Opinion

The Great Debate

China’s Web filtering starts in the West

Eric Auchard– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

The Chinese government has backed away from mandating filtering software on all personal computers in China, in a move that averts a dangerous escalation in its censorship powers.

But however controversial and unworkable China’s plan to require Internet filters on PCs proved to be, Western firms have largely themselves to blame for creating and selling such filters in the first place.

The danger rears its head whenever technology created to solve some specific security problem is put to new and unintended use, not just in repressive regimes like China, Iran or Saudi Arabia, but professed freedom-loving countries in Europe or the USA.

“What is good and what is evil?” asks Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish anti-virus software company F-Secure Corp. “It is really a very basic problem that security people face.”

Bet on small firms to lead China global foray

Wei Gu–Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own–

Chairman Mao used to say the truth is always kept by the minority.

A little-known private Chinese machinery company’s bid for a GM marque has been sneered at by even the patriotic Chinese media, but the deal could succeed where mightier plays like Chinalco’s for Rio Tinto have failed.

True that private sector firms face an uphill battle in China against more dominant state-backed firms, but it seems like double standards when Western observers, who extol the virtues of the private sector taking the driver’s seat, praise Chinalco’s deal but dismiss Tengzhong’s bid for Hummer.

Chinese media’s disapproval of Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery’s move has tempered concerns about technology and job transfers to China, as well as questions whether China’s military was behind the bid.

This time, CIC raises Morgan Stanley stake

Wei Gu– Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

America may have fallen out of love with Wall Street, but China hasn’t. That’s one way to read CIC’s just-announced $1.2 billion investment in Morgan Stanley — funds that allow the investment bank to repay Tarp money to the U.S. Treasury.

This looks to be an aggressive vote of confidence in the beating heart of U.S. financial capitalism.

China’s U.S. debt overhang needs Chinese cure

Wei Gu — Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own. —

When U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told students at Peking University that China’s holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds were safe, his answer drew loud laughter from the audience.

Even economist and columnist Paul Krugman, who is often critical of U.S. economic policy, found himself defending America when he was repeatedly asked the same questions in China recently: Will you (U.S.) underwrite the value of China’s holdings of U.S. government debt? Will you be prepared to pay a much higher rate of interest against the risk of high inflation and dollar depreciation?

The ugly attraction of fast shrinking Japan

James Saft Great Debate – James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Sure, seeing your economy shrink at a 15 percent annual clip is depressing, quite literally, but if you believe in even a tepid global economic recovery in the second half, then Japan is actually attractive.

There is no way to sugar coat the first quarter Japanese gross domestic product figures released on Wednesday: they are breathtakingly bad viewed from virtually any angle.

Time for China to act on foreign listings

wei_gu_debate– Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

China has talked about plans to allow foreign companies to float on its domestic stock markets for at least a decade, but that’s all there has been: talk.

Now would be a good time to convert some of that talk into action. Beijing has been struggling with its own investment strategies: the state gets feeble returns on the U.S. Treasury bonds it owns, and its equity stakes in foreign financial firms are well under water.

Lessons from Jack Kemp

 Diana Furchtgott-Roth – Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The views expressed are her own. —

Jack Kemp, who died on May 2 at the age of 73, lived the American dream as the football star who was elected to the House of Representatives. He had the vision to translate his intellectual ideas into the practical tax cuts, housing vouchers, and enterprise zones that sparked not only the Reagan revolution in America but also similar economic revolutions in many countries around the globe.

Jack Kemp spent his life as a champion of the little guy, the forgotten man, the person left behind in a world too busy to care. It is easy to look to other way and ignore the cries of the weak and the helpless. Jack Kemp could have done that. But Jack Kemp always stopped to listen. And when he listened, he stood up for the downtrodden.

Don’t rush the Chinese to become big spenders

wei_gu_debate Wei Gu is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own –

As the financial crisis forces American consumers to curb their shopping binges, the world starts to realize that China’s high savings level has some upsides, marking Chinese consumption as the most resilient in the world.

Beijing has to, however, be careful in how far it goes to encourage domestic spending to help the economy ride the global downturn. Credit-driven booms and consequent busts from the United States to South Korea are pointers to the need for caution.

About 75 percent of Chinese consumers plan to maintain or increase spending in the next 12 months, while almost 60 percent in the United States and the European Union expect to reduce spending, a recent Boston Consulting Group survey found.

What Asia needs from the G20 meeting

stanchartJaspal Bindra is Chief Executive, Asia, for Standard Chartered Bank. The views expressed are his own.

Asia has come of age. When leaders from the Group of 20 nations converge in London, Asia’s rising powers – China, India,  Korea and Indonesia – will be sitting at the global high table to decide on ways to reshape the world’s financial and economic order.

There are expectations that the meeting will include concrete steps to revive economic growth, a boost in funding for the International Monetary Fund, and an understanding on the new financial architecture to restore trust in the financial system.

World stuck with the dollar, more’s the pity

jimsaftcolumn5– James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The dollar is, and will remain, the U.S.’s currency and its own and everyone else’s problem.

The idea of creating a global currency, as espoused by China earlier this week, is interesting, has a certain amount of merit and is simply not going to happen any time soon.

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