Commentary from This Week's Paper

By EO Editorial Board
Published: 2010-09-16

Buffett’s Charity Banquet Is Misunderstood
Comment, page 16
By Chen Mingxia, a Commentator with the EO

~A banquet to be held by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in China has received little response from its targeted attendants, Chinese wealthy people, because they are afraid they will be “persuaded” to donate their money after they die.
~Those Chinese multimillionaires are justified to refuse attending this banquet. Without a Charity Law, it is not an easy job, sometimes even risky, for Chinese entrepreneurs to give to charity.
~However, their worry is obviously groundless if we take a second look at the theme of the banquet: A Pledge to Donate. While the Chinese media have misunderstood it as a “promise to donate”, its real meaning is a “pledge to do some good for society”.
~These two understandings reflect what “charity” means in different cultures. While Chinese people believe that charity means giving money, western culture perceives donating to charity as a means to show your kindness to other people and the whole of society in a transparent and scientific way.
Original article:  [Chinese]

How to Solve the Problem of Forged Pilot Resumes
Comment, page 16
By Liu Weixun, Senior Reporter and Commentator with the EO

~As many pilots are accused of forging their resumes to maintain their positions with airline companies, the image of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAI) has been tarnished.
~But it is not the pilots themselves that should be blamed for the forgery. The real source of the problem lies on the current pilot training and recruitment system in China.
~The Chinese civil aviation market is expanding day by day, producing a huge demand of qualified pilots. To meet demand, the CAAI should standardize the process for military pilots to be transferred to the civil aviation sector after they finished their military service.
~It also should strike a balance between expanding the market and ensuring the safety of civil aviation.

Original article: [Chinese]

Regulating Big Companies
Business Review, page 50
By Xin Wang, Head of the Research Institute of the Economic Observer

~One century after the Industrial Revolution, many big companies emerged in Europe and America. While they had produced a prosperous economy, they were also responsible for many social problems, including a huge income gap, marginalized farmers and poor urban residents, and unsafe food and drugs.
~To tackle the above problems, the American Government tried to control the power of big companies by intensifying the regulation of food safety, drug quality and financial institutions, and protecting the rights of laborers; the German government established a national social security system providing health insurance, accident insurance and life insurance.
~China is facing challenges similar to the problems western countries have experienced. While the ratio of labor’s income to GDP has continuously decreased every year, the ratio of capital revenue to GDP has increased.
~We also have problems such as tainted milk power, vegetable and cooking oil, and never-ending coal mine and traffic accidents. All of these remind us to learn from history, make governments and the market play separate roles, pay attention to the relationship between effectiveness and justice, and strive for a complete and sustainable development.
Original article: [Chinese]

China’s Third Choice
Observer, page 44
By Ding Li, EO Observer Senior Editor

~Carrots and sticks, representing money and weapons, are two tools used by powerful countries to shape the international community. Though both of them are frequently used, they are not necessarily good tools. Without carrots, you may accidentally hit yourself in the head with the stick. Without the sticks, you may eat the carrot and other countries will see you as a timid rabbit.
~There is a third choice: Soft power, which refers to using culture to influence and guide the international community. China’s lack of soft power is the major cause of China’s recent diplomatic difficulties.
~The sinking of the South Korean warship is mainly a North and South Korea affair. China seems to be agitating the two sides, and increasing its opposition with America. The US has been relatively restrained. China and the US do not have any conflicts; they should be striving for mutual benefits.
~China must first integrate into the civilized world, strive for its interests, and absorb strength before it can change the world. Being fearful or being hostile towards the rest of the world is not beneficial for China. 
Original article: [Chinese]

Why is the Education Bureau Trying to Gag Teachers?
EO Online
By Yang Tao, a Jiangxi Procuratorate Office Official

~ An Internet forum in Pizhou, a small city on the Jiangxi side of the Jiangxi-Shandong border, was flooded with comments after the local education bureau released a document in late August ordering teachers at all the city's primary, secondary and private schools to "pay attention" to what they say on online forums and bulletin boards. The order also mentioned that last year, three teachers in the city had been detained for "spreading false information" on the internet.
~ But let's consider the true role of an education bureau - shouldn't it be standing up for the legitimate rights of teachers and questioning the authority of the police to detain one of their own for "speech crimes?"
~ Rather than ordering teachers "not to talk about politics, not to talk about affairs of state, not to do anything that they shouldn't being doing or say anything that they shouldn't," the education department should not only tolerate but also encourage teachers to speak freely - though obviously it can remind them to do so within the confines of the law.
~ It seems that under the banner of "not talking about politics and the affairs of state," the education bureau is trying to stop any negative information about wages, the hiring of teachers for exams or issues related to the misappropriation of funds from getting out.
~ It seems local education bureaus in Jiangxi have a habit for blocking the free flow of information. Earlier this year, all the computers in primary and secondary schools in Binhai County were blocked so that they couldn't access the local "Binhai Forum." When local media pursued the story, the authorities admitted that they had blocked access.
~ An open and dynamic society is one that is able to absorb diverse views and that has freedom of speech. Only if there is freedom of speech are we able to monitor the government and expose corruption, to discover the truth.
~ The reason why people are so easily fooled by online rumors today is directly connected to the practice of censoring and blocking the internet. As people are afraid to express their true feelings and find it difficult to distinguish between what is true and false - it's more likely that those who spread sensational but false information will be believed.
~ When dealing with the problem of the "spread of false information," the only solution is to be more open, because it's only with the struggle of the free market of ideas that lies will be defeated.
~ We wait for the day when the Pizhou Education Bureau puts out an official document encouraging teachers to boldly express themselves, speak the truth and expose corruption. 
Original article: [Chinese]

The Fate of Jet Li’s One Foundation
EO Online
By Wu Yuesanren

~The One Foundation, a charity founded by Jet Li in affiliation with the Red Cross, is in legal trouble. Its contract with the Red Cross expires this year, and it is a private organization.
~Private organizations in China cannot fundraise publically, only government sponsored organizations can.
~There are 3 ways the foundation can hope to survive.
~One way is if the government lifts restrictions on NGOs and lets them develop naturally. This is impossible.
~Another is for the foundation to apply for a special “license” to operate and eventually fundraise with restrictions.
~The last is to renew their contract with the Red Cross and continue to operate under the banner of the Red Cross.
~The fate of the One Foundation reflects the enormous obstacles private charities face when operating in China. And, who knows what will happen?
Original article: [Chinese]

Local Officials Are “Key” to Stabilizing Property Prices
EO Online
By Yang Hongxu, director of the Comprehensive Research Department of the Research Institute with the Shanghai Yiju (上海易居)
~Premier Wen Jiabao once again encouraged local governments to curb property speculation and outrageous housing prices.
~But governments should not directly intervene by setting rigid housing prices. They need to look at the property market as a whole and maintain the balance of supply and demand.
~Central policies are not enough. Local governments must help implement their policies.  
~In April 2010, the government issued a set of policies (国十条) intended to increase accountability for property prices.  Provincial governments will assume the overall responsibility for affordable housing. But it all depends on whether local officials take the initiative. 
~From 2007 to 2009, property prices were allowed to skyrocket because government policies were largely ignored. They were only driven down by local governments in response to media scrutiny and public outrage.
~Property prices in cities have flatlined in July and August. But once regulations relax, they begin to surge.
~Since the economy declined in the second quarter, there are many investors looking to cash-in in real estate. Local governments must continue to remain vigilant and tighten enforcement of central policies. Prices can be controlled.
Original article: [Chinese]