Hong Kong Palace Museum, Chinese-built Jetliners, Little Pinks, Absentee Farmers, Chenzhou Commentary from the Web, Week 28, 2022

Hong Kong Palace Museum opens with treasures loaned from Beijing – SupChina

With more than 900 artifacts, the $450 million Hong Kong Palace Museum is a cultural milestone for the city. But it’s also part of Beijing’s efforts to foster a sense of national identity among locals.


COMAC is building Chinese jetliners and wants to take on Airbus and Boeing – SupChina

According to Xinhua, Tuesday’s successful flight was an important milestone for the ARJ21 and for COMAC:

  • After the ARJ21’s first successful test flight in 2008, it has now safely transported 5 million passengers, a milestone in the civil aviation industry that has confirmed the aircraft’s safety and reliability.
  • So far, COMAC has received orders for 670 ARJ21s from 20 clients.

COMAC, informally known as “the big plane company” in China, is currently testing the first serious Chinese competitor to Airbus and Boeing: The COMAC919, or C919, is the first large passenger aircraft independently developed in China.

  • The first C919 to be delivered to a client, China Eastern Airlines 中国东方航空, is currently conducting test flights over Shanghai and Shandong Province.
  • COMAC has received 815 orders amounting to $74 billion for the C919 (whose performance COMAC compares with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737) from 28 clients, and 34 planes have been bought by overseas clients.
  • With a price tag of $99 million, the C919 will be cheaper than the Airbus A320 NEO ($110 million) and the Boeing B737 MAX 8 ($120 million).


Pan Nini on Little Pinks - Reading the China Dream

In the text translated here, Pan seeks to explain how fan groups, generally focused on an “idol” from the mass entertainment industry, came to be “political,” by which she means patriotic, because these fan groups are now known to be vocally nationalistic, the Chinese nation functioning as a super-human “idol.”  Part of her argument is that fan groups began to become popular before China had a well-developed mass entertainment industry, which meant that most idols were not Chinese.  With the rise of online nationalism, fan groups were vulnerable to attack, and this sensitivity led the fans to defend their patriotism (and eventually to opt for Chinese idols, when the industry provided them).


Huang Zhihui on Absentee Farmers - Reading the China Dream

The text translated here deals with the subject of China’s “absentee farmers,” i.e., the millions of villages who, over the course of reform and opening, have moved to China’s cities, and the challenges this mass migration poses in the context of the “rural revitalization” China’s ruling authorities frequently promise to deliver.  The term “absentee farmers” immediately calls to mind the concept of “absentee landlords,” and Huang begins his essay with a discussion of this latter phenomenon in the first half of the twentieth century, when large numbers of landowners moved to China’s cities and used the rents paid by their tenants to speculate in urban real estate.  Absentee landlordism went a long way toward destroying traditional village life, first by removing large amounts of capital from the village setting, and second, by weakening whatever moral order the now absent gentry had helped to sustain.
Most of Huang’s focus, however, is on the reform and opening period and the absentee farmers produced by China’s urbanization.  His findings are rich, and to me, quite surprising.  He illustrates that over the past twenty years or so, the earlier pattern of rural migration to the big cities, annual returns to the village to celebrate the new year, and eventual return to live in the village has given away to a new pattern in which farmers leave their villages and purchase homes in their township or county town.  To pay their urban mortgages, many of these farmers continue to work in the big cities, but their ties to the village are attenuated by their urban residence (or residences—many “farmer families” own more than one urban dwelling), even if this residence is often not physically distant from the village.  In other words, the factory wages of migrant workers are invested in the much greater convenience of urban life; even a rural township offers better schools, health care, and public services than most of China’s villages.


What's a 4th-tier Chinese city like? - by David Fishman (pekingnology.com)

David Fishman is a Shanghai-based Senior Manager at The Lantau Group who specializes in energy issues, such as the economics and policy for solar, wind, nuclear, storage, and ultra-high voltage grid.

I have enjoyed many Twitter threads from him. They are accessible, pleasant, and also informative. One of his recent threads, besides getting over 2,000 likes, gave an introduction to a small city in central Hunan province that I have never been to.