Moody’s Lowers China’s Credit Rating

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China protested when the investors service lowered its credit rating 1 notch because of China’s rising debt load (which could be difficult to service) and slowing growth.

It is the first time in the 30 years since the end of the devastation caused by Mao and the Cultural Revolution that China’s credit rating has been downgraded at all.

However, when the average of the three big ratings is made (the usual practice), the Moody’s rating means less.

China’s Solar Output Increased 80% in First Quarter

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China, the world’s biggest solar power market, added 21.4b kilowatt-hours in the three months before March 31, compared with a year earlier, according to the NEA.

It’s total installed capacity is now 85gw. Their increase is despite an unused capacity (congested transmission infrastructure) worth 2.3b kilowatt-hours in the first quarter.

China Making It’s Own Wikipedia, but Public Can’t Edit It

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The government, which enforces strict censorship of media, has decided it needs its own online encyclopedia. Wikipedia, like many other popular free information sources on the internet, is blocked in China.

China’s encyclopedia will not be like Wikipedia, though. It will not allow public edits, and its editors will be hand-picked by the government.

The want to put together 300,000 entries. Analysts have said they do not expect to see subjects China does not like to talk about, such as “Tiananmen Square 1989” and “Falun Gong spiritual group” to be included.

North Korea: Unusual Fuel Shortage

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Price hikes and fuel hording are symptoms of what is being rumored to be a China-caused fuel shortage.

Signs have popped up around Pyongyang that restrictions on sales would be in place until further notice.

North Korea gets most of its fuel from its neighbor, China, which has joined the U.S. in a much stronger stance against North Korea’s continued military aggravation.

Chinese Tech No Longer Just Copycat, Industry Expert Says

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“If you study Chinese products, you can get inspiration,” according to a woman who works for technology investment firm Andreessen Horowitz.

She also works helping U.S. startups learn from Chinese tech.

Connie Chan says Chinese tech is ahead of U.S. tech in everything from livestreaming (worth $5b) to messaging. For example, while Americans almost all use messaging apps daily to communicate, in China they use similar apps (such as WeChat) to pay utilities and traffic tickets, order medications to their door, and get marriage licences.

“I spend so much time teaching people what they can’t see,” she told Wired recently. “It won’t stay invisible for long.”

The idea that Chinese tech is just a copycat of other countries’ is now obsolete, she said.

Apple Talking of Returning to US Amid Trump Policy Statements

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According to Nikkei Asia Review, iPhone assemblers in the East — responsible for producing 200 million phones per year — are in talks about moving production to the U.S.

The move would mean roughly doubling costs — some of which would likely be passed on to consumers — but may be necessary. President Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly singled out Apple as an example of what’s bad in American business. Trump threatened a 45 percent tariff on goods made in China.

Apple is on record as countering that it has created and supports 2 million domestic jobs, and Apple’s Executive Tim Cook has stated that America doesn’t have enough enough skilled workers to handle production.

Trump’s position, on the other hand, was, “How does it help us when they make it in China?”

Just one of the Chinese factories producing phones employs almost 700,000 Chinese workers. However, Apple products are not made entirely in China: components are also made in Japan and Korea.

Economists have pointed out that Apple can move to another country rather than America, and possibly find production costs below even what it now has in China. Economists also have criticized the plan as not being focused on “value creation,” and noted that the mere production of goods provides dubious value to America.

Photo: Gage Skidmore

World’s Longest Desert Highway Now Being Built

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900 kilometers of desert highway — the longest desert highway in the world — is now being built in Inner Mongolia, North China.

The highway is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is a plan to connect Asia with Europe: Beijing to Rotterdam, Holland.

More immediately, the desert highway will be part of the new route between Beijing and Urumqi in China’s far western Xinjiang Uyghur region, a distance of more than 2,000 kilometers. The new road is expected to cut 12 hours off the trip between these points.

The stretch of desert connects Linhe district in Bayan Nur City and Baigeda in Alxa League.

Longest Desert Highway


News of Another Self Immolation in Tibet Reaches Outside World

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March protest just confirmed due to communications clampdown in area

Sonam Tso, a mother of five, carried out a self-immolation protest on Wednesday 23 March 2016, in Dzoege County, Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. News of the protest only emerged from Tibet yesterday due to communication restrictions in the area.

The protest took place around midday near Sera monastery in Dzoege County in Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Sonam Tso and her husband, Kalsang Gyaltsen, were walking around the monastery. At one point she asked him to go ahead and said she would join him later. A few minutes later one of the monks heard someone calling for the return of the Dalai Lama and freedom for Tibet. He then saw Sonam Tso on fire and calling out the slogans. He called for help then he and Sonam’s Tso’s husband tried to put out the flames. With the help of another monk named Tsultrim, who was also Sonam Tso’s uncle, they brought her body inside the monastery and arranged a vehicle to take her to hospital. However, she died before they were able to leave the monastery.

Sonam Tso was around 50 years old and the mother of five children, three daughters and two sons. She was from Dotsa village, within the same township as Sera monastery.

Tsultrim was arrested after the protest on charges of having shared information about Sonam Tso’s self-immolation. He was released after eight days in detention and was forced to delete the photograph he had taken of the protest. Kalsang Gyaltsen was also called in for questioning three times.

Sonam Tso’s is the second self-immolation to take place inside Tibet during 2016. The earlier protest was carried out by a monk named Kalsang Wangdu on 29 February 2016. To date, more than 140 Tibetans have set themselves alight protesting China’s rule in Tibet.

Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said:

“The time that it has taken for this news to reach us is indicative of the repressive conditions that Tibetans inside Tibet are forced to live under. That same repression is responsible for Sonam Tso’s death. China continues to try and blame the self-immolations on outside influence or to attribute them to non-political causes. It is long past time that other governments and the world’s media were willing to acknowledge the ugly truth: every Tibetan who dies in a self-immolation protest has been killed by China.”

Information confirmed and supplied to Free Tibet by Tibet Watch.

By Alistair Currie
Tibet Watch

Cancer In China Kills 2.8 Million Per Year, Study Finds

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In China last year, approximately 2.8 million people died of cancer, and 4.3 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, according to a new study by researchers at the National Cancer Center in Beijing.

The new figures are based on newly available information: several population registries have been made available through China’s National Central Cancer Registry.

Seventy-two such cancer registries were analyzed in the new report. The data represented 6.5 perent of the Chinese population between 2009 and 2011.

The figures showed that every day in China almost 12,000 new cases of invasive cancer are diagnosed.

Approximately 7,500 Chinese die of cancer per day within the country. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer leading to death. Among men, lung, stomach, esophagus, liver and colorectal cancer accounted for most cancers. Among women, breast, lung, bronchus, stomach, colorectal and esophagus accounted for most cases.

The researchers found the leading contributor to cancer deaths that could be avoided is chronic infection. This resulted in 30 percent of cancer deaths, notably from stomach, liver and cervical cancer. Tobacco smoking — which is currently on the rise in the country — accounted for approximately 25 percent of cancer deaths.

The report also cited China’s notorious air pollution — outdoor and indoor through coal heating and cooking — as well as pollution-contaminated soil and drinking water — as contributing causes of China’s ill health.

By Ray Korshunova

The Real Reason For China’s Slowdown

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Central Banks manipulate the price of money using several different tactics for controlling interest rates. One of those mechanisms is buying assets like bonds. The last easing program that the Federal Reserve conducted ended in Oct. of 2014. Even though interest rates are still at a record low in the United States, the effects of ending Quantitative Easing have been felt across the globe. Namely with our largest trading partners. Europe, Canada and China have all faced slowing economies since the end of the program. In Europe, the ECB is combating the problem with a record asset buying program. And so far it has kept Europe afloat.

The largest effect of this asset buying program, has been the devaluation of the Euro, to close to parity with the US dollar. The idea behind this is easing is to strengthen exports and create inflation with the intention of spurring growth.  When central bankers devalue their currencies, each major bank gets to ease its currency when its economy is most in need. After QE3, the Japanese and European economies were slowing at a rapid pace. The burden of US easing could no longer be put on their shoulders, and the ECB soon began to cheapen its currency. As an effect of this, the US dollar index started to rise precipitously in July of 2014. The index’s rise was further strengthened with the possibility of a US Interest Rate hike being brought into focus by Chair Yellen. As a result the US economy began to face more economic pressure, and it started to show in the data.

One may ask how any of the above is critical to understanding why China’s economy is slowing, or why the People’s Bank of China devalued the Yuan by 2%, but it is the key foundation for accurate analysis.

The Yuan is directly pegged to the Dollar. If the dollar becomes more valuable then the yuan does likewise. This may seem trivial but it is absolutely essential to realize. US Central Bank policy that effects the value of the dollar, will also heavily effect the Yuan. Since the dollar has been rising in value against the Euro and the Yen, so has the Yuan.

One of the largest effects of a strong currency is stong cheap imports and weak expensive exports. This explains part of the large inventory buildup seen in the US. China is heavily dependent on its exports. The lower demand for higher priced Chinese exports dragged on the sector and has contributed to their slowing economy.

Rather than breaking their peg with the US Dollar the PBOC decided to directly devalue their currency against the dollar to provide stimulus for their economy and relief to their export industries.  Despite this small devaluation China will continue to face pressure as long as the dollar remains strong, and Central Banks continue their manipulation of interest rates.

The amount of malinvestment in China and economies around the world will continue to make global markets unstable in the years to come. But instead of blaming the Chinese for their slowdown, one must really look at the underlying reasons why systemically that slowdown is inevitable. In the meantime we will continue to hear the word “China” blasted three hundred times per day from every news network, financial channel, and every Donald Trump interview.

By Andrew Gehrig