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China the monster.
nipper
post Posted: Oct 6 2018, 03:21 PM
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In Reply To: nipper's post @ Oct 6 2018, 12:18 PM

China’s Crisis of Success; End of an Era; Imperial Twilight; Unfabling the East
by Paul Monk
QUOTE
China’s importance to the global economy has never been greater, its ambitions in world affairs never more overweening, but its internal affairs are under such severe strain that all this is now in jeopardy. These four new books are a significant resource for those seeking a ­judicious assessment of the situation.

In Unfabling the East, Jurgen Osterhammel re-evaluates Enlightenment efforts to understand Asia before the Manchu Empire was humbled by the Royal Navy in the Opium Wars. In Imperial Twilight, Stephen Platt ­provides an illuminating history of the origins and course of this conflict. He is especially good on the debates within the British and Chinese camps in the years before the hostilities.

In End of an Era, Carl Minzner, an American scholar of Chinese law, offers acute insights into the stagnation of reform in China and its implications. He throws light on the challenges the Communist Party has brought on itself by failing to foster institutional reforms that would have made possible the mutation of its rule into a more open and flexible constitutional order.

William Overholt’s career has been in banking, risk analysis and high-level geopolitical consultancy. But under the auspices of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, he has written an incisive book on China’s looming ‘‘crisis of success’’, which throws into high relief the sources of this crisis and how ­serious it could soon become. If you read only one of these books, make it China’s Crisis of ­Success, especially if you are working in the ­policy arena or doing serious business in China.

The West’s engagement with much of the Asian world has been bedevilled for half a ­century by intellectual mindsets, often pioneered in Paris, that would have us believe our modern discourse about Asia is inherently ­‘‘Orientalist’’, ‘‘neocolonial’’ and autistic. ­Osterhammel’s patient and deeply informed work is a much needed corrective to this. As an inquiry into Enlightenment intellectual debates, it belongs with such excellent recent scholarship as JGA Pocock’s six-volume work on Edward Gibbon, Barbarism and Religion, and Pierre Briant’s The First European: A History of Alexander in the Age of Empire. It shows how ­serious scholars inquire, think and learn.

Platt’s previous book, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom (2013), on the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64), explored the apocalyptic revolt against the Manchus, which killed an estimated 20 million people. He now covers the antecedents to that upheaval, examining how China was decaying administratively and economically from the 1790s.

Given the relentless emphasis by the Communist Party on China’s ‘‘century of humiliation’’, from the First Opium War and to the party’s seizure of power in 1949, this is a subject of considerable historical importance.

Serious examination of what happened at that time is badly needed, and in Imperial ­Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age Platt delivers a scrupulous ­account, one that contains important lessons for us now. He begins with the White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1804), its social and religious roots and its aftermath, which preceded the breakdown in relations between China and Britain. He then looks at the outbreak of war in 1839 and the long-term impact of the British victory.

His analysis is nuanced, subtle, intelligent and anything but Orientalist or neocolonial. He is especially good in showing the complex internal debates in London, Canton and Beijing in the lead-up to the crisis. We need just this kind of analysis right now in dealing with China.

Like many external observers and Chinese reformers, Minzner has long held to the hope that the party would find a way to open up civil society and step back from authoritarian rule as the Chinese economy grew.

His concern is that under President Xi ­Jinping it is ­demonstrably moving in the ­opposite direction: “China’s heady accomplishments have been grounded in a set of norms and policies — ­political, economic and ideological — adopted in the last quarter of the 20th century. These are now unravelling.’’

He doesn’t mince his words:

China’s reform era trajectory is being reversed … Beijing’s failure to deepen political reform when it had the chance to do so — during the last two decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the twenty-first — is now leading the entire system to cannibalise itself and its own prior efforts at political institutionalisation.

There are ‘‘dangerous shifts … beginning to take place within China’’, he argues. It appears increasingly probable that we ‘‘will see a hard landing of its political system … Many are in ­denial. They cling to a linear, short-term, ­ahistorical view of China’’. We now need to think in terms of ‘‘various hypothetical scenarios’’, none of them reassuring.

In the 1980s, Chinese reformers around Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang tentatively began to tackle the thorniest of all issues: party control. They attempted to disentangle party and government power. Both were brushed aside by party conservatives when their leadership ­inspired students to demand substantial political change, between 1986 and 1989.

The 2003 Open Constitution Initiative and 2008 Charter 08 petition movements were also brushed aside. The jig was up. Zhao died in 2005, just as economic ­reform was stagnating. This is an excellent ­context for pondering his secret journal, Prisoner of the State, published by Simon & Schuster in 2009, the year liberal reformer Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison for co-­authoring Charter 08.

The political and economic foundations of China’s late-20th-century economic achievements remain poorly understood by too many in the West, but pivotal to them was the judgment at the upper levels of the party that Mao Zedong’s dictatorial style of rule had retarded China and had to be abandoned.

Both Minzner and Overholt argue that it was the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) that convinced party elites of this reality.

In fact, as Dali Yang showed in 1996, it was the catastrophe of the Great Leap Forward (1959-61) that triggered this shift in perception, but reform had to wait until Mao died, in 1976.

Twice purged during the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping took the helm in 1978 and began a cautious, pragmatic reform program.

Minzner and Overholt concur Xi is now pulling away even from Deng’s reforms, with disturbing implications. They are correct.

Overholt’s assessment is noteworthy, ­because he has long had a strongly pragmatic, iconoclastic and empirical cast of mind and brings to the subject a depth of practical experience in merchant banking, risk analysis and geopolitical consulting that is extremely rare in the halls of academe.

I first encountered Overholt a generation ago, reading his 1993 book China: The Next Economic Superpower, when working in the ­Defence Intelligence Organisation on East Asia.

I found it refreshingly free of cant and clutter and arranged to meet him in Hong Kong, where he was then head of Asia research for Bankers Trust.

He had argued throughout the 80s that Deng’s reforms would make China a great power again, whereas Mikhail Gorbachev’s strategy would destroy the Soviet Union.

As he recalls: “ … those arguments were the opposite of Western conventional wisdom. The leading ­review in London said that my bank must have paid me a lot of money to write such nonsense.”

Overholt now believes China has reached crisis point. He first expressed his misgivings in a 2012 essay in The Washington Quarterly, titled “Reassessing China”.

Six years on, he has laid out the case with remarkable clarity and exceptional attention to scruple, nuance and detail.

In Thunder from the Silent Zone: Rethinking China (2005), I wrote that there was too much linear thinking around and that we needed ­divergent scenarios in imagining China’s possible futures.

In 2012, Overholt reached the same conclusion, declaring that the time for confident predictions was past and we needed scenarios.

In 2005, I had spelled out four scenarios: ­mutation, maturation, militarisation and metastasis. He hasn’t laid out scenarios that crisply, but does see enormous uncertainty and the ­potential for widely divergent futures.

China still has an excellent economic reform plan, he believes, drawn up with input from the best international experts. But it faces ‘‘gigantic problems’’ of inequality, corruption, environmental stress, political gridlock and xenophobic nationalism.

His warning is stark: ‘‘If even one of these major social issues heads towards a disastrous outcome, then economic progress and political stability are threatened.”

In short, mutation (political reform and opening) is not happening and metastasis ­ (regime breakdown) is now distinctly possible.

China’s problems, Overholt argues, are solvable only through a vast reform effort.

But a massive conundrum confronts Xi: if the reforms are all done quickly, they will ­encounter simultaneous resistance from every powerful interest group in China. Yet they need to be done quickly, Overholt insists. Without them, China faces a future of very low growth, as witnessed in Japan since the early 1990s.

At its present level of per capita gross domestic product, which is much lower than Japan’s was in 1990, this would be a recipe for social upheaval, he ­believes.

Having prevented the development of alternative civil or political organisations over the past 30 years, the party has nothing to fall back upon if things go pear-shaped.

Minzner and Overholt, coming from different viewpoints, largely concur on this. They ­deserve close reading.
see titles below



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne

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nipper
post Posted: Oct 6 2018, 12:18 PM
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China’s Crisis of Success

By William H. Overholt
Cambridge University Press, 302pp, $33.99

End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian Revival is Undermining Its Rise

By Carl Minzner
Oxford University Press, 272pp, $46.95 (HB)

Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age

By Stephen R. Platt
Atlantic, 560pp, $49.99 (HB),

Unfabling the East: The Enlightenment’s Encounter With Asia

By Jurgen Osterhammel
Princeton University Press, 672pp, $77.99 (HB)



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne
 
mullokintyre
post Posted: Oct 5 2018, 10:18 PM
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In Reply To: early birds's post @ Oct 5 2018, 11:14 AM

Geez EB, are you trying to get me into trouble?
My wife saw me watching that Utube clip about renting a girlfriend and I was lucky to escape alive!
Mick



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early birds
post Posted: Oct 5 2018, 11:14 AM
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In Reply To: mullokintyre's post @ Oct 5 2018, 09:21 AM

tongue.gif , it's "old news" over two weeks or more Mick.

watch this video Mick kinda feel that you might pat more attention to it. lmaosmiley.gif

the video is english

http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2018/10/04/7699342.html



 
mullokintyre
post Posted: Oct 5 2018, 09:21 AM
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China is getting a lot of adverse publicity recently.
Firstly, there was the row with a Chinese family who demanded to stay in the foyer of the hotel they had booked for the following day.
QUOTE
Sweden and China have become embroiled in an unlikely diplomatic row after three Chinese tourists were thrown out of a hostel in Stockholm in an argument over check-in times.

Videos showing what China has described as the “brutal mistreatment” of a man and his elderly parents by Swedish police have been viewed more than 100 million people on social media, sparking a heated debate in the Chinese blogosphere.

The incident began innocently enough on 2 September, when a family identified as the Zengs arrived at the Generator Hostel in Stockholm one night before they had booked to stay.

The Zengs reportedly asked to wait out the night on the sofas in the hostel’s lobby, but were told they couldn’t and were asked to leave. When they objected, hostel staff called the police – at which point videos of the incident show Zeng being carried out by two officers, screaming in English: “This is killing, this is killing.”

Reactions on social media have been divided between those who question the Swedish police’s handling of the situation, and those who criticise the behaviour of the Zeng family. At one point in the videos, filmed by passers-by, all three are lying prone on the pavement calling out for “help” as the police officers stand around looking bemused.

The Chinese government, however, is taking the matter very seriously indeed. Two statements have been issued by the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, the first a safety alert warning would-be visitors to Sweden of incidents involving theft, robbery and poor treatment at the hands of the Swedish police.

The second statement ups the ante, explaining that China is “deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behaviour of the Swedish police”. It claims: “What the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens.”


Early Checkin

Then we had the case of a Chinese reporter slapping the face of a UK Conservative party Aparatchik andshouting down the congress.

QUOTE
Another week, another nationalistic outburst by a Chinese citizen abroad goes viral.


Hu Xijin 胡锡进
@HuXijin_GT
Why can't Chinese reporters have the right to ask questions and express opinion at this conference? Why views from mainland were rejected? For future conference of such, please invite me to participate.😊

Benedict Rogers
@benedictrogers
CCTV Reporter Taken Away by Police after Screaming and Slapping at UK Conference on Hong Kong Autonomy - https://www.whatsonweibo.com/chinese-cctv-r...-kong-autonomy/

This time a state television reporter named Kong Linlin allegedly disrupting a discussion about human rights in Hong Kong, which was being held at the Conservative Party's annual conference in the UK.

Video of the scuffle shows the reporter slapping an organiser and then refusing to leave, declaring she has "the right to protest" in a "democratic UK".

She was removed and briefly arrested but it didn't end there.

As usual when these increasingly common events occur, China demanded apologies.

Two of them — one to Kong Linlin's employer CCTV, and another to the Chinese embassy, which said: "In a country that boasts freedom of speech, it is puzzling that the Chinese journalist should encounter obstruction."

In China, some of the country's 800 million web users questioned Ms Kong's actions, but on the popular and highly censored platform Weibo, there was widespread support, with some congratulating her for confronting, "poisonous Hong Kong separatists".

Hu Xijin, the editor of China's most nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times, used Twitter to ask: "Why can't Chinese reporters have the right to ask questions and express opinion at this conference? Why views from mainland were rejected?"


ABC NEWS




Now we have this startling article from Bloombergs.
QUOTE
In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video. Based in Portland, Ore., Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental’s national security contracts weren’t the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fit nicely with Amazon’s government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA.

To help with due diligence, AWS, which was overseeing the prospective acquisition, hired a third-party company to scrutinize Elemental’s security, according to one person familiar with the process. The first pass uncovered troubling issues, prompting AWS to take a closer look at Elemental’s main product: the expensive servers that customers installed in their networks to handle the video compression. These servers were assembled for Elemental by Super Micro Computer Inc., a San Jose-based company (commonly known as Supermicro) that’s also one of the world’s biggest suppliers of server motherboards, the fiberglass-mounted clusters of chips and capacitors that act as the neurons of data centers large and small. In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says.

Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design. Amazon reported the discovery to U.S. authorities, sending a shudder through the intelligence community. Elemental’s servers could be found in Department of Defense data centers, the CIA’s drone operations, and the onboard networks of Navy warships. And Elemental was just one of hundreds of Supermicro customers.

During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines. Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.


The full article is quite long, and makes fascinating reading. Like so much stuff on the internet, its very difficult to verify.
But on face value iys quite startling in its breadth.

Mick



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mullokintyre
post Posted: Sep 27 2018, 05:49 PM
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SOY LATE TO COST MORE

QUOTE
China’s hunger for soybeans is a window into an encroaching environmental crisis

09.25.18
BY JEFF NESBIT

How China’s desperate efforts to source soybeans from all over the world is explained by the country’s fear of running out of water.

China approached Peru and Brazil with an extraordinarily ambitious proposition several years ago. It would build a 3,000-mile railroad from the western coast of Peru to the eastern coast of Brazil to handle commerce and trade from the interior of South America to China.

If successful, the massive infrastructure project would expand Peru’s trade options and give Brazil’s soybean farmers a cheaper, more direct route to China than the increasingly expensive shipping through the Panama Canal.



The much bigger question is why China was willing to go to such extraordinary lengths. Yes, such a railroad through the heart of the Amazon would shorten times for soybean shipping between Brazil and mainland China, and bypassing the Panama Canal to ship across South America and then from a Peruvian port would likely save the Chinese money. But why the pressing need? Are soybeans a genuinely strategic resource, requiring China to secure their continued supply?

The answer, in a word, is yes. Soybeans have become quite important to China. They are the answer–for now–to a looming crisis building for 20 years that now threatens the fabric of the Chinese economy in the near future.



Sixty percent of all soybeans grown worldwide are now exported to China, with 5% to 8% growth per year and no signs of slowing down. Experts predict this insatiable appetite could outstrip the entire global production of soybeans–including in the U.S. and Brazil–within a decade. This partially explains why China is willing to build a railroad through the Amazon. It needs to buy almost every soybean grown in South America.



In northern China, where soybeans were once traditionally grown, water tables are dropping at a rate of up to 10 feet a year. Northern China (and parts of the west) is running out of water. The remaining water in rivers and streams is so polluted that the government has a daunting sanitization task. Add the effects of desertification–drifting sands covering cropland at the rate of 1,400 square miles (that’s like adding a new desert larger than Rhode Island) every year–and it’s nearly impossible to grow soybeans in northern China.


There are some remarkable figures in there, one might need to find some verification of them before putting to much credence on them.
It would suggest that fights over fresh water will be the next big thing.

Mick





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nipper
post Posted: Sep 15 2018, 11:59 AM
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QUOTE
Last week, Chinese state media Xinhua published an editorial slamming the portrayal of men in Chinese media, claiming the popularity of the "sickly aesthetics" in effeminate celebrities was having an adverse impact on teenagers.

Xinhua said that "sissy pants" or "little fresh meats" — who they describe as effeminate young men who use makeup, are slender and wear androgynous clothing — were hurting China's national image.

"In an open and diverse society, aesthetics can be varied, and people can enjoy what they do," Xinhua's editorial said. "However, everything should have a limit … in this case, it's no longer a matter of aesthetics, but it is an enthusiasm for ugliness and vulgarity.......
https://amp-abc-net-au.cdn.ampproject.org/v...ence%2F10221984

- send in the PLA



--------------------
"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne

Said 'Thanks' for this post: early birds  
 
early birds
post Posted: Sep 5 2018, 09:51 PM
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In Reply To: mullokintyre's post @ Sep 5 2018, 08:59 PM

http://www.wenxuecity.com/news/2018/09/04/7599453.html

hope you guys can understand Chinese or get a google translator or something.... it is all over Chinese media atm... lmaosmiley.gif

so freaking funny!! lmaosmiley.gif



 
nipper
post Posted: Sep 5 2018, 09:12 PM
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In Reply To: mullokintyre's post @ Sep 5 2018, 08:59 PM

QUOTE
China could knock a few of these blokes off..
..and it seems that people are detained at the Communist Party's convenience (and their own inconvenience) quite frequently.



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time." - Dr John Hussman

"If I had even the slightest grasp upon my own faculties, I would not make essays, I would make decisions." ― Michel de Montaigne
 
mullokintyre
post Posted: Sep 5 2018, 08:59 PM
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In Reply To: mullokintyre's post @ Sep 5 2018, 10:24 AM

While I was searching the internet for stories on the Pacific Island nations criticising China for its CO2 emissions, I found the following:

QUOTE
Richard Liu (Liu Qiangdong 刘强东) is the CEO of JD, the mammoth ecommerce firm that competes with Alibaba. He was arrested on August 31 in Minnesota for alleged sexual misconduct involving a university student.

The news was huge in China, something like if Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos were to be arrested on similar charges.
Liu was released the following day. JD denied any wrongdoing on Liu’s part and said he was falsely accused. However, media reports say the Minnesota authorities are still calling it “an active investigation.”
Liu has returned to Beijing and resumed leadership of the company.
“In July, a judge in Australia rejected his request to prevent the release of his name in connection with a case in which a sexual assault was said to have taken place after a 2015 party at his Sydney penthouse,” reports the New York Times in its report on the Minnesota incident (porous paywall).
For more on the incident, see Richard Liu: 4 things to know about the talk of China on Inkstone, and Richard Liu’s Minnesota mug shots go viral on Weibo on What’s on Weibo.

One piece I recommend reading about Liu: JD CEO’s arrest steps on governance landmine by Robyn Mak on Reuters Breakingviews. Mak notes that China’s growing #MeToo movement could inspire a consumer backlash against JD, but his main argument is one that applies to all Chinese internet companies that have listed on international stock exchanges:

It “is not entirely clear how JD might operate if Liu is detained or incapacitated for a long stretch,” which is important because Liu “controls 80 percent of the vote thanks to a feudal shareholder system that was cemented in the 2014 initial public offering.” Liu is also the chairman as well as CEO, which means there is “no obvious second-in-command or successor.”
The problem is even worse because of VIEs — variable interest entities. Simply put, foreigners are not allowed to own Chinese tech and media companies. So when Baidu, Sina, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD went public, they placed the local operations legally under a PRC company or a PRC citizen’s complete control. The local entity or VIE then signs agreements with the internationally listed entity, which in theory means shareholders are in control.
But because the local entities are controlled by senior executives — in JD’s case, Liu and two other executives are in charge of the VIE — if Liu disappears, there is no procedure for succession. There would be similar problems if something happened to Jack Ma 马云 and Joseph Tsai 蔡崇信 of Alibaba, Pony Ma 马化腾 of Tencent, or Robin Li 李彦宏 of Baidu.


The very last part was the most intriguing., Someone wanting to mess with China could knock a few of these blokes off and it would be an interesting outcome!

Mick



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