April 21, 2005

MORE DEMONSTRATIONS IN CHINA, and these aren't about Japan:

As the market plumbs six-year lows, China's 60 million retail investors are an embittered lot -- sounding a jarring note amid the capitalist changes transforming China's economy. The government once touted the nation's two stock exchanges, started in 1990 and 1991, as founts of opportunity. But they have turned out to be full of rotten companies that relied on political connections to get listed. Regulators have had little success fighting rampant insider trading and poor disclosure.

For the ruling Communist Party, the rage of investors who have lost their nest eggs could be toxic. The party has long struggled to keep a lid on social unrest, especially among unemployed workers and overtaxed farmers. Now a big chunk of the middle class is angry, too.

No wonder the government would rather have people angry about Japan.

Meanwhile, France is supporting preemptive war -- so long as it's by a major customer!

During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.

At the outset of a three-day visit to China, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he supported Beijing's "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, and vowed to keep pushing for an end to an EU arms embargo that could open the door for Paris to sell weapons to the Asian giant.

Raffarin also signed or finalized major business deals with Beijing valued at around $3.2 billion (2.4 billion euros).

You know, we should have just bribed Chirac et al. It's clearly the way these things are done. Bloggledygook has more on the big picture.