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The Chinese university department that attracted attention last month for banning Christmas apparently believes its decision was vindicated by the New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai that left three dozen dead, many of them students.

In statement dated Jan. 2nd and published on the website of Modern College of Northwest University in Xi’an, representatives of the college’s Youth League Committee Office wrote that had the tragedy occurred on Christmas Eve...

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The rule of law is a perennial favorite discussion topic in China, and I’ve certainly spilled lots of ink on the subject in this blog over the years. The issue had a bit of a resurgence recently due to a government conference here in Beijing in October whose theme...

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An agreement between the U.S. and China to curb greenhouse-gas emissions won’t slow global warming enough to prevent extreme weather that damages crops, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. (Bloomberg)

I’ve been avoiding the topic of the climate deal for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of my innate cynicism. But isn’t any deal a good thing? Yes, I suppose. And isn’t the scope...

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So I was reading Daniel Suarez’s Daemon last night (two big thumbs up, by the way) and suddenly realized that I might need a holiday. Here’s what happened.

The novel is about an AI created by a computer genius who runs a multinational game company. The AI, which is not the sentient evil type that populates a lot of SF these days, but a more realistic programmed AI, is...

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China has more potential to boost productivity than Japan in the 1950s and South Korea in the 1960s. Whether that’s realized is a $15 trillion question.

In industries such as financial services and telecommunications, where barriers to entry and preferential policies for state-owned enterprises deter competition, China remains far behind developed-world competitors.

via China Potential Outstripping 1950s Japan Is Reform Prize – Bloomberg.

I find it interesting that nowhere in this...

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The world’s biggest companies disclose little or no financial details about their operations outside their home countries, watchdog Transparency International (TI) said in a report that ranks 124 firms and found that UK businesses were among the best performers, while Chinese companies and several US technology giants were among the worst.

via World’s top companies fall short on transparency | The Guardian

This should not come as a surprise to...

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The makers of Mission: Impossible 5 will look to court the lucrative Chinese market by casting local star Zhang Jingchu in a leading role opposite Tom Cruise, reports Variety.

Zhang, who has starred in Hollywood production Rush Hour 3 but is not well known in the west, will take an undisclosed role which...

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o forestall more serious, systemic environmental issues, Beijing will have to be preemptive rather than reactive with regulation. In everything from modernizing its recycling industry to improving regulations on rare earth mining, the costs of waiting and testing out new ideas are high. Especially in terms of human health, delays from experimenting with environmental reforms are almost guaranteed to be more harmful in the long run than the initial...

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When Chinese property developer Agile Property Holdings Ltd. said this month that its chairman had been taken into custody by authorities, the disclosure was a shock to Western banks that had lent the company money.

The spate of suspected fraud cases and growing fears that loans won’t be repaid has raised questions about the effectiveness of scrutiny applied by banks to borrowers.

via Troubles in China Rattle...

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I think we all need to take a deep breath and think carefully before entrusting our financial information to any large company. That’s not luddism, that’s wisdom. The recent series of security breaches at major retailers alone should give us pause, and Apple is no exception: a company that has...

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