The Nobel Peace Prize and china

Originally posted 2010-10-08 12:00:02 -0400. Bumped and promoted. -- GH

Today the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo of china who has been an advocate for open since he was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Even though the Tianamen Square protests were an ultimate failure Liu Xiaobno was undeterred in his promotion of a pluralistic Chinese government. When China was awarded the 2008 Olympic Summer Games one of the conditions imposed by the International Olympic Committee was that China become a more open and democratic society which never happened. It was in the run up to these games that Liu Xiaobo and other political activists issued Charter 08 asking that the Chinese government up hold the conditions under which it was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympic games. After the Charter 08 statement was issued Liu Xiaobo was arrested tried and and convicted by a Chinese court of violating Chinese law for promoting the idea of egalitarianism in China.

What's interesting is that as China's economy has continued to expand China has become more aggressive or perhaps emboldened because of its economic power. One such example is the Senkaku Islands which until 1972 when oil and natural deposits were discovered there no one care about these islands. With the oil and gas discoveries suddenly China and Taiwan laid claim to these islands which Japan has controlled since the 19th century under the Treaty of Shimonnoseki

These two things may not seem to be not related yet in Chinese eyes they are. Its all about a greater China and its place in the world.

The Way the World Works

By Numerian
Chances are if you are a typical American consumer you have purchased something made by Foxconn Technology Group. This giant Taiwanese-owned company is under contract to make Sony’s Playstation, the Xbox 360, the Wii, motherboards for Intel, routers for Cisco, and Apple’s iPhone, iPod, and iPad. As profitable as Foxconn is, it is in a fundamental sense a failure of capitalism. At a time when machine tools and robotics are available to make these products at high speeds, Foxconn uses manual labor to craft tens of thousands of electronic devices each hour, 24 hours a day. (Image)

To accomplish this, Foxconn employs over 800,000 workers in mainland China alone, and 420,000 of them at a massive “campus” in Shenzen. The workers in Shenzen are required to live on campus in dormitories with bunk beds, cafeterias, a medical unit, and a few recreational facilities. The overwhelming number of them range in age from 18 to 24, have moved to Shenzen from rural villages with no job opportunities, work six days a week at the factory for 10 hours a day including overtime, and make about $130 a month.

There is more to this than "just jobs"

Campaign for America's Future has an interesting story up on how free trade has been integral in crushing our economy. In discussing his book, “The Betrayal of American Prosperity,” author Clyde Prestowitz hits on many issues like the incentives that China has used to draw in manufacturing jobs and their many investments in big ticket infrastructure items as well a combination of other lesser factors that are driving the industry to set up shop in China:

On the website of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, an article confirms that the Chinese government was “influential in persuading Intel to setup its semiconductor manufacturing plant in Dalian,” and notes that, among other things, the Chinese government is building high-speed rail links, new highways and port facilities that would support new industry in Dalian and surrounding areas.

These are just some of the many economic investments that China is making in revamping their entire economy.

Recently, during our world wide economic disaster and our own ongoing Healthcare Reform debate, I and many other Bloggers had noted that China was making a major investment creating a new Single Payer healthcare system partly as a way to drive down the costs for Corporations and partly as a long term job creation strategy in order to create an entirely new economy for their nation of higher paying medical jobs that repay not only the government in the tax base they create as a means of recouping some of the initial investments but also repay the Corporations that may have shoulder some of the burden's of healthcare costs with healthier workers that will, in the long run, be more productive. Sick workers have always been a drain on any economy where workers have little to no access to Doctors and have to show up to work sick or miss more days of work because they can not afford the proper treatment. Never mind the burdens on governments when, like in the USA, people that can not afford healthcare walk in to Hospitals when they are so sick they are often at a point where treatment is more costly than if they had been able to access treatment earlier on.

Climate change is a fact, says China

[update - CM1] bumping because this deserves a second look even if it is a quick post.

China correspondent Stephen McDonell

The Chinese Government has described the view that climate change is not man-made as a marginal and "extreme" outlook.

According to Xie Zhenhua, a deputy director at China's powerful National Development and Reform Commission, climate change is a fact based on long-term observation in many countries.

At the annual session of China's National People's Congress, he said that those who advocate that climate change is not man-made are holding an extreme and marginal view.

He said that the majority of the world's scientists believed that climate change has been caused by burning fossil fuels.

He and other officials said that more work needed to be done to ensure that scientific data on climate change was watertight, but the world had no choice but to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Mr Xie said climate change is not only something that ordinary Chinese people can feel and experience every day, but that it may soon have a huge impact on China's food security and even its economic stability.

They also stated that there is some differing of opinion on what is causing this, however that sensible policy is to recognize and begin to take steps to mitigate the risk.

China And media Censorship

Those willing to report news have always taken risks not because they are adventure seekers or egomaniacs its because they believe the public has the right to know. History is littered with governments and regimes that have sought to silence the media.
Even with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact media repression continues unabated. Asia has a large number of governments which repress the ability of the media to report on a wide range of issues. China goes to great lengths to subdue the press. Here are few examples from a report complied by the International Federation of Journalists (pdf file) for 2009.

Xinjiang Riots

One Death, Eleven Infected: Pneumatic Plague Stikes in Ziketan, Qinghai province

Via Bloomberg


A 32-year-old herdsman died in Ziketan in Qinghai province, the provincial health department said in a statement dated yesterday. The other 11 infected people are mostly relatives of the deceased and are in “stable condition” in a designated hospital, according to the statement.

According to the WHO (via the Bloomberg article), Pneumatic Plague is caused by the same bacteria as Bubonic Plague, but differs in that


If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague, on the other hand, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases and patients can die 24 hours after infection, according to the WHO.

Anyone who was traveling in or around the Ziketan area since July 16, and who subsequently develops a cough or fever, should seek treatment at a hospital.

And here we thought we only had to worry about swine flu.

Mattel Settles with 39 States

I feel so much better now that one toy manufacturer has been held accountable...but I have questions. One being that I don't remember previously hearing any rumblings to the growing increase of Autism diagnoses and lead in children's toys. But then, maybe I haven't been paying attention.

Mattel settles with 39 states over tainted toys

HVDC: Piping in the Sun, to a City near you?

If only we could take all that Solar Energy baking the World's Deserts,

Bottle it up, (using modern technology),

and send it to the Metropolitan areas, that run on Energy.

Obama from the Bullpen

by Jeff Huber

Navy skippers immemorial wrote "He hit the deck running" on their new junior officers' fitness reports until the phrase became, well, ship-worn. You mean that the officer just checked aboard, seems eager, if a bit much so, has done a nice thing or two, but it's not time to recommend him either for your job or for immediate transfer to civilian command. In other words, it's an expression that sounds impressive but doesn't really mean anything, something common to at least 95 percent of Navy writing.

But the expression appears to mean something in the case of Barack Obama, whose orders just showed up on the message board, as we say in the NAV, and who doesn’t even check aboard for two more months. In the past week he's made three significant interrelated foreign policy moves that involve Iraq, Iran and Russia that have potential to look good, go bad or turn ugly, depending on how he follows up on them.

'60 Minutes on 'E-Waste'ing Toxics

CBS Interactive/CNET: '60 Minutes': Following the trail of toxic e-waste:

Jumped by a gang of men overseeing the e-waste operations who tried to take the CBS team's cameras, Pelley's crew managed to escape and bring back footage of the hazardous activities. .. The Chinese attackers were trying to protect a lucrative business of mining the e-waste . .

Fascinating read, with the full report coming this Sunday.

Keystone Kondi's Kwazy Kwestions

As the End of Bush Days draws near, the desperation and insanity of the administration and its neoconservative policies become more and more apparent. One of the most recent examples is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's address to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on June 3, where she once and for all crossed over to the dark side and swore fealty to Lord Cheney's quest to start a shooting war with Iran.

With Boobs-on-a-Billy-Goat Rice onboard the Cheney train, can Armageddon be far behind?

From the BBC: Quake in Western China Buries Nearly 900 Students, and other stories

From the BBC:


'Hundreds buried' by China quake

Almost 900 students have been buried by collapsed buildings during an earthquake in south-western China, state media reports.

What a horrible start to the day, and to the week.

The BBC article quotes the following statistics for recent quakes in China:


  • March, 2008: 7.2 quake in Xinjiang - damage limited
  • February 2003: 6.8 quake in Xinjiang - at least 94 dead, 200 hurt
  • January 1998: 6.2 quake in rural Hebei - at least 47 dead, 2,000 hurt
  • April 1997: 6.6 quake hits Xinjiang - 9 dead, 60 hurt
  • January 1997: 6.4 quake in Xinjiang - 50 dead, 40 hurt


In other news, US planes carrying aid land in Burma after days spent negotiating with the government, and a US researcher finds a way to kill stowaway plants and animals from marine ballast tanks:


US researchers say they have developed an effective way to kill unwanted plants and animals that hitch a ride in the ballast waters of cargo tankers.

Tests showed that a continuous microwave system was able to remove all marine life within the water tanks.

The UN lists "invasive species" dispersed by ballast water discharges as one of the four main threats to the world's marine ecosystems.

That's all I've got for now -- busy, busy day ahead -- but I'm sure there's a lot more.

Have at it. :)

Iran Hits the Fan Says Buchanan

You can rest easy. Political pundit and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan predicted on Sunday that there is a "fifty-fifty chance of U.S. air strikes on Iran by October." I just love the all out commitment involved in making a fifty-fifty prediction: there’s a hundred percent chance you’ll be right. Of course, the very fact that Pat Buchanan mentions something might happen means the odds are that it won’t.

Don’t get complacent, though. Just like the cataclysmic natural disaster that strikes every century or so, once in a blue moon it turns out that Pat Buchanan knew what the hell he was talking about.

Similarly, we might expect that the Bush administration knows that attacking Iran would be the worst imaginable thing they could do—for the Bush legacy, for U.S. foreign policy, and for stability in the Middle East. A strike on Iran would be an act of sheer lunacy; so the Bush administration might just try it.