China‘s July Factory Inflation Slows but Consumer Prices Accelerate

CNBC
The July inflation data is the first official reading on the impact on prices from China‘s retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods that went into effect on July 6 and apply to a range of products from soybeans, to mixed nuts and whiskey.

Books

04.12.18

China’s Great Wall of Debt

Dinny McMahon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Over the course of a decade spent reporting on the ground in China as a financial journalist, Dinny McMahon gradually came to the conclusion that the widely held belief in China’s inevitable economic ascent is dangerously wrong.In this unprecedented deep dive, McMahon shows how, lurking behind the illusion of prosperity, China’s economic growth has been built on a staggering mountain of debt. While stories of newly built but empty cities, white elephant state projects, and a byzantine shadow banking system have all become a regular fixture in the press in recent years, McMahon goes beyond the headlines to explain how such waste has been allowed to flourish, and why one of the most powerful governments in the world has been at a loss to stop it.Through the stories of ordinary Chinese citizens, McMahon tries to make sense of the unique—and often bizarre—mechanics of the Chinese economy, whether it be the state’s addiction to appropriating land from poor farmers, why a Chinese entrepreneur decided it was cheaper to move his yarn factory to South Carolina, why ambitious Chinese mayors build ghost cities, or why the Chinese bureaucracy was able to stare down Beijing’s attempts to break up the state’s pointless monopoly over the distribution of table salt.Debt, entrenched vested interests, a frenzy of speculation, and an aging population are all pushing China toward an economic reckoning. China’s Great Wall of Debt unravels an incredibly complex and opaque economy, one whose fortunes—for better or worse—will shape the globe like never before.{chop}

China’s "Rogue Aid" to Africa Isn't as Much or as Controversial as We Thought

Lily Kuo
Quartz
A decade ago, a New York Times columnist coined the term “rogue aid” to describe China’s financial assistance in the developing world: nontransparent, nondemocratic, and above all self-interested. Since then, the label has stuck.

Books

09.27.17

Cracking the China Conundrum

Yukon Huang
China’s rise is altering global power relations, reshaping economic debates, and commanding tremendous public attention. Despite extensive media and academic scrutiny, the conventional wisdom about China’s economy is often wrong. Cracking the China Conundrum provides a holistic and contrarian view of China’s major economic, political, and foreign policy issues.Yukon Huang trenchantly addresses widely accepted yet misguided views in the analysis of China’s economy. He examines arguments about the causes and effects of China’s possible debt and property market bubbles, trade and investment relations with the West, the links between corruption and political liberalization in a growing economy, and Beijing’s more assertive foreign policies. Huang explains that such misconceptions arise in part because China’s economic system is unprecedented in many ways—namely because it’s driven by both the market and state—which complicates the task of designing accurate and adaptable analysis and research. Further, China’s size, regional diversity, and uniquely decentralized administrative system pose difficulties for making generalizations and comparisons from micro to macro levels when trying to interpret China’s economic state accurately.This book not only interprets the ideologies that experts continue building misguided theories upon, but also examines the contributing factors to this puzzle. Cracking the China Conundrum provides an enlightening and corrective viewpoint on several major economic and political foreign policy concerns currently shaping China’s economic environment. —Oxford University Press{chop}Related Reading:“What the West Gets Wrong About China’s Economy,” Yukon Huang, Foreign Affairs, September 14, 2017“Challenging Conventional Wisdom,” Chen Weihua, China Daily, April 28, 2017“Cracking China’s Debt Conundrum,” Yukon Huang, Financial Times, December 6, 2016“Despite Slower Growth, China’s Economy Is Undergoing Major Changes,” NPR Interview with Yukon Huang, January 19, 2016

What the World’s Emptiest International Airport Says about China’s Influence

Brook Larmer
New York Times
The four-lane highway leading out of the Sri Lankan town of Hambantota gets so little traffic that it sometimes attracts more wild elephants than automobiles. The pachyderms are intelligent — they seem to use the road as a jungle shortcut — but not...

High Cost of China's Push for Unesco Heritage Sites

Ben Bland
Financial Times
China is ranked second only to Italy in terms of number of world heritage sites. But it's come at a cost...

What’s Yours Is Mine in China but Is Sharing at a Peak?

John Sudworth
BBC
Ok, so car sharing makes perfect sense. And we get bike sharing, too. But ball sharing?

China Says Economy Unaffected by Environmental Inspections

South China Morning Post
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said that recent environmental inspections did not hurt the country’s economy and blamed some ”inappropriate methods” conducted by local authorities for causing short–term market dislocation.

Xi, Trump Discuss Ties, Korean Peninsula Situation over Phone

Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula on phone, pledging close contact by various means to promptly exchange views on major issues of common...

Books

04.21.17

A New Deal for China’s Workers?

Cynthia Estlund
China’s labor landscape is changing, and it is transforming the global economy in ways that we cannot afford to ignore. Once-silent workers have found their voice, organizing momentous protests, such as the 2010 Honda strikes, and demanding a better deal. China’s leaders have responded not only with repression but with reforms. Are China’s workers on the verge of a breakthrough in industrial relations and labor law reminiscent of the American New Deal?In A New Deal for China’s Workers? Cynthia Estlund views this changing landscape through the comparative lens of America’s twentieth-century experience with industrial unrest. China’s leaders hope to replicate the widely shared prosperity, political legitimacy, and stability that flowed from America’s New Deal, but they are irrevocably opposed to the independent trade unions and mass mobilization that were central to bringing it about. Estlund argues that the specter of an independent labor movement, seen as an existential threat to China’s one-party regime, is both driving and constraining every facet of its response to restless workers.China’s leaders draw on an increasingly sophisticated toolkit in their effort to contain worker activism. The result is a surprising mix of repression and concession, confrontation and cooptation, flaws and functionality, rigidity and pragmatism. If China’s laborers achieve a New Deal, it will be a New Deal with Chinese characteristics, very unlike what workers in the West achieved in the last century. Estlund’s sharp observations and crisp comparative analysis make China’s labor unrest and reform legible to Western readers. —Harvard University Press{chop}

China Conducts Foreign Policy in Africa without Judgment

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this edition of the China in Africa podcast, we pull the focus back to look at China’s rapidly evolving foreign policy agenda in this new era of Western populism led by Donald Trump in the United States.François Godement, Director of the Asia and...

Sinica Podcast

03.17.17

Big Daddy Dough: Hip-hop and Macroeconomics in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
By day, Andrew Dougherty is a macroeconomist who manages a China research team for Capital Group, one of the world’s largest actively managed mutual funds. By night, he is Big Daddy Dough, creator of an album of parody hip-hop songs that explain...

How China Lost $1 Trillion

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
It’s a lot of money—but it’s shrinking.

Caixin Media

11.18.16

Is the Trump Victory a Blow to Globalization?

The 2016 U.S. presidential election ended with the surprise victory of property mogul Donald J. Trump. An outsider without a political track record, Trump defied predictions by most polls, pundits, and political observers when he defeated Hillary...

China Says Other Topics Must Not Divert G-20’s Economy Focus

Bloomberg
Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said leaders shouldn’t be distracted by the South China Sea issue.

Historic Flooding Costs China $44.7 Billion So Far This Year

Wade Shepard
Forbes
’Ruthless’ urbanization takes its toll.

A Chinese Millionaire’s $1.3bn Plan to ‘Transform’ Sheffield

John Sudworth
BBC
The deal has the backing of the British government.

Caixin Media

06.24.16

China Has a Plan to Clean Up Its Soil But No Way to Pay For It

The 231-clause, 13,000-Chinese character action plan for Soil Pollution Prevention and Control was released May 31 by the State Council, China’s cabinet, after undergoing some 50 draft revisions over the previous three years.The final version was...

Caixin Media

06.03.16

Bearing Witness to the China Story

Sheila Melvin
In 1993, Fritz Hoffmann was a young American photojournalist ready for a new adventure. He had honed his picture-making skills while hitchhiking across the Pacific Northwest, harvesting crabs in Alaska, and working at newspapers in West Virginia and...

Will China's Educational System Strangle Economic Growth?

Zhu Tian
Forbes
Despite the brain drain, China still managed to produce enough talents to make it the fastest growing nation in the past two decades.

China's Growth Addiction Leaves Deleveraging in Back Seat

Bloomberg
Rule No.1 in China’s blueprint for the next five years: give top priority to development.

Lost in China’s Exploding Future

Ian Buruma from New York Review of Books
Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s new movie, Mountains May Depart, begins with a disco dance in a bleak mining town to the sounds of “Go West” by the Pet Shop Boys. It is the lunar New Year, 1999. Outside, the end of the millennium is celebrated in a...

Postcard

11.13.15

The Watch

Hai Zhang
On a trip back to China in 2011, photographer Hai Zhang came across a crowd in the People’s Square of Wushan, a town outside of Chongqing. People had gathered to watch a gala sponsored by a local real estate developer to promote his new residential...

The China Economy: What Lessons for Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When African policy makers scan the globe in search of inspiration on how to structure their economies, that search often leads to Beijing. Not surprisingly, African leaders look at what China has done over the past 30 years where it went from being...

Chinese Stocks Rise as Shenzen Gains 20% on July Low

Chao Deng
MarketWatch
Pressure remains from a continuing unwinding of leveraged positions and analysts said they aren’t optimistic about cash-backed state support.

Two Way Street

07.20.15

How China and the U.S. Will Manage Competition for Influence

Ian Bremmer from Two Way Street
Washington refuses to accept that though the United States is not in decline, its international influence is not what it was. It is unlikely to regain the leverage it once wielded, because China and so many others now have more than enough economic...

Could China Be the Next Japan?

Enda Curran
Bloomberg
Even as China's economy shows signs of recovering from a slowdown, it is vulnerable to the crash that dragged Japan into falling consumer prices and stagnant growth...

Media

06.26.15

‘Why Do Chinese Lack Creativity?’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
On June 19, the University of Washington and elite Tsinghua University in Beijing announced a new, richly funded cooperative program to be based in Seattle and focused on a topic that has become a sore point in China: innovation. Republican...

Caixin Media

06.17.15

Is China Knocking on Deflation’s Door?

China’s last war against deflation was waged in 1998, the year the nation’s consumer price index and producer price index suddenly plunged in tandem.The central government responded by launching economic and administrative reforms, hastening steps...

Reports

06.08.15

China’s “New Normal”: Structural Change, Better Growth, and Peak Emissions

Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
China has grown rapidly—often at double-digit rates—for more than three decades by following a strategy of high investment, strong export orientation, and energy-intensive manufacturing. While this growth lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty,...

Two Way Street

05.12.15

Share and Be Nice

Orville Schell from Two Way Street
Having followed the progress of the People’s Republic of China for more than half a century, it is disquieting to now find the atmosphere between Americans and Chinese so stubbornly cool. Indeed, in certain key ways there was a greater sense of...

Caixin Media

05.12.15

The Urgency of Continuing with Reform

Concern about the middle-income trap has grabbed public attention again. The minister of finance, Lou Jiwei, recently said at Tsinghua University that China had a “50-50 chance” of sliding into it in the next five to 10 years. However, many...

China’s Xi Highlights “Big Picture” in Reform Drive

Xinhua
Authorities must place scientific and technological innovation at the heart of the drive to reform. 

China, Africa, and the PRC’s Massive New Development Bank

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Fifty-seven countries, including two from Africa, are among the founding members of China’s new development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While the new bank’s primary objective will be to develop infrastructure projects in...

Reports

03.31.15

Navigating Choppy Waters

Matthew P. Goodman, David A. Parker
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
China faces increasing economic headwinds that call into question not only its near-term growth outlook but the longer-term sustainability of its economic success. At a time of leadership transition in Beijing, global markets and policymakers alike...

How ‘Old Friend’ Lee Kuan Yew Influenced China

Chun Han Wong and Josh Chin
Wall Street Journal
“Mr. Lee Kuan Yew was an old friend of the Chinese people,” Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote to Singapore President Tony Tan.

Cameroon Highlights Pros and Cons of Chinese Infrastructure Development

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When finished, the new deep-sea port in the southern Cameroonian city of Kribi will likely become a major gateway for all of Central Africa. This will be Cameroon’s only deep-sea port that can accommodate the larger inter-continental trading ships...

China’s Mystery Transportation Infrastructure Deal with the African Union

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
It’s not really news anymore when China announces yet another massive infrastructure construction deal in Africa. Typically these deals are done at the national level, so when Beijing and the African Union signed a major transport infrastructure MOU...

China's Economy Is worth $300 Billion More than It Thought

Geoffrey Smith
Fortune
China just discovered an economy the size of Malaysia’s hiding down the back of the sofa.

Beijing Cannot Count on Easy Money to Sustain Its Economic Miracle

Ruchir Sharma
Financial Times
Just three months ago the main Chinese stock market was dormant. Since then it has surged 30 per cent and has started to show signs of the manic trading that normally does not appear until a bull market has been gathering steam for years.

Journeys Along the Seventh Ring

That's Beijing...
That’s
The story of Beijing’s Ring Roads is in many ways the story of Beijing’s urban development. The original ring (known confusingly as the Second Ring) was constructed in the early 1980s, at the behest of city planners, who, in embracing reform-minded...

Sinica Podcast

11.22.14

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite China's legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an...

Caixin Media

11.04.14

Cai Jinyong: A Chinese Voice at the Top of the IFC

Three top executives serving in recent years at the World Bank and its emerging markets financing arm International Finance Corp. (IFC) have called China home.Economist Cai Jinyong became the fourth in October 2012, when he was named IFC's...

Reports

10.20.14

The Long Soft Fall in Chinese Growth

David Hoffman and Andrew Polk
David Hoffman
The Conference Board
As recently as the fourth quarter of 2013, there were few detractors from an optimistic assessment of China’s prospects to achieve a “soft landing” and continue to enjoy relatively stable growth in the 7 to 8 percent range for the next 10 years and...

Caixin Media

09.22.14

Nudging China Toward Governance Reform

Three recent items of news deserve attention. First, revisions to the budget law were passed late last month. Second, in a speech this month marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National People's Congress, Party General Secretary...

Congratulations! Inoculations!

Economist
The World Health Organization gives China a glowing report for its lowering of infant and maternal mortality rates.

Books

07.15.14

The Forbidden Game

Dan Washburn
In China, just because something is banned, doesn't mean it can't boom. Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, still known as the "rich man’s game" and considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom—hundreds of new courses have opened in the past decade, despite it being illegal for anyone to build them. Award-winning journalist Dan Washburn charts a vivid path through this contradictory country by following the lives of three men intimately involved in China's bizarre golf scene. We meet Zhou, a peasant turned golf pro who discovered the game when he won a job as a security guard at one of the new, exclusive clubs and who sees himself entering the emerging Chinese middle class as a result; Wang, a lychee farmer whose life is turned upside down when a massive, top-secret golf resort moves in next door to his tiny village; and Martin, a Western executive maneuvering through China’s byzantine and highly political business environment, ever watchful for Beijing's "golf police." The Forbidden Game is a rich and arresting portrait of the world’s newest superpower and three different paths to the new Chinese Dream. —Oneworld Publications {chop}

As China Gets Fatter, World Bank Calls for Health Care Reform

Mark Magnier
Wall Street Journal
As China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and grown increasingly wealthy, its people are suffering from many lifestyle diseases endemic to developed countries.

China Tries To Establish Foothold In Zambia, Tanzania

Howard French, Renee Montagne, and...
NPR
Howard French, author of China's Second Continent, talks to Steve Inskeep about why some African countries are of particular interest to Chinese leaders...

China Swaps Gusto for Rigor as It Learns From Africa

Franz Wild
Bloomberg
Cowed by capricious commodity prices, political instability and a string of lost investments, Chinese financiers aren’t as gutsy as when state-owned giants whipped up business abroad 15 years ago.

Caixin Media

02.18.14

Lee Hsien Loong on What Singapore Can—and Can’t—Teach China

As one of the Four Asian Tigers, Singapore is known for its strong economy and orderly society. The city-state, with its population of 5.3 million people, is listed by the World Bank as fourth in the world in terms of per capita income. As a...

China Claims Title of World's Top Trading Nation

Joshua Keating
Slate
Despite heavy investments in technology, aerospace, and autombiles, most Chinese trade is still in low-end goods. 

China Risks Hobbling its Economic Development with Too Many Policy Goals

Stephen Roach
South China Morning Post
(Op-ed) China's economic planners need to prune and prioritise their myriad policy objectives so the country can move with purpose towards the goal of structural rebalancing. ...

Reports

10.10.13

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: 2013 Annual Report

United States Congress
The Commission notes China’s lack of progress in guaranteeing Chinese citizens’ freedom of expression, assembly, and religion; restraining the power of the Chinese Communist Party; and establishing the rule of law under the new leadership of...

Books

08.05.13

China Threat?

Lionel Vairon
From the long-term threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and China, to the disappearance of the African elephant due to Chinese demand for ivory, each week brings a new round of critique and denunciation of the risks China poses to the stability of the entire planet. While critics raise a certain number of fundamental questions that bear asking about this nascent superpower, the answers put forth are usually based on ideological or economic considerations. Lionel Vairon systematically challenges these views in this first English language edition of China Threat?With an incisive review of China’s economic strategy, deployment of resources, national defence, political reform, ethnicity and religion, terrorism, and developments in human rights, Vairon amply demonstrates that China poses no threat to the world. On the contrary, China Threat? shows that China’s peaceful rise should be a matter of positive news across the globe.  —CN Times Books {chop}

Books

07.02.13

Wealth and Power

Orville Schell and John Delury
Through a series of lively and absorbing portraits of iconic modern Chinese leaders and thinkers, two of today’s foremost specialists on China provide a panoramic narrative of this country’s rise to preeminence that is at once analytical and personal. How did a nation, after a long and painful period of dynastic decline, intellectual upheaval, foreign occupation, civil war, and revolution, manage to burst forth onto the world stage with such an impressive run of hyperdevelopment and wealth creation—culminating in the extraordinary dynamism of China today?Wealth and Power answers this question by examining the lives of eleven influential officials, writers, activists, and leaders whose contributions helped create modern China. This fascinating survey begins in the lead-up to the first Opium War with Wei Yuan, the nineteenth-century scholar and reformer who was one of the first to urge China to borrow ideas from the West. It concludes in our time with human-rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, an outspoken opponent of single-party rule. Along the way, we meet such titans of Chinese history as the Empress Dowager Cixi, public intellectuals Feng Guifen, Liang Qichao, and Chen Duxiu, Nationalist stalwarts Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and Communist Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Zhu Rongji.{node, 3592}The common goal that unites all of these disparate figures is their determined pursuit of fuqiang, “wealth and power.” This abiding quest for a restoration of national greatness in the face of a “century of humiliation” at the hands of the Great Powers came to define the modern Chinese character. It’s what drove both Mao and Deng to embark on root-and-branch transformations of Chinese society, first by means of Marxism-Leninism, then by authoritarian capitalism. And this determined quest remains the key to understanding many of China’s actions today.By unwrapping the intellectual antecedents of today’s resurgent China, Orville Schell and John Delury supply much-needed insight into the country’s tortured progression from nineteenth-century decline to twenty-first-century boom. By looking backward into the past to understand forces at work for hundreds of years, they help us understand China today and the future that this singular country is helping shape for all of us. —Random House

Books

06.21.13

Why Has China Grown So Fast For So Long?

Khalid Malik
For analysts China presents a conundrum. It is clear that China has made rapid progress, and the landscape of the world is changing due to China’s unique position. Yet for decades, many have questioned this phenomenon, showing concern about cooked data, asset bubbles about to burst, and so on. Yet the Chinese economy has kept growing at a blistering pace, 9-10 per cent annually, and more at times, over a span of almost three decades.Analysing the last 30 years of reforms, this book helps us understand the Chinese growth success, the factors that made this possible, and the lessons that can be distilled from this experience for other developing countries. Arguing that traditional explanations are inadequate, the author applies the “development as transformation” thesis to provide answers to a wide range of questions: Why has China grown so rapidly over such a long time, and what are the country’s prospects in the future? Will it keep growing? Will it in the next few decades actually overtake the US as the largest economy in the world, as some observers have been forecasting, or will it implode as the many contradictions in the economy and society grind it to a halt? This is a unique book in that it is based on years of close interaction with the Chinese leadership, institutions, and society, as well as international organizations in the development community, when the author was posted in China.   —Oxford University Press

Sinica Podcast

06.07.13

What China is Getting Right

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Complain as we might about life in China, the last thirty-four years or so haven’t been all bad: we have seen three decades of roughly ten percent GDP growth, a whole lot of people eating a whole lot better than they did, and impressive progress...