will formally be given to the winner on December 10th, the anniversay of Alfred Nobel’s death.  Assuming, that is, that he or she is not in jail.

China performs space walk, rips off Star Trek

The logo of the China National Space Administration looks strangely familiar

The logo of the China National Space Administration looks strangely familiar

Congratulations to the People’s Republic of China, which has launched their third crewed mission to space and Zhai Zhigang, age 41, has successfully performed his nation’s first space walk. The spacecraft, the Shenzhou 7, has a crew of three astronauts—or taikonauts, as the Chinese call them (cf. cosmonaut). Besides China, only the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia have launched people into space.

China hopes to establish a space station by 2020 and also has plans to land people on the Moon and, eventually, Mars. They made the news last year when they shot down an old satellite in a test of their military abilities; this was largely seen as a provocative act and a possible threat to the United States, which maintains considerable assets in space for both communication, intelligence, and scientific purposes.

I am also struck, however, by the unoriginality of the China National Space Administration logo. Just look at it. Doesn’t it remind you of something? If you’re a fan of Star Trek, I’ll bet that it does. Compare:

One possible origin of the CNSA logo

One possible origin of the CNSA logo

Regardless of where the logo came from, Godspeed to the three taikonauts, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng.