Author Topic: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation  (Read 1842 times)

Crafty_Dog

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China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« on: April 28, 2020, 05:16:48 PM »
Getting to be too many of these that don't fit in existing threads:

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15943/coronavirus-china-intimidation
« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 06:10:46 PM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

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China, the WHO, and Taiwan
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2020, 05:27:19 PM »
Taiwan’s Coronavirus Example
The WHO covers for a secretive China, but Taipei is a real model.
By The Editorial Board
April 27, 2020 6:25 pm ET
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A thermal scanner monitors people's body temperature in a hospital, Taipei, Feb. 1.
PHOTO: DAVID CHANG/SHUTTERSTOCK
Since 1971 China has prevented Taiwan, which Beijing insists is a rogue province, from fully participating in the World Health Organization (WHO). Now the Covid-19 pandemic has put in sharp relief the deadly consequences of placing East Asia’s regional politics before global health.

As the Trump Administration reviews the WHO’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, it also should work with Congress to make better treatment of Taipei a condition for continued financial support.

***
Taiwan has been a model for handling the outbreak. Its transparent and competent approach has left the island nation of 24 million with 429 confirmed cases and only six deaths. On Monday the country announced zero new cases, and officials believe the local epidemic could be over by June. China’s penchant for secrecy and political control, on the other hand, helped to make the local outbreak a global pandemic. Yet WHO has treated the two as if the opposite were true.

The coronavirus emerged in China late last year, with the first confirmed cases reported in December. On New Year’s Eve, public health officials in Wuhan, China, told WHO about a pneumonia virus but doubted it could spread easily. On the same day, Taiwanese officials say they asked the agency for more information about the virus and the risk of human-to-human transmission. WHO officials reportedly confirmed receipt of the note but didn’t respond.

This didn’t stop Taipei, which immediately began health inspections on flights arriving from Wuhan. Meantime, Chinese and WHO officials played down the threat together. Their statements on the lack of human-to-human transmission were almost identical, according to Berkeley researcher Xiao Qiang. Taiwanese officials announced on Jan. 16 that the virus seemed more contagious than originally reported. Four days later, China finally acknowledged it could spread between humans.

WHO called an emergency committee to discuss the virus on Jan. 22-23 but left Taiwanese officials in the dark. A Taiwanese Centers for Disease Control official lamented, “There’s no way for us to get firsthand information.” There also was no way to push back against Beijing’s overreach. Under Chinese pressure, WHO director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus refrained from declaring that Covid-19 had become a “public health emergency of international concern” until Jan. 30.

Despite WHO’s kneecapping, Taiwan proved more competent. Hubei province, home to Wuhan, didn’t take serious action to contain the virus until Jan. 22, when China had at least 440 confirmed cases and nine deaths. By contrast the small democracy activated its epidemic response force on Jan. 20, a day before confirming its first case. While Dr. Tedros was lavishing praise on a secretive China, the smaller nation had started drills and implemented quarantines. On April 1 Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced the country would donate 10 million masks abroad.

Part of WHO’s job is to provide clarity and information without political bias. Yet its insistence on following China’s line has led to confusion. In the past WHO has referred to the island as “Taiwan, China,” or simply “Taipei.” It also has labeled the country as “Taipei and its environs.” Perversely, WHO’s bizarre classification of Taiwan gives Beijing credit for Taipei’s good work.

WHO’s deference to China over Taiwan has taken farcical turns. In March Bruce Aylward, a Tedros confidant who oversees the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus, hung up on a reporter after being asked about Taiwan’s WHO membership. The agency quickly published a statement claiming it “is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts.” Yet the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry noted, “Between 2009 and 2019, we have applied to the WHO to take part in 187 technical meetings but have only been invited to 57 of them.”

The organization also added that “the question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff.” That’s technically true. But senior WHO officials have made their preference clear—often in ugly ways.

Dr. Tedros has deflected criticism of his leadership by accusing the Taiwanese government of condoning racist attacks against him. He provided no evidence, and we’ve seen none. Recently evidence emerged that Africans in Guangzhou, China, have been evicted from their homes and rejected by businesses as coronavirus-fueled xenophobia spreads. Governments across Africa have expressed concern, but Dr. Tedros has been quiet.

Many of the world’s viruses originate in China, and WHO understandably needs to maintain a relationship with the country. But its preferential treatment for Beijing has endangered lives in China and beyond.

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Re: Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2020, 05:48:42 PM »
I once almost became an involuntary guest of the Taiwanese government as I was spotted running a fever by the thermal cameras at Taoyuan International Airport. I was questioned by two men in white coats about my symptoms as two ROC National Police Agency officers with slung M-16s appeared and stood by. I was allowed to board my flight to LAX as they determined I probably had food poisoning.

I might have been better off missing the flight. I was sick as a dog.

DougMacG

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2020, 06:00:48 AM »
Bringing this over to the new  thread.

"China’s leaders not only knew how contagious the virus was, they acted on that inside information. In December, they stopped all internal flights from Wuhan to protect Shanghai, Beijing, and other population centers. Yet they allowed international flights to continue. Flights from Wuhan to Madrid. Wuhan to Rome. Wuhan to Seattle. Wuhan to Los Angeles."
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/04/27/a_china-us_cold_war_143042.html




Crafty_Dog

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DougMacG

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China's president Xi Jinping 'personally asked WHO to hold back information about human-to-human transmission and delayed the global response by four to six WEEKS' at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, bombshell report claims
Der Spiegel published bombshell claims from its Federal Intelligence Service 
President Xi 'asked WHO to delay global warning about Covid-19 on January 21'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8304471/Chinas-president-Xi-Jinping-personally-requested-delay-COVID-19-pandemic-warning.html

According to the BND: 'On January 21, China's leader Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.

'The BND estimates that China's information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide'.
--------------------------
[Doug]  Combining wrongful death suits, medical costs and shutdowns, I wonder what the economic costs of these reckless, negligent, criminal acts were.  Likely more than the Chinese GDP.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2020, 07:14:14 AM by DougMacG »

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Stratfor: China bullies Australia
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2020, 08:48:15 AM »

Stratfor Worldview
COVID-19 Tensions Place Australian Farmers in China's Crosshairs
Evan Rees
Asia-Pacific Analyst, Stratfor
6 MINS READ
May 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

An aerial photo shows villagers sowing highland barley seeds with agricultural machinery in the fields in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on April 22, 2020.

Villagers in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, sow highland barley seeds with agricultural machinery on April 22, 2020.

(Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi via Getty Images)

China's threat to heavily tariff Australian barley exports will not alone keep Canberra from pushing to investigate Beijing's role in the COVID-19 pandemic. But it will increase the stakes of doing so by making life all the harder for Australia's already struggling farmers. On May 10, Australian grain producers issued a joint statement warning that China has made a provisional decision to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Australian barley imports of up to 80.5 percent, effectively shutting down their exports to China. Sources within the Australian government say the timing of these tariffs is linked to the recent uptick in Chinese tensions over COVID-19, though Prime Minister Scott Morrison has publicly since said he does not believe the two are related. Depending on Australia's response, China is expected to make a final decision on the tariffs by May 19. On May 11, Chinese authorities also suspended products from four Australian beef slaughterhouses that comprise 20-35 percent of the country's total beef exports to China, citing health and labeling issues.

On April 22, Morrison announced he had been consulting with U.S., German and French leaders on an independent international investigation into China's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, although he has said there is "no evidence" of the virus leaking from a Chinese lab.

Several days later, China's ambassador to Australia warned that Canberra's call for an international investigation could result in a boycott of Australian goods, citing beef and wine exports in particular, as well as Chinese students enrolling in Australian universities.

China's anti-dumping allegations against Australian barley first surfaced in 2018 and there has been an anti-dumping investigation open for 18 months, partly motivated by Australia's own measures against Chinese steel. Observers, however, had believed the case would eventually be dismissed.

In 2017, China shut down imports from the same four meat processors in addition to three others over similar issues, which took months of diplomacy to resolve.

By weaponizing its crucial agricultural exports, China is trying to influence the rural supporters of Australia's ruling conservative bloc. China already accounts for one-third of Australia's total exports, but has recently become an even more vital market due to China's early COVID-19 recovery amid sluggish global demand elsewhere. A record wildfire season and drought have made Australia's agriculture sector, in particular, all the more dependent on Chinese exports.

Australia's agricultural sector is highly dependent on international markets, exporting 70 percent of its total produce by value between 2014 and 2017. China is also Australia's top agricultural export destination, accounting for one-fifth of its total produce exports.

Decreased barley exports to China would acutely impact Australian farmers, particularly in rural areas of Western Australia. Barley is Australia's largest single grain export to China and its second-largest agricultural export (overshadowed only by wool), accounting for over 11 percent of Australia's $8.06 billion in agricultural exports to the country in 2018. In 2019, China alone received 56.5 percent of Australia's total barley exports.

The 2019 drought has also badly hurt Australian barley exports, causing shipments to plunge 56 percent. The recent recovery in rainfall, however, had raised hopes of a rebound in barley production.

China's barley buyers, by contrast, will feel less of a pinch from a drawdown in Australian shipments given higher domestic availability of barley and alternative feeds in 2020 as the Chinese government halts a stockpiling program in place since 2007. Canada, which supplies 26 percent of China's barley, can also help offset any shortfalls.

Australia has fewer international options to appeal the anti-dumping measures given the current paralysis of the World Trade Organization dispute settlement mechanism over the U.S. refusal to appoint new appellate judges.

China’s threat to heavily tariff barley exports won't keep Australia from pushing to investigate Beijing's role in the pandemic, but it will make life even harder for Canberra's already struggling agricultural sector.

China's economic pressure, however, would have to expand beyond barley and the small group of beef slaughterhouses to compel Australia to reconsider its support of U.S. efforts to counter Beijing's rise. If Beijing threatens more sweeping measures against Australian beef, or starts targeting wool exports, Canberra may be prompted to change its approach. But as things stand, barley producers in Australia have other options.

Barley is less than 1 percent of Australia's overall exports, meaning a Chinese squeeze on the product would not have wide-ranging economic consequences.

Anecdotally, Australian farmers are already adjusting their ongoing planting plans in favor of wheat instead of barley in preparation for the potential Chinese tariffs, although a great deal of barley acreage has already been sown.

Australian barley farmers can also soften the blow by reorienting their products toward the domestic beef producers on the country's east coast, who have been struggling amid recent shortages and increased prices of feed barley.

China will also struggle to expand its economic threat against Australia.


Chinese wool imports may already be down because of slowing textile demand at home.

Mineral exports will be needed for China's economic rebuilding and infrastructure push, and given Australia's proximity and relative cost, China can't realistically afford to add major restrictions.

Virus travel restrictions will depress rates of Chinese tourists and students for some time regardless, so the threat of their removal/boycott also carries less weight.

Given the political stakes of caving to such overt Chinese pressure, the Australian government will continue to push back against Beijing, while still being careful not to alienate one of its most crucial trade partners. Canberra has long been trying to balance its close economic ties with China against the risk of Beijing's rising influence within Australia and its encroachment within the greater Asia Pacific. The uptick in U.S.-China tensions amid the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this ongoing trend, presenting a stark choice for Canberra.

Australia has become an important participant in U.S. efforts to ensure freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, most recently joining U.S.-led military exercises in the waterway on April 23.

In March 2020, Australia's government imposed heightened scrutiny on foreign takeovers of domestic companies to defend against potential increasing Chinese influence amid the COVID-19 downturn. This followed a move in February 2018 that saw Australia put in place intensified scrutiny on Chinese investment into its domestic agriculture and electricity sectors.

Australia has been increasingly involved in efforts to economically and diplomatically compete against China in nearby Pacific islands as well, particularly in Papua New Guinea, to maintain sway over the strategic region.

In April 2018, Australia's government banned Chinese company Huawei from providing equipment for its 5G network project.
Canberra also tightened its foreign agent and espionage laws with an eye to increasing scrutiny on entities and politicians with links to China, including media groups and Confucius Institutes.

But even before the reported barley tariff threat, Canberra had distanced itself from U.S. allegations that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan — a sign that it is still trying to strike a balance between maintaining Beijing's economic ties and countering its rise as a global power.
=============================================================================

WSJ

China’s Beef With Australia
Beijing answers call for a global Covid-19 inquiry with trade sanctions.
By The WSJ Editorial Page
May 12, 2020 7:24 pm ET



Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t the only Western official who gets on Beijing’s nerves. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has riled China by calling for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus. Beijing has responded by suspending beef imports from four large Australian slaughterhouses and threatening steep tariffs on barley.

Mr. Morrison rightly says that an independent inquiry into Covid-19 is “entirely sensible and reasonable.” Australia’s plan has been to push for the inquiry at the annual May 18-19 meeting of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. He’d like to see WHO officials empowered to enter nations to investigate disease outbreaks with authority similar to that of U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors.


China isn’t taking this well. On Tuesday a foreign ministry spokesman claimed the ban on Australian beef was due to inspection and quarantine violations, denying the move was meant as economic coercion. But the ban comes after China’s ambassador pointedly warned that China could choose to boycott Australian products such as beef and wine.

China is Australia’s top export market for beef, and the four targeted beef producers account for a third of Australia’s exports to China. Sales to China today account for nearly half of Australia’s barley exports.

China’s use of coercive economic diplomacy to stop an independent coronavirus investigation will make the world wonder what it has to hide. It should also encourage Australia’s friends, not least the U.S., to support its entirely reasonable requests into the origins of the virus so we can better stop the next one.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2020, 11:09:23 AM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: China Obfuscates
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2020, 11:24:35 AM »
On the Ground in Wuhan, Signs of China Stalling Probe of Coronavirus Origins 
Beijing at first appeared to be homing in fast on the source of the virus
Outside the closed Huanan market in Wuhan on Jan. 17. GETTY IMAGES
By Jeremy Page and Natasha Khan
May 12, 2020 12:36 pm ET

WUHAN, China — Around 1 a.m. on Dec. 31, Lu Junqing woke to a phone call from his boss at a local disinfection company. Get a team together and head to the Huanan market, he was told: “Bring your best kit.”

Mr. Lu knew the market, a sprawling maze of stalls near a railway station, but had no clue it was the suspected source of a mysterious illness spreading across this city, later identified as Covid-19.

When he got there, local officials directed him to a cluster of stalls selling wild animals for meat or traditional medicine. There were carcasses and caged live specimens, including snakes, dogs, rabbits and badgers, he said.

As his team started to spray disinfectant, the officials began taking samples from the stalls, sewers and goods, Mr. Lu says. They got his team to help with the dead animals, picking out feces and fur with tweezers, and sealing them in plastic bags.

More than four months later, Chinese officials have yet to share with the world any data from the animals Mr. Lu and others say were sampled. Beijing now appears to be stalling international efforts to find the source of the virus amid an escalating U.S. push to blame China for the pandemic, according to interviews with dozens of health experts and officials.


The lack of transparency and international involvement in the search has left room for speculation and blame. It also troubles health experts and officials who say finding the source is key to preventing the same virus from jumping again from animal to human—potentially unleashing another wave of disease.

Initially, Chinese officials seemed to be homing in quickly on the origins of the pathogen, they said. China’s disease-control agency said in January it suspected the virus had come from a wild animal at the Huanan market and that identifying the beast was “only a matter of time.”

Since then, Chinese officials have increasingly questioned whether the virus originated in the country and rejected calls for an international investigation from U.S., Australian and European officials.

China-U.S. relations have deteriorated as each side has aired allegations about the virus’s origins. Chinese officials have suggested, without presenting evidence, that the outbreak stemmed from U.S. soldiers visiting Wuhan for a sports competition, which Washington denies and many scientists have dismissed as groundless.

President Trump and senior U.S. officials have alleged that the virus might have escaped from one of two laboratories in Wuhan doing experiments with coronaviruses in bats but haven’t publicly shared evidence backing that claim. Beijing and the laboratories deny that, and several foreign scientists familiar with those experiments said they doubt the virus leaked that way.

China’s National Health Commission didn’t respond directly to detailed questions about the search for the virus’s origins, saying only that it should be left to scientists.

“The virus should not be linked to any particular country, region or people,” it said in a faxed statement. “Every country in the world should join forces and work together, rather than blaming each other and shirking responsibility.”


China isn’t the first country to resist an international investigation of a health crisis on its territory, and its early focus on controlling the virus is understandable, health experts said. They also said China had learned from the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, outbreak in 2002-3, when it was slow to close wildlife markets where that virus spread to humans.

Yet China has only made public the genetic sequences of “environmental samples” from the market’s sewers, stalls and a garbage truck—not material directly from any animals—Chinese and foreign researchers say. Some say they’ve been told by Chinese officials that animals taken from the market were destroyed. Several Huanan market vendors said they had not done tests to establish how many of them were infected.

Although Chinese officials said they were tracing the suppliers of wild meat in the market, they have not published any information on those people or animals they handled.

Meanwhile, China has frustrated efforts by foreign officials and researchers to join the hunt. When a World Health Organization mission visited Wuhan and other Chinese cities for nine days in February, Chinese officials and researchers appeared to be committed to the search, according to three people on the trip. They said they didn’t go to the Huanan market, but discussed it and the potential animal origins of the virus with Chinese counterparts.

“Everyone acknowledged the importance of this,” said Clifford Lane, the clinical director at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was part of the WHO mission. “My impression was that they were looking at it, they were thinking about it.”

Officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told the mission they would eventually be able to create an epidemiological map of the market showing details such as which animals were where, and which patients visited which section of the market, according to Dr. Lane. Such a map has yet to be shared.

The China CDC didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The WHO has since made regular requests for updates on the search from the Chinese government, but has received none, the organization said in an emailed response to the Journal.

China’s National Health Commission informed it only that those efforts were now being led by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the WHO said. The WHO also requested an update from the ministry but received none, the statement said.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“Information from these investigations is essential to public health, as it may hold the key to preventing further introductions” into the human population, the WHO said. It also said it was discussing with China another mission to the country, focusing on the virus’ origins. Asked about that, China’s foreign ministry said it would continue to cooperate with the WHO.

The Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations body trying to help coordinate research into animal origins of the virus, has been trying to get a team into China for weeks, according to people familiar with discussions. It planned an expert mission to China in mid-March but the trip has been postponed until at least the end of May, one of the people said.

The FAO said in an emailed statement: “We currently have no missions or official travels planned anywhere due to the pandemic situation.”


EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in New York that has been studying coronaviruses in China for 15 years, has also offered its help, said Peter Daszak, the group’s president. The group helped establish that the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak originated in bats and jumped to humans in a market in southern China, probably via catlike mammals called civets.

He said his partners in China had been unable to investigate the market. “It’s really so sensitive now because of the conspiracy theories being put forward in China and the USA. In any case, I suspect it’s simply too late,” he said.

Likening the market to a potential crime scene, he said that since evidence there appeared to have been contaminated or inadvertently destroyed, the better option now was to test more widely for the virus in wild animals and humans who come into contact with them.

“It won’t be fast and it won’t be easy but we will get there, and it will need cooperation between China and other countries including the U.S.,” he said.

Sensitive questions

Many health experts believe the new coronavirus lives naturally in bats and probably jumped to humans via another wild animal, possibly a civet cat or pangolin. The virus could have first jumped to a human at the Huanan market or it could have infected someone elsewhere, possibly a wild-meat trader, who then visited the market.

These are sensitive questions as much of the wild-animal trade in China is illegal and strict sanitary checks are required but not often done on those that can be bred and sold legally.

Coronaviruses: From Animals to Humans
Researchers aren't sure how the novel coronavirus first infected people in China, but the viruses that cause SARS and MERS, which originated in bats, provide clues.

2

1

Proteins on the outer shell of the virus allow it to latch onto cells in the host’s respiratory tract. The proteins’ shapes are determined by the virus’s genes.

To infect new hosts, the virus’s genes undergo mutations that alter its surface proteins, allowing them to latch onto the cells of new species.

Bat respiratory tract

Human respiratory tract

Cell

Virus

Gene

Protein

Mutation

3

In the case of SARS, the virus jumped from bats to civet cats before gaining the ability to infect humans. In the case of MERS, camels served as the intermediate host.

Original host

Intermediate host

Human

4

Coronaviruses can also jump directly to humans, without mutating or passing through an intermediate species.

5

Researchers have found the novel coronavirus likely originated in bats, but haven't pinpointed the source of transmission to humans.

Source: Timothy Sheahan, University of North Carolina    

Alberto Cervantes and Josh Ulick /THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Huanan vendors and shoppers were reluctant to talk about the wild-meat trade. Some said they had seen various live and dead animals on sale—often in unsanitary conditions—at about 10 of the roughly 1,000 stalls in the market, which mostly sold seafood and closed on Jan. 1.

Among them was Dazhong Livestock and Game, which recently opened a new outlet in another Wuhan market. It offered live or dead animals including baby crocodiles, arctic foxes, raccoon dogs, bamboo rats and civets, according to a version of its now defunct website archived in July 2019.

Another vendor a few stalls down said that Dazhong had sold animals including dogs, snakes, donkeys and birds, often butchering them on site, but that he’d never seen illegal wildlife there.

Wang Konglin, Dazhong’s owner, said in an interview that he stopped selling wild animals several years ago, and has since sold mainly beef and mutton. He said Chinese authorities had tested and questioned him but found no signs of infection or wrongdoing.

“I’ve never seen a pangolin, let alone sold one,” he said. “Or a civet.”

Some researchers and wildlife activists suspect that illicit animals were either not kept at the market or whisked away before Chinese officials arrived.

Mr. Lu, the 31-year-old manager of the Jiangwei Disinfection Company, said he didn’t see any civets, pangolins or bats when he and his team arrived at the market to start spraying it down on Dec. 31.

Officials from the China CDC’s local office were already there, and another team from its Beijing headquarters arrived on Jan. 1, when the market closed and vendors were ordered to leave all food products behind, he said.


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the China CDC in Beijing on Jan. 30.
PHOTO: CNS/REUTERS
Over the next few days, he said, he saw China CDC staff sampling and removing some of the live and dead animals. The officials got his team to help take about 70 to 80 specimens of feces and fur from the dead ones, mainly dogs and rabbits, he said.

Local officials didn’t mention the disease on the first day, he said, and he used a regular concentration of 500 mg of chlorine dioxide per liter of water that day. He quadrupled the concentration the next day, after he learned more. The mixture was so strong it corroded much of his equipment, he said.

The China CDC’s official account says only that its team from Beijing arrived on Jan. 1 and collected 585 “environment samples” from sewers, stalls and a garbage truck, and that 33 of them tested positive for the virus. Of those, 14 were from the area trading wildlife, it said. It doesn’t mention animal samples.


When health experts from Taiwan and Hong Kong visited Wuhan in mid-January, a local CDC official told them no wild animals were found at the market, and such things were rarely eaten locally, according to one person present, who also said there was no discussion about other kinds of animals.

Ian Lipkin, a virologist at Columbia University who visited China in late January to help combat the virus, said his Chinese contacts told him that the China CDC did take samples from animals and meat at the market.

Dr. Lipkin, who also helped tackle SARS, said that George Gao, the China CDC chief, was initially convinced that the culprit was a bamboo rat, a rodent often sold as meat in China.

“After they went through and did this exhaustive search of the live and the dead and the frozen animals in various freezers, and they didn’t come up with anything, they had to revise their model,” said Dr. Lipkin.

He said Dr. Gao had told him that Chinese scientists had found the virus in the environmental samples but had been unable to identify which animal they likely came from.

There was “too much contamination, various animal parts, various species,” Dr. Lipkin said. Dr. Gao didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Dr. Lipkin said he and a Chinese counterpart had since proposed other ways to identify the source of the virus, including by testing blood samples of pneumonia patients across China from before December to see if it might have originated somewhere other than Wuhan.

Chinese authorities have yet to provide access to the relevant samples, however, according to Dr. Lipkin’s Chinese counterpart, Lu Jiahai at Sun Yat-sen University.

The consensus that bats were the most likely original host derives largely from a research paper published on Jan. 23, which concluded that the genome of the new virus was 96% identical to that of another coronavirus previously found in bats from southwest China.

Among the paper’s authors was Shi Zhengli, an expert on coronaviruses in bats at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—one of the places that U.S. officials have suggested was the source of the virus. She didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A week later, China CDC researchers published a paper also concluding that bats could be the original hosts, but suggesting the virus spread to humans via another wild animal at the Huanan market, because most bats hibernated in December and none were sold or found at the market.


The conclusion that the virus likely came from an animal made it an issue not just for the WHO but for a lesser-known international body of which China is also a member, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE. It brought together experts from around the world to form an informal advisory group, which held the first of several teleconferences on Jan. 31.

The meeting’s minutes say that samples were taken from several animal species at the market, and none tested positive, but “information about the number of samples and species sampled was not available.”

The group recommended a thorough investigation of the wildlife trade in China, including any criminal involvement, as well as management of wet markets in Wuhan, among others. It is unclear how many of its recommendations China has adopted.

The OIE said in an emailed statement that it was liaising with Chinese veterinary authorities and had offered to help investigate the origins of the virus but no arrangements had been made yet.

It said Chinese experts were involved in several of its technical groups. The agency’s minutes in recent months say the experts shared that Chinese scientists had tested domestic animals as well as animals on fur farms and found no trace of the virus. There has been no mention of the Huanan market in the minutes since the first teleconference in January. Some researchers believe the opportunity to investigate the market has long since passed.

“The problem is that this should have been done in late December or early January,” said Dirk U. Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary medicine and epidemiology at the City University of Hong Kong who is a member of the OIE’s advisory group.

“It is now too late, which means we will have to rely on other indirect evidence, and therefore proof of cause will be close to impossible.”

—Qianwei Zhang in Wuhan and Phred Dvorak in Tokyo contributed to this article.

Crafty_Dog

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Good list of Chinese perfidy
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2020, 07:26:45 PM »
Not very nuanced with regard to President Trump, but a good list of Chinese perfidy.

Trump’s Illusory Hard Line on China
By MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY
May 13, 2020 2:45 PM


President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The president has not been as tough on Beijing as he’d like you to think.
How much of what we hear from day to day is really just meant to please the Chinese Communist Party? When LeBron James said that Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong comments were “either misinformed or not really educated on the situation,” had he engaged in a direct conversation with a Chinese dignitary or had the NBA merely relayed its concerns to him on China’s behalf? Did some officious CCP official get a pat on the head when the World Health Organization kept praising China’s response to the emergence of a new coronavirus in Wuhan before it declared a global health emergency? When Governor Andrew Cuomo started bizarrely referring to the coronavirus as the “European virus,” was he hoping to preserve Chinese investment in New York?

It’s no longer paranoid or irrational to ask these questions. This week, an op-ed signed by the EU’s ambassador to China and his counterparts from the 27 EU member states was revealed to have been censored and edited by the Chinese government, apparently without the permission or foreknowledge of many of the authors. How common is such chicanery?

We’ve had lots of recent occasions to see China’s pettiness. The CCP made Marriott shut down its own website for having referred to Macau and Tibet as something other than part of China. The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker quickly changed Taiwan to “Taipei and environs” amid what one presumes was Chinese pressure. German-owned Mercedes is just one company that has had to ask China’s forgiveness for merely mentioning the Dalai Lama. The United Kingdom once had to read an abject statement of apology aloud to Chinese dignitaries after committing the same sin.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is one leader who seems to have lost any illusions about China. He’s not calling COVID-19 a “European virus,” and he has demanded an investigation of how the World Health Organization botched things in Wuhan. In response, Chinese state-media outlets have urged consumer boycotts of Australian agricultural products and called Australia “gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoe.”

China doesn’t just get the first helpings of BS, it gets the bull as well. Going back to the 1990s, Smithfield has a history of preferring foreign workers because native-born workers are easier to unionize than illegal workers. As globalization advanced, it also found it preferred foreign owners: It was bought by the China-backed Shuanghui Group in 2013. Now, English is just one of the top ten languages at the Smithfield pork-processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The language barrier that Smithfield deliberately creates through the liberal use of our “guest worker” visa system is not just a major impediment to labor organization. It turns out to be a big impediment to communicating public-health information, and a major reason that the Sioux Falls plant became the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

NOW WATCH: 'Trump Seeks to Reduce Reliance on China'

Which brings us to Donald Trump. Trump was elected in no small part because of his opposition to immigration and globalization. He asked who really benefited from these phenomena, and proposed doing something about them. China, as a Communist nation that profits remora-like from the global market that it didn’t build and doesn’t defend or respect, was prominent on his ostensible list of targets, and continued to be after he took office.

Unfortunately, the key word there is “ostensible.” As is the case on so many issues, Trump is not as tough on China as he’d like everyone to think. Yes, he initiated a U.S.–China “trade war” aimed at reining in Beijing’s economic malfeasance, but he has steadfastly refused to bring up any ancillary issues about the human-rights abuses in Xinjiang or the political abuses in Hong Kong. Yes, he signed a bill aimed at pushing back on the latter abuses after it passed Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support, but his secretary of state has now delayed its implementation. Yes, he’s called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and bragged about his travel ban on China. But his administration somehow let nearly half a million people through anyway, and he’s proven just as likely to praise the Chinese regime in stomach-churning terms as he is to scold it:


Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
One of the many great things about our just signed giant Trade Deal with China is that it will bring both the USA & China closer together in so many other ways. Terrific working with President Xi, a man who truly loves his country. Much more to come!

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Trump’s supporters might plausibly claim that his reluctance to more forcefully attack Xi’s regime in public comes from a desire to preserve the trade deal he negotiated. They’d have a much harder time arguing that the trade deal is actually a desirable outcome for the U.S. All in all, Trump’s administration deep-sixed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have put more pressure on China, then engaged in a short, inconclusive series of trade skirmishes with China that did nothing to repatriate industry to the U.S., and then announced the trade deal while giving Xi a tongue bath.

59
Even if, as seems likely, the deal was always a cynical ploy to get Wall Street frothing in an election year, that gambit has been overcome by events, namely the global pandemic. So why is our “nationalist” president still sticking with this trade agreement? Why can’t he criticize the Chinese government?

Who benefits from the rise of this new American “nationalism,” anyway?


Crafty_Dog

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China and East Europe
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2020, 12:16:42 PM »
May 15, 2020   View On Website
Open as PDF



    The Reality of China’s Push Into Eastern Europe
By: Ridvan Bari Urcosta
Most countries naturally tend to rely on their strengths to increase power and influence abroad. For China, this means using its substantial economic resources and propaganda (i.e. manipulation of its public image) to coerce foreign countries into partnering with Beijing and the broader international community into believing it can compete on a global scale. Its efforts to boost its influence abroad have, of course, been concentrated on Southeast and South Asia, but more attention has been paid to China’s push into Europe, particularly Eastern Europe. The region has turned into a symbolic battlefield for the United States, Russia and now China as they each compete for power and prestige in the region.
China even dubbed 2020 the “Year of Europe,” signaling a desire to improve ties across this strategically important market. When Beijing launched the campaign, the U.S. and EU were in the early stages of what looked to be an emerging trade war, and China saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Much has happened since the beginning of 2020, most notably a global pandemic, but even before the coronavirus, China’s ability to increase its influence in Europe was always questionable because it would have to rely so heavily on propaganda and manipulation as it championed its achievements in building diplomatic bridges, constructing key supply networks and infrastructure, and providing much-needed credit for cash-starved countries that didn’t want to rely on Western institutions.
But in reality, China’s engagement with Eastern Europe is not nearly as strong as the headlines suggest, and its weaknesses will only be exacerbated by the pandemic. For both sides, the goals of engagement have little to do with strengthening relations between them. Rather, Beijing is using its relationship with countries in the region to expand its leverage against the U.S. and the European Union. Likewise, Eastern European countries are using China to increase their negotiating power over Washington and Brussels, both of which are wary of China’s increasing presence across Eurasia. Ultimately, they see each other as a source of leverage in their relationships with other critical players rather than strategic partners in their economic and security agendas.
At the center of China’s outreach to Eastern Europe is its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious plan to revamp the supply chain across Eurasia using loans, often with unfavorable terms to the borrowers, to build infrastructure that will connect the entire Eurasian landmass via roads, rail and ports. The project will allow China to sell its exports, a critical part of its economy, to markets abroad using a supply chain that Beijing itself helped build and largely controls. In the 2010s, China’s expansion into Eastern Europe has been focused in large part on rail. The so-called China-Europe Express, a series of railway routes connecting China to European markets, requires the participation of countries in Eastern Europe, the gateway to other valuable markets in the European Union, most notably Germany.
But the rail project isn’t as big of an achievement as it’s been touted to be, mostly by Beijing itself. All the railway routes in the China-Europe Express have actually existed since the Soviet era. The project, then, is really about repurposing and upgrading existing infrastructure rather than building an entire network from scratch – which would be a much more ambitious and complicated project. Constructing an entirely new rail route to Europe would require getting the approval of many countries through which this network would pass, a politically challenging endeavor particularly given that China prefers to conduct negotiations on a bilateral basis. While some countries may be open to accepting China’s help to improve their own infrastructure, they may not be willing to participate in Beijing’s broader vision for Eurasia. In addition, this project has run into technical complications, including the lack of standardization of rail gauges among the different railways, which slows down the transit of goods. Financing is also an issue. Upgrading this rail system would require massive investments, and China simply does not have the capital to complete such a project. Even before the pandemic, its economy was struggling with problems that were only aggravated by the U.S.-China trade war. In fact, Beijing’s investments in Europe fell to 11.7 billion euros ($12.6 billion) last year, just a third of the total at its peak in 2016.
 
(click to enlarge)
China has made many grand announcements about BRI’s achievements in Europe, but in reality, some of its most high-profile projects in the most geopolitically significant Eastern European countries have not been executed as Beijing promised. In Romania, for example, the government scrapped a deal earlier this year with a Chinese energy firm to construct two reactors for the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. Similarly, plans to have a Chinese company help construct the Tarnita-Lapustesti Hydropower Plant were shelved in 2015. In Hungary, at least seven projects agreed to by China have failed to get off the ground, including a cargo hub at the Budapest airport and a biotechnology project. Most notably, the Budapest-Belgrade Railway, for which China would provide the bulk of the financing, has yet to take off after seven years of talks. Both the EU and observers within Hungary have criticized the project because it would require Serbia and Hungary to accept massive loans from Beijing that these countries are unlikely to pay back.
In Poland, President Andrzej Duda and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a strategic partnership deal in 2016, but little has come of it. In fact, relations between the two countries are arguably worse now, after an employee from Chinese telecom company Huawei was arrested in Poland last year for allegedly spying for the Chinese government.
In another example, Czech President Milos Zeman opted not to go to China for the 17+1 summit in April, in part because China had not lived up to commitments regarding investment. When Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Prague in 2016, he promised around half a billion euros of investment into the Czech economy within the next two years. To date, none of these funds have arrived. The Chinese-Czech relationship has become increasingly tense, especially after the Czech government improved relations with Taiwan in 2019 and voiced support for the establishment of official bilateral diplomatic relations.
China has relied heavily on propaganda to conceal these shortcomings. In 2012, Beijing launched the “16+1” initiative to improve diplomatic engagement with and strengthen pro-China sentiment in Central and Eastern European states in the EU as well as Balkan states. Greece joined the initiative in 2019, making it the 17+1. This was, of course, accompanied by EU-China summits and a series of high-profile promises and nonbinding memorandums of understanding on future projects. By hosting such events and making such announcements, China elevated its profile in Eastern European affairs and gave the world the impression that it was succeeding in the region. It was a savvy public relations move, but no substantial advancements have come with it. China’s failure to deliver on promised funds has started to create problems with the EU, as Brussels has criticized China for its attempts to separate Central and Eastern European members from the rest of the bloc.
 
(click to enlarge)
On Dec. 5, Pew Research published a report on opinions toward China from around the world. The Central and Eastern Europeans are somewhat divided in their assessments. More Bulgarians (55 percent), Poles (47 percent) and Lithuanians (45 percent) have favorable than unfavorable views of China, and Hungarians (40 percent favorable, and against 37 percent unfavorable) are nearly evenly divided. But a plurality of Slovaks (48 percent unfavorable) and a majority of Czechs (57 percent unfavorable and only 27 percent favorable) have negative views of China.
Despite China’s difficulties in delivering on its promises, Eastern European countries can still benefit from publicly backing the relationship. Flirting with China enables Eastern European states to build up leverage and bargaining power they would not have otherwise. In some respects, it is another factor to help them counterbalance Russian threats. For much of its existence, Eastern Europe has been a pawn in power struggles between Russia and the West. Central and Eastern Europe has generally focused their strategic energies outward, toward the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas – toward the Rimland, in Spykman’s terminology – rather than inward, toward the Heartland. For these countries, opening up new avenues into the Heartland to connect with China threatens to overthrow the traditional Russia-West competition. It immediately creates geopolitical tension because it signifies Chinese expansion in the spheres of influence of both the United States and Russia, in the case of Belarus.
The projects of most value for Eastern Europe to engage in this game are those of a strategic nature. A prime example is the Rail Baltica project, which aims to connect the railways from Western Europe to Finland via Poland and the Baltic states along a new European standard gauge. In Chinese plans, such a railway has strategic importance in the delivery of Chinese goods to all corners of Europe, but for the United States and NATO it has strategic importance in terms of military mobility and readiness. Even if China’s ability to follow through is in doubt, the discussion is enough that Washington must pay attention. Eastern Europe relies on the U.S. presence in the region to counter Russian influence, something China cannot offer. If China were to decide to play a geopolitical role, it would immediately make Russia and China regional competitors; but Beijing is not ready for such a role and so is concentrating on advancing economic connectivity. As long as the United States views its ties with Eastern Europe as strategically important, it maintains the upper hand over Eastern Europe in the relationship. The Eastern European states’ talks with China, no matter how superficial, are done with the goal of reducing the imbalance in the relationship with the United States. The U.S. has identified China as one of its top threats, and Western Europe is also keeping a watchful eye on Beijing. The days when China could expand its influence unchecked are over, even if Beijing’s strategy for engaging with Eastern Europe reflects its commercial needs — and even if its ability to deliver is limited.
For both the EU and the U.S., China poses a threat to national security, with a case in point being 5G. In an assessment report (“Cybersecurity of 5G networks - EU Toolbox of risk mitigating measures) that the European Union issued earlier this year, Brussels called for improvements in the bloc’s foreign direct investment screening mechanism so that states could better detect foreign investments in the 5G value chain that may threaten the security or public order of more than one EU member state. This has proved a divisive issue, given that some states are not convinced that China is a national security threat. For example, Chinese telecom giant Huawei employs around 2,000 people in Hungary, where it has invested $1.2 billion since 2005 according to company figures, and now Hungary expects $180 million in investments from China for the construction of the second-largest Huawei supply center in the world. Notably, Poland and Romania, staunch U.S. allies, rejected Chinese involvement in their 5G networks in favor of cooperation with the United States.
During the Cold War, Eastern Europe was the most important region in the geopolitical rivalry between the superpowers. It now seems that in the new international, multipolar world order, Central and Eastern Europe – and Europe as a whole – will play a serious role. Chinese success irritates both the U.S. and Russia, especially success in the European continent, which is the traditional domain for both. China does not truly challenge U.S. interests there, but for those states, flirting with China does give them more leverage in their interactions with Washington.   




Crafty_Dog

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DougMacG

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Re: China now claiming territory in Central Asia
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2020, 06:22:18 AM »
https://www.wionews.com/india-news/now-chinese-websites-claim-kyrgyzstan-kazakhstan-part-of-china-draws-ire-of-central-asia-298057/amp

Sounds very much like some German Nazi annexations of a previous century.

How slow will the world be to recognize the threat?
-------------------------------------
Update, this writer seems to agree:
"China expert says communist regime unlike anything 'since the Third Reich' "
https://campusreform.org/?ID=14885
China expert Gordon Chang joined Campus Reform to discuss the communist regime's attempt to infiltrate U.S. colleges.
Chang said the communist regime is unlike anything "since the Third Reich."
« Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 07:44:35 AM by DougMacG »

DougMacG

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https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/15/rep-liz-cheney-china-deliberately-exported-global-economic-devastation-via-coronavirus/

"...said Cheney. “It’s also without question — it cannot be challenged — that the government of China shut down travel from Wuhan into the rest of their country while they allowed travel from Wuhan into the rest of the world. That is without question, and that alone tells you [the Chinese government] knew that they had human-to-human transmission.”

Cheney continued, “They knew it was so dangerous that they didn’t want it in the rest of their country, but yet they caused it to be exported to the rest of the world, and I think that they pretty clearly did that. I’m sure they understood the economic devastation this virus was going to cause, and I think they made a very clear, calculated decision that they didn’t want to be the only country having to face that devastation.”
--------------------------------------------
Not afraid to speak truth.  Already in R. leadership, she might make a great future Speaker of the House.


Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China vs. Australia
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2020, 08:58:26 AM »


Mutually assured destruction in Sino-Australian trade?

On Monday, Beijing said it would impose an 80 percent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariff on Australian barley, one of the country’s top three annual agriculture exports, about half of which typically goes to China. Australia said it would respond to the barley duties with a challenge at the World Trade Organization, which works slowly in normal times and has nearly ground to a halt lately. This follows Chinese suspensions of imports of beef from four Australian slaughterhouses, or some 35 percent of Australian exports of the commodity to China. And Beijing may not be done yet. Chinese officials reportedly have measures targeting Australian seafood, oatmeal, fruit, wine and cheese locked and loaded. Chinese state media in recent weeks has also warned of consumer boycotts.

China is apparently upset about Australia’s perfunctory calls for investigations into the source of the coronavirus outbreak. But, as we’ve argued in the context of the U.S.-China trade war, tariffs often end up hurting a country’s own businesses and consumers as much as or more than those in the country they’re targeting. And given that Australia and China entered a free trade agreement in late 2015, these actions may hinder Beijing’s goals for striking other trade pacts. So it’s unclear just how long Beijing may be willing to strike a hard line.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Chinese diplomats throwing elbows
« Reply #29 on: May 20, 2020, 08:56:21 AM »
China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomats Are Ready to Fight
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has adopted an aggressive new stance, spurred by Beijing’s push to increase its global influence
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian in Beijing on April 8. CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS
By Chun Han Wong and Chao Deng
May 19, 2020 9:58 am ET

Beijing’s envoy in Paris promised a fight with France should China’s interests be threatened, then engaged in a public spat with his host country over the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka boasted of China’s handling of the pandemic to an activist on Twitter who had fewer than 30 followers. Beijing canceled a nationwide tour by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra after a tussle with the city’s mayor over Taiwan.

As China asserts itself globally, its diplomats around the world are taking on foes big and small.

The brash new attitude, playing out on social media, in newsprint and across negotiating tables, marks a turn for China’s once low-key diplomats. It’s part of a deliberate shift within the Foreign Ministry, spurred on by Chinese leaders seeking to claim what they see as their nation’s rightful place in the world, in the face of an increasingly inward-looking U.S.

China’s state media describe it as a “Wolf Warrior” ethos—named for a nationalistic Chinese film franchise about a Rambo-like soldier-turned-security contractor who battles American-led mercenary groups.

The feuding has escalated as the Foreign Ministry seeks to enforce China’s narratives on the coronavirus pandemic, bickering with Western powers and even some friendly countries.

In Venezuela, a major recipient of Beijing’s aid, the Chinese embassy lashed out at local legislators who described the pathogen that causes Covid-19 as the “China coronavirus.” Those legislators, the embassy said in a March statement on its website, were suffering from a “political virus.”

“Since you are already very sick from this, hurry up to ask for proper treatment,” the statement said. “The first step might be to wear the masks and shut up.” China’s Foreign Ministry and the embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment.


“Every time the Americans make an allegation, the French media always report them a day or two later,” Mr. Lu told French newspaper L’Opinion last month about coverage of China’s handling of the coronavirus. “They howl with the wolves, to make a big fuss about lies and rumors about China.”

Mr. Lu and the embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment.

For decades, Chinese diplomats had largely heeded the words of Deng Xiaoping, the reformist leader who exhorted his countrymen to “hide our light and bide our time”—keeping a low profile while accumulating China’s strengths.

Beijing became more outspoken as its economic power grew. This trend accelerated under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has staked his legitimacy on a “China Dream” of restoring national glory and pursued an increasingly uncompromising posture in international affairs.

Much of the growing assertiveness is aimed at stoking national pride back home—a key tool in the ruling Communist Party’s political playbook—and rebalancing the international order in ways that promote the party’s interests. Under Mr. Xi, China has cast itself as a responsible world power, offering leadership in global governance and pouring loans and aid into developing countries.

“Chinese citizens increasingly expect the Chinese government to stand tall and be proud in the world,” said Jessica Chen Weiss, a Cornell University associate professor who has studied the role of nationalism in China’s foreign relations. “What China really wants under Xi Jinping is a world that is safe for his continued leadership.”

In pursuing a more pugnacious style, the Communist Party is pushing to capitalize on a U.S. retreat from global institutions under President Trump’s “America First” approach. China has worked to increase its influence in international organizations, such as the United Nations, that the Trump administration has disparaged.

Mr. Xi has ramped up the Communist Party’s control over the Foreign Ministry, whose officials had been suspected by some within the party to be less ideologically committed due to their interactions with foreign cultures and counterparts.


Last year, Qi Yu, a specialist in ideological training with no prior diplomatic experience, became the Foreign Ministry’s Communist Party secretary—an unusual appointment for a post traditionally held by a vice foreign minister. A former deputy chief of the party’s powerful personnel department, Mr. Qi has often stressed loyalty to Mr. Xi’s agenda and reiterated his demands for a more combative posture in foreign affairs.

Chinese diplomats must “firmly counterattack against words and deeds in the international arena that assault the leadership of China’s Communist Party and our country’s socialist system,” Mr. Qi wrote in an essay published in December.

Chinese diplomats have displayed flashes of truculence in the past, chiefly on core interests like disputed territorial claims, foreign visits by the Dalai Lama and perceived pro-independence activism by other figures Beijing sees as separatist threats. They have pushed Beijing’s narratives on a much wider range of issues lately, from its treatment of Muslim minorities to Chinese aid and loans to developing countries.

In Prague, Chinese diplomats have tussled with Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, a 38-year-old from the Pirate Party, who flies the Tibetan flag at city hall. At a New Year’s gathering in the mayor’s official residence last year, Mr. Hřib refused a demand from the Chinese ambassador to kick out a Taiwanese representative mingling with other diplomats, according to diplomats present and Czech media reports.

Mr. Hřib had also insisted on removing a “one China” clause, which refers to China’s territorial claims over Taiwan, from Prague’s sister-city pact with Beijing.


Beijing responded by calling off a 14-city China tour by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. After Mr. Hřib moved to scrap the sister cities agreement, the Chinese embassy issued a Facebook post warning Prague to “change its approach as soon as possible.... Otherwise, the city’s own interests will suffer.” Plans for China tours by other Czech music ensembles have since unraveled.

“They didn’t see us as a partner,” Mr. Hřib said in an interview, referring to the Chinese government. “They saw us as their subordinates.” The embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The pandemic has provided the biggest test of China’s Wolf Warrior diplomacy. As other governments struggled to contain the coronavirus, Beijing trumpeted its iron-fisted response and won praise for providing critical medical gear to countries in need. It also pushed back at critics who questioned its early handling of the contagion.


In February, the Chinese embassy in Nepal said it lodged complaints with Nepal’s Kathmandu Post and “reserves the right of further action” after the English-language newspaper, with a circulation of less than 100,000, ran a syndicated opinion piece criticizing China’s coronavirus response that featured an image of a Chinese yuan note with Mao Zedong wearing a face mask.

Diplomats and state media have denounced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for claiming that the coronavirus may have spread from a Chinese lab. After Beijing’s envoy to Australia hinted at economic repercussions for Canberra’s push for a coronavirus inquiry, China this month suspended imports from four Australian meat-processing companies, citing regulatory violations. It also imposed antidumping and antisubsidy tariffs totaling 80.5% on Australian barley. Australia described the meat-related infractions as “minor technical breaches” and denied dumping or subsidizing its barley exports to China.

China diplomatic Twitter accounts created
Sources: Alliance for Securing Democracy; Twitter
Note: Data through April 22. An additional 31accounts were created prior to 2018.
.accounts
Jan. ’19
July
Jan. ’20
0
4
8
12
16
20
Total monthly tweets
Sources: Alliance for Securing Democracy; Twitter
Retweets
Tweets
Jan. ’20
April
0
2,500
5,000
7,500
10,000
12,500
15,000
17,500
20,000

Twitter has emerged as a key battleground for Chinese diplomats, especially after the Foreign Ministry promoted Zhao Lijian, a prolific Twitter user previously assigned to the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, as one of its spokesmen in August. Mr. Zhao recently added fuel to a U.S.-China spat over the coronavirus’s origins by pushing a theory to his more than 600,000 followers that the pathogen was brought to China by the U.S. military—an allegation that Washington has denied.

Chinese diplomatic accounts now total at least 137, up from 38 a year ago, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a Washington-based bipartisan advocacy group. The most active send out hundreds of tweets each month, on par with the most active diplomatic accounts of Russia.

“Total death in #China #pandemic is 3344 till today, much smaller than your western ‘high class’ governments,” the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka wrote on Twitter last month in response to a Sri Lankan activist who had criticized the Chinese government as “low class.”


The activist, Chirantha Amerasinghe, who had fewer than 30 followers at the time and now has just over 40, said he was surprised the embassy responded by seemingly mocking other countries with higher death tolls. The embassy didn’t respond to queries.

China’s ambassador to France, Mr. Lu, has risen through the Foreign Ministry’s ranks over the years as he advocated for tougher diplomacy. In a 2016 paper, published when he was policy-research director for the Communist Party’s top foreign-policy committee, Mr. Lu said Chinese diplomats must battle with the West and convince more countries to “accept China, as a major Eastern power, standing at the top of the world.”

As ambassador to Canada, Mr. Lu accused Ottawa of “Western egotism and white supremacy” over its late 2018 arrest, at Washington’s request, of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co.

In Paris, where Mr. Lu arrived last summer, he and the Chinese embassy have racked up more than 50 media engagements in less than a year, including interviews, briefings and newspaper op-eds—nearly three times as many as his predecessor had logged over five years in the job.

“I hope I don’t have to fight against France. The best is for us to work together,” Mr. Lu said in August at his first media briefing as envoy in Paris, when asked how he would help China speak up internationally. “But if anything that harms our fundamental interests happens, then I would have to fight.”


In April, the Chinese embassy sparked outrage throughout France after it published an essay, attributed to a “Chinese diplomat stationed in Paris,” that claimed nursing-home caregivers had abandoned residents to die. The essay also accused Taiwanese authorities, whom some French lawmakers supported, of using a racist slur against the World Health Organization’s director-general—allegations that Taipei denied.

The embassy later published a clarification, saying the essay wasn’t referring to French nursing homes and didn’t allege that French lawmakers used the racist slur.

On Twitter, the embassy has argued with and blocked at least one critic. It also “liked” a number of posts criticizing the West, including one saying democracies fail to treat sick patients.

In his April interview with L’Opinion, Mr. Lu dismissed claims that Chinese diplomacy has become aggressive. “Rather, it’s a form of proactive diplomacy,” he said.

The U.S. and some other Western governments have pushed back against Beijing, accusing China of bungling its initial coronavirus response and calling for an international probe into the pathogen’s origins. Some analysts say the squabbling has cost China a chance to earn global goodwill, exposing the limits of Beijing’s reliance on abrasive rhetoric and material assistance to dissuade critics and win favor.

China is “making a lot of headway because they have a lot of resources,” but its approach hasn’t won it many friends, said Oriana Skylar Mastro, a Georgetown University assistant professor who studies Chinese security policy.

Signs of dissatisfaction with the Wolf Warrior approach have begun to surface among China’s diplomatic old guard.

Fu Ying, a vice foreign minister from 2009 to 2013, wrote a newspaper commentary in April stressing that China must pay attention to how its messages are received by international audiences.

“A country’s power in international discourse relates not just to its right to speak up on the global stage, but more to the effectiveness and influence of its discourse,” Ms. Fu wrote in the party’s flagship People’s Daily.

In a recent interview widely shared on Chinese social media, Yuan Nansheng, a retired Chinese diplomat whose posts included ambassador to Zimbabwe and consul-general in San Francisco, said China’s diplomacy “should get ‘stronger’ and not simply ‘harder.’ ”

“History proves that when foreign policy gets hijacked by public opinion, it inevitably brings disastrous results,” he said.

—Drew Hinshaw contributed to this article.

Write to Chun Han Wong at chunhan.wong@w

Crafty_Dog

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GPF: China is still the next China
« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2020, 10:35:50 PM »
China Is Still the Next China
The pandemic has made the U.S. decoupling push both more urgent and more difficult to achieve.

By Phillip Orchard -May 11, 2020Open as PDF
At the end of last year, the coronavirus slipped through China’s borders. Now, Washington wants U.S. firms in China to do the same, evidenced by the Trump administration’s recent announcement of a whole-of-government initiative to move U.S. production and supply chain dependency away from China. This week, lawmakers are expected to introduce White House-backed legislation that would give subsidies to U.S. manufacturers who leave China. The White House, which in the midst of its trade war last year explicitly called for U.S. firms to come home, is also reportedly imposing new tariffs on imports from China and gradually expanding its list of Chinese-made products deemed a national security risk.

Washington is not alone in feeling that Chinese consolidation of supply chains for many essential goods was exposed by the coronavirus as an intolerable threat. In early April, Japan unveiled a $2.2 billion funding package to shift key supply chains away from China, and Germany has called for an EU-wide effort to bolster continental manufacturing of essential health care goods. Meanwhile, alternative low-cost manufacturing hubs are waiting with open arms. India, for example, is reportedly courting more than 1,000 U.S. firms in China and setting up special economic zones twice the size of Luxembourg to house them. With the U.S. apparently warming back up to multilateral trade and investment blocs in the form of its proposed “Economic Prosperity Network” – essentially a repackaged and expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership – the prospects of a coordinated effort to construct a more stable global trading system are increasing.

But if the U.S and China are indeed moving toward an economic divorce, it’ll be the sort of “it’s complicated” breakup where neither side really has the stomach for the legal fees or the emotional strength to remain estranged. And the coronavirus pandemic will in some ways make the break up even more difficult. In short, volatility in the global trading system isn’t going away.

Long Time Coming

The U.S.-China economic relationship was rocky even before the outbreak. The seeds were sown nearly half a century ago, when Western firms began rerouting their supply chains through East Asia and thereby igniting a boom in global trade and prosperity. Following China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the center of gravity of global manufacturing shifted firmly to the Middle Kingdom, where a bottomless labor pool allowed foreign firms to unlock unimaginable economies of scale. China became the world’s largest exporter in 2009. Until about a decade ago, the U.S. heartily supported its efforts. It developed a taste for low-cost imports and fell head over heels for Chinese consumers and investors. It nurtured hopes that China would be disinclined to challenge the global system if it was integrated with that system. At times, the U.S. and China’s commercial relations stabilized their broader bilateral relationship.

The trade-offs of this system crystallized after the 2008 financial crisis, which in the U.S. exposed how the middle class had been gutted by the loss of manufacturing and revealed the structural problems that fueled inequality. Beijing, stung by the brief collapse in Western demand and under immense social pressures of its own, figured it had little choice but to more aggressively move into high-value industries that more advanced economies have dominated for decades – even if it had to renege on its WTO commitments and antagonize countries whose consumers fueled China’s rise. Many in the U.S. believed they had underestimated China’s ability to make the leap into more advanced manufacturing, and underestimated just how much leverage Chinese consumers and manufacturers would give Beijing – and how willing it was to use its leverage over foreign firms and foreign governments. China’s external vulnerabilities, meanwhile, compelled it to see just how much its newfound economic and military heft could be used to reshape the regional order around its needs.

In other words, the change from competition to confrontation between the U.S. and China has been a long time coming. The launch of the U.S.-China trade and tech wars in 2017 merely announced its arrival. COVID-19 kicked it into overdrive.

The pandemic did this, in part, by exposing just how much China had become a single point of failure in supply chains of essential goods in critical sectors like pharma. For example, China produces around 80-90 percent of the global supply of active ingredients for antibiotics. Chinese export restrictions and bottlenecks led to shortages of personal protective equipment, test kits and vital medical equipment, including products made by U.S. firms in China. The pandemic also exposed chronic quality control problems in China, with several embattled countries having to discard much-needed shipments of faulty Chinese masks and test kits. (To be fair, the global rush to source pandemic supplies has created a profiteer’s paradise just about everywhere.)

But if the issue were merely about making the system more resilient to unexpected crises – eliminating chokepoints in supplies of essential goods, building in redundancies, and so forth – there wouldn’t be nearly the sense of urgency behind the push to decouple. Most U.S. companies will be wary enough of overdependence on chokepoints in China to want to diversify on their own accord. The U.S. government and others could just boost stockpiles of essential goods, incentivize domestic production in key sectors, and establish plans in advance to ensure diversity of foreign suppliers and so minimize the risk of disruption at home. Indeed, emergency preparation could be a cornerstone of a U.S.-China relationship defined by cooperation against mutual threats, with the U.S. combining its R&D power with China’s unparalleled production capacity to prevent the next super-spreading virus from doing nearly so much damage.

But, of course, this isn’t just about the pandemic. It’s also about existing fault lines in the international system and immense new political pressures unleashed by COVID-19. Beijing is fronting as a country that’s spearheading global cooperation. Yet, it evidently can’t help but spread disinformation about the pandemic both at home and abroad – and it’s mostly still acting like a government with a crippling fear of mass dissent. Collaboration is taking a back seat to other needs in Washington, too. Accusations that China somehow intentionally unleashed the virus on the world are nonsensical, as is the notion that China needs to pay a price to address problems that nearly laid waste to its own economy and thus the ruling Communist Party. Revenge is not a valid strategic motivation, and punitive actions typically backfire – sometimes catastrophically so. Still, this is an election year, so the Trump administration has plenty of reason to keep public anger focused squarely on Beijing’s misdeeds, both real and imagined. And there are enough legitimate strategic and economic concerns about Chinese supply chain dominance to justify the White House’s move to gain leverage over Beijing by exploiting its need for foreign investment and technology – and to push forward potentially costly and/or politically difficult measures it already wanted to introduce.

Nothing Free

The problem for the U.S., though, is the same one it’s faced for the past three years: It’s really difficult to disentangle its economy from the Chinese without doing more harm than good, and the bulk of U.S. firms in China just don’t want to leave.

To be sure, for companies that were already wary of issues like rising labor and land costs, risks of intellectual property theft, and government coercion, the fact that Beijing’s micromanagerial and censorial tendencies contributed directly to a disruption in their operations might just be the straw that broke the camel’s back. But for most, when they crunch the numbers, it becomes clear that “the next China” will still be China for years to come. According to an AmCham China survey of U.S. firms in China about the effects of the COVID-19 crisis conducted in March – before China’s success in containing the virus and getting factories up and running was apparent – just four percent said they are actively considering moving some or all of their operations abroad. (Some 55 percent said it’s too soon to tell.)


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There are several reasons for their reluctance, but three stand out. First, in manufacturing sectors considered essential or key to national security, there’s nowhere else with China’s combination of skilled labor, well-oiled infrastructure, ability to move entire towns around to meet the land and logistics needs of major firms, the degree of innovation that comes from industrial clustering and tight-knit supplier networks, and invaluable proximity to other high-value ecosystems in East Asia. It’s not uncommon for major U.S. manufacturers to demand not only tax incentives from Chinese provincial governments but land and purpose-built infrastructure as well – and for authorities to deliver with astonishing speed. Firms have been moving bits and pieces of operations to South and Southeast Asia, plus assembly hubs in Latin America and Eastern Europe that provide easy access to dominant consumer markets. But even the most attractive of these locations – Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, India, Ethiopia – lack the skilled labor pools and/or infrastructure and regulatory environment to compete with China at scale. And each are grappling with chronic problems – natural disasters, organized crime, terrorism, labor unrest, meddlesome governments – sometimes at levels worse than in China. None are immune to epidemics.

Second, China’s consumer base is simply irresistible. Companies will put up with plenty of market barriers and government coercion just to tap into it. It’s an overlooked fact that, in combination with Hong Kong, Chinese imports now nearly match those of the U.S. The number of automobiles GM sold in China fell 15 percent last year and still surpassed U.S. sales by more than 200,000. U.S. firms like Qualcomm at the center of the U.S.-China tech war rely heavily on the revenues they gain from China to fund R&D and thus, somewhat paradoxically, maintain their innovation edge over their Chinese competitors. The best way to ensure access to this market is to put up with the headaches of manufacturing in China. This is why most companies actively moving some operations abroad are doing so only partially – just enough to establish a “China plus one” supply chain model with parallel links that builds redundancy and ensures access to both the U.S. and Chinese markets.

Finally, moving is expensive and time-consuming. This is a problem now more than ever, with companies suddenly starved for cash amid the fallout of the pandemic. All told, relocation is generally a three- to five-year process, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Companies will be loath to take on the costs of moving unless it becomes clear exactly how the current surge in U.S.-China trade tensions will shake out – especially considering the possibility that U.S. tariffs might follow them to other destinations.

There’s not a lot the U.S. can do about these issues – and none of its options are cost-free. It can (and may) raise tariffs again on imports from China, but tariffs are a largely ineffective tool of coercion and a tax borne primarily by U.S. businesses and consumers, which is a bad idea at the height of an economic crash. It can (and will) strengthen restrictions on imports of national security-sensitive goods, but doing so risks crippling U.S. firms and ceding market share to foreign competitors – especially if the definition of security risks is applied too broadly. Both of these, moreover, would almost certainly provoke Chinese retaliation and would thus make things more expensive. Washington can subsidize the costs of relocating outside of China, but to do this for everyone would cost the U.S. trillions of dollars and do nothing to address the potential loss of competitiveness of U.S. firms that follow suit.

The U.S. has every reason to want to pry itself apart from the Chinese economy – in key sectors such as pharmaceuticals and sensitive emerging technologies, it’s inevitable – but there’s no reason to think Washington can do it quickly, cheaply or efficiently. It will struggle to strike an optimal balance that preserves national security without undermining its own ability to innovate and compete in global markets. And it will be impossible to achieve all of its oft-conflicting political, economic, security and strategic goals.

TAGSChinacoronavirusEconomyTradeUnited States
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Phillip Orchard
Phillip Orchard
https://geopoliticalfutures.com/author/porchard/
Phillip Orchard is an analyst at Geopolitical Futures. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Orchard spent nearly six years at Stratfor, working as an editor and writing about East Asian geopolitics. He’s spent more than six years abroad, primarily in Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he’s had formative, immersive experiences with the problems arising from mass political upheaval, civil conflict and human migration. Mr. Orchard holds a master’s degree in Security, Law and Diplomacy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where he focused on energy and national security, Chinese foreign policy, intelligence analysis, and institutional pathologies. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He speaks Spanish and some Thai and Lao.



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Walther Russell Mead: China vs. Australian university system
« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2020, 09:43:43 PM »
The People’s Republic of Queensland
The dubious conduct of an Australian university with Chinese ties shows the CCP’s long reach abroad.

By Walter Russell Mead
May 20, 2020 7:03 pm ET

The University of Queensland is what Australians call a “sandstone university,” something like the American Ivy League in prestige. Queensland consistently appears on lists of the world’s 100 best universities and is widely seen as one of the top three in Australia.

Lately, however, its cozy relationship with China has ignited a firestorm. Questions have been asked in Australia’s Parliament, and stories in the country’s leading newspapers and on its public television network have raked administrators over the coals. A Journal news story offers an overview of the scandal.

Queensland’s purgatory began last July during a peaceful student demonstration in support of Hong Kongers protesting for democracy and in solidarity with persecuted Uighurs in Xinjiang. The demonstrators were set upon by what observers said was a well-organized group of about 300 students and nonstudents, many shouting slogans in Chinese. As some filmed the rally, counterdemonstrators snatched megaphones from the pro-Hong Kong and pro-Uighur protesters and sought to break up the rally. Punches were thrown.

Xu Jie, China’s consul general in Brisbane, commended the counter-demonstrators for their “acts of patriotism,” while blaming the pro-Hong Kong students for “igniting anger and sparking protests from Chinese students.” In a highly unusual step, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne warned all foreign diplomats in Australia to respect the rights of free speech and peaceful protest. Amid all this, the press reported that Mr. Xu had recently been appointed an adjunct professor at the university.

About a week later, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Chinese officials had visited the mother of one of the students at the demonstration—she lives in China—and that she then told her son that his safety could only be guaranteed if he stopped his “anti-China rhetoric” and stayed away from other protests.

The story gets worse. In October one student who led the Hong Kong/Xinjiang demonstration sought a court order against Mr. Xu, alleging that the consul-general’s rhetoric was endangering his life. The student, 20-year-old Drew Pavlou, ran successfully to become the student representative on the university senate to gain greater visibility for his China protests. He carried on a program of activism including stunts like posting a “Covid-19 Biohazard” warning in front of the university’s Confucius Institute—the local branch of a Beijing-funded “soft power” program offering courses in Chinese language and culture. Concerned about the institutes’ tight links with the Chinese government, U.S. legislators banned universities who host Confucius Institutes from receiving federal language-training funds in 2019. Even before then, many U.S. schools severed their links with the program over the same worries.

But keeping Beijing happy is essential to the Queensland business model, and hosting a Confucius Institute is part of the package. Roughly 20% of the university’s students last fall were from China, and international students pay much higher tuition than Australians. Peter Høj, Queensland’s vice chancellor, had received a performance bonus of roughly US$130,000 in part because of his success in strengthening the university’s relations with China in ways that supported student recruitment.

Mr. Høj was committed. He not only allowed a Confucius Institute to be established on campus; he served for several years as an unpaid consultant to the Confucius Institute’s international board. At least one course jointly funded by the institute and Queensland highlighted China’s emerging world leadership in, among other topics, counterterrorism, human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities.

It was apparently intolerable that a student insulted an institution so august. The university compiled a 186-page dossier of Mr. Pavlou’s alleged misdoings, and summoned him to a hearing at which he faces possible expulsion. The charges, according to those who’ve seen the confidential document, either try to make trivial comments by Mr. Pavlou look sinister or attempt to infringe on his right to peaceful protest.

On Wednesday, Mr. Pavlou and his lawyer walked out of the disciplinary hearing, claiming the university was failing to follow its own procedures. The university denied these charges in a statement to the press.

Queensland’s investigative zeal is embarrassingly selective. Administrators don’t seem to have spent much time, if any, investigating the students who disrupted the protest last July. Was there a link between the Confucius Institute or the Chinese Consulate and the organized group that broke up a peaceful protest? How did the Chinese police know to visit a Queensland student’s family? Is there a Chinese effort to monitor and intimidate Chinese students abroad? Do Queensland students critical of Beijing face additional threats? That it somehow seemed more important to comb through Mr. Pavlou’s social-media posts than to devote major resources to questions like these is the measure of how badly the administration has lost its way.

The university has stoutly denied wrongdoing at every point. It asserts that the relationship with the Chinese Consulate and the Confucius Institute is entirely proper, that Mr. Pavlou’s disciplinary case has nothing to do with free speech, and that the information about Mr. Høj’s bonus released in the Australian Senate was partial and misleading. As Queensland chancellor Peter Varghese—a distinguished public servant with impeccable credentials in the Australian security establishment—summarizes the university’s position: “Boycotting China is not a sensible option. What we need is clear-eyed engagement which serves our interests and is faithful to our values.”

Mr. Varghese isn’t wrong about that, and Queensland isn’t wrong to want Chinese students. The value of having them on campus goes well beyond money. They bring different and challenging perspectives that other students need to encounter.

But the lesson for U.S. college presidents and trustees should be clear: The moral and reputational damage of mishandling a relationship with China can be ruinous. Open debate about topics like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet shouldn’t be suppressed simply because a foreign government objects. And if any students are to be expelled for violations of university standards, it shouldn’t be peaceful protesters, but conscious agents of a foreign police state who abuse their university status to snoop on their peers.

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China moves to control Hong Kong
« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2020, 09:41:02 AM »
https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/05/china-moves-to-control-hong-kong-beijing-geopolitical-hardball-could-reshape-asia/#slide-1

Beijing Moves to Control Hong Kong
By MICHAEL AUSLIN
May 22, 2020 6:36 PM


The PRC's geopolitical hardball could reshape Asia.

Under cover of the global coronavirus crisis, China is moving to rewrite Asia’s geopolitical map. Beijing has announced it will essentially take control of Hong Kong by directly imposing a sweeping national-security law, bypassing the territory’s elected Legislative Council. Despite repeated assurances by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that it would abide by the 1984 agreement with Great Britain to allow Hong Kong to maintain a loose independence under the so-called “one-country, two-systems” framework for 50 years after the 1997 turnover, the past decade has seen a steady erosion of Hong Kong’s freedoms, culminating in the massive million-person-plus demonstrations throughout 2019. Now, those last freedoms face extinction.

The new national-security law will criminalize “foreign interference,” secession activities, and subversion of state power. Moreover, the CCP appears ready to alter Hong Kong’s Basic Law, essentially its constitution. Moreover, China’s security services will be able to operate openly in Hong Kong, further reducing Hong Kong’s sovereignty.

Only 23 years have passed since Great Britain handed over the colony to Beijing, and in that time, Hong Kong’s importance as a financial hub has lessened as Shanghai and other mainland financial centers developed. Yet Hong Kong always remained a symbol of relative freedom within China’s Communist system, and as the CCP has steadily clawed back power inside China since the accession to power of General Secretary Xi Jinping, Hong Kong’s status increasingly became irreconcilable with trends on the mainland. The CCP pushed electoral reforms by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council that ensured the election of pro-Beijing candidates, interfered with the courts and press, and steadily increased the mainland’s influence over society.

When Chief Executive Carrie Lam last year proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed the rendering of Hong Kong citizens to the mainland, the dormant democracy protests flared up, consuming the territory’s political and social life for much of the year. Lam was forced to withdraw the bill, but Beijing bided its time until the protests died down, even as the fundamental questions about Hong Kong’s future remained unanswered. Fearing the return of massive protests against Beijing’s increasing influence on the island once the coronavirus crisis has passed, the CCP has decided in essence to abrogate the remainder of Hong Kong’s freedoms with the imposition of the national-security bill.

The proposed national-security bill not only reveals that the CCP cannot be trusted to honor its international agreements. The bigger story is Mr. Xi’s willingness to aggressively move against any potential separatist movements, regardless of international law or morality. Beijing’s move to take over Hong Kong cannot be separated from its stamping out of Chinese civil society, as well as its brutal crackdowns in Xinjiang and Tibet.

Even more ominous is the specter that this throws on Taiwan. The democratic island nation just inaugurated President Tsai Ing-wen for a second term, and Tsai’s steadfast rejection of Beijing’s attempts to force Taiwan into a similar one country-two systems model has made her a target of CCP invective and intimidation.


It is clear that a successful move by Beijing on Hong Kong would cast a long shadow on Taiwan. China cannot simply intervene in Taiwan, a nation of 23 million people separated from the mainland by a body of water. Beijing does not have PLA units based in Taiwan, the way it does in Hong Kong. However, as the CCP shows its willingness to bear international condemnation for subordinating Hong Kong, and its willingness to do so during a global crisis, the message to Taiwan is clear. The old restrictions that Beijing put on its behavior towards Taiwan may no longer hold. How that ultimately plays out is unknown, not least in China itself, but by reordering the geopolitical landscape in Asia through essentially absorbing Hong Kong, Beijing opens up greater possibilities for action.

The CCP’s move on Hong Kong, and its increased threat to Taiwan, will be bolstered by a weak international response. Fear of provoking Beijing’s wrath, on display from its “wolf warrior diplomats” and recent intimidation of the European Union and Australia, will lead some to consider this a merely internal Chinese affair. That is precisely the outcome Beijing wants, leaving Hong Kong and Taiwan isolated, and giving China a free hand to shape its near abroad to its liking, regardless of the wishes of the over 30 million Taiwanese and Hong Kongers.

The United States must lead the moral and political opposition to this naked power grab by Beijing. Perhaps fortuitously, the White House has just released a “Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China,” warning that Beijing “challenges the bedrock American belief in the unalienable right of every person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Taking over Hong Kong in direct defiance of the desires of Hong Kong’s citizens proves the validity of this assertion.

While Washington’s direct options are limited, China should be forced to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning its abrogation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law. Travel bans on high-ranking CCP officials and military officers should also be considered, especially if violence is used against any new demonstrations, as should further sanctions on technology transfer to China. Finally, once the law is passed by Beijing, Washington should offer immediate asylum to Hong Kong’s democratic leaders, as well as to prominent academics, business leaders, artists, and the like, who will be most at risk.

7
Restricting engagement with China and offering America as a haven for Hong Kongers are small steps, but ones that will send a message of hope to those who are resisting Beijing’s attempts to redraw Asia’s map.



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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #37 on: May 31, 2020, 06:12:16 AM »
http://www.indiandefensenews.in/2020/05/swapping-of-military-islands-between.html

SWAPPING OF MILITARY ISLANDS BETWEEN INDIA AND AUSTRALIA TO COUNTER CHINA’S AGGRESSION
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020 BY INDIAN DEFENCE NEWS


by Saket Singh

Full Content Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison could sign a much-awaited maritime defence pact between the two nations in an upcoming virtual summit scheduled on June 4, 2020. Once signed it will allow the militaries of India and Australia to access each other military islands i.e. India’s Andaman & Nicobar island and Australia’s Cocos island. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSP) pact was expected to be signed during the Australian Prime Minister visit to India, but the visit was called off due to bush fires in Australia. India has signed a similar pact with countries like the US, Singapore, France, and South Korea which allow each other to use their bases for logistics support.

Both countries are witnessing China’s aggression whether it may be the South China Sea (SCS) or the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Two months back about 12 Chinese underwater drones were caught in the IOR. Interestingly, Australia was the first country that wished to have a probe on the COVID-19 pandemic. This turned the Chinese upside down and the its state-run media mouthpiece of CCP started demanding economic sanctions on Australia. India’s Andaman & Nicobar island is strategically an important asset and its close to the straits of Malacca while Australia’s Cocos island is close to the Indonesian straits of Sunda, Lombak, and Ombai-Wetar. The straits of Malacca is very narrow and is the single entry and exit point for India to access the Pacific region and vice-versa for Australia to access the IOR. The presence of China is increasing in the SCS and if they try to block the Malacca straits there will be an option left for India and Australia to counter that. Cocos (Kelling) island is an Australian external territory in the IOR, comprising of the small archipelago midway between two island nations: Australia and Sri Lanka and closer to the Indonesian straits.

Impact of This Pact

Experts believe once the agreement signed it will provide India an eye to monitor between the Andaman & Nicobar island in the north to the Cocos island in the south. The agreement will also vast our search domain in sea communication. The choke-points Sunda and Lombak which lies in the Indonesian straits are the viable Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) which remain outside the Indian domain. But mutual use of Cocos island will allow the Indian side to have access to this important SLOC. Similarly, the Australian side will have access to use the straits of Malacca to monitor the Chinese presence in SCS. The Chinese military is building the infrastructure in the SCS which likely to create unbalance in the region and it can also hinder sea security. Straits of Malacca, Sunda, and Lombak is an important route for transportation of crude oil and petroleum products. From the point of strategically and economically, both India and Australia don’t want China to have upper-hand in these regions

Way Forward

Both countries are part of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) or QUAD a group formed to counter China aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. The Australian acknowledges the importance of IOR and expresses that it has a vital interest in the security of the sea lanes.

Andaman & Nicobar island and Cocos island are used for surveillance purposes by the militaries of India and Australia. The joint effort would help New Delhi and Canberra to explore their domain in monitoring and tracking hostile submarines, ships, and drones. The agreement will further enable smooth functioning and help to strengthen each other militaries in the region.

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #38 on: May 31, 2020, 09:12:48 AM »
Very interesting development!!!

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« Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 05:28:37 AM by DougMacG »

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« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 10:42:48 PM by DougMacG »

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Re: China vs. the World; Wuhan spike was in October, not December-January
« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2020, 05:41:10 AM »
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/08/satellite-images-packed-wuhan-hospitals-suggest-coronavirus/
Satellite images of packed Wuhan hospitals suggest coronavirus outbreak began earlier than thought
Harvard Medical School study comparing hospital car parks in 2019 to 2018 finds spike in October
------------------------
China lied, people died, and the world suffered the worst economic lockdown in history.

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GPF: China-Australia
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2020, 05:55:41 AM »
June 10, 2020   View On Website
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    China Threatens Australia Because That’s All It Can Do
Beijing has a lot of leverage over countries that rely on it for trade, but it’s hard to translate that into anything more meaningful.

By: Phillip Orchard

As cases of COVID-19 resurge elsewhere in the world, it’s worth remembering that Australia whipped the coronavirus into submission with relative ease, reducing the number of new daily cases to single digits by mid-April. Yet, the pandemic has left Australia with an acute case of economic and diplomatic whiplash anyway, not because of its public health shortcomings but because of its uneasy codependence with China.

The country’s astonishing 29-year run of economic growth is set to come to an abrupt end, thanks in part to flagging demand from China, whose soaring commodities purchases helped keep Australia out of a recession after 2008. And Beijing, upset with Canberra over (among other seemingly trivial matters) its pro forma support for an international investigation into the origins of the virus and Taiwanese membership in the World Health Organization, is going the extra mile to ensure Australia doesn’t take Chinese buyers for granted. Over the past month, China has halted shipments of Australian beef, imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley, warned of consumer boycotts targeting Australian winemakers and dairy farmers, and urged the more than 200,000 Chinese university students in Australia to consider studying elsewhere.

Beijing, in other words, is becoming less and less subtle about its capacity for coercion. And Australia – at once dependent on the Chinese economy, strategically located on the periphery of what China sees as its natural sphere of influence, tightly allied militarily with the superpower China sees as hellbent on halting its rise, and yet wary of the U.S.’ own turn away from its multilateral international architecture – is a tempting place to make the case that regional powers are better off with Beijing.

But China’s recent actions suggest that it’s under no illusion that Australia’s loyalties can be won, nor that a strategic rivalry can be avoided.

Chinese Leverage

The Australian government has grown increasingly uneasy with its dependence on Chinese money – and thus Beijing’s ability to turn Australian states and business communities against Canberra – for years. Australia, for example, became the first member of the Five Eyes intel-sharing alliance to ban Chinese firms such as Huawei from its 5G buildout, leading to tacit Chinese restrictions of imports of Australian coal and wine. Concerns over large-scale Chinese purchases of Australian land and investment in Australian infrastructure, particularly near sensitive military and intelligence facilities, compelled Canberra to override state governments and block certain foreign investments. In 2018, the Victoria state government defied Canberra by signing onto Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. A series of high-profile corruption and disinformation operations scandals that allegedly exposed widespread Chinese influence over Australian politics, media and academia sparked something of a red scare and prompted the government to restrict foreign political donations. These concerns, in fact, include the entire region, with the government launching a host of initiatives to counter Chinese influence in South Pacific island nations.

Two things are striking about this trend. One is just how much leverage Beijing has over Canberra. The Australian economy is indeed beholden to Chinese buyers and investors. More than 38 percent of Australian exports of goods in 2019 went to the Middle Kingdom. This included some $55 billion of iron ore, natural gas and coal and $8 billion in agriculture products. Chinese investors, meanwhile, sunk more than $44 billion into a range of sectors from mining to agriculture to infrastructure. (Inbound Chinese investment was estimated to have dropped by more than half last year as bilateral tensions rose.) There were nearly twice as many tourists from China than any other country (except New Zealand) in 2018; they spent more than $8 billion.

Nearly one in 10 university students in Australia is now Chinese, generating another $8 billion in tuition and fees each year. Australia’s highly decentralized power structure – in which states and independent senators wield immense power over legislation, leading to legislative gridlock, strategic paralysis and strikingly frequent changes in leadership – opens up countless avenues of influence to foreign powers.
 
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Second is how quick China has been to threaten Australia, putting Beijing at risk of exhausting its leverage and triggering political blowback for marginal gains at most. Australia has relatively few ways it can truly threaten China. The main one – its longtime military alliance with the U.S. and budding partnerships with regional powers like Japan and India – only matters if China makes a push to dominate the South Pacific, which China is still decades away from attempting. Indeed, while Australia would play an instrumental role in “the Quad,” Canberra has been reluctant to do anything that deepens Beijing’s perception that the coalition is intended to blunt China’s rise. This reflects both its desire to keep bilateral relations focused on mutual commercial gain and its view that the Chinese navy does not pose an imminent threat.

The other issues in Australia that have provoked Chinese retaliation realistically only threaten China’s international reputation.

Its souring image abroad is a real diplomatic problem for China with real economic and strategic costs. But to address them by becoming more overtly coercive would seem counterproductive, particularly in a place already primed to see Chinese money as increasingly threatening to Australian sovereignty.

How to Buy Friends and Alienate People

China’s reactions can therefore be explained, in part, by its internal political sensitivity. To Beijing, calling for an investigation into the origins of the pandemic is the same as calling for a probe into all the ways the ruling party’s rigidly centralized, censorship-obsessed model of governance contributed to the massive loss of life and livelihoods at home. This is still an existential threat to the Communist Party’s hold on power.

It can also be explained by the fact that Beijing realizes that Australia won’t abandon the U.S. – that the only future in which Australia “chooses” China is one in which Australia doesn’t really have a choice. To be sure, throughout its history, Australia has periodically seen times of fierce debate on whether to decrease its reliance on U.S. security guarantees – thereby limiting its exposure to policy swings in Washington – and deepen military integration with emerging Asian powers (first Japan and now China). Still, Canberra has remained perhaps the U.S.’ most steadfast ally – even routinely sending Australian troops to take part in U.S.-led conflicts of marginal Australian interest to ensure that the alliance remains robust. This is partly the result of Australia’s view of itself as a Western power, with deep cultural affinities and historical ties to the U.S. that would make it politically difficult to break away. It’s also because Australia’s economy has always lived and died by free and open sea lanes – that is, Australian strategy has always been tied to the dominant global maritime power of the day. Before the U.S., it was the British. China wants to dominate the Western Pacific, but it has little appetite for the responsibilities that come with the global role, and will not have the capability to do so anytime soon.
 
(click to enlarge)
To pull Australia firmly into its orbit, Beijing would have to overcome a combination of strategic imperatives and political forces tying Australia to the U.S. It’s a tall order. There’s not much China can do about this short of abandoning its strategic ambitions, overhauling its internal authoritarian system, waging a decadeslong effort to shed its newfound reputation of political interference and debt-trap diplomacy, and hoping the U.S. loses interest in the region. Its material and strategic needs are too immense, and its domestic sensitivities too acute, to put much hope in a strategy focused on winning friends through charm and mutual interest. This is a fundamental challenge for China across the Indo-Pacific and beyond. What Beijing evidently can do, though, is make countries think twice before opposing it, whether on matters big or small, international reputation be damned.   




Crafty_Dog

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China cyberattacks Australia
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2020, 12:04:57 PM »
A Major Cyberattack Further Stokes Australia-China Tensions
3 MINS READ
Jun 19, 2020 | 18:29 GMT
Amid a recent uptick in Sino-Australian tensions, China is continuing to raise the price of Australia's confrontational diplomatic stance, including Canberra's sustained support of a U.S.-led international push to investigate Beijing's role in the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country had been targeted by a sustained and wide-ranging cyberattack on government institutions, public services and businesses. Unnamed top officials said the Chinese government is the primary suspect.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre said the June 19 cyberattack was relatively simple and preventable with routine security measures, but that the wide-ranging and sustained nature of the attack suggested a state actor.
Leaks indicate that Australian intelligence offices concluded in March that China's Ministry of State Security was also responsible for a February 2019 cyberattack on Australia's parliament and top political parties ahead of key May elections.
Former Australian officials said that they believed the cyberattacks are part of a broader Chinese cyber campaign that began following Australia's 2018 decision to ban Huawei from its 5G networks.
Australia, however, has shown no signs that it intends to back off from its confrontational stance, despite China's continued economic threats and retaliatory actions in recent months. On June 11, Morrison said his government would not be intimidated by Beijing's "coercion" tactics, signaling his political resolve to maintain Australia's current scrutiny of Beijing's involvement in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Hong Kong's political crisis. 

In late April, Australia and other U.S. allies began pushing for an international investigation against China over the origins and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. On May 29, Australia also signed a joint statement opposing Beijing's controversial move to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong.
On May 10, Beijing imposed heavy tariffs on Australia's barley exports, essentially halting 11 percent of the country's agricultural exports to China. China has also warned of consumer boycotts of Australian wine and beef, and has threatened to halt some imports from key Australian slaughterhouses citing compliance issues. Several Chinese power plants have reportedly stopped importing Australian coal as well.
On June 9, China's Ministry of Education issued an official warning to Chinese students to beware of discrimination in Australia. This followed a similar June 6 warning to Chinese tourists.
On June 16, Chinese courts issued a death penalty sentence for an Australian national arrested for drug smuggling in 2013.
To limit China's economic leverage going forward, Australia will continue to try to diversify its economic links beyond China, although it has limited options. Morrison also recently announced plans to diversify Australia's economic relationship by forging commercial ties with its fellow members of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, which include Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Despite Beijing's continued economic threats and retaliatory actions, Australia shows no sign of backing down from its sustained public scrutiny of China's international affairs.

But Australia's continued scrutiny of China's international affairs will leave its political and economic institutions vulnerable to future cyberattacks. While it seems there was no immediate trigger for this attack, the mounting crises along China's periphery, including that with India and in Hong Kong, could be compelling Beijing to respond in the hopes of forcing U.S. allies to back off on their pressure campaign. And cyberattacks offer a low-cost, low-risk way to achieve that end without causing sparking a larger crisis and leave room for some plausible de

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #46 on: June 21, 2020, 06:48:26 PM »
Good read.

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WSJ: China-Hong Kong
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2020, 06:55:13 AM »
The Meaning of Hong Kong
China snuffs out a beacon of freedom, a warning to the world.
By The Editorial Board
July 1, 2020 7:18 pm ET
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Protesters making gestures of 1 and 5 fingers, symbolising the five demands of the protest movement during the demonstration in Hong Kong, July 1.
PHOTO: WILLIE SIAWILLIE SIAU/ZUMA PRESS
China’s decision to impose its national-security law on Hong Kong is a seismic event that goes well beyond the sad fate of its 7.5 million people. The illegal takeover shows that Beijing’s Communist rulers are willing to violate their international commitments with impunity as they spread their authoritarian model.

We say this with regret because we were among those who hoped, amid China’s reform era that began in the 1980s, that the Middle Kingdom could be drawn into a world of peaceful global norms. Hong Kong, a showcase of the prosperity that economic freedom and the rule of law can produce, was a lesson for Beijing to learn from.

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Now those hopes are crushed, as China’s Communist legislature imposed the national-security law that ends Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” governance and subverts the rights promised under the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984. Beijing promised to preserve Hong Kong’s legal autonomy and freedom of speech, assembly, the press and other liberties. The 7.5 million now subject to this sweeping legislation weren’t even permitted to read the text until it passed.

In a statement Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam claimed that the national-security law “only targets an extremely small minority of offenders while the life and property as well as various legitimate basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of citizens will be protected.”

The Hong Kong people clearly don’t believe her because thousands took to the streets Wednesday to protest, despite the personal risks under the new law. More than 300 were arrested, including several under the new security law.

The legislation also outlaws secessionism, subversion, “terrorist activities” and “collusion” with foreign forces, all defined so broadly that nearly anything but unconditional obedience to Beijing may be deemed illegal. It also forbids “provoking by unlawful means hatred among Hong Kong residents towards the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Region, which is likely to cause serious consequences.” The maximum punishment is life in prison.

The obvious targets include prominent figures like democracy advocates Martin Lee, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, and publisher Jimmy Lai. But Beijing also makes clear that anyone who participates in protests or otherwise speaks out against the Communist Party could face charges. A Hong Konger who advocates for democracy at a U.S. university or meets with Members of Congress runs the risk of arrest upon return.

The law also allows authorities to go after foreigners, including for speech or activities that take place outside Hong Kong. Journalists, human-rights activists and businessmen now visit or work in the city at their peril.

The law doesn’t explicitly say if the accused can be extradited to the mainland. But that is meaningless since the measure effectively brings mainland justice to Hong Kong. Security forces who answer to Beijing will collect intelligence and surveil suspects. Beijing chooses which judges can hear national-security cases and claims exclusive authority to interpret the new law.

All of this is also ominous for Taiwan, whose free people will be even less likely to trust Beijing’s assurances after watching Hong Kong’s fate. Taiwan’s foreign minister condemned the new security law, and some of Hong Kong's people may seek refuge on the island. A Beijing mouthpiece warned about a Taiwanese “black hand” in Hong Kong affairs, and a Chinese military intervention can’t be ruled out.

The British, to their credit, have responded to all of this by offering some three million Hong Kongers the right to reside in the U.K. on a path to citizenship. The U.S. should do the same, and bipartisan bills in Congress are moving to offer refugee status to some Hong Kongers. President Trump should welcome these talented freedom lovers with open arms in what promises to be a long competition between democracy and Chinese Communism.

For now, however, a beacon of freedom has been extinguished, and the world should learn that it can’t trust Beijing’s promises.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: China vs. the World; Chinese political intimidation
« Reply #48 on: July 03, 2020, 04:33:11 AM »
China’s Rise as a Global Power Reaches Its Riskiest Point Yet
Rodger Baker
Rodger Baker
Senior VP of Strategic Analysis, Stratfor
8 MINS READ
Jul 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of China.
A map of China.

(Shutterstock.com/KPG Ivary)
HIGHLIGHTS
China has reached a risky point in its international development where its economic and strategic power is perceived as great enough to require a reply, but are not yet strong enough to withstand a concerted counter-challenge.

By default and design, Beijing can no longer rely on its former admonition to bide time and will act with haste and intensity to close the gap with other global powers.

China will continue to rely on a policy of division, exploiting the rifts in the framework of the liberal Western world order to delay any collective action that may expose its weakness or force a stumble in its stride.

China is an empire in the modern sense — a nation strengthened (but also held hostage) by its long supply chains, compelled to ever greater economic and political intercourse to preserve its interests, and increasingly drawn into the security sphere as well. It uses its economic, political and military leverage to expand its own direct sphere of operations, from the South China Sea to India and across Central Asia into Europe. The more engaged it is internationally, the more dependent it is on maintaining and strengthening those connections, which are critical for Chinese economic growth and, by extension, domestic management of its massive, diverse and economically unequal population.

Revisiting Japan's Rise

Perhaps the most dangerous time for a rising power is when it is strong enough to feel confident and arouse suspicion from rivals, but not yet powerful enough to ensure its intended new position in the face of resistance. A dual sense of destiny and insecurity can lead to higher levels of risk tolerance, a greater sense of urgency, and at times, self-fulfilling prophecies of international confrontation.

Japan's imperial rise from the late 1800s through World War II is a prime example. An advancing industrial power in an era of empires, Japan was emboldened by its successes in the Sino-Japanese War in the last decade of the 19th century and the Russo-Japanese War in the first decade of the 20th century. Japan's expectation of being accepted as an equal among the leading empires and nations of the time was dashed by post-World War I settlements, and a begrudged and insecure Tokyo that ultimately launched a major military vitalization to press outward and claim leadership within the Asia-Pacific region.

As Japan's power grew and its imperial ambitions were laid bare, it triggered an economic and political response from the United States and other large powers, with Washington ultimately cutting off supplies of vital commodities to the expanding Japanese empire. The U.S. ability to stifle the Japanese economy, and in particular its war efforts in China, was an existential threat to Japanese strategic interests, and Japan was too committed to its imperial program to withdraw and accept constraint. Despite the recognized risk of losing, Japan chose and committed to a military course against the United States, accepting the risk of war over the reality of economic and political strangulation.

A Modern-Day Empire in the Making

China, however, is not Imperial Japan. And today's world is not a world of empires, where conquering neighbors was a common practice of international relations. But China does sit at a moment in history that is loosely analogous to that of a rising Japan. Over the last half-century, China has moved rapidly from a developing nation to a country with increasing technological competence and competitiveness that hosts the world's second-largest economy, as well as one of the world's largest modern militaries. Under the guidance of President Xi Jinping, who took office in 2013, Chinese society has also pulled closer together around a new nationalism that lays claim to the country's 5000-year history and the righteous indignation of its so-called "century of humiliation" at the hands of Western and Japanese imperialism.

The challenge for China, however, is that international fears of "China's rise" are no longer being ignored or subsumed in debates over globalization versus nationalism. The relative power balance with the United States is no longer one Washington can simply hope away. And even the European Union, the vanguard of globalism, is increasingly concerned by China's economic and regulatory reach, and is taking steps to curtail Chinese investments in critical sectors.

China has reached a risky point in its international development where its economic and strategic power is perceived as great enough to require a reply, but are not yet strong enough to withstand a concerted counter-challenge.

Following the end of the Cold War, the United States policy toward China could be summed up in a single word: cajoling. While there were moments of extreme tension, the overall intent was to try to draw China into a North Atlantic-centered world system, based on democratic liberalism and free-market capitalism. Avoiding overt confrontation was a key part of this policy — and something China rapidly learned to exploit. Beijing's steady expansion in the South China Sea, for example, always moved in increments small enough that Washington would weigh the cost of response as too high.

During this time, China adapted to ideas and systems that fit its needs, but Beijing also reinforced its own system centered on state capitalism. The stronger China grew, the more confident it was in its system, and the more China has sought to alter the Western-centric international norms. If China was a major player in the global economy, and its economic development was largely on par with countries in the global south, why should it or other emerging countries still play by the rules set more than half a century ago by a small number of North Atlantic nations with a common heritage and an anti-Soviet agenda? China's economic success, and the apparent political, economic and social chaos in the United States and even Europe, appeared to bolster China's case with much of the world.

The Race to the Top

By boldly asserting its global role, China has moved beyond its former walk softly and bide time approach. Beijing, however, also knows it's not actually ready to support the role of a global leader, and any easing now may expose that weakness. China still needs time to complete its program of national rejuvenation and strengthening. But it is already facing constraints and restrictions on access to markets and technology, and is seeing a rise of military activity within its own near abroad.

The United States, in particular, has recognized that there is no longer a value in cajoling China. The other options are simply accepting that China will play a major role in rewriting the international order, or taking action to constrain the Chinese advance — and Washington has chosen the latter by returning to a coercive strategy.

The United States has stepped up its drive to break its dependence on China for technology supply chains, and is urging companies to leave China.

The U.S. Navy has also maintained a robust operational tempo along the Chinese periphery, and engaged in maritime exercises with several regional countries, including Japan and Australia, and paid a major port visit to Vietnam.

U.S. moves to cut China off from international semiconductor supply chains to limit investment and intellectual flows are clearly attempts to stifle Chinese development, and Beijing sees these as little less threatening than Japan saw U.S. restrictions of scrap steel and tropical resources. But if Beijing does not yet have the confidence or strength to use its military in a way comparable to the other big powers — namely, the United States, Russia and Europe — it still has a useful tool in its kit to counter rising international pressure.

China can, and actively does, work to exploit fissures in the international system, divisions among the North Atlantic nations, stresses in the U.S. alliance and partnership structure, and the perception of inequality between advanced and developing nations in international institutions. Should the West coordinate in their attempts to constrain and shape Chinese development, it would come at a time when China remains vulnerable. Beijing is moving faster to strengthen its position around its periphery, from Xinjiang and Hong Kong to the south and east China Seas and the Tibetan Plateau. It needs to accelerate its domestic technology drive, turbocharge domestic consumption, and lock in economic dependencies and political connections across Eurasia.

China is also cautiously eyeing the U.S. presidential election in November, concerned that a change in U.S. policy could lead to greater trans-Atlantic economic and political coordination, as well as increased trans-Pacific economic and security coordination against China. With the U.S. election only months away, China has a small window to simultaneously accelerate its own national security position and increase its efforts to exploit differing priorities before a potential change in U.S. leadership heals the current perception of a go-it-alone United States.

Over the next year, we thus can expect Beijing to be more aggressive in its near abroad when it comes to territory and military movement, and more conciliatory and cooperative in Europe, Africa and Asia when it comes to economics, investment and calls for globalization. These seemingly contradictory paths are, in fact, complementary — one secures the buffer space around China, the other keeps the world divided about how to manage China's emergence.

It is a difficult balance to maintain, and the pressure on Beijing, from domestic economic and demographic challenges to external military activity and economic levers, make this a risky moment in China's assertion of its global status. But while we are no longer in the era of traditional empires, and active warfare against one another is the anomaly rather than the norm for the largest powers, history shows us that such transitions are filled with uncertainty, urgency and higher risk tolerance — and Beijing's moment will prove no different.