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Wukan | neue Linke
Jul 4th, 2016 by Gao

Revisiting the Wukan Uprising of 2011. An Interview with Zhuang Liehong (Chuang)

Zhuang Liehong was one of the four main leaders of the 2011 uprising in Wukan Village, China’s most widely publicized rural struggle of the past decade. Born in 1983, he left home after junior secondary school, like most teenage villagers, to work in the nearby Pearl River Delta (PRD). After a few years of saving up money, he became a shopkeeper in Foshan. Over the course of a series of land grabs in his home village (taking place since 1993), his parents lost their farmland, thus reducing their income to remittances from Zhuang and one of his brothers. With the economic slowdown after 2008, however, Zhuang’s business barely managed to make ends meet, so when fellow villagers began protesting the land grabs in 2009, he joined their cause, teaching himself to use video equipment and co-producing two short documentaries about the dispute. When the conflict escalated in September 2011, Zhuang again rushed home to play an active role in the struggle, being elected to serve as one of 13 delegates to negotiate with the officials. On December 3, he was arrested for circulating a manifesto that helped turn the protest into a mass movement. In response, villagers took several officials hostage, demanding Zhuang’s release. After the movement finally ousted Wukan’s ruling clique and organized the village’s first democratic election in March 2012, Zhuang became one of seven members of the new Village Committee (equivalent to a village-level government).

Inheritance and Situation: Interview with New Generation of Revolutionary Marxists in China (Left Voice)

Arbeiterbewegung
Jan 30th, 2016 by Gao

Daniel Reineke, 
Christoph Plutte: Chinas unruhige Arbeiter (Neues Deutschland)

Die Nachrichten aus China über Verhaftungen regierungskritischer AktivistInnen, Streiks und Börseneinbrüche reißen nicht ab. Die Zahl der Arbeitskämpfe in den Weltmarktfabriken im »Reich der Mitte« ist im vergangenen Halbjahr deutlich gestiegen und mit ihnen die staatliche Repression: Seit Anfang Dezember wurden mindestens 40 ArbeiteraktivistInnen und UnterstützerInnen von Arbeiterorganisationen vorübergehend in Polizeigewahrsam genommen und verhört. Gegen vier von ihnen wird nun strafrechtlich ermittelt, die Anklagen lauten auf »Aufruf zur Versammlung und Störung öffentlicher Ordnung« bzw. »Veruntreuung«.
Die jüngste Verhaftungswelle richtete sich gegen das Dagongzu Arbeiterzentrum in Guangzhou und drei ähnliche Einrichtungen, die insbesondere WanderarbeiterInnen in Rechtsstreits, im Falle von Arbeitsunfällen und bei Lohnkämpfen im Perlflussdelta unterstützen. Die Festnahmen stellen hinsichtlich der Anzahl der Betroffenen und der Schwere der Vorwürfe die bisher schärfste Repression gegen unabhängige Arbeiterorganisationen und Labour-NGOs dar. Was aber sind die Hintergründe für diese Verschärfung der Klassenkämpfe?

Petra Kolonko: Streikverbot in der Werkhalle der Welt (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)

Nach den Verhaftungen von Menschenrechtsanwälten im vergangenen Jahr geht die chinesische Regierung nun auch gegen Arbeiterrechtler vor. Am Sonntag wurde bekannt, dass Anklage gegen fünf Arbeiteraktivisten in Südchina erhoben wurde, darunter auch gegen Zeng Feiyang, den Leiter des privaten Panyu-Wanderarbeiter-Zentrums. Vier Aktivisten wird vorgeworfen, die soziale Ordnung gestört zu haben, ein fünfter wird der Unterschlagung beschuldigt. Ende vergangenen Jahres hatten die Sicherheitsbehörden in der südchinesischen Metropole Guangzhou Aktivisten von vier verschiedenen Nichtregierungsorganisationen festgenommen, die Arbeitern bei Disputen und Arbeitskämpfen unterstützten. Bislang wurde den Beschuldigten jeder Kontakt mit Anwälten mit der Begründung verboten, es handle sich um Fälle, in denen die „nationale Sicherheit“ gefährdet sei. …
Die Verhaftung der vier prominenten Aktivisten sendet nun eine deutliche Warnung an Mitstreiter. Die Nachrichtenagentur Xinhua hat noch vor der Anklageerhebung den Aktivisten vorgeworfen, vom Ausland gesteuert zu sein und die Arbeiter zu Streiks angestiftet zu haben.

Workers in a Workers’ State (Jacobin)

The Chinese state has dramatically escalated repression against workers organizations.
On December 3, four workers organizations in the southern manufacturing hubs of Guangzhou and Foshan came under attack from Chinese authorities. Dozens of staff, family members, and affiliated workers were questioned, and seven remained in custody for over a month. Four have now been formally charged: three of them for “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” and one for “embezzlement.” …
The repression represents a deliberate response to a cluster of economic and social contradictions confronting the ruling Communist Party: the economic challenge of managing an economy increasingly plagued by capitalist dynamics of crisis (as manifested in the 2015 stock market crash, which occurred despite significant state control and regulation); the political challenge of rescuing the party from a legitimation crisis (which has sparked the expulsion of tens of thousands of party leaders and government bureaucrats); and the social challenge of containing popular movements…
The authorities are doing their best to present the latest crackdown as entirely lawful. Instead of harassing and arbitrarily detaining activists as it has done in the past, the state is trying to build airtight legal cases against them.
This change in tactics — reminiscent of how liberal democratic states sometimes handle militant trade unionists — risks setting a dangerous legal precedent. It not only criminalizes otherwise lawful activities, but normalizes such criminalization.
The thinly veiled abuse of the legal process has been complemented by a not-so-subtle smear campaign in the state media. While disgraced celebrities and officials have been on the receiving end of such tactics before, targeting labor activists constitutes a new level of repression.
Broadcast on the main state television station in late December, the smear campaign alleged financial and moral misconduct as well as ulterior political motives, specifically against Zeng Feiyang.

工弩:不许抹黑工人运动!理直气壮捍卫尊严!(红色中国)

讨薪女工周秀云被活活打死的一年后,却发生了又一件打压和抹黑工人抗争的空前事件,仍在全国范围内酝酿着舆论影响。本月3日开始,广东省多家劳工ngo机构多达二十多名劳工工作者与工友先后被警方秘密带走,最新消息是已经增加到多达五名劳工工作者(先后为何晓波、朱小梅、曾飞洋、邓小明、彭家勇)竟遭到刑事拘留,另有两名劳工工作者失联(孟晗、汤建[前劳工机构实习者])。在一贯用高压统治维持资本家血汗工厂的天朝“国情”下,数千万外来工聚集的广东最近五、六年工人运动才初现雏形;作为全国唯一较有组织的工人运动,广东的工人运动其实仍是很初步的阶段。而其实一直是小心翼翼走在广东初生工运最前列的一部分力量,却竟然遭到了史无前例的最严厉打压,已经存在了十几年的劳工机构最基本的生存权第一次遭到了生死存亡的威胁。
可是,更加让我们深深担忧的是,四人中至少有三人(朱、曾、邓)被指控涉嫌“聚众扰乱社会秩序罪”,而他们不过是在最近几年指导了大量工人集体行动——从珠宝厂工人到医院的护工和保安,从大学城环卫工到鞋厂工人——协助过千千万万的工人赢得了集体谈判和应有的利益。无论是罢工、工人集会、集体请愿等工人集体行动本身,还是任何使这些集体行动成为有组织运动的努力,都决不等于“聚众扰乱社会秩序罪”。这样的指控罪名,从一开始就是最耸人听闻、最卑劣可耻的抹黑和污蔑!正如有工友在声援中说的,政府有种就把全国所有罢工的人都抓起来,看看抓不抓得完!一切有斗争觉悟的工人都决不答应这种打压,决不许抹黑工人运动!

Übersetzung ins Englische:
Slandering of the Workers’ Movement Will Not Be Permitted (Chuang)
韩东方:对《人民日报》关于“番禺打工族服务部”主任曾飞洋先生报道的回应(墙外楼)

2015 年 12 月 23 日,贵报发表了记者张璁撰写的一篇新闻报道(责任编辑:曹昆),题为“大量接受境外组织资金,操纵罢工,升级劳资矛盾,玷污公益之名敛财骗色——起底‘工运之星’真面目”……该篇报道的标题及内容所用词句,充满国人早已深恶痛绝的煽动对立、制造仇恨的“文革”话语逻辑。好像“境外组织资金”就是妖魔鬼怪,只要跟境外资金扯上关系,不管是做什么,便其心可诛。难道,贵报从总编辑到记者们的眼里,这个世界,我们的国家,人与人之间,真的已经晦暗到了只剩下“拉拢”和被拉拢的关系,只有骗子、傻子、袖手旁观者和落井下石者这几种人吗?难道,在你们的内心世界,早已不再有志同道合者吗?不再有为了共同理想和精神追求合作奋斗这回事吗?不再有工人阶级的阶级感情这种东西吗?更不再有基于这种阶级情怀,对中国工人阶级所受苦难不忍冷眼旁观,不齿于弥漫于街头巷尾和办公大楼里心口不一的假卫道士,从而愿意坐言起行改变现状的理想主义者吗?难道,在我们这个工人阶级为领导阶级,社会主义为根本制度的国家,“境外资本”可以践踏劳动法律法规,“境外老板”可以肆意侵害我国工人合法权益,并能够得到包括贵报在内的权势者的保驾护航,而包括“中国劳工通讯”在内的“境外组织”,帮助那些遭受境外资本和境外老板剥削的工人,争取合法权益,反倒应该受到打压,甚至遭受牢狱之灾吗?

Übersetzung ins Englische von David Bandurski:
Han Dongfang: A reply to the People’s Daily report on the director of the Panyu Workers Service Centre, Zeng Feiyang (China Labour Bulletin)

Wanderarbeiter | Geschichte
Sep 6th, 2015 by Gao

Damien Ma: China’s 20 Percent Problem (Foreign Affairs; auch per Google Cache)

For years now, China has faced the daunting challenge of managing its roughly 260 million “domestic immigrants,” or migrant workers. They flow itinerantly from countryside to cities, where they dwell as second-class citizens and temporary guests with no formal urban status because of a system, known as hukou, that prevents them from settling and easily accessing basic services such as health care, social security, primary education for their children, and decent housing.
At nearly 20 percent of the population, China’s migrants, if they were to form their own country, would constitute the world’s fourth most populous nation. It is a demographic that has grown 30 times over the past 30 years, according to figures from an official Chinese Communist Party (CCP) journal, Seeking Truth, even as total population growth has increased by less than one percent over the same period. Relative to the overall population, the migrant demographic is younger, more mobile, and not particularly smitten with the status quo…
Dealing with migrants is all the more challenging because they tend to be younger, especially the new generation. For instance, the average millennial migrant (about 50 percent of the whole migrant cohort) is under 35 and holds a college degree, according to a Nankai University survey of migrants in seven cities.

Sergey Radchenko: China Lost World War II (Foreign Policy)

Forget Beijing’s victory parade: in 1945, China was a failed state.

Richard Bernstein: Assassinating Chiang Kai-shek (Foreign Policy)

The reputation of China’s Nationalist leader is falling in Taiwan and being rehabilitated on the Mainland. What’s going on?

Recycling-Arbeiter | Börsen
Aug 28th, 2015 by Gao

Tom Phillips: China’s workers abandon the city as Beijing faces an economic storm (Guardian)

Labour disputes are rising and some workers are leaving for the country amid fears a crashing economy could cause political and social unrest.

Peter Lee: Making Sense of China’s Stock Market Meltdown (CounterPunch)

I suppose much of the journo commentariat was born since 2008 and therefore has no memory of TARP, Too Big To Fail, or Jamie Dimon rolling around naked inside a gigantic vat of taxpayer money, so there has been a considerable amount of handwring about how the CCP defiled the purity of the stock market by flinging a trillion or so RMB at the markets in a faltering attempt to moderate the collapse of share prices on the Shanghai exchange.
“Purity of the stock market”. Chew on that a while.

Agrarpolitik | Tianjin
Aug 20th, 2015 by Gao

Qian Forrest Zhang, Carlos Oya, Jingzhong Ye: Bringing Agriculture Back In: The Central Place of Agrarian Change in Rural China Studies (Journal of Agrarian Change 15.3:299–313 [Juli 2015]; kein freier Zugang)
The capitalist transformation of rural China: Evidence from “Agrarian Change in Contemporary China” (Chuang)
Chinese peasant struggles from 1959 to 2013 (Chuang)

左楠:天津爆炸:你必须知道的几个事(破土)
The Tianjin Explosion: A Tragedy of Profit, Corruption, and China’s Complicated Transition (Chuang)
Wolfgang Pomrehn: Viele offene Fragen nach Explosion in Tianjin (Telepolis)
AFP: Migrant workers bear the brunt of blasts in Tianjin (Straits Times)
In China, there is no firefighters’ trade union and it shows (China Labour Bulletin)

Hongkong | Ramadan | Wirtschaft
Jun 26th, 2015 by Gao

China’s plans for Hong Kong backfire (Washington Post)

For 79 days last year, thousands of protesters occupied major roads in Hong Kong in an attempt to force Chinese authorities to grant the territory genuine democracy. They failed. Local leaders and their overlords in Beijing refused to negotiate over an electoral plan that would allow for a popular vote for Hong Kong’s next leader but would limit candidates to nominees approved by the Communist regime. That left opposition representatives in Hong Kong’s legislature with an unappealing choice this month: Sign off on the inadequate reform or block it at the risk of freezing the current, even less democratic, system in place. “To kowtow, or to veto,” was the way opposition leader Alan Leong summed up the dilemma.
In the end, the opposition voted down the electoral system, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass the legislative council. The rebuff to the regime was amplified when pro-Beijing legislators walked out in a failed attempt to delay the vote; the final tally was 28 to 8. It was a moral victory for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, which has made clear it won’t accept China’s attempt to gut its promise to allow universal suffrage.

Tom Phillips: Hong Kong parliament defies Beijing’s insistence and rejects ‚democracy‘ plan (Guardian)
Sad moment for Hong Kong democratic process (Global Times)

According to Beijing’s August 31 decision, if the reform plan fails to pass, Hong Kong will maintain the current election system and its chief executives will be elected by the 1,200-member election committee.
The pan-democratic lawmakers must accept this fact since they have rejected the reform. If they don’t stop but organize more drastic street demonstrations, they will push Hong Kong to a dead end and mean a life and death struggle with the Basic Law. In that case, Hong Kong will face dismal prospects.
We are concerned that a Pandora box is being opened in Hong Kong and various devils are released to ruin the region’s future. People who love Hong Kong should work to keep the box tightly closed so that Hong Kong won’t degenerate from the capital of finance and fashion to a total mess.
The Hong Kong opposition camp shouldn’t overestimate their power. The high yardstick under which the reform plan needs to win a two-thirds majority has enabled a minority of pan-democrats to kidnap the opinion of the mainstream. They are misguided if they think they represent the mainstream public and can indulge themselves in doing whatever they like.

Dai Weisen, Xin Lin: Last Occupy Central Die-Hards Face Eviction From Hong Kong Street (Radio Free Asia)

China bans Ramadan fasting in mainly Muslim region (AlJazeera)

China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open.

Shohret Hoshur: At Least 18 Dead in Ramadan Attack on Police Checkpoint in Xinjiang (Radio Free Asia)
Richard Javad Heydarian: China’s illusion of harmony (AlJazeera)

For decades, much of China’s economic boom was concentrated in its south and eastern coastal regions, with mega-cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai experiencing stratospheric growth rates. It didn’t take long before Mao’s China was transformed from one of the world’s most egalitarian nations into a highly stratified capitalist society, with income inequality levels rivalling those in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Recognising the gravity of the country’s growing geographical and class-based divide, China’s Communist Party, beginning in 2006, endorsed a political doctrine, at a closed-door plenary session held by the party’s Central Committee, which focused on the creation of a „harmonious society“…
The problem, however, was that the development of interior regions went hand in hand with growing sociopolitical repression of the Uighur population as well as a massive influx of Han Chinese population into autonomous regions such as Xinjiang.

Qiao Long, Hai Nan: Beijing Police Detain Hundreds of PLA Veterans As Thousands Protest Lack of Pension (Radio Free Asia)

Authorities in the Chinese capital have detained hundreds of former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers after thousands of them staged a sit-in outside China’s central military command on Tuesday in protest over a lack of pension and other benefits, protesters said.
The protesters, mostly veterans of China’s brief 1979 border war with Vietnam and the Sino-Soviet border conflict of March 1969, converged on the Central Military Commission (CMC) headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday morning.
Zhejiang-based veteran Sun Enwei said he had counted around 3,000 retired PLA soldiers outside the complaints department of the CMC before the authorities took some of them to the Jiujingzhuang unofficial detention center on the outskirts of Beijing.
„More than 800 people have been forcibly taken to Jiujingzhuang,“ Sun told RFA. „They have informed the local governments that … they have to send people to Jiujingzhuang to pick them up.“

Charlotte Middlehurst: Robotics revolution rocks Chinese textile workers (AlJazeera)

Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk as manufacturers plan to employ hi-tech gadgetry in factories to cut costs.

Marc Bain: US fashion companies are starting to look beyond China for sourcing apparel (Quartz)

China’s clothing manufacturing capabilities are so advanced, and still so relatively cheap for US fashion labels, that right now there are few good substitutes for producing there. But as Chinese production costs begin to creep up, American brands are scouting out other options, primarily in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and even the US itself.

Christoph Jehle: Elektronikfertigung in Thailand (Telepolis)

Elektronische Produkte kommen in der allgemeinen Wahrnehmung heute mehrheitlich aus der Volksrepublik China (PRC). So steht es auch vielfach auf den Typenschildern der Produkte, weil die Endmontage oft im Reich der Mitte stattfindet und die großen chinesischen Auftragsfertiger bei ihren Auftraggebern einen guten Ruf besitzen. Die Fertigung vieler Baugruppen und Einzelkomponenten wurde jedoch inzwischen in Länder verlagert, die mit günstigeren Löhnen, größeren Steuervorteilen, geringerer Organisierung ihrer Arbeitskräfte und nach Möglichkeit auch staatlicher Unterstützung bei der Werksansiedelung noch attraktiver sind als Mainland China.

Michael Lelyveld: China Pushes Production Abroad With ‚Capacity Cooperation‘ Initiative (Radio Free Asia)
Carrie Gracie: The village and the girl (BBC)
Trying to hit a moving target: The Lide shoe factory workers’ campaign for relocation compensation (China Labour Bulletin)
Noch immer lesenswert:
Eli Friedman: China in Revolt (Jacobin, 2008)

The Chinese working class plays a Janus-like role in the political imaginary of neoliberalism. On the one hand, it’s imagined as the competitive victor of capitalist globalization, the conquering juggernaut whose rise spells defeat for the working classes of the rich world. What hope is there for the struggles of workers in Detroit or Rennes when the Sichuanese migrant is happy to work for a fraction of the price?
At the same time, Chinese workers are depicted as the pitiable victims of globalization, the guilty conscience of First World consumers. Passive and exploited toilers, they suffer stoically for our iPhones and bathtowels. And only we can save them, by absorbing their torrent of exports, or campaigning benevolently for their humane treatment at the hands of “our” multinationals.
For parts of the rich-world left, the moral of these opposing narratives is that here, in our own societies, labor resistance is consigned to history’s dustbin. Such resistance is, first of all, perverse and decadent. What entitles pampered Northern workers, with their “First World problems,” to make material demands on a system that already offers them such abundance furnished by the wretched of the earth? And in any case, resistance against so formidable a competitive threat must surely be futile.

Feng Zhang: Beijing’s Master Plan for the South China Sea (Foreign Policy)

China has far greater ambitions for the region than just reclaiming some tiny islands. In late 2013, Beijing started taking a very different approach to sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea — although few outside China noticed the change. Instead of directly confronting the other regional claimant states, Beijing began the rapid consolidation of, and construction on, the maritime features already under its control. And it did so on a scale and pace befitting China’s impressive engineering prowess.

Heather Timmons: Russia’s importance to China is overblown (Quartz)

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s largest source of oil in May, shipping a record 3.92 million metric tons, a 20% increase from April.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened (although the last time was more than 10 years ago), and Russia isn’t the only country to ship more oil to China than the Saudis. Angola also sold more oil to China than Saudi Arabia in May.
Still, it is the latest sign of the growing ties between Russia, suffering under sanctions and increasing international isolation, and China, which is investing heavily to bolster its slowing economy, namely by building a global infrastructure network.

Shen Hong: China’s Plan for Local Debt Amounts to a Bailout (Wall Street Journal)

Beijing had promised to let market play a greater role; banks take bonds in place of higher-rate loans

Melvyn Backman: China’s stock market fell hard this week—really hard (Quartz)
Leslie Shaffer: China manufacturing remains mired in June (CNBC)
China Intensifies Steel Cuts as Iron Bull Market Drives Up Costs (Bloomberg)

Jonathan Fenby: What the West should know about Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao (New Statesman)
Andrew Browne: The Whiplash of Xi Jinping’s Top-Down Style (Wall Street Journal)
Tom Phillips: China’s Xi Jinping says poverty is ’nothing to fear‘ after pesticide deaths (Guardian)

China’s president, Xi Jinping, has told villagers in one of the most deprived areas of the country, where four children killed themselves last week by swallowing pesticide, that poverty is nothing to fear.
He made the comments in Huamao, a village in the south-western province of Guizhou, according to China’s official news agency.
The president was quoted as saying: “A good life is created with one’s own hands, so poverty is nothing to fear. If we have determination and confidence, we can overcome any difficulty.”

Anders Hove: What Do Beijing’s Blue Skies Really Mean? It’s Too Soon to Say (Paulson Institute)
Eric Bellman: China’s Air is Much Worse Than India’s, World Bank Report Shows (Wall Street Journal)
Richard Smith: China’s Communist-Capitalist Ecological Apocalypse (TruthOut)

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: American Students in China: It’s Not as Authoritarian as We Thought (Asia Society)

For some American students about to embark on a study abroad trip to China, the U.S. media reports of Chinese Internet censorship, jailing of dissidents, and draconian population control laws may dominate their perception of the country. But after more than 30 years of reform and opening, the nominally communist country now combines economic liberalization, lumbering social and legal reforms, and spurts of ideological entrenchment to create a dynamic mix of restriction and freedom that’s hard to parse.

Julian Baggini: Is it OK to eat dogs? (Guardian)

Whenever western meat-eaters get up in arms over barbarous foreigners eating cute animals, it’s easy to throw around accusations of gross hypocrisy. Easy, because such accusations are often true. But responses to the dog meat festival in Yulin, China, which draws to a close today, merit more careful consideration. The double standards at play here are numerous, complicated, and not always obvious.

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)

Wanderarbeiter in Israel
Jun 21st, 2015 by Gao

Das israelische Regime versucht, seine Wirtschaft von palästinensischer Arbeitskraft unabhängig zu machen, indem es Arbeitsmigranten aus Osteuropa und Asien importiert.
Meirav Arlosoroff: China demands workers sent to Israel not be placed in West Bank settlements.
The Chinese and Israeli governments have negotiated over the employment of Chinese workers in Israel for a number of years. The agreement would replace the current arrangement, in which private companies contract directly with Chinese firms that supply the labor, an arrangement that has resulted in allegations of serious violations of labor laws.
(Haaretz)

Streik | Atomkraft | Monsanto | 1989
Mai 30th, 2015 by Gao

Elaine Hui: Chinese Bike Light Strikers Occupy Factory, Face Firings and Arrests (Labor Notes)

Workers who make bike lights at a factory in Shenzhen, China, have been on strike since April 30, demanding that the company pay up what it legally owes them.
The strikers stayed overnight in the factory, stopping production and delivery for two weeks, until police came to evict them and arrest worker leaders on May 13.
New An Lun Lamp, a Taiwanese-owned factory, produces bicycle lights for brands including the German Messingschlager and Buchel and the Dutch AXA.
There are about 100 workers in the factory, mostly middle-aged women, with some nearing retirement.
Though their actions have been peaceful, thus far 13 workers have been fired and nine arrested by police for “disrupting public order.”
Seven out of the nine detained workers were released within 24 hours. The other two—including one of the workers’ elected representatives—were held by police for seven days. During the police raid on May 13 these two clutched the legs of the general manager and his son, crying and begging them not to remove the finish goods.

Migrant worker in Nanjing cheated out of compensation and left to die (China Labour Bulletin)

Listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London and New York, China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is one of China’s largest and best-known companies. It has a vast network of subsidiaries including Yangzi Petrochemical based in Nanjing. This company reportedly owns or has an interest in Nanjing Yangzi Maintenance and Installation (南京扬子检修安装), which employed Chen Dejun, a young migrant worker from the neighbouring province of Anhui.
Chen started work at Yangzi Maintenance and Installation in July 2010. Within 18 months, he started to experience dizziness, irregular heartbeat, headaches and tremors – all the symptoms of benzene poisoning, and almost certainly the result of his work doing spray-painting, acid washing, chemical cleaning and toxic waste disposal at the plant.
Today, Chen is seriously ill and bedridden but he has still not received any compensation because his employer did everything it could to prevent his illness from being classified by the authorities as an occupational disease.

Robert Foyle Hunwick: Desperate Chinese are turning to mass suicide to get their government’s attention (Global Post)

The location was chosen for maximum impact: a downtown boulevard, famous for Beijing’s swankiest shops and its plushest hotels. Studded with these symbols of Western capitalist chic, Wangfujing Shopping Street could hardly be further from the more desperate concerns of rural China.
It was here that a group of about 30 men gathered on a warm spring morning and, in front of hundreds of shoppers, swallowed a quantity of pesticide. They fell to the ground en masse and, according to several eyewitnesses, foamed at the mouth.
As the men were rushed to hospital, startled crowds spread the news on social media, while the scene quickly returned to normal. Police issued a statement later that day that none had died; local reports explained they were taxi drivers from the northeast, who’d traveled to the capital to stage the protest…
In August 2013, a group of 21, also from Heilongjiang, attempted mass suicide near the Beijing West rail station, after a railway company failed to provide their children with the public-service jobs they were promised. Four months later, 13 homeowners attempted the same over a failure to be compensated for demolitions. In two incidents in July last year, five petitioners drank poison in a police station, and five men and two women from Jiangsu, did the same outside the offices of the China Youth Daily newspaper. They were dissatisfied with the terms of their eviction.

孟山都滚出中国! (monsanto-out-of-china.org)

Emma Graham-Harrison: China warned over ‚insane‘ plans for new nuclear power plants (Guardian)

China’s plans for a rapid expansion of nuclear power plants are “insane” because the country is not investing enough in safety controls, a leading Chinese scientist has warned.
Proposals to build plants inland, as China ends a moratorium on new generators imposed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, are particularly risky, the physicist He Zuoxiu said, because if there was an accident it could contaminate rivers that hundreds of millions of people rely on for water and taint groundwater supplies to vast swathes of important farmlands.
China halted the approval of new reactors in 2011 in order to review its safety standards, but gave the go-ahead in March for two units, part of an attempt to surpass Japan’s nuclear-generating capacity by 2020 and become the world’s biggest user of nuclear power a decade later.
Barack Obama recently announced plans to renew a nuclear cooperation deal with Beijing that would allow it to buy more US-designed reactors, and potentially pursue the technology to reprocess plutonium from spent fuel…
He, who worked on China’s nuclear weapons programme, said the planned rollout was going too fast to ensure it had the safety and monitoring expertise needed to avert an accident.
“There are currently two voices on nuclear energy in China. One prioritises safety while the other prioritises development,” He told the Guardian in an interview at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities”. He said: “They want to build 58 (gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity) by 2020 and eventually 120 to 200. This is insane.”

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: These Chinese People Want High-Speed Rail So Badly They Are Fighting Police to Get It (Foreign Policy)

On May 16, thousands of people carrying banners marched through the streets of Linshui, a county in the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan. Some shouted slogans while others hurled rocks at lines of police in riot gear, who pushed back against the crowds and beat some with batons. Photographs show several people with bloody head injuries being cared for by paramedics and onlookers. Linshui residents turned out in droves, burned vehicles, and braved riot police for more than eight hours — not to protest inequality, corruption, or environmental degradation, but to demand that a high-speed rail line be built through their county.

Wolfgang Pomrehn: Chinas Investitions-Offensive (Telepolis)

Die Volksrepublik verstärkt ihren Kapitalexport und steckt viel Geld in den Aufbau von Eisenbahnen und anderer Infrastruktur in befreundeten Ländern.

Gu Yi etc.: On the 26th Anniversary of Tian’anmen Massacre (Sri Lanka Guardian)

We are a group of Chinese students born in the 1980s and 1990s and now studying abroad. Twenty-six years ago on June 4th, young students, in life’s prime with innocent love for their country just as we are today, died under the gun of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing’s streets.

境外势力试图煽动八零后九零后(《环球时报》 im Google-Speicher. Das Original wurde mittlerweile gelöscht.)

十几名自称是“八零后和九零后”的在美“中国留学生”日前联署了一封致国内青年学生的公开信,就八九政治风波发表充满“民运味”、像是被手把手教着写出来的极端观点。它以十分凶悍的语言攻击中国现政权,照抄海外一些势力的话语歪曲讲述26年前发生的事情。通常来说,中国大陆赴美留学生即使思想发生一些变化,也写不出如此赤裸裸攻击祖国的文稿。

Hostile forces target younger generation (Global Times)

Eleven Chinese students born in the 1980s or 1990s and studying in the US recently signed an open letter to their counterparts in the mainland. The letter carries their extreme views on the 1989 Tiananmen incident in the tone that used to be adopted by much older pro-democracy activists. It harshly attacked the current Chinese regime, twisting the facts of 26 years ago with narratives of some overseas hostile forces. Generally, even if changes in thought do take place, it’s unlikely for mainland students who study in the US to lash out at their homeland in such an insulting way.

Emma Graham-Harrison: Chinese students in the west call for transparency over Tiananmen Square (Guardian)
范凌志:香港左翼爱国团体立场坚定反对泛民(《环球时报》)

Writing China: Rian Thum, ‘The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History’ (Wall Street Journal)

Julian Ryall: China plans for North Korean regime collapse leaked (Washington Post)

China has drawn up detailed contingency plans for the collapse of the North Korean government, suggesting that Beijing has little faith in the longevity of Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Documents drawn up by planners from China’s People’s Liberation Army that were leaked to Japanese media include proposals for detaining key North Korean leaders and the creation of refugee camps on the Chinese side of the frontier in the event of an outbreak of civil unrest in the secretive state.

Paul Mason: How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening (Guardian)

A new play, World Factory, asks the audience to run a clothing factory in China – and even the creators have been surprised at how people have behaved.

Frank Langfitt: How China’s Censors Influence Hollywood (NPR)

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)

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