Archive for December 25th, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gasoline Prices and Taxes changing

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC, 国家发展和改革委员会 or 发改会), a macroeconomic management agency under the state council,  has lowered fuel prices with effect from December 19 as follows, according to Jiangsu News:

from 6,480 to 5,580 Yuan per ton for gasoline; from 6,070 to 4,970 Yuan per ton for Diesel; and from 7,450 to 5,050 Yuan per ton for aviation kerosene.

The price changes scheme includes oil consumption tax changes taking effect on January 1, 2009:

1 Yuan per liter for gasoline (from 0.2 Yuan before), and 0.8 Yuan per liter for Diesel (from 0.1 Yuan originally). Other oil consumption taxes would rise accordingly, writes Jiangsu News.

The scheme scraps the Road Maintenance Fee, Waterway Maintenance Fee, Road Transport Management Fee, Passenger and Cargo Surcharge, Waterway Transport  Management Fee and Water passenger and freight surcharges. These cancelations will also take effect on January 1, according to Jiangsu News.

Related – Commodities: Cabbage and Fuel, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Story: The East is Red – Part I

… inspired by Edgar Snow’s Red Star over China Gospel

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Prologue

The Imperial Court announces with raging sorrow that her Imperial Highness, the horse-faced Dowager Empress aka Noble Consort Yi, has joined her Celestial Ancestors from the Middle Sea Hall of Graceful Bird today. Unreliable elements in our Sacred Kingdom are advised to keep their mouths shut and not to try to seize rotten opportunities which do not exist anyway. They may however open their mouths for ritual mourning. The Imperial Court is in full control of everything, sees everything, hears everything and knows everything, and the next generation of Imperial rule is already installed and very powerful. Besides, her Imperial Highness will soon reincarnate under the name of Mao Zedong.

Peiping, November 15, 1908

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justrecently proudly presents:

RED STAR OVER CHINA

A JR production, Christmas 2008

The East is Red

The East is Red

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1. An Appointment to the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon

Once upon a time in 1936 it came to pass that Hermit, a civilized Han Chinese Taoist dragonfly living in uncivilized muzzie Xinjiang watched the stars through his huge infrared space observatory (invented in China) at night and saw a lot of big red stars, but the one to the East in the direction of Shaanxi Province was the biggest and brightest one. And Hermit sat down and had another cup of green tea and then called his good old girlfriend Nanny in the West of Qinghai Province (invented by China in 1928) on his mobile phone (which was invented in China long before Graham Bell had stopped crapping his diapers), and told her about the big shining red star over China.

And Nanny sat down on her five-square-meters ass and thought carefully and said: “This star might stand for an evil cult, even more evil than the New Life cult (invented by Chiang Kaishek in 1934) and the Falun Gong cult (as old as China itself, says Li Hongzhi) which tried to stick to a world without gravity (which was very unhealthy and un-Chinese ever since Pan Gu had invented gravity).

But after three more crossword puzzles (night was already giving way to another day), Nanny decided that if the star signalled an evil cult, there would be a need to smash it, and if it was a cool cult, it was something she should breastfeed. Moreover, as the renowned seer she was, she had seen during her crossword puzzle that it was most likely a cool cult.

“We will meet in the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon,” said Nanny.

“Where was that again,” asked Hermit.

“That’s where we spent our honeymoon, bastard,” hissed Nanny.

Hermit apologized, as usual. He knew the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon. Nanny erroneously believed that they were married, as a matter of fact, Hermit had lost his innocence there, and he never dared to contradict bluntly when she referred to their qingkuang as marriage. Ostensibly forgetting about the Canyon and that terrible night there was his only way to coyly differ.

“OK,” said Nanny. She had become angry and short-spoken. “I’ll wait for you there.”

“Hahaha,” made Hermit. “You will wait for me? Can you fly? You never told me!”

“You’ve never seen my seven league boots,” said Nanny. “But this is a critical point in the history of our motherland. It’s time to unwrap our secret weapons. I hope you have some silver bullets, too.”

With that, she slammed her mobile phone onto a rock, removed the SIM card from the broken device and put it into a new mobile.

As the sun rose, Hermit was busy with packing his 30*20*10 centimeters briefcase and getting a map featuring Ping’an (平安) and surroundings – Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon was some hundred miles to the northeast of that town. He had to hurry. Nanny’s way to Ping’an was much shorter than his, and considering her seven league boots, there was no time for him to lose. So off he flew to Ping’an. The Wind was West to Northwest, so his briefcase wouldn’t be too much of a nuisance.

This includes Tibet and Taiwan

This includes Tibet and Taiwan

It took him more than five days without any sleep to get there. He only had some short breaks from flying to take angry phone calls from Nanny who kept asking how much longer she would have to wait for him as she had already reached the Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon. Such phonecalls from Nanny happened seven times, and cost the great cause of the motherland seven mobile phones. Hermit had no idea how many she carried with her.

***

The Picturesque-Landscape-of-Our-Country Canyon came into sight on the sixth day after darkness had fallen. From an altitude of 400 meters, Hermit could spot a small campfire and flew lots of combat curves with decreasing altitudes to gather intel on the situation, closing in on the camp. Once every circle, the fire vanished behind what appeared to be a huge rock. “Cut it out!“, yelled Nanny when Hermit was only two meters above her. “This makes me dizzy!”

Hermit dropped his briefcase and sat down in a safe distance from the fire – dragonflies have to mind their airfoils. “Sorry – I didn’t see it was you, and I wanted to make sure.”

Nanny shook her head and gave Hermit a disdainful look. “Who else should be here?”

Bu haole 1), thought Hermit. If Nanny thought that noone else would come here, she might want to make love. Then again, maybe he was lucky and there would be no sex in a patriotic movie. Last time, also in this place, had been before the Japanese invaded the motherland.

“With my seven-league boots, we should reach the place where the star is within the next 24 hours,” remarked Nanny. Ah, OK. She was tied up with business. “It’s time to find out what’s going on there. I’m almost sure it’s something Chiang Kai-shek doesn’t want us to see. You know, usually, I think that news blackouts are useful and healthy. But only for people who are too stupid to deal with secret information in a patriotic and healthy way.”

She went on with her views on censorship and political healthiness for half an hour or so, while Hermit was enjoying some dried tadpoles from his briefcase. He went to sleep after this dinner, and after Nanny had made her last resounding points for national renewal of the motherland, at least for the moment.

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1) Not good.

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Update: Continued » here

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