A guy was nice enough to send me a link to a detailed research report on China, titled “Crisis on the China Rim: An Economic, Crude Oil, and Military Analysis” by Laguna Research. I'm still reading through it, but a brief summary was attached:
Based on our analysis of the intense economic, crude oil, and military confrontations developing among the China Rim region’s largest economies, we believe that the most aggressive crude oil price targets calling for $100 per barrel within the next three years will prove to be conservative. In our view, specific crude oil price targets are the realm of financial organizations with equity and commodities trading desks. As a pure independent research firm, we have neither. However, it is our opinion that the “likely direction of surprise” in crude oil prices will continue to be to the upside.
It's traditional for countries with problems to try to direct their population's anger externally, so this article [reg req] in the NY Times supports the idea that trouble may be stirring in China.
Understandably, the Japanese got a little spooked by this as well as our market slide.