Ms. Stevenson-Yang, of J Capital Research, said she and her colleagues had seen growing discrepancies in official data in the last two years in a variety of sectors, including retail, shipping and steel production. She said a colleague had once called a Chinese cement factory to ask for production data, and a factory employee had thought the researcher was calling from a government-affiliated research association. The employee told the researcher that the factory had already changed its numbers twice and would rather not do it again, so the researcher could choose any number that fit.

Last June, Liu Qintao, a journalist for a newspaper in Shandong Province, posted in an online forum a message he had seen about Dongguan Securities, a Chinese brokerage firm. The post said Dongguan Securities had warned “V.I.P. investors” about coming risks and had urged them to sell. The next day, Dongguan Securities said none of its employees had issued the warning. Chinese stock markets began crashing two weeks later. On Jan. 8, more than six months after he posted the message, officials fined Mr. Liu $23,000 on a charge of having spread fabricated information. Mr. Liu said in an interview that he was being made a scapegoat


“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Mr. Xi told the gathered media officials on Friday, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Mr. Xi also wants to curb the presence of foreign media companies. Last week, government agencies announced a regulation that would prevent foreign companies from publishing and distributing content online in China. That could affect Microsoft, Apple and Amazon, among others. Mr. Xi’s appearances on Friday were another major effort in his campaign to build a personality cult that equates him with the well-being of the party and the nation. The act of biao tai, or pledging loyalty, by newsroom leaders was one that Mr. Xi has demanded of military leaders and other important figures in the last year. That tightening of control has come as Mr. Xi faces pressure about China’s economy

On Monday, in a sign of how officials were embracing Mr. Xi’s new policy, a website managed by the propaganda unit of the Beijing municipal party committee attacked a popular property tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, who had criticized Mr. Xi’s speech on Friday. The site accused Mr. Ren, a party member, of having “lost his party spirit” and “opposing the party” after he wrote on his microblog that the media should be serving the people and not the party. The posts by Mr. Ren have been deleted.

Under Mr. Xi, there has been a steady rollout of policies aimed at tightening control of every aspect of the media, including social networks, films and books.The latest such regulation, announced last week by two agencies, said that starting March 10, foreign companies — even ones that form joint ventures with Chinese partners — would not be allowed to publish and distribute online content. Many foreign publishers and producers of online content aimed at a Chinese audience are based overseas, but a handful have significant operations or joint ventures in China that may be in jeopardy, including Microsoft and Apple, which has a Chinese App Store. Amazon sells e-books in China

So, would you guess that the economic problems in China are more severe or less severe, given the reactions above? That’s what happens if you run Chanos 1 for nearly a decade and there are just too many empty cities and zombie companies.

One Response to “Snapshots”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    One of the benefits of building Potemkin GDP over the last several years was it kept the proles employed.

    With China’s economy slowing, what’s happening on the unemployment front?

    I suspect the last thing Party leaders want is mobs of torches and pitchforks marching on Party citadels of power with peasants demanding jobs and food.

    I have seen nothing on rising unemployment in China. Is that because it is being ignored/unreported for now or have the inevitable mass layoffs not yet started?

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