Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘China’

Who is tracking down fake Chinese goods? Fake investigators.

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2015

Via Ritholtz, Erika Kitz of AP.

 

Person who makes or resells counterfeits presents themselves to a company as an investigator

Investigator is hired by company to hunt down counterfeiters

Investigator presents bribe to government officials to make sure no real investigation happens

Investigator produces fake documents to claim that a raid has been done.

Investigator presents counterfeits to company as proof that counterfeiting has been halted.

 

It’s a brilliant, efficient economic system. If the goal of the economy is to produce fake goods. It should teach Western companies that if you want to do business in China, you better have roots in China.

 

 

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Mandiant: Anonymous Helped Expose China’s Hacking US Infrastructure

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 20, 2013

Something the NYT wouldn’t tell you, but Huffington Post will:

Security researchers and government officials have long claimed that China is behind a growing number of cyber attacks against American computer networks, a charge that China has repeatedly denied. But Mandiant’s 73-page report was unusual in its level of detail, going so far as to profile the identities of three hackers who are believed to be working for the Chinese military. Mandiant said it was able to find connections between two of those hackers and China’s People’s Liberation Army by relying on public data first revealed by the hacker group Anonymous.

In February 2011, Anonymous gained access to the website rootkit.com — an online forum where hackers and researchers share information about hacking techniques — and published personal data of more than 40,000 registered users online. The data included email and IP addresses.

The breach was one of dozens by Anonymous over the past two years and gained relatively little media attention. But now, two years later, security researchers say the data was valuable in helping them find links between hackers and the Chinese military.

“We are fortunate to have access to the accounts disclosed from rootkit.com,” the Mandiant report said.

You can read the Mandiant report here.

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Mitt Romney Profits From Sensata Workers’ Pain, In China And America

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 22, 2012

This is something Mitt Romney is hoping doesn’t get broadcast to most Americans:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney started the “private equity” firm Bain Capital. Bain Capital makes its money by purchasing companies using “leveraged buyouts” that borrow huge sums using the purchased company’s own assets as collateral. They often use part of the borrowed money to immediately pay itself. Bain then cuts costs by doing things like sending jobs to China, cutting wages and manipulating tax rules to cut taxes owed, along with standard big-business practices like consolidating business units, taking advantage of economies of scale not available to smaller competitors, squeezing distribution channels for price cuts, and other practices that bring competitive advantages. (Please see So DID Mitt Romney Really “Create Jobs” At Staples? for a look at how this works.) Then, after reorganizing the purchased companies Bain “harvests” them for profit. (“Harvest” is Romney’s word, watch the linked video.)

Bain Capital purchased a sensor manufacturer that makes key components for our automobile supply chain, and named it Sensata. They immediately announced they closing a factory in Freeport, Ill., and sending the manufacturing and jobs to China to save money. (This is significant because China is engaged in efforts to dominate American auto supplies. See China Cheating Costs 400K Auto Parts Jobs and Why The Latest Trade Complaint Against China Matters. )

Bain/Sensata brought in Chinese workers and made the Freeport workers train them. Bain/Sensata is moving the equipment out of the Freeport factory and shipping it to China right now. The Freeport employees have set up a camp outside the factory that they call Bainport and are trying to stop the Bain trucks that are moving the equipment out for shipment to China. Supporters were arrested this week, trying to stop those trucks.

The Sensata employees have asked Romney to come to Freeport/Bainport and help them. Read on to learn about Romney’s response to the Sensata workers, and how Romney is actually making big money right now from shipping their jobs to China.

Of course, the Romney campaign announced that Romney would refuse to lift a finger to save the Freeport plant, much less assist the horrifically exploited Chinese Sensata workers who get paid the equivalent of 99 cents to $1.35 an hour, work twelve hours a day and seven days a week, and are
forced to live on site in the factory with no rights to speak of even as Sensata rakes in the cash and sticks American taxpayers with the bill:

Sensata enjoyed record revenues last year – this isn’t about making the “hard choices” necessary to save a failing enterprise. The workers in Freeport have been working 24 hours a day, in three shifts. They make $14-17 per hour, with benefits.

According to a report by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, one of Bain’s first actions after buying Sensata was to set up “12 Sensata/Bain capital funds ‘organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands’ so as to avoid paying taxes.” They’ll get a small tax break for relocating the plant – the one Mitt Romney insisted did not exist during the first debate – and then use those offshore funds to defer taxes on some of the income the company generates.

American tax-payers, on the other hand, have paid $780,000 to retrain some of Sensata’s laid off workers in Illinois, according to the New York Times . One would be hard pressed to come up with a clearer example of capturing private gains while socializing the costs.

Instead, Romney campaign spokesman Curt Cashour tried to deflect the responsibility from Romney, Bain’s founder — the man who up to 2002 was the sole shareholder, owning 100% of the company per SEC filings) and a man who still gets a few million dollars a month from his Bain involvements — onto President Obama. Gee, how brave and principled of you, Willard. Not.

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Good News For The Planet: China Quadrupling Domestic Solar Installations

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 5, 2012

China’s largely doing this to absorb excess solar-panel production so global solar panel prices don’t keep dropping (they’re currently at 87 cents a watt, competitive with coal), but it’s still a good thing that the world’s biggest user of coal, the world’s dirtiest form of energy, is going to seriously ramp up its commitment to domestic solar usage:

China, the biggest supplier of solar power panels, quadrupled a domestic installation goal for sun- derived energy projects to 21 gigawatts by 2015 to help absorb excess supply of panels and support prices.

The target includes 1 gigawatt of solar-thermal power plants, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the administration’s renewable energy division, said by phone today. The plan will be issued “soon,” he said.

China had planned 5 gigawatts of capacity in the five years through 2015 and 20 gigawatts by 2020. The government has considered an increase since last year as solar panel makers led by Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Trina Solar Ltd. suffer from cuts in European subsidies and a global supply glut that drove prices lower.

“With a significant tumble in photovoltaic prices, the timetable for mass use is ahead of time,” said Lian Rui, a senior analyst for the research company Solarbuzz. “The new target is still very conservative; we expect the installation to surpass 30 gigawatts.”

Considering China’s energy consumption now stands at 389 gigawatts, getting domestic solar installs up to 21 gigawatts may not seem like much, but remember that a little over a decade ago China had no solar industry at all, much less any domestic solar installations. Combined with the growth of domestic wind power (which itself currently stands at 40 gigawatts and is planned to be at 100 gigawatts by 2015, 200 gigawatts by 2020, 400 GW by 2030, and 1,000 GW by 2050), China could soon lose its title of “world’s biggest coal user” to the US, from whom it only recently took that not-very-honorable status.

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GOP Congress Helping China Kill America’s Green Energy Industry

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 23, 2012

Not sure if this is mainly to please their dirty-energy industry friends, or because they might be getting money from overseas green-energy businesses, or some other combination of vectors, but this doesn’t reflect well on our GOP Congress:

According to Third Way, Congress’ view that private sector funding will be enough to create a vibrant new industry “ignores history.” It writes, “when the opportunities and/or risks are perceived to be in the national inter­est, the federal government has supported numerous industries and individual companies for centuries. As far back as 1789, the government imposed tariffs on coal imported from Great Britain in order to give domestic producers a competi­tive advantage in a developing domestic market.”

The report then points to the billions of dollars that the U.S. government has offered to oil, gas and nuclear companies, vastly greater than the level of support offered to renewables.

The full report is here.

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China Property Bubble Pops, Dooming Keystone XL Pipeline. Here’s How.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 22, 2012

Lost in all the hubbub over whether Obama is siding with the oil barons or the environmentalists on the plan to pipe Athabascan tar sands muck down to Houston is the economic fact that the window of profitability for the stuff is rapidly shrinking.

As most informed persons know, the muck’s eventual destination was never American gas tanks, but foreign — especially Chinese — ones. However, the stuff is too expensive to extract for it to be profitably shipped overseas in anything less than supertanker loads, and Canada’s western coast has no ports capable of docking supertankers. Even if it did, the First Nations peoples won’t let anyone hack through their lands and forests to get a pipeline — which is the only way the stuff can be profitably transported on land — to the British Columbia ports. That’s why crossing the border to get to Houston, with its supertanker-capable ports, is key.

But for this whole scheme to stay profitable, oil prices have to stay above $90 a barrel. As this oil price tracker shows, the price per barrel crashed well below that point when the US real estate and banking bubble’s popping took the US (and world) economy down with it in September of 2008, and prices stayed well below $90 a barrel until March of 2011. Only after oil prices consistently topped $90 a barrel did the TransCanada folks start talking heavily to the US mass media about Keystone XL.

Now we have word that the Chinese real estate bubble is popping:

The mainland property market is in meltdown and the damage is spreading, not only to consumers but across the mainland’s economy and, perhaps, internationally as well.

Since last year, Beijing has sought to burst what it saw as a dangerous bubble, which was pushing home prices beyond the reach of the middle class. It did so by initiating a series of tough measures to restrict bank lending and a crackdown on speculation.

As a result, sales have slumped by as much as 70 per cent, triggering a mainland-wide price war among major developers desperate to raise cash amid a credit crunch. Many are not expected to survive the shakeout.

This is having ripple effects throughout the Chinese economy. Steel suppliers in and out of China are adversely affected, since new construction accounts for 29% of China’s steel output and 15% of the world’s total steel output. Concrete, copper, and other construction-connected businesses in and out of China are also affected.

Municipalities and other local governments, which typically depend on land sales for a good chunk of their revenue, have sustained a hard blow just as they were struggling out of the long recession. Angry home and property owners suddenly find themselves “underwater”, or with negative equity, just as many if not most US homeowners have over the past five years.

The effects of the bubble’s popping will be to markedly slow the Chinese economy, if not stop it outright. That means that there will be less demand for oil, just as there was less demand during 2009 in the depths of the recession. That means that world oil prices will soon be dropping again.

And that means there won’t be any way to sell the tar sands muck to anyone and make a profit on it.

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Why Are “Deficit Hawks” Such Morons?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 26, 2011

That’s the question posed, unwittingly, by deficit hawk knob-polisher and austerity joneser Matt Miller (courtesy of Dean Baker):

Miller apparently doesn’t know that China pegs its currency against the dollar. In order to keep the yuan from rising against the dollar, it has purchased over $1 trillion of U.S. assets over the last decade. The United States is in fact not “relying” on China to finance its current consumption. In fact, the official policy of both the Bush and Obama administrations was that we wanted China’s government to stop buying up dollars and thereby depressing the value of the yuan. [While this is the public policy, this may not be the actual policy, since many powerful interests like Wall Street banks and major retailers benefit from the over-valued dollar.]

This would allow the dollar to fall. That would make Chinese imports more expensive to U.S. consumers and U.S. exports cheaper for people in China. That would cause the U.S. trade deficit with China to fall, and possibly turn to a surplus, which is the textbook relationship between rich countries and poor countries.

In the case of Europe, the problem is that the German government and the European Central Bank (ECB) are trying to impose austerity across Europe. The ECB has all the euros it could possibly need to bail out Greece, Italy and anyone else in sight. However, rather than use its ability to print euros to save Europe’s economy, the ECB is trying to force cutbacks in social spending and protections for workers across Europe. The trip to China to seek support for a bailout was a silly diversion from the real issue.

And, just like the German austerity jonesers who don’t seem to mind that “punishing” the “sinner” nations is killing Germany’s economy as well, Miller — who like almost every other US economic writer allowed access to the pages of a major establishment newspaper, utterly failed to see, much less warn anyone about, the housing bubble of the 1990s and 2000s as it was bubbling (Krugman, as always, being the chief if not sole exception) — doesn’t see, or doesn’t care, that austerity will kill the American economy as well.

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Debt Limit Follies: China Learns Not to Trust Republicans

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 10, 2011

Buried at the very bottom of this story about China’s reading the Riot Act to Boehner and Company over the debt limit (as in: Stop it already, morons!), we find this:

Yuan Gangming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, smelled some political wrangling behind the U.S. debt debate as the 2012 presidential election draws nearer and said Republicans “want to make things difficult for Obama.”

But with time running short before the U.S. Treasury exhausts its borrowing room, Yuan said default was a real risk.

“The possibility is quite high to see a default of the U.S. debt, which would harm many countries in the world, and China in particular,” he said.

Remember when Republicans like Mark Kirk (see photo above) were working to hamstring Obama on a bigger stimulus package by essentially telling the Chinese leadership not to loan the US any more money now that Obama was president because his budget numbers couldn’t be trusted? Even some conservatives reamed Kirk out for that move.

Have the Republicans totally forgotten that Kirk did this — and most of them approved? Do they think the Chinese are stupid? Now the Chinese are learning that it’s the Republicans whose word they shouldn’t be trusting when it comes to money.

By the way, why aren’t there any quotes in here from the anti-debt bond vigilantes and the Pete Peterson crowd talking about how a brief default will be totally worth it if it leads to less debt in the long run? I mean, isn’t that who the Republicans are doing this for?

(Crossposted to MyFDL and Renaissance Post.)

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China Rushing to Adopt Green Power, Manufacturing, and Living

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2011

If a non-trivial number of Capitol Hill legislators of both parties didn’t owe their jobs to Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Nuclear, China wouldn’t be trouncing the US in green growth:

China’s production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

“The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively,” said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.

The PRC is the largest cleantech producer in terms of money, with green technologies making up more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its annual gross domestic product. The US? We’re 17th.

It’s not just that the Chinese want a monopoly on worldwide cleantech, though that would be a nice side benefit for them. They want to flat-out survive. Human-caused global warming is a direct and growing threat to China, and the Chinese elites know it.

Seeing empty deserts where glaciers once stood not so long ago — glaciers that feed the great rivers of both China and India — was a real eye-opener for the Chinese central government. The worldwide economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise as not only has it slowed down the rate at which factories and power plants contribute to global climate change (thus buying the world an extra 18 months in which to get its act together), it allowed the central government to force the shutdown and retooling of older, polluting establishments so that they would run greener and cleaner upon reopening.

Of course, this also means that China is no longer as “business-friendly” as it once was, so various industries (such as HTI, or Hutchinson Technology) are looking towards Thailand, Indonesia and even India (Foxconn, which makes Apple’s iPads and iPods and iPhones, is going to India from China later this year) in a desperate bid to avoid having to honor environmental and labor regulations. But Thailand is an unstable mess and India and Indonesia are themselves cracking down on polluters and exploiters.

The free ride for the polluting and exploiting CEOs is over. Increasingly, they are being forced to choose between cleaning up their act or attempting to set up shop in places that are either politically unstable or have no infrastructure capable of supporting a multinational business.

(Crossposted to Renaissance Post.)

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India-China water wars

Posted by Charles II on December 13, 2008

Sudha Ramachandran, ATimes:

The river in question is the Brahmaputra, which begins in southwestern Tibet where it is known as the Yalong Tsangpo

River. It flows eastwards through southern Tibet for a distance of about 1,600 kilometers and at its easternmost point makes a spectacular U-turn, known as the Shuomatan Point, or the “Great Bend”. This is just before the river enters India, where it is joined by two other major rivers; from this point of confluence it is known as the Brahmaputra. It then snakes into Bangladesh, where it is joined by the Ganges River to create the world’s largest delta before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

It is at the Great Bend that China plans to divert water, in addition to its hydroelectric power project that is expected to generate 40,000 megawatts of power. The diversion of the waters is part of a larger hydro-engineering project, the South-North water diversion scheme, which involves three man-made rivers carrying water from the icy Tibetan plateau to the arid north….

With the Yalong Tsangpo’s waters being diverted, the amount of water in the Brahmaputra will fall significantly, affecting India’s northeast and Bangladesh. It will severely impact agriculture and fishing there as the salinity of water will increase, as will silting in the downstream area.

A shortage of water in the Ganges has already affected the lives and livelihoods of millions in Bangladesh, pushing them to migrate to India, especially to its northeast. This migration of Bangladeshis has changed the demographic composition of vast tracts in the northeast (especially in Assam) and triggered serious ethnic conflicts there. A shortage of water in the Brahmaputra will accentuate these problems to dangerous levels.

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