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Eight-Year-Old Girl Baby-Sits Her Brother at School

The typical winter weather in Guizhou Province (southwest China) is gloomy and rainy. the sunshine barely lasts for three days in a row. On a slippery village road near the Moon Mountain area, seeing a young girl carrying a boy on her back to school is a common sight.

On June 24, 2006, China’s Today Morning Express newspaper published the story of such a girl. Her name is Ning Yuexiang, a fourth grader at the Dadong Elementary school in Yongli County. She is eight years old, and the boy she carries on her back is her two-year-old brother.

She started washing clothes at the age of four. At age five, she climbed hills with her father to chop wood, which is a source of fuel supply for daily cooking. She started taking care of her six-month-old baby brother at six years of age so that her mother could work on the farm.

the first time Ning Yuexiang took her brother to school, he cried in the classroom. the next day she was upset and went to school alone. After school, she realized that her brother had been crying at home for the whole day. Since then, she has been carrying him to school every day.

Her father often works away from home, and her mother takes care of the farm. Her grandmother is over 90 years old. After school, Ning Yuexiang’s daily chores consist of taking care of her brother, doing housework, washing clothes, and feeding the pigs.

Ning Yuexiang’s home is a three-room, two-story building mostly made of locally available wood. the partitions of the house are broken. the cooking stove, situated in the middle room, is surrounded by plastic sheeting to block the mountain breezes. the pig pen is located at the right. the upper floor is where the family sleeps and stores grains. the floor squeaks whenever someone walks.

the story may sound improbable in metropolitan cities such as Beijing or Shanghai, but in the remote countryside many children may even fare worse than little Yuexiang. As one of her teachers says, "She is lucky that she can make it to school."

When asked if life is hard, Yuexiang says no. She also says that she is not tired as long as her brother is not crying, and that shets happy when he is with her.

But when asked about how hard she has to study to go to college, she showed sadness on her face. Yuexiang is never late to school and has been getting excellent grades. Being able to go to college one day is her biggest wish. She worries whether her father will be able to afford the tuition.

Lily Qu is a correspondent for Chinascope.

On Sino-U.S. Relations

How Do  Ordinary Chinese View China-U.S. Relations?

[Editor’s note: In general, China’s state-run media has not been very kind when reporting American politics and government policies. How the Chinese view Sino-U.S. relations may help in analyzing the impact of the Chinese media on the people. Around the time of the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival, Global Times (a newspaper under the Xinhua News Agency) conducted a poll in five major cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and Chongqing), with the assistance of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The poll contained 22 questions and started with random sampling, and then assigned survey personnel to visit and interview selected respondents. The effective samples for the whole poll are 1,175 respondents. Below is a report of the results published in Global Times on March 2, 2005.]

How Chinese See the United States

"Of residents in these cities, 51.9 percent are somewhat satisfied, 18 percent satisfied and 1 percent very satisfied with China-U.S. relations. With three combined, the rate of satisfaction reaches as high as 70.9 percent.

"Most people somewhat like or like Americans, accounting for 52.9 percent and 13.2 percent respectively. The combination of the two is 66.1 percent.

"49.2 percent of respondents believe that the United States is China’s competitor. At the same time, 10.4 percent regard the United States as a friendly country. 11.7 percent regard the United States as a model to follow. 25.6 percent regard the United States as a cooperation partner. The total of the three categories is 47.7 percent.

"A high 56.7 percent believe that the United States is indeed trying to restrain China.

"60.5 percent think that the major issue that may influence China-U.S. relations in the future is the Taiwan issue.

"Under the question of why they are not satisfied with the United Sates, 37.6 percent choose ‘Arms sale to Taiwan.’ 31.7 percent choose ‘Starting the Iraqi War,’ while 7.9 percent choose ‘Enhancing military relations with Japan.’

"Over half of the respondents think that China and the United States ‘will’ or ‘may’ have conflicts over the Taiwan issue (11.9 percent and 41.2 percent respectively). Yet 40 percent of respondents think the possibility of conflicts is not high or does not exist.{mospagebreak}

"Respondents commonly hold a negative attitude toward the United States for repeatedly raising China’s human rights issue. 49.3 percent think that the United State wants to use this method to sabotage China’s stability. 10.4 percent think it is to smear China’s image. 19.1 percent thinks it is the result of U.S. lack of understanding of China. The total of the three reaches a high 78.8 percent. A mere 15.7 percent indicate that the United States is promoting democracy in China.

"50.7 percent of the respondents do not see much change in China-U.S. relations in recent years, while 27.3 percent see some improvement.

"61.92 percent hold that that the development of China-U.S. relations has accelerated China’s economic development. 49.31 percent believe that it has promoted China’s reform to open up.

"45.0 percent of the respondents predict that, during Bush’s second term, China-U.S. relations would remain status quo. 29.4 percent think there will be some improvement. But 11.7 percent of respondents believe there will be regression.

"More than half (55.7 percent) think that the American culture has both good and bad influence on China. Another 22 percent think that it has a positive effect on China.

"Among the respondents, what people appreciate most is the United States’ advanced science and technology, accounting for 43.7 percent, followed by the United States’ well-built legal system (20.9 percent) and good life (17.9 percent).

"Large numbers of urban Chinese have positive comments on the economic exchange between the two countries. 46.18 percent hold that the economic exchange between the two countries has promoted political exchanges, and 46.09 percent think it has enhanced the friendship between their people.

"49.8 percent of respondents do not harbor prejudice against American products in the Chinese market. They think that as long as the quality and the service are good, they do not mind the origin of the brand. 25.5 percent say they welcome American products in the Chinese market, thinking it would benefit both countries.

"31.9 percent of the respondents are able to accept America’s cultural products but think those are not applicable to their lives. Moreover, 27.5 percent say that they highly appreciate America’s cultural products and that there are many exquisite pieces in those products. With the two combined altogether, 59.4 percent are able to accept American culture.{mospagebreak}

"Besides, there is another group of important data: 62.7 percent of China’s urban residents learn about the United States mostly through public media. 20.7 percent learn about the United States from American movies, while only 3.7 percent through direct contacts with Americans."

"Love and Hate" Between China and The United States

"Speaking about interpreting the poll results, Ding Gang, Deputy Director of the International Section of People’s Daily, said that he was deeply impressed by how Chinese’s view of the United States resembles the way that Americans view China. Both have a contradictory mentality: love and hate or love and fear.

"Such a mentality could be seen in several results in the poll. Most Chinese, for example, have sensed that the United States is restraining China but there are still a lot of Chinese who like Americans. Yan Xuetong, Director of the International Affairs Institute, Tsinghua University, also stated that we were able to see from the poll that the majority of the Chinese public shows appreciation of Americans and the American society. However, a larger percentage of the respondents do not think much of the U.S. foreign policies, including its China policy.

"As to the negative factors in the development of China-U.S. relations, the viewpoint of everyday Chinese people is consistent with that of the Chinese government. Yan Xuetong stated that one could see from the poll that Chinese made a clear distinction among Americans, American society and the U.S. government. What the Chinese public is discontented with is mostly the U.S. foreign policies, including its China policy—Taiwan being the core. Over 60 percent of the respondents think that it (the Taiwan issue) is the key issue that affects China-U.S. relations in the future. However, according to a survey conducted recently in the United States, 32 percent of Americans believe that the most important problem in the China-U.S. relations is the human rights issue. Tao Wenzhao, researcher at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, thinks that different Americans raised such issues for different reasons. Some of them have never been to China. Others intentionally use the human rights issue to sabotage China’s development. Also, others are of the opinion that all should accept American values. Thus, it is rather complicated."

What Influences How Chinese View The United States?

"All experts pay special attention to the 62.7 percent—the high percentage of Chinese urban residents who admit that media form their impressions of the United States. Tao Wenzhao also admits that in fact media influences, to a great extent, scholars and policy makers in China and the United States. The role of media on public opinions of China-U.S. relations should not be underestimated. Yan Xuetong says that it is obvious that Chinese people basically accept whatever media says about international affairs.{mospagebreak}

"Just because of this, Yan Xuetong pointed out specifically, that among the factors that cause the discontent of Chinese people with the United States, there was almost no difference between the number of people who choose ‘Arms sale to Taiwan’ and the number of people who choose ‘Starting the Iraqi War.’ But to his great surprise, few people choose ‘Enhancing military relations with Japan.’ ‘One is something far away from us. Another is an important event that takes place outside our front door. The third one is happening right in our house. Why does the poll show such a result?’ says Yan Xuetong. He further reminds us, ‘Think about our media’s reports on Iraq. Compared to the U.S. reports on the Taiwan arms sale, we don’t know how much our reports outnumber theirs!’ As for ‘the United States and Japan strengthen their military relations,’ Ding Gang believes that from the analysis of the poll data, many people do not even know about it or simply do not understand it.

"Ding Gang’s view on this particular issue is that, media that has a significant influence on the public should heighten their sense of responsibility. With respect to balanced reporting, news quantities, perspectives and positions, media should be cautious in making statements and careful in their conduct so as to play a positive role on international issues concerning China’s interests, such as China-U.S. relations. Media should stick to its own position—media should not give up independent thinking and proceed to follow the tune of western countries."

Translated by CHINASCOPE from http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2005-03/02/content_2637134.htm

Draft Law Tightens Media Censorship

The latest attempt of the Communist government to clamp down on the Chinese people’s right to obtain information has provoked an outcry from the Chinese media, bringing international attention to the regime’s policy of media censorship.

According to a Chinese official announcement, on June 24, 2006, the Chinese State Council submitted a draft law covering the management of emergencies to the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC). The draft law was submitted for review and action at the 22nd session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee.

If passed, this law would be the first time the legislature grants extensive power to governments at local levels to deal with emergencies, including severe natural disasters, catastrophic accidents, and emerging public health threats. Under the draft law, the media will face hefty fines both for the unauthorized reporting of public emergencies, and for falsely reporting news of disasters.

In the past several years, a series of emergencies has frustrated the Chinese regime and exposed both the government’s incompetence and its inability to immediately contain them. One remarkable public health threat was the SARS epidemic, originating in China in 2003. For about five months, the authorities failed to admit the emergence and spread of the deadly disease. Even worse was that the regime tried to conceal the fact that SARS patients were found in many regions, including Beijing, until Dr. Jiang Yanyong, a retired military doctor, disclosed it in Time magazine in the United States.

Last year, according to official numbers, over 6,000 coal miners died in 3,340 accidents. The central government was frustrated to learn about this and other numerous deadly accidents and vowed to crack down on illegal mine operations and to punish those who try to cover up the severity of a coal mine accident.

In November 2005, a toxic chemical spill into the Songhua River in Jilin Province became China’s largest industrial pollution accident of the year. The contaminated water threatened the environment and drinking water not only in several Chinese cities but also in neighboring Russian territory. However, local officials focused more on concealing the damage than informing the public of the coming threat. Residents in the down-stream city of Harbin did not know about the water contamination for seven days, until it became necessary to shut down the city’s water supply as an emergency measure.

The draft law is an effort to improve the regime’s image and to install a responsibility system. The draft law proposes four levels of gravity for emergency events: extremely severe, severe, major, and average. [1] The State Council or a department designated by the State Council bears the responsibility for determining the level of gravity in times of emergencies.{mospagebreak}

The draft law proposes that local officials be fined if they fail to report emergencies to their superiors, if they fail to provide emergency assistance, or if they fail to put together a proper emergency response plan.

The clause in the draft law that has aroused intense protests from the Chinese media is Article 57. Article 57 states that newspapers, magazines, news websites, and television stations will face fines ranging from US$6,250 to US$12,500 each time they publish information about a sudden event "without authorization."[2]

The proposed clause on reporting the emergency events reflects how worried the Chinese leaders are that reporting such events and the subsequent public reaction may become a threat to the ruling Communist Party. When the mishandling of a natural disaster or industry accident is widely reported, it is more often than not related to corruption inside the Communist government. It frequently leads critics to scrutinize not only the local leadership but also the system of one-party rule. The thinking is that it will be easier to silence the public media than to defend the Party each time there is a disaster.

The law would give local government officials a powerful new tool to restrict coverage of mass outbreaks of disease, riots, strikes, accidents, and other events that the authorities prefer to keep secret. Officials in charge of propaganda already exercise considerable control over the Chinese news media, but their power tends to be informal, and has not been codified into law.

The proposed law has another clause that will grant the police the authority to implement "forceful practice" in a situation where the "social order is severely threatened." This clause also reflects the Chinese leaders’ fear of public revolt.

The draft law further proposes that, in times of social unrest, law enforcement shall immediately deploy the police and adopt compulsory measures to quickly restore order.

The Chinese media responded angrily to the proposed law. The media in South China, which traditionally have a reputation for being relatively outspoken, are leading the campaign against the media-related clause. For example, Xin Kuai Bao (New Express), a commercial newspaper in Guangzhou published by Yangcheng Wan Bao (or Yangcheng Evening News) published an editorial on June 27, 2006, stating that the draft law does not consider that, because the government has a news monopoly, there is no way to verify that the information the government disseminates is the truest and most accurate. "The clause does not take into account the possibility that there are ‘man-made calamities’ as well as ‘natural disasters.’ In such cases this clause of the draft law would actually become a tool for corrupt officials who want to cover up their dirty deeds."[3]{mospagebreak}

Another editorial in Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily), a prominent Chinese newspaper, states, "What this essentially means is that the control of all information is in the hands of local governments." It further stated: "We believe as a matter of course that the spirit of watchdog journalism should be upheld in this law on emergency management. In fact, this draft, in its present form, does exactly the opposite and doubtless represents a step backward." It continued, "The general public thinks that the media’s role as watchdog is just simply common sense. …Using the law to affirm governmental control over the administration of news coverage is an utterly dangerous endeavor."[4]

More criticism came from Teng Xun News, which stated that restricting media reporting of emergencies would be a regression.[5] It cited the media frenzy of "9/11" in the United States as a good example of the role that Chinese media should play.

The media reported that Yu An, a professor from Tsinghua University and member of the committee that drafted the law, said that those aspects having to do with the media were not even in the draft when the group first met and he did not know how or when they had been added.[6]

More than 100 million Chinese have access to the Internet, and hundreds of commercially driven newspapers, magazines, and television stations provide a much wider selection of news and information than was available in the past. But Chinese regime authorities have sought fresh ways to curtail reporting on topics they consider harmful to social and political stability.

Currently, two former staff members of Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis News), Yu Huafeng and Li Minying, are currently serving prison terms of eight and six years, respectively. It seems that their newspaper’s aggressive reporting on public issues, including SARS, sparked the authorities’ ire. According to Reporters Without Borders, as of the date of this article, 32 journalists had been imprisoned, the latest being Yang Xiaoqing from Zhongguo Chanjing Xinwenbao (China Industry and Economics Newspaper), who was arrested on January 22, 2006, for reporting on government officials’ corruption and misappropriation of state assets.[7] Yang was sentenced to a one-year prison term after being convicted of "blackmailing."[8]

On July 3, 2006, Wang Yongqing, Deputy Director of the Legislative Office of the China State Council, stated that the draft law is meant to target those instances where local governments do not provide timely and accurate reports to the public, and to prevent the media from publishing untrue reports. Wang further stated that the government did not propose any law or regulation that would prohibit the media from reporting these events. On the contrary, if the media uncovered a case of corruption, it would be rewarded, not punished, said Wang. "This has been institutionalized and there are clear regulations on this point."[9]{mospagebreak}

However, the Deputy Director’s explanation is not in the same spirit of the wording in the Article 57 of the draft law. Nor could it explain how Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis News) was heavily fined, instead of rewarded, for its reporting of the outbreak of SARS while several of its reporters were imprisoned. As for Yang Xiaoqing who is serving a one-year prison term, if the Deputy Director’s words were true, the government should have rewarded him for reporting the corruption cases—yet his reporting was the very reason he was sentenced.

References:

[1] http://www.ccdy.cn/punews/483096/20060626/494991.htm
[2] Id.
[3] http://big5.southcn.com/gate/big5/www.southcn.com/opinion/legal/200606270350.htm
[4] http://news.gxnews.com.cn/staticpages/20060627/newgx44a0e118-637406.shtml. See also http://news.gxnews.com.cn/staticpages/20060707/newgx44ae123a-645411.shtml
[5] http://news.qq.com/a/20060630/000108.htm
[6] The financial magazine Caijing interviewed experts and members of the National People’s Congress. http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=18129
[7] http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=116
[8] http://www.dajiyuan.com/b5/6/6/16/n1352901.htm
[9] http://www.china.org.cn/ch-xinwen/2006-07-03.htm

Xiao Tian is a correspondent for Chinascope.

College Graduates Face Job Market Overflow in Big Cities

Every year, June 7 and 8 stand as the two most important days for millions of Chinese families. This is when China’s high school graduates take the two-day college entrance examination, or gao kao in Chinese. The Xinhua News Agency reported a record figure of 9.5 million high school graduates sitting for gao kao this year. Each aims to score high enough to obtain one of the 2.6 million available undergraduate spots, making for a success rate of 27 percent.

This annual two-day event in June puts China under pressure. While more than 68 percent of the students are reported to experience tremendous pressure, a survey shows that over 80 percent of the parents suffer from pre-examination anxiety. News media take pictures and conduct interviews around campus. Nearby construction sites are ordered to minimize the noise so that students can concentrate on the examinations. The Xinhua News Agency reported that hotels and rental accommodations close to test centers are busy as many parents are eager to find somewhere comfortable and close at hand where their children can rest between examinations. Banners carrying the words "Keep Silent" are hung in hotel lobbies at the request of parents. Some parents in Shanghai hire chefs to cook for their children at a cost of 100 to 200 yuan (US$12.50 to $25) per day. Weather reports during the examination period become of intense interest to everyone.

In 2002, Hu Liangkui sat for gao kao and considered himself one of the lucky ones after winning a spot among millions of competitors to enroll into the School of Arts and Communication at Anhui Economic and Finance University as an advertising major. Four years later, Hu graduated but now has to face competition from millions of his college peers to land a job. He now works as a warehouse guard for a shoe factory in Foshan City, Nanhai District, Guangdong Province for a monthly salary of 800 yuan (US$100). This artistic college graduate made fun of himself: "I have the highest education level in our factory. I wonder if I am the first one in China who has fallen into this situation."

Hu is competing in a job market consisting of 4.1 million college graduates this year, a 22 percent increase over 2005. What makes his job search more challenging is that the locations he is considering are only limited to big cities.

According to Southern Weekend, the saying "a bed in Beijing is better than an apartment in the West" has become the general motto among Beijing college students when it comes to job selection. In recent years, a growing number of college graduates from Midwest China have been moving to Beijing and other large cities near the Southeast coast. This trend, driven by a strong desire for the city life, has further exacerbated an already existing imbalance in the job market.{mospagebreak}

To find a job, Hu moved to a ten-yuan-per-night (US$1.2) hotel near the job market on North Baoan Road, Shenzhen City. Only when he moved there did Hu realize that he, like many other college graduates, had fallen into the new category of "blind influx" job seekers.

The streets near the job market and the ten-yuan hotel are full of gloomy college graduates, with packs on their backs and maps in hand. Hu lived in a small crowded room of 14 people, the air stinking of foot odor. The hotel’s shabby building held several hundred recent graduates eager to try their luck in Shenzhen City, which is located in a special economic zone.

In Shanghai, over 100 graduates from other places gathered in Lujiazui, a prosperous area of Pudong. They live in rooms on the 12th floor of an old building that has the fashionable name of "Job-Seeking Village." People living here have stayed anywhere from several days to one or two years. They eat fried rice that costs 3 yuan (US$0.40), and sleep on 15-yuan-per-night bed boards; they go out early looking decent, and come back late exhausted; they have to share a water heater with scores of other people, or even sleep on a slab of wooden door.

In these graduates’ minds, big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen always signify opportunity, high income, and a promising future. A news report circulating on China’s online discussion forums, including Xinhua Net, Qihoo, and City, estimated that there could be as many as 300,000 college graduates like Hu Liangkui in the Guangzhou Zhujiang Golden Triangle region of Southern China. This "blind influx" trend has certainly worsened the imbalance in the job market. Big cities’ job markets overflow with college graduates, while few graduates consider finding jobs in the places where they are most needed.

According to The Washington Post, the National Development and Reform Commission estimated that 60 percent of the summer’s college graduates will have trouble finding jobs. It said: "It is hard to create new jobs in large numbers due to surplus production capacity, more trade frictions and the revaluation of the yuan. As a result, it will be less easy to tackle employment pressures."

A recent survey conducted by China Youth Daily among 2,323 readers shows that 35 percent of those surveyed feel that it is useless to study when there is no job market, and 43 percent think that a diploma means nothing. Many concerned analysts, including writer Guo Songmin, concluded that China has limited itself as a mass market for manufacturing and processing, which requires mostly blue-collar workers. The result is that life for a college graduate could be more difficult than for a peasant worker.

Lukun Yu is a writer based in New York.

Wen Jiabao: Financial Crisis Could Be Catastrophic to China

A report from Cheng Ming (a monthly magazine from Hong Kong) disclosed Wen Jiabao’s speech in a recent meeting on China’s financial situation. Wen said: "[The state of the financial system] leads the nation’s economic development, social stability, and political security. Once a crisis is triggered, it will be out of control and catastrophic to the overall situation."

Two State Council Meetings on The Financial System

Since May 1, 2006, Wen Jiabao has called for two meetings on financial issues. The first was a State Council meeting to focus on the financial environment. Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The second meeting focused on financial crises.

At the financial environment meeting, Wen said: "I am on alert all the time. We should not be too excited by the economic statistics, foreign exchange reserve figures, or reports on large-scale investment projects. By the same token, I also ask everyone not to allow the numbers, records, and positive reports to cause you to become too excited or even complacent."

Wen also said: "The central government’s macro-control policies have always been challenged and resisted by invisible forces that tend to take advantage of the policy so as to benefit themselves. As a result, the policies have not achieved the expected results. In some regions and industries, officials continue to work against the policies. This reflects the severe resistance to the implementation of laws and regulations. I am very concerned about our financial system, which is the leading force for economic development, social stability, and political security. If a financial crisis ever occurs, it will be catastrophic to the overall situation. No one will be able to handle the consequences."

Wen Has Three Worries

Wen says: "There are three issues that I worry about the most. The first is land, the lifeblood of villagers and farmers; the second is the living conditions of residents and migrant workers in urban areas, including housing, medication, and education; the third is the financial situation. Managing the financial system not only is a complex and profound science that involves knowledge of politics, the economy, and the social and international situation, but also the art of modern management. It is also a duty that requires loyal commitment and a sense of moral responsibility to the country."{mospagebreak}

Wen on Financial Crises

At the multiministry meeting on financial crises, Wen said: "Any trouble in our financial system could cost billions, tens of billions, even hundreds of billions. It could also trigger regional or national social unrest, the consequences of which would be beyond what any government agency or official could handle. There have always been problems in our financial system. There are old problems, new problems, and the complications that arise when old and new problems are intertwined. The most prominent and widespread problem is noncompliance with the central government’s policies. There are phenomena of localism and provincialism colluded with illegalities. Although I do not want to talk about such things, they are happening everyday, and the situation is deteriorating and spreading."

Wen said: "We ought to discipline ourselves with laws and regulations, but it seems that is not an easy task to accomplish." He also warned, "I am not afraid of the financial pressure from the international community; far more dreadful is that we ruin our own financial regulations."

Official and Internal Statistics On China’s Financial Health

The following are some financial data from official publications and internal sources from the end of April to mid-May 2006.

(1) From May 2001 to the end of March 2006, the Ministry of Finance has injected capital into the four state-owned commercial banks to eliminate their bad debts 15 times, for a total amount of 3.47 trillion yuan (US$434 billion). In the most recent two cases, 137 billion yuan (US$17 billion) was poured into the Bank of China in the beginning of April, and 85 billion yuan (US$17 billion) into the China Industrial and Commercial Bank at the beginning of May. The reason for the capital injections was that, by the end of May, the Bank of China had its IPO on the Hong Kong stock market, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank will be listed on the Hong Kong stock market by July or August.

(2) At the end of March, four state-owned banks reported bad debts of 2.35 trillion yuan (US$294 billion) in total. The Industrial and Commercial Bank reported 867 billion (US$108 billion); the Bank of China had 545 billion (US$68 billion); the China Construction Bank had 683 billion (US$85 billion); and the China Agriculture Bank reported 254 billion (US$32 billion).

(3) At the end of March, 150 local commercial banks reported 1.547 trillion yuan (US$193 billion) in bad debts. Among them, 52 banks are at the edge of bankruptcy and are being kept alive only by government capital.{mospagebreak}

(4) Three state-owned policy banks also reported 76 billion yuan (US$9.5 billion) in bad debts at the end of March. Among them, State Development Bank had 2.65 billion (US$331 million); the Agriculture Development Bank had 14.48 billion (US$1.8 billion); and the Import and Export Bank reported 59.28 billion (US$7.41 billion).

(5) By the end of April 2006, China’s foreign exchange reserve reached US$920 billion (US$115 billion).

(6) Total deposit in all financial institutions is 12.3 trillion yuan (US$1.54 trillion).

(7) Total amount of various bonds and notes is 2.1 trillion yuan (US$262.5 billion).

(8) Total cash in people’s hands is 2.2 to 2.5 trillion yuan (US$275-313 billion).

Bad Debt in Some Major Provinces

The following data are bad debts collected at the end of March:

  • Guangdong: 720 billion yuan (US$90 billion)
  • Zhejiang: 310 billion (US$38.75 billion)
  • Shandong: 190 billion (US$23.75 billion)
  • Jiangsu: 270 billion (US$33.75 billion)
  • Shanghai: 190 billion (US$23.75 billion)
  • Liaoning: 230 billion (US$28.75 billion)
  • Fujian: 120 billion (US$15 billion)
  • Heilongjiang: 150 billion (US$18.75 billion)
  • Henan: 87 billion (US$10.9 billion)
  • Hubei: 79 billion (US$9.9 billion)

Risks in the Financial System

According to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in case of a financial crisis or political unrest, China’s financial institutions could only handle 5 to 7 percent of the total withdrawal requests in the large and mid-size cities.

Translated by CHINASCOPE from http://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2006/06/200606130037.shtml

L·n YÈ: The Analects by Confucius

Chinese traditional culture, art, and philosophy encompass many forms. The Analects by Confucius contain much wisdom, folklore, guidelines for daily living, and encouragement to practice virtue and good citizenship.

The literal meaning of the term analects is "discussion over Confucius’ words." The Analects continue to influence Asian thought and values even today. There has even been a recent attempt to reintroduce Confucian learning in public schools.

Traditional accounts tell us that Confucius wrote these words over a period of 30-50 years, during the Spring and Autumn Period through the Warring States era, approximately 479 B.C. and 221 B.C. The exact publication date cannot be pinpointed. It is even quite likely that disciples of Confucius later wrote down their master’s thoughts and their own thoughts about him. That might account for the chapters in the book not being arranged to contain a continuous stream of thoughts or ideas. It seems the chapters are completely random. Adjacent chapters are unrelated to each other, and vital ideas recur repeatedly in various chapters throughout the book, leading many scholars to believe the book was penned by more than one individual-a collective effort, much like the compilation of the Christian Bible (written many years after Jesus’ death) and the Greek classic Plato’s Republic. One of Confucius’ most renowned students, Zhengzi, urged his followers to function as final editors of the analects.

By the time of the Han Dynasty three analects versions were popular-the Lu, Qi, and Ancient Text Analects. The two former works were quite similar, but the Ancient Text Analects featured two additional chapters. Except for the latter, all three versions shared 20 chapters. The version that survives and is the most popular today is known as the Marquis Zhang Analects.

Confucius lived during an era where warrior-based, personality-based societies were unraveling. Evident then was a society based on mediation and more direct access to the ruler. Extreme ethics of loyalty to one’s superiors and paternal care for inferiors was fading somewhat. Manners and proscribed rituals were losing some of their luster as well. Nevertheless, The Analects continued to foster Confucian values, including propriety, righteousness, learning, filial piety and loyalty—all attributes based on Confucius’ concept of humanity. A traditional Chinese scholar was not considered his worth of learning if he did not practice moral fortitude, and he was considered completely unenlightened unless he had studied Confucius’ works. Anyone seeking employment in those days had to pass the imperial examinations, begun during the Jin Dynasty. These exams were abolished with the founding of the Republic of China.

The book’s tenth chapter details instructions for proper conduct in daily living, applicable for all to this day.

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