China Devalues Yuan

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Is the Chinese government getting desperate?

Lately they’ve been manipulating the stock market and encouraging retail investors to keep buying volatile stocks.

Now they’re devaluing the Yuan again in response to weak economic data.

Is China a house of cards? There’s plenty of economic might there, but you have an economy centrally planned by dictators, and local economies planned by corrupt government officials.

How this all ends is anyone’s guess.

Xi tightens control of propaganda with new national security law

President Xi Jinping’s wants to exert maximum control of Chinese culture as he tightens his grip on power and tries to leverage nationalist impulses in China. His latest national security law is another step in that process.

But in the long run he will weaken China, as this tightening of control makes the country less attractive to foreign investment. That may not matter much now, but in the future the bill on China’s many mistakes will come due, and this effort to control everything will likely backfire.

China’s war on English

Strange things are happening in China as Xi tries to revive his vision of Chinese culture.

Chinese authorities are waging a war on American culture and the use of English. In April, China’s media regulators yanked the popular U.S. television shows The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and The Good Wife from Chinese streaming websites Sohu (SOHU) and Youku (YOKU). The official party newspaper, People’s Daily, ran two editorials in April bemoaning the use of words borrowed from English when speaking Chinese. Then in mid-May came a flurry of reports in the state media confirming plans announced last fall to reduce the importance of English-language instruction and to expand courses on traditional culture in grade school and high school.

The implications will be interesting over time. China seems determined to loosen the US grip on world power and increase its own influence, but this may end up being counter-productive.

As the world becomes more open, it will become harder and harder for Chinese authorities to control what influences their people. I guess they think they shouldn’t be contributing to a trend they don’t like, but English is and will remain the international business language. Chinese is far too difficult as a language and it’s also inefficient. The rest of the world won’t bother learning it. If Chinese businessmen become less proficient in English, then they will just be less effective over time.

Thousands protest in Hong Kong against China

People in Hong Kong are getting restless. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents protested China by marching through the streets to push for greater democracy. People in Hong Kong are angry over Beijing’s claim that it has ultimate authority over the southern Chinese financial center. Let’s see how far China will push back – the entire region is starting to hate the bully.

Godzilla rules in China

Godzilla may be a Japanese creation, but the new film opened to $10.9 million in China on Friday, giving it the biggest opening day of 2014. The film has gotten decent reviews but these types of action films tend to do well all over the world.