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Ungleichheit, Armut und Armutsbekämpfung
Jul 6th, 2018 by Gao

Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman: Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from WID.world (American Economic Review, Mai 2017)

Rising inequality has attracted considerable interest in recent years, as shown by the attention received by an academic book published by one of us (Piketty 2014). Yet we still face important limitations in our ability to measure the changing distribution of income and wealth, within and between countries and at the world level. In this paper, we present new findings about global inequality dynamics from the World Wealth and Income Database (WID.world). We start with a brief history of the WID.world project. We then present selected findings on income inequality, private versus public wealth-to-income ratios, and wealth inequality, with emphasis on the contrast between the trends in the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom…

Rob Schmitz: Xi Jinping’s War On Poverty Moves Millions Of Chinese Off The Farm (NPR, 19. Oktober 2017)

China’s government hopes city life will push tens of millions into the workforce on their way to joining the world’s largest middle class. In the first five years of Xi’s presidency, more than 60 million Chinese have risen above the poverty line; Xi wants to move 70 million more Chinese above that line within the next three years, a goal China’s government is more tightly focused on than ever. …
[O]fficials in Guizhou … plan to move more than 750,000 people off farms by the end of the year from nearly 3,600 villages.

(Es gibt einen Eugene K. Chow, der Redenschreiber für den New Yorker Bürgermeister Bill de Blasio war.)
Eugene K. Chow: China’s War on Poverty Could Hurt the Poor Most (Foreign Policy, 8. Jänner 2018)

The government is pushing people out of rural squalor — and into urban dependence.

Spencer Sheehan: China’s Hukou Reforms and the Urbanization Challenge (The Diplomat, 22. Feber 2018)

China is speeding up hukou reform, but that won’t be enough to solve the migrant worker problem.
China’s government has announced a lofty goal of expanding urban hukou or residency permits to 100 million migrant workers by 2020 as part of its plan to rebalance its economy. However, the government needs to deliver a whole range of supporting policies to achieve this goal and it may not have the financing to provide them.

Philip Alston: Report of the [UN] Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to China (PDF; 28. März 2017)

The achievements that China has made in alleviating poverty have been extraordinary. Its leadership has made a strong and genuine commitment to building a “moderately prosperous society” free of extreme poverty, thus showing political will that is impressive and all too uncommon in today’s world…
While China has done a huge amount to promote economic and social wellbeing, this has not yet been translated into an approach based on treating economic and social rights as human rights.

Javier C. Hernández: Xi Jinping Vows No Poverty in China by 2020. That Could Be Hard. (New York Times, 31. Oktober 2017)

Nearly seven decades after the Chinese Communist Party rose to power on a promise of prosperity for all, President Xi Jinping has vowed to fulfill the Communists’ original intent, staking his legacy on an ambitious plan to complete the eradication of rural poverty by 2020…
Even as Chinese cities have turned into playgrounds for the nouveau riche and the swelling ranks of the middle class, nearly 500 million people, or about 40 percent of China’s population, live on less than $5.50 per day, according to the World Bank.
“The whole idea of socialism was that all Chinese would have a reasonable living standard,” said Kerry Brown, a China scholar at King’s College London. “The nagging concern is that the Communist Party has created billionaires and a strong middle class, and yet there are still a lot of poor people. That seems to be a massive contradiction.”

Ein wichtiger Diskussionsbeitrag in diesem Zusammenhang:
Felix Wemheuer: Auf dem Weg zum Sozialismus? Kritische Anmerkungen zu den Unterstützern der heutigen KP China in der westlichen Linken (Kommunistische Debatte)

Seit dem Ende der Kulturrevolution 1976 und dem Niedergang der westeuropäischen ML-Bewegung haben sich viele Linke lange nicht mehr für die Entwicklung in China interessiert. In den letzten 15 Jahren häufen sich allerdings linke Publikationen zum Charakter der Volksrepublik. Mittlerweile ist China eine politische und wirtschaftliche Großmacht. Während mit dem chinesischen „Wirtschaftswunder“ im Westen lange nur Sweatshops und Billigwaren verbunden wurden, investiert das chinesische Kapital heute auf allen Kontinenten. Selbst in Deutschland kauft es im großen Stil Unternehmen auf. Laut den Plänen der chinesischen Regierung soll die VR zum 100. Jahrestag ihrer Gründung, 2049, ein hochentwickeltes Industrieland sein. „Der Spiegel“ rief sogar die westliche Welt dazu auf, endlich aufzuwachen, da China schon jetzt die Nummer Eins sei. Die gegenwärtige Verschiebung der globalen Machtverhältnisse können auch Linke in Europa nicht ignorieren. Allerdings gehen die Einschätzungen zum Charakter der VR weit auseinander: Theodor Bergmann sieht das Land auf dem Weg zum Sozialismus (…). Der bekannte marxistische Geograph David Harvey hingegen reihte 2005 auf dem Titelbild seines Buches „Kleine Geschichte des Neoliberalismus“ Deng Xiaoping in eine wenig schmeichelhafte Ahnengalerie zusammen mit Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher und dem chilenischen Diktator Augusto Pinochet ein.

Alternativen zum US-Dollar?
Dez 29th, 2017 by Gao

Pepe Escobar: China plans to break petrodollar stranglehold (Asia Times)

Petrodollars have dominated the global energy markets for more than 40 years. But now, China is looking to change that by replacing the word dollars for yuan.
Nations, of course, have tried this before since the system was set up by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in tandem with the House of Saud back in 1974
Vast populations across the Middle East and Northern Africa quickly felt the consequences when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein decided to sell oil in euros. Then there was Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi’s pan-African gold dinar blueprint, which failed to create a splash in an oil barrel.
Fast forward 25 years and China is making a move to break the United States petrodollar stranglehold. The plan is to set up oil-futures trading in the yuan, which will be fully convertible into gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong foreign exchange markets.

(Andere Version dieses Artikels: The Petro-Yuan Bombshell, CounterPunch)

Bahnverbindungen
Nov 27th, 2017 by Gao

Sandor Peto: Hungary launches rail link tender as CEE-China summit starts (Reuters)

Hungary will publish a procurement tender on Monday for a modernised railway link with Serbian capital Belgrade to ship Chinese goods into Western Europe, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Sunday.

Luise Ungerboeck: Österreich zweigleisig zwischen China und Russland (Standard)

Während China auf der Balkanroute massiv Investitionen in Bahn und Infrastruktur anschiebt, blickt Wien besorgt gegen Osten.

Xiang Bo: Ever expanding Chinese rail network boosts German „China city“ (Xinhua)

The city of Duisburg, Germany’s biggest inland port, is on one end of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe rail line, which opened in 2011 from the Chinese southwest city of Chongqing.
In recent years, more and more trains operated by the China Railway Express (CRE) from Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Yiwu and other Chinese cities are arriving here.
It takes only 13 days for goods to arrive in Duisburg from Chongqing by rail, 30 days less than by sea, and at a fifth of the cost of air freight.

Lorenz Storch: Oberfranken will Güterzugverbindung nach China (Bayerischer Rundfunk)

Die IHK für Oberfranken in Bayreuth und der Landkreis Hof arbeiten an einer neuen Güterzugverbindung vom Hofer Containerterminal nach China. Der Grund: Viele oberfränkische Unternehmer exportieren nach Fernost und wünschen sich eine solche Verbindung.

Slovakia may benefit from Chinese transport corridors (Slovak Spectator)

A Chinese train with 41 containers dispatched from Dalian port in China to Bratislava’s cargo port in late October arrived in the capital on November 13, carrying goods for customers in central Europe. The railway transport from China to Slovakia was restored after more than one year.

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.

Südchinesisches Meer
Dez 17th, 2016 by Gao

Julian Borger: Chinese warship seizes US underwater drone in international waters (Guardian)

The Chinese navy has seized an underwater drone in plain sight of the American sailors who had deployed it in international waters, in a seemingly brazen message to the incoming Trump administration.
According to a US defence official, the unmanned glider had come to the surface of the water in the South China Sea and was about to be retrieved by the USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic and surveillance ship, when a Chinese naval vessel that had been shadowing the Bowditch put a small boat in the water…
As China develops a strategic submarine fleet, with the potential to carry nuclear missiles out into the Pacific Ocean, the US has built up a monitoring network designed to spot Chinese submarines as they leave their bases. Drones are key to the network, and there is a race under way between major naval powers to develop drones that can work together in swarms and “see” long distances through the water. Underwater gliders are drones that can stay underwater on the lookout for submarines for long periods of time.

AP: China and US in talks over seized drone, officials say (Guardian)

The device was being operated by civilian contractors to conduct oceanic research, according to the Pentagon.

AP: Philippines to ’set aside‘ South China Sea tribunal ruling to avoid imposing on Beijing (Guardian)

The Philippine president has said he would “set aside” a ruling by an international arbitration tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea, because he doesn’t want to impose on China.
“In the play of politics, now, I will set aside the arbitral ruling. I will not impose anything on China,” Rodrigo Duterte said at a news conference on Saturday.

Tom Phillips: Images show ’significant‘ Chinese weapons systems in South China Sea (Guardian)

China appears to have positioned “significant” weapons systems, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven of the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea, despite vowing it had no intention of militarising the archipelago, a US thinktank has claimed.

Xinhua: China says deployment of defensive facilities on South China Sea islands legitimate (Global Times)
Tom Phillips: ‚Friends forever‘? China wary of Rex Tillerson wooing away Russia (Guardian)

Rex Tillerson’s controversial nomination as secretary of state has delighted Moscow where the Texan oilman has deep and long-standing ties. Donald Trump’s choice of the ExxonMobil chief was “100% good news” for Vladimir Putin, one opposition politician claimed.
But in Beijing, already reeling from Trump’s early forays into foreign policy, the move has inspired no such celebration, instead fuelling fears that the president-elect’s courtship of the Kremlin could be part of a bold strategic bid to isolate China.

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’.

Obama in Hangzhou
Sep 6th, 2016 by Gao

Pepe Escobar: The G20 Meets in Tech Hub Hangzhou, China, At an Extremely Tense Geopolitical [something] (CounterPunch)

[A]t the heart of the G20 we will have the two projects which are competing head on to geopolitically shape the young 21st century.
China has proposed OBOR; a pan-Eurasian connectivity spectacular designed to configure a hypermarket at least 10 times the size of the US market within the next two decades.
The US hyperpower – not the Atlanticist West, because Europe is mired in fear and stagnation — “proposes” the current neocon/neoliberalcon status quo; the usual Divide and Rule tactics; and the primacy of fear, enshrined in the Pentagon array of “threats” that must be fought, from Russia and China to Iran. The geopolitical rumble in the background high-tech jungle is all about the “containment” of top G20 members Russia and China…
Deng Xiaoping’s maxim – “never take the lead, never reveal your true potential, never overstretch your abilities” – now belongs to the past. At the G20 China once again is announcing it is taking the lead. And not only taking the lead – but also planning to overstretch its abilities to make the hyper-ambitious OBOR Eurasia integration masterplan work. Call it a monster PR exercise or a soft power win-win; the fact that humanitarian imperialism as embodied by the Pentagon considers China a major “threat” is all the Global South – and the G20 for that matter — needs to know.

Full Text: Chinese Outcome List of the Meeting Between the Chinese and US Presidents in Hangzhou (Xinhua)
Tom Phillips: Barack Obama ‚deliberately snubbed‘ by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20 (Guardian)

China’s leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US president was not provided with a staircase to leave his plane during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou before the start of the G20.

Roberta Rampton, Michael Martina: Row on tarmac an awkward G20 start for U.S., China (Reuters)

A Chinese official confronted U.S. President Barack Obama’s national security adviser on the tarmac on Saturday prompting the Secret Service to intervene, an unusual altercation as China implements strict controls ahead of a big summit.

Mark Landler: Confrontations Flare as Obama’s Traveling Party Reaches China (New York Times)

As the reporters who traveled to the Group of 20 summit meeting with President Obama from Hawaii piled out and walked under the wing to record his arrival, we were abruptly met by a line of bright blue tape, held taut by security guards. In six years of covering the White House, I had never seen a foreign host prevent the news media from watching Mr. Obama disembark.
When a White House staff member protested to a Chinese security official that this was not normal protocol, the official shouted, “This is our country.”
In another departure from protocol, there was no rolling staircase for Mr. Obama to descend in view of the television cameras. Instead, he emerged from a door in the belly of the plane that he usually uses only on high-security trips, like those to Afghanistan…
At the West Lake State House, where Mr. Obama met President Xi Jinping, White House aides, protocol officers and Secret Service agents got into a series of shouting matches over how many Americans should be allowed into the building before Mr. Obama’s arrival.

Tom Phillips: Barack Obama ‚deliberately snubbed‘ by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20 (Guardian)
Matthias Müller: Gespannte Atmosphäre zwischen China und den USA (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
Zhou Xin, Nectar Gan: G20 ‘staircase snub’ for Obama was United States’ decision, reveals Chinese official (South China Morning Post)

It was Washington’s decision to have US President Barack Obama disembark from his plane through a small bare metal stairway instead of the usual rolling red-carpet staircase that state leaders get, a Chinese foreign ministry official has revealed…
“China provides a rolling staircase for every arriving state leader, but the US side complained that the driver doesn’t speak English and can’t understand security instructions from the United States; so China proposed that we could assign a translator to sit beside the driver, but the US side turned down the proposal and insisted that they didn’t need the staircase provided by the airport,” the official told the South China Morning Post on Sunday.

Sun Xiaobo: China chides media’s hype of G20 spat (Global Times)

The skirmishes between Chinese and US officials when US President Barack Obama arrived in Hangzhou for the G20 summit on Saturday have been exaggerated by some US officials and attracted undue attention from Western media outlets, dismaying Chinese netizens and observers who viewed the hype as fresh evidence of the arrogance of some in the West.

Tom Phillips: Ghost town: how China emptied Hangzhou to guarantee ‚perfect‘ G20 (Guardian)

Thomas C. Mountain: The CIA’s ‚Dirty War‘ in South Sudan (TeleSur)

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA is funding a dirty war in South Sudan. The war in South Sudan is little different than the wars the CIA funded in Angola and Mozambique, to name two of the most infamous.
It is in the “national interests” of the USA to deny China access to African energy resources and the Sudanese oil fields are the only Chinese owned and operated in Africa. It’s that simple – the war in South Sudan is about denying China access to Africa’s oil.

Murtaza Hussain: How Obama’s Asia pivog nudged China toward Pakistan but helped aggravate India (Intercept)

Xi Jinping gegen Liu Yunshan? | Qi Benyu | Wirtschaftskrieg | Chang Ping
Apr 24th, 2016 by Gao

雷斯:千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔(《中国纪检监察报》 – immer noch on-line!)| Übersetzung von Eleanor Goodman: A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor (ChinaFile)

一些领导干部因违纪违法受到处罚,几乎都谈到班子内部监督不够,说没人提醒我,如果当年有人咬咬耳朵,也不至于犯这么大的罪。小问题没人提醒,大问题无人批评,以致酿成大错,正所谓“千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔”啊!
——习近平总书记在参加河北省委常委班子专题民主生活会时的讲话

  “千人之诺诺,不如一士之谔谔”,见于《史记·商君列传》,是战国策士赵良对秦相商鞅的谏言。赵良要投入商鞅帐下,提出了一个前提条件:“终日正言而无诛”,换句话说,就是整天说真话但不被打击报复。赵良还举了前代的两个典型例子,周武王身边不乏谔谔之士,最后能够成就大业;殷纣王周围都是趋炎附势之徒,最后亡国亡身。商鞅欣然接受了这个条件,并且进一步引申出“貌言华也,至言实也,苦言药也,甘言疾也”的道理。不过,后世对此理解最透彻的,就是唐太宗李世民和魏徵了。

忠诚党员促习近平辞职的公开信 | Loyal Party Members Urge Xi’s Resignation(无界新闻~China Digital Times)
Peter Lee: Battle between Xi Jinping and propaganda chief plays out in Chinese media (Asia Times)

If my understanding of the current censorship crackdown in PRC is correct, western commentators focused on the deepening of Xi Jinping’s control over the media may have missed the point somewhat. It appears likely that Xi Jinping is primarily concerned with neutralizing control of a rival, Liu Yunshan, over the PRC propaganda apparatus, and Xi’s heightened control over media messaging is a consequence, rather than cause, of the current uproar.
To recap, there have been three relatively high-profile censorship kerfuffles involving PRC media in the last few weeks: the “resignation letter” posted on an obscure Xinjiang website; the higher profile Caixin report/spiking/report of spiking concerning an NPC delegate’s complaints concerning heavy-handed government messaging; and the big one, the so called “Yes Man” commentary posted on the website of the anti-corruption “Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.” …
The resignation letter is probably a piece of psyops, possibly abetted by the US. Nobody believes that the website’s managers knowingly put this thing up, it doesn’t read write like a genuine cadre whinge, and a focus of the investigation has been interrogation of the site’s technical personnel…
The most interesting item on the current agenda is the “Yes Man” piece. It is one of those densely argued historical analogy pieces that is trotted out in CCP-land when politics is about to get very, very serious. The essay was posted on March 1 and is clearly a response to the campaign against billionaire gadfly Ren Zhiqiang, whose Weibo account got axed after he made some pointed criticisms of restrictions on free speech…
The fact that this piece has been posted on the CCDI website has elicited a lot of excited commentary, since the head of the CCDI, Wang Qishan, is the standard bearer of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive and is seen as one of Xi’s key assets and supporters…
Observers should find even more puzzling that, over three weeks after this apparently incendiary piece was posted on the CCDC website, it is still there.
Let me repeat. It. Is. Still. There.
Rather odd treatment for a piece that is supposedly a stinging rebuke to Xi Jinping…

Emily Rauhala, Xu Yangjingjing: Chinese website publishes, then pulls, explosive letter calling for President Xi’s resignation (Washington Post)

Andrew J. Nathan, Rana Mitter, Dominic Meagher, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel Leese, Kristin Shi-Kupfer: Cracks in Xi Jinping’s Fortress? (ChinaFile)

Two remarkable documents emerged from China last week: the first is the essay “A Thousand Yes-Men Cannot Equal One Honest Advisor”—available here in Chinese and translated here into English—which appeared on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The second is an open letter calling for Xi Jinping’s resignation, penned by a group describing themselves as “loyal Party members.” What, if anything, do these documents suggest about the stability of Xi’s regime?

Michael Schoenhals: Qi Benyu, last surviving member of Central Cultural Revolution Group goes to see Karl Marx (H-NET)

Qi Benyu (戚本禹), the last surviving member of the Central Cultural Revolution Group, passed away this morning, 20 April 2016. Qi hailed from Weihai in Shandong province, but had been born in Shanghai in 1931. He joined the CCP in 1949. … To historians, what has to count as one of the most interesting pieces penned by Qi is a report《关于“调查研究”的调查》dating from 12 May 1961. It amounted to a highly critical description of how intermediate and lower-level officials were supposedly perverting the Maoist policy of ”investigation and research.”

Alastair Crooke: The ‘Hybrid War’ of Economic Sanctions (Consortium News)

U.S. politicians love the “silver bullet” of economic sanctions to punish foreign adversaries, but the weapon’s overuse is driving China and Russia to develop countermeasures.

Edward Wong: Chinese Writer in Germany Says 3 Siblings Are Detained Over Xi Letter | 旅德作家长平称家人因公开信事件被扣押 (New York Times)

A liberal Chinese writer living in Germany has said security officers in China detained three members of his family in connection with a mysterious online letter that denounced the iron-fisted rule of President Xi Jinping.

Chang Ping: Targeting Beyond China | 我为什么拒绝与中国政府交易 (New York Times)

On March 27, Chinese police crashed my father’s 70th birthday party in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. They accused my family of causing a forest fire the day before by lighting incense and burning paper as part of the annual tomb- sweeping festival to honor deceased relatives. Three of my siblings were summoned to the police station and found out quickly that they were not being detained over an arson charge.
As an exiled Chinese journalist living in Germany, I had written an article in mid-March for Deutsche Welle criticizing the Chinese government for “secretly kidnapping” a journalist, Jia Jia, in connection with a widely distributed open letter calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping.

Geostrategisches | Wanderarbeiter
Jun 21st, 2015 by Gao

Rückschlag für US-Dollar als Leitwährung: China zahlt Gazprom künftig in Yuan (RT)

China und die Russische Föderation machen Ernst mit ihrer Ankündigung, bei ihrer Geschäftsabwicklung den US-Dollar so weit wie möglich außen vor zu lassen. Sowohl die Exporte der Gazprom aus der Östlichen Sibirisch–Pazifischen Pipeline nach China als auch das Öl-Geschäft aus der Arktis werden in Zukunft in der Landeswährung Yuan getätigt.

Kenneth Shortgen jun.: There are now two reserve currencies as petro-yuan joins petro-dollar (Examiner)

Ever since Henry Kissinger forged the global petro-dollar agreement with Saudi Arabia and OPEC in 1973, the U.S. currency has remained the singular global reserve for over 40 years. However, on June 9 that sole monetary reign has come to an end as Russian gas giant Gazprom is now officially selling all oil in Chinese Yuan, making the petro-Yuan a joint global reserve, and ending America’s sole control over the world’s reserve currency.

Bart Gruzalski: An Economic Reason for the US vs. China Conflict (CounterPunch)

There are many reasons that the US is pushing on China in the South China Sea. Two articles have been published on Counterpunch in recent weeks exploring “why?” None mention an important economic reason that has, at least in part, motivated the US to go to war and is very much at stake in the growing dispute with China: the value of the dollar.

Steve LeVine: China is building the most extensive global commercial-military empire in history (Quartz)

Much has been made of Beijing’s “resource grab” in Africa and elsewhere, its construction of militarized artificial islands in the South China Sea and, most recently, its new strategy to project naval power broadly in the open seas.
Yet these profiles of an allegedly grasping and treacherous China tend to consider its ambitions in disconnected pieces. What these pieces add up to is a whole latticework of infrastructure materializing around the world. Combined with the ambitious activities of Chinese companies, they are quickly growing into history’s most extensive global commercial empire.

Mel Gurtov: Rules and Rocks: The US-China Standoff Over the South China Sea Islands (Asia-Pacific Journal)

The long-running, multi-party dispute over control of islets in the South China Sea (SCS) is worsening both in rhetoric and provocative activity. Meeting in late May at the Shangri-La Dialogue on regional security, US and Chinese defense officials sparred over responsibility for the increased tension, though they stopped short of issuing threats. In fact, all sides to the dispute say they want to avoid violence, prefer a diplomatic resolution, and support freedom of navigation. Both the US and China insist that the dispute notwithstanding, their relationship overall is positive and enduring. But China, citing its indisputable sovereignty over the SCS, is backing its claim in ways that alarm the US and several Asian governments: construction of an air strip on the Spratly Islands, a land reclamation project that has artificially expanded its claimed territory, and most recently emplacement of two mobile artillery vehicles.
Accompanying these latest Chinese actions are acknowledgments by the foreign ministry of their military purposes. The original explanation of China’s expanding presence on the islands was that they were intended for search-and-rescue operations, environmental protection, and scientific work. Now the explanation is the need to protect Chinese territory. The Pentagon has responded by publicly discussing US options such as flyovers and navigation in Chinese-claimed air and sea space. A US navy surveillance aircraft has already challenged China’s sovereignty claim by overflying Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys, prompting a Chinese order (which the aircraft ignored) to leave the area. In the meantime, US military assistance to other claimants, including Vietnam and the Philippines, has enabled their coast guards to at least keep an eye on Chinese activities.

John Bellamy Foster: Marxism, Ecological Civilization, and China (Monthly Review)

China’s leadership has called in recent years for the creation of a new „ecological civilization.“ Some have viewed this as a departure from Marxism and a concession to Western-style „ecological modernization.“ However, embedded in classical Marxism, as represented by the work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was a powerful ecological critique. Marx explicitly defined socialism in terms consistent with the development of an ecological society or civilization — or, in his words, the „rational“ regulation of „the human metabolism with nature.“
In recent decades there has been an enormous growth of interest in Marx’s ecological ideas, first in the West, and more recently in China. This has generated a tradition of thought known as „ecological Marxism.“
This raises three questions: (1) What was the nature of Marx’s ecological critique? (2) How is this related to the idea of ecological civilization now promoted in China? (3) Is China actually moving in the direction of ecological civilization, and what are the difficulties standing in its path in this respect?

Lynette H. Ong: Breaking Beijing? (Foreign Affairs)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading one of the most vigorous campaigns against corruption and dissent since the Mao era. In fact, it appears that his campaign has extended as far as Canada; Beijing is attempting to extradite the Vancouver-based businessman Mo Yeung (Michael) Ching for alleged corrupt business dealings in the mid-1990s. Ching is the son of Cheng Weigao, a senior Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official who was charged with corruption in 2003. Some view these campaigns as the key to restoring the CCP’s strength and legitimacy. Others predict that they will be destabilizing because of the scale, opaqueness, and intensity—by attacking both “tigers” and “flies” (that is, high- and low-level officials), Xi is striking at the core of the patronage networks that hold the political system together, weakening the party from within. And by tightening the reins on public discourse through an increasingly centralized censorship apparatus, Xi is further diminishing his party’s legitimacy.

Chasing Shadows: Policing Migrants in Guangzhou’s Urban Villages (Chuang)
Patti Waldmeir: China’s rural migrants: life as a trashpicker in a Shanghai hole (Financial Times)

AP: Chinese women’s rights group collapses under official pressure (Guardian)

Suzanne Sataline: ‘Hong Kong Is Quite Seriously Divided’ (Foreign Policy)

Democracy — even a half-cooked version with Chinese characteristics — will not be coming soon to Hong Kong. On June 18, the city’s legislature, the Legislative Council, vetoed a constitutional amendment that would have let Hong Kong voters cast ballots for their chief executive — albeit for a maximum of 3 candidates, restricted and vetted by Beijing — in 2017.

Jonathan Mirsky: China’s Panchen fires a surprise ‚poisoned dart‘ at Beijing (Nikkei Asian Review)

China’s 11th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second-highest religious leader, „discovered“ and installed by Beijing, recently expressed alarm that Buddhism in Tibet may soon exist in name only because of a shortage of monks — the implication being that the shortage was due to Chinese policy. Will this unexpected criticism be seen as a „poisoned arrow“ by the Chinese Communist Party, like the one for which his predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama, was punished in the 1960s? And if so, will he, also, face punishment?

David Dawson: No, that trite folklore isn’t Chinese (World of Chinese)

Ignorance of other cultures can be a marvelous thing sometimes. It allows you to attribute whatever you want to that culture, and come off sounding wise.
Chinese wisdom is a popular target here. How many hokey bits of wisdom have been attributed to ancient Chinese philosophers? After all, sometimes it’s pretty easy to confuse them for pop culture pap.

Zhou Dongxu: China Prepares ‚Traditional Culture‘ Textbooks for Its Officials (Caixin)

Streik bei Cuiheng | Mindestreservesatz | Dokument Nr. 9
Apr 20th, 2015 by Gao

At the sharp end of the workers’ movement in China: The Zhongshan Cuiheng strike (China Labour Bulletin)

A month-long strike at a Japanese-owned bag manufacturer in the Pearl River Delta town of Zhongshan has been characterized by police violence, arrests and intimidation, and the absolute refusal of the boss to negotiate. Welcome to the sharp end of the workers’ movement in China.
The strike broke out in mid-March. The roughly 200 workers at Cuiheng Co. were unhappy at low-pay and the refusal of the company to pay social security and housing fund contributions, year-end bonuses and other benefits.

Tom Barnes, Kevin Lin: China’s growing labour movement offers hope for workers globally (Conversation)

Reuters: China’s central bank cuts reserve ratio (Guardian)

China’s central bank has cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves on Sunday, the second industry-wide cut in two months, adding more liquidity to the world’s second-biggest economy to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth.
The People’s Bank of China lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by 100 basis points to 18.5%, effective from Monday, the central bank said in a statement on its website.

Angus Grigg: China frees up $200b to stoke economy (Financial Review)

The RRR cut is expected to release around 1 trillion yuan ($208 billion) of capital into the economy.

China Steps Up Economy Help With Reduced Bank Reserve Ratios (Bloomberg)

The reserve-requirement ratio was lowered 1 percentage point Monday, the People’s Bank of China said. While that was the second reduction this year, the new level of 18.5 percent is still high by global standards. The cut will allow banks to boost lending by about 1.2 trillion yuan ($194 billion)…
The reserve ratio will be reduced by another percentage point for rural financial institutions, two additional percentage points for Agricultural Development Bank and a further 0.5 percentage point for banks with a certain level of loans to agriculture and small enterprises.
Those extra reductions give the move a “reformist flavor,” wrote Bloomberg economists Tom Orlik and Fielding Chen. Still, with growth weak and small companies most at risk, it’s understandable banks see state-owned firms as safer bets.
“As ever, the price of stronger growth is slower progress on structural reform,” they wrote.

Document 9: A ChinaFile Translation (ChinaFile)

This weekend, China’s leaders gather in Beijing for meetings widely expected to determine the shape of China’s economy, as well as the nation’s progress, over the next decade. What exactly the outcome of this Third Plenum of the Eighteenth Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will be remains shrouded in no small measure of secrecy, like most matters of high politics in China. President Xi Jinping has signaled that a significant new wave of economic liberalization may be in the works. But in the realm of political reform, Xi also has signaled a deep reluctance. In fact, many of the actions taken and techniques used under his year of leadership suggest a return to ideas and tactics that hark back to the days of Mao Zedong.
One such signal came during this past spring, when reports began to appear that the Party leadership was being urged to guard against seven political “perils,” including constitutionalism, civil society, “nihilistic” views of history, “universal values,” and the promotion of “the West’s view of media.” It also called on Party members to strengthen their resistance to “infiltration” by outside ideas, renew their commitment to work “in the ideological sphere,” and to handle with renewed vigilance all ideas, institutions, and people deemed threatening to unilateral Party rule. These warnings were enumerated in a communiqué circulated within the Party by its General Office in April, and, because they constituted the ninth such paper issued this year, have come to be known as “Document 9.”

Daniel A. Bell: Teaching ‘Western Values’ in China (New York Times)

Nobody is surprised that the Chinese government curbs “Western-style” civil and political liberties. But it may be news to some people that the government has recently called for the strengthening of Marxist ideology in universities and a ban on “teaching materials that disseminate Western values in our classrooms.” On the face of it, such regulations are absurd. It would mean banning not just the ideas of John Stuart Mill and John Rawls, but also those of such thinkers as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Reporters Without Borders reveals state secrets in reaction to Gao Yu’s sentence (Reporters Without Borders)

Brian Eyler: China’s new silk roads tie together 3 continents (China Dialogue)

China recently unveiled an action plan for its controversial One Belt, One Road initiative to link its economy with the rest of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Known as the ‘new silk roads’, it combines new infrastructure networks of roads, railway lines, ports to strengthen trade, investment, and people-to-people cooperation.

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