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THAAD
Mrz 20th, 2017 by Gao

Mel Gurtov: Diplomatic Remedies for THAAD Madness: The US, China and the Two Koreas (Japan Focus)

The US decision, supported by the South Korean government, to deploy an antimissile system known as THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) may be one of the most thoughtless strategic moves in a generation. The official US justification is that close-in defense against North Korean missiles is necessary to protect South Korea. But the deployment is having more than a few negative repercussions: an argument in China for increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile; an incentive in North Korea for continuing to develop its long-range missile capability; a deep fissure in China-South Korea relations; a roiling of South Korean politics at a time when its corrupt president has been impeached; and a new source of tension in already fraught Sino-US relations.

U.S. Deploys Missile System Amid Rising Tensions with N. Korea (Democracy Now)

Tensions are rising between the United States, North Korea and China, threatening to create the first significant national security crisis of the Trump presidency. This week, the United States began deploying a missile defense system to South Korea, sparking warnings from Chinese officials who say the U.S. is escalating a regional arms race. The U.S. says the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, known as THAAD, seeks to protect South Korea amid a series of recent missile tests launched by North Korea…
The deployment of the U.S. missile system is widely opposed by both South Koreans, who have been protesting against U.S. militarization, and by Chinese officials, who say the missile system actually aims to counter China’s military power in the region, not to contain North Korea.
Chinese officials are calling for both an end to North Korea’s nuclear program and an end to joint U.S. and South Korean military drills.

Bruce Cumings, Amy Goodman: North Korea Timed Recent Missile Test to Take Place During Trump-Abe Dinner (Democracy Now)

North Korea tested a ballistic missile last month, sparking widespread international condemnation. The test was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. North Korea claimed the test was a successful launch of an intermediate-range missile. The test came while Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the weekend at the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Christine Ahn, Bruce Cumings, Amy Goodman: China Warns U.S. & North Korea Are Set for „Head-On“ Collision Amid Rising Tensions & Provocations (Democracy Now)

The political upheaval in South Korea comes shortly after North Korea test-fired several ballistic missiles. In response, the Trump administration announced it would deploy a missile defense system to South Korea. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops, backed by warships and warplanes, are currently engaging in a massive military exercise. Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that the U.S. and North Korea are like two „accelerating trains coming toward each other.“ He called on both sides to de-escalate tensions.

David E. Sanger, William J. Broad: Trump Inherits a Secret Cyberwar Against North Korean Missiles (New York Times) / 트럼프가 물려받은 유산: 북한 미사일에 대응하는 비밀 사이버戰 / 特朗普接手的秘密计划:网络攻击破坏朝鲜导弹?

Three years ago, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon officials to step up their cyber and electronic strikes against North Korea’s missile program in hopes of sabotaging test launches in their opening seconds…
An examination of the Pentagon’s disruption effort, based on interviews with officials of the Obama and Trump administrations as well as a review of extensive but obscure public records, found that the United States still does not have the ability to effectively counter the North Korean nuclear and missile programs…
In two meetings of Mr. Trump’s national security deputies in the Situation Room, the most recent on Tuesday, all those options were discussed, along with the possibility of reintroducing nuclear weapons to South Korea as a dramatic warning…
The White House is also looking at pre-emptive military strike options, a senior Trump administration official said, …

Papiertiger Trump
Feb 11th, 2017 by Gao

Tom Phillips: ‚Brutal, amoral, ruthless, cheating‘: how Trump’s new trade tsar sees China (Guardian, 22. Dezember)

The United States and China will fight a war within the next 10 years over islands in the South China Sea, and “there’s no doubt about that”. At the same time, the US will be in another “major” war in the Middle East.
Those are the views – nine months ago at least – of one of the most powerful men in Donald Trump’s administration, Steve Bannon, the former head of far-right news website Breitbart who is now chief strategist at the White House.

The Chinese government is a despicable, parasitic, brutal, brass-knuckled, crass, callous, amoral, ruthless and totally totalitarian imperialist power that reigns over the world’s leading cancer factory, its most prolific propaganda mill and the biggest police state and prison on the face of the earth.
That is the view of Peter Navarro, the man chosen by Donald Trump to lead a new presidential office for US trade and industrial policy, a move likely to add to Beijing’s anxieties over the billionaire’s plans for US-China relations.

Benjamin Haas: Steve Bannon: ‚We’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt‘ (Guardian, 2. Februar)
Tom Phillips: Donald Trump and China on dangerous collision course, say experts (Guardian, 7. Februar)

For the last 18 months a taskforce of prominent China experts, some of whom have dealt with Beijing for more than 50 years, has been formulating a series of recommendations on how the incoming White House should conduct relations with the world’s second largest economy.
The group’s report, which was handed to the White House on Sunday and will be published in Washington DC on Tuesday, says ties between the two nuclear-armed countries could rapidly deteriorate into an economic or even military confrontation if compromise on issues including trade, Taiwan and the South China Sea cannot be found.

AFP: South China Sea: US reports ‚unsafe encounter‘ with Chinese military aircraft (Guardian, 10. Februar)

A Chinese military aircraft had an “unsafe” encounter with a US navy surveillance aircraft near a contested reef in the South China Sea, according to the US Pacific command.
The two planes came within 1,000ft (300 meters) of each other during Wednesday’s incident near the Scarborough shoal, which is claimed by both the Philippines and China, according to Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.

Und dann löst sich alles in Wohlgefallen auf?

Tom Phillips: Trump agrees to support ‚One China‘ policy in Xi Jinping call (Guardian, 10. Februar)

Donald Trump has held his first telephone conversation with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, since entering the White House, telling the Communist party leader he will not challenge Beijing by upending longstanding US policy towards Taiwan.
In a brief statement the White House said the leaders of the world’s two largest economies had held a “lengthy” and “extremely cordial” telephone call on Thursday evening in which “numerous topics” were discussed…
The cordial encounter follows an “unsafe” one on Wednesday in the South China Sea between a Chinese aircraft and a US Navy patrol plane. US Pacific Command spokesman Robert Shuford said on Friday the “interaction” between a Chinese KJ-200 early warning aircraft and a US Navy P-3C plane happened in international airspace but did not say what was regarded as unsafe.

Simon Tisdall: China U-turn is latest sign Trump may turn out to be a paper tiger (Guardian)

Is Donald Trump turning out to be a paper tiger? China’s rulers might be forgiven for thinking so after the US president performed a U-turn on Taiwan, but the shift did not come out of the blue.
Trump’s approach to a range of key international issues has softened significantly since he took office, suggesting a lurch towards conformity and away from disruption. His acceptance of the One China policy, under which Washington does not challenge Beijing’s claim to what it deems a breakaway province, was a stunning reversal, contradicting previous suggestions he would pursue closer ties with Taiwan.

Philippinen | Thailand | Korea
Okt 24th, 2016 by Gao

Anthony V. Rinna: Can Duterte’s diplomacy have it all? (East Asia Forum)

Less than six months into his tenure as President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has embarked on what even he considers to be risky foreign policy moves. In September 2016, he declared that he is about to ‘cross the Rubicon’ in the Philippines’ relationship with the United States.
The ‘crossing’ Duterte refers to is his plan to enhance the Philippines’ relationships with Russia and China.

Greg Raymond: What’s wrong with the United States’ Southeast Asian allies? (East Asia Forum)

The Philippines and Thailand are not acting like US treaty allies are supposed to. While the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte seems somewhat of an outlier, his anti-Americanism is only the latest instalment of instability in the US–Philippines relationship. Thai–US relations have also suffered since the 2014 military coup and Thailand now appears to be seeking closer military ties with China. But these countries’ disagreements with the United States do not necessarily mean they want a change to the status quo in Asia.

Andrei Lankov: Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea (East Asia Forum)

North Korea has done it again. On 9 October they conducted yet another nuclear test, so far the most powerful and arguably the most successful. To make matters worse, there are good reasons to expect that another test is in the making.

Nidhi Prasad: Japan’s nuclear insurance against North Korea (East Asia Forum)

George Shultz’s axiom that ‘proliferation begets proliferation’ appears to be contested in East Asia. North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on 9 September, leaving its non-nuclear Asian neighbours vexed. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe termed it ‘totally unacceptable’ and has called for strict sanctions. But the international fear of North Korea’s nuclear tests triggering a chain of nuclear tests in East Asia or the rise of a nuclear tsunami seems to have been dispelled with the United States’ Asian allies favouring ‘strategic assurance’.

Arbeitskämpfe | Sprachenpolitik | Inselstreit
Aug 28th, 2016 by Gao

Tricky Footwork-the struggle of labour rights in the Chinese shoe industry (Globalization Monitor)

Collected in interviews conducted in 2015 for this study, testimonies attest to the fact that labour law violations are still a common phenomenon in the Chinese leather and footwear industry. The people who work at the factories that supply European brands such as Adidas, Clarks and ECCO told us of, among other infringements, salaries that are far below a living wage, involuntary overtime, insufficient protection from health and safety risks, insufficient protection for young workers, disrespectful treatment of workers, no right to assembly, state violence to suppress strikes, unpaid social insurance contributions and insufficient severance payments.
All of the above is happening despite the fact that China has very progressive labour laws, especially in comparison with other producing countries.

Matthew Carney: The Labours of Mr Zhang (ABC)

Zhang Ziru has lost count of how many times he has been arrested. One week he remembers it was five times. He lives under constant police surveillance. He has moved away from his family to keep them safe.
Such are the occupational hazards for the labour activist who has helped organise some of China’s biggest strikes.

Gerald Roche: The politics of language on the Tibetan plateau (Little Red Podcast / Soundcloud)

The South China Sea is an important world energy trade route (U. S. Energy Information Administration)

Stretching from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca chokepoint in the southwest to the Strait of Taiwan in the northeast, the South China Sea is one of the most important energy trade routes in the world. Almost a third of global crude oil and over half of global liquefied natural gas (LNG) passes through the South China Sea each year.
The Strait of Malacca is the shortest sea route between African and Persian Gulf suppliers and Asian consumers. The strait is a critical transit chokepoint and has become increasingly important over the last two decades. In 1993, about 7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and petroleum products (20% of world seaborne oil trade) passed through the Strait of Malacca …

Jeremy Bender: The only chart you need to see to know that the South China Sea is one of the most militarized regions in the world (Business Insider)

China, by far, has the largest military force in the region. As such, Beijing could force its claims over the South China Sea against the wishes of the other nations involved in the dispute due to both its economic and military size.

Pepe Escobar: The Real Secret of the South China Sea (Sputnik)

The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.
To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

Below the Winds: What Do the Island Disputes Really Mean to Vietnamese & Chinese Workers? (Chuang)

Chinese control over the South China Sea would to some extent entail Chinese control over Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese capital. These three countries are longstanding American allies, and it stands to reason that should China be determined to dominate the South China Sea as a territorial water, thereby dominating one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, an American allied coalition may be dragged into conflict.

Peter Symonds: The Hague ruling: A dangerous step toward war (World Socialist Website)

In the wake of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s sweeping ruling on Tuesday in The Hague, negating all Chinese maritime claims in the South China Sea, there has been a chorus of US-led condemnations of China’s “illegal activities,” demands that Beijing abide by the court decision and calls for US diplomatic and military action to enforce the verdict.

Robert Fitzthum: Der Konflikt in der South China Sea im geostrategischen Kontext (PDF, Labournet Austria)

Mehr als 11.000 km vom amerikanischen Festland entfernt proben US-Flugzeugträger, Lenkwaffenkreuzer sowie EP-3 Spionageflugzeuge in der South China Sea die ‚Freedom of Navigation‘. Erstaunlicherweise passieren jährlich ca. 100.000 Transportschiffe und viele Verkehrsflugzeuge dieses Gebiet, ohne dass man bisher von Problemen in der Freiheit der Passage durch die South China Sea gehört hatte. Die USA werfen China aggressives Verhalten im Zusammenhang mit der Schaffung von künstlichen Inseln und ziviler und militärischer Einrichtungen vor. Ein Jahrzehnte alter, regional allseits bewusst niedrig gehaltener Konflikt über die Hoheits- und Nutzungsrechte an Inseln, Riffen, Felsen, Meeresgebieten u.ä. wird derzeit als großes Problem hochgekocht und man fragt sich, warum ist das der Fall.

Jacques deLisle: The South China Sea Arbitration Decision: China Fought the Law, and the Law Won….Or Did It? (Foreign Policy Research Institute)

When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued its unanimous decision on July 12 in the case that the Philippines had filed against the People’s Republic of China two and a half years earlier, the Court set forth: a stunning repudiation of several of China’s key legal arguments and much of its real-world behavior in the disputed South China Sea; a remarkable affirmation of the core elements of US policy and strategy toward the contested maritime region and China’s claims and actions therein; and a striking assertion of the reach and capacity of international law and formal dispute resolution procedures. Yet, as with so much else concerning the South China Sea, China’s relations with its neighbors, US policy toward China, and international law, the implications of the decision are a good deal more ambiguous and ambivalent. In the aftermath of the decision, China is faced with difficult choices, the US with complex dilemmas, and international law with substantial peril.

Minxin Pei: Why China’s elites worry about the country’s future (Nikkei Asian Review)

[I]f you meet Chinese businessmen, academics or government officials who are willing to share their candid opinions in private, most will tell you they have no idea where China is going. Several recent important developments create the same sense of bewilderment about China’s overall direction.

Walmart | Japan
Jul 11th, 2016 by Gao

Kevin Lin: In China, Walmart Retail Workers Walk Out over Unfair Scheduling (Labor Notes)

About 70 Walmart workers began a wildcat strike July 1 against an unpopular new flexible scheduling system. They are reacting against a campaign of intimidation by Walmart China, which has been trying to coerce store workers to accept the new schedules since May…
From 1996 to the mid-2000s, Zhou says, Walmart workers were comparatively well-paid—making more than three times the average salary of workers in Shenzhen, a factory city created to produce for export.
But with rapid inflation over the past decade, Walmart’s real wages and benefits have fallen to only a third of the Shenzhen average. The same is true elsewhere in China.
Today Walmart wages are not significantly higher than local minimum wages. After paying their social security contributions, worker may even be making less than minimum wage—and certainly way below a decent living wage.

Strikes at Walmart stores in China begin to spread (China Labour Bulletin)

More than 200 workers from at least three Walmart stores in China went on strike over the weekend in protest against the company’s introduction of a comprehensive working hours system. The workers also called for new trade union elections.
On 1 July, at least 130 workers at Store No. 5782 in Nanchang, Jiangxi, began marching through the store, chanting “Walmart Workers Stand Up!” and “No to the Comprehensive Working Hours System!” Workers had discovered the previous day that the company had unilaterally enforced the new working hours system against their wishes. The workers said management might now use the new system to punish activists by cutting their overtime pay.
In solidarity, some 30 workers at Store No. 2039 in the same city and another 60 employees at Store No.0209 in Chengdu, Sichuan, walked out on 2 July and 4 July respectively.

Made in China, 2. Ausgabe (PDF, chinoiserie.info)

A Quarterly on Chinese Labour, Civil Society, and Rights

Lily Kuo: African migrants are returning from China and telling their compatriots not to go (Quartz)

When Lamin Ceesay, an energetic 25-year-old from Gambia, arrived in China last year, he thought his life had made a turn for the better. As the oldest of four siblings, he was responsible for caring for his family, especially after his father passed away. But jobs were few in his hometown of Tallinding Kunjang, outside of the Gambian capital of Banjul. After hearing about China’s rise, his uncle sold off his taxi business and the two of them bought a ticket and a paid local visa dealer to get them to China.

William Nee: China’s Disturbing Detention of Hong Kong Booksellers (Diplomat)

A recently returned bookseller has decided to speak out, with some disturbing revelations.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: World faces deflation shock as China devalues yuan at accelerating pace (Telegraph)

China has abandoned a solemn pledge to keep its exchange rate stable and is carrying out a systematic devaluation of the yuan, sending a powerful deflationary impulse through a global economy already caught in a 1930s trap.
The country’s currency basket has been sliding at an annual pace of 12pc since the start of the year. This has picked up sharply since the Brexit vote, suggesting that the People’s Bank (PBOC) may be taking advantage of the distraction to push through a sharper devaluation.

Alexander Billet: Super Official Marx (Jacobin)

The Chinese Communist Party put out a hip-hop track praising Karl Marx. It’s as bad as you would expect.

Korea | Inselstreit
Jun 27th, 2016 by Gao

Johnny Erling: Nordkorea: Kim provoziert mit Doppelraketentest

Nordkoreas Machthaber Kim Jong-un schlug zum richtigen Zeitpunkt gleich doppelt zu. Den UN-Sanktionen zum Trotz forderte er wieder einmal alle Welt heraus – mit zwei Raketentests kurz hintereinander, und das, obwohl die Vereinten Nationen solche Tests seinem Land verboten haben. … Kim befahl den ersten Test nach Angaben der südkoreanischen Nachrichtenagentur Yonhap Mittwochfrüh um 5.58 Uhr. Er ließ eine Mittelstreckenrakete vom Typ Musudan von der Ostküste Nordkoreas abschießen. US- und südkoreanisches Militär sehen in ihr eine potenzielle Trägerwaffe, die künftig mit einem Atomsprengkopf bestückt werden könnte. Mit einer Reichweite von 3000 bis 4000 Kilometern erreicht sie angeblich jeden Punkt in Japan und bedroht auch US-Stellungen auf Guam und in Alaska. …
Südkoreas Verteidigungsbehörden nannten den Test „misslungen“. Das Geschoß sei 150 Kilometer vom Start entfernt ins Meer gestürzt. Seit April ist es der inzwischen fünfte Fehlschlag in Folge. Doch um 8.05 Uhr zündete Nordkorea eine zweite Musudan. Sie soll laut Yonhap rund 400 Kilometer weit gekommen sein.

Justin McCurry: North Korea: UN security council ‚to meet‘ after missile tests (Guardian)

The missiles are usually test-fired at a flatter angle to maximise their range, according to Jeffrey Lewis at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California. “That suggests the missile worked perfectly,” he said. “Had it been fired at its normal angle, it would have flown to its full range.”…
It was not immediately clear whether Pyongyang considered the second Musudan launch a success or failure, or how the flight ended.

Pepe Escobar: Beijing goes mobile in the South China Sea (RT)

Not a day goes by without some sort of turmoil in the South China Sea. Let’s cut to the chase: war is not about to break out.

Scenarios of the Coming Crisis: A Response to Aufheben’s “The Crisis: Afterword” (Chuang)

In China, official politics is a game of arcane signals. Predicting tectonic shifts in policy requires that one read the seismic shudders buried beneath terse statements issued by poker-faced officials. Slight changes in terminology may hint at sliding allegiances or new waves of repression. The most significant signals, however, take the form of interviews with anonymous oracles—almost always an “authoritative person”—their words propagated by the state’s highest media organs without attribution. The more such oracles speak, the greater the magnitude of the coming “intervention.” Such proclamations also often signal internal disagreements within the seemingly monolithic Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With the slowing of economic growth, such disagreements have been exacerbated, as the top leadership debates the future of the economic reforms that have led China into a commanding role within global circuits of capital accumulation.

Qiao Long, Wong Lok-to, Luisetta Mudie: Chinese Blogger Who Compiled Protest Data Missing, Believed Detained (Radio Free Asia)

Kulturrevolution – Fellner, Brown, Wemheuer, Mai/Chou, Rittenberg, Wasserstrom
Mai 15th, 2016 by Gao

Hannes Fellner: »Rebellion ist gerechtfertigt« (junge Welt)

Die »Große Proletarische Kulturrevolution« war ein Zeitabschnitt in der Geschichte der Volksrepublik China, der widersprüchlicher nicht sein konnte. Die Kulturrevolution stand und steht gleichzeitig für Voluntarismus und diktatorische Maßnahmen von den um Mao Zedong versammelten Kadern der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas (KPCh), aber auch für eine partizipative und demokratische Massenbewegung. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für gesellschaftliches Chaos und Not, aber auch für ökonomischen, sozialen und kulturellen Fortschritt, welcher die Grundlagen für den Wirtschaftsboom des Landes ab den späten 1970er Jahren legte. Sie stand und steht gleichzeitig für Chinas Besinnung nach innen und seine internationale Isolation, aber auch für den Beginn seines Aufstiegs zur Weltmacht.

Ian Johnson: Jeremy Brown on the Cultural Revolution at the Grass Roots | 50周年纪念之外,被忽略的文革历史 (New York Times)

Jeremy Brown, 39, a history professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, studied in Harbin and did research in Tianjin, focusing especially on the rural-urban divide in China under Mao Zedong. Most recently, he helped edit “Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China’s Era of High Socialism.” In an interview, he discussed the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, what we miss in elite-focused narratives from that time and his pursuit of flea-market historiography.

Felix Wemheuer: 50 Jahre Kulturrevolution: Der Kampf geht weiter (Deutsche Welle)

50 Jahre nach dem Ausbruch der „Großen Proletarischen Kulturrevolution“ [hat] die chinesische Gesellschaft noch immer keinen Konsens gefunden, wie Maos Massenbewegung zu beurteilen ist.

Felix Wemheuer: Kulturrevolution und die Neue Linke im Westen (Deutsche Welle)
Jun Mai, Oliver Chou: Cultural Revolution, 50 years on (South China Morning Post)

Fifty years ago today, China issued a top directive calling on its people to rid society of “members of the bourgeoisie threatening to seize political power from the proletariat” – marking the start of a decade-long violent class struggle.
For 10 tumultuous years from 1966, the country underwent massive sociopolitical upheaval that saw countless politicians and intellectuals driven to their deaths, civilians killed in armed conflicts, and cultural relics and artefacts destroyed. The official death toll numbered more than 1.7 million.

Wen Liu: Sidney Rittenberg on Cultural Revolution 50 years later, its violence, its lessons (WA China Watch Digest)

This website was not meant to be this political. But one cannot watch China and skip a historic date, May 16, the 50th anniversary of the official start of the Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976, which served as perhaps more than anything dark, scorched, bloody yet fertile soil for, as well as a huge rear-view mirror of, today’s China of skyscrapers, bullet trains, Xi Jinping, and even Internet censorship. One cannot also watch China and forget that it was in 1972, during the Cultural Revolution, that President Nixon went to meet Mao in Beijing. To help us reflect on the Cultural Revolution, its meaning, its violence, its lessons, there is no better person than a great fellow Washingtonian, journalist, scholar, a participant as well as a prisoner of not only the Cultural Revolution, but for 35 years Mao’s revolution: Sidney Rittenberg.

Jeffrey Wasserstrom: How Will China Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution? (Nation)

This month marks the anniversary of two surges of youth activism in China. One, the May 4 Movement, began with student protests 97 years ago. The other is the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, which is sometimes said to have begun with the first Red Guards putting up wall posters in late May of 1966. May 4 and Red Guard activists were once seen as part of related movements, but now they tend to be regarded as radically dissimilar.

Panama-Papiere
Apr 6th, 2016 by Gao

Matthias Müller: Sprachlos in Peking (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Staatschef Xi Jinping ist Korruption ein Dorn im Auge. Die Enthüllungen der «Panama Papers» wird er deshalb mit Argusaugen verfolgen. Auch Mitglieder seiner Familie nutzen jedoch «Briefkastenfirmen». …
Welche Chinesen Briefkastenfirmen gründeten, bleibt im Dunkeln. Deren Namen dürften für eine breite chinesische Öffentlichkeit jedoch keine grosse Überraschung darstellen. Im Fokus steht Deng Jiagui , der seit 1996 mit der älteren Schwester von Staats- und Parteichef Xi Jinping, Qi Qiaoqiao, verheiratet ist. Das Ehepaar war bereits 2012 in Visier westlicher Medien geraten, als die Nachrichtenagentur «Bloomberg» enthüllte, dass es über Vermögenswerte in Höhe von mehreren Hundert Millionen Dollar verfüge.

Huang Zheping: China’s elite—including Xi Jinping—are linked to offshore deals that hid millions of dollars (Quartz)

At least eight top Chinese officials are linked to offshore deals through associates, an investigation into 11 million leaked documents from one of the world’s largest offshore law firms shows. They include the brother-in-law of Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose offshore firms went dormant before Xi came into power, and the granddaughter of a former top leader who bought an offshore company for just $1.

Juliette Garside, David Pegg: Panama Papers reveal offshore secrets of China’s red nobility (Guardian)

The eight members of China’s Communist party elite whose family members used offshore companies are revealed in the Panama Papers.
The documents show the granddaughter of a powerful Chinese leader became the sole shareholder in two British Virgin Islands companies while still a teenager. Jasmine Li had just begun studying at Stanford University in the US when the companies were registered in her name in December 2010. Her grandfather Jia Qinglin was at that time the fourth-ranked politician in China…
Also in the data are Hu Dehua, the businessman son of Hu Yaobang, the Communist party’s general secretary ousted in 1987…

Johnny Erling: Der Panama-Skandal erreicht Chinas Führung (Standard)
Panama Papers – The Power Players: Deng Jiagui | Li Xiaolin (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists)
Powerful force is behind Panama Papers (Global Times)

A huge leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm alleged to have been a facilitator of money laundering for its clients has shocked international public opinion. Over 11 million documents were passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. These documents have been reportedly investigated by some 300 global journalists for a year.
The Western media soon collected the most eye-catching information from the documents and leaders of non-Western countries have been scrutinized. Most media led with the allegations that a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin had laundered $1 billion. The Western media has opaquely described it as „Putin’s money laundering.“ …
The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it. Information that is negative to the US can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin.
In the Internet era, disinformation poses no major risks to Western influential elites or the West. In the long-run, it will become a new means for the ideology-allied Western nations to strike a blow to non-Western political elites and key organizations.

In den Medienberichten weniger prominent platziert:
Tsai Ing-wens Bruder hatte Beziehungen zu Anwaltskanzlei Mossack Fonseca (Radio Taiwan International)

Tsai Ying-yang, der Bruder der kommenden Präsidentin Tsai Ing-wen, hatte Beziehungen zur Anwaltskanzlei Mossack Fonseca. Das wird aus den kürzlich veröffentlichten Dokumenten der im Rahmen der Steuerhinterziehung genutzen panamaischen Anwaltskanzlei deutlich. …
Die Kanzlei [Mossack Fonseca] wurde 1977 von Jürgen Mossack, dem Sohn des Waffen-SS Rottenführers Erhard Mossack gegründet. Der US-Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA führte seinen Vater nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg für Spionagezwecke in Panama. Dort gründete der Sohn Jürgen Mossack die in die Schlagzeilen geratene Kanzlei zusammen mit dem panamaischen Anwalt Ramón Fonseca Mora.

Mia Lamar, Ned Levin: Five Things to Know About Hong Kong and the ‘Panama Papers’ (Wall Street Journal)

Hong Kong features prominently in a massive trove of documents allegedly leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., according to reports published by international media outlets…
Hong Kong Was Mossack Fonseca’s Busiest Office…
China Laws Help Drive Hong Kong Offshore Activity… Chinese technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which went public in New York in 2014 in a record-beating $25 billion offering, is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, for instance.

Peter Wolter, Ernst Wolff: »Geldanlegern ist dort fast alles erlaubt« (junge Welt)

Vom Skandal um die Panama-Konten profitieren in erster Linie die US-amerikanischen Steueroasen…
Es ist ganz offensichtlich ein Manöver der USA, sich selbst als weltweit beste Steueroase zu präsentieren. Wenn man die bisher vorliegenden Informationen über diese Panama-Papiere heranzieht, fällt auf, dass dort vor allem Gegner der USA angeschwärzt werden – die USA selber bleiben aber außen vor. Banken dieses Landes werden überhaupt nicht erwähnt, ebenso wenig Konzerne. Soweit ich weiß, werden auch keine Privatpersonen aus den USA genannt.
Das Interessante dabei ist, was nicht veröffentlicht wurde. Durch die Publizierung von Teilen dieser Papiere wird nämlich Druck auf Steuerhinterzieher aller Länder ausgeübt, ihr Schwarzgeld anderswo in Sicherheit zu bringen – niemand von ihnen kann wissen, ob nicht auch er in der Liste steht. Diese Leute werden sich vorsichtshalber eine neue Steueroase suchen: die USA. …
[Die USA] haben sich in den vergangenen Jahren – weitgehend unbemerkt von der breiten Öffentlichkeit – als neues Steuerparadies etabliert. Seit der Jahrtausendwende haben Regierung und Finanzkreise in Washington einen Krieg zum Beispiel gegen die Schweiz geführt: Deren Banken wurden genötigt, das Bankgeheimnis aufzuweichen. …
Parallel dazu wurden aber die US-Bundesstaaten Nevada, Delaware, South-Dakota und Wyoming als Standorte für derartige Konten etabliert. Dort gilt das Bankgeheimnis ohne Einschränkungen, den Geldanlegern ist dort fast alles erlaubt. …
Natürlich ist es gut, dass einige dieser Schiebereien jetzt an die Öffentlichkeit kommen. Aber letzlich versucht doch nur ein Übeltäter, andere Bösewichte zu beschmutzen, um von sich selbst abzulenken. Die wahren Schuldigen am Finanzchaos, die ganz großen Firmen und die Finanzinstitute der Wallstreet, bleiben mit Sicherheit ungeschoren.

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak (Craig Murray)

Whoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.
Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.
But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”
What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include

  • Ford Foundation
  • Carnegie Endowment
  • Rockefeller Family Fund
  • W K Kellogg Foundation
  • Open Society Foundation (Soros)

among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.

Clifford Coonan: Panama Papers: China describes revelations about its leaders as ‘groundless’ (Irish Times)

Und anderswo:
Self-censorship sensed as Japan’s TV stations replace outspoken anchors (Japan Times)

Hosts Ichiro Furutachi of TV Asahi’s influential “Hodo Station” and Shigetada Kishii of the TBS evening news program “News 23″ will both be replaced in April. NHK, too, is considering pulling longtime anchorwoman Hiroko Kuniya from its “Close-up Gendai” news and features program.
Furutachi has often been criticized by the government and its supporters for his commentaries…
Kuniya’s departure has long been whispered about as she is known for asking big-name politicians tough questions. However, she has survived until now.
Similarly, Kishii expressed opposition to contentious security bills before they cleared the Diet last September and called on fellow opponents to speak up.

Siegfried Knittel: Beschneidung der Pressefreiheit in Japan nimmt zu (Standard)

Journalisten beklagen ein zunehmend repressives Klima in Japan. Der Rücktritt dreier bekannter Fernsehmoderatoren sorgt für Unruhe…
Ins Blickfeld der ausländischen Presse geriet Furutachi, Macher der abendlichen Nachrichtensendung „Hodo Station“ des linksliberalen Asahi TV, im vergangenen Jahr, nachdem der Kommentator Shigeaki Koga in Furutachis Nachrichtensendung bekanntgemacht hatte, dass der Sender ihn auf Druck der Regierung zum Rücktritt gedrängt habe. Nun traf es Furutachi wegen seiner in „Hodo Station“ geäußerten Zweifel an der Verfassungskonformität der im vergangenen Jahr verabschiedeten Verteidigungsgesetze selbst.

TTP | Klimawandel | Hongkong
Mai 4th, 2015 by Gao

Patrick L. Smith: The real story behind Shinzo Abe’s visit: China, TPP and what the media won’t tell you about this state visit (Salon)

In agreements reached as soon as they met Monday, Abe and President Obama have taken defense ties to an intimacy unprecedented in history. As it stands now, this breaches Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, the “no-war” clause barring Japan from military activities other than those in direct defense of its shores.
On the White House steps Tuesday, Abe confirmed his conscription as a commissioned officer in Washington’s campaign to get its ambitious trade pact, the corporate-drafted Trans-Pacific Partnership, signed this year. “We will continue to cooperate to lead the TPP talks through their last phase,” Abe said in one of those side-by-side tableaux commonly staged for the press and the television cameras…
You will hear 55 times over the next little while that, no, the escalation of defense ties has nothing to do with containing the mainland. And no, the TPP may happen to exclude China but is not intended to exclude China.

Reuters: Climate change threatens major building projects, says Chinese expert (Guardian)

Zheng Guoguang, head of China’s meteorological administration, told Monday’s issue of state newspaper the Study Times that the increase in recent weather disasters such as floods, typhoons, droughts and heat waves had a “big connection” to climate change.
Such catastrophes were a threat to big schemes such as the Three Gorges Dam and a high-altitude railway to Tibet, he said.

Liu Qin: China govt cancels green festival as public consciousness on environment grows (China Dialogue)

Chinese authorities last week ordered the last-minute cancellation of an environmental festival in Beijing that was planned to mark Earth Day, a global event aimed at raising awareness of climate change and the Paris summit at the end of the year.
China’s best-known environmental group, Friends of Nature, asked people not to turn up to its Beijing Earth Day Environmental Protection Festival after Beijing police said the event was not permitted to go ahead and that the „online impact“ of the event be toned down.

Suzanne Sataline: What Happened to Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement? (Foreign Policy)

The activists from last year’s massive democracy occupation have splintered. Nowhere is this clearer than on college campuses represented by the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the architects of the fall 2014 pro-democracy protests that roiled the Chinese territory. Students at three local universities have voted to quit the league of university students; more vote drives are underway. Critics, some swayed by rising nativist anger, say student leaders’ insistence on passive resistance at the height of the protests doomed the push for open elections for the city’s chief executive, instead of a slate of candidates pre-vetted by Beijing. As the wounded student group tries to shore up its membership, its allies worry that the loss of a united student front will push the already anemic pro-democracy camp closer to irrelevance.

Conal Urquhart: Chinese workers in Israel sign no-sex contract (Guardian)

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job…
The labourers are also forbidden from engaging in any religious or political activity. The contract states that offenders will be sent back to China at their own expense.
About 260,000 foreigners work in Israel, having replaced Palestinian labourers during three years of fighting. When the government first allowed the entrance of the foreign workers in the late 1990s, ministers warned of a „social timebomb“ caused by their assimilation with Israelis.
More than half the workers are in the country illegally…
Advocates of foreign workers, who also come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania, say they are subject to almost slave conditions, and their employers often take away their passports and refuse to pay them.

Michael Forsythe: Who Owns Shares in Wang Jianlin’s Empire? Names Are Just a Start (New York Times)

James Palmer: Forced Disappearances, Brutality, and Communist China’s Politics of Fear (Vice)

Rüstungsbudget
Mrz 4th, 2015 by Gao

Edward Wong, Chris Buckley: China’s Military Budget Increasing 10% for 2015, Official Says (New York Times)

The Chinese military budget for 2015 will be about 10 percent bigger than last year’s, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday, meaning that such spending is growing at a pace faster than the overall growth rate of the Chinese economy…
A 10 percent increase would put the 2015 military budget around $145 billion, making China the world’s second-largest military spender, though still far behind the United States, which spends more on its armed forces than the next eight countries combined.

Wettlauf mit den USA: China rüstet trotz Wachstumsschwäche kräftig auf (Spiegel)
APA: Chinas Rüstungsboom macht Nachbarn Sorge (Standard)

Der Wirtschaftsboom und die Sorge über die Übermacht des Westens haben Chinas Waffenausgaben in den vergangenen zehn Jahren in die Höhe schnellen lassen. Zwischen 2004 und 2013 sind die Ausgaben in der Volksrepublik nach Schätzungen um 170 Prozent gestiegen. Das lässt bei seinen Nachbarn die Alarmglocken schrillen.

Yang Fan, Ho Shan: Generals probed in Xi’s graft purge (Asia Times / Radio Free Asia)

The ruling Chinese Communist Party is investigating 14 generals for corruption as a nationwide anti-graft campaign widens to encompass the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), official media reported on Monday.
Among those under investigation is navy Rear Adm. Guo Zhenggang, son of a former vice-chairman of the party’s Central Military Commission (CMC), which commands the armed forces headed by President Xi Jinping, the country’s defense ministry said in a statement.

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