CHINA - A BILLION SLAVES

We Support Them Out Of Selfish Greed

Zhao Ziyang died in the last month and already China is trying to re-write history and rid the world of his name. Zhao Ziyang was an exceptional person, even if Communist.  In his days as First Secretary of the province of Sichuan, in the 1970s, he made important economic reforms to the agricultural system.  As a result, the living
conditions of farmers were improved.  So much so that Sichuan became an example of a positive model for development.  Farmers had even come up with a saying: "If you want to eat well, look for Zhao Ziyang". Later, he was promoted to the position of prime minister and brought about initial economic reforms which loosened the constraints of the Maoist system. 

He also proposed political reform, but his power was limited by Party conservatives and in particular by the dictator Deng Xiaoping.  In 1987, he became the Party's Secretary General.  At that time, he did all he could to stand in the way of purges against intellectuals and called for democracy.  In 1989, with the birth of the democratic movement, he opposed Deng Xiaoping's repressive policies.  The Party was planning military intervention and the massacre and Zhao went in tears to see the students.

The students knew him well: they knew he wanted to resolve problems democratically, but they also knew that he was alone.  After that gesture, he was isolated and eliminated from the Party.  He was a man of exceptional courage and put himself against the power of the Party.

Economic Reforms Without Democracy

He spent 15 years under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance.  The government knew that the people respected him and, for this reason, tried to uproot his memory: there was no talk of him; no photos were even shown.  But today, Zhao is still loved and respected, while farmers and workers detest Jiang.

The government is corrupt, mediocre and cowardly.  Such fearful behaviour toward any political reform condemns the government vis--vis the people, who instead praise Zhao Ziyang.

Fifteen years later, the economic reforms, initiated thanks to Zhao, have turned, without him, into an unbearable burden for the people of China, a perverse burden that has produced greater poverty among farmers and large-scale job loss among workers.  The reason is that economic reforms have gone ahead without the equally required political reforms.  And this is exactly what Zhao Ziyang had foreseen.

With Zhao out of the picture, the Chinese government's sole preoccupation was social stability.  Even now, the government is afraid that Zhao Ziyang's death might be a cause for some kind of protest.  But nothing will happen.
Beijing is almost under martial law: there are policemen everywhere - even tourists are being checked.  The government started making its plans when Zhao's conditions worsened.

Forget Zhao?

For the future, the Party has but one line: forget Zhao as fast as possible. But, it won't be easy.  In China, people want more democracy.  Party corruption has become so bad that people want to have their say.  Even journalists are becoming more explicit and tension between media and government is increasing.  Intellectuals are calling for democracy and greater concern for farmers and workers.  Mine explosions, strikes, sit-ins, petitions, police clashes are by now the daily agenda.   China needs what Zhao Ziyang wanted to bring about in the 1980s, namely social democracy: that workers and farmers could freely form unions; the separation of political and judicial powers; the separation of state and politics.

As for the international community, we hope that Zhao is remembered by those who knew him in the past: George Bush Sr, Margaret Thatcher, and others.  We hope they remember him also out of respect for the Chinese, who are keeping him, even after his death, alive in their hearts.  Zhao is remembered with respect; Jang Zemin, even if still alive, is a cadaver that people have forgotten. Note One

Note IZhao's Economic Boom Feeds Government and Not People

There's no real mystery to what's taking place now. The Communists saw that what Zhao proposed would work but they could not let go of power, so they use his ideas but give the people nothing. Now, the country has a practically endless supply of low-cost laborers--literally tens of millions of people who will do assembly-line and manufacturing work seven days a week, 14 hours a day, for less than $100 per month.

Compare American Costs of $3,300 per month for 40 hours to China's $100 per month for 98 hours or 8.25 per hour to 1.02 per hour.

Practically every major company in the world is moving some aspect of their business to China to take advantage to slave labor, but even slaves at the time of Rome had more than the Chinese Worker.

China now makes about 60% of the world's cell phones, half of the world's shoes, and most of the world's video games and television sets. China now makes 80% of the kids' toys sold in the United States... and every major U.S. furniture manufacturer now has a factory in China.

Plus, China now makes some of the world's most luxurious goods. BMW assembles many of its latest car models there--Mercedes and Cadillac are preparing to do the same.

This huge manufacturing base has made China the fastest-growing major economy in the world... by a long shot.

In fact, China's economy will overtake Germany's in the next four years... Japan's in the next 11 years... and the U.S. economy by 2039.

China is Using 55% of the World's Cement

To feed this mammoth manufacturing base, Chinese businesses and the Chinese government are going on a building and construction boom, the likes of which have never been seen before, anywhere in the world.

Take the country's highway system for example...

In 1989, China had tons of bicycles--but only about 170 miles of highways. By the end of 2003, as Forbes recently reported, the country had 18,500 miles of expressways.

To build all these roads, the Chinese Government spent $42 billion. And they're only getting started. According to the China's Ministry of Communications, the plan is to reach 51,000 miles of highway by 2008 (that would top the United States... 46,500 miles of interstates in place right now).

The Chinese are laying down roads so fast they used 55% of the world's cement last year. That's incredible when you think about it. Remember, this is a country that's slightly smaller than the United States... and they are using more than HALF of the world's cement!

It doesn't matter what it costs... the Chinese government is committed to putting down roads, just like the United States started doing back in 1956, when Congress passed the Federal Highway Act.

And highways are only the beginning of the building boom...

As Barron's reported recently: "China's government is [undergoing]... a massive upgrading of the nation's infrastructure. It's in the middle of expanding and electrifying its railways, irrigating the north with water from the Yangtze River, and doing a construction for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It's also undertaking several major energy projects, including a 3,900-kilometer gas pipeline."

The list of infrastructure China needs is amazing. For example, right now the country has about 1/3rd as many railways as we have in the United States... and about 1/15th as many airports. But China has more than 4-TIMES as many people.

The Chinese government announced in September that they need to build 27 new nuclear power plants between now and 2020, which will cost tens of billions of U.S. dollars. And they've begun to expand the country's rail lines. They just finished the world's fastest train, from Shanghai to the city's airport.

China needs more railroads, airports, roads, bridges, buildings, parking lots, phone lines, electrical lines, tunnels, power plants, etc. And the Chinese government is looking to build all of these things... and fast.

WE GIVE THEM THE POWER

Almost every major company in the world--from Dell to Intel... from Boeing to GM, now has a factory in China.

Last year, foreign businesses poured $52 billion dollars into China, much of it to build new factories and manufacturing centers. The country has 300 car manufacturing plants alone.

To keep up with all of this new construction, China needs raw goods (oil, electricity, lumber, concrete, copper, and steel, just to name a few), faster than they can get them. And they are sucking up the world's supply at a record pace...China used more than half the world's cement last year... they also used 40% of the world's steel, according to Barron's. China uses 30% of all the coal that's consumed in the world... and the country's oil demand has soared more than 400% in the last decade. China consumes 20% of the world's copper and 19% of the world's aluminum, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. In fact, the Chinese are so desperate for raw materials that thieves stole 1,800 metal manhole covers in Shanghai in recent weeks.

THE CHINA BANK

For the past few years, the Chinese government has been socking away money like crazy. Unlike the U.S. government, the Chinese government is rich. They actually have plenty of money to pay for all of this new and necessary construction. According to the most recent estimates, the Chinese government has $474 billion worth of gold and foreign money in their central banks. That's more than 5-times what we have in the United States (and keep in mind, our economy is still 3 times as big as theirs). Plus, the Chinese have almost no debt--they owe less than 15%

The "China Retirement Fund" is the name given to the 5 companies that supply China with important raw goods and materials they need. Investors who know how to take advantage of this situation make returns of 200% to 500% or more by simply owning China's raw goods suppliers. Some of these companies are located inside the United States. Some are located elsewhere... but none of these companies are located in China.

These companies have operations all over the world, from Argentina to Australia... from the United States to Korea... but not a single one is located in China. The companies that make up the "China Retirement Fund" include:

     #1. The world's best natural resources company. This company provides China with much of the steel, aluminum, copper, oil, and coal the country needs to construct roads and buildings.

This company sold 1.25 million tons of aluminum over the past 12 months--a 33% increase over last year. They sold $1.1 billion worth of steel--and China was the biggest consumer and importer. They sold $1.15 billion worth of lead, zinc, copper, and silver--a 304% increase over last year.

     #2. The second company in the "China Retirement Fund" is one of the world's top suppliers of industrial and agricultural chemicals. They provide the products that protect crops all over the world--everything from soybeans and corn... to wheat, barley, sunflower, and flaxseed.

These agricultural products are obviously used for food, but they are also vital to industrial growth, used to help make: glue, linoleum, vinyl plastics, paints, caulking compounds, protective coatings, rubber, resins, fiberboard, lacquers and enamel, just to name a few.

With the building boom taking place in China, it's no wonder this company's profits are up 34% compared to last year... which were up 45% compared to the year before.     

#3. The third company in The China Retirement Fund is one of the most sophisticated and profitable steel makers in the world. This company exported 2.5 million tons of steel to China last year, and will ship much more than that this year, next year, and every year for the foreseeable future.

    #4. The fourth company in the Fund is a scrap-metal business based on the West coast of the United States. They recycle 4.9 million tons of metal each year, and produce another 700,000 tons from their own steel mill. Their high-tech machines turn a full-size car into fist-sized pieces of metal in about 30 seconds.

    #5. The fifth company in the "China Retirement Fund" is one of China's key soybean suppliers, and will soon be one of China's key lumber suppliers. This is a business that today is valued at only about $200 million in the stock market Over the next decade, it will be worth $1 billion or more. This company has gained 31% in the past 6 months.

Never in the past 500 years of world history have we seen a situation like the one taking place in China right now: The most populated country in the world has entered into a building frenzy to play catch-up with other industrialized nations.

NOT MADE IN CHINA

"So what? I can buy Wal-Mart toys at half the price of other stores. What would I pay for tennis shows if they were not made in China?" These are the people who buy products from China and many loose their jobs to the Chinese. The Unions world wide support the candidates who support China to the destruction of their unions. Companies take large short term profits from China, when in time they will take over their businesses entirely. During the cold war against Russia we would not dare sell raw materials to them or buy from them, but China is Communist, and China does not have a god, and China does not allow religious freedom, and China jails any descent, and China is out to destroy the world. The difference is they will do it with money and not with bombs. When they have the power they need to blackmail the world (or bankrupt it), they will take over Japan, Taiwan, and all of Asia, and then India. When they have the power to shut us down economically, what will we do.

There are 72 Catholic Congressmen who are pro-abortion and yet their Catholic Bishops let them continue to take communion. What does that have to do with China? We could stop these Congressman by standing up and doing what is right but we do nothing. The same is true about supporting a country that has a billion slaves, we do nothing about it and saw we are good a pure people. I do not think so.

I would like to see signs that say "Not Made In China" but even then how do we know that some of the parts are not made in China or assembled in China. It has to be the entire government and maybe the world to stop all shipping to and from China.

Note One,

Written by Cai Chongguo. Cai, age 48, was in Tiananmen Square when Zhao Ziyang, secretary of the Communist Party, went to see the students that for 6 weeks had been filling the world's largest open space in their fight for
democracy and against corruption.  After the Tiananmen massacre and Zhao Ziyang's sidelining, Cai fled to the west.  Today he lives in exile in Paris, where he works to support the workers and farmers of China in their struggles.  He agreed to share with AsiaNews his views on the former Chinese political leader who died this morning.