Commentary from This Week's Paper

By English Edition Staff
Published: 2011-01-06

Why Don't We Believe the Police?
By Huang Xiaowei (黄小伟)
Comment, page 16
~ The death of Qian Yunhui, a village head in Zhejiang's Wenzhou, has become quite a mystery. While the local police claim that he was killed in a traffic accident, the public believes that he was murdered. Why don't people believe the government's official conclusion?
~ The reason is simple. During the past few years, local governments have continuosly attempted to stop people from seeking justice. Qian Yunhui, as a village head, had been petitioning for over a decade before his death.
~ Aside from quickly determining Qian's cause of death, the local police also arrested several other villagers and isolated some of Qian's relatives, making it even more difficult for the public to believe Qian's death was simply caused by a traffic accident.
Original article: [Chinese]

What Were we Wrong About in our 2010 Chinese Economic Forecast
By Wen Zhao (文钊)
Comment, page 16
~ At the beginning of 2010, the Economic Observer made 15 predictions about what would happen to the Chinese economy over the coming year. Now, we can look back and see where we went wrong.
~ We erroneously thought that housing prices would decrease in 2010, a year in which housing prices actually continued to rise. Why? We think this mistake was due to treating housing property as an independent economic field while in fact, it is too politically-oriented. The complexity of China's politics led to our error.
~ Another incorrect forecast was our prediction that the US dollar would rise in value after a short fall; the dollar has been continuously decreasing in value over the last year. We attribute this failure to the links and differences that exist between the world economy and Chinese society.
Original article: [Chinese]

Mark Zuckerberg's China Visit
By Li Xiang (李翔)
Comment, page 16
~ Right after being named TIME magazine's 2010 Person of the Year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg paid a visit to China in late December, a visit that was given extensive attention, despite the fact that Facebook is blocked in China.
~ Zuckerberg has publicly posed the question - if you are missing a market of 1.3 billion people, how can you connect the whole world?
~ He is also known to study Chinese for one hour per day and many expect that he is preparing to devise an entry into the Chinese market.
~ But judging from the experience of Yahoo, E-bay, Google and Myspace, Facebook's China strategy will not be easy. They have to play by the rules of the Chinese market.
~ Once Facebook enters China, it will bring about some changes. We welcome it, but Facebook and China both need enough patience for it to work.
Original article: [Chinese]

Appreciation of the RMB is a Disaster for China's Manufacturing Sector
By Zhang Monan (张茉楠), Assistant Researcher at the State Information Center's Forecasting Department
Economic Observer Online
~ The continuous appreciation of the RMB will further harm China's manufacturing sector, forcing it to update technology, lift the value-added of its products and improve related technologies.
~ Although "Made in China" is playing an increasingly significant role in today's world economy, the ability to further the label is being challenged. Currently, the average profit ratio of traditional Chinese manufacturing enterprises is between 3 and 5 percent.
~ A stress test was imposed on the manufacturing enterprises of eastern coastal provinces which showed that if the RMB appreciated by 5 percent, those companies would have great difficulty in continuing to run a profitable business.
Original article: [Chinese]

New Anti-monopoly Rules Won't be Effective
By Hu Jiayuan (胡家源), Editor with the EO's News Department
Economic Observer Online
~The National Development and Reform Commission has issued eight rules forbidding various forms of "price monopolies". But they will not be as effective as expected.
~The new rules only target private companies and their associations; state-owned enterprises and related governmental agencies, such as Sinopec, PetroChina, China Mobile and all of the banking giants, are excluded from the new rules. However, it is the latter that has the major "price monopolies" in the Chinese market.
~Though it's still too early to say that these new rules won't be effective, they at least won’t be as effective as planned since their enforcement requires “coordination between different government agencies" even when dealing with small cases of "price monopolies".
Original article: [Chinese]

What's Wrong with Chen Kaige's Films?
Observer, page 44
By Wang Suichen (王绥琛)
~ Chen Kaige's costume blockbuster Sacrifice (赵氏孤儿) was widely criticized by audiences. Many audience members were confused about his new movie, and didn't know what it means, as it was full of philosophical dialogue.
~ Chen has been focused on exposing the complexity of human nature since his first movie. Like he did in Sacrifice, which is a revenge story, but one in which the concepts of kindness and evil are very complex and obscure.
~ Chen's films emphasize people's daily life and status, but the harder he tries to show his concern, the farther he is away from the reality of people's lives, because he uses his characters in the films as a philosophical outlet which causes the characters to lose their own identity.
Original article: [Chinese]

Why Do News Stories Disappear on their Way to the Public?
By Shinian Kanchai (十年砍柴)
Economic Observer Online
~ Though many news worthy events occurred in China last year, not every news event received full coverage. In fact, a lot of them disappeared before the public could find out about them. Why did this happen?
~ One of the reasons is that news events happen one after another and people's interests frequently change, forcing media workers to continuously alter the focus of their reports.
~ However, it has more to do with some Chinese officials' eagerness to cover up the truth about certain happenings.
~ For example, the Shanxi vaccine scandal and the self-immolation case in Jiangxi Province have both exposed the wrong doings of local governments.
~ The way to prevent the disappearance of news events is to intensify the transparency of government actions. But that's not an easy task.
Original article: [Chinese]

The Reasons for Polarization Between the Rich and Poor
By Wang Suichen (王绥琛)
Economic Observer Online
~ The New Year shopping season was a busy time for scalpers, who were able to earn a lot of money from the purchase and sale of prepaid shopping mall gift cards, which reflects the massive scale of gray income in China. Shopping mall gift cards are often used by companies to pay their employees in order to avoid income taxes.
~ Gray income is a main reason for the polarization between the rich and the poor and has lead to extreme inequality.
~ We don't know how large the scale of gray income is, but it not only affects societies interests, but it also impacts on housing prices.
~ If we don't seriously tackle gray income, it will be difficult to further reform of China's economy.
Original Article: [Chinese]

Do We Really Want an "Updated" San Zi Jing?
By Wei Liming (魏黎明)
Economic Observer Online
~ San Zi Jing (三字经 or Three Character Classic) is one of the Chinese classics currently being revised for educational purposes.
~ The proposed revisions have opened a can of worms that have led to a broader discussion about teaching materials and education reform.
~ The values expressed in San Zi Jing may differ from modern values, and perhaps we need a different type of education, but we should pause to reflect before we revise a classic.
~ In the past decades, we have had text books that tell us how to be "citizens," and provide "ideological and moral indoctrination." We do not learn to think about laws or rights, but are provided with dogmatic ideas.
~ Perhaps what we need is more complex. Instead of rushing to change a classic, we should ask what type of teaching materials we really want, or rather, what we do not want.
Original article: [Chinese]

Links and Sources
New York Times
(via Qian Yunhui
Shanghaiist: Zuckerberg image
Sina: San Zi Jing