The "Third China" in the 21st Century

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Where’s Venezuela’s Oil Going?

March 30, 2011
WSJ & NYT

The Wall Street  Journal says Venezuela will find it hard to sell 1 million barrels a day of crude oil to China – half its production – in exchange for $20 billion in Chinese development financing. Venezuelan crude is heavy and difficult to refine, and a Wikileaks cable from last year suggests China could be getting it for as little as $5 a barrel. Last year, the NYTimes (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/world/americas/19venez.html) reported that China was buying 460,000 bbd from Venezuela, but only 132,000 bbd were actually refined in China.



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Chinese G-20 host wants to replace dollar as reserve currency

March 30, 2011
WSJ

Clearly the Chinese want to have their non-convertable RMB cake and eat it too.  But how can they reap the riches of seigniorage for the yuan without opening it to international trading and - ahem - speculation? A Chinese state-run think tank (which is now hosting a G-20 seminar in Nanjing to study international exchange rates) published a paper Thursday blaming the global financial crisis mostly on the U.S.



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Australian writer disappears in China

March 30, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald

As China’s unprecedented crackdown on dissent continues unabated, an Australian-Chinese, Yang Hengjun, considered to be “the most influential blogger in Chinese,” has disappeared in Guangzhou after telling friends by phone that he was “having tea with old friends” – a prearranged signal that he had been arrested by Chinese secret police. The Australian Embassy is seeking information, but a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman only says “I have not heard of that person.”



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Zimbabwe to nationalize all foreign miners – except Chinese

March 30, 2011
WSJ

Further evidence of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe’s special relationship with China came Monday as he announced that all foreign miners must sell out to Zimbabwe owners – except China. China, it is said, is carrying out special “national projects.”  Do we all recall the mysterious Chinese container ship that tried to deliver several tons of heavy weapons and small arms to Mugabe's secret police via South Africa - and, then that didn't work, via Angola - in 2008 just as Mugabe needed them to suppress his political opposition.



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China Spies in Taiwan undermine Island’s relations with U.S.

March 30, 2011
Jane's Intelligence Review

 http://jir.janes.com/public/jir/chinawatch.shtml

 



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Tsunami speeds up key Japan lithium battery plant’s move to China

March 30, 2011
WSJ

A Japanese factory that produces polyvinylidene fluoride substrate for 70% of the lithium-ion batteries on earth – and all the batteries for Apple’s iPad – was destroyed in the March 11 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami. Kureha Corp. says it was “already thinking about shifting some of our production to the States and China. We will now accelerate these plans."  A move will be a loss to Japan -- and ideally, the plant should remain there -- but if it must move, let's hope most of the operations come to the U.S. -- not to China.



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HSBC move makes Chinese Yuan “more tradable”

March 30, 2011
WSJ

 

 HSBC move makes Chinese Yuan “more tradable”: Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp has launched an offshore currency index for the Chinese renminbi yuan which, while only a microfraction of current global foreign exchange trade volume, certainly makes the yuan “more tradeable.” It also is a step that strengthens confidence in the yuan as an international trading medium. http://blogs.wsj.com/exchange/2011/03/30/hsbc-launches-offshore-yuan-index/



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U.S. imports goods from China – exports empty cardboard boxes

March 30, 2011
WSJ

 

In a sobering article, The Wall Street Journal analyzes the scrap paper industry in Southern California. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870436040457620625058552117...



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China eyes “Monroe Doctrine” for East Asia

March 29, 2011
The Diplomat

 

US Naval War College professor James R. Holmes, sees China’s “build-up of maritime strength—manifest in a powerful fleet supported by shore-based aircraft and missiles” as aimed at establishing a “Monroe Doctrine” in East Asian waters. 

http://the-diplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2011/03/28/china-eyes-naval-tra...



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Somehow China gets more ‘soft power’ bang for aid buck than U.S.

March 29, 2011
Washington Post

Washington POst columnist Michael Gerson - reporting from Malawi - sees little but Chinese construction across the skyline of Lilongwe, the Malawian capital.  He muses that China is amassing far more 'soft power' than the U.S.

China’s African investments: Who benefits?  http://www.washingtonpost.com/2011/03/28/AF8G7mqB_story.html 

 



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