Thursday, July 30, 2009

News from China

I just started reading "Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang". I haven't read in far enough to give an evaluation of the main part of the book, but I can say I'm impressed with the preparation. When it comes to modern China, you'd be lucky to name anyone past Deng Xiaoping. The authors that put the book together understand this and have 2 introductory chapters, an index of names in the back, and fill the narration with notes and explanations. They've done an incredible job at making the book as accessible as possible and I commend them for it.

I've noticed a few news stories from China lately that fit well with the flow of the book thus far that I'll highlight:

Think US infrastructure is in bad shape? Look at this building collapse in China.

Chinese steelworkers protest layoffs, by killing boss. Private steelmaker takes over state-run factory and orders 25,000 layoffs. 30,000 workers, including the 5,000 still keeping their jobs, beat the manager to death. Remember that the economic crisis has also hit Chinese factory jobs hard and, while their economy is still growing, there's a lot of frustrated, unemployed factory workers out there. Perfect recipe for a little revolution...

Files Vanished, Young Chinese Lose the Future - NYTimes. Crooked bureaucrats have been selling academic records to lesser-performing students to help them get jobs and academic visas, leaving the honest students in the lurch working menial jobs.

China doesn't have the Rule of Law, at least not in the way we understand it. If a Party official doesn't like the law, they disregard it. Which leads me to my last story...

Chinese Workers Say Illness Is Real, Not Hysteria - NYTimes. Chemical plant leaks H2S (!) and government response is, 'suck it up and quit whining, pussies.'

Hydrogen Sulfide is something every oilworker learns to fear. It's an extremely toxic gas that smells like rotten eggs. The first thing that happens when you're exposed is you lose your sense of smell. You smell it briefly and then it goes away. And then, about 30 seconds later (at sufficient concentrations), you keel over dead. It's not something to fool around with. Why is it still going on?

"...the plant has a complicated corporate structure that includes investors from Hong Kong and a number of local government officials."

Ah, now I understand. Say whatever you will about corruption in this country, but we haven't hit that low.


Tim said...

Clay! You're famous!



Clay said...

What site is that?

Editilla said...

Excellent Blogging!
China is on my list of things wrong with Burma. It is a long story but suffice to say that is where I started with Ladders and every'ting...
For me Rangoon and New Orleans are two sides of the same coin in the game of Shock Doctrine Disaster Capitalism. Burma is a backdoor we shall not open, no matter how hard we knock. We would have to go through N. Korea first.
But, China is to Burma what we always were to Central America, through a much much more cold blooded back door darkly.
If Afghanistan were #1 for Heroin then Burma is #2, and that is small change beside their offshore Gas Reserves.
This is why my blood still runs cold over Bush Sr's visit there in the weeks leading up to Tienanmen Square, as the rest is now history written on the Walmart. (I am trying to cover ground here so please bear wit'me)
So if I were T. Clancy's illegitimate son (which I am not) I would already have pressed a naval invasion of Cargo Container Ships filled with Soldiers.
But since Clancy always kinda bored me, may I recommend that you read (though I suspect you have) Cryptonomicon by Neil Stevenson, and remember the scene that I shall title: "Human Abacus".

But we have today a former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Laureate who should be standing at the gate of Insein demanding the release of his counterpart: Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Instead he wanna play party boy. Bah!
"Corruption" is child's play here.
Despite Vietnam, we still seem bent on playing Chess, while they seem to be cheating at Go?