- Politico has some very good stuff on China: https://www.politico.eu/article/china-and-the-troika-portugal-foreign-investment-screening-takeovers-europe/
- Linkback: War
- Dec.07.2018: Inside China's audacious global propaganda campaign. Making the Foreign Serve China” was one of Chairman Mao’s favoured strategies. ... Such blatant exhibitions of power indicate the new mood of assertiveness. In information warfare – as in so much else – Deng Xiaoping’s famous maxim of “hide your strength and bide your time” is over. As the world’s second-largest economy, China has decided it needs discourse power commensurate with its new global stature. Last week, a group of the US’s most distinguished China experts released a startling report expressing concern over China’s more aggressive projections of power. “The ambition of Chinese activity in terms of the breadth, depth of investment of financial resources, and intensity requires far greater scrutiny than it has been getting.” As Beijing and its proxies extend their reach, they are harnessing market forces to silence the competition. “The real brilliance of it is not just trying to control all content – it’s the element of trying to control the key nodes in the information flow. It might not be necessarily clear as a threat now, but once you’ve got control over the nodes of information you can use them as you want.” Louisa Lim, Julia Bergin, The Guardian.
- Chinese interference in New Zealand at 'critical' stage, says Canada spy report. A report released by Canada’s spy agency has warned that New Zealand, one of its closest allies, has been influenced at every level of society by the Chinese govt, and that the situation has reached a “critical” stage. The report states that New Zealand is viewed as “the soft underbelly” of its western big brothers such as the UK and US. “President Xi Jinping is driving a multi-dimensional strategy to lift China to global dominance,” it stated, and New Zealand was a key pawn in its strategy, with the govt regarding its relations with the island nation as “an exemplar” of how it would like to steer future relations with other states. The report was published by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) but does not reflect the spy agency’s official views, and was based on reports to CSIS during an academic workshop. The report claimed New Zealand’s business, political and intellectual elite had all been targeted by the Chinese Communist party, and that business tie-ups with companies, universities and research centres had been used to “influence activities and to provide access to military technology, commercial secrets and other strategic information”. “New Zealand provides a vivid case study of China’s willingness to use economic ties to interfere with the political life of a partner country,” the report stated, warning that smaller states were “particularly vulnerable” to Chinese influence. New Zealand is home to just 4.7 million people. more Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian.
The Coming War on China
|"The Coming War on China"|
|A nuclear war between the USA and China is not only imaginable but a current 'contingency', says the Pentagon.|
"The Coming War on China" (Dec.2016) is John Pilger's 60th film for ITV. Pilger reveals what the news doesn't - that the world's greatest military power, the United States, and the world's second economic power, China, both nuclear-armed, are on the road to war. Pilger's film is a warning and an inspiring story of resistance. Pilger’s film discloses America's secret history in the region – the destruction wrought by the equivalent of one Hiroshima every day for 12 years, and the top secret "Project 4.1" that made guinea pigs of the population of the Marshall Islands. TheComingWarMovie.com
- Dec.23.2016: The Trouble With John Pilger’s The Coming War on China. I was left feeling an odd mixture of sympathy and exasperation after enduring John Pilger’s latest documentary "The Coming War on China"". Despite Pilger's long career of opposing tyranny, oppression, and dictatorship wherever he may find it, his loathing of the USA has led him to produce a film that acts as an apology for Chinese totalitarianism, distorts the truth about Asian politics, and presents China as a passive victim in a potential new superpower war. Actually, my sympathy for his intellectual descent is less sincere than my anger; what I watched was an incendiary spectacle that manages to circle the triumvirate of narcissism, ignorance, and propaganda. David Hutt, The Diplomat.
- Dec.06.2017: The Coming War on China. A major United States military build-up is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China, according to award-winning journalist John Pilger. Nuclear war is no longer unthinkable. The rise of China is viewed in Washington as a threat to American dominance. To counter this, President Barack Obama announced a "pivot to Asia", meaning that almost two-thirds of all US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific, their weapons aimed at China. Al Jazeera.
- A power vacuum isn’t for everyone, but for China, it’s a chance to finally shine, @EurasiaGroup >> Eurasia Group's annual forecast of the political risks for 2018, Eurasia Group >> China loves a vacuum, Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer, Cliff Kupchan
- Jan.03.2018: How Trump is helping China. David Leonhardt, The New York Times.
- 2018.01.03: China’s plan to stop recycling the world’s rubbish may backfire (Chinese companies unhappy with the speed of the transition), https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731592-800-chinas-plan-to-stop-recycling-the-worlds-rubbish-may-backfire/
- 2018.01.02: China's ban on imports of #plastic waste has now started - UK industry warned this could lead to recycling being buried or burned, @UE, Unearthed
- 2017.12.07: China’s plastic scrap ban threatens ‘crisis’ for UK recycling industry. UK has shipped more than 2.7m tonnes of plastic scrap to China and Hong Kong since 2012 - but the country now needs to find a new home for its recycling, Unearthed.Greenpeace
- 2017.05.25: China is growing food in shipping containers as its cities and farmland become more polluted: "Plant Factories" Churn Out Clean Food in China's Dirty Cities Bloomberg
Crony Capitalism / Corruption
- Apr.18.2018: China’s gift to Europe is a new version of crony capitalism. My country, the Czech Republic, has bent over backwards for President Xi, with little benefit to citizens or the wider economy. Central Europe is very much part of China’s ambition to “move to the centre of the world stage”. The basic tool China relies on is the #Belt and Road initiative, whose impact is very real – and growing. I run a project that monitors China’s attempts to build its “smart” power through a nexus of business, political and media networks. A tipping point came in 2014 when the Czech govt proclaimed that the country would aspire to become “China’s gateway to Europe”. This amounted to a major foreign policy change. It broke entirely with the pro-democracy principles. Things went much further than just political signalling. By 2015, Zeman had named as his honorary adviser Ye Jianming, the chairman of a mysterious Chinese mega-company: CEFC, which had arrived in the Czech Republic promising $billions of investments. CEFC embarked on what resembled a shock-and-awe buying spree. It also lost no time hiring scores of former Czech elected officials. However, actual investments remained negligible. The few deals that did materialise were mostly real estate acquisitions. Then, in March, Ye Jianming was arrested and investigated for financial irregularities. In Nov.2017, the head of CEFC’s non-profit arm, the former Hong Kong politician Patrick Ho, was arrested in New York and accused of bribing presidents and govt ministers in Africa. Zeman sent 3 close colleagues on a fact-finding mission to China. They came back with the information that the heavily indebted CEFC would effectively be taken over by the Chinese state, together with its Czech acquisitions. So much for the hopes that the company would save the Czech economy as a private investor. Some of the metaphors Chinese media have attached to the Belt and Road project are revealing. They often call it “globalisation 2.0”, or the “New World Order”. What that vocabulary struggles to mask is that the whole endeavour is driven far more by politics than by markets. Deals are negotiated at state-to-state diplomatic summits. Open tenders are shunned. Contracts are awarded by political fiat. Ostensibly commercial companies put former politicians on their payrolls by the dozen. As it turns out, CEFC’s main investments in the Czech Republic weren’t economic, they were about buying up the loyalty of Czech officials. What China has to show for itself in my country is hardly innovation. Rather, it has brought us a new take on age-old crony capitalism (Crony capitalism). Martin Hala, The Guardian. See also CEFC China Energy
- Jan.10.2018: An exiled Chinese billionaire has exposed a phenomenal web of corruption in China’s ruling elite, — if, that is, he’s telling the truth. @NYTimes, Twitter.
- Jan.10.2018: The Mystery of the Exiled Billionaire Whistle-Blower, Guo Wengui. In Nov.2017, the Tiananmen Square activist Wang Dan warned of the growing influence of the C.P.C. on university campuses in the US. His own attempts to hold “China salons” on college campuses had largely been blocked by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association — a group with ties to China’s govt. Around the same time, the academic publisher Springer Nature agreed to block access to hundreds of articles on its Chinese site, cutting off access to articles on Tibet, Taiwan and China’s political elite. Reports emerged last year that China is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars quarterly to purchase ads on Facebook (a service that is blocked within China’s borders). In Australia, concerns about China’s growing influence led to a ban on foreign political donations. (More...) Lauren Hilgers, The New York Times Magazine.
New Silk Road
- aka One Belt One Road (OBOR)
- Silk Road § New Silk Road
- See also here: Visual Capitalist, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUxw9Re-Z-E DW Documentary 2019,
- Jan.26.2018: ‘Golden era’ of UK-China trade links in peril. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to connect Asian and European trading countries to China through a series of infrastructure projects, is a signature policy of Xi Jinping, China’s president. The UK prime minister was due to hold roundtable discussions with British and Chinese business executives during the visit to discuss the investment programme, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. But Mrs May resisted giving a formal endorsement to the programme, the officials said. The Financial Times, Lucy Hornby, James ynge, George Parker
Polar Silk Road
- Jan.26.2018: China reveals Arctic ambitions with plan for 'Polar Silk Road'. Beijing has outlined plans for a “Polar Silk Road” in the Arctic, setting off what experts say is a slow-motion race for control of the region as climate change allows for the expansion of shipping routes across the top of the world. The Financial Times, Emily Feng, Alice woodhouse, Richard Milne
- Mar.27.2018: China and Russia accused of waging 'war on human rights' at UN. Both China and Russia lobbied to cut funding for human rights monitors and for a senior post dedicated to human rights work. "The fifth committee has become a battleground for human rights," Louis Charbonneau, the UN director for Human Rights Watch, said. (tag=United Nations) Julian Borger, The Guardian.
- Feb.16.2018: Hidden in plain sight: forced labour constructing China. Invisible coercion through withheld wages, lack of employment contracts, and discrimi-nation of migrant workers is widespread in China's construction sector. openDemocracy, Peter Bengsten
- Feb.02.2018: China commends Theresa May for 'sidestepping' human rights. State-run media calls British PM pragmatic for ignoring "noise and nagging" from "radical public opinion" while on visit. The Guardian, Tom Phillips
- Nov.23.2018: The Chinese export we really should be worried about: repression. Xi Jinping wields a level of social control not seen since Mao, posing a direct threat to democratic values worldwide. China has never been noted for benign or enlightened leadership. Nothing has quite matched the excesses of the Mao Zedong era. But Xi, in overall charge since 2013, is something else again – ruthless, relentless and global in his ambition to project China’s power and influence. Xi’s China is pushing ahead with a “social credit system” to reward or punish individuals and businesses by rating them using technology that aggregates personal, family and workplace behaviour records. Beijing’s municipal government said this week it plans to award “personal trustworthiness points” – in effect, measuring a person’s worth on a state-run integrity scale. Pity those unfortunates who fail to persuade “Big Daddy” Xi of their future usefulness. Simon Tisdall, The Times.
- Nov.22.2018: China blacklists millions of people from booking flights as 'social credit' system introduced. Officials say aim is to make it ‘difficult to move’ for those deemed ‘untrustworthy’. Harry Cockburn, The Independent.
Environment / Pollution
- Mar.31.2018: China 'environment census' reveals 50% rise in pollution sources. China's environment ministry has said the number of sources of pollution in the country has increased by more than half in less than a decade. The number of sources of pollution in the country stands at about 9m, compared to 5.9m in its first census, in 2010. The census did not say whether pollution had increased but declines in airborne pollution in major cities have been recorded in other studies. Lily Kuo, The Guardian.
- Nov.12.2018: China, the world’s most populous country, is short of people. China’s one-child policy brought about changes in the way women viewed maternity. Forty years on, the country is reaping a whirlwind with an ageing population and not enough new citizens coming along to support them. Didi Tang, The Times.
- Apr.14.2018: Chinese man caught by facial recognition at pop concert. Chinese police have used facial recognition technology to locate and arrest a man who was among a crowd of 60,000 concert goers. Mr Ao was identified by cameras at the concert's ticket entrance, and apprehended by police after he had sat down with other concert goers. Police said the 31-year-old, who was wanted for "economic crimes", was "shocked" when he was caught. China has a huge surveillance network of over 170m CCTV cameras, and some 400m new ones are expected be installed in the next 3 years. BBC News.
- Mar.31.2018: Big Brother is watching them. And we’re next. China is creating a surveillance state straight out of George Orwell’s 1984. Perhaps you were late with your council tax. Perhaps you absent-mindedly wandered across a road without waiting for the red light. Perhaps a neighbour dobbed you in to the local authority for putting coffee grounds in your shared recycling bin. Whatever your misdeed — and it is possible that you will never know exactly what it was — one day things start to go wrong. It is hardly perceptible at first. You might go to pay at the till in John Lewis only to discover that your credit card has been blocked. When you walk into certain upmarket restaurants, an alarm goes off and you are discreetly bundled out by a couple of waiters. Your sullied past follows you around like a shadow. You are banned from flying or taking trains. When people call your phone, the ringtone is transmogrified into a blaring police siren followed by a synthesised voice identifying you as a “discredited person” to everyone in earshot. Eventually your face and your national insurance number begin to appear on 5m-tall television screens in the city centre. This is the situation in which several million Chinese people are stuck today. By the end of 2020 Beijing intends to give each of the 1.3 billion citizens under its jurisdiction a “social credit” score that measures his or her trustworthiness and rectitude. Almost every aspect of an individual’s life, from their career prospects to the speed of their internet connection, will in theory come to depend upon this single number. (more...) Olver Moody, The Times.
- Sept.04.2018: Lure of quick cash leaves countries vulnerable. There can be few more striking symbols of China’s ambition in Africa than the train line connecting the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa with Djibouti. Opened last year after being designed and built by Chinese engineers, Africa’s first all-electric cross-border rail service epitomises the scale of the superpower’s scramble for the continent. Glossy airport terminal buildings, port facilities, road networks, power lines, bridges, dams and power stations made by China are to be found across Africa. China’s investment is often in the form of equipment, materials and a skilled workforce but when it comes to paying back the debt it wants hard currency. Failure to pay a debt is already leading China to seize strategic assets in lieu. In Zambia, which is struggling to meet the terms of its $8 billion in project finance, a Chinese company has taken over the national broadcaster. The country’s state electricity company, Zesco, is in talks about a takeover by a Chinese company after its debt levels became unserviceable. The countries that are under real threat of debt distress from Chinese financing include Djibouti, which is strategically located in the Horn of Africa, where China has its only overseas military base, alongside those of France and the US. Jane Flanagan, The Times.
- Sept.03.2018: ‘Debt colonialism’ fears as China puts $60bn into Africa. China has pledged $60 billion in loans and investments in Africa, strengthening its grip on the continent in a show of financial firepower and strategic intent. China has been criticised for debt colonialism, making loans that it knows states cannot repay then using the debt as leverage to secure land or strategic infrastructure. China’s investment in Africa in the past decade has been prodigious and financing has more recently been accompanied by more troops; last year it opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti, east Africa. ... Since 2000 China has extended $136 billion in loans to African governments and it now does three times more trade on the continent than the US. China’s involvement is not wholly appreciated in Africa, where some leaders say they are being lured into debt or giving too much away. There are also fears that it could fuel nationalism. To assuage these concerns Mr Xi announced social initiatives including food development, public health schemes, training, education and student exchanges and environmental projects to halt desertification. Didi Tang, The Times.
- Dec.20.2018: US and UK accuse China of sustained hacking campaign. ‘The tentacles of the campaign are vast,’ UK official says, as two Chinese nationals charged in US. The US and UK have taken the unprecedented step of accusing hackers linked to the Chinese government of waging a sustained cyber-campaign focused on large-scale theft of commercial intellectual property. A US indictment unsealed on Thursday in unison with a series of British statements accused Chinese hackers of obtaining unauthorised access to the computers of at least 45 entities, including commercial and defence technology companies and US government agencies such as Nasa and the US navy. “China’s goal, simply put, is to replace the US as the world’s leading superpower and they’re using illegal methods to get there,” FBI director Christopher Wray, said. Patrick Wintour, The Guardian.
- Dec.13.2018: China demands developed countries 'pay their debts' on climate change. Key sticking point at UN negotiations is how countries should account for their greenhouse gas emissions. China called on rich countries to “pay their debts” on climate change at global talks on Thursday, criticising developed countries for not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance to help poor countries do the same. Fiona Harvey, Ben Doherty, The Guardian.
- Dec.11.2018: China’s spies are taking Britain for a ride. We are far too gullible when it comes to the hidden motive of Chinese investment in the UK. Roger Boyes, The Times.
- Jul.31.2018: Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike heart of China by end of century. The most populous region of the biggest polluter on Earth – China’s northern plain – will become uninhabitable in places if climate change is not curbed. Damian Carrington, The Guardian.
- Mar.12.2018: The propaganda machine for ‘Uncle Xi’ seems no less heavy handed than the indoctrination under Chairman Mao Billboards remind passers-by that “Comrade Xi” is fighting for “the grand victory of socialism. So pervasive is the bombardment, that cities become almost indistinguishable from one another. For young people, his looming presence has become a permanent fixture. They are stuck with it, whether they like it or not, so most try to ignore it. "I never watch the news," a cousin tells me. "There’s nothing I can do about it anyway". Boer Deng, The Times.
- Feb.05.2018: China’s meddling poses greater threat to EU than Kremlin, says study. Britain’s "need for a post-Brexit trade and finance strategy" will help China grow its influence, authors allege. The EU is ill-prepared to defend itself against Beijing’s influence on European politics, according to a report by the Mercator Institute for China Studies and the Global Public Policy Institute, two German think tanks. "While Beijing's efforts have received much less scrutiny than the efforts of Putin's Russia, Europe neglects China's increasing influence at its own peril," the report warns. Linkback: David Cameron, Gordon Brown, China-CEE Fund, Belt and Road Initiative Jakob Hanke, Politico.
- Apr.10.2017: Enter the dragon. Chinese investment in crisis-hit countries gives Beijing influence at the European Union’s top table. China has long used the size of its market as leverage in negotiations with Europe. Now, say critics of the country’s trade and human rights policies, Beijing has found its way into the room at the European Council, where national leaders gather to make decisions. At the June Council summit, French, German and Italian leaders — seeking to prevent Chinese firms from snatching up companies in strategic sectors — wanted EU leaders to jointly call on the European Commission to examine “ways to screen investments from third countries.” [...] Tackling Chinese investments is “the next big battle,” said Axel Eggert, director general of Eurofer, the European Steel Association. “This is not just about stealing key technologies. It’s about gaining political control.” (much more...) Laurens Cerulus, Jakob Hanke, Politico.