Thursday, October 28, 2010

Asia: publications on economic growth and transformation

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010
Books, Periodicals, Studies, and Reports
On-line edition: Free of Charge
Hardcopy price: US$75.00
ISSN: 0116-3000
Paperback (Pub. Date: 2010)


The Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010 is the flagship annual statistical data book of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It presents the latest available economic, financial, social, environmental, and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators for regional members of ADB. Data are grouped under MDG and Regional Tables. Nontechnical explanations and brief analyses of the MDG achievements and economic, financial, social, and environmental developments are included. The regional tables are largely based on a comprehensive set of country tables. The country tables are not available in printed form but are available in CD-ROM and through ADB’s website. The special chapter in Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2010 “The Rise of Asia’s Middle Class” looks at the growth and impacts of the region’s rapidly expanding middle class, and resulting economic and policy implications.

The Key Indicators 2010 is divided into the following parts:

Part I: A special chapter on “The Rise of Asia’s Middle Class”
Part II: Millennium Development Goals
Part III: Regional Tables
Part IV: Definitions
Country tables, available only in CD-ROM and through ADB’s website at,
carry a 20-year time-series of data on:
price indexes
international reserves
labor force
money and banking
exchange rates
national accounts
government finance
external indebtedness
external trade
balance of payments


Asian Development Outlook 2010 Update: The Future of Growth in Asia

Foreword, Acknowledgments, Contents, Definitions, Acronyms and Abbreviations [ PDF: 160kB | 8 pages ]
Highlights [ PDF: 90kB | 8 pages ]
Shifting Global Economic Fortunes [ PDF: 1,359kB | 34 pages ]
Wavering Recovery in Industrial Economies
Solid Recovery in Developing Asia
Policy Foundation for Growth
Constraints to Long-term Growth
The Future of Growth in Asia [ PDF: 878kB | 56 pages ]
Refocusing on the Long-term
Trade and Growth
Human Capital Accumulation in Economic Growth
Infrastructure in Economic Growth
Financial Development and Economic Growth
Key Policy Messages
Economic Trends and Prospects in Developing Asia [ PDF: 1,772kB | 81 pages ]
Subregional Summaries [ PDF: 298kB | 34 pages ]
Bangladesh [ PDF: 157kB | 5 pages ]
People's Republic of China [ PDF: 180kB | 6 pages ]
India [ PDF: 431kB | 6 pages ]
Indonesia [ PDF: 231kB | 4 pages ]
Malaysia [ PDF: 165kB | 5 pages ]
Pakistan [ PDF: 151kB | 5 pages ]
Philippines [ PDF: 149kB | 5 pages ]
Thailand [ PDF: 160kB | 4 pages ] ภาษาไทย
Viet Nam [ PDF: 253kB | 5 pages ] tiếng Việt
Statistical Appendix [ PDF: 461kB | 7 pages ]
Statistical Notes and Tables

Currency strategy of China: renminbi convertibility

'One Currency, Two Systems’: China’s Renminbi Strategy
Paola Subacchi
Chattam House Briefing Paper, October 2010

Download Paper here

* As the rhetoric on 'currency wars' heats up, escalating tensions between the United States and China are casting a shadow over the world economy.

* The Chinese leadership is unlikely to yield to US pressures, but is aware that it needs to move eventually to a more flexible exchange rate regime and a fully convertible currency. It has therefore embarked on a gradual process to develop the renminbi (RMB) as an international currency and ultimately as one of the world's key reserve currencies. Understanding this process is critical to grasp the current debate on the international monetary system and to gauge how it will evolve.

* Beijing's biggest policy challenge is to achieve currency internationalization under controlled convertibility. It is pursuing a two-track strategy: boosting cross-border usage of the RMB in trade settlements and making the RMB attractive by building an offshore market in Hong Kong for RMB-denominated assets.

* What China is trying to do is unprecedented. It is the first emerging country to seek to establish a truly international currency when there is no link, even residual, between the reserve currency and gold.

* Despite the enormous challenges there is ample scope for policy experimentation. Success will depend on a combination of well-designed policies and market forces, and on the role that China is playing, and aspires to play, in Asia.

This briefing paper forms part of the project on The Changing Balance of Financial Markets and International Financial Centres >>

China and its Nb. 1 Supercomputer: ahead of the US

Chinese Supercomputer Wrests Title From U.S.
The New York Times, October 28, 2010

A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.

Although the official list of the top 500 fastest machines, which comes out every six months, is not due to be completed by Mr. Dongarra until next week, he said the Chinese computer “blows away the existing No. 1 machine.” He added, “We don’t close the books until Nov. 1, but I would say it is unlikely we will see a system that is faster.”

Officials from the Chinese research center, the National University of Defense Technology, are expected to reveal the computer’s performance on Thursday at a conference in Beijing. The center says it is “under the dual supervision of the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Education.”

The race to build the fastest supercomputer has become a source of national pride as these machines are valued for their ability to solve problems critical to national interests in areas like defense, energy, finance and science. Supercomputing technology also finds its way into mainstream business; oil and gas companies use it to find reservoirs and Wall Street traders use it for superquick automated trades. Procter & Gamble even uses supercomputers to make sure that Pringles go into cans without breaking.

And typically, research centers with large supercomputers are magnets for top scientific talent, adding significance to the presence of the machines well beyond just cranking through calculations.

Over the last decade, the Chinese have steadily inched up in the rankings of supercomputers. Tianhe-1A stands as the culmination of billions of dollars in investment and scientific development, as China has gone from a computing afterthought to a world technology superpower.

“What is scary about this is that the U.S. dominance in high-performance computing is at risk,” said Wu-chun Feng, a supercomputing expert and professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. “One could argue that this hits the foundation of our economic future.”

Modern supercomputers are built by combining thousands of small computer servers and using software to turn them into a single entity. In that sense, any organization with enough money and expertise can buy what amount to off-the-shelf components and create a fast machine.

The Chinese system follows that model by linking thousands upon thousands of chips made by the American companies Intel and Nvidia. But the secret sauce behind the system — and the technological achievement — is the interconnect, or networking technology, developed by Chinese researchers that shuttles data back and forth across the smaller computers at breakneck rates, Mr. Dongarra said.

“That technology was built by them,” Mr. Dongarra said. “They are taking supercomputing very seriously and making a deep commitment.”

The Chinese interconnect can handle data at about twice the speed of a common interconnect called InfiniBand used in many supercomputers.

For decades, the United States has developed most of the underlying technology that goes into the massive supercomputers and has built the largest, fastest machines at research laboratories and universities. Some of the top systems simulate the effects of nuclear weapons, while others predict the weather and aid in energy research.

In 2002, the United States lost its crown as supercomputing kingpin for the first time in stunning fashion when Japan unveiled a machine with more horsepower than the top 20 American computers combined. The United States government responded in kind, forming groups to plot a comeback and pouring money into supercomputing projects. The United States regained its leadership status in 2004, and has kept it, until now.

At the computing conference on Thursday in China, the researchers will discuss how they are using the new system for scientific research in fields like astrophysics and bio-molecular modeling. Tianhe-1A, which is housed in a building at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin, can perform mathematical operations about 29 million times faster than one of the earliest supercomputers, built in 1976.

For the record, it performs 2.5 times 10 to the 15th power mathematical operations per second.

Mr. Dongarra said a long-running Chinese project to build chips to rival those from Intel and others remained under way and looked promising. “It’s not quite there yet, but it will be in a year or two,” he said.

He also said that in November, when the list comes out, he expected a second Chinese computer to be in the top five, culminating years of investment.

“The Japanese came out of nowhere and really caught people off guard,” Mr. Feng said. “With China, you could see this one coming.”

Steven J. Wallach, a well-known computer designer, played down the importance of taking the top spot on the supercomputer rankings.

“It’s interesting, but it’s like getting to the four-minute mile,” Mr. Wallach said. “The world didn’t stop. This is just a snapshot in time.”

The research labs often spend weeks tuning their systems to perform well on the standard horsepower test. But just because a system can hammer through trillions of calculations per second does not mean it will do well on the specialized jobs that researchers want to use it for, Mr. Wallach added.

The United States has plans in place to make much faster machines out of proprietary components and to advance the software used by these systems so that they are easy for researchers to use. But those computers remain years away, and for now, China is king.

“They want to show they are No. 1 in the world, no matter what it is,” Mr. Wallach said. “I don’t blame them.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

China's Rise: Regional Responses and Lessons for Washington - Hudson Institute

China's Rise: Regional Responses and Lessons for Washington
Hudson Institute
Wednesday, October 27 12:00 - 2:00 PM

As recent incidents in the East China Sea, South China Sea, and Yellow Sea confirm, China’s military expansion and the possible implications for American strategic interests in Asia are serious. Less known is the evolving strategy that countries such as Taiwan, Australia, Japan, and South Korea are crafting in response.

Discussants include:
Dan Blumenthal, AEI Resident Fellow, speaking on how Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are seeking to respond to China’s rise.

John Lee, Foreign Policy Fellow at Sydney's Center for Independent Studies and Hudson Visiting Fellow, speaking on the evolving nature of China’s multidimensional challenge to U.S. strategic primacy in Asia.

Andrew Shearer, Director of Studies at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, speaking on the current Australian response.

Hudson Senior Fellow Seth Cropsey will chair the discussion and will speak on the lessons Washington ought to be learning and how the United States should respond.

This event will be streamed live on Hudson's website,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

China bypassing sanctions against Iran

U.S. says Chinese businesses and banks are bypassing U.N. sanctions against Iran
By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 2010; 1:58 AM

The Obama administration has concluded that Chinese firms are helping Iran to improve its missile technology and develop nuclear weapons, and has asked China to stop such activity, a senior U.S. official said.

During a visit to Beijing last month, a delegation led by Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, handed a "significant list" of companies and banks to their Chinese counterparts, according to the senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue in U.S.-Chinese relations. The official said the Obama administration thinks that the companies are violating U.N. sanctions, but that China did not authorize their activities.

The Obama administration faces a balancing act in pressing Beijing to stop the deals and limit Chinese investments in Iran's energy industry. U.S. officials say they need to preserve their ability to work with China on issues ranging from the value of its currency to the stability of North Korea. But the administration also wants to make progress in efforts to dissuade Iran from building a nuclear weapon and to convince other powerful states that China is not receiving lenient treatment because of its energy needs.

"My government will investigate the issues raised by the U.S. side," said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy.

Einhorn's trip is part of a worldwide effort by the Obama administration to persuade countries to push Iran to enter into negotiations over its nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic says is peaceful. The Obama administration has cobbled together a growing network of countries and companies that have announced measures to cut investments in Iran.

China's involvement in Iran's energy sector and the role that some of its companies are believed to be playing in Tehran's military modernization could disrupt U.S.-Chinese relations. In a recent meetings on Capitol Hill, China's outgoing deputy chief of mission, Xie Feng, was told that "if he ever wanted to see Congress united, Democrats and Republicans, it would be on the issue of China's interaction with Iran," one participant said, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose a private discussion.

After the U.N. Security Council authorized enhanced sanctions against Iran in June, the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada passed laws to further restrict investment in Iran's energy sector. The U.S. law authorized the president to sanction any company found to be selling gasoline to Iran or that had invested $20 million or more in Iran's energy sector. INPEX, the Japanese energy giant, announced last week that it was pulling out of Iran.

China thus becomes the last major economy with significant investments in Iran's energy industry. Russia does not have major investments there and recently canceled the sale of an advanced antiaircraft missile to Iran, refunding the $900 million sticker price.

"China now is the only country with a major oil and gas industry that's prepared to deal with Iran," the U.S. official said. "Everyone else has pulled out. They stand alone."

Each nation, particularly permanent members of the Security Council such as China, is responsible for abiding by the U.N. sanctions.

If one country does not, others can point out those failures, which is what Einhorn did. Other nations can also ban their companies from doing business with the wayward firms. The U.S. government did that at least 62 times with Chinese companies during President George W. Bush's first term, generally regarding dealing with Iran.

The U.S. official speaking anonymously said U.S. intelligence thinks that several Chinese companies have also been involved in providing restricted technology and materials to Iran's military programs. He said that Chinese banks were found to be involved in these and other deals with Iran, and that these deals occurred both before and after the enhanced U.N. sanctions were approved in June.

The U.S. official said that most of the deals concerned Iran's missile program. However, a senior official from a Western intelligence agency said Chinese firms were also discovered selling high-quality carbon fiber to Iran to help it build better centrifuges, which are used in enriching uranium. The official said he had no information to corroborate that reporting.

The official declined to say how many companies were on the list or to name the companies. He added that some of the company names were provided to the Chinese as case studies of how sanctions were being violated and that others were cited as examples of "ongoing concerns."

Other officials and analysts said the number of firms involved in not following sanctions was less important than the quality of the technology Iran was obtaining. In 2008, for example, Iran obtained 108 pressure gauges, which are critical to the functioning of a centrifuge, from one Chinese company.

A year earlier, a small company in the Chinese port city of Dalian provided Iran with a range of sensitive materials, including graphite, tungsten copper, tungsten powder, high- strength aluminum alloys and high-strength maraging steel, again for its nuclear program. That firm allegedly received payment from Iran via U.S. banks.

The U.S. official credited China with working hard to establish the bureaucratic structures and laws to control the export of sensitive technologies, but he said China so far has not devoted resources to crack down on violators.

"China has come a long way in putting in place an export-control system," he said. "But it's one thing to have a system that looks good on the books and it's another thing to have a system that they enforce conscientiously.. . . Where China's system is deficient is on the enforcement side."

China is generally believed to have supplied Pakistan with a blueprint for a nuclear weapon in the 1970s. But Bonnie S. Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said most experts agree that since the late 1990s, China has taken the issue more seriously. Some have argued that President Bill Clinton's administration persuaded China to embrace the issue because it was important to the United States. Others have said China itself understood that selling missile and nuclear weapons-technology, especially to neighbors such as North Korea, was a bad idea.

Both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations determined that China's government was no longer intentionally proliferating. That conclusion allowed Bush to open the door for U.S. nuclear-energy technology to be sold to China in contracts that are expected to be worth billions.

During the trip to China, the U.S. delegation also pushed oil companies, specifically the China National Petroleum Corp. and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, to stop or limit their investments in Iran. Both firms have been in negotiations to invest billions in Iran's energy sector although, according to Erica Downs of the Brookings Institution, it is unclear how much they have spent there.

The delegation informed the Chinese of the ramifications that the new U.S. law - the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 - might have for Chinese firms and banks that continued to conduct business in Iran.

"Any Chinese enterprise that has . . . a big stake in good business relations with the United States would have to be mindful of U.S. laws," the U.S. official said.

Still, the official said, the U.S. delegation emphasized that China did not have to cut back on purchases of energy from Iran, from which China obtains around 8 percent of its oil. Nor does China need to end its "energy cooperation with Iran on a permanent basis," he said.

"What we want is some near-term pragmatic restraint," he said.

This approach, according to Downs, could spell trouble with European and Asian firms and their governments.

"What the Japanese and European companies are most concerned about is that they've left projects that are real prizes in Iran," she said. "Their biggest concern is stepping away under pressure and having the Chinese go in."

"We believe normal trade and economic cooperation with Iran that don't violate U.N. resolutions should not be hurt or disturbed," said Wang, the embassy spokesman.

Xi Jinping, o futuro presidente da China

Xi Jinping, o futuro presidente da China

Atual vice-presidente da China, o político pró-mercado Xi Jinping foi alçado ao posto de vice-presidente da Comissão Central Militar, uma indicação de que vai substituir Hu Jintao em 2012

As reformas das últimas três décadas transformaram a China socialista na segunda maior economia do mundo, mas a adoção do capitalismo não transformou o ambiente político do país asiático. Na política, ainda valem as tradições do Partido Comunista da China e, nesta segunda-feira (18), ficou claro o nome do sucessor de Hu Jintao como secretário-geral do PCC e presidente da China. A partir de 2012, o país deve ser chefiado por Xi Jinping.

A notícia que deixou clara a linha sucessória foi divulgada pela imprensa estatal do país. Durante o congresso anual do partido, encerrado no domingo (17), Xi Jinping foi alçado ao posto de vice-presidente da Comissão Central Militar, um cargo que tradicionalmente é ocupado pelo futuro secretário-geral do partido. Esse foi o último estágio pelo qual Hu Jintao passou antes de substituir Jiang Zemin, em 2003.

Xi é atualmente vice-presidente da China e um dos integrantes do famigerado Politburo do Partido Comunista Chinês, um comitê decisório que é, de fato, o responsável pelos rumos do país. Em 2007, quando foi eleito integrante do Politburo, Xi teve a companhia de Li Keqiang, atual vice-presidente executivo da China, visto como seu principal concorrente. A escolha de Xi para a Comissão Central Militar era esperada para 2009, mas como não foi anunciada na época, surgiram dúvidas a respeito da disputa entre os dois. Com a nomeação feita neste ano, parece claro que Xi entrará no lugar de Hu Jintao quando o mandato deste acabar, em 2012.

Novo líder é pró-mercado
A escolha de Xi Jinping significa que a China deve continuar no rumo pró-mercado que percorreu nos últimos anos. Em 2007, a revista Foreign Policy publicou uma análise de Xi e Li e mostrou que o primeiro é o candidato dos empresários e da classe média e que, nas províncias que administrou – Zhejiang e Xangai – fez um governo marcado pela promoção da iniciativa privada. De acordo com essa análise, Xi fará, se for confirmado como novo chefe do partido e da nação, um governo que promova a liberalização da economia, o crescimento rápido e a integração da China na economia mundial.

O perfil de Xi vai ao encontro das diretrizes que o Partido Comunista divulgou para o 12º Plano Quinquenal (2011-2015), que incluem a “participação ativa” na governança da economia global e a abertura econômica.

Ao site do canal de TV americano Bloomberg, o professor de história da Universidade da China em Hong Kong Willy Wo-Lap Lam afirmou que, segundo a tradição do partido, “Xi Jinping, como próximo secretário-geral, deve ser capaz de lidar com a comissão militar por dois anos antes da troca de poder”. Isso não deve ser uma dificuldade para Xi, que tem contatos militares por ter sido assessor do Ministério da Defesa.

Disputa interna
Xi faz parte de um grupo político conhecido como princelings (principezinhos, na tradução literal), por incluir filhos de figuras importantes do PCC. Xi Jinping é filho de Xi Zhongxun, ex-membro do Politburo nos anos 1980.

Com a ascensão de Xi, Li Keqiang, seu concorrente, deve ser o próximo primeiro-ministro da China, em substituição a Wen Jiabao. Li é um político de origem bem diferente da de Xi Jinping. Ele vem de uma família humilde, foi fazendeiro e chegou ao topo do comando do partido por meio da Liga da Juventude Comunista, um grupo de grande força política do qual também fez parte Hu Jintao.

Segundo a análise da Foreign Policy, ao optar por Xi, Hu Jintao evita críticas de que estaria favorecendo a Juventude Comunista, divisões entre este grupo e o dos principezinhos, entre as regiões costeiras – mais desenvolvidas – e o interior do país, e entre os setores mais favorecidos pelas reformas e aqueles que ainda não conseguiram melhorar suas condições de vida desde o início da abertura econômica. É uma opção para manter a tranquilidade de um partido que precisa de crescimento e estabilidade para evitar um estado de convulsão social que ameaçaria sua proeminência política.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Liberty, Freedom, Democracy, in China - Tom Friedman

Op-Ed Columnist
Going Long Liberty in China
The New York Times, October 16, 2010

There has been a lot of buzz lately about investors “shorting” China’s overheated real estate market, basically betting that it will go down. I say that’s peanuts. There is a much more interesting shorting opportunity in China today. It is truly “The Big Short,” and that is betting that China can’t continue to grow at this pace indefinitely by only permitting its people to have economic liberty without political liberty. I’m sure Goldman Sachs would write you a credit default swap on that, and the Chinese Communist Party would take the other side. Are you game? It seems that the Nobel Prize Committee is. I’d be, too.

The Norwegian committee just awarded its 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist. The message to Beijing, I’d argue, was simple: Liberty is a value in and of itself, because without it human beings can never develop their full potential. And, therefore, liberty is also an essential ingredient for any society that wants to thrive in the 21st century. Otherwise, it can’t develop its full potential. China has thrived since Deng Xiaoping by offering its people economic freedom without political freedom. And surely one of the most intriguing political science questions in the world today is: Can China continue to prosper, while censoring the Internet, controlling its news media and insisting on a monopoly of political power by the Chinese Communist Party?

I don’t think so. To be sure, China has thrived up to now — impressively — by permitting its people only economic liberty. This may have been the sole way to quickly take a vast country of 1.3 billion people from massive poverty to much-improved standards of living, basic education for all, modernized infrastructure and even riches for some urbanites.

But the Nobel committee did China a favor in sending the tacit message with its peace prize: Don’t get too cocky and think that you have rewritten the laws of gravity. The “Beijing Consensus,” of economic liberty without political liberty, may have been a great strategy for takeoff, but it won’t get you to the next level. So this might actually be a good time for Beijing to engage peaceful democracy advocates like Liu, who is now serving an 11-year sentence, or the 23 retired Chinese Communist Party officials who last week published an open letter challenging the government to improve speech and press freedoms. (Bloomberg News said that an Internet link to the Chinese-language version of the letter could not be opened in China. Screens showed “network error.”)

My reason for believing China will have to open up sooner than its leadership thinks has to do with its basic challenge: It has to get rich before it gets old.

Because of its one-child population-control policy China, over the next few decades, will go from a country where two sets of grandparents and one set of parents are all saving for the computer for one kid, to a country where one kid will be supporting the retirement of two parents and maybe one grandparent — with little government help. Moreover, because of the practice in some families of aborting female fetuses, there could be 20 million to 40 million more men than women in China in the next few decades, and that will force some men to go abroad to find brides.

The only stable way to handle that is to raise incomes by moving more Chinese from low-wage manufacturing jobs to more knowledge- and services-based jobs, as Hong Kong did. But, and here’s the rub, today’s knowledge industries are all being built on social networks that enable open collaboration, the free sharing of ideas and the formation of productive relationships — both within companies and around the globe. The logic is that all of us are smarter than one of us, and the unique feature of today’s flat world is that you can actually tap the brains and skills of all of us, or at least more people in more places. Companies and countries that enable that will thrive more than those that don’t.

Curtis Carlson, the C.E.O. of SRI International, the innovation hub in Silicon Valley, has a tongue-in-cheek way of putting it: “In a world where so many people now have access to education and cheap tools of innovation, innovation that happens from the bottom up tends to be chaotic but smart. Innovation that happens from the top down tends to be orderly but dumb.” As a result, says Carlson, “On balance, the sweet spot for innovation today is moving down, not up.”

As such, government’s job today is to inspire, liberate, empower and enable all that stuff coming up from below, while learning to live with and manage the chaos. But what would happen if China had 600 million villagers on Twitter? In a country that already has thousands of protests every week over land seizures and corruption, its system probably could not handle that much unrestricted bottom-up energy. It is a real problem for Beijing. China can’t afford chaos, and China can’t afford not to gradually unleash more bottom-up and less top-down energies. I don’t know how China’s leaders are going to balance these imperatives.

Maybe they should ask Liu Xiaobo.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on October 17, 2010, on page WK8 of the New York edition.

News from Shanghai: a book by Qiu Xiaolong

The News From Shanghai
The New York Times Review of Books, October 15, 2010

YEARS OF RED DUST: Stories of Shanghai
By Qiu Xiaolong
St. Martin's Press, September 2010, 227 pp.; $24.99;
ISBN: 978-0-312-62809-3, ISBN10: 0-312-62809-9, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 240 pp.

In the first four decades of the People’s Republic, Shanghai existed in a strange limbo, a kind of ghostly half-life. No longer the jeweled sewer of decadence and corruption it had once been — a city of opium smokers and courtesans, millionaires and beggars, the high elegance of the Bund and the conspiratorial darkness of the foreign concessions — it lingered on under Communism as an industrial center, a vital source of taxable wealth, but symbolically something of an embarrassment, its foreignness a stain that couldn’t be washed away. Then, after Deng Xiao­ping liberalized its economy in 1991, Shanghai roared back to life and regained its place as a financial and cultural hub, a symbol of China’s dizzying emergence on the world stage.

Qiu Xiaolong’s “Years of Red Dust” is an account of those lost years and their aftermath, beginning in 1949 and ending in 2005, and one of the most striking things about it is that it doesn’t feel very, well, Shanghainese. Though it’s set in a longtang, or lane, a narrow street populated by Shanghai’s once-characteristic shikumen, courtyard houses, and though Qiu emphasizes the distinctive culture of gossip and intermingling that goes on in such close quarters, the stories that make up each episode are consumed with China’s national upheavals: the five-year plans, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the death of Mao, the Tiananmen Square massacre and what came after. Shanghai itself — its language, its legends, its cuisine — appears here and there, but in the most muted fashion. Reading this book alongside Han Bang­qing’s “Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai” or Kazuo Ishiguro’s “When We Were Orphans” is an object lesson in how Communism erased China’s local histories (even the history of a great cosmopolis) and imposed a rigid new national identity in their place.

This puts “Years of Red Dust” at something of a disadvantage because many of the stories Qiu tells are already quite familiar in the West. Taking on such a wide swath of history and using as its organizing principle a location rather than a family or a single character, he can present only fragments and headlines. Literally so, because each chapter begins with the neighborhood’s final “blackboard newsletter” of the year, summing up the significant (national) events of, say, 1952, 1966 or 1980. This makes the book interesting as a historical text, but somewhat unsatisfying as a work of fiction.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t many moments of pathos and pungent humor as we witness the rise and fall of individual fortunes over the course of such turbulent times: the “(tofu) worker poet,” once exalted for his proletarian verses, reduced to selling tofu when his work goes out of style; the young army nurse, lionized as a heroic casualty of the Korean War, who later returns, under suspicion that she has been brainwashed in an American P.O.W. camp; the pensioner who would rather stop taking his heart medicine than accept money from his son, who owns a karaoke club with a sideline in prostitution. These are rich and evocative stories, but Qiu (who was born and raised in Shanghai, but now lives in Missouri) treats them sketchily, as illustrations rather than fully formed narratives. At times we have the uncomfortable sense that he may want us to see these characters as victims of history rather than independent actors.

With its almanac-like form, “Years of Red Dust,” reminded me of Han ­Shaogong’s novel “A Dictionary of Ma­qiao,” which describes how the residents of a remote village kept their eccentric folkways alive during the same four decades. But Maqiao had the great advantage of being tiny, insignificant and thus shielded from the full glare of Mao’s attention. As the saying goes, shan gao, huangdi yuan, “The mountains are high, and the emperor is far away.” The residents of Qiu’s longtang aren’t nearly so lucky.

Jess Row is the author of a collection of stories, “The Train to Lo Wu.”
A version of this review appeared in print on October 17, 2010, on page BR21 of the Sunday Book Review.

Excerpt: ‘Years of Red Dust’ (

Welcome to Red Dust Lane
Now, as your would-be landlord—to be exact, your second landlord, nifangdong—I’ve lived in this lane for twenty years by the end of 1949. For a new college student not yet familiar with Shanghai, looking for a place characteristic of the city, a place that is convenient, that is decent, and yet inexpensive, Red Dust is the best choice for you. For the real Shanghai life, I mean.
Red Dust Lane—what a fantastic name! According to a feng shui master, there is a lot of profound learning in the choice of a name. No point in selecting insignificant words, but none in pompous words, either. The evil spirit might get envious of something too grand or good. We’re all made of dust, which is common yet essential, and the epithet red lends a world of difference to it. All of the connotations of the color: human passion, revolution, sacrifice, vanity …
You are an honest, hardworking young man, I know, so I hope you will become one of my subtenants here. Let’s take a walk along the lane, so you can really see for yourself.
The first record of the lane is from the late Qing dynasty. Look at this impressive street sign written in the magnificent calligraphy of a Qing dynasty Juren—a successful civil service examination candidate at the provincial level. After that, it was developed as part of the French concession, though not as a central part of it. Indeed, so many changes, like the white clouds in the sky—one moment, a gray dog; the next moment, a black weasel … Of course, now things are changing again. The Communists are advancing with flying colors and the Nationalists retreating helter-skelter. But the one thing under the sun that will never change, I assure you: this is a most marvelous lane.
Think about the location—at the very center of Shanghai. To the south, the City God Temple Market, no more than fifteen minutes’ walk, where you can enjoy an amazing variety of Shanghai snacks. To the north, you can stroll along to Nanjing Road, the street-long shopping center of Shanghai. If you prefer the fancier stores on Huaihai Road, it takes no more than fifteen minutes to get there. On a summer night, you may occasionally smell the characteristic twang from the Huangpu River. Strolling around those foreign buildings lined up along the Bund, like the Hong Kong Bank or the Cathay Hotel, you may feel as if the river were flowing through you, and the heart of the city beating along with you.
Our lane is medium-sized with several sublanes. Another plus, I will say. The front entrance opens onto Jinling Road. There, just a block ahead, you can see the Zhonghui Mansion—the high-rise owned by Big Brother Shen of the notorious Blue Triad, now down and out in Hong Kong. Karma. As for the back entrance of the lane, it leads into the Ninghai Food Market. In case of an unexpected visitor, you can run out in your slippers and come back with a live carp still gasping for air. In addition, there are two side entrances on Fujian Road, with a cluster of small shops and stalls. And peddlers too. Nothing can beat the location here.
This lane, or longtang, of Red Dust, may in itself tell you something of Shanghai history. After the Opium War, the city was forced open to the Western powers as a treaty port with areas selected as foreign concessions. The expatriates were then unable to tap the immense potential of the city, so some Chinese were allowed to move in. Soon the concession authorities had collective dwellings built for them in the designated lots. To make them convenient to manage, the houses were designed in the same architectural style, then arranged in lines like barracks, row after row, accessible to the main lane from sublanes. As in other lanes, most of the buildings in Red Dust belong to the shikumen style, the typical Shanghai two-storied house with a stone doorframe and a small courtyard. In the early concession days, a shikumen house was designed for one family, with rooms for different purposes—wings, hall, front room, dining room, corner room, back room, attic, dark room, and tingzijian, a cubicle above the kitchen. As a result of the city housing shortage, some of the rooms were leased. Then individually subleased, with the rooms further partitioned or subdivided, so now a “room” is practically the space for a family. You may have heard of a comedy called 72 Families in a House, which is about such an overcrowded housing situation. Red Dust is not like that. There are no more than fifteen families in our shikumen, you have my word on it.
In Red Dust, people of differing social or financial status are mixed together. Small-business owners or executives take the wing or a floor, while ordinary workers choose the back room or the attic. As for the tingzijian, it usually goes to those struggling men of letters—the tingzijian writers. They are really fantastic places for creative souls, with constant inspiration coming from the lane.
Indeed, your life is incredibly enriched with all the activity and interaction of the lane. You become part of the lane, and the lane, a part of you. Through the open black-painted door, you see this first-floor hall, don’t you? It was turned into a common kitchen area long ago, with the coal stoves of a dozen or more families all squeezed in, along with pots and pans, coal briquettes, and pigeon-house-like cabinets hung on the walls. Squeezed, but not necessarily so bad. Cooking in here, you may learn the recipes of provincial cuisines from your neighbors. Coming back soaked one rainy night, you don’t have to worry about catching a cold: a pot of ginger tea is being brewed for you on your neighbor Uncle Zhao’s stove, and Elder Sister Wu will add a spoonful of brown sugar into the steaming hot drink. Nor will you find it monotonous scrubbing your clothes on a washboard in the courtyard, where Granny Liu or Auntie Chen will keep you informed of all the latest news of the lane. Some say Shanghainese are born wheelers and dealers. That’s not true, but there may be something of that which comes out of the way people in Shanghai have always lived in a kind of miniature society, constantly handling relationships among close neighbors.
People get together a lot not only in the shikumen, but in the lane too. Their rooms being so crowded, people need to find space elsewhere. All day long, the lane is vibrant with life—informal, relaxing, and spontaneous. In the early gray light, women will come out in their pajamas, first carrying chamber pots, then later hurrying to the food market, returning with full bamboo baskets and preparing food in the common sinks of the lane while spreading the gossip heard overnight. Men will stretch out, practicing Tai Chi outside, brewing the first pot of Dragon Well tea, singing snatches of Beijing opera, and exchanging a few words about the weather or the political weather. For lunchtime, those people at home will step out again, holding rice bowls, chatting, laughing, or exchanging a slice of fried pork for a nugget of steamed belt fish. In the evening, Red Dust gets even more exciting—men playing chess or cards or mahjong under the lane lamp, women chatting or knitting or washing. In summer, it is so hot inside that some will take out bamboo recliners or mats. And a few even choose to sleep out in the lane—
Let’s take a turn here. Watch out for the droplets from the laundry on these bamboo poles across the sky of the lane. An American journalist once said that the colorful clothing festooned on a network of bamboo poles presents an Impressionist scene. But according to a folk belief, walking under women’s underwear may bring bad luck. Whether you believe it or not, it can’t hurt to take a detour. And that’s another convenience of those sublanes. You can move through the lane a number of different ways. Here we are, coming to the front entrance of the lane.
Oh, look at those people gathered here, sitting on bamboo chairs, wooden stools, and holding teas, cigarettes, and paper fans. This is another special thing about the lane. The evening talk of Red Dust Lane—Red Dust talk.
You may well find chess and card games and talk among neighbors in other lanes of the city. But what is going on here is truly one of a kind. Some people have moved away but still come back to Red Dust for the evening talk. It is a time-honored tradition here. Except in bad weather, a group of people always turns out for the evening conversation of the lane and about the lane.
Now what’s special, you may say, about neighbors talking? Well, what makes it unique is the way they make a story out of everything, a way of seeing the world in a grain of sand. Of course, the lane residents don’t invent stories with real heroes or heroines—certainly not the type of “the talented scholar and beautiful girl” or “un-rivaled kung fu master.” Nor stories with conflicts or climaxes as in books. Still, our storytellers try all kinds of experiments, traditional or avant-garde, flashing back and forth, showing but not telling, sometimes narrating from a special point of view, and sometimes from all points of view.
Since the characters are real people, the evening talk is enhanced through its interaction with the real Red Dust life. While listening to a story, we offer interpretations from our own perspectives, and contributions too, if we happen to know something the narrator knows not. After all, a narrator is not always that reliable, what with their told or untold reasons for making an omission or alteration. The audience knows better and is capable of pulling a story to pieces and retelling it in different ways.
A written story inevitably comes to an end at the last page of a book, whether happily ever after or not. Nothing is like that in real life. You can put an end to your narrative one intoxicated evening, but in a few years, there will be some new development or unexpected twist. A comedy turns into a tragedy, or vice versa, which changes the meaning of the earlier story. Needless to say, sometimes we also play a part, however inadvertent or insignificant, in the stories of others, which, in turn, come to affect ours.
Now look at this young man sitting in the center of the group. He’s called Old Root—his surname is Geng, a homonym for “root,” and he invented the nickname for himself. According to him, “old” in Chinese does not necessarily refer to one’s age; it also connotes wisdom and experience. Though in his twenties, he has an old head on his young shoulders. Self-educated, he reads books like someone swallowing dates without worrying about their pits. Like the proverb goes, the water does not have to run deep: a dragon in it will make it special. Judging from the position of his chair, he must be the storyteller for the evening.
Oh, there’s a blackboard leaning against his chair. I don’t know anything about the blackboard, but there must be something exciting about it. And sitting next to him is Four-Eyed Liu, another bookworm, who likes to give his newspaper-based interpretation to everything. And Big Hua, who is as curious as a cat. Let’s stay here and listen here for a while. Don’t worry about the time. If it gets late, I will buy you a night snack—as your second landlord in Red Dust Lane.

Do you remember the opening lines of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms? After peace comes war, and after war comes peace. Things are just like that, an endless repetition in this mundane world of ours. Time rolls up and down, waves upon waves, leaving behind, on the moon-bleached beach, stories like shells. Open it, and you may find something after your heart, but if not, don’t be too disappointed. It is only a matter of perspective that things appear to be either good or bad. In the year 1949, with the Communists in, and the Nationalists out, there are many things appearing and disappearing, like always, with the change of dynasties.
In the early spring days of 1949, the Nationalist government boasted of making Shanghai an oriental Stalin grad, a turning point in China’s civil war, but to the people here it felt unreal. Shortly after Chiang Kai-shek announced his resignation, a monstrous white snake was killed by lightning in Qingpu county—a portentous sign similar to the one at the end of the Qing dynasty. Then panic spread, after news came that the vaults of the Shanghai Bank had been emptied of their stock of bullion. My friend Cai, a waiter in Dexing Restaurant, told me something he saw with his own eyes. For several days in April, the restaurant was reserved by the top commanders of the Nationalist troops. One night, he brought a platter of sea cucumber with shrimp roe to a reserved private room, where he saw a celebrated courtesan reclining naked on the table, feeding her big toe like a fresh scallop to a four-star general, her white foot still flexing to a tune from the gramophone: “After tonight, when will you come back?” Dexing was a genuine Shanghai cuisine restaurant, and these Nationalists knew they could never enjoy a Shanghai banquet again. With high-ranking officials being so decadent and pessimistic, how could the Chiang dynasty not fall?
Well, don’t be impatient, my Red Dust fellows. I’m not going to give you a long lecture on the change of dynasties. I’m coming round to the story for the evening, and to the blackboard too. It’s just that it always takes one thing to lead to another in this world. Karma in Buddhism, or whatever you want to call it. Things are related and interrelated, though this is not so easily comprehensible to laymen like you or me.
Back to the story. Because of the negative propaganda about the Communists in those days, rich Shanghainese started fleeing the city by what ever means possible—rushing to the airport, to the train station, to the harbor. Like others, in March my boss fled to Taiwan without notice, abandoning the factory. I had to find work to support myself, so I borrowed from the food market a tricycle used for shipping frozen fish bars in its trunk. With the war raging near Ningbo, the market hadn’t had a supply of fish for days.
My idea was simple. As people were frantically leaving with all their belongings, transportation within the city had become a huge problem. For some, a tricycle could be the very means they needed, and that presented an opportunity for me. Also, some were getting rid of their things very cheaply. A heavy mahogany Ming-style cabinet of exquisite craftsmanship sold for a silver dollar, I heard. In fact, I myself got a radio for practically nothing. It was the chance of a lifetime—if you had a way to carry what you found.

Excerpted from Years of Red Dust by Qiu Xiaolong.
Copyright © 2010 by Qiu Xiaolong.
Published in October 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

QIU XIAOLONG is a poet, professor and author of five previous novels featuring Inspector Chen. Born and raised in Shanghai, where he was a renowned poet and translator, Qiu lives with his family in St. Louis, Missouri.
Qui Xialong's Website

Saturday, October 16, 2010

China detonates its first nuclear device: October 16, 1964

On Oct. 16, 1964, China detonated its first atomic bomb.

China Tests Atomic Bomb, Asks Summit Talk On Ban; Johnson Minimizes Peril
The New York Times, October 16, 1964

U.S. Is Denounced Peking Says Purpose of Test Is to Defend Peace of World U.S. Is Denounced as Peace Threat Peking Pledges It Will Not Be First to Use Weapon- Parley Aim Discounted


Johnson Minimizes Peril: He Sees 'Tragedy': Calls Costs Too Great for Chinese, Though Weapon Is Crude

Hong Kong, Oct. 16--Communist China announced tonight that it had exploded its first atom bomb. Peking pledged that it would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in the future.

A communique stated that a nuclear test was successfully conducted at 3 P.M. Peking time (3 A.M., Eastern daylight time) in the western region of China. No details were disclosed. [In Washington, the test site was reported to be in Sinkiang, a province bordering the Soviet Union.]

"The success of China's nuclear test is a major achievement of the Chinese people in the strengthening of their national defense and the safeguarding of their motherland as well as a major contribution by the Chinese people to the cause of the defense of world peace," the communique asserted.

An accompanying Government statement declared that the purpose of developing nuclear weapons was to protect the Chinese people "from the danger of the United States' launching a nuclear war."

Excesses Ruled Out

"On the question of nuclear weapons, China will commit neither the error of adventurism, nor the error of capitulation," the statement said. "The Chinese people can be trusted."

The Peking statement formally proposed to the governments of the world that a universal summit conference be convened to discuss the question of a complete prohibition on and the thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.

It said that as a first step the summit conference "should reach agreement to the effect that the nuclear powers and those countries which will soon become nuclear powers undertake not to use them against nonnuclear countries and nuclear-free zones nor against each other."

The proposal was dismissed by Western observers here as propaganda. The terms do not allow for practical negotiations with a view to reaching specific agreements, they commented.

Although Communist China became the world's fifth nuclear nation, following the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France, specialists here doubted that it had the capability of becoming a first-class military power during this decade.

The principal advantage accruing to it immediately is psychological and political. The entry of the first nonwhite nation into the exclusive "nuclear club" was regarded here as certain to have a strong impact on the peoples of Asia and Africa despite United States efforts to prepare them for Peking's accomplishment.

Western experts have estimated that it will take several years before the Chinese can build a delivery system. The withdrawal of Soviet military aid in 1960 disrupted Peking's program to develop ballistic missiles and left its air force largely obsolescent.

Altogether, this has been a triumphant day for Communist China.

The nuclear test was successfully carried out less than 12 hours after the announcement that Nikita S. Khrushchev, ideological arch-enemy of Peking, had been ousted from the leadership of the Soviet party and Government.

Greetings Sent to Brezhnev

Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Chinese Communist party, and other top leaders, extended "warm greetings" in a message to Leonid I. Brezhnev, the new Soviet party leader; Aleksei N. Kosygin, the new Premier, and Anastas I. Mikoyan, President, who retained his office.

A cautiously worded Chinese message avoided mentioning Mr. Khrushchev or any outstanding issues. However, it concluded with a series of exhortations that analysts here viewed as an invitation to a new attempt at some kind of rapprochement. The message said:

"May the Chinese and Soviet parties and the two countries unite on the basis of Marxism- Leninism and proletarian internationalism!

"May the fraternal, unbreakable friendship between the Chinese and Soviet peoples continuously develop!

"May the Chinese and Soviet peoples win one victory after another in their common struggled against imperialism headed by the United States and for the defense of world peace!"

Wishes for Soviet Success

The message also expressed the hope that the Soviet party and Government "will achieve new successes in their construction work in all fields and in the struggle for the defense of world peace."

The signers of the message were Mr. Mao; Liu Shao-chi, President; Marshal Chu Teh, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples' Congress, and Chou En-lai, Premier.

Specialists on Soviet relations believe that the imminence of the detonation of the Chinese bomb was a factor in the decision by the Central Committee Wednesday to remove Mr. Khrushchev. A majority of the Soviet leadership evidently decided, for tactical reasons, at least, to adopt a more flexible attitude toward Communist China.

The Italian and Rumanian and many other parties have been opposed to any move to exclude the Chinese from the international movement. The imminent nuclear test was certain to give more weight to their views.

The analysts said that a formal split in the international Communist movement had been postponed and possibly averted by the ouster of Mr. Khrushchev.

The texts of the Moscow announcements were published this morning in Peking newspapers without comment. Jenmin Jih Pao, official organ, which carried the announcements under the headline "Kruschev Steps Down," subordinated them to a report on the cotton industry.

There was no expectation among analysts here that the change in Moscow would lead to any early settlement of the fundamental issues between Moscow and Peking. Divergencies of both ideological and national interests have become so profound that no quick solution is regarded as possible.

As part of the day's triumphs, the Labor victory in Britain was certain to please the Chinese Communists. Harold Wilson, the new British Prime Minister, has favored an improvement of relations with Peking and the detonation of its bomb was thought likely to reinforce his attitude.

The United States has opposed any disarmament agreement that would ban nuclear weapons without concurrent restrictions on conventional arms. Confronted by a Chinese Communist Army of two and a half million men, the United States, in defending Southeast Asia or Taiwan, would have to depend on its nuclear arsenal to curb aggression.

The Chinese statement obviously was intended to reassure the nonaligned nations, which have expressed misgivings about Peking's failure to adhere to the nuclear test ban treaty signed in Moscow last summer by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union.

The statement described the treaty as a "big fraud" to fool the world about attempts by the signatories to consolidate their nuclear monopoly.

>The statement reiterated the thesis of Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Chinese Communist party, that the "atom bomb is a paper tiger" and that people, not weapons, decide wars. It said that aim of Communist China in developing nuclear weapons was "to break the nuclear monopoly of the nuclear powers and to eliminate nuclear weapons."

Hsinhua, the Chinese Communist press agency, reported that Mr. Mao and other leaders received more than a thousand young people, who sang and danced in a performance entitled "The East Glows Red."


Pravda Says Khrushchev Is Harebrained Schemer; Gives West Peace Pledge: Policies Outlined: New Chiefs Promise to Continue Efforts for 'Coexistence'

Brezhnev Urged End of China Rift

Johnson Briefed:Exchanges Messages With New Leaders -- Sees Dobrynin

Wilson Is Prime Minister; Labor Has 4-Seat Margin:New Leader Sees a Complete Mandate Despite Narrow Majority -- He Names Defeated Aide Foreign Secretary

Secret Service Had Jenkins File: Knew in 1961 of His First Arrest but Told No One -- Johnson Orders Inquiry

Rome Authorizes Changes in Mass: Under Revisions Advanced by Council, Priests Are to Face the Congregation

Blue Cross Found Near Bankruptcy: Court Upholds Rate Rise to Help Bar Its Collapse

Wagner Backs Plan For Improving Port

Berra Out as Manager; Keane Quits Cards: St. Louis Manager Turns in Notice Dated Sept. 28

Signs About Jenkins Draw Ire of Johnson

Pay Pacts Scored by Treasury Aide: Accords 'Probably Too Big' This Year, Roosa Says

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Regional Security in East Asia: Conference by FPRI and ROA

A pity that I can't attend...

Regional Security in East Asia: Sustaining Stability, Coping with Conflict, Building Cooperation?
A Conference Sponsored By Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Reserve Officers Association
Monday, November 1, 2010

Except for the problem of North Korea, East Asia has been a region of comparative stability. U.S.-PRC relations have continued a long period of stability despite the frictions that have accompanied China’s rise.
Cross-Strait relations have warmed rapidly. U.S.-Japan security ties have remained strong, underpinned by common regional interests and concerns.
Despite this overall stability, regional security faces challenges from old conflicts and newly emerging tensions, ranging from legacies of history that cast a shadow over Japan’s relations with its neighbors and its international security roles, the now-perennial crisis of North Korea’s weapons programs and the long-rising worries over an increasingly powerful and assertive China to the sinking of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan, the controversy over the U.S. base at Futenma, Japan, and the dispute over Japan’s detention of a Chinese ship.
Relatively recent changes in leadership or ruling parties and the prospect of more such changes in the relatively near future in almost all of the major states in the region create further uncertainty. Regional states and extraregional states with security interests in the region have turned to multilateral cooperation and engagement to sustain stability and cope with potential conflict. What are the prospects for maintaining stability and containing or avoiding conflict now and in the near future? What roles can and should regional cooperation play?

9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
Maj. Gen. David R. Bockel, Executive Director, ROA - Harvey Sicherman, President, FPRI

9:15 a.m. Panel 1: China’s Rise, Chinese Strategy and Regional Security
Paper: Gilbert Rozman, Princeton University, Wilson Center, and FPRI
Chinese Strategic Thinking on Multilateral Regional Security
Jacques deLisle, Director, FPRI Asia Program, and Professor of Law, UPenn
Bonnie Glaser, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Moderator: Harvey Sicherman, President, FPRI

10:45 a.m. Panel 2: Japan’s Regional Security Role: Continuity and Change?
Paper: T.J. Pempel, University of California at Berkeley
Richard Samuels, MIT
Paul Goldstein, FPRI
Moderator: Mackubin T. Owens, Editor, Orbis

1:15 p.m. U.S. Security Interests: Aims and Challenges in an Evolving Asia
Remarks by Aaron Friedberg, Princeton University
With a response by Harvey Sicherman, President, FPRI

2:30 p.m. Panel 3: Taiwan and the Koreas: Different Trajectories for Perennial Sources of Regional Security Challenges?
Richard Bush, Brookings Institution
Victor Cha, Georgetown University
Vincent Wang, University of Richmond
Kyung Hoon Leem, Seoul National University, and Visiting Scholar, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Moderator: Jacques de Lisle, Director, FPRI Asia Program, and Stephen Cozen - Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania

4:30 p.m. Concluding remarks: Harvey Sicherman, President, FPRI

Registration Form – 2010 Conference on East Asia
Attendance at the Program and Lunch is free for FPRI & ROA Members, and $35 for Non-Members
Registration for the webcast is free.
To register for the webcast, email for instructions.

FPRI, 1528 Walnut Street, Suite 610, Philadelphia, PA 19102
RSVP 215 732 3774, ext 303 or

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maoist China viewed by US Intelligence, 1948-1976


National Intelligence Council Declassified Materials

This collection of declassified National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) is the first such release of analytical products exclusively on China. The inspiration for this undertaking came from National Intelligence Council (NIC) Chairman Ambassador Robert Hutchings and Herb Briick of CIA's Information Management Services (IMS). Upon reviewing outstanding requests for NIC documents received through Freedom of Information and Executive Order channels, both noted a critical mass of requests on China. The 71 documents in this collection—37 are available on this site as selected NIEs and all 71 are on a companion compact disk in their entirety—also include some Estimates which have been previously declassified and released either to individual requesters or as part of periodic voluntary releases undertaken by CIA's Historical Review Group.

The production of the collection was a joint effort by the NIC and IMS. Beginning in early 2004, a small team was formed on the staff of the DCI's Information Review Office. The team included three editors, all with analytic experience on China, who reviewed, selected, and declassified the documents, assisted on a part-time basis by two experts on the declassification process and a specialist on the electronic management of documents.

During the period 1948-1976, some 240 Estimates dealing in some degree or another with China were produced. Owing to time and space constraints, the editors made a representative selection from this total. The largest category not chosen was Estimates on the Communist Bloc as a whole. Most of these Estimates were devoted primarily to the Soviet Union, and many of them had already been released.

The editors' aim was to include Estimates that tracked the general trends of China's internal politics, foreign relations, national economy, and the growth of its military establishment. They also sought to cover the drama of the final stages of the Chinese civil war and the establishment of Communist rule in 1949, the new regime's first Five Year Plan of 1953-1957, Mao's principal ideological campaigns—the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—and the Sino-Soviet split. Aside from those on the Communist Bloc, only the most redundant or tactical Estimates or those on issues peripheral to China itself were not included.

Purchase a Hardcopy of "Tracking the Dragon: Selected National Intelligence Estimates on China, 1948-1976" (including the companion CD)
(GPO stock number 041-015-00239-2)

Visit the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) Web site - China Collection for the full text of the 71 declassified China NIEs.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chart 08: Democracy and Human Rights in China (new translation)

Read the manifesto that landed 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in prison
Foreign Policy, October 8, 2010

In December 2008, 303 Chinese activists, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, issued "Charter 08", a petition calling for greater human rights and democratic freedoms in China. An English translation by the Hong Kong-based NGO Human Rights in China is republished here with permission. The translation was first published in China Rights Forum, the organization's quarterly journal.

Charter 08

I. Preamble
This year marks 100 years since China’s [first] Constitution, the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Democracy Wall, and the 10th year since the Chinese government signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Having experienced a prolonged period of human rights disasters and challenging and tortuous struggles, the awakening Chinese citizens are becoming increasingly aware that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values shared by all humankind, and that democracy, republicanism, and constitutional government make up the basic institutional framework of modern politics. A “modernization” bereft of these universal values and this basic political framework is a disastrous process that deprives people of their rights, rots away their humanity, and destroys their dignity. Where is China headed in the 21st century? Will it continue with this “modernization” under authoritarian rule, or will it endorse universal values, join the mainstream civilization, and build a democratic form of government? This is an unavoidable decision.

The tremendous historic changes of the mid-19th century exposed the decay of the traditional Chinese autocratic system and set the stage for the greatest transformation China had seen in several thousand years. The Self-Strengthening Movement [1861–1895] sought improvements in China’s technical capability by acquiring manufacturing techniques, scientific knowledge, and military technologies from the West; China’s defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War [1894–1895] once again exposed the obsolescence of its system; the Hundred Days’ Reform [1898] touched upon the area of institutional innovation, but ended in failure due to cruel suppression by the die-hard faction [at the Qing court]. The Xinhai Revolution [1911], on the surface, buried the imperial system that had lasted for more than 2,000 years and established Asia’s first republic. But, because of the particular historical circumstances of internal and external troubles, the republican system of government was short lived, and autocracy made a comeback.

The failure of technical imitation and institutional renewal prompted deep reflection among our countrymen on the root cause of China’s cultural sickness, and the ensuing May Fourth [1919] and New Culture Movements [1915–1921] under the banner of “science and democracy.” But the course of China’s political democratization was forcibly cut short due to frequent civil wars and foreign invasion. The process of a constitutional government began again after China’s victory in the War of Resistance against Japan [1937–1945], but the outcome of the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists plunged China into the abyss of modern-day totalitarianism. The “New China” established in 1949 is a “people’s republic” in name, but in reality it is a “party domain.” The ruling party monopolizes all the political, economic, and social resources. It has created a string of human rights disasters, such as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, June Fourth, and the suppression of unofficial religious activities and the rights defense movement, causing tens of millions of deaths, and exacting a disastrous price from both the people and the country.

The “Reform and Opening Up” of the late 20th century extricated China from the pervasive poverty and absolute totalitarianism of the Mao Zedong era, and substantially increased private wealth and the standard of living of the common people. Individual economic freedom and social privileges were partially restored, a civil society began to grow, and calls for human rights and political freedom among the people increased by the day. Those in power, while implementing economic reforms aimed at marketization and privatization, also began to shift from a position of rejecting human rights to one of gradually recognizing them. In 1997 and 1998, the Chinese government signed two important international human rights treaties.2 In 2004, the National People’s Congress amended the Constitution to add that “[the State] respects and guarantees human rights.” And this year, the government has promised to formulate and implement a “National Human Rights Action Plan.” But so far, this political progress has largely remained on paper: there are laws, but there is no rule of law; there is a constitution, but no constitutional government; this is still the political reality that is obvious to all. The ruling elite continues to insist on its authoritarian grip on power, rejecting political reform. This has caused official corruption, difficulty in establishing rule of law, the absence of of human rights, moral bankruptcy, social polarization, abnormal economic development, destruction of both the natural and cultural environment, no institutionalized protection of citizens’ rights to freedom, property, and the pursuit of happiness, the constant accumulation of all kinds of social conflicts, and the continuous surge of resentment. In particular, the intensification of antagonism between the government and the people, and the dramatic increase in mass incidents, indicate a catastrophic loss of control in the making, suggesting that the backwardness of the current system has reached a point where change must occur.

II. Our Fundamental Concepts
At this historical juncture that will decide the future destiny of China, it is necessary to reflect on the modernization process of the past hundred and some years and reaffirm the following concepts:

Freedom: Freedom is at the core of universal values. The rights of speech, publication, belief, assembly, association, movement, to strike, and to march and demonstrate are all the concrete expressions of freedom. Where freedom does not flourish, there is no modern civilization to speak of.

Human Rights: Human rights are not bestowed by a state; they are inherent rights enjoyed by every person. Guaranteeing human rights is both the most important objective of a government and the foundation of the legitimacy of its public authority; it is also the intrinsic requirement of the policy of “putting people first.” China’s successive political disasters have all been closely related to the disregard for human rights by the ruling establishment. People are the mainstay of a nation; a nation serves its people; government exists for the people.

Equality: The integrity, dignity, and freedom of every individual, regardless of social status, occupation, gender, economic circumstances, ethnicity, skin color, religion, or political belief, are equal. The principles of equality before the law for each and every person and equality in social, economic, cultural, and political rights of all citizens must be implemented.

Republicanism: Republicanism is “joint governing by all, peaceful coexistence,” that is, the separation of powers for checks and balances and the balance of interests; that is, a community comprising many diverse interests, different social groups, and a plurality of cultures and faiths, seeking to peacefully handle public affairs on the basis of equal participation, fair competition, and joint discussion.

Democracy: The most fundamental meaning is that sovereignty resides in the people and the government elected by the people. Democracy has the following basic characteristics:(1) The legitimacy of political power comes from the people; the source of political power is the people. (2) Political control is exercised through choices made by the people. (3) Citizens enjoy the genuine right to vote; officials in key positions at all levels of government must be the product of elections at regular intervals. (4) Respect the decisions of the majority while protecting the basic human rights of the minority. In a word, democracy is the modern public instrument for creating a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Constitutionalism: Constitutionalism is the principle of guaranteeing basic freedoms and rights of citizens as defined by the constitution through legal provisions and the rule of law, restricting and defining the boundaries of government power and conduct, and providing appropriate institutional capability to carry this out. In China, the era of imperial power is long gone, never to return; in the world at large, the authoritarian system is on the wane; citizens ought to become the true masters of their states. The fundamental way out for China lies only in dispelling the subservient notion of reliance on “enlightened rulers” and “upright officials,” promoting public consciousness of rights as fundamental and participation as a duty, and putting into practice freedom, engaging in democracy, and respecting the law.

III. Our Basic Positions
Thus, in the spirit of responsible and constructive citizens, we put forth the following specific positions regarding various aspects of state administration, citizens’ rights and interests, and social development:

1. Constitutional Amendment: Based on the aforementioned values and concepts, amend the Constitution, deleting clauses in the current Constitution that are not in conformity with the principle that sovereignty resides in the people, so that the Constitution can truly become a document that guarantees human rights and allows for the exercise of public power, and become the enforceable supreme law that no individual, group, or party can violate, establishing the foundation of the legal authority for democratizing China.

2. Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances: Construct a modern government that separates powers and maintains checks and balances among them, that guarantees the separation of legislative, judicial, and executive powers. Establish the principle of statutory administration and responsible government to prevent excessive expansion of executive power; government should be responsible to taxpayers; establish the system of separation of powers and checks and balances between the central and local governments; the central power must be clearly defined and mandated by the Constitution, and
the localities must exercise full autonomy.

3. Legislative Democracy: Legislative bodies at all levels should be created through direct elections; maintain the principle of fairness and justice in making law; and implement legislative democracy.

4. Judicial Independence: The judiciary should transcend partisanship, be free from any interference, exercise judicial independence, and guarantee judicial fairness; it should establish a constitutional court and a system to investigate violations of the Constitution, and uphold the authority of the Constitution. Abolish as soon as possible the Party’s Committees of Political and Legislative Affairs at all levels that seriously endanger the country’s rule of law. Prevent private use of public instruments.

5. Public Use of Public Instruments: Bring the armed forces under state control. Military personnel should render loyalty to the Constitution and to the country. Political party organizations should withdraw from the armed forces; raise the professional standards of the armed forces. All public employees including the police should maintain political neutrality. Abolish discrimination in hiring of public employees based on party affiliation; there should be equality in hiring regardless of party affiliation.

6. Human Rights Guarantees: Guarantee human rights in earnest; protect human dignity. Set up a Commission on Human Rights, responsible to the highest organ of popular will, to prevent government abuse of public authority and violations of human rights, and, especially, to guarantee the personal freedom of citizens. No one shall suffer illegal arrest, detention, subpoena, interrogation, or punishment. Abolish the Reeducation-Through-Labor system.

7. Election of Public Officials: Fully implement the system of democratic elections to realize equal voting rights based on “one person, one vote.” Systematically and gradually implement direct elections of administrative heads at all levels. Regular elections based on free competition and citizen participation in elections for legal public office are inalienable basic human rights.

8. Urban-Rural Equality: Abolish the current urban-rural two-tier household registration system to realize the constitutional right of equality before the law for all citizens and guarantee the citizens’ right to move freely.

9. Freedom of Association: Guarantee citizens’ right to freedom of association. Change the current system of registration upon approval for community groups to a system of record-keeping. Lift the ban on political parties. Regulate party activities according to the Constitution and law; abolish the privilege of one-party monopoly on power; establish the principles of freedom of activities of political parties and fair competition for political parties; normalize and legally regulate party politics.

10. Freedom of Assembly: Freedoms to peacefully assemble, march, demonstrate, and express [opinions] are citizens’ fundamental freedoms stipulated by the Constitution; they should not be subject to illegal interference and unconstitutional restrictions by the ruling party and the government.

11. Freedom of Expression: Realize the freedom of speech, freedom to publish, and academic freedom; guarantee the citizens’ right to know and right to supervise [public institutions]. Enact a “News Law” and a “Publishing Law,” lift the ban on reporting, repeal the “crime of inciting subversion of state power” clause in the current Criminal Law, and put an end to punishing speech as a crime.

12. Freedom of Religion: Guarantee freedom of religion and freedom of belief, and implement separation of religion and state so that activities involving religion and faith are not subjected to government interference. Examine and repeal administrative statutes, administrative rules, and local statutes that restrict or deprive citizens of religious freedom; ban management of religious activities by administrative legislation. Abolish the system that requires that religious groups (and including places of worship) obtain prior approval of their legal status in order to register, and replace it with a system of record-keeping that requires no scrutiny.

13. Civic Education: Abolish political education and political examinations that are heavy on ideology and serve the one-party rule. Popularize civic education based on universal values and civil rights, establish civic consciousness, and advocate civic virtues that serve society.

14. Property Protection: Establish and protect private property rights, and implement a system based on a free and open market economy; guarantee entrepreneurial freedom, and eliminate administrative monopolies; set up a Committee for the Management of State-Owned Property, responsible to the highest organ of popular will; launch reform of property rights in a legal and orderly fashion, and clarify the ownership of property rights and those responsible; launch a new land movement, advance land privatization, and guarantee in earnest the land property rights of citizens, particularly the farmers.

15. Fiscal Reform: Democratize public finances and guarantee taxpayers’ rights. Set up the structure and operational mechanism of a public finance system with clearly defined authority and responsibilities, and establish a rational and effective system of decentralized financial authority among various levels of government; carry out a major reform of the tax system, so as to reduce tax rates, simplify the tax system, and equalize the tax burden. Administrative departments may not increase taxes or create new taxes at will without sanction by society obtained through a public elective process and resolution by organs of popular will. Pass property rights reform to diversify and introduce competition mechanisms into the market; lower the threshold for entry into the financial field and create conditions for the development of privately-owned financial enterprises, and fully energize the financial system.

16. Social Security: Establish a social security system that covers all citizens and provides them with basic security in education, medical care, care for the elderly, and employment.

17. Environmental Protection: Protect the ecological environment, promote sustainable development, and take responsibility for future generations and all humanity; clarify and impose the appropriate responsibilities that state and government officials at all levels must take to this end; promote participation and oversight by civil society groups in environmental protection.

18. Federal Republic: Take part in maintaining regional peace and development with an attitude of equality and fairness, and create an image of a responsible great power. Protect the free systems of Hong Kong and Macau .On the premise of freedom and democracy, seek a reconciliation plan for the mainland and Taiwan through equal negotiations and cooperative interaction. Wisely explore possible paths and institutional blueprints for the common prosperity of all ethnic groups, and establish the Federal Republic of China under the framework of a democractic and constitutional government.

19. Transitional Justice: Restore the reputation of and give state compensation to individuals, as well as their families, who suffered political persecution during past political movements; release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; release all people convicted for their beliefs; establish a Commission for Truth Investigation to find the truth of historical events, determine responsibility, and uphold justice; seek social reconciliation on this foundation.

IV. Conclusion
China, as a great nation of the world, one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and a member of the Human Rights Council, ought to make its own contribution to peace for humankind and progress in human rights. Regrettably, however, of all the great nations of the world today, China alone still clings to an authoritarian way of life and has, as a result, created an unbroken nchain of human rights disasters and social crises, held back the development of the Chinese people, and hindered the progress of human civilization. This situation must change! We cannot put off political democratization reforms any longer. Therefore, in the civic spirit of daring to take action, we are issuing Charter 08. We hope that all Chinese citizens who share this sense of crisis, responsibility, and mission, whether officials or common people and regardless of social background, will put aside our differences to seek common ground and come to take an active part in this citizens’ movement, to promote the great transformation of Chinese society together, so that we can soon establish a free, democratic, and constitutional nation, fulfilling the aspirations and dreams that our countrymen have been pursuing tirelessly for more than a hundred years.

Big Brother vs CNN: seria patetico, se nao fosse ridiculo...

Todo mundo, ou quase, sabe que o Comitê Nobel atribui o prêmio 2010 da Paz ao ativista chinês pelos direitos humanos e pela democracia Liu Xiaobo.
Na China, ainda falta avisar alguns milhões, talvez algumas centenas de milhões.
Claro, todo mundo conectado de alguma forma com o mundo já sabe, menos os milhões de chineses que não dispõem de meios de informação independentes do governo.
Este, de modo absolutamente patético, está tentando impedir os chineses comuns de tomar conhecimento dessa notícia. Os meios oficiais fazem silêncio absoluto sobre o assunto.

Mas o Big Brother chinês também atua de modo absolutamente ridículo ao tentar impedir o acesso a essa informação objetiva pelos canais independentes, estrangeiros.
A CNN, por exemplo, acaba de ficar mais de 2 minutos fora do ar, por causa disso mesmo.
Entretanto, os burocratas e os censores do Great China Firewall foram particularmente vagarosos, e distraídos, neste caso: eles cortaram o sinal depois que a "âncora" da CNN já tinha começado a dar a notícia, inclusive de que o governo chinês estava bloqueando a infor.... (tela apagada).

Dois minutos depois, ou quase, a CNN retoma, desta vez anunciando a renúncia do Conselheiro de Segurança Nacional do presidente Obama, general Jones. Enfim a vida continua.

Esses censores precisam ser mais eficientes, não podem dormir no ponto, afinal de contas eles são pagos para isso.
Já foram mais eficientes de outras vezes...

No dia 1 de junho, por exemplo, eu estava assistindo a um especial na CNN sobre os 30 anos do início das emissões, a partir de Atlanta, daquela rede que se pretendia mundial e que era chamada depreciativamente de "Chicken Noodles Network".
A CNN fazia então um retrospecto das grandes reportagens de seus 30 anos desde 1980, focando a partir de seus arquivos os eventos mundiais de maior impacto no período: desastre da Space Shuttle, guerra Irã-Iraque, catástrofes, tragédias, de repente, isso mesmo: tela preta, chuvisco, ausência de sinal, por alguns segundos, 20 ou 30, depois retomada: invasão do Kwait pelo exército de Saddam Hussein, primeira guerra do golfo, etc, etc, etc.
Curioso, escrevi para correspondentes no Brasil e em outros países, para saber o que eu (e alguns milhões de residentes na China conectados na CNN) tinha perdido: justamente o que eu tinha deduzido imediatamente: o massacre da praça Tian An-Men, ironicamente chamada de Paz Celestial. Sim, também teve a queda do muro de Berlim, enfim, essas coisas incômodas do ponto de vista do Big Brother.

Se alguém perguntar, digamos o próprio escritório da CNN em Beijing, o governo chinês dirá, com a cara mais hipócrita do mundo, que foi um "problema técnico", alguma dificuldade qualquer com a transmissão do sinal, mas que a interrupção tinha sido prontamente resolvida por seus "técnicos".

Acredito que esses técnicos tenham de aumentar o tempo da decalagem entre o sinal da CNN e sua retransmissão na China, digamos para mais de um minuto, para dar tempo de cortar o sinal antes que a notícia entre nos aparelhos, como ocorreu agora, quando pelo menos ficamos sabendo que um chinês havia ganho o Premio Nobel da Paz, e que esse chinês estava preso, por ser um "dissiden..." (...).
Ou eles estavam dormindo, ou comendo miojo, pois se atrasaram vergonhosamente.
Não se pode ser um Big Brother eficiente dessa maneira; desse modo, alguém vai ter de escrever uma nova versão de "1984", criando a figura de um Big Brother trapalhão, distraído, lento, atrasado, ineficiente...

Enfim, acho tudo isso ridículo, pois só contribui para a causa que o governo do Big Brother quer evitar, mas acredito que a burrice seja própria das ditaduras...

Finalmente, sou contra essa caracterização de Liu Xiaobo como "dissidente".
Dissidente do que? De nada, obviamente.
Quem é dissidente é o governo chinês: da democracia, dos direitos humanos, dos princípios mais elementares da transparência e do livre acesso à informação...

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
(Shanghai, 8 de Outubro de 2010)

PS: A cena patética, ou ridícula, se repete: assim que os "titulares" da notícia foram novamente anunciados na CNN, as 23hs locais, inclusive de que o governo chinês tinha ficado bravo com a atribuição do Prêmio Nobel da Paz a Liu Xiabo, o sinal voltou a ser cortado. Assim será pelos próximos dias, cada vez que a matéria for abordada pela CNN (e pela BBC e outros canais, que vou continuar tentando).
Enfim, recomendo muito café e estimulantes aos rapazes do Great Firewal: eles vão ter de trabalhar muito nos próximos dias, e sobretudo ficar mais atentos, do contrário vão acabar tomando uma "censura" do censor-mor...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rampant fraud and economic success in China

Rampant Fraud Threat to China’s Brisk Ascent
The New York Times, October 6, 2010

BEIJING — No one disputes Zhang Wuben’s talents as a salesman. Through television shows, DVDs and a best-selling book, he convinced millions of people that raw eggplant and immense quantities of mung beans could cure lupus, diabetes, depression and cancer.

For $450, seriously ill patients could buy a 10-minute consultation and a prescription — except Mr. Zhang, one of the most popular practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, was booked through 2012.

But when the price of mung beans skyrocketed this spring, Chinese journalists began digging deeper. They learned that contrary to his claims, Mr. Zhang, 47, was not from a long line of doctors (his father was a weaver). Nor did he earn a degree from Beijing Medical University (his only formal education, it turned out, was the brief correspondence course he took after losing his job at a textile mill).

The exposure of Mr. Zhang’s faked credentials provoked a fresh round of hand-wringing over what many scholars and Chinese complain are the dishonest practices that permeate society, including students who cheat on college entrance exams, scholars who promote fake or unoriginal research, and dairy companies that sell poisoned milk to infants.

The most recent string of revelations has been bracing. After a plane crash in August killed 42 people in northeast China, officials discovered that 100 pilots who worked for the airline’s parent company had falsified their flying histories. Then there was the padded résumé of Tang Jun, the millionaire former head of Microsoft China and something of a national hero, who falsely claimed to have received a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology.

Few countries are immune to high-profile frauds. Illegal doping in sports and malfeasance on Wall Street are running scandals in the United States. But in China, fakery in one area in particular — education and scientific research — is pervasive enough that many here worry it could make it harder for the country to climb the next rung on the economic ladder.

A Lack of Integrity
China devotes significant resources to building a world-class education system and pioneering research in competitive industries and sciences, and has had notable successes in network computing, clean energy, and military technology. But a lack of integrity among researchers is hindering China’s potential and harming collaboration between Chinese scholars and their international counterparts, scholars in China and abroad say.

“If we don’t change our ways, we will be excluded from the global academic community,” said Zhang Ming, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “We need to focus on seeking truth, not serving the agenda of some bureaucrat or satisfying the desire for personal profit.”

Pressure on scholars by administrators of state-run universities to earn journal citations — a measure of innovation — has produced a deluge of plagiarized or fabricated research. In December, a British journal that specializes in crystal formations announced that it was withdrawing more than 70 papers by Chinese authors whose research was of questionable originality or rigor.

In an editorial published earlier this year, The Lancet, the British medical journal, warned that faked or plagiarized research posed a threat to President Hu Jintao’s vow to make China a “research superpower” by 2020.

“Clearly, China’s government needs to take this episode as a cue to reinvigorate standards for teaching research ethics and for the conduct of the research itself,” the editorial said. Last month a collection of scientific journals published by Zhejiang University in Hangzhou reignited the firestorm by publicizing results from a 20-month experiment with software that detects plagiarism. The software, called CrossCheck, rejected nearly a third of all submissions on suspicion that the content was pirated from previously published research. In some cases, more than 80 percent of a paper’s content was deemed unoriginal.

The journals’ editor, Zhang Yuehong, emphasized that not all the flawed papers originated in China, although she declined to reveal the breakdown of submissions. “Some were from South Korea, India and Iran,” she said.

The journals, which specialize in medicine, physics, engineering and computer science, were the first in China to use the software. For the moment they are the only ones to do so, Ms. Zhang said.

Plagiarism and Fakery
Her findings are not surprising if one considers the results of a recent government study in which a third of the 6,000 scientists at six of the nation’s top institutions admitted they had engaged in plagiarism or the outright fabrication of research data. In another study of 32,000 scientists last summer by the China Association for Science and Technology, more than 55 percent said they knew someone guilty of academic fraud.

Fang Shimin, a muckraking writer who has become a well-known advocate for academic integrity, said the problem started with the state-run university system, where politically appointed bureaucrats have little expertise in the fields they oversee. Because competition for grants, housing perks and career advancement is so intense, officials base their decisions on the number of papers published.

“Even fake papers count because nobody actually reads them,” said Mr. Fang, who is more widely known by his pen name, Fang Zhouzi, and whose Web site, New Threads, has exposed more than 900 instances of fakery, some involving university presidents and nationally lionized researchers.

When plagiarism is exposed, colleagues and school leaders often close ranks around the accused. Mr. Fang said this was partly because preserving relationships trumped protecting the reputation of the institution. But the other reason, he said, is more sobering: Few academics are clean enough to point a finger at others. One result is that plagiarizers often go unpunished, which only encourages more of it, said Zeng Guoping, director of the Institute of Science Technology and Society at Tsinghua University in Beijing, which helped run the survey of 6,000 academics.

He cited the case of Chen Jin, a computer scientist who was once celebrated for having invented a sophisticated microprocessor but who, it turned out, had taken a chip made by Motorola, scratched out its name, and claimed it as his own. After Mr. Chen was showered with government largess and accolades, the exposure in 2006 was an embarrassment for the scientific establishment that backed him.

But even though Mr. Chen lost his university post, he was never prosecuted. “When people see the accused still driving their flashy cars, it sends the wrong message,” Mr. Zeng said.

The problem is not confined to the realm of science. In fact many educators say the culture of cheating takes root in high school, where the competition for slots in the country’s best colleges is unrelenting and high marks on standardized tests are the most important criterion for admission. Ghost-written essays and test questions can be bought. So, too, can a “hired gun” test taker who will assume the student’s identity for the grueling two-day college entrance exam.

Then there are the gadgets — wristwatches and pens embedded with tiny cameras — that transmit signals to collaborators on the outside who then relay back the correct answers. Even if such products are illegal, students spent $150 million last year on Internet essays and high-tech subterfuge, a fivefold increase over 2007, according to a Wuhan University study, which identified 800 Web sites offering such illicit services.

Academic deceit is not limited to high school students. In July, Centenary College, a New Jersey institution with satellite branches in China and Taiwan, shuttered its business schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei after finding rampant cheating among students. Although school administrators declined to discuss the nature of the misconduct, it was serious enough to withhold degrees from each of the programs’ 400 students. Given a chance to receive their M.B.A.’s by taking another exam, all but two declined, school officials said.

Nonchalant Cheating
Ask any Chinese student about academic skullduggery and the response is startlingly nonchalant. Lu, an engineering student who last spring graduated from Tsinghua University, considered a plum of the country’s college system, said it was common for students to swap test answers or plagiarize essays from one another. “Perhaps it’s a cultural difference but there is nothing bad or embarrassing about it,” said Mr. Lu, who started this semester on a master’s degree at Stanford University and asked that his full name not be used for fear his candor might affect his future. “It’s not that students can’t do the work. They just see it as a way of saving time.”

The Chinese government has vowed to address the problem. Editorials in the state-run press frequently condemn plagiarism and last month, Liu Yandong, a powerful Politburo member who oversees Chinese publications, vowed to close some of the 5,000 academic journals whose sole existence, many scholars say, is to provide an outlet for doctoral students and professors eager to inflate their publishing credentials.

Fang Shimin and another crusading journalist, Fang Xuanchang, have heard the vows and threats before. In 2004 and again in 2006, the Ministry of Education announced antifraud campaigns but the two bodies they established to tackle the problem have yet to mete out any punishments.

In recent years, both journalists have taken on Xiao Chuanguo, a urologist who invented a surgical procedure aimed at restoring bladder function in children with spina bifida, a congenital deformation of the spinal column that can lead to incontinence, and when untreated, kidney failure and death.

In a series of investigative articles and blog postings, the two men uncovered discrepancies in Dr. Xiao’s Web site, including claims that he had published 26 articles in English-language journals (they could only find four) and that he had won an achievement award from the American Urological Association (the award was for an essay he wrote).

But even more troubling, they said, were assertions that his surgery had an 85 percent success rate. Of more than 100 patients interviewed, they said none reported having been cured of incontinence, with nearly 40 percent saying their health had worsened after the procedure, which involved rerouting a leg nerve to the bladder. (In early trials, doctors in the United States who have done the surgery have found the results to be far more promising.)

Wherever the truth may have been, Dr. Xiao was incensed. He filed a string of libel suits against Fang Shimin and told anyone who would listen that revenge would be his.

This summer both men were brutally attacked on the street in Beijing — Fang Xuanchang by thugs with an iron bar and Fang Shimin by two men wielding pepper spray and a hammer.

When the police arrested Dr. Xiao on Sept. 21, he quickly confessed to hiring the men to carry out the attack, according to the police report. His reason, he said, was vengeance for the revelations he blames for blocking his appointment to the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Despite his confession, Dr. Xiao’s employer, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, appeared unwilling to take any action against him. In the statement they released, administrators said they were shocked by news of his arrest but said they would await the outcome of judicial procedures before severing their ties to him.

Li Bibo and Zhang Jing contributed research.