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from Breakingviews:

Wen’s stimulus medicine may not be best for China

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By Wei Gu

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

China’s economy is being driven by politics and timing. Premier Wen Jiabao said on July 10 that investment remained key to spurring growth, suggesting the possibility of stimulating the economy, as China did in 2008. No one wants to end their reign with a hard landing. But pushing more investment would make things harder for Wen’s successors, who take over early next year.

China’s economy doesn’t look in desperate need of a rescue now. Second-quarter GDP is expected to rise by 7.6 percent in the second quarter, according to analysts polled by Reuters. Anything below 8 percent may seem sluggish for Chinese leaders, who have seen average 10 percent growth during their decade at the helm. They have already cut rates twice in a month to give the economy an extra kick.

Another big fiscal stimulus might help Wen’s growth record. But that may not be in the best interest of new leaders. As in democracies, that would make it easier for them to put their own mark on the economy, and avoid disappointing. Li Keqiang, widely expected to become China’s next premier, has been talking about the need for longer-term growth drivers and structural reforms, rather than a short-term fix.

from Breakingviews:

China doesn’t need a policy U-turn

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By Wei Gu

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

The last thing China’s economy needs now is another giant stimulus package. Premier Wen Jiabao has raised investors hope for a policy U-turn by saying that growth deserves more attention. But Beijing shouldn’t panic this time. Unlike in 2008, there are no massive job losses threatening stability, and still too much money sloshing around from the last stimulus. Structural reforms are the right remedy.

from Thinking Global:

China’s political intrigue ventures west

Imagine that an American intelligence agency organizes an “exercise,” as one occasionally does, on how to manage an unwanted but inescapable Washington role in a Chinese leadership struggle. Throw in the following scene-setting facts:

    With the Chinese Communist Party confronting a decisive leadership transition, a provincial police chief takes refuge in a U.S. consulate and spills the beans on a corruption and murder story swirling around Bo Xilai, whose populist, Maoist campaign threatens the establishment. Just a week before the visit to Washington of Vice-President Xi Jianping, who is in line to become paramount leader this autumn, President Obama takes sides. Although Bo’s forces are circling the consulate, the U.S. releases the police chief to Beijing’s leaders. With that crisis solved and Chinese leaders indebted to Obama, a blind human rights activist dramatically escapes house arrest and takes refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. With Secretary Hillary Clinton arriving for a high-level Sino-U.S. summit, both sides enter crisis management mode.

It’s no wonder that the intellectual salons of Washington have grown a bit bored with the ongoing U.S. election campaign and have shifted their interest instead to Chinese domestic politics. The reasons are obvious: The details are juicier, the drama is more immediate and the historic stakes are considerably more significant.

from Breakingviews:

China reform may require a deeper crisis

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By John Foley

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

“Reform” might turn out to be this year’s most overused word in China. The country’s outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, and his likely successor Li Keqiang, have both recently spoken of the urgent need to change. Even Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily advised last month that it’s better to have imperfect reforms than a crisis caused by none at all. The trouble is that China lacks external creditors or voters to hold leaders to account and make these reforms a reality.

from Breakingviews:

Wen passes ball on China’s needed reforms

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By Wei Gu

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

Wen Jiabao didn’t throw any curveballs in his last government report as Chinese premier. Instead, his opening speech for China’s annual national parliament meeting focused on economic continuity. That gives a clear sign that big reforms will have to wait for the next generation of leaders, who take over in early 2013. By then, the cost of the necessary changes may be higher.

from Breakingviews:

China’s friendly blackmail of EU may do the trick

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

It’s no surprise that China’s pledges of support for indebted trade partners come with strings. But Premier Wen Jiabao, addressing the World Economic Forum on Sept. 14, was unusually blunt about what he expects in return: to be named by Europe as a market economy. That would cost Europe little -- but that doesn't mean it should agree.

from George Chen:

A turning point for China?

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Is the train crash tragedy becoming a turning point for China's political and economic development?

Frustrations among the Chinese public have been growing rapidly -- at least on the internet if not yet in the streets. People are particularly unhappy with the way the Ministry of Railways has dealt with the train accident, which so far has cost 39 lives.

from George Chen:

Will Beijing be Italy’s White Knight?

By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Let's talk about Italy.

Italy is about art -- Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and more names. Italy is about luxury -- Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and more brands. Italy is also about food.

But, right now, Italy is about debt -- huge national debt that is putting the entire eurozone or even the rest of the world into market panic. So, who's going to rescue Italy?

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 06 March 2011

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I do enjoy a coincidence. The week after calls for prodemocracy demonstrations under the social media tag of "Jasmine Revolution" and the week before  the National People's Congress (NPC), International journalists (and I of course include photographers under this title) are brought in by the authorities for "chat". During the "chat" they are reminded of the terms of their journalist visas and how quickly these visas can be revoked if the rules are broken on illegal reporting. Also outlined are places that special permission is needed to report from, Tiananmen Square heading the list. Our picture of a member of the PLA leaving the Great Hall in Tiananmen Square appearing to almost step on the photographer with this low angle picture, as I said I do love a coincidence.

CHINA-DEFENCE/

A military delegate from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) leaves the Great Hall of the People after a meeting during the annual session of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, in Beijing March 4, 2011. China said on Friday that its official military budget for 2011 will rise 12.7 percent over last year, returning to the double-digit rises that have stoked regional disquiet about Beijing's expanding strength. REUTERS

from George Chen:

Why property prices in China won’t fall

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By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.

Let’s face it -- it appears there is only upside for property prices in China.

Chinese officials from Premier Wen Jiabao on down to small city mayors have been telling the public they will try their best to keep property prices under control and have indeed done much in the past 12 months via tightening monetary policy and government restrictions on property purchases. The result? Unfortunately, the more they talk, the more disappointed Chinese people feel.

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