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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.

Inselstreit | Liu Wencai | Geschichte
Aug 4th, 2016 by Gao

Alfred Gerstl: Südchinesisches Meer: Friedliche Lösung im Interesse aller (Reispapier)

Der Spruch des Internationalen Schiedshofes über den Streit zwischen den Philippinen und China hat weitgehende Folgen für die Territorialkonflikte im Südchinesischen Meer. An einer diplomatischen Lösung führt jedoch kein Weg vorbei – sie liegt im Interesse aller Beteiligten.

Vanessa Piao: Grandson of China’s Most-Hated Landlord Challenges Communist Lore (New York Times)

Sorghum and Steel. The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China (chuang)

The story we tell below explains the century-long creation of China as an economic entity. Unlike the nationalists, we do not hope to uncover any secret lineage of culture, language or ethnicity in order to explain the unique character of today’s China. Unlike many leftists, we also do not seek to trace out the “red thread” in history, discovering where the socialist project “went wrong” and what could have been done to achieve communism in some alternate universe. Instead, we aim to inquire into the past in order to understand our present moment. What does the current slowdown in Chinese growth bode for the global economy? What hope, if any, do contemporary struggles in China hold for any future communist project?
Our long-term goal is to answer these questions—to compose a coherent communist perspective on China not muddied by the romance of dead revolutions or the hysteria of rapid growth rates. Below we offer the first in a three-part history of the emergence of China out of the global imperatives of capitalist accumulation. In this issue we cover the explicitly non-capitalist portion of this history, the socialist era and its immediate precursors, which saw the development of the first modern industrial infrastructure on the East Asian mainland…
This first section covers the non-capitalist period, in which the popular movement led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) succeeded in both destroying the old regime and halting the transition to capitalism, leaving the region stuck in an inconsistent stasis understood at the time to be “socialism.”

Haager Inselstreit-Urteil
Jul 12th, 2016 by Gao

Bill Gertz: US, China wage legal warfare over control of the South China Sea (Asia Times)

The United States is stealing a page from China’s strategic playbook in using international law as a means to counter expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.
The three-year old case between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague will end Tuesday when the court’s ruling is announced.
US officials say the ruling is expected to favor the Philippines in the maritime dispute and provide a solid basis in traditional international law for pushing back against China’s claims.

Tom Phillips: Beijing defiant ahead of court ruling on its claims in South China Sea (Guardian)

China has refused to recognise the five-judge court’s authority and on Tuesday morning the country’s Communist party-controlled press lashed out at what it claimed was a United States-sponsored conspiracy to stifle its rise.

Law-abusing tribunal issues ill-founded award on South China Sea arbitration (Xinhua)

The tribunal handling the South China Sea arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the former Philippine government issued its final award on Tuesday, amid a global chorus that as the panel has no jurisdiction, its decision is naturally null and void.

Unlawful arbitration cannot negate China’s sovereignty over South China Sea (People’s Daily / Global Times)
Arbitration award more shameless than worst prediction (Global Times)
China’s reaction to arbitration depends on provocation (Global Times)

The award of the South China Sea arbitration will be issued at 5 pm Beijing time Tuesday. The US and Japan have claimed that relevant countries, including China, should comply with the arbitration result. They stand in sharp confrontation with China, which has announced that the award would be „nothing but a piece of paper.“ Whether the arbitration will lead to a severe geopolitical crisis has come under the global spotlight.

Tom Phillips, Oliver Holmes, Owen Bowcott: Philippines wins South China Sea case against China (Guardian)

China has lost a key international legal case over strategic reefs and atolls that it claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The judgment by an international tribunal in The Hague is overwhelmingly in favour of claims by the Philippines and will increase global diplomatic pressure on Beijing to scale back military expansion in the sensitive area.
By depriving certain outcrops – some of which are exposed only at low tide – of territorial-generating status, the ruling effectively punches holes in China’s all-encompassing “nine-dash” demarcation line that stretches deep into the South China Sea. It declares large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters.

Oliver Holmes, Tom Phillips: South China Sea dispute: what you need to know about The Hague court ruling (Guardian)
What you need to know about The Hague arbitration, the China-Philippines sea dispute (Global Times)

The U-shaped, nine-dash line encircling most of the South China Sea is the core of China’s claim. It was first published on a map drawn by the Kuomintang’s Republic of China government in 1947 and then inherited by the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea was never officially disputed until the 1960s.

Zhao Minghao: South China Sea chaos would only add to global woes (Global Times)
Statement of the Government of the People‘ s Republic of China on China’s Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests in the South China Sea (Xinhua)
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on the Award of 12 July 2016 of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea Arbitration Established at the Request of the Republic of the Philippines (Xinhua)
Thomas Escritt, Ben Blanchard: Tribunal says China has no ‘historic’ title over South China Sea (Asia Times)
Taiping, an island not rock, says Taiwan; Philippines, Vietnam hail sea ruling (Asia Times)

While the Philippines and Vietnam welcomed the international tribunal’s ruling on South China Sea, Taiwan rejected the court’s view that defined a Taiwan-controlled island in the waters as a “rock.”

Liu Zhen: Questions of neutrality: China takes aim at judges in South China Sea case (South China Morning Post)

China confident of ability to deal with provocation in South China Sea, says Defense Ministry spokesperson (Global Times)
Lies of Philippines‘ Aquino administration on South China Sea (Xinhua)
Why will China never respect U.S. over South China Sea? (Xinhua)

Shortly after UNCLOS was unveiled in 1982, then U.S. President Ronald Reagan refused to sign, claiming the convention undermined his country’s sovereignty.
In 1994, after UNCLOS was revised to take into consideration American worries about losing control of valuable underwater oil and natural-gas deposits, then U.S. President Bill Clinton signed an updated UNCLOS agreement, although not the entire treaty.

Li Kaisheng: Washington can’t steer Manila’s path (Global Times)
Liu Haiyang: Tribunal award could impair UNCLOS (Global Times)
Graham Allison: Of Course China, Like All Great Powers, Will Ignore an International Legal Verdict (Diplomat)
Wang Wen: Debunking 10 myths about China and the South China Sea (South China Morning Post)
Bill Hayton: China’s ‘Historic Rights’ in the South China Sea: Made in America? (Diplomat)

The current understanding of “historic rights” in the South China Sea in China can be traced back to a U.S. diplomat.

Bill Hayton: China’s South Sea claims were always about emotion, not history (National Interest)

The tribunal’s award is 501 pages long. I’m still reading it, but my favorite line so far comes in Paragraph 270, where the judges say, “The Tribunal is unable to identify any evidence that would suggest that China historically regulated or controlled fishing in the South China Sea, beyond the limits of the territorial sea.” This destroys the implicit misunderstanding at the heart of China’s attitude towards the region—that it, and only it, has been the sole user of the waters between its coast and those of its neighbors.
No one can deny that Chinese traders or fishing communities based along the coast of what is now China made extensive use of the sea. But so did traders and fishers from all the other countries around it. So did merchants from India, Persia, Arabia and Europe. The history of the South China Sea has always been a shared one. Muslim traders built a mosque in Guangzhou in the eighth century, Chinese shipwrights borrowed design ideas from Malay vessels, and the region grew rich on the profits of exchange. The chauvinism about China’s superior and exclusive claim to the sea only emerged in the dying years of the Qing Empire and the chaotic early years of the Republic of China.

Thomas Eder: „China hat Völkerrecht gebrochen“ (8MRD)
Richard Javad Heydarian: China may dispute South China Sea verdict, but it’s a huge setback (Guardian)
Pepe Escobar: Between a Rock and a Hard (South China) Place (CounterPunch)

Beijing is open for talks, as long as Manila sets the ruling aside. Jay Batongbacal, from the University of the Philippines, cuts to the heart of the issue: “Publicly stating that junking the arbitration is a condition for resuming negotiations gives no room for face-saving on either side.”

Alfred Gerstl: Recht oder Macht im Südchinesischen Meer (Standard)

Auch wenn in China die Wogen nach dem Schiedsspruch des Ständigen Schiedshofs hochgehen: Nun gibt es die Chance, den Konflikt unter dem Dach der Assoziation südostasiatischer Nationen zu lösen.

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