Wednesday, August 31, 2005

China, U.S. fail to clinch textile deal

BEIJING (Reuters) - U.S. negotiators headed home on Thursday after failing to agree on China's surging textile shipments, a setback to efforts to showcase progress in bilateral ties when Chinese President     Hu Jintao heads to Washington next week.

Officials from the two sides met again briefly on Thursday morning after two days of haggling over a sweeping deal to cap imports of Chinese garments and textiles without having to invoke emergency curbs on a case-by-case basis.

Beijing and Washington had hoped that Hu and     President Bush could hold up an agreement as a positive development in ties strained over political issues such as Taiwan and economic issues such as China's swelling trade surplus.

Hu begins an official visit to the United States on September 5.

Natalie Hanson, of the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel, which opposes tough curbs on Chinese imports, said she was doubtful a deal could be struck this month.

"I think it's very clear that this is not going to be a quick thing to resolve. I think everyone does want an agreement. Both sides are in agreement on that," Hanson said.

"However, they are very far apart on the details and will need quite a bit more time to iron those things out."

U.S. and Chinese officials have met four times since May when Washington imposed emergency curbs, known as safeguards, to restrict a flood of Chinese imports triggered by the expiry of global textile quotas on January 1.

Negotiators had been eyeing a pact similar to one signed with the     European Union in June that capped growth in 10 categories of textile products at 8 to 12.5 percent a year, instead of the lower 7.5 percent cap allowed by     World Trade Organization rules.

On Wednesday the U.S. National Council of Textile Organizations, which supports restrictions on Chinese imports, said negotiators had not even narrowed their differences during the two days of talks.

China's textile exports to the United States nearly doubled to $7.4 billion in the first half of 2005, alarming textile-producing states.

The exports have also fueled concerns about Beijing's trade surplus with Washington, which hit a record $162 billion in 2004.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Commentary: Could China become target for American WMDs?

By Franz Schurmann

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chinese leader Hu Jintao might visit President Bush at Crawford Ranch this fall but it's not inconceivable that, in coming years, America could consider using "Weapons of Mass Destruction"(WMD) against China. WMD include nuclear weapons.

China has made great strides in power and wealth both internally and, recently, externally. Since dual victories in Europe and East Asia in 1945, America has considered itself in part the successor to the British Empire. And, like the latter, it fears any rival. China has become such a rival.

During the Cold War (1948-1991), the Soviet Union (now Russia) and China had comparable power.

But though Russia has wealth, especially fossil fuels, it's now trivial compared to China's wealth. However, China and Russia recently launched their most ambitious joint military exercises ever to show their deepening cooperation.

In 1958, during the Quemoy Crisis, when China shelled the small islands held by Taiwan, America seriously considered using a WMD option on Chinese targets, military and civilian. If used, America would have pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Six years later in the American election year of 1964, the Republican candidate for vice president, General Curtis LeMay, kept saying in his campaign speeches that "nuclear weapons are just another weapon." In World War II, he was known for his "frying the cities," which killed thousands of civilians.

In October 1964, the United States came close to bombing the Chinese experimental atomic device at the nuclear Lop-Nor facility in Guangsu Province.

While the Pentagon accepted cooperation with the Soviet military to reduce the chances of nuclear war between the two superpowers, it had only perfunctory contacts with its Chinese counterparts.

Rather, a Pentagon report to Congress this year on Chinese military power claimed that China was now engaged in a "truly alarming" military modernization.

Even before World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm II coined the term "Yellow peril" and many Europeans and Americans agreed. So, it seems, does the Pentagon.

The Western image of China was captured by Suzanne Labin when in 1960 she published "The Ant Hill: The Human Condition in Communist China."

The photographs of hordes of people building big dams with their own hands, coupled with the "ant hill" in the title made it clear Labin saw the Chinese more as human robots than heroes.

Why would America want to nuke China? Twenty years from now, America could be in serious economic decline and feel threatened by China's rise. Or, the growth of unchecked power in the Pentagon could make that body a kind of "state within a state."

However, China will likely survive even if America decides to nuke it.

Over the centuries China has been the one of the few countries in history that has survived huge death tolls to become even stronger than before. In the case of contemporary China, the recovery time is getting shorter and shorter.

In 1960, this Sinologist was in Moscow along with fellow American and European Sinologists. At a time when travel between China and America was forbidden, that conference was to be a rare opportunity for American, Soviet and Chinese scholars to get together.

But the Chinese scholars did not come. Instead, the world media ran headlines like "Chinese and Soviet Communist parties break relations." Some years hence it became clear what made Nikita Khrushchev and Mao Zedong turn away from comradeship into fierce enmity. In 1957, Khrushchev had agreed to help the Chinese physicists and engineers build a nuclear bomb. But in 1959, when Khrushchev visited America, President Eisenhower persuaded the Soviet leader to cancel the 1957 agreement. As a result the two Communist leaders exchanged vilifications that morphed into a mini war in 1969.

Mao Zedong, who had the highest admiration for Joseph Stalin, despised Khrushchev as a liar. When Mao went to Moscow in 1957 (his second trip to Moscow, otherwise he never went abroad), he had grand visions of China's, the Soviet Union's and Marxism's glorious futures all over the world. Mao thought he was an avatar of an emperor going back to the legendary Xia dynasty 2,500 B.C.

In 1958, Mao's visions blossomed. He called his grand vision for China the "Great Leap Forward." But then in 1959, there were signs that the great leap was showing slowdowns. In September 1959, Khrushchev went to the USA and betrayed Mao Zedong. In 1960, famine ravaged rural China. Corpses from China kept washing up in the Portugese colony of Macao, near Hong Kong, during 1959 and 1960. Various sources estimate 50 million died.

In 1961, Mao knew that the only way to abate the famine was to reinstate the traditional rural markets with renewed and credible money instead of the useless paper the Chinese farmers got from the Great Leap Forward. The Chinese farmer had been used to credible currencies from 4,000 years past, when their currency was cowrie shells.

Since 1961, China's potato harvest area increased from 1.3 million hectares in 1961 to 2.4 million hectares in 1981. In 1972, Mao Zedong recalled Deng Xiaoping, who had been in rural exile as a bad guy in Mao's "cultural revolution." Deng cleaned farmers' latrines for six years. Following Mao's death in 1976, he took Mao's position in 1978. And he based his rural successes on Mao's quick turnabout when he realized his visions were nothing more than dreams.

That kind of resilience and leadership should give the Pentagon think-tanks some pause before launching Coalition and American forces into nuclear action. Copyright PNS

Editor's note: Franz Schurmann is emeritus professor of history and sociology at U.C. Berkeley and author of numerous books.  

Chinese visitors boost RP tourism

The Philippine Star 08/30/2005

A dramatic upsurge in the number of Chinese arrivals has made China one of the largest sources of tourists to the Philippines, according to figures released by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

This growth has been fueled by the DOT’s initiatives in China, supported by Philippines Airlines (PAL) and Monitor Group, a leading global management consulting firm.

As one of the largest and fastest-growing outbound tourism markets globally, China is expected to produce an estimated 100 million travelers per year by 2020. Despite the importance of this market, the Philippines only captured approximately 0.2 percent of total Chinese travelers in 2003.

In 2004, Chinese-Filipino industrialist Lucio Tan identified the importance of the China opportunity for the Philippines. Tan suggested to the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry to commission Monitor Group to formulate a strategy for the DOT and the travel industry to boost tourism from China.

According to Tan, "China is a very important market with lots of economic opportunity. Focusing on China grows the entire tourism pie — all travel industry participants benefit and the economy grows."

Based on the study, which identified target segments, prioritized specific geographic markets and developed marketing strategies, the DOT designed and implemented six major campaigns: building an effective China organization, reinforcing the Philippines "brand," driving trade participation, customizing products to meet Chinese tourists’ needs, pushing for priority policy support and driving DOT and private sector collaboration through the establishment of the China Tourism Action Group.

As an active participant in the group, PAL has already taken action by aggressively supporting the campaigns, and planning the launch of a direct route from Beijing to Manila from October.

These campaigns have generated impressive results. The first half of 2005 saw 45,789 Chinese arrivals in Philippines, already exceeding the 2004 total. May and June experienced unprecedented increases of 211.2 percent and 205.8 percent respectively, as compared to corresponding periods last year. At this rate, by the end of 2005, China could become the fourth largest source country of tourists to the Philippines, joining the United States, Korea and Japan.

"The new China strategy has helped us focus our resources invested in China, allowing us to reap the market opportunities," said Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano. "The encouraging results give us a boost to continue and intensify the existing initiatives."

"We are pleased to be engaged in this important China marketing initiative together with the DOT. Our efforts have clearly differentiated the Philippines’ positioning in the China market, and have led to visible results. This will further boost the tourism industry for the Philippines," said PAL president Jaime Bautista.

"We are proud to be part of the successful program and to help the Philippines reinforce its position in the booming China outbound tourism market," said David Pacis, vice president of Monitor Group Asia. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the DOT, Mr. Tan, and the Federation to make the Philippines one of the most desired destinations for Chinese travelers."

Looking forward, the challenge shifts, says Durano: "We will begin to turn our attention from creating demand to improving the tourism infrastructure in the Philippines to ensure that each visitor has a wonderful experience. We hope we can count on Mr. Tan and the rest of the China Tourism Action Group to support us."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Super Girls: boon or farce in China's TV entertainment industry

The finale of "Super Girls," an "American Idol"-type television pop star contest organized by a local satellite television service in central China, became one of the most widely watched TV programs in the country.

Some 200 million people tuned in to Hunan Satellite Television,with headquarters in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, for the live, three-hour finale of "Super Girls 2005" Friday night, which ended with Li Yuchun, 21, being named champion of the contest after having garnered over 3.52 million votes.

The lanky, shaggy-haired winner from Sichuan Province, southwest China, might have dominated the contest because of her "transgender appeal," which helped her win votes from both male and female viewers.

Votes were accepted via mobile phone text message services and each phone number was allowed 15 votes. Li just topped 20-year-old Zhou Bichang, who got more than 3.2 million votes.

The contest, which began half a year ago, with the participation of 150,000 women above the age of 16 from across the country and the number of viewers estimated at 2 million, was shown once a week. It has become talk of the town.

The contest has also triggered a debate about the development trend in the country's TV entertainment industry.

Yu Zhenyi, a professor with Sichuan Conservatory of Music, argued the popularity of "Super Girls" lied in the fact that it dealt a strong impact on the reserved expression of China's traditional culture and aesthetic standards because people are fed up with the entertainment programs which have long dominated the media as time goes by tend to embrace things anew.

Professor Jiang Yuanlun, also head of the Institute of Journalism and Mass Media with the Beijing Normal University, thought "Super Girls" was appealing to the eyeballs of the Chinese because it satisfied the aspiration of the general public for demonstrating themselves, venting their feelings.

"When most TV program makers still cling to the notion of 'beauties only', viewers find in 'Super Girls' more entertaining elements such as the participants showcasing themselves in their own way though it was obvious that they had had no professional training in singing and dancing," said Jiang.

He even heralded "Super Girls" to foreshadow the start of a new era characterized by real-person shows in the country's TV entertainment industry.

"'Super Girls' are totally different from previous popular entertainment programs such as evening song and dance galas, or quiz tests in which audience acted passively," said Jiang.

Some specialists think the other way. They believe the stardom movement was no good to the growth of teenagers alike.

Xia Xueluan, a professor of social sciences with the elite Beijing University, said it might help teenagers to enrich their experience in life and broaden their horizon by competing in such activities as "Super Girls," but the price has proved to be too high.

"Some teenagers who are weak in self control tends to indulge themselves in the farce: they are so preoccupied with it that they don't have much thought for learning cultural basics or simply miss classes in order to participate in the contest," said Xia.

"The 'Super Girls' craze for popularity overnight also gives way to fickleness in society and speculative psychology among girls."

For weeks, fans have been turning up at venues of the contests,shouting and carrying posters of their favorite "Super Girls" contestants in a bid to rally votes in their favor. On Friday, the streets in Changsha were swamped with thousands of fans doing last minute campaigning, with some supporters promising free pop star photos to people who voted on the spot. There were occasions when the situation ran out of control.

Shi Tongyu, a fellow researcher with the Journalism Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, denounced the "Super Girls" contest as vulgar.

"Prime-time TV broadcasts on items such as news and cultural and educational programs should be increased so as to squeeze the time for show of similar vulgar programs as 'Super Girls'," suggested Shi.

Source: Xinhua

Friday, August 26, 2005


Friday August 26, 2005, 3:24 pm
BEIJING, Aug 26 Asia Pulse - China and the European Union failed to reach an agreement yesterday at talks in Beijing aimed at solving the current textile impasse.
The two sides conducted serious talks towards an effective solution to the thorny issue, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement.
The Chinese side expressed great concern over the Chinese textile stockpile at EU customs, while the EU admitted the policy did not meet the interests of its domestic traders and consumers, MOFCOM said.
The EU delegation was headed by Fritz-Harald Wenig, the trade director of the European Commission. Chinese negotiators were led by the director of MOFCOM's foreign trade department, Lu Jianhua.
According to statistics published by EU customs on Wednesday, eight of 10 categories of Chinese textiles have already reached their quota limit, set in June.
The June agreement restricts annual growth of EU textile imports from China to 8 - 12.5 per cent over the coming three years.
Forty-eight million sweaters, 17 million pairs of trousers and hundreds of tons of other textile products are piling up at EU borders, unable to access the market, statistics from EU show.
Chinese textile dealers are also keeping an eye on the issue, Cao Xinyu, vice-chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Textiles told China Daily yesterday.
"We hope the EU will at least accept shipments for orders agreed before the textile disputes began," he said.
Cao explained that when a quota-free era began in January, importers and exporters had not even considered the possibility of caps being introduced after just a few months.
An urgent meeting was held on Wednesday morning in Brussels among representatives of the European Commission and EU members in a bid to pave the way for talks in Beijing.
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, who did not attend the meeting on Wednesday, said in a statement that China and the EU "need a pragmatic solution that deals with the immediate overshoot and with good will on all sides, we can do this."
The two sides have to consider how many categories will be covered by the new amendment; and whether to increase the quotas for this year or to start eating into the quotas for next year, said Mei Xinyu, a trade analyzer form the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation, the think tank of MOFCOM.
If they decide to use the quotas from next year, the two sides have to take into account whether this will result in additional troubles in 2006, he added.
In another development, China and the United States are expected to reach an agreement on their textile disputes in the near future as the US Government nears a decision on whether to impose new safeguard measures against additional Chinese textile and garment products at the end of this month.

China Rising

The awakening of an economic giant and, perhaps, a nascent superpower.
By John Pomfret
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page BW05
Writing about China is never easy. The country is so vast and full of contradictions that almost anything said about it at any given time is true. Writing about China is also increasingly fashionable. The country's emergence into a global economic and diplomatic player has made it an attractive topic for specialists and amateurs alike. With its ferocious sprint toward an uncertain future, modern China today makes for a compelling narrative. The trick is how to tell the story right.
Perhaps I am too close to my subject; I have lived in China for 10 of the past 24 years. But the longer I have stayed in China, the less patience I have for fresh-off-the-boat enthusiasts amazed at the spanking new skyline in Shanghai or Beijing. Too often, when these people write about China, they are actually using its successes as a way to mourn perceived problems back home. America is becoming complacent, uneducated, slow and bureaucratic, they say. Look at China; it's got all the answers. It's the future. But is it really?
Skimming the Surface Ted C. Fishman's China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges America and the World (Scribner, $26) is a breathless account of what he predicts will be the country's ascent to the ranks of the world's great economic powers. In his China, the graphs always go up, and the manifold problems with the economy -- its corruption, crumbling banks, feeble legal system, gap between rich and poor, real estate bubbles, and a political system that restricts the free flow of information and rewards connections rather than innovation -- are mere flotsam in the path of the whirlwind from Beijing.
Fishman has done exhaustive research, amassing enough information to have written an interesting and textured book. To illustrate the growth of the sex trade, for instance, he supplies data on the number of out-of-wedlock babies born in Shenzhen, the boomtown abutting Hong Kong. On every page, the reader is treated to lists of the biggest, tallest, longest, fastest whatevers that China is creating.
But secure in his belief that China is going to become a hyperpower in the very near future, Fishman (a former commodities trader and now a writer) often ignores his research or switches the subject. In one section, for example, he explores China's serious demographic problems. In some parts of the country, the population -- using ultrasound equipment and infanticide -- is now having 137 boy babies for every 100 girls. But China, Inc. offers no discussion of the social effects this type of skewed demographics could have. Fishman comes to a dizzying stop, and we're off to a discussion of skyscrapers in Beijing.
He often just scratches the surface of fascinating topics. He writes interestingly about the "China price" -- the way that the prices of goods worldwide are being forced down by China's factories. He concludes that China will benefit greatly from this, but the reality is more complex. Chinese firms are also getting hammered by the very prices they are setting, and many can survive only because of unsustainable state subsidies. The more interesting point is that China, too, is getting crushed by its economic model, but Fishman does not explore this topic.
In a chapter entitled "Pirate Nation," Fishman again uses strong reporting to tell the story of how Chinese firms are ripping off the world, pilfering intellectual property rights and profiting mightily from it. The book's thesis is that "The counterfeiters give China's growing number of globally competitive companies the means to compete with powerful foreign rivals who are forced to pay full fare for proprietary technologies." Stealing may be a great business plan for several years, but it isn't viable over the long term, for one big reason: It means that Chinese firms won't invest in R&D because they know that whatever products they create will be ripped off as well. Without innovation, China's businesses won't achieve anything close to their potential.
Fishman generally avoids the tricky subject of politics. But when he does stray into political reporting, he is often tone-deaf or naive. "China could emerge overnight as the world's largest maker and consumer of movies, computer games, television programming and music," he writes. "All it would take are improvements in the enforcement of laws governing entertainment products and a dash of expressive freedom." A dash of expressive freedom? Obviously, the Chinese people have won substantial personal freedom since Deng Xiaoping instituted economic reforms in 1978. But Fishman seems to be implying that granting "expressive freedom" would be an easy thing for a Communist Party committed to a monopoly on power. Such lines, which pop up often in the book, underscore a lack of understanding of how China's political system works.
The Owlish Engineer On the other hand, Robert Lawrence Kuhn has no qualms about writing about Chinese politics. He has devoted 579 pages to it in The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin (Crown, $35), his massive biography of the man who was at the helm of the Communist Party for 14 years, until stepping down in 2003. Kuhn, a managing director at Smith Barney/Citigroup and host of the PBS series "Closer to Truth," argues that Jiang was "habitually underestimated" by Chinese and foreigners alike. He credits Jiang with laying the foundations for China's record-beating growth in the 1990s, its political stability and the unprecedented expansion in personal freedom for many urban Chinese.
Kuhn's book reads like an official biography; indeed, he must have received official sanction to write it. In the course of his research, he interviewed Jiang's family members, Jiang's mentor in Shanghai and other high-ranking government and party officials. Such access is not granted easily in the People's Republic of China.
Kuhn has painted a detailed portrait of Jiang and provides interesting particulars about a man who was first noticed by Communist Party members as an engineer in an ice-cream factory. Kuhn has obvious affection for Jiang and obvious sympathy for the Communist Party's belief that it knows best what is good for China.
But his portrait of the owlish engineer who steered China into the 21st century has several problems. First, his main argument is that Jiang deserves credit for China's boom decade. That's debatable. Jiang was appointed head of the party after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on reformist demonstrators. Deng Xiaoping, the country's supreme leader, chose him because Jiang was not associated with the killings; Jiang had been party chief in Shanghai at the time and had moved swiftly to quell demonstrations there with a minimum of bloodshed.
But Jiang did not secure control over the party apparatus until 1995; for much of the 1990s, he was associated more with the hard-line wing of the party than with the economic reformers. The person who deserves credit for the '90s boom is the same one who started China's economic reforms (and ordered the Tiananmen Square crackdown): Deng Xiaoping. In 1992, fed up with three years of stalled economic growth and the increasingly shrill tone of party apparatchiks (which Jiang did not oppose), Deng took his famous "Southern Tour," during which he traveled to the boomtown of Shenzhen and coined the term "socialist market economy." Deng's trip, and his vocal support of private enterprise and privatization, sparked China's major changes -- not anything Jiang did.
Worse, a good deal of Kuhn's book reads as if it were written by a Chinese propaganda team. Kuhn argues that Jiang's political theory, called the "Three Represents," constitutes a brilliant revision of Marxist theory. But another view, held by Jiang's critics and not mentioned in the book, is that the "Three Represents" is actually a veiled justification for the creation of the elitist alliance of party officials, bureaucrats, intellectuals and businessmen that runs China today.
Similarly, Kuhn takes at face value Jiang's claims that he wants to fight corruption. He barely deals with allegations that some of Jiang's closest political allies (such as Jia Qinglin, the former party chief in Beijing and Fujian, whom Jiang placed on the Politburo's all-powerful Standing Committee) were elbow-deep in sleaze. Indeed, at the end of one chapter, Kuhn writes about a poem by Jiang called "Random Thoughts on Climbing Mount Huang." Kuhn waxes lyrical about Jiang's ruminations -- seemingly because he wants us to see Jiang not just as a practical politician but as a sensitive soul, out there on Huang Mountain contemplating the mist.
What Kuhn does not tell the reader is that the poem was published on the front page of the People's Daily in late May 2001, when Jiang was locked in a power struggle with party elders and trying, in his own way, to create a mini-cult of personality around himself. Kuhn also does not note that Jiang's minions in Shanghai immediately included the poem in a textbook for students there, marking the first time since the days of Chairman Mao that students would study the poetry of a living Chinese leader.
The Downside of the Boom Mount Huang is located in Anhui province, which plays heavily in Elizabeth C. Economy's The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future (Cornell Univ., $29.95). Of all these books, Economy's rings the truest. A fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, she has written a book that, while academic in style, constitutes a fascinating and often depressing investigation into one of the major downsides of China's boom -- its degraded environment. Economy starts her work with a chapter on the nexus of corruption, bureaucratic breakdown and official incompetence that has combined to stymie efforts to clean up the Huai River -- arguably China's most polluted waterway. It is perhaps for this legacy -- of massive environmental degradation, putrid rivers and smoke-filled skies -- that China and Jiang Zemin will be best remembered.
China's emergence as a global economic and diplomatic player is a compelling story -- one about both a nation ferociously pursuing modernization and a nation that has lost its way. This combination makes for a complex tale -- one that is touched on in Economy's rich book but given short shrift in the works by Fishman and Kuhn. •
John Pomfret was The Washington Post's Beijing bureau chief from 1998 to 2003.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Asian tourism industry to see sharp growth, China seen leading boom

By Anjana Menon, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : The tourism industry in Asia is set for exponential growth, according to analysts speaking at an industry event on Wednesday.

They say there will be major changes, both in the type of travel and the profile of travellers.

And some cities are finding that they may have to reinvent themselves to attract the numbers.

Travel in Asia is set to shoot to record levels, with overall spending on travel and tourism in the region forecast to hit US$165 billion by 2014.

Within that time frame, China is expected to become the second largest destination globally.

But while China opens its doors to more foreign tourists, the Chinese themselves are fast becoming globe-trotters.

Said Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor at MasterCard, "China looms large. China's arrivals are growing extremely fast, both within Asia and outside and my expectation is that it is likely to continue as China improves infrastructure. As we speak, some 80 airports are being constructed in China and also of course the next 20 years we talk about 30,000 kilometres of highways being built in China."

By that time China will have some 293 million people with household incomes of more than US$4,000 annually.

They are not seen as big spenders, but are willing and able to travel, and will dominate the volume and value markets.

As the travel market grows, analysts say tourists are expected to become more demanding and discerning.

There will an increasing number of travellers on the lookout for more exotic locations and variety.

This puts pressure on cities like Singapore to reinvent themselves to attract visitors.

Said Clint Laurent, director at Asian Demographics, "Singapore is under threat. It's had a very nice position of being a safe destination in Asia to go to and obviously a very good shopping destination to go to. They are going to have to move along very quickly. The better educated older class is actually a bit bored with shopping."

But shopping will still remain important, especially for Asian women travellers, whose purchasing powers are growing.

The Asian traveller-shopper segment is forecast to grow substantially, and this will benefit the four cities of Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Bangkok. - CNA /ct

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

China – Rising Asian Powerhous

By Chris Cumming

Napoleon once famously remarked, “China is a sleeping giant. Let her lie and sleep, for when she awakens she will astonish the world.” Attention world, the sleeping giant is now fully awake! First it was in trade, then technologies and now in an ever-increasing military build-up. China is truly becoming a superpower on the world stage.

For decades, Garner Ted Armstrong proclaimed, “The prophecies show that the 'men of the east' will be drawn into a gigantic conflict in the Middle East – in modern-day Israel!” He drew these words from the prophecies of Daniel and specifically Daniel 11: 40-44 where we read of a Beast power descending into the Middle East with its mighty armies conquering many nations. In verse 44 we see this Beast power concerned with opposing armies to the north and to the east…

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” – Dan. 11:44

For this prophecy to unfold, we must first witness these “men of the east” attaining a level of strength for which the Beast power could find itself so troubled. Poring over a number of recent news stories, editorials and institutional papers on China, I gleaned the following kinds of phraseology:

  1. A Global Power Shift in the Making

  2. China is the most obvious power on the rise

  3. China is rapidly developing into a global economic force

  4. China is already a regional superpower, and it is in the process of becoming a world power

  5. China – 21st-century giant

China is in the middle of a huge arms build-up aided, ironically, by United Europe. In one editorial I read, the EU is doing this to offset the US as being the lone superpower in the world. Berlin and Paris are, even now, moving to lift an arms embargo against Beijing in place since Tiananmen Square. If the US is forced to focus on breaking events in the Far East, such as possible war between China and Taiwan or the nuclear stand-off with North Korea, the EU could pursue its own interest and agenda unhindered by Washington.

Another indicator I found is a marked increase in China’s demand for oil. Seemingly overnight, China has gone from a five million barrel-a-day to an over eight million barrel-a-day economy. This will only exacerbate the building oil crisis in the region. It will also force a more focused attention by China on the Middle East oil reserves. China could easily find itself in an oil rivalry with the other rising superpower in the Far East, Japan.

Superpower Status

China’s superpower status is not going unnoticed in certain of the World press. Notice this from a Foreign editorial by James Hoge, Jr., “A Global Power Shift in the Making”:

“The transfer of power from West to East is gathering pace and soon will dramatically change the context for dealing with international challenges -- as well as the challenges themselves. Many in the West are already aware of Asia's growing strength. This awareness, however, has not yet been translated into preparedness. And therein lies a danger: that Western countries will repeat their past mistakes.

“Major shifts of power between states, not to mention regions, occur infrequently and are rarely peaceful. In the early twentieth century, the imperial order and the aspiring states of Germany and Japan failed to adjust to each other. The conflict that resulted devastated large parts of the globe. Today, the transformation of the international system will be even bigger and will require the assimilation of markedly different political and cultural traditions. This time, the populous states of Asia are the aspirants seeking to play a greater role. Like Japan and Germany back then, these rising powers are nationalistic, seek redress of past grievances, and want to claim their place in the sun. Asia's growing economic power is translating into greater political and military power, thus increasing the potential damage of conflicts.”

Growing World Economy

Later, in the same editorial he states that China’s economy is expected to be double the size of Germany’s by 2010 and to overtake Japan’s, currently the world’s second largest, by 2020. I feel certain that both will take place more rapidly than Mr. Hoge’s estimate.

Still in this same editorial, he states the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are seriously considering a monetary union. The result could be an enormous trade bloc, which would account for much of Asia's -- and the world's -- economic growth. Can you imagine the impact of first the Euro and now a single Asian currency on the global economy?! Are you aware of the fact the EU has been a trading partner with ASEAN since 1980!!

In a recent on-line audio program on the Internet, “China Rising” it was stated, “Recent projections forecast that China is well on its way to becoming a superpower in manufacturing, technology, and telecommunications. It is now the world's second largest consumer of oil, and is exporting everything from TVs to DVD players to cell phones.”

Military Threat

Peter Brookes, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation in his July 19th article, “Arming China” about Europe supplying arms and related technologies to China, stated:

“China is engaged in a major military buildup that goes far beyond its defensive needs. In the next few years, China will develop real military options for muscling its democratic neighbor Taiwan (which Beijing considers a renegade province). Down the road, China looks toward dominating Japan and Southeast Asia, too.”

We just recently ran a news story about a new Chinese aircraft-carrier-killing attack submarine that apparently caught the West totally off guard. Is it any wonder the US ran 7 of its 12 aircraft carrier groups out into the Pacific in recent weeks?

Mr. Brookes also stated:

“Ultimately, (China’s) long-term, military modernization game plan is to deter, delay or deny U.S. intervention in any Asian conflict involving China. Beyond that, (China) seeks to ultimately replace America as the preeminent military power in the Pacific.

“China is a notorious weapons proliferator — from weapons of mass destruction to small arms. Its record on export controls is abysmal. Sensitive European technology will surely fall into the hands of China's roguish friends: Iran, North Korea, Syria and Burma.

“So why are the Europeans doing this?

“Two reasons: To balance American global power and — tah dah! — to make money.
“Paris and Berlin have long pushed for a multipolar world, in which the United States' overwhelming power is balanced (read: weakened) by other power centers (i.e., poles) such as the EU, China and Russia.”

There you have it…"such as the EU, China and Russia.” These are the three predicted players in Mr. Armstrong’s predictions regarding Daniel 11:40-44. The EU is the Beast who, while conquering and occupying the Middle East, becomes troubled by the “tidings out of the east and out of the north”, China and Russia respectively.

Prophetic pieces are now falling into place! We are living through changes that may appear slow if observed from the point of view of daily headlines, but we are watching unfolding events with a global eye and a foundation of Bible prophecy where events are moving fast.. As Mr. Armstrong stated many times, “Watch!!" That is precisely what the organization he founded must do.

Eye on China: Yuan reformer 'a rising star'


BEIJING - Guan Anping remembers when Zhou Xiaochuan first urged China's leaders to let the yuan float in the world marketplace. He didn't know then that Zhou would get his message across - 10 years later.

Zhou advocated freeing the yuan in late 1995, a few months after the Chinese Government had pegged the currency at about 8.3 to the US dollar. Zhou, now China's central bank Governor, was the new director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

"He was a visionary on yuan reform long before it became a global issue," says Guan, 48, managing partner at Beijing law firm Anping & Partners and former counsel to the Trade Ministry.

On July 21, China's Government replaced the yuan's peg with a system allowing limited fluctuation against a basket of currencies that includes the US dollar, euro and yen. China had been resisting US appeals to let the currency appreciate since September 2003. The move suggests Zhou, 57, is gaining influence with policy-makers.

"He certainly is a rising political star and there aren't too many people of his calibre within the leadership," says Joseph Cheng, 55, professor of politics at City University of Hong Kong.

"Given the tremendous importance of the financial services sector, I think he's being groomed for higher office."

Zhou has helped create a technically competent central bank that is the bureaucracy's most capable agent of change, says Jonathan Anderson, 43, chief Asia-Pacific economist in Hong Kong at Zurich-based UBS.

Anderson first worked with Zhou in 1997, when he was a central bank Vice-Governor and Anderson was the International Monetary Fund's representative in Beijing. Zhou became bank Governor in December 2002.

"His ability to push any yuan movement is testament to his skills and ability to move forward a moderate yet reformed agenda," Anderson says.

Two days after the central bank announced the yuan appreciation, Zhou was advocating more. In an impromptu speech to the annual Chinese Bankers Forum at Beijing's Presidential Hotel on July 23, he likened a fixed exchange rate to armour against currency speculators. If it was a fierce battle, the shield might fail under pressure, he said.

"The floating exchange rate is more like a cushion, providing a better protection against assault," Zhou said. "Attackers may not be able to get away unscathed."

He said it was a challenge for China to change its thinking on the yuan. Zhou's speech drew a riposte from Xia Bin, director of finance at the State Council's Development Research Centre in Beijing. He was formerly general manager of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and an adviser on streamlining the central bank.

"My viewpoint is different from Zhou," Xia, 54, told the forum. "I don't think China should move to a fully floating exchange rate in a rush. That will bring big trouble."

The yuan can trade within a limit of 0.3 per cent on either side of the yuan-US dollar exchange rate published by the central bank each day, and 1.5 per cent on either side of the rate published for a basket of other currencies.

Earlier this month, Zhou said the other currencies included the euro, yen, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, British pound, Malaysian ringgit, Australian dollar, Russian rouble, Thai baht and Canadian dollar. The bank also announced it would open the foreign exchange market to companies that import and export at least US$2 billion a year.

Born in eastern Jiangsu province, Zhou has an engineering degree from Beijing Chemical Engineering Institute and a doctorate in economic engineering from Beijing's Tsinghua University. He speaks fluent English and is the first central bank chief with a doctorate degree.

His father, the late Zhou Jiannan, was Machinery Industry Minister in the early 1980s under Deng Xiaoping. As a "princeling", or child of a high-ranking party cadre, Zhou has benefited from political connections, says Cheng Li, professor of government at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and author of China's Leaders: The New Generation. Among Zhou Jiannan's ministry workers was Jiang Zemin. Jiang became Communist Party leader in the purge that followed the June 1989 military crackdown in Tiananmen Square, and China's President from 1993 to 2003. Li said Jiang probably championed Zhou's appointment as central bank Governor.

"His father was Jiang Zemin's close friend and even mentor for quite a while," he says. "There are certainly patron ties."

Through the 1990s, Zhou moved steadily up the banking and finance hierarchy. He was vice- president of Beijing-based Bank of China, the country's second-largest lender, from 1991 to 1995, then spent a year at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. He was central bank Vice-Governor in 1996 and 1997, president of China Construction Bank from 1998 to 2000 and chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission from 2000 until his central bank appointment.

While connections may have helped, Zhou succeeded on his merits, says Guan. The pair met in 1986 at the Beijing-based Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, now the Commerce Ministry. Zhou left as an assistant minister in 1989.

Zhou began advocating step-by-step changes towards a fully convertible yuan as a means to promote economic growth. Guan says in academic journals in 1995, he wrote that the first move should be to give trading companies and "weak" industries such as steel-making greater access to foreign exchange.

"Many people felt the yuan should be free-floated but disagreed on how it was to be done," Guan says. "Zhou's voice was a pioneer in the debate back then."

Left to his own devices, Zhou probably would have favoured a larger initial move last month, said Nicholas Lardy, senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington.

As central bank chief, Zhou can only recommend changes to the State Council, China's highest administrative body. The council, in turn, takes a proposal to the nine-member standing committee of the Communist Party's Politburo, headed by President Hu Jintao, 62.

"I'm not sure I would interpret this as a victory for him," says Lardy, who first met Zhou in 1986, when Zhou worked at the Economic System Reform Research Institute in Beijing.

"This has the aura of a compromise."

A larger move might have been hard to sell to some standing committee members. "These are not Alan Greenspans," he says. "Their attitude is, 'We've had this exchange-rate system for nine years, we've had rapid growth, so why should we change now?"'

He thinks Zhou's age and narrow focus on the finance industry mean he's unlikely to rise past the position of Vice-Premier.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Internet Companies Set Their Sights On China

Internet Companies Set Their Sights On China
David Ng, 08.22.05, 10:21 AM ET
Merrill Lynch noted that Internet stocks in its coverage universe have underperformed over the past two weeks, down 4.6% versus a relatively flat S&P. E-commerce stocks were all down slightly, with (nasdaq: PCLN - news - people ), IAC/InterActiveCorp (nasdaq: IACID - news - people ) and eBay (nasdaq: EBAY - news - people ) experiencing the widest declines.

The research firm said the Internet sector is showing increasing focus on China, with Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) signing on three advertising product resellers in China, and speculation in the press that Google was interested in acquiring Baidu, the Chinese Internet portal. Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) recently announced it will acquire a 40% stake in Chinese e-business site Alibaba.

In other sector developments, Merrill said Google's new $4 billion public offering will only result in minor dilution to earnings per share of approximately 1% in 2006.

The research firm said acquisition activity remains robust in the sector. Time Warner (nyse: TWX - news - people ) unit AOL and Google made small mobile software and technology acquisitions, while ValueClick (nasdaq: VCLK - news - people ) acquired FastClick, and The New York Times Co. (nyse: NYT - news - people ) acquired Indeed, a job search engine.

Elsewhere in the sector, Merrill initiated coverage of Expedia (nasdaq: EXPE - news - people ) with a "neutral" rating, citing an uncertain margin outlook given industry trends and Expedia's investment plans for technology enhancements, customer affinity programs, Europe and corporate travel. The research firm reiterated "buy" ratings on IAC/InterActiveCorp and eBay. It maintained "neutral" ratings on Google and Priceline.

Common in China, Kickbacks Create Trouble for U.S. Companies at Home

By Peter S. Goodman, Washington Post Foreign Service
Mon Aug 22, 1:00 AM ET

SHANGHAI -- For multinational companies grappling with stagnant sales, China has become a magnet for investment and a huge potential market beckoning with growth. Yet the lure of China profits combined with pervasive local corruption is tempting foreign companies and managers and bringing them into conflict with U.S. anti-bribery laws.

In interviews, China-based executives, sales agents and distributors for nine U.S. multinational companies acknowledged that their firms routinely win sales by paying what could be considered bribes or kickbacks -- often in the form of extravagant entertainment and travel expenses -- to purchasing agents at government offices and state-owned businesses.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of jeopardizing their businesses, said such payments are usually funneled through distribution companies or public-relations firms to minimize the chance of prosecution by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, which enforce the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

"It's normal industry practice," said a salesperson at a unit of a major U.S.-based technology company with a substantial retail presence in China.

American business leaders often describe their China operations idealistically, suggesting that their presence here will compel Chinese competitors to adopt more ethical business practices. But in one key regard, the dynamic operates in reverse, with U.S. companies adopting Chinese-style tactics to secure sales, as they compete in a market in which Communist Party officials routinely control businesses, and purchasing agents consider kickbacks part of their salary.

Managers of U.S. companies say they are caught in a dilemma: They are answerable to shareholders on Wall Street and home offices that demand a piece of an increasingly lucrative Chinese market. Yet they are also held to account at home by the Department of Justice and the SEC.

"It's a different market, and you can face unrealistic expectations," said Kathryn L. Buer, who said she was fired last year as head of Asia-Pacific operations for Datastream Systems Inc. after she unearthed problems with how the South Carolina software company had been booking sales in China.

Buer recently settled a whistleblower lawsuit she filed against Datastream following her termination. Last month, the Nasdaq stock market delisted Datastream shares after the company failed to file earnings reports on time.

Zhu Jianhua, Datastream's interim China manager from May to July of 2004, said the company had booked revenue after signing contracts without actually delivering goods. Sales agents also used liberal entertainment funds to win business. In one instance, he said, his staff had arranged to fly a buyer to the United States for training, tacking on a tour of New York. "I stopped it," he said. "That's not right."

Datastream President C. Alex Estevez said he would not comment on personnel matters. "Datastream has a strong interest in developing business throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim, including China," Estevez said. "In doing so, we intend to use proper and legal means."

Fueling the aggressive play is the growing recognition that China -- long a graveyard for the dreams of foreign investors -- is finally yielding profit.

"Companies are seeing some of their fastest growth in China, and it's profitable growth," said Kristin J. Forbes, a former member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and now a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management.

Writing last year in the China Economic Quarterly, journalist Joe Studwell called 2003 "the best year in at least a century for making money in China." Studwell, author of "The China Dream" and an articulate skeptic of business prospects in China, crunched data filed by mainland China and Hong Kong affiliates of U.S. publicly traded companies, concluding that their China earnings rose from $1.9 billion in 1999 to $4.4 billion in 2003.
But just as the late-1990s technology bubble in the United States fostered a free-money and rule-bending mentality, a series of corruption cases involving U.S.-based multinationals underscores the pressures managers face to make good on the Chinese bonanza.

In December, the Justice Department announced that InVision Technologies, a California-based manufacturer of airport security screening systems, had agreed to pay an $800,000 penalty as part of a settlement after admitting that its distributors in China, Thailand and the Philippines had bribed government officials to gain sales.

In a separate settlement with the SEC filed in February, InVision -- since acquired by General Electric Co. -- paid a $500,000 penalty and surrendered $589,000 in profits. According to the SEC settlement document, in April 2004 InVision paid $95,000 to a Chinese distributor even though it knew of a "high probability" that the agent would use some of this money to pay for foreign travel for government officials to complete the sale of some $2.8 million in security equipment for a state-controlled airport in the southern city of Guangzhou.

In May, the SEC resolved a case against Diagnostic Products Corp., a Los Angeles-based medical equipment firm, with the firm surrendering $2 million in profits. The SEC charged that between 1991 and 2002 the company's Chinese subsidiary, DePu Biotechnological & Medical Products Inc., handed out $1.6 million in bribes to doctors and other workers at state-owned Chinese hospitals to generate business.

The payouts "were made with the knowledge and approval of senior officers of DePu," the SEC said in a notice of enforcement proceedings. DePu's office in Tianjin did not respond to calls.
In March, Chinese media reported that the head of state-owned China Construction Bank, Zhang Enzhao, had been detained on corruption charges. He remains under investigation and house arrest.

A lawsuit filed in Monterey County, Calif., alleges that Zhang and his associates took $1 million in bribes disguised as consulting fees from a U.S.-software company, Alltel Information Services, while also accepting a golf outing to Pebble Beach. In exchange, Alltel Information Services, then a division of Alltel Corp., walked away with contracts worth $176 million from the bank, the lawsuit claims. The suit was filed by Grace & Digital Information Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese company that asserts its own contract for the bank's software business was breached because of the bribes.

In a reply filed in federal court in San Jose, Jim N. Wilson, former executive with Alltel Information Services -- since purchased by Fidelity National Financial Inc. and renamed Fidelity Information Systems -- dismissed the allegations of bribery as "completely false." In an SEC filing on Aug. 9, Alltel Corp. said the SEC had opened an informal inquiry into the matter. Alltel did not respond to requests for comment about the SEC probe.

Last year, Lucent Technologies Inc., the giant telecommunications firm, sacked its China president and chief operating officer along with a marketing executive and finance officer after what the company described as "internal control deficiencies" that could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Chinese media reported that the executives were found by internal auditors to have bribed officials at state-owned telecommunications companies. Lucent declined to furnish details, asserting that it is cooperating with federal investigators.

The sources at U.S. companies and Chinese distribution firms said the Lucent case was hardly unusual. Most companies that engage in such practices limit their exposure to prosecution by cutting intermediary firms into their sales, leaving it to distributors to close the deal, the sources said.

But using middlemen as conduits for payments does not insulate U.S. and U.S.-listed companies against American anti-corruption statutes, said Patrick M. Norton, managing partner of the Beijing office of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act's anti-bribery provisions, which carry criminal penalties of up to five years in prison for individuals and fines reaching $2 million for companies, specifies that "U.S. persons" are forbidden from paying or offering to pay "anything of value" to a "foreign official" with a "corrupt purpose" of gaining business. Norton said the Justice Department has been interpreting the statute to include bribes paid by foreign companies and agents on behalf of U.S. companies.

"Willful ignorance is not a defense," Norton wrote in the journal China Law & Practice last year. "U.S. businesses in China are responsible under the FCPA for ensuring that their agents do not do indirectly what the U.S. businesses are prohibited from doing directly."

Nevertheless, such behavior appears common. "What happened at Lucent is happening at all the big tech companies," said a senior manager at a distribution company that sells products for Hewlett-Packard Co. He said H-P cuts his company in as a means of lubricating deals without handling the money directly.

"This happens 90 percent of the time on H-P's Unix business," the distributor said. "The bosses at H-P know the situation."

In a written statement, H-P said it uses distribution companies "to effectively expand coverage" across China, adding that the company operates "in a legal and ethical manner around the world."

"We are unaware of any specific examples of inappropriate behavior by our partners at this time," the statement continued. "Should proof be provided to the contrary we will clarify and pursue the matter, and follow up with appropriate action."

Most kickbacks are handled as rebates that land in a communal fund inside the government agency or company responsible for the purchase, to avoid making individuals vulnerable to corruption charges, sources said.

"The fund is for the department's use," said a former executive for a major U.S. technology company. "It pays for vacations to Las Vegas and Hong Kong, visits to hostess bars, gifts for spouses. Everybody knows about this."

Staff Researcher Richard Drezen in New York and Special Correspondents Eva Woo and Jason Cai in Shanghai contributed to this report.

Novell Announces Expansion Plans for China

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Novell is making major strides as it expands into China.
The company announced plans Wednesday to create a research and development center, open new regional branches, offer local technology support, and strengthen ties with Asian partners.
"Novell is increasing its investment in China because we believe we can have an enormous positive impact on economic growth in the region," Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell, said in a statement. "Together with our Chinese partners, we are dedicated to promoting the development of Linux and open source in the local market, as well as accelerating the Chinese software industry more broadly."
The Chinese offices will be in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Novell is also launching, a dedicated Chinese language site offering free, easy access to Linux.
"Investing in the Chinese market is a key strategy for Novell," added Novell Asia-Pacific President Rhonda O'Donnell in the company statement. "We are poised for a new era in China, ready to significantly contribute to China's development of its software industry."

Destinator Technologies and Partners Lead China into New Era of Personal Navigation

Monday August 22, 8:00 am ET

BEIJING--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 22, 2005--Destinator Technologies (formerly Homeland Security Technology Corporation), a world-leading provider of GPS navigation, location-based solutions and value-added services, held a press conference on August 18, 2005 to celebrate its official entry into the China market. Several prominent business partners, including Microsoft, Lenovo, Dopod, OrientPower, Nav2 and Hisys, attended the event.

Destinator Technologies enters China at a time when GPS technology is maturing rapidly. While there remains a lack of a sustainable growth model and a value chain, comprised of hardware manufacturer, map provider, software provider, OEM, telecom operation and sales channel, that has not taken shape, demand for PNS has increased exponentially. Destinator Technologies expects to ship more than 1 million sets of its products to markets around the world, up 233% from the 300,000 units delivered in 2004.

Leveraging the company's successes in the global market, Destinator Technologies has gained overwhelming support from local partners in various capacities early on. Destinator Technologies established a strategic partnership with Shanghai's Nav Information Technology Co., Ltd (Nav2), the first Chinese company licensed by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) to provide map data for commercial use. A joint venture company invested by Navteq, a global leader in mapping, and Navinfo, established under the auspices of SBSM, Nav2 is currently the leading map supplier in China with its high-precision maps. Maps of more than 180 Chinese cities are available in each Destinator product.

Destinator Technologies' global partnership with Microsoft in developing applications for Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform was extended into China, where all products feature seamless compatibility on the Windows OS. This cooperation has facilitated partnerships with OEMs and channel partners, priority areas for development in China. Currently, Destinator has already partnered with Dopod to embed Destinator SP on its Smartphones. Destinator PN (Personal Navigation) is available for pocket PCs made by Lenovo. Destinator Technologies has already reached agreements with several leading local OEMs and on-board system integrators to develop the PNS industry in China, such as Shanghai-based Hisys; Taiwan-based Acer, Asus, OrientPower and Mitac; Eten; Korean Thinkware; and, GPS receiver manufacturer Royaltek. Destinator Technologies is also in talks with Sanjiang to extend distribution to the military sector.

Destinator Technologies in China

Founded in November 2004, Destinator Technologies Inc (China) brings the convenience of personal navigation to consumers in China. The company also strives to develop the location-based services market by providing innovative solutions to carriers, enterprises, government organizations, and individual consumers. Regarded as the OEM partner of choice for some of the world's largest hardware manufacturers, systems integrators, and map providers, Destinator Technologies cooperates with companies such as Microsoft, Eten, Orient Power, ZTE, Dopod, Mitac, Acer, Asus, Thinkware, Carpoint, Leadteck, Road Tech, CASIC, Hisys, and Nav2 in China.

About Destinator Software Suite

A core product designed for personal navigation systems (PNS), the Destinator suite of products currently includes Destinator SP (Smartphone) for Smartphones, Destinator PN (Personal Navigation) for pocket PCs, and Destinator ND (Navigation Device) for on-board applications. With the seamless integration of cutting-edge mobile navigation technologies and precise map information, Destinator provides easy and convenient operating use. The Destinator suite of products provides a full spectrum of features, including:

Intelligent routing
Optimum route planning for multiple destinations
Millions of points-of-interest (POI)
Route optimization based on real-time traffic information
Multiple language support
SMS support
An extensive library of map information updated regularly
Destinator Technologies' personal navigation products have won many major awards, including:

Destinator PN Awarded the "Editorial Staff Recommendation" in PocketPC Magazine (July/August 2005)
Destinator PN given "Editor's Recommendation" in special interest magazine, "Notebook, Organizer & Handy" (July 2005)
Destinator PN Awarded "Price Tip" Distinction by Germany's Connect Magazine (June 19, 2005)
Destinator SP Awarded "Test Winner" Commendation in Germany's PC Magazin (February 2005)
Destinator SP is voted 2nd best Smartphone Navigation 2004 by

     Destinator Technologies (Beijing) Co., Ltd.
     Mr. Daniel Tao, 010-8511 1446 ext. 106
     Fax: 010-8511 6947
     Hill & Knowlton China
     Ms. Tzyy Wang, 010-6512-8811 ext. 575
     Fax: 010-6512-4381
Source: Destinator Technologies

China raises U.S., HK dollar deposit rates

China raises U.S., HK dollar deposit rates
Mon Aug 22, 2005 06:01 AM ET
(Recasts, updates with details, background)
BEIJING, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China raised interest rates on deposits of U.S. and Hong Kong dollars on Monday, a move that may help relieve upwards pressure on the yuan.
The increase of 0.375 percentage points, is the second in just over a month and the third since mid-May.
The previous increase was on July 21, the same day that China revalued the yuan by 2.1 percent and dropped its peg to the dollar in favour of a system that manages the exchange rate with reference to a currency basket.
Some $160 billion in foreign currency deposits are held in China and officials are worried they might be converted into yuan amid expectations that the Chinese currency could rise further.
The lastest increase in deposit rates, announced by the central bank and effective from Tuesday, raises the one-year rate for U.S. dollar deposits to 2 percent and for Hong Kong dollar deposits to 1.875 percent.
Analysts say Beijing is trying to make sure that local dollar rates track moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has raised interest rates 10 consecutive times in its recent monetary tightening phase.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Of stem cells, what would Gandhi say?

By Pankaj Mishra The New York Times MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2005

In 2001, President George W. Bush restricted U.S. federal financing for stem cell research. The decision, which was shaped at least partly by the Republican Party's evangelical Christian base, and which disappointed many American scientists and businessmen, provoked joy in India.

The weekly newsmagazine India Today, read mostly by the country's ambitious middle class, spoke of a "new pot of gold" for Indian science and businesses. "If Indians are smart," the magazine said, American qualms about stem cell research "can open an opportunity to march ahead."

Just four years later, this seems to have occurred. According to Ernst & Young's Global Biotechnology Report in 2004, Indian biotechnology companies are expected to grow tenfold in the next five years, creating more than a million jobs. With more than 10,000 highly trained and cheaply available scientists, the country is one of the leading biotechnology powers along with Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Sweden, Britain and Israel.

A top Indian corporation, the Reliance Group, owns Reliance Life Sciences, which is trying to devise new treatments for diabetes and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, and create human skin, blood and replacement organs genetically matched to their intended recipients.

Some scientists have even more ambitious ideas. Encouraged by the cloning of a sheep by British scientists in 1996, they plan to do the same with endangered species of Indian lions and cheetahs.

American scientists and businessmen note enviously that religious and moral considerations do not seem to inhibit Indian biotechnologists. But this indifference to ethical issues would have certainly appalled Gandhi, father of the Indian nation. Gandhi accused Western medicine, along with much of modern science and technology, of inflicting violence upon human nature. His vegetarianism and belief in nonviolence were derived from Indian traditions, mainly Hinduism, which is also the faith, though loosely defined, of most Indian scientists and businessmen.

Indeed, most evangelical Christians, who believe that the embryo is a person, may find more support in ancient Hindu texts than in the Bible. Many Hindus see the soul - the true Self (or atman) - as the spiritual and imperishable component of human personality.

After death destroys the body, the soul soon finds a new temporal home. Thus, for Hindus as much as for Catholics, life begins at conception.

The ancient system of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda assumes that fetuses are alive and conscious when it prescribes a particular mental and spiritual regimen to pregnant women. This same assumption is implicit in "The Mahabharata," the Hindu epic about a fratricidal war apparently fought in the first millennium B.C.

In one of its famous stories, the warrior Arjuna describes to his pregnant wife a seven-stage military strategy. His yet-to-be-born son Abhimanyu is listening, too. But as Arjuna describes the seventh and last stage, his wife falls asleep, presumably out of boredom. Years later, while fighting his father's cousins, the hundred Kaurava brothers, Abhimanyu uses well the military training he has learned in his mother's womb, until the seventh stage, where he falters and is killed.

But the religions and traditions we know as Hinduism are less monolithic and more diverse than Islam and Christianity; they can yield contradictory arguments. Early in "The Mahabharata," there is a story about how the hundred Kaurava brothers came into being. Their mother had produced a mass of flesh after two years of pregnancy. But then a sage divided the flesh into 100 parts, which were treated with herbs and ghee, and kept in pots for two years - from which the Kaurava brothers emerged.

Indian proponents of stem-cell research often offer this story as an early instance of human cloning through stem cells extracted from human embryos. They do not mention that "The Mahabharata" presents the birth of the hundred Kaurava brothers as an ominous event.

In any case, biotechnology may offer only pseudo-answers to many of India's urgent problems. For one thing, if and when lions and cheetahs emerge from biotechnology labs, the steadily deforested Indian countryside may not have a place for them. Stem cell research is also expensive, and seems glaringly so in a country which does not provide basic health care for most of its people. The advanced treatments promised by biotechnology are likely to benefit the rich, at least for the first few years.

In the meantime, the poor may be asked to offer themselves as guinea pigs. In an article on biotechnology last year, India Today asserted: "India has another gold mine - the world's largest population of 'naïve' sick patients, on whom no medicine has ever been tried. India's distinct communities and large families are ideal subjects for genetic and clinical research."

Scientism has few detractors in India; and the elites find it easy to propose technological rather than political and moral solutions to the problems of poverty, inequality and environmental damage.

Obsessed with imitating Western consumer lifestyles, most middle-class Indians are unlikely to have much time for Gandhi's belief that "civilization consists not in the multiplication of wants but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants." They subscribe to a worldly form of Hinduism - one that now proves to be infinitely adjustable to the modern era, endorsing nuclear bombs and biotechnology as well as India's claim to be taken seriously as an emerging economic and scientific superpower.

Pankaj Mishra, an Indian novelist and journalist, is the author, most recently, of "An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World." He lives in London and India.

China: Continuing Embryonic Stem Cell Research

China is to maintain its opposition to human reproductive cloning, but will continue to allow closely monitored embryo stem cell research for the treatment and prevention of disease, a senior Chinese expert said.
"Therapeutic cloning opens up prospects for the replacement of dead stem cells and will improve the health of individuals and mankind as a whole," said Wang Hongguang, president of the China National Centre for Biotechnology Development.
Wang told China Daily that China's technology in embryo stem cell research is currently taking a leading role among developing countries and "several products in the field of skin are facing clinical examinations now."
However, Wang said, compared with developed countries, China still has a long way to go.
China's stance on human cloning was reiterated after the United Nations became divided over the life-and-death question - whether human beings should be cloned in the name of medical research - over the weekend.
The Legal Committee of the United Nations passed a declaration banning all forms of human cloning that were contrary to human dignity on Friday night.
Two competing views of the issue maintain different aspects of the United Nations declaration.
Against the declaration are 35 countries including China, Belgium and Britain that believe limited cloning is helpful.
All have expressed their willingness to continue therapeutic cloning.
Seventy-one supporters of the declaration include Honduras, the United States and Germany.
Chinese representative Su Wei said that the wording of the declaration was vague and the banning of all forms of human cloning contrary to human dignity may be misunderstood as covering therapeutic cloning, Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Legal Committee has been discussing the issue of human cloning since 2001.
The committee at the end of last year avoided a divisive vote on the question of an international convention against human reproductive cloning by deciding to take up the issue again as a declaration.
Source: China Daily

Hush! BBStar Sister Furong is 'daydreaming'

By Wendy Liu (City Weekend)

Who the hell is Sister Furong? To answer, don't bother combing through pop singer and celebrity archives on Google or glue yourself to the glorious pop karaoke shows on TV.
She's another blogger turned amateur celebrity like the sultry and sensational writer, Mu Zimei.
Her detailed explorations into the sexual world of young Chinese men and women revealed that you don't have to be a Pepsi star or a Hong Kong actor to become famous on the mainland.
Sister Furong or Lotus Flower, as she likes to be called, quietly captured the spotlight with her gaudy photos and proclamation that she needs a man.

It is a comedy not without precedent - self-humiliation - but one of some subtle confusion: Is the joke on her or us?

Beginning early this year on the Qinghua and Beijing University BBS, a girl named 'Frjj' (Furong Jiejie) began to upload her photos.

Accompanying each photo was a brief diary entry. At first read they proclaimed, "I'm pure and noble (this is how my classmates describe me, which isn't my fault).' Harmless enough.
However, they began to take a much more self-aggrandizing angle when this seemingly average looking university student turned to comments like, "My life is now so annoying. All the time I am the focus on the street. Why do the eyes of the men fall hot upon me? I have no place to hide."

As her popularity grows, Sister Furong goes on to let her audience know that she is also a dance expert.

"I have a pair of beautiful hands which go harmoniously with my outstandingly slim body (1.66cm or maybe taller). My skin is as smooth as a baby and all of these talents have helped me to become a good dancer. I understand life in my dance; I am looking for my lover in my dance."
Sizzle and bristle does the BBS that other chat rooms co-subscribe and soon a debate begins to rage.

Is she funny simply because she doesn't know she is? According to Lotus Flower herself, the original idea was to set up a BBS posting to expose her natural beauty and grace... and ahem, to find a good lover.

Posting, websites, comments, water cooler chats and taxicab confessions criticize and laugh about her apparent and complete lack of modesty.

What difference does it make to Sister Furong? She's famous! Her site is checked for new photo postings daily and the inertia of her original fan base has snowballed into a viral publicity scheme that even the likes of Dan Brown's publisher would envy.

Whatever the comment or criticism, people admit that Sister Furong is brave.

A girl should have the right to be confident and at least at this point, we should respect her.
While the highbrow attitude she emits seems baseless given her common looks, whether she knows it or not, her popularity is exposing how glaring aesthetics dictate our behavior.

No one yet has asked, would she still be 'funny' if she were actually pretty? For now, everyone is playing along and no one knows if our Lotus Flower is in on it.

If Mu Zimei's accounts of sexuality can publish books, maybe Sister Furong's over the top poses can inspire. She may be dreaming but please don't wake her up.

Chinese Internet-born star Furong Jiejie

Chinese Internet-born star Furong Jiejie aka Sister Furong dances on a roof in Beijing August 10, 2005. Furong, whose real name is Shi Hengxia, started the craze by posting pictures of herself on Internet bulletin boards of two top universities in Beijing. In late July, authorities told the country's top blog host to move Furong-related content to low-profile parts of the site. Picture taken August 10, 2005. To match feature China-Internet REUTERS/Alfred Cheng Jin

China and Russia flag true agendas

By Hamish McDonaldBeijingAugust 22, 2005

A PARACHUTE drop by Russian special forces at a Chinese Army training ground has signalled an intensifying challenge by two former communist rivals to the US strategic presence in Asia.
The 86 Russian paratroopers dropped near Weifang City on the Shandong Peninsula, jutting out of China's north-east coast into the Yellow Sea, on Saturday as part of eight days of unprecedented joint exercises.
Before they end on Thursday, the drills will see more jumps by airborne forces, Chinese and Russian marines storming ashore, cruise missile launches by Russian Tu-95 and Tu-22 strategic bombers, Russian air tankers refuelling Chinese fighters, and ships and submarines imposing a simulated naval blockade.
All this, codenamed Peace Mission 2005, is supposed to be an anti-terrorist exercise.
China's first proposed location, the coast of Fujian province facing Taiwan, would have made its main interest a little clearer. The Russians, anxious not to be dragged into a war over the island republic, wanted the war games on the border of landlocked Xinjiang, in China's north-west.
Shandong, the compromise, is closer to China's objective. A Russian military source, quoted by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, said: "This scenario envisages blitzing into Taiwan's nerve centres while enforcing naval blockades for containing the US military's intervention."
Wu Min-chieh, a writer for Hong Kong's Communist Party-linked newspaper Wen Wei Po, said the exercises had multiple objectives — showing off the level of military co-operation between China and Russia; demonstrating the ability to intervene in Korea, just across the Yellow Sea; and deterring independence forces in Taiwan.
Other analysts see it as continuing pressure by the two powers to force the US out of its military presence in central Asia as part of the Afghanistan invention since 2001, especially following Uzbekistan's recent order for the US to quit an air base.
Russia, which has traded territory with China along the Amur River border, the scene of large-scale Sino-Soviet military clashes a little over 30 years ago, is also using the exercise to show it remains a formidable military power in the region, despite the declining Russian population in its resource-rich far east.
The exercise is also a chance to show some of the weapons it hopes to sell to the Chinese, including the Tu-22 bomber, aerial tankers, and airborne radar planes.
American defence attaches, like those of its allied countries including Australia, have not been invited to observe. Only the central Asian republics in the Chinese-led Shanghai Co-operation Agreement are allowed to watch, along with SCO observer countries — India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia — that Beijing and Moscow would like to lure away from US influence.
The Americans are still getting a close look — having sent two EP-3 spy planes and at least two ships into the area, according to reports from Washington.
"We're very interested in the exercise," said Admiral Gary Roughead, the new US Fleet Commander in the Pacific.