The number of foreign students has doubled since even 2000. Some 265,000 go to Canada, over 200,000 to Australia, and more than 420,000 to the UK. While the American empire may be in decline, its universities still hold a great allure for the youth of the world for their academic leadership, freedom to explore and create and share, and their inviting and equitable atmosphere.
China has quietly developed the world's first land-based missile system -- Dong Feng 21Ds -- capable of sinking aircraft carriers from a long way off: to wit, more than 1,500 kilometers, or a bit more than the distance between Winnipeg and Vancouver. That's a long way out into the East and South China Seas.
As America is the world's growth engine, it's critical to know what its buyers are saying. The news is not just good; it's great. Manufacturers were discouraged by the poor winter weather, but they got over it; the index is now back to the heights seen last fall, and rising. New orders are leading the charge, up sharply in the last three months.
The tech wreck, the thickening border with the U.S. and the soaring loonie in the mid-2000's turned the attention of Canada's exporters to fast-growing emerging markets. In a relatively short time span, our trade with this rapidly-rising part of the global economy has risen from less than 5 per cent to almost 13 per cent of our merchandise exports.
In China, crooks don't have to go to the casino because intermediaries called "junkets" will swap Yuan for gambling chips that can be cashed into Hong Kong or Macao currency at the casino then wired by Hong Kong banks to tax havens or accomplices offshore. The goal is to buy a condo or luxury goods with funds from a trust managed by a shell company in Grand Cayman, owned by another trust in Guernsey with an account in Luxembourg managed by a Swiss banker who doesn't know who the owner is.
China has pursued this technology leadership goal for 20 years. Back in the 1990s, it began importing technology from Germany, the Siemens Velaro model; from France, the Alstom New Pendolinos. And, guess what? The Zefiro 250 type, made right here in Canada by Bombardier. In 2008, investment in high-speed rail projects shot up to $88 billion with plans to open 42 new lines.
China is again faced with the pre-crisis problems that were all the rage. First, how does it, and the rest of the world, cope with the demands of the 40 million odd new entrants to its middle class every year? And what if these really become a Western-style consumer class? Third, how does China sustainably manage its growth?
There have clearly been security lapses which need explanation -- as much to Malaysians as to anybody else. And at the outset, the crisis management could have been better coordinated. However, there is no indication there is something that could have been done to alter the realities of this tragedy. So why has Chinese diplomacy targeted the Malaysian authorities so harshly?
China's National People's Congress meet in Beijing Wednesday, with the country's crippling smog, which now looms as a threat to the leadership, high on the agenda. China's air isn't polluted because the technologies to keep it clean are unavailable but because the country lacks a credible regulatory regime that makes polluters pay and rewards investors to innovate. Why does the government target BBQs and individuals instead of the major polluters? Because it knows how to deprive ordinary citizens of their property and their lives. It doesn't know how to regulate an incoherent economy bereft of market discipline.
A personal introduction in advance will make your visit all the more enjoyable. Both Japanese and Chinese cultures view it as a sign of respect to extend themselves on behalf of a mutual friend, and you may find that they go to significant personal inconvenience and expense to make you feel welcome.