The Daily Twit – 10/26/12: Gray Lady Down

October 26, 2012

Today’s English-language, foreign China news was dominated by a discussion of . . . English-language, foreign China news. No wait, hear me out. You see, a certain major newspaper from the U.S., often known as the Gray Lady, published an in-depth research piece on the family finances of a certain China government official.

This sort of thing is frowned upon here in China, and when the media does something like this, web sites tend to get blocked. For example, a certain well known media group that focuses on business reporting did something similar this past June and ran into the same trouble.

So it goes. (Every time I use that line, I have to send the estate of Kurt Vonnegut a dollar.)

Throughout the day, there has been a series of foreign media navel-gazing pieces that cited to the original article and talked about relevant news industry topics. All well and good, if you’re into that sort of thing.

My reaction? Muted, for several reasons (aside from the obvious). For the most part, I have little to say about the article and the government reaction because none of it, from beginning to end, is even a little surprising. I’m not trying to criticize the reporting here; I’m just saying I sort of already knew how this was going to play out (kind of like watching the last half hour of Titanic).

So let’s move on to some other topics, with the subject of the day being “China domestic issues”:

Reuters: China’s year of political surprises not over yet — For China watchers, there is perhaps more than a little “I hope so” as a subtitle to this headline. No one wants a disruptive political season, of course, but something unscripted is always fun once in a while.

Xinhua: Bo Xilai expelled from national legislature — Speaking of unscripted . . . well, you know. This is not at all how 2012 was supposed to go.

BBC News: Where are the powerful Chinese women? — Now that we’re paying attention to Chinese politics, yeah, where are all the female leaders? Not a new question, and we’re still waiting on a satisfactory answer. Personally, I’d also like to know why the U.S. government (better than China on this issue but still not great) hasn’t had a female president and why the legislature is such an Old Boys’ Club. Sad.

Economist: Embarrassed meritocrats — Old (very old) debate over whether China’s government is really a meritocracy or something else. And if it is something less than meritocratic, is that idea aspirational (i.e., will China get there some day)?

East Asia Forum: Does China know it must change? — No, not more politics. This one is about economic policy, specifically rebalancing the economy away from investment and towards more consumption and the role of the private sector.

Bloomberg: Flood of money leaving China — Lots of articles on capital flight these days, both via legal and illegal means. Most of today’s news on the subject were reporting on a new study by the organization Global Financial Integrity, and the numbers are really, really big. You can also check out a similar story by Reuters: Dirty money cost China $3.8 trillion 2000-2011.

CNN: More Chinese cities need to come clean on air pollution — Not about pollution per se, but about disclosing pollution data. Good day for this article; the Beijing sky looked like split pea soup.

China Daily: Plan to halve capital’s traffic controversial — Speaking of air pollution, this article was rather depressing. Seems like a) we have to reduce the number of cars on the road, but b) it’s just not going to happen in an effective manner. Nice.

China Dialogue: Overfishing Pushes 80% of Chinese Fishermen Towards Bankruptcy — This environmental story is a few days old, but I just saw it this morning. Another very important, yet depressing, story. Overfishing is a problem that can be solved by government action (I saw that in Massachusetts in the late 90s), but there needs to be the political will to pass tough laws and then enforce them. {sigh}

Morning Whistle: Mental Health Law passed in China — I’ve been writing about this for several years now, and it’s finally been done. Let’s hope things like compulsory/forced admissions to mental institutions become a thing of the past.

Asia Times: US learns hard lessons of Asia ‘pivot’ — Will America’s new Asia policy mean better engagement in the region or just piss off the PRC?

Foreign Policy: The Cyber Trade War — Adam Segal writes that the recent debate over Huawei and ZTE belongs in a greater context, one that deals with the technology infrastructure of both the U.S. and China.

China Accounting Blog: VIE Rumors — Paul Gillis has been hearing disturbing rumblings from both sides of the Pacific about VIEs. I haven’t written about this yet as these are just rumors, and it’s not clear what, if anything is going on. Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “The Daily Twit – 10/26/12: Gray Lady Down

  1. colin

    Good on the Chinese for finally booting that liberal gray whore. The journalists and editors there are the epitome of liberal narcissism and hypocrisy.