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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 an…

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 res…

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 …

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, sai…

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, ma…

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 va…

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 foundat…

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 …

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.

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.

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 ic…

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 uphea…

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.

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.