Changing China

Giant on the move

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That’s right, Grandpa Wen!!


China’s propaganda machine and Internet are once again agog over Premier Wen Jiabao, whose public comforting of Chinese earthquake victims last year cemented his reputation for having a common touch.

China’s Communist Party rarely admits mistakes, but Wen got kudos for facing up to his.

Wen, a trained geologist, mixed up his rock types while giving feedback to a Beijing middle school teacher, who had failed to encourage a student while Wen was sitting in on some classes this weekend.

Xinhua included the mistake when quoting his remarks.

Wen corrected the error and issued a public apology via Xinhua — giving new meaning to the term “official correction.”

Grandpa Wen, so happy to see you!


North Korea knows how to put on a show for honoured guests. Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was this week treated to a special performance of the “Arirang” mass games, the world’s biggest choreographed extravaganza with as many as 100,000 participants.

Part circus act, part rhythmic gymnastics, the display features dancing girls, goose-stepping soldiers and a massive flip-card section animated by ranks of performers, which this time included one-off Chinese messages added for Wen.

from India Insight:

India, China take a measure of each other at border row talks

China and India are sitting down for another round of talks this week on their unsettled border, a nearly 50-year festering row that in recent months seems to have gotten worse.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan are unlikely to announce any agreement on the 3,500 km border, even a small one, but their talks this week may well signal how they intend to move forward on a relationship marked by a  deep, deep "trust deficit", as former Indian intelligence chief B. Raman puts it.

Runaway success of China’s parliament


   By Emma Graham-Harrison

   Even US President Barack Obama on his post-election high could only dream of popularity like this. Delegates streaming out of the opening session of China’s Parliament on Thursday morning were pretty much unanimous in praising their leaders’ talent and inspiration.
    “The government has very good policies.”
    “The Premier’s policies were right on the mark.”
    “They laid out all the policies we will need.”
    This is just a sampling of the glowing reviews Premier Wen Jiabao got for his annual report to Parliament, which he reads out word-for-exact-printed word for more than two hours.
    Delegates are supposed to follow on their own copies, although many of them appear to
nod off — maybe into dreams of the “harmonious society,” which the Chinese Communist Party is trying to build.
    The only delegate who told Reuters he wasn’t entranced didn’t blame the premier either.
    “Actually my Chinese isn’t so good so I find it a bit boring,” said a Tibetan “living Buddha”, sipping tea outside the main hall in monks’ robes that photographers swarmed to snap.
    But many of the thousands of “people’s representatives” crammed into the cavernous Great Hall of the People shied away from media like sensitive locals on the streets of Tibet.
    “Just call me Mr Yang. Thank you, thank you,” said one trim, middle-aged delegate who wouldn’t say who he was representing either. I had to listen back to my tape to check whether I’d
missed some dangerously seditious thoughts. But he was just quoting back from the report.
    “The most important thing for overcoming the crisis is stimumlating domestic demand, increasing investment,” he mumbled.

    The next delegate I approached picked up his pace, and when I picked up mine to match, he broke into a shuffling semi-jog across the marble floor to escape my questioning.
    I left my runaway to look for a delegate willing to do anything other than gush about the speech’s succcess, but I finally went back to the office empty-handed.

No new stimulus? Buy!


Global markets surged on Wednesday, led by the Shanghai stock market’s 6.1 percent gain, on hopes that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would announce a new stimulus on top of the 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) two-year spending plan unveiled in November.

Investors were optimistic that with a bit help from the central government, the economy could turn the corner and start to regain lost ground, heading off a rise in unemployment that officials fear could threaten social stability.