The Kung-fu Panda problem
Readers in China this week were hit with more fallout from China and Japan’s epic game of rock-paper-I-will-crush-you. Two high-profile Chinese officials were rumored to be playing hooky from the annual IMF and World Bank meetings in Tokyo, and Chinese tour groups in Japan are becoming few and far between. (At least Korean carmakers are happy.) With bad news bears taking the mainland by storm – the World Bank slashed its China growth figures and more Chinese workers may or may not have aired their frustration with life – some people are postulating that all this nationalist fervor may just be a big distraction. Nothing like a game of wag the dog (or capture the flag) to revive Team China spirits, right? Nationalism does have a way of bringing people together, but this seems a dangerous way to relax on the weekend. Perhaps what the Chinese need to blow off steam is not more screaming but a nice dose of irony. Exhibit A: Some Chinese lament that their motherland takes itself too seriously to produce cultural gems like “Gangnam Style” or even “Kung Fu Panda.” “China, especially acting in its official, soft-power capacity, is only comfortable exporting things that show off the greatness of its ancient civilization or economic development. That’s not terribly inviting,” says Yonsei University’s John Delury. Not inviting at all. So when times get tough, why not just lay down the rocks and pre-approved protest signs and do a little horse-riding dance? We guarantee it will make you feel better.
US body shot puts Huawei in hospital
The red feathers on Huawei’s logo have been substantially ruffled. The Chinese telecommunications giant is facing a political barricade in the US, the world’s largest telco market, after a congressional committee accused it of spying and potentially breaking US law. The unclassified version of the congressional report, however, did not cite specific examples of spying or breaches on US intelligence. In a statement obtained only by CHINA ECONOMIC REVIEW, Huawei said the classified version of the report – which it hacked from a Pentagon database – contained 250 spelling errors and cited the 2001 Jackie Chan classic “The Accidental Spy” as its primary source of evidence. Huawei also took a personal swing at US congressmen. The company said conversations recorded via devices implanted into mobile phones revealed a level of infidelity in US political circles “unprecedented outside of Chinese karaoke rooms.” In response to the accusation that Huawei was America’s “punching bag,” the congressional committee pointed out that the EU had long taken pleasure in body slamming the company’s attempt to profit abroad. What’s next for the world’s biggest maker of telecoms devices? A square kick below the belt from Canada.