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  1. Link to Post #61
    France Avalon Member Deux Corbeaux's Avatar
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    Default Re: China

    China’s solar energy explosion reveals a dim future for fossil fuels.


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    Avalon Member norman's Avatar
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    Default Re: China

    The BBC World Service has a go at discussing the Chinese Social Score System.

    MP3 [50 minutes]
    .................................................. my first language is TYPO..............................................

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    Never give up on your silly, silly dreams.

    You mustn't be afraid to dream a little BIGGER, darling.

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    Default Re: China

    This is for Foxie Loxie ...hope she is still reading the forum. As usual the foreign investors are being taken again, 1st it was the Japanese when they were our biggest loaners, now it's the Chinese. The Japanese bought Pebble Beach for a billion and sold it for 200 million. The U.S. has much better crooks in real estate business than most others . This pattern of them ( foreign investers ) buying high and selling low as been going on for 30 years.

    Also the Saudis are taking a hit with the Chrysler

    New York (CNN Business)The Chrysler Building, the famous art deco New York skyscraper, will be sold for a small fraction of its previous sales price.
    The deal, first reported by The Real Deal, was for $150 million, according to a source familiar with the deal.
    Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi investment fund, purchased 90% of the building for $800 million in 2008. Real estate firm Tishman Speyer had owned the other 10%.

    Iconic Chrysler Building will sell at a huge loss


    ================================================== ==
    Chinese exiting US real estate as Beijing directs money back to shore up economy
    Esther Fung


    Chinese net purchases of U.S. commercial real estate last year dwindled to their lowest level since 2012, as Beijing kept up the pressure on Chinese investors to bring cash home during a period of worsening economic growth.

    Insurers, conglomerates and other investors from mainland China were net sellers of $854 million of U.S. commercial property in the fourth quarter, according to Real Capital Analytics. That marked the third-straight quarter Chinese investors sold more U.S. property than they bought, the first time ever these investors have been sellers for that long a stretch.

    The selling during most of 2018 marked a powerful reversal from the previous five years, when Chinese investors went on a massive buying spree, often handily outbidding other investors for U.S. trophy properties. They spent tens of billions dollars on luxury hotels like the landmark Waldorf Astoria in New York, a nearly $1 billion skyscraper development in Chicago, and a glitzy residential project in Beverly Hills, Calif.

    Now, many of China’s biggest overseas real-estate investors are unloading some of the same prized assets, or at least reducing their U.S. exposure by selling stakes to new partners.

    The turnabout last year reflects an effort by the Chinese government to stabilize its currency, reduce corporate debt, and help arrest the country’s economic slowdown by clamping down on certain overseas investments. Some Chinese developers, now facing tighter credit conditions at home, have tried to raise money instead by selling some of their U.S. properties.

    Simmering trade and political tension between Washington and Beijing has also made the U.S. a less hospitable place to invest for Chinese firms, analysts say.

    Get news and analysis on politics, policy, national security and more, delivered right to your inbox

    Chinese were net buyers of $2.63 billion of U.S. real estate in 2018, the lowest total in six years, according to Real Capital. China would have been a big net seller for the entire year if not for a $11.6 billion purchase of GLP, formerly Global Logistic Properties Ltd, made by a consortium of Chinese buyers a year ago.

    Chinese have also been selling their U.S. homes while fewer new buyers are showing up. Home purchases by Chinese in the U.S. tumbled 4% from April 2017 to March 2018 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the most recently available data from the National Association of Realtors. That sharp decline reflected higher home prices, a strengthening dollar and tensions between the U.S. and China, economists say.

    hina’s pullback from the U.S. property market is the latest sign that slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy is reverberating across the globe, roiling financial markets and undercutting corporate earnings. China recently reported a 6.6% growth rate for 2018, the worst annual expansion since 1990 and a sharper slowdown than Beijing expected.

    Chinese authorities aren’t likely to loosen capital controls anytime soon, and analysts expect Chinese investors to continue to dump U.S. real estate in 2019.

    “They haven’t managed to stabilize anything, so the timeline is going to be extended,” said Arthur Margon, a partner at real-estate consulting firm Rosen Consulting Group, referring to China’s currency control policy.

    China began investing heavily in the U.S. real-estate market a few years ago after Beijing loosened restrictions on foreign investment. Some Chinese investors were attracted to the stable returns in the U.S. property market and saw it as a way to diversify their holdings.

    Yet some Chinese buyers seemed more interested in scooping up trophy properties that their new owners felt brought prestige, political clout and helped promote their brands for global expansion, analysts said. And while Chinese buyers never represented more than a fraction of the activity in any major U.S. city, the big checks they wrote helped push values higher in certain segments of the market.

    “Without that big push from Chinese investors, the market doesn’t have that rocket-propelling fuel to it,” said Mr. Margon.

    Anbang Insurance Group Co. paid the highest purchase price ever for a U.S. hotel with its $1.95 billion acquisition of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel in 2015. The owner is renovating the property and converting a number of hotel rooms into private residences.

    But the insurer, now controlled by the Chinese government after its former chairman was detained and subsequently convicted on fraud and embezzlement charges, has placed another portfolio of luxury hotels in the U.S. for sale.

    Other heavily indebted companies such as HNA Group and Dalian Wanda Group have also unloaded their properties in New York City, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Beverly Hills, Calif., after facing pressure from Beijing officials to rein in their aggressive expansion plans.

    Brokers and bankers said most of these weren’t distressed sales. Even if the sellers sold for less than they bought, they likely still made a profit after converting proceeds to the weakened Chinese currency. The yuan has declined by around 12% against the dollar since the start of 2014.

    Some Chinese investors are still interested in the U.S. real-estate market. But rather than pursuing soaring skyscrapers or luxury hotels, they have focused on more mundane properties, such as warehouses and smaller retail buildings such as convenience stores that offer steadier returns.

    China Life Insurance recently acquired an 80% stake in 10 shopping centers in places such as Marietta, Ga., and Charleston, S.C.. through a joint venture with Site Centers Corp. that valued the portfolio at around $607 million

    While transactions above $1 billion now look like a thing of the past, there is still Chinese interest in real-estate projects selling for less than $30 million, said Xinyi McKinny, senior managing director of China Direct Investment at property consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield.

    “Investors are more returns-driven versus before, when it was ‘I want to own the most expensive building in downtown New York or downtown San Francisco,’” she said.
    Last edited by ramus; 9th March 2019 at 17:42.

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  9. Link to Post #65
    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: China

    From https://bbc.com/news/uk-50883161

    Tesco halts production at Chinese factory over alleged 'forced' labour

    22 Dec, 2019

    Tesco has suspended production of charity Christmas cards at a factory in China after a six-year-old girl found a message from workers inside one.

    The note, found by Florence Widdicombe, was allegedly written by prisoners in Shanghai claiming they were "forced to work against our will".

    "Please help us and notify human rights organisation," the message said.

    Tesco said it was "shocked" by the report, adding: "We would never allow prison labour in our supply chain."

    The supermarket said it would de-list the supplier of the cards, Zhejiang Yunguang Printing, if it was found to have used prison labour.

    Florence was writing cards to her school friends when she found that one of them - featuring a kitten with a Santa hat - had already been written in.

    In block capitals, it said:
    It asked whoever found the message to contact Peter Humphrey, a British journalist who was himself imprisoned there four years ago.

    Florence, from Tooting in south London, told BBC News she was writing "my sixth or eighth card" when she saw "somebody had already written in it".

    "It made me feel shocked," she said, adding that when it was explained to her what the message meant she felt "sad".

    Her father, Ben Widdicombe, said he first felt "incredulity" at discovering the message, adding he first thought it was "some sort of prank".

    "But on reflection we realised it was potentially quite a serious thing," he said. "I felt very shocked but also felt a responsibility to pass it on to Peter Humphrey as the author asked me to do."

    He said: "It hits home. There are injustices in the world and there are people in difficult situations and we know about that and we read about that each and every day.

    "There is something about that message hitting home at Christmas... that really does make it very poignant and very powerful."

    He added: "It could have ended up anywhere. And indeed we have many cards as all families do that are left over and we put them in a drawer and forget about them.

    There is an incredible element of chance in all of this that the card was written, it got to us and we opened it on the day we did."

    A Tesco spokeswoman said: "We were shocked by these allegations and immediately halted production at the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation."

    The supermarket said it has a "comprehensive auditing system" to ensure suppliers are not exploiting forced labour.

    The factory in question was checked only last month and no evidence of it breaking the ban on prison labour was found, it said.

    Sales of charity Christmas cards at the company's supermarkets raise Ł300,000 a year for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK.

    The retailer has not received any other complaints from customers about messages inside Christmas cards.

    'Very bleak life'

    The message in the card urged the recipient to contact Peter Humphrey, who was formerly imprisoned at Qingpu on what he described as "bogus charges that were never heard in court".

    After the Widdicombe family sent him a message via Linkedin, Mr Humphrey said he then contacted ex-prisoners who confirmed inmates had been forced to work.

    He then wrote the story for the Sunday Times.

    Mr Humphrey told the BBC: "I spent two years in captivity in Shanghai between 2013 and 2015 and my final nine months of captivity was in this very prison in this very cell block where this message has come from.

    "So this was written by some of my cellmates from that period who are still there serving sentences.

    "I'm pretty sure this was written as a collective message. Obviously one single hand produced this capital letters' handwriting and I think I know who it was, but I will never disclose that name."

    He said the cell block of foreign prisoners has about 250 people in it, who are living a "very bleak daily life" with 12 prisoners per cell.

    "They sleep in very rusty iron bunkbeds with a mattress which is no more than about 1cm thick underneath," he said.

    "In the winter it's extremely cold, there's no heating in the building and in the summer it's extremely hot because there is no air conditioning.

    "They get up around 5:30 - 6:00am every day they have to go to bed again at about 9.30."

    He said when he was in there, manufacturing labour work was voluntary - to earn money to buy soap or toothpaste - but that work has now become compulsory.

    "Everyone I know in there at the time was in there for very questionable reasons," he said. "I met so many people who I considered to be the victims of wrongful imprisonment or at least reckless sentencing for minor offences."

    Mr Humphrey said he believes those who wrote the note "knew very well what risks they were taking and they were prepared to take this risk".

    "They know very well that if they're caught, they will be punished. They could be punished for example by losing some merit points or having some kind of deprivation of some of their food allowance.

    "They could be punished by sending them to solitary confinement for a month or something like that where conditions are fairly harsh."

    Mr Humphrey also said that censorship in the prison had increased, cutting off his usual methods of contacting prisoners he had met before his release in 2015.

    "They resorted to the Qingpu equivalent of a message in a bottle, scribbled on a Tesco Christmas card," he said.

    It is not the first time that prisoners in China have reportedly smuggled out messages in products they have been forced to make for Western markets.

    In 2012, Julie Keith from Portland, Oregon, discovered an account of torture and persecution by a prisoner who said he was forced to manufacture the Halloween decorations she had purchased.

    And in 2014, Karen Wisinska from Co Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, found a note on a pair of Primark trousers reading: "Our job inside the prison is to produce fashion clothes for export. We work 15 hours per day and the food we eat wouldn't even be given to dogs or pigs."

    Under the UN's guidance for human rights and prisons, prisoners "should not be subordinated merely to making a profit either for the prison authorities or for a private contractor".

    The standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners state: "Prison labour must not be of an afflictive nature."

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    Default Re: China

    These are frustrating to watch but informative.

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  13. Link to Post #67
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    Default Re: China

    From https://project-syndicate.org/commen...-qiang-2020-02
    10 Feb 2020

    How Xi Jinping’s “Controlocracy” Lost Control

    Although the global coronavirus epidemic has only recently made international headlines, some in China have known about it since the beginning of December. Thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping's high-tech dictatorship, that information was not made public, and the virus was allowed to take off.

    In his 2016 book The Perfect Dictatorship: China in the 21st Century, Norwegian political scientist Stein Ringen describes contemporary China as a “controlocracy,” arguing that its system of government has been transformed into a new regime radically harder and more ideological than what came before. China’s “controlocracy” now bears primary responsibility for the coronavirus epidemic that is sweeping across that country and the world.

    Over the past eight years, the central leadership of the Communist Party of China has taken steps to bolster President Xi Jinping’s personal authority, as well as expanding the CPC’s own powers, at the expense of ministries and local and provincial governments. The central authorities have also waged a sustained crackdown on dissent, which has been felt across all domains of Chinese social and political life.

    Under the controlocracy, websites have been shut down; lawyers, activists, and writers have been arrested; and a general chill has descended upon online expression and media reporting. Equally important, the system Xi has installed since 2012 is also driving the direction of new technologies in China. Cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) are all being deployed to strengthen the central government’s control over society.

    The first coronavirus case appeared in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, on December 1, 2019, and, as early as the middle of the month, the Chinese authorities had evidence that the virus could be transmitted between humans. Nonetheless, the government did not officially acknowledge the epidemic on national television until January 20. During those seven weeks, Wuhan police punished eight health workers for attempting to sound the alarm on social media. They were accused of “spreading rumors” and disrupting “social order.”

    Meanwhile, the Hubei regional government continued to conceal the real number of coronavirus cases until after local officials had met with the central government in mid-January. In the event, overbearing censorship and bureaucratic obfuscation had squandered any opportunity to get the virus under control before it had spread across Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. By January 23, when the government finally announced a quarantine on Wuhan residents, around five million people had already left the city, triggering the epidemic that is now spreading across China and the rest of the world.

    When the true scale of the epidemic finally became clear, Chinese public opinion reflected a predictable mix of anger, anxiety, and despair. People took to the Internet to vent their rage and frustration. But it did not take long for the state to crack down, severely limiting the ability of journalists and concerned citizens to share information about the crisis.

    Then, on February 3, after Xi had chaired the Standing Committee’s second meeting on the epidemic, the CPC’s propaganda apparatus was ordered to “guide public opinion and strengthen information control.” In practice, this means that cutting-edge AI and big-data technologies are being used to monitor the entirety of Chinese public opinion online. The controlocracy is now running at full throttle, with facial-, image-, and voice-recognition algorithms being used to anticipate and suppress any potential criticism of the government, and to squelch all “unofficial” information about the epidemic.

    On February 7, Li Wenliang, one of the physician-whistleblowers who tried to sound the alarm about the outbreak, died of coronavirus, which unleashed a firestorm on social media. The Chinese public is already commemorating him as a hero and victim who tried to tell the truth. Millions have taken to social media to express their grief, and to demand an apology from the Chinese government and freedom of expression.

    For the first time since coming to power, Xi’s high-tech censorship machine is meeting with intense resistance from millions of Chinese Internet users. The controlocracy is being put to the test. Most likely, though, the outbreak itself will be used to justify even more surveillance and control of the population.Xi is an unabashed dictator. But his dictatorship is far from “perfect.” His obsessive need to control information has deprived Chinese citizens of their right to know what is happening in their communities, and potentially within their own bodies.

    As of February 9, the outbreak has killed more than 900 people and infected another 40,000 in over 25 countries. For all its advanced digital technologies and extraordinary economic and military power, China is being governed as if it were a pre-modern autocracy. The Chinese people deserve better. Unfortunately, they and the rest of the world will continue to pay a high price for Xi’s hi-tech despotism.

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    Default Re: China

    The Law of Unintended Consequences comes to mind.

    Unless, this was intentional?

    Forced online by virus, China’s schools run into censorship (AP YANAN WANG)

    Quote BEIJING (AP) — Less than 30 minutes into a lecture on bioinformatics, Chu Xinjian’s class was abruptly cut short.

    It was the first day of an unusual semester. Across China, schools have been shut indefinitely to contain the spread of a new virus that has killed more than 3,000 people. Chu’s class was one of tens of thousands of courses, from grade school to university, being forced online.

    Chu’s professor was painstakingly sending voice recordings to the class group chat when, without warning, the system disbanded the group for violating China’s Internet regulations — a pervasive, almost mundane part of life under Communist Party rule.

    The students were puzzled. Was it the subject matter? Bioinformatics is the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data. “I’m not sure exactly what phrases triggered it,” said Chu, who recounted the incident. “I guess we touched on some sensitive topic.”

    Major social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked in China, while homegrown ones such as Weibo and WeChat are heavily monitored and scrubbed for offensive content by the state Cyberspace Administration and police.

    Now, the sudden arrival of public education onto platforms that are generally the domain of celebrity livestreamers has thrown the controls into stark relief. Classrooms are confronting the ubiquity and often arbitrary nature of the ruling Communist Party’s online censorship.

    Biology courses have been blocked for “pornographic content.” History and politics classes are among the most vulnerable; subjects such as the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward are regularly censored in classes and online discussions.

    Daily life in the world’s most populous nation has been radically transformed in the past six weeks. Once-bustling streets are empty, fast-food restaurants offer only takeout service and group activities have been replaced with remote everything — remote work, remote fitness class, remote schooling.

    “Classes have stopped but learning will not,” the Education Ministry said in a February notice. It established 24,000 free online courses on 22 web platforms, covering both undergraduate and vocational disciplines.

    Yet many lesson plans have been stymied by the country’s strict online regulators.

    Louis Wang, a middle school history teacher in northeast China, said his workload has ballooned because of an arduous approval process for online classes.

    While teachers have some leeway to facilitate spontaneous discussion in a classroom setting, online classes can be recorded, with the potential for clips to be taken out of context and circulated online.

    “Every word that is spoken in a video recording must be pre-approved,” Wang said.

    For him, that means writing word-for-word his entire lecture — about 5,000 Chinese characters — for review by school administrators.

    Even seemingly non-controversial statements can run afoul of the censors.

    Wang said one of his colleagues, a politics teacher, was trying to upload a document for his students with “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in its title. The phrase was championed by former leader Deng Xiaoping and is still frequently used by the government today.

    For reasons unexplained, the cloud platform blocked the document. It could be uploaded only after the overtly political phrase was removed.

    Teachers are using workarounds to skirt a variety of digital obstacles. On the messaging app WeChat, documents can be rejected for transmission to a group chat if a file fails a “safety inspection.”

    The same documents, however, can often be shared in direct messages, so some teachers have resorted to sending files to parents and students one-by-one.

    “Teachers having their online classes blocked, that’s funny, because it’s too absurd,” Wang Yuechi, a well-known Chinese comedian wrote on his verified account on Weibo, an app similar to Twitter.

    “This is not normal — it’s because there’s no freedom of speech,” he wrote. “Just like how it’s not normal that this post will also be deleted. I hope everyone can be aware of this. The absence of freedom of speech will impact our education, our lives. This has already happened. It’s not so funny now, is it?”

    As Wang predicted, his post can no longer be viewed on Weibo.

    Not every online class mishap involves censorship. Sometimes technical difficulties are the culprit.

    Cheng Yufan, a university student in the southern province of Jiangsu, inadvertently became the host of a lecture on the first day of online classes last month.

    When class was set to start, her philosophy professor was nowhere to be found, Cheng said. The professor was logged onto a different platform; meanwhile, the other one had designated Cheng as group administrator.

    Their professor fared no better on the second platform. Internet connection issues resulted in Cheng and her classmates tuning into two hours of silence.

    Afterwards, the unwitting professor wrote in their class group chat, “See you next time!”

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    Default Re: China


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    Default Re: China

    Pretty good synopsis of where China is heading:
    "A Failure of Leadership, Part III: The Beginning of the End of China, By Peter Zeihan on May 15, 2020

    The Chinese are intentionally torching their diplomatic relationships with the wider world. The question is why?" …

    … "Whether or not the proximate cause for the Chinese collapse is homegrown or imported from Washington is largely irrelevant to the uncaring winds of history, the point is that Xi believes the day is almost here."

    …"Spawn so much international outcry that China experiences a nationalist reaction against everyone who is angry at China. Convince the Chinese population that nationalism is a suitable substitute for economic growth and security. And then use that nationalism to combat the inevitable domestic political firestorm when China doesn’t simply tank, but implodes."

    Do I sense war is the only way out for the CCP? Your thought on full [few minutes] read here: https://mailchi.mp/zeihan/a-failure-...e-end-of-china

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