follow us:
site: HOME > > Economic > China Buzz > Zeigeist
Jonathan Fenby's Tiger Head, Snake Tails

Former newspaper editor and vetern China watcher Jonathan Fenby last night gave a talk in Beijing to mark the publication of his latest book Tiger Head, Snake Tails, which is about contemporary China. Here are some of his points:

* In ’78, Deng Xiaoping understood that China had to be rebuilt. Since then, the underlying motive for reforms of the economy has been political rather than economic. The Standing Committee of the Communist Party is driven by the need “to keep the show on the road.”

* Urban Chinese eat the equivalent of one pig a year. The pig breeding cycle is key to Chinese inflation.

* There’s a very fine, even invisible, line between being a bull and a bear among China investors. Fenby, who now works for Trusted Sources, a consultancy, said he had made identical presentations to different investors, one of whom told him “you’re very bearish,” and the other of whom said “I haven’t seen anyone that bullish for ages.”

* The next step for China’s economy – high-speed trains, airliners and nuclear power plants – is “a different game from making socks or t-shirts” and making that transition is “one of the greatest challenges that China has to face.”

* “I increasingly have the impression that the rest of the world doesn’t know how to deal with China,” Fenby said, adding that countries need China’s market, but don’t want to make a commitment and so adopt a kind of “hedging policy.”

* “China doesn’t have a foreign policy – it has a resource policy…it has a keep out of China policy…” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is relatively weak internally and there are a lot of other actors affecting foreign affairs.

* China’s environmental problems are more to with implementation of regulations, rather than the regulations themselves, which are sometimes well written. It’s often cheaper for factory owners to pay fines than modify they machines to conform to environmental standards.
* China needs a strong legal system ahead of democracy.

* The Communist Party will never voluntarily give up its grip on power.

* There is an official factory making hair dye for China’s leaders, one of Fenby’s contacts told him.

* China today is “a dictatorship without a dictator”



Comments(The views posted belong to the commentator, not representative of the EO)

username: Quick log-in

About China Buzz

The Economic Observer's editorial staff are always on the look out for interesting, fresh and high-quality China-related content. Whether it's the latest buzz on Weibo, links to insightful articles or updates on the latest books and reports, through China Buzz we'll keep you in the loop about what's going on in the world of Chinese politics and economics.

Most popular

this week
this month


E-mail subscription

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to China Buzz and receive notifications of new posts through e-mail.