By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter
Here Comes China
- If you are born in a country with 1.4 billion people and thousands of years of history, you will know how important cooperation is. We need order more than freedom. We need collectivism more than individualism. Many Westerners don’t understand it.
- The per capita cultivated land of Canada is 18 times that of China, and the population of China is 37 times that of Canada. Under such conditions, collectivism or socialism is the inevitable choice of the Chinese people. It guarantees the continuation of our civilization.
- For resource rich countries, individualism or capitalism is a good choice. For resource deficient countries, it is necessary to allocate the limited resources through a strong govt to ensure that every citizen has a better life. This is what China has done, and it is doing well.
This week’s selection is Defense and the South China Sea
Russia and China may pool their knowledge to develop a new generation of non-nuclear subs. But exactly what it will be, or why, is still a mystery. One important area where China may be ahead is in propulsion. China is building AIP (Air Independent Power) submarines while Russia has struggled to field this technology. Given Russia’s prowess in submarine design and construction the issue may be more about investment than engineering. But today it is fair to say that China is ahead in AIP. Advanced batteries might be another space. Submarines are only now switching to lithium-ion batteries. The world’s first Li-ion subs were Japanese, with South Korean and Italian subs to follow. China has also been rumored to be adopting this technology, making it another area where China might well be ahead of Russia. So have the roles reversed, and might Russia in effect be looking to buy a largely Chinese non-nuclear submarine?[MORE]
The PLAN launched two missiles in South China Sea in ‘warning to the United States’. One, a DF-26B, was launched from the northwestern province of Qinghai, while the other, a DF-21D, lifted off from Zhejiang province in the east...The DF-26 has a range of 4,000km (2,485 miles) and can be used in nuclear or conventional strikes against ground and naval targets. The DF-21 has a range of around 1,800km, with state media describing the most advanced in the series, the DF-21D, as the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile. The PLAN knew the US would be watching and collecting all available data and intel from the tests, as a U-2 spy plane was collecting data there at the time.[MORE]
China’s domestically developed Y-20 transport aircraft reached another milestone after successfully completing its first heavy weight aerial delivery on the Tibetan plateau. A heavy aerial delivery is a major criterion for assessing the capability to conduct airborne operations. Y-20’s success means China’s airborne troops have possessed strong mobility and are capable of launching a large-scale assault with heavy weapons on the plateau. After the equipment — 107 mm multiple rocket launchers — landed safely, paratroopers jumped from the jet. After reaching a predetermined landing area, they quickly located and manipulated the equipment to assault the enemy’s forward position. The Y-20, which began to be delivered to the PLA Air Force in July 2016, is one of the world’s largest strategic heavy-lift transport jets, and has a maximum takeoff weight of around 200 metric tons.[MORE]
The Chinese ambassador to Hungary, Duan Jielong, was on Monday elected a member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Duan was elected with 149 votes in the first round of voting and will start a nine-year term on Oct 1. The wide majority support for Duan shows the international community’s recognition of the Chinese contender and affirmation of China’s contribution to the work of the tribunal over more than 20 years, a spokesman said. It also shows global society’s determination to uphold multilateralism and the international rule of law..[MORE]
The South China Sea and Other Aggressions.
by Hugh Steadman
For foreign news, the west’s mainstream media draws its stories almost exclusively from just two international news agencies, Toronto-based Reuters and New York-based Associated Press. Both of these are heavily exposed to influence by western intelligence and psyops agencies. It is therefore not surprising that New Zealand and Australian media are full of stories written to present China in a negative light. Time for a reality check!
In the Cold war, now instigated by the USA, there are three main fronts, the global economy, the South China Sea and the hearts and minds of western populations. Also targeted are Chinese controlled minority groups, such as the Uighurs and the youth of Hong-Kong that the Western alliance seeks to detach from Chinese rule. On the economic front, the Chinese will probably sustain no more damage than the USA is prepared to inflict on itself. This blog will instead look at the other two fronts in this new cold war.
Militarily, the USA and its allies are unable to obtain any kind of victory. In a nuclear war both sides would face certain destruction and defeat. Given that the USA and other NATO nations have done all in their power to cement the alliance between Russia and China, a conventional invasion of the Chinese or Russian mainland is far beyond the resources of any conceivable Western alliance. Any military war on China would have to be fought at sea. Given the geography of the theatre and modern missile technology, all major surface vessels would be sunk and submarine warfare, likely to achieve little except a massive discharge of radioactive and other pollution into the South China Sea.
That sea should be viewed more as a convenient weapon of propaganda than the theatre for any intentional kinetic adventure. In this propaganda war there are several features that go largely unmentioned.
- The now disputed nine/ten/eleven/dash line was first laid out in a map produced by a Chinese cartographer in 1935 and was publicised internationally by Chiang Kai-shek in 1947. The USA, Chiang’s close ally in his fight against the Communist insurgents at the time, raised no objections to the claim and was probably party to it. This all happened at a time when the other littoral states were under foreign occupation and/or had hardly formed any idea of national sovereignty – let alone of maritime property rights. Currently, US ally, Taiwan, as direct heirs of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist government on the Chinese mainland, duplicates the Chinese Communist Party’s claims. Taiwan’s claim
- Ever since being given notice by the US Air Force’s bombing of their embassy in Belgrade during the 1999 NATO assault on Serbia, the Chinese will have anticipated that their relationship with the USA would ultimately become hostile. Just as the USA couldn’t tolerate the idea of Russian missiles in Cuba, so too could China not tolerate similar close approaches of an armed and hostile power without ensuring that it was well placed to neutralise that power on the outbreak of hostilities. Given its reliance on imports of food, petroleum and other vital resources, China’s vulnerability to foreign hostile action in the South China Sea is far greater than could ever be the USA’s to hostile penetration of the Gulf of Mexico. Hence China has weaponised islands off its coast and on its immediate sea-lanes. The extent of the USA’s hostile reaction is an indicator of its thwarted intentions.
- China is prepared to negotiate what it sees as its legitimate rights in its South Sea with other claimants and stake-holders. Though little mentioned in the western media, China is currently in the process of discussing a modus vivendi (Code of Conduct) with ASEAN members ASEAN talks However, appeasement in the face of the current armed threats by Washington and Canberra could represent an unacceptable loss of face. In fact, it could be argued that Washington’s and Canberra’s current power projections provide a major obstacle to compromise with the ASEAN nations. Perhaps that is the intended aim?
There are of course other fronts in the propaganda war. These include the high Himalayas, where India, encouraged by US backing is playing to a domestic audience. A former Indian diplomat puts that cause in its true perspective: Himalayan clash.
Another front is Hong Kong, from where the western intelligence agencies have long abused their privileged position to work for the destabilisation of the government in Beijing. Notably, in the face of prolonged insurrection, the Hong-Kong and Chinese authorities reacted with more restraint than has been shown in many US cities during BLM demonstrations. Chinese suppression of Uighurs in western China is another propaganda front. Here, what is actually going on is hard to discern. Anyone can put any title on photos taken from satellites and China is not laying out a red carpet for visiting western journalists. Mention of the CIA’s deliberate policy of using Syria as a training ground for Uighur and other Moslem terrorists to be deployed against Russia and China is avoided.
Of the two sides in this cold war, though now evenly balanced militarily, one is most disadvantaged when it comes to the propaganda front. The Anglo-Saxon tradition is one of conflict. It invades and colonises other nations. It glorifies victories gained by firing Maxim guns into crowds of warriors armed with swords and spears or aerial turkey-shoots on the hapless remnants of already defeated armies that lack air-cover. Its parliamentary and judicial systems are set up on an adversarial basis: winner gets all and the loser eats saw-dust.
In contrast, the tradition of many other cultures, including that of China, is to seek consensus rather than conflict. This is often reflected in a tendency towards one-party political systems. A study of the comparative social welfare and economic performances of the one-party Chinese system and its democratic/demagogic American and British counterparts, would indicate well-managed consensual systems have the advantage in almost everything except a capacity for aggression.
In this war of words, the western media pays scant attention to the achievements of the Chinese communist government and thus avoids unfavourable comparison with the performance of neo-liberal governments in the west. (Wikipedia quote: “According to the World Bank, more than 850 million Chinese people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; China’s poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 0.7 percent in 2015, as measured by the percentage of people living on the equivalent of US$1.90 or less per day in 2011 purchasing price parity terms.)”
The western media does not dwell on the millions of non-Americans condemned to death or poverty by American military actions and its imposition of economic sanctions and adverse terms of investment and trade on nations weaker than itself. It avoids asking whether the increases in poverty and grotesque disparity of wealth in America are in any way connected to the extraordinarily disproportionate growth of its offensive military apparatus that is bought at the expense of the welfare of its own citizens.
Habitually, western propagandists talk about China as an aggressive power. Tibet and the Himalayan border with India, Xinjiang, Hong-Kong and Taiwan are all cited as evidence to support this case. In each case China has legitimate historic arguments to justify its claims of sovereignty. The same could not be said for the far more destructive American and NATO aggressions against such as Serbia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. Here is a list of approx. forty unfortunate countries that have been bombed by the peace-loving and philanthropic USA since WWII. Bombs way – from the USA with love.
The problem China faces in this propaganda war is that the USA is far more advanced in Public Relations and media control. Generations of Americans have followed the example of Bernays and studied what is now the Public Relations ‘science’ of making consumers believe that they want something they don’t need. Winning the lie game, just as winning in trade negotiations, or using financial and military muscle to force other nations to comply, is now the USA’s national sport. The Anglo-alliance’s game, played with such enthusiasm, leads to vast suffering and the ultimate demise of the hapless inhabitants of countries selected as playing-fields. In this game, winning is all important. The cynicism is breath-taking. (For instance naming the UK’s leading psyops agency ‘The Integrity Institute!’) Lies, no matter how large and how often repeated, present no obstacle to America’s leaders and their allies – long-conditioned, western publics browse on them contentedly.
This leads to a very one-sided conflict. Opponent nations, like sheep harried by a pack of wolves, do not have this tradition of aggressive sport between two sides and are far more inclined to discuss and seek consensus. How does all the above affect the Antipodes?
To preserve American global economic dominance, the USA is prepared to fight China to the last dollar in Australia’s treasury. The Australians, with their post-imperial cringe, (a nation psychologically habituated to colonial status and unable to tolerate the thought of standing alone) having replaced London’s imperium with Washington’s, are compliant dupes. Australia and New Zealand are siblings and the mental health issues of one have a malign influence on the other.
Geographically, the South China Sea is far removed from Australia’s immediate defensive interests and even further from those of the USA. As a country almost totally dependent for its prosperity on overseas trade, the only strategic interest a neutral Australia would have in the South China Seas would be that the sea lanes, through which passes about 66% of its overseas trade (China, Japan & Korea) should remain open and devoid of conflict. While this interest is identical to that of the Chinese government, it is at odds with that of the USA in its war for economic dominance over the upstart China. Given its current Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against China (in no way racist as it declares the BDS campaign against Israel to be) Australia’s ‘protective’ ally would love to strangle all China’s trade.
Not only is Australia’s foreign trade in severe jeopardy, but its finances are further endangered by the enhanced military expenditure thought necessary (and urged on by the USA) that this illogical confrontation engenders. In short, Australia’s post-imperial psychosis is leading it to disaster. Hugh Steadman blogs at Khaki Specs. [MORE]
There are many excellent village studies available for those looking to understand how 70% of the population lives, but this one, of a Jiangxi Province (South-Central China) village, is especially good because it is written by someone who actually grew up in the village, then returned as a scholar years later. While the educational opportunities of urbanites were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, primary and secondary opportunities increased substantially in the countryside during these years, and Mobo Gao was one of the beneficiaries, eventually going all the way to a PhD in the US. He makes many interesting points.
- That commericialization was meaningless to the Gao village peasants until a grain surplus was attained. That the lack of specialized knowledge holds many peasants back from taking advantage of the opportunities of commericialization, and a failure to address this problem is leading to polarization and some disillusionment with the reforms (corruption and increased crime also factors).
- The ever increasing population pressure on the land is causing social as well as economic changes in the village, as people migrate to find work, and remittances become a key source of income. The social bonds that sustained collective endeavors in the past are breaking down as the village becomes as much or more connected to the outside than with each other. A potential worry because local public action is still a major way growth can be attained in rural China, and the richest villages tend to be the ones that have success in this area.
- Clan rivalry and even violence, kept under wraps in the tightly controlled Mao years, increased substantially in the 1980s and 1990s.
- Abysmally low agricultural prices were the main reason for slowly increasing incomes in the Mao years, not lack of work incentives. And the concept of the “People’s Commune” meant nothing to the Gaos, it was just seen as an upper level of government.
There’s plenty more in this insightful glimpse into the Chinese countryside by an insider.[AMAZON]