Moderately loose talk, August 10
Over the weekend, Premier Wen Jiabao announced – if that is the word – that current economic policies would be maintained… It’s a good thing he was there to remind us, or we might have forgotten that just last week, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said almost exactly the same thing in its quarterly monetary-policy report… This goes on back to April 23, when PBoC Deputy Governor Yi Gang first announced on the central bank’s website that the PBoC would "firmly stick" to a moderately loose monetary policy this year… How long will Beijing continue to insist that nothing will change? How long will investors continue to believe it? The whole situation reflects pretty poorly on the development of China’s stock markets. After all this time, they remain little more than arenas for betting on government policy – and the more Beijing spouts the "moderately loose" line, the less likely people seem to want to trust it.
Get a life, Hebei, August 12
We have a new national crisis, and it is "sexting." For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the sending of sexually explicit messages – anything from a dirty joke, to a nude photo – via a cellphone. As the China Daily reported yesterday Henan Province is cracking down on dirty text messages with RMB500 fines (about US$73) and detentions of five days for a single offense and 10 days for three such "sexts"… But none of this really interests me. More troubling is the news that Party officials in Shenzhe county in Hebei province have held 480 meetings on the topic of "sexting." Since July 10. One hates to invoke that old chestnut "doesn’t the government have something better to do?" when there are surely some very real concerns of sexual harassment involved in "sexting." But give me a break, Hebei.