hong kong

Hong Kong and China: Another View

Here’s Another View of Hong Kong and China

by Philip Fang brother of Anson Chan 陈方安生的弟弟的文章. Date: Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Subject: Patriotism: Criterion In Selection Of Next Chief Executive Of Hong Kong

Mr. Wang Guangya, Head of the Hong Kong and Macau Liaison Office, has let it be known that in the selection of the next Chief Executive forHong Kong , the number one criterion would be patriotism and it is this issue I want to address.
首先,我應該介紹一下我的背景。我來自一個愛國的家庭。我祖父方振武將軍曾經是抗日同盟軍總司令,他的左路軍總指揮吉鴻昌,同樣也是以愛國著名。這兩個人公開反對蔣介石的不抵抗政策,從而使他們變成了蔣介石的死敵。兩人最終為他們的國家和人民獻出了自己的生命。
First, a brief introduction of my background is in order. I was born
in Hong Kong of a family with a proud tradition of patriotism. My
Grandfather, General Fang Zhenwu was once the Commander-in-chief of the North-East Coalition Forces Against the Japanese, his
vice-Commander was General Ji Hongchang, also known as a great
patriot. The two men openly opposed Jiang Jieshi’’s non-resistance
policy thus making themselves his arch enemies. Both paid the ultimate price, their lives in the service of their country and people.
我的祖父和吉將軍在共產黨當中,特別是在老一代長征後倖存的久經百戰的共產黨員中,享有極高的聲譽。作為他的後裔的我們也因此被列為革命烈士之後。
My Grandfather, like General Ji, commanded great esteem amongst the Chinese Communist Party, especially the older generation of battle-hardened communists who survived the Long March. We are listed as descendants of revolutionary martyrs.

我的母親方召麟是國畫大師和書法家,方召麟後印象學派的創始人。她是 50
年代香港大學的畢業生,其後赴牛津大學研究楚辭。在那裡,她認識了一批享有極高聲譽的學者,像後來擔任劍橋凱厄斯學院校長的漢學家李約瑟博士,以及他的夫人著名生化學家魯桂珍,著名紅學家大衛霍克斯,錢鐘書學者,以及其後結識的韓素英醫生。
My Mother, Dr Fang Zhaolin, was a Chinese Grand Master artist and calligraphist and founder of the post-modernist Fang Zhaolin School . She was a graduate of Hong Kong University in the 50s when she set a record by getting her BA degree in Chinese history in just under two years. Later she went to Oxford University to study the Songs of Chu. There she made the acquaintance of high-minded scholars like Dr Joseph Needem, Sinologist and later Dean of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and his wife, the celebrated Biochemist, Lu Guizhen, Dr David Hox, an authority on the immortal Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, Dr Qian Zhongshu, scholar and writer, and later Dr Han Suying. 
這些人最後都成為了我母親的終身至交。他們對中國源遠流長的歷史和燦爛悠久的文明有著共同的見解和認同,並且都十分尊重中國人民的創造力和自力更生的精神。
They formed a life-long friendship with my mother and shared a common understanding of Chinese history and China ’s ancient culture and a deep respect for the creativity and self-reliant spirit of the Chinese people.
早在 60 年代到大陸去旅行還沒有成為時髦的時候,母親已經經常到中國去開畫展並與大陸的畫家交流。她親眼目睹了中國在困難時期老百姓所遭受的窮困艱苦和饑餓。我清晰地記得母親曾經與我們說過,中國老百姓在過去一百年的命運是充滿辛酸苦難的,只有當你親身經歷過他們的苦難,你才會明白作為一個中國人是什麼滋味。
Back in the 60s long before it became fashionable to travel to China , my Mother was making regular visits to the Mainland where she held exhibitions and exchanges with Mainland artists. She also saw the poverty, hardship and privations during the difficult years. My Mother used to say to us “The lot of the Chinese people for the past 100 years had been one of tears and sorrow, you don’t know what it is like to be a Chinese until you have tasted their sufferings!”
我的四叔方心讓教授對香港人來說不需要介紹 ,
在八零年代他的名字是家喻戶曉的。他是聯合國任命的國際康復總會的主席,在殘疾人士康復事業方面的先驅努力是有目共睹的。但鮮為人知的是,他曾在
80 年初期作出一個今後將效忠於自己的國家和人民的無悔決定。
My Uncle Professor Harry S.Y. Fang needs no introduction to Hong Kong. His name was a household word in Hong Kong in the 80s. He was the former United Nation appointed President of Rehabilitation International. His pioneering efforts in the cause of the physically handicapped around the world is on record. Little known however is the fact that sometime in the 80’s, he made an irrevocable decision to switch allegiance to his own country and people.
早在中國沒有成為今天的經濟強國之前,他作為一個骨科專家,第一個向中國領導人建議要重視被遺忘的少數殘疾人士的康復事業。而當時,中國的有限資源還不能夠滿足十億人口的供給需要,但是中國領導人卻採納了他的建議,從而建立了中國殘疾人聯合會。
Long before China became the economic juggernaut it is today, he
became the first Orthopaedic Specialist to propose to the Chinese
leadership, at a time when China was still very poor and its limited resources stretched thin over a burgeoning population of over one billion, that the rehabilitation of the physically handicapped, left-out and all but forgotten minority of the population, is a cause worth striving for in the long-run, and they believed him and China Disabled Person’s Federation was established.
在今天的中國,人們都尊稱我四叔為中國殘疾人士 “ 康復之父 ” ,以此紀念他對國家和人民所做出的不朽貢獻。
Today my uncle is honored in China as the founding father of China rehab in memory of the everlasting contribution he made to his country and people.
我詳細地介紹了我們家庭的愛國背景,是為了讓大家對我愛國的熱忱情懷感同身受 : “ 愛國應該成為選舉下一任香港特首的第一標準。 ”
I made a detailed introduction of my family’s patriotic background in order to lend credence to the theme under discussion : “Patriotism should be the number one criterion in the selection of the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong”.
愛國意味著效忠,而效忠意味著信任,信任就是人與人關係的水泥和凝固體。那麼香港人是否愛國呢?答案卻是否定的。
Patriotism presupposes loyalty and loyalty trust — the bricks and
mortar of all lasting human relations. Are Hong Kong people patriotic? The answer is an emphatic ‘No’.
一般來說香港的中國人既沒有民族意識 ,
也沒有繼承中華民族優良的傳統。他們也不會對大陸的同胞有認同感,他們寧願與臺灣,新加坡,澳洲,美國的中國人認同。他們認為自己更優越。
Generally Hong Kong Chinese have no idea of their national identity and heritage and loath to identify themselves with their brethren on the Mainland. They would rather identify themselves with the Taiwanese Chinese, Singaporean Chinese, Australian Chinese and American Chinese. They think they are superior.
但當我們知道香港人看重的是金錢,權利,名譽的時候,這種優越感就不難理解了。香港人不生產新的財富,而搞著錢滾錢的把戲。
The mindset that fosters this superiority complex is no mystery because Hong Kong people worship money, power and celebrity. Hong Kong creates no true wealth. It indulges in the culture of money making money.
早在 80 年代,香港的工資爆漲,生產轉移內陸。其後,香港的經濟變為一個勞務供應經濟,而它有限的土地變成它的財富衍生源。
Back in the 80s, Hong Kong wages sky-rocketed and production moved inland. Hong Kong has since been reduced to a service-based economy. Its limited terrain became its new wealth generator.
今天香港 70% 以上的融資來自房地產和有關的活動,近乎瘋狂的土地和房地產投機活動使今天的香港成為全世界居住最昂貴的城市。這種社會兩極化使香港已經接近聯合國測量由於收入不平衡而引起的社會動盪指標的紅燈警告。
Today over 70% of Hong Kong ’s market capitalization comes from
real-estate and related activities. The near frenzied speculation of
land and real estate has made Hong Kong the most expensive place to live in the world today. This social polarization has moved Hong Kong dangerously close to the red light signal on the United Nation’s index measuring social upheaval in the wake of income disparity.
中央政府對特首在香港能夠控制大局有足夠的信心。通常 13 億的中國人的利益應該有絕對優先權 ,
但在香港來說卻是相反。中央政府設定香港行政特區,授予香港人“carte blanche ”
(無限額的信用卡)來管理港人自己的事情。此外香港不需要向中央政府納稅,而負責香港安全的解放軍也是由中央政府來支付費用 ,
香港的課稅水準在世界同等區域中處於低位元,而中國大陸在 2010 年福布斯 “ 納稅痛苦 ” 指數排行榜上卻高居第二位。
The Chief Executive must have the confidence of the Central Government that he can keep things under control in Hong Kong . Normally, the interest of the overwhelming majority of 1.3b Chinese should have absolutely priority, but in the case of Hong Kong the reverse is true. The Central Government has designated Hong Kong a SEZ and given Hong Kong people a carte blanche to run their own affairs. Hong Kong pays no taxes to the Central Government who also picks up the bill for the People’s Liberation Army which defends Hong Kong ’s security. Hong Kong ’s level of taxation is very low compared to other areas in the world of equal level of development. However, Mainland Chinese “Tax
Pain” ranks second in the world last year according to Fortunes Index for 2010.
香港澳門居民由中央頒發通行證,從而得到無限制的進出及無限期居住於中國大陸的權利。大陸的同胞看了不由得眼紅,因為他們不僅要憑簽證進出港澳,而且要在關口排很長的隊。
Hong Kong and Macau citizens have been issued Special Passes which enable them to go in and out of China without restrictions and to stay for as long as they want. Their Mainland compatriots must be green with envy because they not only have to get visas for Hong Kong and Macau but have to wait in long queues for hours at the checkpoint.
最近中國副總理李克強在香港訪問期間帶來一喜訊,北京選擇香港作為今後中國人民幣海外交易的中心,香港將因此成為中國的蘇黎世和日內瓦 – 世界上獨一無二的金融中心。
Vice Premier Li Keqiang on his recent visit brought the good news that Beijing has picked Hong Kong to be China ’s future centre for overseas RMB trading. Hong Kong will be China ’s future Zurich and Geneva, both unique financial centres of the world.
根據聯合國的報告,去年香港在接受外國直接投資 (DFI)
方面居世界第三位,對香港這個彈丸之地來說這是難以置信的。所有香港及港人得到的這些好處都只因為一個原因 ― 中國。
According to the United Nations report, Hong Kong last year ranked third in the world as recipient of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), a mesmerizing performance considering the size of Hong Kong . All these good things have happened to Hong Kong and its people for one reason — China .
香港人應該捫心自問,祖國為我做了如此之多,我該何以為報?香港人是時候該自我反省了,他們應該認真思考一下他們有沒有達到中央政府對他們的期望。
Hong Kong should ask itself this question, “My country has done so much for me, what have I done for her in return?” It’s time that the people of Hong Kong take to introspection and ask themselves have they lived up to the expectation of the Central Government?
照現在的情況來看,他們是大大的令中央失望了。香港像一個被寵壞了的孩子,不但不感恩報德,反而背叛了自己的國家,走向另一個極端。
The way things stand they have let the Central Government down badly! Hong Kong people have behaved like spoiled brats cosseted with gifts, perquisites and privileges. Instead of showing their gratitude and appreciation they have turned on their own country. They have gone to the other extreme!
以《爭鳴》為代表的一些抹黑的雜誌點名道姓的污蔑和攻擊中國領導人,這份自命為代表民意的雜誌,與街上的流氓結成一條戰線,由像 “ 與眾不同 ”
梁國雄這種拿著高工資議員帶頭去硬闖和平的集會和正在正式開會的立法委員會。
Take the mud-raking tabloid Zheng Ming( 争鸣 ) the self-styled people’s voice which vilify and attack Chinese leadership by names, and forms a united front with the flamboyant Leung Kwok hung(梁国雄, the highly paid Legislation Council Member who crashed peaceful rally and disrupted official meetings of the Legislation Council.
特首曾蔭權曾嚴正譴責這些打著言論集會自由幌子的流氓行徑。自古以來中國以王權為貴,天子從首都統治天下,他的權力是絕對的。任何侮辱或謀反王權的言行可以召來公開誅三族的嚴厲處罰,而天下不會有任何異議。
Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive was right in condemning his acts of hooliganism under the guise of free speech and assembly. It must be remembered that for millennium, the Emperor, the Son of Heaven, ruled from the capital and all bowed to his benevolence and absolute authority. Sedition or any pejorative mention of his name could bring public decapitation of three generations of the offender, and there  would not be a whisper of dissent across the land!
今天這種日子雖然已經一去不返了,但這並不意味著香港可以走向另外一個極端。今天的香港好像已經習慣了這些無法無天的行徑。自古以來鐵法無情,違法者必須受到制裁。
These days are gone forever, but this does not mean Hong Kong should go to the other extreme. Hong Kong today seems to be used to lawlessness and anarchy. No! The law must be upheld and the Authority must not go soft on people who took the law into their own hands!
香港政府與香港立法委員會通過二十三條迫在眉睫的時刻 , 以陳方安生,李柱銘,黎智英,陳日君主教為首的香港 “ 四人幫 ”
與余若薇領導的公民黨公開的向政府挑戰 ,
而二十三條內容旨在防止危害國家安全的言行。這些人應該知道他們是中國的公民,受中國法律的約束和制裁。而且所有人和國家都應該尊重中國對香港的主權,避免干涉中國的內政。
The open defiance of the “Gang of Four” Anson Chan, Martin Li, Jimmy Lai, Cardinal Joseph Zen and the Civic Party headed by Audry Yu, only points to the urgency for the government and the Legislative Council to push through Article 23 under which all these activities would fall as activities endangering state security i.e. Sedition. These people must be made to understand that they are Chinese citizens and subject to Chinese laws and sanctions. All people and countries should respect China ’s sovereignty over Hong Kong and refrain from interfering in China ’s internal affairs.
香港的法院和法官似乎在解釋基本法授予他們的任務方面也給了自己太多的空間,他們好像忘了他們的首要任務是維護港人的切身利益。如果他們失職,基本法最終的解釋權是在人大。
Hong Kong ’s Courts and Magistrates seem to have allowed themselves a lot of latitude in interpreting their mandate under the Basic Law. They seem to have memory lapse and forgotten that their first and foremost duty is to defend Hong Kong’s indigenous interest and should they falter the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing has the final say in the interpretation of the Basic Law.
西方的民主和人權概念不能夠直接用於一個像中國這樣幾千年來都是圍繞著儒家倫理思想治國的大國,否則一定會引起不可預見的後果。
Western precepts of democracy and human rights cannot be applied directly to a country the size of China which for millennium has evolved around Confucius Ethics. It is bound to lead to unintended consequences.
美國的李.雅科卡,曾經是克萊斯勒汽車公司的總裁,他拯救了瀕臨破產的公司,並使之重新盈利。他曾經說過這樣的話,要把一個四方模型放進一個圓模型中是行不通的。同樣的道理,用西方的辦法去解決中國的問題也是行不通的。
Lee Lacocca, the flamboyant CEO of the Chrysler Corporation who
singlehandedly brought his company from the brink of bankruptcy, and turned it into profitability again had this to say, “Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole simply won’t work—it don’t belong”. Western ideas and western ways to solve Chinese problems is a mismatch from the start.
今天中國的 GDP 僅次於美國,居世界第二位。在選擇國民經濟發展的模式和優先次序等重大問題上 ,
中國一向是與西方保持一定的距離,從來沒有接受過西方在這方面的唆使和壓力。
Today, China ’s GDP ranks only second to the US . In the selection of National Development Models and priority-setting, China has always maintained an aloofness from the West and has never accepted western tutelage, prodding and pressure.
泰然處之和自力更生一向是中國的品牌,在理財方面,央行一向採取謹慎保守的政策,使中國沒有被捲入 2008-2009 年的西方經濟大崩潰與大蕭條。
Equanimity and self-reliance had been China ’s hallmark. In money management, China Central Bank favored a conservative and cautious policy. This has enabled China to stay clear of the economic melt-down which hit the Western economies in 2008 – 2009.
最近美國和幾個歐元區的國家的評級從 AAA 下降到 AA,
更粉碎了美國的聯邦儲備局和華爾街在理財方面勝人一籌的神話。當前美國和歐元區國家正陷入主權債務的危機 ,
人人自危。根據國際貨幣基金組織最新的預測,西方經濟全部告急,但中國在未來的 10 年內將維持每年 8%-9% 的增長率。
The recent downgrading of the ratings of US and countries of Euro area from AAA to AA shattered the myth that the US Federal Reserves and Wall Street knew better when it came to how to manage money. Currently, the US and Euro countries are battling the sovereign debt crisis. It’s everyone for himself. According to the latest IMF forecast, the prospects are grim for the Western economies, whereas China’s economy will continue to grow at 7%-8% per annum for decades.
全世界現在都寄希望於中國今後的經濟增長將可以帶動世界經濟的復蘇,下一輪的全球競賽即將在經濟領域展開。中國人民將滿懷信心加入這場競賽,屆時中國將必然成為國際社會的一個舉足輕重的卓越成員(
Premier Member )。
The next round of competition will be in the economy field and the Chinese people are ready and confident. China will be recognised as a Premier Member and make its presence felt!
寫這篇文章我既沒有預料到也是機緣巧合。這次來雪梨旅行突然遭遇一場腎病,使我不得不推遲返港的日期在雪梨尋醫治療。在從香港來雪梨時,我不經意地在香港機場買了一本基辛格最近出版的名為《論中國》
(ON CHINA) 的書,並且一口氣在八個小時的旅途中把它讀完。基辛格博士的分析以及他在書中所透漏的他與毛澤東、周恩來、鄧小平等對話的全文紀錄,使我感到無比的震撼。
The timing of this article is both propitious and uncanny. Here in
Sydney on a visit I was suddenly hit by a kidney disorder forcing me to postpone my departure and seek treatment. On the way over from Hong Kong to Sydney I picked up a recent book at the airport by Dr. Kissinger ‘On China’, and read it in the 8-hour flight to Sydney . Dr Kissinger’s analysis and his revelation of his dialogue with Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, which were recorded verbatim left me awe-struck!
這次腎病的突發,我需要長時間臥床休息,借這段時間我把基辛格的書又讀了一遍,並且做了筆記。
My recovery requires long period of bed rest, and I used the time to re-read Dr. Kissinger’s book and took notes.
另外通過閱讀澳洲的華人報刊 ,
我知道了港澳辦主任王光亞對香港人愛國的要求以及最近前中國總理朱鎔基責成香港人要以國法為重,穩定為要,鞏固業績,保持和諧,團結一致,更好地配合祖國即將實現的宏圖大業。中國前總理朱鎔基說:
“ 那些破壞香港團結穩定莫名其妙的行徑,大家應予以口誅筆伐! ”
From reading the local Chinese newspaper, I learned of Mr. Wang
Guangya’s patriotic call to the people of Hong Kong and the recent admonition of former Premier Zhu Rongji, who said “We should condemn both in speech and writing those who undermine, on a quirk, Hong Kong’s unity and stability.” The former Premier called on the Hong Kong people to abide by the law, strengthen stability, built on success, maintain harmony and unity so as to better coordinate themselves with the Motherland’s ambitious plan for the future.
香港是我出生成長的故鄉,中國是我的祖國。兩者都與我有切身的關係。我應該做出自己的貢獻,這篇文章就是我的貢獻。
I was born and raised in Hong Kong and China is my motherland. The relationship with both is of my concern. I should make my own contribution to them and this article is my contribution.
最後是我對香港學生的一點忠告,香港高校學生無論在中文或英文方面都嚴重不足。大陸的學生早就過了他們的頭 , 我能這樣說因為我是語言方面的權威。
Finally, a word of advice to Hong Kong students. The level of both
Chinese and English among students in Hong Kong today is inadequate. Their Mainland peers have long since overtaken them. I can say this with authority because language is my specialty.
我來自一個舊式的大家庭,祖母是一家之尊,所有人都要聽她的。我從祖母那裡學到了如何尊重權威以及我在方氏大家庭內應有的地位。學生就是應該在課室內聽課學習,而不是在操場上示威或在校長的辦公室內抗議校長所做的給予國家副總理李克強最尊席位的決定。我是贊成重用體罰來應付一些行為特別惡劣的又頑固不改的學生,所謂棒頭出孝子。
I come from an old-fashioned large Chinese family where my Grandmother who had bound feet was the Matriarch. From her I learned two things: how to respect authority and to know my place in the family hierarchy. Students’ place is in the classroom where they learn and listen to teachers’ lectures, not in the open ground to demonstrate or in the Dean’s Office to protest his decision to give the visiting Vice Premier Li Keqiang the seat of honour. I am all in favour of bringing back corporal punishment as a deterrence against recalcitrant and unrepentant students. The ancient adage “Spare the rod and spoil the
child” still holds.
我建議將基辛格的《論中國》 (ON CHINA)
定為大學生必讀書目,文采飛揚的基辛格博士會給當代大學生帶來新的思想和啟發。這本書會讓同學們對中國和中國的領導人有一個全新的更深刻的認識
I strongly propose that Dr. Kissinger’s book ‘On China’ be made
mandatory reading for university students of Hong Kong . Dr.
Kissinger’s prose is superb, and students should use a good
dictionary. Through this book they will gain an insight into their own country and its leaders that they don’t even know about it.
此文基於我對香港社會現狀的觀察和我深深的愛國情懷。我衷心希望香港人能以大局為重,以民族為重,認真思考香港的未來,共同實現中華民族的偉大復興。
This article is based on my observation and analysis of the current
social situation in Hong Kong and my sentiments and affection for the
Motherland. I sincerely hope that the people of Hong Kong will take to
heart the overall interest of their country China and the Chinese
people and ponder on Hong Kong ’s own future.
方順生
Philip Fang
二零一一年九月二十日
雪梨

讀後深感: 方振武和方召麟如仍健在,會如何看陳方安生?!

US’s Cyber Spying Vs. China’s

US’s Cyber Spying Vs. China’s

Cyber Spying

Our media like to criticize China for unspecified and, apparently, non-existent cyber crimes. Yet experts agree that the largest share of international cyber attacks belongs to the USA. Apparently even the US Government is part of hacking Team Ammerica…

French officials accuse US of hacking Sarkozy’s computers

The United States used U.S.-Israeli spy software to hack into the French presidential office earlier this year, the French cyberwarfare agency has concluded, according to the newsmagazine l’Express.

The magazine reported late Tuesday that the computers of several close advisers to then-president Nicolas Sarkozy – including Chief of Staff Xavier Musca – were compromised in May by a computer virus that bears the hallmarks of Flame, which was allegedly created by a U.S.-Israeli team to target Iran’s nuclear program. Anonymous French officials pointed the finger at the United States.

“You can be on very good terms with a ‘friendly’ country and still want to guarantee their unwavering support – especially during a transition period,” an official told the magazine. The alleged spying attack took place a few days before the second round of the French presidential elections, which Sarkozy lost to Francois Hollande, a socialist.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano reportedly did not deny the allegations when asked point-blank about them.

“We have no greater partner than France, we have no greater ally than France,” Napolitano reportedly answered, at the opening of an interview with l’Express. “We cooperate in many security-related areas. I am here to further reinforce those ties and create new ones.”

In the interview, Napolitano also said that the Flame and Stuxnet viruses had “never been linked to the U.S. government.”

The White House did not return a request for comment from The Hill.

Parts of this article have been translated from the French.

http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/europe/268995-us-accused-of-hacking-into-french-presidential-computers?utm_source=Sinocism+Newsletter&utm_campaign=9c3b726571-The_Sinocism_China_Newsletter_For_11_21_2012&utm_medium=email

China Spends the World Bank Money!

China Spends the World Bank Money!

A
In Search of Solutions

New World Bank president Jim Yong Kim says he wants to see the institution focus on results, and is keen to increase cooperation with China

(Beijing) — Unlike his eleven predecessors, new World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has little experience as a high-level official in either government or financial institutions.
However, as a doctor and anthropologist, his 20 years of dedication to international development and poverty alleviation qualified him to head the institution.

In late November, Kim paid his first visit to China since taking office in March. One of the key issues during his visit was to launch a joint research project with the government to study urbanization and provide solutions for reducing poverty.

The research on China’s urbanization process will be the next major report released by the World Bank, following its China 2030 Report in February, which outlined strategic directions for China’s development and offered advice for future reforms.
The cooperation between China and the World Bank has seen many changes during the past three decades. China has evolved from a major aid recipient to a donor, while the bank has switched its offers from technology transfer to reform ideas, management methods and new technologies. Now, the World Bank is sharing China’s experiences with other developing countries.
During his visit to Beijing, Kim gave an exclusive interview to Caixin. He spoke about the bank’s relationship with China and his expectations for its future involvement in global development. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
Caixin: How would you describe the cooperation between the World Bank and China in the past thirty years?
Jim Yong Kim: I think the cooperation between the World Bank and China has really been a model for how a multilateral institution can work with a particular country. It’s been more than 30 years now, and I think both the depth of the collaboration has gotten better and better every year, and also the results have been just stunning. We were just talking about the record in water treatment and transportation, and it’s been over US$ 9 billion that we’ve done over the years. The outcomes are really very impressive. I was just in Sichuan looking at the roads and health clinics, and the results have really been very impressive.

You met Vice Premier Li Keqiang and talked about urbanization. What’s your expectation for the new government in this area?
The meeting with the vice premier was very inspiring. He, of course, knew the China 2030 report very well and he challenged us to take the next step and write the next flagship report, which in this case will be focused on urbanization. The vice premier was very clear with us. He expects us to get working right away on this next report, and this next report will not only provide a vision for China, but we hope that by collecting and analyzing the Chinese experience, we’ll also be able to provide a strategic document that will be helpful to countries all over the world. The relationship is deepening ever further, the vice premier is asking us to do something very bold and aspirational.

Can you talk a little about the China 2030 report? It is very inspiring but also caused some controversy.
If you look at the six major points, these are very important points and the most impressive part of it was that this was a full collaboration between the World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council. I think that China was willing to look at itself in a very critical way and say we’ve made a lot of progress, but there’s further to go, there’s more to do in the area of reform. This document was very explicit about the commitment to a green economy future. I think that there was a very strong commitment to inclusion and opening up opportunities for more of the Chinese people. And so I think, overall, the collaboration was really important, but it wasn’t just another document that we might call window dressing. It was hard hitting, it was very honest and it was self-critical in a way that I think is extremely encouraging.

The report mentioned six strategic directions facing China. What, in your view, are the major challenges?
Every single country is facing some of these issues. Further structural reforms, these are not just issues for China or even just the developing world. As we know, the question of structural reform is very much alive in Europe, for example, very much alive in the United States. The challenge of actually delivering on truly aspirational goals is an issue for every single country in the world. My own sense is that China was explicit in writing them down and looking at itself in terms of what more it needs to do, and also looking at its great accomplishments.

The new Country Partnership Strategy points out three areas of engagement between the World Bank and China, which are green growth, inclusive development and a beneficial relationship with the world. Why are these three issues priorities?
They are all priorities, but let me talk about one of them. One of the topics that we talked about was China’s relationship with the rest of the world, and we’re now looking at ways where we can investigate together. We’re trying to find the exact mechanism to do it, but we would like to work with China, for example, collaboratively on development projects in Africa. It’s one of the topics we discussed and China’s making major investments in Africa. We have a tremendous amount of experience in Africa. We have had success working there, and we think the combination of Chinese expertise and resources and World Bank expertise and resources could be much more than the sum of its parts if we brought them together for the sake of development in Africa. So that’s one of the areas that we’re working on.
You know, the situation for climate change and the environment is difficult and we know that 70 percent of China’s electrical output comes from coal. But what I, and this is an issue about the emission of carbon dioxide, I have to say that hearing the aspirations of the Chinese people to get to 15 percent of all the energy produced by renewable resources, there is a very clear commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of China. The goals are really quite aspirational and if China is successful in reaching its targets, I think it will have enormous impact on sustainability in the future.

How will the World Bank share China’s experience reducing poverty and some other aspects of its development with other parts of the world?
Well we already do. There are already projects focused on irrigation in Africa that draw from experiences that we’ve had in China. I think that there are many, many experiences in China that are relevant to the rest of the world. This is what we mean by a solutions bank. This is what we mean by moving towards a science of delivery.
What we want to do with the Chinese people and the Chinese government and Chinese citizens is to really capture the successes and also the failures that China has experienced. Catalogue those successes and failures, curate them, analyze them, try to understand them, look for fundamental principles that emerge from China’s experience and then share that with the rest of the world.
Now again, what was very encouraging to me was the Chinese authorities consistently told me that it’s not just us sharing our experience with others. We want to understand the experience of other countries as well. One of the great things about being here is I know that if we bring the experiences of other countries to China, China will do something with them. They’ll think about them, they’ll either try them or reject them. We know that they’ll do something with them, and as a hub for the development of what we’re calling the science of delivery there’s so many resources here and the commitment of Chinese academics and Chinese government to work with us on building this science was very impressive.

You have mentioned changing the World Bank from a knowledge bank to a solutions bank. How will this be achieved? And what role can China play?
What I meant in moving from a knowledge bank to a solutions bank is that there’s a misunderstanding, and one of the misunderstandings is all you have to do is produce data or do a study and produce knowledge, and if you send the reports to the country then they’ll know what to do with them. What we know is that the production of data, the production of information is just the beginning. The critical piece is helping countries understand the implications of particular data sets or studies, and then making that kind of knowledge work in that particular country’s context.
The good news is that the World Bank is filled with people who have been doing that for most of their professional life. People who have not just created knowledge or done research, but taken the knowledge that exists and help countries produce results on the ground.
In China, what I’ve found is there are also many, many people who have been focused on execution, implementation, delivery and who have accumulated a lot of important experience in making things work on the ground. That’s how we want to work together. It’s not just the production of knowledge – it’s producing knowledge and making sure that that knowledge works in a particular context and produces the kind of results that we want for citizens.
China has adopted various policies to support industrial development. Does this model also fit other developing countries?
Historically, we’ve seen countries evolve from having very strong industrial policies to focusing more on market-oriented growth. The country that I know best is South Korea. There are different interpretations of the history of South Korean economic growth, but I think the one that is most dominant is that Korea did have an industrial policy, but really for a relatively short period of its economic growth, and it turned to a more market-oriented approach really quite early. The other thing that we understand is that while they had an industrial policy, it really encouraged internal competition, so the big business groups had to fight with each other and the fact that there was this intense internal competition inside Korea actually prepared them for competing with the outside world.
Every story is complicated, and I don’t think anyone in development economics is looking simplistically and saying: “Industrial policy is important. No market mechanisms are important.”
Every country goes forward with its own mix of those two approaches. Our view of course is that market competition, and market competition early, is a good thing. Industries get better, and competitiveness gets better. And if you look back at some of the success stories, and Korea is the one I know best, they focused on creating internal competition very early, and that helped their industries become competitive globally.
You have a very unique background compared with previous bank heads, who usually had government, financial or legal backgrounds. How will you bring your special experience to the World Bank?
Let me talk about two aspects of my background. First, I’m the first development specialist to lead the World Bank. I’m the first president to have spent his life working on development coming into the most important development institution in the world. The fact that I’ve been in the field, the fact that I’ve had experience trying to turn knowledge into results, I think that’s helped me a lot. And it’s also helped me to understand our professionals, and maybe even more importantly, it’s helped our staff to understand me. They know where I’m coming from.
I’ve been working in global health all of my life, all of my adult life, and my first trip to China was as the director of the AIDS department at the World Health Organization. So that’s been part of my work, but throughout my professional career, my organizations have never just worked on health. We’ve worked on health, education, social protection programs, even housing, so I’ve been a development practitioner in addition to being a global health practitioner. Health is a small part of the World Bank portfolio, but that’s not the important piece of it. I have worked in development and that’s the biggest part of the portfolio.
And the anthropological piece of it is also very important. There are 188 member countries, and so understanding the particular social, political and economic context of each of these countries is critical, and that’s what we do in anthropology.
But the other part that I think is important is that I’ve been trained in science. I’m the first World Bank president trained in science and some of the biggest problems today – climate change, health care, even approaches to scientific education for example – require some understanding of science, and so I hope that helps me in tackling really complicated issues like, for example, climate change.

What direction do you think the World Bank should head?
What I’m hearing, both from clients and inside the bank, is we need to reduce the number of bureaucratic procedures that we need to go through just to operate. So we need to streamline our procedures.
We need to focus less on project approval at the board and more on getting results on the ground. Those are some of the reforms we’re going to make. But also, I think we have to modify the incentives inside the World Bank so the employees who are rewarded the most, the employees who are appreciated the most, are the best at taking the knowledge that we create at the bank and that’s created outside of the bank and making it work for countries to produce results on the ground. That’s what we want to do. We want to be known as the institution you go to if you want help in achieving your highest aspirations for economic growth and for the well-being of your people.—Read more in Caixin

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President Hu’s Legacy

President Hu’s Legacy

President HuPresident Hu leaves China a far, far better place than he found it. Here’s a list of some of China’s recent accomplishments, most of which came to fruition during his 10 year tenure, and manyof which went from proposal to finished project entirely within his term. Here are thirty of Hu’s accomplishments:

  1. An historic rapprochement with Taiwan.
  2. Modernised the armed forces beyond recognition
  3. Quit all his powerful positions, setting a good example
  4. Put men into space
  5. Designed and started construction of a space station
  6. Is completing China’s GPS Satellite System
  7. Has the world’s fastest trains and the largest HSR track network
  8. Built the world’s largest dam
  9. Built the world’s longest bridges
  10. Built the most undersea tunnels on earth
  11. Built two series of commercial aircraft
  12. Designed and built two fully electric aircraft now on sale in the US
  13. Designed and built a series of 4-passenger flying boats
  14. Designed and built the world’s second-deepest submersible
  15. Designed and built the world’s fastest computer – due to a Chinese-designed O/S
  16. Had an increase in GNP of 10% p.a. for 30 years
  17. Brought 400 million people out of poverty in only 30 years
  18. Created what is already the world’s largest middle class
  19. Created the largest (and best-funded) banks in the world
  20. Become the second-largest economy in the world (soon to be first)
  21. Surpassed the USA for the largest number of patents issued annually
  22. Leading the world in CAT scan technology
  23. Leading the world in DNA mapping and synthesising
  24. Leads the world in green energy technology – all home-grown
  25. Leads the world in electric car and battery technology
  26. Become the biggest market in the world for luxury goods
  27. Become the largest auto market in the world
  28. Leads the world in laser eye surgery and cornea transplants
  29. Has the highest number of English-speaking people in the world
  30. Built two nuclear-powered nuclear submarines

According to PEW Research, 86% of the population of China is happy with their government and economic system, compared to 23% for the US.

According to the Edelmann Institute, 88% of Chinese trust their government, compared to less than 40% for the US.

Wouldn’t you trust a government that pulled that off in 10 years?

You may enjoy reading about China’s high-speed train system. Here is a link to an article with plenty of information and photos: Click Here:.

Duel in the South China Sea?

Duel in the South China Sea?

Duel in the South China Sea?

There’s a recent, oft-repeated myth in the Western media: China is opposed to and fears a “multi-lateral negotiation scheme”, where the many competing nations in the South China Sea claims would negotiate in a group forum, instead of 1 on 1.

This Western media theory is that China is afraid of this forum because it would be negotiating against several smaller nations, who would naturally form some kind of “united front” against China. Consider the illogic of this latest “know nothing” campaign about nothing:

China has no power to forbid any nation from negotiating with others.  If Vietnam and Philippines want to form a “united front” against China, they can easily form an alliance and then negotiate with China.

It is thus obvious that Vietnam, Philippines, etc.cannot form a united front with each other.

Given the record of ASEAN, why create yet another multi-lateral forum that resolves nothing?

Given the record of ASEAN, isn’t it clear that the smaller nations are simply busy leveraging advantages for themselves — which is really why they don’t have much leverage against China. So why all the fuss about creating another multi-lateral forum?

The reason is  evident from US’s own statements:  the USA, began to simultaneously express support for Vietnam, Philippines, and Japan and to talk about its “pivot” to Asia, and about its own “rights” in the South China Sea because it wants to be in on the new “multi-lateral” negotiations with China in the South China Sea.

The reason for this kind of silly behavior is that US foreign policy has been run — not by the State Department — but by the Department of Defense for the past 15 years. That’s why the US is currently attacking 6 countries and threatening 6 more.

Censorship? In Britain? Surely Not!

Censorship? In Britain? Surely Not!

Censorship? In Britain? Surely Not!

The BBC’s Culture of Self-Censorship

Is the BBC in such a petrified or paralysed state, so badly decayed, that it is beyond repair? Are all hopes of inner movement or structural reform misplaced?

To read the national press this would appear to be the case. I’m not so sure. Hysteria has now reached absurd proportions, as has the level of public discussion on the issues at stake. George Entwistle, his predecessor Mark Thompson and Helen Boaden, director of news, are reminiscent more of middle-level bureaucrats in Honecker’s Germany than creative-minded managers. Entwistle has fallen on his sword. More might opt for hara-kiri, but on its own this will solve very little.

There is an underlying problem that has confronted the BBC since Sir John Birt was made director general in Thatcher’s time. His predecessor (bar one) had been sacked effectively on Thatcher’s orders in 1987 for not “being one of us”.

A reliable toady, Marmaduke Hussey, was catapulted on to the BBC board as chairman. His first task was to sack director general Alasdair Milne for “leftwing bias”. Thatcher was livid that the BBC had permitted her to be grilled on the Falklands war on a live programme by a woman viewer from Bristol who successfully demolished the prime minister’s arguments.

Thatcher disliked the BBC’s coverage of the Falklands war and the miners’ strike and highlighted a number of other documentaries that were considered “too leftwing”. A faceless bureaucrat replaced Milne till the appointment of John Birt, a dalek without instincts or qualities, who transformed the BBC into the top-heavy managerial monster that it has become. Read more.
china war on poverty

China’s War on Poverty 2014

China Renews War on Poverty 2014

Xinhua Insight By Zhang Zhongkai

HAIKOU, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) — For most farmers, Autumn is a happy season where months of hard work toiling the ground finally pay off.

But for 43-year-old farmer Fu Xiangli it was a season of remedy.

A resident of an impoverished village in Haikou city in south China’s Hainan Province, she’s able breath a sigh of relief after a hastily planted mushroom crop managed to bring in 4,000 yuan (651 U.S dollars).It’s a good haul, but less than half the family’s normal earnings.

In July, a record-breaking typhoon destroyed Fu’s fields of rubber trees and rice paddies. With a yearly income of 10,000 yuan split between the family of five, their budget was already shoestring. Incidents like the typhoon often prove financially fatal for those toeing the line of poverty.

“It’s surprising that we can still get some money after the disaster,” Fu said, adding the glossy ganoderma mushroom crop was planted under the guidance of the local government. “I see hope of a new life.”

Fu is just one of more than 80 million poor Chinese under the country’s poverty line who have become the target of China’s new anti-poverty campaign as the country celebrates its first National Poverty-Relief Day on Friday.

WAR ON POVERTY

Along with the stunning economic growth over the past three decades, China’s poverty relief work has been on the constant move.

From 1978 to 2010, China lifted around 660 million people out of poverty, amounting for over 90 percent of the world’s total relieved poverty population, according to the country’s leading group office of poverty alleviation and development.

Along with overall GDP growth targets, the government is focusing on raising the income of the country’s population with a current goal to double per capita income from those recorded in 2010 by 2020.

In an effort to expand the safety net for those in poverty, the national poverty line was increased from 206 yuan in 1986 to 2,300 yuan in 2011,

However, the war on poverty still has a long way to go, with over 80 million people still mired in poverty by the national standard.

Thousands of villages are still without electricity and about 100,000 villages still have no access to modern roads, according to Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council’s leading group office of poverty alleviation and development (CPAD).

The decision to set up a national poverty relief day marks China’s renewed campaign to allocate more manpower and resources to help those in need. This year alone, they aim to lift over 10 million people out of poverty, Liu said.

The office leading the charge called for the whole society to pay more attention and offer more help to the poor. On National poverty relief day this Friday, a range of activities to raise awareness has been initiated, including a mobile app that allows individuals to donate money to the poverty alleviation foundation.

Meanwhile, a nationwide campaign to gather detailed information on the poor has been launched, urging them to register information on causes and level of poverty so the government can offer specific support, Liu said.

A TOUGH BATTLE

Discerning areas in dire need from those who could simply use extra funding has proven a rigorous challenge for poverty alleviation officials.

Currently, a total of 832 Chinese counties are now receiving national poverty relief, with supportive policies and special funds.

The desire for increased funding has lured some counties to rush for the qualification, increasing incidents of inefficient or illegal use of poverty relief funds.

Fake information, embezzlement, misuse of the funds for other purposes such as entertaining officials and investing on image projects were common problems found in 19 counties from 2010 to 2012, according to the country’s top audit agency.

Meanwhile, many counties took a short-sighted approach, using the fund by simply giving money to the poor instead of more diverse and efficient supportive measures, said Liu Zhongcheng, head of the poverty relief office of Inner Mongolia.

Eliminating poverty is not simply about giving money to the poor. The more sustainable approach is to work with them to help lift themselves out of poverty and thrive through technological, policy support and other measures, said Wang Binbin, project manager of the climate change and poverty project with Oxfam, a worldwide development organization focusing on poverty alleviation.

China is now working on improving the evaluation method for impoverished counties, applying more restraints on the use of fund and checking the county’s qualification regularly, said Su Guoxia, head of the policy and regulation department of CPAD.

“We will encourage qualified counties to rid themselves of the label by getting rich through government support and hard work. It’s not shameful to be poor, but indeed creditable to shake off poverty,” Su said.

China’s War on Poverty 2014. Good news.

75 US Economic Indicators

75 US Economic Indicators

The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones.  Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion.  So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers.  They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.
The following are 75 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe…
#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps.  That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.
#2 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#4 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.
#5 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
#6 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#7 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
#8 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been under 59 percent for 39 months in a row.
#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  In November 2012,58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.
#10 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.
#11 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all small business owners in America “say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.”
#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline.  According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Clinton: 11.2
Bush Jr.: 10.8
Obama: 7.8
#13 The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to21.6 percent in 2011.
#14 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#15 There are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.
#16 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.
#17 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.  Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.
#18 The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of all middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.
#19 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
#20 Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
#21 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#22 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#23 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#24 The average amount of time that an unemployed worker stays out of work in the United States is 40 weeks.
#25 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.
#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.
#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.
#28 When you account for all government transfer payments and all forms of government employment, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increasedby nearly 8.5 million.  Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.
#30 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.
#32 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#33 Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
#35 At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.
#36 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.
#37 Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.
#38 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
#39 One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.
#40 In the city of Detroit today, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults are functionally illiterate.
#41 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#42 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#43 If you can believe it, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.
#44 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#45 Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion.  That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.
#46 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
#47 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.
#49 According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.
#50 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percentsince the Federal Reserve was first created.
#51 2012 was the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.
#52 Experts are telling us that global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.
#53 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.
#54 If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.
#55 Medical costs related to obesity in the United States are estimated to be approximately $147 billion a year.
#56 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.
#57 Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.
#58 The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.
#59 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
#60 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively ownjust 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#61 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#62 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year.  Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.
#63 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.  The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#65 U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
#66 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.
#67 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.
#68 During fiscal year 2012, 62 percent of the federal budget was spent on entitlements.
#69 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#70 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds.  As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#73 Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to 16.3 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
#75 Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created back in 1913.

China’s Environment: Restoring the Loess Plateau

BEFORE

Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration John D. Liu November 2012

Here’s an in-depth article by John Liu, who knows what he’s talking about: an insanely ambitious, ongoing attempt to restore China’s loess plateau:

In 1995, as the Chinese government and people were beginning an ambitious effort to restore the cradle of Chinese civilization, I was asked by the World Bank to document the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project”. Originally the Loess Plateau had been fully vegetated with massive forests and grasslands. Resources extracted from the giant forests, rushing rivers, and abundance of the earth in this place blossomed into the magnificence of the Han, the Qin and the Tang dynasties. The accomplishments of the early Chinese dynasties, based in this area, rank among the greatest human scientific and artistic achievements of any age. The Loess Plateau gave birth to the Han race, the largest ethnic group on the planet, and the plateau is generally considered by historians and geographers
to be the second place on Earth where human beings began to use settled agriculture.
AFTER
As bright as the beginning was, the area over time suffered and eventually was almost completely denuded of vegetation. By 1000 years ago the Loess Plateau had been abandoned by the wealthy and powerful and by the mid-1990s was famous mainly for a continuous cycle of flooding, drought and famine known as “China’s Sorrow”. Over the years since beginning this inquiry in 1995 I have witnessed an extraordinary transformation on the Loess Plateau. The changes have been brought about by differentiating and designating ecological and economic land, infiltrating rainfall, terracing, and consciously increasing biomass and organic material through massive planting of trees in the ecological land and using better agriculture methods in the economic lands.
A measure of ecological function has been returned to the region and the general direction of development is now positive and accumulative with the functionality continuing to improve. The changes on the Loess Plateau have been transformational and are contributing to a growing movement to restore all degraded land on the Earth. As my understanding has grown I have presented the Loess Plateau restoration efforts and results of the restoration worldwide through public speaking and in several films including: “The Lessons of the Loess Plateau”, “Hope in a Changing Climate” and “Green Gold”.
I have been on a very long journey of inquiry since beginning to study China’s Loess Plateau. This article contains much of the journey, the wonder and beauty I have seen along the way and the conclusions that I have come to. My experiences have made me realize that while we live in interesting times, we are not helpless in the face of the many challenges we are grappling with. Biodiversity loss, human induced climate changes, increasing incidence of extreme weather, pollution, food insecurity, desertification, human population growth, financial crisis, racism, war, violence, and migration, are just some of the concerns that we have. What exactly is happening? Why do we seem to be on a downward spiral, leading seemingly toward an eventual catastrophic collapse? Are all these negative outcomes inevitable? Is it “God’s Wrath” directed at us because we have sinned and because of this we have been cast out from paradise? Should we take that literally or could this be a poetic metaphor intended to lead us to understanding? The inquiry that began with a short assignment to document a project in China has led me to every continent on Earth and to cast my thoughts across historical, evolutionary and geologic time. My focus in the beginning was to gain a better understanding of the biophysical aspects of Earth Systems but has more recently turned to how this is related to human activity, work and the economy. Surprising implications are emerging. What was at first distant from current events is now suggesting a new development paradigm that could address the most serious problems we face with profound implications for the present and the future.
Studying the Loess Plateau has proven to be broadly analogous to studying other cradles of civilization on the planet. By reducing biodiversity, biomass and accumulated organic matter the people of the Loess Plateau destroyed the ability to infiltrate and retain rainfall in biomass and organic soils, causing an area the size of France to dry out….Read more…