Archive for November 23rd, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Visiting Hu Jia: Don’t mention the Sakharov Prize

The following is a blog entry from of today. Ms Zeng’s post title is I saw Hu Jia on Friday.

Last week, the State Security Police came to talk, and I was rather anxious, and as I felt strained and tired, I didn’t want to talk too much.

Afterwards, the State Security went to Hu Jia’s parents to talk with them and told them that Hu Jia was aware that he had won this year’s Sakharov Prize. On November 20, the State Security arranged separate meetings between Hu Jia and his parents.

On November 21 I went to Beijing Municipal Prison (北京市监狱) to visit Hu Jia. I didn’t take Bao Bao with me. In advance, all of us were warned by the prison police not to mention the Sakharov Prize; otherwise the phone line for our conversation on the two sides of the glass shield separating us would be cut immediately.

Hu Jia’s state of mind is still OK. We mostly spoke about the child’s growing up and her education. Hu Jia said that he can eat two hot meals per day now, and that this was twice the nutrition he had got at Chaobai Prison. As for the cold water for showers, he said he uses it as kind of training. He told his parents on November 20 that after a security examination, he should prepare to work as a welder in prison.

He underwent blood tests in October, but we all don’t know the results yet. On November 12 he was notified that he should undergo another blood test. Until now, we don’t know that test’s results either. I’d like to ask he prison staff to inquire. At the time, the staff I talked with said he didn’t know and would let us know after getting information.

I’m worried if the test results are unusual, or if the anti-virals have led to a resistance. There have been two tests within less than a month without informing Hu Jia or us about the results.

I asked when the next meeting would be, and the prison staff said I should await their notification.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Urban Planning 1953: How Beijing lost its Walls and Gates

Thomas H. Hahn:

In 1953, Beijing’s first urban planning master plan was presented. It would have a rather profound impact on the design and the functioning of the “socialist capital of the world”, as Beijing was hailed at the time. The designs displayed here, drafted by the Huabei zhishu sheji gongsi 华北直属设计公司, one of the most influential urban design and architectural companies of the era, are all time stamped late 1954… »

Sunday, November 23, 2008

China the Best Place for Foreign Investment?

Sing Tao Daily (Hong Kong, UK edition) opened on Friday with the headline that mainland China was the world’s best place to invest (全球最佳投资地), according to KPMG. The article stated that China was followed by the US, India, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The ranking is based on a survey conducted by KPMG from September to October. KPMG visited 260 global companies in twelve economic territories. The report was the first of this kind by KPMG which emphasized tax policies and population distribution, according to Sing Tao Daily.

Peoples Net and Northeast Net also published information about the KPMG report, referring to “Chinas hinterland” (中国内地). However, this probably means “mainland China”, contrary to Hong Kong.

According to Barbara Forrest of KPMG (quoted by Oriental Dragon Tiger News), talents from the Chinese mainland are increasingly popular in multinational corporations, and with the world positive about China’s economy companies are willing to enter the Chinese market with the assistance of such staff.

The internet offers very few details about the report so far, and Sing Tao Daily‘s headline on Friday wasn’t followed by too many details either.

Anyway – I have my doubts. When you base such a report on China’s tax policies, you obviously suppose that these policies are in effect from the center down to every province and municipality. You take rule of law as a basis where it may not exist. Last time I saw a foreign investor complaining about being ripped off, I felt sorry for him. When I read about an investor from Hanover last year who complained about stolen technology (Der Spiegel), I felt sorry for him, too. OK, sort of sorry. I felt more sorry for his engineers.

But by now, since the Beijing Olympics, we’ve been from hosianna to crucify them, concerning China. All I know is that many of the companies interviewed by KPMG believe that mainland China is the next big thing. Iwon’t pity the foreign company boss who will complain next. China can be a good place for a certain investment in one place – and it can be a nightmare next door.

The fact that most governments world wide acknowledge the one-China principle doesn’t mean that there is such a thing as one China. No matter where investors go – a report which calls China either the place where most international investment will go (for whatever reason), or the best (最佳) place for foreign investment, says very little I’d base my decisions on.

Related: Starry Eyes

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