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Tag Archives: China

If Chinese tanks take Hong Kong, who’ll be surprised? Land grabs are happening everywhere – and we’re all complicit

In the glorious world of journalism, tanks always “roll” across borders. I’ve never in my life actually seen a tank roll, but you get the point. They don’t let anything stand in their way – or nothing is supposed to stand in their way.

Hence the Hong Kong Chinese should back off if the People’s Army come “rolling” across the border; the Syrian Kurds should stand aside if the Turkish army crosses their mutual border; the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir must pay respect to the Indian army’s reinforcements; the Ukrainians or Russians hostile to Putin should not tangle with the Russian army on the Black Sea coast. Nor should the Palestinians protest when Israel’s army arrives to demolish their homes or steal more of their land.

Territorial acquisition is quite the thing these days. Whether it comes through fear of political infection – the Chinese government doesn’t want the contagion of civil chaos in Hong Kong to spread – or ethnic hatred or sectarian hatred, or nationalism, or just plain greed, we are growing dangerously accustomed to the sight of armies and paramilitary forces taking over other people’s property. Not since Saddam tried to gobble up Kuwait have we seen anything on this scale, when Iraq’s army was easily (and bloodily) sent packing.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hong-kong-protests-china-latest-india-kashmir-modi-israel-syria-isis-land-grabs-a9060631.html

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Posted by on August 19, 2019 in Asia

 

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How Tehran Fits into Russia-China Strategy

A few days after our Asia Times report, an article based on “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” and crammed with fear-mongering, baseless accusations of corruption and outright ignorance about key military issues claimed that Russia would turn the Iranian ports of Bandar Abbas and Chabahar into forward military bases complete with submarines, Spetsnaz special forces and Su-57 fighter jets, thus applying a “stranglehold” to the Persian Gulf.

For starters, “senior sources close to the Iranian regime” would never reveal such sensitive national-security details, much less to Anglo-American foreign media. In my own case, even though I have made several visits to Iran while consistently reporting on Iran for Asia Times, and even though authorities at myriad levels know where I’m coming from, I have not managed to get answers from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps generals to 16 detailed questions I sent nearly a month ago. According to my interlocutors, these are deemed “too sensitive” and, yes, a matter of national security.

https://www.opednews.com/articles/1/How-Tehran-Fits-into-Russi-by-Pepe-Escobar-Iran_Oil_Russia-china_Sanctions-190815-153.html

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2019 in Asia, Europe

 

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Why the US trade war with China is a genuine conflict

The trade war between the US and China can only fill us with dread. How will it affect our daily lives? Will it result in a new global recession or even geopolitical chaos?

To orient ourselves in this mess, we should bear in mind some basic facts. The trade conflict with China is just the culmination of a war which began years ago when Donald Trump fired the opening shot aimed at the biggest trading partners of the US by deciding to levy tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminium from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

Trump was playing his own populist version of class warfare: his professed goal was to protect the American working class (are metal workers not one of the emblematic figures of the traditional working class?) from “unfair” European competition, thereby saving American jobs. And now he is doing the same with China.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/us-china-trade-war-trump-us-economy-mexico-steel-a9046501.html

 
 

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The imperial rivalry between the US and China means the left must choose the EU it wants

The US has declared China a “currency manipulator” — which, on the face of it, is like a bear declaring that another bear defecated in the woods. But the formal act of designation is a big deal.

Under a law passed in 1988, when the US first discovered that its global dominance might be under threat from trade competitors, the president is empowered to “initiate negotiations … on an expedited basis” to force China to raise the value of the renminbi against the dollar.

The act includes sanctions such as banning Chinese firms from US contracts, and was described at the time by critics as “the economic equivalent of civilian bombing”. But in truth the economic war between China and the US is already under way, and is wholly framed by Trump’s skewed vision of American geopolitics.

https://www.newstatesman.com/world/north-america/2019/08/imperial-rivalry-between-us-and-china-means-left-must-choose-eu-it-wants

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in Asia, Economy, European Union, North America

 

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QR is King

This summer I spent a month in Beijing. I’d last lived in China in 2016,
and I was relieved to find my favorite noodle shops in their usual
niches. But this time round, navigating the city felt inexplicably
different. The cabs I tried to hail passed me by. On the subway, other
riders jostled past me, swiping their phones at the turnstiles as I
fumbled with my ticket. When I tried to sneak into the cafeteria in
Renmin University for a cheap lunch, clutching my grubby backpack, I
made it past the guards only to be stopped at the cash register—apart
from student cards, the only form of payment accepted was Alipay.

https://logicmag.io/china/qr-is-king/

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2019 in Asia

 

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Russia-India-China will be the big G20 hit

It all started with the Vladimir Putin–Xi Jinping summit in Moscow on June 5. Far from a mere bilateral, this meeting upgraded the Eurasian integration process to another level. The Russian and Chinese presidents discussed everything from the progressive interconnection of the New Silk Roads with the Eurasia Economic Union, especially in and around Central Asia, to their concerted strategy for the Korean Peninsula.

A particular theme stood out: They discussed how the connecting role of Persia in the Ancient Silk Road is about to be replicated by Iran in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And that is non-negotiable. Especially after the Russia-China strategic partnership, less than a month before the Moscow summit, offered explicit support for Tehran signaling that regime change simply won’t be accepted, diplomatic sources say.

Putin and Xi solidified the roadmap at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. And the Greater Eurasia interconnection continued to be woven immediately after at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek, with two essential interlocutors: India, a fellow BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and SCO member, and SCO observer Iran.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/06/article/russia-india-china-will-be-the-big-g20-hit/

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2019 in Asia, Economy, Europe, Middle East

 

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Hong Kong is not China yet, but that feared day is coming ever nearer

Hong Kong has become a place whose present is unresolved and whose future is unimaginable. After the unexpected violence of the last week, no one can predict how the events of this afternoon, tomorrow, this week will play out. The only certainty is that Hong Kong’s way of life is under immediate threat and its people are coming out in force to defend it.

But the curse of living in the eternal immediate present is that the stakes for this “last fight” could not be higher, especially since young Hong Kongers fear that if they are defeated in this battle, there will be nothing left to lose. The failure of the Umbrella movement five years ago, when Hong Kongers occupied important thoroughfares for 79 days, seeking greater democratic participation, to win any concrete gains has raised the stakes further still this time round.

“HK is not China! Not yet!” These few words hastily scrawled on to a piece of A4 paper and tacked on to the concrete strut of a walkway aptly encapsulate the political crisis roiling Hong Kong. The territory has been plunged into instability after police fired rubber bullets and 150 rounds of teargas to break up a huge rally on 12 June, just days after a million people peacefully took to the streets to protest against extradition legislation.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/16/hong-kong-not-china-yet-but-feared-grim-day-coming-ever-nearer

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2019 in Asia

 

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China wants us to forget the horrors of Tiananmen as it rewrites its history

Remembering the deaths of 4 June 1989 is no neutral task. It is a civic duty, a burden and an act of resistance in countering a state-level lie that risks spreading far beyond China’s borders.

On that day the Communist party sent tanks to clear protesters from Tiananmen Square in the centre of Beijing, killing hundreds of people, maybe more than a thousand. In the intervening years, China has systematically erased the evidence and memory of this violent suppression using its increasingly hi-tech apparatus of censorship and control.

We know this first-hand: one of us was present in Beijing in 1989, while the other wrote a book on Tiananmen’s legacy. Neither of us ever intended to become an activist, yet to broach the subject of 4 June publicly is to challenge the Communist party’s silence and counter Beijing’s attempts at excising this episode from history. Journalists generally shy away from taking political or ideological positions and yet, since China has for 30 years tried to deny its crime, the simple act of writing about it unwittingly tips us into activism.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/19/china-wants-us-to-forget-the-horrors-of-tiananmen-as-it-rewrites-its-history

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2019 in Asia

 

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Deng Xiaoping’s Victory

What emerged intact from the massacre of defenseless students and other citizens in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was not communism, but a version of authoritarian capitalism on a grand scale. It is a model that appeals to autocrats all over the world, including in countries that succeeded in throwing off communist rule 30 years ago.

NEW YORK – China’s massive protest movement in the spring of 1989, centered in (but not confined to) Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, seems to have been the anti-Communist revolt that failed. As the brutal crackdown on and following June 3-4 played out, political freedom was being won in Central Europe – first in Poland and Hungary, and then, beginning that fall, in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and, albeit violently and rather undemocratically, Romania. Within the next two years, the Soviet Union, cracked open by Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, finally imploded.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/tiananmen-square-massacre-pioneered-illiberal-democracy-by-ian-buruma-2019-06

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2019 in Asia

 

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Can the world quench China’s bottomless thirst for milk?

Beijing-based film-maker Jian Yi, now 43, clearly remembers the arrival of fresh milk in his life. It was an image of it, not the real thing. “It was the 1990s, and I first saw it in an advert on TV. The ad said explicitly that drinking milk would save the nation. It would make China stronger and better able to survive competition from other nations.”
Like most ethnic Han, who make up about 95% of the population, Jian was congenitally lactose-intolerant, meaning milk was hard to digest. His parents did not consume dairy at all when they were growing up; China’s economy was closed to the global market and its own production very limited. Throughout the Mao era, milk was in short supply and rationed to those deemed to have a special need: infants and the elderly, athletes and party cadres above a certain grade. Through most of the imperial dynasties until the 20th century, milk was generally shunned as the slightly disgusting food of the barbarian invaders. Foreigners brought cows to the port cities that had been ceded to them by the Chinese in the opium wars of the 19th century, and a few groups such as Mongolian pastoralists used milk that was fermented, but it was not part of the typical Chinese diet.

As China opened up to the market in the 1980s, after Mao’s death, dried milk powder began appearing in small shops where you could buy it with state-issued coupons. Jian’s parents bought it for him because they thought it would make him stronger. “It was expensive, I didn’t like it, I was intolerant, but we persuaded ourselves it was the food of the future,” he said. “You have to understand the psychology here – there is a sense in China that we have been humiliated ever since the opium wars, but that now we are no longer going to be humiliated by foreign powers.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/29/can-the-world-quench-chinas-bottomless-thirst-for-milk

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Asia, Reportages, Uncategorized

 

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