Category Archives: News

Not All Silk Roads Are Created Equal

I recently published this opinion piece on the Saker website, & it was republished in Russia Insider. I also wanted to share it here as well (with a few minor grammatical corrections). Apologies in advance if the pictures turn out blurry, please refer to one of the links above.

Not All Silk Roads Are Created Equal

The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route is unlikely to see high-volume PRC adoption in the near term due to insufficient business and geopolitical value prop

Mister Unknown

Several months ago, there were quite a few news/analysis reports lauding the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) as a new path for trade along the Silk Road, which is being revitalized by China and its regional partners under the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project. The TITR is highly attractive to Russia’s geopolitical rivals, such as Georgia and post-Maidan Ukraine (& no doubt the US too), for it is a potential Sino-European trade route across the Eurasian continent that completely bypasses Russian territory. However, there is little/no incentive for China to actively promote or use TITR for large-scale trade in the near future. To expand on this conclusion, this article will cover the following: the basic business value proposition of the land-based Eurasian Silk Road, an outline of the TITR path, a side-by-side comparison of a comparable route (Chongqing-Duisburg, also known as ‘Yuxinou’), and the geopolitical factor.

Continue reading Not All Silk Roads Are Created Equal

Tsk….What happened to China’s Ghost Town in Africa?

It seems the ghost has been exorcised but no MSM seems interested in reporting it.

Simply search for “China ghost town Africa” and you should find a list of reporting that are simply ignorant or dishonest. If you want to see what brainwashing and misinformation can do simply read the comment section of the following articles:
Continue reading Tsk….What happened to China’s Ghost Town in Africa?

Important arguments on the South China sea tensions

South China Sea tensions stem from the ‘nine-dash line’

By Demetri Sevastopulo in Manila

The South China Sea territorial disputes between China and its neighbours can be partly traced to an internal map published by the Republic of China government in 1947 that included an “eleven-dash line” enclosing much of the waters. China did not explain the significance of the line at the time. It was adopted by the People’s Republic of China government after the Communists came to power two years later. Then, in 1953, China unveiled a new map with a “nine-dash line” that covered a slightly smaller area of the South China Sea, losing two dashes that ran through the Gulf of Tonkin between China and Vietnam.

The US remained silent on the “nine-dash line” until February 2014 when Daniel Russel, a top state department official, said China should clarify its meaning.

 

*Trefor Moss, 12 September, 2013:
Diaoyu/Senkaku islands … administered from Taiwan long before Japan annexed them.

China arguably has a decent case regarding Scarborough Shoal. Here’s one important element of the case: China publicised its claim in 1948, and it took the Philippines five decades to object and counter with a claim of its own. Prima facie, that strengthens China’s claim quite substantially.

 

*On the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA):

From wikipedia:
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands. The PCA is not a court, but rather an organiser of arbitral tribunals to resolve conflicts between member states, international organizations, or private parties. It should not be confused with the International Court of Justice which is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations, while the PCA is not a UN agency.

1899
The court was established in 1899 by the first Hague Peace Conference. The Peace Palace was built for the Court in 1913 with funds from American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

Unlike the judges from the International Court of Justice who are paid by the UN, members of the PCA are paid from that same income the PCA earns.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permanent_Court_of_Arbitration

 

*South China Morning Post, 14 July, 2016:

The Permanent Court of Arbitration rents space in the same building as the UN’s International Court of Justice, but the two organisations are not related.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1989486/united-nations-stresses-separation-hague-tribunal

 

*Members of «the court»:

Most of them come from countries unfriendly towards China – and most of these countries are characterized by heavy American news domination:

https://pca-cpa.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/175/2016/07/Current-List-Annex-1-MC-updated-20160705.pdf

 

*One person wrote on the lawsuit process:

… an American-initiated, American-paid, American staffed lawsuit to a private, self-appointed, fee-for-service corporations (with no connection to the United Nations) that is not a real court.

 

*Many «international courts» are dominated by American and Western lawyers. Here is one of the reasons:

From Yale Law School guide (2012):
This guide provides information regarding some of the courts outside of the U.S.—international tribunals and intergovernmental courts, as well as national courts—where current law students and graduates may find temporary positions, paid and unpaid:

https://law.ucdavis.edu/career-services/files/Opportunities%20with%20International%20Tribunals%20and%20Foreign%20Courts%202012.pdf

 

*On UNCLOS

Huffington Post on UNCLOS: China, the Philippines and the Rule of Law

The threshold question really is whether the PRC can be bound by UNCLOS courts and tribunals, including its arbitral panels. The PRC ratified UNCLOS in 1996, but in 2006 the Chinese government filed a statement with UNCLOS saying that it “does not accept any of the procedures provided for in Section 2 of Part XV of the Convention with respect to all the categories of disputes referred to in paragraph 1 (a), (b), and (c) of Article 298 of the Convention.” These provisions of the Convention refer to “Compulsory Procedures Entailing Binding Decisions” issued by at least four venues: the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, the International Court of Justice, an “arbitral tribunal” which may refer to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), and a “special arbitral tribunal.”

While there are venues available for the resolutions of disputes under the UNCLOS regime, the PRC does not wish to be bound by its compulsory processes — the ICJ and PCA included.

The PRC knew this day would come. Its 2006 statement effectively served as a “reservation” against any binding outcome of UNCLOS’s grievance procedure in the future.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-wagner/china-philippines-rule-law_b_2533736.html

Good CCTV documentary on US human rights violations (English subtitles)

I’m glad to see the Chinese media FINALLY starting to explicitly outline the hypocrisy of American human rights rhetoric, but I think it doesn’t go far enough to illustrate the sheer scale of US human rights violations & issues, such as:

  1. Little mention on the sheer degree of income & wealth inequality, which then translates into the lack of meaningful political power for most average citizens.
  2. The number of annual police killings & prison incarceration rates in the US.
  3. The lack of respect for equal rights not just by the US government, but BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, as demonstrated by the popularity of xenophobic, & particularly islamophobic rhetoric among presidential candidates.

I think CCTV’s exclusion important details such as the aforementioned may create the misconception that the US human rights problems they outlined are somehow “small & isolated”, and inadequately highlights the widespread nature of their lack of respect for human rights. But nevertheless, this is a good start.

New research dispels western myths about PRC aid to Africa

New research, based on China’s aid track record from 2000-2013, shows that much of what the western media propagates about China’s intentions & practices, when it comes to providing official development aid (ODA) to Africa, is simply NOT true. “Coincidentally”, this latest research published by AidData has garnered little (if any) attention in US mainstream media outlets.

Here are a few of its findings. Those who are interested in the details should check out this new report in its entirety.

  1. African states that align with the PRC’s stances in the UN tend to receive more development assistance.
  2. Internal political system is not a factor for ODA allocation; the PRC does NOT favor either authoritarian or democratic governments.
  3. For China, humanitarian need is a stronger determinant of ODA destination than natural resource development opportunities, given that Chinese ODA is more focused on poorer African countries.
  4. Chinese ODA does NOT favor countries with higher levels of corruption.

The “follies” of Russia’s pivot to China

Recently, there has been no shortage of highly pessimistic commentaries published & republished, pointing out the supposed “follies” of Russia’s eastern pivot, by highlighting this year’s decline in Sino-Russian trade, China’s stock market volatility, and its supposed economic “weakness”. The conclusion implied by these articles is clear: “Russia’s economic pivot to China is failing, because increased economic cooperation has not mitigated Russia’s recent economic woes, or the effect of sanctions. China cannot save Russia, and the latter must continue depending on the West.”

This is essentially a straw-man conclusion. One thing should be plainly apparent through even a casual examination of Russia’s biggest recent commercial agreements with China: most of these arrangements with China were NEVER INTENDED to offset the impact of Russia’s current recession, but rather to position Russia’s economy for greater long-term diversification and upward mobility on the global economic value chain.

Continue reading The “follies” of Russia’s pivot to China

Hillary’s Tweet about China Regarding Women’s Rights … and What it Reveals…

Women hold up half the sky.
Women hold up half the sky.

As China and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon get set to co-host a U.N. meeting of world leaders on gender equality and women’s empowerment, Hillary Clinton decided to crash the party.

On Sunday, Hillary tweeted:

Xi hosting a meeting on woman’s rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless.

This came as a surprise to many Chinese, including me.  Women’s rights is one of the most important achievements of the communist revolution.  Mao has famously pronounced:

Women hold up half the sky.

Since the founding of the PRC, freed of religious ideological baggage, the Chinese Communist Party quickly and successfully integrated women as an important part of modern Chinese society.  Continue reading Hillary’s Tweet about China Regarding Women’s Rights … and What it Reveals…

Xinjiang in the News Again … as Political Islam is Ignored Yet Again

So Xinjiang in on the Western news again.  In the last few days, articles have appeared at Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, to name just a few…

Here is an excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor: Continue reading Xinjiang in the News Again … as Political Islam is Ignored Yet Again

Stop Yulin 2015: Hypocrisy at its utmost

Well, it is that time of the year again. And the publicity stunt of a little know town in Guangxi, China, has succeed beyond the wildest expectation. Yulin, is now well known in the so-called animal lovers circle, including those in China. It is estimated that up to 10,000 of dogs and perhaps cats will be eaten. We see a ridiculous outpouring of sympathy for those animals killed. Many are calling for a boycott of China because of this made up festival. Some extremists even called for eradicating China as a nation.
Continue reading Stop Yulin 2015: Hypocrisy at its utmost

Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

So it looks official now, Hong Kong’s Legislature has officially rejected the Election Reform promulgated by PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (For more on this topic, see this previous post late last year)  The central government has responded that the election rules stands and now it is the hope of many that Hong Kong will continue to find a way to execute full democracy under the Basic Law and NPC rules.
Continue reading Hong Kong Legislature Rejects Election Reform

The True Face of “Occupy Central With Peace And Love” Western Media Self-Censored

Besides the romantic, simplified “freedom” Official Narrative that framed the biblical David against Goliath story onto the Occupy Central protesters, seemingly for the purpose of indoctrinating media consumers in the West – is anything being left out?

Here, not so elegantly, are some raw YouTube clips – Occupy Central’s “peace and love” our supposedly free and objective media has choose to self-censor.

(Note: if youtube doesn’t work for you, scroll down to the bottom of post to get the videos we hosted here).

Foul-mouthed protester threatening people who disagrees:

Continue reading The True Face of “Occupy Central With Peace And Love” Western Media Self-Censored

The Soft-power of Hong Kong Protesters – Freedoms not enjoy by American, Britain, Canadian and Australian

Hong Kong protest images not shown by Western media

Above Picture: Images of so-called “pro-democracy” protesters in Hong Kong ignored by the Western media

In a recent international human rights forum at Oslo where Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and other jailed Occupy Wall Street protesters such as Cecily McMillan were not invited,  BBC report (21 Oct. 2014) revealed that, “it is an open secret at this meeting … that plans were hatched for the demonstrations (in Hong Kong) nearly two years ago … perhaps more than 1,000 of them have been given specific training to help make the campaign as effective as possible.”  The forum is filled exclusively by well funded non-western “dissidents” demonstrating no interest in echoing the voices of the 5,500 anti-US military protesters in Okinawa;  or the suffering of the victims of U.S. nuclear tests in the Pacific without compensation; or the extrajudicial killing of almost a thousand unarmed civilians and children within five years by U.S. drones operation in Pakistan alone.  The protesters in Hong Kong enjoyed an overwhelming support from the Oslo Freedom Forum, while  the death of 5,000 civilians across America since 9/11 by the brutal and trigger happy U.S. police forces were ignored.    Continue reading The Soft-power of Hong Kong Protesters – Freedoms not enjoy by American, Britain, Canadian and Australian

Two (Minor) Chinese Fishermen Returned from Phillipines Deny Poaching Sea Turtles

When the story of the Philippines Police arresting Chinese fishermen for illegally fishing sea turtles in Half Moon Shoal broke a few days ago, I immediately read saw in the news that families of fishermen highly doubt the veracity of that story since the fishermen did not leave with equipment to poach turtles…

Well, here are a few more details from xinhua.

QIONGHAI, Hainan, May 15 (Xinhua) — Two Chinese fishermen released by Philippine authorities have said that sea turtles they were accused of poaching were actually traded from a Vietnamese fishing boat.

“When we got caught by the Philippine police, it’s true that there were dozens of sea turtles on our vessel, but we had exchanged them with Vietnamese fishermen for food,” said Li Xianghui, one of the two fishermen released by a Philippine court earlier this week because they were found to be minors. Continue reading Two (Minor) Chinese Fishermen Returned from Phillipines Deny Poaching Sea Turtles

On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Between the U.S. and Phillipines

 

Obama and Aquino Toasts
Obama and Aquino Toasts

The U.S. and Phillipines leadership would like to portray their new relationship as rosy, strategic and deep.  On the street though, talking to the average Joe, one might get a very different impression.

Billed as the cornerstone of growing US and the Philippines strategic partnership and of the U.S. pivot back to Asia, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines has been touted as the highlight of the meeting of President Obama and President Aquino in Manila this week. The official line is broadcast to the world even though many in Philippine vehemently oppose the agreement (see e.g. this response from BAYAN).  Many Filipinos still remember the 1.5 million or so who died during the brutal US conquest of the Philippines in the early part of the 20th century, and they do not want the U.S. to have any military presence on Philippines soil again. Continue reading On the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Between the U.S. and Phillipines

Malaysia Airline MH370 – American Media Fanning the Flame Wars

MH370 SearchApril 15 is tax day for most Americans.  It is the deadline for Americans – rich or poor – to file and pay their taxes.  But this year, it appears, it is also smear China day.  You may think with so much things going on in the world, things to do, that perhaps for this one day, China might be spared unnecessary smearing.  But it is not to be so.

Last week, on April 15, both New York Times and Wall Street Journal ran two underhanded articles on China, assigning the blem for the unfruitful search for missing Malaysian airline MH370 squarely on China.  Both papers reported that China was in big on the search for MH370 not necessarily because a majority of the victims were Chinese citizens, but really because Chinese leaders wanted to show off their new technology wares – to grab the International spotlight to to show off.  Unfortunately, the Chinese bumbling not only made China look bad, but may have actually stymied the search. Continue reading Malaysia Airline MH370 – American Media Fanning the Flame Wars

Fact Checking US Government Propaganda On Maoming PX Protest Death

It is often said Chinese government propaganda like Xinhua, People’s Daily, are highly agendaed and utterly unreliable. But how about America’s government propaganda? Here’s a recent example as illustration.

Recently, news of protesters killed in Maoming over a chemical plant made suspicious rounds – only in the usual propaganda outlets, Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, and ancillary outlets like Epoch Times, Boxun. These accusations of Chinese government killing protesters were accompanied with photos of citizen laying on the ground bleeding. However, a quick Google image-based search revealed these photos are not from the PX plant protest, but were victims of violent crime elsewhere in China:

RFA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2012, and was subsequently regurgitated by Falun Gong outlets like Epoch Times:

RFAprop Wenzhoutruth

VOA used a photo from a hacking attack that occurred in 2013 that was then Echo Chambered by Boxun:

VOAprop Qinhaitruth

As a loyal tax payers I am completely disappointed by how my hard earned tax dollars are misused.

A Tribute to Run Run Shaw

Run Run Shaw
entrepreneur, filmmaker, philanthropist

It is with sadness that we learned that Run Run Shaw – entrepreneur, investor, filmmaker, philanthropist – died Tuesday in his home in Hong Kong at the age of 107. There are few men in modern China – anywhere actually – with the stature, reach, and heart of Run Run Shaw. People who don’t pay attention sometimes may associate Shaw with just low-budget Chinese action and horror films, or just kung fu movie flicks, when in truth, his impact is much broader.   As Neda Ulaby of the NPR recently noted:

A world without Run Run Shaw would’ve meant a world without Quentin Tarantino…

Or the Wu Tang Clan…

Or “The Matrix.”

That global pop culture vernacular came from a Hong Kong media mogul who dominated the industry for decades. Continue reading A Tribute to Run Run Shaw

Rich Texas teen kills 4, injures 2, gets away with slap on wrist

I wanted to follow up on YinYang’s previous post about racial privilege by providing an example of another form of privilege in the US justice system – class privilege. I posted this story (reported through a different source) under the comments section in his post. But since more details have surfaced, I wanted to highlight this story in its own post because it reinforces YinYang’s point in another way. Unlike the bicycle incident, this is not some media experiment, this actually happened in REAL LIFE under a judicial system that promises “liberty and justice for all”.

Remember all that talk in the US media about judicial injustice in China? I wonder how the Chinese public would react to the type of “justice” meted out in this US court:

Rich Teen Kills 4, Avoids Prison Thanks To ‘Affluenza’

Continue reading Rich Texas teen kills 4, injures 2, gets away with slap on wrist

China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/china-withholds-visas-nyt-bloomberg-reporters-21144608

This is apparently a continuation of an old story of how China is “expelling” foreign journalists en masse.  However, there are some conflicting details in the story itself.

“Withholding” visas means they accepted the applications, but won’t issue the the visas.  However the article later explained, “Chinese authorities had initially accepted resident journalist visa renewal applications from The Times’ reporters. But they stopped doing so — and in some cases returned applications to reporters — after the newspaper ran a report last month detailing ties between JPMorgan Chase and a consultancy in China run by Wen’s daughter.”

If they won’t accept the applications, or return the applications, that’s not “withholding” the visas.  The Applications were just REJECTED for some reason, usually technical.  As previous story on this noted, the Chinese government had explained that the applications were rejected for technical /formality reasons.

Continue reading China “Withholding” Visas From Foreign Journalists. Plenty of Self-Censorship At Home.

Is China Escalating Tensions in the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone?

Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea
Air Defense Identification Zone of China and Japan in the East China Sea

Recently, one sees again a torrent of articles in the Western press about how China is escalating tensions in the the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone.   The response from the U.S. and its lackey Japan has been swift.  NYT reports:

China’s announcement appeared to be the latest step in what analysts have called a strategy to chip away at Japan’s claims of control of the islands. Japan has long maintained a similar air defense zone over them.

The Japanese foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, called the Chinese declaration a dangerous escalation that could lead to what many military analysts most fear in the tense standoff: a miscalculation or accident that could set off an armed confrontation and drag the United States into the conflict.

“It was a one-sided action and cannot be allowed,” Mr. Kishida told reporters, according to Japan’s Kyodo News. It could also “trigger unpredictable events,” he warned.

In a statement on Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that the American government viewed the Chinese move “as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.” He also reaffirmed that the United States would stand by its security treaty obligations to aid Japan if it were attacked.

By setting up a competing air defense zone, China may be trying to show that its claim to the islands is as convincing as Japan’s, Japanese officials said. They said China appeared to have a similar objective last Thursday, when Chinese coast guard officers boarded a Chinese fishing boat near the islands.

Ahh … how one-sided and myopic is the NYT report (surprise!).

Peter Lee wrote a timely response to such shenanigan in the Asia Times today, which I quote in its entirety Continue reading Is China Escalating Tensions in the East China Seas By Creating an Air Defense Identification Zone?

China Will Relax its One-Child Policy to Increase its Population Growth

1986 one-child poster
1986 one-child poster

The on-going Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee has handed down several important decisions recently.  One of them involves the relaxation of the one-child policy to spur China’s population growth.

Xinhua has a good report.  An excerpt is provided below:

BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — China will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child, according to a key decision issued on Friday by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The [change in policy is part of China’s continual adjustments in policies] step by step to promote “long-term balanced development of the population in China,” ….

To ensure coordinated economic and social development, the population size for China should be kept at about 1.5 billion, said Guo, citing the results of a study sponsored by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

China should keep its total fertility rate at around 1.8, and the current rate is between 1.5 to 1.6, allowing the country to maneuver its population policy, according to Guo. Continue reading China Will Relax its One-Child Policy to Increase its Population Growth

Typhoon Haiyan’s Destructive Path

Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban
Survivors waited to board a military plane at the airport in Tacloban

The news is still enfolding on the destruction Typhoon Haiyan – now barreling its towards Vietnam and on into southern China – left in the Philippines. For those with the means, it appears the best way to help for the public now is to donate money. Two organizations with the capacity to help on the ground are:

A look back at Hillary Clinton’s 2011 “Internet Freedom” speech

Still recall former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech on “Internet Freedom?” Our first reaction on this blog was that America wanted unfettered access to citizens around the world. From a propaganda perspective, that idea enables the U.S. State Department to bypass foreign governments in reaching their citizens directly. Clinton herself has said the Internet would be a more viable means to reach into certain countries than, say, Voice of America (VOA), which often gets its signals jammed. This is also good business for the likes of Google and other American Internet services companies. The more users on Google, the more advertising dollars. And, it was no surprise at the beginning of that speech, Clinton pointedly acknowledged contributions from Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt. She affectionately described Schmidt, “co-conspirator from time to time” for that policy formulation.
Continue reading A look back at Hillary Clinton’s 2011 “Internet Freedom” speech

Shadows of Censorship? Really???

public opinion analystTwo weeks back, Russia Today broke a story with the title “China employs 2 million analysts to monitor web activity.”  From that, we get a plethora of dark articles about how bad the Chinese government is.  For example, from the BBC, we get an article titled “China employs two million microblog monitors state media say“:

More than two million people in China are employed by the government to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the state tries to control the internet.

China’s hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger.

Recent research suggested Chinese censors actively target social media. Continue reading Shadows of Censorship? Really???

Partner of Snowden journalist was detained for 9 hours & had his property seized for no reason

I think Citizens of the UK should start familiarizing themselves with the phrase “being invited for tea”  (请喝茶). Democracy at work, folks. Oh by the way, for those extolling the righteousness of “rule of law”, this is all legal under current British law.

EDIT: One more note, at least Chinese security doesn’t rob you of your video games when they invite you for tea.

Continue reading Partner of Snowden journalist was detained for 9 hours & had his property seized for no reason

Business Insider’s Reporting on China

On 13th Aug, 2013 I clicked on articles with China as a tag, http://www.businessinsider.com/category/china

This is what appeared as it was (no selection was done by me):

Rare Video Appears To Show A Public Execution In China

How The Emerging Markets Will Unravel As China Unwinds Its Debt

The Sex Lives Of Top Chinese Officials

How China’s Tax Structure Crushes The Poor

STUDY: There’s A Huge, $1 Trillion Hole In Chinese GDP

Expert: Dalai Lama’s Website Has Been Hacked And It’s Infecting People’s Computers Continue reading Business Insider’s Reporting on China