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  1. China's Arithmetic When It Comes to the Dollar “It will be helpful if Geithner can show us some arithmetic” -Yu Yongding From the lens of a global risk manager, this morning has to be one of the more fascinating that I have ever woken up to. At the same time as the US Government is setting themselves up to announce one of the largest bankruptcies in US corporate history, we have a squirrel hunting US Treasury Secretary telling the Chinese to “trust us” and America’s currency. That a boy! Providing leadership to the world’s increasingly interconnected economy is by no means an easy task, and maybe that’s why the world is voting against America holding the world’s reserve Currency Conch any longer. Timmy Geithner’s effectiveness with the Chinese translators overseas this morning is borderline laughable. There was a time when the Wizards of Wall Street’s Oz could fly overseas and make a comment like “we are committed to a strong dollar” and it would actually matter. Rather than getting on a plane and shaking hands with The Client (China) himself, President Obama opted to send the same guy that called the holder of $768B in US Debt “manipulators"... Nice! When it comes to financial market sophistication, other countries aren’t as gullible as they used to be. An internet connection and You Tube screen have effectively changed all that. On the heels of Timmy’s “reassuring” comments, the US Dollar is getting spanked again, trading down another -0.73% to lower-lows at $78.63. Rather than fading Geithner from my soapbox, now the world is – it’s sad. I understand that this is all doesn’t matter yet because someone on CNBC is hopped-up about where the US futures ramped into Friday’s close and look here on today’s open. That manic behavior really helps America’s reputation. At the end of the day, the US stock market could go up another 6% to 9% today, and it would still be amongst one of the worst performing stock markets in the world. The Dollar moving into crisis mode matters. First, all of the reflation trades pay themselves out in full. Second, all of the global political capital associated with the almighty Petro-Dollar gets redistributed. And Third, well… rather than analyzing this as the said Great Depression Part Deux… how about another Third Quarter of 2008 in US Equities? Nah, that’s crazy right? Like they say in the Canadian Junior Hockey Leagues, “crazy is as crazy does”! There are loads of unintended consequences associated with a US Dollar crashing – the only other sustainable break we’ve seen in the US Dollar Index below the $80 level since 1971 (when Nixon abandoned the gold standard), was that one that led us to that 2008 Third Quarter… After locking in another +5.3% month for May, the S&P500 is up a whopping +1.8% for the YTD. Unlike most global equity markets that are charging to higher-highs this morning, the S&P500 is still trading below its January 6th high of 934. On the heels of another strong, albeit not herculean PMI manufacturing report last night (it decelerated slightly month over month), China’s stock market charged to higher-highs, closing up another +3.4%. The Shanghai Composite Index is now +49.5% YTD, and we, as our British philosophy competitor likes to say remain “long of it.” From Hong Kong to Russia, stock markets are up +4 to +6% this morning. Why? Because, much like the only other time we saw the US Dollar break down to these levels, everything that China needs reflates. Oil prices and the promises of a potentially empowering Chinese handshake have the Russian Trading System Index (RTSI) up +83% for 2009 to-date. Now that and the price of oil trading up +19% in less than 2-weeks is getting someone paid - and it isn’t the American Consumer! As she trashes her currency, America will continue to lose political capital both domestically and abroad. After all, a -12% three-month swan dive in the US Dollar has hacked over $90 Billion of value from the Chinese position in US Treasuries. Creditors and citizenry hush yourselves! All the while, 17 out of 23 Chinese economists polled are calling holding those Treasuries a “great risk” this morning. I know, I know… an economist or a billion US Dollars ain't what it used to be… At some point, China’s interpretation of the arithmetic is going to really matter.
  2. China’s Stock Market Passes US as Leading Indicator Published: Wednesday, 4 Aug 2010 | 12:43 PM ET By: John Melloy Executive Producer, Fast Money China may be the second biggest economy in the world behind the US, but it is No. 1 in terms of influence over global stock markets, analysts said. “The Chinese equity market has shown signs of ‘leading’ global equity markets at turning points over the past three years,” wrote Geoffrey Dennis, Citigroup’s emerging markets strategist. “As a result, the 13 percent rally in the Shanghai Composite since early-July has been a major support for improved overall global sentiment over the past month.” It’s only natural China’s stock market would take a leading role following structural changes such as a jump in listings and the allowance of short sales. After all, the economic influence speaks for itself. Among other things, China is the biggest consumer of energy products, accounts for 70 percent of iron ore demand, and in 2009, became the No. 1 auto market, according to analysts’ reports. The Shanghai Composite Index has led the US market back from its 2010 low. It’s no coincidence that the leading US stocks during this comeback have come from the stocks in the industrial and raw material industries such as Caterpillar [CAT 71.56 -0.40 (-0.56%) ] and Freeport-McMoRan [FCX 74.61 0.54 (+0.73%) ]. Ford [F 13.04 0.06 (+0.46%) ] shares are up 30 percent in one month. “China’s rapid growth in auto sales is merely a reflection of the rise of middle class consumption patterns,” wrote Marshall Adkins, Raymond James energy analyst. “Add in increasing Chinese trucking, petrochemical and aviation consumption, and total Chinese oil demand growth in 2011 should be well north of 500,000 barrels per day and could drive over half of the global oil demand growth next year.” It’s no coincidence then that oil topped $80 this week before retreating today. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index [FXI 41.95 -0.08 (-0.19%) ], an ETF traded here on the NYSE, is supposed to be a direct play on the Chinese market, but it has underperformed China’s local market over the past month. The ETF contains only the large Chinese stocks that are listed as ADRs on US exchanges. What this data shows is that you may be better off buying a US index fund, industrial stocks or a broader emerging market ETF if you believe China is going higher. Citigroup sees the Chinese stock market rising five to 15 percent higher by the end of the year as fears of an economic slowdown are priced in. "Based on a 'no double-dip' scenario, solid growth in emerging markets, low interest rates 'for longer' and attractive valuations, we remain bullish on emerging market for the long-term, including Chinese equities," wrote Citi's Dennis. The closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange used to ripple through the rest of the world, dictating trading in Australia, Asia and Europe that followed it. No longer. The US traders’ day may be decided before he or she even wakes up. http://www.cnbc.com/id/38558580
  3. Can We Afford Liberalism Now? Paul Johnson 10.29.08, 6:00 PM ET Forbes Magazine dated November 17, 2008 The financial crisis, detonated by greed and recklessness on Wall Street and in the City of London, is for the West a deep, self-inflicted wound. The beneficiary won't be Russia, which, with its fragile, energy-based economy, is likely to suffer more than we shall; it will be India and China. They will move into any power vacuum left by the collapse of Western self-confidence. If we seriously wish to repair the damage, we need to accept that this is fundamentally a moral crisis, not a financial one. It is the product of the self-indulgence and complacency born of our ultraliberal societies, which have substituted such pseudo-religions as political correctness and saving the planet for genuine distinctions between right and wrong and the cultivation of real virtues. India and China are progress-loving yet morally old-fashioned societies. They cannot afford liberalism. Their vast populations have only recently begun to emerge from subsistence living. Their strength is in the close, hard-working family unit in which parents train their children to work diligently at school and go to university when possible so they can acquire real and useful qualifications to then go out into the world as professional men and women determined to reach the top. I am impressed at the rapid headway Indians (benefiting from their knowledge of spoken and written English) are making in all the advanced sectors of the global employment market--science, technology, medicine, communications, the law, engineering and mining. They are ousting Westerners from top jobs, and rightly so. They are better qualified, more highly motivated and more reliable and honest. They have the old-style work ethic that we, in many cases, have lost. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was sneered at for stressing the Victorian virtues of industry and thrift. But she was right. These emergent Asian professionals have precisely those virtues, which is why they're moving forward and will eventually conquer the world--not by force but by hard work, intelligence and skill. Equally impressive is the sheer physical power of the Chinese workforce. Anyone who goes to Beijing or Shanghai can't help but notice the astonishing speed at which buildings are rising. There is nothing new in this. It was once the West that taught the world how to change its skylines through fast and furious efforts. One of the first examples was the Eiffel Tower, designed by engineering genius Gustave Eiffel (who also created the Statue of Liberty's internal structure). It was the centerpiece of the Paris Exposition of 1889. Using the principles of prefabrication, the 150 to 300 workers on the site put it up in only 26 months. Another example is the Empire State Building, which officially opened on May 1, 1931. Masterpiece of the firm of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the Empire State Building was completed in only one year and 45 days, a testament to business efficiency and the determination of the dedicated workforce. We couldn't match those time frames today, despite the advances in technology, because the advances have been outstripped by an even more rapid growth in complex and idiotic planning procedures, bureaucracy, myopic trade unionism and restrictive legislation. Wake-Up Call In London today, for example, residents are infuriated and visitors horrified by the way in which the main sewer and water lines are being replaced over much of the city. The work is agonizingly slow. Contractors claim they are paralyzed by the laws (especially so-called health and safety regulations) that now govern work practices. Depending on the type of activity, these regulations can lower productivity by 15% to 25%. They don't save lives or prevent injuries; they provide lucrative jobs for bureaucrats and fit in well with the ideas of union officials on how things should be run. They are a typical by-product of a liberal society. In an earlier age New York City would have defied the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center by speedily rebuilding what they destroyed. What's happened instead is a sad and revealing story. In August China pulled off a propaganda triumph with its staging of the Summer Olympic Games, which involved huge construction projects--all completed on time. London is currently preparing for the 2012 games. All indications, so far, are that this is going to be an embarrassing and hugely expensive fiasco. I don't know whether this year's financial catastrophe will shock the politicians and people of the West into a new seriousness. There's certainly no sign of it yet. I had to laugh when a Chinese visitor recently said to me: "I see you're going back to the windmill in Britain. We Chinese cannot afford that." That comment puts things in a nutshell: We are traveling along the high road to incompetence and poverty, led by a farcical coalition of fashionably liberal academics on the make, assorted eco-crackpots and media wiseacres. This strain of liberalism is highly infectious. The Indians and Chinese have yet to be infected. They're still healthy, hard at work and going places, full speed ahead. Paul Johnson, eminent British historian and author; Lee Kuan Yew, minister mentor of Singapore; Ernesto Zedillo, director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, former president of Mexico; and David Malpass, chief economist for Bear Stearns Co., Inc., rotate in writing this column. To see past Current Events columns, visit our Web site at http://www.forbes.com/currentevents.
  4. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jk162UUpJfgGma16l7tAmrNPBShQ?docId=CNG.51741d44ded9b31056a85d8267330981.b31 Not sure any Canadians who would want to get a US Visa and start paying even more taxes. True, you will be able to work in the states, but I do not see the reward.
  5. Fri, 11/12/2010 - 19:33 A construction crew in the south-central Chinese city of Changsha has completed a 15-story hotel in just six days. Yahoo Check the U-Tube video...Freaked -out!! http://content.the-lefthander.com/drupal/aggregator/categories/2?page=3 :dizzy::applause:
  6. i'm posting this cause i can't seem to find any information about it on ssp, emporis, or anywhere else for that matter; i stumbled upon it by "accident" searching for something else on google the other day, and so far, all the news site that mention this project all seem to be from china, india or elsewhere in asia: http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC101209-0000196/Wuhan-to-have-worlds-3rd-tallest-building Wuhan to have world's 3rd-tallest building SHANGHAI - The Shanghai Greenland Group yesterday said it will invest 30 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) to develop the world's third-tallest building in Wuhan and reported revenue that will help rival the nation's biggest publicly traded developer. The company, set up in 1992 after former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's historic tour of southern provinces, will build the 606m Wuhan Greenland Centre in the central Chinese city. The three million sq m property will include luxury hotels and apartments and a conference centre when it is completed in five years, it said. "Wuhan is a very important city in central China," company chairman and president Zhang Yuliang said in an interview in Wuhan. "It's transiting from a regional centre to an international city - it has a huge market potential and it's necessary to construct a landmark building here." The new building in Wuhan, located about 900km west of Shanghai, will be higher than the 492m World Financial Centre in Shanghai, now the tallest tower in China. It will only be dwarfed by the 632m Shanghai Tower, scheduled to be completed in 2014, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest at 828m. Wuhan was ranked by ECA International this month as Asia's 25th most expensive city for expatriates, beating locations including Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur. Bloomberg
  7. China's Olympic Nightmare What the Games Mean for Beijing's Future Elizabeth C. Economy and Adam Segal From Foreign Affairs, July/August 2008 ELIZABETH C. ECONOMY is C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. ADAM SEGAL is Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Of Related Interest On the night of July 13, 2001, tens of thousands of people poured into Tiananmen Square to celebrate the International Olympic Committee's decision to award the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing. Firecrackers exploded, flags flew high, and cars honked wildly. It was a moment to be savored. Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other leaders exhorted the crowds to work together to prepare for the Olympics. "Winning the host rights means winning the respect, trust, and favor of the international community," Wang Wei, a senior Beijing Olympic official, proclaimed. The official Xinhua News Agency reveled in the moment, calling the decision "another milestone in China's rising international status and a historical event in the great renaissance of the Chinese nation." Hosting the Olympics was supposed to be a chance for China's leaders to showcase the country's rapid economic growth and modernization to the rest of the world. Domestically, it provided an opportunity for the Chinese government to demonstrate the Communist Party's competence and affirm the country's status as a major power on equal footing with the West. And wrapping itself in the values of the Olympic movement gave China the chance to portray itself not only as a rising power but also as a "peace-loving" country. For much of the lead-up to the Olympics, Beijing succeeded in promoting just such a message. The process of preparing for the Games is tailor-made to display China's greatest political and economic strengths: the top-down mobilization of resources, the development and execution of grand-scale campaigns to reform public behavior, and the ability to attract foreign interest and investment to one of the world's brightest new centers of culture and business. Mobilizing massive resources for large infrastructure projects comes easily to China. Throughout history, China's leaders have drawn on the ingenuity of China's massive population to realize some of the world's most spectacular construction projects, the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, and the Three Gorges Dam among them. The Olympic construction spree has been no different. Beijing has built 19 new venues for the events, doubled the capacity of the subway, and added a new terminal to the airport. Neighborhoods throughout the city have been either spruced up to prepare for Olympic visitors or simply cleared out to make room for new Olympic sites. Official government spending for the construction bonanza is nearing $40 billion. In anticipation of the Olympics, the government has also embarked on a series of efforts to transform individual behavior and modernize the capital city. It has launched etiquette campaigns forbidding spitting, smoking, littering, and cutting in lines and introduced programs to teach English to cab drivers, police officers, hotel workers, and waiters. City officials have used Olympic projects as a means to refurbish decaying buildings and reduce air pollution, water shortages, and traffic jams. Yet even as Beijing has worked tirelessly to ensure the most impressive of Olympic spectacles, it is clear that the Games have come to highlight not only the awesome achievements of the country but also the grave shortcomings of the current regime. Few in the central leadership seem to have anticipated the extent to which the Olympic Games would stoke the persistent political challenges to the legitimacy of the Communist Party and the stability of the country. Demands for political liberalization, greater autonomy for Tibet, increased pressure on Sudan, better environmental protection, and an improved product-safety record now threaten to put a damper on the country's coming-out party. As the Olympic torch circled the globe with legions of protesters in tow, Beijing's Olympic dream quickly turned into a public-relations nightmare. Although the Chinese government excels when it comes to infrastructure projects, its record is poor when it comes to transparency, official accountability, and the rule of law. It has responded clumsily to internal and external political challenges -- by initially ignoring the international community's desire for China to play a more active role in resolving the human rights crisis in Darfur, arresting prominent Chinese political activists, and cracking down violently on demonstrators. Although there is no organized opposition unified around this set of demands, the cacophony of voices pressuring China to change its policies has taken much of the luster off of the Beijing Games. Moreover, although the Communist Party has gained domestic support from the nationalist backlash that has arisen in response to the Tibetan protesters and their supporters in the West, it also worries that this public anger will spin out of control, further damaging the country's international reputation. Already, China's coveted image as a responsible rising power has been tarnished. For many in the international community, it has now become impossible to separate the competing narratives of China's awe-inspiring development and its poor record on human rights and the environment. It is no longer possible to discuss China's future without taking its internal fault lines seriously. For the Chinese government, the stakes are huge. China's credibility as a global leader, its potential as a model for the developing world, and its position as an emerging center of global business and culture are all at risk if these political challenges cannot be peacefully and successfully addressed. TIANANMEN'S GHOSTS Nothing has threatened to ruin China's Olympic moment as much as criticism of the country's repressive political system. China lost its bid for the 2000 Summer Olympics to Sydney, Australia, at least in part because of the memory of the violent Tiananmen Square crackdown of June 1989. When China made its bid for the 2008 Games, Liu Jingmin, vice president of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee, argued, "By allowing Beijing to host the Games, you will help the development of human rights." François Carrard, director general of the International Olympic Committee, warily supported such a sentiment: acknowledging the seriousness of China's human rights violations, he nonetheless explained, "We are taking the bet that seven years from now ... we shall see many changes." Few would place such a bet today. For months, human rights activists, democracy advocates, and ethnic minorities in China have been pressuring the government to demonstrate its commitment to greater political freedom. For many of them, the Olympics highlight the yawning gap between the very attractive face that Beijing presents to the world and the much uglier political reality at home. Exactly one year before the Olympics, a group of 40 prominent Chinese democracy supporters posted an open letter online denouncing the Olympic glitz and glamour. "We know too well how these glories are built on the ruins of the lives of ordinary people, on the forced removal of urban migrants, and on the sufferings of victims of brutal land grabbing, forced eviction, exploitation of labor, and arbitrary detention," they wrote. "All this violates the Olympic spirit." Even Ai Weiwei, an artistic consultant for Beijing's signature "Bird's Nest" stadium, has been critical of the Chinese government. He declared in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, "The government wants to use these games to celebrate itself and its policy of opening up China .... By now, it has become clear to me that this hope of liberalization cannot be fulfilled .... The system won't allow it." Protests have arisen around virtually every Olympic Games in recent history, but Beijing, with its authoritarian political system, is uniquely threatened by dissenting voices, and it has responded with a traditional mix of intimidation, imprisonment, and violent repression. Teng Biao, a lawyer and human rights activist, was seized in March 2008, held by plainclothes police for two days, and warned to stop writing critically about the Olympics. Yang Chunlin, a land-rights activist, was arrested for inciting subversion because he had gathered more than 10,000 signatures from farmers whose property had been expropriated by officials for development projects. After a 20-minute trial, he was sentenced to five years in prison. In April, the HIV/AIDS activist Hu Jia, who was also one of the authors of the open letter, was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for subversion, after being held under house arrest for several months along with his wife and baby daughter. Although the vast majority of Chinese are probably unaware of these protests and arrests, Beijing's overreaction demonstrates how fearful the Chinese government is that any dissent or protests could garner broader political support and threaten the party's authority. CRASHING THE PARTY The international community has also raised its own human rights concerns. For more than a year, China has endured heightened scrutiny of its close economic and political ties to Sudan. A coalition of U.S. celebrities and international human rights activists has ratcheted up the pressure on Beijing to do more to help bring an end to the atrocities in Darfur, labeling the 2008 Olympics "the genocide Olympics." The very public attention they have brought to China's relations with the Sudanese government prompted the movie director Steven Spielberg to withdraw as the artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games. It also seems to have had some effect on Beijing, which now strives to appear as if it is placing more pressure on Khartoum. The Chinese government's questionable human rights record has received even more scrutiny since its violent suppression of Tibetan demonstrators in the spring. In March, Tibetan Buddhist monks marched to commemorate the 49th anniversary of Tibet's failed independence uprising and to call for greater autonomy for Tibet and the return of their exiled religious leader, the Dalai Lama. The demonstrations soon escalated into violent protests. Chinese police forcefully cracked down on the protesters in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and throughout other Tibetan areas of western China, leaving more than a hundred dead and injuring hundreds more. Ignoring international calls for restraint, Beijing closed off much of the affected region, detained or expelled foreign journalists from the area, and created a "most wanted" list of Tibetan protesters. All independent sources of news, including broadcasts by foreign television stations and YouTube videos, were blacked out in China, and text messages in and out of Tibet were filtered. Vitriolic government propaganda condemned the Dalai Lama as a "wolf in monk's robes" and a "devil with a human face but the heart of a beast." Chinese officials accused the "evil Dalai clique" of attempting to restore "feudalist serfdom" in the region and called for a "people's war" against it. The international community immediately condemned the crackdown and called for Beijing to resume negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Czech President Václav Klaus, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk have since announced that they will not be attending the Olympics' opening ceremonies. As the Olympic torch made its way across the globe, the number of protesters along its path ballooned, from a few in Athens to thousands in London, Paris, San Francisco, and Seoul. These large-scale disruptions of Olympic pageantry humiliated the Chinese government and angered Chinese citizens, producing a wave of nationalist counterdemonstrations by Chinese living abroad and millions of virulent anti-Western posts on Chinese Web sites. A bit more than a month after Beijing's initial crackdown, senior Chinese leaders indicated a willingness to meet with the Dalai Lama's envoys. But this does not represent a fundamental shift in policy; it is merely a stopgap measure designed to quell the international outrage. WAITING TO INHALE Although some foreign athletes have joined the chorus of China's critics, the more immediate concern for many Olympians will be whether Beijing can ensure clean air and safe food for the duration of the Games. The city has reportedly spent as much as $16 billion to deliver a "green Olympics"; many of the Olympic sites showcase a number of clean-energy and water-conservation technologies, and for the past seven years the city has been shutting down many of the biggest polluters and steadily weaning the city's energy infrastructure off coal, replacing it with natural gas. On February 26, senior Chinese officials formally announced a more sweeping effort, including restrictions on heavy industry in five neighboring provinces surrounding Beijing, a ban on construction in the months immediately preceding the Olympics, and plans to compensate car owners for staying off the road during the Games. But pollution levels in Beijing are still far above average. On a typical day, the city's air pollution is three times as bad as the standard deemed safe by the World Health Organization. Last August, an air-quality test revealed that pollution levels in the city had barely improved despite one-third of the cars having been removed from the city's roads. Even some senior Chinese officials have reservations about the prospects for a green Olympics. The mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong, admitted in early 2008 that bringing traffic and environmental pollution under control by the time the Games begin would be an "arduous" task. After all, there are few economic incentives for businesses to reduce pollution; the central government routinely calls on local officials and businesses to clean up their act to no effect. Many factory managers have agreed to slow production during the Olympics but not to shut down. In the brutally competitive Chinese economy, closing factories for several weeks could well spell the end of those enterprises unless the government provides significant financial compensation. Meanwhile, corruption flourishes, and local officials openly flout environmental laws and regulations. In January 2008, it was revealed by a Western environmental consultant, Steven Andrews, that officials in Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau had for several years been skewing the city's air-quality data by eliminating readings from some monitoring stations in heavily congested areas. Faced with the prospect of dangerously high levels of air pollution during the Games, International Olympic Committee officials have warned that competition in endurance sports, such as the marathon and long-distance cycling, might be postponed or even canceled. The world's fastest marathon runner, Haile Gebrselassie, has already withdrawn from the Olympic race for fear that air pollution might permanently damage his health. Many athletes are planning to take precautions, such as arriving in Beijing as late as possible, coming well equipped with medication for possible asthma attacks, and wearing masks once there. Beijing's capacity to provide safe food and clean water for the athletes is also in question. In the past year, China has endured a rash of scandals involving food tainted with steroids and insecticides, and as much as half of the bottled water in Beijing does not meet potable-water standards. Some teams, such as the United States' and Australia's, have announced that they will be bringing some or all of their own food and that their bottled water will be supplied by Coca-Cola. Olympic officials have put in place a massive food-security apparatus that will track the athletes' food from the producers and distributors to the Olympic Village. Having promised a safe and green Olympics, Beijing must now deliver. Otherwise, it risks irrevocably damaging the historic legacy of the 2008 Games. BEIJING'S BLIND SPOT Beijing's failure to respond creatively to its critics and effectively manage its environmental and product-safety issues reveals a certain political myopia. China's leaders have long been aware that opponents of the regime would try to disrupt the Olympics. They prepared extensively for disturbances by developing a citywide network of surveillance cameras and training, outfitting, and deploying riot squads and other special police. They also made some attempts to defuse international hostility, such as offering to renew the human rights dialogue with Washington that was suspended in 2004 and publicly pressuring Khartoum to accept a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force. But Beijing has been unable to counter the images emanating from Darfur and Tibet. Chinese leaders simply saw no relationship between the pageantry of the Olympics and Tibet, Sudan, or broader human rights concerns, and they never figured out how to engage and disarm those who did. They continue to fail in this regard. As a result, tensions will run high until the end of the Games. There are also real worries that with the spotlight focused on Beijing during the Games, some of the opposition to the regime could take an extreme form. For example, Chinese security forces have expressed concern that activists from the religious movement Falun Gong might attempt to immolate themselves in Tiananmen Square. Because of such concerns, the 30,000 journalists covering the Games may find themselves straitjacketed when reporting on controversial stories. And despite recent assurances that a live feed from Beijing will be allowed and that the Internet will be uncensored in China, the government has yet to fulfill its promise to allow foreign journalists unfettered access throughout the country. The Chinese public is already angry about what it sees as a pervasive bias toward Tibet and disrespect of China in the Western media. Chinese citizens are likely to view any disturbances of the Games as an effort to embarrass the country and undermine China's rise. Foreign media, corporations, and governments might all bear the brunt of the sort of nationalist backlash that the French retailer Carrefour endured -- in the form of a consumer boycott -- in the wake of the disrupted torch ceremony in Paris. The combination of demonstrators desperate for the world's attention and the heightened nationalism of Chinese citizens makes for an extremely combustible situation. The official Beijing Olympic motto of "One World, One Dream" suggests an easy cosmopolitanism, but Chinese nationalist sentiment will be running high during the Games, stoked by the heat of competition. In the past, sporting events in China, in particular soccer matches against Japanese teams, have led to ugly riots, and the same could happen during the Olympics. If the Games do not go well, there will be infighting and blame shifting within the party's central leadership, and it will likely adopt a bunker mentality. Vice President Xi Jinping, the government's point man on the Olympics and President Hu Jintao's heir apparent, would likely face challenges to his presumed leadership. A poor outcome for the Games could engender another round of nationalist outbursts and Chinese citizens decrying what they see as racism, anti-Chinese bias, and a misguided sense of Western superiority. This inflamed form of Chinese nationalism could be the most enduring and dangerous outcome of the protests surrounding the Olympics. If the international community does not welcome China's rise, the Chinese people may ask themselves why China should be bound by its rules. As a result, Beijing may find the room it has for foreign policy maneuvering more restricted by public opinion. This form of heightened nationalism has occasionally hurt the Chinese government, as happened after a U.S. spy plane was shot down over China in 2001. When the crew was eventually released, an outraged Chinese public accused the government of weakness and kowtowing to the West. More recently, despite a decade of increasingly close economic, political, and cultural ties between Beijing and Seoul, South Koreans were outraged by the Chinese counterprotests during the Olympic torch ceremony; in response, the South Korean government imposed tight restrictions on the number of Chinese students permitted to study in the country. Sensing the potentially damaging consequences of a prolonged nationalist backlash, the official Chinese media began signaling in May that it was time for people to move on, focus on economic development, and steer clear of staging counterprotests and boycotting Western companies. The barrage of criticism China has endured prior to the Olympics may have brought a short-term gain in forcing the Chinese leadership to agree to meet with the Dalai Lama's envoys, but real reform of China's Tibet policy or a broader willingness to embrace domestic reforms is unlikely to follow in the near term. Nevertheless, the current controversy could yield positive results in the long run. Beijing's Olympic trials and tribulations could provoke soul searching among China's leaders and demonstrate to them that their hold on domestic stability and the country's continued rise depend on greater transparency and accountability and a broader commitment to human rights. Already, some Chinese bloggers, intellectuals, and journalists, such as Wang Lixiong and Chang Ping, have seized the moment to call for less nationalist rhetoric and more thoughtful engagement of outside criticism. The nationalist outburst has provided them with an opening to ask publicly how Chinese citizens can legitimately attack Western media organizations if their own government does not allow them to watch media outlets such as CNN and the BBC. Similarly, they have used the Olympics as a springboard to discuss the significance of Taiwan's thriving democracy for the mainland's own political future, the need for rethinking China's approach to Tibet, and the desirability of an open press. Whatever the longer-term implications of the 2008 Olympics, what has transpired thus far bears little resemblance to Beijing's dreams of Olympic glory. Rather than basking in the admiration of the world, China is beset by internal protests and international condemnation. The world is increasingly doubtful that Beijing will reform politically and become a responsible global actor. The Olympics were supposed to put these questions to bed, not raise them all anew. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080701faessay87403-p0/elizabeth-c-economy-adam-segal/china-s-olympic-nightmare.html
  8. Surtout des investisseurs chinois, comme on l'a vu pour le projet Séville.. via The Gazette A foreign attraction to Montreal’s real estate market BY ALLISON LAMPERT, GAZETTE REAL ESTATE REPORTER NOVEMBER 23, 2013 4:55 PM People are seen waiting outside the offices for the Seville condos on St-Catherine St. W. in 2010. Photograph by: Dario Ayala, The Gazette The Seville Condo project has a sign, in English, French and Mandarin, that says “Do you know the person you let in without any fob? Please swipe your fob to show you live here” in the front entrance of the condo building on Ste-Catherine St. W. because of the large number of owners who are recent immigrants from China, or who have bought to rent out as an investment. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway, The Gazette MONTREAL — Down the street from Montreal’s old Forum, in a bustling neighbourhood now dotted with Chinese noodle shops, ethnic grocers and new construction, the sign on the door of the Le Seville condo building asks residents in French, English and Chinese: “Do you know the person you let in?” Since last year’s annual meeting — when some condo owners from China had difficulty following the discussion — the board of directors has been translating important material — such as the sign on the door and the building’s annual budget — into Chinese. “It was clear that the Chinese buyers needed to have access to a language they’d understand, like everyone else in the building,” said condo board president Colin Danby, who learned Mandarin during seven years spent in Taiwan. “Not everything is translated. But as a board, we take that step when it is something important like building security.” Residents estimate that between 20 to 40 per cent of the Seville’s co-owners are either Chinese Canadian, recent immigrants who own neighbouring shops in the area known as Shaughnessy Village, or are foreign investors from China. They bought into the sold-out first phase of the 477-unit Seville in 2010 — when low interest rates and an economy that had emerged relatively well from the 2008 financial crisis drove demand for Montreal condos to near-record highs. While the vast majority of foreign real estate buyers in Canada have focused on Toronto and Vancouver, investors from China, Middle East and Europe also helped fuel Montreal’s condo boom, which peaked in 2012. In 2011, Montreal had the second highest number of permits and starts for new condos of any city in North America. Toronto was in first place. “More inventory, more investors,” said Alexandre Sieber, senior managing director of Quebec operations for real-estate services firm CBRE Ltd. “As you build inventory, you are diversifying the investor base.” Some firms estimate that up to 20 per cent of Montreal condos bought as rental properties — or to be flipped for a profit — were purchased by foreign buyers searching for inexpensive prices in a comparatively stable market. Foreign investors have also bought small multi-unit buildings for use as student rentals and are showing interest in large properties, including vast tracts of land in the Laurentians, brokers say. Just like Vancouver, or Toronto, there is no hard data for the number of foreign real-estate investors in Montreal. But two foreign buyers, along with half-a-dozen commercial and residential real estate brokers, told The Gazette that sales to foreigners and landed-immigrants in areas like Westmount and LaSalle are on the upswing. And Asian and Middle Eastern money is behind at least two new large sites downtown that are being promoted for residential development. “We’re certainly seeing an increase in foreign buyers, especially from China,” said Robert MacDougall, senior vice-president for investment sales and special projects at the commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. MacDougall said about 10 to 20 per cent of his offers on properties now come from foreign investors, mostly Asians. In addition to the foreigners who’ve long been purchasing condos for their adult children attending McGill and Concordia universities, people who have recently arrived from Asia are also buying homes in Westmount to be close to their kids’ private schools, brokers say. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada estimated recently that half of the luxury properties sold in Montreal this year were purchased by foreigners. “Two or three years ago, I had the odd buyer show up from China. That was kind of a novelty,” recalled Brian Dutch, a broker with Re/Max DuCartier, who specializes in the Westmount market. “Then all of a sudden, there was another Chinese broker calling for an appointment. And then there’s another. “From it being the odd one, there are now at least two inquiries on a weekly basis.” While foreign buyers are appreciated by the real estate industry because they purchase properties in a relatively soft housing market, investors from Asia and the Middle East have been blamed for driving up home prices in Vancouver. Economists have warned that foreign buyers also create a more volatile market driven by yields, rather than by fundamentals like having a place to live. In Montreal, there have been a few instances of buyers from other countries failing to show up at the notary’s office, after signing contracts — and leaving hefty deposits — to purchase homes. But Montreal brokers have yet to see widespread bidding wars with Asian or Middle Eastern buyers willing to pay above-market prices. “I have seen those kinds of news stories from Toronto and Vancouver (about inflated prices), but my clients are more cautious,” said Jason Yu, a broker with the Brossard-based agency Esta Agence, whose commercial and residential buyers are mostly recent immigrants from China. Yu, who’s worked with Dutch on multiple sales to Chinese buyers in Westmount, said several of his clients are wealthy Asian families moving to Montreal as part of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program. A decade ago, Yu and his family came to Canada from China as immigrant investors under a program that requires applicants with a net worth of at least $1.6 million to make an $800,000 interest-free loan to the government for five years. The Quebec program — which mirrors a federal one that’s now frozen and does not accept new applicants — remains hotly debated, amid criticism that 90 per cent of the mostly Asian arrivals promptly move elsewhere in Canada, while their $800,000 stays in la Belle Province. Quebec’s quota for 2013-2014 is 1,750 immigrant investors. Despite the large number who leave, Yu says that he also sees immigrants who choose to stay in Montreal. In the last few months, three of his Chinese clients purchased homes in Westmount, while a fourth is looking to buy downtown condos as an investment. She said the family moved to Montreal largely for her daughter’s education. One immigrant from Shanghai described how her family moved to Westmount a few years ago through the Quebec investor program. Her husband is working in China right now while she raises their daughter and takes French classes in Quebec. “We made the decision very quickly, based largely on what a friend from China who lived in Montreal told us,” said the woman, who spoke to The Gazette on condition that her name wouldn’t be published. “We didn’t even know about Bill 101.” The language law hasn’t affected the family, since her daughter is enrolled at a non-subsidized English girls’ school, where she is learning both official languages. She said she’s constantly meeting new recent immigrants from China. Last week, the woman received a call from Dutch, who had been her real estate broker when she bought her home. Dutch invited her to meet a newcomer from Shanghai who had an accepted offer on a house in the area. Dutch also invited the newcomer’s neighbour, a recent arrival from Beijing. “I called my client to come over because I wanted as much for her and for them to get to know each other,” Dutch said. “Everyone was busy on their iPhones, sharing contact information and yacking away in Mandarin. It was fun. “It’s something we haven’t seen before.” Also new is the tendency of immigrant investors — even ones who leave Quebec — to purchase properties in Montreal. “Will they stay? History says they won’t, but they are making investments here,” said Eric Goodman, owner of Century 21 Vision in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. He described one new condo project in LaSalle, where 80 per cent of the units were sold to Chinese buyers, including recent immigrants, or investors who are still in China. “They are buying them as investments and they are buying them for family members who may come in the future,” said Goodman. “They are always looking for places to put their money. They feel it is safe to build here, even if they’re not going to make as much of a return as in Toronto.” Goodman’s agency also sold the land to the developers behind the YUL mixed condo and townhouse project on René Lévesque Blvd. near Lucien L’Allier Rd. The YUL project, backed by Chinese investors, is being marketed to foreign as well as local buyers. Adjacent to YUL, land on René Lévesque Blvd. next to Guy St. has been purchased by investors from Qatar who intend to launch their Babylon residential development this spring. The downtown area has proven attractive to investors because of the large pool of student tenants, and the limited construction of new rental buildings to replace the city’s aging stock. Indeed, investors — who make up an estimated 40 per cent of owners at Seville — generated such demand for the project that people were lining up at 10 a.m., a day before the sales office opened in 2010. Colin Danby, now condo board president for the Seville’s phase 1, arrived at 3 p.m. He was No. 58 in line, he recalled. The crowd was so large that by 8 p.m., developer Groupe Prével decided to give out tickets to buyers. And just like the hockey scalpers outside the old Forum in the 1970s, “authorized” Seville buyers were said to be hawking condo tickets on the street for $5,000 each. [email protected] Twitter: RealDealMtl © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  9. It is among the cities most heavily indebted and at risk of defaulting on its loans, according to Nomura Holdings Inc By Enda Curran - Jun 10, 2015, 20:21:07 Under a plan approved by China's State Council yesterday, Wenzhou will develop more types of bonds and allow trading of unlisted equities, technology and cultural products, according to a statement on the government’s website. Wenzhou is among the Chinese cities most heavily indebted and at risk of defaulting on its loans, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. In a new analysis described as one of the first of its kind, Nomura has dug into China's lending trail to see which cities and provinces are creaking under debt. They examined credit risks covering 30 provincial authorities and 265 cities. The report comes as bad loans and defaults in China tick higher and local governments struggle to meet repayments after years of binge borrowing to build roads and bridges and keep the economy growing. Mizuho Securities Asia estimates China's regional liabilities have now reached 25 trillion yuan ($4 trillion), bigger than Germany’s economy. Here's what Nomura's research found: the highest default risk is concentrated in the coastal and western provinces. Central China fares better. The danger provinces include Qinghai, Zhejiang, Liaoning, Hainan, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guizhou, Gansu, Chongqing and Heilongjiang. "Assessing the geographic distribution of risks is becoming increasingly important, particularly as China’s bond market is on the verge of explosive growth," Nomura analysts led by Yang Zhao wrote in the report. Among the cities, about 60 so-called third and fourth-tier cities carry the highest risk. These include: Datong in Shanxi province, followed by Sanya in Hainan, Wulanchabu in Inner Mongolia, Ganzhou and Shangrao in Jiangxi, Lishui in Zhejiang, Wenzhou in Zhejiang and Bazhong in Sichuan. First-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai fared better in the analysis, helped by stronger economic fundamentals. Nomura used 13 indicators that cover four risk areas: property market, fiscal, financial and economic fundamentals. China isn't the only country with heavily indebted cities or state governments. In the U.S., Detroit and Stockton, California both emerged from bankruptcy in the past year. It's the pace of Chinese borrowing and a lack of transparency around how much debt there is that has investors worried. Nomura estimates that China's local government bond market may balloon from around 1.2 trillion yuan to 12 trillion yuan by 2020. A string of defaults would gum up the lending system, bring economic growth to a halt and runs the risk of social unrest. So the idea is to keep the credit flowing. http://bloom.bg/1cMoOph Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/technology-video/video/article23405561/
  11. For their latest museum design in Beijing, Ben van Berkel and UNStudio have designed a formal expression which takes ques from Chinese culture to create an architecture that offers dynamically varied spaces for the NAMOC collections. Based on uniting dualities – past and future, day and night, inside and outside, calm and dynamic, large and small, individual and collective – the two volumes reference ancient Chinese ‘stone drums’ and function in a contemporary way as a media facade with illuminated art projections. The museum focuses on creating varied galleries for the artwork that offer extensive lighting possibilities and ample wall space in order to provide artists and curators with the optimal conditions in which to display their work and communicate their ideas. The circulation is divided into different routes which lead different visitor groups around themed sequences of art and additional programs. “Whilst the architecture of the museum is represented by the ancient artifact of the stone drum, the art within represents its spirit, or its “essence”. In the same way that the agile strokes of ink in a Chinese painting give spirit to a blank piece of paper, the art collection gives spirit to the museum,” explained the designers. In addition to the interior spaces, the museum’s situation within the urban context was of utmost importance. The public urban plinth plateaus of the cultural district serve as connectors to bridge the city with the museum by connecting the street level, the the underground, and the museum volumes. http://www.archdaily.com/189675/national-art-museum-of-china-unstudio/
  12. Article January 14, 2011 By KEITH BRADSHER BEIJING — Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States. But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China. The factory closing in Devens, Mass., which Evergreen announced earlier this week, has set off political recriminations and finger-pointing in Massachusetts. And it comes just as President Hu Jintao of China is scheduled for a state visit next week to Washington, where the agenda is likely to include tensions between the United States and China over trade and energy policy. The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products. While a few types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports — something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules. Although solar energy still accounts for only a tiny fraction of American power production, declining prices and concerns about global warming give solar power a prominent place in United States plans for a clean energy future — even if critics say the federal government is still not doing enough to foster its adoption. Beyond the issues of trade and jobs, solar power experts see broader implications. They say that after many years of relying on unstable governments in the Middle East for oil, the United States now looks likely to rely on China to tap energy from the sun. Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone. Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China. “While the United States and other Western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,” he said. Even though Evergreen opened its Devens plant, with all new equipment, only in 2008, it began talks with Chinese companies in early 2009. In September 2010, the company opened its factory in Wuhan, China, and will now rely on that operation. An Evergreen spokesman said Mr. El-Hillow was not available to comment for this article. Other solar panel manufacturers are also struggling in the United States. Solyndra, a Silicon Valley business, received a visit from President Obama in May and a $535 million federal loan guarantee, only to say in November that it was shutting one of its two American plants and would delay expansion of the other. First Solar, an American company, is one of the world’s largest solar power vendors. But most of its products are made overseas. Chinese solar panel manufacturers accounted for slightly over half the world’s production last year. Their share of the American market has grown nearly sixfold in the last two years, to 23 percent in 2010 and is still rising fast, according to GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to solar energy, China just passed the United States as the world’s largest builder and installer of wind turbines. The closing of the Evergreen factory has prompted finger-pointing in Massachusetts. Ian A. Bowles, the former energy and environment chief for Gov. Deval L. Patrick, a Democrat who pushed for the solar panel factory to be located in Massachusetts, said the federal government had not helped the American industry enough or done enough to challenge Chinese government subsidies for its industry. Evergreen has received no federal money. “The federal government has brought a knife to a gun fight,” Mr. Bowles said. “Its support is completely out of proportion to the support displayed by China — and even to that in Europe.” Stephanie Mueller, the Energy Department press secretary, said the department was committed to supporting renewable energy. “Through our Loan Program Office we have offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees to 16 clean energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion,” she said. “We have finalized and closed half of those loan guarantees, and the program has ramped up significantly over the last year to move projects through the process quickly and efficiently while protecting taxpayer interests.” Evergreen did not try to go through the long, costly process of obtaining a federal loan because of what it described last summer as signals from the department that its technology was too far along and not in need of research and development assistance. The Energy Department has a policy of not commenting on companies that do not apply. Evergreen was selling solar panels made in Devens for $3.39 a watt at the end of 2008 and planned to cut its costs to $2 a watt by the end of last year — a target it met. But Evergreen found that by the end of the fourth quarter, it could fetch only $1.90 a watt for its Devens-made solar panels, while Chinese manufacturers were selling them for as little as $1 a watt. Evergreen’s joint-venture factory in Wuhan occupies a long, warehouselike concrete building in an industrial park located in an inauspicious neighborhood. A local employee said the municipal police had used the site for mass executions into the 1980s. When a reporter was given a rare tour inside the building just before it began mass production in September, the operation appeared as modern as any in the world. Row after row of highly automated equipment stretched toward the two-story-high ceiling in an immaculate, brightly lighted white hall. Chinese technicians closely watched the computer screens monitoring each step in the production processes. In a telephone interview in August, Mr. El-Hillow said that he was desperate to avoid layoffs at the Devens factory. But he said Chinese state-owned banks and municipal governments were offering unbeatable assistance to Chinese solar panel companies. Factory labor is cheap in China, where monthly wages average less than $300. That compares to a statewide average of more than $5,400 a month for Massachusetts factory workers. But labor is a tiny share of the cost of running a high-tech solar panel factory, Mr. El-Hillow said. China’s real advantage lies in the ability of solar panel companies to form partnerships with local governments and then obtain loans at very low interest rates from state-owned banks. Evergreen, with help from its partners — the Wuhan municipal government and the Hubei provincial government — borrowed two-thirds of the cost of its Wuhan factory from two Chinese banks, at an interest rate that under certain conditions could go as low as 4.8 percent, Mr. El-Hillow said in August. Best of all, no principal payments or interest payments will be due until the end of the loan in 2015. By contrast, a $21 million grant from Massachusetts covered 5 percent of the cost of the Devens factory, and the company had to borrow the rest from banks, Mr. El-Hillow said. Banks in the United States were reluctant to provide the rest of the money even at double-digit interest rates, partly because of the financial crisis. “Therein lies the hidden advantage of being in China,” Mr. El-Hillow said. Devens, as the site of a former military base, is a designated enterprise zone eligible for state financial support. State Senator Jamie Eldridge, a Democrat whose district includes Devens, said he was initially excited for Evergreen to come to his district, but even before the announced loss of 800 jobs, he had come to oppose such large corporate assistance. “I think there’s been a lot of hurt feelings over these subsidies to companies, while a lot of communities around the former base have not seen development money,” he said. Michael McCarthy, a spokesman for Evergreen, said the company had already met 80 percent of the grant’s job creation target by employing up to 800 factory workers since 2008 and should owe little money to the state. Evergreen also retains about 100 research and administrative jobs in Massachusetts. The company also received about $22 million in tax credits, and it will discuss those with Massachusetts, he said. Evergreen has had two unique problems that made its Devens factory vulnerable to Chinese competition. It specializes in an unusual kind of wafer, making it hard to share research and development costs with other companies. And it was hurt when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008; Evergreen lost one-seventh of its outstanding shares in a complex transaction involving convertible notes. But many other Western solar power companies are also running into trouble, as competition from China coincides with uncertainty about the prices at which Western regulators will let solar farms sell electricity to national grids. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, shares in solar companies fell an average of 26 percent last year. Evergreen’s stock, which traded above $100 in late 2007, closed Friday in New York at $3.03. Tom Zeller Jr. in New York and Katie Zezima in Boston contributed reporting.