onsdag 23. mai 2018

Paul Krugman: Why a Trade War With China Isn’t ‘Easy to Win’ (Slightly Wonkish)

At this point, it’s looking as if Trump’s tough talk on China trade will turn out to be as empty as his tough talk on, say drug prices. Faced with the prospect of actually going toe to toe with powerful interests – as opposed to doing harm to desperate immigrants, poor people who need health care, etc. – Trump keeps backing down, ignominiously. But what happened to all that bluster about trade wars being “good, and easy to win”?

Torbjørn Færøvik: Kina er jokeren i Korea


Kim Jong-un har i løpet av de siste to månedene hatt to møter med sin kinesiske motpart, president Xi Jinping. Det første fant sted i Beijing, det andre i storbyen Dalian i nordøst. Nyhetsbyrået Det nye Kina beskrev begge møtene som «hjertelige og vennskapelige».

Nord-Koreas unge diktator er vel kjent med at Kina er i ferd med å innføre det mest avanserte overvåkingssystem i historien. Ved hjelp av kunstig intelligens, DNA-prøver, et nytt «sosialkredittsystem» og millioner av overvåkingskameraer skal hver enkelt innbygger kunne fotfølges døgnet rundt. Så hvorfor ikke innføre det samme systemet i Nord-Korea? Også Kim følger sine innbyggere tett, men overvåkingen er på langt nær like raffinert som i Kina.

Kinas erfaringer kan vise seg å være gull verd for den 36 år gamle diktatoren. Hans ambisjon er ikke bare å styre på livstid, men å kunne overlate makten til neste ledd i Kim-dynastiet.

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Taushet er ikke gull: Ta Kina-debatten på alvor

Et totalitært Kina i sterk vekst utgjør en trussel, ikke bare mot naboene, men også mot fjernere land, mot Vesten og våre liberale verdier. Kina setter oss allerede under press, og våre politikere viker. Der vi før snakket fritt, pakker vi ordene våre inn i bomull. Selv de intellektuelle, de som skal vise vei når alle andre svikter, viser tegn til vakling. Når diktaturet utøver så stor innflytelse allerede nå, hva da om fem år, ti år eller femti år? Har våre universitetstrektorer reflektert over det?

torsdag 10. mai 2018

Torbjørn Færøvik: Trist, men sant - Kina truer våre verdier


Jeg er ikke motstander av et akademisk samarbeid mellom Norge og Kina. I visse tilfeller kan det være riktig og nødvendig. Men verdens største og farligste diktatur har ikke gjort seg fortjent til den oppvartning som Norge nå gir. Et bredt norsk-kinesisk akademisk samarbeid truer norske verdier og vil måtte skje på bekostning av samarbeid med land som ligger oss nærmere, kulturelt som politisk.

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mandag 7. mai 2018

Kina-ekspertene slo alarm da de hørte talen til USAs utenriksminister. Nå blir Trumps svigersønn utpekt som kilden til den overraskende ordlyden.

Mars 2017: USAs ferske utenriksminister, Rex Tillerson, smiler bredt idet han treffer Kinas president, Xi Jinping, foran et enormt, blågrønt landskapsmaleri i Folkets store sal i Beijing.
Etter en valgkamp der sjefen hans, president Donald Trump, hadde langet ut mot Kinas økonomiske «voldtekt» av USA, var det Tillersons oppgave å etablere et godt arbeidsforhold til verdens mest folkerike land.

Tillersons uttalelser under Beijing-turen fikk Kina-eksperter i USA til å hoppe i stolen. Ikke på grunn av noe han sa i den formelle samtalen med Xi, men på grunn av ordene han valgte da han snakket til pressen både før og etter et møte med utenriksminister Wang Yi.

– Forholdet mellom USA og Kina er blitt styrt av en felles forståelse om ikke-konflikt, ikke-konfrontasjon, gjensidig respekt og vinn-vinn-samarbeid, sa den amerikanske utenriksministeren.

‘New Era, New Thought, New Journey’: Chinese tech firms tilt toward the Communist Party


In the New York Times this week, Raymond Zhong and Paul Mozur write about how China risks spoiling its innovative technology sector through increasingly heavy-handed intervention. While China has in recent years “defied the truism that only free and open societies can innovate,” they write, the country’s “tilt toward strongman rule” under Xi Jinping could put that reputation at risk.

Private technology firms in China are being drawn closer to the Chinese Communist Party across a range of technological development initiatives — from self-driving cars to social credit scoring, from voice and facial recognition to satellite navigation. At the same time, the Party is being introduced more forcefully into technology firms themselves.


In China’s digital era, the humble bulletin board still attracts readers… and secret policemen


San Jiao Di, or “Three Corners Place,” is a small triangular spot on the campus of Peking University, fenced off by bulletin boards. It has been sitting there for decades: when the university was braving the Cultural Revolution storm, the bulletin boards got covered in “Big Characters Posters,” or “Dazibao,” that announced struggles and irretrievable falls from grace for anyone that the Red Guards deemed not revolutionary enough, or not revolutionary in the right way.

As that madness blew over, and universities across the country reopened, the billboards at San Jiao Di would simply carry the national newspapers, all under the control of the Party. On occasion, one could find something more interesting: during the “Democracy Wall” months, from 1978 to 1979, San Jiao Di too would sport some provocative essays – even if most of these were kept for the Xidan Street brick wall in central Beijing, which has long since been torn down. After that, most fliers were pretty tame, and the occasional interesting one would be talked about by many.


Spectacular panoramas capture Hong Kong's disappearing architecture


Composed of shops, businesses and apartments, Hong Kong's old tenement buildings -- or "tong lau" -- are microcosms of life in the city. Similar to the so-called shophouses of Southeast Asia, these historic structures are characterized by a row of shops on the ground floor with housing on the floors above.

Tong lau were built from the end of the 19th century until the 1960s, though many have since been demolished to make way for high-rise tower blocks. However, they remain hives of social and commercial activity, home to densely-packed communities and small businesses like restaurants and pawn shops. Hoping to document this disappearing way of life, British photographer Stefan Irvine spent almost four years capturing tong lau and the communities around them. But with so much to depict on each block, the 42-year-old knew that one-off shots might not suffice.

Newspaper takeover is 'staggering blow' to Cambodia's free press

For 30 years Aun Pheap reported on corruption, human rights abuses, elections and political scandals for every major newspaper in Cambodia, a job he felt he was born to do. Now, like so many journalists who worked in Cambodia’s once free press, he is in exile, branded an enemy of the state.

For Pheap, formerly a reporter at the Cambodia Daily, which shut down last year, “this is the worst situation for the press and for journalists I have seen in my whole 30-year career”. And it has worsened further this week, with the sale of the Phnom Penh Post, seen as the last bastion of the free press in Cambodia, to the owner of a Malaysian PR company who has links to the regime of the Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen. The development was described by Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, as “a staggering blow to press freedom in Cambodia”.

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søndag 6. mai 2018

High-Speed Empire: Chinese Expansion and the Future of Southeast Asia

Less than a decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now, China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore, and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of U.S.$1 trillion and reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries.

White House calls China's warning to airlines 'Orwellian nonsense'


The White House is publicly admonishing China for warning foreign airlines to change how they identify Taiwan and other areas on their websites. More than 30 airlines — including some US carriers — were recently told by the Civil Aviation Administration of China to remove any information suggesting Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau are not part of China.
"This is Orwellian nonsense," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Saturday. "We call on China to stop threatening and coercing American carriers and citizens."

Karl Marx statue from China adds to German angst

With Germany unsure about how to mark 200 years since Karl Marx was born, a giant bronze statue of the philosopher given by China to the town of his birth is adding to the unease. The small town of Trier near Luxembourg in western Germany eventually decided to accept the 4.5m (15ft) statue created by China's most famous sculptor - but only after years of wrangling over whether taking it would appear to condone rights abuses in China.

U.S.-China Trade Talks End With Strong Demands, but Few Signs of a Deal


Senior Chinese and American officials concluded two days of negotiations on Friday with no deal and no date set for further talks, as the United States stepped up its demands for Chinese concessions to avert a potential trade war.

The American negotiating team, which included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the United States trade representative, Robert E. Lighthizer, headed for the airport after the talks and did not release a statement. But a list of demands that the group took into the meeting called for reducing the United States’ trade gap with China by $200 billion over the next two years and a halt on Chinese subsidies for advanced manufacturing sectors.


Liu Xia, in Call From China, Tells of the Agony of Endless Captivity

In the telephone call, a Chinese woman vents her despair between hoarse sobs. It would be easier to die, she says. Her appeals to escape stifling house arrest have failed repeatedly, despite offers from Germany to take her in, she says.

The woman, Liu Xia, is a poet and artist and the widow of Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and died under police guard in July. A recording of her call, released this week, has thrown glaring attention on the plight of Ms. Liu, who is living under constant police surveillance in her Beijing home.

“There’s nothing left to make me reluctant to leave this world,” Ms. Liu said in the call a week ago with Liao Yiwu, an exiled Chinese writer in Germany who released a written account of their conversation and a seven-minute recording of the call. “Xiaobo has gone,” Ms. Liu said, referring to her husband. “It would be easier to die than to live,” she said. “Nothing would be simpler for me than dying in defiance.”

torsdag 3. mai 2018

China makes defaming revolutionary heroes punishable by law


China introduced a law on Friday making it potentially criminal to defame or deny the deeds and spirit of the country’s historic martyrs, state media said, the latest move to protect symbols of state president Xi Jinping has ushered in a series of laws in the name of protecting China and the ruling Communist Party from threats both within and outside the country, as well as presiding over a crackdown on dissent and free speech.

China’s largely rubber stamp parliament introduced legislation to protect the name, image, reputation and honor of the country’s historic heroes and martyrs, the official Xinhua news agency said. “It is prohibited to misrepresent, defame, profane or deny the deeds and spirits of heroes and martyrs, or to praise or beautify invasions,” according to Xinhua’s summary of the law.


US slams 'abusive' North Korean regime after Trump calls Kim 'honorable'


The US State Department issued a scathing rebuke of North Korea's human rights record on Wednesday, calling the regime "one of the most repressive and abusive governments in the world" just days after President Donald Trump praised dictator Kim Jong Un's "honorable" intentions ahead of a possible face-to-face sit down between the two leaders.

While Trump has recently dialed-back the personal insults against the leader he once called "Little Rocket Man," his State Department did not pull any punches in a new statement condemning decades of "egregious human rights violations" suffered by the North Korean people at the hands of their own government.

Why US-China trade talks will struggle to reach 'grand bargain'

President Donald Trump's top advisers arrive in Beijing this week for talks on how to avoid a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The United States and China have threatened recently to impose steep tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods. The US team, which includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, hopes to make enough progress in the negotiations on Thursday and Friday to dial down the tensions. "I think we've got a very good chance of making a deal," Trump said last week when he announced the visit. Not everyone agrees with him.

onsdag 2. mai 2018

Professor Arne Jon Isachsen: Kinas nye silkeveier


I 2013 lanserte Kinas president Xi Jinping det som nå heter “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). Investeringer i infrastruktur i 65 land over tre kontinenter – til lands og til vanns – som skal binde dem tettere sammen. En dristig visjon. Til nå er prosjekter for rundt 900 milliarder dollar lansert under vignetten BRI. Hele 80 prosent av disse er gått til kinesiske foretak. World Economic Forum har anslått at de samlede investeringene kan komme opp i 8 tusen milliarder dollar.