Saturday, August 20, 2005

What China Lacks

Two interesting topics have been making the rounds in the China-watching blogosphere lately. Both deal with something that the People's Republic is short of: Friends and gasoline.
  1. Friends - Howard French has written "Letter from Asia: 'China first' approach: A missed opportunity" for the International Herald Tribune and posted it on his website.
    Those who fret most about China's rise, though, seem to ignore some very basic, and as yet unanswered, questions. No matter how fast its economy grows, can a country make a successful transition to great-power status without real friendships, without associating itself meaningfully with any global ideal, or without bearing a more generous share of humanity's burdens?
    Personally, I feel that China's growing economy and its willingness to ignore little hangups like human rights guarantee that China's list of friends will continue to grow (in quantity if not quality).

  2. Gasoline - Countless bloggers have addressed this point (Simon has the round-up), but none has done so better than the Economist's View.
    Back to economic principles. If a price ceiling is imposed, what should happen? Shortages?
    Explanations don't get any simpler than that.

  • AsiaPundit's seventh China Economic Roundup has more on the oil shortages. Quoting the Financial Times, he relays:
    Global prices have risen by about 30 per cent this year but Chinese prices by about half that, leaving local refiners such as Sinopec suffering large losses on sales of imported fuel.
    A Sinopec official in Beijing, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday the company had been forced by the government to order its refiners to produce fuel for the local market, even though it was not profitable.
  • Simon World brings us an article from The Standard:
    There are strong reasons to believe the two [Sinopec and PetroChina] have deliberately halted supplies to create seeming chaos. By doing so, the duopoly could well be killing three birds with one stone.
    Click through to discover identity of the three birds.