Onsdag 7 januari 2014

China fourth-quarter GDP growth may slow to 7.2 percent, weakest since first quarter 2009 – Reuters

De officiella siffrorna på den kinesiska tillväxten under det fjärde kvartalet släpps inte förrän den 20 januari, men om man ska tro Reuters sammanställning av en rad ekonomers bedömningar så sjönk den till 7,2 procent. Detta skulle innebära den lägsta BNP-tillväxten sedan det första kvartalet av krisåret 2009. The poll of 31 economists showed bank lending, fixed-asset investment and factory output growth may have steadied in December, but factory price deflation likely worsened and consumer price inflation hovered near five-year lows. ”We expect the upcoming December data to show a still frail economy, tepid production momentum, and mounting deflationary pressures,” economists at UBS wrote in a note.

China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth – Bloomberg

Premiärminister Li Keqiang har godkänt påskyndandet av 300 infrastrukturprojekt, till ett sammanlagt värde av sju biljoner yuan, under 2015. Förhoppningen är att satsning på infrastruktur ska förhindra att tillväxten avtar allt för hastigt. Premier Li Keqiang’s government approved the projects as part of a broader 400-venture, 10 trillion yuan plan to run from late 2014 through 2016, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the decision wasn’t public. The National Development and Reform Commission, which will oversee the projects, didn’t respond to a faxed request for comment.

No Concessions on Hong Kong Electoral Reforms – CDT

Förvaltningen i Hongkong presenterade under gårdagen den rapport till Beijing som man hade lovat demonstranterna i proteströrelsen Occupy Central. Den 155 sidor långa rapporten har titeln ”Report on the Recent Community and Political Situation in Hong Kong” och finns tillgängligt som PDF. Men rapporten innehåller inga indikationer om att myndigheterna skulle gå demonstranterna till mötes. Mr. Leung, the chief executive, said there would be a new round of public consultations on the election plans but any suggestions had to follow the Basic Law, the framework that established Hong Kong’s status as a special region under Chinese sovereignty. China has said the Basic Law rules out the protesters’ demand that members of the public have a more direct say in nominating future candidates for Mr. Leung’s job. The chief executive is now chosen by an elite committee loyal to Beijing. “Nothing can coerce the central and special administrative region government,” Mr. Leung said on Tuesday, according to his website. “Because Hong Kong is, I repeat once more, a society of rule of law.”

Graft Blitz May Expose Something Worse: Factions – CDT

I samband med den pågående utrensningen av Zhou Yongkangs personliga nätverk har den statliga nyhetsbyrån Xinhua har i dagarna gjort något så ovanligt som att identifiera tre stycken klickar som verkar inom partiet, dessutom namngav nyhetsbyrån några av de som ska tillhöra respektive klick. De tre klickarna knutna till Zhou Yongkang uppges vara Shanxi-gänget, Oljegänget och Sekreterargänget. Xinhua skriver vidare att förekomsten av liknande klickar ”absolut inte kommer att tolereras”. The /…/ article said members of the Secretary Gang included several top aides and former personal secretaries of Zhou, including former Sichuan vice-governor Guo Yongxiang, former chairman of the Sichuan political advisory committee Li Chongxi, and former deputy governor of Hainan province Ji Wenlin. The Petroleum Gang included Jiang Jiemin, another aide to Zhou and a former chairman of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation, as well as his subordinates, while Ling was a member of the Shanxi Gang, Xinhua said.

Who’s the true enemy of internet freedom – China, Russia, or the US? – The Guardian

Är det verkligen länder som Kina och Ryssland som utgör det främsta hotet mot ett fritt internet? Eller är deras cybernationalism, där fokus ligger på ökad nationell suveränitet på internet, bara en reaktion på en amerikanskt internetimperialism där USA:s dominanta ställning i cyberspace säljs med falskt klingande hänvisningar till fri konkurrens, individens frihet och universella rättigheter. However, Russia, China and Brazil are simply responding to the extremely aggressive tactics adopted by none other than the US. In typical fashion, though, America is completely oblivious to its own actions, believing that there is such a thing as a neutral, cosmopolitan internet and that any efforts to move away from it would result in its “Balkanisation”. But for many countries, this is not Balkanisation at all, merely de-Americanisation. US companies have been playing an ambiguous role in this project. On the one hand, they build efficient and highly functional infrastructure that locks in other countries, creating long-term dependencies that are very messy and costly to undo. They are the true vehicles for whatever is left of America’s global modernisation agenda. On the other hand, the companies cannot be seen as mere proxies for the American empire. Especially after the Edward Snowden revelations clearly demonstrated the cosy alliances between America’s business and state interests, these companies need to constantly assert their independence – occasionally by taking their own government to court – even if, in reality, most of their interests perfectly align with those of Washington.

China’s Empty Promise of Rule by Law – China Change

Juristen Teng Biao avfärdar partipropagandan om lagstyre och hävdar att termen innebär mycket lite i den kinesiska kontexten. Together with things such as the Three Represents and Harmonious Society, “governing the country according to the law” is Communist Party’s yet another attempt to address the crisis of legitimacy. These slogans have gone quite a way in reaching the Party’s goal of tricking people within China and the international community. However, legitimacy in contemporary politics can only come via the recognition given through free elections. But the Communist Party wants to cling to one-party rule, and it completely rejects general elections, even in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It’s not difficult to understand why that real rule of law would necessarily mean the end of the one-party system. This is the limitation on the legalization process that began in the late 1970s that cannot be overcome.

Harbin international ice and snow festival – in pictures – The Guardian

Imponerande bilder från årets isfestival i Harbin.

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