Author Topic: The China Thread  (Read 151391 times)

Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2010 on: September 30, 2021, 01:15:15 pm »
Is Mandate of Heaven still a thing in Chinese culture?  I imagine looking up at starry nights will make some people think about heaven.

Not explicitly in those terms. But not having the confidence of the population definitely is, and mishandling disasters and causing self-inflicted wounds is certainly going to impact that confidence. I'm pretty confident it does drive (at least partially) the internal power struggles of the CCP. And the population getting frustrated enough to turn against the CCP is definitely considered a realistic nightmare scenario by the regime, I think. The Chinese people can get pretty intense when they get frustrated and take to the streets....

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2011 on: September 30, 2021, 01:28:27 pm »
I admit I am getting a mental image of women being kidnapped by the government on the walk home and artificially inseminated.
Seems a natural flip of over zealous population control.

More seriously I do wonder how they'll incentivise/punish those failing to have many kids. There's tried and tested techniques but they're expensive as fuck and don't give the massive pay off the regime wants.
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Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2012 on: September 30, 2021, 01:31:01 pm »
I think the downside of being registered as belonging to a minority subject to official suspicion makes it not worth it in most cases.
Yeah for sure. Although historically I think one child policy only applied to Han women so you'd get weird situations of very non-Muslim, who'd stopped practicing years ago or whatever but were identified as ethnically/nationally Hui Chinese with multiple kids.
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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2013 on: September 30, 2021, 01:35:37 pm »
The Chinese people can get pretty intense when they get frustrated and take to the streets....

Intensely rendered into petfood by tank tracks perhaps?
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Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2014 on: September 30, 2021, 02:04:47 pm »
Intensely rendered into petfood by tank tracks perhaps?

There are hundreds if not thousands of demonstrations against the regime every year, usually on narrow local issues. They don't typically result in tanks grinding the protestors down. The leaders are often (but far from always) punished, but it doesn't stop further protests from occuring.

Of course, if any given protest starts looking like it might be an existential threat to the regime they crack down hard. But ultimately, the tools for the crack down - the military and the police - are drawn from the people. And if the military and police are sympathetic enough to the protestors (because the regime has been fucking up enough), then it'll start looking really dark for the regime.

We're nowhere near, of course, but it's not an unrealistic scenario... one day, perhaps.

Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2015 on: September 30, 2021, 02:07:47 pm »
More seriously I do wonder how they'll incentivise/punish those failing to have many kids. There's tried and tested techniques but they're expensive as fuck and don't give the massive pay off the regime wants.

The usual stuff with... access to urban residence permits, access to schools, access to support services, financial incentives, different wage tiers, different levels of access to bureaucratic support, tax incentives, access to promotion at work and within the party... for people with the required number of kids. And, of course, denial of same for people with the wrong number of kids.

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2016 on: September 30, 2021, 02:18:55 pm »
Of course, if any given protest starts looking like it might be an existential threat to the regime they crack down hard. But ultimately, the tools for the crack down - the military and the police - are drawn from the people. And if the military and police are sympathetic enough to the protestors (because the regime has been fucking up enough), then it'll start looking really dark for the regime.

We're nowhere near, of course, but it's not an unrealistic scenario... one day, perhaps.

Indeed, the greatest fear of any authoritarian regime is having the troops disobey an order to gun down people just like them.  Because then the troops have to overthrow the regime top avoid punishment for disobeying an order.

During the '89 protests, the regular army near Beijing suffered from "traffic jams" that prevented them from going into the city - because the unit commanders figured the troops would disobey orders to massacre the population.  The regime had to bring in troops from elsewhere (mostly Mongolian, I believe) to get troops that they were confident would commit atrocities against the people of Beijing.
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Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2017 on: October 01, 2021, 05:18:28 am »
This could have gone in the AUKUS thread - but it seems like a broader issue, and problem, with Xi's foreign policy style than just Australia. As telling, I think, is the relatively muted regional reception to AUKUS - no-one seems to be protesting it: Indonesia and Vietnam are cautious, Singapore optimistic, Philippines, Japan and India broadly seem to welcome it. I feel like if China had succeeded in building relations in its neighbourhood, instead of scaring its neighbours, we'd see more protests on China's behalf - and I think we would have even 5 years ago:
Quote
How Xi Jinping lost Australia
Canberra went from welcoming the ‘Asian Century’ to arming itself with nuclear-powered submarines in less than a decade of the Chinese president’s rule.
By Zoya Sheftalovich and Stuart Lau   
September 27, 2021 12:11 pm

SYDNEY — Nearly 10 years ago, Australia thought it was on the cusp of a beautiful friendship with China: It was opening up its economy to Beijing, wanted to teach Mandarin in schools and invited the Chinese president to address parliament.

Now, that’s all over.

These days, Australia is buying up nuclear-powered submarines to fend off Beijing, barring the country from key markets and bristling at its relentless attempts to coerce Australian politicians and media.

In part, the head-spinning shift reflects rising global wariness of China’s increasingly pugilistic behavior.

But for Chinese President Xi Jinping, it also offers a remarkable example of how his relentless attempts to control the economic and cultural climate overseas can rapidly boomerang — even in a country receptive to Beijing’s overtures. Instead of bullying Australia into submission, Xi’s “wolf warrior” tactics simply pushed Australia right back into its traditional military nexus, with the U.S. and U.K., costing Beijing a potentially valuable partner in the region.

Here’s how things turned sour so quickly.

2012: Australia foresees an ‘Asian Century’

When Xi took control of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, the Australian government was in the midst of a geostrategic pivot.

In its 2012 Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, Canberra set out national objectives that included teaching Asian languages such as Mandarin in schools, strengthening trade relations with Beijing and opening up its economy to Asia.

The white paper was part of Australia’s broader move away from its colonial Commonwealth roots and position as America’s deputy sheriff in the Asia-Pacific, and toward carving out a role as a regional power in its own right.

Canberra naturally turned to Beijing, the largest player in the region — and then, as now, its top trading partner — for a landmark free-trade agreement and relationship reset.

Australia and China concluded negotiations for the trade pact in November 2014, with Xi invited to address a joint sitting of Australia's parliament — an honor usually reserved for U.S. commanders in chief.


“We should increase mutual understanding and be sincere and trustworthy partners,” Xi told parliament, adding China and Australia were “not burdened by historical problems between us … We have every reason to go beyond a commercial partnership to become strategic partners who have a shared vision and pursue common goals.”

Some thought it was the dawn of a new age between the two countries. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

2013: Xi wants the ‘dominant position’

While Australia was pivoting to China, Beijing was orchestrating its own pivot: Xi had delivered a very different address to his countrymen before his speech to the Australian parliament.

In January 2013, shortly after becoming the chairman of the Communist Party and just months before becoming Chinese president, Xi laid out plans to make China a global superpower through economic and technological might.

“We must concentrate our efforts on bettering our own affairs, continually broadening our comprehensive national power,” Xi told his Communist Party comrades in the speech. The focus would be on “building a socialism that is superior to capitalism, and laying the foundation for a future where we will win the initiative and have the dominant position.”

That meant going after the Western alliance —with Australia as the weakest link. So while publicly promising sincerity and trust, Xi secretly sought to squeeze the island nation.

First came the cyberattacks, with Chinese state-linked hackers going after the Australian parliament, the country’s Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian National University and numerous others.

Then came attacks on Australia’s Chinese-language media, with reports of coercion, bullying and intimidation at any outlet daring to depart from the Communist Party line.

Reports emerged that China had reached deep into the Australian political establishment, seeking to steer policy in China’s favor. Investigations found Beijing-linked businesses were the largest sources of donations with foreign ties, and the money went to both sides of the political spectrum.

The financial intrusions rattled Australian politics. In 2017, Australian Labor Party Senator Sam Dastyari was forced to resign over his ties to Chinese Communist Party-linked donors. 

Beijing sought control and influence in overt ways, too.

Later in 2017, China’s security chief warned Labor leadership the party would risk losing support among Australia’s Chinese diaspora community if it didn’t back an extradition treaty Beijing wanted.

And over the past 18 months, China hit Australia with a series of trade restrictions and tariffs in response to Canberra’s call for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Meanwhile, China was also building its military might in the region, making sweeping claims to the South China Sea and squeezing Hong Kong and Taiwan — moving southward toward Australia. 

The combined effect drew from the entire "wolf-warrior" playbook, named after a popular Chinese action film.


And it backfired.

2021: Break-up complete

Australia, having once extended Beijing a hand of friendship, is now back in the arms of its old associates.

Earlier in September, Canberra announced a wide-ranging security partnership with the U.S. and U.K. The pact, dubbed AUKUS, comes amid a broader Australian attempt to pivot its economy away from China.

“The level of Chinese economic coercion and cyber espionage against Australia was once unimaginable, so our security agencies have learned to consider worst-case possibilities,” said Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at the Australian National University and author of "Indo-Pacific Empire."

AUKUS, he said, “is an alignment made in Beijing.”

Under the new Anglo-American alliance, the U.S., U.K. and Australia have agreed to share advanced technologies with one another, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum computing, underwater systems and long-range strike capabilities. Australia also abandoned a submarine deal with France worth more than €50 billion to acquire American nuclear-powered submarines instead.

“It’s a remarkable collapse in Australia-China relations and a massive deterioration in Australia’s security outlook that’s led to this outcome,” said Michael Shoebridge, a director at the influential Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) think tank, which receives funding from the Australian and other governments.


Xi “caused a trifecta of changes” that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago, Shoebridge said: A shift in Australian policy that deemed nuclear-powered technology too sensitive and expensive as recently as 2016; and a shift in U.S. and U.K. policy that allowed the two nations to share nuclear tech with each other only until recently.

“That’s a pretty radical, remarkable shift in three nations’ politics in just five and a bit years,” Shoebridge added.

Indeed, the change was percolating in 2016 when Canberra blocked bids by two Chinese companies to buy electricity distributor Ausgrid, citing national security concerns. Two years later, Australia fully banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network.

Now, the federal government is considering stripping Chinese company Landbridge of its 99-year lease of the strategically crucial Port of Darwin — only six years after the regional government awarded the contract to the shock of then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

U.S. Marines regularly rotate through Darwin for training exercises, and Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton earlier this year proposed expanding their numbers and forming a joint training brigade with Australian troops.


Dutton warned Canberra must be prepared for whatever lurks “on or below the horizon” amid growing tensions with China.

Where’s the EU?

When Australia tore up its submarine deal with France, President Emmanuel Macron’s instinct was to blame Canberra and Washington.

But what neither Macron — nor the EU leadership — mentioned was the economic and security threat China has posed to Australia in recent years.

It's not that EU officials were oblivious to Beijing's coercive tactics against Canberra. Australia's Trade Minister Dan Tehan, visiting Brussels earlier this year at a time when trade talks were still on a good track, admitted Canberra was keen to have closer trade ties with the EU while facing intense economic pressure from Beijing.

“What I can say is, from an Australian point of view, what we’ve done is to stick true to our principles," Tehan told POLITICO in April. "If that leads to consequences, where we might run into disputes with certain countries, then … we will put out our sovereignty first.”


France is now threatening to cut off trade talks between the EU and Australia, accusing Canberra of being an untrustworthy partner in the wake of AUKUS.

“The complete absence in the current media coverage of whether the seriousness of Australian security concerns were fully appreciated within French circles is symptomatic of a core European shortcoming,” said Alessio Patalano, professor of war at King’s College London.

It’s an omission that longtime observers find glaring.


“The systemic challenge of China hugely outweighs the relationship difficulties between France and Australia,” said ASPI’s Shoebridge.

Did Xi still win?

The fact numerous European leaders swiftly turned on Australia and the U.S. in the wake of the AUKUS announcement has some wondering whether Xi ultimately won out despite losing Australia's goodwill.

According to Shoebridge, that’s a simplistic view. He argues once the dust settles, the EU, including France — will come back to the transatlantic table.

“I don’t think it will play much to China’s favor,” Shoebridge said. “The thing that will keep driving [the West] together are the actions of China under Xi.”

Shoebridge pointed to research that shows the collapse of public perceptions of China around the world.

“Now Xi has to face an Australia with accelerating military capabilities, up to and including nuclear submarines, brought about due to the direction he’s taking China,” he said.


Zoya Sheftalovich reported from Sydney. Stuart Lau reported from Brussels.
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Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2018 on: October 01, 2021, 10:29:15 am »
I hope we will see a more clear pivot in Canada also.

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2019 on: October 01, 2021, 01:04:45 pm »
This could have gone in the AUKUS thread - but it seems like a broader issue, and problem, with Xi's foreign policy style than just Australia. As telling, I think, is the relatively muted regional reception to AUKUS - no-one seems to be protesting it: Indonesia and Vietnam are cautious, Singapore optimistic, Philippines, Japan and India broadly seem to welcome it. I feel like if China had succeeded in building relations in its neighbourhood, instead of scaring its neighbours, we'd see more protests on China's behalf - and I think we would have even 5 years ago:]

Agreed.
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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2020 on: October 01, 2021, 01:10:27 pm »
I hope we will see a more clear pivot in Canada also.
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Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2021 on: October 01, 2021, 01:11:57 pm »
I hope we will see a more clear pivot in Canada also.
Yeah - I think Canada and New Zealand have faced a similar but maybe little bit lighter version of what's happened with Australia. But I think that with more coercion from China that may shift.
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Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2022 on: October 02, 2021, 09:07:35 am »
Looks like there's some internal power-struggles going on - and obviously at the same time I think something like 30 Chinese planes entered Taiwanese airspace which Taiwan says was the largest incursion they've ever seen:
Quote
China anti-graft watchdog probes former justice minister
Reuters

Fu Zhenghua, is pictured during a meeting in Beijing, China on Jan. 17, 2011, when he was head of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING, Oct 2 (Reuters) - China's top anti-corruption watchdog said on Saturday it is investigating a former justice minister, Fu Zhenghua, the latest high-ranking domestic security official to be brought before the authorities in a broad crackdown.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said it suspected Fu of "serious violations of discipline and national laws", in a statement that offered no other details about the investigation.

Fu, a former rising star of law enforcement, and the commission could not be reached for comment.

President Xi Jinping started a campaign of purges of China's domestic security apparatus last year, seeking to ensure police, prosecutors and judges are "absolutely loyal, absolutely pure and absolutely reliable".


In addition to security, industries from tech to entertainment have come under sweeping crackdowns by the authorities in recent months, with celebrities told to be more patriotic, cryptocurrency trading banned and a giant stock market listing halted.

Fu, 66, was deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security before becoming justice minister in 2018. He led a number of high-profile investigations and crackdowns, including a probe into former security czar Zhou Yongkang, who was found guilty of corruption.

Since 2015, he headed an office dedicated to the suppression of what the ruling Communist Party calls "evil cults", including the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong.


Fu's self-described "heavy fist" approach to law enforcement had won him plaudits from Chinese state media, which has previously said his campaigns helped clean up Chinese society and tackle graft.

"Fu might not be able to get any lawyer to represent him," said a political observer who asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. When Fu was the vice head of China's Public Security Ministry, many human rights lawyers were rounded up and imprisoned.

The anti-graft watchdog also said on Thursday that Sun Lijun, a former deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security, was expelled from the party and his post for "serious violations of party discipline and national laws".

Sun had resorted to all means to achieve his political objectives and formed gangs, seriously undermining the unity of the party, it said in a statement.
Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by William Mallard

The line on Fu not being able to get a lawyer having previously targeted many human rights lawyers is sort of what made me post this though... :blush:

Edit: Also - pointed out by Alex Clarkson - and I'm sure people are aware of who it is in China. But it'd be really interesting from the outside to see a list of who has been purged/targeted in the Chinese state and big business in the last 2 years or so because I feel like I've seen a lot of individual stories but nothing looking at the overall picture and it feels like there's been a lot :hmm:
« Last Edit: October 02, 2021, 09:21:22 am by Sheilbh »
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Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2023 on: October 02, 2021, 10:16:59 am »
Live by the politically motivated corruption purge, die by the politically motivated corruption purge, I guess.

Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2024 on: October 02, 2021, 07:43:05 pm »
I see Xi has not enjoyed the Dragon Age franchise :(
Quote
China to ban video games featuring same-sex relationships, ‘effeminate’ men and moral choices
Lily Wakefield
Sat, 2 October 2021, 10:50 am·2-min read

China will ban video games featuring same-sex relationships, ‘effeminate’ men and moral choices, according to a leaked memo.

The internal memo from a recent internal training by the state-backed gaming association was revealed by the South China Morning Post, lays out new restrictions for approving video games in China.

According to the publication, the memo said that video games must not be viewed as “pure entertainment”, and should instead convey “a correct set of values”.

Games that feature queer relationships or “effeminate males”, the memo states, should not be approved for release in China.

“If regulators can’t tell the character’s gender immediately, the setting of the characters could be considered problematic and red flags will be raised,” it added.

Games that allow players to make moral choices between good and evil should also not be approved, according to the memo.

“Some games have blurred moral boundaries,” it said.

“Players can choose to be either good or evil… but we don’t think that games should give players this choice… and this must be altered.”


The memo comes as China increasingly regulates its gaming industry, with the government announcing in August that it would be limiting the amount of time minors can play online games to three hours per week.

China recently banned ‘sissy’ effeminate men from TV

The leaked memo marks the latest move by China to crack down on the perceived decline of traditional “masculinity”.

Last month, China announced that “sissy” effeminate men would be banned being on TV, insisting broadcasters must only “vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture”.

The official instruction was issued to broadcasters in China as part of a “national rejuvenation” campaign by president Xi Jinping to enforce traditional “morality” by tightening government control of business and society.


The government said broadcasters must “resolutely put an end to sissy men and other abnormal aesthetics” on screen.

Really quite intrigued to see the reaction among gamers - especially those annoyed at SJWs within gaming.
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