As China’s Economy Craters, Economic Data Starts to “Disappear”

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For several years now, I’ve periodically observed that China’s increasingly aggressive crackdown on dissent serves as a harbinger of far more difficult times ahead. The thinking goes that if anyone is privy to the severe fragility of the country’s economic situation, it would be Chinese leadership. As such, desperate moves by Chinese leadership should foretell drastically worse economic and social conditions.

The scramble to crack down on dissent has become so intense, Chinese authorities seem to be now exerting illegal force against residents of Hong Kong. Of course, this story is long in the making, as the massive protest that broke out a little over a year ago known as the “umbrella revolution,” was in fact a protest against Beijing’s moves to ensure that Hong Kong leadership remain loyal puppets to the authorities on the mainland. 

– From the post: Hong Kong Publishers Reportedly Being Kidnapped by Chinese Authorities and Taken to the Mainland

When it comes to the Chinese economy, you can always tell how bad the situation is based on the panicky actions of the authorities. If the latest moves are any indication, things are not getting any better.

The New York Times reports:

BEIJING — This month, Chinese banking officials omitted currency data from closely watched economic reports.

Just weeks earlier, Chinese regulators fined a journalist $23,000 for reposting a message that said a big securities firm had told elite clients to sell stock.

Before that, officials pressed two companies to stop releasing early results from a survey of Chinese factories that often moved markets.

Chinese leaders are taking increasingly bold steps to stop rising pessimism about turbulent markets and the slowing of the country’s growth. As financial and economic troubles threaten to undermine confidence in the Communist Party, Beijing is tightening the flow of economic information and even criminalizing commentary that officials believe could hurt stocks or the currency.

But the tightly scripted story makes it ever more difficult to get information needed to gauge the extent of the country’s slowdown, analysts say. “Data disappears when it becomes negative,” said Anne Stevenson-Yang, co-founder of J Capital Research, which analyzes the Chinese economy.

“We are going to continue to see crackdowns on people telling a different story than what Beijing wants to hear,” Mr. Miller said. “At the same time, Beijing appears to be conflicted on this issue, because it recognizes that without independent gauges, commercial relations and foreign direct investment will suffer, due to growing skepticism over official data.”

In January data released last week, the Chinese central bank omitted or hidone key number and altered the parameters of another that gave insight into what the central and commercial banks were doing to prop up the country’s currency.

Ms. Stevenson-Yang, of J Capital Research, said she and her colleagues had seen growing discrepancies in official data in the last two years in a variety of sectors, including retail, shipping and steel production. She said a colleague had once called a Chinese cement factory to ask for production data, and a factory employee had thought the researcher was calling from a government-affiliated research association. The employee told the researcher that the factory had already changed its numbers twice and would rather not do it again, so the researcher could choose any number that fit.

Jon R. Carnes, founder of Eos Funds, a firm best known for bets that Chinese stock prices will fall, said China is in the midst of a down cycle in a long-running ebb and flow of public information. In 2012, a researcher for the fund, Kun Huang, was put in prison for two years for gathering information that led Eos Funds to bet against a Chinese mining company.

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  1. i think it’s fairly well established that chinese government is fairly effective at disappearing people just as pretty much ALL governments have been known to do in history.

    however, the chinese have an even more recent history in the 70s of using youth brigades to cleanse ‘dissidents’.

    so really, the only question to ask , the only uncertainty about tactics LIES IN THE WEST.

    it’s been a long time since european nations, let alone the u.s. took to wholesale disappearing their populations or to outright violent mcarthyism type or violent brigade movements sponsored by government.

    when will the west hits its next major snag?

    well, you see gun control and mandataory mental health screenings coming, you see a prison gulag that has been around for 20 years waiting to absorb ever more people . does something happen out in open or does the violence against dissidence continue to grow into the shadows until you have shadow type squads that change their current tactics of blacklisting gang stalking and gaslighting targets, to actually killing them?

    hard to say………….

    but if the amon bundy thing is any indication, it will be quite a long time before the government itself is seen on television being accused of openly murdering a few dozen ‘protesters’ of any sort.

    the west PR machine is perhaps simply to smart and effective for this.

  2. “WHEN WILL THE WEST HIT ITS NEXT MAJOR SNAG?”
    Actually, the question should be, “When did…” not “When will…”
    The American federal street gang seems to have started eliminating dissidents with the Alien and Sedition Acts of John Adams.
    But, we deal with history.
    The real problem, from our perspective, is, ‘How do we protect ourselves from their murderous political system?’ How, for example, do we protect our property (from physical gold, to businesses, to stocks and bonds (domestic and foreign)) from seizure by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? Furthermore, how do we protect ourselves from informers now being recruited, trained and protected by the DHS?
    By the act of Congress that established the DHS a system was created by which informers could make false allegations against anyone they please with near-total impunity. Of course, such informers aren’t described as informers; rather they are given the title “submitting person” and the DHS Act provided that their falsehoods will never be examined by any court or legislature or law enforcement agency. The legislation even specifies how this immunity is obtained. The “submitting person” only has to give an “express statement” that his lies were “voluntarily given” and that he expected “protection from disclosure”. It’s all there, in the act that created the DHS. (See, http://redressone.wordpress.com/amss/)
    I’m sorry guys, but silly season is over. Even if you own physical gold, live in a cabin in the woods along with a stash of ammo and AK-47’s, you lose. If you don’t fall to the horde of hungry homeless, YOU WILL FALL TO DHS DEATH SQUADS. All the homeless have to do is to wait until you collapse from lack of sleep (24, 48, 72 hours), then they march in, slit your throat and… let your imagination run wild.
    If you own stocks or bonds, guess what: you’re depending on criminal and useless classes to deliver your purchasing power at the moment of their greatest victory. Did I mention something about ‘silly season’?
    If you want to survive, you have to combine with others of like mind for the purpose of mutual protection, among other purposes. The big question now is, ‘HOW is this to be done?’ And the quick answer is, ‘You must establish First-Amendment assemblies – the only historically-proven method by which men have made their lives and property secure from rule by thieves.’ (See, http://redressone.wordpress.com/locate/)
    The American Revolution, for example, was powered by a large network of such assemblies: from town meetings, county meetings, state conventions and, ultimately, to Continental Congresses.
    Let’s be realistic: this solution won’t be easy or quick… unprecedented adventures never are.

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