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Monthly Archives: August 2021

Charts: 中国网民数字

Source : 新华网

Infographic: The New Talabin Arsenal Courtesy of the U.S. Government

Source : The Times

What the Polio Vaccines Can Teach Us About the COVID Ones

Peter Skurkiss wrote . . . . . . . . .

Prior to the 1950s, paralytic polio was a scourge. FDR was crippled from it while in his 30s, the March of Dimes was started to combat it, and photos of rows and rows of children in iron lungs were common in the media. From this situation, vaccines were developed to combat the disease.

Polio is caused by one of three types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis and death. In the 1950s, two vaccines were independently developed to combat it, one by Jonas Salk and the other by Albert Sabin. Polio was eradicated, and today those vaccines are thought of as miracle drugs. But were they?

In the early 1950s, Salk was the first to come out with a vaccine. His was designed to treat all three polio viruses at once. His approach seemed basic enough. It was to grow polioviruses in the lab, kill them, and then inject healthy children with the dead viruses. The idea was that the dead viruses could not reproduce, so they could not harm the children. The children’s immune system, however, would detect the injected viruses and produce effective antibodies against them, thus creating immunity against polio.

Just prior to beginning mass inoculations, samples of the Salk vaccine were sent to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for safety testing.

There, when bacteriologist Dr. Bernice Eddy injected the vaccine into her monkeys, some of them fell down paralyzed. She concluded that the virus was not entirely dead as promised. Instead, the virus was active and could reproduce in its host. Eddy sounded the alarm and presented her findings. A debate ensued in the corridors of power. Advocates for caution were overruled, and the mass inoculation proceeded on schedule.

The inoculation of children began in 1955. Within days, some injected children were coming down with polio. Some were even spreading the disease to family members. Subsequent investigations determined that the vaccine had caused 40,000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and ten dead. Alton Ochsner, a professor of surgery at Tulane Medical School, was such a strong proponent of proceeding with the inoculation program that he gave vaccine injections to his grandchildren to prove that it was safe. Ochsner’s grandson died from polio a few months later, and his granddaughter contracted polio but survived.

This fiasco has become known as the Cutter incident. It’s named after the manufacturer of the vaccine. The vaccine was recalled and retested for safety, but the damage had already been done in the mind of the public.

Let’s continue to the second version of the polio vaccine, the Sabin.

In 1957, inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and live but weakened oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) were prepared in primary cell cultures derived from rhesus monkey kidneys.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research, it was later determined that the vaccines made from these cultures were contaminated with the infectious cancer-causing virus SV40. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that up to 30 percent of the polio vaccines administered from 1957 to 1963 contained this cancer-causing monkey virus. Dr. Eddy was involved in the discovery of that, too, despite being shunted off to other research after her first discovery.

Did this result in a cancer epidemic? Some believe that it did, as there was a sharp rise in soft tissue cancer in the following decades. The medical establishment disagrees, saying only a “small” number of cancer cases can be traced to the polio vaccines. In any event, it was a fact that a cancer-causing virus was present in the polio vaccines and that the government kept the public in the dark. This was done to avoid mass hysteria and to prevent the wrecking of the public’s confidence in medicine and vaccines in particular.

One result of the damage caused by these initial polio vaccines is that strict new safety regulations and procedures were instituted. Also, legislation was passed to exempt vaccine manufacturers from civil damages due to the side-effects of their vaccines. 42 U.S. Code 300aa-22 — Standard of responsibility states: “No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988.”

Polio is practically unknown today. But is that because of the vaccines or other factors? Note, polio is spread by contact with infected feces, which often happens from poor hand-washing. It can be spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. In some cases, it can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes infected droplets into the air. It would seem that as hygiene improved and sanitation got better, polio would diminish. This was all known in the 1950s.

Whatever the case, a takeaway lesson from the early polio vaccines is that haste makes waste. Back then, those vaccines were rushed out to the public without being adequately tested due to panic over the disease. One has to wonder if the same sort of thing isn’t happening today with the COVID vaccines. There are similarities between what happened then and what’s unfolding now, chief among them political pressure for a magic-bullet cure. Is it possible or even likely that political pressure has compromised the safety protocols and standard procedures at the FDA and Big Pharma which are there to ensure only safe vaccines are issued for public use? Time will tell.

Source : American Thinker

Afghanistan and the Sham of Democracy Promotion

James Bovard wrote . . . . . . . . .

Americans finally recognize the military lies that pervaded the success claims of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. But democracy promotion was an even bigger sham. Afghanistan was Exhibit A for the triumphal crusade to spread freedom and democracy.

After the U.S. invasion in 2001, the U.S. government spent more than $600 million to support elections and democratic procedures in Afghanistan (part of the $143 billion the U.S. spent there for relief and reconstruction). Washington bragging points were always more important than Afghan preferences. “In 2002 and 2003, when Afghan tribal councils gathered to write a new constitution, the U.S. government gave [bribes] to delegates who supported Washington’s preferred stance on human rights and women’s rights,” the Washington Post reported in 2019. President George W. Bush boasted in 2004: “Afghanistan has now got a constitution which talks about freedom of religion and talks about women’s rights…Democracy is flourishing.” Though Bush’s reelection campaign speeches were larded with such lines, women in many parts of Afghanistan continued to be oppressed even worse than characters in American country music songs. One international aid worker commented that during the Taliban era “if a woman went to market and showed an inch of flesh she would have been flogged—now she’s raped.”

Hamid Karzai, the slick operator who the Bush administration installed to rule Afghanistan after 9/11, won a rigged 2004 presidential election. Karzai approved a law that entitled a husband to starve his wife if she refused his sexual demands.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama labeled the conflict in Afghanistan the “right war.” By the time Obama took office, the Taliban were vigorously reviving and Afghans were shunning the corrupt puppet regime the U.S. installed in 2002.

President Obama justified his 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan to bolster its democracy. When Obama spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in August 2009, he boasted that “our troops are helping to secure polling places for this week’s election so that Afghans can choose the future that they want.” In reality, Obama effectively sent American soldiers to serve as bodyguards for Karzai’s minions to steal the election. At first glance, Karzai won a narrow victory. But two weeks after the election, the New York Times reported that Karzai’s operatives set up as many as 800 fictitious polling sites “where no one voted but where hundreds of thousands of ballots were still recorded toward the president’s re-election.” In some Afghan provinces, pro-Karzai ballots outnumbered actual voters by tenfold. Peter Galbraith, a senior United Nations official in Afghanistan, was fired after he estimated that a third of Karzai’s votes were bogus. Galbraith wrote, “No amount of spin can obscure the fact that we spent upwards of $200 million on an election that has been a total fiasco” which “handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory.”

Despite the shenanigans, the Obama administration praised Karzai as if he had won fair and square. The Obama administration told Congress that the decision to send far more U.S. troops to Afghanistan depended on the Afghan government’s “ability to hold credible elections,” among other tests. After the 2009 Afghan election turned into a sham, Obama decided it was “close enough for government work” to democracy. Thanks to Obama’s surge, 1,400 American soldiers died in part to propagate the mirage of Afghan democracy.

Afghan officials conspired for more than 15 years to both multiply and ignore election fraud. As early as 2009, U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that the result was that the Afghan government’s legitimacy “is, at best, in question right now and, at worst, doesn’t exist.” An analysis by the U.S. Agency for International Development of the 2014 Afghan election noted that “several prominent election officials associated with fraud during past elections were promoted or given ministerial appointments.”

Behind closed door, D.C. poohbahs admitted their Afghan charade. At a confidential 2015 National Security Council meeting, President Obama admitted that the U.S. would never “transform Afghanistan into a semblance of a democracy able to defend itself,” the New York Times reported. But that didn’t deter Obama from publicly bragging the following year that U.S. troops and diplomats had helped Afghanistan “establish a democratic government.”

To buttress the new democracy, the U.S. government spent a billion dollars to promote the “rule of law” and justice reform in Afghanistan. But such programs were as wasteful as the rest of the U.S. dollar deluge on that nation. As the Christian Science Monitor noted in mid-2010, the Obama administration’s Agency for International Development “created an atmosphere of frantic urgency about the ‘burn rate’—a measure of how quickly money is spent. Emphasis gets put on spending fast to make room for the next batch from Congress.”

One American contractor received $35 million to promote the rule of law in Afghanistan in part by distributing kites and comic books to kids. The New York Times reported that the contractor “arranged an event to hand out kites and comic books to children. The kites were festooned with slogans about gender equality and rule of law that most of the attendees could not read. Police officers guarding the event stole many of the kites, beating some of the children, while fathers snatched kites from their girls to give to the boys.” A 2015 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report found that the Afghan “rule of law” spending had been a dismal failure.

Afghan democracy was a bigger fraud than almost anyone wanted in D.C. would admit. One of the best demolitions can be found in a February 2021 report, “Elections: Lessons from the U.S. Experience in Afghanistan,” produced by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). After more than 15 years of pro-democracy “assistance,” Afghanistan’s 2019 presidential election was “the most corrupt the country had ever held,” according to expert consulted by SIGAR.

U.S. tax dollars poured into the coffers of Afghanistan’s Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC) to safeguard voting. Alas—that agency was a prime source of the most brazen vote stealing. ECC bosses were careful not to hire almost anyone with electoral experience since such folks might raise troubling questions. A former top ECC official told SIGAR that “one criterion for chief electoral officer applicants in 2018 was how well the candidates were dressed. He said this category was used as a pretext to reduce the scores of less pliable candidates.” It is unknown whether this villainy character test was inspired by Washington’s K Street lobbyists.

Afghan elections were institutionalized racketeering because the rules were always in flux. SIGAR noted, “Only one of the country’s election laws has ever been passed by parliament; the rest were presidential decrees that were never referred to the parliament for consideration.” The SIGAR report quoted election experts: “The likelihood of a credible election is inversely proportional to the degree to which the ruling regime directly controls the election management body.” Afghan voting records were a total mess, making it easy for politicians to fabricate claims about the “will of the people.” SIGAR concluded, “Afghanistan’s national voter registry and the voter registration process are exceptionally vulnerable to manipulation and mismanagement.”

It is tricky to build a viable democracy when elected officials receive a license to steal. After noting the hefty bribes that politicians pay to election officials, SIGAR explained: “One reason candidates may be willing to pay such high prices for seats in parliament is to protect ill-gotten fortunes…By becoming members of parliament, they can gain access to new sources of illicit revenue and immunity from prosecution.” That parliament was the last place on earth to seek support for honest elections.

Afghan experiences also offer lessons for Americans confounded by disputes regarding the 2020 U.S. election, including the controversies surrounding computer voting. As one election expert told SIGAR, “There is no difference between stuffing 100 ballots and pressing a button on an electronic voting machine 100 times.” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani decreed that the 2019 election must rely on electronic voting. But SIGAR noted that electronic voting “did not reduce fraud overall; it just displaced it to other parts of the electoral cycle.” Confidence in Afghan electronic voting was not assisted by the secrecy surrounding the software and equipment. After the 2019 presidential election, Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission declared that it could not “share information” about how votes were being reconciled because “the contractor, Dermalog, controlled that process.” SIGAR quoted experts who warned that “because governments often control electoral commissions and the procurement of election technology, they are well placed to use it to commit fraud.” SIGAR ruefully noted, “The true purpose of adopting election technologies may not be to actually reduce fraud, but to create the illusion of doing so.”

Afghan debacles are a reminder that there is no “guardian angel of democracy.” Politicians permitting citizens to vote does not assure that election results will receive even a whiff of legitimacy. Once fraud or suspicions of fraud reach a certain level, any election winners will be suspected scoundrels. A U.S. Army colonel who deployed several times to Afghanistan told SIGAR that as early as 2006, the Afghan government had “self-organized into a kleptocracy.” Officials who were stealing everything else never hesitated to steal votes.

Biden, like Obama and George W. Bush, is seeking to make “democracy promotion” a redeeming theme for his presidency. But no Washington pundit, politician, or “expert” who vouched for Afghan democracy should ever be trusted again. The U.S. government will continue meddling in foreign elections as long as American politicians think they can gain influence—or perhaps contracts for their friends or family members. There is no reason to expect Biden’s “democracy promotion” to be any cleaner than his Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.

The collapse of the Afghan government settled any doubts about whether intellectuals are some of Washington’s biggest con artists. They profited mightily by pirouetting as experts with lavish government contracts that produced nothing except windfall profits for overpriced D.C. restaurants. Any think tank or research institute or Beltway Bandit that was honest about Afghanistan being a quagmire for democracy would have been banned from future contracting.

Americans also need to take lessons from the endless lies that Washington told about Afghan democracy. Are U.S. government officials more honest when they talk about American democracy than when they praise sham democracies abroad? Unfortunately, no one is talking of the peril of the “Afghanization” of American democracy.

Source : James Bovard

Inconclusive Review of Virus Origins Prompts Calls for More Probes: ‘We Have to Get to the Bottom of This’

Dan Diamond, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Joel Achenbach and Lenny Bernstein wrote . . . . . . . . .

An array of activists, scientists and politicians said Wednesday that the Biden administration’s inconclusive report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the need for further probes, even if that leads the United States into delicate geopolitical territory.

“It is good they did that review, but I don’t think we should all move on just because it was inconclusive,” said Anita Cicero, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “I’m actually disturbed that much of the scientific and public health community seems complacent to make their best guesses and move on without getting to the root cause of the pandemic.”

The administration’s classified review, with portions set to be publicly released as soon as this week, doesn’t rule out that the virus emerged in the wild or that it leaked from a laboratory, officials said. Its pending release has sparked an outcry in China, where officials have bristled at inquires into the possibility of a laboratory leak and state media this week preemptively blasted the U.S. findings.

The findings also caused a stir in the United States, with close observers concluding that the White House report supports their existing positions on covid-19 — even when their positions directly conflict.

“I’m not surprised that the intelligence community would come up with the similar conclusion that the scientific community has, which is you can’t rule out either a natural hypothesis … or this lab leak hypothesis,” said Michael Worobey, head of the University of Arizona’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, who said far more evidence favors that the virus jumped from animals to humans.

“There is no mystery: Overwhelming evidence indicates the COVID-19 virus originated in the Wuhan lab in China,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) countered in a statement. “The failure of the Biden administration to reach a definitive conclusion on the origins of COVID-19 shows this was not a serious, objective effort.”

The report, commissioned as a 90-day review, was prompted after President Biden received a May report from the nation’s intelligence agencies saying they had “coalesced around two likely scenarios” but had not reached a conclusion. The president disclosed that two agencies leaned toward the hypothesis that the virus emerged from human contact with an infected animal, while a third leaned toward the lab scenario.

Debate over the pandemic’s origins sparked partisan brawls last year, fueled by President Donald Trump’s public claims that the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, and Democrats’ insistence that the Trump administration was seeking to evade responsibility for mismanaging the response. But most Americans, including 59 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats, say they believe the virus emerged from a lab rather than from human contact with an infected animal, according to a Politico-Harvard poll released last month.

Several scientists said the question of the virus’s origin is important to understand, stressing that the lessons would be vital for preventing future pandemics. But they lamented that the search for an origin has become highly politicized. Many said they were not surprised the report was inconclusive and remained skeptical there would ever be a definitive answer.

“This investigation was never going to be able to nail it down, and it’s not remotely surprising that it’s inconclusive. Unfortunately, that means the partisans will be further entrenched in their views,” said William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Cicero, the Johns Hopkins expert, noted that national commissions were established to probe tragedies such as the 1986 Challenger explosion and Deepwater Horizon oil spill — but no similar effort has been established to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, despite its far larger death toll.

“What’s at stake here is trying to figure out for the future how do we reduce the risk of future pandemics, both naturally occurring or otherwise or accidentally released,” she said. “At the very least, there should be a concerted international effort, a feverish hunt for the natural animal host if that’s what most people presume, and I just don’t see that.”

Jamie Metzl, a member of a World Health Organization expert committee and a former aide to Biden when he was a senator, said he was heartened by early reports that the administration reviewed an array of possibilities, sparked by new information provided by the intelligence community.

“I’m actually a bit encouraged that there will be additional little nuggets of information that will advance our process of digging until we get to the right answer,” said Metzl, who has been leading calls for a probe. “I never felt this review was going to be determinative. It is only a beginning.”

Some former Trump administration officials said they didn’t expect the 90-day review to turn up definitive answers, citing ongoing tensions with China.

“I am not surprised that the [intelligence community] landed in the same place they started,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a former National Security Council director under Trump and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “China is stonewalling a real investigation, and Biden does not have a plan to compel Beijing’s cooperation. Now that the 90-day review is complete, Biden must detail his strategy to address Beijing’s coverup that cost the lives of more than 630,000 Americans.”

“It’s exactly what we knew it would be,” said a former Department of Health and Human Services official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to address the Trump administration’s probe into the pandemic’s origin. “Even if they have the smoking gun, what’s the outcome of revealing it?”

The Biden administration is also navigating complicated domestic politics, with activists having warned that any finding that faults China for the virus’s origin could foster threats to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a constituency that broke heavily for Biden in last year’s election.

The Asian American Foundation “is deeply concerned that the debate over the origins of the pandemic — and some of the rhetoric driving the debate — could further fan the flames of anti-AAPI hate,” the group said in a statement this week.

On Capitol Hill, several lawmakers cited the report in calling for congressional investigations into the origin question.

“We’re just scratching the surface. And we have to get to the bottom of this,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who this month convened a bipartisan briefing on the virus’s origins with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Marshall contrasted the level of interest in investigating the origins of the coronavirus with the many probes into the January attack on the Capitol, with Democrats investigating Trump’s role in sparking the insurrection.

“My goodness, we’ve got what — 15 investigations on Jan. 6? But no hardcore active investigations in Congress on the origins of covid?” Marshall said. “Obviously, the White House has a lot on its plate right now … but this seems to be very low priority to them.”

Many observers said they worried that the Biden administration’s inconclusive findings would be misrepresented.

“When the conclusion of a report is that it’s inconclusive, the danger is that partisan politicians will use that as proof that it was a lab leak or that it came from research from NIH,” said Leslie Dach, a former Obama administration official who chairs Protect Our Care, a health advocacy committee, referring to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “And the report will not say that, and there is zero proof of that.”

“Unfortunately, there’s a big industry in conspiracy theories when it comes to Donald Trump, when it comes to covid,” Dach added. “My fear is, that engine is going to rev up … and these conspiracy theories are a threat to our safety.”

Worobey, who said his lab continues to try to examine the viral genomes published out of China in hopes of more definitive answers, said he leans toward the zoonotic hypothesis, citing evidence that illegal wildlife was being sold at a wet market in Wuhan and that people with “long-term associations” with that market were among the first cases in a city of 11 million people.

“Because you can’t rule out one [theory] or the other definitively … that’s not the same as saying they’re both equally likely,” he said.

Source : The Washington Post

Charts: U.K. Car Production Plummets in July 2021

Source : SMMT and Statista

S&P500 Doubles To Fastest Bull Market In History

See large image . . . . . .

Source : ZeroHedge

Chart: Apple Inc. Stock Price % Change Since 2003

Source : The Big Picture

Xi Jinping’s Talk of “Common Prosperity” Spooks the Prosperous

In a speech in 2016 Xi Jinping, China’s president, explored the roots of an idea that is now troubling the country’s tycoons and depressing the stock market—an idea that may be motivating China’s crackdown on private tutoring, its antitrust fines on internet firms, its new guidelines on the treatment of gig workers and its steps towards a property tax, as well as inspiring large charitable donations from some of the country’s most prominent enterprises. That idea is common prosperity.

Common prosperity, Mr Xi pointed out, has been an ideal of the Chinese people since ancient times. It was espoused by his predecessors as Communist Party leader. (Even Deng Xiaoping, who was famously happy to let some “get rich first”, insisted that they then help others to catch up.) The ideal appears not just in Marx but also in Confucius, Mr Xi said. He quoted a well known line from “The Analects”, which says something to the effect that a wise leader worries not about poverty but about inequality; not that his people are too few, but that they are too divided. (It is snappier in the original Chinese.)

The idea, then, is not new. But it is newly important. The term has appeared 65 times in Mr Xi’s speeches or meetings this year, according to Bloomberg. A recent example is the powerful Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, which sets and enforces the party line on the economy. It focused on the idea at its meeting on August 17th.

But what precisely does it mean? The party has clarified what it does not entail: it does not imply that everyone will end up enjoying equal prosperity. Entrepreneurs who create their own wealth, “work hard with integrity and have the guts to start their own businesses” should be encouraged. Nor will the egalitarian turn be abrupt. It should be pursued “step by step” in a “gradual” manner, the commission reiterated this month.

But the goal also rules out a continuation of the status quo. “We must not allow the gap between rich and poor to get wider,” Mr Xi insisted in January. People in the top fifth of Chinese households enjoy a disposable income more than ten times as high as people in the bottom fifth, according to official figures. Disposable incomes in cities are two and a half times as high as in the countryside. And the top 1% own 30.6% of household wealth, according to Credit Suisse, a bank (compared with 31.4% in America).

Unfortunately, defining what will count as common prosperity is complicated by the sheer volume and variety of aspirations and exhortations that often follow in the term’s trail, aspirations that could be laudable or lamentable depending on details that have yet to be formulated, let alone divulged.

Common prosperity will require a stronger safety-net for the unfortunate, better pensions, more equal access to public services, including education and health. It will result in an “olive-shaped” distribution of income that is fat in the middle but thin at the bottom and top. China has about 400m people living on incomes between 100,000 and 500,000 yuan (roughly $15,000-77,000) for a family of three or the equivalent. It wants to double that number to 800m people in about a decade, according to the Development Research Centre, a think-tank attached to China’s State Council.

The party says it will increase the role of taxation in fighting inequality. It will adjust high incomes “reasonably”. But it has yet to quantify that reasonableness by specifying future tax rates or thresholds. Besides, the government overhauled personal taxes as recently as 2018, making it unlikely to have another go soon, according to Gabriel Wildau of Teneo, a risk-advisory firm. A crackdown on tax evasion and illicit income is more likely. This week the party’s corruption watchdog said it had instructed over 24,800 party cadres in the city of Hangzhou to undertake “self-examination” and confess to any illegal borrowing from local firms or other conflicts of interest.

Most egalitarian governments content themselves with tweaking taxes and transfers. But China’s reach is broader. It is also championing two other kinds of redistribution: “voluntary” donations by the rich (Tencent, an internet giant, ploughed $7.7bn into its social initiatives soon after the August 17th meeting) and what is sometimes called “pre-distribution”. This can entail altering the split of national income between wages and profits. A common prosperity “demonstration zone” in Zhejiang province, for example, includes a target to raise labour’s share of the province’s income from 47.8% (in 2017) to over 50%.

The labour share is not easy to measure let alone manipulate. It has declined steadily in many developed economies, thanks to deep forces like globalisation and technological change. But China’s wage-earners might benefit from policies like the government’s new guidelines on gig workers, which seek to improve their wages and bargaining position. Certainly, investors in the gig economy fear these policies will leave a smaller slice of the cake for them. The share price of Meituan, a food-delivery giant, has fallen by 18% since the guidelines were released.

As with many of its signature initiatives, the party will not impose a common approach to common prosperity. “Local authorities will be encouraged to explore effective ways that suit local conditions,” it said on August 17th. Cities in Zhejiang are scrambling to add the label to various initiatives, from narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas to promoting the “spiritual” riches of the populace. Over time, the successful projects will be said to conform to Mr Xi’s vision; in reality, his vision will coalesce around them.

Just because common prosperity remains nebulous does not, however, mean it is vacuous. “Achieving common prosperity is not only an economic issue, but also a significant political issue,” Mr Xi said in January. The party hopes that reviving this ancient ideal will help strengthen the foundations of its rule. Confucius again got there first. “Where there is contentment,” the sage says, “there will be no upheavals.”

Source : The Economist

In Pictures: Food of Roganic in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Contemporary British and European Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant