Thursday, 31 January 2013


Business Spectator logo


Geoff Raby

Business Spectator, January 31, 2013

China’s GDP growth this year is now expected to exceed 8 per cent according to Lou Jiwei, the head of CIC, China’s biggest sovereign wealth fund. Last year, China accounted for about a third of global growth. This year, with shrinking economies in Europe and Japan and, despite firm signs of recovery, still lacklusture growth in the US, China is likely to contribute more again.

It is prudent then to consider what are the main downside risks to China’s growth outlook. China has demonstrated over recent years that domestic demand is more than capable of making up for a comparatively weak export performance. The risk of political shocks can be set aside – though ever present, the probability of one destablising the economy in the short to medium term must be considered very low.

Some economists – more so among foreigners than locals – are concerned about the great imbalance between savings and investment in China as a result of deliberate government policies to repress consumption. The result via the savings and investment identity in GDP accounting is accumulating external surpluses. That is to say, output which is neither consumed nor used in investment ends up as exports.

The leading proponent of this view is Michael Pettis, a Beijing-based economist and scholar. He has recently published a new book setting out his arguments. In The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy Pettis argues that that with rising levels of debt in China a sharp and disruptive correction will be inevitable.

(...) [article here]

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


The China Post


Wang Xiaotian (China Daily/Asia News Network)

The China Post, January 30, 2013

Analysts at Citigroup Inc have warned that economic growth this year might be lower than estimates, as inflation pressures restrict government efforts on further loosening in the second half.

The U.S. banking giant predicted yesterday that China's GDP growth in 2013 will be 7.8 percent.

It expects the central bank to raise interest rates in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of next year, by 25 basis points each time, which would further drag growth to 7.3 percent in 2014.

Oliver Chiu, head of research and investment advisory in the wealth management unit of Citibank (China), said the government will set the GDP target at 7 percent, but actual growth will be between 7.5 and 8 percent.

He added that during the second half of the year, the rate of inflation based on the consumer price index could reach as high as 3.5 percent.

Citi's less optimistic forecast comes as most analysts adjusted their growth estimates upwards, following the pick-up in China's economy during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Standard Chartered Bank said yesterday it has upgraded its 2013 GDP growth forecast for China to 8.3 percent, from a flat rate of 7.8 percent.

It said it expected quarter-on-quarter growth to accelerate in the second half of this year, before cooling in the second half of 2014.

(...) [article here]

Monday, 28 January 2013


The Australian


JAPAN'S Cabinet approved an upbeat growth forecast today that could give the government some leeway in compiling a budget for the upcoming fiscal year in April.

Eleanor Warnock (DJN)

The Australian, January 28, 2013

The report estimates Japan will post 1 per cent real growth in the fiscal year ending in March and 2.5 per cent growth in the following fiscal year of 2013 and will be used to gauge tax revenue for a budget slated to be approved this week.

An optimistic growth forecast could allow for some elbow room in predicting government revenue and new bond issuance in the developed world's most indebted country. According to local media, ruling parties and the government approved a proposal for a 92.61 trillion yen budget ($975 billion) yesterday, with tax revenue expected to outpace total new government debt issuance by Y250 billion.

Economists say Japan's economy is coming out of its fifth technical recession--defined as two or more consecutive quarters of negative growth--in 15 years.

The report also showed the core consumer price index rising 0.5 per cent on year in fiscal 2013. That would be the first positive figure since fiscal 2008.

The 2.5 per cent growth figure for fiscal 2013 is slightly higher than numbers given by private economists who have upped growth forecasts on the back of yen weakness and government stimulus plans since the Liberal Democratic Party took power in December.

(...) [article here]

Sunday, 27 January 2013




Hannah Allam / McClatchy Newspapers

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 2013

WASHINGTON -- China may be the centerpiece of the Obama administration's second-term foreign policy agenda, with U.S. strategists trying to avoid entanglement in Syria or Mali in order to stay focused on a vision of reasserting the American presence in Asia.

But getting sucked back into Middle East and North African conflicts isn't the only risk to the administration's so-called "Asia pivot": The United States still hasn't found the right tone for its dealings with China, say analysts who specialize in Asia-Pacific issues.

Analysts say the United States remains too involved in the region's territorial disputes, especially as it helps nations organize into an anti-China bloc in talks over contested islands in the South China Sea that are of little or no strategic value. Elsewhere, the American administration still has to win over nations that are reluctant to risk the economic punishment of being seen as allied with a U.S. strategy to constrain China's rise.

"If you stand still in Asia, you're going to fall behind the rise of China," said Robert S. Ross, a professor of Chinese foreign policy at Boston College. "We're not going to stand still, but we can improve our rhetoric and disentangle from these territorial disputes."

Mr. Obama, who's sometimes called the "first Pacific president" because of his childhood years in Indonesia and his upbringing in Hawaii, clearly has the political will to make Asia the focus of U.S. policy. More than half of American naval assets are deployed in the region, the administration has signed fresh defense agreements with Asian partners and there's been a marked increase in high-profile U.S. state visits to promote trade and diplomacy.

In November, Mr. Obama made a historic trip to the former pariah state of Myanmar, his fourth high-profile visit to Asia in as many years, and his secretaries of state and defense, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Leon Panetta, have been frequent visitors, as have numerous more junior diplomats and defense officials.

(...) [article here]

Saturday, 26 January 2013


WashPost logo3


Jennifer Lind

The Washington Post, January 26, 2013

Jennifer Lind is an associate professor of government at Dartmouth College and a faculty associate at the Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of “Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he plans to revise — likely backtracking from — a 1993 statement that acknowledged government complicity in Japan’s World War II sex slave program. Around the world, advocates of truth-telling and atonement were outraged; at home, Abe’s conservative allies celebrated. Ironically, those conservatives should be among the most chagrined.

Japan’s conservatives increasingly worry about the danger brewing in East Asia from a rising China. But their denials and equivocations about the past undermine the political and military support that Japan will need to manage the troubles ahead.

Japanese conservatives value love of country as an important part of national strength. They argue that focusing on past misdeeds erodes domestic patriotism, so they prefer to emphasize positive aspects of Japan’s history. Conservative politicians and intellectuals have sought to blur distinctions between the World War II combatants; they argue that Japan, in its expansionism and human rights violations, behaved just as other countries did and so should not be singled out for criticism and demands for apologies.

But whether or not the “everyone was doing it” argument holds true, such denials are counterproductive: A country that has been a model global citizen for decades, should draw the clearest possible distinction between good behavior and bad. Instead, Japan’s denials keep its World War II-era crimes in the spotlight, obscuring not only the huge distinctions between the Japan of old and the Japan of today but also the distinctions between it and its contemporary rivals.

(...) [article here]

Friday, 25 January 2013




Finance minister Chidambaram optimistic of recovery.

Vikram Khanna

AsiaOne, January 25, 2013

THE dip in India's economic growth rate is "purely temporary" and growth will return to its potential rate of 8 per cent "within a couple of years", according to India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram.

In an exclusive interview with The Business Times, Mr Chidambaram noted that partly due to a weak global economic environment, growth has fallen in all countries including China. India remains among the five fastest-growing major economies, he added, with only China and Indonesia set to expand at a faster rate.

"Once we get our act together - once we shrink the fiscal deficit and restart the cycle of investment - we will get back to high growth."

India's growth rate for 2012-13 (ending March 2013) is officially projected at 5.7 per cent. This is a significant decline from the 8.4 per cent average growth rate per year recorded in 2006-11.

(...) [article here]

Thursday, 24 January 2013


The New York Times OK


Choe Sang-hun

The New York Times, January 24, 2013

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea vowed on Thursday to launch more long-range rockets and conduct its third nuclear test, ratcheting up tensions following the United Nations Security Council’s decision to tighten sanctions against the country for launching a rocket last month.

In a statement issued through its state-run media, the National Defense Commission, the North’s highest governing agency, headed by its young leader Kim Jong-un, said that “a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the D.P.R.K. one after another and a nuclear test of higher level which will be carried out by it in the upcoming all-out action” will be aimed at deterring the hostile policy of “the U.S., the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”

The statement, which used the acronym for the North’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, did not clarify when it would conduct such a test, which would be the first since Mr. Kim came to power in December 2011. But citing preparations at the Punggye test site in northeastern North Korea, South Korean officials and news media said that Pyongyang can conduct a new underground nuclear test there on short notice.

North Korea had previously hinted at the possibility of conducting a nuclear test, as its Foreign Ministry did on Wednesday when it issued a scathing statement rejecting a unanimous resolution that the Security Council adopted on Tuesday. The resolution tightened sanctions and condemned North Korea’s Dec. 12 rocket launching as a violation of earlier resolutions banning the country from conducting any tests involving ballistic missile technology.

(...) [article here]

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Reuters DEF


Louis Charbonneau

Reuters, January 23, 2013

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously condemned North Korea's December rocket launch and expanded existing U.N. sanctions, eliciting a vow from Pyongyang to boost the North's military and nuclear capabilities.

While the resolution approved by the 15-nation council does not impose new sanctions on Pyongyang, diplomats said Beijing's support for it was a significant diplomatic blow to Pyongyang.

The resolution said the council "deplores the violations" by North Korea of its previous resolutions, which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for those programs.

It also said the council "expresses its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK (North Korean) launch or nuclear test".

North Korea reacted quickly, saying it would hold no more talks on the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and would boost its military and nuclear capabilities.

"We will take measures to boost and strengthen our defensive military power including nuclear deterrence," its Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

Six-party talks aimed at halting North Korea's nuclear program have involved North Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. They have been held intermittently since 2003 but have stalled since 2008.

South Korea says the North is technically ready for a third nuclear test, and satellite images show it is actively working on its nuclear site. However, political analysts said they viewed a test as unlikely in the near-term.

(...) [article here]

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


The Guardian


Bank of Japan's move is the latest effort by a leading central bank to support a weak recovery from the global financial crisis


The Guardian, January 22, 2013

The Bank of Japan announced on Tuesday its most determined effort yet to end years of economic stagnation, saying it would switch to an open-ended commitment to buying assets next year and double its inflation target to 2%.

It promised to reach the inflation goal "at the earliest possible time."

The steps represent the latest unorthodox effort by a leading central bank to support a weak recovery from the global financial crisis, although in Japan's case the country is also trying to overcome nearly two decades of low-grade deflation.

The BOJ's break from an earlier policy of topping up a lending and asset buying programme launched in October 2010 follows weeks of relentless pressure from new prime minister Shinzo Abe for a greater push to lift an economy out of recession.

In a joint statement with the government, it affirmed a well-flagged move to commit to the inflation target. Consumer price inflation has reached 2% in only a handful of months since the late 1990s.

(...) [article here]

Monday, 21 January 2013


The Hong Kong Standard


The Hong Kong Standard, January 21, 2013

At a recent Beijing meeting, the representative of the China Center for Economic Research noted the mainland economy was facing serious trouble, as domestic consumption remained weak while global economic factors continued to be uncertain.

In fact, China's latest economic numbers - for the fourth quarter and full-year 2012 released on Friday - should also elicit concern. The nation's GDP registered an above-forecast growth of 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

For 2012, GDP expanded by 7.8 percent, topping the 7.5 percent forecast made by the State Council in January.

With more public investments, GDP growth could reach 8 percent this year.

But does this mean that there is no risk to China's economy?

(...) [article here]

Sunday, 20 January 2013



Zhang Monan

Republica, January 20, 2013

China’s economy is at a crossroads. As 2013 begins, foreign and domestic observers alike are asking which path the country’s economic development should take in the next decade. How can China ensure stable and sustainable growth in the face of significant internal and external challenges, including slowing medium-and long-term growth, rising labor costs, and growing inflationary pressure?

After the global economic crisis weakened external demand, which sustained China’s unprecedented economic growth for three decades, the authorities agreed that internal demand, especially domestic consumption, must become the country’s new growth engine. At the Chinese Communist Party’s congress in November, China’s leaders declared their intention to double per capita income by 2020, unleashing 64 trillion renminbi ($10.2 trillion) of purchasing power.

Indeed, with roughly 130 million middle-class consumers, China’s domestic market holds significant potential. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that, with an average annual GDP growth rate of seven percent in China and two percent in the United States, Chinese domestic consumption will rise to half of America’s by 2015, and 80 percent in 2020 (assuming that the renminbi appreciates at an average rate of three percent against the US dollar over the next few years).

(...) [article here]

Saturday, 19 January 2013


The China Post


Fran Wang (AFP)

The China Post, January 19, 2013

BEIJING -- China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 13 years in 2012, the government said Friday, but an uptick in the final quarter pointed to better news ahead for a prime driver of the tepid global recovery.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's second-largest economy expanded 7.8 percent last year in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced.

But it grew 7.9 percent in the final three months of 2012 as industrial production and retail sales growth strengthened at the end of the year, snapping seven straight quarters of slowing growth in a positive sign for the spluttering world economy.

The official statistics come as optimism grows among analysts that China will pick up steam in 2013 after two years of relative weakness, although they — and the government — caution that the improvement will not be dramatic.

“The international economic environment remains complicated this year and ... there are still unbalanced conflicts in the Chinese economy,” NBS chief Ma Jiantang told reporters.

Still, Ma added: “We expect China's economy to continue to grow in a stable manner in 2013.”

Chinese stocks rose on the figures, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing up 1.41 percent.

The slowdown in annual growth was the second in a row and marked its lowest point since 1999, when it stood at 7.6 percent, according to official statistics.

(...) [article here]

Friday, 18 January 2013




Bloomberg News, January 18, 2013

China’s economic growth accelerated for the first time in two years as government efforts to revive demand drove a rebound in industrial output, retail sales and the housing market.

Gross domestic product rose 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing today. That compared with the 7.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey and 7.4 percent in the previous period. Industrial output in December rose a more-than- expected 10.3 percent and fixed-asset investment for the year gained 20.6 percent.

The recovery adds to evidence that the global economy is improving, after U.S. data yesterday showed housing starts at a four-year high, European bond yields receded from crisis levels and Japan announced a $116 billion stimulus. To sustain growth, China’s incoming premier, Li Keqiang, may need to confront the fading effects of government support, a likely pickup in inflation and rising risks from shadow banking.

“China’s recovery is in quite good shape,” Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Hong Kong, said in a telephone interview. “Domestic pro-growth policies are likely to wane in mid-2013,” yet demand from abroad may pick up in the second half, he said.

Improving investor confidence in China’s outlook has lifted mainland stocks and the currency. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), the nation’s benchmark gauge, has advanced 18 percent from an almost four-year low on Dec. 3, including a 1.4 percent rise today.

(...) [article here]

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Economic Times logo OK



The Economic Times, January 17, 2013

BEIJING: Business is booming in Beijing's real estate offices -- good news for property agents like Zhang Huanhuan, but a headache for China's policymakers as worries resurface about the sustainability of investment in the sector.

"We've got off to a flying start in 2013 -- transactions are picking up, so are prices," said Zhang, a saleswoman at an outlet of Maitian Real Estate Agency Co in the capital.

Recent sales included six high-end apartments at a condominium in Beijing's Dongzhimen area, a neighbourhood favoured by the city's expatriates, she said.

Government data on Friday is likely to show China's annual economic growth rebounded to 7.8 per cent in the fourth-quarter of 2012 from 7.4 per cent in the third, snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion.

Chinese leaders may by reassured that the economy has finally turned the corner -- even though the recovery is likely to be tepid -- but they face a delicate policy balance amid worrying signs of a renewed property frenzy.

The home buying spree has not been confined to Beijing. New home prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.3 per cent in November from October -- the fourth month in the last five to show a rise -- a modest increase but the most, nonetheless, in 19 months, official data showed.

(...) [article here]

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


The Star



The Star, January 16, 2013

WASHINGTON: Japan's economy contracted in the second half of 2012 and is on track for lacklustre growth of 0.8 percent this year, hurt in part by a territorial row with China, the World Bank said in a report on Tuesday.

Relations between China and Japan, the world's biggest economies after the United States, have deteriorated sharply since September, when the Japanese government purchased islands that China claims in the East China Sea.

The value of Japanese exports to China fell by 17 percent between June and November of last year, contributing to a 3.5 percent annualized drop in Japan's growth in the third quarter.

The World Bank said the end of government tax incentives to purchase fuel-efficient automobiles also hurt the economy, as well as the fading boost to growth from reconstruction spending in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster.

"In Japan, the economy appears to be contracting -- in part because of political tension with China over the sovereignty of islands in the region," it said in its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report.

Revised GDP figures released by Japan in December showed the Japanese economy contracted in both the second and third quarters, and analysts expect it shrank further in the final three months of the year, as does the World Bank.

(...) [article here]

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


IHT Rendez Vous


Didi Kirsten Tatlow

IHT Rendezvous, January 15, 2013

China will soon publish a new country map that expands its claims to disputed territories. Japan has announced its first increase in defense spending in 11 years in a move widely perceived as countering China. Recently, fighter planes and other aircraft have been used by both countries as tensions grow over a group of islands in the East China Sea that both claim, called the Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese.

With suspicion and escalation apparently the order of the day in East and Southeast Asia, and speculation growing if this year will see an armed skirmish between China and Japan, it is crucial to understand how the military of the rising nation sees the world. So a recent post by an American scholar who took part in a forum organized by China's military in Beijing had some fascinating things to say.

A focus of the meeting, called "Security in Asia: New Problems and New Thinking," was trust. Yet with deeply divergent worldviews on display some discussions ended up "modeling" distrust rather than overcoming it, wrote Christopher Ford, one of 60 security and defense specialists, including serving military men, from 21 countries, who gathered in November for the Fourth Xiangshan Forum. The event was organized by the China Association for Military Science, which is part of the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army, and attendees on the Chinese side included the air force general Liu Chengjun, the state-run China Military Online reported.

(...) [article here]

Monday, 14 January 2013


The China Post


Kelly Olsen (AFP)

The China Post, January 14, 2013

BEIJING -- China's economy is poised finally to end a long downward trend in 2013, economists polled by AFP say, as the new communist leadership vows to retool the nation's investment-led development model and promote a “happy life” for all.

The world's second-largest economy is not expected to return to double-digit growth, but the economists' predictions are a welcome spot of good news in a financial world assailed by the eurozone debt crisis and lackluster recovery in the United States.

After seven consecutive quarters of slowing growth, China's gross domestic product (GDP) will rise by 8 percent in 2013, according to the median forecast of 15 economists surveyed by AFP. The poll also projected 7.7-percent growth for 2012.

The figures would outpace the government's 7.5-percent growth target for 2012 — but are well below the 9.3 percent recorded in 2011 and 10.4 percent in 2010.

Maintaining growth is all-important for China's communist leaders, who derive much of their claims to legitimacy from the country's reform-led economic rise, which has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the past three decades.

(...) [article here]

Sunday, 13 January 2013


The Daily Yomiuri


Public works projects in emergency economic package could fall flat without private sector support

Takanori Yamamoto and Hiroshi Arimitsu

The Daily Yomiuri, January 13, 2013

The emergency economic stimulus package approved by the Cabinet on Friday, which centers on urgent public works projects, is aimed at achieving an immediate boost for the economy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to overcome prolonged deflation with a three-pronged approach: a flexible fiscal policy, bold monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and a growth strategy. Whether these three will complement one another to jointly stimulate the economy will be a deciding factor in Japan's revival.

The latest package is the largest on record, excluding the stimulus measures adopted after the so-called Lehman shock in autumn 2008. "The government will put emphasis on urgent public works projects that can be implemented quickly and other measures to help expand the market," Abe said at a press conference on Friday.

The package centers on projects such as making schools and hospitals earthquake-resistant and repairing deteriorated bridges and tunnels. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso said at the press conference, "Maintenance projects will help distribute money and jobs to local construction companies."

Only a few months will remain in the current fiscal year after the fiscal 2012 supplementary budget, which incorporates the emergency economic stimulus package, passes the Diet. Contracts for public works projects have to be completed before the start of fiscal 2013.

(...) [article here]

Saturday, 12 January 2013


Reuters DEF


Terril Yue Jones and Benjamin Kang Lim

Reuters, January 12, 2012

BEIJING (Reuters) - When Xi Jinping became the new leader of China's Communist Party two months ago, hopes were high for reform in the giant nation. But despite what appears to be sensitive handling of a strike by journalists and a challenge to Beijing's tight control of the press, signs of change seem tentative.

Xi's commitment to reform, or lack of it, will come into sharper focus over the next few months, in particular after he officially assumes the presidency in March at a session of the National People's Congress, the country's rubber-stamp parliament.

Among the key signposts that analysts say could give Chinese citizens and global investors a sense of the new government's commitment to change: whether the resolution of a standoff at a prominent newspaper leads to an easing of press restrictions; whether the government moves quickly to address the rights of China's migrant workers; and whether Xi follows through on ending the country's notorious "re-education through labour" camps.

Xi himself has fanned expectations of change with rhetoric about "national rejuvenation," vows to crack down on corruption and a down-to-earth public style that stands in contrast to the remote, forbidding demeanour of his predecessors.

From a trip to Guangdong province akin to Deng Xiaoping's famous "southern tour" in 1992 - which re-ignited China's economic opening - to a speech calling for the rule of law in mid-December on the 30th anniversary of China's constitution, Xi has kindled hopes that he might pursue a broad swathe of reforms -- economic, legal and political.

"It is evident that the new leaders want to get things done and have done things differently from previous administrations," said a source with close ties to the leaders.

But to date, for all the ostensible desire for change, Xi and the new leaders have precious little to show for it. China has one of the most regimented political systems in the world, and the writ of the Communist Party remains supreme.

(...) [article here]

Friday, 11 January 2013


Business Standard


Press Trust of India/Tokyo

Business Standard, January 11, 2013

Japan's hawkish new Premier Shinzo Abe today said China was "wrong" in intentionally allowing Japanese nationals and businesses to be harmed over the raging East China Sea row to achieve its "political goal".

"It was wrong as a country responsible to the international community to (allow) damage to Japanese- affiliated companies and Japanese nationals in order to achieve a political goal," Abe said at a press conference, commenting on last year's anti-Japanese riots triggered by a territorial row over the East China Sea islands.

Abe's comments came as the Japanese Cabinet approved a stimulus package that includes extra defence spending.

The relationship between Japan and China has been strained since Japan purchased some of the Senkakus Islands, known as Diaoyu in China, in September last year. The row caused anti-Japanese protests across China, some violent.

(...) [article here]

Thursday, 10 January 2013


Reuters DEF


James Pomfret

Reuters, January 10, 2013

GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - A weekly Chinese newspaper at the centre of anti-censorship protests appeared on newsstands on Thursday as a newsroom strike ended amid fresh calls for the Communist Party leadership to loosen its grip on the media.

The strike at the Southern Weekly in affluent Guangdong province came after censors watered down a page-two editorial in the New Year edition. Calls for China to enshrine constitutional rights were replaced with comments praising one-party rule.

The rare newsroom revolt at one of China's most respected and liberal papers hit a raw nerve nationwide, with calls for freedom of expression led by bloggers with millions of followers such as actress Yao Chen and writer Han Han.

How the party responds to those calls will be a key indicator of new party leader Xi Jinping's reformist inclinations.

About six protesters were forcibly cleared from the gates of the paper by plainclothes officials on Thursday, shouting as they were bundled into vehicles as dozens of uniformed police officers looked on.

The problem of reconciling the conflict between conservatives and liberals was illustrated in scuffles and heated arguments outside the Southern Weekly's gates all week.

Leftists carrying Mao Zedong posters and red China flags repeatedly abused scores of Southern Weekly supporters for undermining China's socialist system and one-party rule.

"After we have full stomachs, we want to say more. This is normal," said Ye Qiliang, a young man in a brown jacket who opposed the Maoists in one evening protest.

"The media is the people's voice. We are now all Southern Weekly People."

(...) [article here]

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


The Telegraph DEF


The Japanese government has summoned China's ambassador to protest four Chinese maritime surveillance ships that spent about 13 hours in waters near disputed islands claimed by both countries.

The Telegraph, January 9, 2013

The uninhabited outcroppings in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

Tensions over the tiny islands intensified after Tokyo bought them from their Japanese private owners in September, prompting Chinese to hold demonstrations and boycott Japanese products.

The heightened tensions comes as Japan announced it plans to spend $2.1 billion on its military over the next few months as part of a huge stimulus package.

The cash is in addition to the regular military spending for 2012-13 and is separate from a boosted budget request for next fiscal year that ruling party policy makers called for on Tuesday.

"We will request 180.5 billion yen to be allocated to military spending from a stimulus package," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP, adding that some of the cash will be used to buy PAC-3 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile systems and modernise four F-15 fighter jets.

(...) [article here]

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Business Standard


Arun Kumar

Business Standard, January 8, 2012

With the India-US civil nuclear deal removing the biggest obstacle in their relationship, a US think tank has said their concerted cooperation could help India's global rise and provide a rich opportunity for US businesses.

"The 2008 US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement did away with the biggest obstacle in the relationship-India's murky status in the global non-proliferation regime," the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a new report.

"The evolving US-Indian strategic partnership holds great potential for both countries," says the report "Opportunities Unbound: Sustaining the Transformation in US-Indian Relations" by Ashley J. Tellis, senior associate South Asia Programme.

"India's economic growth and its ties to the US can assist its global rise, which contributes to keeping the peace in Asia, provided New Delhi and Washington sustain concerted cooperation," he writes.

"And India's emerging markets promise to be the key instrument for enlarging India's power while remaining a rich opportunity for US businesses," writes Tellis suggesting several steps for both sides to make the partnership fruitful.

(...) [article here]

Monday, 7 January 2013




Andy Sharp

Bloomberg, January 7, 2013

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) --The Japanese government will announce around 12 trillion yen ($136 billion) in fiscal stimulus measures to boost the nation’s shrinking economy, Japanese media reported today.

The Yomiuri newspaper and Kyodo News both reported the figure for extra spending in the fiscal year through March, with the Yomiuri saying that 5-6 trillion yen will be directed to public works projects, without citing anyone. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told business leaders today that he hopes to compile the measures this week.

The spending may help to accelerate a recovery from recession as Abe pledges to boost growth and end deflation in the world’s third-largest economy. While Japan’s public debt is more than twice gross domestic product, Finance Minister Taro Aso said last week that the government doesn’t need to adhere to a 44 trillion-yen cap on new bond issuance in this fiscal year.

“The scale of this budget suggests that Abe’s new administration is serious about stimulating the economy,” said Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo and a former central bank official. “It’ll be very helpful in the near-time, but the problem in the medium-to-long term is that we have to pay this back.”

(...) [article here]

Sunday, 6 January 2013


The National


Clifford Coonan

The National, January 6, 2012

After a year in which Chinese growth slowed to its lowest level since the global economic crisis began, there is considerable optimism about this year and the prospects for reform by the newly installed leader Xi Jinping.

Annual economic growth dipped to 7.4 per cent in the third quarter of last year, the weakest rate since late 2008 and early 2009, but growth has been picking up steadily since October on the back of a slate of policies aimed at boosting economic expansion.

The upbeat assessment was given a boost with news that growth in the increasingly important services sector accelerated last month to its fastest pace in four months.

China's official purchasing managers' index for the non-manufacturing sector rose to 56.1 last month from 55.6 in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Expansion of the world's second largest economy is likely to accelerate to around 8.5 per cent this year partly due to the nation's pro-growth policies, according to the official state news agency Xinhua.

(...) [article here]

Thursday, 3 January 2013




Jayadeva Ranade

DNA, January 3, 2013

Recently appointed general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping, has moved with an alacrity very unusual for senior Chinese leaders to leave his imprimatur on the policies and programmes that China will follow for the next five years. In the process he has set himself apart from all the six other members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) and raised popular expectations.

Xi Jinping started this barely a month after the 18th Party Congress, held in Beijing from November 8-14, 2012, appointed him chief of the Party and chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission. The Party Congress also cleared the way for his appointment as president of China by the first session of the National People’s Congress, due to convene in Beijing on March 5, 2013.

Xi Jinping publicly signalled the priority areas for his first term in office in early December. He selected the prosperous Guangdong province for his first visit outside Beijing after assuming office. The choice of Guangdong was deliberate and laden with meaning. The party secretary of the province, Wang Yang, had the reputation of being pro-reform and had the support of Hu Deping, son of the former, popular and liberal party general secretary Hu Yaobang. Hu Deping had identified Guangdong as the province with the potential to resolve the vexatious land reform issue. Deng Xiaoping had visited Guangdong on his well-known ‘southern’, or nanxun, tour in 1992 to give a push to economic reforms when they had threatened to stall, and commentators and journalists promptly compared Xi Jinping’s visit with Deng Xiaoping’s ‘nanxun’ in 1992. Xi Jinping’s visit signalled his commitment to economic reforms.

(...) [article here]

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Chosun Ilbo


The Chosun Ilbo, January 2, 2013

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address struck an unaccustomed friendly note. Under his father Kim Jong-il, the customary New Year's editorials in the state press rarely missed a chance to slander South Korea and its main ally the U.S. when there had been an election in the South.

The 2008 editorial, just before the start of the Lee Myung-bak administration, thundered that South Korea must "throw away its confrontational mindset" which names North Korea as its "main enemy." In January 1998, just before former president Kim Dae-jung took office, the editorial said nothing would change in the South simply because of a change in leadership. And the 2003 editorial, just before the start of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, called for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea.

◆ Friendly Words for S.Korea

Kim Jong-un's speech was by far the most conciliatory yet. The Korea Institute for National Unification said it brings hope of improved inter-Korean relations ahead of the launch of the Park Geun-hye administration. A close aide to Park said it was a "good sign," even though the North is probably just testing the new South Korean administration's appetite for dialogue. Still, the aide added, "I don't see any need to downplay its significance."

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


The Telegraph


China's manufacturing activity expanded in December for a third straight month, official data showed Tuesday, adding to signs the world's second largest economy is emerging from a prolonged downtrend.

The Telegraph, January 1, 2013

The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) stood at 50.6 in December, unchanged from the previous month, according to the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics.

The PMI is a widely watched barometer of the health of China's economy, with a reading above 50 indicating expansion while anything below points to contraction. October's reading was 50.2, after two months in negative territory.

The December result remained the joint-highest since April, but fell short of the median 51.0 forecast of five economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

The data came a day after banking giant HSBC's own PMI survey reached a 19-month high of 51.5, from 50.5 in November.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists Lu Ting and Hu Weijun questioned whether the official PMI data may have been slightly massaged.

(...) [article here]