Power And Dollar

Did Dalai Lama Just Engineered His Own Endgame?

Richard Gere (CNN reports Richard Gere in Protests here) is now catching on with this media ride too!  This Olympics is giving an edge to the Tibetan causes they probably have never enjoyed in the last 6 decades.  If the cards are played well, not only will the Tibetan causes be brought to the next level, but also will serve as a great transition of Tibetan leadership.  Of course, fighting against a resourceful state institution (like China, USA, Russia, etc) is difficult to win, even when the cards are played well.  Nevertheless, Dalai Lama leveraged this moment for an important political asset: Karmapa Lama. 


Karmapa Lama, age 22 and the third most important figure in the Tibetan Buddhism, is expected to visit the States in mid May 2008.  India has given permission for the trip.  However, pressure from China may derail it.  If this trip is a go, then this is a good training opportunity for Karmapa Lama to become an interim leader before the next Dalai Lama assumes his rightful place.  


If Karmapa Lama performs well in this trip, then Dalai Lama probably has engineered a good endgame for himself: using this Olympics and his probably last influence inside Tibet to maximize the media attention from the riot to the protest to introduce the next leader to the world.  


April 9, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, Current Events, 西藏, opinion, politics, Thoughts, Tibet, wordpress-political-blogs, 中國 | 12 Comments

What Is Beijing’s Next Move On Tibet?

The protesters have caught up the Olympics torch and getting more media exposure than Beijing would hope for.  What is Beijing doing? Do they want to take some initiative back? What is their Tibet plan? 

No government would intentionally turn its land into another Gaza.  Every story has its ending.  Does China know how it wants this story to end? 

China is known to make decision based on long time-horizon.  Since a US president has 4 years in a term and at 8 years at most, US presidents expect returns of their political actions in a much shorter time frame.  Just consider Bush 2: Bush is still thinking of Israel and Palestine although he has 10 months left.  EU has a longer time perspective becasue they have a larger public servant work force, fewer political appointments and therefore career beaucrats can afford to wait for the comings and goings of politicians.  China is known to make decisions that can bear fruits a few decades from their decision points.  So, does China have a grand game-plan for Tibet?

No country plans to split a part of its land to become an independent country, unless it realizes it can no longer keep the land in question.  China is no different.  China is just waiting. 

China is waiting for Dalai Lama to recarnate so that the younger generation of Tibetans will get themselves marginalized.  The youthful Tibetans, the generation of Tibetans born in India, will either 1) get assimulated into India and its Tibetan identity gets disintegrated slowly or 2) become marginalized and ridiculed by the main stream society of India as a liability over time. 

The Tibetan political movement (even gets a state sponsor, and guess who) can only become more radical, once Dalai Lama recarnate, in order to strengthen its bargaining power against Beijing.  And this is when Beijing can convenient label this movement as a terrorist group. 

After all, all the Tibetan causes are united by a Dalai Lama.  An absence of Dalai Lama for 15, 20 years will disintegrate all these causes into different directions.  And no single force can unite them again.  What will remain true to itself is the religious movement.  However, when the language and all the cultural elements reside in China, the interpretation of fundementals of Tibetan Bhuddism rests in the hands of China. 

With the forseeable future of a splitered groups among the Tibetan causes, a more militant Tibetan group destined to be marginalized with or without other state sponsors, a weakening Dalai Lama due to age, China decides to wait for a decade or more to wear out all these movements. 

Here is the update from CNN just now and Associated Press at 0918 EST:


April 8, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, Current Events, 西藏, Tibet, wordpress-political-blogs, 中國 | | 2 Comments

Meeting Dalai Lama = Rooting Out Violence

Many compare the Tibetan riot to the protests in 1989.  The protest back then did not involve riot.  This riot involved organization: targeted location, date; weapons were transported and were unavailable in the city.  Violence has also spurred to the Hui people, in addition to Han.  This is also a new turn of history.  Clean up is finally there for the Hui quarter.  When will Mainland China start to clean up this Tibet question?


Dalai Lama is over 70 years old.  His influence is determined to wear out.  New generation of Tibetans demand more power from the Tibetan elites in exiles.  What is to gain for Mainland China from meeting Dalai Lama? 

Dalai Lama continues to be the spiritual leader of all Tibetan causes, be it independence, cultural preservation, environmentalism, human rights, etc.  Meeting with him will turn Mainland China from being defensive to a proactive stand.  

The younger generation of Tibetans is getting frustrated with Dalai Lama’s approach to their goal.  The riot is a good example.  This generation of activists does not have the baggage of Tibetan Bhuddism, they are willing and able to carry out indigenously organized violence.  It will only be a matter of time for these activists to be funded by other state institutions.  When that occurs, Tibet will be the Palestine in the East.  

Tibetan cause may still not succeed.  However, how much resources will be drained out to restrain Tibet?  The goal of Mainland is to keep Tibet.  Why wouldn’t Mainland China want to keep Tibet in the most cost effective manner?  At least a more cost effective manner than fighting out an endless battle in the future Palestine in the East?  That more cost effective manner is to prevent a peaceful Tibet to become a costly Palestine in the East.  

Meet Dalai since he does not seek independence anyway.  Take the Tibetan anti-government violence off the television not for a day, but for years to come.  Turn it into screens of hand shakes.  Dalai is old and wants to return home.  Remove the unifying figure of all Tibetan causes.  That will make these different organizations lose their focus.  Out of sight, out of mind.  

They different organizations will become a lot more manageable, be it the battle for TV coverage or outside of TV coverage.  It is always difficult for organizations to win against state institutions.  

Mainland China may think time is on their side in the international political arena.  And time is not in favour of Dalai Lama.  Every one and everything has its time.  Time will run out on Dalai Lama.  And when that happens, that option will forever be shut, for there probably be two Dalai Lama next time around and Mainland China cannot control them all.  

March 28, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, 西藏, opinion, politics, Thoughts, Tibet, wordpress-political-blogs, 中國 | | Leave a comment

Some Progress on Taiwan Strait

It seems like a match can finally begin.  Hu may not be able concentrate on too many items.  He is more inclined to deal with a positive opening (Taiwan) than a hot spot for now (Tibet).Important press releases by both US and China, below.  Read the question started by the keyword “Olympics”.  And follow all the subsequent questions by the keyword “China”.  http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080327005800&newsLang=en


March 27, 2008 Posted by | america politics, China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, opinion, politics, Taiwan, Thoughts, US politics, wordpress-political-blogs, 台灣, 中國 | Leave a comment

Market Reacts to Taiwan’s Election

The general sentiment of the economic outlook written on 03.21 is reflected today in markets.  The article on 03.21 is here: 


This is from Reuters:




CNN has a summary of the post election here:



Some stocks are going up in Hong Kong and Shanghai as well.  Stocks in Shanghai will have a much shorter ride.  Since you probably cannot trade in Shanghai’s market, you cannot be exposed to it.  Your mutual fund may.  If your mutual fund does not have a local office, it may not actually understand political dymanics and the reasons for its short ride.  This is a good opportunity to watch your fund manager. 

You may happen to have some stocks in Hong Kong since HK is a lot more accessible to foreign capital and quite a good amount of their listed companies are also listed elsewhere (London, NY’s 2 markets).  This ride could be slightly longer.  New president does not come until much later.  So, all these trades are also emotional. 

Some Taiwan companies are traded overseas.  These rides are longer.  Again, new president does not come until May 2008.  So, these are sentiment trades.  One may want to wait untill some announcements come.  But it is the time to study the annual reports. 

Is the Taiwan the safest bet while the USD continues to fall?  It is not as easy to hold foreign currency in US as in some other countries.  So, holding a foriegn currency at the retail level is not easy.  The second best is to find a foreign currency/foreign money market fund.  The third is to find conservative funds with foreign positions, foreign as in outside of North America (Canada is not safe enough).  If you are a hands-on kind of guy, and you are interested in this region, then Taiwan banks are okay (among the public tradable in NY).  Avoid banks in Mainland China (for a different reason).  Some other FIs are okay, but not banks.

March 24, 2008 Posted by | business, canada economics, China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, economics, election, 馬英九, finance, market, Money, opinion, politics, stock, Taiwan, Thoughts, trading, 中國 | 2 Comments

CNN provides clues to Tibetan White Scarves Organization

CNN interviewed James Miles from “The Economist”.  Miles was in Beijing in 1989.  He knows what an organized activity with Chinese style is like.  However, James Miles says he does not “see any organized activity.”  However, James Miles also provided some clue to the kind of organization (or the lack of) in this incident: 

“They marked those businesses that they knew to be Tibetan owned with white traditional scarves” 

The transcript of the interview is here:


It is unlikely Dalai Lama is behind it.  However, white scarves had been organized.  Since no one has given these organizers a name, I get the naming right: White Scarves Organization.   

A better transportation and communication network for Tibet also means more difficult for government to control everything.  This organization may not have reached the sophistication it needs, but it certainly has put itself on the radar of everyone in this trade.   

India increasingly considers the Tibetan issue a baggage to its Chinese relationship.  However, India cannot just drop it, just like Israel cannot just drop Gaza.  If White Scarves Organization increases its sophistication, scale and damage, then it will push Mainland China to find a solution, be it a negotiation or harder crack down.   

Mainland China started to learn how to play the soft power of influence maybe about 10 years ago or so.  It is getting better.  However, it has not learnt how to play this game domestically.  Very often, it is still seeing domestic power as Us vs Them.  Therefore, the path to this lesson is uncharted.  A better way to achieve this wisdom is to learn it through the governance of Hong Kong since there is a lower level of mistrust against a former British colony inhibited by Hans.   

The sad news is, everyone is running against time, not the count down on Olympics, but the count down on Dalai Lama.  Dalai Lama was born in 1935.  He is 73 years old.  He remains healthy.  But everything has its time.   

When Dalai Lama passes away, then there will be no spiritual leader among the exile Tibetans.  A new Dalai Lama will take another 2 decades to become effective, if at all he will be a political figure in addition to his religious duties.  The movement will turn violent or die down among the Tibetans.   

Mainland China will take the opportunity to find a Dalai reincarnation domestically.  If this domestic Dalai Lama is any good, an end for these 2 Dalai Lama will be difficult.  The status of them will obviously be part of the negotiation and political solutions were provided at times during Qing dynasty.  Again, the mandate of heaven was delivered through draws.  A negotiation will then be decades away, if any.  No end will be in sight any of our life times.  This will last just as long as Palestinian cause is going to be.   

Who will get the most out of it?  India already dreads this outcome.  Tom Clancy and the like will have more material to write about.

March 21, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, election, 西藏, opinion, politics, Taiwan, Tibet, 中國 | , , , | Leave a comment

How is Taiwan’s Election Affecting Your Portfolio?

Taiwan’s presidential election is to be held on 2008.03.22.A.  Since Taiwan is half a day ahead of US, the stations will open starting tonight.  What is at stake (of your wallet)?  CNN gives a decent last day summary: 


The first industry is computer component manufacturing.  Taiwan’s computer component manufacturing has the greatest market share in the world.  It will directly affect the manufacturing costs of everyone from Dell and HP to IBM.  Taiwan’s computer component manufacturers can produce any kind of PCs without outside vendors.  The only thing they lack is brand name.  If Ma Ying-jeouwins this election, the costs from these manufacturers will come down because Ma Ying-jeou’s policy will favour stronger commercial ties between Mainland China and Taiwan.   

Financial services industry will get a real boost.  If Ma Ying-jeouwins, that will create foreseeable stability required for Taiwan.  FDI will increase as a result.  Taiwan FIs will be able operate in Mainland, not only a greater amount of them, but also in a greater geographic span.  Currently, only 1 bank is allowed to operate in only 1 city in China.  Capital of Taiwan residents and companies held in overseas will also flow back to domestic market.   

Shipping and hospitality industries will get receive more customers from Mainland China.  Taiwan airlines will get a better coverage in the future.  Their air fleets will finally get the cash flow to finance needed replacements.   

However, this is not a sure win for Ma Ying-jeou.  DPP is within a striking distance.  The poll may suggest a comfortable lead for Ma Ying-jeouover DPP by US standard.  These polls are known to be unreliable not by the bias of the pollsters but by voters.  DPP voters traditionally lie to the pollsters or remain silent.  Conventional wisdom gives an additional 20% point to DPP. 

In the case of a DPP victory, it will not be the end of the world.  CPP may have learnt something no one is privy of in this election and thus gave sweet announcement to DPP’s outgoing president Chen Shui-bian in the past days to prepare for DPP’s victory.  If DPP indeed wins, computer component manufacturing will not get anything as a result.  FIs will not get the benefit above.  Shipping and hospitality will get some reward due to DPP’s convergence of its Mainland policy to Ma Ying-jeou.  However, the benefit will not be as great.  Agriculture has been rumored to be negatively affected by this election in the case of Ma Ying-jeou.  However, Taiwan does not have big publicly traded agriculture companies.   

The advantage of Taiwan’s agriculture over Mainland is the R&D side of agriculture.  The most potential of Taiwan’s agriculture is how to turn their R&D into more productive scale: for a bigger market and/or for more capital intensive firms. 

All Japanese firms with heavy investments in Taiwan will get affected.  One particular industry people may oversee is content distribution industry.  If KMT wins, these firms may get crowded by a Mainland fever.  So, these contents range from comic books to cables to films.

Since the results will only be known on Sat US time, the first trading day to react is Monday.  There is no need to rush for anything.  Do not place bets in haste.

March 21, 2008 Posted by | business, China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, economics, election, 馬英九, finance, opinion, politics, stock, Taiwan, Thoughts, trading, 台灣, 中國 | 3 Comments

Should Mainland China meet with Dalai Lama?

Mainland China is having problems with Tibet.  It probably needs help to manage this problem.  After all, it has been close to 60 years now since 1949, when CCP removed KMT from China, and the problem persists for these 60 years.  And there was not a problem before 1949.  Who will Mainland China go to for help?  Dalai Lama?

If Dalai Lama cannot stop the protest, then what incentives are there for Mainland China to negotiate with him?  Mainland China may as well ask Dalai Lama: Can you forward me to someone who is actually in charge?

CNN’s story regarding Dalai Lama’s “powerless to stop the protest”.


Dalai Lama has backed off from the independence demand.  Mainland China’s Premier Wen claims to have interests meeting Dalai Lama anytime (above CNN story).  Yet Mainland China has not managed to meet Dalai Lama for decades.  If one were to check on the conditions placed by Mainland China, Dalai Lama has satisfied them public for years.  This is a poor decision on the part of Beijing.  

Why isn’t Beijing doing anything with Dalai Lama?  

Partly because Beijing thinks Dalai Lama is fading away and an agreement with him will not bring much fruit anyway.  Some Tibetans started a returning trip to Tibet from India:


Even though Dalai Lama public appealed to the opposite, with hints from India, this movement is not going away.  This is the first public ineffectiveness of Dalai Lama to control the Tibetan cause.  After all, time goes by.  A new generation of Tibetans are born and raised in India.  A new generation of politicians will come and demand power from Dalai Lama too.  

Who will be the next negotiator against Beijing if Beijing continues to practice this disengagement from Dalai Lama, and when Dalai passes away?  A Hindi speaking Tibetan political leader will definitely not be friendlier than a Dalai Lama who was born in Tibet and has mingled with Hans during his younger years.  What if the exile political elite controls the reincarnation process and have a blond Dalai Lama who speaks every language from English, French to Arabic but not Chinese?  How much friendlier will this negotiator be? 

The miscalculation from Beijing’s part is they never understood the influence of religion, although communism was not far off from a religion.  Materialistic improvement cannot overcome all the political difficulties CCP faces in Tibet.  They still have to overcome the lack of inclusiveness in the political process, a respect of religious practice, in addition to typical political problems of wealth distribution, etc.  Beijing continues to consider the problem will go away by 1) the passing of Dalai Lama 2) improvement in material life over the years in Tibet and 3) Beijing will find the next Dalai Lama in Chinese soil.  

Beijing continues to forget to put themselves into others’ shoes.  Beijing should be mindful that other peoples (like Tibetans) may have the kind of persistence and endurance that Chinese had during the Japanese invasion.

March 20, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, 西藏, opinion, politics, Thoughts, Tibet, 中國 | , , | 3 Comments

Radio Appearnace: Taiwan Presidential Election


03.22.F.1730 – 1830  EST
03.23.A.1200 – 1330  EST


March 19, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, chinese, Current Affairs, Current Events, election, opinion, politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Pacific Forum CSIS’ article “Is Taiwan ‘over’? I think not” by Dr. Sutter of Georgetown

The suggestion that if Taiwan increases more FDI it may help expand its diplomatic space depends on the ability to attract FDI.  The very first thing for a FDI decision is political stability.  If Taiwan cannot be proven politically stable, then there is a high premium on the political risk with this investment.  Taiwan continues to have difficulties to participate in any international body due to Mainland China’s diplomatic pressure.  Taiwan also has fewer and fewer chips to conduct its affairs with any small country, which tool is suggested in the article.  They key point in the article is that Taiwan needs to manage its relationship well with Mainland.  And that is pretty much everything there is about Taiwan. 

Taiwan’s relationship with Mainland is dependent on its progress toward unification.  This progress will loosen up the leash from Mainland, but by no means independence.  The difference I point out is: attracting FDI, western relationship management, and Mainland relationship management are not three independent items on a to-do list.  There is just one item on the to-do list: Mainland relationship management.  The other two will be a consequence of the Mainland relationship management. 

The Taiwan separatists are a group of people much smaller than the core DPP supporters.  However, an outright unification would lose the appeal of any president, however corrupt free he appears to be, however great his platform is and however great an administrator he is.  Unfortunately, the politicians who are more adept to manage the separatist sentiments are not quite there on the stage.  And Chen is proven to be unfit in this category.  So, it will take more time to train a new generation of politicians. 

Given Ma had been stationed in Hong Kong and Hsieh has never been worked outside of Taiwan, Ma will be more able to manage its relationship with Mainland.  Ma could have employed his relationship while stationed in Hong Kong to expose any negativity that DPP members may have in China.  For that, Ma may be truly practicing positive politics, ahead of Obama.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | China, china politics, Current Affairs, Current Events, economics, election, opinion, politics, Taiwan | 5 Comments