Shanghai: An unexpected city where Communist Party of China was born

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Shanghai: An unexpected city where Communist Party of China was born

Shanghai is China’s financial center, a place where companies from around the country and around the globe meet to do business. At first thought, it might seem an unlikely place to witness the official beginnings of the Communist Party of China.

But that’s exactly what happened when, in July 1921, Mao Zedong and 11 other deputies from around China met to hold the first-ever meeting of the Party. Now, nearly 100 years later, the CPC is the biggest political party on the planet based on number of members.

I visited that location, as well as a former Shanghai home of Chairman Mao, to find out a bit more about the political history that ultimately led this city to become what it is today.

Andy checks out the site of the First Meeting and visits one of Mao Zedong’s old Shanghai homes.

Put down your biases

The problem for a lot of foreigners when it comes to anything to do with Communism, the Communist Party of China and Chairman Mao is that we often let our pre-existing biases get in the way. In the West, we’re brought up with certain ideas and belief systems, but it’s valuable trying to put them aside and open our minds to other ideas, beliefs and ways of doing things, at least for an hour or so.

The style of politics and governance in China is different to the West, in many ways, so present and past leaders here are usually held in high regard — this can mean that when their image or words of guidance are revered and placed on a pedestal we can feel a little uneasy.

My best advice is to try to step inside the local context for a bit, even if that’s outside of your comfort zone, so that you can truly enjoy the information, history and culture that’s ready to be absorbed.

Shanghai: An unexpected city where Communist Party of China was born

Jiang Xiaowei

The site of the first National Congress of the Communist Party of China is next to Xintiandi, one of Shanghai’s top shopping areas.

Site of the First Meeting

Today China has opened up and enjoys trade and development with the rest of the world. Shanghai is China’s financial center. The transaction volume of the city’s financial market totaled 1,645 trillion yuan (US$231.6 trillion) last year. The city is also home to more than 700 multinational corporations. Xintiandi is one of Shanghai’s top shopping areas, a trendy urban area spanning 30,000 square meters.

Seemingly at odds with it, Xintiandi is also next to the site of the first National Congress of the CPC.

The location has now been turned into a museum and is under state protection, and a redesign of the surrounding area has been given the go-ahead.

Once inside the old, Shanghai-style building, you can check out a replica of the table and teacups Mao and 11 other deputies used during the congress, and there are two multimedia performances incorporating wax figures of the deputies.

Shanghai: An unexpected city where Communist Party of China was born

Dong Jun

A former residence of Chairman Mao near Weihai Road in Shanghai features a wax figure of young Mao Zedong.

Mao’s old house

Mao has several former residences here in Shanghai, but the most interesting for me is definitely the old-style, two-story shikumen home near Weihai Road. Mao lived there when he worked in the city in 1924.

Entry is free of charge, and you can check out a small museum, wax figures of Mao and his wife and children, plus some artifacts including Mao’s old stationery and a leather chair he used in 1961.

Also on display are documents, photographs and more about the backstory surrounding Mao and his time right here in Shanghai.

Now the offices of Shanghai Daily and other media tower over Mao’s old residence, and I can see it directly from my 40th floor window.

But modern Shanghai is easily forgotten once you step inside the gate, and the area somehow becomes clear and quiet. It’s quite easy to imagine what life was like for Mao and his family here back in 1924 during that cold February.

Shanghai has so many culturally significant sites to visit, and they are not all just about political history.

I hope to tick many more off my list in the months to come.

Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath

Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath

 

I very much fear that Hong Kong is going to be the next Tienanmen Square except on a much larger scale. The Communist government in Beijing have used the financial muscle generated in Hong Kong to build their country and their military power ever since England turned it back over to them. Now the Chinese government is facing a quandary of sorts. If they do nothing and the protesters continue to stay united against the intrusions of Beijing then the government would have to either back down which would make them look weak or use their military to stop the protesters. Personally I believe that the government will use force to end the peoples blockades of government buildings, stores, and the streets. I can’t help but wonder how many people will be murdered by China’s military in this process. How many protesters will sacrifice their lives in hoping that the West will come to their aid? Personally I do not believe that the U.S. nor the UN will do anything accept talk and issue sanctions which will save no lives in Hong Kong. This is just as I believe that Beijing will totally get away with attacking the legitimate government of China that resides on Taiwan as the world sits back and wrings their hands and whine. Obviously this is just my opinion but this is how I honestly see these events playing out.

 

 

China: Protests pushing Hong Kong into ‘dangerous abyss’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Protests pushing HK into ‘dangerous abyss’

Xinhua

A SPOKESPERSON yesterday urged people in Hong Kong to stop the violence and chaos and bring back order.

It is the immediate task facing all Hong Kong residents, which is very clear given the severe state of affairs in the region today, said Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, at a press conference in Beijing.

Yang called on people in Hong Kong to stand firm and guard their beautiful homeland, stressing that now is the crucial moment.

“Here we sincerely hope the compatriots in Hong Kong to think calmly about the questions: Who will suffer if the situation becomes irremediable, and who will benefit in the end?”

The radical protests in Hong Kong, which have continued for nearly two months, have severely impacted the region’s prosperity and stability and are pushing it into a “dangerous abyss,” Yang said.

The protests over the past two months have gone beyond the freedom of assembly, demonstration or protest and have escalated into extremely violent acts, said Yang.

“With upgraded means, escalating intensity and aggravating destructiveness, these acts are shocking,” he said.

All departments and organs of Hong Kong should never be soft on violent violations of the law, Yang stressed.

Reiterating the central government’s unswerving support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the spokesperson said the opposition’s attempt to force her to resign is doomed to fail.

“We hope that the people of Hong Kong understand the nature of the current situation, and firmly support Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government’s law-based governance, the Hong Kong police in enforcing laws rigorously, and departments of the HKSAR government and the judiciary body in punishing violent criminals in accordance with the law,” Yang said.

He then made it clear to “the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them” that those who play with fire will perish by it, and that whoever participates in violent and criminal activities would be held accountable according to the law.

“All in all, the fate of Hong Kong will be decided by all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots,” Yang said.

A small number of violent radicals are at the front with some kind-hearted citizens misguided and coerced in the middle, but the masterminds behind the scenes are the anti-China forces in and out of Hong Kong which have been trying to mess up Hong Kong, the spokesperson said.

“They have called black white and spared no efforts in playing up fallacies and absurdities such as the so-called ‘civil disobedience’ and even the fallacious view that ‘only violence can solve problems,’” he said.

The protests have seriously affected Hong Kong’s economy and people’s livelihoods, citing that the region’s gross domestic product in the second quarter increased by only 0.6 percent in real terms year on year, and 18 countries and regions have issued travel safety reminders against Hong Kong.

Yang said the protesters have whitewashed and instigated violence, attempting to drag all Hong Kong residents into political wrangling and intensifying social contradictions.

Moscow Police Detain Hundreds At Latest Election-Related Protest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Moscow Police Detain Hundreds At Latest Election-Related Protest

Police officers detain opposition candidate and lawyer Lyubov Sobol in Moscow on Saturday. Sobol was one of more than 600 arrested in Saturday’s protests, according to an independent monitoring agency.

Dmitry Serebryakov/AP

Police detained 600 protesters in Moscow on Saturday, according to OVD-info, an independent group that monitors protests and policing in Russia.

Demonstrators in Moscow have been demanding that opposition candidates be allowed to register in city elections. Police arrested more than 1,000 people at an election-focused protest last week.

Reuters reporters in Moscow on Saturday said they witnessed dozens of arrests; OVD-info reports that police beat multiple demonstrators with clubs.

The Moscow City Duma is controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. All of its 45 seats, which carry five-year terms, are up for re-election on Sept. 8. The disagreement between protesters and election authorities hinges on the signature-gathering process for candidates. Election authorities say certain opposition candidates did not gather enough valid signatures on their nominating petitions to be eligible for the race. Opposition candidates and their supporters say signatures have been invalidated for political reasons, to hinder the democratic process and prevent anti-Kremlin candidates from getting on the ballot.

Lyubov Sobol, one of the opposition candidates who election officials say failed to qualify for the ballot, was one of the protesters arrested on Saturday. Sobol has been on hunger strike for 21 days, according to the BBC.

As NPR’s Lucian Kim has reported, the Moscow city elections have national significance; opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin are trying to use local elections to chip away at his political support in advance of Russia’s 2024 presidential election.

“Moscow is the key,” Kim told Morning Edition last month. “It’s Russia’s largest city and is probably also the place where the opposition has a potentially large support base.”

According to Kim, a Putin spokesperson has said that though the Kremlin is following the developments, local elections remain under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Russia’s Investigative Committee plans to open a criminal case against the anti-corruption foundation of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Navalny is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence for his role in last week’s protest, and he recently raised the possibility that he had been poisoned while in custody.

Moscow’s police have been criticized for using violent methods to control protests. According to the BBC, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said protesters last week“simply compelled the police to use force, which was perfectly appropriate for the situation.”

Fontanka.ru, a local news site, reported that 2,000 people rallied in St. Petersburg on Saturday to support protesters in Moscow. Local police said 1,000 were in attendance.

Why won’t the Senate protect American elections?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)
(Moscow Mitch The Trumpian Bitch?) oped: oldpoet56)

Why won’t the Senate protect American elections?

Darrell M. West and Raj Karan Gambhir

Editor’s Note:This post is part of “Cybersecurity and Election Interference,” a Brookings series that explores digital threats to American democracy, cybersecurity risks in elections, and ways to mitigate possible problems.

Cybersecurity & Election InterferenceThe United States is at risk of serious foreign intervention and disinformation in the 2020 elections. When asked during his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee whether Russia could interfere in the 2020 elections, Robert Mueller responded that they are “doing it as we sit here.” The very next day, the Senate Intelligence Committee reported that “the Russians had attempted to intrude in all 50 states” during the 2016 election. A blog post by Brookings Institution Fellow Margaret Taylor furthermore shows that our European allies have experienced similar Russian activities over the last few years in their national elections, the Brexit campaign, and European Union parliamentary races. Even as the scope of Russian intent and ability becomes increasingly clear, Senate Republicans have done nothing to address this problem.

It is not as if there aren’t good ideas to protect American elections. Four major pieces of election security legislation have been introduced over the last two years: the Secure Elections Act (introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)); Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)); Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act (Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)); and Securing America’s Federal Elections Act (introduced by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA19)).

As noted below, the bills demonstrate relative bipartisan agreement over several key remedies. A number of members have proposed providing additional funding for the Election Assistance Commission, sharing election security expertise with the states, providing paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems, sanctioning financial institutions that support foreign interference, authorizing retaliatory actions against any nation interfering in American elections, and requiring intelligence agencies to determine whether any foreign agents interfered in American elections. A version of these ideas already has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on a 225 to 184 vote, but has been repeatedly blocked from a Senate vote by Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY). Calling the bill “highly partisan,” McConnell blocked a unanimous consent vote on the bill just hours after Mueller’s testimony.

This Senate inaction brings to mind Albert Einstein’s infamous definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior but expecting a different outcome. With no beefing up of election defenses and high odds of continuing foreign interference, 2020 will likely see the same problems of 2016: campaigns that sow discontent and play on societal divisions, active efforts to undermine electoral legitimacy, and widespread public doubts following the campaign about the integrity of the election process itself. Americans will wake up on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 wondering how the U.S. electoral process again fell prey to foreign interference and why political leaders failed to defend our vital democratic processes.

Providing additional funding for the Election Assistance Commission

In looking across the proposed bills, there are a number of promising ideas designed to secure U.S. elections. One of them advanced in the Secure Elections Act is the creation of an Election Assistance Commission grant program that provides funding for states and localities to secure electoral processes and upgrade equipment. The idea is that since elections largely are administered at the state and local level, additional funding for those entities would enable them to update their equipment, install the latest cyber-security protections, and make sure that vital infrastructure is protected during the election.

Sharing election security expertise

Several of the proposed bills give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a major role in advising the states, offering them technical expertise, and being proactive in dealing with possible cyber-threats. Since this department works to counter terrorism and maintain vital infrastructure, the department has expertise to evaluate hardware and software for cyber-security risks. Armed with that information, it could provide help to state and local agencies charged with administering the upcoming elections.

Providing paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems with an audit trail

A number of local jurisdictions have moved to electronic voting machines in recent years, although in most cases, this equipment is not connected to the internet in order to minimize opportunities for hacking. However, there still could be software bugs that distort the vote or systematically under-count certain areas. Given that possibility, it is important to have paper ballot backups of electronic voting systems and the possibility of conducting an audit if any irregularities are spotted. That way, voters can feel confident their votes will be counted and there are mechanisms to evaluate the vote in case anything is contested.

Sanctioning financial institutions that support foreign interference

The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act establishes financial sanctions that could be applied against countries, financial institutions, or individuals that “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Putin.” The idea is that Russians could be discouraged from malicious behavior if they think there will be serious consequences.

Authors

In addition, the bill “would give prosecutors additional authorities to pursue federal charges for the hacking of voting systems and create a National Fusion Center to respond to hybrid threats of disinformation and other emerging threats from Russia”. There are provisions that specifically would impose sanctions for “Russian interference in democratic processes.”

Authorize retaliatory actions against any nation interfering in American elections

The Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act would allow the President to impose sanctions against any country identified as a threat. Among the actions that could invite retaliation “include a foreign government or agent purchasing political advertisements to influence an election” or “using social media to spread false information, hacking and releasing or modifying election- or campaign-related information or hindering access to elections infrastructure, such as websites for polling places.”

Requiring intelligence agency leaders to determine whether any foreign agents interfered in American elections

The DETER Act would mandate that the director of national intelligence determine within 30 days of the national election whether “the government of a foreign country, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of that government, knowingly engaged in interference in the election.” Under threat of sanction, foreign agents specifically would not be allowed to “spread significant amounts of false information to Americans. They also cannot hack, leak or modify election and campaign infrastructure, including voter registration databases and campaign emails.”

Why the Senate inaction in the face of a clear foreign danger?

A number of arguments have been made to justify the votes of those who opposed the House bill or are supporting Senate inaction. One is a state’s rights argument suggesting that the federal government should not have a major role in electoral security given the country’s history of state and local control of balloting. While it certainly is important to maintain state and local control of elections, providing federal assistance to upgrade voting machines does not violate existing legal or constitution provisions. There is a long history of the federal government paying for voting equipment and offering technical assistance. Many states lack funding for voting machines and the federal government often has funded upgrades and improvements. There is ample precedent for national authorities to protect vital infrastructure in the face of foreign threats.

Another rationale concerns the financial cost of electoral security. The idea is at a time when America is running a trillion-dollar budget deficit, it should avoid unnecessary expenditures. Rather, lawmakers should focus on vital priorities and critical infrastructure. Yet electoral security should fall within each of those principles. Having secure elections is essential to democracy. There is no excuse for not spending several hundred million dollars (a very small portion of the overall federal budget) on meaningful steps to protect American elections. Democracy is too important to be risked for a relatively small amount of money.

Short of these criticisms, it is hard to see any justified reason not to enact some type of electoral security measures. As is clear to all who study American elections and have heeded the warnings of our European allies, the intelligence community, and the Special Counsel—the Russian threat is real. Given these dire circumstances, it is difficult to fathom why Senate leadership is refusing to allow a vote on such important legislation, and therefore risking the integrity of the democratic process. Americans should demand Senate action to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference.

China Reacts to Trade Tariffs and Hong Kong Protests by Blaming U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

China Reacts to Trade Tariffs and Hong Kong Protests by Blaming U.S.

ImageChinese officials and news outlets have accused the United States of being behind the protests in Hong Kong.
Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

BEIJING — A popular news anchor watched by hundreds of millions of Chinese poured scorn on the United States, using an obscenity to accuse it of sowing chaos. A prominent official blamed Washington directly for the anti-government protests upending Hong Kong.

Pointed hostility toward America, voiced by Chinese officials and state-run news organizations under the control of an all-powerful propaganda department, has escalated in recent weeks in tandem with two of China’s big problems: a slowing economy complicated by trade tensions and turbulence in Hong Kong that has no end in sight.

“It is, after all, the work of the United States,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said this week of the unrest in Hong Kong. Like other Chinese officials, she presented no evidence of American involvement in the demonstrations, which stem from worries over Beijing’s encroaching influence in the semi-autonomous region.

This is hardly the first time China has responded to domestic problems with frontal assaults on outsiders. Thirty years ago, Washington was accused of fomenting the pro-democracy upheavals on Tiananmen Square.

But after decades of working together on economic, technological and even military matters, China and the United States are going through a breakdown in relations that has turned increasingly adversarial.

Now, a dramatic singling out of the United States as a bad actor is setting a new anti-American tone for a domestic audience that is worried about jobs and sees Hong Kong as an island of ungrateful citizens.

This is deliberate on the part of the Chinese government, analysts said.

“Hong Kong is part of the bigger playbook to blame the United States for everything,” said Ho-fung Hung, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University. “The Chinese government knows the Trump administration is not popular in the United States or in China, so it’s an easy scapegoat.”

[Meet the Trump-taunting editor at China’s “Fox News” who is a key voice in the trade war.]

After trade talks with the United States broke down in May, China was relatively polite toward Washington as the two sides considered their next steps. When Hong Kong protesters began marching regularly in June, drawing crowds that organizers estimated at up to two million, the Chinese state news media made scant mention of it.

ImageHua Chunying, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, called the unrest in Hong Kong “the work of the United State.”
Credit European Press photo Agency

But now the gloves are off, with American and Chinese negotiators making little progress at talks in Shanghai this week. Just on Thursday, President Trump escalated the trade war, saying he would impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Beijing also does not appear to see an end to its differences with Washington over the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which was blacklisted by the Trump administration as a security threat.

As the economic strains intensify, state news outlets are now depicting the demonstrations in Hong Kong as the work of Americans and other “foreign forces.”

In fact, Mr. Trump expressed respect for China’s sovereignty on Thursday, calling the protests “riots” when asked by reporters about the unrest. “Hong Kong is a part of China, they’ll have to deal with that themselves,” he said. “They don’t need advice.”

One of the most remarkable anti-American eruptions came last week when Kang Hui, one of China’s most recognized television news anchors, attacked the United States on-air as a hegemony that bullied and threatened others.

“They stir up more troubles and crave the whole world to be in chaos, acting like a shit-stirring stick,” Mr. Kang said on the usually stolid 7 p.m. national news program on CCTV, China’s state broadcaster. The expletive quickly became one of the most-searched-for phrases on Chinese social media.

In a follow-up video on a CCTV social media account, Mr. Kang boasted about how he had taunted the United States.

“If a handful of Americans always stir up troubles, then we are sorry,” he intoned. “No more do we talk about certain issues. We will also target you. We will bash you till your faces are covered with mud. We will bash you till you are left speechless.”

Image

A Huawei advertisement in Shanghai. The tech giant is at the center of one of China’s disputes with the United States.
Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

China began dialing up the anti-American comments after a meeting in Washington last month between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jimmy Lai, the publisher of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong. A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused senior United States officials of having “ulterior motives.”

At the same time, prominent Chinese figures have become more public in their criticism of the Hong Kong protests, and more outlandish in their claims.

One professor accused the United States of encouraging pregnant women to appear at hot spots during demonstrations, as a tactic to confuse the police.

“They are obviously actors, not Hong Kong citizens,” said Wang Yiwei, a professor in the School of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.

In recent days, the barbed language has turned to the United States economy as well.

Ms. Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said at a briefing on Wednesday that the Chinese economy was in a far stronger position because it grew 6.2 percent in the second quarter, compared with 2.1 percent growth for the United States.

“Which one is better, 6.2 percent or 2.1 percent? I believe you all have a clear judgment,” she told a room full of Chinese and foreign reporters.

While the United States figure is far short of Mr. Trump’s 3 percent target, economic growth in China — which reported double-digit growth as recently as 2010 — is at a 27-year low.

CCTV is now regularly showing video of clashes between protesters and the police that suggest Hong Kong is in the throes of permanent rebellion. Chinese-backed news outlets in Hong Kong have published photographs of foreigners taken at or near the protests, including journalists, and accused them of being American government agents.

Image

Wang Huning, center, a propaganda specialist with a dim view of the United States, is on China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the highest tier of power.
Credit Wang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Such outbursts almost certainly have the blessing of China’s top leadership, analysts said.

One of President Xi Jinping’s closest confidants, Wang Huning, is a propaganda specialist who harbors a dim view of the United States and multiparty democracy in general.

Mr. Wang, the author of a book called “America Against America” about his visits to the United States in the 1980s, is one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest level of political power in China. His views are likely to permeate the propaganda apparatus as it formulates the anti-American campaign.

“Blaming the U.S. for the trouble in Hong Kong signals a deliberate policy decision rather than an instinctive reaction,” said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California. “It is highly unlikely that the use of such shrill rhetoric has not received endorsement from the top leadership.”

Beyond the specific issues of Hong Kong and trade, Mr. Pei said, the Chinese government is trying to construct a “mega-narrative” that portrays the United States as the “principal antagonist intent on not only thwarting China’s rise with the trade war but also fomenting trouble within Chinese borders.”

Media experts said that while the government rhetoric was probably effective in influencing the attitudes of Chinese people toward the United States, its precise impact was impossible to measure.

Since Hong Kong’s last sustained protest movement in 2014, the experts said, Beijing has become more sophisticated at controlling information from outside sources.

“Domestic platforms are heavily censored,” said Luwei Rose Luqiu, an assistant professor in the journalism department at Hong Kong Baptist University. “Only posts and comments in line with official ideology and rhetoric are allowed to exist.”

The propaganda machine has a powerful insulating effect on Chinese readers and viewers, said Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor in the school of journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“Even when some Chinese people come across messaging that is contrary to the propaganda, they are inoculated enough to ‘resist’ these messages,” Mr. Tsui said.

Amber Wang contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 9 of the New York edition with the headline: As Crisis Worsens in Hong Kong, Beijing’s Leaders Say U.S. Is to Blame. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

China, Trump And Tariffs: My Idea On How To Best Do The Tariffs

 

First, the government of China is no one’s friend just as Putin’s government in Russia nor is the fat little Rocket Man in North Korea. I know that statement will bring a rebuke from Mr. Trump who thinks these guys love him, but then again, he is possibly the world’s biggest idiot. I did not say that the people of these countries are ass-hats like their Leaders and Ours are. I have nothing against the people of these Countries, just their Leaders, and our Leaders.

 

Now, about those tariff’s, this is what I wish our government’s policies were toward China. Personally I believe that the whole world should stop buying anything that has to do with China as long as they have a Communists government in place who seems to think that everything on earth should be theirs to control, including all the land, oceans and air space. When anyone buys anything that is made in China you are feeding their military buildup that they will use to subjugate their own people and the people of the Nations around them.

 

But for a more doable emmediate tariff policy I believe the following approach should be adopted. Instead of having a trade war with China via tariff’s I believe that our government should only put tariffs on products that are coming into the U.S. from companies who have outsourced jobs that used to be here in our Country.  Including to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico or any other Nation. For the purpose of an example let us use General Motors. If General Motors wants into the Chinese market for the purpose of making vehicles for the Chinese market I have no problem with that at all. But, if they take jobs away from our people and then want to sell in our market I believe that our government needs to put a 100% tariffs on all of those imports. Make it very un-profitable for the company to take away American jobs if they want to sell to our market. This program would keep American companies from closing factories here and it would force the companies who have closed shops here to reinvest in our Nation, not an enemy Nation like China.

 

As I said earlier, the people of China are not our enemy, but their government damn sure is. And, in my opinion, companies who have outsourced American jobs for the sole purpose of higher profits should be treated as enemies of the American people. If you have noticed, when a company closes shop here in the States and moves to a “cheaper” place to make their products they never ever lower the prices they sell their products for. If a company made a product here in the States and sold it for $20 then they close shop here and move to China they still sell the product for $20, the name of the game is all and only about profits, to hell with the people, they only want your money. We need to quit giving it to them. Force them to move back here, if they refuse then tariff the hell out of them and also sell all of their stock, don’t allow it to be sold on the U.S Stock Exchange, bankrupt their asses. If our Leaders really want to put America, then prove it!

On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)

 

ORDER FROM CHAOS

On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice

Ryan Hass and Susan A. Thornton

Editor’s Note:This piece is part of the ongoing collaboration between the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings and the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. Learn more here.

Many different people are looking at the ongoing turbulence in Hong Kong from different perspectives. This includes politicians in other countries and those with all manner of agendas in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, East Asia, and further afield. Most businesspeople wish for a return to stability and a restoration of the status quo ante. Many other observers are rooting for the voices of the people of Hong Kong to be heard in an overbearing political environment. Some are clamoring for a fight and want to see Beijing’s nose bloodied.

Authors

Susan A. Thornton

Senior Fellow – Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School

Former Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs – U.S. Department of State

There is no doubt about Beijing’s agenda. In the near term, it wants the protests halted and the protesters quashed. While Beijing would prefer Hong Kong authorities to do what’s necessary to restore order, they also have removed any pretense of subtlety about their willingness to take matters into their own hands, should they deem it necessary. Over the medium term, Beijing would like to tighten control over Hong Kong and prevent it from becoming enveloped in instability again.

Hong Kong authorities likewise seek to restore calm and the protect the city’s reputation as an orderly, business-friendly, and open environment. This will be difficult. The protests have shed light on deep public dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Millions of people have gone to the streets to resist the erosion of civil and political rights that the Hong Kong people were promised. They have expressed anger that hopes of upward mobility are being taken away, as the trappings of the city’s prosperity increasingly are being concentrated in the hands of the politically connected. These resentments have sown the seeds of public protest, and even led some to advocate provoking or resorting to violence as a way to reach amorphous goals.

Many people in the United States and elsewhere want to use events in Hong Kong to punish or undermine Beijing. This is a dominant and understandable impulse in the West. After all, irrespective of whether the idea to ram through an extradition law was initiated by authorities in Hong Kong or Beijing, the effort was designed to support Beijing’s desire to gain greater control over events in Hong Kong.

Even as anger is warranted, sobriety is needed. Policymakers must think carefully about how the United States should respond to unfolding events. The measure of success is not projection of strength, but rather protection of American interests.

The United States has direct interests in Hong Kong. Over 85,000 American citizens live there, and nearly 1,400 American businesses operate there. The U.S. trade surplus in Hong Kong in 2017 was $32.6 billion. In other words, U.S. economic interests in Hong Kong are significant.

Given these direct interests, the U.S. has a strong incentive to support efforts to preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its model of a vibrant, open, rule-of-law society that is a part of China. The use of violence by any side in the ongoing confrontation undermines American interests. It would run counter to American interests for Beijing to weaken Hong Kong, including by narrowing its autonomy, e.g., by eroding legal, judicial, media, assembly, or speech freedoms. By the same token, the peaceful exercise of political freedoms by protesters provides a stronger likelihood of long-term stability than actions that precipitate the imposition of tighter political controls.

The United States also has an interest in defending American values and its example. The world is watching to see whether the U.S. stands up for the right to free speech and peaceful political protest, rights that are enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law. No matter what Washington does or does not do, Beijing will complain about American “interference” in Hong Kong’s internal affairs. There is no reward to be gained for silence on Hong Kong. But there will be significant and lasting costs if the United States abandons support for peaceful demonstrators.

There will be significant and lasting costs if the United States abandons support for peaceful demonstrators.

The U.S. response must be guided by these interests, including by:

  • Calling for calm and condemning violence. As obvious as this seems, it is not happening now. The United States government must not grow mute on its position on violent protests, violent crackdowns on protesters, or vandalism and destruction of property.
  • Defending the right to peaceful protest, while at the same time insisting that a broadly supported peaceful resolution of differences is the only acceptable endgame.
  • Urging Hong Kong authorities and protest leaders to work toward solutions. When every grievance gets expressed through mass protests, the city increasingly will become a powder keg, at which point any event could become a fuse that sets off confrontation.
  • Expressing support for stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, including by emphasizing that stability and prosperity are underpinned by an open society, maximum autonomy, transparent and fair administration of the law, and the expansion of political participation.
  • Openly and directly rejecting the canard that the United States is instigating or directing the protests.
  • Proactively and privately emphasizing to Beijing through diplomatic channels that any actions by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to leave garrison to suppress peaceful protests would cause grievous damage to U.S.-China relations. Washington also should encourage other similarly concerned countries to reinforce this message with Beijing as well.

American interests will neither be protected by complacent disregard of events in Hong Kong nor by overzealous efforts to strip away recognition of Hong Kong’s special status, which would do more to harm the people of Hong Kong than to influence Beijing’s decisionmaking. Silence on Hong Kong or praise for President Xi Jinping’s handling of the protests will not make a U.S.-China trade deal easier to achieve. By the same token, demands or prescriptions of how the ongoing standoff between protesters and authorities should be resolved would be counterproductive. The United States should not narrow Hong Kong’s space to negotiate a way out of the current impasse.

Hong Kong matters greatly to American interests. The United States needs to stand firm on principle and act steadily in defense of its interests. The United States has navigated through similar challenges in Hong Kong in the past. It needs to regain that muscle memory again in the present.

A how-to guide for managing the end of the post-Cold War era. Read all the Order from Chaos content »

Oracle: China’s internet is designed more like an intranet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ZDNET)

 

Oracle: China’s internet is designed more like an intranet

China’s internet could continue to operate as a national intranet in the case of a cyber-attack or foreign intervention.

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The structure of the Chinese internet is unlike any other country, being similar to a gigantic intranet, according to research published by Oracle last week.

The country has very few connection points to the global internet, has zero foreign telcos operating within its borders, and Chinese-to-Chinese internet traffic never leaves the country.

All of these allow China to disconnect itself at will from the global internet and continue to operate, albeit with no connectivity to western services.

“Put plainly, in terms of resilience, China could effectively withdraw from the global public internet and maintain domestic connectivity (essentially having an intranet),” Oracle’s Dave Allen said. “This means the rest of the world could be restricted from connecting into China, and vice versa for external connections for Chinese businesses/users.”

VERY FEW PEERING POINTS

The most obvious sign that China is different from any other country in terms of how it structured its internet infrastructure is by looking at how the country is connected to the rest of the internet.

Normally, most countries allow local and foreign telecommunications providers to operate within each other’s borders. These companies interconnect their infrastructure at physical locations called Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), and all the internet is a giant mesh of IXP peering points interconnecting smaller telco networks.

But China doesn’t do this. Rather than allowing foreign telcos to operate within its borders, this market is completely off limits. Instead, local telcos extend China’s infrastructure to foreign countries, where they interlink with the global internet.

This way, Chinese ISPs form a closely-knit structure capable of exchanging traffic among themselves. All connections that need to reach foreign services must go through the country’s Great Firewall, reach foreign IXPs via closely selected telcos (China Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile), and then land on the public internet.

China IPXs
Image: Oracle

This entire structure is very much akin to a corporate intranet, and has quite a few advantages.

First, China can impose its internet censorship program at will, without needing to account for foreign telcos operating inside its borders, and have to deal with their sensitive customer policies.

Second, China can disconnect from the internet whenever it detects an external attack, but still maintain a level of internet connectivity within its borders, relying solely on local telcos and data centers.

INTERNAL TRAFFIC NEVER LEAVES THE COUNTRY

But another advantage of this structure is that traffic meant to go from one Chinese user to another never leaves the country’s borders.

This is very different from most internet connections. For example, a user from an Italian town wanting to access their city’s website might find it surprising that their connection often goes through servers located in France or Germany before reaching the city’s website.

Such “weird” connection paths happen all the time on the internet, and in many countries, but not in China. Here, because local telcos peer primarily with each other and have a few tightly controlled outlets to the external world, internal traffic has no reason to leave the country.

China internal traffic
Image: Oracle

MORE “NATIONAL INTRANETS” TO FOLLOW

The main advantage of this is that foreign intelligence services have very little insight into Chinese traffic, unless users connect to foreign services, and the traffic must cross China’s borders.

From a national security standpoint, this is ideal; however, only China has such a system in place — at least, for now.

“While China’s structure is unique in the way it is physically set up to be separate from the rest of the world, other countries have begun to adopt the theoretical approach to cyber sovereignty that China is promoting,” said Oracle’s Dave Allen.

One of the countries that’s trying to replicate this Chinese “national intranet” model is Russia. This March, President Vladimir Putin signed a new law giving the government expanded control over the internet. The law basically forces local internet providers to install devices that route Russian web traffic through government-run servers, where intelligence services are given free will to analyze the traffic.

Furthermore, the country has also been busy building a local backup of the Domain Name System (DNS), and has conducted tests to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet, as part of a planned experiment.

Russia may be a few years behind China, but the writing’s on the wall as to Kremlin’s intentions.

Hong Kong: Police In Hong Kong Fire Tear Gas As Demonstrators Rally In Response To Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)
(HONG KONG IS IT GOING TO BE THE NEXT TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE BY THE COMMUNIST MURDERERS OF BEIJING?)(oped: oldpoet56)

Police In Hong Kong Fire Tear Gas As Demonstrators Rally In Response To Attack

A protester helps a fellow demonstrator after police fired tear gas in the district of Yuen Long in Hong Kong on Saturday. Demonstrators defied a police ban to rally.

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters in Hong Kong defied orders to not demonstrate on Saturday, gathering to denounce the police and government in an area where pro-democracy activists were attacked last weekend.

Protesters swarmed a major road in the district of Yuen Long clutching umbrellas to shield themselves from police cameras and tear gas that was later used against them at various sites along the route of their march.

The rally stemmed from an attack last Sunday at a train station in Yuen Long that left dozens of locals and pro-democracy activists wounded. The masked assailants, who wore white shirts and carried clubs, are suspected of having ties to organized crime groups known as triads.

On Saturday, the standoffs between police and protesters resulted in blocked roads and canisters of tear gas being fired. Police officers tried to disperse crowds on Castle Peak Road, Hong Kong’s longest road, and outside of a village where protesters had marched toward a police line.

Roy Kwong, a leading pro-democracy lawmaker, accused the police of firing tear gas near a home for the elderly, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

The demonstrations appear to have started peacefully, as one prominent protester, the singer Denise Ho, autographed hard hats for smiling demonstrators. A protester strung an anti-police banner outside of the Yuen Long police station and “a very friendly policeman came out of the watch tower to tell him to be careful not to fall,” said Hong Kong-based writer and lawyer Antony Dapiran.

At the Yuen Long train station, funeral bouquets were placed on the ground for Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive whom critics call “Beijing’s puppet,” and Stephen Lo, the police commissioner. Chants of “Reclaim HK! Revolution of our time!” could be heard as people moved through the station.

As the day wore on, the Hong Kong government warned people to leave Yuen Long, saying that some protesters were hurling brickscarrying iron poles and blocking roads with fences.

The Hong Kong Police Force said that officers would disperse demonstrators from Yuen Long, but that protesters remained at the train station. They said a maximum penalty of five years in prison could be imposed on protesters.

Faceoffs between protesters and police broke out during a demonstration in the district of Yuen Long in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Post reporter Shibani Mahtani told NPR that both protesters and police appeared to be digging in, with people “basically pulling up bricks from the sidewalk” and arming themselves with iron rods and makeshift shields from wood found nearby.

Mahtani said that children and elderly people participated in the rally, but that protesters were predominantly young and appeared ready to “suit up” and “start essentially building weapons.”

One of the protest organizer’s, Max Chung, told Radio Television Hong Kong that he was “not concerned about my safety, but of course, I am concerned about everyone else’s safety.”

Protesters reportedly circumvented the police’s orders not to assemble, using social media channels to organize under the pretext of a “full-gear shopping day” and playing Pokémon Go in the area.

The police also banned a protest scheduled to take place Sunday in Sheung Wan, a lively neighborhood known for shopping and traditional Chinese medicine shops. Police said they denied the authorization because of public safety and order concerns, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

On Friday, as part of a summer racked by protests, thousands of people filled the arrivals terminal of the bustling Hong Kong International Airport, demanding change.

A crowd of protesters blocks a police van during a demonstration on Saturday.

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

The original protests started in response to a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, prompting fears that vocal Hong Kong activists would face prosecution in courts controlled by Beijing’s Communist Party. Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive has since declared the bill “dead,” but she has refused to formally withdraw the measure.

After weeks of protests, the demands of demonstrators have expanded. They have called for an independent inquiry into the police’s use of force at rallies and condemned the authorities for what they decry as a sluggish response to Sunday’s attack at the train station. Protesters have also pushed for the right to directly elect their leaders, who must now be approved by Beijing.

Lo, the police commissioner, told reporters that officers were slow to respond to last weekend’s attack because nearby stations were closed during the protest and police needed to “redeploy manpower from other districts.” He vowed to bring the offenders to justice and denied accusations that the police had worked with triads to target anti-government protesters, according to Reuters.

The recent unrest has also prompted a new contingent of protesters — those who are coming out to support the police and Beijing.

In China, one of the country’s most popular television shows denounced the protest on Saturday and blamed “external forces” for causing chaos, according to the South China Morning Post. Beijing also reportedly blocked mainlanders’ access to international news sites, denying them a chance to hear the voices of people fighting for democracy in Hong Kong.

Once a British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework. Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the city is guaranteed “a high degree of autonomy” for 50 years. But fears of encroachment on democratic institutions have grown.

“Protesters aren’t even thinking that far,” Mahtani says. “They’re thinking about tomorrow; they’re thinking about next week.”

This week, China’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Wu Qian, told reporters that the Chinese military could be deployed to Hong Kong to maintain public order if Hong Kong asks the central government for help.

A government spokesperson for Hong Kong said authorities would not turn to the Chinese army for assistance because they were fully able to maintain order and deal with local affairs.