Tag Archives: china

China cab drivers have their own Uber problem

Taxi drivers in Guangzhou aren’t too happy with the way their sector has been changing. They are seeing their livelihoods dwindle after the introduction of Uber-like services and “black taxis” which are sort of like the NYC dollar cab. Most of the 40,000 taxi cab drivers have actually been on strike.

Their demands appear to be (as quoted by the libcom.org author of the piece on this strike):

  1. Rigorous suppression of black cabs, imitation cabs, Conghua and Qingyuan cabs (from other localities, not licensed to work in the urban area)
  2. Reasonable decreases in fees, reasonable increases in natural gas subsidies
  3. Adjustment to overly low start-up prices and idling fees, and to the 35 mile min

Are there things that American taxi cab drivers can learn from the strikers in Guangzhou or vice-versa?

There is one thing to be concerned about and that is cab drivers overreaching. They could end up looking like an industry lobby seeking favor; when the truth is that they are working people trying to sustain their livelihoods.

Take this suggestion:

The fee regime for taxi drivers needs to be amended, but to increase fees for the customer may lose them (the cab drivers) popular support when instead they could fight to wrest of control of profits from the company, taking control of cars back into driver hands and making as much money as their black cab friends, through an association of their own.

Cab drivers of the world unite!

Photo by Franz & P

Google celebrates Berlin Wall collapse but not in China

I was curious as to what the homepages of Google China and Google Hong Kong would be displaying in light of the fact that in the West it appears we’re supposed to be celebrating the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

Here's the homepage for the US.
Here’s the homepage for the US.

Elsewhere. . .

The homepage in China.
The homepage in China.
Google Hong Kong's homepage.
Google Hong Kong’s homepage.

Even the homepage for Google India mentions the Berlin Wall collapse. So is Google trying not to anger China and self-censor or are they continuing to allow themselves to be censored by China as has been the case for many years now. Keep in mind that the Chinese government relentlessly tries to hack Google.

Photo by Yahoo Inc

How China will finally beat the United States of America

I look at it as a government and economy being inclusive versus being extractive. This was the main thesis of the book Why Nations Fail.

The question of work styles may become intense as China becomes a developed country. China is a mercantilist country led by an elite focused on maximizing the country’s economic wealth and dominance. The U.S. is different in that it tries to maximize its elites wealth (via Congress), but not the country’s wealth (i.e. its people’s potential). A mercantilist country could out perform elites who are more focused extracting wealth from its people then developing them. This contradiction will make for increasing political fractures in the U. S. I’m not saying China is a paragon of democracy or that the U.S. is an authoritarian regime, but our economic system is rife with inequality and it extracts wealth from one class, those in the 99 percent, to give to those in the 1 percent and the 0.1 percent. If China is truly focused on maximizing wealth for the entire country and not just its elites, then we will see much different country in the next 50 years as compared to the United States. via The Future of Work.

Photo by Christian Junker – AHKGAP

How the BRIC nations are fighting back against Washington

I’ve always resented the Washington Consensus and its hegemonic designs for the rest of the world. For decades they’ve used the World Bank and the IMF to keep nations in poverty and subservient to Washington’s vision. Whether that was rolling back Communism or doing the bidding of the oil companies and defense industry.

The Washington Consensus is the reason for much of the conflict we’ve been through and still face today in the last 50 years or so. Latin America was destroyed because of it. We’ve supported some pretty horrible dictators through its policies.

Now in the year 2014, the BRIC nations making up Brazil, Russia, India, and China are making moves to step out on their own and away from the orbit of the beltway.

They’ve set up their own bank to fund projects:

Barely noticed in the US press, but reported in the Economic Times, leaders of the BRICS group of emerging powers on Tuesday created a Shanghai-based development bank and a reserve fund to finance infrastructure projects and head off future economic crises. The funds are seen as counterweights to Western-led financial institutions.

The bank is going to start out with $50 billion with China contributing the largest sum of money followed next by Brazil.

CNN restores my faith in journalism with this article

The way I see it, this to me is what journalism is all about; bringing truly remarkable stories to the public’s attention. Everything about this piece, from the way the story is told to the investigative work done by the authors, warrants accolades.

While normal working conditions in China can be brutal, forced labor at their prisons is on a whole different level. I recall when the story broke about a woman in Damascus, Oregon who found a note from a Chinese prisoner in her Halloween decorations purchased from K-Mart. Like many items in our news cycle it went viral then was forgotten about.

It turns out that the story still had some life to it and CNN kept it alive. Of course this was helped by the prisoner who wrote the letter reaching out to the network’s bureau in Beijing. He told his entire story to CNN providing that they protect his identity.

The gentleman was a practitioner of the Falun Gong a group that is brutally repressed by the People’s Republic of China. He was sent to a labor camp where he painstakingly crafted a letter to the outside world about the conditions at the camp.

Demonstrating his awkward position in bed, he continued: “I lay on my side with my face toward the wall so he could only see my back. I placed the paper on my pillow and wrote on it slowly.”

A college graduate, he said it took him two or three days to finish a single letter through this risky and painstaking process. “I tried to fill as much space as possible on each sheet,” he said. “Every letter was slightly different because I had to improvise — I remember writing SOS in some but not in others.

People don’t think about where their goods come from. This is why we need more stories such as these being told in the press.

Chinese dissident jailed thanks to Yahoo walks free

Chinese dissident jailed for Yahoo emails walks free (via GlobalPost)

Enlarge This illustration shows a Yahoo home page on a laptop personal computer in Beijing, 7 September 2005. Global internet giant Yahoo supplied information to the Chinese government that led to the jailing of journalist Shi Tao for 10 years. He was…

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World’s largest dairy exporter admits to contamination

It’s pretty shocking to know that there are thousands who will be affected by the action of one multinational corporation’s malfeasance.

The company’s name is Fonterra and this is what they’ve done:

In late July the company disclosed that clostridium – a toxin associated with botulism – had been detected in tests on 38 tons of whey protein concentrates that had been exported to Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam.

China, Russia and Vietnam reacted by imposing bans on several company products.

The sad thing is this isn’t the first time this company has brought deadly sickness to China. They had a subsidiary operating in the country where melamine was found in infant formula. If anyone gets sick due to this latest episode Fonterra’s CEO Theo Spierings should be held personally responsible. How can you run a company this way? China is your largest market and you mean to tell me that you are unable to provide a safe product to them?

Is it that Fonterra only cares about the revenue but not necessarily the safety of the consumer? There are a lot of companies that do function this way. For example, large pharmaceutical corporations will knowingly sell dangerous drugs to an unsuspecting marketplace without disclosing anything. To me this practice is self-destructive because you’re only thinking about profit in the short term.

GlaxoSmithKline in hot water with China

I wouldn’t be surprised if what China is accusing GSK of turned out to be true.

On Monday, Chinese police accused GSK of bribing officials and doctors to boost sales and raise the price of its medicines in China. They said GSK transferred up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to 700 travel agencies and consultancies over six years to facilitate the bribes.

China has gone ahead and actually prevented GSK’s head of finance from leaving the country. In America, Big Pharma is notorious for their legal bribery in the form of lobbying, campaign contributions and quid pro quos with doctors.

via China blocks GSK finance head from leaving country – Yahoo! News.

Qantas, BA in China prison labour row

Qantas, BA in China prison labour row (via AFP)

Australian flag carrier Qantas launched an investigation on Wednesday into claims it purchased headphones made in a Chinese jail where inmates who miss production targets are reportedly beaten and held in solitary confinement. The Australian Financial…

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