China Archives – In Praise of China
Premier Li: Developing Central China
This article gives an excellent idea of how the Chinese government approaches its people’s needs holistically. And it isn’t just talk about developing central China. Soon I’ll be able to drive (on the just-opened Asian Highway) from my home in Chiang Mai to Kunming, the board a high-speed train either to Shanghai or….Lhasa!
Premier Li Keqiang visits construction of the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway in Changsha, Hunan province, developing Central China
Central China as growth engine for the entire nation
China is famous for its low cost high speed rail construction, yet it beats every other country except Japan for HSR safety.
According to a World Bank paper titled High-Speed Railways in China: A Look at Construction Costs, several factors influence the cost of a high speed rail project construction. The major factors include the line design speed, topography along the alignment, weather conditions, land acquisition costs, use of viaducts instead of embankments, the construction of major bridges across wide rivers, and the construction of mega stations.
Laying track on viaducts is often preferred in China to minimize resettlement and the use of fertile land as well as to reduce environmental impacts. The estimated cost of viaducts in China ranges from RMB 57 to 73 m/km for a double track line. Such costs are kept low through standardization of the design and manufacturing process for casting and laying bridge beams on viaducts.
A Journey To China’s Largest Ghost City
Are China’s ‘ghost cities’ real or imaginary? Wade Shepard has done us all a favor by actually visiting the “ghost cities” that Western media love to scoff at. He’s made a significant discovery: ‘ghost cities’ don’t exist in China. (Perhaps our media was thinking of Detroit?). Here’s Wade…
“We discovered that the most populated country on earth is building houses, districts, and cities with no one in them,” began a report on 60 Minutes which aired on March 3rd. The news program’s timeless correspondent, Lesley Stahl, ventured out to the city of Zhengzhou accompanied by the Hong Kong based financial adviser, Gillem Tulloch, and got the low down on China’s ghost city phenomenon.
The Economist magazine has just published an update on suicide in China. Well worth reading.
Back from the edge…
IN THE 1990s China had one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Young rural women in particular were killing themselves at an alarming rate. In recent years, however, China’s suicides have declined to among the lowest rates in the world.
In 2002 the Lancet, a British medical journal, said there were 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people annually from 1995 to 1999. This year a report by a group of researchers from the University of Hong Kong found that had declined to an average annual rate of 9.8 per 100,000 for the years 2009-11, a 58% drop.
Behind Dalai Lama’s Holy Cloak
Good intentions, questionable outcomes. If you want to know about the Dalai Lama, follow the money…
Melbourne Age. Michael Backman. May 23, 2007. Photo: AFP
The Dalai Lama has been an American agent for decades. Michael Blackman investigated his finances for the Melbourne Age newspaper:
Rarely do journalists challenge the Dalai Lama.
Partly it is because he is so charming and engaging. Most published accounts of him breeze on as airily as the subject, for whom a good giggle and a quaint parable are substitutes for hard answers. But this is the man who advocates greater autonomy for millions of people who are currently Chinese citizens, presumably with him as head of their government. So, why not hold him accountable as a political figure?
China’s Amazing Economy, Part III
How do you incentivise capital to invest aggressively at low returns on capital?
As I’ve discussed, the Chinese have no problem doing this. Like the rest of the world it enjoys surplus capital. The price tells us that. But China is able to mobilise this cheap capital in a way no-one else does. Partly it’s the extraordinary initial profitability to 2007, partly it’s capital controls and mainly it’s political. Political advantage in China comes from investing and creating higher levels of activity, either as entrepreneurs or cadres.
As this map shows, while the native population in Tibetans has doubled in the past 50 years, Tibetans have moved into neighboring provinces, too, (frightening the peaceful Han population, no doubt)
The Chinese Government has been urging manufacturers to move up the value chain and technology like China’s new chip, the Kirin 920, is an answer to that call. But it makes US manufacturers nervous.
BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) — When it comes to chips for powering smartphones, it has long been a story of the world’s leading smartphone chip-maker — U.S. firm Qualcomm. This time, it is a Chinese-made chip that has caught the eye of market observers.
The octa-core Kirin 920, unveiled by Huawei-owned HiSilicon on Friday, features support for QHD displays, 4K video recording and a high-speed LTE category-6 platform, something even the global industry leaders find it difficult to offer….
Why Are China’s Solar Panels So Cheap?
From: Next Big Future: China’s cost advantage in solar power is mainly from economies of scale with factories four times larger than in the US
A detailed bottom up analysis of all costs associated with PV (solar photovoltaic) production shows that the main contributors to that country’s lower PV prices are economies of scale and well-developed supply chains — not cheap labor.
As of 2011, manufacturers in China accounted for 63 percent of all solar-panel production worldwide.
The lower cost of labor in China provides an advantage of 7 cents per watt, relative to a factory in the United States, but that amount is countered by other country-specific factors, such as higher inflation.
In one form or another, China has been holding the Gaokao (高考) – college entrance/civil service exam – for almost 1,800 years. Many of the kids come from the best school systems in the world, like Shanghai’s, which has more students in school than many countries have citizens, and the questions are tough. What kinds of questions? Here’s a sample of the essay questions from regions around China, translated By Daniel Zhang.
“In the old days, there were many old rules and codes of conduct, like speaking in a quiet and gentle voice, greeting elder people on sight, and standing or sitting straight up. Recently, some people online shared these “old rules” that parents used to require them to obey, a topic which became widely discussed among Chinese netizens. Plan and write your understanding on this phenomenon.”