The ‘Hat’ of Neo-Colonialism!

I’ve been tied up with overlapping deadlines for the last several days, and so I’ve only just gotten around to reading Caitlin Fitzsimmons’ widely touted South China Morning Post feature on Chinese emigrants to Senegal, published Thursday [subscriber only]. It’s a great piece, in that it not only covers the tensions between the Senegalese locals…

Santa’s Chinese Workshop

Below, a photo of a Christmas ornament workshop in Zhejiang Province. Statistics are difficult to come by, but this workshop is located in a section of Zhejiang known for producing a very large percentage of China’s Christmas exports (the country is reportedly the source for 80% of the world’s Christmas ornaments and accessories). And, according…

The Price of Mowing the Lawn

Over the last month I’ve spoken to several Chinese factory owners who claim that their biggest challenge is the rising price of skilled and semi-skilled labor. In Tianjin, for example, two separate owners told me that the price of skilled machinists had risen 30% over the last year to roughly RMB 3000 (US$378) per month.…

China National Petroleum to Dead Workers: Blame Yourselves.

As noted by Shanghaiist, a recent fatal explosion at a gas station in Pudong is garnering international attention. No surprise, the international coverage doesn’t mention a cause because – let’s face it – no Shanghai bureaucrat wants to be the one pinning responsibility on China National Petroleum Corporation, the state-owned oil monopoly that happens to…

“Design flaws” Responsible for Shandong Aluminum Explosion

The August 19th explosion of the Shandong Weiqiao Group’s aluminum plant in Zouping County, Shandong Province has received far less media attention than the Xintai mining disaster. But, at least from the standpoint of China’s industrial modernization, it is far more consequential. As I noted in a post to this blog on Monday, the Weiqiao…

Thick As A Brick

Recent revelations of slave labor in remote Chinese brick making facilities are surprising only for the fact that the overall story has taken so long to emerge. According to the state-owned media, more than 500 people have been freed from what are now being described as “illegal brick kilns” over the last several days. 500…