Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blue Ear Disease

Someone has found out what's been killing millions of poor pigs in southern China. It's a disease called Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), or Blue Ear Disease.

While doctors are betting their chips on the fact that the illness won't affect humans, I'm sure it will cause lots of agony among our four-hooved friends.
So what's the bottom line? A large number of diseases originate in China. Why? Well, because Chinese farmers still has lots to learn in terms of hygiene, but to give them the benefit (and why China is mentioned and not Indonesia, Cambodia, or many-many other developing countries), they have nearly 1.4 billion people with approx 60 percent living in rural areas - so the statistical propability of diseases coming from there is quite large.

Another good news: Shortly after the name of the disease was released, Beijing announced they would create stricter rules for slaughterhouses for the good of public health. So I guess they are learning from the mistakes....

Friday, May 04, 2007

Oil in the Bay

Here's the stock tip of the day. Well, it's actually a little too late. You should've bought this one yesterday.

The stock price of PetroChina (PTR) jumped a stunning 14 percent in Hong Kong trading on Friday, brining additional excitement about the recent surge at several East Asian Stock market.

Why did the stock rise so much? Primarily because the China National Petroleum Corp - the parent corporation - announced the discovery of a "big whoop" oil field in the Bohai Bay area.

Why do we care? Because many geopolitical, economic and political events in East Asia are connected to China's seemlingly endless thirst for oil. Just look at the Dafur issue and China's close relations with oil-rich Sudan; the drilling for oil in disputed territory in the South China Sea; and the building of bilateral relations with Kazahkstan on the issue of pipelines.

With additional oil in China's own frontyard - Bohai Bay being right next door to Beijing and Tianjin - some might fear that China might have less of an incentive to look for alternative, and perhaps greener, sources of energy. This is particularly apropos given the ongoing conference on climate change in the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand.

Then again, there are also benefits of China having more oil in its reserves. It would definitely give the Middle Kingdom an opportunity to take a deep breath, by taking off a little pressure from the constant pursuit of energy sources across the globe. And you never know: the new oil discovery might just - if we're lucky - be enough for China to downgrade its imports of oil from Sudan, potentially opening a door for peacekeepers in Dafur. But probably not.... Who knows?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

St. Lucia Forges Diplomatic Ties with Taiwan

Now it's China's turn to vent a dose of anger. On May 1, when China was celebrating labor day, the small caribbean island state of St. Lucia announced it had resumed diplomatic relations with Taiwan.China claims this move contradicts an agreement they had previously established with St. Lucia in 1997, supporting the "one-China" policy.

So what's next? Perhaps the Chinese diplomatic establishments in Castries will close down? There might be a lot less mainland Chinese tourists in the near future, and less business in the island's banking system from the PRC. Other than that? I'm sure St. Lucia will reap a generous reward from Taipai. A new bridge perhaps?

More information

China Post (Taiwan):
Xinhua (PRC):