søndag 16. juni 2019

China’s new abnormal: European patrols in disputed Southeast Asian waters

Reflecting on the consequences of China’s rapidly growing military capabilities and footprint in adjacent waters, the grand strategist Edward Luttwak argued that the formation of an informal counter-alliance was almost inevitable.

We will witness, Luttwak predicted in his 2012 book, The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy , “a general realignment of forces against [China], as former allies retreat into a watchful neutrality, former neutrals become adversaries, and adversaries old and new coalesce in formal or informal alliances against the excessively risen power”. The likely entry of Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse, into the East Asian maritime disputes potently reflects this burgeoning strategic dynamic.

China delivers Hong Kong’s existential moment

Is Fortune magazine finally right about Hong Kong’s demise? In June 1995, the fabled business publication raised this most provocative of questions with a “Death of Hong Kong” cover story. It explored how the city’s return to Communist Chinese rule two years later, in July 1997, might wreck the “world’s most aggressively pro-business economy.” Since then, the Hong Kong elite and expat bankers have reveled in Fortune’s spectacular misfire. Yet the events of recent days highlight troubling dynamics that the magazine – and others, surely – feared two decades ago.

Chinese Industry On Edge After "Depressing" Censorship of Shanghai Festival's Opening Film

The suspected reason behind the shocking cancellation of the $80 million Chinese epic 'The Eight Hundred' began to emerge on Saturday, just as the festival's opening ceremony was getting underway — without its opening movie.

The sudden cancellation of the Shanghai International Film Festival's opening film screening, Guan Hu's widely anticipated war epic The Eight Hundred, has sent a chill through the Chinese film business, with many local filmmakers and producers expressing dismay over what the decision might mean for the future of their industry. News that The Eight Hundred was being pulled from the festival landed like a bombshell among the assembled Chinese film community in Shanghai on Friday, the eve of the big-budget movie's scheduled world premiere at the event's opening ceremony.

Move over, ‘Made in China’. It’s the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ era now

When Chinese businessman Leo Zhuang Lifeng arrived in Dhaka 22 years ago, only one of the two luggage conveyor belts in the airport was functioning. The lighting wasn’t working properly, either. The rundown airport in the capital of  Bangladesh prepared many Chinese and foreign businessmen for what they were about to experience in the country, which was still an economic backwater at the time, with frequent power outages and inadequate infrastructure.

Zhuang, now 51, landed in Dhaka in 1997 to set up garment factories there, taking advantage of the low labour costs and abundant supply of workers. “Back then, there was a lack of daily commodities. It was not even easy to buy instant noodles,” said Zhuang, managing director of the LDC Group, which now employs about 20,000 workers in the country. “But Bangladesh has gone through tremendous changes over the years, though of course you cannot compare those changes to what China has experienced.”

lørdag 15. juni 2019

Chris Patten: Britain has a duty to help Hong Kong out of this dark moment

It took something out of the ordinary to provoke a million people in Hong Kong to take to the streets to demonstrate against proposed new extradition rules. Roughly one-sixth of the population demonstrated peacefully: families, young and old, lawyers, academics, students, professionals and manual workers. What caused such an outpouring against a piece of legislation? Quite simply, the people of Hong Kong – not British, but Hong Kong Chinese – have seen their government connive with the Communist regime in Beijing to undermine their way of life and freedoms.

Britain’s departure from Hong Kong in 1997 – a colony we acquired in woeful circumstances – was done on the basis of a brilliantly imaginative proposal put forward by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Hong Kong would return to the control of mainland China, but on the basis of “one country, two systems”. Hong Kong’s high degree of local autonomy would continue to be based on the rule of law and on the freedoms associated with a plural open society.

Turning a Blind Eye to China’s Suppression of Uyghur Muslims

It is an open secret that the Chinese government is carrying out a “systematic campaign” of abuses, arbitrary detention and torture against Turkic Muslims (primarily ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs) living in the country’s western Xinjiang Province under the pretence of eradicating ideological viruses for the purpose of cultural integration and counter-terrorism. About 13 million ethnic Muslims have been subjected to “forced political indoctrination, collective punishment, restrictions on movement and communications, heightened religious restrictions, and mass surveillance in violation of international human rights law.”

China’s diplomatic stand on terrorism has indeed been a paradox. On the one hand, Chinese authorities launched an anti-terror campaign in 2014 called “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Extremism” subjecting Uyghurs to rampant abuses, and on the other hand, China was vetoing a UN Security Council declaration to designate Masood Azhar, Chief of Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed, as a “global terrorist.” China has an infamous history of repressive policies against Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China. But the momentum and vigour escalated since late 2016 when Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was relocated from the Tibet Autonomous Region to take up leadership of Xinjiang.

Look to the U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China, and the rhetoric surrounding it coming out of the White House, has served to reinforce the idea that China is “stealing” jobs from the United States. The reality, however, is that if we are seeking the responsible party, our attention should be directed toward U.S. corporate boardrooms.

The internal logic of capitalist development is driving the manic drive to move production to the locations with the most exploitable labor, not any single company, industry or country. For a long time, that location was China, although some production, particularly in textiles, is in the process of relocating to countries with still lower wages, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam. (The last of those is already a long-time source of highly exploited cheap labor for Nike.) It could be said that China is opportunistic in turning itself into the world’s sweatshop. And that it constitutes a colossal market is no small factor.

Donald Trump says ‘it doesn’t matter’ if Xi Jinping agrees to meeting at G20 because US is ‘collecting billions in tariffs’ from China

US President Donald Trump said “it doesn’t matter” if Chinese President Xi Jinping agrees to meet him later this month to restart trade negotiations because the US is collecting billions of dollars in tariffs on goods from the country.

“If he shows up, good,” Trump told Fox News on Friday. “If he doesn’t – in the meantime, we’re taking in billions of dollars a month.” He added: “Eventually, they’re going to make a deal, because they’re going to have to. Look, they’re paying hundreds of billions of dollars.” Trump has repeatedly threatened to raise tariffs if Xi does not meet him at the June 28-29 Group of 20 leaders’ meeting in Osaka, Japan. Trump is committed to attending the summit regardless of whether he meets with Xi, US officials said. Trump said on Wednesday that he had no deadline for China to return to trade talks.

Chinese youth can’t be blamed for their missing sense of history – they don’t know any better

I was overwhelmed by mixed feelings of pride and shame on June 9, the day Hong Kong people, especially its young men and women, took to the streets in peaceful protest against the proposed extradition law. Pride in the extraordinary courage shown by the Hong Kong people, and shame because such courage and conviction has become so rare in Chinese youth.

I am not talking about the people still living behind the  Great Firewall, but those who study and work overseas and breathe the same fresh air as their Hong Kong counterparts. In late May, the story of  Frances Hui, a student from Hong Kong at Boston’s Emerson College, hit the headlines. After getting an earful from a fellow passenger on a local bus for identifying herself as a Hong Kong person, rather than Chinese, she wrote a column in Emerson’s student newspaper with the opening line: “I am from a city owned by a country I don’t belong to.”

Hong Kong’s extradition law mess: don’t blame Beijing, blame naive Carrie Lam

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people jammed the busy downtown streets of Hong Kong to protest against the local government’s proposed bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The mass demonstration could well be the largest in Hong Kong’s history but the mainland’s official media has largely remained silent, except for a few outlets including the Global Times which accused the local opposition camp of colluding with “foreign forces” to fan chaos in Hong Kong to hurt the mainland. Blaming “foreign forces” for causing havoc in Hong Kong has always been the official mainland media’s default position but the Hong Kong government’s current crisis is largely of its own making.

Hong Kong government will announce pause on unpopular extradition bill by afternoon

Hong Kong’s embattled government will hit the pause button on its controversial extradition bill as early as Saturday afternoon, sources have told the Post, after Beijing officials in charge of the city’s affairs held meetings in neighbouring Shenzhen to seek a solution to a crisis that has made international headlines.

City leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngot was scheduled to announce the decision at 3pm at the government headquarters. It is understood that officials were assessing the pros and cons of pausing the legislation or pressing ahead rather than a total withdrawal of the bill, which would allow Hong Kong to transfer fugitives to jurisdictions it lacks an extradition arrangement with, including mainland China.

fredag 14. juni 2019

Hong Kong in the Dragon’s Embrace

What China’s leaders in Beijing seem incapable of understanding is that nobody except the Han Chinese in the lands they claim – nobody in Xinjiang, nobody in Tibet, nobody in Taiwan and certainly nobody in Hong Kong – wants to live under their rule. Hong Kong proved that with a million people on the street on June 9.

They are apparently incapable of understanding why those they seek to bring under the Chinese yoke would prefer not. They are incapable of understanding that the Panchen Lama they created is no substitute for one the Tibetans believe was a reincarnation going back hundreds of years, and that they would like the return of the one that Beijing has disappeared. They are incapable of understanding that the government-appointed Catholic prelate in China is no substitute for the one appointed by Rome. They are incapable of understanding that the fourth chief executive they have produced to lead Hong Kong gathers no more respect than any of the previous three.

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«Let Chinese culture go global!»

In 2011, the Central Party School published a book with the title, «An Interpretation of the Major Theoretical and Pragmatic Issues that Concerned the Party and Government Cadres after the Sixth Plenary Session of the Seventeenth Central Committee». The writing provides an excellent explanation of the Chinese Communist Party’s strategy behind promoting the Chinese culture to the world. The following is a translation of an excerpt from a chapter in the book. This is the second part, explaining the necessity of such a cultural strategy. Culture is essentially values and ideology. Behind the promotion of the so-called Chinese culture going global is a strategy to influence and change the world quietly, with Beijing’s ideology, so that many countries acknowledge and eventually adopt “socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Hong Kong's digital battle: tech that helped protesters now used against them

In early June, Ivan Ip, 22, joined a public chat group on Telegram called “Parade 69”, named for a mass demonstration planned in central Hong Kong to protest a bill allowing for the transfer of suspects from the city to China. According to Ip, an administrator of the group of more than 30,000 people, they discussed things like bringing sunscreen, water, and umbrellas to block the sun or rain.

Two days after the protest, which saw as many as one million Hong Kong residents march against the proposed extradition law, authorities arrived at Ip’s apartment in the evening. Banging on the door, they yelled: “Police! Open up the door!”

For the next eight hours, the police, with a warrant for Ip’s arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, raided his room and questioned him at home and at the police station. After forcing him to unlock his phone and downloading chats from the group, they interrogated him about the group’s creator, the purpose of the forum, and whether Ip knew of other groups for planning “radical actions”.

30 Years Ago: Revenge of the Old Guard

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the nationwide, student-led democracy movement in China, and the subsequent military crackdown in Beijing. To mark the occasion, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from that year, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring.

Sensitive Words: “Let’s Go Hong Kong!”

Sensitive Words highlights keywords that are blocked from Sina Weibo search results. CDT independently tests the keywords before posting them, but some searches later become accessible again. We welcome readers to contribute to this project so that we can include the most up-to-date information. You can also browse our archive of sensitive words.

On June 10th, a Weibo user broke the news that searches for the term “Let’s go Hong Kong” (香港加油) are now censored on the popular microblogging site, with queries yielding the statement “search results are not displayed according to relevant laws, regulations, and policies.” CDT Chinese editors conducted a search test on June 11 Beijing time confirming that the term has indeed been blocked on Sina Weibo. The following is a screenshot of the censorship notice.

India and Brexit: How New Delhi Can Position Itself to Maximize Benefit

The United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union, Brexit, keeps getting messier by the month. It led Theresa May to resign, just like David Cameron before her. It may end up making Boris Johnson the U.K.’s next prime minister, or be the cause of him facing judicial consequences. Brexit also led to the creation of the Brexit party, which got the largest vote share in recent European elections. So we now have British representatives in the EU who don’t want to be there. As of now, it shows no signs of getting better for the U.K.

What does this mean for India and why does it matter? The short answer is that Brexit may end up being good for India’s relations with the U.K. and the EU. The long answer, however, is a bit more complex. To get there, let’s put Brexit into context for India.

The Risks of a ‘Total’ US-China Competition

Last week, Columbia University history professor Stephen Wertheim published an op-ed in the New York Timeswarning against the dangers of a new Cold War with China. Wertheim worries that opinion in Washington on the state of the relationship with China has changed dramatically in the past few years, across the political spectrum; Democrats are sounding nearly as hawkish on China as President Trump. Wertheim argues the Trump administration’s xenophobic approach to China risks ratcheting up tension to the extent that cooperation with Beijing will become impossible.

It may be a touch premature to sound alarm bells regarding an emerging New Cold War mindset in Washington, but it’s also important to carefully set forth the stakes of competition between China and the United States. The South China Sea is important, but it’s not Germany. Despite the ongoing “decoupling” between China and the United States, the relationship between the two is far tighter, and vastly more important domestically, than the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1945.