中國農曆新年大遷徙 – China’s Annual New Year Migration – CBC radio program “The Current”

January 19, 2011

From CBC radio program “The Current” about China’s Annual Migration. Highly recommended. The following are program info from CBC. See here, here, here, and my interview with Lixin for more info about Lixin Fan’s “Last Train Home” (some have video clips).

Last Train Home will be released on DVD on February 22nd, 2011.

“China’s Annual Migration
We are two weeks away from the Chinese New Year and the largest annual human migration on the planet. Nearly 150 million Chinese have migrated to cities in search of work. And the trip home for the holidays isn’t going to be easy.


China’s Annual Migration – Lixin Fan

We started this segment with the sound of the world’s largest annual human migration. It happens around Chinese New Year. Tens of millions of people who migrated to China’s cities in search of work leave those cities and go back home to their families in the countryside. There are at least 150 million rural migrant workers in China. And as you can hear, a lot of them pass through the Guangzhou train station in southern China.

In two weeks, that annual migration will begin again. Amidst the sea of humanity, it’s easy for individual stories to get lost. Lixin Fan is a Chinese-Canadian documentary film-maker who follows one family caught up in the move from the countryside to the city and back again in Last Train Home. The film has just been nominated for the Directors Guild of America prize. Lixin Fan was in New York City.

Last Train Home will be released on DVD on February 22nd.

While many Chinese migrate from the countryside to the cities, many others stay behind. We hear the story of one woman who lives in a small village called Hazelnut Valley or Da Jen Yu. It’s about an hour from of Beijing. She’s 58. All of her children have left home. Her son lives in Beijing and makes a living as a driver working for foreigners.”


Canadian’s Abroad – Business News Network 11-01-14

January 15, 2011

Have a watch of this video. Very insightful, highly recommended.

BNN SqueezePlay : January 14, 2011 : Canadian’s Abroad [01-14-11 5:30 PM]

“Three million Canadian’s live abroad. And some estimates say that number could double over the next decade. BNN speaks with John Ralston Saul, author, “A Fair Country” & President, PEN International & Co-chair, Institute For Canadian Citizenship.”

Canadian directed 歸途列車 (Last Train Home) nominated for DGA documentary prize

January 14, 2011

Here is a Mandarin interview with the director Lixin Fan (訪紀錄片歸途列車導演范立新) posted on Dec 7, 2010 conducted by a US TV station.

"Last Train Home" Review - pix 1

I am excited to report the Lixin Fan directed Canadian made ‘Last Train Home‘ is nominated for DGA Documentary Prize.

Last Train Home, a documentary that looks at Chinese peasants, and four other documentaries that focus on various hot-button topics from the American scene, have been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for its outstanding directorial achievement in documentary.”

Congrats Lixin, I am really excited for Lixin as ‘Last Train Home‘ is his debut film!

Check out my previous entries about the film,

* My March 2010 interview with Lixin Fan, director of “Last Train Home”

* “Last Train Home” directed by Lixin Fan is one of TIFF Top 10 feature films

* “Last Train Home” Review – 130 million Chinese migrant workers making inexpensive “Made in China” goods possible

* NYT article, “Following Workers’ Trails of Tears in China”

Also check out Roger Ebert’s review of the film.

Here is a trailer of the film,

The Dating Surplus for Chinese Women

January 2, 2011

Here is an interesting quote, “In a now famous moment from a Chinese dating show, a female contestant rejected a suitor with the iconic line, “I would rather cry in the back of a BMW than laugh on the back of a bicycle.””


Check out Dollars and Sex “The Dating Surplus for Chinese Women”.

[HT G&M]


December 31, 2010

My friend started a new column, here is a link to the first entry of “法律、管制與經濟增長”專欄. Check it out.


December 29, 2010

I would like to wish Prof. Ronald Coase good health and all the best on his 100th Birthday (Dec 29th, 2010) and his new book to be published in 2011 (see attached Economist article)! “… Mr Coase will publish a new book in 2011, withNing Wang of Arizona State University, on “How China Became Capitalist”

By the way, I have watched the following lecture videos by Prof. Coase probably over 5-10 times already and I am still learning something new every time. Enjoy. Note: More info after the videos.

Also check out the following,

– (video) Ronald Coase: “Markets, Firms and Property Rights”

Audio (downloadable) Ronald H. Coase: The 17th Annual Coase Lecture

– Ronald Coase Discusses Global Warming Regulation – Of Individual Liberty and Cap and Trade

– For the record, from Economist,

Why do firms exist? – Ronald Coase, the author of “The Nature of the Firm” (1937), turns 100 on December 29th
Schumpeter Dec 16th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION

FOR philosophers the great existential question is: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” For management theorists the more mundane equivalent is: “Why do firms exist? Why isn’t everything done by the market?”

Today most people live in a market economy, and central planning is remembered as the greatest economic disaster of the 20th century. Yet most people also spend their working lives in centrally planned bureaucracies called firms. They stick with the same employer for years, rather than regularly returning to the jobs market. They labour to fulfil the “strategic plans” of their corporate commissars. John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company made him the richest man in America in the 1840s. But it never consisted of more than a handful of people. Today Astor’s company would not register as a blip on the corporate horizon. Firms routinely employ thousands of workers and move billions of dollars-worth of goods and services within their borders.

Why have these “islands of conscious power” survived in the surrounding “ocean of unconscious co-operation”, to borrow a phrase from D.H. Robertson, an economist? Classical economics had little to say about this question. Adam Smith opened “The Wealth of Nations” with a wonderful description of the division of labour in a pin factory, but he said nothing about the bosses who hired the pin-makers or the managers who organised them. Smith’s successors said even less, either ignoring the pin factory entirely or treating it as a tedious black box. They preferred to focus on the sea rather than the islands.

Who knows the secret of the black box?

The man who restored the pin factory to its rightful place at the heart of economic theory celebrates his 100th birthday on December 29th. The economics profession was slow to recognise Ronald Coase’s genius. He first expounded his thinking about the firm in a lecture in Dundee in 1932, when he was just 21 years old. Nobody much listened. He published “The Nature of the Firm” five years later. It went largely unread. Read the rest of this entry »

祝賀 北京大學法律經濟學研究中心 正式成立

November 3, 2010

I like to send my best and warmest wishes to congratulate the Institute for Law and Economics, Peking University for its launching on November 1st, 2010, and to my friend Zhaofeng Xue, co-director of the Institute. 祝賀 北京大學法律經濟學研究中心 正式成立。

Looks like the Institute will be studying some really interesting subject matters that will be very important to China’s economic growth and legal system. Here is a translated (to traditional Chinese) excerpt from “中國的法律經濟學現象“. Zhaofeng laid out some very insightful Chinese scenarios and questions, I highly recommend you read the article.

未名湖畔朗潤園,今天舉行北京大學法律經濟學研究中心的成立儀式。 法律經濟學一位創始人Henry G. Manne從太平洋彼岸傳來祝賀,儀式後緊接題為“法律經濟學與中國”的學術研討會。 這個中心關心的,是如何借助發源於美國的法律經濟學範式,解釋中國的法律經濟問題,探索法律、管制與經濟增長三者的動態規律。

最初,人們認為法律的各個部類,財產法、合同法、侵權法、刑法乃至憲法,都是相互分離和獨立的,他們看不到其中的共性;人們贊成這樣的法則,反對那樣的法則,爭論的時候他們缺乏一以貫之的分析工具。 然而,從1930年代起以芝加哥大學為基地,逐步形成了用經濟學工具來分析法律和管制現象的學術運動。 這場運動改變了人們的看法。

經濟學對“權利”概念的錘煉,貫穿了全部分析。 一項權利,代表一種受到社會認可和維護的、對資源的用途作選擇的能力。 這是說,一個人的某項權利,是依靠社會其他成員的主動贊同和維護,才得以實現的。 不存在天然的、先驗的、固定的權利。 法律經濟學要做的,是觀察權利界定演變的現象,分析其中的規律。

[…] 法律經濟學還年輕,而中國遍地是有價值的問題。 北京大學法律經濟學研究中心,目前只有十位成員,包括陳若英、鄧峰、李力行、凌斌、徐建國、姚洋、張帆、周其仁、朱蘇力和我自己[薛兆豐]。 我們彼此應和,也互相爭論;我們有志在這個領域作出貢獻,並期待團隊逐漸壯大。

For information “北京大学法律经济学研究中心简介”

“北京大学法律经济学研究中心(Institute for Law and Economics at Peking University)是北京大学法学院创办、北京大学国家发展研究院加盟、由两院合营的非赢利性学术组织。

Read the rest of this entry »