by Pepe Escobar with permission by the author and first posted at Asia Times
Let’s start with the story of an incredibly disappearing summit.
Every August, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) converges to the town of Beidaihe, a seaside resort some two hours away from Beijing, to discuss serious policies that then coalesce into key planning strategies to be approved at the CCP Central Committee plenary session in October.
The Beidaihe ritual was established by none other than Great Helmsman Mao, who loved the town where, not by accident, Emperor Qin, the unifier of China in the 3rd century B.C., kept a palace.
2020 being, so far, a notorious Year of Living Dangerously, it’s no surprise that in the end Beidaihe was nowhere to be seen. Yet Beidaihe’s invisibility does not mean it did not happen.
Exhibit 1 was the fact that Premier Li Keqiang simply disappeared from public view for nearly two weeks – after President Xi chaired a crucial Politburo gathering in late July where what was laid out was no less than China’s whole development strategy for the next 15 years.
Li Keqiang resurfaced by chairing a special session of the all-powerful State Council, just as the CCP’s top ideologue, Wang Huning – who happens to be number 5 in the Politburo – showed up as the special guest at a meeting of the All China Youth Federation.
What’s even more intriguing is that side by side with Wang, one would find Ding Xuexiang, none other than President Xi’s chief of staff, as well as three other Politburo members.
In this “now you see them, now you don’t” variation, the fact that they all showed up in unison after an absence of nearly two weeks led sharp Chinese observers to conclude that Beidaihe in fact had taken place. Even if no visible signs of political action by the seaside had been detected. The semi-official spin is that no get-together happened at Beidaihe because of Covid-19.
Yet it’s Exhibit 2 that may clinch the deal for good. The by now famous end of July Politburo meeting chaired by Xi in fact sealed the Central Committee plenary session in October. Translation: the contours of the strategic road map ahead had already been approved by consensus. There was no need to retreat to Beidaihe for further discussions.
Trial balloons or official policy?
The plot thickens when one takes into consideration a series of trial balloons that started to float a few days ago in select Chinese media. Here are some of the key points.
1. On the trade war front, Beijing won’t shut down US businesses already operating in China. But companies which want to enter the market in finance, information technology, healthcare and education services will not be approved.
2. Beijing won’t dump all its overwhelming mass of US Treasuries in one go, but – as it already happens – divestment will accelerate. Last year, that amounted to $100 billion. Up to the end of 2020, that could reach $300 billion.
3. The internationalization of the yuan, also predictably, will be accelerated. That will include configuring the final parameters for clearing US dollars through the CHIPS Chinese system – foreseeing the incandescent possibility Beijing might be cut off from SWIFT by the Trump administration or whoever will be in power at the White House after January 2021.
4. On what is largely interpreted across China as the “full spectrum war” front, mostly Hybrid War, the PLA has been put into Stage 3 alert – and all leaves are canceled for the rest of 2020. There will be a concerted drive to increase all-round defense spending to 4% of GDP and accelerate the development of nuclear weapons. Details are bound to emerge during the Central Committee meeting in October.
5. The overall emphasis is on a very Chinese spirit of self-reliance, and building what can be defined as a national economic “dual circulation” system: the consolidation of the Eurasian integration project running in parallel to a global yuan settlement mechanism.
Inbuilt in this drive is what has been described as “to firmly abandon all illusions about the United States and conduct war mobilization with our people. We shall vigorously promote the war to resist US aggression (…) We will use a war mindset to steer the national economy (…) Prepare for the complete interruption of relations with the US.”
It’s unclear as it stands if these are only trial balloons disseminated across Chinese public opinion or decisions reached at the “invisible” Beidaihe. So all eyes will be on what kind of language this alarming configuration will be packaged when the Central Committee presents its strategic planning in October. Significantly, that will happen only a few weeks before the US election.
It’s all about continuity
All of the above somewhat mirrors a recent debate in Amsterdam on what constitutes the Chinese “threat” to the West. Here are the key points.
1. China constantly reinforces its hybrid economic model – which is an absolute rarity, globally: neither totally publicly owned nor a market economy.
2. The level of patriotism is staggering: once the Chinese face a foreign enemy, 1.4 billion people act as one.
3. National mechanisms have tremendous force: absolutely nothing blocks the full use of China’s financial, material and manpower resources once a policy is set.
4. China has set up the most comprehensive, back to back industrial system on the planet, without foreign interference if need be (well, there’s always the matter of semiconductors to Huawei to be solved).
China plans not only in years, but in decades. Five year plans are complemented by ten year plans and as the meeting chaired by Xi showed, 15 year plans. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is in fact a nearly 40-year plan, designed in 2013 to be completed in 2049.
And continuity is the name of the game – when one thinks that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, first developed in 1949 and then expanded by Zhou Enlai at the Bandung conference in 1955 are set in stone as China’s foreign policy guidelines.
The Qiao collective, an independent group that advances the role of qiao (“bridge”) by the strategically important huaqiao (“overseas Chinese”) is on point when they note that Beijing never proclaimed a Chinese model as a solution to global problems. What they extol is Chinese solutions to specific Chinese conditions.
A forceful point is also made that historical materialism is incompatible with capitalist liberal democracy forcing austerity and regime change on national systems, shaping them towards preconceived models.
That always comes back to the core of the CCP foreign policy: each nation must chart a course fit for its national conditions.
And that reveals the full contours of what can be reasonably described as a Centralized Meritocracy with Confucian, Socialist Characteristics: a different civilization paradigm that the “indispensable nation” still refuses to accept, and certainly won’t abolish by practicing Hybrid War.
The Chinese do their own thing, and the Russians do their own thing.
Not much collaboration going on. That’s how it is.
The “West” has those “western values” — as fake as they are, they nevertheless create a bloc.
There doesn’t seem much to unite Russia and China. That didn’t need to be.
Not much knowledge on your part does not mean ‘not much collaboration going on’. Russia and China collaborate on every inter-nation topic and sector. They coordinate and exercise their militaries, land and sea. They coordinate in Space. They coordinate with the Satellite Navigation systems (GLONASS and Beidu). They coordinate on Science and Technology, Education, credit card, e-Commerce, diplomacy, regional strategies in Central Asia and South Asia, North Korea, Asia-Pacific, ASEAN, India and Pakistan, Iran, oil and gas, food, agriculture (China grows some of its own food on leased Russian land), etc, etc.
Nice try on the meme that Russia and China are apart, separate and disunited. Big fail. Pull up your troll line.
There are statements about collaborations. You mention some of them. But what’s the reality behind them? (If there would be strong examples, shouldn’t you be able to actually give real-world evidence for them, not just statements of intentions?)
Just as a simple example, I just looked up
Russia: TASS https://tass.com/
China : Xinhua http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/
On TASS there is today not a single mention of “China”. On Xinhua, there is one mention of “Russia”, regarding the number of Covid cases.
From time to time you find some mention of the other country. But in general, at least these outlets only know the own country (and neighbours), and the “West”.
My starting point was the fact that in the article of Escobar above, there is not a single mention of “Russia” (or anything related). If there is substantial collaboration, wouldn’t one assume that that would show up?
So the question of “collaborations” isn’t an easy one. If there is substantial collaboration, then it is well hidden. Might be — or not.
Note that “disunited” is a rhetorical trick, attacking an argument by exaggeration. Doing their “own thing” doesn’t mean “disunited”. Both countries have their own close countries, and thus they are not “isolated”. But my take on the *real* world is that all these “collaborations” are mostly talk, without much beef behind them.
We are not allowed to make ad hominem comments.
Pepe wrote about China, the CCP meetings, policies of the PRC and the strategies they will use.
He didn’t write about a trillion other things (such as Russia) because they are all irrelevant to the topic of China’s Plan, his topic of the article.
China’s policy is a parasitic model, a vampire if you will, sucking the lifes blood of any nation that it infests via technology theft, spying, and gobbling up all of the food and resources that it can…..There I fixed it, not an insult, just facts. Yes, their plan is running smoothly until it is stopped by force.
I have hundreds of articles detailing Russia and China coordination, collaboration, cooperation.
This one is from today’s news.
Russia and China are designing a new-generation non-nuclear submarine
09: 07 25.08.2020 (updated: 10: 28 25.08.2020)
© RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev
KUBINKA (Moscow region), 25 Aug — ria of news. Russia and China are jointly designing a new-generation non-nuclear submarine, an official representative of the Federal service for military-technical cooperation (FSMTC) told RIA Novosti during the Army 2020 forum.
“Currently, we are cooperating with the Chinese side on the joint design of a new-generation non-nuclear submarine. It is too early to talk about the terms of completion of the work, ” the FSMTC said.
Previously, head of the delegation of rostec state Corporation at Airshow China 2018Viktor Kladov told RIA Novosti that Russia has signed a contract to supply weapons to China in three areas: water, air, and land.
What about the idea of peaceful coexistence. Both countries agree that countries should seek their own solutions for their issues and shouldn’t be interfered by third parties. They do business with other countries in a friendly manner, without the dirty tactics used by western countries.
They respect each other’s national ideology and stand beside each other when needed. It was well displayed when Russia brought down oil prices at a time China was starting to rise from the virus attack. That surely helped Beijing save billions of dollars on oil reserves. That’s how the collaboration is going on.
Besides, western ideals are not truly ideals. They’re a set of concepts aimed at keeping the people in control while allowing a select few to enjoy the economic benefits.
”The ’West’ has those ’western values’ — as fake as they are, they nevertheless create a bloc.”
Make that ’blockheads’ and you’re on to something. Western ’progressives’ keep swooning forever before Western imperialist reaction. They are wilfully blind to what’s glaringly obvious to an ever greater global majority: the West has nothing to show for it anymore unless you have faith in its rotting, decomposing present as a moral booster.
China defeated the ’invincible’ West in HongKong. Ditto regarding Russia in Belarus. Western values rejected and defeated.
“Western values” are merely a shop window dummy. No one in Western governments, and no one in power (not the same people) pays any attention to “Western values” except to prate about them.
What are “Western values”?
The freedom of the individual – except when placed under house arrest by their governments and forced to wear masks.
The rule of law – except when the interests of Western elites are at risk, when courts ignore the law and agree that “might is right”.
Democracy – where every few years the peasants are allowed to choose which of two sets of dictatorial elites are to rule them.
The “free market”, which is controlled by government when it is not monopolised by vast corporations.
You seem to mistake Western systems of bondage and vassalage for “collaboration”.
It isn’t collaboration at all, it is toadying and subservience. Do you really think that anyone of the ‘Satrapies’ (unless a gun is held to its head, will come to the aid of the USA or Israel when the retribution begins? It will be a Day of Schadenfreude of apocalyptic proportions.
Cooperation, as equals, and without fuss or exceptionalist chest-beating, is exactly what Russia and China are doing.
A fun illustration of the toadying: Nikki Haley, when still US Ab. to the UN, threatening countries before a vote at the UN: “And know that I’ll be taking names!”
And she did – and they were published as deserving the coming punishment for disobedience…
The very opposite of China’s “Five Principles”, which are similarly practiced by Russia.
On Covid, this statement from China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi should encourage you to inform yourself before making such assertons:
“China, Russia support each other against slander from Western countries”
24/5/20 – https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-24/Wang-Yi-China-Russia-ties-to-be-boosted-after-COVID-19-QKJbppYM5W/index.html
China-Russia ties cornerstone of global strategic stability
Yang Jin – Global Times – 15/7/2020- https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1194586.shtml
China-Russia ties to deepen despite US wedge
Yang Jin – Global Times – 20/1/20 – https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1177454.shtml
China and Russia have forged an impregnable fortress against the “political virus” and demonstrated the strength of China-Russia strategic Wang Yi – Global Times – 24/5/20 – https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1189286.shtml
You forget both China and Russia are Asian countries.
“That always comes back to the core of the CCP foreign policy: each nation must chart a course fit for its national conditions.”
Soooo, more national socialism than international socialism then?
No each nation must chart their own course or what works the best for them and their people,that’s where the west always fell short as they never took in the consideration of its people, only what was best for the MIC controlled by the 1% and why it finds itself lagging behind other countries in health education and the moral spirit that makes a nation.When one looks at the burning cities the free fire zones where one party is pitted against the other like a pack of dogs fighting over the spoils.!!
Your shallow sloganeering about (supposedly bad) national socialism is put into perspective eloquently by the blog post:
What that means is that the Exceptional and Indispensable folks’ Nazi-style variety of national socialism — based on a perceived right to steal and murder — will not be taken lightly by the Chinese, to make an understatement. It’s not too clever by militant Pindo parasites to demand everything from everybody in exchange for nothing while the Empire is going down the toilet.
China is hiring a hundred engineers from Taiwan’s semi-conductor company, TSMC. Soon enough China will have mastered the technology to be totally self-sufficient. Likely, they will then break the price line and sanctions the US uses to restrict semi-conductors to nations and corporations it fears. China will dominate the market once it achieves parity.
Some say this will take several years, five or more.
I think it will be two years. The goal is 3nm specification. The path is lithography machines. China is onto laser lithography. They are working research at 7nm level now. Just two more steps, 5nm, then 3nm will be possible.
Behind the scenes will be experts from Russia and Iran and others contracted with ultra-lucrative contracts, all focused on the task.
Consider the Space technologies China has mastered for the Moon, Mars and Beidu satellite systems, and it is clear they will achieve their goal sooner than later.
Pepe’s article is loaded with news. The specifics detail the tactics that will achieve the strategic goals.
Escobar is a blessing.
Yup, and supposedly plus 500,000 Taiwanese working in Dalu, mainland China, with some of the biggest companies ie Foxcomm having a Taiwanese CEO. Now individual Mainlanders can travel to Taiwan and god knows how many daily flights between Taiwan and Dalu.
Movies, pop music, literature between the two Chinas is a fantastic buzz.
Guess, both sides have agreed to let the US keep up with their flatulent sabre rattling to satisfy ignorant domestic US audience and keep MIC in business… apart from Boeing..
Isn’t two years a little too optimistic? China would be lucky to catch up in ten years. And there is no indication that Russia and Iran are collaborating with China on the development of semiconductors as far as I know so if you have any references on this I’d greatly appreciate it.
Technology is moving far more speedily than most realise. Everything is accelerating.
Huawei has billions to spend on R&D. It is an employee-owned corporation. The government will provide any money Huawei and its employees don’t have. So money is not the issue.
China is recruiting the best talent in the world. Russia, So. Korea, Taiwan, Iran have preeminent talent. Russians are the basis for much of So.Korean high tech as it is for much of Israeli high tech. There was an enormous brain drain when the USSR broke up. Russians went everywhere the money attracted them. US technology took them in also. In fact, the development of much of the sophistication of the Internet was Russian-contracted software for data centers, networks, routers, etc. Russians and Ukrainians (often Russians from Ukraine) were the desired talent across most tech R&D in those early days of the late 90s and early 2000s.
Technology needed is lithographic (high contrast photography, basically) that requires extreme ultra violet light source, photomasks, and software to capture the design drawing and reduce it to the desired size with exact precision. High power source, robotics for repetitious action (every wafer has to be perfect), pellicles to protect the masks from dust and cooling system are some of the elements that make the lithographic “tool”.
This is difficult. But not impossible. It is a known technology. They aren’t pioneering it.
Two years is plenty to get this done. South Korea might just allow “eyes and hands” on what they have. They have a huge market next door that their tech companies need.
It is a national imperative to save Huawei. Hundreds of thousands of scientists and technologists, engineers and workers will be applied to this project.
As for some evidence of Russian-Chinese collaboration:
Elbrus ‘ finest hour: Russian processor may receive milliard investment from Huawei
Huawei made a proposal to the company MCST, which is engaged in the development of processors “Elbrus”, and “Basalt SPO”, which developed the operating system “Alt”.
Here’s a translated article:
Elbrus ‘ finest hour: Russian processor may receive milliard investment from Huawei
Huawei made a proposal to the company MCST, which is engaged in the development of processors “Elbrus”, and “Basalt SPO”, which developed the operating system “Alt”.
Russian technologies have attracted the interest of Chinese tech giant Huawei. Now the Chinese company is trying to negotiate with the Russian developers of processors “Elbrus” and OS ” Alt ” in order to use their products.
With Russian technologies, Huawei will be able to position some of its products as Russian and sell them to the public sector.
This is reported by C-news.
The Chinese company’s interest in Russian technologies increased after us sanctions, when US President Donald trump ordered Huawei to be blacklisted, which meant that former Chinese suppliers from America refused to cooperate. So Huawei was in danger of losing its operating system, processors and many other components of its products. Such IT giants as Google and Qualcomm, as well as many other companies, not only American, but also using American components, were forced to refuse to cooperate with Huawei.
Now the Chinese are offering cooperation to the Russians. So, for example, Huawei made a proposal to the MCST company, which is engaged in the development of processors “Elbrus”. Russian processors can be used in Huawei technology, including servers, if the companies manage to conclude a contract.
Since the MCST was funded by the Ministry of industry and trade, the intellectual rights to Elbrus cannot be solely owned by the MCST, and the Ministry of industry and trade is also a party to the negotiations.
“Elbrus” is criticized for the fact that they are expensive relative to Intel analogues. However, it cannot be said that these processors are expensive in themselves. They are expensive at the moment, because there is no mass production of them in large batches. If Huawei invests tens of billions of dollars in the production of “Elbrus” and gives orders,then the cost of Russian processors will fall to a price comparable to Intel and IMB.
Others criticize “Elbrus” for insufficient power. It is worth noting that at the moment the development of a more modern model “Elbrus 16” is underway, which will be more powerful. Again, with Chinese investment and orders, the process can be accelerated. Even more, a team of developers led by academician Boris Babayan, who has been working at Intel since 2004, was initially involved in the design of Elbrus. However, the team remaining in Russia on “Elbrus” is no less than the American team.
In addition to “Elbrus” Huawei was interested in the OS “Alt”, developed by “Basalt SPO”. The Russian operating system can be used on Huawei computers and servers.
Some experts believe that Russian technologies will only be used to position Huawei products as Russian in order to sell them to the public sector. However, the situation appears to us differently.
The ALT OS is interesting to the Chinese because it is based on the Russian Sisyphus repository, which is completely Russian without foreign influence, which means that it cannot be subject to Western sanctions. The fact is that those Linux distributions that are based on foreign builds are easily sanctioned. In 2017, for example, the developer of the Fedora Linux OS banned the delivery of this product to the Crimea.
To be completely independent of the will of the American President, Huawei is looking for independent suppliers that are not bound by us and UK patent law.
OS Alt is an architecture developed entirely in Russia. In this regard, it fits Huawei perfectly.
Thanks for that. Is the Elbrus processor based on ARM design architecture? Incidentally, there have been rumours swirling around that Nvidia is in talks to buy ARM from Softbank and if the deal goes through the US will have even greater control over the semiconductor technology.
Elbrus is not based on ARM nor Intel. Its proprietary computer architecture. The earlier versions may have been forked of the open royalty free SPARC architecture ( I am not 100% sure about this).
So yeah, no danger at all from sanctions.
Do you know whether Huawei is working on chips of their own?
The Elbrus chips are not based on the ARM chips. They have been developed with a knowledge of SPARC. With regard to their performance, it is clear that they are now capable of a higher performance speed than Kenia Maltseva tells us, although there is no reason that she should know that.
In addition, they have now been demonstrated at a Western conference, in a configuration where the most advanced processors have been rack-mounted in a water-cooled supercomputer.
It was already known that Russia had supercomputers, and the very long instruction word [VILW] apparoach means that their performance cannot be rated simply on processor clock speed even though that is now higher than 300Mhz.
Not only are such machines high performance and outside the applicatibility of Western patent or copyright laws, but they are very secure, it seems. The military version might be transportable in an armoured vehicle.
I’m keen to convert some spare fiat into the new Chinese chipmaker stocks.
the most expedient way is reunification of Taiwan with mother China and TSMC the crown jewel is within grasp, then even Intel has to beg for mercy. In accordance to Chinese culture, war and death ought to happen during Autumn months as the season’s element is metal which corresponds to killing of criminals on death row or warfare. The PLA are currently carrying out their live-fire military drills in four areas of coastal China ie South China Sea, East China Sea, Yellow Sea and Bohai Gulf https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3098671/chinas-navy-drills-4-regions-show-ability-counter-us-observers
It has to be soon.
Pepe, interesting reading but as usual you seem to have overlooked the extreme climate events which are also affecting China as most other countries.
I am not predicting or even remotely hoping that the 3 Gorges dam is going to break, but it is obvious that agricultural and industrial production in the upper and lower Yangtze River basins has taken a beating.
Official Chinese metro agency has admitted record rainfall has been recorded and will obviously continue to be recorded for August going into September. This is also affecting Japan and other Asian countries too.
At least the Chinese have other stable agricultural regions in the north, some of the most advanced and extensive vegetable (green houses) and aquaculture production, salt resistant rice coming on line next year and a fantastic rice-soya bean organic cropping system and of course huge grain and other food reserves.
Apparently food prices are rising, especially for pork .. how much and where … please enlighten..
Yes, I know China is a major exporter of certain vegetable products ginger, tomatoes, fish products and what else.
I sincerely hope that the Chinese will become more vegetarian, which is more sustainable and cut out the huge amounts of pork which only contribute to the excessive numbers of obese Chinese, particularly among young Chinese also stuffing themselves with Kentucky chicken.
The Saker contributors have also reported that the single child-overweight-Ipad generation present major challenges for the Chinese army…
Furthermore, I really cannot see the justification for the massive investment and construction of two further aircraft carriers when together with the Russians they possess the worlds best and tested ECW (electronic counter measures..), new smart missile types S-500s soon !! etc., and probably the faster super computers and smartest engineers in the world.
Above hi-tech goodies are stationed and working well on those contested island apparently.
By 2025 possibly 4 Chinese carriers (OK one is old and for testing..) ..What a waste of money and talent!!!
Russians are not over enthusiastic on pseudo-carrier cruisers either..
Just because poodle Abe in Tokyo has converted the 2 HELICOPTER carriers to dead-duck F-35 carrying carriers is not a valid reason. Typical US arm twisting…
The US carrier fleet is under-funded, under-maintainanced with supposedly less than 70./. of aircraft operational and the experienced pilot pool diminishing. The newest monstrosity has constant mega teething problems..
Just look at that sick-duck the Brit Queeny Lizzy carrier still with no F35s (if correct!!!) Christ..at least bring back a few US produced Harriers to keep up pretences….
US, Russia and others are heading to smart aircraft size drones anyway!!!
If the Chinese play their cards right by 2025 they could probably buy an abandoned US nuke carrier from a bankrupt US…!!!
Then convert it into an offshore casino cum brothel with 3 foot fields on top…tax free zone floating off the Arabian states, EU, US west coast… Payment only in Bitcoin…
´´2. The level of patriotism is staggering: once the Chinese face a foreign enemy, 1.4 billion people act as one.“
Wow Pepe.. sorry that is a somewhat provocative and even naive statement!! Of course they do.. who wouldn’t..
I admit only lived and worked for two years in China and only read agricultural and environmental literature. Visited 5 different upper middle class families and was teaching final year high students who were set on getting their IELTS grades to they could head off to Canada, US and even down under..
Also so some of their parents could get funds offshore and have a plan B..
Fantastic kids and parents..
For me, the Chinese are some of the most well informed, switched on, amusing and critical minds on this planet with few illusions about their own history, politicians or those of other countries, particularly us Anglos.
Oh well, back to my Huawei Smart phone with on-line Mahjong and Instant Noodles..
Perhaps I can add a few comments, being married to a Chinese national and having spent many years visiting China and living with them.
“Apparently food prices are rising, especially for pork .. how much and where …”
This has been going on for many years, it’s not a new phenomena. The Chinese swine population has been hit by several plagues in the past few years and although the Chinese government had a plan for 100% food self-sufficiency by 2020 this is unlikely to materialize.
“… become more vegetarian.”
Lost leader, Chinese farms use a lot of garden generated waste as pig feed. The farm our family runs in China grows vegetable products 24/7/365 and produces a lot of waste to fatten hogs. There is also a small irrigation pond stocked with carp that are used to provide fish for the family, chickens run free and eat any dropped vegetable waste, or insects they want. The egg yolks are that natural deep orange colour most western city dwellers will never see. Ducks are driven into the harvested rice fields in huge flocks to eat waste harvest product, insects, etc. Pound for pound, meat has the highest protein values and of the 27 amino acids the body requires, 4 must come from animal products of some kind. The manner in which the Chinese grow meat is generally sustainable. I remember reading a study from a British Agrarian that the old Chinese farming techniques produced land that had the same nutrient content as it did 6,000 years ago. Yes, human and animal waste is still spread on the fields.
“..Air craft carriers …”
Although I technically agree with you, the most important use of Air Craft Carriers is keeping shipping lanes clear of hostile ships. During WWII it was proven that air power was a major key in defeating U-Boats to the point where the Allied forces created special ‘escort carriers’ for that purpose. The status symbol of having an ACC is what it is – just that – but it does send a message. Sun Tzu once observed that having the largest army should be avoided, but it is important to have the second largest.
“…Foreign enemy …”
Oh boy, to the Asian mindset ‘forever’ is a very very short time! The historical records on my Chinese families side date back to 220 BC and are meticulously maintained. Once an enemy is declared by the people of China there may not be 1.4 billion in lock-step but there is a very considerable percentage that fall in line! I was once told, during a fairly recent Japan/China spat that I was lucky I was not Japanese or I wouldn’t have been welcome in my friends store, and this was far far from the power centers of Beijing and Shanghai. I can only hope that my western government stops urinating on the Chinese government – but they won’t.
”During WWII it was proven that air power was a major key in defeating U-Boats to the point where the Allied forces created special ‘escort carriers’ for that purpose. ”
Errm, correct me if I am wrong but the Battle of the Atlantic, as it was called, was fought out between the German U-Boats and the destroyers of the (British) Royal Navy. Were there any aircraft carriers involved? The only US aircraft carriers had their own fish to fry in the Pacific war with Japan.
A brief summary of the air elements of the Battle of the Atlantic:
I could never understand the logic behind holding an individual responsible for the actions of his/her government and therefore excluding him/her – all on the basis of nationality. Do they honestly think that the average Joe in Japan (126 million) is responsible for tense relations between China and Japan?
The Japanese, down to the basic soldier, were absolutely brutal in China. You should read the Rape of Nanjing to understand. The Japanese soldiers would often take over a Chinese house and force the parents to rape the children or vice versa before the Japanese raped and tortured the family to death. If you read up on Unit 731 you will discover vivisection performed without anaesthetic, cold weather torture, disease injection, gang rape, you name it.
On the flip side, John Rabe, a Nazi, saved hundreds of Chinese people from certain death in Nanjing – after WWII he couldn’t work as he was an avowed Nazi but the Chinese people sent his family money and food out of gratitude for his bravery.
I can see what you mean. OTOH I was thinking of today’s Japanese. That is, the modern generations who were born after WWII and therefore had no involvement in the atrocities you mention.
Prior to WWII the Japanese school system trained the children to regard the Chinese and Koreans as sub-humans. The Japanese never forgot what they considered a betrayal by their greatest previous trading partner but now under Mongol rule – the invasions of the late 1200’s. Add in a healthy dose of kamikaze (divine wind legend), an inferiority complex from the enforced opening of Japan to western trade with the Perry expedition, the Japanese treatment of the Ainu and you have a pretty aggressive mix.
In turn, most Chinese families were impacted by the brutality of the Japanese from 1937 onward. Like the Japanese they will never forget, nor forgive. For a pretty decent portrayal, you should watch Escape from Huangshi (aka The Children of Huangshi). I have never been able to find out how our family in China fared during WWII, they simply don’t talk about it, but don’t like the Japanese either.
Today you can see China and Japan cautiously doing business together and competing – but don’t think there’s any trust.
I’m still not sure how that answers my questions.
And by that, I mean the logic of singling out an individual on the basis of his/her nationality regardless of his/allegiance to the government. Case in point, while I do understand the animosity of some Chinese towards Japanese, I’m only saying that I don’t see the logic behind establishments excluding e.g. Japanese tourists just because they are Japanese.
In a similar light I have yet to hear of at least one establishment in Russia refusing service to e.g. German tourists.
For the record I am not Japanese, so it’s not like I’m biased in favor of Japan.
I’m not sure I can explain it any more than I have, but some racial memories run too deep to purge. My Ukrainian grandmother liked Russians and despised Turks, a little something to do with the Turkish predilection for Ukrainian girls, stakes, leather straps, sharp knives, and mammary glands. I have actually had an Indian employee state that they can’t trust the Chinese – ever. I had to advise him that he wasn’t in India anymore and that attitude was a fast track to unemployment, he decided to work with the Chinese employees and they got along quite well.
It’s also worth pointing out that unlike the Germans the Japanese have never acknowledged, much less felt remorse for, the atrocities they committed. And the Chinese are hardly alone in their resentment of the Japanese; the Koreans are equally, if not more, resentful of the Japanese. Visit Japan’s war museum and you’ll see no mention of the atrocities committed by the Japanese and the country is basically portrayed as a victim. Talk to the average Japanese person and you’ll likely find that they really don’t know why the Chinese and Koreans are angry with them — they just dismiss the Chinese and Koreans as being jealous or uncivilised.
@JackJC Where are you from? How do you know the exact genealogy up until 220 BC?
I am from many places :-)
But to answer your question, every generation members of each family branch gather in China and write down a complete list of new family additions. Once the books are updated for that generation, they are published and each family contributes to the cost. The books right now are two very thick tomes.
The eldest son of each Chinese family are recorded. Includes overseas Chinese too. That way I can trace my ancestry. So could the Chinese government, no matter what ideology. They will know my origins if they want to!
Dude, it’s not pork that’s making all the Chinese kids fat. It’s the consumption of sugar and American fast foods, and it’s creating a diabetes epidemic.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure pork has been eaten for millennia (and not just in China), and if I’m not mistaken the obesity epidemic is relatively recent (possibly preceding the presence of McDonald’s).
But I’m not too sure about sugar – while I won’t deny that excess intake can lead to obesity and diabetes, I also wonder if it is really a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in China (IIRC the USA and Mexico are the only two countries in the world where mainstream Coca-Cola, if not soft drinks in general, contains high-fructose corn syrup). Chances are, sugar has been consumed for as long as pork. Correct me if and where I’m wrong.
Well, of course sugar has been around for while but the problem is the way, and the quantity, in which it is being consumed in the modern society. And in China you’re more likely to see a kid drinking bubble tea rather than Coke… Actually, the same applies just about everywhere these days… I haven’t seen kids drinking Coke or any other soft drink (outside of fast food joints) in a long long time.
The Chinese strategic mind being done justice to by the prescint analysis of Pepe Escobar, such brilliance.
A bit off topic, please can anybody give a little insight about the plan 25years strategic agreement being discussed between Iran and China? I think it’s highly related to this topic though. Thanks.
“The central pillar of the new deal is that China will invest $280bn developing Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors. This amount may be front-loaded into the first five-year period of the deal but the understanding is that further amounts will be available in every subsequent five-year period, subject to both parties’ agreement.
There will be another $120bn investment in upgrading Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure, which again can be front-loaded into the first five-year period and added to in each subsequent period should both parties agree.
Among other benefits, Chinese companies will be given the first refusal to bid on any new, stalled or uncompleted oil and gasfield developments. Chinese firms will also have first refusal on opportunities to become involved with any and all petchems projects in Iran, including the provision of technology, systems, process ingredients and personnel required to complete such projects.
“This will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects, and there will be additional personnel and material available to protect the eventual transit of oil, gas and petchems supply from Iran to China, where necessary, including through the Persian Gulf,” says the Iranian source.
$280bn — Chinese investment in Iranian oil, gas and petchems sector
“China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas and petchems products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12pc to the six-month rolling mean price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6pc to 8pc of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, Petroleum Economist understands, China will be granted the right to delay payment for Iranian production up to two years. China will also be able to pay in soft currencies that it has accrued from doing business in Africa and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) states, in addition to using renminbi should the need arise—meaning that no US dollars will be involved in these commodity transaction payments from China to Iran.
“Given the exchange rates involved in converting these soft currencies into hard currencies that Iran can obtain from its friendly Western banks—including Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank [in Germany], Oberbank [in Austria] and Halkbank [in Turkey]—China is looking at another 8-12pc discount [relative to the dollar price of the average benchmarks], which means a total discount of up to 32pc for China on all oil, gas and petchems purchases,” the source says.
Another positive factor for China is that its close involvement in the build-out of Iran’s manufacturing infrastructure will be entirely in line with its One Belt, One Road initiative. China intends to utilise the low cost labour available in Iran to build factories, designed and overseen by large Chinese manufacturing companies, with identical specifications and operations to those in China, according to the Iranian source.
The resulting products will be able to enter Western markets via routes built or enhanced by China’s increasing involvement in Iran’s transport infrastructure. When the draft deal was presented in late August to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by Iran’s vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri—and senior figures from the Economic and Finance Ministry, the Petroleum Ministry and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—he announced that Iran had signed a contract with China to implement a project to electrify the main 900km railway connecting Tehran to the north-eastern city of Mashhad. Jahangiri added that there are also plans to establish a Tehran-Qom-Isfahan high-speed train line and to extend this upgraded network up to the north-west through Tabriz.
Tabriz, home to a number of key oil, gas and petchems sites, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline, will be a pivot point of the 2,300km New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, and then via Turkey into Europe, says the Iranian source.
The pipeline plan will require the co-operation of Russia, as it regards the FSU states as its backyard. And, because, until recently, Russia was weighing a similarly all-encompassing standalone deal with Iran. So, according to the source, the agreement includes a clause allowing at least one Russian company to have the option of being involved, also on discounted terms, alongside a Chinese operator.
Benefits for Iran
The Iranians expect three key positives from the 25-year deal, according to the source. The first flows from China being one of just five countries to hold permanent member status on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Russia, tangentially included in the new deal, also holds a seat, alongside the US, the UK and France.
“[The deal] will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects”
“In order to circumvent any further ramping up of sanctions—and over time encourage the US to come back to the negotiating table—Iran now has two out of five UNSC votes on its side. The fact that [Iran foreign minister Mohammad] Zarif showed up unexpectedly at the G7 summit in August at the invitation of France may imply it has another permanent member on side,” he adds.
A second Iranian positive is that the deal will allow it to finally expedite increases in oil and gas production from three of its key fields. China has agreed to up the pace on its development of one of Iran’s flagship gas field project, Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field (SP11). China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), one of China’s ‘big three’ producers, added to its 30pc holding in the field when it took over Total’s 50.1pc stake, following the French major’s withdrawal in response to US sanctions. CNPC had since made little progress developing SP11—a 30pc+ discount to the global market price on potential condensate and LNG exports could change that.
China has also agreed to increase production from Iran’s West Karoun oil fields—including North Azadegan, operated by CNPC, and Yadavaran, operated by fellow ‘big three’ firm Sinopec—by an additional 500,000bl/d by the end of 2020. Iran hopes to increase projected recovery rates from these West Karoun fields, which it shares with neighbour Iraq, from a current 5pc of reserves in place to at least 25pc by the end of 2021 at the very latest. “For every percentage point increase, the recoverable reserves figure would increase by 670mn bl, or around $34bn in revenues even with oil at $50/bl,” the Iranian source says.
A final Iranian benefit is that China has agreed to increase imports of Iranian oil, in defiance of a US decision not to extend China’s waiver on imports from Iran in May. China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) figures released in late August show that, far from reducing its Iranian imports, China imported over 925,000bl/d from the country in July, up by 4.7pc month-on-month, from an already high base.
The actual figure is still higher, according to the Iranian source, with excess barrels being kept in floating storage in and around China; without having gone through customs they do not show up on customs data, but are effectively part of China’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Thanks for the reply, but when I read another version of the analysis of the agreement written by Sheng Zhang in The Washington Institute I believe it is more in tune with the Chinese policy for international relations and Iran fierce independence which does contradict the version of the Petroleum Economist, honestly I would take anything from the western press with a pinch of salt.
I provide the link from The Washington Institute below but I would really appreciate your assessment of it and anyone else interested in the topic, thanks.
My POV of your link. Zhang wrote what the Institute, US think tank, wants to publish. He’s blah-blahing his way through the situation. Provides little factual detail. Typical analysis that fits a group whose fears of Iran are palpable. Check out their lineup of stars of the Institute. They also know nothing of China. Thus, Zhang is an outlier, a think tank stringer.
The Petroleum Institute is all facts, details, virtually no POV. A report.
You distrust the West press and read think tank output? What’s the difference?
Know your sources. Understand what you are reading.
Wonderful piece above, by Pepe Escobar, where form is best suited for substance… and as always with touches of delightful, subtle humour.
The West cannot fathom what formidable strength that 1.4 billion people mobilized and acting as one represents, facing a foreign adversary, let alone enemy, under top quality leadership… with, among them, nearly 100 million Communist Party members, and an equal number of Communist Youth League members.
That is why the West’s predictions, decade after decade, that China would miserably fail… invariably amounted to no more than psychological projection and wishful thinking. The Empire never even began to understand the basics about China and what made possible its innumerable achievements in such a short period of time, unprecedented in the history of mankind.
A great thanks for this enlightning perspective.
I always come away from a Pepe Escobar article feeling like a knowledgeable and intelligent human being.
You are a great force for good, Pepe. May you long thrive and prosper.
The points about Bĕi’dàihé are perceptive and wise, but for one overlooked fact: For the historically aware Máo Zé’dōng, more important than the place’s connection to Qín Shĭ-huángdì some 2340 years ago were its association to Empreor Cáo Cāo who after the demise of the Eastern Hàn empire re-unified all China north of the Chángjiāng (“Yanftzekiang”) drainage area into the Wèi — whilst awaiting and envisioning a reunification with Shŭ along the upper Chángjiāng (under the tutilage of Zhūgé Liàng’s) and Wú along its lower reaches.
Cáo Cāo wrote two of his most appreciated poems whilst at Bĕi’dàihé. So did Máo with two poems in the same rythm and rhymes that Cáo had used,
In Scandinavia there is a saying: “Mention the Sun, and she will shine”, In China they say “Bring up Cáo Cāo, and Cáo Cāo steps fortn”: “Tí dào Cáo Cāo, Cáo Cāo jiù dào!” This pretty much sums it all up.
Red Cliff 😁
Good old Cao Cao, engineered the fall of the Han dynasty, ruled only 1/3 of China and never reunited China. His general, Sima Yi, placed his own grandson on the throne.
Dear JackJC at Your Red cliff: Exactly, Cáo Cāo was not able to unite all of China at his time. Neither did Máo Zédōng — not completely. But Cáo Cāo laid the foundations for Chinese rule through meritocracy may years later, just as Máo’s wild policies were tempered by his spreading universal literacy and even insisting that even children in far-away villages should learn a smattering of English — thus laying the foundation for the present-day meritocracy in China.
Last time I checked, the World was still round. North and South are absolute terms as far as terrestial geography goes. “East” and “West” depends upon your standpoint only, making “Western” and “Eastern” values dependent on where You are: For Europeans “Western values” means those of England and America. For Americans in California, it would imply the values of China and Japan — or possibly Hawaii or Alaska (or Siberia?). As I witnessed i various “hippie” collectives in San Fransisco 1967.
Occident and Orient, East and West refer only to Asia. Such Asiacentric thinking is due to the Old World having had nearly two million years of human history, whereas the New World has been settled for just thirty millennia.
I wish Pepe was more specific about that “debate in Amsterdam”, but the “threat” they characterized is exactly what I’ve been saying for a couple of decades…
1. China constantly reinforces its hybrid economic model…
2. The level of patriotism is staggering…
3. National mechanisms have tremendous force…
4. China has set up the most comprehensive, back to back industrial system on the planet…
In other words, the threat that China represents is that the Chinese government actually governs. They plan the work and then work the plan. What a unique governance model! Whodhathunkit?
Meanwhile the sycophants, posers and lickspittles the West is led by preen in front of the cameras, and leave the planning to the lobbyists and special interest groups to sort out, and usually to execute as well. No wonder they feel “threatened”.
Read Pepe Escobar’s articles’ is a joy. Thank you very much, Saker, for posting them.
My only, minimal, disagree with this last column – which, to be fair, was quoted from Chinese’s policy (“we will use a war mindset to steer the national economy”) is China has having a war mentality on economy since its leadership got enough of humiliation somewhere in 20th century. Because, in the end of the day, hybrid war and full spectrum domination were always the maritime empires’ way of making business.
Therefore, I am pretty sure the Chinese could make a big damage on U.S. before Mao gave his upper hand to a delusioned Nixon, in 1972. For me, China was always a step ahead on defense before any further step on economy; a masterclass to any puppet who does not have the desire to end his/her life like Saddam Hussein.
The PRC has also started mass copyright infringement of key US products, in particular those traded with East Asia and SE Asia. Identical half price ‘iphones’ anyone?
Who would start a trade war with the Chinese?…I guess the same people who fought a counter-insurgency war against the Vietnamese and the Afghans. World history clearly isn’t a popular subject in the US.
We know what happened after the 9ll trigger when Nore Radd did not protect the five sided building. The Constitution was nullified by the Patriot Act and the forever wars began.
The question is what will happen after COVID and the fake BLM movement, both being used to create instability in the U.S. China is in the evil ones’ cross hairs, so they may initiate the Indo-Pak operation. By starting a nuclear war between Pakistan and India, perhaps by flying missiles over the border or some other deception, the radiation will drift into China and wreak havoc with all of their plans, including BRI. They already have a justification, i.e. the China Virus.
The problem of semiconductors for Huawei may be solved by Russia. Although China is building about 60 new microchip fabs, the lithographic patterns that are the chip design remain Western intellectual property, but Russia has been designing and building its own microchips for about 5 years, and there is doubtless a capacity there for original chip design. [Such design could conceivably include the use of the APL programming language which has in the past been put to such use in the West.] That is probably one of the reasons that Huawei has established an advanced research facility at the Skolkovo science campus near Moscow.
Great reporting – great understanding… Thanks Pepe.
There are a little mistake in this paragraph:
“3. The internationalization of the yuan, also predictably, will be accelerated. That will include configuring the final parameters for clearing US dollars through the CHIPS Chinese system – foreseeing the incandescent possibility Beijing might be cut off from SWIFT by the Trump administration or whoever will be in power at the White House after January 2021”.
The CHIPS system is from USA, not China. This is a private system owned by banks.
More details at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearing_House_Interbank_Payments_System
Bank of China is a participant in CHIPS system.
Yes. I think he may have meant CIPS.
One addition: Whilst having now gone on a classical “Grand Tour” of Western Europe, Chinese foreign minister Wáng Yì also stopped in Norway while visiting Italy, The Netherlands, France and Germany on his first travel outside Asia since the pandemic started. This is partly due to Norway having been voted into the UN Security Council for the coming two years — but we may surmise it is because Norway is an important provider of oil and natural gas to Europe and thus influencing oil and gass and energy pricing worldwide — no?