Zombie factories haunt China

molten steel in steel plant

When China was booming, they couldn’t keep up with the demand for steel and cement. Now things are slowing down, and the over-investment in factories is leading to zombie factories that the government is afraid to let die.

When you read this article you get another glimpse as to why the China experiment may end badly. In the rush to move hundreds of millions of people from the farms to the cities, too much money was poured into more factories and apartments that weren’t needed. Central planning can work for a while, but then economic reality sets in, and projects built more to line the pockets of local officials end up being a huge drain on the overall economy.

  

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.