June 2, 2006


Auto boom worsens China's energy crunch (Wu Zhong, 6/03/06, Asia Times)

As autos become increasingly affordable, more Chinese want to buy them. According to figures from the Ministry of Public Security, there are now about 30 million motor vehicles on the road across the country. The number is expected to shoot up as sales of automobiles in China continue to grow.

According to industry statistics, some 5.7 million motor vehicles were sold in 2005. It has been predicted that some 9.6 million units will be sold in 2010. If the current pace of expansion continues, there will be 140 million motor vehicles on China's roads by 2020.

The sharp increase in vehicle uptake is boosting China's demand for oil, so much so that Chinese experts now expect oil shortages to become a chronic problem, fundamentally threatening the country's energy security.

It's an insidious plot on our part to destroy their country.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 2, 2006 6:28 PM

Wonder if the Central Committee will have a single car per family policy like they have for children?

Posted by: morry at June 2, 2006 6:55 PM

Except for them, they're special.

Posted by: Sandy P at June 2, 2006 7:23 PM

Dust off the seat, another member of the Anglosphere is almost here.

Posted by: erp at June 2, 2006 8:13 PM

I doubt if any Chinamen and longing for the days of the rickshaw.

Posted by: AllenS at June 2, 2006 9:07 PM

Just you wait 'til NASCAR goes there.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 2, 2006 9:09 PM

Does anyone out there know whether the Chinese word or character for "rider" or "horseman" is related to a word meaning "nobleman" or "aristocrat," the way the words are connected in European languages?

In English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and whatever, chumps walk, while the betters, the equites, cavaliers Ritters and all the rest ride past them.

Being carried, where you wish, when you wish is beyond bourgiose in consciousness, it is feudal.

Erp is right: this has the smell of napalm in the morning.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 2, 2006 9:23 PM

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 2, 2006 9:47 PM

By the way, where does this "their country" hoohah come from? There is no China.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 2, 2006 10:10 PM

China is ethnically homogenous, geographically contiguous, and has a history, since 1368, of being united under a single government. I think that entitles them to be regarded as "a country".

Posted by: HT at June 3, 2006 12:29 AM

Well, it might be a good time to start up a Chinese insurance company. Or perhaps to get the Earl Scheib franchise there. But will they have enough concrete to build all the roads?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 3, 2006 12:41 AM

The Chinese are not ethnically homogenous. There are at least 5 seperate races contained within "China".

Posted by: Pepys at June 3, 2006 12:52 AM

They are 95% Han. The others constitute rounding errors in the total population statistics.

Posted by: HT at June 3, 2006 1:21 AM

HT, Pepys:

Yes, they're all Han in the same sense that we were all Scots-Irish at the time of Civil War. Wanna bet on where NASCAR starts, bet on the South (Guandong Province, etc.). Beijing is Canada.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at June 3, 2006 2:44 AM

Just yanking the proprietor's chain, HT.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 3, 2006 5:56 AM

Nothing will atomize them quicker than cars.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 8:49 AM

Cars on the contrary are a unifying force. That's why we haven't had a Civil War since the automobile was invented.

Posted by: pj at June 3, 2006 8:53 AM

Jews and Palestinians are the same race.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 8:54 AM


Yet they don't think of themselves as one.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 8:55 AM

The Civil War was fought over great issues. The cultural war of the 60s and 70s was, predictably, about the individual. That's what cars did.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 9:09 AM

Joe: oddly enough, me too.

Fred: no, Beijing is Minneapolis (or Boston). Mongolia is Canada. NASCAR loving doesn't qualify as a characteristic that defines nationhood. Otherwise, the US would be more than one country, too. Also, your Civil War demographics are a bit off. For example, what group that constituted about 12.5% of the population are you leaving out in your blanket statement? Here's a hint: Al Sharpton for you on line two.

Look. I'm not a big fan of China, and don't think that they are destined to rule the world. I just don't think it pays to underestimate them.

Posted by: HT at June 3, 2006 9:14 AM

It always pays to underestimate comminism generally and China in particular. It never pays to underestimate nationalism, racism, classism, etc. The rump state of China will bear so little resemblance to the current Imperial China as to make the notion of China meaningless.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 9:18 AM

OJ: even if you were correct and China were to lose the trifecta of Uighurstan and Manchuria and Tibet, the "rump" state would still have a population of 1.2 billion and the approximate borders of Republican China. That's some "rump".

Posted by: HT at June 3, 2006 9:35 AM

No, it won't. The coastal regions hate the interior. Urbanites and ruralites hate each other. Regions with different language traditions despise one another. And you can't govern a state of a billion people effectively anyway--even if your population is imploding.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 9:40 AM

Those tensions exist in almost every country, and have in China for the last 2000 years or so. Yet no state has devolved along those lines yet.

Posted by: HT at June 3, 2006 10:04 AM

They all have, except for the US and we'll devolve too. Look at a map from a hundred years ago--France, Britain, Germany, Russia, Spain, Turkey, etc. are all gone.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 10:08 AM

oj. You're missing the point if you're even serious about being anti-car. Once people have cars and roads, and start tooling around the countryside, their differences will diminish and then disappear as they have in the U.S.

Posted by: erp at June 3, 2006 10:16 AM


Cars prevent human contact and exaggerate differences.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 10:25 AM

oj. Not that it would or should persuade you, but yours does seem to be a minority opinion.

Posted by: erp at June 3, 2006 11:32 AM


No, it isn't. People celebrate cars for the very reason that they give one "freedom" and are individualistic.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 12:28 PM

And yet they have homogenized the nation.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 3, 2006 12:58 PM

Cars prevent human contact

Ya gotta get out of that car sometime, if only to lay in a fresh stock of Mountain Dew. People avoid contact if they want to.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 3, 2006 1:37 PM

oj's Romantic Vision Of Train Travel:

Beautifully coiffed women and handsome well-dressed men exchanging bon mots and displaying impeccably good manners while drinking fine wine in dining cars notable for their crisp white linens and sparkling crystal. Porters on cat's feet quietly manage their luggage, lay out their toilette, bring them brandy for a nightcap and make themselves useful with a conspicuous lack of fuss and bother.

Reality Of Train Travel:

People on trains are grumpy, grouchy, dusty and tired. They must wrestle their belongings themselves as porters are now extinct, and except on special excursions, the food doesn't bear close examination. The cars themselves lack all amenities and only a paleontologist could appreciate the multi-layers of dust covering flat surfaces.


Motorists on the other hand have a song in their heart. They carry their belongings with them in their very own spotlessly clean conveyance. These happy people stop along the way, chat up the natives and other travelers and learn a bit of geography while visiting local points of interest, national parks, drinking in the beauty of our country in their path. Along their journey they encounter people from other lands and make them welcome. Wherever they go, they take their happy, clear-eyed selves with them spreading good cheer in their wake.

They never grumble about high gas prices or congested roads because they thank The Big Guy In The Sky they aren't herded into cattle cars like oj wants them to be.

Posted by: erp at June 3, 2006 5:12 PM

There's Road Rage, not Train Rage.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2006 5:16 PM

That road rage business comes about because some people are so morally weak that they cannot be trusted with cars the way they cannot be trusted with guns.

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 3, 2006 8:09 PM

If people had to deal with parking and security hassles at train stations (as at aiports), train rage would be de rigueur, especially on those hot summer days when the A/C conks out.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 3, 2006 10:31 PM