IT HAS been a busy week for our sister-blogs at The Economist, busier even than it has been for Analects (which has more on the way, before the weekend.) Lest any readers be missing the rest of our discussion on all things China, please consider directing them over to one of these contributions.
Johnson, our language blog, sallies forth once again into the gauntlet of scrutiny that attends any foreigner's attempt to come to grips with Chinese language. He deserves an award just for trying. This time he's aided by a long-time expert, Victor Mair, who makes a study of the joke that the English word “China” can be transliterated into as many different Chinese words (词语) as there are disgruntled groups of Chinese.
Babbage, our blog on science and technology, had a newsier item. As many will have noticed, at around sunset on June 18th, from the Jiuquan spaceport in Gansu, China shot three people into space. One of them was a woman. Relative to the youth of its programme, China can now be ranked as the most precocious of the world's space powers when it comes to sending women into orbit. Will they keep pace with this fine precedent, or will they go the Soviet way?
Stay with Babbage for a moment and wonder whether drivers dream of Android cars. The answer matters to the makers of InKaNet, the first car-mounted, Android-powered “infotainment” system to be packaged as standard with a new saloon. Chinese car-buyers' yen for such gadgets makes them great guinea pigs for the rest of the world's car market.
Free exchange, our economics blog, began the week with Joseph Yam's suggestion that Hong Kong uncouple its currency peg to the dollar. As an economist, Mr Yam, a former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, should have understood that at least part of his rationale was utterly daft: he claimed to want to help Hong Kongers feel better by giving them a currency worth more per unit than the yuan. Free exchange visited greater China again later in the week, with what might sound like worrisome news. Casting an eye over the long 20th century of economic development, it is the Greece of 1960, of all places, that bears an uncanny resemblance to the middle-income China of today.
Schumpeter is the name of our business and management blog (as well as the pseudonym for our business columnist). It provides us with a suitably surprised reaction from the home office to the Hong Kong stock exchange's bid for the London Metal Exchange. In the process we learn that China is now eating up 42% of the world's base metals.
Prospero, our arts blog, heads to the same Special Administrative Region for a look at lighter industry. Uli Sigg donated more than 1,000 works of Chinese contemporary art to M+, a purpose-built museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District which has yet to be built. The mainland would've been the obvious landing place for the collection of Mr Sigg, who was once Switzerland's ambassador in Beijing, but he reckons its public institutions are not yet ready.
Finally Banyan, which really we ought to be reading every day anyway, reports from Phnom Penh on the long arm of the Bo Xilai investigation. Cambodian police picked up Patrick Devillers, who along with Neil Heywood was said to be a part of Mr Bo's inner circle (and particularly close to his wife), presumably at the behest of their bosses' friends in Beijing. Cambodia and China share an extradition treaty and just days before the arrest various Cambodian projects won $430m in loans, mostly from the Export-Import Bank of China.
So thank you for a very good week, sister-blogs.