Billionaires: United States 359, China 130

CNN, October 15, 2009

Edited by Andy Ross

China ranks second only to the United States in the number of billionaires, according to an annual report. The Hurun Rich List counted 130 billionaires in China this year. An additional 825,000 people had personal wealth of more than $1.5 million, said Rupert Hoogewerf, who has compiled the list since 1998. He says that the real number of billionaires in China may be twice as high, since many of them avoid publicity.

A separate list, released in June by Capgemini SA and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, found that China's economy grew by 9 percent last year, and the combined riches of China's millionaires surpassed that of millionaires in the UK.

A Forbes magazine tally of the world's richest people, released in March, counted 359 billionaires in America.

China's Class Ceiling

By Ian Buruma
Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2009

Edited by Andy Ross

Educated people with a cosmopolitan style are doing all right in modern China. There is money to be made, a lot of money. But at a price. And that price is playing the game: knowing how to stay out of politics. Let the technocrats rule China with a velvet glove, and an iron fist for those who refuse to play the game.

Because most foreign journalists, businessmen, diplomats and academics tend to meet educated, privileged Chinese, most reports from China reflect their views. But the main argument for technocracy is that it is more efficient. Once the rulers put their minds to something, nothing and no one stands in the way of success.

People who like the idea of strong central government and top-down change are often attracted to the Chinese model. China is often favorably compared with India, with its gross inefficiencies, dire poverty, and huge problems with illiteracy, corruption, and organized crime. Messy democracy, it might seem, is holding India back, while China is forging ahead with ever more impressive statistics.

But government by experts is singularly bad at solving conflicts of interest. Individual liberties have increased without the benefits of political liberties. This leads to what old-fashioned Marxists called contradictions.

To justify its monopoly on power, the Chinese technocracy relies on the promise of order and constant economic growth. Criticism is unpatriotic. China's rulers cannot be punished by the ruled for their incompetence. China's technocracy is unlikely to last without basic political reform.

People's Republic of China's 60th Anniversary

Defense Update, October 1, 2009

Edited by Andy Ross

A total of 108 missiles, many of them new, were displayed in Beijing at a military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. A sampling:

Title picture: These look like CSS-5 missiles to me.

DongFeng 31A (CSS-9 Mod-2) intercontinental ballistic missile
can carry three independent warheads over 11,000 km. The
road-transportable missile can deploy to predetermined launch sites throughout the country. The missile uses solid propellant
for long shelf life and short reaction time.

DongFeng 21C (CSS-5 Mod-3) medium-range ballistic missile is
the conventionally armed version of the CSS-5. DF-21C uses solid propellant and has a range of 1,700 km with a payload of 2 tons, loaded as single or multiple conventional warheads.

DongFeng 15B (CSS-6) is an improved, solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missile system currently in service with the Chinese Army.

DongFeng 11A (CSS-7) road-mobile, single-stage, short-range ballistic missile system with a conventional warhead and a range
of several hundred km.

DongHai 10 (DH-10) surface launched cruise missile for long-range land attack with a range exceeding 1,500 km. DH-10 is launched from a land-mobile platform deploying three missiles. The missile is believed to be a reverse-engineered Russian Kh-55 Raduga
cruise missile.

AR  I'm impressed — but who's the enemy?