Sunday, February 25, 2018

China Redidivus

The mountains of Miaoli...
"'Nay, Éomer, you do not fully understand the mind of Master Wormtongue,' said Gandalf, turning his piercing glance upon him. 'He is bold and cunning. Even now he plays a game with peril and wins a throw. Hours of my precious time he has wasted already. Down, snake!' he said suddenly in a terrible voice. 'Down on your belly! How long is it since Saruman bought you? What was the promised price? When all the men were dead, you were to pick your share of the treasure, and take the woman you desire? Too long have you watched her [Eowyn] under your eyelids and haunted her steps.'"
It/s 2018 in the world, but it's 1928 here in Asia. News this week was all bad and trending downhill no matter how hard you squint. Two more western corporations, Lufthansa and British Airways, caved to Beijing and listed "Taiwan, China" on their websites. Many articles in the last two weeks warning that the Vatican will switch to recognition of China.

And Xi Jinping today declared himself emperor, doing away with term limits (Xinhua). Sauron has declared himself openly and is now based in Mordor... and his agents sweep across our nations... Xi has not consolidated his power in order to consolidate his borders. This means war, especially if the economy begins to slide.

China is everywhere... apparently Chinese agents or NZealanders operating on their behalf -- lots of Chinese money flowing into N Zealand -- broke into the house of a well known researcher and critic of Chinese influence ops... here is her commentary on China's influence ops: N Zealand could be the next Albania. Then her house was broken into:
A New Zealand academic who made international waves researching China's international influence campaigns has linked a number of recent break-ins to her work.

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady, speaking today from Christchurch to the Australian Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in Canberra, outlined three recent events which caused her concern.

"I had a break-in in my office last December. I received a warning letter, this week, that I was about to be attacked. And yesterday I had a break-in at my house," she said.

She said this weeks' burglary at her Upper Riccarton home was particularly suspicious.

"I had three laptops - including one used for work - stolen. And phones. [Other] valuables weren't taken. Police are now investigating that."
NZ paper editorialized that the SIS needs to find out who did it... But the key part of that editorial:
Either way, it would be a particularly foolish thing to do as part of an attempt to discredit her. For that reason, the possibility that the break-ins were the work of ordinary criminals cannot be ruled out. But whoever did it has drawn attention to the warnings she has been giving for the past six months. Brady, who speaks Mandarin, believes New Zealand is too receptive to China's influence peddling which involves political donations, cultivating respected public figures and using them to promote China's global interests.

She published her paper just before last year's election and both party leaders played down her concerns. Bill English said, "I don't see any obvious sign of things that are inappropriate." Jacinda Ardern noted Australia had launched an inquiry into foreign political interference and said she would be following it with interest. Brady's testimony of burglaries has got her attention.
Always, when the subject of China comes out, there's a chorus of voices, soothing, patronizing, knowing, that contend that there is really nothing wrong. There's no problem. Your fear of China is overwrought and hysterical. For example, despite information and articles from both the US intelligence community and the academic community on the negative effects of these institutes, including calls that they be closed from major educational associations, universities still host them. Indeed, UCLA defended its Confucius Institute in its uni paper and says it has no plans to close  it. Readers will remember that Ed McCord at GWU defended Confucius Institutes in The Diplomat, with neither the magazine nor McCord informing readers that GWU hosted a Confucius Institute.

That's right. These institutes are well known to be intelligence operations that collection information on academics and students, suppress Taiwan related events and organizations, watch the Chinese student population, and seek to spread China's malign influence. But the UCLA Daily Bruin piece was tweeted around by Michael D. Swaine, of the Carnegie Institute, as a "positive view". Yes, there are people who think it is possible to take a "positive view" of Chinese intelligence operations in the United States.

The Confucius Institutes are just an example. The flow of Chinese money is supporting whole networks of people willing to defend these flows, which means defending China and downplaying the threat, criticizing and marginalizing voices which might oppose China.

But what about the US? You know, imperialism, colonialism, racism. Yeah, whataboutism, that's one of the approaches Chinese defenders, explainers, and downplayers use to deflect criticism of China. Brian H finds this a conceptual problem: fundamentally, the west which for 200 years has done the bullying and extracting and "developing" of other lands now faces an empire which is doing the same thing, and it doesn't have any way to talk about that.

Watching China's money flow hither and yon, Chinese influence spreading in ways too vast to track, and chronicling the endless flow of failures in the west to stem the tide or deal rationally and steadfastly with what is obviously the greatest threat the west has ever faced, I feel more and more like Villani...

“And the plague lasted until . . .”

Donovan: Why Taiwan Should be Terrified of Emperor Xi
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Grant said...

Terrifying implications. Also made himself number 1 enemy of the old China leaders. Xi will probably be busy with domestic issues for a few years as he throws out more officials. After that...

Ilya said...

What do you think we the general public could do about this, I mean the airlines thing? My gut feeling is that an open letter or something similar is urgently needed. I mean, it's all too easy to hear these news again and again and still do nothing about it, but the things are already way too serious here.

Anonymous said...

This is actually the best time for Taiwan. Taiwan is no longer an international pariah state. Just take a look at Foreign Policy website. "Globalization Has Created a Chinese Monster"