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On the road in the Karakoram

The snowed-over Khunjerab Pass, at 4,934 meters, stands eerily silent on a freezing late autumn morning.

On the Pakistani side, a wooden house serves as a small customs office fronted by “the highest ATM in the world” – though you try a foreign credit card at your peril. The Chinese side boasts an intimidating, metal-plated James Bond-esque structure with no humans in sight.The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox

This is ground zero of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the point where the revamped, upgraded Karakoram Highway – “the eighth wonder of the world” – snakes away from China’s Xinjiang all the way to Pakistan’s Northern Areas and further south to Islamabad and Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea.

From here it’s 420 kilometers to Kashgar and a hefty 1,890 km to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. But going south is where the fun really begins.

http://www.atimes.com/article/on-the-road-in-the-karakoram/

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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia, Economy

 

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A maverick researcher claims to have created GM children

THE SECOND International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong this week, was supposed to be a forum in which the idea of editing the genomes of human embryos could be discussed calmly and soberly. Fat chance of that. On November 26th, the day before it opened, one of the scheduled speakers, He Jiankui, an expert in DNA sequencing at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, announced that he had already done it, and that twin girls, named Lulu and Nana, had been born in early October as a result.

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/12/01/a-maverick-researcher-claims-to-have-created-gm-children

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Asia

 

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The Origin of the Birds in Beijing’s Famous Dish

Wu Shuiping misses the old days, when Beifu — the village of 300 households near Beijing where he grew up — was filled with fat, waddling ducks. Their incessant quacking was the soundtrack to his childhood, and their meat — particularly delicious when made into that symbol of gastronomic decadence, imperial Peking duck — appeared on dinner tables across the capital and beyond. “About half of all households here farmed them,” he says. “It was like a world of ducks.”

But these days, those who savor arguably the most iconic Chinese dish are more likely to gobble up imported breeds than domestic ones. Overseas competition has forced most villagers out of the duck business, and 46-year-old Wu is the only such farmer left in Beifu, located in the county that once supplied most of the region’s ducks.About half of all households here farmed them. It was like a world of ducks.

Wu raises a breed somewhat confusingly called Pekin duck, which was domesticated in Beijing about 600 years ago. In the late 19th century, Pekin ducks were imported into the U.K., where they were also reared for meat. Later, Pekins were interbred with a local variety to produce leaner birds that catered to British tastes. In the 1980s, as China began opening its economy to foreign imports, the U.K. began selling interbred Pekins back to China.

https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1002982/duck-tales-the-origin-of-the-birds-in-beijings-famous-dish

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in Asia

 

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China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing.

Often, the big brothers and sisters arrived dressed in hiking gear. They appeared in the villages in groups, their backpacks bulging, their luggage crammed with electric water-kettles, rice-cookers, and other useful gifts for their hosts. They were far from home and plainly a bit uncomfortable, reluctant to “rough it” such a long way from the comforts of the city. But these “relatives,” as they had been told to call themselves, were on a mission, so they held their heads up high when they entered the Uighur houses and announced they had come to stay.

The village children spotted the outsiders quickly. They heard their attempted greetings in the local language, saw the gleaming Chinese flags and round face of Mao Zedong pinned to their chests, and knew just how to respond. “I love China,” the children shouted urgently, “I love Xi Jinping.”

Over the past year, reports have found their way out of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China of a campaign of religious and cultural repression of the region’s Muslims, and of their detention and confinement in a growing network of razor-wire-ringed camps that China’s government at times has dubbed “transformation through education centers” and at others “counter-extremism training centers” and, recently, amid international criticism, “vocational training centers.” The government describes such efforts as a response to terrorism. Indeed, these camps can be seen as a logical, if grotesque, extension of the government’s decades-long endeavor to eradicate the perceived “terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism” of its ethnic minority Muslim population in Xinjiang. The region, and the country, have certainly experienced spasms of unplanned mass violence as well as cases of premeditated violence born of Uighur desperation over decades of discrimination and persecution; the government’s current set of policies to avoid future strife, however, appears to rest on the assumption that most Uighurs are extremists-in-waiting.

http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/postcard/million-citizens-occupy-uighur-homes-xinjiang

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2018 in Asia

 

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How the New Silk Roads are merging into Greater Eurasia

The concept of Greater Eurasia has been discussed at the highest levels of Russian academia and policy-making for some time. This week the policy was presented at the Council of Ministers and looks set to be enshrined, without fanfare, as the main guideline of Russian foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

President Putin is unconditionally engaged to make it a success. Already at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in 2016, Putin referred to an emerging “Eurasian partnership”.

I was privileged over the past week to engage in excellent discussions in Moscow with some of the top Russian analysts and policymakers involved in advancing Greater Eurasia.

https://thedailycoin.org/2018/12/16/pepe-escobar-how-the-new-silk-roads-are-merging-into-greater-eurasia/

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Asia, Economy, Europe

 

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How U.S. and Chinese firms are outmaneuvering Trump in trade war

President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports are having the desired effect of driving production out of China — but not to America.

Less than a month after the Trump administration hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports with a 10 percent tariff, Hong Kong-based furniture maker Manwah Holdings broke ground on an expansion of a facility outside Ho Chi Minh City.

The company, which specializes in reclining chairs and sofas that have become a fixture in middle-class American living rooms, purchased in June what was already one of Vietnam’s largest furniture factories. By next year, it will be the biggest.

Some 9,000 miles away from the deepwater ports of China and new factory towns in Vietnam, American retailers are grappling with how much of the tariffs they can absorb.

Gao Jian, of the Vnocean Business Consulting Service in Vietnam, said he has guided about 40 Chinese enterprises per month to the more than 50 industrial parks he helps recruit for so far.

“Some companies can absorb a 10 percent tariff, but a 25 percent

would eat up their entire profit,” Gao said. “They would have to relocate and shut down their factories in China.”

https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/how-u-s-and-chinese-firms-are-outmaneuvering-trump-in-trade-war.589624/

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2018 in Asia, Economy, North America

 

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On The Road to a Post-G20 World

The trade war launched by the Trump administration against China may not have been solved by a 2½-hour dinner between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at the G20 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. But it may have opened a path towards a drastic realignment.

Way beyond the histrionics surrounding the “family pic” – and whose nods and winks signaled surefire geopolitical capital – the G20 walked and talked like a last gasp to “save” the current turbo-capitalist world (dis)order.

The sherpas at the G20 lost sleep for two consecutive nights trying to come up with a final declaration capable of appeasing Trump. As virtually every nation at the G20 supports multilateralism on trade, nobody wanted to upset even more the real Big Boss in Buenos Aires: Xi Jinping.

The climax in any case was the U.S.-China bilateral – which carried the potential, if things went downhill, to derail the global economy.

https://thedailycoin.org/2018/12/05/pepe-escobar-on-the-road-to-a-post-g20-world/

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Asia

 

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The Limits of China’s Charm Offensive

Facing escalating geopolitical competition with the US, China is scrambling to win friends in East Asia. But while China’s neighbors will undoubtedly welcome any respite from Chinese belligerence, they will not be fooled by sweet talk – or even sweet trade deals.

STOCKHOLM – Over the last decade, China has taken an increasingly muscular approach to relations with East Asian countries. But in recent months, it has surprised its neighbors with a charm offensive. What changed?

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-charm-offensive-conflict-us-by-minxin-pei-2018-11

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Asia

 

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The mysterious case of disappearing Chinese Marxists shows what happens when state ideology goes badly wrong

Today’s Cambodia is the emblem of the antagonisms of the “developing” part of our world. A short time ago, they condemned the last surviving Khmer Rouge leaders for their crimes – but where is Cambodia now, when (officially, at least) it settled accounts with the Khmer Rouge horrors? Full of sweatshops, child prostitution all around and foreigners owning most of restaurants and hotels – one form of misery is often replaced by another marginally better version. But is China not caught in a similar, although less extreme, predicament?

In dealing with critical voices, Chinese authorities increasingly seem to resort to a particular procedure: a person (an ecological activist, a Marxist student, the chief of Interpol, a religious preacher, a Hong Kong publisher, even a popular movie actress) suddenly disappears for a couple of weeks before reappearing in public with specific accusations raised against them. This protracted period of silence delivers a key message to citizens: China can exert impenetrable power on anyone without any requirement of any proof. Only when this is accepted does legal reasoning follow.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/china-missing-marxists-communists-dissidents-students-beijing-peking-university-a8657621.html

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in Asia

 

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The Sino-American Cold War’s Collateral Damage

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – The escalating trade feud between the United States and China is increasingly viewed as the opening campaign of a new cold war. But this clash of titans, should it continue to escalate, will cost both parties dearly, to the point that even the winner (more likely to be the US) would probably find its victory Pyrrhic.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/us-china-cold-war-trade-climate-change-by-minxin-pei-2018-10

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2018 in Asia, North America

 

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