Author Topic: The China Thread  (Read 151407 times)

Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2040 on: October 04, 2021, 11:28:12 am »
I would say it is more concerning then as what will come next.

These kinds of things tend to escalate. When you are trying to distract the people with other bullshit, and you are a nationalistic, authoritarian state, that tends to not end with bitching about media. It tends to end with bangie-bangie-shooty-shooty.

I don't think war is inevitable, but it's definitely part of the possible trajectory. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the need for Zhongnanhai to look strong to it's own population results in "robust action", leading to loss of lives. I mean, it's already happened on the border with India. It's certainly not far fetched that it'll happen elsewhere, and neither is it far fetched that it could escalate faster and more unfortunately than desired.

On one hand, China continues to up-arm so, them, the later any real conflict happens the better. Similarly, I believe Zhongnanhai analysts consider the West to be in decline (though if there are more steps like AUKUS, they may be less confident about that).

On the other hand, the internal logic of the regime as they continue along the "internal enemies to distract from internal flaws" may push the need for greater confrontation forward.

grumbler

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2041 on: October 04, 2021, 11:48:04 am »
"Donald Trump with Chinese characteristics."
The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.   -G'Kar

Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2042 on: October 04, 2021, 11:48:46 am »
"Donald Trump with Chinese characteristics."

:lol:

The Larch

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2043 on: October 04, 2021, 12:28:52 pm »
Is the "no sissy men" rule a way to get rid of K-Pop male bands?

Not only, but yes they're definitely part of that.

Well, if a short while ago they also went against "fan culture" it'd seem to me that this is, in part, a concerted attack on popular youth culture (gaming, celebrities, soap operas, K pop...)

Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2044 on: October 04, 2021, 12:34:59 pm »
Well, if a short while ago they also went against "fan culture" it'd seem to me that this is, in part, a concerted attack on popular youth culture (gaming, celebrities, soap operas, K pop...)

Absolutely. I think it's about getting rid of popular groupings that may shape opinion outside of party control. Venture capitalists and tech-bros as much as celebrity culture. When groups of people starts saying "[this person] we really really admire said [this], it's so profound" Xi's CCP gets concerned if they're outside party control - whether [this person] is a swoony male idol, Jack Ma, a spokesperson for LGTBQ+ perspective, or someone else.

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2045 on: October 04, 2021, 09:00:53 pm »
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:
Apparently over 50 Chinese planes entering Taiwanese airspace today :ph34r:
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mongers

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2046 on: October 04, 2021, 09:25:56 pm »
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:

Apparently over 50 Chinese planes entering Taiwanese airspace today :ph34r:

Shelf it's not Taiwanese airspace, all the 'incursions' have taken place within international airspace, but within their self-declared defence zone; areas many countries define as being zones where they will monitor military traffic and response with non-violent defence measures.

Though that's not to say the Chinese sabre-rattling isn't concerning.
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Tyr

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2047 on: October 04, 2021, 09:27:06 pm »
[


But what I wonder is if gaming studios will go the Hollywood way and bend over to please China.  They might even released a censored version for the chinese market and the regular version for our market.

Would be nice to see them go down the south park stick of truth path. Thats how censorship should be done.

Though, is China really such a significant market for games?
I had understood piracy was absolutely rampant there so it's only really stuff that relies on micro transactions et al which makes money there - Chinese players are big on buying expensive skins and the like to show off how rich they are.
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The Minsky Moment

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2048 on: October 04, 2021, 09:35:10 pm »
. Similarly, I believe Zhongnanhai analysts consider the West to be in decline

The West has been in decline for at least 99 years; wouldn't take much comfort in that.
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Sheilbh

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2049 on: October 06, 2021, 12:00:42 pm »
Update on the power map:


This is definitely going to feed into global supplies of - I imagine - everything at some point.
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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2050 on: October 09, 2021, 05:47:03 pm »
First confirmed case of a US company contracting with the Xinjiang government to transport Uyghur workers on their plant in another part of China - basically contracting to transport forced labour:
https://www.reuters.com/world/china/exclusive-us-electronics-firm-struck-deal-transport-hire-uyghur-workers-2021-10-07/

It makes remote controls and supplies Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, LG and others.
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Valmy

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2051 on: October 11, 2021, 07:53:03 am »
Well what can you do? They are bound by their fiduciary obligations to generate value for their shareholders.
If we can hit that bull's-eye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

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Jacob

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2052 on: October 15, 2021, 05:23:57 pm »
Interesting read in Foreign Policy.

The primary argument (packaged with a bunch of historical analogies potentially of interest to languishites): China is a power that was rising, but is peaking. There is an increased risk of great power conflict between China and the US not because China is on a path to supercede the US (unless the US fucks itself over), but because China is in its strongest position vis-a-vis the US right now and may be tempted to "lock in" any potential gains before the window to strike closes more firmly.

Quote
The idea of a Thucydides Trap, popularized by Harvard political scientist Graham Allison, holds that the danger of war will skyrocket as a surging China overtakes a sagging America. Even Chinese President Xi Jinping has endorsed the concept arguing Washington must make room for Beijing. As tensions between the United States and China escalate, the belief that the fundamental cause of friction is a looming “power transition”—the replacement of one hegemon by another—has become canonical.

The only problem with this familiar formula is that it’s wrong.

The Thucydides Trap doesn’t really explain what caused the Peloponnesian War. It doesn’t capture the dynamics that have often driven revisionist powers—whether that is Germany in 1914 or Japan in 1941—to start some of history’s most devastating conflicts. And it doesn’t explain why war is a very real possibility in U.S.-China relations today because it fundamentally misdiagnoses where China now finds itself on its arc of development—the point at which its relative power is peaking and will soon start to fade.

There’s indeed a deadly trap that could ensnare the United States and China. But it’s not the product of a power transition the Thucydidean cliché says it is. It’s best thought of instead as a “peaking power trap.” And if history is any guide, it’s China’s—not the United States’—impending decline that could cause it to snap shut.


Quote
This is the real trap the United States should worry about regarding China today—the trap in which an aspiring superpower peaks and then refuses to bear the painful consequences of descent.

China’s rise is no mirage: Decades of growth have given Beijing the economic sinews of global power. Major investments in key technologies and communications infrastructure have yielded a strong position in the struggle for geoeconomic influence; China is using a multi-continent Belt and Road Initiative to bring other states into its orbit. Most alarming, think tank assessments and U.S. Defense Department reports show China’s increasingly formidable military now stands a real chance of winning a war against the United States in the Western Pacific.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that China has also developed the ambitions of a superpower: Xi has more or less announced that Beijing desires to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan, the South China Sea, and other disputed areas, becoming Asia’s preeminent power and challenging the United States for global leadership. Yet if China’s geopolitical window of opportunity is real, its future is already starting to look quite grim because it is quickly losing the advantages that propelled its rapid growth.

From the 1970s to the 2000s, China was nearly self-sufficient in food, water, and energy resources. It enjoyed the greatest demographic dividend in history, with 10 working-age adults for every senior citizen aged 65 or older. (For most major economies, the average is closer to 5 working-age adults for every senior citizen.) China had a secure geopolitical environment and easy access to foreign markets and technology, all underpinned by friendly relations with the United States. And China’s government skillfully harnessed these advantages by carrying out a process of economic reform and opening while also moving the regime from stifling totalitarianism under former Chinese leader Mao Zedong to a smarter—if still deeply repressive—form of authoritarianism under his successors. China had it all from the 1970s to the early 2010s—just the mix of endowments, environment, people, and policies needed to thrive.

Since the late 2000s, however, the drivers of China’s rise have either stalled or turned around entirely. For example, China is running out of resources: Water has become scarce, and the country is importing more energy and food than any other nation, having ravaged its own natural resources. Economic growth is therefore becoming costlier: According to data from DBS Bank, it takes three times as many inputs to produce a unit of growth today as it did in the early 2000s.

China is also approaching a demographic precipice: From 2020 to 2050, it will lose an astounding 200 million working-age adults—a population the size of Nigeria—and gain 200 million senior citizens. The fiscal and economic consequences will be devastating: Current projections suggest China’s medical and social security spending will have to triple as a share of GDP, from 10 percent to 30 percent, by 2050 just to prevent millions of seniors from dying of impoverishment and neglect.

China is also approaching a demographic precipice: From 2020 to 2050, it will lose an astounding 200 million working-age adults—a population the size of Nigeria—and gain 200 million senior citizens.

To make matters worse, China is turning away from the package of policies that promoted rapid growth. Under Xi, Beijing has slid back toward totalitarianism. Xi has appointed himself “chairman of everything,” destroyed any semblance of collective rule, and made adherence to “Xi Jinping thought” the ideological core of an increasingly rigid regime. And he has relentlessly pursued the centralization of power at the expense of economic prosperity.

State zombie firms are being propped up while private firms are starved of capital. Objective economic analysis is being replaced by government propaganda. Innovation is becoming more difficult in a climate of stultifying ideological conformity. Meanwhile, Xi’s brutal anti-corruption campaign has deterred entrepreneurship, and a wave of politically driven regulations has erased more than $1 trillion from the market capitalization of China’s leading tech firms. Xi hasn’t simply stopped the process of economic liberalization that powered China’s development: He has thrown it hard into reverse.

The economic damage these trends are causing is starting to accumulate—and it is compounding the slowdown that would have occurred anyway as a fast-growing economy matures. The Chinese economy has been losing steam for more than a decade: The country’s official growth rate declined from 14 percent in 2007 to 6 percent in 2019, and rigorous studies suggest the true growth rate is now closer to 2 percent. Worse, most of that growth stems from government stimulus spending. According to data from the Conference Board, total factor productivity declined 1.3 percent every year on average between 2008 and 2019, meaning China is spending more to produce less each year. This has led, in turn, to massive debt: China’s total debt surged eight-fold between 2008 and 2019 and exceeded 300 percent of GDP prior to COVID-19. Any country that has accumulated debt or lost productivity at anything close to China’s current pace has subsequently suffered at least one “lost decade” of near-zero economic growth.

All of this is happening, moreover, as China confronts an increasingly hostile external environment. The combination of COVID-19, persistent human rights abuses, and aggressive policies have caused negative views of China to reach levels not seen since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Countries worried about Chinese competition have slapped thousands of new trade barriers on its goods since 2008. More than a dozen countries have dropped out of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative while the United States wages a global campaign against key Chinese tech companies—notably, Huawei—and rich democracies across multiple continents throw up barriers to Beijing’s digital influence. The world is becoming less conducive to easy Chinese growth, and Xi’s regime increasingly faces the sort of strategic encirclement that once drove German and Japanese leaders to desperation.

Case in point is U.S. policy. Over the past five years, two U.S. presidential administrations have committed the United States to a policy of “competition”—really, neo-containment—vis-à-vis China. U.S. defense strategy is now focused squarely on defeating Chinese aggression in the Western Pacific; Washington is using an array of trade and technological sanctions to check Beijing’s influence and limit its prospects for economic primacy. “Once imperial America considers you as their ‘enemy,’ you’re in big trouble,” one senior People’s Liberation Army officer warned. Indeed, the United States has also committed to orchestrating greater global resistance to Chinese power, a campaign that is starting to show results as more and more countries respond to the threat from Beijing.

In maritime Asia, resistance to Chinese power is stiffening. Taiwan is boosting military spending and laying plans to turn itself into a strategic porcupine in the Western Pacific. Japan is carrying out its biggest military buildup since the end of the Cold War and has agreed to back the United States if China attacks Taiwan. The countries around the South China Sea, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, are beefing up their air, naval, and coast guard forces to contest China’s expansive claims.

Other countries are pushing back against Beijing’s assertiveness as well. Australia is expanding northern bases to accommodate U.S. ships and aircraft and building long-range conventional missiles and nuclear-powered attack submarines. India is massing forces on its border with China while sending warships through the South China Sea. The European Union has labeled Beijing a “systemic rival,” and Europe’s three greatest powers—France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—have dispatched naval task forces to the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. A variety of multilateral anti-China initiatives—the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue; supply chain alliances; the new so-called AUKUS alliance with Washington, London, and Canberra; and others—are in the works. The United States’ “multilateral club strategy,” hawkish and well-connected scholar Yan Xuetong acknowledged in July, is “isolating China” and hurting its development.

No doubt, counter-China cooperation has remained imperfect. But the overall trend is clear: An array of actors is gradually joining forces to check Beijing’s power and put it in a strategic box. China, in other words, is not a forever-ascendant country. It is an already-strong, enormously ambitious, and deeply troubled power whose window of opportunity won’t stay open for long.

...


https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/09/24/china-great-power-united-states/

Separate from the main argument, there's this bit as well: "Most alarming, think tank assessments and U.S. Defense Department reports show China’s increasingly formidable military now stands a real chance of winning a war against the United States in the Western Pacific."

How real is that?

grumbler

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2053 on: October 15, 2021, 06:07:15 pm »
Separate from the main argument, there's this bit as well: "Most alarming, think tank assessments and U.S. Defense Department reports show China’s increasingly formidable military now stands a real chance of winning a war against the United States in the Western Pacific."

How real is that?

I think that China's new hardware is impressive in both capabilities and numbers, but I question whether they have had it long enough to work out the doctrine, training, and maintenance to make it fully effective.  The real question is whether or not the Chinese leadership thinks that they are powerful enough to win against the US-led alliance.  The USSR vastly over-estimated the effectiveness of their military when they allied with Hitler and found out how wrong they were the hard way.
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The Minsky Moment

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Re: The China Thread
« Reply #2054 on: October 15, 2021, 06:16:01 pm »
The primary argument (packaged with a bunch of historical analogies potentially of interest to languishites): China is a power that was rising, but is peaking.

Maybe.

The 2 big arguments here are debt and demographics.

People have been doom-saying about China's debt levels for decades now.  If there is an argument about unsustainability I don't see it clearly articulated here. And the US is hardly debt free

"The country’s official growth rate declined from 14 percent in 2007 to 6 percent in 2019"  - that's statistical cherry-picking - 2007 was a peak blip.  Looking at per capita growth, it goes from the 7-10 percent range in the late 90s and early oughts to the 6-7 percent range last decade. That's a pretty graceful decline and what one would expect.  And it's still much faster than the leading OECD countries.

"Rigorous studies suggest the true growth rate is now closer to 2 percent." - I guess they are so rigorous that actual citation is superfluous?  This is another China trope that goes back decades - that the growth numbers are way lower than reported.  The transformation of China's cities suggests otherwise.

"China is also approaching a demographic precipice: From 2020 to 2050, it will lose an astounding 200 million working-age adults—a population the size of Nigeria—and gain 200 million senior citizens."  - That is admittedly a significant issue, but one that will play out over decades not years.  And even after losing 200 million working age people, China will still have far more than any country other than India.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2021, 06:21:16 pm by The Minsky Moment »
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