Archive for October, 2010

Happy Halloween from Sweet & Sour Socialism! / 万圣节快乐![Huffington Post photo]

Posted in USA on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 31, 2010

(via Reddit)

Yes, this blog dearly loves Halloween…there are so many “Holidays from Hell” in the US, channeling depraved US ideology such as warmongering or falsifications of history, that one must be thankful for a holiday that at least is up front and fun about it’s revelry in evil.

This pumpkin is for you, USA *…your ruling class claque natters about freedom and democracy, your President fronted as a hopemonger, but this is the real message from the Uncle Sam state terrorists, torturers and the oligarchs they represent:  decadent, McCarthyite, change-strangulating FEAR.  –  Zuo Shou 左手

[Photo from Huffington Post article, The Funniest Pop Culture Jack-O-Lanterns Ever (PHOTOS)]

* I know the pumpkin slogan is from TV satirist Stephen Colbert’s Oct. 30 mock rally in Washington, D.C.; this blog does not retroactively endorse the rally.  His rally was a joke, but he was on to something with the slogan…


Pyongyang Art Troupe tours China – PHOTOS [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, DPR Korea, Qingdao on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
October 21, 2010

On Oct. 20, actors from the Pyongyang Art Troupe perform the traditional Korean ethnic dance "Rhododendron in full bloom" in Qingdao City, located in east China's Shangdong Province.Performances included the unique pitcher dance, fan dance, hand drum dance, gayagum solo and traditional Korean folk songs, which wowed audience members who attended. It was known that the "Rhododendron in full bloom" was a new version of the Korean song and dance show specifically rehearsed by the Pyongyang Art Troupe for its China tour, which has performed nearly 50 times and has been seen by more than 100,000 audience members. (Photo by Li Ziheng/ Xinhua)

Link to full photo article here

Chinese mom and daughter, primary school classmates – PHOTOS [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Education, Shenyang on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Jiang Liju, 37, together with her daughter reviews what they learned at school at home in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province on Oct 20, 2010. Jiang, a migrant worker from southeastern China, didn't go to school as a child. She has now decided to get an education and attends a primary school in Shenyang along with her daughter. (Photo/Xinhua)

Jiang Liju, 37 puts her hand up to answer a question in a Chinese lesson in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province on Oct 20, 2010. (Photo/Xinhua)

Full photo article link here

China to commemorate the 100th anniversary of 1911 Revolution next year [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CPC on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Jia Qinglin (C Front), chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), addresses the closing ceremony of the 11th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th CPPCC National Committee in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 22, 2010. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) — China’s top political advisory body decided Friday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution in 2011.

The decision was announced on the last day of the 11th session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The 1911 Revolution, led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, broke out on Oct. 10, 1911.  It overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), ending thousands of years of Chinese feudalism.

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Foreign workers in China to get equal social insurance benefits [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Economy, Expats in China, Shanghai, Social Security system on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 30, 2010

Foreign employees in China will be entitled to the same social insurance benefits as Chinese nationals after the top legislature adopted a law on Thursday that is being seen as a major sign of the country’s wider economic and social openness.

The Social Insurance Law, which was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), will take effect in July 2011.

"China’s economy and society are opening up more and more. Such a regulation follows international practice and gives equal national treatment to foreigners working in the country," Hu Xiaoyi, vice-minister for human resources and social security, said during a news conference held by the NPC Standing Committee on Thursday.

The law specifies that all citizens have a right to five forms of insurance:  basic endowment insurance, basic medical insurance, worker injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance.

The five forms of insurance, paid for by individuals, employers and the government, will accumulate trillions of yuan in deposits.

China plans to spend 5.74 trillion yuan ($857.89 billion) by 2020 on an all-round social welfare system to improve people’s livelihoods, according to the China Development Research Foundation, a government think tank.

Provisions relating to social insurance for foreigners working in China are also included in the new law.

Hu said that, to avoid foreign employees paying into social insurance programs in China and their homelands, Beijing will sign bilateral agreements on social insurance with other countries…

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China rejects double standards on clean energy [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, China-US relations, Energy, Trade unions, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, WTO on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

October 21, 2010

At the request of the United Steelworkers Union, the Office of United States Trade Representative announced recently it would launch a Section 301 investigation against Chinese policies and measures in the field of clean energy.

In its September application, the United Steelworkers criticized the Chinese government for threatening employment opportunities and the international competitiveness of the U.S. new-energy sector with measures such as control on key raw materials, government subsidies, discriminatory law as well as technology transfer, which created favorable policies worth of millions of U.S. dollars for Chinese enterprises.

China’s Ministry of Commerce responded to the investigation, calling the charges groundless and saying the United States is irresponsible for launching such an investigation.  The ministry said China’s policies and measures on clean energy are fully consistent with WTO rules.  The 301 investigation set a bad example of trade protectionism to the rest of the world, and China will safeguard its legal rights according to WTO rules.

An analysis on the situation can reveal that the U.S. charges are nothing but self-protection. The so-called control on key raw materials refers to the export restriction of rare earth minerals. As a matter of fact, China exported rare earth materials at a very low price over a long time, and it is justifiable for China to make some changes to its rare earth export policy as a measure to ensure its sustainable development.  Furthermore, rare earth minerals are not the only materials that support the development of the new-energy industry.

The charge of discrimination against foreign enterprises also does not tally with the fact. The reason why foreign companies have lost the bids is because their asking price is much higher than Chinese enterprises. Foreign companies like to directly find the buyers rather than through bidding.

Furthermore, the United States is guiltier of "large government subsidies" to their own sector. According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. renewable energy industry alone has received a massive subsidy of 25.5 billion US dollars.  The Chinese government’s subsidy to domestic renewable energy is nothing compared to that of the United States.

On the eve of the U.S. mid-term election, United Steelworkers, one of the most active workers’ organizations, carries a major influence on elections and decision-making.  Analysts have said that the White House directed the charges at China by commencing an investigation to divert attention and gain more votes.

From a long-term standpoint, charges by the United States in the field of clean energy hint at the ongoing global war on new energy strategy…

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Bernanke’s Biggest Problem: China’s resistance to US’ fading global financial dictatorship [Counterpunch]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-US relations, Currency wars, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, G20, Obama, USA, Yuan appreciation on October 31, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手


October 21, 2010

The United States conducts monetary policy the same way it conducts foreign policy: unilaterally.  When Fed chairman Ben Bernanke signaled last week that he was planning to restart his bond purchasing program (Quantitative Easing) he didn’t consult with allies at the IMF, the G-20 or the WTO.  He simply issued his edict, and that was that.  The fact that the Fed’s policy will flood emerging markets with cheap capital, pushing up the value of their currencies and igniting inflation, is of no concern to Bernanke.  He operates on the same theory as former Treasury Secretary John Connally who breezily quipped to a group of euro finance ministers, “The dollar is our currency, but your problem.”

Bernanke’s report could have been reduced to nine words:  Inflation is too low and unemployment is too high.  That said, Bernanke is not going to sit back hemming and hawing until congress figures out that the economy needs more support. He’s going to put downward pressure on the dollar until inflation rises to the target 2 percent, increasing the prospects for lower unemployment, a narrowing of the current account deficit, and a faster rebound.  Economist Edward Hugh sums it up like this:

“Unemployment in the United States (which is currently at 9.6%, and may reach 10% by the end of the year) is causing enormous problems for the Obama administration.  The US labor market and welfare system are simply not designed to run with these levels of unemployment for any length of time.  In Japan the unemployment rate is 5.1%, and in Germany it is under 8%.  So people in Washington, not unreasonably ask themselves why the US should shoulder so much extra unemployment and run a current account deficit just to maintain the Bretton Woods system and the reserve currency status of the US Dollar.

My feeling is that the US administration has decided to reduce the unemployment rate, and close the current account deficit, and that the only way to achieve this is to force the value of the dollar down.  That way it will be US factories rather than German or Japanese ones that are humming to the sound of the new orders which come in from all that flourishing emerging market demand.”

Bernanke has drawn the same conclusions as Hugh, but that doesn’t mean his strategy won’t inflict considerable damage on US allies.  It will.  His beggar-thy-neighbor QE program will force trading partners to implement capital controls and other protectionist measures to maintain price stability.  QE will also lead to more competitive devaluation as the world’s largest economies fight for a bigger share of the export market.  The impending clash could bring about the dissolution of the present trade regime and a sharp reversal of 30-years of globalization.

Bernanke’s biggest problem is China.  China was America’s darling when it was loading up on Treasuries and fueling a historic consumption binge that filled Wall Street’s coffers.  But now that the purchase of US debt is preventing the Fed from implementing its monetary policy, Bernanke wants a change.  Unfortunately, China is not cooperating.  It’s piling up foreign exchange reserves at record pace to maintain the dollar peg which is widening the current account deficit to precrisis levels.  The yawning trade imbalance is pushing the world towards another crisis, which is why Bernanke and Co. are determined to persuade China to let its currency to appreciate to narrow the gap…

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