A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘china

[LINK] “Argentina Moves Towards Marriage of Convenience with China”

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The Inter Press Service’s Fabiana Frayssinet notes Argentina’s recent rapprochement with China, driven by changing economic dynamics.

The government of Argentina is building a marriage of convenience with China, which some see as uneven and others see as an indispensable alliance for a new level of insertion in the global economy.

[. . .]

President Cristina Fernández called the new relationship with China an “integral strategic alliance,” after signing a package of 22 agreements with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 4.

The accords include areas like space technology, mining, energy, financing, livestock and cultural matters. They cover the construction of two nuclear and two hydropower plants, considered key to this country’s goal of energy self-sufficiency.

“Although they are important, the new agreements and others that were signed earlier are insufficient to gauge the dimension of the bilateral commitment,” said Jorge Castro, the director of the Strategic Planning Institute and an expert on China.

“For Argentina, the relationship with China has elements that are essential for insertion into the international system of the 21st century, along with other countries of the South, headed by Brazil,” he told IPS.

“These ties are between the new fulcrum of the global economy, China-Asia, and Argentina as a nation and as a regional unit,” he said.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 25, 2015 at 11:33 pm

[LINK] “China to neighbours: Send us your Uighurs”

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Al Jazeera’s Bethany Matta notes how China is pressuring neighbouring countries to deport their Uighur migrant populations to China, on the grounds of their alleged support for terrorism.

Isreal Ahmet, an ethnic Uighur who immigrated to Afghanistan from western China, lived and worked in Kabul for more than a decade before being detained and deported by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) last summer.

Ahmet, who lived in a meagre, mud-brick house, was described as an honest businessman by those who know him.

An NDS official – speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to talk to the media – told Al Jazeera that Ahmet was detained for lacking legal documentation and carrying counterfeit money. He was held in a jail cell with more than two dozen other Chinese Uighurs, including women and children.

Flagged as a spy, Ahmet was quickly escorted to the Kabul International Airport, where Chinese officials were waiting for him. He boarded a plane and has not been heard from since.

Eleven other Uighur men sharing a cell with Ahmet were also sent back to China, according to the NDS official, adding that six women and 12 children in another cell had refused to go. The whereabouts of these women and children are currently unknown.

“Some [of the detainees] were spies, some were [potential] suicide attackers and some illegally entered the country,” said the NDS official.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 23, 2015 at 11:56 pm

[LINK] “The dark future of American space exploration”

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At Vox, David W. Brown describes howshort-sighted American politics mean that NASA’s budget for interplanetary probes will be cut to the bone. All I can add is that at least the United States is not the only country, or group of countries, with the capacity for interplanetary exploration. As posts I’ve made here have pointed out, India, China, and the European Space Agency have all done quite nicely with their tentative explorations of the universe outside of Earth orbit.

[T]he allotment for planetary science has been cut to $1.36 billion — the fourth such proposed cut by the Obama administration, and far short of what is needed by the program. (The rest of NASA’s budget goes to earth science, human space exploration, and operation of the International Space Station, among other things.) According to the Planetary Society, a nonprofit space research and advocacy organization, for the planetary science division to run well, the United States should spend at least $1.5 billion every year to explore other worlds — “less overall,” they report, “than what Americans spent on dog toys in 2012.”

Fiscal year 2013 saw the White House’s Office of Management and Budget call for slashing planetary science funding by one-fifth. Though Congress restored much of the money, the program has yet to fully recover, and with the doleful figures in the 2016 budget, it is again up to Congress to find money to keep the program funded.

In that regard, planetary science is at a disadvantage compared to other federal programs. During the budget standoff in 2013, for example, national parks were closed, which prompted an immediate backlash from the public. But because it generally takes several years for spacecraft to reach the outer planets, they are already funded by the time they start returning data. In other words, the ticket is purchased before the flight arrives at its destination. As such, from the public’s point of view, the planetary science program will seem stronger than ever, returning spectacular images of alien worlds, while in fact the program is hobbling along, ill-prepared for the future due to consecutive years of reduced budgets.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 23, 2015 at 11:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO notes that the cash-strapped CBC may be forced to sell its iconic downtown Toronto headquarters.
  • James Bow reflects on winter in Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper studying the relationship between exoplanets and circumstellar dust discs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a simulation of the polar atmosphere of Venus and notes concerns that India’s Hindustan Aeronautics might not be able to manufacture French Rafale fighters under contract.
  • Far Outliers notes Madeleine Albright’s incomprehension of Cambodia’s late 1990s struggles and looks at the way the country lags its neighbours.
  • The Frailest Thing notes how human traffic errors reveal we’re not quite up to some of the tasks we’d like.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Finland’s president has signed a marriage bill into existence.
  • Languages of the World notes the problem of where the homeland of the Indo-Europeans was located.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the often-ignored pattern of lynching Mexicans in the United States.
  • Marginal Revolution notes (1, 2) the problems of human beings with algorithmic, computer-driven planning.
  • Otto Pohl notes how Germans in Kyrgyzstan were forced into labour battalions.
  • pollotenchegg looks at demographic indicators in Ukraine over the past year, noting a collapse in the east.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at deep history, looking at the involvement of war in state-building in Africa and noting the historically recent rise of inequality in Latin America.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at one Russian’s proposal to give a Ukrainian church self-government, notes Russia’s inability to serve as a mentor to China, and looks at rural depopulation in the North Caucasus and South Russia.

[DM] “Three links on African immigration to China”

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I’ve a post up at Demography Matters linking to one blog and two articles examining the phenomenon of African immigration to China. Go, read.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2015 at 4:57 am

[LINK] “China’s Harbin City courts Jews once again”

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At Canadian Jewish News, Ng Weng Hoong writes about the interest of at least some Chinese in a revival of the Jewish commnunity in the northeastern metropolis of Harbin.

When Chinese tour guide Eric Liu found out that Jews were fleeing Paris and other European cities to escape their worsening anti-Semitic environment, he asked if they might want to “return” to his city of Harbin, once among the most vibrant and important Jewish centres in the Far East.

“We welcome them. They are smart, educated and hard-working, and will be a very positive influence for the city,” he said as he recounted the role of Jewish businessmen, musicians, writers, bankers and engineers in making this northeastern Chinese city one of the country’s most prosperous early last century.

[. . .]

China has been quietly growing trade and investment with Israel and Jewish businesses. From about $2.6 billion (US) in 2005, Israel’s bilateral trade with China had grown to $15.59 billion in 2013, just slightly below the $16.3 billion worth of business conducted with the United States.

Given recent growth rates, China could soon overtake the United States as Israel’s largest trading partner, said Ophir Gore, the head of trade mission at the Israeli embassy in Beijing. With China hungry for Israeli water expertise, information technology and farming know-how, the government of Israel has set a target to double its exports to the Asian nation over the next five years.

As if catching up with its own past, Harbin is eager to attract a new wave of Jewish businesses and settlers to replicate the success that the earlier legendary generation had brought. Mayor Song Xibin is leading a delegation to Israel this month to invite Israeli investors to his hometown.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2015 at 2:04 am

[LINK] “No, India Isn’t Growing Like China”

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Bloomberg View’s William Pesek suggests that India needs to do more if it is to rival China economically.

India bulls are ecstatic. According to revised gross domestic product numbers released earlier this week, the country will expand 7.4 percent in the year through March — on par with rival China. Never mind that most other indicators — from manufacturing to trade to corporate investment — seem to show that the economy is at best bottoming out, or that central banker Raghuram Rajan has himself expressed puzzlement over the revised figures. For optimists, India has once again reached that holy grail of emerging economies: “China-like” growth.

India has been here before, of course. So have dozens of other countries, from Brazil to Turkey to tiny Sri Lanka. At one point or another, all have posted growth rates above 8 percent, leading to predictions of a liftoff like the one that’s powered China for more than three decades. In most cases, those dreams have fizzled out within a couple years. Weak fundamentals, irrational investor exuberance and in some cases, credit or commodity busts quickly puncture fantasies of global dominance. By contrast, while its economy has begun to slow, China has grown an average of 8.5 percent for the last five years. Its Gini coefficient, a measure of a nation’s rich-poor gap, has improved in each of them.

Ironically, achieving China-like growth is often the surest way to lose it. Leaders fall prey to hubris and complacency, hyping all the factors that supposedly guarantee a long run at the top: young populations, abundant resources, the unwavering affection of investors. That overconfidence fosters drift and bad policy. Remember, during its first term, India’s previous Congress-led government also topped 8 percent growth. During its second, it focused on sharing the wealth through huge transfer programs rather than opening India to foreign investment, reducing red tape and deregulating fossilized industries. Growth, according the old formulas, slid below five percent.

Officials from New Delhi to Manila should be learning from China not just how to achieve high growth, but more importantly, how to sustain it. The mainland economy faces huge challenges of its own, of course. President Xi Jinping must shift growth engines away from exports and overinvestment toward services, as well as clean up Beijing’s notoriously corrupt political machine. But China has gotten right many of the elements critical to raising the quality of growth. Among them: running a current-account surplus, beating inflation, boosting productivity and taming politics.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 18, 2015 at 11:10 pm


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