Thursday, July 7, 2011

Caucus Brief: Billiards In The South China Sea

BILLIARDS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA.  A new piece from the American Enterprise Institute argues that the U.S. and China are approaching the South China Sea in very different ways.  The piece describes the Chinese approach as a game of billiards where to win, China must knock the other balls off of the table leaving itself in control.  In contrast the American approach is described as a game of capture the flag where the U.S. is trying to keep Beijing from capturing the flag of regional hegemony.  From the piece: "American policy makers need to recognize they're playing a different game from the Chinese and adjust their strategy.  While shifting to billiards is too provocative for Washington, if trends continue, it may soon find itself behind the eight ball with few options for maintaining its stabilizing role in the region.

CHINA DENIES RUMORS OF JIANG ZEMIN'S DEATH.  Chinese state media has denied the "pure rumor" internet and media reports that China's former leader Jiang Zemin has died.  The rumors were first sparked after Mr. Jiang did not appear at an important Communist Party event last Friday.

CHINA'S CYBER CRACKDOWN OVER RUMORS OF RETIRED LEADER'S DEATH.  Chinese censors have implemented a wide-reaching search block on specific terms related to the rumored death of Jiang Zemin.  This search engine block has been partnered with the removal of blogs or websites that have reported on the rumors.  Chinese microbloggers have employed a number of tricks in an apparent attempt to get around the censors blocks.  One trick was to use common pictures as euphemisms for death.

CONTINUED FEARS OF INFLATION TRIGGER ANOTHER INTEREST RATE INCREASE.  China has raised its interest rates for the fifth time in nine months, the latest in a series of moves aimed at addressing China's growing inflation fears.  From the piece: "many forecasters also say that Beijing now has little room left to increase reserve-requirement ratios much further or to lift interest rates much more.  Another small rate increase may come later this year, but overall, the current round of tightening may soon have run its course."

U.S.-LISTED CHINESE STOCKS DECLINE AFTER INTEREST RATE INCREASE.  China's stocks listed in the U.S. dropped from a one-month high after China raised its interest rates for the third time this year.  Douglas Gonzalez, a vice president at Cicerone Securities LLC in New York, said the rate increase "will probably make people think a little about whether they're going to put more money into China."

WHY VIETNAM'S PROTESTS WERE UNUSUAL.  A piece from the Diplomat explains why the weeks of protests in Vietnam over China's behavior in the South China Sea are not the norm.  From the piece: "In a country where public protests are rare – and where if they do occur, they generally focus on issues that directly affect people's day-to-day lives…Instead, most of the anger has been centered on China, and the perceived violations of Vietnamese territorial waters by Vietnam's larger neighbor."

LI NA FRENCH OPEN WIN DEMONSTRATES 'SUPERIORITY OF SOCIALISM.'  Chinese tennis star Li Na became China's first Grand Slam singles champ.  When asked about Ms. Li's victory, Chinese Communist Party secretary Li Hongzhong said, "Li winning the French Open was a showcase of her competitive strength as well as a demonstration of the superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China."

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

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