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China’s mega projects 17, July 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China.
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Here’s a link to an excellent slideshow marveling at China’s immense projects, both foreign and domestic.

This picture is of the Shanghai Tower, what will be the world’s second tallest building. It’s amazing to think how much taller it will be than the Jin Mao tower (middle) which is a sumptuously beautiful and incredibly tall building already on Pudong. However, the key issue – for me at least – is whether they can fill these buildings. Back when I was in Pudong – granted, aaaages ago – it was a lifeless area. No throng, or bustle at all because there was, well, no one working there. I wonder how China’s version of Dubai’s ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy will pan out for them.

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US establishing Jewish state in Kashmir 10, July 2011

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, China.
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It’s been a while since I heard a really good, really daft conspiracy theory. Many thanks to @blakehounshell for sharing this rather special specimen.

So, I can reveal to you what the U.S. government has been up to in recent years, specifically in China and in Pakistan. Bet you didn’t know that they have – in fact – been secretly trying to ferment rifts in key army and “other sensitive departments” to weaken and destabilise the regimes in these countries.

Why would the CIA be doing such nefarious things? Obvious! To establish another Jewish state, as if you needed to be told.

I feel that anyone who reads this article and actually thinks that that is what the CIA has been up to needs to be shot. However, this pushes me uncomfortably towards the crazies that write and believe these things, so I hereby issue a tepid retraction of said comments.

CCTV used Top Gun footage in news report 31, January 2011

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The BBC reports that China’s state broadcaster – CCTV – has used footage from Top Gun in a news report on the Chinese air force. See the explosion at 1.11 .

I’m torn on how best to mock. I feel like some combination of a pithy ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ jibe crossed with a witticism on the ‘paper tiger’ theme is in order, but can’t really think of one.

 

China creates its own Peace Prize 9, December 2010

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After Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, China led a group of nefarious countries (Russia, Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Egypt among others; hardly a democracy or human rights loving bunch) in boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.

Yet, rather astutely, China has ‘magicked up’ their own peace prize giving ceremony under the auspices of the Confucius brand. In another clever move, not only are they giving the prize the day before the Nobel, but they are giving it to a former Vice-President of Taiwan.

He won out of an eclectic short-list of five: Mahmoud Abbas (God loves a trier), Nelson Mandela (always a favourite), Microsoft founder Bill Gates (the somewhat curious dark-horse), Chinese poet Qiao Damo (a nod to the domestic audience) and the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama of Tibet (the stooge of Lhasa).

Interesting stuff. It seems that China is aware of the negativity surrounding this Nobel furore and is – despite their size and power which prompts some people to suggest that China does not need to care about such ‘soft’ incidents – eager to repair the damage and bolster its soft power too.

Moreover, I think that this shows an evolution in China’s grasp of PR. A few years ago, they might well have not done anything after such a fiasco or if they had, they’d have called it the ‘Chairman Mao Peace Prize’ and have given it to the Chairman himself, for he was such a peace-loving soul.

 

 

GDP of the Silk Road v Europe v US 17, May 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations, China.
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I discovered this graph over at silkroadeconomy.com the always excellent blog of Ben Simpfendorfer. It shows – as I am sure you can read – the relative wealth/GDP of the US, Europe and of the ‘Silk Road’. A useful counterfactual, I think, against instilled notions of Western hegemony.

Three attacks on Chinese school chilrden in 5 days 30, April 2010

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The Times of London reports that China is suffering from a spate of school attacks. The latest incident where a farmer barged his way into a local school and attacked children with a hammer before setting himself on fire occurred in the Shandong province. None of the children were seriously hurt. The day before a man wounded 29 children by slashing them with a knife in a school in the Jiangsu province. Two are still in intensive care. Emergency protective measures are being taken in schools across China.

It is interesting [if that is the correct word…] to note that one of the attackers committed the crime in revenge ‘on’ the local community for personal humiliations and that this was the same motivation attributed to Thomas Hamilton, the man who killed 16 children and one adult in a school attack in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996.

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China’s internet censorship 3, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China.
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Click to open the picture normal sized.

This rather elegant design represents the key words that China censors in internet searches. Courtesy of information is beautiful.

Jew’s ear juice 2, March 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China.
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…yes, that’s what I meant to write. God bless Chinglish; it brightens everyone’s day.

Hat tip: Dizzy

TED on Asia’s growth 30, November 2009

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TED have some fascinating talks if you haven’t come across them already and Hans Rosling gives the best TED talks. Here he discusses when Asia in the form of India and China will become as rich (per capita) as the West. Well worth 20 minutes of your time.

The times, they are a’changing in Russia 13, November 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in China, Russia.
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Russian time zones

Russian President Putin Medvedev announced that he is considering cutting the number of timezones in the country. Currently, Russia spans 11 timezones which, for example, makes business difficult for those at opposite ends of the country. Looking at the map above, it doesn’t look too difficult to do. The +4, +6 and +8 ones look like ripe candidates for the chop to start with. Then again, he could go the Chinese route and make everyone work by a unified Moscow timezone. And to think that people in the UK think that Britain is too London-centric…