Worker’s Holiday, Summer of 2008?

Finally, it seems, the various international and national Olympic committees are beginning to take notice of Beijing’s significant pollution and its likely impact upon the athletes. As James Fallows of the Atlantic has been pointing out in his blog, interested observers have long assumed that the Chinese government has “a last-minute, draconian plan” to deal…

Price-fixing, Chinese Style, Pt. 2

I guess price-fixing isn’t acceptable in China, after all. According to just-published accounts in the South China Morning Post [subscriber only] and China Daily, the National Development and Reform Commission has issued a notice prohibiting the formation of cartels – including restaurant cartels – for the purpose of pushing up commodity prices. Note to NDRC:…

Umbrella Coverage

According to a July 19 story in China Daily (which I only noticed today), Premier Wen Jiabao holds his own umbrella in the rain, and that is cause for celebration among Chinese internet users. In the story, and (according to the story), Wen’s umbrella self-sufficiency is contrasted approvingly with photos of Chinese local government officials…

Greenpeace Gone Wild.

Since its inception in 1971, Greenpeace has enjoyed an almost unassailable reputation as an environmental crusader that answers to no one but the many individual green-tinted donors who support it. According to the organization’s website: Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organization. We do not accept money from government or corporations. That’s why our financial supporters…

FedEx Responds, Pt. 2

No reason to beat this extraordinarily minor topic to death, so I’ll be brief.  Last week I attempted to pay for a FedEx shipment with a credit card at one of the company’s Shanghai locations. This was not allowed. Instead, cash was demanded, and that cash was deposited into a little metal box stored beneath…

With Headlines Like These …

The Pearl River runs through the heart of South China’s manufacturing wonderland, and along the way it not only picks up barge traffic, it also picks up sewer drainage and discharge from hundreds, if not thousands, of factories. Anyone who has ever stood on its banks – and I have, many times – can attest…

First Things First.

I have to admit that I was a bit startled to find my name in a July 6 column written by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus in First Things. Neuhaus, for those who don’t know him, is a Catholic priest and writer probably best known for forging a political alliance between conservative Catholics and the American…