As China's banks struggle under the weight of never-to-be-repaid subprime loans (which were turned into bonds using the same trick that produced the US/EU subprime crisis), the Chinese government is throwing money at them to loan out to ever-dodgier borrowers, just to change the ratio of delinquent debts to ones that have yet to turn delinquent. Read the rest
At least 100,000 people became stranded at the Guangzhou Railway Station southern China. They were trying to get a jump on Chinese New Year, which starts next week. The image above is a small portion of a photo that will send a chill down the spine of agoraphobics.
From The Guardian:
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Aerial photographs published by one website showed a crush of bodies snaking towards the train station through metal barricades. About 176,000 passengers had been due to pass through the station on Monday alone.
“There are too many people and it is too crowded,” one stranded passenger, who was not named, told state broadcaster CCTV.
The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment's licensing arm to Visual China Group. Read the rest
It's not just dissident Hong Kong booksellers who're being snatched -- China's snatch-squads have kidnapped expatriate dissidents (including those with foreign passports) from Sweden, Burma and Thailand. Read the rest
Gentleman juggler Mat Ricardo writes, "Last week I got booked to travel to China and appear on their big world records TV show to pull the biggest tablecloth ever. Here's how none of that happened and I ended up literally fleeing to the airport." Read the rest
Five employees of the publisher Mighty Current and its retail arm, Causeway Bay Bookstore, have disappeared from Hong Kong, and pro-democracy leaders say that they were kidnapped to the mainland by PRC security forces in retaliation for publishing books critical of the Chinese government. Read the rest
Writing in the Globe and Mail, University of Toronto Munk Chair of Innovation Studies Dan Breznitz explains how the TPP -- negotiated in secret without any oversight or accountability -- will enrich a few multinationals at the expense of US and Canadian growth, making the whole trade zone less competitive and more ripe to be overtaken by Chinese firms. Read the rest
Lu Wei is chief of China's State Internet Information Office, a man they call "the gatekeeper of the Chinese internet." According to him, the world's most notorious and ambitious system of Internet censorship is actually just "management." Read the rest
Five years ago, a fisherman in Deyang, China, buried his entire life savings. The amount he buried totaled about US$5,500. When Wu Chen, 67, and his family recently dug it up, they discovered that the plastic bag the bills were in had deteriorated. Worms and insects had eaten through much of his cash.
Those bowtie-shaped "motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooters" you see in the windows of strip-mall cellphone repair shops and in mall-kiosks roared out of nowhere and are now everywhere, despite being so new that we don't even know what they're called. Read the rest
In an earnings call in which Caterpillar execs explained their dismal takings to investors, Cat execs explained their plan to grow by leasing tractors to Chinese companies with crummy track-records for payment. Read the rest
Amnesty International's No End in Sight: Torture and Forced Confessions in China interviews 37 Chinese lawyers and analyzes 590 court decisions in the process of documenting the routine torture of human rights lawyers in China. Read the rest
The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.
The Walt Disney company has been trying to extend its reach into China for years. After the years of sputtering trying to get Hong Kong Disneyland on its feet, they built three more lands in the last few years and visitors are starting to come. But that’s nothing compared to the Disneyland they’re building in Shanghai, which is an enormous park with many attractions that are unique to it and have piqued the interest of Disney theme park fans all around the world.
Now, thanks to my friend Alain Littaye over at his swell Disney and More Blogspot I can tell you a lot about Shanghai Disneyland, whose animated map has just gone live on line here. While the site is not yet fully functional, it will whet your appetite!
Divided into seven “lands,” Shanghai Disneyland will open with a full day of attractions (unlike most Disney parks build in the last 25 years). Rumor has it that the Chinese government has closed over 100 factories in the immediate Shanghai area to eliminate the hideous gray throat-burning haze one encounters in Beijing, for example.
Guests will first encounter Mickey Avenue, which takes the place of the usual “Main Street U.S.A.” Filled with shops and character meet-and-greets, this is a new style of entrance for a Disney park.
A nod to the Chinese host country takes place in the new land Gardens of Imagination, which boasts seven “whimsical gardens,” as well as a carousel themed to the film Fantasia, a Dumbo spinning ride, as well as serving as the “hub” (a term Disney folks call that round spot in front of the castle from which paths to the other lands emanate). Read the rest