Jacob Christensen

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Archive for the ‘China’ tag

Chairman Mao’s Dream Come True

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I wonder if this was what Chairman Mao had in mind when he wrote his poem “Militia Women“:

How bright and brave they look, shouldering five-foot rifles
On the parade ground lit up by the first gleams of day.
China’s daughters have high-aspiring minds,
They love their battle array, not silks and satins.

“Milita Women” is a classic in Danish rock music, by the way:

HT: Michael Friis.

Written by Jacob Christensen

October 1st, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Politics,Spare time

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Quote of the Day

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Willem Buiter:

[China] badly needs an unfunded pay-as-you go social security retirement scheme to boost consumption by the old. China’s fiscal position is such that the country could introduce the benefit (pension) part of the social security scheme for a number of years without having the social security tax in place!

The rest of his blog post isn’t for the faint-hearted. And that’s without mentioning the swine flu.

Written by Jacob Christensen

April 29th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Politics

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Governments and Other Disasters

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China vs. Burma is almost old news by now, but contrasting Chinese and Burmese reactions to the natural disasters which have hit the countries does yield interesting results – especially with regard to China.

Anyway, the photo journalism blog “No Caption Needed” added Katrina and New Orleans to the equation and asked this:

None of this is the full story. There were differences that have not been mentioned. Visual evidence, like any evidence, should treated with some skepticism. But, still. US or China: which scene looks more like a third world society–and a third world government?

The stock answer in comparative politics (and economics) has always been to juxtapose China and India: China has the efficient physical and governmental infrastructure, but not education, India has education but not efficient physical and governmental infrastructure. So the image you are looking for is US as India.

Written by Jacob Christensen

May 19th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Politics

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Boycott or No Boycott: The Political Scientists Weigh In

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This really seems to be the big something something Beijing Olympics Boycott posting day.

Henry Farrell wonders if there isn’t a difference between 2008 and earlier boycotts:

As best I understand it (I am open to corrections if wrong), in the past, Olympics politics have concerned inter-state rivalry, and have been driven by decisions on the part of traditional political elites. … The dynamic driving the Beijing Olympics seems to me to be rather different; what we are seeing is that the politics of boycott is being driven by mass-publics, and most recently by protestors, rather than by political leaders.

Actually, things are a bit more complicated, as much of the discussion this time is about a political rather than an athletic boycott of the Beijing games.

One interesting point in the Danish discussion is that the political faultlines are non-obvious: That the – traditionally anti-Communist and pro-Taiwan – Danish People’s Party favours a boycott is not that surprising, but that the Liberals are against a boycott while the Conservatives are more or less in favour may be a bit surprising. The business community – which traditionally supports the Conservatives – would not be happy about a boycott. Add the intricate question about Crown Prince Frederik’s maybe-candidacy for the IOC and things get really complicated.

For professional opinions from the U.S., here are some links from Farrell’s post: Steve Clemons says “no!” while Daniel Drezner says “why not?”

Update: John Sides has this collection of polls about public attitudes towards a boycott of the 2008 Olympics. One thing I can’t see – and I’ve tried to find the original Danish Gallup poll – is whether the Danish poll was about the opening ceremony or the entire games.

Written by Jacob Christensen

April 8th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Mikkelsen Goes to China

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Oh, this gets funnier and funnier by the minute. Anders Fogh Rasmussen reacts to Brian Mikkelsen’s threat of boycotting the opening ceremony of the somewhere somewhere Olympics (which he wasn’t scheduled to attend in the first place) with the killer comment:

I hadn’t heard that he was going to China.

At one point I ought to write something serious about this strange issue, but this will have to do for now.

Written by Jacob Christensen

April 8th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Posted in Politics

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Boycott

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To be perfectly honest, I care very little about the 2008 Olympics in Somewhere Somewhere, but after following the wheelings and dealings of Danish politicians in the question over a potential political boycott of the opening ceremony, it is truly amazing to learn that the Danish Minister for Culture Brian Mikkelsen has announced that he might boycott an event he wasn’t going to attend in the first place.

Oh, and the Olympic Flame relay was originally dreamt up by the Nazis.

Written by Jacob Christensen

April 8th, 2008 at 10:39 am

Posted in Politics,Spare time

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Who’s Your Leader?

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According to a Gallup poll, 40% of US Americans now see China as the World’s leading economic power, against 33% who see the US as the leading economic power, 13% Japan and a mere 7% the European Union.

The bizarre aspect of this is that the GDP of the US in 2006 was 13.200 billion USD against a Chinese GDP of a little under … wait for it … 2.700 billion USD. That is about 20% of the US GDP – and there are more than four times as many Chinese as US Americans. Just in the European Union, the German economy is larger than the Chinese.*

Topic for discussion: Why do people (actually, I suspect that many Europeans would make equally wrong guesses about the Chinese economy) grossly overestimate the size of the Chinese economy and underestimate the size of the European economy? Is it the media talking up China, the result of business confederations using “the Chinese card” or what?

*If you want the IMF’s data, they are here.

Note #1: I recall reading a blog post or an article about the relative economic sizes of the world’s biggest economies earlier this week but apparently forgot to bookmark it.

Note #2: Yes, I am aware of the purchasing power problem and that the Chinese economy appears to be growing at a high rate, but the discrepancy between China’s perceived and real economic size is still mind-boggling.

Written by Jacob Christensen

February 21st, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Worse Than War

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Sport is not just war, it’s also politics: There are now bi-partisan calls in Denmark for an official initiative in the Chino-Danish spy affair.

Written by Jacob Christensen

September 14th, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Posted in Politics,Spare time

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