mandag 19. februar 2024

Game On: Framing India-China Relationship Trajectory in 2024?

How are India-China relations poised for 2024? For India and China, passive-aggressive tensions, primarily due to India’s projected global rise and current security-focused bonhomie with the U.S., have certainly shaped the year gone by, as evidenced by Chinese President Xi Jinping ignoring the G20 summit held in India or India intensifying its crackdown on Chinese smartphone makers.

The scenario will get even more conspicuous in the coming years, with India’s growing security-technological tilt to the U.S. and a widening China-U.S. “tech Cold War” driven by the intent to stymie the other’s advancements in new technology – the marker for a digital era hegemon. So, trade and economic engagement, too, is no longer a stabilizing factor. Will pragmatic realism triumph or will India and China cross over the existing point of no return into a limited war?

Rand: China and India, 2025 A Comparative Assessment

China and India, the world's two most populous countries, will exercise increasing influence in international affairs in the coming decades, and each country's role on the world stage will be affected by the progress that it makes and by the competition and cooperation that develop between them. This monograph focuses on the progress China and India seem likely to achieve from 2010 through 2025 in four domains: demography, macroeconomics, science and technology, and defense spending and procurement. 

In each domain, the authors seek answers to these questions: Who is ahead? By how much? and Why? The authors find that India has distinct advantages over China in terms of demographics; that the two countries are surprisingly close in terms of forecasted economic growth, although China's overall economic output is likely to remain significantly higher than India's; and that, for both science and technology and defense spending and procurement, China's current substantial margins over India are likely to rise but by amounts that will vary widely depending on several alternative scenarios. The monograph concludes with implications for policy and for further research.

søndag 18. februar 2024

From China's Past: P.C. Chang and His Contribution to the UN Human Rights Declaration

Many people can’t contemplate that after World War II–especially through the mediation of the Human Rights Commission and the drafting of the Universal Declaration– the idea of human rights had already been transformed by many non-Western cultures and histories. 

P.C. Chang was one of the most important figures in that mediation, but there were other non-Western nations that were represented. The first factor is that people simply have this knee-jerk reaction when you talk about human rights: “Oh, it’s a Western idea. You can trace human rights back to some European theological notions of natural rights.” That’s probably the most central factor. How do you get around this mental block that “this is Western and that is not-Western?” How do you get around this proprietary genealogy of ideas? People do claim ideas, saying: “I own this idea. You take this idea from me and I influence you.” That’s the usual way of thinking about ideas. It’s curious how people take possession of ideas. If you tell them that “perhaps you don’t possess this idea,” they will probably panic. We’ll see if people panic.

China Media Project: Human Rights Heist at the United Nations

 As an examination of China’s human rights record kicked off under the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism in Geneva last month, a number of sideline events hosted by ostensibly independent organizations offered a brighter alternative to the dismal facts on China reported by international human rights groups, which cited among their criticisms crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the deterioration of rights and protections in Hong Kong.

Held on January 24 at the five-star InterContinental Geneva, one event was called “Chinese-Style Modernization and Human Rights Protection,” a nod to one of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s latest political concepts. The forum reportedly gathered together Uyghur and Tibetan scholars, as well as “many professionals and scholars in human rights related fields.”

A Swiss participant in the forum was quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying that the “achievements” in China’s report to the UN had left a deep impression, and that “the people of China should feel proud.” The event was hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), which according to its official website is a non-governmental organization and “China’s largest academic group on human rights.”

lørdag 17. februar 2024

Newsletter: An Update on China's Armed Forces, January 2024

PLA UPDATE is a monthly newsletter produced by CNA’s China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division (USA). In each issue, CIP analysts provide summaries of noteworthy Chinese media coverage focused on the internal and external affairs of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The PRC Defense Ministry has a new chief following a more than twomonth gap. On December 29, 2023, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) appointed Admiral Dong Jun as the 14th minister of national defense for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). His appointment filled a position that had been vacant since former defense minister General Li Shangfu’s dismissal, which to date has not been officially explained. The official readout of a late October NPCSC meeting stated that Li was removed from his posts as state councilor and national defense minister without elaborating on any factor(s) that contributed to this outcome.

Defense Minister Dong’s appointment is noteworthy because it is the first time that a PLA Navy (PLAN) officer has been named China’s defense minister.

For China’s Military, 2024 Is the Year of Discipline

Corruption and high-level upheaval defined 2023 for the PLA, and will continue to shape the coming year. This merits a closer look at the PLA’s disciplinary practices.

On January 6, an article in Bloomberg made sensational claims about China’s nuclear force. Per U.S. intelligence, the article said that China’s recent removals of several high-ranking military figures, including People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force Commander Li Yuchao, Political Commissar Xu Zhongbo, and Defense Minister Li Shangfu, happened after the discovery of significant problems with the country’s nuclear arsenal. Specifically, it claimed, many of the missile silos in western China had non-functioning lids, and some missiles were “filled with water instead of fuel.”

Some were quick to raise questions around that intelligence. China’s one liquid-fueled nuclear missile, the DF-5, is not kept fueled because the fuel is highly corrosive. The claim of dramatic holes in China’s nuclear arsenal contradicts other U.S. assessments of Chinese nuclear capabilities and military developments.

However, Bloomberg’s was not the only explanation of the high-ranking removals. Some analysts argued that the goal of the moves was to strengthen China’s nuclear triad of sea-based, air-based, and land-based delivery systems; the new commander and commissar come from the PLA Navy and Air Force, respectively. Others have argued that it suggests a crisis of confidence on the part of President Xi Jinping, and that he is prioritizing officials with personal loyalty above all else.

From China's Past: Madame Chiang Kai-shek's Speech to Congress, February 18, 1943

In a carefully choreographed eight-month charm offensive, Soong Mei-ling, better known by her married name, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, or simply “Madame”, traveled across North America, captivating audiences with her appearance, cosmopolitan outlook, and letter-perfect English. On February 18, 1943, she spoke to the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill. The Second World War was raging in Europe and Asia, and Madame Chiang came with a plea for help. 

Born in China, educated in America, Madame sought political and financial support for the Chinese regime of her husband, known as the Generalissimo, and for China in its brutal war with the Japanese. Although in her private life she could be haughty and cruel, in this speech she emphasizes the nobleness of Chinese suffering and the virtues of Christian forgiveness.

Less than three years after her North American tour, Japan’s surrender ended World War II. But civil war erupted between Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and Mao Zedong’s Communists. In 1946 Soong Mei-ling and her husband fled to Taiwan. She lived to be 106 and never again set foot in mainland China.

torsdag 15. februar 2024

Why the Year of the Dragon doesn't bode well for China’s declining population

The Chinese Year of the Dragon is widely perceived in Asia-Pacific to be an auspicious year to have a baby — but it hasn't meant well for the country's declining population.  "Dragon babies" are expected to be successful in their careers and bring blessings to the family, according to Jacelyn Phang, feng shui master at Yuan Zhong Siu. In this zodiac cycle, those born between Feb.10, 2024 and Jan. 28, 2025 will be classified as "Dragon babies."

"People aspire to have their babies born in the dragon year believing that children will inherit extraordinary leadership traits and be able to gather influential power and achieve great personal success," Phang told CNBC. While people in China also hold these beliefs, birth rates in the country have actually fallen during the "Dragon Years."

Compared with the preceding years in the zodiac calendar, birth rates in China fell by more than 4% during 1988 and 2000, and by 9% in 2012, according to the country's statistics bureau. Birth rates refer to the number of babies born in a year per 1,000 people.

onsdag 14. februar 2024

Freedom House: The State of Affairs in Tibet

In recent years, the Chinese government has accelerated policies that decrease the proportion of Tibetans in the TAR and undermine their cultural and religious identity—part of a renewed, nationwide campaign to “Sinicize” religious and ethnic minority populations.

The government’s Farmer and Pastoralist Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan forced tens of thousands of additional Tibetan farmers and nomads to surrender their land-use rights to state-run collectives, become wage laborers, move to urban areas where they are crowded into large apartment blocks, and prevent them from their pursuing traditional ways of life. Parallel government policies encourage ethnic Chinese migration to the TAR, for example by recruiting workers for infrastructure projects in the region; such migrants typically do not change their household registration, meaning their numbers are not reflected in official statistics. “Ethnic unity” regulations promote intermarriage between Han Chinese and Tibetans through financial incentives, further eroding Tibetans’ distinct cultural and religious identity.

Torbjørn Færøvik: Men tibetanernes hjerter vinner han aldri

«Godt Losar!» Også tibetanerne har de siste dagene vært travelt opptatt med å feire overgangen til nytt år – til Tredragens år. Sang, dans og god mat og drikke hører naturligvis med, men nå som før finner feiringen sted i skyggen av Kinas harde okkupasjon.

Det begynner å bli noen år siden jeg selv deltok i festlighetene, det var før årtusenskiftet. Tusener av tibetanere strømmet til Lhasa for å følge seremoniene og maskedansene foran det enorme Potalapalasset. Jeg fikk også oppleve folkelivet på Lhasaelvas bredd, hvor livlige festdeltakere hadde satt opp sine medbrakte telt, og hvor gammel som ung moret seg fra morgen til kveld. Men kinesernes årvåkne politi var aldri langt unna, og nåde den som var så frekk å heise et portrett av Dalai Lama! Slikt er strengt forbudt i det sosialistiske lykkeriket på Verdens tak.

tirsdag 13. februar 2024

In Retrospect: The Sincere Indignation of Simon Leys

Simon Leys was actually Pierre Ryckmans, a scholar of ancient Chinese art and literature at the Australian National University in Canberra. His essays, published first in French and soon after in English, exposed in lucid, unflinching prose the uncomfortable realities of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Leys aimed many of his harshest barbs not at the regime itself, but at the phalanxes of Western intellectuals and journalists who marched in unison to blindly praise Mao. What these observers celebrated from the comfort of their European and American homes, Leys suggested, was neither cultural nor a revolution: it was a political struggle that had destroyed the achievements of Chinese culture while preserving the feudal despotism of the past. Chinese communism, he once said, “breaks eggs without ever making an omelette.”

Torbjørn Færøvik: Tur-retur Kina med skylapper

Timingen kunne ikke ha vært dårligere.

I forrige uke var utenriksminister Espen Barth Eide på offisielt besøk i Kina. På toget mellom Beijing og Shanghai lot han seg intervjue av Aftenposten, og oppglødd som han var, tok han til orde for enda mer samarbeid med diktaturet. I går fikk han svar, ikke fra politiske motstandere på Stortinget, men fra Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste.

I sin nasjonale trusselvurdering for 2024 feller PST en knusende dom over Kinas forsøk på å undergrave det norske demokratiet. «Kina vil utgjøre en betydelig etterretningstrussel i inneværende år», heter det. «Vi forventer at trusselen vil tilta i løpet av de nærmeste årene på grunn av det forverrede forholdet mellom Kina og Vesten, Kinas ønske om økt kontroll over forsyningskjeder og posisjonering i Arktis.»

Kinesiske hackere har i årevis angrepet norske institusjoner og selskaper, til og med Stortinget. I mange tilfeller har de klart å tilegne seg sensitiv informasjon. PST konstaterer at Kinas aktivitet mot Norge er teknologisk avansert, men tilføyer at den i stor grad utføres av mellommenn som opererer på norsk jord. For eksempel kinesiske statlige og private selskaper, forskere, studenter og andre.

mandag 12. februar 2024

Nasjonal trusselvurdering 2024: PST advarer nok en gang mot Kina

Kina vil utgjøre en betydelig etterretningstrussel i 2024. Vi venter at trusselen vil tilta i løpet av de nærmeste årene. Det skyldes særlig det forverrede forholdet mellom Kina og Vesten, Kinas ønske om økt kontroll over forsyningskjeder og posisjonering i Arktis, skriver Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste (PST) i den ugraderte trusselvurderingen for 2024.

– Krigen bidrar fremdeles til å skjerpe etterretningstrusselen fra Russland. Samtidig gjør Norges NATO-medlemskap og vår felles grense at Russland vil bruke etterretningstjenestene sine mot norske mål i overskuelig fremtid, skriver tjenesten. Sammen med Etterretningstjenesten og Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet (NSM) presenterte PST mandag sine trusselvurderinger for 2024.

– Vi står i dag overfor en farligere sikkerhetspolitisk situasjon enn for et år siden. Utviklingen framover er usikker. Interessekonfliktene mellom autoritære stater og Vesten blir tydeligere, skriver sjef Nils Andreas Stensønes for E-tjenesten i forordet til trusselvurderingen Fokus 2024.

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35 Years Ago: The 14th Dalai Lama's Nobel Lecture

Brothers and Sisters:

It is an honour and pleasure to be among you today. I am really happy to see so many old friends who have come from different corners of the world, and to make new friends, whom I hope to meet again in the future. When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.

Thinking over what I might say today, I decided to share with you some of my thoughts concerning the common problems all of us face as members of the human family. Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy. I speak to you as just another human being; as a simple monk. If you find what I say useful, then I hope you will try to practise it.

Report: Chinese Transnational Repression of Tibetan Diaspora Communities (2024)

This report is the first to focus on transnational repression in the Tibetan diaspora. Why has this aspect remained under-addressed for so long? It would be a mistake to infer that TNR against Tibetans is less severe or more recent than other minority groups when the Tibetan community has a long history of coming into exile in 1959, with the first documented evidence of contemporary TNR against them dating back to the late 1980s. 

Since the imposition of Martial Law in 1989 to suppress the Lhasa protests,¹⁶ the CCP has increasingly viewed the international Tibet movement as a leading threat to its global reputation.¹⁷ The Chinese government started denouncing every international visit made by the Dalai Lama, and started sending their people to look into the workings of both governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress. A trend was identified in the early 2000s whereby the CCP demanded that Chinese government officials of Tibetan origin unenroll their children from Tibetan schools in India, and enrol them inside the PRC instead; if not, the parents would lose their jobs and have their state subsidies revoked.

Beijing accused of using spying, threats and blackmail against Tibetan exiles

Thousands of Tibetans around the world have been subjected to spying, blackmail and threats against family members still living in Tibet, according to a new report. The Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet continue to be documented, but the new report by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) is the first to investigate the widespread targeting of exiles in countries including the US, India, France, Australia and Canada, researchers say.

China increasingly aims to stifle debate or criticism from Tibetans, Hongkongers and Uyghurs outside its borders in a tactic known as transnational repression. Dhonden, a Tibetan living in Switzerland, told researchers for the TCHRD: “In 2021, I received a video call from one of my siblings in Tibet. When I picked up, I found they were calling from the local police station, surrounded by half of our family.

“Police officers urged me to behave well abroad, and refrain from engaging in activities that could go against Chinese policies. If I failed to obey, officers said my relatives would suffer consequences.”

From China's Past: Ma Huan gave us a detailed record of Zheng He's voyages to the West

In the second year of Zong Jingtai in the Ming Dynasty (1451), an old man who was over the age of ancient times completed the final proofreading and signed and concluded his paper, summarizing his many years of maritime experience. The old man's name was Ma Huan, who was a member of the Hui ethnic group in the early Ming Dynasty. This work, dictated by him and copied by his colleagues, is the most important historical material for later generations to understand the history of Zheng He's voyages to the West-"Yingya Shenglan".

Ma Huan has personally experienced three voyages with the fleet, namely the fourth (starting in the 11th year of Yongle, 1413, to July of the 13th year of Yongle, 1415), and the sixth (starting in the 19th year of Yongle, 1421). Years, to August of the 20th year of Yongle, 1422) and the seventh (from December of the sixth year of Xuande, 1432, to July of the eighth year of Xuande, 1433). During the seventh voyage to the West, Ma Huan and several other Muslim officials were sent to Mecca by the order of the eunuch Hong Bao to take the pilgrimage to Mecca.

søndag 11. februar 2024

Bad economy, nosy relatives: Young Chinese put off by Lunar New Year

"If I had the choice, I definitely wouldn't go back home," says Yuwen, a 33-year-old who has been unemployed for more than six months, days ahead of the Chinese New Year. Many of China's nearly 380 million internal migrants only go home once a year - and the Lunar New Year, the most important festival for family reunion, is usually the time to do it. That is why the Spring Festival travel rush, known as "chunyun", is the world's largest annual mass migration. Authorities are expecting a record nine billion trips this time for the Year of the Dragon.

But Yuwen dreads the homecoming trip because he says he will be grilled by relatives over every aspect of his life, particularly his work situation including salaries and benefits. His parents know he has lost his job and have been understanding about it. They have agreed with Yuwen that the best course of action is to lie to relatives that he still has his old job. Yuwen will also spend just three days with his relatives - usually it would be more than a week. "It will be over soon," he says.