Thursday, February 24, 2005

The tricky of "separately"

A open secret in journalism writing is the word of "separately". Reporters use it at the beginning of a new paragraph, seeming to tell a totally different story. But in fact, it is always kinds of secretly telling the relation between the two things, divided by the word, to the readers without giving any evidence.

There is an example in yesterday's Asian Wall Street Journal-"China's producer prices rose 5.8% in January". After telling China's producer prices rose 5.8% from a year earlier in January and the increasing details, it reported:"Separately, China's agricultural sector posted a trade deficit of $4.64 billion last year, compard with a surplus of $2.50 billion in 2003". The story should be read as that China's agriculture has began to depend more on the importing, while the producers price, including prices of raw material, fuel, and power, rose in the industry whose current exporting is more than importing.

In fact, more importing is not always bad, but compared with the latest Consumer Price Index, reported by the National Bureau of Statistics, we can't be too optimistic. The CPI in rural area was up by 2.8% over the same period of last year, twice the growth of the one in urban area. The price of food rose up by 14.2% over the same period of last year, compared with 78.2 per cent falling down of the exporting(link to the report from the Ministry of Agriculture, sorry in Chinese) . It is, in fact, the importing business has benefited from the rise of the price, not the Chinese farmers in the rural area where the CPI rises further.

More and more farmers coming to work in the factory, may lead to the sharply falling down of exporting food. They are attracted by the higher salary in the city. According to the survey of the National Bureau of Statistics(in Chinese), the average income of farmers has risen up by 6.8 per cent to 2936 yuan, eight-year highest since 1997. It remains to say whether the trend will continue as the competition between factories become more serious.

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