Archive for the Sinomania! site Category

What happened to the “Chinese collapse” call? [Sinomania! blog]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, Economy, Housing, Sinomania! site on September 24, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Ben Chalmes

Stephen Green of Standard Chartered Bank (Shanghai), an expert in China’s stock markets, writes in Bloomberg that China is returning to a “Sweet Spot” for foreign investment as the Chinese economy is neither too hot nor too cold.  China may see an influx of $100 billion (US dollars) in FDI this year.

Morgan Stanley’s Chief Economist for China Qing Wang (he replaced Andy Xie) calls it the “Goldilocks Scenario” and has advised for some time that Beijing’s mandarins [sic] are skilled at using the right policy tools at the right time and have succeeded so far in avoiding hyperinflation and any crash including, it appears, a property bubble.

If China is Goldilocks what about the “Bears” that said China was too hot/cold and ready to crash?  Mark Faber, Jim Chanos, and others [who have predicted imminent crashes of various aspects of China’s economy/society] may have some explaining to do if China doesn’t disintegrate soon…

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China’s housing bubble: disaster at hand or wolf-crying? [Sweet & Sour Socialism “China bubble trouble?” report series]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Corporate Media Critique, CPC, Sinomania! site on June 9, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Recently there is a lot of talk from financial journalists about the direness of China’s “housing bubble”.  Do they know what they’re talking about?  There certainly is hardship amongst certain urban Chinese in buying a home.

What Western people may not realize is that comparison’s of China’s property issues to recent decades’ collapses in property in both the US and EU make for a poor comparison, with quantitatively different situations.

What’s more, there is a kind of propaganda from China’s rivals and enemies wherein a ‘crash’ of some sort, either of the Communist Party leadership, the economy, or a branch thereof  —  in this case, a ‘housing bubble’  —  is predictably predicted year after year after year, and which never come true.  And these are the same neo-liberal-dogmatic media elites who were almost universally blindsided by the current economic recession / depression.

Ben Chalmes’ “Sinomania” blog is the best blog on China (in my opinion) and he’s addressed the housing bubble issue head-on in a tremendous short article from January 2010 called “China Housing not a Bubble“.  I can only link to it…

In brief, he presents solid facts that China’s current radical urbanization places its property market on a totally different plane from any North American or European developed-economy paradigm and calling China’s situation a “bubble” isn’t appropriate at all.  He goes on to touch on policy adjustments currently being considered by the CPC, including the implementation of a property tax (at this time there isn’t any).

See also his even briefer blog entry “Chinese Doomsayers Keep Talking” from  April 15 this year, where he states that within the year we’ll know who’s right and who’s blowing smoke… 

After following Ben’s blog for a few years now, I’ve never yet seen him fall or make a bad prediction; which is more than I can say for the majority of mainstream economists and so-called “China experts”. 

Future installments in this series will explore the issue further.  – 左手

How to Read the News about China []

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Corporate Media Critique, Sinomania! site with tags on May 14, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

I rely on Ben Chalmes’ Sinomania! blog for no-nonsense positive reports on Chinese business and beyond.   This year it has been the pre-eminent source for exposing both the Obama connection in Google’s farcical exit from China and the annual regurgitated myths about eminent collapses of China’s government, China’s economy, China’s housing market, etc. etc. which are prognosticated by so-called Western experts.  You will see more of Mr. Chalmes invaluable yet underexposed work in this blog.   

Sinomania! is currently under construction but here’s some valuable tips on “How to Read the News about China“; this provided an invaluable orientation to me when I came to China and helped me find my footing in the very slippery world of mass media.   It’s a touch dated now but still golden.  The linked page also has a decent set of “China News Links” for those who might wish to delve further into the world of China’s coverage on the Internet, although Chalmes’ is much more willing than I to be a gateway to a lot of erratically correct media outlets.


Every minute of every hour of every day news stories are reported and broadcast about what’s going on in and around China.  Many of the sources are reliable but many are not.  Many news reports on China are from reporters or commentators who are located far from China.  Some have never been to China and know nothing about the country.  Whenever you read the news about China it is essential to stop and evaluate the source before you can believe what you’ve read.

Print Media Dominates China News

Despite all the advances in modern technology most news about China comes to us from the oldest media – the printed page.  Newspapers and magazines (including specialized and “scholarly” journals) spread most of the news about China.  The exception is business and financial news where some online services (usually requiring paid subscription) are also a primary source.

Prevalence of Anti-China Bias

Many of these newspapers and magazines have long-standing anti-China editorial biases.  Often this bias is subtle and reflected only in the “voice” of the source.  For example, a story about a Chinese government agency shutting down some illegal Internet “café’s” because they are unlicensed businesses prompts an editor to pen the headline “China Bans Internet Access”.  This voice shapes and warps our understanding of China and is based on an elitist view deeply and often unconsciously ingrained in many Westerners that China is a brutal and backward place and in need of betterment.

While most major print media and broadcast/satellite television now have reporters in China, they are usually only in the capital Beijing.  Thus reports on events outside the capital in the vast expanse of mainland China are often based on hearsay and not researched or investigated.  Most major newsrooms still get their information on what’s going on in China from the Chinese media itself and from translating and analyzing such things as government reports and the minutes of party meetings.  These methods have changed little over the past half century.

My own last point would be “what’s the evidence”?  Is one being presented some innuendo, claims and suggestions or is there hard journalistic documentation of the phenomena in question?  The more experienced media don’t necessarily resort to lies, although they do that too.  They excel at hints that are almost subliminal, forced perspectives, and mis-educations that confuse the readership and exploit prejudices cultivated in the West for generations.