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The TPP: Right Or Wrong?



Does your brain trying to figure out the plus and minuses of the TPP? I mean the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal that the Obama administration supports and Trump rejects. You're not alone.

Here is a breakdown. The TPP is a trade agreement among eleven countries of the Pacific. Pacific trade is the most vital in the world.

In the words of the China specialist, Gordon Chang, the issue is not the lopsided benefits of tariffs, dumping and currency manipulation. These can be negotiated.

The question is: Whose vision of Pacific trade will prevail, Washington's or Beijing's.
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China Bullies Hong Kong

The New York Times has today's headline in an Opinion Piece right. "China Bullies Hong Kong."

Two elected officials, young advocates of independence for Hong Kong, were denied their seats in the legislature.

China promised Hong Kong would retain its democratic institutions when Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control in 1997 after centuries under British
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A Conversation With Ai Wei Wei at the Council on Foreign Relations



Ai Weiwei is the artist who has defied the Chinese leadership on the subject of human rights. He was in New York, interviewed by my friend Jerome Cohen, the dean of China lawyers.

Cohen is a brilliant observer of the Chinese political scene. His best question was about Xi Jinping, the President of China.

Cohen posed the following question. Xi speaks of Confucianism all the time. The chief value of Confucianism is respect for parents. Xi's own father was put to labor by Mao, and when he returned, he still spoke up for the rights of people. What is he doing?
How do you honor your father?

See Weiwei's answer in the video.  Read More 
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China: Sea Power or Land Power? The New Silk Road Explained

On the 12th of July, the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague awarded the Philippines the decision on the South China Sea.

This was a defeat for China, which refused to participate in the arbitration, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction.

The loss was bitter and the China were furious.

What does it all mean?  Read More 
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Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Halting Mandarin

This is fascinating. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, speaks at Tsinghua University. He addresses a young and middle-aged audience for twenty minutes in halting Mandarin. He seems to do it from memory, without a teleprompter.

He speaks in tones, he struggles at bringing phrases to memory at times, but he is working at correct pronunciation, an exercise which pleases Chinese to no end. They usually think that Westerners are too damned dumb to get their language.

He is not a smooth speaker, as some Westerners are. Jon Hunstman, the former American ambassador, speaks fairly good Chinese and so does Jerome Cohen, the China lawyer. Zuckerberg even gets a laugh, which is pretty good for a Western barbarian. Thus the Great Wall across the great cultural divide may be breached and one wonders does this have any resonance for the Great Firewall that Chinese censors have placed around the Internet.

Zuckerberg, of course, is known to the Chinese as a technical genius. He speaks about connecting the world. This is a great performance. The audience applauds him. I have to run this story down, because I want to know more about it. Sty tuned for further reportage.



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Chinese Maritime Buildup Increases Tensions over the Senkaku Islands




Here's a capsule explanation of what's going on in the East China Sea. This territorial dispute is one of the flashpoints in the region, since the Japanese insist on making ports of call.

Here's a link to an image that focuses on the China/Japan territorial dispute. There are other conflicting claims in the region.

https://goo.gl/images/KMbTBk

In 2012, the Japanese government bought three of five islands from a private family. Japanese vessels regularly patrol the sea, off the coast of Okinawa. The Japanese and the Chinese government have disputed claims to the islands.

The Chinese call them the Diaoyu Islands. Dispute over them has been going on since the 1970s.
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Chinese Hackers Attack 2 Hong Kong Government Sites

Richard Bejtlich, a top American expert at FireEye computer security, says that the hacking group APT 3 is no joke. They have hacked two Hong Kong government agencies. This is in advance of the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections.

Is this an attempt to influence the elections? No one knows.

China Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, condemns calls for Hong Kong independence, but this is nothing new.

According to iSight, a FireEye group that tracks malware around the world, the APT 3 group is among the most sophisticated of hackers. They use the latest techniques.

The group's relationship to the Beijing government is not known. Fireye traced the APT 1 group to a PLA address in Shanghai, making the group a part of the People's Liberation Army.

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Political Theater at the G 20: Dancing on Water

The Chinese have put on a spectacular entertainment at the G 20 summit in Hangzhou.

Amid the latest government policy urging Chinese to turn away from Western culture, the producers show Chinese ballet dancers in pink tututs and specially designed toe shoes, for dancing on the waters.

Having worked on cultural exchange in music, painting and dance two decades ago, I can tell you that the Chinese take the training of their classical ballet dancers quite seriously. They send young dancers abroad to learn. Western companies and Western ballet masters teach at Chinese academies. Ballet is classical art that is in the Western artistic tradition, in story, music and the use of the human body. It is different from music and dance traditions belonging to the most beloved of Chinese performance art forms, Peking opera.



More important than what is happening to the tutus amid the fountains, is the sidebar meetings between Obama and Putin, with a discussion of Syria.

The talk between Obama and Xi about cyber espionage and the South China sea and the theatrics of a Chinese security officer stopping Susan Rice, the national security advisor, on the tarmac.

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LaoGai: The Tragic History of China's Secret Labor Camps

Harry Wu, the most famous Chinese dissident, died early this year. I interviewed Mr. Wu in Washington a year ago. Mr. Wu was a survivor of the Chinese gulag.

He graciously opened his museum and his archives to me. In his memory, here is a video that he created about the Chinese prison system.



"In China, they want you to become [a] new socialist person, and that's the purpose of the labor camps," says Harry Wu, a survivor of the prison system known as "Laogai," which means "reform through labor."

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China's Building Boom In Los Angeles

The Chinese building boom transformed the skylines of Beijing and Shanghai.

Now it is happening in Los Angeles. Witness the recent report in the "Los Angeles Times" about the unprecedented investment in high-priced real estate in Los Angeles.

Chinese developers are moving into Los Angeles on an unprecendented scale. These are megaprojects and they will change the landscape of downtown Los Angeles.

Many of the residential units are expected to sell to Chinese who want to invest in the perceived safety of overseas real estate, partly because they are worried about the slowing of the Chinese economy.

According to the report written by David Pierson, “The building boom is something of a showcase for Chinese real estate companies, which are willing to pay a premium to establish themselves as global brands.”

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