China Briefs—Nov 26 to Nov 27
Nov 26 — China slashes interest rates as panic spreads
SHANGHAI (Telegraph.co.uk, Malcolm Moore)—The People's Bank of China cut interest rates by more than 1pc point as the economy crumbles and millions of jobs are predicted to go ahead of Christmas.
It is the fourth interest rate cut from the Chinese central bank in the last ten weeks as the government desperately battles an evident economic collapse. "China is out to save itself here," said Patrick Bennett, an analyst with Societe Generale in Hong Kong.
In recent weeks, a series of riots across central and southern China have flowered as disgruntled employees aired their grievances at the downturn.
Nov 26 — Workers riot in south China over job losses: government
GUANGDONG, China (AFP, Francois Bougon)—Hundreds of workers sacked from a toy factory in China clashed with police and smashed buildings, authorities said Wednesday, in the latest bout of violent unrest linked to rising unemployment.
The riot occurred Tuesday in Guangdong province, southern China's export heartland where similar protests have flared recently, after about 2,000 workers gathered to demand severance pay, according to the local government. The workers smashed offices at the factory where they used to work and overturned police cars, with the violence leaving six people injured, the government of Zhongtang township where the unrest occurred said in a statement.
Up to 7,000 laid-off workers staged a similar protest in Guangdong last month after another Hong Kong-owned toy factory, one of China's biggest, closed down. China's social security minister, Yin Weimin, last week described the employment situation across the country as "critical", as the nation's police chief warned his deputies that this could lead to unrest.
Nov 26 — Boss of failed China textile factory arrested
SHANGHAI, China (AP)—The former boss of Zhejiang Jianglong Textile Printing & Dyeing Co., one of China's biggest textile factories was arrested while attempting to flee the country, a local official said Wednesday, as the bankrupt company's Singapore-listed unit was put under court protection.
Thousands of Chinese factories have gone bankrupt this year, many of them even before export demand was clobbered by the global credit crisis, the report says.
Nov 26 — China Shipyards May Scrap Downpayments, Researcher Bao Says
Bloomberg,(Lee Spears)—Shipyards in China, seeking to overtake South Korea as the biggest shipbuilding nation, may stop asking customers for downpayments as they vie for orders in a global recession.
New orders in China are set to decrease 42 percent this year, the biggest drop among the three biggest shipbuilding nations, according to Clarkson Plc, the world’s largest shipbroker. China last year surpassed Japan to become the second-largest shipbuilder by order backlog, according to Clarkson, the article says.
Nov 26 — China's Shaolin Temple kicks off expansion plan
BEIJING (Reuters)—China's birth place of kung fu, the Shaolin Temple, has taken over the management of four Buddhist temples in southwest China in a move criticized by some Internet users for mixing capitalism with religion.
The fabled monastery, based in central Henan province and immortalized in countless martial arts films, had installed 10 monks at the temples in Gudu, a tourist district near Yunnan provincial capital Kunming, local media said on Wednesday.
"The Shaolin take-over is just a way of using its fame to cheat more kind people out of their money," one poster on Chinese web portal Sohu.com said.
Nov 26 — China calls Tibet youth group `worse than bin Laden'
DHARAMSALA, India (McClatchy Newspapers, Tim Jahnson) — A rundown two-story building in this Himalayan hill station might hardly seem to be the command center of a subversive group jangling the nerves of neighboring China. Monkeys clamber over the rooftop, and any stranger may walk through its front door.
Yet China calls the Tibetan Youth Congress "a terror group worse than (Osama) bin Laden's" and accuses it of stockpiling guns, bombs and grenades in Tibet for use by separatist fighters.
China alleges that the 30,000-member group has allied itself with al Qaida and with a homegrown Muslim separatist organization in China, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
The president of the congress, Tsewang Rigzin, a former banker who lived in Minneapolis, scoffs at China's charges, saying his group seeks independence for Tibet but adheres to non-violent principles put forth by the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader whose headquarters are here.
Nov 26 — Rulers of China, Chinese in New York, and the NY Times
World Tribune—Commentary by Russian dissident Lev Navrozov on why the New York Times came to the rescue of the Chinese rulers’ prestige over a NY cultural show depicting torture of Falun Gong practitioners.
….At the last Chinese New Year celebration (February 2008), the “Chinese New Year Splendor” played in New York’s Radio City Music Hall a series of 15 shows, recreating in dances the history of Chinese culture. So far, so good. Many Westerners know that silks or porcelains had appeared in China centuries before they did in Europe.
But there was one scene in this serial of Chinese history that enraged the rulers of China. Before 2000, Falun Gong exercises had been shown, with the China rulers’ blessing, to foreigners (in New York, for example) as part of Chinese culture, just as silks or porcelains—or Chinese cuisine. But after 2000, Falun Gong practitioners in China began to be tortured to death, whereupon their organs were cut out and sold for surgical operations.
But this is also part of the Chinese history (of the last eight years), is this not?…..
Nov 26 — China calls off EU summit over Dalai Lama visit
BRUSSELS (Reuters)—China, angry at plans for Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to visit Europe, has called off a summit with the European Union next Monday which may have forged a joint response to the global economic crisis.
The 27-nation bloc expressed regret at Beijing's decision but pledged to continue to promote a strategic partnership "at a time when the global economic and financial situation calls for very close cooperation between Europe and China."
France confirmed President Nicolas Sarkozy would meet the Dalai Lama at a December 6 ceremony in Poland to mark the 25th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize to former Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, despite Beijing's displeasure.
China's foreign ministry had no immediate comment. But earlier this month it warned Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, that the EU risked losing "hard-won" gains in ties with Beijing if he met the Dalai Lama.
Nov 27 — Trade fears arise after China cancels EU summit
PARIS (AP)—The head of France's business lobby said Thursday she is "worried" about the trade implications of China's decision to pull out of an upcoming China-European Union summit.
China called off the meeting, however, in protest at French President Nicolas Sarkozy long-awaited meeting with Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader Dalai Lama.
Pulling out of the summit suggests that countering criticism on Tibet is a bigger priority for China's communist leaders than working with the EU and nations like France on solutions to the global financial crisis.
Nov 27 — China Textile Makers Said to Renege on Cotton Orders
Bloomberg (William Bi)—China's textile producers and cotton traders have reneged on purchase contracts for as much as 20,000 metric tons of overseas cotton after prices plummeted in the past three months, two global trading executives said.
As many as eight Chinese companies have failed to follow through on purchase agreements with merchants, and the trend may widen as the industry struggles with worsening demand and credit, said the executives, who declined to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Nov 27 — China fears unrest amid slowdown
BBC News—The accelerating economic slowdown in China will lead to huge unemployment and could fuel social unrest, China's top planner has said.
Zhang Ping, head of the National Development and Reform commission, said the impact of the global crisis on China's economy was deepening. "Excessive bankruptcies and production cuts will lead to massive unemployment and stir social unrest," he said.
Chinese authorities have already had to deal with fired workers protests. About 500 workers protested over a pay dispute this week. They overturned police cars near a toy company, stormed the plant's gates and crashed computers.
Nov 27 — China: No Privileges For Taiwan Spy Sentenced To Death
BEIJING (AFP)—China insisted Thursday it would not give special treatment to a scientist sentenced to death for passing information to Taiwan, as the United States reiterated its concern about the case.
The case deals with leaking state secrets, and Chen said one charge that was listed said he might have talked about senior leaders' health – an act punishable by death in China.
The United States Thursday once again said Wo's arrest and trial fell short of international standards for due process.
"Reportedly Mr. Wo did not have access to legal counsel until after the prosecuting officials completed their investigation," U.S. embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said. "His confession was coerced and the charges against him were questionable."
Nov 27 — Ant-breeding swindler executed in China
BEIJING (AP)—China has executed Wang Zhendong, a businessman convicted of bilking thousands of investors out of $416 million in a bogus ant-breeding scheme, state media reported Thursday.
Wang, chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading Group, had promised returns of up to 60 percent for investors who purchased ant-breeding kits from two companies he ran.