Quick administrative notes:
- I have finally put my toe in the water of Facebook. I have thousands of pictures I’ve taken in China and want to share, so I’ve started a public group called Pictures of China – Moreau. My username on Facebook is moreau.online. I own all of the publishing rights to all of the pictures I will post there and you are free to use as you wish, except in cases where you are clearly attempting to degrade me, China, or the Chinese people. Fair enough? All for free and I will post a couple of times per week.
- I have temporarily lowered the Kindle price for the two novels I wrote under the pen name of Avam Hale. The Bomb Shelter is currently available for $.99. The Message? is currently available for $2.99. Really, that’s pretty low risk for you. If you hate them you’re out next to nothing. Oh, and I have 49 free Kindle copies of The Message? to give out. Send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you an electronic claim check. If you’re worried about security create a temporary free e-mail and then close the account. I promise to erase the e-mail as soon as I’ve sent the free gift notification.
- My latest (and in my humble opinion, my best) novel is now available. Now You Are Lisa is a contemporary tale set on the streets of Beijing. The Kindle version will be available next week.
On Thursday of this week Chinese Chief of the General Staff Fang Fenghui and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford participated in a video conference with the intent of working out potentially confrontational issues in the South China Sea. This, of course, followed on the heels of a U.S. destroyer’s sail-by in waters off Fiery Cross Reef that China claims as territorial sea under international maritime law.
China deployed two fighter jets, one early warning aircraft and three ships to track the American ship and ask it to leave. But there were no barrel roles or buzzing that has been reported.
There is really nothing new to report on this topic. China referred to the incident as a “provocative action” and the U.S. said the sail-bys will continue. Still, according to the Associated Press, State Department Josh Earnest said, “And we certainly do not want to see the tensions increase…”
Which, of course, leaves one to scratch his head over why the U.S. Navy seems so intent on pricking the dragon. Not a single cargo ship has been stopped or prevented from conducting its commerce.
And, as I’ve noted many times, China is as unlikely to withdraw from the South China Sea as the U.S. is to withdraw its ample military presence from Guam or Hawaii or the Philippines or South Korea.
In other non-news, the U.S. presidential election, which appears to already be driving the Americans I’ve talked to out of their collective minds, is getting zero attention from the Chinese I’ve talked to. It’s all just another reality tv show to them that has little to do with the future of Chinese/American relations. Besides, they believe the Kardashians will still run the country whoever wins the election. Don’t they?
I’ve watched dozens and dozens of experts on CNBC Asia and other outlets giving their take on the prospects for the Chinese economy. It’s a waste of time, all the pontificating. No one really knows. The Chinese economy is simply unlike any other in the world.
From where I sit everything appears to be moving along pretty smoothly. Housing prices continue to rise in key markets. The restaurants are crowded. I’ve seen more new Tesla’s on the road in the last few months than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world.
Yes, China has too much steel capacity and everyone knows that. But its strategic focus is on tech and that is taking off much faster than I could have imagined, as witnessed this past week by Apple’s one billion dollar investment in a Chinese ride-sharing startup.
To me there is one over-riding difference between the Chinese economy and the U.S. economy. By any measure, American consumers are tapped out, and since wages aren’t rising for the average American, that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The Chinese, on the other hand, are sitting on a lot of cash. They have one of the highest savings rates in the world and even the poorest Chinese find a way to put cash aside for a rainy day.
That’s about it. Unlike some media outlets I refuse to manufacture news.
Check out the pictures on my public Facebook group page. China is as stimulating visually as it is mentally.