Why release China’s third-quarter macro figures on a Monday morning? Perhaps the hope was everyone would be too bleary-eyed to see the numbers clearly, or maybe they just figured everyone would be in a bad mood anyway. There wasn’t much cause for cheer: GDP growth was down to 9% in the third quarter, the lowest level in five years, and down from 10.1% growth in the second quarter. China Construction Bank also joined the third-quarter bad-news bandwagon, announcing its profit growth had slowed considerably over the period to 13%, down sharply from the 71% posted in the first half. At least it has access to its cash, something that can’t be said for Chinalco, more formally known Aluminum Corp of China. It is currently invovled in talks to free up a 9% stake in miner Rio Tinto from an account it had with the spectacularly collapsed Lehman Brothers. But the award for worst Monday morning has to go to former Beijing Vice Mayor Liu Zhihua, who was given the death sentence for taking US$1 million in bribes around Olympic preparations. Amid all the bad news, it’s nice to know that things are at least looking up for Chinese migrant workers. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions pledged at its 15th national meeting to push for increased protection of labor rights, and is considering amending its charter to address the rights of migrant workers. The bad news on the other side of that coin is for foreign enterprises, where the ACFTU is also looking to step up its presence.
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