Hunt for oil

The Chinese are being very aggressive in Africa looking for more sources of oil:

Just how wild is the bidding for good oil acreage these days? Over-the-top wild, to judge by a late May auction of tracts in the Congo Basin, off the coast of Angola. To land the licenses needed to explore three deepwater zones, oil companies from Italy, China, and elsewhere offered to pay an astronomical $3.1 billion in up-front fees (known in the industry as signature bonuses), plus $240 million to build schools and other social projects for the impoverished African country. To give a sense of the price inflation involved, in 1999, Angolan tracts in even deeper water brought in up to $350 million. The May bids were “the highest ever offered for exploration acreage anywhere in the world,” says Catriona O’Rourke, an analyst at Edinburgh consultants Wood Mackenzie, which has published an analysis of data provided by the Angolans.

China's export machine

Americans og Chinese goods.

Tech firms accused of helping China's censorship of media

China is determined to censor the use of the Internet by its citizens, and activists are US technology companies of providing the tools to enable this censorship.

North Korea sorry

China sent an envoy to North Korea to , and Kim Jong Il reportedly said he was “sorry” for the test and that additional tests were not planned. He also indicated a willingness to return to talks with the United States. Perhaps China is serious about putting the squeeze on Kim. They could cut off oil supplies to North Korea and destroy what is left of its economy. Hopefully its not an empty threat.

China growth machine

The Chinese is still on fire.

China prods North Korea on nukes

Can the Chinese influence the North Koreans? They have sent a to North Korea to negotiate a solution.

China wins gymnastics gold

China stunned the US team by in the world championships:

The Chinese women pulled off a stunner Wednesday, getting a second straight great performance from Zhang Nan and Pang Panpan to win their first world gymnastics title and give their country a sweep of the team gold.

The men won Tuesday. Not a bad way to set the stage with 22 months until the Olympics in Beijing.

Unions organize Wal-Mart stores in China

is very interesting.

Wal-Mart workers in China have set up unions at all 62 outlets that the world’s biggest retailer operates here in what a senior Chinese trade union official described Thursday as a breakthrough for organized labor.

After overcoming stiff resistance from Wal-Mart, which has long fought to bar unions from its stores and distribution centers, the official All China Federation of Trade Unions now plans to focus on other companies in China it accuses of being traditionally hostile to unions, including Foxconn Electronics, Eastman Kodak and Dell.

Guo Wencai, a senior ACFTU organizer, told a press conference in Beijing that the success in unionizing Wal-Mart stores would be a springboard to similar campaigns aimed at these companies and others in China.

“We are going to exert very high pressure on all these types of companies until unions are established there,” Guo said.

“It is an irreversible trend.”

Yet the article also points out that the union movement has been encouraged by Chinese authorities as a way to mitigate the rise of militant labor movements and labor unrest. Under Chinese law, workers are barred from organizing independent unions:

Labor activists at times have accused the ACFTU of siding with management rather than acting as a champion of workers’ rights.

At best, they say the official union attempts to mediate in disputes.

Labor market analysts and human rights groups say that the Chinese authorities want to establish union branches in foreign companies in an effort to tighten control over the work force in the rapidly expanding private sector.

Labor unrest is now common in China, particularly among the 150 million-strong army of migrant workers, and some experts suggest that an improved network of unions could assist the authorities in defusing protests that could potentially pose a threat to Communist Party rule.

“They are afraid that public protests or strikes might get out of hand,” said Robin Munro, the Hong Kong-based research director of the China Labor Bulletin, a workers rights group.

“Hence the big drive to impose unions and provide greater union coverage. I think this is seen as a way of crisis management.”

Other political analysts have suggested that the Chinese authorities also want to expand the reach of the official union. That is because the decline of the state-owned sector has stripped away much of the Communist Party’s traditional power base in the Chinese economy, they say.

It will be interesting to see if the government can control the desires of workers to influence their own working conditions.

China coming closer to US position

The security council is coming closer to a regarding North Korea.

China opposes tough sanctions against N. Korea

So much for China growing up and becoming a responsible member of the world community. China is teaming up with Russia to oppose tough sanctions against North Korea. Maybe the Bush administration just sucks at diplomacy, but the Chinese need to step up and hold North Korea accountable. It’s time they stop supporting this insane regime.

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