Firing your best bullet, and other thoughts on rare earth mania.

A brief list of commodities of which China is a net importer: oil, iron ore, soy beans, wheat, corn, aluminum scrap metal, copper scrap metal, steel scrap metal, recyclable paper stock. That is to say, China lacks sufficient domestic supplies of these resources, and must resort to other countries for supply. Among the leading suppliers…

One reason [some US space personnel] won’t collaborate with China on space exploration.

[See Update 2, below for a brief explanation of why I’ve changed the title of this post from ‘One reason the US won’t collaborate with China on space exploration,’ to its current version.] I’m a big fan of China’s space program (any space program, really) and nobody cheers louder when it pulls off successful missions.…

The Gun Almost Smokes: Two once-secret documents related to the USA Expo 2010 pavilion

Over the next two days, representatives of the USA pavilion for Expo 2010 (ie, the 2010 World’s Fair) will be rolling-out the USA’s building and programming for the event, to open May 1. Tomorrow, Tuesday, media will have the opportunity to interview members of BRC Imagination Arts, the company that produced the “4-D” film to…

US State Department Inspector General Refers Complaint Against USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 to Secretary of State’s Executive Director.

Shanghai Scrap has viewed documents revealing that last week the US Department of State’s Office of Inspector General [OIG] forwarded a request for investigation into the Department’s stewardship of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2010 to the US Secretary of State’s Executive Director. The complaint requests a “full and fair recounting of the events that…

Lies, Damned Lies, and the US Pavilion at Expo 2010.

Based upon queries of my blog, and queries from US media outlets, it seems that US reporters are finally taking an interest in Expo 2010 and the oft-troubled project to build a US pavilion (Shanghai Scrap reporting on the issue, here). As for the latter topic, the interest is overdue: as of January 4, 2010,…

The Limits of Control: a skeptic’s view on China, Copenhagen, and Compliance

Back in May 2007 I attended a speech given by Feng Zhijun, then a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and the government official charged with corralling China’s Circular Economy law – the most ambitious environmental legislation in Chinese history – through China’s opaque legislative hurdles. The occasion of the speech…

What ‘New Era?’ Counter-factual Bush Fatigue, and other notes on the Press, Obama, and China.

If you’ve bothered to read, watch, or listen to the post-post-Obama-in-China commentary over the last forty-right hours, you’d be excused for thinking that the Presidential visit had just closed a tumultuous chapter in the history of Sino-US relations. And, in fact, that’s precisely how many observers – a good portion of them glad to have…

“I’m a big supporter of non-censorship.”

This phrase, more than any other, personifies the disappointment that I’ve been reading online, and hearing in-person, from Chinese friends who watched the Obama Town Hall in Shanghai. It’s an awkward phrase, many miles from “I oppose censorship,” and really uncharacteristic of a President celebrated for his eloquence and his ability to inspire. It’s an…