Author Topic: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation & penetration  (Read 8042 times)

Crafty_Dog

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GPF
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2020, 10:38:09 AM »
Asia-Pacific responds to the Hong Kong bill. A flurry of strategic defense discussions are underway in the Asia-Pacific as the fallout from China’s Hong Kong security bill continues. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country would offer additional visas and possible residency to students and workers from Hong Kong. He also said Australia’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong would be suspended and that Canberra would start actively recruiting companies seeking to leave Hong Kong. The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group (Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand) have also been closely coordinating responses to the changes in Hong Kong. At the bilateral level, Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed security issues in the South China Sea, the importance of the Quad security dialogue and strengthening their defense and security relationship. Vice defense ministers from South Korea and New Zealand also spoke of ways to increase security cooperation between the two countries. The common thread among all of these groups and bilateral relationships is the containment of China. Their approach to that end reflects Washington’s effort to offload more responsibilities onto regional partners.



DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World, Pompeo seeks to organize
« Reply #53 on: July 23, 2020, 08:28:37 AM »
Pompeo is saying and doing all the right things.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-britain/u-s-wants-to-build-coalition-to-counter-chinas-disgraceful-menace-pompeo-says-idUSKCN24M0QD

U.S. wants to build coalition to counter China's 'disgraceful' menace, Pompeo says

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States wants to build a global coalition to counter China as he accused Beijing of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to further its own interests.

U.S. President Donald Trump identifies China as the United States’ main rival, and has accused President Xi Jinping of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which Trump calls the “China plague”.

Pompeo, on a visit to London, lauded Prime Minister Boris Johnson for ordering a purge of Huawei gear from its 5G mobile phone network, saying it was the right decision as data could have ended up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

The secretary of state cast China as an aggressor, saying it had made illegal martime claims, bullied Himalayan countries, covered up the coronavirus outbreak and exploited it to further its own interests in a “disgraceful” way.

“We hope we can build out a coalition that understands the threat and will work collectively to convince the Chinese Communist Party that it is not in their best interest to engage in this kind of behaviour,” Pompeo told reporters alongside British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

“We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy...to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them.”

Crafty_Dog

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Walter Russell MeadL Reckoning with China's NeoComs
« Reply #54 on: July 23, 2020, 10:56:09 AM »
The West Reckons With Beijing’s Neocommunism
It’s more tech-based than Lenin’s model and more dangerous. The U.S. needs to treat it seriously.

By Walter Russell Mead
July 22, 2020 11:25 am ET

China’s rise is more than a problem. It’s a puzzle. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, most Western analysts have assumed that China is a communist country in the way that France is a Catholic one. That is, there remain Marxist believers in China and practicing Catholics in France, but Beijing is as little guided by Marxist ideology as Emmanuel Macron is led by the precepts of Pius IX.

That turns out not to be true. While Xi Jinping likely spends little time reading Marx’s “Grundrisse” or debating the labor theory of value with his comrades, today’s China combines a Leninist party structure with state control (if not always ownership) of the means of production, a planned economy, an intolerant atheism and a ruthless determination to hold on to power at all costs. That Beijing incorporates market mechanisms into its communist system is not new; Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy in 1921 to speed recovery from the Russian Civil War. But the Chinese Communist Party—armed with information technology that lets it monitor and control economic activity on a scale Lenin could only dream of—has grafted market mechanisms onto a communist state structure with great success.

Call it neocommunism or digital Leninism—it’s real. And while the U.S. foreign-policy establishment was congratulating itself on the end of history, China grew into a more formidable world force than the Soviet Union ever was. As the Tibetans and Uighurs can tell us, the new system is as ruthless as old-style communism and, thanks to technology, far more effective at crushing dissent.

American policy responses to this puzzling entity will have to take account of the geopolitical, ideological and economic dimensions of the new China. None of this will be easy. It’s unclear, for example, how entrenched the country’s latest bout of authoritarianism actually is. Clearly, under Mr. Xi China has taken a wrong turn. But perhaps in the future, as a result of either foreign pressure or domestic developments, the party might move again toward reform, and a different U.S.-China relationship could unfold.

In any case, America’s goal even in a competitive relationship can’t be to stop China’s economic growth or dictate its political development. The country’s rise is a great moment in human history and the U.S. has no desire—and has no power—to prevent more than one billion people from working toward a better life. Sun Tzu’s observation that the greatest general wins without fighting is still relevant; the best way to win a conflict with Beijing is to avoid it.

Nevertheless, the U.S. relationship with a revisionist and possibly revolutionary neocommunist China can’t simply be business as usual. Countries like China—and Russia—that claim they are actively seeking to undermine U.S. interests and counter American values need to be taken at their word. U.S. diplomats and agents must respond to attempts to extend hostile influence in strategically important countries and proactively defend American interests.

The U.S. can’t treat trade as a purely economic question. In neocommunist China, distinctions between state-owned corporations and private business can no longer be taken at face value. Chinese businesses and investors are under Beijing’s thumb. Given the party’s ambitions, other countries have no choice but to monitor Chinese investment and financial flows, to audit their supply chains for key materials to eliminate any strategic dependence on China, and to eschew the use of Chinese tech that threatens their telecom and infrastructure security. China’s attempts to achieve technological supremacy through theft and illegal behavior pose direct security threats to other countries. These dangers must be addressed, even at significant political and economic cost.

Beijing’s steady military buildup—combined with its expansionist territorial claims and increased efforts to form partnerships with countries such as Russia and Iran—has major implications for the U.S. defense budget. America must scale up its efforts to ensure primacy on land, at sea, in the air, in cyberspace and in outer space sufficiently to deter any rivals.

And while repression is nothing new in China, the extraordinary measures the Communist Party uses against ethnic and religious minorities require an international response. There are many elements of Beijing’s governance that Americans don’t like, but we don’t insist that Chinese practice conform to our ways to have normal relations. The deliberate destruction of ethnic cultures and religious communities, however, crosses a line that the U.S. cannot ignore.

Developing the right policies for this new situation is a difficult but necessary task. Neocommunist China cannot be allowed to dictate the terms of its engagement with a global system that it seeks to destroy.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #55 on: July 23, 2020, 11:29:39 AM »
Thanks for posting WRM.  He is right.

One of my favorite Democrats, Mead is someone Biden should pick (for VP) if he was serious about the future of the republic instead of political.  Zero chance of that.

Neocom is a good word for the Left here too, if we may borrow it.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; the cold war never ended
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2020, 05:18:12 AM »
https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n15/adam-tooze/whose-century
London Review of Books

"The mistake in thinking that we are in a ‘new Cold War’ is in thinking of it as new. In putting a full stop after 1989 we prematurely declare​​ a Western victory. From Beijing’s point of view, there was no end of history, but a continuity – not unbroken, needless to say, and requiring constant reinterpretation, as any live political tradition does, but a continuity nevertheless. Although American hawks have only a crude understanding of China’s ideology, on this particular matter they have grasped the right end of the stick. We have to take seriously the CCP’s sense of mission. We should not comfort ourselves with the thought that because nationalism is the main mode of Chinese politics today, Xi’s administration is nothing more than a nationalist regime. China under the control of the CCP is, indeed, involved in a gigantic and novel social and political experiment enrolling one-sixth of humanity, a historic project that dwarfs that of democratic capitalism in the North Atlantic.​"​ Mr. Tooze is the author of Crashed, arguably the best narrative history of the Great Financial Crisis yet published. (via lrb.uk.com, amazon.com, Financial Times)​​

Crafty_Dog

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Sec State Pompeo nails it
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2020, 12:16:40 PM »


Mike Pompeo Urges Chinese People to Change Communist Party
Top U.S. diplomat urges allied countries, Chinese people to work with the U.S. to transform the party’s behavior
U.S. Shift in China Strategy: End ‘Blind Engagement’
By Kate O’Keeffe and William Mauldin

WASHINGTON—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Chinese people to alter the ruling Communist Party’s direction in a speech explaining the Trump administration’s full-throttle response to an assertive China.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is a “true believer in a bankrupt, totalitarian ideology,” Mr. Pompeo said. He stopped shy of explicitly calling for regime change, urging allied countries and the people of China to work with the U.S. to change the Communist Party’s behavior.

The Communist Party “fears the Chinese people’s honest opinions more than any foe,” Mr. Pompeo said in a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. The U.S. “must also engage and empower the Chinese people,” he said.

The speech, called “Communist China and the Free World’s Future,” caps a series of addresses by senior officials in recent weeks focusing on what the Trump administration sees as the challenge posed by China and its expanding global reach. The uncompromising rhetoric has been accompanied by an uptick in administration pressure on Beijing—from sanctions to military exercises and indictments—as relations between the countries spiral downward to the lowest point in decades.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Chinese foreign ministry has previously objected to what it said were Trump administration attempts to drive a wedge between the Chinese people and the party.
This week, the administration took the unprecedented move of ordering China to close its consulate in Houston by Friday afternoon, accusing it and other Chinese diplomatic missions of economic espionage and visa fraud.

Beijing retaliated early Friday by ordering the closing of the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. The foreign ministry called it a “legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable behavior of the U.S.”
American diplomats had been anticipating the closure of one of the seven U.S. diplomatic missions in the country, and are making preparations in case that happens, according to people familiar with the matter.

The consulate closings have added a new front to a growing list of U.S.-China conflicts over trade, technology and global influence.

Mr. Pompeo, in an interview ahead of the speech, declined to discuss possible retaliation for the Houston consulate closure, saying any such step would be up to Beijing. He portrayed the U.S. move as necessary for national security and the prevention of intellectual property theft from sensitive energy and health-care businesses in the Houston area.

“We are now decades into America not responding to Chinese aggression,” he said, describing U.S. policy as an effort to restore balance to a relationship the administration sees as unfairly tilted toward Beijing.

Mr. Pompeo criticized Beijing for restricting U.S. diplomats in China and preventing them from meeting with members of the legislature and others. “This is the kind of absence of reciprocity that President Trump simply has said is unacceptable,” he said.

The administration’s heightened focus on Beijing dovetails with a tough-on-China message in Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, similar to the one in his 2016 bid.

As president, while his administration has moved to challenge Beijing, Mr. Trump has sometimes avoided confronting Mr. Xi, playing down differences or human-rights concerns. That was especially so during trade negotiations that ended in a limited deal that requires China to increase purchases of U.S. farm products and energy.

Mr. Pompeo, in the interview, said confronting China was a long-term policy for the president as well as a bipartisan priority for Congress, which has overwhelmingly passed legislation allowing for Chinese sanctions. “Look, the American people are not going to allow our economic work, our talent to be stolen by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo has previously made direct appeals to foreign citizens while attacking their governments, in speeches on Iran in 2018 and Venezuela in March.

Many world leaders have criticized the Trump administration’s foreign policy as unilateralist. But in recent weeks, Washington has seen key allies embrace its harder-edged approach to China.

That effort has been boosted by Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, its crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong, the mass detention of Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and its recent confrontation with neighboring India on their Himalayan border.

This month, the U.K. announced it will bar equipment made by Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. from the country’s 5G telecommunications networks following intense lobbying by the U.S., which says the company poses security risks. Huawei denies it does so.

India cited similar cybersecurity concerns last month in banning dozens of Chinese mobile apps, including social media platforms TikTok and WeChat, after the border clash with Chinese troops left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

In the speech, Mr. Pompeo urged like-minded countries to exert coordinated pressure on the Chinese Communist Party. “We must induce China to change in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity,” he said.

The shifting global consensus on China is giving new prominence to Mr. Pompeo, who has emerged in recent months as the administration’s top critic of Beijing and a force in policy making. His public savaging of Beijing over the coronavirus, which first emerged in China, made him a target for China’s displeasure. State television aired commentary calling Mr. Pompeo the “common enemy of mankind.” and a “liar.”

Mr. Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas and Central Intelligence Agency director, took over at the State Department in 2018 as the administration was shifting its approach to China—away from working with Beijing on North Korea and toward confronting it on trade and its aspirations for global power.

Andrew Kim, a former senior CIA officer who worked with Mr. Pompeo at the agency, recalls that Mr. Pompeo held a pragmatic view of China’s leadership, believing, for example, that Beijing would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy if it suited its interest.
“He never served in Beijing, he never served in Hong Kong, but he called it correctly,” said Mr. Kim, a current fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Thursday’s speech included a critical summary of Mr. Pompeo’s meeting in June in Hawaii with China’s top foreign-policy official, Yang Jiechi, at a time of strained relations. “It was the same old story—words, but literally no offer to change any of the behaviors,” he said.

“The only way to truly change Communist China is to act not on the basis of what Chinese leaders say but how they behave,” Mr. Pompeo said. “Distrust and verify.”

In working out a new China policy, Mr. Pompeo has been joined by Attorney General William Barr, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and his deputy, Matthew Pottinger. Mr. Pompeo decided a public case needed to be made for a tougher China policy, and arranged for Messrs. O’Brien, Barr and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray to give speeches addressing Beijing’s problematic behavior, according to a senior administration official.

Though drafted separately by the senior officials and their staffs, the speeches were designed to tackle different issues and build on each other, this official said. Mr. Barr looked at the role of the business community and Beijing’s efforts to co-opt it. Mr. O’Brien addressed ideology while Mr. Wray took on espionage and intellectual-property theft.

Mr. Pompeo held out the prospect of working cooperatively with Beijing. But much of the speech argues for a tough-minded approach, calling attention to unmet promises by China’s government and the way it treats its citizens.

“Communists always lie, but the biggest lie is that the Chinese Communist Party speaks for 1.4 billion people who are surveilled, oppressed and scared to speak out,” Mr. Pompeo plans to say.

The venue, the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, Calif., carries intentional symbolism because Mr. Nixon charted a new course of engagement with the leadership of China, according to a senior State Department official. The Trump administration sees that prior engagement with China’s leadership, aimed in part at putting pressure on the Soviet Union, as having run its course.

The audience is expected to include Wang Dan, a leader from the Tiananmen Square protests, and Wei Jingsheng, a democracy activist since the 1970s. Mr. Pompeo is expected to acknowledge them and to recall meetings with ethnic Uighurs and Kazakhs who escaped detention in Xinjiang, as well as his discussions with Hong Kong’s democracy leaders such as Nathan Law.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 12:30:11 PM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

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DougMacG

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The Atlantic, Republicans exaggerate China problem
« Reply #59 on: July 27, 2020, 06:38:20 AM »
Are you kidding?  (Cognitive dissonance of the Left)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democrats-are-allowing-trump-to-frame-the-debate-on-china/ar-BB17cW4I?li=BBnbcA1

Just want to post the other side since we seem to have agreement here on the evil of the regime of China.  This piece notes thst evil but stresses "cooperation".

They are right on one point, Democrats are losing on this issue where Ttump was way out front on it.

ccp

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GG loves the Chinese
« Reply #60 on: July 27, 2020, 07:00:51 AM »
Doug,

You don't want to read the latest Gilder Report ( yes he is back )

he still a bull on Qualcomm
but also Chinese companies
He is betting against the US and on China

seems convinced some of their technology is better and it is only a matter of time we adopt it . The Chinese will eventually embrace democracy and capitalism
 and we will be mired in climate change identity politics regulation high taxes and the rest

he predicts (probably rightly so) China will blow past us
I would love to see a debate with GG and Gordon Chang:

From wikipedia:

"Collapse of China
Chang has said that the Chinese government would collapse in 2012 and 2016.[7][8] Chang also says that China is a "new dot-com bubble", adding that the rapid growth by China is not supported by various internal factors such as decrease in population growth as well as slowing retail sales.[9] In a separate interview, he remarked that China achieved its 149.2 percent of its current trade surplus with the United States through "lying, cheating, and stealing" and that if China decided to realize its threat that had been expressed since August 2007 to sell its US Treasuries, it would actually hurt its own economy which is reliant on exports to the United States; the economy of the United States would be hurt by a sell-off of Treasuries, causing the United States to buy less from China, which would in turn hurt the Chinese economy.[10]

Since 2001 Chang has made predictions that the Chinese government will eventually collapse.[11][12] Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, wrote that Chang's predictions "collapse his own credibility."[13] John Tamny of RealClearMarkets has criticized Chang's predictions and analyses about China, stating that Chang possesses "limited knowledge of simple economics" and that "Chang’s feel for China has been impressively incorrect for close to twenty years, and if his latest commentary is at all indicative of his grasp of what authors economic growth, Chang’s batting average on the matter of China isn’t about to improve."[3"

ccp

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #61 on: July 27, 2020, 02:41:15 PM »
i forgot to mention GG also predicts China will become a Christian nation .

 :-o

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #62 on: July 27, 2020, 02:59:03 PM »
[Geoge Gilder]
"betting against the US and on China"   

Hard to say their technology is behind us anymore when they have all of ours - and are developing beyond that on their own.  The Huawei 5G stuff is an example of this.  The competitors seem to be Ericsson (Sweden) and Nokia? (Finland).  Qualcomm doesn't seem to making the infrastructure backbone of 5G. Or else they are late.

"Still bullish on Qualcomm"

Good!  They dominate with the chip in the smartphone (teleputer).  All of what he predicted on that came true.  Maybe Qualcomm is going to make the rest of the network, catch up with Huawei or go by them.  I hope so.

For a freedom nut with high moral religious beliefs, Gilder doesn't seem to caught up in the China-bad diagnosis that the rest of us see.  The old theory was that technology and prosperity would run past the control of the regime and enable the toppling.  Instead, new technology has made dissent or challenge to the regime impossible,strengthening the control of the regime.

Bias note: These Chinese tech companies are under control of the Chinese regime.  Gilder gains more access when he writes favorably or forgivingly of the regime,.  He loses his access if he speaks out against them.

I wrote a post on the Gilder forum 20 years ago, "The Great Fall of China", predicting what Gordon Chang predicts in "The Coming Collapse of China".  Wrong, so far.


"I forgot to mention GG also predicts China will become a Christian nation."

??  I can't even predict the US will become one.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Zambia
« Reply #63 on: July 28, 2020, 10:45:44 AM »

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: China vs. Australia
« Reply #64 on: July 28, 2020, 11:12:39 AM »
Down Under Doubles Down on Checking China
Trump challenges allies to pull their weight, and Australia steps up with courage and resolve.
By John Lee
July 27, 2020 6:42 pm ET
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U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meet Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds in Sydney, Aug. 4, 2019.
PHOTO: JONATHAN ERNST/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds will meet their American counterparts Tuesday in Washington for annual meetings known as Ausmin. Then they will fly home to Australia and quarantine for two weeks to minimize the spread of Covid-19—a requirement for those arriving from abroad.

It is extraordinary that the Australians are willing to tolerate two weeks of inconvenience to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Virtual meetings are the norm. The decision to travel to the U.S. says something about how important America is to Australian security and prosperity—and about the threat China poses to both countries.

It is also evidence that the Trump administration’s managing of allies, at least in Asia and the Pacific, has more to commend it than critics concede. It is true that staunch allies such as Japan and Australia find the president’s unpredictable style deeply unsettling. But if the objective is to persuade allies to step up and carry their weight, then that is exactly what Australia is doing.

Like many countries in the Indo-Pacific mugged by reality, Australia has been on a journey with China. The pandemic has focused minds on what must be done. The Communist Party under Xi Jinping is nothing if not a devotee of the Leninist precept: Probe with bayonets and if you encounter mush, proceed; if you encounter steel, withdraw. Good will has little currency. Timidity will only invite Beijing to demand greater subservience.

It is in this spirit that Australia released its 2020 Strategic Defense Update earlier this month. The commitment to spend roughly $400 billion (in U.S. dollars) on national defense over the next decade, including almost $190 billion earmarked for capability enhancements, is eye-catching. But as important is what Australia plans to spend the money on: long-range and hypersonic missiles, unmanned combat vehicles and cyber capabilities. This can be explained only by a desire to counter the People’s Liberation Army. The goal is to make China think twice about expanding its martial reach and presence in the Indo-Pacific.

Far from retreating into isolationism, Australia is reaching out of its comfort zone—defending the continent—and looking to help alter the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific. But this is possible only if America takes the lead, from strategic posture to developing offensive capabilities and operating the military assets jointly. Australia can’t push back against China alone. In other words, Australia has doubled down on the alliance as its best option.

Moreover, it is significant that Canberra is choosing to do this when relations between Washington and Beijing are more hostile than at any point since before Richard Nixon went to China in 1972. China has also turned up the pressure by imposing trade sanctions on products such as Australian barley. Regardless, Australia and Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have emerged as the southern and northern anchors of the American regional alliance system.

As someone who served in the Australian government during the last year of President Obama’s administration and the first year of the current one, I can attest that the obstacle to greater Australian courage wasn’t a lack of faith in U.S. power but doubts about American resolve. Canberra wouldn’t contemplate such bold moves and risk punishment from China if America were likely to leave Australia fluttering in the breeze.

Mr. Trump might lead an unpredictable administration, but his determination in this fight is not in question. There’s also a growing consensus among allies that the pandemic has changed the relationship between Washington and Beijing in ways that will last longer than any one administration.

All of this suggests that this week’s meetings will be one of the most important in many years. There will be differences between the two countries, as is expected between a superpower and a smaller one. For example, Australians lament diminished American influence in regional institutions such as the East Asian Summit, which Mr. Trump didn’t attend in 2019. That provided a pulpit for Beijing to bully its neighbors and extend its narrative of American absence.

Chinese diplomats frequently mock and dismiss the 1951 security treaty Anzus as a relic of the Cold War. But provocations by the Communist Party in China have given the alliance renewed purpose. Messrs. Pompeo and Esper and Ms. Payne and Ms. Reynolds will discuss a common objective: ensuring that the Communist Party meets collective steel whenever it probes and pushes.

Mr. Lee is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the U.S. Studies Centre in Sydney. He was senior national security adviser to the Australian foreign minister, 2016-18.

Crafty_Dog

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HK considers postponing elections
« Reply #65 on: July 28, 2020, 12:04:31 PM »
Hong Kong Considers Postponing Key Legislative Elections
2 MINS READ
Jul 28, 2020 | 18:54 GMT
Hong Kong’s September Legislative Council elections may be postponed amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which would help the city’s pro-Beijing ruling party maintain control and remove a near-term focal point for protests. But a long delay could also reignite the opposition by creating a legislative vacuum and removing a legal way for citizens to express their level of satisfaction with the government. On July 28, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam met with elements of the Executive Council to discuss a potential delay to the legislative elections, but put off a final decision until after election nominations close at the end of the week.

The election could reportedly be delayed anywhere between several months to a full year, with some elements of the ruling camp backing the longer postponement.
Pro-democracy politicians have already accused the pro-Beijing camp of using a delay to hold on to power and facilitate a pro-Beijing agenda. The opposition pro-democracy camp had claimed it could gain a majority in the Legislative Council this election, building on a wave of dissatisfaction with the way Hong Kong’s new national security law was passed.
Lam and the pro-Beijing camp may hope that a delayed election would help create further emotional distance from the new security law, as well as also offer more time for an economic recovery in both mainland China and Hong Kong to temper any potential business community support for the opposition camp. But a long delay could easily backfire, should it be perceived as merely a pretext to solidify a pro-Beijing agenda and further erode Hong Kong’s special status. The September elections are a key benchmark in the direction of Hong Kong politics, both in the outcome of the election and as a measure of social protest. The new national security and the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic have curtailed major demonstrations in Hong Kong, but have not undermined support for the pro-democracy camp, as evidenced by the high voter turnout at the recent opposition party primaries.


DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Hong Kong needs to relocate
« Reply #67 on: July 29, 2020, 01:29:22 PM »
A Hong Kong property tycoon wants to build a city in Ireland to host 50,000 emigrants from the semi-autonomous city. Ivan Ko, the founder of the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), an international charter city investment company, hopes to find a 50 square kilometer site between Dublin and Belfast to create a new city, named Nextpolis, from scratch. Ko has pitched the plan, which would include schools that teach in Cantonese, to Irish officials, arguing it would fit the government’s stated desire to develop regions outside the capital. (via The Guardian)

G M

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Re: China vs. the World; Hong Kong needs to relocate
« Reply #68 on: July 29, 2020, 01:53:26 PM »
A Hong Kong property tycoon wants to build a city in Ireland to host 50,000 emigrants from the semi-autonomous city. Ivan Ko, the founder of the Victoria Harbour Group (VHG), an international charter city investment company, hopes to find a 50 square kilometer site between Dublin and Belfast to create a new city, named Nextpolis, from scratch. Ko has pitched the plan, which would include schools that teach in Cantonese, to Irish officials, arguing it would fit the government’s stated desire to develop regions outside the capital. (via The Guardian)

We should be making that happen here.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #69 on: July 29, 2020, 01:56:39 PM »
Amen!

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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US vs China Ideological Divide and the Challenge of Cohesion
« Reply #71 on: July 30, 2020, 05:58:21 AM »
The U.S.-China Ideological Divide and the Challenge of Cohesion
Rodger Baker
Rodger Baker
Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor
8 MINS READ
Jul 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT


A series of foreign policy speeches by key officials in U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has sought to redefine the U.S.-China strategic competition as one based on conflicting core ideologies between those of the Chinese Communist Party and those of the free world. But to be effective, the United States needs to revive domestic unity and engender global cooperation, while China only needs to maintain domestic unity and exploit global divisions.

Shaping a China Policy

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered on July 23 the last of a quartet of speeches by White House officials laying out the U.S. case against China. Pompeo called on "the freedom-loving nations of the world" to draw common lines in the sand, and collaborate to "induce China to change." The speeches, taken together, reframe Washington's China policy in ideological terms, and seek to both unify U.S. actions toward China and serve as a nucleus for a coordinated global response.

Evoking Cold War imagery of an ideological battle between freedom and tyranny, Pompeo also stated that he has "faith we can defend freedom because of the sweet appeal of freedom itself." But he also emphasized that the new U.S. approach to Beijing would not be one of Cold War containment. Unlike the Soviet Union, China is integrated into the world system. It cannot simply be isolated. In a further nod to today's more complex world, Pompeo suggested a looser leadership role for the United States as well, noting that countries would each have to determine their own way of ensuring their national and economic sovereignty from Chinese encroachment.

At their core, the U.S. administration's China speeches are more traditional and ideological, painting a picture of a United States fighting to preserve universal freedoms, while at the same time suggesting that China is seeking to strengthen its authoritarianism and exploit the world for its own gain. It is an attempt to shift from what has largely been seen as a transactional or rejectionist policy (securing individual U.S. trade goals or countering China for the sake of countering China) to one with a clearer goal — that is, changing the behavior of the Chinese Communist Party. That is not an easier goal, nor is it any less antagonistic. But it does shift from a negative to a positive agenda, which is a key step in building a national narrative that can provide the impetus behind a broader policy initiative.

The Challenge of Unity

To foster acceptance of and alignment with these goals, the United States must both shape a common domestic understanding and facilitate a more cooperative international response to the framework. Domestic social and political dynamics, coupled with the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, make the first extremely difficult. With fewer than 100 days left until the U.S. presidential election, polarized politics will only grow more fractious. And the likely close election outcome will continue to propel partisan divisions and identity politics. If a global pandemic and the worst unemployment in U.S. history cannot encourage political unity in Congress and on American streets, it is hard to see what would, outside an even worse catastrophe or the exhaustion of time. Even if there is relatively strong bipartisan support for challenging China on human rights, intellectual property and unfair trade practices, it will be an uphill march to try and shape a common ideological narrative to rally the U.S. people and government. And there are many voices still arguing for continued cooperation and dialogue with China, rather than overt confrontation.

Internationally, there has been a move to revisit how China is perceived, particularly amid the COVID-19 crisis. The United Kingdom, India and Australia are all moving to positions more aligned to those espoused by Pompeo — with London making moves against Chinese tech giant Huawei, Canberra following Washington's lead in officially rejecting Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and New Delhi rethinking its long-standing policy of non-alignment in the face of recent border clashes with Chinese troops and continued Chinese maritime activity in the Indian Ocean. Japan, too, could be added to that list, though in its more subtle way, using economic and defense cooperation to strengthen Southeast Asian nations' against Chinese enticements and encroachments. An alignment of maritime powers serves as a strong backbone of coordination against China. But many countries, particularly those in Europe, remain reticent to fully take the United States' "side" against China due to differences over several other policies, from trade to Iran.

The Benefits of Disunity

From the Chinese perspective, Beijing's strategic fear is a coordinated global effort to "draw a line" and hold China to the existing standards and norms of the Western-oriented world system. Beijing is actively seeking to alter the global system to better fit its own concepts of the relationship between the state, the people and industry. It does not want to be locked into a rules-based order that is based on a North Atlantic consensus that favors the political, economic and social systems of the United States and Western Europe. China sees those rules as constraints and attempts to force political change, thus interfering with China's national sovereignty.

Beijing needs to maintain internal unity, but externally it does not need to build a counter-coalition. All it needs to do is find ways to exploit differences that undermine global cohesion. Domestic cohesion in China, however, is not necessarily an easy thing. China is not a monolith but a complex empire and a state made of many nations, rife with ethnic, religious and socio-economic divisions. While China manages the first two with a combination of strong central control and acculturation, it manages the latter through economic policies and an appeal to nationalism. China's ongoing economic restructuring has broken the old promise that everyone would get rich, even if some faster than others. The gap between the wealthy and the rest has widened in the past decade, and economic reform coupled with global recessions leaves little room for the Chinese interior to close it.

In some ways, China has an easier path to its objectives than those advocating for a harder line against Beijing in the United States, at least in the near term.

Earlier this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang warned that Beijing must address the grievances of the country's 600 million low-paid citizens, many in the interior. The Belt and Road initiative is in part geared toward shifting the attention of China's heartland from the wealthy coast to the frontier opportunities to the west and south. But to further strengthen domestic cohesion, China counts on a strong nationalist narrative that frames China as battered by the West and constrained from taking its rightful place among powerful nations. For now, that nationalism is proving a potent force, but it is always at the risk of Beijing losing control of the narrative.

On the international front, Beijing has long relied on exploiting divisions, both within countries and between countries, to gain a secure footing and counter any coordinated pressure. Chinese economic and political ties with Greece and Hungary, for example, paid off when they derailed an EU statement supporting the Philippines following the Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling on the South China Sea in 2016. Chinese partners in the European Union have also blocked EU motions to censure China for human rights and civil liberty violations. In Southeast Asia, China has frequently used its close economic relations with Cambodia and Laos to undermine unity among members in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when it comes to the South China Sea or Chinese maritime actions. China also exploits rifts inside countries, including by incentivizing or interfering with select companies to influence political decisions, providing moral or financial support to competing groups, and engaging in information warfare to enflame social or political divisions.

The Ideological Struggle in a Multipolar World

In some ways, then, China has an easier path to its objectives than those advocating for a harder line against Beijing in the United States, at least in the near term. The United States must overcome both domestic disunity and shape a more cohesive international coordination — China merely needs to find the cracks within and among key countries and ensure that those cracks are not easy to bridge. But this is a short-term strategy, and one that may be effective only for a few more years. China's expanding political, economic and military power is no longer something many countries can ignore. Even Italy, the first major European country to join the Belt and Road initiative, has curtailed Huawei participation in its 5G rollout.

China's ability to divide is a strategy to gain time, further strengthen China's economic and military strength, and enhance and secure key trade routes for the future. But as ideological lines are drawn, the challenges for both the United States and China will militate against a repeat of the Cold War. There will also not be a bifurcation of the world into two competing blocs, but rather an emergence of several competing poles of power, as noted in Stratfor's 2020-2030 decade forecast:

"Over the decade, the United States and China — buoyed by their economic, political, military and social power — will be the most significant poles, with Russia and Europe each playing important, albeit less powerful, roles. Numerous smaller alliances and alignments will emerge, regionally or topically focused, seeking to use their shared interests and pooled resources to better maneuver among the larger powers."

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WSJ: Reliance on Chinese drug supplies
« Reply #74 on: August 05, 2020, 10:44:09 PM »
Pandemic Lays Bare U.S. Reliance on China for Drugs
Acetaminophen, antibiotics and high blood pressure treatments are among a slew of pharmaceutical ingredients made predominantly by China. Disruptions and high demand have expanded concerns about the supply of medicines.
By Chuin-Wei Yap
Aug. 5, 2020 9:42 am ET



The shortage of a simple, over-the-counter painkiller shows how dependent the U.S. has become on China for vital pharmaceutical supplies.

For weeks this spring, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the world, Nicole Izsak wasn’t able to stock up on acetaminophen at her neighborhood pharmacies on New York City’s Roosevelt Island.

“They had nothing of any brand,” Ms. Izsak, a nurse who volunteers at the island’s Covid-19 medical facility, said after occasionally checking at the local Duane Reade and Walgreens. The headache remedy found in most families’ medicine cabinets is also a key fever reducer.

Acetaminophen is one of a slew of life-or-death ingredients for medicines now produced in significant amounts by China. Many of these are commodity chemicals that U.S. makers found unprofitable to produce. China makes about 70% of the acetaminophen used in the U.S., the Commerce Department and analysts estimate.

The dependence, exposed by the supply-chain disruptions and a surge in buying brought on by the pandemic, has raised concerns among Trump administration officials, lawmakers and corporate chiefs.

A $765 million government loan to Eastman Kodak Co. last month was targeted at reducing America’s reliance on other countries, including China, for drugs, according to the U.S. International Development Finance Corp., which provided the loan. Kodak will use the funds to produce ingredients for generic drugs in the U.S. and said it expects the production of pharmaceutical ingredients to make up 30% to 40% of its business over time.

Other important pharmaceutical ingredients made in China include the blood anticoagulant heparin, of which 80% of the global supply is made in China, and even higher levels of the world’s antibiotics, according to estimates from industry experts at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank; the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, created by Congress to study national security and trade; and others.


Commonly used antibiotics amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and tetracycline are particularly dependent on China, according to industry analysts and Indian drugmakers that rely on Chinese material. High blood pressure treatments, including valsartan, are also predominantly produced in China, the analysts say.

India, the world’s largest producer of generic medicines, depends on China for 80% of its active pharmaceutical ingredients, or API, the chemicals that give drugs their medicinal properties, according to industry data and Indian companies.

Overall, China makes nearly half of the planet’s API, according to Britain’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and pharmaceutical analysts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it doesn’t have information about the volume of API produced in China.

“The national security risks of increased Chinese dominance of the global API market cannot be overstated,” said Christopher Priest, deputy assistant director at the Defense Health Agency’s operations directorate, part of the Defense Department that ensures medically ready combat forces.

The coronavirus crisis caused disruptions for a wide swath of manufacturing. Attention has mostly focused on the inability to source testing and protective gear such as masks from China. Important materials that come from other countries were also disrupted by the pandemic—including testing swabs made by a key supplier in northern Italy, which was hit hard by the outbreak.

Big Pharma

China has become a dominant producer of medical devices and pharmaceuticals for the world, especially for commodity drugs like acetaminophen. Exports to the U.S. of that common pain reliever dropped in February, when the coronavirus pandemic affected China, but picked up again in March and April.



 million

$35

 billion

From China to the U.S.

From China to the world

30

30

20

25

10

0

20

2018

’19

’20

15

$1.5

 billion

From China to the world

10

1.0

5

0.5

0

0

2010

’11

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

2010

’11

’12

’13

’14

’15

’16

’17

’18

’19

Sources: China General Administration of Customs (pharmaceutical exports); U.S. Commerce Department (Acetaminophen exports to the U.S.); UN Comtrade (Acetaminophen exports to the world)
As Chinese factories and exports shut down during that country’s quarantine, the flow of medical ingredients dwindled. China’s exports to the U.S. of acetaminophen and related pharmaceutical chemicals fell 70% in February from January, reaching their lowest level in seven years, according to data from the Commerce Department. Exports picked up again in March and April.

Pharmaceutical-industry analysts said the February drop was likely caused by China pivoting to local needs as it battled the pathogen.

Just-in-time manufacturing and stocking have become standard among the pharmaceutical companies that package the Chinese ingredients into medicines, and also among high-quantity buyers such as hospitals. Holding slim inventories keeps costs low when trade flows are smooth, but results in shortages when components are delayed or demand increases suddenly.

The U.S. Senate in March introduced two bills to restore America’s capacity to make API. The bills, now working their way through Congress, seek to probe how much America’s national defense systems rely on Chinese pharmaceuticals, call for more disclosure on drug sourcing by drugmakers and authorize $100 million to encourage companies to make more API in America.

President Trump’s chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, told fellow trade ministers from the world’s biggest economies earlier this year that one lesson of the pandemic was that “over-dependence on other countries as a source of cheap medical products and supplies has created a strategic vulnerability.”

The FDA in April attributed some recent drug shortages to higher American demand for drugs, and one unspecified shortage in February to a coronavirus-affected plant in China. The regulator said it has asked drugmakers to “evaluate their entire supply chain.”


Kodak will use a government loan to begin making pharmaceutical ingredients in the U.S. Above, the company’s headquarters in Rochester, N.Y.
PHOTO: MIKE BRADLEY/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Johnson & Johnson, which owns and produces the Tylenol brand under a subsidiary, said it attributed Tylenol shortages in the U.S. to “record-high” demand. It said the majority of its Tylenol is made with American-made ingredients and that it had no supply issues with China. The company declined to provide sales or production data for Tylenol. Industry analysts estimate the brand accounts for about 15% of the U.S. analgesics market.

China’s commerce ministry said in a statement in April that China is willing to support and assist countries affected by Covid-19 and “has not and will not restrict export of medical supplies.”

Some Chinese political thinkers have become more vocal about advocating the use of medical supplies for political advantage.

“If China wants to retaliate against the U.S. at this time, aside from a travel ban, it could also announce strategic restrictions on the export of medical products to the U.S.,” said an opinion essay by Huang Sheng, a financial commentator and nationalist book author, published in March on state-run Xinhua News Agency.

When President Trump said in April he believed Beijing wanted him to lose the re-election, the editor of a nationalist-leaning tabloid tweeted, “Mr. Trump, you can’t win without China…We provide medical supplies to the U.S.”

Chinese pharmaceutical executives told Chinese state media in late March that logistics disruptions would likely cause overall global API supply to fall by 20%.

Chinese drugmakers, including Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., the world’s leading producer of antihypertensive drugs, said that the pandemic hampered their ability to ship products.


China’s Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical Co., in Zhejiang Province, is the world’s leading producer of antihypertensive drugs.
PHOTO: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS
The world’s largest factory for acetaminophen, the powdery chemical also known as paracetamol, belongs to Anqiu Lu’an Pharmaceutical Co. in China’s Shandong province. It can produce 40,000 metric tons a year, about a quarter of global demand, and it ships 80% of its output to more than 100 countries. The company said its operations weren’t affected by coronavirus closures.

The U.S. was once the world’s largest producer of acetaminophen, which is derived from phenol, a byproduct of petroleum processing. Until around 2000, American companies including Monsanto Co. and global giants such as BASF Corp. maintained acetaminophen factories near oil refinery complexes in Texas and Louisiana.

Production capacity left American shores as the pharmaceutical supply chain globalized, and intensifying competition pushed ingredient factories toward low-cost Asia. Most American and global pharmaceutical companies began to focus on pursuing potentially lucrative, blockbuster patents rather than producing lower-margin bulk pharmaceuticals that are no longer covered by patents.

China had a surplus of low-wage chemists, less-stringent safety and environmental standards and, since 2001, vastly greater access to global markets after joining the World Trade Organization.

The chemical manufacturing industry “over the last 30 years has gradually moved offshore,” said Benjamin Shobert, senior associate for international health at Seattle-based National Bureau of Asian Research. “Trying to unwind this is trying to unwind globalization.”

Chinese companies—as well as some international companies such as French pharmaceutical giant Rhodia SA—put their factories in China’s manufacturing-heavy eastern coast, including in Shandong, amid one of the world’s largest concentrations of oil refineries.


Fusen Pharmaceutical Co., in Nanyang, China, resumed production in February.
PHOTO: FENG DAPENG/XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS
China’s industrial and economic boom fed the production of pharmaceutical chemicals. Growing demand for petroleum buoyed acetaminophen production. Soybean oil from expanding crops was used in the production of antibiotics. Rising pork consumption meant more heparin, which is made from pig intestines.

Before it was incorporated in 1998, Lu’an was a small state entity responsible for barely 1% of global acetaminophen output, according to Chinese industry and state records. By 2008, China’s industry had been reduced to four major producers, with Lu’an at the top.

Rhodia quit the pharmaceutical ingredient business in 2008. That left American company Covidien—now owned by Minnesota-based Medtronic PLC—as the world’s sole major non-Asian acetaminophen maker. As profit margins fell, Covidien spun off its acetaminophen business into Irish-based Mallinckrodt PLC in 2011.

By then, Lu’an was aggressively expanding overseas. In the U.S., Lu’an built ties with pharmaceutical importers, many among them small Chinese-run companies, shipping records show. These firms process Lu’an’s acetaminophen into tablets and capsules for generics and secondary brands.

Such importers also help Chinese makers like Lu’an navigate relationships and regulations requiring FDA approval around American drug wholesale and distribution, said Edwin de Voogd, a former senior vice president at Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co.

Privately held Lu’an doesn’t regularly disclose financial data. A Wall Street Journal calculation indicates it produced about $250 million worth of acetaminophen last year, based on average prices.

Mallinckrodt, which still has five plants in the U.S. that produce acetaminophen, said in a statement that it supports strengthening domestic API supply. “Overreliance on non-U.S. manufacturers for essential medicines, notably acetaminophen, puts the U.S. healthcare system at risk,” it said.

Last year, Mallinckrodt posted net sales of acetaminophen API of $190 million, or 6% of its total net sales, down from 13% in 2013. The company meets less than a fifth of estimated global demand for acetaminophen.

French giant Sanofi SA said in February it would create a new company to make APIs. “In Europe, the new API industry champion is expected to help in balancing the industry’s heavy reliance on API sourced from the Asian region,” Sanofi said.

Lu’an attributed its success to “huge-scale” production and competitive prices. “Bringing API back to the U.S. is costly and lacks market competitiveness,” the company said to the Journal in a written statement. It said U.S. efforts to reshore its API manufacturing “don’t conform with the laws of market economics.”

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Hong Kong
« Reply #75 on: August 10, 2020, 03:32:52 PM »
In Hong Kong, a Series of Raids and Arrests Portends Further Crackdowns
3 MINS READ

Aug 10, 2020 | 21:25 GMT
With elections now delayed to 2021, the recent arrests of activists and a pro-democracy media tycoon in Hong Kong likely herald a new period of more aggressive crackdowns on figures Beijing perceives as threats to the city's stability. On Aug. 10, Hong Kong's newly established National Security Department police unit carried out a series of raids and arrests across the city that netted 10 individuals for allegedly violating the new national security law.

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai is the most high-profile figure arrested in the Aug. 10 raids, with allegations including foreign collusion under the national security law and conspiracy to defraud. Police also arrested his two sons and several corporate leaders at his newspaper, Apple Daily, seizing laptops, phones and bank documents. Police are also seeking a top Lai aide, U.S. citizen Mark Simon, who is currently outside of the city. Lai was also arrested in February 2020 for illegal assembly after attending protests in August-October 2019.

Police also detained prominent activist Agnes Chow, reportedly for foreign collusion or inciting secession. Chow was a standing committee member of Demosisto, a pro-democracy organization and political party that had advocated for Hong Kong's self-determination until it dissolved itself following the passage of the national security law in January.

Police arrested two pro-democracy activists for alleged foreign collusion related to the U.K.-based nongovernmental organization and lobbying group "Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong," which recently published a report on Hong Kong police brutality.

Hong Kong's year-long election delay will grant Beijing and city authorities greater room to escalate crackdowns without undermining the legitimacy of pro-Beijing candidates, or sacrificing the city's political system and jeopardizing its role as a global financial hub. Hong Kong authorities have been gradually increasing the scope of their national security law's application since its June 30 promulgation — using it first to arrest protesters, then charging activists posting online, disqualifying legislative council candidates and issuing warrants for overseas activists.

The next year in Hong Kong's ongoing political crisis will be defined by the interim plan for the legislative council until 2021, but a more heavy-handed approach — or an attempt to ram through controversial legislation — would risk inflaming Hong Kong's already polarized political scene and providing another rallying point for dissent. In the National People's Congress Standing Committee meeting ending Aug. 11, Beijing will decide on how to proceed following the current legislative council term's expiration, as it remains unclear whether the election delay is constitutional. This could include measures that limit the power of the pro-democracy camp, either by ejecting some lawmakers on national security grounds or by wielding the national security law to prevent disruptive behavior. Beijing could also limit the legislative council to only emergency business.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #76 on: August 11, 2020, 06:47:56 AM »
Freedom of speech? Gone.  Freedom of the press?  Done.  Just to make sure you know they are communists - now ruling Hong Kong, they arrest his family too.  Fair trial?  No.

Two systems?  That was a promise made to the world.  This is an attack on the world.

Socialism without coercion?  Doesn't exist.  You can get your equality in a jail cell.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/jimmy-lai-is-arrested-in-hong-kong-11597101832?mod=opinion_lead_pos2

Jimmy Lai Is Arrested in Hong Kong
The pro-democracy media tycoon may face life in prison.
By The Editorial Board
Aug. 10, 2020 7:23 pm ET
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Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Apple Daily, is seen escorted by Hong Kong police at the Apple Daily office in Hong Kong, Aug. 10.
PHOTO: APPLE DAILY/REUTERS
Last year’s protesters in Hong Kong are quickly becoming this year’s martyrs for democracy. On Monday police arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai under the new national-security law, and some 200 officers raided the newsroom of his pro-democracy Apple Daily.

Police arrested Mr. Lai for sedition, criminal fraud and “collusion” with vaguely defined foreign forces. Mr. Lai’s real crime is that he is Hong Kong’s most effective international advocate and speaks the truth about the Communist Party. Mr. Lai met last year in Washington with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Members of Congress, and he has also written for these pages (WSJ).

If Mr. Lai, 72, is convicted under the new law he may face life in prison. On Monday police also arrested Mr. Lai’s two sons and four employees of his publishing company

Crafty_Dog

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Stratfor: Hong Kong 2.0
« Reply #77 on: August 11, 2020, 01:23:23 PM »
Beijing Moves to Temper Tensions in Hong Kong With an Extended Legislative Term
3 MINS READ
Aug 11, 2020 | 19:49 GMT

HIGHLIGHTS

Beijing's recent decision to extend the Hong Kong legislature's term creates a cover for Chinese action, which seeks to temper tensions both within the city as well as with the United States, while still emphasizing the continuity of One Country, Two Systems by putting the responsibility in the hands of the Hong Kong government. On Aug. 11, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved extending the term of the current Hong Kong legislative council for at least a year, leaving the Hong Kong government to decide whether the four pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from elections will keep their seats in the legislature. Reports suggest that lawmakers will not be required to swear new oaths of office or make a controversial pledge to uphold the new national security law. ...

Beijing is adopting more measured tactics to manage Hong Kong's legislative affairs, calibrating levers that enable it to control dissent without unduly distressing the city's business communities. Allowing Hong Kong's government to internally manage the interim plan for the legislative council is the next step in this strategy, having already escalated tensions in the city by delaying the elections and carrying out high-profile national security arrests.

Beijing's recent decision to extend the Hong Kong legislature's term creates a cover for Chinese action, which seeks to temper tensions both within the city as well as with the United States, while still emphasizing the continuity of "one country, two systems" by putting the responsibility in the hands of the Hong Kong government. On Aug. 11, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved extending the term of the current Hong Kong legislative council for at least a year, leaving the Hong Kong government to decide whether the four pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from elections will keep their seats in the legislature. Reports suggest that lawmakers will not be required to swear new oaths of office or make a controversial pledge to uphold the new national security law.

On July 30, Hong Kong authorities disqualified 12 pro-democratic candidates, including the four incumbent lawmakers, from running in the next election for allegedly violating the new national security law.

An anonymous pro-Beijing Hong Kong politician said that China's decision on the term extension was based on input from Lam and pro-Beijing moderates, and was motivated by concerns about overly provoking tensions with the United States ahead of the November presidential election.

On July 31, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the September legislative council elections would be delayed to 2021 due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city. She then submitted a request for Beijing to decide on how to proceed with the delay, given that the Hong Kong Basic law limits legislative terms to four years.

On Aug. 10, Hong Kong's new National Security Department police unit conducted a series of arrests and raids targeting activists and prominent pro-democracy figures, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

The Chinese government is adopting more measured tactics to manage Hong Kong's legislative affairs, calibrating levers that enable it to control dissent without distressing the city's business communities.

Over the next year, Beijing will have minimal tolerance for major disruptions to Hong Kong legislative activity and will not hesitate to target sitting lawmakers if necessary, likely relying on Hong Kong authorities to do so, as it works to enact policies that stabilize the city's politics and support its allies. Under the national security law, Hong Kong authorities can remove pro-democracy politicians from their seats or press charges should they disrupt parliament or stand in the way of the pro-Beijing agenda.

The legislative council has the potential to vote on controversial legislation, including limitations on the filibuster, which has often been used by pro-democracy lawmakers, as well as measures that could allow Hong Kongers in mainland China to vote in Hong Kong elections.

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Re: Stratfor: Hong Kong 2.0
« Reply #78 on: August 11, 2020, 01:34:10 PM »
Xi doesn't want any ugly footage from HK hurting Beijing Biden.


Beijing Moves to Temper Tensions in Hong Kong With an Extended Legislative Term
3 MINS READ
Aug 11, 2020 | 19:49 GMT

HIGHLIGHTS

Beijing's recent decision to extend the Hong Kong legislature's term creates a cover for Chinese action, which seeks to temper tensions both within the city as well as with the United States, while still emphasizing the continuity of One Country, Two Systems by putting the responsibility in the hands of the Hong Kong government. On Aug. 11, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved extending the term of the current Hong Kong legislative council for at least a year, leaving the Hong Kong government to decide whether the four pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from elections will keep their seats in the legislature. Reports suggest that lawmakers will not be required to swear new oaths of office or make a controversial pledge to uphold the new national security law. ...

Beijing is adopting more measured tactics to manage Hong Kong's legislative affairs, calibrating levers that enable it to control dissent without unduly distressing the city's business communities. Allowing Hong Kong's government to internally manage the interim plan for the legislative council is the next step in this strategy, having already escalated tensions in the city by delaying the elections and carrying out high-profile national security arrests.

Beijing's recent decision to extend the Hong Kong legislature's term creates a cover for Chinese action, which seeks to temper tensions both within the city as well as with the United States, while still emphasizing the continuity of "one country, two systems" by putting the responsibility in the hands of the Hong Kong government. On Aug. 11, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved extending the term of the current Hong Kong legislative council for at least a year, leaving the Hong Kong government to decide whether the four pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from elections will keep their seats in the legislature. Reports suggest that lawmakers will not be required to swear new oaths of office or make a controversial pledge to uphold the new national security law.

On July 30, Hong Kong authorities disqualified 12 pro-democratic candidates, including the four incumbent lawmakers, from running in the next election for allegedly violating the new national security law.

An anonymous pro-Beijing Hong Kong politician said that China's decision on the term extension was based on input from Lam and pro-Beijing moderates, and was motivated by concerns about overly provoking tensions with the United States ahead of the November presidential election.

On July 31, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the September legislative council elections would be delayed to 2021 due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city. She then submitted a request for Beijing to decide on how to proceed with the delay, given that the Hong Kong Basic law limits legislative terms to four years.

On Aug. 10, Hong Kong's new National Security Department police unit conducted a series of arrests and raids targeting activists and prominent pro-democracy figures, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

The Chinese government is adopting more measured tactics to manage Hong Kong's legislative affairs, calibrating levers that enable it to control dissent without distressing the city's business communities.

Over the next year, Beijing will have minimal tolerance for major disruptions to Hong Kong legislative activity and will not hesitate to target sitting lawmakers if necessary, likely relying on Hong Kong authorities to do so, as it works to enact policies that stabilize the city's politics and support its allies. Under the national security law, Hong Kong authorities can remove pro-democracy politicians from their seats or press charges should they disrupt parliament or stand in the way of the pro-Beijing agenda.

The legislative council has the potential to vote on controversial legislation, including limitations on the filibuster, which has often been used by pro-democracy lawmakers, as well as measures that could allow Hong Kongers in mainland China to vote in Hong Kong elections.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #79 on: August 12, 2020, 07:13:45 AM »
...
https://www.wsj.com/articles/jimmy-lai-is-arrested-in-hong-kong-11597101832?mod=opinion_lead_pos2
Jimmy Lai Is Arrested in Hong Kong
The pro-democracy media tycoon may face life in prison.  ...

This move is so egregious even the NYT is offended:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/10/opinion/china-hong-kong-arrest.html

We are all Hong Kongers now?  In what ways would Democrats stand up to China after they resisted all ways Trump stood up to them.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; China Iran Partnership
« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2020, 08:12:40 AM »
The China Iran partnership is Exhibit I that China is the enemy of the world.  Noted previously, Iran may have been the first country to be slaughtered by the Wuhan virus, begging the question no one seems to ask, what exactly was the connection between the evil, dangerous lab and the world's number one sponsor of terror?

Trump had them near collapse and China breathes new life into the disaster that is the regime of Iran.  Both are our enemy.
---------------------------

https://cgpolicy.org/articles/what-iran-gets-from-the-strategic-deal-with-china/

A Lifeline for Tehran

ya

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2020, 05:20:44 PM »
Below is not from the ONION. The czech getting in on the act wrt China

https://www.opindia.com/2020/09/czech-mayor-reacts-chinese-foreign-minister-threat-taiwan-visit-speaker-milos-vystrcil/

India starts to troll the Chinese https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-fresh-lac-tensions-india-urges-china-to-discipline-and-control-frontline-troops-from-provocative-actions-6579260/

"Hours after China accused Indian troops of violating the consensus, India Tuesday hit back and said it has taken up the “matter of recent provocative and aggressive actions” with the Chinese side through both diplomatic and military channels and has “urged them to discipline and control their frontline troops from undertaking such provocative actions”."

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation, Czech, Taiwan
« Reply #82 on: September 02, 2020, 09:04:42 AM »
quote author=ya
Below is not from the ONION. The czech getting in on the act wrt China

https://www.opindia.com/2020/09/czech-mayor-reacts-chinese-foreign-minister-threat-taiwan-visit-speaker-milos-vystrcil/
--------------------------------------------------

   - "In a rather unparliamentary tone"...   I never thought to close a letter, "With pretending regards".
Why would you have any other regards for a totalitarian dictator threatening a free country, Czech Republic, for associating with a free and sovereign country, Taiwan. 

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Supply chain trends
« Reply #84 on: September 04, 2020, 09:08:17 AM »
Supply chain remodel. The multilateral effort to reduce supply chain dependence on China is gaining momentum, at least on the surface. In Taiwan, diplomats from the United States and other Western nations met with Taiwanese officials to discuss development of a coalition of “like-minded” democracies aimed at shifting global supply chains. Japan, meanwhile, announced that Japanese manufacturers will be eligible for subsidies if they move operations from China to India or Bangladesh. (Previously, these firms were eligible only if they moved factories back home or to Southeast Asian countries.) And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking on Thursday to the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, repeated his call for a reshaping of global supply chains around “trust, reliability and policy stability,” rather than purely bottom line considerations.
It all sounds good, but these initiatives underscore how difficult it will be to make it worthwhile for companies to leave China. It’s a long-term trend worth watching. Still, while the pandemic has created a new sense of urgency to ease dependence on China, it’s also making it harder for cash-strapped companies to bear the costs of moving (especially to manufacturing hubs that lack China’s immense advantages) – and making it harder for cash-strapped governments to alter companies’ cost-benefit calculus. India remains a particularly hard sell. However much companies would like to “trust” Indian policy stability, its fight against the COVID-19 crisis is looking worse by the day


DougMacG

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China vs. the World; Russia and China versus the world?
« Reply #86 on: September 08, 2020, 07:20:43 AM »
https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-and-china-wield-dull-wedges-11599517629?mod=opinion_lead_pos10  (read it all)

They push the U.S. and Germany closer together rather than driving them apart.

By Walter Russell Mead     Sept. 7, 2020
From the article:
...
The gap between the major European countries and China widened noticeably last week: France called for a European effort to develop homegrown 5G technology rather than relying on Huawei, and Germany adopted an “Indo-Pacific” strategy that will reduce its reliance on China. Both French and German officials reacted angrily to China’s threats against the Czechs.
...
neither China nor Russia is ready to do what it would take to pry Europe and Washington apart.
...
Ms. Merkel is not fond of Mr. Trump and vice versa, but both can recognize an overriding common interest. A smoother diplomat in Washington or a more flexible government in Berlin might ease the path for trans-Atlantic cooperation, but diplomatic tact isn’t what holds the alliance together.
...
autocratic governments get so used to bullying and intimidating their people that they fail to grasp how counterproductive such tactics can be when deployed overseas.
...
both Russia and China feel relatively unconstrained at the moment. With the U.S. consumed by election politics and domestic polarization, and the European Union still divided and slow-moving, neither Moscow nor Beijing seems to fear consequences for its reckless behavior. The rest of 2020 could have a few more nasty surprises up its sleeve.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 07:25:57 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #87 on: September 08, 2020, 10:20:35 AM »
Doug:

This thread is for China matters that do not fall within existing threads (South China Sea, India-China, etc) so mMay I ask you to post that here? 

https://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1657.450

TY



Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China's Amphibian Dilemma
« Reply #88 on: September 08, 2020, 11:08:39 AM »
China’s Amphibian Dilemma: Straddling Land and Sea Ambitions
Rodger Baker
Rodger Baker
Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor
12 MINS READ
Sep 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Cadets from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy march in formation before a ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2019.
Cadets from China's navy march in formation before a ceremony at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 30, 2019.

(Mark Schiefelbein - Pool/Getty Images)

HIGHLIGHTS

China borders the largest number of countries by land, and its navy now boasts the largest number of battle force ships by sea. With the pressures and opportunities of both a continental and maritime power, China faces an amphibian’s dilemma, as the characteristics best suited for life at sea and life at land may not always prove complementary. Traditional continental powers are more prone to autocratic leadership to manage their challenges, while traditional maritime powers lean toward democratic systems and more open markets. China’s attempt to straddle both can intensify sectionalism and exacerbate differences between the interior core that remains continental in outlook, and the coastal areas that become more maritime in outlook.  This challenge is also highlighted in China’s attempts to reshape global norms and standards, which themselves largely represent the maritime world order. The apparent global political and economic dissonance is not merely caused by China seeking change, but...

"Land-based northerners have dominated Chinese culture throughout most of her history and whenever they have been in political control… China has been oriented primarily inwardly…. On the other hand, when control was exercised by South China groups… a strong maritime outlook was emphasized. … In the former instances, China functioned as a continental rimland state, in the latter as a maritime rimland state."

Donald W. Meinig, Heartland and Rimland in Eurasian History (1956)

China borders the largest number of countries by land, and its navy now boasts the largest number of battle force ships by sea. With the pressures and opportunities of both a continental and maritime power, China faces an amphibian’s dilemma, as the characteristics best suited for life at sea and life at land may not always prove complementary. Traditional continental powers are more prone to autocratic leadership to manage their challenges, while traditional maritime powers lean toward democratic systems and more open markets. China’s attempt to straddle both can intensify sectionalism and exacerbate differences between the interior core that remains continental in outlook, and the coastal areas that become more maritime in outlook.

This challenge is also highlighted in China’s attempts to reshape global norms and standards, which themselves largely represent the maritime world order. The apparent global political and economic dissonance is not merely caused by China seeking change, but by the very continental nature of China’s history. China is bringing a continental mindset to a maritime system. And though it is able to rally sympathy with others with a more continental history, China may find it difficult to bridge the continental/maritime divide.

China as a Continental Power

For most of its history, China has been a classic continental power. Initially a sedentary agricultural society on the northern plain along the Yellow River, China faced threats from both nomadic tribes to the north and west, as well as seafaring raiders along the east and southern coasts. Successive Chinese dynasties fought externally to secure buffer states and protect against outside powers, as well as internally to consolidate the fractious ethnic Han core, which stretched south to the Yangtze River and the rich rice land’s beyond.

Chinese empires followed a general pattern of dynastic rise and collapse:

Consolidation of the Han core under a strong central leadership.
Pressing outward along the periphery to counter external threats or capture new opportunities.
Expanding the bureaucracy to manage the sprawling empire.
Internal and external economic, political and military pressures weaken the center of power.
Some shock that finally breaks the back of a waning empire, starting over the cycle.

China’s reconsolidation came under external northern powers twice: the Yuan dynasty of the Mongols (1279-1368) and the Qing dynasty of the Manchu (1644-1912). During the Tang dynasty (618-906), China took its position as the “Middle Kingdom,” establishing suzerainty relationships with numerous nations around its expanding periphery, and engaging in international trade and diplomatic delegations across the Asian continent. But while trade and international connections expanded, China remained heavily focused on the continent, not at sea. Managing the myriad differing population and linguistic groups inside China and pressure from external threats shaped priorities, and trade outside of the expanded empire and bordering states was largely unnecessary.

China has flirted with a maritime focus in the past, often when power was centered in the south. The Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) had a large navy for coastal defense and riverine operations. And when the Mongols conquered Korea and Southern Song, they turned that maritime power briefly against Japan, with two ultimately unsuccessful invasions. During the early Ming dynasty (1368-1644), where the capital was initially in southern China at Nanjing, Zheng He embarked on several voyages around Asia and Africa in his famed treasure fleets. While these marked a notable expansion of Chinese maritime activity, they were largely focused on asserting Chinese power and centrality through diplomatic and tribute collection delegations, rather than building trade routes or a long-term naval presence. And with the capital shifted back north to Beijing and internal troubles once again arising, China disposed of the fleet and turned continental once again.

Modern China has largely retained that continental focus. Like earlier peasant rebellions, the Chinese Communist revolution took root in the interior in the 1930s and 40s, despite the nationalist government having a maritime outlook from its southern base in Nanjing. And while Taiwan has always been a focus of the Communist Party’s unification of China, early consolidation focused on western regions, securing Xinjiang in 1950 and Tibet in 1951. Mao Zedong (1949-1976) focused heavily on China’s interior, at times with disastrous results, as in the Great Leap Forward. Even as Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping (1978-1989) moved to shift China’s economic policies and open the country to more trade, the Chinese government prioritized managing internal ethnic and social issues, as well as China’s numerous disputes along its land borders. During this time, China’s national security was focused on maintaining a large, land-based People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with infrequent attention to naval power.


China today is still largely a continental land power. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, China found itself with 14 contiguous neighbors, many ambivalent toward the People’s Republic. Domestically, around two-thirds of the Chinese population live in the interior, though much of the nation’s economic activity occurs along the coast. This dichotomy has the potential to stir traditional instability, and Chinese leaders spend a lot of their time and effort emphasizing the importance of the interior. The response to the global financial crisis was to rapidly increase infrastructure spending in the interior, and enhance rail connectivity toward western China. The Belt and Road initiative (BRI) continued that continentalist strategy by seeking to redirect attention from domestic socio-economic gaps to economic opportunities across the borders to the west and south.

China as a Maritime Power

China’s rapid economic rise from the mid-1990s created a new pressure point on the Chinese system. For much of China’s history, the country was largely self-sufficient, so long as it didn’t mismanage its resources. But economic growth increasingly linked China into extended supply chains, for raw materials and for overseas markets. With most outward-focused economic activity taking place along the coast or along rivers connected to the coast, China’s international trade was largely by sea, and vulnerable to the key maritime chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca. Rising competition with the United States reinforced China’s trade risk, with U.S. allies or partners forming a crescent surrounding the Chinese coast, from South Korea and Japan through the Philippines and down through Southeast Asia and Australia.

For China, there were three options: 1) Accept U.S. control of the seas, as most other nations did; 2) Find alternative routes to reduce its vulnerability to the chokepoints along its maritime frontier, or 3) Build a naval capability that could secure its supply chains throughout the region and beyond. China chose the latter two, one through the BRI and the other via the rapid expansion of the PLA navy, coupled with air and sea defense missiles and territorial assertions in the South China Sea. By the late 1990s, China was building bases and airstrips on contested reefs and rocks in the South China Sea. And in early 2001, tensions rose amid the Hainan Island Incident. While China backed off at the time, due both to its own recognized weaknesses and the U.S. shift in attention to the war against terrorism, Beijing redoubled its shipbuilding efforts.

China’s navy now outmatches the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and has more battle force ships than the United States (though in tonnage, the U.S. Navy’s vessels still far outweigh those of the PLA Navy). Combined, these developments have reshaped the balance of naval power in the Western Pacific. In addition, China has significantly expanded its coast guard and other coastal defense forces, revived and expanded several airfields and small bases on artificial islands built on disputed reefs in the South China Sea, and has fielded two aircraft carriers, with another under construction and several more planned.


While China’s naval buildup focused initially on quantity, it has shifted in recent years to quality, testing numerous versions of ships before choosing preferred platforms, and coming close to its peer competitors in several areas of key naval technologies. China has tested its ability to operate for extended periods of time far from home, taking advantage of anti-piracy operations off the coast of Africa to provide real-world training for its crews and establishing a base in Djibouti. The PLA navy does remain behind in some aspects, including anti-submarine warfare and multi-domain naval operations. It also has no culture of carrier battle group operations, and has not been tested in real combat experience since the 1970s. But Beijing has gone a long way to build a modern and professional navy that by many accounts can now outcompete the U.S. Navy in the enclosed waters of the South China Sea.

China continues to seek to shape the maritime environment within the so-called first island chain, and has regularly pushed beyond into the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific and more recently into the Arctic, though the latter still primarily with its civilian fleet. China’s future shipbuilding capacity appears robust, while that of Japan and the United States is curtailed by budgetary concerns and shifting priorities. 

China as an Amphibian Power

China’s naval build-up has been rapid, facilitated by the centralized nature of the government and economy. And this maritime focus has paralleled China’s landward infrastructure and trade push along its periphery, reflecting both China’s overall economic strength and its stated intent to take its place among the chief powers of the world system. But as with past rising powers and empires, China faces challenges both from the status quo power, the United States, and from its many neighbors. China’s proclaimed pursuit of “win-win” solutions as it expands its economic, political and military influence will only serve it for so long before the attendant imbalances in power lead to resistance — and in many places, that is already happening.

China’s dual challenges with managing its continental interests and its newer maritime priorities have historical precedence in other rising powers. In his 1890 book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, American naval scholar and strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan discusses how France consistently struggled with the economic and security costs of seeking to dominate the European continent and maintain a robust navy to counter British maritime power.

At the time, Mahan sought to stir the United States to a global maritime role, expounding on the way British sea power shaped national strength. Germany, in both World Wars, also found itself torn between its continental and maritime priorities. Both were important to secure German power, but each also required a unique strategy with very different resources and key geographies. During the Cold War, the United States used the geographically constrained Soviet sea access to hem in the country, while also exploiting its long land borders in the strategy of containment.

With the pressures and opportunities of both a continental and maritime power, China faces an amphibian’s dilemma, as the characteristics best suited for life at sea and life at land may not always prove complementary.

Similarly, for China, neighboring countries represent both an opportunity for economic and strategic gain, and a vulnerability to China’s national security. Beijing must ensure that its borders remain secure, that regional problems in places like Afghanistan do not interfere with Chinese supply lines through Central and South Asia or spill over into western China, and find ways to reduce the options for the United States to solidify allies and partners around the Chinese periphery. China must also do this at sea to secure its dominant position in the enclosed seas of Asia, as well as regional territorial competitions and undermine U.S. maritime coalitions, while also building out a network of port and resupply agreements along the length of its supply lines.

The U.S. emergence as a global naval power in the 20th Century occurred only after the United States had largely secured its continental position, and was left with only two land neighbors. China’s maritime emergence is happening while it is still seeking to secure its continental position through infrastructure and trade, but this is still a work in progress. Yet if it could, through a combination of economic, political and security arrangements, China would represent the new heartland power envisioned by British geographer Sir Halford J. Mackinder. As early as his 1904 paper defining the Heartland, Mackinder noted that China could at some future point fill this role as a nation capable of uniting the resource base and manpower of Europe, Asia and Africa and then turning its focus to the seas, where it would overwhelm the international maritime order. In his 1944 book titled The Geography of the Peace, American strategist Nicholas Spykman also noted that the “dominant power in the Far East will undoubtedly be China, providing she achieves real unification and provided that Japan’s military power is completely destroyed.”

Making the Leap

Continental powers must deal with managing governance over large territories, balance the differing interests of numerous
neighbors, ensure unity among a diversity of domestic ethnic regions, and shoulder the higher cost of less efficient transport across land. Maritime powers are driven by commerce and the need to both ensure the continuity of long supply lines far from the core national support base, as well as engage in international intercourse that highlights differing social and economic norms from a continental power. But an amphibious nation must manage both the complexities of a continental empire and the challenges of a maritime power.

A key question, then, for understanding the geography of the 21st century is whether China will be able to overcome the amphibian’s dilemma, and emerge as equally formidable both on land and at sea.

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Huawei
« Reply #89 on: September 10, 2020, 12:00:16 PM »
Huawei goes it alone. Chinese telecom giant Huawei announced Thursday that its smartphones will run on its own operating system, HarmonyOS, beginning next year. This is in response to U.S. sanctions blocking sales of U.S. intellectual property to the company, forcing it to release smartphones without a licensed version of Google’s Android operating system.

But while developing a native OS so quickly is a noteworthy achievement for Huawei – and potentially a cautionary tale about how sanctions can inadvertently lead to the creation of foreign workarounds – replacing Google with what will almost certainly be an inferior product (for example, customers won’t have access to apps on the Google Play store) is bound to hamper Huawei smartphone sales in Europe and elsewhere in Asia. This will deprive the company of much-needed revenues at a time when its network infrastructure gear is being either partially or fully banned in a number of Western countries.

Even more problematic for Huawei is the fact that new U.S. sanctions attempting to deprive the company of critical supplies, particularly semiconductors, are set to come into effect next week – and Huawei’s most important suppliers are expected to comply. The world’s largest manufacturer of advanced microchips, Taiwan’s TSMC, has already said it would stop sales to Huawei and other sanctioned Chinese firms this month. Meanwhile, South Korean chipmakers and display manufacturers, namely Samsung, LG and Sk Hynix, filed pro forma requests with the U.S. Commerce Department to continue doing business with the Chinese giant, but are reportedly planning to halt sales. And while Chinese homegrown chipmakers like SMIC and others are racing – with ample state support – to make up the looming microchip shortfall, they’re widely reported to be falling short. By most accounts, Huawei is expected to start exhausting its supply of certain key microchips within the next year.

Rumors that the U.S. will add SMIC and other Chinese chipmakers to its blacklist won’t help their cause. Of course, as we’ve noted, success in the U.S. campaign against Huawei won’t be cost-free either for the U.S. or its allies. The loss of sales to Huawei is expected to cost suppliers in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea more than $26 billion annually.

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: Can China Still Export Its People's War?
« Reply #90 on: September 28, 2020, 05:25:03 AM »
September 28, 2020   View On Website
Open as PDF



    Can China Still Export Its People’s War?
Dusting off Mao’s Cold War playbook won’t help Beijing.
By: Phillip Orchard

Earlier this summer, as the Indian government scrambled to curry support both at home and abroad for its bare-knuckle standoff against China in the Himalayas, it began reviving another unrelated longstanding grievance with Beijing: China’s alleged covert support for Maoist rebels in restive parts of northeastern India. Among other recent incidents, according to New Delhi, China deserved blame for a deadly attack on security forces in June by far-left separatist groups in Manipur state, which borders Myanmar. In July, ahead of the Myanmar government’s latest long-odds attempt to broker peace with the alphabet soup of ethnic separatist groups ringing the country, the powerful chief of the Myanmar military called out China for arming some of the most powerful rebel groups. Two weeks ago, Indian media, citing sources in both the Indian and Myanmar governments, reported that China has been smuggling arms to various insurgent groups in the region through a network of militants along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. Among other goals, according to the sources, Beijing was seeking to derail Indian-backed infrastructure projects in Myanmar that ostensibly would compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

These sorts of developments – combined with warnings from the U.S. and some of its friends (including India) that Beijing is using Chinese apps like TikTok and college student groups to spread communist ideology in the West – certainly make it sound like the Cold War is rising from the grave. And China may indeed have increasing cause to dust off its Mao-era playbooks for waging proxy wars and stoking ideological struggle abroad. The country, after all, is in quite a strategic fix as outside powers grow ever-warier of its rise and ambitions. It’ll need every tool available to keep its adversaries divided, preoccupied and leery of confrontation. The fractured geography of South and Southeast Asia gives it numerous internal cleavages in strategically important states on its periphery to try to exploit.

In truth, though, outside of a couple of areas in its periphery where its covert influence operations have never stopped, Beijing is neither capable of nor particularly interested in playing a global, U.S.-Soviet-style covert destabilization game. Nor would it realistically have any hope that the modern Communist Party’s ideology could cultivate a substantial base of supporters, much less inspire other countries’ masses to remake their governments in Beijing’s image. But its new weapons of influence are arguably far more potent and better-suited for the hostile environment it’s facing today than Maoism ever was.
Little Red Books for Everyone

Under Mao, exporting revolution was a core part of Chinese strategy. With the country war-torn, preoccupied with reclaiming its buffer states and perpetually dealing with internal crises of its own making, it couldn’t afford to do much in the way of providing substantial material support to like-minded groups in distant proxy conflicts on the scale of the Soviets and the Americans. To the extent it did get its hands dirty, it was typically in places where it feared either spillover across its border or occupation by a foreign military power – e.g., Indochina and Korea. It also occasionally provided limited amounts of arms, financial assistance and training to sympathetic militant movements farther abroad, but never on a scale needed to truly tip the balance of power.

Mostly, though, China leaned on Maoist ideology as a way to cultivate foreign support. And it was a powerful tool indeed. The beauty of Maoism is its ability to mean whatever any particular class struggle-based political movement needs it to mean. It is not a particularly rigid or coherent doctrine or blueprint for seizing and wielding power so much as a loose, sometimes self-contradictory collection of sayings, ideas and diagnoses of social ills. But what this sacrifices in intellectual rigor it more than makes up for in mutability. It provides a neat framework for understanding power structures and social discontent, plus organizing principles that can be incorporated easily into other ideologies. Elements of Maoism, for example, can be seen in an unlikely range of social movements, including nominally religious ones like the Taliban, the Islamic State and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Still, Mao’s ideological reach rarely had much effect on China’s strategic position. It did not, for example, prove capable of eradicating deeper geostrategic tensions with Moscow, Hanoi or even Pyongyang. Beijing was never able to wrest control of the global communist movement from Moscow amid the Sino-Soviet split in the 1950s and 1960s, and most communist countries fell firmly in the Soviet sphere as a result – including those in China’s backyard. Maoist successes in places like Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and to a much lesser extent Indonesia were relatively short-lived, ultimately ushering in hostile governments and a long-standing wariness of Chinese interference.

Thus, almost as soon as Mao was gone, Deng Xiaoping set about implementing a dramatic reorientation of China around principles that would resonate in just about any capital: getting rich and keeping enemies at bay through traditional realist strategic maneuvering. And this meant facilitating a rapprochement with the West, particularly the U.S., which meant China couldn’t be seen as aiding Soviet aims by exporting revolution. Maoism was still emphasized at home, of course – or at least the principles Deng thought would cement party rule were emphasized. But Beijing largely shut down Mao-era efforts to foment class struggle and support like-minded militant groups abroad.

Game’s the Same, Just Got Less Fierce

China has stuck with this approach ever since, albeit with a few notable exceptions – none of which were driven by ideological affinity. It continued to support the Khmer Rouge even after it was driven from the capital, for example, but this was a strategic move in coordination with the U.S. aimed mainly at countering Soviet-backed Vietnam. Since China still felt compelled in 1979 to invade Vietnam, where Chinese forces performed poorly, and since it cemented Vietnamese influence in Phnom Penh for a generation, one could argue this backfired. Backing an ousted regime that killed off 20 percent of its population in just four years is not exactly a great way to engender public goodwill or position yourself as a long-term friend to regional governments.

Another exception is in Myanmar, where well-armed rebel groups in the country’s north and northeast have long taken advantage of borders with China (and, to a lesser extent, Thailand) to raise funds, sell contraband, procure weapons, flee attacks and so forth. The strongest of these groups, the United Wa State Army, grew out of the armed wing of the Communist Party of Burma, which had received substantial Chinese support in the 1950s as Mao sought to stamp out a fledgling insurgency being organized by U.S.-backed remnants of the Kuomintang in Shan state. Since then, the UWSA has grown into one of the world’s most powerful drug trafficking organizations. While it’s believed to have begun sourcing most of its arms from China about two decades ago, Beijing’s relationship with the group is uneasy, at best. China isn’t particularly thrilled to have such a group corrupting officials and moving narcotics across its border – particularly one that’s proved strong and independent-minded enough to occasionally frustrate Beijing’s moves to use it to gain leverage over Naypyitaw. And it's an open question just how much of the weapons and financial support that it gets from China is actually sanctioned by Beijing. Nonetheless, to keep Myanmar from moving too close to India or the West, Beijing has been keen to position itself as an indispensable power broker in the interminable peace process between Naypyitaw and the rebel groups. Since nearly all of the major ethnic armies in Myanmar rely on UWSA support to some extent (the UWSA was named in the aforementioned Indian reports about Chinese-backed arms smuggling networks), China cannot afford to shun the group.

Finally, there’s India, which credibly accuses China of providing safe haven to prominent Naxalite leaders and giving them free rein to raise support and facilitate arms flows into India through largely ungoverned spaces in Myanmar, Bangladesh and northeast India. Chinese leaders have tacitly admitted to this by making the case that, since India hosts the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan exiles – even incorporating Tibetans into Indian forces in the Himalayas – fair is fair. Either way, the various separatist groups (some of them Maoist) allegedly receiving Chinese support are at most a perpetual irritant to New Delhi and a modest drain on military resources that could ostensibly be redirected into something more important, like naval development. They pose little risk of fundamentally destabilizing the Indian core or undermining Indian control over territory where it actually fears Chinese incursion, such as the Siliguri Corridor. China stands to gain relatively little leverage from supporting them, especially compared to its far more lucrative investment in India’s chief source of concern: Pakistan.

Not Your Father's Cold War

Otherwise, there’s little evidence of much Chinese support for opposition political movements in the region, particularly violent ones. Not that Beijing would be short of opportunities to back such movements if it wanted. The fractured geography of South and Southeast Asia, along with the extreme levels of social disruption and inequality that have come with the globalization boom, makes the region awash with ethnic and demographic fault lines.

Consider the Philippines. The archipelagic country, which functions as something of a gatekeeper to vital sea lanes to the Western Pacific, presents perhaps the foremost strategic problem for China. Naturally, China is desperate to pull the U.S. treaty ally into its camp, or at minimum keep it from allowing the U.S. or another hostile power to set up naval or missile bases there that could be used to impose a blockade on China. The Philippines also just happens to be home to a dizzying array of rebel groups, including the New People’s Army, proud facilitators of the world’s longest-running communist insurgency. Yet, such groups do not appear to have played any part in China’s ongoing efforts to put the squeeze on Manila.

Its approach to the Philippines illustrates quite a bit about what China actually needs from such states and what tools it thinks might actually be effective. For one, it tells us that Beijing doesn’t think there would be much return on investment from supporting such groups. This is, in part, because few realistically have the potential to be much more than an irritant to their governments. The threat posed to Naypyitaw by the United Wa State Army and the other rebel groups in Myanmar is rare, in other words. The New People’s Army, for example, is considered a spent force, having effectively devolved into a decentralized collection of local criminal syndicates rather than something capable of mobilizing the Philippine masses against Manila. Moreover, the strongest militant groups in the Philippines, as in much of South and Southeast Asia, are Islamist. Beijing fears anything that would strengthen such groups to the point where they could funnel support to ethnic Uighur militants in Xinjiang and along China’s western borders.

For another, Beijing’s handling of the Philippines tells us that China realizes its ideology no longer has mass appeal. To be sure, with inequality and social disruption soaring across the globe, the environment is as receptive as ever to an ideology focused on class struggle. But the Communist Party of China can no longer take advantage of this, because it can’t really hide the fact that it's turning China into an imperialist, wealth-obsessed autocracy treating its neighbors as little more than commodity depots. Even the New People’s Army’s parent political organization, the Movement for National Democracy, has been harshly critical of the Duterte administration’s embrace of Beijing’s neocolonialism. To the extent that Chinese messaging and disinformation operations can be at least modestly successful, watch a couple of tactics in particular: One is targeting overseas ethnic Chinese communities with nationalist narratives. Another is using its growing control over information technologies to censor unflattering news about China, tout Chinese aims as benevolent and projects like the Belt and Road Initiative as mutually beneficial, and sow discontent with Chinese adversaries. (Consider, for example, the way Beijing flooded social media channels overseas with conspiracy theories about the U.S. and COVID-19.)

Finally, it tells us that China thinks the risks of openly attempting to foment rebellion in its periphery far outweigh the potential rewards. Economically, what China needs is open markets for its manufactured goods and emerging technologies, steady supplies of commodities and receptiveness to Chinese investment. Militarily, China needs allies, which at present are very few. But at minimum, it needs to keep regional states on the sidelines of its disputes with major outside powers. Diplomatically, it needs to beat back deep-rooted regional suspicions that China’s rise will be inherently incompatible with peace and stability and persuade its neighbors that the best bet for a prosperous future is a China-centric regional order. Attempting to destabilize its neighbors, in most cases, would quite likely only undermine these aims, driving them to seek out outside military support, generating suspicion of Chinese technologies and investment, and raising the political risks for regional leaders of cozying up to Beijing. The few attempts it has made in recent years at putting its thumb on the scale of another country’s political landscape have backfired, underscoring the reality that pinning one’s geopolitical strategy on any particular regime makes for a flimsy strategy.

For Beijing, then, the best course is likely to continue leaning heavily on the more traditional tools of statecraft it has already been wielding with some efficacy. This means cultivating economic dependencies through investment and market access. It means deepening inter-elite financial ties to ensure pro-China sympathies across countries’ political spectra – something bearing abundant fruit in the Philippines and elsewhere. It means tilting the military balance of power with regional states ever more in its favor, declaring that might makes right in territorial disputes, and exposing the limits of America’s interest in coming to their defense. It means providing authoritarian-minded regimes in the region with the technological tools and financial resources to cement their control and shield themselves from public discontent. In truth, it means making itself an indispensable partner in helping governments put down rebellions – as it did in Nepal in the mid-2000s, when it helped arm the government in its fight against Maoist rebels.

Ultimately, these efforts may not be enough to win long-term friends to the extent needed to establish the new regional order it craves. But Beijing has already succeeded in making regional states, even some powerful ones, exceedingly reluctant to bandwagon against China in meaningful ways. No one in the region wants a new cold war, but least of all China. Because if China finds itself having to fight in the manner the last one was waged, it’ll quite likely already have lost.   




Crafty_Dog

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GPF: The Quad Alliance
« Reply #91 on: October 01, 2020, 01:02:47 PM »
Quad momentum. The top diplomats of the four members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Japan, India, Australia and the United States) will meet in Tokyo next week. Normally, these sorts of summits are a dime a dozen. But until recently, the Quad was at most an occasional talk shop for midlevel diplomats and largely focused on making vague promises for economic cooperation – reflecting the wariness of Australia and India, in particular, of antagonizing China by allowing the Quad to grow into a more formalized military coalition. In this light, the urgency of the diplomats to meet – in person, no less – to discuss bringing Australia into the annual India-led Malabar naval exercises illustrates a gradual weakening of such concerns.

China fears being ganged up on by a united front of foreign powers, and so naturally it is launching a charm offensive targeting Japan. This reflects another shift. Among the four members, Japan has been perhaps the keenest to give the grouping some actual muscle. If Beijing thinks Tokyo is now its best bet for undermining Quad momentum, it illustrates just how much damage Beijing has done to its ties with Canberra and New Delhi over the past year.

As always, watch what they do more than what they say – starting with the Malabar drills. Another key factor in the Quad’s future is the ability of the non-U.S. members to develop the military capabilities needed to make the grouping less dependent on the United States. Notably, Japan on Wednesday announced a record increase in its defense budget.


DougMacG

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China vs. the World; Pew: World is seeing the China threat
« Reply #93 on: October 11, 2020, 07:41:44 AM »
Pew:  World is seeing the China threat even if Biden and Harris do not.


DougMacG

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China vs. the World; Could have reduced covid outbreak by 95%
« Reply #94 on: October 18, 2020, 06:25:14 AM »
Xi Jinping’s China did this  [Times of Israel, link below]
The corrupt, criminal regime wasted 40 days blocking information while it crushed domestic dissent and ensured COVID-19 would become a global pandemic

There is authoritative and compelling evidence — including a study from the University of Southampton — that if interventions in China had been conducted three weeks earlier, transmission of COVID-19 could have been reduced by 95 percent.

For 40 days, President Xi Jinping’s CPC concealed, destroyed, falsified, and fabricated information about the rampant spread of COVID-19 through its state-sanctioned massive surveillance and suppression of data; its misrepresentation of information; its silencing and criminalizing of its dissent; and its disappearance of its whistleblowers.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/criminality-and-corruption-reign-in-xi-pings-china/#gs.g3g2ma

In late December 2019, Dr. Ai Fen, director of the Emergency Department at the Central Hospital of Wuhan — “The Whistle-Giver” — disseminated information about COVID-19 to several doctors, one of whom was Dr. Li Wenliang, and eight of whom were later arrested. Dr. Ai has recently disappeared.

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Dr. Ai also detailed efforts to silence her in a story titled, “The one who supplied the whistle,” published in China’s People (Renwu) magazine in March. The article has since been removed.

On January 1, 2020, Dr. Li Wenliang — the “hero” and “awakener” — was reprimanded for spreading rumors, and was summoned to sign a statement accusing him of making false statements that disturbed the public order. Seven other people were arrested on similar charges. Their fate is still unknown.


 
On January 4, 2020, Dr. Ho Pak Leung — president of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection — indicated that it was highly probable that COVID-19 spread from human-to-human, and urged the implementation of a strict monitoring system.

For weeks, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declared that preliminary investigations did not show any clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.

On January 14, 2020, the WHO reaffirmed China’s statement, and on January 22, 2020, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised the CPC’s handling of the outbreak, commending China’s Minister of Health for his cooperation, and President Xi and Premier Li for their invaluable leadership and intervention.

On January 23, 2020, Chinese authorities announced their first steps to quarantine Wuhan. By then, it was too late. Millions of people had already visited Wuhan and left during the Chinese New Year, and a significant number of Chinese citizens had traveled overseas as asymptomatic carriers.

On February 23, 2020, Ren Zhiqiang — former real estate tycoon and longstanding critic of the CPC — wrote in an essay that he “saw not an emperor standing there exhibiting his ‘new clothes,’ but a clown stripped naked who insisted he continue being emperor.” He spoke of a “crisis of governance” and the strict limits on free speech, which had magnified the COVID-19 epidemic. He has also gone missing, and it has recently been reported that the CPC has opened an investigation against him.

The world would have been more prepared and able to combat COVID-19 had it not been for President Xi’s authoritarian regime’s widespread and systematic pattern of sanitizing the massive domestic repression of its people.

Forty days of silence and suppression cost Italy — the epicenter of Europe’s COVID-19 pandemic — a death toll of 12%, more than double that of China’s, followed by Spain with a fatality rate of 9%. As we write, the United States — whose presidential leadership has been wanting — has become the pandemic’s new epicenter, and there is heightened concern about what could become of developing countries like India, and South Africa’s immunosuppressed population of over 10 million.

While global infections continue to surge relentlessly upwards, China — ironically — is now considered safer than the majority of countries. The South Korean model — where it pioneered drive-through COVID-19 testing centers collecting swabs from over 15,000 people a day, and quarantining the infected immediately thereafter — is one of the only precedents and case studies to date, along with China, that significantly reduced the number of infected people and fatalities.

Attention should also be drawn to the CPC’s massive surveillance and suppression of data juxtaposed with its misrepresentation of information. China’s big data collection — approximately 200 million CCTV cameras — not only precipitated the highest tech epidemic control ever attempted by the CPC, but also underpinned the salience of its repression.

The CPC’s infodemic — in addition to its intense spinning of solidarity on social media and its framing of a “people’s war against the virus” — was both a deceitful and farcical illusion of a coming together in China. The extent of the CPC’s self-promotion and its portrayal of President Xi as a hero ready to save the world — while making Western democracies look grossly incompetent — is as shameful as it is duplicitous.

In a word, President Xi’s government has exacerbated the world’s COVID-19 health and systemic crises, which has paved the way for one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history.

The world is watching. People in China no longer stand alone. Many are no longer fearful. They have already started publishing firsthand accounts of the CPC’s orchestrated cover-ups and monumental failures, revealing the rotten core of Chinese governance.

In defending the struggle for democracy and human rights in China, the international community must stand in solidarity with the people of China in seeking to unmask the CPC’s criminality, corruption, and impunity.

The community of democracies must undertake the necessary legal initiatives — be they international tort actions as authorized by treaty law, or the utilization of international bodies, like the International Court of Justice — to underpin the courage and commitment of China’s human rights defenders. This is what justice and accountability is all about.

Irwin Cotler is the Chair of the Raoul Centre for Human Rights, Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Judith Abitan is the Executive Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and a Human Rights Advocate.

DougMacG

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China vs. the World; Huawei and the China's War for Information Dominance
« Reply #95 on: October 18, 2020, 07:54:40 AM »
Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party's War for Information Dominance

https://strategypage.com/on_point/2020101594758.aspx#foo
...
Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung are superior providers, but they cannot compete with a nation-state combining trade, business, financial, diplomatic, media and spy powers to support Huawei's operations.
...
America's diplomatic and legal attack on Huawei is advancing. Three Canadian 5G providers -- including Bell Canada -- will not use its equipment. In July, Britain decided to ban and remove Huawei products from its 5G networks. Alas, the ban takes effect in 2021, and operators have until 2027 to remove installed Huawei equipment.

Though German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes banning Huawei outright, German legislators intend to pass an information technology security law that restricts high-risk vendors. Telefonica Deutschland has decided its new 5G network will use Ericsson because "the Swedish supplier would safeguard the security" of its 5G services.

That is a small step toward defeating the [Chinese Communist Party].


ccp

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china saber rattles
« Reply #96 on: October 19, 2020, 05:37:54 PM »
https://nypost.com/2020/10/14/chinas-president-jinping-to-troops-focus-on-preparing-for-war/

eventually they will invade taiwan

unless Joe can convince them otherwise with his good guy personality

Gilder of course would say eventually China will be a Christian nation (no kidding - that is what he claims )


DougMacG

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Pew: World turning hard against China
« Reply #98 on: October 21, 2020, 05:40:42 AM »
Alliances forming.

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/10/06/unfavorable-views-of-china-reach-historic-highs-in-many-countries/

Pew Report: Unfavorable Views of China Reach Historic Highs in Many Countries
10/20/2020, 10:04:46 PM · by SeekAndFind · 11 replies
Pew Research ^ | 10/11/2020 | BY LAURA SILVER, KAT DEVLIN AND CHRISTINE HUANG
Views of China have grown more negative in recent years across many advanced economies, and unfavorable opinion has soared over the past year, a new 14-country Pew Research Center survey shows. Today, a majority in each of the surveyed countries has an unfavorable opinion of China. And in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States, South Korea, Spain and Canada, negative views have reached their highest points since the Center began polling on this topic more than a decade ago. Negative views of China increased most in Australia, where 81% now say they see the country unfavorably.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2020, 05:42:28 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China vs. Australia
« Reply #99 on: November 03, 2020, 11:11:55 AM »
hina Threatens Australia Because That’s All It Can Do
Beijing has a lot of leverage over countries that rely on it for trade, but it’s hard to translate that into anything more meaningful.

By Phillip Orchard -June 10, 2020

As cases of COVID-19 resurge elsewhere in the world, it’s worth remembering that Australia whipped the coronavirus into submission with relative ease, reducing the number of new daily cases to single digits by mid-April. Yet, the pandemic has left Australia with an acute case of economic and diplomatic whiplash anyway, not because of its public health shortcomings but because of its uneasy codependence with China. The country’s astonishing 29-year run of economic growth is set to come to an abrupt end, thanks in part to flagging demand from China, whose soaring commodities purchases helped keep Australia out of a recession after 2008. And Beijing, upset with Canberra over (among other seemingly trivial matters) its pro forma support for an international investigation into the origins of the virus and Taiwanese membership in the World Health Organization, is going the extra mile to ensure Australia doesn’t take Chinese buyers for granted. Over the past month, China has halted shipments of Australian beef, imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley, warned of consumer boycotts targeting Australian winemakers and dairy farmers, and urged the more than 200,000 Chinese university students in Australia to consider studying elsewhere. Beijing, in other words, is becoming less [