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Political Atheist

Living in South East Asia (Vietnam & Cambodia). At the ending/starting point of the more than 1000 year old SIlk Road.
Political Atheist has written 244 posts for China Daily Mail

Chinese Maserati owner smashes up his luxury car


A wealthy Chinese Maserati owner hired four sledgehammer-wielding men to smash-up his $420,000 super car in protest at poor customer service. The car owner, identified as Wang, had the group attack the Maserati Quattroporte at the opening of an auto show in the eastern city of Qingdao in Shandong province, the Qingdao Morning Post said. Video images … Continue reading

Chinese tourists’ bad manners harming country’s reputation


Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang has criticized the “uncivilized behavior” of his countrymen when they travel abroad, which he says has harmed the nation’s image. He blamed the “poor quality and breeding” of the Chinese tourists. According to Shangaiist, Wang made the remarks during a meeting to discuss the country’s new tourism law. He said that some … Continue reading

Will China buy up Greece’s best assets?


Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras headed to China, amid hopes that the world`s second largest economy can revive one of the euro zone`s most debt laden countries. Greece is hoping that the five-day trade mission, which includes a delegation of around 70 businessmen, can attract investment as the country continues with the privatisation of state-owned … Continue reading

A new Chinese anti-satellite test?


Five years ago, China conducted its first anti-satellite (ASAT) test – on January 11, 2007. Exactly three years later, China conducted a second ASAT test, which Beijing referred to as a missile defence test, on January 11, 2010. And now, some days ago, China launched a large missile that reached 6,200 miles (10,000 km) above … Continue reading

Laos seeks Chinese help to survey its mineral wealth


Laos is seeking help from the Chinese government to conduct detailed surveys of its mineral wealth, aiming to use the information to help regulate the mining industry. Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Somboun Rasasombath said as quoted in the South China Morning Post this week that he would discuss the matter with Chinese Deputy … Continue reading

Job prospects grim for China’s 7 million fresh graduates


When James Zhao, 23, read news reports last Friday claiming Renren, the “Facebook of China“, could be laying off three-quarters of the staff at its 3G technology department, his heart sank. Having been unsuccessful in his job applications to several multinational tech firms, including mobile giant Motorola, he was hoping to have better luck with … Continue reading

China launches new censorship crackdown on internet celebrities


In its latest bid to contain the often riotous jumble of news and rumor on the Chinese internet, the Communist party has decided to bring the most high-profile and influential voices to heel. On Saturday, May 11, 2013, Hao Qun, a famous 39-year-old novelist and frequent government critic who goes by the pen name Murong Xuecun, found … Continue reading

China: unequal in death, as well as in life


The news that Guangzhou is to start building a costly cemetery exclusively for revolutionary heroes and government officials this October has stirred up something of an online controversy. With the cost of cemetery space far higher than housing, it has highlighted the increasing inequality in Chinese society – in death, as well as in life. … Continue reading

First Chinese stealth drone ‘ready’ for test flight


The Chinese military is making preparations for the inaugural flight test of its newly designed unmanned combat vehicle, bringing the Asian powerhouse into the stealth technology race, Chinese media report. China’s first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), known as the Lijian (‘sharp sword‘), is designed jointly by the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group and Shenyang Aviation Corporation. … Continue reading

China’s evolving ‘core interests’


Whenever China wants to identify the issues considered important enough to go to war over, it uses the term “core interests.” The phrase was once restricted to Taiwan, the island nation that China has threatened to forcibly unify with the mainland. About five years ago, Chinese leaders expanded the term to include Tibet and Xinjiang, … Continue reading

China’s stealth wars of acquisition


In the way China made land grabs across the Himalayas in the 1950s by launching furtive encroachments, it is now waging stealth wars – without firing a single shot – to change the status quo in the South and East China seas, on the line of control with India, and on international-river flows. Although China … Continue reading

Why Beijing’s big economic announcement will not amount to much


China says it will open up capital flows – but will it work? China announced this week that it will formulate plans to permit more capital to flow in and out of the country, a key element of RMB convertibility, and liberalise its interest rates (link in Chinese), by the end of the year. In the simplest … Continue reading

China mouthpiece claims rights over Okinawa


China‘s top newspaper on May 8, 2013, published a call for a “reconsideration” of Japan’s sovereignty over the island of Okinawa – home to major US bases – with the Asian powers already embroiled in a territorial row. The lengthy article in the People’s Daily, China’s most-circulated newspaper and the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist … Continue reading

Rich Chinese shift focus from growing to preserving assets


China’s rich continue to want to invest and move abroad in large numbers, but their goals have begun to shift, consulting firm Bain & Company said in a recent report. Three out of five wealthy mainland Chinese are looking to immigrate out of China while another third own investments abroad, Bain said in its “China Private … Continue reading

Baidu – China’s biggest video platform?


Baidu acquires PPS for $370 million and claims it’s now China’s biggest video platform. Well, the rumors are true. Chinese search company Baidu announced May 7, 2013, that it has acquired PPS.tv’s streaming video service for $370 million. This acquisition bolsters Baidu’s video offerings (it already owns iQiyi) and puts it in a position to challenge market leader Youku-Tudou for a bigger share … Continue reading

Xi’s war drums sound in China


China‘s new leader is using the military to consolidate his power. But has he unleashed forces beyond his control? Every morning at 6 a.m., more than two dozen of the world’s leading submarine watchers, aviation experts, government specialists, imagery analysts, cryptanalysts, and linguists gather at the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. Their … Continue reading

China’s new diplomatic weapon: Red flag luxury limos


Forget panda diplomacy. China has added a new weapon to its soft-power arsenal – home-grown luxury cars. On Friday, May 3, 2013, Beijing donated 20 Chinese-made Hongqi, or Red Flag, sedans worth around $2.3 million, to the Pacific nation of Fiji. At a ceremony in Suva, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama described the gift as … Continue reading

600 Chinese apply to live permanently on Mars


Over 600 Chinese have applied to join an ambitious Dutch aerospace project that plans to send humans on a one-way trip to Mars for permanent settlement. The Dutch project, while triggering enthusiasm to explore outer space, is also under fire with the trip being viewed by some as a suicide mission, with applicants being shipped … Continue reading

China vexed and humiliated by Shinzo Abe’s Russia visit


Japan is using “value diplomacy” to create the geopolitical encirclement of China, according to China’s state-run media. That point was emphasized across the communist nation’s media spectrum as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began a historic seven-day visit to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. What makes China most wary of Mr. Abe’s trip is the first leg of his tour – Russia, a country of … Continue reading

Seven key messages from India to China


The most charitable thing that can be said about Indian UPA government’s incoherent response to the Chinese incursion into Ladakh’s Debsang Valley is this: maybe, the government has a brilliant plan that we as yet don’t know anything about. On past performance, I wouldn’t bet on this. And surely, the statements of Indian External Affairs … Continue reading

28,000 rivers disappeared in China


As recently as 20 years ago, there were an estimated 50,000 rivers in China, each covering a flow area of at least 60 square miles. But now, according to China’s First National Census of Water, more than 28,000 of these rivers are missing. To put this number into context, China’s lost rivers are almost equal, in … Continue reading

Is China reviving the old Silk Road?


After enjoying a history of about 1600 years, the Silk Road had lost out to the Southern Ocean Corridor connecting Europe and Asia. But now there are signs that the old Silk Road is being revived. The Silk Road refers to the historical network of trading routes that connected Asia with the Middle East, North … Continue reading

China’s black hole – unlikely claims of terrorism in Xinjiang


China’s Black Hole – Let’s face it: We have little idea what’s actually going on in Xinjiang and Tibet. On April 23, 2013, or so it seems, 21 people were killed in the region of Xinjiang in northwest China. According to Hou Hanmin, a Xinjiang propaganda bureau spokeswoman, a gang of 14 “suspicious people” took three … Continue reading

Taiwan mulls opening South China Sea park


Related government agencies and experts in Taiwan are currently conducting evaluations on whether to open an offshore island national park in the South China Sea for tourism and environmental education activities, the Marine National Park Headquarters (MNPH) said recently. “Experts are now in talks on whether to allow tourists to visit Dongsha Island in the Dongsha … Continue reading

Being a Chinese official: Not all it’s cracked up to be


Being a Communist Party cadre has its advantages. But there are risks, too. Life as a Chinese government official isn’t what it used to be. Lavish, liquor-heavy banquets have been outlawed. It will soon be harder to get those military license plates, useful for avoiding hassle from traffic police. With China’s army of voracious and ever-watchful bloggers, … Continue reading

In China, the license plates can cost more than the car


Shanghai’s busy streets teem with Buicks, Fords, Volkswagens, and Toyotas. More than 9 out of 10 cars in the world’s most populous city are made by foreign companies, and it’s not just a reflection of mainlanders’ preference for Western design. Some local automakers say the city’s license plate auctions are responsible for their weak sales. Shanghai is … Continue reading

Did China steal Japan’s high-speed train?


The company that makes Japan’s legendary Shinkansen bullet trains certainly regrets working in China. One China defender recently claimed his countryman’s “bandit innovators” could be good for the world. That was small consolation for the Japanese, who say that China pirated their world-famous bullet train technology. “Don’t worry too much about Chinese companies imitating you, … Continue reading

China bird flu outbreak: 3 good, 3 bad and 3 very bad signs


Since the new avian flu strain H7N9 began appearing in China earlier this year, it’s infected over 100 people, killed 22, spread to five provinces plus Beijing and Shanghai and, as of Wednesday, is confirmed to have spread abroad to Taiwan. How worried should you be about this? How serious is the H7N9 outbreak? The simplest and … Continue reading

China plans to build aircraft carrier


China will build – from scratch – a large aircraft carrier capable of carrying more fighter jets, the official Xinhua news service reported, quoting a senior officer with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. China has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was refitted from a Russian-made model. The report comes after Chinese officials denied foreign … Continue reading

Ladakh incursion: India and China face-off at the ‘Gate of Hell’


Yarkandi caravan guides on the great Himal’s routes to Leh, might have mapped the journey thus: from the great plains, climb into the pass of the black gravel, the Karakoram. From there, cross the Chip-Chap, the very quiet river, to reach Daulat Beg Oldi, the spot where the great and rich man died. Then, you … Continue reading

Uneven economic growth in China’s regions


When looking at Chinese growth, it’s easy to think of the country as one entity, and one figure. Will GDP expand by 8 per cent this year, or “just” 7? However, China is a bit bigger than just one number. With a fifth of the world’s population in the fourth biggest country by area, distributed over many … Continue reading

China facing widening inequities and corruption


In spite of its spectacular rise as a global economic power, China is now grappling with concerns such as peasant income declining, widening inequity, worker unrest and corruption, farm productivity dwindling, according to Manoranjan Mohanty, political scientist and faculty member at the Council for Social Development, Delhi. Delivering the Founder’s Day lecture organised by the Madras Institute of Development Studies … Continue reading

China responds to US gun control failure


“The world is watching the United States Senate, and we will be held accountable,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, said after watching the failure of several measures to expand gun control. The accountability part will be up to American voters, but the senator was right about the Senate being watched. To the Chinese who awoke … Continue reading

China foreign news ban criticised


An international press freedom group, criticized a ruling that bans Chinese journalists from quoting foreign news outlets without permission, a move that further tightens Beijing’s control of the media. The directive from China’s media regulator, the General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, also prohibits unauthorized use of information from “freelancers, NGO or commercial organisations”. China’s media … Continue reading

Frozen pangolins on stranded Chinese boat in the Philippines


The Philippine coast guard has found hundreds of frozen scaly anteaters, or pangolins, in the cargo hold of a Chinese boat that ran aground in a protected marine sanctuary last week. Wildlife officials have been informed of the surprising discovery, which could lead to more charges for the 12 Chinese men arrested on charges including … Continue reading

China deploys navy ships to patrol Senkaku Islands


A day after asking Japan to stop encroaching its territory, Chinese military deployed its naval ships to patrol the islands disputed with Tokyo in the East China Sea. This is the first time in recent months China deployed its naval vessels for patrols in the islands waters replacing the marine surveillance vessels, even though some naval ships … Continue reading

China issues white paper on national defence


China has revealed the structure of its military units, in what state-run media describe as a first. The army has a total of 850,000 officers, while the navy and air force have a strength of 235,000 and 398,000, China said in its defense white paper. The paper also criticized the US’s expanded military presence in the Asia-Pacific, saying it … Continue reading

Why is China so interested in tiny Iceland?


It is clear why Iceland is interested in China: the Arctic nation’s prime minister is in Beijing to sign a free trade agreement that will boost Icelandic fish exports more than somewhat. But why is China so interested in Iceland? Perhaps because the Arctic is shaping up to be one of the world’s future hotspots, as the melting icecap reveals … Continue reading

China has feudal answers for modern problems


After Mao Zedong announced the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party began to get rid of all the vestiges of the “feudal” society that had preceded it. This process culminated during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) with the campaign to “Destroy the Four Olds”: old thought, culture, customs and habits. … Continue reading

Is China cornering the world cotton market?


The Unites States is the second-largest producer of cotton, a product that everyone wears, everyone uses. But that may not be enough to ensure the security of the American cotton industry, with China now a major player in the world cotton market. “Most of the cotton now has to get in the container and go … Continue reading

Baby milk ‘traffickers’ supply China


Blamed for empty shop shelves from Europe to Australia, networks of baby formula traffickers are shipping milk powder to Chinese parents fearful of local products, and working ever harder to meet demand. Chinese parents haunted by scandals involving poisoned baby milk will pay premium prices – three or four times as much as domestic brands … Continue reading

Japan shocks China on Senkakus


Japan gives priority to Senkakus issue over fishing interests. It will continue to face territorial claims from China and Taiwan, despite having knocked a wedge between them by making concessions to Taipei in a fishing agreement over waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku Islands. Japan and Taiwan signed the fishing agreement on April 10, sidestepping sovereignty over … Continue reading

Restructuring China’s maritime law enforcement


China has restructured its unwieldy maritime law enforcement apparatus. It is a development that signals Beijing’s intention to push ahead with its heavy-handed approach to territorial disputes and maritime contentions with some of its neighboring countries. Its impact on regional security China deployed a naval task force that included four warships at James Shoal, near Brunei and East Malaysia, … Continue reading

Surging wages threaten Chinese competitiveness


China’s surging wages and costs are showing signs of undermining the competitiveness of the nation’s economy, threatening its growth potential, the Asian Development Bank said. Average inflation-adjusted wages have more than tripled in a decade and non-wage costs for procedures such as hiring and firing have risen since the introduction of a 2008 labor law, … Continue reading

Chinese nationals arrested for extortion ring in Cambodia


More than 500 Chinese and Taiwanese nationals accused of extortion have been deported since 2010 to their homelands. Last week, Cambodian authorities in Phnom Penh arrested again 39 Chinese nationals suspected of participating and involvement in an organized illegal network that operates a phone-based extortion ring, the Cambodian National Police announced on their website. With … Continue reading

No usable oil in disputed areas of the South China Sea?


An US government report on oil and gas reserves in the heavily disputed regions of the South China has concluded that there probably aren’t any. The study concludes for the first time that the countries expecting riches under the Spratly and Paracel Islands are going to be disappointed. Nothing but politics and nationalism? The research … Continue reading

China’s internet bigwigs turn to politics


China’s Internet bigwigs have taken to politics, becoming the deputies of the main legislative body dominated by the ruling Communist Party. Ma Huateng, Chairman and the CEO of Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd, has become deputy of the National People’s Congress, and Robin Li, the Chairman and CEO of search engine giant Baidu Inc, has … Continue reading

Why does China have so few true friends?


On his first foreign foray as China’s new President, Xi Jinping visited Russia and then Tanzania, two countries with which China has frosty relations at best. “China and Russia, as the biggest neighbours share many commonalities,” Xi declared in Moscow. But in truth, the two nations carry on carefully crafted civility, and that’s all. “All of … Continue reading

China’s submarines in Indian Ocean worry Indian Navy


An increasing number of Chinese submarines venturing into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) pose a grave danger to India’s security interests, a classified defence ministry document has revealed. Citing subsurface contact data shared by US forces, the document said at least 22 contacts were recorded with vessels suspected to be Chinese attack submarines patrolling outside … Continue reading

Is China secretly hoarding the world’s fish?


It looks like rare earth elements aren’t the only commodity China has been allegedly keeping to itself. According to a recent study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, the Chinese have been drastically underreporting the number of fish that Chinese ships catch in other countries’ waters every year. While China tells the UNFAO, the U.N. agency that … Continue reading

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