This Week in China

AFP/Getty Images Politics U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in China this week to talk about energy and currency valuation, but he has also conveyed U.S. concern over China’s treatment of protesters in Tibet. Today, he met with President Hu Jintao to discuss promoting economic ties. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for concrete ...

595701_080402_paulson2.jpg
595701_080402_paulson2.jpg

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Politics

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in China this week to talk about energy and currency valuation, but he has also conveyed U.S. concern over China’s treatment of protesters in Tibet. Today, he met with President Hu Jintao to discuss promoting economic ties.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for concrete action from Beijing over recent events in Tibet, raising the possibility of an Olympic opening ceremonies boycott. Such an act would “only invite humiliation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said.

An “uneasy calm” returned to some parts of China affected by recent protests, according to Reuters. But more protests took place Saturday in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, overlapping a Chinese government-sponsored trip to Tibet for foreign diplomats. On Thursday, 30 monks burst into a briefing to denounce China during a press briefing for foreign journalists.

India‘s Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, has asked the Dalai Lama to refrain from “any action that can adversely affect relations between India and China.”

Economy

British-based bank HSBC launched private banking services in China on Monday as deregulation and government approval have allowed the foreign lender access to Chinese customers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The bank will target people with a net worth of $10 million and projects 16 million “high net-worth individuals” with a pool of $6.2 trillion in total assets in China by 2011.

Speculation persists about the launch of 3G cell phone technology in China– possibly later this year, which would open up the mammoth mobile phone market to streaming web content. China‘s mobile-phone market could exceed 300 million units by 2011.

Air China is the world’s only airline servicing Pyongyang. Flights commenced on Monday and will run three times per week. Previously, China Southern Airlines flew to the isolated North Korean capital, but halted service after the 2006 nuclear tests.

In a recall role reversal, Chinabanned the sale of Italian mozzarella cheese Saturday due to potential contamination with “cancer-causing dioxins,” Reuters reports.

Citigroup Global Research analysts Joe Lo and Patricia Pong forecast that Hong Kong could lose its “middleman” status if Taiwan and the mainland forge direct economic ties.

Analysis

The Carnegie Endowment’s visiting fellow Joshua Kurlantzick talks about why recent events in Tibet should not come as such a surprise.

Carnegie’s China expert Minxin Pei explains why Ma Ying-jeou’s election in Taiwan is an opportunity for China to show goodwill toward the island.

Theresa Hitchens of the Center for Defense Information says the recent U.S. satellite shootdown will be interpreted as a “deliberate ‘signal’ to Beijing” in “Was the Satellite ‘Shoot Down’ Worth It?” (March/April 2008 Defense Monitor).

Lighter Fare

Xinhua suggests French President Nicolas Sarkozy get a scalp lift to make him appear taller than his new ex-model wife Carla Bruni. Evidently the surgery is all the rage for “soldiers, police officers, air hostesses, models, and firefighters.”

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