Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 82

The People’s Republic of China has systematically increased its activity in the Arctic high north through various avenues. The region’s massive resource reserves, China’s growing presence, Chinese challenges to regional Arctic governance, and the current standoff between Russia and the West are a potentially potent combination. China’s wealth and capital make it an important partner for Arctic nations in developing the high north. China declares itself to be a “near Arctic state” and an “Arctic stakeholder,” even though its northernmost territory lies more than 1,000 miles south of the Arctic Circle. As the most populous country in the world, China claims that it should have a say in Arctic policy and disagrees with Arctic issues being decided by Arctic states alone. More broadly, given the region’s resource reserves, shipping lanes, and implications for global warming, China argues that Arctic state interests and claims must be balanced against international interests in the seas and resources of the region. Very prominent and influential Chinese scholars and officials push this rhetoric. For example, the head of the European department of the China Institute for International Studies recently pronounced: “Countries closer to the Arctic, such as Iceland, Russia, Canada, and a few other European countries may tend to wish the Arctic were private or that they had priority to develop it, but China insists that the Arctic belongs to everyone just like the Moon.” Similarly, the director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration has stated that “Arctic resources…will be allocated according to the needs of the world, not only owned by certain countries.” And in response to Russian Arctic territorial claims, Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo declared that “the Arctic belongs to all the people around the world as no nation has sovereignty over it.” In the context of the country’s quest for natural resources, Chinese attitudes toward the Arctic are unprecedented. While it has been aggressive in pursuing resources around the globe, China has also maintained a clear respect for sovereign claims in doing so. Its rhetoric concerning the Arctic diverges from this practice.

China’s growing physical presence in the Arctic, the statements of prominent government officials, and the region’s significant potential benefits encourage the sense that China may label its activity in the region as a core interest. The introduction of such a large actor into Arctic international relations with interests beyond mere investment and trade – i.e., claims and ownership – is a recipe for elevated conflict in a region that already possesses its share of tension due to the often incompatible claims of Arctic littoral states. The economic dependence being nurtured between China and certain Arctic nations has the potential to hasten the arrival of the situation noted above. This dependence could give China an amplified voice in northern affairs and an ever-deepening Arctic presence. For Iceland and Denmark, Arctic trade with and investment from China are significantly more important to them than the reverse is for the PRC. This gives those countries a strong incentive to support China’s regional ambitions and, accordingly, affords China significant leverage. As Russia becomes increasingly isolated and its economy suffers due to its actions in Ukraine and resulting sanctions, it will find itself in a similar position in Arctic interactions. Russian support for Chinese Arctic ventures and interests will begin to grow in attractiveness out of a desire to gain investment and trade, and not to offend its sole significant partner.


The Arctic offers China diversity, security and savings. Despite significant inroads with Russia, China is largely dependent on oil imports from the volatile Middle East that must pass through the chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia. In 2011, approximately 85 percent of China’s oil imports transited this passage. The source and travel path for these resources, and China’s current lack of alternatives, are not ideal. Arctic energy sources and shipping lanes provide attractive diversity and security.

Arctic shipping would also substantially reduce transport costs. The distance from Shanghai to Hamburg along the Northern Sea Route over Russia is approximately 30 percent shorter than the comparable route through the Suez Canal. Such a reduction in shipping time and distance will yield large savings on fuel and increase China’s export potential to Europe. In 2013, 71 vessels sailed the Northern Sea Route, moving 1,355,897 tons. This is a substantial increase over the four vessels that did so in 2010. China hopes to send 15 percent of its international shipping through the Arctic by 2020.

 China has taken substantial steps toward establishing a financial and physical presence in the Arctic and placing itself in the conversation on Arctic affairs. China is spending approximately $60 million annually on polar research (more than the U.S., which actually controls Arctic territory), runs the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, opened the China-Nordic Arctic Research Center in Shanghai in late 2013, and plans to dramatically increase its Arctic research staff. China’s physical presence in the Arctic has also increased considerably in the past decade. In 2003, it completed the Arctic Yellow River Station, a permanent research facility on Norway’s Spitsbergen Island. China also currently possesses one icebreaker directed toward Arctic operations, with another to be completed by 2016. Despite being a non-Arctic nation, it will soon have the same number of Arctic icebreakers as Arctic littoral states Norway and the U.S.

In the realm of international organizations and politics, China has joined a litany of international Arctic scientific groups. In 2013, it also became a permanent observer to the Arctic Council – the eight-member intergovernmental forum that is the center of international Arctic policy formulation. Similarly, with respect to bilateral relations, the PRC has actively courted northern states, and made substantial progress with both Iceland and Denmark. Following Iceland’s 2008 economic crash, China provided it with large aid packages. In 2012, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao began his tour of Europe in the small country, and a Chinese-Icelandic free trade agreement was inked in 2013. China is also seeking energy projects in Greenland and courting Danish leaders. The targeting of small countries in great need of capital, investment and labor allows China to use its wealth and resources to cultivate economic entanglement and, ultimately, degrees of dependence. As a result, Iceland and Denmark have become very supportive of China having a louder voice in Arctic affairs and policy.

Now, something similar is developing between China and Russia. While energy trade between Russia and China has been steadily advancing since the mid-2000s, early 2013 saw the first major Arctic cooperative deal between the countries. The China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) contracted with Rosneft to survey three areas of the Arctic in the Pechora and Barents Seas. Later that same year, CNPC announced it would partner with Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer, and take a 20 percent stake in the Yamal Project tapping the resource rich Arctic South Tambey gas field. Although Russia’s turn east has thus far been largely on its terms, this year’s sanctions are changing the dynamic. Compared to smaller countries, Russia has traditionally not been as susceptible to foreign influence. Yet the sanctions are taking a significant toll and severely limiting its potential Arctic partners, leaving Russia with few places to turn. When it comes to its needs and bargaining stature with China on Arctic issues, Russia is progressively finding itself in an even weaker position than that which Iceland and Denmark occupy: in need of capital and funding but severely limited in partner choice.

The resource rich Kara Sea is likely the first place where Western sanctions will significantly benefit China. Exxon and Rosneft jointly discovered a massive reserve in the region estimated to contain 11.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 750 million barrels of oil. After completing the much more complex tasks of exploration and drilling but before pumping any gas or oil, Exxon was forced to pull out. Now, Russia is faced with an expensive undertaking that necessitates a partner – and China is in an excellent position to assume Exxon’s stake in the resource operation for several reasons. For one, Russia has already begun talks with China to sail rigs from the South China Sea to the Arctic Ocean to replace exiting Western installations. Rosneft, which is currently studying Arctic offshore cooperative offers from Asia, has also contracted to sell a 10 percent percent stake in one of Russia’s largest oil fields and “Rosneft’s biggest production asset” to China, evidencing its readiness to partner with China on nationally important projects to ease sanctions-related burdens. In addition, Chinese prospecting areas in the Pechora and Barents Seas in the Russian Arctic directly abut the Kara Sea. Just as with Iceland and Denmark, China will slowly increase its trade and Arctic partnerships with Russia to substantial levels. This will breed a level of economic dependence. Trade between Russia and China was already trending upward before Western sanctions were levied; these measures will serve to speed up this process. Russia’s lack of alternative partners gives China a distinct advantage in any negotiations, and the PRC has displayed this new dynamic by driving hard bargains in energy deals reached with Russia since the Ukrainian crisis began.

What is concerning about the impact of Western sanctions on China’s entry into the Arctic is not the PRC potentially “locking up” a substantial portion of the Earth’s untapped resources. Rather, the issue is the introduction of a large, assertive, and potentially combative actor into already tense Arctic relations where Arctic states have a host of conflicting claims to the region that will likely only be exacerbated as global warming opens it up.

http://thediplomat.com/2015/01/russian-sanctions-china-and-the-arctic/



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

China at the South Pole

China is boosting its presence in Antarctica with an eye on the icy continent’s vast untapped resources, even though it could take 35 years to start exploiting them. Antarctic Treaty members, which include China, have agreed not to exploit Antarctic resources until 2048, but there is nothing to stop them doing geographical surveys.  China already has as many permanent research stations as the U.S. in Antarctica — including the Great Wall Station on King George Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) Station in the east and Kunlun Station in the interior. Now the Chinese appear poised to start work on a fourth station close to the main U.S. base — McMurdo Station — in a part of Antarctica known as the Ross Dependency that is administered by New Zealand.

 Anne-Marie Brady, a political science professor at New Zealand’s Canterbury University and editor of The Polar Journal, wrote in a recently published research paper that China is clearly interested in Antarctic resources, which range from minerals to meteorites, intellectual property from bio-prospecting, locations for scientific bases, fisheries and tourism access. “As an energy-hungry nation, China is extremely interested in the resources of Antarctica (and the Arctic) and any possibilities for their exploitation,” Brady wrote. Chinese-language polar social science discussions are dominated by debates about Antarctic resources and how China might gain its share, she wrote. “Such discussions are virtually taboo in the scholarly research of more established Antarctic powers,” she wrote. Numerous newspaper reports in Chinese have alleged that some countries are already prospecting in Antarctica under the cover of scientific research, Brady said. In Chinese-language debates, scholars, government officials and journalists appear to agree that the exploitation of Antarctica is only a matter of time and that China be ready, she said.

Texas A&M University oceanographer and Antarctic researcher Chuck Kennicutt II said it would be expensive to recover oil and gas from Antarctica but that a spike in oil prices could make it economically viable.

 The increased Antarctic research activity by developing nations is partly driven by interest in the Arctic, which could soon be ice-free in summer, Kennicutt said. Many nations, not just those with northern territories, are interested in the economic and security potential of northeast and northwest passages, he said. “It is not just economic but also in regard to the whole balance of power and the military implications in terms of national security and homeland security,” he said.

In January, The Associated Press reported that the icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) had become the first Chinese vessel to cross the Arctic Ocean. According to the state-controlled China Daily newspaper, China will launch its second icebreaker in 2014. In summer, Arctic shipping routes between China and Europe are 40 percent faster than those through the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

China's class struggle

More than 1,000 furious migrant workers besieged a factory in Shanghai and held 18 Japanese and Chinese managers against their will for more than a day, after the workers were subjected to unequal regulations. 400 police freed the managers.

The workers of Japanese electronic appliance maker Shanghai Shinmei Electric staged a strike and besieged the factory for two days following the introduction of a new factory policy calling for heavy fines, demerits or immediate termination for workers who made a mistake.

A worker wrote via a microblog about the desperate situation management allegedly put them in. "We earn less than 2,000 yuan a month, but we could be subjected to fines of 50 to 100 yuan for arriving late or spending more than two minutes in the toilet,"

 The National Bureau of Statistics last week revealed the country’s Gini coefficient – which measures income inequality. The official figure of 0.474 is a belated acknowledgment that China has a serious problem. On the Gini scale, 0 is perfect equality and 1 is total inequality – any rating above 0.4 is considered to be dangerous to social stability.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chinese Capitalism

"As a party member, I will work hard and teach other people how to get rich together and let more people benefit by getting rich," Wang Dongxin, the general manager of Jiangxi Luhuan Animal Husbandry, a pig-breeding company,  said to hundreds of Communist Party members in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Chinese president Hu Jintao said China was still in the "primary stage of socialism" and still needed to pursue "socialist modernisation" as its main task, aiming to double the 2010 per-capita income of both urban and rural residents by 2020. Hu has previously said China's modernisation drive under one-party rule would take "several, a dozen or even dozens of generations". [a generation is generally defined as about 30 years so it will be a long transition!- Socialist Courier]

The New York Times reported last month that the extended family of Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed assets worth $2.7 billion.

Hu Jia, a leading rights activist, said Hu's speech and remarks by Xi at the congress were full of "hackneyed phrases". He said the highly orchestrated congress was "completely an 'emperor's new clothes' show". Hu Jia and scores of other dissidents and activists were detained, threatened or held under house arrest in what rights group Amnesty International said was a intensifying crackdown in the run-up to the congress.

Six more Tibetans set fire to themselves to protest about Chinese rule on Wednesday and Thursday, escalating a campaign that has seen about 70 self-immolations in the past two years.

Friday, November 02, 2012

China, Chairman Mao, and Capitalism

0.1% of all households in China hold nearly half of the total wealth said the report released by Boston Consulting Group.  A long way from the image of Mao's China which was that of a regimented and spartan but egalitarian society, without hierarchical class distinctions. The blatant inequalities of post-Mao China have served only to enhance the image in retrospect. Yet the image was always an illusion, a meticulously maintained lie. China under Mao was, like China before Mao and China after Mao, a class-divided society. Since 1949, all top party leaders have lived and worked under extremely privileged conditions and in virtually total isolation from ordinary people.

Mao mobilised terror witch-hunts in which anyone refusing to wholeheartedly join in would find themselves a target. He repeatedly used this strategy throughout his career to gain and hold power, culminating in the infamous Cultural Revolution, which accounted for some 100 million people being humiliated, tortured, maimed and, in 3 million instances, murdered.

His callousness is almost beyond the scope of human imagining. In one year, 22 million people died of starvation – brought about primarily through Mao’s disastrous project to make China – then one of the poorest countries on Earth – into a nuclear super-power. The famines and over-work induced by the programme led to 38 million deaths. While people starved he would gorge himself on whole chickens and huge quantities of meat and fish.

He used women almost as imperial concubines, procured from the local labour force. Anyone who objected to his and other leaders’ privileges amongst squalor were derided as “petit-bourgeois egalitarians”.

Mao was more concentrated on fighting the nationalist government than the Japanese. On the Long March (a period of retreat by the Red Army from the nationalists), Mao and the other leaders didn’t march with their soldiers: they were carried. And the workers and peasantry have been carrying the party officials ever since. It is argued that Mao deliberately meandered along the Long March in order to strengthen his grip on the party before they met up with the rest of the army.

Some quotes of Mao
:

“The present-day capitalist economy in China is a capitalist economy which for the most part is under the control of the People’s Government… It is not an ordinary but a particular kind of capitalist economy, namely, a state-capitalist economy of a new type”


“The transformation of capitalism into socialism is to be accomplished through state capitalism….”


“Some workers are advancing too fast and won’t allow the capitalists to make any profit at all. We should try to educate these workers and capitalists and help them gradually (but the sooner the better) adapt themselves to our state policy, namely, to make China’s private industry and commerce mainly serve the nation’s economy and the people’s livelihood and partly earn profits for the capitalists and in this way embark on the path of state capitalism….”


“the character of the Chinese revolution at the present stage is not proletarian-socialist but bourgeois-democratic….”


“A certain degree of capitalist development will be an inevitable result of the victory of the democratic revolution in economically backward
China….”


“it will guarantee legitimate profits to properly managed state, private and co-operative enterprises–so that both the public and the private sectors and both labour and capital will work together to develop industrial production…”
[a very 'marxist' class interpretation indeed!]

” A sharp distinction should be made between the feudal exploitation practiced by landlords and rich peasants, which must be abolished, and the industrial and commercial enterprises run by landlords and rich peasants, which must be protected…”


“To counter imperialist oppression and raise her backward economy to a higher level, China must utilize all the factors of urban and rural capitalism that are beneficial and not harmful to the national economy and people’s livelihood…Our present policy is to regulate capitalism, not to destroy it.”

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Scotland's Oil

 Umm...not quite..

 China may soon get control of a large slice of UK North Sea oil supply, which is key to determining global oil prices, if bids by its state firms for assets of Canadian oil companies Nexen and Talisman are cleared by the regulators.

 The Chinese state-controlled energy giant CNOOC last Monday unveiled a $15.1bn (£9.7bn) bid for Canada’s Nexen, the second biggest oil producer in the North Sea. If successful, the takeover will be China’s largest ever foreign investment. If approved, the Chinese would take control of the UK's largest producing oil field - Buzzard - and the Golden Eagle development, which includes both the Golden Eagle and Peregrine reservoirs in the North Sea, about 43 miles off Aberdeen.

Oil from Buzzard, although only 0.2 percent of global supply, plays a crucial role in setting prices because it is the largest contributor to the Forties oil blend, one of four North Sea crude streams making up the Brent oil benchmark. Forties usually sets the value of dated Brent, a benchmark used for pricing more than half of the world's crude, including oil from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, giving a Chinese company for the first time unprecedented insight and access into this secretive, yet enormously influential market. Foreknowledge of North Sea supply dispositions will give CNOOC a leg up in its trading operations, not only in the North Sea, but worldwide, should the company choose to make use of what it will be learning. Of course, there is nothing illegal or suspicious here. This system has long benefited the established oil majors like Shell and BP who use their knowledge of North Sea production to trade both physical and financial products linked to the Dated Brent assessment, including Brent crude futures. Instead of being a pure price taker, China will have some insight into short-term fundamental shifts that affects either directly or indirectly the cost of the oil the country must import.

Chinese refiner Sinopec said it would pay $1.5bn for a 49pc stake in the UK unit of Canada’s Talisman Energy, also a top 10 oil and gas producer in the North Sea. Talisman has about 2,500 staff and contractors and is involved in 11 North Sea installations.

The two Chinese firms will directly own 8% according to BBC estimates but consultancy Wood Mackenzie claculates it as 13% of all UK oil production if both deals go through.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Red Capitalists

For much of the last decade, while Bo Xilai, Communist Party chief in the city of Chongqing, a large metropolis with province status, and a member of the Politburo, was busy moving up the ranks of the Communist Party, and even striking populist themes aimed at improving the lot of the poor, his relatives were quietly amassing a fortune estimated at more than $160 million. His elder brother accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of shares in one of the country’s biggest state-owned conglomerates. His sister-in-law owns a significant stake in a printing company she started that was recently valued at $400 million. And even Mr. Bo’s 24-year-old son, now studying at Harvard, got into business in 2010, registering a technology company with $320,000 in start-up capital.

Just a few weeks before his fall from power, Bo Xilai wrote an inscription in calligraphy, praising the Chongqing Water Assets Management Company, and urging support for its operations. What he did not say was that a foundation controlled by his younger brother, Bo Xicheng, had acquired a stake in a subsidiary of the water company. Mr. Bo had done something similar in 2003, while serving as governor here in Liaoning Province. He said his province would make supporting the Dalian Daxian company, a conglomerate engaged primarily in electronics manufacturing, one of the most important tasks of the next five years. A few years earlier, another company controlled by the same younger brother was listed as the owner of nearly a million shares in Dalian Daxian, worth about $1.2 million.

Bo Xilai’s downfall has cast the spotlight on the hidden wealth and power accumulated by the Communist Party’s revolutionary families, and by the sons, daughters, wives and close relatives of the nation’s high-ranking leaders. Two of Bo Xilai’s three brothers are well-established businessmen with close ties to state companies.

 His elder brother, Bo Xiyong, 64, has invested over the years, according to Hong Kong records, in a series of offshore investment vehicles like Advanced Technology and Economic Development, partly owned by a British Virgin Islands entity, and Far Eastern Industries. But little about the companies is publicly available. Bo Xiyong is also vice chairman of China Everbright International, a division of the Everbright Group, a giant state-owned company. His annual salary is about $200,000 and his stake in the company during the past decade is about $10 million, based on shares he has sold and the value of his current stock options, according to public filings. In addition, Bo Xiyong is a deputy of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a government advisory body, and until recently he served as deputy chairman of HKC Holdings, a Hong Kong company controlled by the family of an Indonesian billionaire. In 2010, the big American private equity firm TPG invested about $25 million in HKC, which specializes in infrastructure and alternative energy projects in China and has won numerous state contracts.

Bo Xicheng, the younger brother, Bo Xicheng has served as a director of several big state-owned companies, including Citic Securities, one of China’s largest investment houses. He is also the founder of a small company that makes fire extinguishers and other equipment, called Beijing Liuhean Firefighting Science and Technology, whose products are used in government agencies, luxury hotels, power plants and in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He has ties to several companies that operated in Dalian and Chongqing, the two cities where Bo Xilai served as a high-ranking official. His charitable foundation, the Beijing Xingda Educational Foundation, has on its board of directors the heads of two real estate developers, the Dalian Huanan Group and Chongqing Tianyou, as well as Weng Zhenjie, the chief executive of the Chongqing International Trust Company. Among the advisers to the foundation, which has already raised more than $20 million, are two academics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who publicly supported Bo Xilai’s “Chongqing model” of development. The foundation owns a $2 million stake in Chongqing Water Group, a company now valued at about $5 billion.

Two of Bo Xilai sisters-in-law - Gu Wangjiang and Gu Wangning - have earned millions of dollars in publishing, real estate and other ventures. Together they own about $120 million worth of shares in the TungKong Security Printing Company in eastern China. The TungKong Web site says the company has contracts with some of China’s biggest state-owned enterprises and government agencies, including the tax authorities and the Central Bank. Gu Wangning also helped Bo Guagua establish a technology company in Beijing in 2010.

Bo Zhiyue, a senior fellow at the National University of Singapore’s East Asian Institute. “The relatives of other party leaders are also doing lots of business deals, and people will begin to ask: What about them? Was the Bo family the only one doing this kind of thing?”

They are conduits of power. Laurence Brahm, a former lawyer who has written books on China’s economy and political scene explained “By virtue of the fact that they are a son or daughter of someone, when they visit the provinces they’ll get red carpet treatment from the leaders there. The businesspeople can tag along.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/24/world/asia/bo-xilais-relatives-wealth-is-under-scrutiny.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120424

Friday, December 30, 2011

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 43- China will b uy it

There is no unclaimed land available in the Arctic, because Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States carved up the region centuries ago. But this fact doesn't discourage a resource-hungry China, which knows it can buy the access it needs. China grows hungry for Arctic resources and shipping routes as northern ice melts. China is fully aware of the enormous potential for offshore oil and natural gas development in the Arctic, which holds at least 20 per cent of the world's undiscovered reserves.

Chinese state-owned companies have already invested tens of billions of dollars in Canada's northern tar sands. Three years ago, the Chinese government lent a Russian company $25bn so that it could build an oil pipeline from Siberia to China, which now carries 300,000 barrels per day. Russian oil, natural gas and minerals are also moving eastwards to China via the Northern Sea Route along Siberia's increasingly ice-free Arctic coastline. And soon, natural gas will be shipped to China from two new liquefaction terminals on Canada's northwest coast.

Most of China's oil imports pass through the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia. In Beijing, this strategic weakness is referred to as the "Malacca dilemma". In addition, some ships loop around Africa to avoid the pirate-infested approaches to the Suez Canal, while others loop around the bottom of South America because they cannot fit into the Panama Canal. Either way, the extra distance adds additional costs - in fuel, salaries and foregone business. In late summer, the Northern Sea Route already enables a 10,000-km shortcut to Europe, while the Northwest Passage through Canada's Arctic islands offers a 7,000-km shortcut to the Atlantic seaboard of the US. With time, a third route may well become available "over the top" across the central Arctic Ocean. These developments are celebrated in China, where the media refer to the Northern Sea Route as the "Arctic Golden Waterway". Professor Bin Yang of Shanghai Maritime University estimates that the Northern Sea Route alone could save China a staggering $60bn to $120bn annually. China already has the world's largest non-nuclear powered icebreaker and is now building a second, smaller vessel. Chinese companies are also building or commissioning dozens of ice-strengthened cargo ships and tankers, some of them with dual-directional technology that enables them to sail normally on open seas, then turn round and use their propellers to chew their way through sea-ice.

Under the law of the sea, the Arctic countries have jurisdiction over that oil and gas because coastal countries have exclusive rights to any natural resource within 200 nautical miles of their coasts. They may also have jurisdiction over seabed resources even further out - if they can demonstrate scientifically that the shape and geology of the ocean floor constitute a "natural prolongation" of the continental shelf. China does not contest these rights, because it relies on the exact same rules to support its extensive claims in the South and East China Seas. Nor is there any need for China to challenge the claims of the Arctic countries. Offshore oil and gas is expensive to find, extract and transport - especially in an extremely remote and often inhospitable region. To access these riches, Arctic countries will need strong markets and vast amounts of capital, both of which China is well positioned to provide.

But beyond the extensive rights of the coastal states, near the centre of the Arctic Ocean, lies an area where the deep seabed constitutes the "common heritage of mankind" and the water column constitutes "high seas". If the central Arctic Ocean becomes the site of economic activity, China will most certainly be a player. At some point, China might wish to explore the deep Arctic Ocean for magnesium nodules or frozen gas hydrates. China is also the world's largest fishing nation, and the Arctic Ocean is closer than some of the places currently frequented by its distant-waters fleet. Coastal states can regulate fishing within 200 nautical miles of their shores, but beyond that distance, regulation only takes place through regional fisheries organisations.

The Chinese government has so far chosen not to take sides in legal disputes between the US on the one hand, and Russia and Canada on the other, over the status of the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage. The US claims they are "international straits", Russia and Canada claim they are "internal waters", and China, it seems, just wants to make money.

In 2009, China applied for permanent observer status at the Arctic Council, a regional organisation composed of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US but then, in 2011, the Arctic Council adopted new criteria for permanent observers, including the condition that they recognise "the Arctic States' right to administer the Arctic Ocean under the Convention of the Law of the Sea". China will likely never accept this condition, which as currently worded, implies that Arctic states have the right to administer the entire Arctic Ocean. In actual fact, China and other non-Arctic countries are fully entitled to navigate freely beyond 12 miles from shore, to fish beyond 200 miles from shore, and to exploit seabed resources that lie beyond the continental shelf.

China is an integral part of the globalised economy and that now includes the North Pole

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chinese Capitalism

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/features/Anna-Burnside-The-Commie-consumers.6842233.jp

The national average income is 50,000 yuan (£5,000), less than Angola and Albania. Only 24 million of the population's earnings are above the tax threshold.

But the rich spend spend spend...Conspicuous consumption must become less conspicuous so the Party outlawed billboard advertisements that promoted "hedonism, lavishness and the worship of foreign things".

The new Hurun Rich List, of Chinese individuals with a net worth of over 10 billion yuan (£1 billion), numbers 127.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

chinese crackers

ZhengYonggang's $600m (£377m) fortune was built by taking a state-owned firm into the private sector. Zheng does not owe his success to sheer hard work.He has insisted on working no more than eight hours a day and has a 20-minute nap on weekdays. Zheng has developed his own management strategy which he calls "pagoda structure management". Instead of micro-managing, he adopts a more Western style, with a team of senior staff responsible for their own departments.

Lamborghini sales tripled in China. Rolls-Royce's rose 146% overtaking the UK and on course to soon surpass the US. Bentley's sales almost doubled, making it the firm's third-biggest market. Porsche up 60% from 2009. Despite the surge in sales of 300kmph cars, the rush-hour speed in Beijing is rarely above 25kmph.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 19

Further to our continuing Arctic saga we now read that China has decided it too cannot be side-lined.

China has no Arctic coast and therefore no sovereign rights to underwater continental shelves, and is not a member of the Arctic Council which determines Arctic policies.Officially, the country's research remains largely focused on the environmental challenges of a melting Arctic.

"However, in recent years Chinese officials and researchers have started to also assess the commercial, political and security implications for China of a seasonally ice-free Arctic region," Linda Jakobson , a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute researcher, said."The prospect of the Arctic being navigable during summer months, leading to both shorter shipping routes and access to untapped energy resources, has impelled the Chinese government to allocate more resources to Arctic research,"

Last year Beijing approved the building of a new high-tech polar expedition research icebreaker, to set sail in 2013. China already owns the world's largest non-nuclear icebreaker.

Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States are already at odds over how to divvy up the Arctic riches, claiming overlapping parts of the region -- estimated to hold 90 billion untapped barrels of oil -- and wrangling over who should control the still frozen shipping routes.
"Despite its seemingly weak position, China can be expected to seek a role in determining the political framework and legal foundation for future Arctic activities" Jakobson said.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The human price of the Games

From previous posts it can be guessed that some members of the Socialist Courier blog are no fans of the Olympic Games charade and another story highlights the hypocrisy of it .

In Hebei province, almost 80 billion gallons of emergency water is being sent to the capital through a series of canals hastily built over the past few months so to provide for the Games needs . The construction has displaced farmers, leaving some patches of land so parched that it's difficult for them to grow anything. Shortly after 2002, the central government approved a water diversion project aimed at relieving shortages in Beijing and other parts of the arid north by moving water from the Yangtze, the country's longest river. Two months ago, local authorities cut off access to the mountain reservoir, explaining the water was being saved for the Olympics. Such projects have caused a rift between Beijing and neighboring provinces, including Hebei and Shaanxi. Local officials warned of social upheaval and environmental consequences. But the central government proceeded anyway.Shanxi province, a major coal-producing region, can't even get permission to use the coal it needs. Instead, the resources are being earmarked for Beijing, exacerbating power shortages and resulting in massive blackouts in rural areas.

At the Tianjin port southeast of Beijing, usually one of the busiest in the country, empty ships wait for deliveries from suppliers whose trucks have been held up by roadblocks or whose factories have been closed out of concerns about pollution. With factories shut down, armies of migrant workers who rely on construction and other menial jobs are being sent home for the month without pay. Security concerns during the Games led authorities to prohibit the export of batteries and chemical products, he said; it's hard to get new supplies because factories are closed.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chinese in Antarctica


Further to this post on our companion blog Socialism Or Your Money Back , the BBC reports that China is building its third research station in Antarctica, shoring up its presence just weeks after the UK and Chile made renewed territorial claims. Argentina has also said it intends to present a claim to the UN.
Almost 200 construction workers are heading for the southern continent, the state-run Xinhua news agency says. They will build facilities including a space observatory, radar station and sewage discharge system.


Mineral mining is banned in Antarctica, but analysts say this is not stopping countries from jockeying for position. Competition for territorial and economic rights has heated up as melting polar ice caps have introduced the possibility of exploiting the previously inaccessible seabed. Countries have until May 2009 to ask the United Nations to consider their right to the seabed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Olympic Misery

According to the Olympic Charter, established by Pierre de Coubertin, the goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world yet The Independent is reporting about the human cost of the upcoming Beijing Games .

Many people have been forcibly resettled in the transformation of Beijing, which has seen ancient courtyard houses and hutong alleys demolished by unscrupulous developers, some in league with corrupt officials, eager for profit.
The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions reckons 1.5 million people will have been relocated for Olympics- related projects. Government estimates put the figure at just over 6,000. A strange discrepency of figures .

Most are moved to new tower blocks on the city outskirts, and they complain about the lack of community feeling - as well as the lengthy commute to their jobs in the city.

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...