Now, I personally always half suspected that Chris wasn't nearly so well-connected with the Chinese government as his website made him out to be. Imagine my surprise therefore, when I read this interview with Liu Mingkang, Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission written by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, which included this tidbit:
You know I’m going to ask this, and I suspect I know the answer you’re going to give – will there be any movement in the RMB position this year?
You always ask me this question! We have studied the RMB position at length, and remember it is tied not just to the U.S. dollar but to a basket of currencies specifically to give it balance. We are satisfied it has reached its correct valuation. Politicians, especially from the United States always seem to argue our position, whichever way it goes. But it is in the global markets benefit for us to maintain a balanced currency and to manage it in a responsible manner. This year, as we face a decline in exports and unemployment in China rises, the RMB may weaken. But longer term, our economy is growing and it is inevitable our currency will gain in strength. We have explained our position at great length recently to the G7 and they understand where we’re coming from. In fact we have taken great steps to ensure we are providing our own economy with stimulating domestic demand, and to maintain at least some growth in a global market that elsewhere is shrinking, or has moved into negative territory. A stable and globally balanced RMB is what is needed to manage the current situation, and that is what we have achieved.
Why was I surprised? Well firstly, as I said, I hadn't actually believed that Chris was as well-connected as all that, and secondly, because for a Chinese official to say that the RMB "may weaken" would actually be quite big news. Indeed, it was widely reported.
Unfortunately for Chris, the CBRC deny that Liu made such a statement, in fact they deny that the interview even took place:
The website CHINA-BRIEFING published an article on Feb 18, 2009 with CBRC Chairman’s photo and opinions. The CBRC hereby makes the statement that no CBRC officials have been interviewed by this media or by the author of this article. This news is a pure fabrication.
Chris has said that the report was due to "an error in transcript and translation" it is hard to see how a translation error could result in an interview a page long in which Chris has a friendly back-and-forth with a Chinese official at his own offices. Furthermore, why does Chris, who claims to be fluent in Mandarin, need translation?
Chris has taken the interview down, but Chris, baby, it's far too late for that - not now that this fraud has been reported far and wide. Now where was that 'case file' that you were threatening to 'action'?
China Law Blog thinks anyone who lost money on this may have cause of action against the person who fabricated the report - check it out here.
Following on twitter, CDE has taken down all of his ministerial 'interviews' going right back to 2007 - were they 'fabrication' also?