Dear readers, we know you’ve come to love us as we are–our economic bent, our irascible, undeniably charming style and, it practically goes without saying, dashing good looks. But sometimes we feel like maybe it’s time to venture beyond our well-established beat after these twenty-five long years. Maybe branch with some articles about politics, culture or the culinary arts. But no matter how hard we try the Chinese economy is always one step ahead of us, waiting to pounce.
We began the week planning to publish something political, say, maybe a think piece on the upcoming legislative session in Beijing. But the ruddy bloody People’s Bank of China had gone and cut interest rates again for the second time in three months. How were we supposed to pass up covering that?
Next day we came in fresh-faced and ready to write up an article about something a little more enticing than interest rates. What about a product review? we wondered. But no sooner had we pulled up TMall, our fingers poised above the keyboard ready to seek and destroy some piece of unsuspecting consumer electronics, when suddenly news broke that Alibaba’s online marketplaces were plagued with fake orders and shell storefronts. Alas, duty called.
We woke once more at the crack of dawn, more determined than ever to stretch our publishing legs with something far afield of commerce. But no sooner had we begun typing up a brief treatise on the remarkable parallels between Xi Jinping’s written works and those of Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu when twofold calamity struck: long-suffering developer Kaisa announced a plan to restructure its debt, and regulators issued a flurry of licenses for online brokerages. We calmly wrote both stories up, then picked up our typewriter and hurled it through the nearest window.
Back in the office the following morning with a new typewriter and the serene calm that comes from participation in that greatest of man’s endeavors, consumerism, we sat down ready to type up an essay on the historical uses of yak butter in Tibet when–curse her name–our assistant popped in to note that the premier had announced China would lower its annual GDP target to 7%. We promptly took out a can of gasoline, poured it over our desk, lit the thing on fire and took the rest of the day off.
And this morning, dear readers, as we walked into the office with a rumbling dread in our gut and the vain hope of penning the briefest of blog posts on 19th century Cantonese colloquialisms, we just knew, somehow, it was not to be. Always quick to oblige our greatest fears, the Ministry of Finance promptly announced plans for a commodities binge, shares in solar manufacturing Hanergy shot up 62% for reasons unexplained and word came that Li Keqiang had at last confirmed a Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock linkup was in the works.
Ah, well. Perhaps we’re destined to be an economics rag to the bitter end. And with the Chinese economy whirring mysteriously onward despite its countless, glaring systemic flaws, is that such a bad thing? Probably not, we think. After all, unlike luxury magazines, glossy art journals and other such frivolities, for the financial press bad news is the best news of all.
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