对手—The Rise of ‘Naked Weddings’

I would not want to be a young Chinese man born in the early 1980s. Although economic growth provides a number of opportunities and for a select few—those in possession of the right combination of ambition, ability, luck and connections—the chance of great fortune, a far greater number of young men feel the intense pressure this environment creates as they try to establish a carry and start a family. The first problem these young men face is competition for position after graduation. A visit to a career day and human resource fair in big (and even small cities) cities in China serve as a reminder that for its size America is a sparsely populated place. Once a university graduate secures a job the next challenge comes in accumulating the two most important goods that will help him find a spouse: a car and an apartment. These two purchases act as a signaling device: “Marry Me! Look at all the stuff I have”                                                                                        Here we arrive at the crux of the problem. During their first few years out of school, most university graduates will make, at most, 5,000 yuan a month, and even that is a bit high. Purchasing just one square meter of an apartment in a first-tier city like Beijing or Shanghai and even in many second and third-tier cities will often cost 20,000 yuan. A large chunk of that initial 5,000 yuan goes to rent, food, and other daily expenses. Many of these young people, both men and women, make up what is now known as the “Ant Tribe”-young university graduates living seven or eight to a room in tier-one cities while trying to squeak out an existence and save some money.  All of this is to say nearly impossible for a young man to buy a house without significant help from his family.                           The race to buy a house and all the societal pressures around this goal are at the heart of a number of recent television shows. A program called Struggle (奋斗) launched this drama in 2007 and another, Narrow Dwellings (蜗居), from 2009 dealt directly with the struggle to find a house for a reasonable price. The latest and perhaps most popular addition to the genre, Naked Wedding (裸婚时代), aired this past summer and told the story of two young people who got married without a house, a car, or much financial stability. The show sparked a number of discussion on Chinese internet forums and entered the lexicon as people began to ask each other whether they would agree to a naked marriage, one without the material preconditions that some view as necessary.                      A new television program on CCTV 2, Opponent, 对手, devotes an entire fifty minute program to the naked wedding trend. The show itself has one of the most interesting formats of any program in China today. Airing only once a week, the show holds a debate between the two sides, blue and red, that try to convince and audience that their point of view is correct. After the conclusion of each round—there are usually three rounds in each program focusing on a different aspect of a general question—the studio audience casts votes to determine which side made the better points.  What make the show particularly interesting, and almost shocking in some ways, is that the central themes of the show often center on important social issues like the new marriage law which are by any definition sensitive subjects.                                                                                               The form and structure of the show really allows for individual personalities to shine through. The program sounds like an argument taking place in a family living room, university dormitory or street corner. The guests get flustered and frustrated as they can feel themselves failing to defend their point of view and losing the support of the audience. The program is a lot like China itself: unruly but always interesting. This episode centers around three questions: What is the source of naked weddings—economic pressure or personal choice? Does a couple really need economic stability to get married? Will the rise of naked weddings lead to a corresponding drop in so-called utilitarian weddings where the pairing is more of a business relationship than a personal one? Interestingly, and most likely by design, three women argue that naked weddings are the result of economic pressure and hold that a couple does not necessarily need economic stability, and certainly not wealth, in order to get married. The men try to convince audience that naked weddings are more of a personal choice and not due to economic hardship and that a certain level of material stability is necessary for any marriage to last.

Key Vocab from First debate topic:

辩论-to debate
发育-to develop, to grow
自觉-conscious. In this case is mean’s on one’s own initiative
借口-an excuse
洒脱-to be relaxed
一不做二不休-once you start you can’t stop, in for a penny in for a pound
门当户对-social and economic position
投票-to vote

Vocab from Second Debate Topic:

奔小康-to strive for a middle class life
吃亏-to get the worst out of a situation
诸葛亮-Reference to on of the main characters in the novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms known for his foresight.
预知-to predict or forecast
剩男,剩女-leftover men and leftover women. Used to describe a woman around the age of 30 who has not yet married. Men might be a little older when this phrase is used to describe them.
掩盖-to conceal
歌颂-to praise

Vocab Third Debate Topic:

功利婚姻-a utilitarian marriage i.e marrying for money
貌合神离-appearing to get along on the surface but to actually have bad relations

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新闻联播-The New Edition, September 25, 2011

For a long time, and perhaps still today, 新闻联播 (News Live) might just be the most-watched television news program in the world. Aired daily at 7pm, the broadcast is the most direct mouthpiece of the Communist Party outside of the People’s Daily Newspaper. It is also, as many Chinese will tell you, quite boring. In the past ten years the Chinese news environment evolved very quickly and 新闻联播, to put it kindly, lagged behind. The show attracted few younger views as teenagers and young adults chose to get their information from other sources, bbs forums and especially weibo, the Chinese version of twitter. In fact, the program drew the scorn of most young people for its wooden anchors, stale content and reliance on cadre speak, 官话. That may change as the program has a new cohort of writers and producers in their late twenties and early thirties. The first program with this new crew aired on September 25th, introducing new graphics, new anchors and new content. Will these changes make much of a difference? To really answer the question it is important to judge exactly how much the program changed.                                                                                                                                                               Since the program started in the late 1970s, the show had essentially three sections. The first ten minutes chronicled the daily activities of the top members of the Communist party: the meeting they attended, the discussion the help and the agreements they reached. This section was interesting, but only to a point. Very few people in the world spend time thinking about Chinese relations with Namibia but 新闻联播 spent about ten minutes of the subject when Chinese officials visited the country. For the uninitiated and curious, this portion of the program can be valuable.  The reason this segment got so dull is that the program recycled the same script night after night i.e “China and ______ will work to strengthen and deepen relations in culture, trade, educational exchange etc. China values ___________ as a friend and the two country’s have learned much from each other over the course of their _________ year relationship.” This segment, like the show itself, focuses on rhetoric and description at the expense of analysis.                                                                                                                                   The second part of the program usually dealt with domestic issues with the not so veiled motive of showing progress and prosperity. This section of the broadcast focuses primarily on the countryside and rarely has news from the city. The point here is to show that certain government policies, especially subsidies, create greater opportunities rural Chinese. The third part of the show quickly went through the world news in short segments that more often than not focused on the bad things going one outside of China. This segment of the show is usually the shortest. To read a great satire of the 新闻联播 check out The Ministry of Tofu.                                                                                                                    The format that debuted on September 25th is actually quite difference. The first big change comes at the start of the program when the first several segments focus on domestic news rather than charting out the days of the top leadership, the meetings they held and the speeches they gave. Instead of spending the first ten minutes on these activities, the program only devotes two minutes to We Banguo meeting with representative from Khazakstan. Interestingly, the program does not mention Hu Jintao or Wen Jiabao at all, although this can mostly likely be traced to the new format airing on a Sunday. It will be important to follow whether this new format of focusing on domestic news at the outset of the program continues during the weeks ahead or if the show slowly goes back to devoting the first chunk of the broadcast official meetings.                         With the focus on domestic events, the program sends out journalist to conduct interviews with various men on the street (老百姓), a feature the older format completely lacked. On the premiere episode there are interviews with Chinese citizens on the cheaper price of railway tickets and a handful of other issues. That said, like on American new programs, the sound bites are not particularly informative or insightful but the step of asking questions in general does represent a change. However, it is necessary to note that the new emphasis on journalists asking question did not extend to the segments on Wu Banguo in Khazakstan. This metric is key. When journalists start asking question to senior leaders and those question and answer sessions are aired on television, we will know the Chinese news environment is fundamentally different.
The last ten minutes of so are still devoted to international news and the first episode actually covers the IMF meeting and several other international forums, particularly from the United Nations. The news from abroad, I was not surprised to find out, is not particularly good. The two news items from the United States were the protests on Wall Street and leaks on the New York Subway system.                                                                                 Beyond the structure of the show, the anchors themselves, 欧阳夏丹, the female anchor, and 郎永淳, the male anchor, are their mid 30s. Veterans of other CCTV programs, just looking at the screen gives the view a very different feeling than the previous anchors who were in their mid 50s. At a very superficial level, this change is significant. As one netizen proclaimed, “I will watch 新闻联播 just to see 欧阳夏丹!”At a broader level, however, the generational shift of both the anchors and producers represents an important but little understood aspect about the future of China. Namely, how will the Chinese government and Chinese society change as younger people come to positions of relative power? Here, the definition of “young people” refers to those party members under the age of 40, many of whom have studied abroad and grew up in a fundamentally different China than the senior leadership today and even the next generation of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. The answer, of course, is that no one really knows, probably not even these younger cadres themselves. Many people will most likely laugh at the changes to 新闻联播 but for those behind the new format it is an important point when they began to change China.

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新闻1+1–September 21

Topic: 我爸是市长—谁在说?Who said “I am the Mayor’s Son”?

Background:
This news program is not a talk show but focuses more on investigatory journalism and usually limits itself to domestic events. The host,白岩松 ,is very popular—particularly with young people—but increasingly controversial. In recent months there have been no shortage of rumors that his news programs have been canceled. His biography on Baidu lists as his key personal traits: 说话, being a good talker, but not in derogatory sense of the phrases English meaning. He is also an author, having published one book ten years ago and one just recently. For a taste of his style and ideas see the speech he gave at Yale that also includes an English translation.                                                                                                    Throughout the show there are references to the famous incident from last year when a young Chinese man killed a girl in a hit and run incident and told police that they could do with him what they like because he said “我爸是李刚-My Dad is Li Gang.” Of course, the young man meant that in the end nothing would happen to him because his dad would use his connections to make the matter go away. The phrase, “My Dad is Li Gang,” got very popular on the Chinese internet and even appeared in several television shows.                                                                                                                                                                This broadcast looks at a similar incident that just happened in Wenzhou when a 15-year old driving a Mercedes, 马文聪(Ma Wencong), entered small shop to buy cigarettes, supposedly hit the baby of the shop owner, proceeded to drive away but hit a pedestrian with his Mercedes. Those at the scene that night reported that he mockingly told the police “My Dad is the mayor of the city” and it quickly became a catch phrase. The show investigates whether the teenager actually said of those words. You can view video of the program here.
First Five Minutes: The first few minutes tries to establish what exactly happened on the evening of September 18th in Wenzhou when a senior in high school took his family’s Mercedes to go out for a massage. He stopped at a small store to but something but that is where the controversy starts. The owner of the store claimed that Ma Wencong was in a rage for no reason, hit her one-year old baby and afterwards said “My dad is the mayor of the city; I can give you 300 yuan (as compensation for the injury). Upon leaving the store and while attempting to drive away he actually hit a pedestrian. The program establishes that Ma Wencong is actually not the son of the Wenzhou’s mayor but the son of a wealthy businessman. This segment ends by posing the question for the remainder of the broadcast: How did this rumor get started? What does he fact that this rumor began day about Chinese society today.
Key Vocab:
富二代-second-generation rich. Refers to the children of businessmen who struck it rich in the 1970s and 1980s. Currently one of the most common phrases on Chinese websites. Also good to know is 官二代 (children of officials who have benefited from their parents’ connections.
奔驰-Mercedes Benz
围观的人-spectators, those standing around and watching an event happen
回头-to look back on (Commonly used in news programs by the host beore a video that will summarize events: 我们回头一下.
面目全非-to change beyond recognition
活该的-to serve someone right
发酵-to ferment, develop

From Five to Fifteen Minutes: This segment is primarily filled with the reflections of journalists who covered the story as it played out on September 18th. In attempting to trace the origin of the rumor that Wen Macong was the son of the Mayor, the program establishes that one person simply lied and that was enough for the opinion to spread. This point, the anchor emphasizes, is important: those gather in Wenzhou that night found the rumor plausible and on a certain level perhaps even wanted it to be true. On the first level, especially with last year’s scandal involving Li Gang, the citizens held the idea that a young guy would use his privileged position as entirely plausible. On a deeper level,

Key Vocab:
转引-quotation from a secondary source
酝酿-to develop, to ferment (of an idea)
样本-specimen, sample, test case
饲料-fodder (Here the expression is used in the English sense of giving fodder for or two something)
追究-to investigate
确凿-definitive, conclusive

Last Ten Minutes: The last few minutes of the program again looks at various newspaper columns and reaction to the incident. The host, 白岩松,makes the point that in an ear of Chinese-version twitter it is important to get the facts right because rumors can spread so quickly.  The program ends with an interview with one of the editor of 三联生活, a well-respected magazine,about the failings of the journalists in the hours and days after the incident occurred. 白岩松 ends the program with a personal comment that wealthy parents cannot equate money and gifts they give their children with responsibility.

Key Vocab:
袒护-to take someone’s side, to give support that is not deserved
辛辣的讽刺-biting criticism
谣言-rumor
砸-to smash, crash
情何以堪-How can this go on!? Used as a rhetorical question

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今日观察-September 14

Background: Unlike previous posts that examine 今日关注 on CCTV 4, this post looks at an episode of 今日观察 which airs of CCTV 2, the economics channel. Also, the show aired while the so-called “Summer Davos” took place in Dalian. While part of the news cycle in China, this story gained a prominent place in the Italian press as one of the main weekly magazine, L’Espresso, featured Finance Minister Tremonti on its cover dressed in a Chairman Mao suit. L’Espresso three articles on the issue and the tittle of the most telling one is “La Paura divenne la speranza”–Fear becomes hope. In this hour of crisis, fear of China–the idea that low-cost Chinese labor is threatening traditional Italian industiries–gives way to a hope that China may yet play an important role if Italy is to surmount their present difficulties. For video of this broadcast see here.

Italian Finance Minister Tremonti

Topic: 意大利国债 中国要不要出手—Should China extend a hand to Italy?
First Five minutes: After a short video explaining the origins of the Italian debt crisis, the anchor poses the main questions for the show: Should China but large amounts of Italian debt? If so, how can the safety of the investment be guaranteed? She then proceeds to ask one of the guests if they China should buy a significant amount of Italian debt. The first guest argues that China should approach this as a business decision and not as a form of charity. While perhaps obvious this point is important since many Chinese netizens reacted unfavorably to the news that China might invest in Italian debt. Their argument was simple: With so many problems yet to be solved here in China, how can investing in Italy be justified?

Key Vocab:
拯救-to save, to rescue
定论-to reach a final conclusion, or agreement
扑朔迷离-impossible to unravel, confusing
沸沸扬扬-abuzz (Used to describe a news story that everyone is talking about)
缩计划-austerity plan
From Five Minutes to Fifteen Minutes:During this part of the show the host and guests survey different points of view, from both netizens and experts and the current official government position. For the government point of view, there is a clip of the spokeswoman for the foreign ministry who states that China supports and believes that the European nations themselves can reach an appropriate agreement. The program then quotes Premier Wen Jiabao who states that China is willing to help Italy if European leaders are willing to take a more “strategic” view of relations with China i.e. change certain trade regulations that place barriers on Chinese imports in certain sectors.

Vocab:
苗头-first sings, development of a situation
澄清-to clarify (我要澄清一下)
担保-to guarantee
求援-to ask for help
贴水-to charge a premium. (Risk premium is 风险贴水)
举措-to move,to act (Here it is used by the foreign ministry spokesperson (我们支持欧盟国家采取应对欧债危机的举措,我们也相信,欧元区的国家会采取整体的协同的举措).

Last Ten Minutes: To begin the last part of the program the host frames the issue by stating that buying Italian debt is essentially a bet that the situation in Europe will not worsen. One guests refines this point and argues that buying Italian sovereign debt is more of a bet that Germany will not allow a break up of the European monetary union (The Italian Minister Tremonti, pictured above, made a very similar remark over the weekend). The other commentator builds on this idea by arguing that the best scenario for China would be to buy a part of several Italian state owned enterprises instead of simply investing of Italian bonds. For him, the period may be a crisis for most of the world but it is an opportunity from a Chinese point of view. The program closes with several phone interviews with economists who remind viewers that China must strike a balance in investing its foreign exchange reserves between assets that are both safe, have a return, and serve to diversify the overall investment portfolio.

Vocab:
猜测-to guess, conjecture
跌幅-decline in value, percentage drop
震荡-to shake unsteadily
资产-assets
外汇储备-foreign currency reserves
愈演愈烈-of a problem, getting more and more critical
回笼-to withdraw a currency from circulation
协力-to unite in a common effort

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今日关注-September 9

今日关注-September 9, 2011

Topic: 十年反恐 世界改变了什么-Ten years of fighting terrorism and how the world has changed.

First Five Minutes: The first part of this program discusses the recent news released by the U.S. government that 3 people from Pakistan have reportedly snuck into the country and officials believe that they intend to carry out an attack on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. Although there has not been another successful attack on American soil, the commentators discuss that fact that terrorism in other areas of the world, particularly Pakistan, continues to be a problem.

Vocab:
情报-an intelligence report
恐怖袭击-terrorist attack
手段-method or tactic
排除-to eliminate
报复-revenge
成就-accomplishment, success

From Five Minutes to Fifteen Minutes: This segment looks at the success and failures of the U.S. war against terrorism. While there has not been another attack on American soil, the moderator asks why it took ten years to hunt down Osama Bin Laden. The discussion then shifts to why terrorism persists and both commentators touch on the fact that the long-term factors that lead to terrorism—stagnant economies and discontented youths have not been alleviated in the past ten years. With this in mind, one commentator advances that point that looking back over the last ten years it cannot really be said that American or the world is any safer. Building off of this, the other commentator suggests that by expanding the war on terrorism, the United States  increased the likelihood of potential attacks around the world.

Vocab:
海豹队-Navy Seals
泡汤-To spoil, have one’s hopes dashed. (Here the phrase is used in the context that is another terrorist attack happens in the U.S., Obama’s chances for reelection will spoiled).
土壤-the soil
愤懑-resentful, discontented
报仇-to avenge, revenge
精确-accurate, precise (Here used in the context of saying that someone’s analysis is on point. 我觉得他的分析是非常精确)
动荡-turbulent
榛芜-wilderness, middle of nowhere

From Fifteen Minutes to Fifteen Minutes: This final segment looks at how American strategy has changed over the past ten years and how to evaluate its future prospects. The moderator asks if Obama’s strategy of shifting the focus of American efforts to Afghanistan and his speeches stressing that American is not at was with Islam have been effective. Due to the overhang of the Bush administration, one commentator holds that Obama’s change in strategy has not brought much obvious success. The program ends as its begins with one commentator suggesting that the success of America’s campaign against terrorism depends on what perspective one employs. While there has been no attack in America, the same cannot be said for the rest of the world.

Vocab:
扩大化-to expand. As is to expand the war on terrorism
庞大-large or huge (In this case it is used in the context of American paying a large price for in the past ten years for its campaign against terrorism.
撤军-to withdraw troops
撤离-to withdraw from
盟友-allies (The word for ally is 同盟)
击毙-to shoot or to kill
经不起-Be unable to bear
反扑-To counterattack
和解-to reconcile
滋生-to breed, flourish
格格不入-incompatible
迄今为止-up till today, up till now

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今日关注-August 5

Topic:购潜艇 造航母 越印联手搅局南海 South China Sea Controversy

Guests: 尹桌, a former Vice Admiral in the Navy and 杨稀雨 a researcher at 中国国际问题研究所.

First Five Minutes: The host introduces recent developments concerning the contentious territorial disputes in the South China Sea. On the one hand Vietnam announced that it seeks to negotiate a settlement with China and on the other it recently bough six submarines from Russia. Likewise, Vietnam is trying to strengthen ties with India and the Philippines recently bought equipment for oil exploration in the South China Sea. After a short video explaining the recent transaction between Russia and Vietnam the host asks why Vietnam spent more than three times its annual defense budget on these submarines. The first guest offers the explanation that everyone in Southeast Asia is stocking up on arms.

Vocab:

潜艇-submarine
潜艇编队-group or team or team of submarines
导弹 (巡航导弹)-cruise missile
抗衡-to contend against
震慑-to awe or intimidate
艘-measure word for ships. Used a lot in this episode
矛盾是比较尖锐-the contradiction is fairly acute. Common to see this noun and adjective paired together in certain types of “official language” or 官话.

From Five to Fifteen minutes: This segment examines Vietnamese motives and concludes that the nation’s recent posturing or tough talk is not so much due internal political considerations as it is part of a longer term strategy to strengthen its position in the South China sea. Moreover, one analyst sees the purchase of submarines as directed towards Vietnam’s South East Asian neighbors in addition to China. When asked what impact the new submarines, both analysts think they will be significant because the ships will be able to cover the entire South China Sea. That said, the pair believes Vietnam is carrying out a very dangerous strategy, literally playing with fire, as it seeks to bring in Russia, The United States and India into the picture.  Finally, a short video describes India’s attempts to establish a greater presence in the South China Sea and its plan to finish its second aircraft carrier.

Vocab:

强硬的话,强硬的举动-tough talk, aggressive activity
换届-change in government
既得利益-vested interests or long term interests
海峡-strait
覆盖-to cover (as in the submarine can cover this area)
拉入-to pull into
玩火-to play with fire
拖下水-To get someone involved in (越南要把印度拖下水)
引火烧身-An idiom meaning to invite trouble
幻想-illusions
颜色革命- “Color” Revolution
后顾之忧- Usually expressed in the negative and means no worries about anything.

From 15 to 25 minutes:

Vocab: The nest five minutes are spent dissecting India’s motives for getting involved Vietnam and Hillary Clinton’s calls for India to take more of a leadership role in Southeast Asia. One analyst notes that India responded with a cold shoulder because it does not want its interests to be to tied to those of Vietnam or the United States.  The last few minutes discuss the increasingly aggressive actions of the Philippines and its insistence on its rights to extract oil from the South China Sea. The host notes that the president of the Philippines will visit China later this month and discusses how tense these meetings will be. The program ends with one analysts arguing that the South China Sea questions is getting harder to solve as more countries get involved.

Vocab:

冷遇-to give someone the cold shoulder
插入,插手-To stick a hand in. Interfere with  (Not in the program but another common expression with the same meaning is 介入)
制衡-balance of power
单边开发 –To develop or extract resources on one’s own. (Not in the program but good to know are 单边主义 for unilateralism and 多边主义 for multilaterialism)
开采-to extract (as in resources)

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Analysis of 今日关注 from August 3

If the path forward in America looks uncertain in the wake of the agreement to raise the debt ceiling and the subsequent downgrade of American Treasuries by Standard & Poor’s, the outlook from the Chinese perspective appears equally murky. At least that is the impression one has after listening to the analysis from two scholars at Renmin and Qinghua University on the current affairs program, 今日关注 (Daily Focus) . The program begins with the anchor asking if the moment has arrived when China can say no, by which he means stop financing private and public American spending. The answer, it appears, is not quite yet.

The two professors attribute the reason for this quandary to an integrated American strategy in place since World War II that relies on the position of the dollar as a reserve currency as a means to finance spending, especially the military budget. This system has evolved due to what one professor describes as American 深谋远虑,  foresight and the ability to plan far in the future. Interestingly, in his 2010 book 中国梦 (China Dream), Colonel 刘明福 uses this exact same phrase to describe American policymakers throughout the nation’s history. Both professors feel as though China is still stuck in this system and one of them makes the interesting analogy to France and Charles De Gaulle during the 1960s when the French leader railed against the exorbitant privileges the U.S. government maintained thanks to the place of the dollar in the international system. These phrases—foresight, vision and planning—are not usually associated with American foreign policy, at least not recently.

The question, then, shifts to what type of stance China should maintain toward future purchases of U.S. government bonds. Here, it is important to note the sense of urgency when the professor from Renmin asserts that China needs to find an “astute” and “perceptive” strategy going forward (必须找到一个机警的办法).This point is vital. The news from the United States during the past week stressed how America needed to find some solution to long-term debt but here we see if opposite is also true: China is faced with the tough choice about how to handle it current stack of U.S. treasures as well as to what extant they should keep accumulating them. Lost in the deliriousness of the past week is an important point. China, for all its perceived strength, does not automatically benefit from every misstep and mishap in the United States.

What perceptive and astute measures do these two scholars recommend? First, continuing his analogy with French anger with American inflation in the 1960s when De Gaulle believed that the United States would no longer be able to exchange gold for French dollar holdings, the professor from Renmin university suggests that China come together with other nations who have large dollar holdings in order to get the United States to sign an agreement that inflation over a period of years will not exceed a certain level. The fear, as the professor from Qinghua puts it, is that inflation now aligns nicely with American interests. This solution is unlikely for the simple reason that in the current political climate no American president or member of congress will accept the image of another country explicitly binding its monetary and fiscal policy.

The professor from Qinghua University offers a stratagem with a harder edge, asking America to allow greater Chinese investment in the United States outside of treasury bonds. In this case the tacit threat is the following: China will not purchase them in the future if certain conditions are not met. Here he cites the example of the electronics firm Huawei being denied a contract from Sprint to supply infrastructure for 4G networks over national security concerns (Huawei is said to have close ties with the Chinese military). The implication here is that in limiting foreign investment American forces China, and other countries, into buying Treasuries. This example takes an extreme case and represents it as the norm while overlooking an important point: most countries prevent investment in certain areas for national security reasons, including China. This argument also ignores the fact that Huawei has its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas (Gov. Rick Perry himself attending the opening).  Like the first path, the second does not seem particularly viable.

In fact, the quandary over American debt is also thorny in Japan, the second largest holder of American treasuries. As one trader in Tokyo suggested, the United States could just hand over Hawaii to the Japanese and the debt would be considered paid. A resolution as convenient as it is impossible, something out of the 19th century rather than the 21st!      For the moment, it is difficult to forecast if and when the Chinese will stop buying American treasuries, but it is unlikely to be this week.

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