Wednesday, December 30, 2009

143) China and climate change

Climate change after Copenhagen
China's thing about numbers

The Economist, December 30th 2009

How an emerging superpower dragged its feet, then dictated terms, at a draining diplomatic marathon

AMID the alphabet soup and baffling procedures of last month’s climate-change conference in Copenhagen, it was easy to forget the overall aim: to move from a world in which carbon dioxide emissions are rising to one in which they are falling, fast enough to make a difference.

How fast is enough? A fair measure is carbon and other greenhouse emissions in 2050; if by that date they are only half their 1990 level, most people agree, then things would be on the right track. Another widely accepted calculation: if developing countries are to grow a bit between now and then, rich countries would need to slash emissions to a level at least 80% below what they were in 1990.
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Many prosperous states have duly accepted that target; and in recent years the expression “80% by 2050” has become a familiar, if optimistic, touchstone for discussions about climate change—both in the rich world and among most other parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

When drafts of a last-ditch agreement began circulating on December 18th, which should have been the meeting’s final day, the “80% by 2050” formula was still in place. But, hours later, it vanished. By this stage, efforts to find consensus among almost 200 delegations had given way to bargaining sessions among smallish groups of countries behind closed doors. When the fruits of that back-room trading were presented to the world by Barack Obama, the numbers were conspicuous by their absence.

So too were a number of other conditions that Europeans and others would have liked, such as a date for peak emissions. “Why?”, a cluster of journalists asked Lars-Erik Liljelund, the Swedish government’s point man on climate, in the early hours of Saturday December 19th. Why would a pledge that applied only to rich nations, and to which all those nations seemed to agree, have vanished from the final document? After maybe ten seconds of what-can-I-say silence came the flat reply: “China don’t like numbers.”

This is not entirely true. President Wen Jiabao’s speech to the conference that morning included a lot of numbers. There had been 51% growth in China’s renewable-energy output over the three years to 2008; China had planted 20m hectares of forests between 2003 and 2008; developed countries had produced 80% of emissions over the past 200 years; and so on. The numbers that China had resisted were those that could be read in any way as commitments. It had insisted on stripping all figures, even ones that did not apply to China, out of the text that finally became the Copenhagen accord.

In their zeal to avoid being pinned down, the Chinese went further. They secured the removal of language contained in early drafts that spoke of a Copenhagen deal as a step on the road to a legally binding treaty. As the world’s largest emitter (without which any agreement is dead), China was in a strong position, and it took full advantage.

Such was the messy denouement of ten days of largely fruitless UN-guided negotiations, in which China did nothing to push things along. Indeed, some suspected China of doing something worse than just folding its arms. The atmosphere was poisoned, early in the meeting, by the leaking of a draft (one of several texts circulated by the Danish chair) that favoured the rich world; various parties thought the Chinese were the leakers.

On the final day, tension rose when President Obama was obliged to conduct negotiations with comparatively junior Chinese delegates. At one point, Mr Obama expected to meet his Chinese opposite number one-on-one but instead found himself with the leaders of South Africa, Brazil and India as well.

All that said, China also gave some ground. It satisfied the Americans on one sticking-point: the principle of “monitoring, reporting and verification” of actions promised by developing countries. Unless China, in particular, can be shown to live up to its promises, it will be very difficult to get a climate bill through America’s Senate. To Mr Obama’s relief, the accord allows for an international role in such monitoring, which China and India had been resisting. This is not just an academic point; China has pledged a reduction, of between 40% and 45% by 2020, in the level of its “carbon intensity”—the amount of carbon emitted in proportion to output. It is hard to tell how big a change the Chinese promise represents from business as usual; but it has an impressive ring.

Among the accord’s other features were a new system for recording pledges on emission reduction and other actions; a review of those commitments, due in 2015; and an as yet undefined mechanism for North-South technology transfer. And there is money on the table: an initial promise of $10 billion a year, for three years, from developed countries to help poorer states mitigate climate change and adapt to it. Some of this money will go to towards implementing a “REDD-plus” deal on deforestation, an issue on which real progress was made. Part of the rich-to-poor transfers will flow through a “Copenhagen Green Climate Fund”, which some poor countries prefer to the World Bank.

The process will, in theory, accelerate. Rich countries vowed to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020 for more ambitious adaptation-and-mitigation projects in the poor world. The UN is supposed to set up a “high-level panel” to work out the details of who gets what. Maddeningly vague? Almost everybody admitted that the deal was not nearly as ambitious as they would have liked. According to most climate models, the commitments made in Copenhagen fall a long way short of what would be needed to keep global warming to 2°C.

Still, it was widely held to be better than nothing—though, in the final moments, nothing nearly triumphed. On the evening of December 18th heads of state claimed victory as they drove off to the airport; but their offstage bargains were unlikely to make much difference without a nod, at least, from the whole meeting. So the bigwigs left it to more junior negotiators to present the result of their horse-trading to the world’s grumpy, exhausted delegates.

When it was introduced to a conference plenary in the small hours of Saturday morning, a few countries—notably Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua—tried to thwart any such benediction. They insisted that, as it had not been drafted by any official procedure, the deal struck by hand-picked leaders was just a “miscellaneous document” of no practical consequence. The accord would throw Africa “into the furnace”, added Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping of Sudan, who spoke for the “G77 plus China” group of developing nations, and compared the rich countries’ heartlessness to Hitler’s genocide.

Such rhetoric proved self-defeating; more passion was expended on countering it than could be mustered for the accord itself. “I call on my brother from Sudan to rethink his conclusions and get hold of his emotions,” said Dessima Williams of Grenada, representative of the Alliance of Small Island States, as she accepted a deal that fell far short of the islanders’ hopes. After more than three hours of back and forth, the British energy and climate-change minister, Ed Miliband, called for an adjournment just as Lars Lokke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, who was chairing the session, seemed to be accepting that the accord would founder.

Only after more hours of back-room wrangling did a restarted plenary, with a new chair, get the accord adopted after a fashion. Thanks to rapid gavelling, the world’s delegates found they had decided to “take note” of the leaders’ agreement—a formula that was held both to permit the deal to come into effect and to allow some nations to renounce it. A bid to reinsert the notion of a future binding treaty was firmly quashed by China, India and Saudi Arabia. The next step is for the nations signing up to the accord to do so, and to affix to it any commitments they are making, which is due to happen by February 1st.

At that point, it appears, various steps to implement the accord and distribute the money that it speaks of can begin. How that implementation will fit into the ongoing UN talks—the next full conference will be in Mexico on November 29th—is, as yet, unclear. Equally uncertain is the degree to which it can breathe new life into market mechanisms for helping poor countries, and how the promised verification regime will actually build trust.

At some stage documents with numbers, and even long-term aspirations, will become necessary again, and the nation that invented the abacus will have to overcome its aversion to arithmetic.

142) Harsh justice in China: The Economist

Harsh justice in China
Don't mess with us

The Economist, December 30th 2009

No forgiveness; no quarter. Happy Christmas

A SEASON of good cheer in much of the world, late December saw a typically harsh apportionment of justice by China’s legal system, and a typically rigid display of governmental indifference to foreign opinion. On Christmas Day a Beijing court sentenced Liu Xiaobo, a veteran human-rights activist, to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power”. China swatted away all criticism about this as groundless meddling in its internal affairs.

In a separate case that was not entirely an internal affair, China’s reaction was not much different. On December 21st Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old Briton charged with smuggling drugs, had his death sentence upheld by China’s Supreme People’s Court. Rejecting pleas for clemency from Mr Shaikh’s family, international human-rights groups, and the British government, Chinese authorities executed him by lethal injection on December 29th in the north-western region of Xinjiang, where he was first arrested in late 2007 after carrying roughly 4kg of heroin into the country.

Family members claimed Mr Shaikh suffered from bipolar disorder, and was the victim of manipulation by the drugs traffickers who, they claimed, tricked him into carrying the contraband. British officials announced news of the execution before China did. Hours after it took place China’s foreign-ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said it would brook no outside interference in the workings of its legal system, and expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to Britain’s complaints. The prime minister, Gordon Brown had said he was “appalled” and condemned the execution “in the strongest terms”. Ms Jiang said Mr Shaikh’s case was handled appropriately and all his legal rights had been honoured at trial. A day after the execution, Chinese newspapers were full of angry commentary over Britain’s attempt to intervene. Many drew comparisons to the Opium War.

Although it ended in the first known execution of a European in China since the 1950s, Mr Shaikh’s case was otherwise not unusual. According to available (and incomplete) statistics, China executed 1,700 convicts in 2008, or nearly five each day.

Neither was the harsh treatment meted out to Mr Liu unusual by Chinese standards. Criticism of the government, though always risky, is sometimes tolerated. Attempts to organise criticism, however, as Mr Liu had by helping draft a petition calling for political freedoms, are routinely met with a firm thumping. Jailed twice before for his political activities Mr Liu knew this as well as anyone. He had said he was ready to face prison again.

The document he helped write in December 2008 was called Charter 08. It soon attracted more than 300 other Chinese signatures. Its publication marked the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the year since its release, thousands more have signed it.

Charter 08 calls for sweeping changes in China’s political order, including an end to limits on free expression, political activity and religious practice. It proposes drastic reforms that would dismantle one-party rule, allow public supervision of government officials, and free the army and judiciary from Communist Party control.

Mr Liu was detained just before the release of the manifesto and held for six months before charges were lodged. His sentencing came two days after a trial lasting less than three hours. The 11-year term exceeds any other known sentence for the vague crime of “inciting subversion”. Within days of the sentencing, Chinese media published a speech by a senior security official who warned of threats to China’s social stability from “hostile forces stirring up chaos” and called for “pre-emptive attacks” against them. “In the new year, there will be no relaxation of stability preservation, and no lightening of pressure on stability,” said Yang Huanning, a deputy minister of public security.

Mr Liu won supporters on the internet, a central theatre these days in the struggle for civil liberties. The authorities are moving to tighten their control there. Besides stepping up monitoring and blocking “unsuitable” web traffic, regulators have put new restrictions on the registration and operation of websites by individuals.

The founder of a web-hosting service in Beijing says that internet servers have been unceremoniously unplugged under new rules and new standards of enforcement. “For nine years I have run a successful and legal business, and now I have suddenly been told that what I do makes me a criminal.” Worried that his company may not survive, and angry about the arbitrary changes, he will not, however, circulate a protest petition—not if he is wise, that is.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

141) Cooperacion militar Brasil-China

El eje naval entre Pekín y Brasil
Foreign Policy en Español, diciembre 2009

Desde que China compró, sin mucho secreto, varios portaaviones soviéticos viejos durante los 90 los ambiciosos planes navales de Pekín han sido objeto de ferviente especulación por parte de los analistas militares. En marzo, el ministro chino de Defensa Liang Guanglie ofreció la mayor confirmación hasta la fecha de que el gigante asiático prevé emprender un gran programa de construcción de portaaviones, al decir a su homólogo japonés: “Tenemos que desarrollar un portaaviones”. El Pentágono cree que la Marina del Ejército de Liberación Popular (MELP) podría tener bastantes buques en funcionamiento en menos de diez años, y que los costes de construcción se elevarán a miles de millones de dólares. China, que tiene escasa experiencia de aviación naval, necesitaría entrenar a sus marineros y pilotos a toda velocidad para cumplir ese calendario, y eso significa encontrar una nave que ya funcione para prepararse en ella.

Lo malo es que sólo hay cuatro países que sigan teniendo buques capaces de lanzar aviones convencionales. Estados Unidos tiene poco interés en ayudar al Ejército chino; Francia lo tiene prohibido como consecuencia de un embargo de la Unión Europea; y Rusia, en los últimos tiempos, mira con más cautela la cooperación militar con su poderoso vecino del sur. Lo cual deja a Brasil, que se ha mostrado dispuesto a dejar que los oficiales de la MELP se entrenen a bordo de su buque de 52 años, el São Paulo (que compró a Francia en el 2000). El ministro brasileño de Defensa, Nelson Jobim, dio a conocer el programa en una entrevista con una página web brasileña del sector en mayo. Aunque se desconocen los términos exactos del acuerdo, se piensa que los chinos quizá estén financiando la rehabilitación del viejo São Paulo a cambio del programa de entrenamiento. Una web naval china insinuó asimismo que tal vez China esté ayudando a Brasil a construir submarinos nucleares, y el propio Jobim dijo que confiaba en que el programa condujese a la cooperación militar en otras áreas.

EE UU es desde hace mucho tiempo la potencia naval dominante en el este de Asia, pero los buques chinos se atreven cada vez más a seguir a los estadounidenses, enfrentarse a ellos y lanzar desafíos legales contra lo que Pekín considera intromisiones ilegales en aguas chinas. Ahora que China e India están acumulando enormes recursos militares -los indios están planeando transformar un portaaviones ruso para su propio uso-, la supremacía naval estadounidense puede disminuir.

En público, la Marina estadounidense mantiene que un portaaviones chino no afectaría al equilibrio de poder militar en la región, pero el último informe anual del Pentágono sobre la capacidad militar de China advierte de que la campaña de modernización del país podría “aumentar las posibilidades de coacción militar de Pekín”.

138) Ya:n Xuetong: China nunca será "aceita no clube dos países desenvolvidos ocidentais"


Ordem mundial do futuro é bipolar
Folha de São Paulo, 28.12.2009

Para intelectual chinês, a ordem multipolar hoje em vigor já está sendo substituída por uma "situação G2", em que China e EUA serão superpotências

Em 15 anos, o mundo terá uma "situação G2", com duas superpotências, EUA e China, liderando as discussões globais, de acordo com um dos mais influentes intelectuais chineses.
Yan Xuetong, 57, é diretor do Instituto de Estudos Internacionais da Universidade Tsinghua, a segunda maior do país, onde o presidente Hu Jintao e boa parte da liderança comunista estudaram.

Para Yan, o mundo multipolar que começa a se desenhar hoje será substituído pelo G2. Ele acha que a China nunca será "aceita no clube dos países desenvolvidos ocidentais" e que deveria reforçar suas alianças com o mundo em desenvolvimento.
Diz que o país precisa investir mais em sua força militar e que a relação bilateral da China com Coreia do Norte, Mianmar ou Sudão "não vai mudar".
Yan é considerado o líder da "nova direita chinesa", o grupo de reformistas que advoga por mais abertura econômica e menos interferência do Estado. O cientista político recebeu a Folha em seu escritório na Tsinghua.

Há um mal-estar sobre o G2 como se fosse uma política dos dois países, mas não é. É um fato. Hoje é cedo para falar de G2, mas em 15 anos ou no máximo 20 teremos uma "situação G2", quando a China terá efetivamente diminuído a distância que tem entre si e os EUA em termos de poder abrangente.
Há duas possibilidades no presente, a multipolarização e a bipolarização. É muito provável que a primeira seja substituída pela segunda.
Mas, por enquanto, economicamente, militarmente e em "soft power", a China não pode competir com os EUA. Só que a crise financeira global do ano passado diminuiu essa diferença e aumentou dramaticamente o status da China.

Será muito difícil que a China seja aceita como membro do clube dos países desenvolvidos porque seu sistema político não é aceito pelo clube do Ocidente. Se a Rússia fracassou em ser aceita, duvido que a China consiga. Então a China poderia estabelecer uma parceria mais positiva com países em desenvolvimento, como Índia, Brasil, Rússia, África do Sul.
Ao contrário do clube das potências ocidentais, os emergentes não ligam tanto para a diferença nos sistemas políticos. O que os une é o estágio econômico. Os europeus achavam que estavam no centro do mundo e que deveriam servir de modelo para os outros, dividindo entre civilizados ou não. É um complexo de superioridade baseado não só em coisas materiais.

A China acerta ao fazer a cúpula com os países africanos e deveria criar cúpulas regionais, China - América Latina e China - Oriente Médio. A China também deveria estimular o uso do yuan como moeda para o comércio bilateral. Acho incrível que ainda usemos o dólar até com a Europa. A China tem dólar demais, não de menos, esse é o problema do excesso de nossas reservas internacionais. Temos de tentar diminuir esse excesso. Também deveríamos oferecer programas de treinamento militar para países em desenvolvimento.

A crise financeira teve um grande impacto na nossa política externa. A crise levantou o status da China na arena internacional, nos deixou mais confiantes e fez com que o mundo veja que nosso modelo tem vantagens. É da natureza humana achar que todo sucesso é baseado em algum modelo correto. Agora, muitos se perguntam o que vale aprender sobre a China.
A China vai colocar mais e mais fé no dinheiro, achando que o resto do mundo mudará suas atitudes em relação ao país por conta do dinheiro. Não há sociedade ou juventude que adore mais o dinheiro que os chineses.

Muito se fala se a China está se reestatizando ou não. Sei que há defensores, mas eu defendo que a economia chinesa seja mais e mais baseada e estimulada no setor privado do que nas estatais. É impossível que haja um retrocesso porque a adoração por dinheiro é a única ideologia na sociedade chinesa atual, e duvido que o governo consiga reverter isso.
O marxismo é uma teoria científica que pode explicar vários fenômenos sociais. Mas diz que a economia é a base da superestrutura da sociedade, do que discordo. Na China dos últimos 60 anos, cada grande mudança econômica aconteceu por mudança na política.

A mídia americana retratou a visita de Obama como fracasso, mas eu acho que ele atingiu seus dois objetivos principais: engajar a China na estratégia global americana e melhorar a imagem do país no mundo. Foi mais bem sucedido que [Bill] Clinton ou [George W.] Bush. Os EUA começaram com essa política de engajamento em 1996, mas ninguém chegou tão longe em um acordo.
No combate à proliferação nuclear, em meio ambiente, em economia, estamos mais unidos agora. Mas ele não conquistou coisas esperadas pela mídia americana, como fazer alguma declaração bombástica sobre direitos humanos.
Não acho que a visita de Obama tenha resultados imediatos em relação à política chinesa quanto ao Irã, nem quanto às relações bilaterais da China com Mianmar, Coreia do Norte ou Sudão.

Tanto o presidente Hu [Jintao] como o premiê Wen [Jiabao] usaram em 2003 o termo "ascensão pacífica" em discursos para se referir à China. Em 2004, o termo foi aposentado e passou-se a usar "desenvolvimento pacífico".
Acho que a razão fundamental para a mudança do termo é que a China não quer desafiar a posição dominante dos EUA. Os críticos no final dos anos 90 diziam que se a China se chamasse de poder ascendente, os EUA veriam a China como inimigo e passariam a adotar uma política de contenção.
É estúpido substituir uma palavra porque provocou suspeitas em outros. A estratégia só faz a teoria de que a China é uma ameaça mais popular e convincente.

Acho que há menos ataques e críticas à China após a crise financeira, o que é um indicador do crescimento do "soft power" da China. A China deveria dar mais ideias ao resto do mundo, em vez de ficar reforçando as ideias que já circulam por aí.
Precisamos convidar mais autoridades, acadêmicos, empresários e artistas de todo o mundo para cá, organizar conferências internacionais para ver o que acontece neste país com seus olhos.

Sou contrário à ideia da China enviar tropas ao Afeganistão. Já que a Otan não conseguiu vencer essa guerra em oito anos, eles têm uma chance muito remota de vencê-la no prazo anunciado pelo governo Obama. Se a Otan está condenada a fracassar lá, seria irracional para a China se unir a um time que está perdendo.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

137) North Korea: China is bringing capitalism to a totalitarian State

In N. Korea, a strong movement recoils at Kim Jong Il's attempt to limit wealth
By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, December 27, 2009; A16

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il moved early this month to wipe out much of the wealth earned in the past decade in his country's private markets. As part of a surprise currency revaluation, the government sharply restricted the amount of old bills that could be traded for new and made it illegal for citizens to have more than $40 worth of local currency.

It was an unexplained decision -- the kind of command that for more than six decades has been obeyed without question in North Korea. But this time, in a highly unusual challenge to Kim's near-absolute authority, the markets and the people who depend on them pushed back.

Grass-roots anger and a reported riot in an eastern coastal city pressured the government to amend its confiscatory policy. Exchange limits have been eased, allowing individuals to possess more cash.

The currency episode reveals new constraints on Kim's power and may signal a fundamental change in the operation of what is often called the world's most repressive state. The change is driven by private markets that now feed and employ half the country's 23.5 million people, and appear to have grown too big and too important to be crushed, even by a leader who loathes them.

The currency episode seems far from over, and there have been indications that Kim still has the stomach for using deadly force.

There have been public executions and reinforcements have been dispatched to the Chinese border to stop possible mass defections, according to reports in Seoul-based newspapers and aid groups with informants in the North.

Still, analysts say there has also been evidence of unexpected shifts in the limits of Kim's authority.

"The private markets have created a new power elite," said Koh Yu-whan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul. "They pay bribes to bureaucrats in Kim's government, and they are a threat that is not going away."
The third generation

The threat comes at a time of transition in North Korea. Kim Jong Il, 67, suffered a stroke last year. While he appears to have recovered, at least enough to maintain control, he has begun a murky process of handing power over to a third generation, in the person of his youngest son, Kim Jong Eun, 26.

The Kim family dynasty built and presides over a totalitarian state that has lasted more than six decades, far longer than its mentors, Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China. It is the only such state to have survived the death of the leader around whom a cult of personality had been built. Kim Jong Il assumed power in 1994, after the death of his father, Kim Il Sung, the state's founding dictator.

It was an exceedingly bumpy transition: Famine killed a million people, the state-run economy imploded and private markets began an inexorable spread across the country. Still, it was a transition that had been in the works for more than a decade and was elaborately rolled out to the North Korean people, unlike the current succession.

"It would seem to an outsider that much less care has been taken to ensure a smooth dynastic transition this time around," said Nicholas Eberstadt, author of several books on North Korea.

Analysts in South Korea and the United States say there is little evidence that Kim Jong Eun has been groomed for power -- or that he is equipped to deal with the regime-rotting challenge presented by the growth of private markets and the rise of a bribe-paying entrepreneurial class.

In the view of several outside experts, this month's currency revaluation was a preemptive strike against the markets by Kim Jong Il, an aging leader who is worried about succession and trying to buy time.

"This was one of the strongest measures he could take," said Cho Young-key, a professor of North Korea studies at Korea University in Seoul. "Kim is thinking that if he can't control the markets now, in the future it will get even harder, and then he will be handing power to the son."

Stripping wealth from merchants is consistent with Kim Jong Il's long-held abhorrence of capitalist reform. His government regards it as "honey-coated poison" that can lead to regime change and catastrophe, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the party newspaper in Pyongyang.

"It is important to decisively frustrate capitalist and non-socialist elements in their bud," said the newspaper.
Closing the marketplace

Kim's government in the past two years has closed some large markets, shifted Chinese-made goods to state-run shops and ordered that only middle-aged and older women can sell goods in open-air markets, to try to limit the number of North Koreans who abandon government jobs for the private sector.

But capitalism seems to have already taken root. U.N. officials estimate that half the calories consumed in North Korea come from food bought in private markets, and that nearly 80 percent of household income derives from buying and selling in the markets, according to a study last year in the Seoul Journal of Economics.

Private markets are flooding the country with electronics from China and elsewhere.

Cheap radios, televisions, MP3 devices, DVD players, video cameras and cellphones are seeping into a semi-feudal society, where a trusted elite lives in the capital Pyongyang. Surrounding the elite is a suspect peasantry that is poor, stunted by hunger and spied upon by layers of state security.

In the past year, the elites in Pyongyang have been granted authorized access to mobile phones -- the number is soon expected to reach 120,000. In the border regions with China, unauthorized mobile phone use has also increased among the trading classes. And unlike most of the mobile phones in Pyongyang, the illegal phones are set up to make international calls.

Chinese telecom companies have built relay towers near the border, providing strong mobile signals in many nearby North Korean towns, according to the Chosun Ilbo, a Seoul-based daily.

Those phones have become a new source of real-time reporting to the outside world on events inside North Korea, as networks of informants call in news to Web sites such as the Seoul-based Daily NK and the Buddhist aid group Good Friends.

Good Friends reported last week that security forces in the northeastern town city of Chongjin executed a citizen after he burned a large pile of old currency. He was apparently worried that police enforcing currency laws would investigate him to find out how he had gotten rich, the group said.

Affordable electronics are also cracking open the government's decades-old seal on incoming information. Imported radios -- and televisions in border areas -- are enabling a substantial proportion of the North Korean populations to tune in to Chinese and South Korean stations, as well as to Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, according to an unpublished survey of newly arrived defectors in South Korea. It found that two-thirds of them listened regularly to foreign broadcasts.

Special correspondent June Lee contributed to this report.

136) A China em 1921, por um diplomata brasileiro

A matéria abaixo, retirada de um jornal brasileiro (na verdade carioca) não identificado, com data de 4 de abril de 1921, foi retirada dos arquivos de Maria José Pinheiro de Vasconcellos, a primeira mulher a ingressar na carreira diplomática (em 1918, e que figura na foto, atrás de uma criança), conservados pela sua família e descendentes, e gentilmente cedida pela pesquisadora e graduanda em Direito do Rio de Janeiro Glauciane Carvalho de Oliveira, que me fez o favor de remeter a matéria, sabedora de meu interesse pela China.
Transcrevo aqui a matéria escrita (na ortografia original), com a reprodução da foto acima.

A Republica Chineza vista por um diplomata
O progresso do ex-Celeste Imperio

A grande fome do nordeste
Palavras do Dr. Salgado Santos

Encontra-se presentemente nesta capital, vindo pelo "Deseado", o joven diplomata brazileiro Dr. Labianno Salgado dos Santos, até ha pouco secretario da nossa legação em Pekim, de onde acaba de ser removido para a de Buenos Aires.
O Dr. Salgado dos Santos, que teve carinhosa recepção por parte de seus muitos amigos, vem da grande Republica Chineza, o paiz original de Confucio, que ao mesmo tempo com os progressos ultimamente obtidos, está se tornando um grande centro de produção e de consumo.
Por isso mesmo, procuramos ouvir o distincto diplomata patricio, que promptamente accedeu ao nosso desejo, manifestando as suas impressões sobre a imensa Republica Oriental.
O Dr. Labianno, depois de historiar a sua viagem de Pekim a MArselha, no que gastou cerca de dois mezes e meio, fala-nos da China:
-- Como sabe, o progresso da China, vem se salientando ha cerca de 40 annos. Com a Republica o seu adeantamento tem-se tornado maior. O povo chinez é trabalhador e honesto, possuindo uma certa dose de energia notavel. Pekim é a cidade das tradições, é a cidade santa e querida dos chinezes; Shanghai é o porto commercial, possuindo um desenvolvimento de commercio só comparavel aos portos de Santos e Rio de Janeiro reunidos. As nossas relações commerciaes só se poderiam desenvolver com grandes vantagens para ambas as nações se houvesse uma carreira de vapores entre o nosso e aquelle paiz. Assim o nosso café poderia ser lá colocado, depois de feita, está claro, alguma propaganda. O nosso algodnao tambem poderia ter facil aceitação.
Como é sabido, a China possue mais ou menos os mesmos productos que o Brazil, embora com deficiência em alguns.
As nossas madeiras, por exemplo, poderiam tambem obter magnifica collocação.
No tempo em que estive como Encarregado de Negocios dei a melhor das minhas actividades para que o nosso paiz se tornasse cada vez mais conhecido, quer procurando constantemente os membros mais proeminentes do governo, quer frequentando a sociedade intellectual da China.
-- E o que nos diz sobre a fome que assola os chineses e de que nos falaram ultimamente os telegrammas?
-- Fome só ha no norte da China, e o motivo principal da falta de alimentação foi a secca do anno passado. Não tendo chovido no verão, não houve quasi colheita no nordeste do paiz.
Isso, entretanto, não tem importancia, não constiuindo nenhum impecilho para o desenvolvimento da grande nação, que, ora dispõe dos meios necessarios para fazer desapparecer todas as dificuldades, pequenas ou grandes, que venham prejudicar os altos interesses do paiz.
O Dr. Labianno Salgado dos Santos, encerrando a sua palestra, nos fala, com enthusiasmo, do futuro da China e do immenso desejo de que se acha possuido o povo chinez, de muito fazer pelo desenvolvimento do seu paiz, affirmando que são muito boas e que cada vez mais se estreitam as relações de amizade que sempre existiram entre o Brazil e a grande Republica do Oriente.

(p. 3)

Com meus agradecimentos, pelo envio desta matéria, a Glauciane Carvalho de Oliveira.

135) China revises up 2008 growth to 9.6 per cent

China revises up 2008 growth to 9.6 per cent
Reuters, December 25, 2009

BEIJING - China on Friday revised up its 2008 growth rate to 9.6 per cent, taking it well above the originally reported 9.0 per cent after calculating that the service sector had been more productive than previously thought.

The upward revision underscored that China was well on track to surpass Japan as the world’s second-largest economy in 2010, if not sooner, and has burnt through less energy to deliver each additional ounce of growth.

China’s economy grew at 7.7 per cent in the first three quarters of 2009 compared with the same period a year ago. Peng Zhilong of the National Bureau of Statistics said the government would likely revise up growth figures reported thus far this year.

The hidden strength found in China’s services sector was a modicum of good news for policymakers in China and abroad, who have said that promoting the development of the country’s non-tradeable sector is a key ingredient in rebalancing the global economy.

But it was still far from mission accomplished on that front.

China’s services sector accounted for 41.8 per cent of gross domestic product last year, up from the previously reported 40.1 per cent. In developed economies, services often contribute more than 70 per cent of GDP.

”China always finds it hard to get accurate statistics about the services sector, and the upward revision is not a surprise,” Zhang Xiaojing, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said. ”But we cannot say China’s economic structure is reasonable simply because of that.”

The revisions were also unlikely to have much, if any, impact on the country’s current policy stance. The government has already begun to rein in its ultra-loose pro-growth measures adopted in the face of the global financial crisis.

Mr Zhang of CASS said the overall picture of a sharp slowdown late last year and a strong recovery this year was still intact.

China’s central bank earlier this week reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to maintain an ”appropriately loose” monetary policy. The government this week also pledged to deliver the second half of its promised two-year Rmb4,000bn ($585bn) stimulus package in 2010.

Yet beneath this headline stability, Beijing has started to wind down some parts of its stimulus.

Over the past month, it has scaled back a tax exemption on property sales, increased a tax on automobile purchases, vowed to crack down on speculation in the sizzling housing market and outlined how it will more strictly control bank lending.

The revisions also showed that China has made more progress towards its goal of cutting energy intensity, or the amount of energy it uses to produce each dollar of national income.

The country used 5.2 per cent less energy per GDP unit in 2008, a bigger drop than the previously reported 4.6 per cent fall, the statistics bureau said.

The country set a goal of cutting energy intensity by 20 per cent over the five years to 2010, even as overall energy consumption continues to rise.

Originally presented as part of a drive to reduce reliance on overseas oil and gas and to curb damaging pollution, in recent years the efficiency target has also been promoted as a key part of efforts to curb growth in greenhouse emissions.

China is under pressure as the highest annual emitter of the gasses that cause global warming. It has faced a firestorm of international criticism after climate negotiations in Copenhagen ended last week with a broad, non-binding accord that fell short of hopes for a robust global agreement on how to curb emissions.

Beijing says that its emissions per capita and over the course of history are lower than those of rich nations that went through long, dirty periods of industrialisation.

The GDP and energy intensity revisions reflected the results of China’s second national economic census, completed earlier this year.

The first census, conducted in 2005, resulted in revisions to growth rates from 1993 to 2004. Mr Peng, the statistician, said China was still working on revising figures for 2005 through 2007.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

134) Uighurs: a little trade over them between China and Cambodia

China: We just gave Cambodia $1.2 billion because we're nice

Foreign Policy 22/12/09

China is denying that the $1.2 billion in aid that Vice President Xi Jinping pledged during a visit to Cambodia yesterday had anything to do with the fact that just hours earlier, the country deported 20 Uighur asylum speakers -- a move that Xi praised during the very same visit:

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman defended the deportations Tuesday, called the handling of the Uighurs an "internal affair" and said there were "no strings attached" to the aid package.

"According to my knowledge, some are suspected of criminal cases," Jiang Yu told a regularly scheduled news briefing. "Public security forces will handle the relevant outlaws. Their whereabouts, I have no information to offer you."

Friday, December 25, 2009

133) Leading China Dissident Gets 11-Year Term for Subversion

Leading China Dissident Gets 11-Year Term for Subversion
The New York Times, December 25, 2009

BEIJING — In an unequivocal rebuke to those pursuing political reforms, a Chinese court on Friday sentenced one of the country’s best-known dissidents to 11 years in prison for subversion.

Liu Xiaobo, 53, a former literature professor and a dogged critic of China’s single-party political system, was detained in December 2008 after he helped draft a petition known as Charter 08 that demanded the right to free speech, open elections and the rule of law.

The 11-page verdict, largely a restatement of his indictment, was read out Friday morning at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, said Mr. Liu’s lawyer, Shang Baojun. In addition to his prison term, Mr. Liu will be deprived of his political rights for an additional two years, a penalty that will prevent him from writing or speaking out on a wide range of issues.

“We are just extremely disappointed,” said Mr. Shang, who added that Mr. Liu intended to appeal the verdict.

Gregory May, first secretary with the U.S. Embassy who stood outside the courthouse Friday morning, called on the authorities to immediately release Mr. Liu.

“Persecution of individuals for the peaceful expression of political views is inconsistent with internationally recognized norms of human rights,” he said.

Although Mr. Liu had faced a 15-year sentence, legal experts and human rights advocates said the punishment was very harsh and was meant to send a message to others who might agitate for political reform in one of the world’s longest-running authoritarian governments.

Nicholas Bequelin, a senior Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong, described Mr. Liu as “a sacrificial lamb” and said that the Communist Party leadership was trying to intimidate its critics. The rights group called the trial “a travesty of justice.”

Mr. Bequelin and others said Mr. Liu’s prosecution for violating rights enshrined in China’s Constitution suggested a political hardening, a trend that began before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“It shows that the leadership is increasingly conservative and restrictive of basic freedoms,” Mr. Bequelin said, “and it also sends a strong message to the rest of the world that China is not really serious when it talks about human rights.”

Joshua Rosenzweig, a senior researcher at the Dui Hua Foundation, which advocates on behalf of Chinese political prisoners, said Mr. Liu’s sentence was the longest for subversion charges in more than a decade.

In 2005, Shi Tao, a journalist and poet, was convicted of leaking state secrets and given a 10-year term after he sent an internal party memo to an overseas Web site. Last year, Hu Jia, an AIDS activist and environmentalist, was imprisoned for three and a half years on charges that his Internet writings incited subversion.

Mr. Liu has been held in secret for more than a year and his lawyers were given less than two weeks to prepare their defense. The trial on Wednesday lasted two hours and was closed; his wife, Liu Xia, and more than two dozen diplomats from the United States, Canada and the European Union were barred from the courtroom.

On Thursday, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman angrily dismissed foreign criticisms of Mr. Liu’s prosecution, calling them a “gross interference of China’s internal affairs.”

This is not Mr. Liu’s first brush with China’s harsh judicial system. He spent 21 months in detention for taking part in the 1989 pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square. And in 1996, after demanding clemency for those still imprisoned for their roles in the demonstrations, he was sent to a labor camp for three years.

In addition to helping create Charter 08, Mr. Liu’s charge for “inciting subversion of state power” was based on six articles he wrote that were published on the Internet outside of China.

Released on Dec. 10, 2008, International Human Rights Day, Charter 08 garnered some 10,000 signatures before it was removed from the Web by government censors. To this day, it is virtually unknown in China.

During the brief trial on Wednesday, Mr. Liu’s lawyers rejected the prosecution’s contention that the document sought to overthrow the Communist Party. Zhang Zuhua, a former party official and political scholar who co-authored the manifesto with Mr. Liu, described the subversion charge as “absurd,” calling it “a violation of the Chinese Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.” Mr. Zhang was briefly detained last year and has since been under 24-hour surveillance by security personnel.

The state-controlled media has not covered Mr. Liu’s trial — nor has it allowed any mention of Charter 08 — but Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, published a brief item Friday that described the sentence and said the court “had strictly followed the legal procedures in this case and fully protected Liu’s litigation rights.”

News of his sentencing quickly spread via Twitter, which is blocked in China but can be accessed by those able to circumvent the so-called Great Firewall. Many of those who sent messages displayed the image of a yellow ribbon as a declaration of their sympathies. Others defiantly listed personal details about the presiding judge in the case.

At least two dozen supporters who stood outside the courthouse during Mr. Liu’s trial on Wednesday were later questioned and released.

Liu Di, a signer of Charter 08, was among a handful of people who publicly declared their desire to stand trial with Liu Xiaobo.

“For the dignity of the Constitution and the law, and for no more imprisonment of people for their independent opinions, I would prefer to share with Mr. Liu Xiaobo the same case with the same penalty,” wrote Ms. Liu, a blogger better known by her online identity, the Stainless Steel Mouse.

On Friday, officials allowed the defendant and his wife to meet for 10 minutes in a small room, although they were divided by a glass barrier. It was the third time they had seen each other since his detention last year.

“People always say they’re so inhumane,” she said of the government afterward, “so I think they just wanted to show a little humanity.”

Jonathan Ansfield contributed reporting.

132) Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years on 'subversion' charges

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo sentenced to 11 years on 'subversion' charges
By Steven Mufson
The Washington Post, Friday, December 25, 2009; A10

BEIJING -- China's leading dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday after a court found the 53-year-old literary scholar guilty of "inciting subversion to state power" through his writings and role in Charter 08, a petition advocating human rights, free speech and an end to one-party rule.

The sentencing sent a signal that the Chinese Communist Party will continue to stifle domestic political critics, especially those who seek to organize their fellow Chinese. And it provided evidence that political modernization might not go hand in hand with China's economic modernization, contrary to past predictions by Chinese dissidents, U.S. business executives, political theorists and proselytizers of the Internet age.

According to the Dui Hua Foundation, a San Francisco-based human rights group, Liu's sentence was longer than any other sentence handed down for "inciting subversion" since the charge was established in the 1997 reform of the criminal law.

"You can think democracy, you can talk democracy, but you can't do democracy," said Li Fan, director of the World and China Institute in Beijing.

Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the Open Society Institute and co-founder of, said the case "certainly seems to reflect a high level of sensitivity and very low level of tolerance."

A decade ago, she said, "there was a great deal of optimism" about village elections, plans for separating party and state functions, and talk of other political reforms. Many analysts said a more open society would yield a more open political system.

But reform initiatives have stalled, and there was little evidence of openness in the handling of Liu's case this week.

His trial, which took place at the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court, lasted less than three hours Wednesday. The judge rejected evidence the defense sought to introduce and limited the speaking time of Liu's attorneys to 14 minutes, according to one of Liu's brothers. He said that 18 mostly young people were allowed to listen to the proceedings but that Liu's wife, Liu Xia, could not. She did attend the Friday sentencing, marking only the third time she had seen her husband since he was detained more than a year ago.

The judge also barred journalists and foreign diplomats from attending. In contrast to the 1990s, when visits by leading international envoys often brought the release of dissidents, China has ignored calls by the Obama administration and other Western governments for Liu's release.

After the sentencing, which foreign diplomats were also barred from attending, Gregory May, first secretary with the U.S. Embassy, told reporters outside the courthouse that the United States was concerned about Liu's case and would continue to push for his release.

Chinese diplomats have rejected such calls as interference in China's affairs.

Mo Shaoping, a prominent human rights lawyer, said that the success of the 2008 Olympics, the economic crisis in the West and the 60th anniversary of the communist takeover had made the Chinese government "more and more arrogant" toward international critics.

Worse yet, Mo said, the judge had violated China's procedures.

"China has solved the past problem that there were no existing laws. Now we have more than 200 laws and over a thousand regulations. We have laws that cover every aspect of social affairs," said Mo, who could not represent Liu because he also had signed Charter 08. "But the government doesn't follow those laws, not even the laws they wrote themselves."

One of Liu's brothers, Liu Xiaoxuan, said the prosecutors focused on 350 words collected from half-dozen of the 490 articles Liu wrote over a five-year period. In those excerpts, Liu Xiaobo sharply criticized the Chinese government, calling it a dictatorship that sought to use patriotism to fool people into loving the government rather than the country, the brother said.

Liu Xiaoxuan, a professor of material engineering at Guangdong University of Technology, said his brother told the court that the country's "progress can't cover up the mistakes you've made and the flaws of your institutions."

Other signatories of Charter 08 also are facing government harassment. Zhang Zuhua, primary drafter of the manifesto, is under heavy police surveillance at his home. Others have lost prize research or teaching posts.

The Communist Party has always been wary of people seeking to organize outside of officially recognized groups, whether for political or other causes. Last week, security officials formally arrested Zhao Lianhai, who was already in detention for organizing families whose babies were affected by last year's tainted-milk scandal.

Many foreign diplomats see the Christmas Day sentencing of Liu Xiaobo as timed to minimize outside attention, with the world focused on celebrations. In 2006, the Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was convicted of "subversion" three days before Christmas. In 2007, AIDS activist Hu Jia was arrested five days after Christmas.

The Charter 08 declaration was modeled on Czechoslovakia's Charter 77 drive, which eventually contributed to the end of communist rule there. Started with about 300 signatures, it has gathered thousands more online.

Among other things, Charter 08 says: "For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an 'enlightened overlord' or an 'honest official' and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy and the rule of law."

On Friday, one of the signers of Charter 08 arrived outside the courthouse where Liu was sentenced to show support for Liu.

Yang Licai, 38, said he was disappointed by the sentence, and saw it as evidence that, despite the government's declarations of a "harmonious society," Chinese still lack basic freedoms. Surrounded by plainclothes police, Yang said he did not fear arrest for being outspoken.

"Right now I am not afraid," he said. "I am willing to shoulder my responsibility."

Researcher Zhang Jie contributed to this report.

131) Chart 08 in China: a manifesto for liberty and democracy

Having posted the text of the Chart 08 in one of my blogs a year ago (see this link), I renew the post, by putting the whole text here available.
Just to refresh the memoir.

China's Charter 08

The New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 1 · January 15, 2009
Translated from the Chinese by Perry Link

The document below, signed by more than two thousand Chinese citizens, was conceived and written in conscious admiration of the founding of Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia, where, in January 1977, more than two hundred Czech and Slovak intellectuals formed a loose, informal, and open association of people...united by the will to strive individually and collectively for respect for human and civil rights in our country and throughout the world.

The Chinese document calls not for ameliorative reform of the current political system but for an end to some of its essential features, including one-party rule, and their replacement with a system based on human rights and democracy.

The prominent citizens who have signed the document are from both outside and inside the government, and include not only well-known dissidents and intellectuals, but also middle-level officials and rural leaders. They chose December 10, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the day on which to express their political ideas and to outline their vision of a constitutional, democratic China. They want Charter 08 to serve as a blueprint for fundamental political change in China in the years to come. The signers of the document will form an informal group, open-ended in size but united by a determination to promote democratization and protection of human rights in China and beyond.

Following the text is a postscript describing some of the regime's recent reactions to it.
—Perry Link

A hundred years have passed since the writing of China's first constitution. 2008 also marks the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance of the Democracy Wall in Beijing, and the tenth of China's signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy student protesters. The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

By departing from these values, the Chinese government's approach to "modernization" has proven disastrous. It has stripped people of their rights, destroyed their dignity, and corrupted normal human intercourse. So we ask: Where is China headed in the twenty-first century? Will it continue with "modernization" under authoritarian rule, or will it embrace universal human values, join the mainstream of civilized nations, and build a democratic system? There can be no avoiding these questions.

The shock of the Western impact upon China in the nineteenth century laid bare a decadent authoritarian system and marked the beginning of what is often called "the greatest changes in thousands of years" for China. A "self-strengthening movement" followed, but this aimed simply at appropriating the technology to build gunboats and other Western material objects. China's humiliating naval defeat at the hands of Japan in 1895 only confirmed the obsolescence of China's system of government. The first attempts at modern political change came with the ill-fated summer of reforms in 1898, but these were cruelly crushed by ultraconservatives at China's imperial court. With the revolution of 1911, which inaugurated Asia's first republic, the authoritarian imperial system that had lasted for centuries was finally supposed to have been laid to rest. But social conflict inside our country and external pressures were to prevent it; China fell into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms and the new republic became a fleeting dream.

The failure of both "self- strengthening" and political renovation caused many of our forebears to reflect deeply on whether a "cultural illness" was afflicting our country. This mood gave rise, during the May Fourth Movement of the late 1910s, to the championing of "science and democracy." Yet that effort, too, foundered as warlord chaos persisted and the Japanese invasion [beginning in Manchuria in 1931] brought national crisis.

Victory over Japan in 1945 offered one more chance for China to move toward modern government, but the Communist defeat of the Nationalists in the civil war thrust the nation into the abyss of totalitarianism. The "new China" that emerged in 1949 proclaimed that "the people are sovereign" but in fact set up a system in which "the Party is all-powerful." The Communist Party of China seized control of all organs of the state and all political, economic, and social resources, and, using these, has produced a long trail of human rights disasters, including, among many others, the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958–1960), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1969), the June Fourth [Tiananmen Square] Massacre (1989), and the current repression of all unauthorized religions and the suppression of the weiquan rights movement [a movement that aims to defend citizens' rights promulgated in the Chinese Constitution and to fight for human rights recognized by international conventions that the Chinese government has signed]. During all this, the Chinese people have paid a gargantuan price. Tens of millions have lost their lives, and several generations have seen their freedom, their happiness, and their human dignity cruelly trampled.

During the last two decades of the twentieth century the government policy of "Reform and Opening" gave the Chinese people relief from the pervasive poverty and totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era, and brought substantial increases in the wealth and living standards of many Chinese as well as a partial restoration of economic freedom and economic rights. Civil society began to grow, and popular calls for more rights and more political freedom have grown apace. As the ruling elite itself moved toward private ownership and the market economy, it began to shift from an outright rejection of "rights" to a partial acknowledgment of them.

In 1998 the Chinese government signed two important international human rights conventions; in 2004 it amended its constitution to include the phrase "respect and protect human rights"; and this year, 2008, it has promised to promote a "national human rights action plan." Unfortunately most of this political progress has extended no further than the paper on which it is written. The political reality, which is plain for anyone to see, is that China has many laws but no rule of law; it has a constitution but no constitutional government. The ruling elite continues to cling to its authoritarian power and fights off any move toward political change.

The stultifying results are endemic official corruption, an undermining of the rule of law, weak human rights, decay in public ethics, crony capitalism, growing inequality between the wealthy and the poor, pillage of the natural environment as well as of the human and historical environments, and the exacerbation of a long list of social conflicts, especially, in recent times, a sharpening animosity between officials and ordinary people.

As these conflicts and crises grow ever more intense, and as the ruling elite continues with impunity to crush and to strip away the rights of citizens to freedom, to property, and to the pursuit of happiness, we see the powerless in our society—the vulnerable groups, the people who have been suppressed and monitored, who have suffered cruelty and even torture, and who have had no adequate avenues for their protests, no courts to hear their pleas—becoming more militant and raising the possibility of a violent conflict of disastrous proportions. The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional.

This is a historic moment for China, and our future hangs in the balance. In reviewing the political modernization process of the past hundred years or more, we reiterate and endorse basic universal values as follows:

Freedom. Freedom is at the core of universal human values. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom in where to live, and the freedoms to strike, to demonstrate, and to protest, among others, are the forms that freedom takes. Without freedom, China will always remain far from civilized ideals.

Human rights. Human rights are not bestowed by a state. Every person is born with inherent rights to dignity and freedom. The government exists for the protection of the human rights of its citizens. The exercise of state power must be authorized by the people. The succession of political disasters in China's recent history is a direct consequence of the ruling regime's disregard for human rights.

Equality. The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every person—regardless of social station, occupation, sex, economic condition, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief—are the same as those of any other. Principles of equality before the law and equality of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights must be upheld.

Republicanism. Republicanism, which holds that power should be balanced among different branches of government and competing interests should be served, resembles the traditional Chinese political ideal of "fairness in all under heaven." It allows different interest groups and social assemblies, and people with a variety of cultures and beliefs, to exercise democratic self-government and to deliberate in order to reach peaceful resolution of public questions on a basis of equal access to government and free and fair competition.

Democracy. The most fundamental principles of democracy are that the people are sovereign and the people select their government. Democracy has these characteristics: (1) Political power begins with the people and the legitimacy of a regime derives from the people. (2) Political power is exercised through choices that the people make. (3) The holders of major official posts in government at all levels are determined through periodic competitive elections. (4) While honoring the will of the majority, the fundamental dignity, freedom, and human rights of minorities are protected. In short, democracy is a modern means for achieving government truly "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Constitutional rule. Constitutional rule is rule through a legal system and legal regulations to implement principles that are spelled out in a constitution. It means protecting the freedom and the rights of citizens, limiting and defining the scope of legitimate government power, and providing the administrative apparatus necessary to serve these ends.

Authoritarianism is in general decline throughout the world; in China, too, the era of emperors and overlords is on the way out. The time is arriving everywhere for citizens to be masters of states. For China the path that leads out of our current predicament is to divest ourselves of the authoritarian notion of reliance on an "enlightened overlord" or an "honest official" and to turn instead toward a system of liberties, democracy, and the rule of law, and toward fostering the consciousness of modern citizens who see rights as fundamental and participation as a duty. Accordingly, and in a spirit of this duty as responsible and constructive citizens, we offer the following recommendations on national governance, citizens' rights, and social development:

1. A New Constitution. We should recast our present constitution, rescinding its provisions that contradict the principle that sovereignty resides with the people and turning it into a document that genuinely guarantees human rights, authorizes the exercise of public power, and serves as the legal underpinning of China's democratization. The constitution must be the highest law in the land, beyond violation by any individual, group, or political party.

2. Separation of Powers. We should construct a modern government in which the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive power is guaranteed. We need an Administrative Law that defines the scope of government responsibility and prevents abuse of administrative power. Government should be responsible to taxpayers. Division of power between provincial governments and the central government should adhere to the principle that central powers are only those specifically granted by the constitution and all other powers belong to the local governments.

3. Legislative Democracy. Members of legislative bodies at all levels should be chosen by direct election, and legislative democracy should observe just and impartial principles.

4. An Independent Judiciary. The rule of law must be above the interests of any particular political party and judges must be independent. We need to establish a constitutional supreme court and institute procedures for constitutional review. As soon as possible, we should abolish all of the Committees on Political and Legal Affairs that now allow Communist Party officials at every level to decide politically sensitive cases in advance and out of court. We should strictly forbid the use of public offices for private purposes.

5. Public Control of Public Servants. The military should be made answerable to the national government, not to a political party, and should be made more professional. Military personnel should swear allegiance to the constitution and remain nonpartisan. Political party organizations must be prohibited in the military. All public officials including police should serve as nonpartisans, and the current practice of favoring one political party in the hiring of public servants must end.

6. Guarantee of Human Rights. There must be strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. There should be a Human Rights Committee, responsible to the highest legislative body, that will prevent the government from abusing public power in violation of human rights. A democratic and constitutional China especially must guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one should suffer illegal arrest, detention, arraignment, interrogation, or punishment. The system of "Reeducation through Labor" must be abolished.

7. Election of Public Officials. There should be a comprehensive system of democratic elections based on "one person, one vote." The direct election of administrative heads at the levels of county, city, province, and nation should be systematically implemented. The rights to hold periodic free elections and to participate in them as a citizen are inalienable.

8. Rural–Urban Equality. The two-tier household registry system must be abolished. This system favors urban residents and harms rural residents. We should establish instead a system that gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live.

9. Freedom to Form Groups. The right of citizens to form groups must be guaranteed. The current system for registering nongovernment groups, which requires a group to be "approved," should be replaced by a system in which a group simply registers itself. The formation of political parties should be governed by the constitution and the laws, which means that we must abolish the special privilege of one party to monopolize power and must guarantee principles of free and fair competition among political parties.

10. Freedom to Assemble. The constitution provides that peaceful assembly, demonstration, protest, and freedom of expression are fundamental rights of a citizen. The ruling party and the government must not be permitted to subject these to illegal interference or unconstitutional obstruction.

11. Freedom of Expression. We should make freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and academic freedom universal, thereby guaranteeing that citizens can be informed and can exercise their right of political supervision. These freedoms should be upheld by a Press Law that abolishes political restrictions on the press. The provision in the current Criminal Law that refers to "the crime of incitement to subvert state power" must be abolished. We should end the practice of viewing words as crimes.

12. Freedom of Religion. We must guarantee freedom of religion and belief, and institute a separation of religion and state. There must be no governmental interference in peaceful religious activities. We should abolish any laws, regulations, or local rules that limit or suppress the religious freedom of citizens. We should abolish the current system that requires religious groups (and their places of worship) to get official approval in advance and substitute for it a system in which registry is optional and, for those who choose to register, automatic.

13. Civic Education. In our schools we should abolish political curriculums and examinations that are designed to indoctrinate students in state ideology and to instill support for the rule of one party. We should replace them with civic education that advances universal values and citizens' rights, fosters civic consciousness, and promotes civic virtues that serve society.

14. Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

15. Financial and Tax Reform. We should establish a democratically regulated and accountable system of public finance that ensures the protection of taxpayer rights and that operates through legal procedures. We need a system by which public revenues that belong to a certain level of government—central, provincial, county or local—are controlled at that level. We need major tax reform that will abolish any unfair taxes, simplify the tax system, and spread the tax burden fairly. Government officials should not be able to raise taxes, or institute new ones, without public deliberation and the approval of a democratic assembly. We should reform the ownership system in order to encourage competition among a wider variety of market participants.

16. Social Security. We should establish a fair and adequate social security system that covers all citizens and ensures basic access to education, health care, retirement security, and employment.

17. Protection of the Environment. We need to protect the natural environment and to promote development in a way that is sustainable and responsible to our descendants and to the rest of humanity. This means insisting that the state and its officials at all levels not only do what they must do to achieve these goals, but also accept the supervision and participation of nongovernmental organizations.

18. A Federated Republic. A democratic China should seek to act as a responsible major power contributing toward peace and development in the Asian Pacific region by approaching others in a spirit of equality and fairness. In Hong Kong and Macao, we should support the freedoms that already exist. With respect to Taiwan, we should declare our commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy and then, negotiating as equals and ready to compromise, seek a formula for peaceful unification. We should approach disputes in the national-minority areas of China with an open mind, seeking ways to find a workable framework within which all ethnic and religious groups can flourish. We should aim ultimately at a federation of democratic communities of China.

19. Truth in Reconciliation. We should restore the reputations of all people, including their family members, who suffered political stigma in the political campaigns of the past or who have been labeled as criminals because of their thought, speech, or faith. The state should pay reparations to these people. All political prisoners and prisoners of conscience must be released. There should be a Truth Investigation Commission charged with finding the facts about past injustices and atrocities, determining responsibility for them, upholding justice, and, on these bases, seeking social reconciliation.

China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations that remains mired in authoritarian politics. Our political system continues to produce human rights disasters and social crises, thereby not only constricting China's own development but also limiting the progress of all of human civilization. This must change, truly it must. The democratization of Chinese politics can be put off no longer.

Accordingly, we dare to put civic spirit into practice by announcing Charter 08. We hope that our fellow citizens who feel a similar sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether they are inside the government or not, and regardless of their social status, will set aside small differences to embrace the broad goals of this citizens' movement. Together we can work for major changes in Chinese society and for the rapid establishment of a free, democratic, and constitutional country. We can bring to reality the goals and ideals that our people have incessantly been seeking for more than a hundred years, and can bring a brilliant new chapter to Chinese civilization.

—Translated from the Chinese by Perry Link

The planning and drafting of Charter 08 began in the late spring of 2008, but Chinese authorities were apparently unaware of it or unconcerned by it until several days before it was announced on December 10. On December 6, Wen Kejian, a writer who signed the charter, was detained in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China and questioned for about an hour. Police told Wen that Charter 08 was "different" from earlier dissident statements, and "a fairly grave matter." They said there would be a coordinated investigation in all cities and provinces to "root out the organizers," and they advised Wen to remove his name from the charter. Wen declined, telling the authorities that he saw the charter as a fundamental turning point in history.

Meanwhile, on December 8, in Shenzhen in the far south of China, police called on Zhao Dagong, a writer and signer of the charter, for a "chat." They told Zhao that the central authorities were concerned about the charter and asked if he was the organizer in the Shenzhen area.

Later on December 8, at 11 PM in Beijing, about twenty police entered the home of Zhang Zuhua, one of the charter's main drafters. A few of the police took Zhang with them to the local police station while the rest stayed and, as Zhang's wife watched, searched the home and confiscated books, notebooks, Zhang's passport, all four of the family's computers, and all of their cash and credit cards. (Later Zhang learned that his family's bank accounts, including those of both his and his wife's parents, had been emptied.) Meanwhile, at the police station, Zhang was detained for twelve hours, where he was questioned in detail about Charter 08 and the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders in which he is active.

It was also late on December 8 that another of the charter's signers, the literary critic and prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, was taken away by police. His telephone in Beijing went unanswered, as did e-mail and Skype messages sent to him. As of the present writing, he's believed to be in police custody, although the details of his detention are not known.

On the morning of December 9, Beijing lawyer Pu Zhiqiang was called in for a police "chat," and in the evening the physicist and philosopher Jiang Qisheng was called in as well. Both had signed the charter and were friends of the drafters. On December 10—the day the charter was formally announced—the Hangzhou police returned to the home of Wen Kejian, the writer they had questioned four days earlier. This time they were more threatening. They told Wen he would face severe punishment if he wrote about the charter or about Liu Xiaobo's detention. "Do you want three years in prison?" they asked. "Or four?"

On December 11 the journalist Gao Yu and the writer Liu Di, both well-known in Beijing, were interrogated about their signing of the Charter. The rights lawyer, Teng Biao, was approached by the police but declined, on principle, to meet with them. On December 12 and 13 there were reports of interrogations in many provinces—Shaanxi, Hunan, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, and others—of people who had seen the charter on the Internet, found that they agreed with it, and signed. With these people the police focused on two questions: "How did you get involved?" and "What do you know about the drafters and organizers?"

The Chinese authorities seem unaware of the irony of their actions. Their efforts to quash Charter 08 only serve to underscore China's failure to uphold the very principles that the charter advances. The charter calls for "free expression" but the regime says, by its actions, that it has once again denied such expression. The charter calls for freedom to form groups, but the nationwide police actions that have accompanied the charter's release have specifically aimed at blocking the formation of a group. The charter says "we should end the practice of viewing words as crimes," and the regime says (literally, to Wen Kejian) "we can send you to prison for these words." The charter calls for the rule of law and the regime sends police in the middle of the night to act outside the law; the charter says "police should serve as nonpartisans," and here the police are plainly partisan.

Charter 08 is signed only by citizens of the People's Republic of China who are living inside China. But Chinese living outside China are signing a letter of strong support for the charter. The eminent historian Yu Ying-shih, the astrophysicist Fang Lizhi, writers Ha Jin and Zheng Yi, and more than 160 others have so far signed.

On December 12, the Dalai Lama issued his own letter in support of the charter, writing that "a harmonious society can only come into being when there is trust among the people, freedom from fear, freedom of expression, rule of law, justice, and equality." He called on the Chinese government to release prisoners "who have been detained for exercising their freedom of expression."

—Perry Link, December 18, 2008

130) Politica repression in China: Chart 08 advocate is sentenced

China Steals Christmas
The trial of democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo

Editorial The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2009

Chinese leader Hu Jintao is putting Christmas to the most cynical use imaginable: jailing a prominent dissident on a holiday when most of the world's media and government workers will be preoccupied with family and friends.

While millions of Christians are commemorating the day "grace and truth" became incarnate in Bethlehem, Liu Xiaobo will be sentenced for speaking truth to communist power. This callous exploitation of Christmas should inspire freedom-loving people, whether Christian or not, to keep Mr. Liu and his family in their thoughts over the holiday.

Mr. Liu, a drafter of the Charter 08 manifesto a year ago calling for political reform, is so far the only one of more than 8,000 signatories to be arrested and tried for subversion. His trial comes in the midst of an intensifying crackdown on all forms of dissent. Mr. Liu was subjected to a two-hour "trial" yesterday—his wife, chosen lawyer and outside observers were excluded—and the verdict is due to be announced on Friday morning.

Why cite Mr. Hu, the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party, as the ultimate culprit? For one thing, we know the decision on the sentencing of a dissident of Mr. Liu's importance is made at the Politburo level. Mr. Liu has already been in detention for a year, and his indictment was rushed through in early December to make a Christmas trial possible, as has been done with other dissidents.

A U.S. State Department spokesman rightly denounced the trial yesterday, saying that "As far as we can tell, this man's crime was simply signing a piece of paper that aspires to a more open and participatory form of government." He added that such "a political trial" is "uncharacteristic of a great country." Alas, it's far too characteristic of this Chinese government that still fears its own people.


To read the Chart 08, go to this link:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

129) Libertarianism in Ancient China

O Von Mises Institute possui uma série de podcasts sobre temas econômicos.
Este trata do pensamento econômico na China antiga, nos tempos de Confucio, constituindo uma parte da história do pensamento econômico por Rothbard.

128) China is NOT a superpower (yet), according to China Daily

Claro, isto evita muita cobrança e muitas responsabilidades (diferente de certos países por aí, que pretendem ser grandes antes do tempo...)

China is far from being a superpower
China Daily, December 24, 2009

In the past few decades, China has achieved many things. But despite that it is not correct to call it a "superpower", says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

A US media tracker has listed "the rise of China" as the most read news story of this decade, more than even the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the American invasion of Iraq. An article in Forbes even refers to China as a "superpower". But China is not.

True, this year China has made progress on the economic front. When most other countries are still struggling to emerge out of the global economic crisis, China is leading the global recovery with its fantastic pace of growth. Plus, it is playing a greater role at international conferences.

But despite all that, it is not correct to call this developing nation a "superpower". With a per capita GDP of $3,000 and 150 million people, or more than 10 percent of its population, still living below the poverty line, China still has a lot to do to improve the lives of its people.

A large section of the Western media praises China's rise, but others have not been true to the point. For example, we heard a lot about the "G2 (US-China) hypothesis" during the climate change conference in Copenhagen, which implied that China should pay for the greenhouse gas emissions of the developed countries. Another idea doing the rounds has been floated by a US think tank - that China should join the US' war in Afghanistan. This certainly is a call to trouble.

More often the "superpower" notion is connected to another concept, that is, the "China threat theory". History shows that whenever some Western countries have needed China to share their burden, they have praised it to heaven so that they could use it as a tool.

People should be wary of that. China is indeed developing rapidly, but it should be careful not to fall into the "superpower" quagmire.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

127) China in Copenhagen: sticking to national interests (narrowly defined)

How China Stiffed the World in Copenhagen
John Lee
Foreign Policy, December 21, 2009

Why Beijing insists, "Don't look at our books!"

During the frantic final two days of negotiations at Copenhagen over the weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set a clever trap for Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Having just announced that the United States would establish and contribute to a $100 billion international fund by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the challenge of climate change, Clinton added a nonnegotiable proviso: All other major nations would first be required to commit their emissions reduction to a binding agreement and submit these reductions to "transparent verification." This condition was publicly reaffirmed by Obama, who argued that any agreement without verification would be "empty words on a page."

Everyone in the room knew that "all other major nations" primarily meant China. From the beginning, China has steadfastly refused to place its commitments within a binding framework or accept outside monitoring and verification of its progress toward any promised targets. But the eleventh-hour U.S. proposal immediately isolated China. The onus was now on Beijing to agree to standards of "transparent verification." If it did not, poorer countries standing to benefit from the fund would blame China for breaking the deal. Clinton's proposal had cunningly undermined Beijing's leadership over the developing bloc of countries.

Chinese officials retreated to their well-worn negotiation mantra, namely arguing that such demands were an insult to China and would be a violation of Chinese sovereignty and national interests. Wen had been outflanked and was angry, even leaving the conference center and subsequently snubbing Obama in a couple of previously planned bilateral and multinational meetings involving the U.S. president.

Which raises the question: Why such an extreme response? As Mark Twain reportedly said, there are three kinds of deceptions: lies, damned lies, and statistics. China has long been engaging in a dangerous game of manipulating important economic numbers and concealing domestic commercial realities. Despite all its progress over 30 years, Beijing is afraid to shine too bright a light in dark places, and even more afraid that outsiders might be allowed to do so. In important respects, the government actually embraces opaqueness as a perceived advantage. The thought of "transparent verification" was seen as the thin end of the wedge, allowing outside experts broad authority to peer into the workings of middle China. It would have caused Wen to feel the distinct pang of panic that guilty men feel when they realize the jig might soon be up.

For two decades, NGOs operating within China have struggled not only with wary officials in Beijing but more trenchantly with local officials for access and information. But teams of international economists, scientists, inspectors, and statisticians roaming China to gather information on carbon emissions and reduction initiatives would have been unprecedented. In promoting China, Beijing projects an image of order and competence to the world. In parts of its wealthier coastal cities, China is that. But these international teams would undoubtedly discover exactly how dysfunctional the heart of the country really is. They would see firsthand and report back how China's 45 million local officials remain the most formidable obstacle to improving transparency in China's sprawling economic structure -- protecting their turf, defending their privileges, arbitrarily enforcing the law, and when it comes to economic performance, blatantly cooking the books.

Indeed, China's economic numbers and statistics ought to be viewed as the most unreliable of any major economy in the world. For example, every quarter, China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) goes through the same ritual. Statistics come in from all over the country. The provinces take about two weeks to compile them, three times as fast as many smaller, developed economies with much more efficient processes for data collection. The NBS sorts through them, "consults" with senior government officials, applies a mysterious methodology to trim them into shape, and then spits out an annual GDP figure, always in the neighborhood of 8 percent, that is then diplomatically endorsed by organizations such as the World Bank andthe OECD.

Incredibly, provinces rarely fail to hit economic targets set for them by Beijing each quarter despite few changes in policy. Inaccuracy is also perpetuated by the fact that local officials are praised and promoted according to their capacity to meet centrally issued targets, while central officials themselves have limited means with which to verify local figures. Beijing is completely aware that these numbers are wildly inaccurate despite aggressively defending them after release. For the sake of its image and reputation, Beijing still wants to assure outsiders that it remains in charge even though in important respects it is not. It would not want a team of independent experts seeing for themselves the deception, dysfunction, and lawlessness that takes place throughout China under the watch of unaccountable local officials.

This lack of transparency strikes at the heart of China's credibility in any global climate-change agenda. Wen would not want foreign experts reporting to political masters in America and Europe that Beijing's capacity to compel local officials and locally managed, state-controlled enterprises -- some 120,000 companies and countless other subsidiaries -- to implement climate-change initiatives is extremely poor. This would simply strengthen suspicions that decentralized China cannot actually honor future commitments despite promises that it intends to.

Then there is the further problem of cheating in current and future carbon reduction schemes. Developed countries must feel confident that incentives offered to developing countries to cut emissions (in both absolute terms and emissions relative to economic growth) can be verified. Indeed, earlier this month, the U.N. body in charge of the Clean Development Mechanism, a proviso under the Kyoto Protocol allowing developed countries to purchase carbon offsets for funding "clean energy" developments elsewhere, suspended approvals for dozens of Chinese wind farms over suspicions that China had held back the building of planned wind farms and deliberately lowered previously allocated subsidies to make the wind farms eligible for funding -- industrial policies that would disqualify these farms from benefiting under the scheme. China has so far received carbon credits worth more than $1 billion, which is almost half of the total issued under the U.N.-run program.

China's government has vigorously denied that it is attempting to illegitimately manipulate the scheme. But the point is that there is no system for independent and external verification; nor is Beijing proposing to allow one. Meanwhile, China had previously pledged that up to 15 percent of its energy would come from renewable sources by 2020 and special efforts would be made to close dirty power plants, impose world-class vehicle-efficiency standards, and proposed various other measures to cut emissions. Again, developed countries suspect that China will receive plaudits and concessions from any future carbon emissions regime without actually keeping its promises.

Alas, given the desperation to announce a "deal," Obama backed down. The so-called Copenhagen Accord merely compels developing countries to self-report their emissions every two years and allow outside scrutiny of the data. China is off the hook for the moment, but whether this is enough to satisfy the U.S. Congress when deciding whether to approve any future binding agreement is another matter.

126) Sobre os interesses nacionais da China

Um texto que escrevi em 2005, após o reconhecimento pelo Brasil do estatuto da China como economia de mercado (não materializado, ainda), comentando as ilusões entretidas em certos setores quanto à suposta aliança com esse país.

66) Sobre os interesses nacionais da China
Blog Paulo Roberto de Almeida (23.12.2005)

A China: uma experiência única de crescimento econômico

A China não tem e não quer ter parceiros, estratégicos ou de qualquer outro tipo. A China é, para todos os efeitos, o seu próprio e único parceiro; ela quer continuar assim e acha que se basta a si mesma. Talvez ela tenha razão.
A China sempre foi uma nação sozinha, isolada e solitária, tanto nos contextos regional e internacional, como do ponto de vista de seu próprio desenvolvimento econômico e social, historicamente baseado num desperdício inacreditável de homens e de recursos materiais, com a elite dirigente consumindo esses fatores sem controle de ninguém e de nada, nem do próprio meio ambiente. Esse processo continua e deve continuar a ocorrer do mesmo jeito, hoje talvez até de forma ainda mais intensa, já que ela pode “mobilizar” recursos de outros países.
A China produziu, em eras passadas, algumas poucas e boas idéias, teve um mandarinato relativamente eficiente, em termos de “burocracia weberiana” e se tornou a maior economia planetária com base numa espécie de entropismo míope. Mas até o século 18, pelo menos, ela continuou a ser a maior economia planetária, não tanto pelas interações (que eram poucas), mas pela sua própria “massa atômica”. Quanto ela deixou de ter idéias, ou quando as idéias dos outros foram mais poderosas, pois que apoiadas em canhoneiras, ela foi humilhada, dominada e esquartejada. Isso feriu fundo a auto-estima e o orgulho nacionais dos chineses.
Os chineses conseguiram, depois de décadas de lutas (mais intestinas do que contra os inimigos externos, pois que ninguém consegue dominar a China), reverter a decadência e tomar novamente seu destino em mãos. Não tem a mínima importância histórica, ou estrutural, que essa retomada tenha sido feita sob o domínio do comunismo, um modo de produção absolutamente “passageiro” na história milenar da China. Com comunismo ou com o socialismo de mercado, o novo mandarinato de burocratas e de membros da nova nomenklatura trabalha para confirmar o destino secular da China, que é o de novamente se tornar a maior economia planetária e ditar suas regras para os “bárbaros” do exterior.
A China está operando essa volta a um lugar de preeminência econômica no planeta (a segurança militar é mera decorrência disso), mas os atuais imperadores e mandarins têm consciência de que ela não mais poderá fazer isso isoladamente, como ocorreu até o século 18, pois as condições do mundo mudaram. A China assumiu plenamente o conceito de interdependência econômica global, mas como ocorre com o famoso moto orwelliano, num mundo totalmente interdependente, alguns são mais interdependentes do que outros.
A China quer e vai ser interdependente à sua maneira, isto é, acomodando-se a regras às quais ela não mais pode se furtar, mas interpretando-as à sua maneira, e distorcendo-as para seu melhor conforto e segurança. Isto se aplica em quase todos os terrenos de interesse substantivo, mas especialmente às regras de comércio internacional e de investimentos estrangeiros. A China não pretende à dominação do mundo, mas ela não pretende mais que o mundo, ou seja, o círculo das superpotências, a domine mais. Isso não vai ocorrer e a China sabe que tem de conviver com as superpotências, mas não quer se submeter às regras existentes (que aliás nem são ditadas por essas superpotências, mas decorrem do processo de globalização capitalista).
A preocupação principal dos atuais imperadores e mandarins chineses é assegurar emprego (e, portanto, comida) a meio bilhão de chineses pobres, que podem, à falta de condições mínimas (mas mínimas mesmo) de existência, perturbar a paz no Império do Meio, e com isso afetar o poder e a dominação dos atuais dirigentes. Etapa importante nesse processo é transformar a China na principal fábrica planetária, aliás a única maneira de acomodar algo como 400 ou 500 milhões de chineses que precisam de emprego (e que não os terão nem na agricultura nem nos serviços).
Como ela só pode fazer isso construindo o seu próprio capitalismo manchesteriano (que certamente deixaria Engels de queixo caído), a China “precisa” destruir empregos no resto do mundo, pois essa é a única condição de sobrevivência de algumas dezenas, talvez centenas de milhões desses chineses “flutuantes”. Por coincidência, essa é também a “missão histórica” que lhe foi assignada, atualmente, pela globalização capitalista, um processo impessoal, não controlado por nenhum país ou conjunto de corporações, mas que corresponde à “lógica” do sistema atual de alocação de investimentos e de organização espacial da produção de mercadorias.
Como a China trabalha com aportes ilimitados de homens e capital (com alguma limitação em outros recursos produtivos, como os de know-how e ciência básica), ela não terá nenhuma dificuldade em manter esse ritmo alucinante de destruição de empregos em todo o resto do mundo pelas próximas duas gerações pelo menos (ou seja, pela próximo meio século). A China está ascendendo rapidamente na escala de agregação de valor, não apenas publicando exponencialmente em revistas científicas, mas passando da simples cópia e adaptação tecnológica para a inovação completa, já tendo chegado também ao design e marcas. Seu catch-up promete ser ainda mais impressionante do que o do Japão e da Coréia do Sul e provavelmente não haverá nada comparável na história econômica mundial.
Com tudo isso, a China vai agir exatamente como sempre agem os centros da economia mundial: organizando sua própria periferia de “abastecimento”, que ela espera poder controlar da forma como fazem os imperialismos modernos: não pela via extrativista, mas por redes de negócios centrados em circuitos financeiros próprios, chineses. A China vê o Brasil como o abastecedor prioritário de produtos alimentícios e de outras commodities para sua gigantesca máquina industrial. Ela também pretende inundar o Brasil (e já o está fazendo) de produtos manufaturados correntes.

O Brasil não conseguirá bater a China no terreno da indústria tradicional, isto é, aquela da segunda revolução industrial: ele será fragorosamente batido, como estão sendo todas as demais potências industriais. As indústrias brasileiras, se desejarem sobreviver no mundo manchesteriano-chinês, deverão fazer como todas as outras: avançar na concepção e desenho e mandar fabricar na China. Só assim elas conseguirão sobreviver enquanto empresas, do contrário perecerão corpos e bens. Vão-se os operários e sobram os engenheiros. Quanto mais cedo esse processo começar, tanto melhor para as empresas brasileiras candidatas à sobrevivência no mundo darwinista chinês.
Alguma renda extra será possível obter nos projetos conjuntos de fornecimento energético alternativo e nos produtos intensivos em recursos naturais, como corresponde às vocações ricardianas do Brasil. Países como o Brasil não devem alimentar grandes “planos estratégicos” em relação à China: a China fará aquilo que ela pretende fazer, segundo o seu interesse nacional, e não se deixará demover por nenhuma promessa de “aliança estratégica” ou qualquer outro arranjo que contemple interesses supostamente simétricos. Melhor fazer o que corresponde ao interesse nacional, sem esperar resposta ou gestos correspondentes de parceiros como a China.
Incidentalmente, a concessão do status de “economia de mercado” não deve alterar muito o panorama geral e seu desenvolvimento inexorável: ela só atrapalha os desejos protecionistas de alguns ramos da indústria brasileira, tendo uma incidência setorial em mercados de trabalho específicos. Talvez constitua um exercício útil do ponto de vista do cenário serial killer que virá mais adiante, quando a China for plenamente integrada ao regime gattiano normal (o que ocorrerá até 2015). A concessão desse status representou apenas uma antecipação do que ocorrerá inexoravelmente no terreno econômico. Ela obriga as empresas brasileiras a correrem um pouco mais rápido, o que talvez não seja mau, pois elas estavam se acostumando com muita proteção e nenhum desafio, desde 1995, pelo menos.

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Fortaleza, 3 de julho de 2005.