torsdag 15. november 2018

Malaysia’s bold play against China

In the coming days, as world leaders travel to Singapore for the annual Southeast Asian summit, China will likely have a rather unpleasant development on its mind: increasing pushback across Southeast Asia of its growing economic influence, led by none other than Malaysia, a traditionally China-friendly nation.

When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise return to power earlier this year at the age of 92, it precipitated a qualitative shift in Sino-Malaysian relations as he pushed for more transparent and equitable economic deals with Beijing. As Mahathir said at the time, he views China’s leadership as “inclined towards totalitarianism” and unashamed to “flex [its] muscles” in order to “increase [its] influence over many countries in Southeast Asia.” He characterized the new assertiveness in China’s behavior as “very worrisome,” particularly for smaller neighbors such as Malaysia. And he lashed out at China’s major infrastructure deals, even warning against its “new colonialism” during an August trip to Beijing.

In China’s new surveillance state, everyone will be watched, reviewed and rated

The bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai is the fastest in the world. It takes just over four hours to travel the 819-mile journey. From the train, it is impossible to ignore China’s economic success. There are cities the size of London that many westerners will never even have heard of. They are filled with glass towers and shopping centres, selling Cartier watches and Gucci bags.

As the train sets off from each station, an announcement plays in both Chinese and stilted English: ‘Dear passengers, people who travel without a ticket or behave disorderly, or smoke in public areas, will be punished according to regulations and the behaviour will be recorded in the individual credit information system. To avoid a negative record of personal credit please follow the relevant regulations and help with the orders on the train and at the station.’

Trump demands China remove missiles in the South China Sea

The Trump administration is demanding that China remove all advanced missiles deployed on disputed islands in the South China Sea, the first time such a demand has been made public. The call to take out the anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles was disclosed in a fact sheet from the State Department on Friday outlining the results of a strategic dialogue between senior U.S. and Chinese officials. “The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation,” the statement said.

The Pentagon disclosed in June that China has fielded advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles and electronic jamming equipment on the Spratly Islands, a group of reefs and islets located close to U.S. ally Philippines that China claims as its own territory. Military officials said the missiles threaten U.S. warships and aircraft that have stepped up freedom of navigation operations near the islands in a bid to counter Chinese claims to control over 90 percent of the South China Sea.

China’s unjustifiable camps are a human-rights disgrace

The Chinese government is trying to stop Uyghurs from being Muslims, despite the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. It is cutting Uyghurs off from their culture and, in effect, trying to turn them into Han Chinese.

China’s Silk Road is laying ground for a new Eurasian order

Kazakhstan has become a microcosm for a new Eurasian order in the making. Both Kazakhstan and Russia look at China’s economic power with a mix of awe and alarm. At the same time, both Astana (the Kazakh capital) and Moscow attempt to engage with and contain Chinese business interests and growing economic power, aware that a tectonic geopolitical shift is underway, which they hope to be able to manage in one way or another.

Why Won’t Muslim Countries Defend China’s Muslims?

According to senior Chinese diplomats addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council at China’s periodic review on November 6, Xinjiang is “very beautiful, safe, and stable,” and “a nice place.” If only that were true!

The review of China’s human rights actions and policies featured plenty of profoundly dishonest claims by China. It lied about its failure to ratify core human rights treaties and the broad range of offenses punishable by death, the arrests of human rights defenders, and its record of thwarting international human rights institutions. But the tidal wave of documentation from academics, journalists, and human rights organizations regarding rampant human rights violations in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region shows just how disingenuous the delegation’s Xinjiang claims are. There is little “stability” or “safety” for the approximately one million Turkic Muslims arbitrarily detained in “political education” camps in Xinjiang, spending their days being forcibly indoctrinated in Xi Jinping Thought.

The Disappeared An Inside Look at China's Reeducation Camps

About 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are currently in detention according to research conducted by the United Nations. Beijing's "fight against terror" has led to the construction of likely hundreds of reeducation camps.

Der Spiegel spoke with three former prisoners and a dozen families whose relatives are allegedly in indoctrination camps in Xinjian. All of them speak of brainwashing meant to bring the Muslims into line. For months, Beijing denied that these camps even existed. But because international pressure continued to increase, the government recently changed its strategy. Instead of refuting the camps' existence, it proudly declared them to be an opportunity for "voluntary professional education" with integrated language training.

China threatens the democratic world order—and Canada can’t be a weak link

For many years, experts warned that China would threaten the system and values that define Western civilization. Analysts in Taiwan, Hong Kong and a handful of democracies on China’s peripheries, as well as a number of intelligence agencies worldwide, saw signs—especially after Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power—that China’s longstanding strategy of “lying low” was coming to an end. Beijing was now keen to challenge the rules of the game.

Indeed, China was already at it, using various techniques that are now making headlines in the West. Xi himself, in addressing the Party Congress, has put much greater emphasis on, and markedly increased the capabilities of, the United Front to facilitate China’s expansionist, and now nearly global, ambitions. But we were being Cassandras, critics countered. The popular view was that engagement and, indeed, willful ignorance of the Chinese Communist Party’s starkly different worldview would eventually make China become more like us—liberal, rule-abiding, and perhaps democratic. Worse, our cautions were ascribed to a Cold War mentality, or we were being “anti-China”—racist, even.

Operation Mekong: China Solidifies Its Influence in Southeast Asia

In no other region is China's influence as pronounced as in the countries along the Mekong. This partly has to do with their geographical and cultural proximity to China, with historical bonds that can be traced back hundreds of years. But it's also because of a strategic, systematic plan that is bigger than any single project.

A new global power is rising along the Mekong, one that is adaptable and versatile. It adjusts to the precise conditions of each country, from developmental status to economic needs. It takes into consideration the countries' political systems along with their diplomatic and militaristic preferences. How exactly, though, does Beijing do it? How is it wielding China's unique resources and abilities to solidify its influence? Assuming no political or economic crises interrupt the plans of the Chinese government, other countries and regions will sooner or later find themselves confronted with these same questions.

What Is China Doing In Africa? They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.

Chinese corporations are all over Africa. In June 2017 a McKinsey & Company report estimated that there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa. What are Chinese corporations doing in Africa? That's a highly controversial issue. The reason Chinese corporations are in Africa is simple; to exploit the people and take their resources. It’s the same thing European colonists did during mercantile times, except worse. The Chinese corporations are trying to turn Africa into another Chinese continent. They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.

onsdag 14. november 2018

Kina vil bli «supermakt» i norske farvann

I 2013 fikk kineserne innvilget søknaden om observatørstatus i Arktisk Råd, og den kinesiske regjeringen begynte samtidig å referere til seg selv som en «nær-Arktisk nasjon». Begrepet gir geografisk sett liten mening, men kan sees på som et varsku, mener Liselotte Odgaard, som er gjestedoktor ved Dansk utenrikspolitisk selskap. 

– Det er ingen grunn til å være naiv med tanke på hvorfor Kina investerer i Barentsregionen. Kina sørger med dette for at de er i sentrum av verdensutviklingen, når klimaet endres, den arktiske isen smelter, og nye globale transportruter åpenbarer seg. Også maktbalansen i regionen kan komme til å endre seg med dette, sier forsker Odgaard, som blant annet har jobbet ved det danske Forsvarets høyskole.

Torbjørn Færøvik: India trenger nye venner

«Aldri før har de ansatte i Indias utenriksdepartement arbeidet så mye overtid», skriver Indian Express. «Kina holder dem i arbeid.» Avisen har sikkert rett, for India opplever Kina som stadig mer nærgående. De kinesiske lederne har ambisjoner om å skape et nytt Asia, ja en ny verden, basert på sine prioriteringer og sine idealer. Det skremmer statsminister Narendra Modi og hans kolleger - og millioner av indere. En fersk meningsmåling viser at bare 26 prosent av inderne har et positivt syn på Kina.

Ber «Kina-rektor» om å setje menneskerettar på dagsorden

Abdurihim, som denne veka deltok i panelsamtale i regi av Bergen ressurssenter (CMI/UiB) og Raftostiftelsen, ber rektor ved Universitetet i Bergen (UiB), Dag Rune Olsen, om å ta opp overgrepa mot uigurane med kinesiske samarbeidspartnarar og styresmakter. Olsen er ein av dei fremste eksponentane for norsk universitetssamarbeid med Kina. Han har tidlegare fått kritikk for å binde universitetet for tett opp mot kinesiske interesser. Nyleg vart Olsen tildelt æresprofessorat ved universitetet i Shangdong. I august vart ein tidlegare professor frå nettopp dette universitetet arrestert medan han vart telefonintervjua på direktesendt fjernsyn.

søndag 11. november 2018

Beijing Bars Independent Intellectuals From Attending Harvard Events on China’s Reform and Opening

While Chinese leaders vow to deepen reform and opening-up, the Chinese government seems to be doing the opposite. On November 5, China opened its first six-day International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. In his keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping repeatedly mentioned China’s commitment to reform and opening-up over the past 40 years, vowiing to “push for a new round of high-level opening-up.”

On the same day, the Fairbank Center at Harvard University — one of the most prominent academic institutes for Chinese Studies in the world — also initiated a week of public events marking 40 years of China’s opening and reform. However, a group of Chinese intellectuals who had been scheduled to attend the Harvard events were barred from leaving China.

Anti-Chinese Sentiment on the Rise in Cambodia

When a Chinese national crashed his military number-plated SUV into a stone erected in Phnom Penh in the 1990s to celebrate Cambodian-American friendship, many commented on how it was the perfect metaphor for Cambodia in 2018. “Chinese nationals have come to invest in Cambodia, prompting so many problems to Cambodia and making the people suffer,” commented one Facebook user under a post using the #ChineseAgain! hashtag on a popular page focused on highlighting social issues. Whether it’s gangsters brawling in bars, drunk tourists crashing cars, or scammers running online extortion schemes, the Chinese are rarely out of the news here these days.

Young Activists Go Missing in China, Raising Fears of Crackdown

At least a dozen young activists who took part in a national campaign for workers’ rights in China are missing, friends said on Sunday, in what appeared to be an effort by the government to silence one of the most visible student protests in years.

Unidentified men in at least five Chinese cities rounded up the activists, who are recent graduates of elite universities, over the past few days, according to friends of the activists. The men beat several activists before pushing them into cars and driving away, the friends said. The activists, describing themselves as ardent communists who fervently believe in the ideals of Marx and Mao, have waged an unusual campaign against inequality and corporate greed that has gained traction at some of China’s top schools.

Ma Jian, Exiled Chinese Novelist, Hails Appearance as Victory for Rights

An exiled Chinese novelist spoke at a literary festival in Hong Kong on Saturday, two days after his appearance had been briefly canceled in a move that was widely seen as the latest erosion of freedoms in the semiautonomous city. The writer, Ma Jian, whose appearances at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival were reinstated at the last minute, said the reversal “proves the failure” of self-censorship.

Mr. Ma, a British citizen who lives in exile in London, said on Saturday that a robust literary culture helps to “safeguard the bottom line of our civilization.” “Of course there is no way literature can resist a political force,” he told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference. But he said that “in fiction we find our real roots: the goodness of human nature.”

Forget the trade war, China's economy has other big problems

China is riding out the trade war so far but its economic troubles run deep and could escalate rapidly if US tariffs really start to bite. Beijing is already wrestling with other problems that the trade war could exacerbate. 

China's economy is now growing at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis. It's laden down with debt and facing concerns about a real estate bubble and weakening currency. Despite the Trump administration's new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, exports are still growing strongly, up 16% in October. But that could change in the coming months if tariffs rise to 25% from 10% at the end of December, as the US has threatened, adding to China's growing list of problems.