To Urbanize, China Needs More People

To Urbanize, China Needs More PeopleChina is famously making an effort to spur its economy by increasing the rate of urbanization, moving as many as 250 million more people from low productivity work in agriculture to city factories and service industries in what is intended to be one of the biggest social experiments in world history. But although the package…

Huxley vs. Orwell: China Today

Huxley vs. Orwell: China TodayVictor Fic, a veteran freelance journalist in Toronto,  recently interviewed Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor at the University of California, UC Irvine Department of History and the author of China in the 21st Century: What everyone needs to know. Fic asks: Is China veering towards Orwell or Huxley? Perhaps both at the same time, Wasserstrom says. A…

Chinese Government Caught Flatfooted by Separatist Attack

Chinese Government Caught Flatfooted by Separatist AttackThe horrific knife attack in the city of Kunming on March 2, which took the lives of 29 and left 130 wounded, suggests that the Chinese government’s policies to counter Uyghur unrest are having unforeseen consequences well outside of Xinjiang. And the government is likely increasingly concerned that its post-2009 measures have been unsuccessful, given…

Behind the China Sex Raids

Behind the China Sex RaidsWhat is really behind Beijing’s proclaimed crackdown on vices – sex, gambling and drugs? It began with an assault on the sex industry in Dongguan, the city wedged between Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Although primarily still a light manufacturing center with a vast number of single and lonely males working in the factories, Dongguan morphed into…

China’s One-Child Nonsense

China’s One-Child NonsenseFor more than three decades the One-Child policy has been among the most discussed, praised and reviled aspects of post-Mao, reform-era China. But the facts of China’s demographics over the past 50 years suggest that the impact of the policy has been vastly exaggerated so easing of it will similarly have a modest medium-term impact…

Hong Kongers Flee the Heat from a China Sex Raid

Hong Kongers Flee the Heat from a China Sex RaidBaidu, the enormously popular Chinese-language version of Google, launched a “heat map” before the Lunar New Year to show trends of where Chinese travelers were heading to and coming from as hundreds of millions headed for their homes for the traditional holiday, which began Jan. 31. But Baidu and the police didn’t expect that it…

China’s Great Green Wall

China’s Great Green WallAfter China was hit by devastating floods along the Yangtze River basin in 1998 that drowned more than 4,000 people and made 15 million homeless, government officials put in place what is by far the world’s biggest tree planting operation in an attempt to slow desertification, flooding and other problems. The program came in the…

Chinese New Year without Fireworks?

Chinese New Year without Fireworks?Every year in China, the newspapers can be guaranteed to carry stories of exploding fireworks factories that leave workers dead or reeling around the sites, trying to find their ears. On Feb. 2, last year, a truckful exploded on an elevated expressway in Henan that was powerful enough to actually bring down a section of…

The One-Child Policy that Wasn’t

The One-Child Policy that Wasn’tGreat exaggeration has been made of the headline news from the just-ended Communist Party Central Committee Plenum about China ending its One Child policy. In the first place the policy is merely being “adjusted,” not abolished. While many in China are aware that for the future a scarcity of young people will be a major…

Can China Really Urbanize?

Can China Really Urbanize?Plenty of ideas for driving China toward being a modern economy are on view in the run-up to the Party Plenum – interest rate liberalization, rural land rights, abolition of the hukou system, competition for state enterprises, etc., showing that top advisory bodies know what should be done even if vested interests stand in the…
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