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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)

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)

Hintergrund zu den Protesten in Hongkong
Okt 13th, 2014 by Gao

毛來由:為何英國不早給香港民主?英國檔案提供的答案(《輔仁》)

「我們(英國人)五十年前就可以給予香港民主,但若然這樣做,中國會爆發,甚至入侵香港,這是我們的憂慮。」和黃前董事總經理馬世民(Simon Murray)在一次報章專訪中這樣說。一直以來,親北京的公眾人物和報章評論,甚至一般市民,都質疑英國為何百年來都不給香港民主,要到1984年《聯合聲明》簽署,香港前途確定以後,「才大搞民主」。其實,只要稍讀英帝國歷史,就知道在二次大戰結束後,英國在絕大部份殖民地,都實行政治改革,逐步建立由當地公民普選產生的政府,以達至獨立(如馬來西亞),或自治(如1959年的新加坡、今日的直布羅陀)。這裏所講的自治(Self-Government),是指除了國防外交,有時還包括內部保安繼續由英國負責外,所有事務都交由當地民選政府全權處理。

Gwynn Guilford: The secret history of Hong Kong’s stillborn democracy (Quartz)
Alex Lo: Hong Kong protests expose the real rot in society (South China Morning Post)

Many Hong Kong people are unhappy, but it’s unlikely they were solely driven to fight police because they were upset by Beijing restricting the choice of candidates for the future chief executive. The pan-democrats may insist on that. But people say or do one thing and usually mean something more. It is the fact of widespread social discontent that should trouble our ruling elite. If you want a picture of what’s rotten, visualise a recent newspaper front page which showed a group of ageing tycoons sitting in a semi-circle with President Xi Jinping while another photo depicted young student protesters.
That’s the rich vs poor; the old vs young; the well-connected vs the disadvantaged; those who have power and others who are voiceless. It’s a generational crisis, not just a political one. Extreme inequalities exist in education, job opportunities and social mobility.

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, John Garnaut: Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung faces questions over secret $7m payout from Australian firm (Sydney Morning Herald)

Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, CY Leung, has pocketed millions in secret fees from a listed Australian company in return for supporting its Asian business ambitions, a Fairfax Media investigation can reveal.
The arrangement is outlined in a secret contract dated December 2, 2011, before he was elected chief executive, in which Australian engineering company UGL agreed to pay the Beijing-backed politician £4 million (more than $A7 million).

Jonathan Kaiman: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists reinforce barricades at protest site (Guardian)

Pro-democracy demonstrators in central Hong Kong have used cement to reinforce the barricades defending a protest site after being attacked by counter-protesters on Monday afternoon, raising the stakes in a student-led movement which has paralysed huge swaths of the city for the past 16 days.
Hours after police began removing barricades across the city on Monday morning, hundreds of men – some of them wearing surgical masks to hide their faces – stormed various protest sites, assaulting protesters and dragging away remaining barricades themselves. Some were armed with crowbars and cutting tools, according to media reports. “Open the roads,” they chanted. Police at one point formed a human barrier to keep the two sides apart.

AFP: Hong Kong leader says pro-democracy protests will not change Beijing’s stance (Guardian)
Cindy Sui: Watching Hong Kong: Taiwan on guard against China (BBC)

While improved ties with China in recent years have been welcomed by many here, others worry about Beijing’s growing influence.
Its recent refusal to let Hong Kong decide who can run for chief executive confirms Taiwanese suspicions that China would never allow Taiwan to govern itself if the two sides reunified.

Alan Yu, Kathy Gao, Clifford Lo, Jeffie Lam, Raquel Carvalho, Samuel Chan, Timmy Sung, Ng Kang-chung, Ernest Kao: A battle for the streets: clashes between Occupy activists and opponents intensify (South China Morning Post)

Hundreds of Occupy Central opponents converged on Admiralty at around lunchtime yesterday in what appeared to be a well-orchestrated and carefully timed operation to remove road barriers that had paralysed traffic for more than two weeks.
Tense confrontations and scuffles with Occupy protesters ensued, and at least 22 people were arrested.
The chaotic scenes were the first to break out at the Admiralty protest site since police backed down after using tear gas to clear the sit-in on September 28.

Suzanne Sataline: Hong Kong Protesters Are Digging In (Foreign Policy)

Outside of the Admiralty subway station in downtown Hong Kong, about 30 young people sat on the pavement near a large and dusty pile of plaster, plasterboard, and wood, which someone had scrounged from an office renovation nearby. Wearing cotton gloves and safety masks, the young men and women pulled nails from thin slats. Some used bricks to nudge the iron from the slats. The dust rose and the sound glanced off steel beams overhead. The building of new barricades had begun.

汪洋批外国图掀港“颜色革命”(《文汇报》~《大公報》)

占领中环”被西方传媒形容为“雨伞革命”,又被指有外国势力操纵。国务院副总理汪洋上周六在出访俄罗斯期间指出,西方国家目前正支持香港反对派,试图在香港发动所谓“颜色革命”。汪洋强调中国反对西方借助制裁施压,认为在目前复杂的形势下,中国与俄罗斯应该集中精力,致力于发展两国的战略互利合作,以此作为对西方国家的回应。

李文、蕭爾:中共黨報發文首次形容「佔中」是「動亂」(BBC)

《人民日報》海外版周六(11日)發表了一篇署名評論文章,文中多次以「動亂」形容已經進入第14天的香港「佔中」示威抗議行動。
這篇評論文章發表在人民日報的《望海樓》專欄裏,題為《香港還有多少家底可供糟蹋?》,作者是中國商務部研究院研究員梅新育。
文章認為「在公民黨等泛民陣線製造的一場又一場武力無聊政治惡斗」中,香港付出的顯性經濟成本和隱性損失已經太多。
文章指出,,「『佔中』動亂的顯性經濟成本主要是特區政府為應付動亂增加的開支、香港股市下跌蒸發的市值、餐飲零售旅遊行業在國慶黃金周損失的營業收入」,而隱性損失則是「讓香港居民、特別是香港青年失去賴以安身立命和向上流動的機會」。

Didi Kirsten Tatlow: Relatives of People Detained for Supporting Hong Kong Protests Appeal for Their Freedom (New York Times)
可樂:佔領旺角可能分裂(獨立媒體) / Holok Chen: Hotpot, Gods, and „Leftist Pricks“: Political Tensions in the Mong Kok Occupation (Libcom)

事緣前日(9/10)在旺角佔領區發生了一個名為「旺角新村」的活動,內容包括 乒乓球、打邊爐、綿花糖等,位置遠離亞皆老街帳篷,在與山東街交接的一段較空曠的彌敦道上。同場有人策劃了名為佔領小屋設計比賽的活動,有人用紙皮建造小屋,並冠上「彌敦一號」等名號供人休息。活動的照片迅速在社交平台及網上媒體傳開,引起十分大的反應。
在Whatsapp群組也有流傳消息,第一波的消息,是指策劃者是「藍絲帶」,應立即制止及清場,而第二波,就製圖指是「左翼廿一」滋事,到了第三波,網上有輿論領袖以安全為由呼籲制止打邊爐後,流傳的訊息就比較強調是明火危險及聚賭對運動形象有損。據稱一開首有人過去勸止時,仍是可以討論的,但很快就有更多人圍住打邊爐的人叫囂,最後爐具和打球的設備都被收起。而佔領小屋設計比賽一邊,反應不俗,吸引了很多佔領的公眾,但亦有被批評為「阻街」,雖然小屋是位於路障之內。……
這場正在發酵中的衝突仍然持續。在爭普選運動的主題下,我認為公民社會都應該留意旺角的事態發展。因為這場衝突很可能決定未來公民社會的質地。

Kristine Kwok: Never retreat, a Mong Kok state of mind (South China Morning Post)

Mong Kok was blocked by barricades at the intersection of Nathan Road and Argyle Street. … Thirteen days on, the site has evolved from just a few barricades to a fully furnished settlement with self-made marquees, tents, beds and religious shrines.
Its occupants have faced hostility and violence from opponents and what they believe to be „defeatist“ calls for retreat from movement organisers. With a hardline stance that has left them feeling alienated from events across Victoria Harbour, the mission has taken on a life of its own.
Unlike the crowds on Hong Kong Island, this mixture of students, grass-roots underdogs, self-styled rebels and occasional white-collar workers are transforming the site into a highly adaptive and resilient ecosystem. But one thing has not changed. They refuse to be led by anyone, even while in a fight that is ultimately about choosing a leader – just one not vetted by Beijing.

胡平:中共現時的行為邏輯是什麼?(評台)
Andy Xie: Stability will only return when Hong Kong ends its property tyranny (South China Morning Post)

Sky-high property prices are the root cause of the ongoing social instability in Hong Kong. When the average household would have to put aside all their salary for 10 years to afford to buy the space for a bed – never mind eating and drinking, and other living expenses – or that incomes have grown by only 10 per cent in a decade, where is the hope for ordinary people, especially the young? Unless Hong Kong restructures its property market to serve the people, instead of milking them to the last drop, the city won’t see stability again.

Josh Noble: Economic inequality underpins Hong Kong’s great political divide (Financial Times; Text auch verfügbar via [Pen-l])

On Monday CY Leung, Hong Kong chief executive, appeared to confirm protesters’ fears when he warned in an interview with the Financial Times and other foreign media that a fully open voting system would lead to populism by shifting power towards low-earners.
While Hong Kong’s establishment has stressed the importance of protecting the interests of the business community, many in the street believe political change is needed to fix economic imbalances.
“We need to think if Hong Kong should stay an international financial centre and a paradise for global capitalism,” said Rebecca Lai, a 47-year-old NGO worker at a protest site in Mongkok district. “We need to think if this is still good for the citizens.”

Mia Lamar, Fiona Law, Jacky Wong: Hong Kong Police Crackdown Draws Ire (Wall Street Journal)
Emily Tsang, Niall Fraser, Tony Cheung, Jennifer Ngo, Fanny Fung, Jeffie Lam, Lana Lam, Clifford Lo:Image problem for police as video of officers beating protester is beamed around the world (South China Morning Post)

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