Motivations for Economic Policies in Western China

I’m not a China expert, but 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to hear the Chinese explanation for their planned policies in Western China (Xibu Dakaifa), translated in English journalistic accounts as “Develop the West” (I was the international finance economist on the Council of Economic Advisers at the time, and the Chinese counterpart, the State Development Planning Commission, was coming to Washington to meet with us; I was tasked with overseeing elements of the meeting).

As I recall (not having retained the briefing materials), we (the CEA) tried to convey our views that a capital intensive, infrastructure heavy, water-consuming approach to development would likely be counterproductive, or at least wasteful of resources, both economic and natural.

Victor Shih argued (in “Development, the Second Time Around: The Political Logic of Developing Western China,” Journal of East Asian Studies, 2004) that the “Great Development of the West” was really a project to redistribute rents:

…on closer examination, the types of policies implemented during the campaign are very different from that of the classic developmental state. Instead of creating the environment and incentives for local businesses to become internationally competitive, the GDW campaign was intentionally an enormous exercise of rent distribution. Politicized bureaucrats used the campaign as a means to consolidate their hold on the party and to increase the power of the central bureaucracy. …

On the policies themselves:

…the central government launched a program that more closely resembled Chairman Mao’s Third Front policy than East Asian developmentalism. Even at the beginning of the GDW campaign, central technocrats and officials in eastern China had great doubts about the
likely effect of the program. Officials within the regime questioned whether such a massive injection of capital would indeed generate sustained growth in the region given its poor natural endowments. Others questioned whether there should be a different mix of policies, one more geared toward promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) and private investment than massive state investment.

I’ve noted in previous posts the current conditions facing minorities in for instance Xinjiang ([1], [2]). Here is one interpretation of the impact specifically of the Develop the West initiative (Jeong, 2015)

An assessment of minority policies in and coinciding with the WDP brings to the surface the question of “who benefits?”: minorities or non-minorities, or the societal groups and cleavages crisscrossing the divide. On the one hand, we have evidence of fiscal and other
resources allocated primarily to minority areas. On the other, we are faced with a question: do the resources allocated to minority areas actually trickle down to minority residents? Although lacking comprehensive national-level statistical data on minority incomes, media,
lay and scholarly accounts bring evidence counter to state claims of WDP improving minority economies. In Tibet and Xinjiang, minorities report racial discrimination in employment opportunities, with new jobs created by construction and infrastructure projects mostly allocated to Han migrants newly settled in the area (Demick and Pierson, 2009; Gilley, 2001; Green, 2006). Xinjiang farmers report losing land and opportunities to Han farmers who are subsidized (Lipes, 2013). In terms of income, the Tibetan population is generally estimated to have considerably lower incomes than the Han (Lhundup and Ma, 2013), and Han residents are supposed to enjoy greater returns to education and employment in both areas (Hannum and Xie, 1998). Investment projects are often managed and owned by Han (Wong, 2010).

Of course, alternative interpretations exist, but for me (as a non-expert, but with some background understanding), this interpretation seems plausible to me. Hence, the resources being devoted to the West, and specifically Xinjiang, should be interpreted as something primarily different from trying to benefit the minority populations.


47 thoughts on “Motivations for Economic Policies in Western China

  1. ltr

    July 30, 2021

    Tibet sees GDP up 9.1 percent in H1

    LHASA — The gross domestic product (GDP) in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region totaled 92.61 billion yuan (about 14.3 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2021, up by 9.1 percent year on year, local authorities said Friday.

    Despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, the region’s average annual GDP growth for the past two years came in at 7.1 percent by the end of June, the regional statistics department said.

    The value-added output of major industrial enterprises in Tibet increased by 21.1 percent year on year during the period, up 24.2 percent from the first half of 2019.

    Its fixed asset investment went up by 16.6 percent over the same period of 2019.

    The region also saw strong consumption demand, with its retail sales of consumer goods increasing by 13 percent year on year to 34.63 billion yuan.

    Li Fangping, the deputy head of the Tibet survey office, National Bureau of Statistics, said the region’s economic recovery momentum had sustained in the first half.

    It is important to solidly promote high-quality development to ensure the achievement of annual economic and social development goals, Li added….

  2. ltr

    July 29, 2021

    Xinjiang’s GDP rises 9.9 pct in H1

    URUMQI — The gross domestic product (GDP) of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region totaled 732.9 billion yuan (about 113 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2021, up 9.9 percent year on year, local authorities said Thursday.

    The steady growth was mainly driven by the secondary and tertiary industries, with their added values rising 10.5 percent and 10.3 percent year on year in the six-month period, respectively, according to the regional government.

    Xinjiang’s tourism sector saw robust growth during the period. The region’s 4A and 5A tourist spots received about 23.4 million domestic and overseas visitors, an increase of 58.2 percent over the same period last year.

    Song Xiuhong, deputy director of the regional statistics bureau, said Xinjiang’s economy has operated steadily but still faces pressure as “growth of major economic indicators has slowed down.”

    Xinjiang will accelerate the construction of a modern industrial system in the second half of this year and focus on developing industries including new energy, new material, biomedicine and high-end equipment manufacturing, Song added.

  3. ltr

    There are well-built homes and utilities from villages to cities in Tibet and Xinjiang, there is an abundance of food, a people well and attractively clothed, free public education with skilled teachers, healthcare insurance and provision from birth and ever after, rich infrastructure even to high-speed rail, there are facilities for the again, there are pensions… There is work and industry everywhere from increasingly advanced technology farming to internationally competitive manufacturing to service provision for the tens of millions of visitors to the regions. Environmental protections are everywhere emphasized in the regions… And development and more development:

    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1977-2020

    (Percent change)

    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 1977-2020

    (Indexed to 1977)

  4. David O'Rear

    Xinjiang (and Tibet, by the way), has never been about development for the sake of those native to the area. It is wholly about strategic military control over the territory, political and judicial control over the people, and economic control over any assets that might be there.

    Providing incentives for Han Chinese to move into these areas is wholly about demographically diluting the native people, so that they can be more closely controlled.

    End of story.

  5. ltr

    As I recall (not having retained the briefing materials), we (the CEA) tried to convey our views that a capital intensive, infrastructure heavy, water-consuming approach to development would likely be counterproductive, or at least wasteful of resources, both economic and natural….

    [ Sincere, but developmentally incorrect as China has shown and is being increasingly understood in developing countries. Amartya Sen argued for the Chinese approach to development years ago and was thoroughly bashed for doing so. A prominent University of California economist even argued fiercely against Bolivian national development of a reservoir and water-line system that would reach indigenous people. Imagine though what the complete construction of a freight and passenger rail system will very soon mean for land-locked Laos:

    September 29, 2020

    China-Laos railway holes all 75 tunnels

    June 17, 2021

    Main structure of longest bridge along China-Laos Railway completed ]

    1. ltr

      Hence, the resources being devoted to the West, and specifically Xinjiang, should be interpreted as something primarily different from trying to benefit…

      [ Forgive me, but this is completely incorrect. How saddeningly incorrect a statement. ]

      1. ltr

        July 20, 2021

        China pools resources to help Xinjiang achieve moderate prosperity

        In Kunyu, a newly-built city on the southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China, Yu Lijuan is the only pediatrician in town.

        Yu was sent by the Beijing municipality to work in the city in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region under a “pairing assistance” program through which financial, technical and talent support in various fields have been channeled to Xinjiang from other regions of China.

        China has been implementing the “pairing assistance” program in Xinjiang since 1997. In 2010, a new round of pairing assistance was launched, involving central and state organs, centrally administered state-owned enterprises, and 19 provinces and municipalities.

        Since then, around 17,000 talents and cadres have come from afar to aid Xinjiang. The region has eradicated extreme poverty under the nationwide program….

      2. pgl

        Stop pretending you are the expert on China. If you want to call something incorrect – please provide a CREDIBLE rebuttal.

      3. baffling

        ltr, why is it that all these benefits in tibet and xinjiang flow to the chinese who moved into the area, and not the native populations who originally occupied the land? the original peoples of tibet and xinjiang are under occupation from chinese nationals, and are not the recipients of all the honors you keep posting on this site. that is why it is propaganda.

    2. pgl

      “Amartya Sen argued for the Chinese approach to development years ago and was thoroughly bashed for doing so.”

      A link please. Was Sen addressing “Develop the West” and the development of China’s export sector? BIG difference. Menzie admits he is no China expert but nothing you are writing here addresses the topic he has raised. So pardon me for questioning your expertise on Chinese economic development.

  6. ltr

    July 27, 2021

    ‘I want to speak up for China’: Female Uygur university student shares changes in her Xinjiang hometown
    By Ranyila Abulikenmu

    My name is Ranyila Abulikenmu, a 21-year-old Uygur student from Xinjiang. Now I’m a junior student at the School of Journalism and Communication at Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.

    My hometown, Yangxia town in Luntai County, is located at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains. I started helping my family herd sheep at the age of eight, and I called myself a shepherdess at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains.

    The beautiful Tianshan Mountains often bring me infinite imagination. The beauty there all year round is like a memorable landscape painting. As an ancient Chinese poem says, “I bid you farewell at the east gate of Luntai, the Tianshan Mountains pass come under heavy snow as you take your leave; soon I lose sight of you as you follow the turns into the mountains, all there is on the snow are hoof prints where the horses have been.” …

    1. macroduck

      Good for Ranyila Abulikenmu. Now her family is at lower risk of retribution from Chinese authorities. Stockholm syndrome isn’t without it benefits.

  7. JohnH

    It sounds like the US and China have yet another similarity besides rising inequality and wage suppression. That problem would be inept planning for economic development of areas with large ethic populations: “the failures of the [Afghanistan] war reveal a need for deeper introspection into what has gone wrong with American democracy and its institutions — including the story of failed expertise…

    At many points in the war, the coalition had access to the insights of people who had graduated from the world’s best universities and brought highly specialized knowledge to issues (state building, counterterrorism) that the United States was facing in Afghanistan. The last president of the American-backed government, Ashraf Ghani, has a Ph.D. from Columbia and was even a co-author of a book titled “Fixing Failed States.” But for all their credentials, they were not able to stop a swift Taliban takeover.”

    As always, you have to ask, Cui Bono? In Afghanistan it was certainly the US military, the foreign policy blob, the many, many contractors would delivered the “aid,” and an Afghan elite that was handsomely bribed.

    I expect there is probably a similar set of bureaucrats and contractors in China whose careers and economic well-being depend on implementing misguided policies.

    And yet, so many experts wonder why so many have come to distrust them!

  8. ltr

    September 20, 2021

    China’s Xinjiang posts foreign trade growth in Jan.-Aug.

    URUMQI — Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region recorded around 97.4 billion yuan (about 15.06 billion U.S. dollars) in foreign trade in the first eight months of this year, up 9.5 percent year on year, local customs said on Monday.

    From January to August, Xinjiang’s exports reached 76.51 billion yuan while its imports exceeded 20.88 billion yuan, the customs said.

    The region’s foreign trade with countries along the Belt and Road notched up about 85.5 billion yuan, marking a robust 14.6-percent growth year on year and accounting for 87.8 percent of its total foreign trade during the same period.

    In the period, the region’s trade with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan increased by 8.6 percent, 130 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

  9. ltr

    September 20, 2021

    China’s installed power generation capacity up 9.5 percent in January-August

    BEIJING — China’s installed power generation capacity increased 9.5 percent year on year in the first eight months to 2.28 billion kilowatts, according to the National Energy Administration.

    Specifically, the installed capacity of wind power jumped 33.8 percent year on year to about 300 million kilowatts, while that of solar power increased 24.6 percent to 280 million kilowatts.

    China’s electricity consumption, a key barometer of economic activity, totaled 5.5 trillion kWh in the January-August period, up 13.8 percent year on year, the administration’s data also showed.

    The country has announced that it will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

  10. macroduck


    You have clearly wandered into forbidden terrritory. Your training, experience, access to area experts, they mean nothing compared to ltr’s baseless dismissal. What were you thinking? ltr’s “of course” outweighs any fact you can present.

    What you (and Jihyeon Jeong) describe sounds like colonialism. Romans ran Roman Britain for the benefit of Rome, with Romans occupying most of the top ranks of officialdom and the economy.

    There is also a hint of Moscow’s effort to tie each Soviet down to the Union by breaking production into incomplete units dependent on inputs from other Soviets. It looked like trade in the conventional sense, but was not based on economic benefit. The goal was political, using economic control and dependence to prevent anybody from getting too uppity.

    So what we see is Han colonialism in the guise of development.

  11. Moses Herzog

    It’s emotionally upsetting to watch. I do think, in terms of how Beijing bureaucrats treat them that Xinjiang and Tibet are near mirror images of each other, with the possible exception of Xinjiang Muslims being treated as a “more dangerous” element. But even that one seems to be a carbon copy when looking at how the Dalai Lama is treated. and the exiled Tibetans in India.

  12. macroduck

    Moses, are you out there?

    You’ve shown an interest in Evergrande an familiarity with China, so a question or two.

    Capital Economics has recently claimed that financing conditions for China’s developers are in good shape despite Evergrande’s situation:

    The financial press, on the other hand, is full of stories about rising financial stress in the property sector:

    This is a big difference in view about a big issue for China’s economy. Do you have a read on the state of play?

    Next question. Junk bonds from Chinese property developers are a large part of dollar-denominated Asian high-yield portfolios and those portfolios are likely to be among the big losers from Evergrande and from Evergrade contagion. China’s government has been slow in clarifying it intentions regarding property-sector liabilities; foot-dragging hws become a common financial discipline tool for Chinese authorities. Meanwhile, “decoupling” is all the rage in U.S./China policy chit-chat. Do you have any sense that Xi (or his advisors) see decoupling as part of the context for domestic financial policymaking? Is it easier to allow a bout of highly public financial uncertainty because China cares less about access to us now than in the past?

    Menzie, apologies for the off-topic blather.

    1. pgl

      “Evergrande’s collapse would be the biggest test that China’s financial system has faced in years. Policymakers’ main priority would be the households that have handed over deposits for properties that haven’t yet been finished. The company’s other creditors would suffer. Markets don’t seem concerned about the potential for financial contagion at the moment. That would change in the event of large-scale default, though the PBOC would step in with liquidity support if fears intensified.”

      This on on topic for Menzie’s most recent post.

    2. Moses Herzog

      @ macroduck
      1st Question related to Evergrande and more broadly Chinese property developers:
      I need to revisit “FT” (as in last 2 days stories) and see what they have to say about this, as they do a great job on this, slightly better than WSJ. That’s not to say WSJ is not solid on this topic, but FT is just so good on these things when they want to be. The part to me that’s interesting about the WSJ article you directed me to, is the last 3–4 paragraphs where they quote Jenny Zeng and the graph which shows the differentiation in prices (and I assume associated interest spreads) between “the good”–CiFi and Logan, and “the ugly” in Guangzhou R&F and Fantasia. “Mr Market” is not always right, but “Mr. Market” is often right. Those differences in dollar bond prices imply it will not be a Realty Bond “industry wide” issue, but maybe only hit certain players. It also slightly implies Xi coming to the rescue (TBTF style) for maybe some of the less egregious players.

      I think Xi and Beijing officials care very much about access to U.S.A. markets but they don’t want the mainland Chinese public to know/think they care about access to U.S.A. markets. It’s kind of like the ending scene to “The Fugitive” when Tommy Lee Jones’ character takes the handcuffs off of Dr. Kimble inside of the car:

      2nd Question you asked on decoupling: Honestly I’ve lost a little bit track of this. So I will do what I often do, defer to those with much deeper knowledge than myself. That being said, I think these are all very reliable sources and although the PIIE link might seem old, I think much info in it still holds and is very useful:

      Special note, when Brad Setser is busy in the White House, you won’t find any better “white guy” to discuss China Issues, than Michael Pettis, So always keep an eye on his Twitter space etc, when China issues are bubbling up:

      Tracy Alloway is one of my “got to” people on debt, credit, bonds stuff. You can access this with Apple podcasts it’s called “Odd Lots”:

      I think pragmatism is a common theme both in Chinese politics and Chinese culture. Major decoupling between US and China is going to do more damage than good. Does that make it “impossible”?? NO. If you held a gun to my head and asked me whether serious/major decoupling would occur I would say my personal confidence level is 80% it won’t. I may do an addendum to this comment later in the thread, but that’s my quickie answer.

      1. macroduck


        When I read about a U.S. general having to talk Chinese officialsials out of believing that the U.S. government could fall to a mob of criminals, I have to wonder how well we understand each other. Nobody with a good understanding of how money drves U.S. politics could believe decoupling is a likely policy choice, but if Chinese officials are less clever than we make them out to be (this is where ltr jumps in to explain how vastly brilliant and benevolent China’s leaders are) they could get lost in their own little echo chamber. I am struck by how China has changed course under Xi, apparently driven by his policy whims and those of a narrow set of associates. A small numbers issue when it comes to predicting behavior.

        1. macroduck

          What with the S&P 50-day average busted Friday, the gamma trade looking tippy and new Fed Summary Economic Projections due tomorrow, Evergrande is now the only reason stocks are looking sickly, but it’s one reason.

          1. Moses Herzog

            Zhao Ziyang and Deng Xioaping were the only two worth a damn as far as I could ever make out. My roughly first 3 years in China many people I knew talked about Bo Xilai, a province leader, like he was either the nation’s party chairman or God himself. No kidding, in reverential tones like they were discussing Mother Teresa. Seems they don’t like him anymore:

  13. Barkley Rosser

    Well, ltr, you are certainly not addressing at all the point of all this, the claim that most of these gains you document at length and repeatedly are not going at all to the local ethnic populations in Tibet and Xinjiang, with the nice encomium to the beautiful mountains near her home village of a 21-year old female Uyghur student now in a university far away from Xinjiang not remotely addressing the issue.

    My own longstanding sources from Tibet whom I shall not describe further say that the program Menzie describes of encouraging in-migration by Han people who then are the main recipients of aid and the main gainers from the economic growth certainly going on goes back to at least the 1980s in Tibet, if not earlier. It got less publicity then than now.

    As it is, back then repression of ethnic Tibetans was worse than that of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, but as Moses has noted with a link or two that situation has reversed with the Uyghurs now being apparently more severely repressed and oppressed, although the ethnic Tibetans continue to suffer, and by all reports are not getting nearly the economic gains that the immigrant Han people are getting, as in Xinjiang.

    1. JohnH

      If people are going to be champion human rights, which I fully support, they need to criticize abusers even handedly. The Chinese government is notorious for human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang. And the US record in Afghanistan isn’t so great, either. Need proof? Just look at what our guy, Ashraf Ghana did. No wonder Afghans prefer the Taliban!

      People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones….

      [I’d love to be a fly on the to hear Chinese diplomats reaction to US hectoringtgem for their human rights abuses. The laughter must be so uproarious that I’m surprised it hasn’t been heard around the globe.]

      1. Dr. Dysmalist

        “The Chinese Communist Party is bad, but the U.S. is worse!”

        These overtly superficial (and utterly lacking in context) parallels you keep trying to draw, these juvenile comparisons, are serving you … poorly. You betray your shallowness of thought.

        In future, you may wish to encumber yourself with the thought process. Otherwise, we can all finalize our conclusion that you always comment in bad faith.

        1. JohnH

          Care to give some context to the atrocities at Abu Ghraib?

          Superficiality is hyping Chinese abuses whole overlooking American ones.

          1. baffling

            well for one, the activities in china are being done directly by the chinese government. the afghan government is not under the direct control of the united states, no matter what any conspiracy theorists wants to argue. influenced, yes. but that is a far cry from the united states ordering these atrocities. that is EXACTLY what is happening in china under the chinese governments.

            your original comments were directed towards afghanistan. abu ghraib is not in afghanistan, so you seem to be changing your original argument. and i am not defending abu ghraib. but the scale is completely different. there you are dealing with a few thousand individuals. in xinjiang and tibet, these are hundreds of thousands or even a million people. that is why it has been called a genocide. john, you are trying to make nonexistent comparisons.

          2. pgl

            So no American condemned Abu Ghraib? Seriously? Have you bee asleep ala Rip van Winkle for 20 years? Or just tuned into Faux News 24/7?

          3. JohnH

            baffling: the droning of wedding parties and funeral procession was not undertaken with the explicit approval of POTUS?

            News to me!!!

          4. baffling

            john, you are conveniently changing your argument. you are talking about isolated and targeted activities. that does not equate to a systematic internment and abuse of an entire ethnic population, as done in china. you are being extremely dishonest in your arguments here. i do not condone some of these actions, but they are a far cry from the systematic abuse suffered by the uighers in western china.

        2. pgl

          I don’t know. After all Trump’s America was a racist mess. But isn’t that why we voted this disaster out of office? We are far from perfect but at least some of us actually call out the vile things done in the name of AMERICA.

          1. JohnH

            pgl: Don’t play naïve. Yes, many American condemned the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. But that was only because they miraculously got reported. Since then the US government has made extraordinary efforts to cover up atrocities, partly by refusing to release much information about operations and partly by intimidating potential whistleblowers, by jailing those who did report. Notably the war criminals revealed by the whistleblowers mostly went scot free.

            Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the iceberg.

      2. Barkley Rosser


        One difference between looking at the US and its mistreatment of minorities vs in China, is that in US while minorities remain behind and still facing lots of bad stuff, at least we have data on this, quite aside from the fact that slavery has been abolished and nobody is shooting killing Native Americans anymore in large numbers, all of the worst of that now far in the past, despite ongoing discrimination. But for all the ongoing issues, we know how they are doing economically. It is being tracked and reported.

        In this case, somehow what ltr presents to us has not so far given us any data on how the specific groups are doing, especially relative to the dominant Han. Menzie made a specific claim that the Hsn have been the major gainers of most, if not all, of the real economic growth in Xinjiang and Tibet. We have seen piles of posts from ltr touting the overall growth of those areas, but a big fat zero of data on the local groups, with the Uighurs in particular suffering far worse torments than anything going on in the US to minority groups. We have had a nice memory from one woman who left Xinjiang to go to college outsiide of it (snowy village by mountains) and then an account of one Tibetan family who live by where a bridge was built across a river in 2016 near them. OK, they are probably better off. But this is an anecdote, the sort of thing propaganda organs like to put out, not data. Maybe the latter exists, but if so, why is ltr not presenting it to us rather than all this stuff that does not really respond to Menzie’s point?

  14. Kien Choong

    Could a similar comment be made about World Bank development projects or IMF programs, intended to help develop a country, but in the end, actually protecting the interest of Western investors?

    As for Xinjiang, we need a more objective comparative assessment of how local Xinjiang people have fared compared to (say) American Indians, Australian Aborigines, Canadian Indians. The United Nations should conduct a comparative assessment. Some competition between China and the West in their treatment of indigenous peoples and minority groups could have salutary outcomes!

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Kien Choong: I’m all for criticizing America for its treatment of the aboriginal population, etc. Fire away — you can start with Andrew Jackson and “The Trail of Tears”.

      1. baffling

        I agree with professor chinn. there were atrocities committed, and we should be ashamed. you can include our treatment of slaves in this discussion as well. but that was also an action that occurred in the past. it should not be used as an excuse for activities that are occurring TODAY. we cannot change the past. but we certainly have impact on the present and the future. anybody who justifies the the chinese abuse of the uighers TODAY by arguing the us abuse of the native americans a century ago is morally wrong. two wrongs do not make a right. even children understand this, kien choong.

        1. pgl

          “we cannot change the past. but we certainly have impact on the present and the future.”

          I agree. But I hope you noticed how many people were wearing MAGA hats over the past 5 years. Most of them are to the right of the KKK.

      2. Moses Herzog

        We can even start off with a very modern/contemporary problem. That is, why do so many Americans become obsessed with blonde-haired, blue-eyed, physically attractive women’s murders, kidnappings, disappearances:

        ….. when there are black women, Native American women, and Asian women (mostly human trafficking on the latter??) who go missing and are found to be murdered every day, that Americans could care less about, because they don’t have the physical/superficial traits deemed “clickable” by a large number of Americans or worth staying on the same channel through the seemingly 10 hour long TV commercial breaks:

        No doubt this is somewhat related to what sells tabloid papers, and brings in ratings which drive commercial advertising prices—but the question remains why do some women’s deaths seem more worthy of attention than other women’s deaths!?!?!?!?! This from the same “woke” culture of youth, which likes to lecture anyone over age 40 on how people under age 16 had to teach us all how to fight racism. But who is obsessed with “the Gabby Petitos of the world” but reflexively yawn when stories about chubby black women being raped and murdered get run on the local news. Because most of them don’t make the national news.

        What I suspect is Kien Choong’s REAL SUBTEXT point is, is that “two wrongs= a right” or that if one nation engages in shameful acts, that it can play a children’s game of equating things which cannot and should not be equated, but should be “put an end to” by all parties/nations.

  15. David O'Rear

    The current state of the Chinese financial system reminds me of the quasi-sovereign ITICs – international investment and trust companies – of a generation ago. As the Bank of Chicago and a bunch of other foreign lenders discovered, they were a whole lot more quasi- than sovereign. Illegal local lenders (depositors, basically, in institutions that were specifically not allowed to take deposits) got their money back, but not the legal foreign lenders.

    I worked with Tom Mitchell (FT) in the 1990s; he is an excellent analyst with tons of experience and credibility.

    = = =

    Bo Xilai had the audacity to lose a power struggle, but unlike all but a tiny handful of post-GPCR losers, he’s sitting in jail. That tells me that Xi Jinping is still a bit nervous about his grip on power.

  16. Moses Herzog

    Pretty far off-topic, but I can’t find a great thread to drop this
    Did you guys know how many Nepalis provide security (or have until very recently) in Afghanistan?? I was kind of astounded to find this out, they said in 2016, that thirteen Nepalis were killed by the Taliban while providing security services for the Canadian Embassy. Some of them also worked for the USA and British embassies in Kabul. It’s very dangerous work.

    I hope America will consider this in the future if Nepali ever needs our help (U.S. military backing, etc)

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