Archive for January, 2011

China must not let economic accomplishments go to its head [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Economy, Japan, USA on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 27, 2011

According to data recently released by National Bureau of Statistics, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 39.8 trillion yuan in 2010.  Although Japan’s GDP data for 2010 has not been disclosed, it is generally believed that China will overtake Japan to become the world’s second largest economy.

While feeling proud of the splendid achievement, we have to keep a clear head, because having the second largest GDP does not make China the world’s second strongest country.

GDP cannot truly reflect a country’s economic structure and quality, nor can it fully reflect the levels a country’s education, health care and other areas have reached.  Compared with developed countries, China is still in the relatively low level of development, and its infrastructure is still weak.  Ranking about 100 in the world, China’s per capita GDP has just reached 4,000 U.S. dollars, roughly 10 percent of Japan’s.  According to international standards, China is undoubtedly a developing country.

GDP is not the sole criteria in measuring a country’s strength.  Both hard and soft power, including economy, technology, military and culture should be taken into account.  China is still at the low end in the chain of international division of labor.  It is a major exporter but not a country that reaps big profits.  It is a major manufacturer but not an innovative power.  China ranks 43rd on Global Innovation Index 2010, which is far behind the United States and Japan.  China’s influence is relatively limited in the fields of international finance, which is essential in the modern economy.

In today’s world, where the trend of international multi-polarization is quickly developing, a large number of emerging countries are developing robustly . Each country has advantages in different areas, making it increasingly harder to simply rank them.  The blend of national interests and interdependence has reached unprecedented levels.  On the international stage, no country can be dominant.  Face emerging global challenges; it has become an inevitable trend that countries respect each other, share opportunities and meet challenges together.

To become a strong nation, China has a long way to go.  Only by improving the quality of economic growth and economic volume together, can China achieve the transition from the manufacturer of “Made in China” goods to “created in China” products and transform from a processing base into a center of innovation.

Facing the brilliant GPD figure, we should neither be complacent nor belittle ourselves.  Only by realizing comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, can China take on the road of rejuvenation steadily and successfully, making greater contribution to world peace and development.

By People’s Daily Online

Article link here

The real economy, not the yuan, stupid [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, China-US relations, Economy, Employment, Hu Jintao, Yuan appreciation on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 17, 2011

The year 2010 was bumpy for Sino-US relations.  On the political front, the United States has been irritated by what it sees as an “overly confident” China.  On the economic side, China’s revaluation of the yuan cannot satisfy some Americans’ appetite for a buoyant rise of the yuan in the range of 20 to 40 percent.

Against this background, some Americans, especially people on Capitol Hill, see President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the US…as an opportunity to increase pressure on China to make bolder progress on the yuan issue.  On the Chinese side, however, no giant steps will be taken; the yuan is already on the revaluation track.

To a large extent, the Chinese leadership’s cautious attitude toward the yuan is understandable.  Many people in the US, including a number of China experts, have failed to realize that like its American counterpart, the Chinese leadership, too, puts employment at the top of its agenda.  In the US, the motive is votes.  In China, it is social stability.

The revaluation of the yuan, however, may not have a great effect on employment in China.  Researchers at the China Center for Economic Research and the National School of Development in Peking University did a simulation study on the effects of the yuan’s revaluation on the Chinese as well as the US economies.

They found that a 10 percent revaluation of the yuan would have minor effects on employment in China and the US.  In China, employment will drop by 1.47 percent; in the US, it will increase by a negligible 0.06 percent.  A 5 percent revaluation would have an even minor effect.  The Americans, therefore, are barking up the wrong tree.
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Sino-U.S. ties “very important”: China Daily survey [Xinhua]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-US relations, DPR Korea, Hu Jintao, Japan, South China Sea, south Korea, Taiwan, USA on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhuanet) — The number of Chinese people who view Beijing’s ties with Washington as “very important” has doubled in the past year, while most people believe relations will remain stable or improve despite recent turbulence, a survey reveals ahead of President Hu Jintao’s…visit to the United States.

Several Chinese experts, however, noted issues of concern remain between Washington and Beijing and said it is hard to predict how relations will develop in 2011.  A stable partnership needs greater input from both sides, they said.

The survey, jointly conducted by China Daily and Horizon Research Consultancy Group under the theme “The U.S. in Chinese Eyes”, also revealed a downturn in public goodwill toward the U.S. due to political and economic disputes.

Nearly seven in 10 (69.9%) believe that in commercial affairs the world’s two largest economies are both competitors and partners.

Most people consider that China made a greater contribution than the U.S. in handling the financial crisis and trying to combat climate change, the survey showed.

Asked to value Beijing’s ties with Washington, more than half (54.3%) of respondents said they regard Sino-U.S. ties as “very important”, more than double the 26 percent in 2009.

An overwhelming nine in 10 (90.9%) viewed the relationship as “important”.

However, more than half of the respondents believed that ties had deteriorated in 2010, and nearly four in 10 (the report did not give the specific number) said current relations are “in a bad situation”.

Eighty percent said the U.S. was to blame.

As to future ties, six in 10 (no specific figure available) said the relationship will generally remain stable, while about one quarter were more positive, saying it will get better.

People under 30 are more optimistic than those in other age groups.

“The survey results show Chinese people have a higher recognition on the importance of the ties, but a lower emotional recognition toward the U.S.,” said Zhang Chuanjie, deputy director at the Center for U.S.-China Relations affiliated to Tsinghua University.

“The public’s feelings about the U.S. have come to a crossroads, and President Hu Jintao’s visit, at a crucial time, will provide an impetus to push ties down the right road” Zhang said.

On the generally positive attitude of those under 30, Zhang said it is a consequence of greater access to new media, including the Internet. Interaction on blogs and online discussions have enabled them to have access to various sources and to see the huge potential for cooperation between the two countries, he said.

A series of similar annual surveys conducted by Horizon from 2001 to 2009 showed that the Chinese public saw the U.S. as a major threat, yet since 2006 more respondents saw Japan in that light and a large number, more than one third (35.3 percent), viewed Washington as Beijing’s security partner, in 2009.

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The assassination of a nation – 50 years since the killing of the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba [Granma Internacional]

Posted in Africa, Chattel Slavery, France, IMF - International Monetary Fund, State Department, US imperialism, USA, USSR on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 21, 2011

by Josep Fontana

THIS January, 50 years have passed since one of the worst crimes of the Cold War:  the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, which not only signified the death of the prime minister of a democratically elected government, but also the end of the possibility of the Congo developing as an independent nation.  The initiative to assassinate the only Congolese leader who could have put a national construction project into practice came from Eisenhower and Foster Dulles, who shared a fear of the unpredictable evolution of “the mass of non-white, non-European humanity.”

Prime Minister Lumumba traveled to Washington and met with Secretary of State Christian Herter to ask for help, particularly in terms of the transportation means he needed to ensure control of the country.

Eisenhower, who remained at a distance from the capital during Lumumba’s visit, confined himself to asking the National Security Council if it was possible to get rid of him, with which he set in motion the process leading to his assassination.  That happened three days before Lumumba, forced by the U.S. rejection of his transportation request, turned to the Soviets, who supplied him with 100 trucks and 15 cargo planes, an action described by Eisenhower as a “Soviet invasion.”

On August 26, 1960, CIA Director Allen Dulles sent a cable to the chief of the CIA delegation in the Congo, Lawrence Devlin, to tell him that Lumumba’s elimination was “an urgent and prime objective.”  A few days later, President Kasa-vubu, after having discussed the plan with the U.S. ambassador and the UN representative, dismissed Lumumba, despite his party’s parliamentary majority.  While African diplomats tried to mediate in the crisis, Mobutu delivered a heavy blow with the support of Devlin, and arrested Lumumba.  But his imprisonment was not enough, either for the CIA or the Belgian government, whose minister for Africa sent a cable on October 6 asking for his “definitive elimination.”

In order to settle the matter, he was sent with two of his collaborators to Katanga, where they were tortured until they were barely alive.  On January 17, 1961 they were taken to a forest by night, tied to trees and shot, after which care was taken to destroy the bodies in order to eliminate all traces of them.

Shortly afterward, the country was handed over to the government of Joseph Desiré Mobutu, who headed it from 1965 to 1997, with 32 years of a kleptocratic regime which exceeded all examples of corruption known to history, militarily protected by the United States and France and with economic support from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  The fact that, in 1989, when there was no possible doubt as to the disaster into which he had led the country, he was still received at the White House as a champion of freedom is a demonstration of the shamelessness which inspired Cold War politics.

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Carrefour China stores busted for overcharging, refusing to hike wages – over 10+ years, its Shanghai workers’ pay was virtually frozen [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Corruption, Employment, Labor, Law enforcement, Shanghai, Trade unions on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

SHANGHAI, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — For deceptive pricing practices and refusing to hike wages for more than a decade, French retailer Carrefour has come under criticism in China but is taking measures to soothe public anger.

According to media reports, the salaries of more than 6,000 employees at about 20 Carrefour stores in Shanghai barely changed between 1998 and 2010 while the average salary of Shanghai workers more than tripled during the period.

In addition, the retailing giant has refused to hike wages, declining to accept the collective wage negotiation mechanism that has been practised in China since the 1990s.

Sources with the Shanghai Municipal Federation of Trade Unions said Carrefour officials and representatives of the company’s trade union discussed issues again Thursday.

The results of the closed-door negotiations are not likely to be revealed anytime soon, and observers remain suspicious about the talks.

“China does not have a compulsory punishment system for those businesses that reject the collective wage negotiation mechanism,” said Xia Yongmei, executive vice chairwoman of the trade union in Shanghai’s Xinzhuang industrial zone.

The French retailer is involved in another scandal, too – 11 of its China stores were caught overcharging customers for products including cotton underwear and tea.

The stores must pay a fine five times the amount they overcharged, or 500,000 yuan (75,757.5 U.S. dollars) if they can’t calculate that amount, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The company has apologized and offered to refund customers five times the difference between the price charged and the one on the label.

Article link here

“Egypt Protests Show American Foreign-Policy Folly” by Stephen Kinzer [Newsweek]

Posted in Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, US imperialism, USA on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

January 28, 2011

Stephen Kinzer

=Excerpt=

…Events have moved quickly since then President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia has been overthrown, Hezbollah has chosen the new prime minister of Lebanon and [hundreds of] thousands have taken to the streets in Egypt to demand an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship.  The Middle East is erupting—and the U.S. is watching from the sidelines [sic].   Unable to guide the course of events, it can do little more than cheer for its sclerotic allies and hope that popular anger does not sweep them aside.

Washington sees the various local and national conflicts in the Middle East as part of a battle for regional hegemony between the U.S. and Iran.  If this is true, the U.S. is losing.  That is because it has stubbornly held onto Middle East policies that were shaped for the Cold War.  The security environment in the region has changed dramatically since then.  Iran has shown itself agile enough to align itself with rising new forces that enjoy the support of millions.  The U.S., meanwhile, remains allied with countries and forces that looked strong 30 or 40 years ago but no longer are…

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Kosovo and Albania: Dirty Work in the Balkans by NATO’s KLA Frankenstein [Antifascist Calling / Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Albania, Austria, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, DEA, FBI, Germany, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, NATO, Roma people, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Sweden, Switzerland, Torture, Turkey, UNSC, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions, Wikileaks, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Tom Burghardt

January 28, 2011

The U.S. and German-installed leadership of Kosovo finds itself under siege after the Council of Europe voted Tuesday to endorse a report charging senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of controlling a brisk trade in human organs, sex slaves and narcotics.

Coming on the heels of a retrial later this year of KLA commander and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, an enormous can of worms is about to burst open.

Last month, Antifascist Calling reported that Hashim Thaçi, the current Prime Minister of the breakaway Serb province, and other members of the self-styled Drenica Group, were accused by Council of Europe investigators of running a virtual mafia state.

According to Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty, the Council’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Thaçi, Dr. Shaip Muja, and other leading members of the government directed–and profited from–an international criminal enterprise whose tentacles spread across Europe into Israel, Turkey and South Africa.

For his part, Thaçi has repudiated the allegations and has threatened to sue Marty for libel.  Sali Berisha, Albania’s current Prime Minister and Thaçi’s close ally, dismissed the investigation as a “completely racist and defamatory report,” according to The New York Times.

That’s rather rich coming from a politician who held office during the systematic looting of Albania’s impoverished people during the “economic liberalization” of the 1990s.

At the time, Berisha’s Democratic Party government urged Albanians to invest in dodgy pyramid funds, massive Ponzi schemes that were little more than fronts for drug money laundering and arms trafficking.

More than a decade ago, Global Research analyst Michel Chossudovsky documented how the largest fund, “VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue ‘families’ of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests,” even though the fund “was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.”

By 1997, two-thirds of the Albanian population who believed fairy tales of capitalist prosperity spun by their kleptocratic leaders and the IMF, lost some $1.2 billion to the well-connected fraudsters.  When the full extent of the crisis reached critical mass, it sparked an armed revolt that was only suppressed after the UN Security Council deployed some 7,000 NATO troops that occupied the country; more than 2,000 people were killed.

Today the Berisha regime, like their junior partners in Pristina, face a new legitimacy crisis.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported, mass protests broke out in Tirana last week, with more than 20,000 demonstrators taking to the streets, after a nationally broadcast report showed a Deputy Prime Minister from Berisha’s party “in secretly taped talks, openly negotiating the level of bribes to back the construction of a new hydroelectric power station.”

As is the wont of gangster states everywhere, “police responded with extreme violence against the demonstrators; three people died and dozens were injured.”

While the charges against Thaçi and his confederates are shocking, evidence that these horrific crimes have been known for years, and suppressed, both by the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and by top American and German officials–the political mandarins pulling Balkan strings–lend weight to suspicions that a protective wall was built around their protégés; facts borne out by subsequent NATO investigations, also suppressed.

Leaked Military Intelligence Reports

On Monday, a series of NATO reports were leaked to The Guardian.  Military intelligence officials, according to investigative journalist Paul Lewis, identified Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi as one of the “‘biggest fish’ in organised crime in his country.”

Marked “Secret” by NATO spooks, Lewis disclosed that the 2004 reports also “indicate that the US and other western powers backing Kosovo’s government have had extensive knowledge of its criminal connections for several years.”

According to The Guardian, the files, tagged “‘USA KFOR’ … provide detailed information about organised criminal networks in Kosovo based on reports by western intelligence agencies and informants,” and also “identify another senior ruling politician in Kosovo as having links to the Albanian mafia, stating that he exerts considerable control over Thaçi, a former guerrilla leader.”

As noted above, with the Council of Europe demanding a formal investigation into charges that Thaçi’s criminal enterprise presided over a grisly traffic in human organs and exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade, it appears that the American and German-backed narco statelet is in for a very rough ride.

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