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from Breakingviews:

China’s Hong Kong experiment faces biggest trial

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s experiment with Hong Kong is facing its biggest trial. The former British colony has mostly thrived in the 17 years since it was handed back to the People’s Republic. But a planned “Occupy Central” democracy protest is about to test Hong Kong’s openness – and China’s patience.

Hong Kong has defied the gloomy predictions of its demise that greeted the 1997 handover. Despite competition from Singapore and Shanghai, it has become a stronger financial and commercial centre. The authorities in Beijing have mostly respected Hong Kong’s special status, which former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping summarised as “one country, two systems”. Many citizens who decamped to Canada or Australia before 1997 have returned.

Yet tensions are rising. Economic success has brought inequality, while ultra-low interest rates – the result of Hong Kong’s currency peg to the U.S. dollar – have pushed up property prices. The cost of the average apartment has doubled in five years. Regulatory demands that buyers put down a large lump sum before qualifying for a mortgage have made owning a home an even more remote prospect for many citizens.

from Breakingviews:

China’s vanishing metals corrode confidence

By John Foley 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Faith in metal-backed lending in China is corroding – and so is confidence in the country’s giant credit system. Authorities and banks including Standard Chartered and CITIC are investigating whether traders at Qingdao port used the same lot of copper and aluminium to back multiple loans. Vanishing collateral isn’t a new problem, but could prove to be China’s weakest link.

from Breakingviews:

China hits bump on road to financial acceptance

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s quest for financial respectability has hit a road bump. After a two-month review, MSCI has decided against including mainland-listed shares in its widely-followed emerging market index. Recent stock market reforms may help China fare better next time. Yet for all its growth, the country’s restricted capital flows are an obstacle to joining the global financial community.

from Breakingviews:

China’s mini-stimulus verges on micro-management

By John Foley

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Fine-tuning and micro-management are close cousins. China’s central bank is tending toward the latter. The latest policy tweak will let some banks lend more to the rural sector, and fits a wider regulatory trend of selective easing. But it adds needless complexity, and takes China further from its stated goal of being more market-driven.

from Photographers' Blog:

Life on a leash

Daohui village, China

By William Hong

Every morning, as soon as Xie Juntu wakes up, he ties his grandson to a pillar. His aim, however, is not to torture the boy but to keep him safe and save the family from bankruptcy.

When I met him in the remote Chinese village of Daohui, Juntu’s grandson Guobiao looked like any other normal 11-year-old. The only difference was the rope that prevented him moving more than a few steps away from the place where he had been tied.

from Breakingviews:

China-U.S. cyber spat risks corporate casualties

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s security spat with the United States risks corporate casualties on both sides. The People’s Republic has responded to U.S. allegations of cyber spying by targeting American tech companies. A continuing dispute could lead to blocked deals in the United States and lost sales in China. Though companies can try to ease concerns, it’s hard for them to escape a political escalation.

from Breakingviews:

Review: China gives Africa handy investment lesson

By Stephanie Rogan

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

In the last decade nearly a million Chinese citizens have taken up residence in Africa. In his vivid new book, “China’s Second Continent,” Howard French tells stories of these migrants and the Africans whose lives they affect. The book weaves anecdotes and interviews with historical and geopolitical background to tell a larger tale of the PRC’s economic engagement in the continent. The result is an unflattering portrait of China’s involvement.

from Breakingviews:

Jack Ma soccer buy does Alibaba investors a favour

By Peter Thal Larsen 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Jack Ma’s decision to buy half of China’s most popular soccer club has done prospective investors in Alibaba a favour. The $192 million investment in Guangzhou Evergrande which the internet giant’s founder hatched over a drinking session this week won’t affect Alibaba’s value when it goes public later this year. But it offers a priceless insight into how the company works.

from Breakingviews:

Chinese hiccup temporarily deflates dairy bubble

By Ethan Bilby 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The world’s biggest milk importer is taking a break from its dairy diet. The price of milk-related products tracked by auction platform GlobalDairyTrade has fallen 25 percent since January. Though the decline is partly due to improving supply, demand from voracious buyer China has also fallen. That lull is unlikely to last.

from Photographers' Blog:

Living on e-waste

Dongxiaokou village, China

By Kim Kyung-Hoon

Dongxiaokou village lies just on the outskirts of Beijing, but a trip there does not really offer a pleasant escape from the city centre. For Dongxiaokou is no ordinary village: it is a hub for rubbish.

A waste recycle worker looks around a broken piano which he recently picked up from the street at the yard of his tenement house at Dongxiaokou village in Beijing May 14, 2014. This village is known as Beijing's biggest site for the disposal and recycling of electronic waste and it has been the home of E-waste collectors and recyclers for a decade.    REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA)

For years, the area has been home to people who make their living by collecting and recycling electrical and electronic waste – from abandoned air-conditioners to fridges and TV sets. Several hundred families work to gather this “e-waste” from people in wealthy, downtown Beijing.

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