Difficult year ahead for China admits Premier Wen Jiabao

From Times Online
March 14, 2010
Difficult year ahead for China admits Premier Wen Jiabao
Times Online

China faces a difficult year as it works to maintain economic growth and spur development, but it would not be bullied into boosting the value of its currency, Premier Wen Jiabao said today.

In a wide-ranging press conference at the end of China's annual session of parliament, Mr Wen said Beijing was not ready to withdraw stimulus measures put in place in late 2008 to pull the world's third-largest economy out of the crisis, and denied criticism that China is keeping its currency undervalued in order to boost exports.

He also said that he would not allow the US to push China on the issues of China and Tibet, and claimed he was snubbed at last year's Copenhagen climate change summit.

Keeping the yuan stable was "an important contribution" to global recovery from the economic downturn, Mr Wen told hundreds of reporters gathered at the Great Hall of the People for his only formal press conference of the year.
A mixed year in the past and an interesting one to come. On the plus side, the international policy has been mostly successful. They've managed to make a few major trade deals in Africa, Latin America and Asia without ruffling anyone's feathers and exports have started to increase again. Their naval participation in the anti-piracy ops off Somalia and in the China Sea have been generally well received. Taiwan is looking and acting a lot more friendly and the chances of anything unpleasant happening there are receding drastically. They've taken over from Japan as second largest world economy and have for the most part defused the diplomatic rancour that dominated Sino-Japanese relations during the early and mid-2000s.

On the home front, things are a good deal more mixed. Domestic demand is going up and that gives them an opportunity to make friends by increasing imports, but at the same time their own folk will be wanting to know why good Chinese labour isn't being used when so many folk are unemployed. The anti-corruption campaigns are getting mixed results: Chongqing and Shanghai are unpleasant political consequences as they're showing just how deep Jiang Zemin's cronies were implicated and that's causing them to fight back ever harder in the political contest at national level. In response, Hu's stalling his attempts to install a technocracy and is putting his Youth League Faction people in charge of pretty much everything he can just to keep the Shanghai Faction out - and is meeting with mixed success as they're manoeuvring as if their lives depended on it.
Given the PRCs criminal code, they could very well.

The political front has been dominated by the succession to the 5th Generation leadership. Wen's protege, Li Keqiang, is pretty likely to succeed him as Premier, giving the CYL faction continued control of the economic policy (generally-speaking, there's not much difference between the various factions on the economic front so it's a battle they could 'easily' win) but the State positions are another matter. Xi Jinping's the most likely candidate for Presidency and despite his origins in the CYL, his background is as a Party Affairs specialist and not the kind of technocrat Hu-Wen have been pinning their hopes on.

One thing that has surprised me is the muted response to the Dalai Lama's latest pontifications. I'd honestly expected a good deal more publicity than there has been. It's probably too much to expect that the western media have begun to ask themselves the kind of awkward questions they've been reluctant to put to the man himself but just occasionally hearing something like, "Can we see your evidence for that claim, Your Holiness?", or similar ground-breaking journalistic endeavour, would be a refreshing change.
Rather over-egging the pudding, but some elements of truth in there. The international game used to be incredibly slanted in favour of the west, now it isn't and that's going to take some adjustment. Not necessarily a bad thing IMO. A world divided into 'Haves', 'Have nots' and 'Used to Have, until some bugger nicked its' isn't particularly stable.

We've spent the guts of 60 years ramming down peoples' throats that competition is automatically A Good Thing, while at the same time insisting that they do things the same way we do. Was our evangelism really founded on genuine principle, or just fondness for snaffling the lion's share of the cake? I guess we'll find out soon enough when we no longer can.

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