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FasTracKids in China

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Chinese society is truly changing;

“Gao Ruxi of Shanghai Jiao Tong University conducted research in 2003 that showed that 15.4 percent of the city’s 17 million people — about 2.6 million — were rich enough to own a house and a vehicle.

Another report, from a Chinese research group called Horizon, estimated that in 2003 there were 569,000 families or individuals in Shanghai with liquid assets of at least $62,500.

FasTracKids, which started in Shanghai in 2004, has since opened two more outlets here and another in Guangzhou, and it is planning a fifth in Hangzhou.

The private program’s after-school sessions are held in brightly decorated classrooms, where fewer than a dozen children, typically 4 or 5 years old, are taught by as many as three teachers. The program emphasizes scientific learning, problem solving and, most attractively for many parents, assertiveness.

“Parents like myself are worrying about China becoming a steadily more competitive society,” said Zhong Yu, 36, a manufacturing supervisor whose wife is a senior accountant with an international firm and whose son 7-year-old son has been enrolled in the junior M.B.A. classes. “Every day we see stories in the newspapers about graduates unable to find good jobs. Education in China is already good in the core subjects, but I want my son to have more creative thinking, because basic knowledge isn’t sufficient anymore.” ….

Americans respect people who came from nothing and made something of themselves, and they also respect rich people,” Mr. Wang added. “In China, people generally don’t respect rich people, because there is a strong feeling that they are lacking in ethics. These new rich not only want money, they want people to respect them in the future.”

Un-Atlantic Economic History from Brad de Long

Brad de Long is running a list of useful economic history books which are not biased towards North America;

Fernand Braudel, The Structure of Everyday Life (Civilization and Capitalism: 15th-18th Century)

Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350

K.N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750

Tirthankar Roy, The Economic History of India 1857-1947

The coming clash of China and India

China has been recently courting the countries of South Asia;

“According to a report this year by Dr. Mohan Malik, professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii, ‘Beijing is skillfully employing economic and military means to draw Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka into China's orbit.’

‘Beijing's main objectives are said to be access to raw materials, commodities, natural resources and access to South Asian markets for Chinese goods and to expand China's influence in the region. However, China's support for India's smaller neighbours suggests that gaining access to markets and natural resources is not the only reason behind Beijing's South Asia policy: Beijing also wants to make a point on the limits of Indian power,’ he adds.

''In fact, aiding "India-wary" countries in South Asia to "concircle" (contain and encircle) India has long been an integral part of China's strategic calculus. As a rising maritime trading power, Beijing is also seeking once again to project force into the Indian Ocean in the manner of the fleets sent out under the command of Admiral Zheng He nearly 600 years ago during the Ming Dynasty,'' Malik concludes.”

Related;
China's top advisor meets Maldivian president
American and Yugoslav to be deported
Work to commence on new museum funded by the Chinese

A recent episode Foreign Exchange;

“China is modernizing economically; that no one denies. But there is a great debate about whether that economic modernization is leading to political change. Is China reforming its political system? To discuss this issue we’re joined by Hongying Wang, who is a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and also at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Let me ask you; a statistic that is often bandied about, 87,000 protests in China last year compared with 10,000 ten years ago--what does this mean? Is it the sign of political unrest that some are reading it to be?”

Dictators Watch- Burma

Wal-Mart’s Communist Party Branch

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According to China Daily;
“The world's leading retailer giant Wal-Mart has seen the establishment of the first branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the first branch of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) in one of its outlets in the northeastern city of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province….

Wal-Mart has set up 59 outlets in 30 Chinese cities since it entered China in 1996. It has more than 23,000 employees in China, including over 700 in Shenyang”

Via Spontaneous Order

Related;
China Digital Times
Forget the World Bank, Try Wal-Mart; Between 1990 and 2002 more than 174 million people escaped poverty in China, about 1.2 million per month. With an estimated $23 billion in Chinese exports in 2005 (out of a total of $713 billion in manufacturing exports), Wal-Mart might well be single-handedly responsible for bringing about 38,000 people out of poverty in China each month, about 460,000 per year.
Fight poverty by shopping at Wal-Mart?
Managing Governments: Unilever in India and Turkey, 1950-1980

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