Sunday, January 14, 2018

How China’s Politics Are Screwing with Canadian Real Estate Markets

How China’s Politics Are Screwing with Canadian Real Estate Markets

Extraordinary levels of capital flight tied to chaos in the Middle Kingdom.

8 Aug 2016 

Image result for How China’s Politics Are Screwing with Canadian Real Estate Markets

Image result for How China’s Politics Are Screwing with Canadian Real Estate Markets

There is a direct line linking the explosive real estate bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver and how secure Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on his throne.

They clearly do not feel the regime is secure and want their assets hidden away in stable overseas havens like Canada, the United States, Australia or Europe.
Canada has been a favourite destination for the Red Aristocracy’s family fortunes for about a decade, but especially since Xi came to power nearly four years ago. That is in large part because of the lack of publicly available records of beneficial owners of property or businesses in Canada. The anonymous nature of investment in Canada makes it difficult for Chinese Communist Party disciplinary bodies to know who is breaking the currency laws by exporting more than the equivalent of $50,000 a year.
Australia has been much more proactive than Canada in trying to curb the inflationary effects of these Chinese fortunes on its local housing and property markets. Politicians in British Columbia have shied away from acting for fear of being accused of racism.
What B.C. has failed to understand is that this dangerous flood of money has nothing to do with race and more about colonization. It’s the story of a particular class of people at the heart of a particular regime at a particular stage in its history. Much the same story could be written about the Russian oligarchs’ investments in property in London, England.
It was only last week that the government of British Columbia moved to try to put the brakes on rocketing price rises. On Tuesday it imposed an extra 15 per cent tax on residential properties bought by foreigners. This move came after home prices rose by 36 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June, the average price of a house in greater Vancouver hit $1.56 million and Chinese nationals bought more than $1 billion worth of B.C. property between June 10 and July 14.
The amount of money fleeing China is extraordinary; it’s also a clear statement of the anxiety the country’s newly wealthy citizens feel about the safety of their assets at home. For over a decade the money flight has been running about double the usual inward foreign investment of about $US120 billion a year. But there has been an explosion in the amount of money bleeding abroad since Xi became the Communist Party’s general secretary at the end of 2012, and China’s president early in 2013.
Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, an organization dedicated to eradicating international money laundering, reckons that $US250 billion slipped out of China in 2012. The French bank BNP Paribas estimates the number was about the same in 2014.
Last year, however, the flood turned into a torrent. The Institute of International Finance, the association representing the global financial industry, calculates that just under $US1 trillion left China last year. The Bloomberg financial news agency came up with similar numbers, reckoning that $US367 billion left China in the fourth quarter of last year alone.
Some of this money flight undoubtedly is being driven by the poor shape of the Chinese economy and its doubtful prospects. But a far more pressing motive is China’s ongoing social and political upheaval.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Beijing government’s main policy think tank, used to publish annual reports on “mass incidents,” defined as riots involving more than 1,000 people. The academy stopped issuing these reports a few years ago when the annual number reached 180,000 — nearly 500 major protests every day — that have to be put down by riot squads or the People’s Armed Police. My sources in China with access to the academy studies say that number has not changed significantly in recent years.
Until a few years ago, almost all the riots were triggered by Communist Party officials (or their relatives and cronies) stealing land from peasant farmers or subjecting blue collar workers to extortion. In recent years, however, pollution and the extraordinary degradation of the Chinese environment have become the main reason for the riots.
Government studies have found that 70 per cent of China’s aquifers are irredeemably polluted and that nearly 700 million people — over half the population — drink water contaminated by human and animal waste.
 Related image
Related image
Air pollution kills about 1.2 million Chinese a year. A new government study has found that 20 per cent of China’s farmland, woodland and pasture is dangerously contaminated with the residue of unregulated smelting, mining and fertilizer manufacture. *All the food produced in China is poisonous to one degree or another.
President Xi’s response to the seething popular discontent has been to bring back levels of repression not seen since regime founder Mao Zedong died in 1976. Indeed, Xi has armed himself with instruments of power and personal rule not seen since the days of Mao.
As he took office four years ago, Xi launched what was billed as an anti-corruption campaign — actually a purge of his political opponents.
Xi took control of China as though he was launching a coup d’etat. He first attacked the internal security apparatus managed by Zhou Yongkang, a member of the power-pinnacle Politburo Standing Committee, who had supported Xi’s rival Bo Xilai for the leadership. Xi then swept away the leadership of the People’s Liberation Army and put his own generals in place.

Hundreds of thousands of officials have been prosecuted in Xi’s purge, including about 150 of China’s 3,500 ministerial-level officials.
Outside government, Xi has followed the lessons of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the 1999 protest outside the Zhongnanhai leaders’ compound by about 15,000 followers of the Falun Gong spiritual and health movement. Any movement that risks becoming a national carriage for protest against the Communist Party is slaughtered at birth.
Xi has been merciless in destroying the growth of a community of lawyers dedicated to judicial reform and the establishment of the rule of law. Other pro-reform organizations like the New Citizens’ Movement and Charter 08 have been stomped on. Xi also is waging an ongoing war against China’s secret Christian churches.
Image result for Xi also is waging an ongoing war against China’s secret Christian churches.
Against this background, it’s not hard to understand why wealthy Chinese don’t think that their ties to the ruling Communist Party offer them any security. In Xi’s court it’s easy to fall out of political favour with deadly consequences — and who knows how long the palace gates will hold against the angry citizenry?
For the moment, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario that sees Xi and the Communists toppled by the same kind of uprisings that spread across the Middle East in the Arab Spring. Xi has a massive and well-organized domestic security force — and he can still count on the People’s Liberation Army.
Image result for Xi has a massive and well-organized domestic security force — and he can still count on the People’s Liberation Army.
But as the Arab Spring showed, authoritarian regimes may appear strong — but they are also brittle. Tap on the glass at the wrong place at the wrong time and they shatter on the street.  [Tyee]

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hawaii Nuke Missile Alert..A Mistake..."Extremely Frightening"

Twitter screengrab shows the alert that mistakenly went out to mobile phones in Hawaii.

Alberta MLA in Hawaii says false missile alert was 'really, really frightening'

Image result for Alberta MLA in Hawaii says false missile alert was 'really, really frightening'
LAHAINA, Hawaii — An Alberta politician who is vacationing in Hawaii says the minutes she spent believing a missile attack was imminent may have been the most afraid she’s ever been.
Karen McPherson, who represents Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill in the provincial legislature, said she was waiting to participate in a conference call on Saturday morning when an alert appeared on her phone stating there was an “inbound missile threat” headed for Hawaii.
It told people to seek immediate shelter and that it wasn’t a drill.
“I didn’t know I could move that fast. I grabbed my keys and made sure I had my phone. I’m here with a friend of mine so I yelled at her to get out of bed and to grab her phone and that we had to go right away,” said McPherson, who is staying in a condominium in Lahaina on the western side of Maui.
“We headed downstairs– she was still in her pyjamas — and we got in the car and I headed toward the tsunami evacuation route, because that was the only thing I could think of to do in that moment.”
But everybody she saw was acting normally. People were walking their dogs or jogging. And there were no sirens.
McPherson said after driving about five miles she turned on the radio. There were no urgent announcements.
She started to think it was possibly a mistake or that maybe her phone had a virus. She and her friend drove back to the condo, checked social media and found an NBC feed saying it had been a false alarm.
Ten minutes later, she received an alert stating there was no missile. The earlier alert was an error, it said, and everything was OK.
“I don’t believe that I have ever felt that afraid in my whole life. That was really, really frightening,” McPherson said.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi told a news conference Saturday the error happened when someone hit the wrong button.
Hawaii reintroduced Cold War-era warning siren tests last month amid the potential threat of missiles from North Korea.
McPherson said during her moments of fear, she recalled feeling angry that political conditions in the world made the news plausible.
“It wouldn’t be that unusual. It would be unexpected,” she said.
McPherson said despite the scare, she’s not planning an early return to Canada.
“It’s 26 degrees here,” she laughed. “I was talking to some friends that are on the island, too. They were talking about having an end-of-the-world party tonight.”
–by Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

CCTV anchor accidentally declares Philippines a part of China

An anchor on China’s state-run television network (CCTV) has accidentally declared the Philippines as part of China, as tensions between the two countries run high.
China Central Television’s (CCTV) anchor, He Jia, made the claim during a broadcast that was repeatedly replayed on the internet.
May 13, 2016

CCTV anchor accidentally declares Philippines a part of China

Image result for Chinese media declares Philippines as part of China
Image result for Chinese media declares Philippines as part of China
It appears that the broadcaster meant to say that the Scarborough Shoal known in China as Huangyan Islands that is claimed by both countries are part of China’s territory.
“We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty, this is an indisputable fact,” the broadcaster said, which has since disappeared from the CCTV website.
Chinese netizens quickly reacted and joked online to the broadcaster’s nationalistic fervour.
“This anchorwoman is great, a good patriot, she has announced to the world the Philippines belongs to China,” said helenjhuang, a blogger.
“We should attack directly, send (Philippine President Benigno) Aquino packing and take back our inherent territory.”
“the Philippines have basically been making irrational trouble, if they want to start a war then we will strike, no one fears them.” another Chinese netizen said.
“If every Chinese spat once, we could drown (the Philippines).”
When contacted by the AFP, CCTV officials refused to comment on the reporters gaff and would not say whether the station had apologised.
When it comes to territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) Chinese media and diplomats always claim all of the areas as an “indisputable part of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

32 missing after tanker, and Chinese freighter collide off China

32 missing after tanker, freighter collide off China

By Nanlin Fang and Susannah Cullinane, CNN

Image result for 32 missing after tanker, freighter collide off China

Updated 3:59 AM ET, Mon January 8, 2018

Thirty-two sailors are missing after an oil tanker and freight ship collided off the east coast of China Saturday, according to China's Ministry of Transport.
The missing -- 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshi citizens -- are all crew members from the Panama-registered tanker SANCHI, the ministry said.
The collision took place approximately 160 nautical miles (184 statute miles) east of the mouth of the Yangtze River, at about 8 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET), it said in a statement.
"The accident caused oil tanker 'SANCHI' to catch on fire, tilting to the right, losing contact with the crew," it said.
    All 21 Chinese crew on board the Hong-Kong registered freighter the CF-Crystal were rescued, the ministry said.
    The 274 meter-long (nearly 890 feet-long) SANCHI was carrying 136,000 tons of oil from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the CF Crystal, which had been transporting food from the United States to the Chinese province of Guangdong, it said.
    Yangtze River estuary
    Map data ©2018 Google, SK telecom, ZENRIN
    The ministry said that the tanker was still afloat and burning Sunday morning 9 a.m. local time: "Until now, 'SANCHI' is floating and still on fire. There are fuel stains on the sea, the rescue is going on."
    The People's Daily newspaper tweeted a photo that appeared to show the ship ablaze.
    Chinese maritime officials have launched a search and rescue operation involving eight vessels, with support from South Korea, which has provided a coastguard ship and fixed wing aircraft, the ministry said.
    Ali Reza Ayroush, Iran's Consular Affairs representative in Shanghai, told Iran state news agency IRNA on Sunday that there were no witnesses who could account for the missing crew.
    "Despite the presence of first responders, firefighters and rescue equipment, given the expansion of leaked crude and the resulting increase in the severity of the flames, the situation is still fluid and the tanker is engulfed in flames," he said.
    Iran's Shana news agency, which focuses on the country's petroleum and energy sectors, reported that the SANCHI was managed by the National Iranian Tanker Company and that its cargo was worth around $60 million. Shana said the oil had been purchased by South Korean customers.