Archive for the Beijing Category

Beijing hosts First World Congress on Marxism [Global Times]

Posted in Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Education, Marx, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on February 8, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Zhang Hui
Published: 2015-10-12

*** Ideology to help China through social, economic challenges: analysts ***

China attaches great importance to the …first World Congress on Marxism in Beijing in solving its growing social and economic problems during the transition period, and the event offered a chance for China to spread Marxist ideology, observers said on Sunday.

As the biggest academic conference on Marxism held in China, the congress, “Marxism and the Development of the Human Race,” attracted more than 400 Marxist scholars from 20 countries.

The discussions center on China’s development path, theories and systems, together with the worldwide influence exerted by Marxism to promote human development, the Guangming Daily reported on Sunday.

Observers said that the congress helped address China’s concerns during a critical transition.

“China faces an increasing number of problems in the midst of its economic slowdown and deepening reform, such as corruption and the growing income gap, which require the country to use Marxism to explain and solve them,” Xin Xiangyang, a research fellow on Marxism at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

The congress also provided an opportunity for Western countries to learn from China, as China’s adherence to Marxism for decades has made huge headway in both social and economic development, while the Western world has not fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, Xin said.

Observers said that since President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of Marxist ideology, there has been a resurgence of the ideology as the theoretical foundation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in China.

President Xi said in January that Marxist philosophy provides CPC members with the right approach to problem-solving, as China continues its path of reform and development.

He stressed several times “sinicization” and modernization of Marxism in his speeches since 2013.

However, China still faces challenges in adopting Marxism.

China has not reached a level of “common prosperity” as stated in Marxist thought. Corruption still exists, while Marxism has called for clean government, Wang Zhanyang, director of the Political Science Department at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the Global Times.

Peking University, sponsor of the congress, has attached increasing importance to Marxism.

It held a foundation-laying ceremony in May for a building named after German philosopher Karl Marx, to celebrate his 197th birth anniversary.

Edited by Zuo Shou. Original article title: “Beijing hosts 1st Marxism congress”

Full article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/946549.shtml

See also related article from event host Peking University website, link: http://english.pku.edu.cn/news_events/news/global/3979.htm

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/01/pers-a01.html

AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

Yahoo to exit from Chinese mainland market [China Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Economy, Employment, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan on March 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015-03-20 /By Emma Gonzalez and Meng Jing

~Closure of Beijing R&D center expected to result in as many as 300 job losses~

Yahoo Inc is set to completely exit from China this year, after the United States-based technology giant said it was shutting its research and development center in Beijing.

The company’s decision to end its only physical presence in the Chinese mainland could eliminate as many as 300 jobs, industry sources said on Thursday. Yahoo, however, declined to specify the actual number of jobs that would be made redundant.

“We are constantly making changes to align resources, and to foster better collaboration and innovation across our business. Today (Wednesday) we informed our employees based in Beijing that we will be closing our office there,” a statement said.

The workers, mostly engineers, will be relieved from their posts by the end of this month, according to The South China Morning Post.

Richard Kramer, the London-based managing director of Arete Research, an equity research firm, said: “The mainland has not been a major part of Yahoo’s strategy for many years, even though the company has good legacy businesses in Hong Kong and Taiwan”.

The company’s announcement, however, did not surprise most industry experts, as they feel that company has been under increasing pressure from shareholders to reduce costs and improve profits.

Yahoo’s other two R&D facilities, one located in its headquarters in California and the other in Bengaluru, India, have also been affected by job cuts in recent months.

Neil Shah, research director at market research firm Counterpoint, said: “The writing was very much on the wall. Since the end of 2013, Yahoo had started scaling down its services in the Chinese mainland and it was about time to reduce the unwanted resources not contributing to any revenues.”

This year has been tough for foreign technology companies operating in the Chinese mainland as they face increasing competition from stronger local firms. In February, Microsoft announced that it would close two factories and lay off around 9,000 workers. Also in February, social gaming company Zynga decided to close its studio in Beijing.

Underperforming search business vis-a-vis local firms like Baidu, as well as overall corporate streamlining of operations to close down unprofitable centers, are some of the reasons why Yahoo has decided to close the Beijing office, said Shah from Counterpoint.

Will Tao, an analyst at consulting firm iResearch, said: ‘The salary of Chinese developers is now higher than their Indian counterparts. Therefore, it was just a matter of time for it to happen…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/beijing/2015-03/20/content_19864173.htm

China’s new grand canal brings water to arid north [China Daily / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archive]

Posted in Beijing, China, CPC, Employment, Hangzhou, Henan Province, Mao Zedong, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Tianjin on March 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2014-12-16

~ Largest project of its kind, proposed in 1952, took more than a decade to construct ~

More than 1,400 kilometers of canal and pipeline began transferring water on Friday from China’s longest river, the Yangtze, to the country’s arid northern regions, including the nation’s capital, Beijing.

Completion of this section marks major progress in the enormous South-to-North Water Diversion Project, costing an estimated 500 billion yuan ($80 billion) and the largest of its kind in the world.

President Xi Jinping sent his congratulations on Friday to workers and people “who have made contributions” to the middle route project, calling the achievement a “major event” in the nation’s modernization drive.

He said the success has come through ceaseless effort by hundreds of thousands of people since construction started on Dec 30, 2003. More than 200,000 workers participated in the construction.

Xi described the project as important strategic infrastructure that would optimize water resources, boost sustainable economic and social development, and improve people’s livelihoods.

The south-north water diversion project is another feat of Chinese engineering, in the style of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, the world’s longest man-made river, constructed in the 13th century to transport grain between the south and north.

Water will eventually flow via eastern, middle and western routes along canals, pipelines and tunnels. It took eight years for engineers and workers to complete two 4,000-meter-long tunnels under the riverbed of the Yellow River, China’s second largest.

The first-stage of the project, the eastern route, went into operation last year, sending water to Shandong province. By 2050, as many as 440 million people could benefit from the diversion of 44.8 billion cubic meters of water each year.

The middle route begins at Danjiangkou reservoir, in Hubei province, and runs for 1,432 km. It will supply 9.5 billion cu m of water per year to some 100 million people in the dry northern regions, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, and provinces of Henan and Hebei.

The water will meet household, industrial and agricultural demand, benefiting more than 100 counties.

President Xi urged the route’s management to protect the quality of water and to save water.

Work still needs to be done to ensure the livelihoods and employment of the 400,000 people displaced by the construction, including 345,000 people whose hometown was submerged as part of the massive Danjiangkou reservoir.

Premier Li Keqiang said the project will benefit both current and future generations, and urged the project management team to ensure the security and stability of supply.

The project was conceived by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong in 1952 but only approved by the State Council in December 2002, after nearly half a century of debate.

It has been widely hailed as an example of how the Chinese people are capable of bettering their lives through hard work. But the new waterway presents fresh challenges, such as the protection of water quality from unforeseen natural risks in the future.

Article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2014-12/16/content_19093414.htm

2015 March 8, Int’l Women’s Day – World leaders must recommit to gender equality [China.org.cn]

Posted in Beijing, China, Holidays in China on March 8, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

March 8, 2015

If we look at the headlines or the latest horrifying YouTube clip, today – International Women’s Day – may seem a bad time to celebrate equality for women. But alongside the stories of extraordinary atrocities and everyday violence lies another reality, one where more girls are in school and more are earning qualifications than ever before; where maternal mortality is at an all-time low; where more women are in leadership positions, and where women are increasingly standing up, speaking out and demanding action.

Twenty years ago this September, thousands of delegates left the historic Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing on a high. The overwhelming feeling was that women had won a great victory. We had indeed – 189 world leaders had committed their countries to an extraordinary platform for action, with ambitious but realistic promises in key areas and a roadmap for getting there.

If countries had lived up to all those promises, we would be seeing a lot more progress in equality today than the modest gains in some areas we are currently celebrating. We would be talking about equality for women across the board – and we might be talking about a saner, more evenly prosperous, more sustainably peaceful world.

Looking today at the slow and patchy progress towards equality, it seems that we were madly ambitious to expect to wipe out in 20 years a regime of gender inequality and outright oppression that had lasted in some cases for thousands of years.

Then again – was it really so much to ask? What sort of world is it that condemns half its population to second-class status at best and outright slavery at worst? How much would it really cost to unlock the potential of the world’s women? And how much could have been gained! If world leaders really saw the Beijing platform for action as an investment in their countries’ future, why didn’t they follow through?

Some women are taking a seat at the top table. There were 12 female heads of state or government in 1990, and 19 in 2015. But the rest are men. Eight out of every 10 parliamentarians worldwide are still men…

The writer is UN Women executive director [sic].

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2015-03/08/content_34975550.htm

Chinese opt to study, but not stay, in US: report [China Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, China-US relations, Education, Employment, India, Shanghai, south Korea, USA on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York (China Daily USA)

China remains by far the largest source country for foreign students coming to the US for higher education, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

From 2008 to 2012, more than 1.1 million foreign students attended school in the US, and China comprised the largest portion of that group, with 285,000 students entering the US with F-1 student visas, showed the new study The Geography of Foreign Students in US Higher Education: Origins and Destinations on Aug 29.

During that time foreign students studying in the US contributed more than $21 billion in tuition and close to $13 billion in living costs to the American economy. But just 45 percent of these students extended their visas after graduation and got jobs in the US.

“Chinese students are coming to the US to study in fields that are highly sought out, and to get the skills to compete in this global economy,” Neil G. Ruiz, an associate fellow at the Brookings, who wrote the new study, told China Daily.

“China is special because the numbers are so large, but a lot of foreign students are coming from the newly-emerging cities in China, like Nanjing, Guangzhou, Wuhan, etc,” Ruiz said, “so Beijing and Shanghai are not the only cities that these students are coming from because of the high demand for an American education.”

The report shows that two-thirds of foreign students are studying in “STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or business, management and marketing fields,” compared to 48 percent of their US counterparts…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2014-09/01/content_18525887.htm