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Tag: China

Terms of Sale

Sunday, 14 April, 2019

Haisam Hussein has produced a very entertaining map for Lapham’s Quarterly charting the flow of merchants, merchandise and words along the ancient global trade routes. As exotic goods made their way across new regions, their names mutated along the thoroughfares, goes the theory. Take tea, for example. It was transported from Mandarin-speaking Northern China via the Silk Road, with the result much of Asia has similar sounding words for tea. So, chá evolved into the chai widely consumed in India and neighbouring areas. The other major trade route for tea was through Min-speaking Southern China and this led to the spread of the pronunciation that became the standard in Europe. Think of the similarities between tea (English), thé (French), thee (Dutch), (Spanish), tee (German) and (Italian).

Terms of Sale


On the road to Mandalay?

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

What are the ethical issues involved in visiting a country whose government has been accused of committing atrocities against its own people? We’re not talking China here, although its persecution of the Uighurs is outrageous. Then, there’s Myanmar.

In 2016, ten international travel companies offered sailings on the Irrawaddy, which flows north to south through the heart of Myanmar, from its source in the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean. The cruises were running at close to full capacity but the boom didn’t last long. Unrest involving a Muslim-minority group, the Rohingya, erupted in a region called Rakhine and more than 500,000 Rohingya have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. Terms such as “ethnic cleansing” were used to describe the alleged atrocities committed by Myanmar’s military and the country became a political pariah. As for the Burmese people, they’re said to among the most welcoming in Asia and street crime is almost non-existent in Myanmar. Each traveller must make in informed decision before visiting Myanmar, or China, for that matter.


The Chinese motor is sputtering

Saturday, 2 March, 2019

Writing in The Truth About Cars, Matt Posky notes, “Chinese Auto Market Not As Hot As Everyone Thought.” Snippet:

“Despite amassing a network of factories that could theoretically outproduce the rest of the world, the Asian country’s automotive sector only operates at about half its total capacity. That’s disconcerting. Even Europe, site of some serious industrial headwinds of its own, manages to operate around 70 percent capacity.

While the reasons for China’s woes are ludicrously complicated, one of the most pressing issues is that its economy is slowing much earlier than anticipated. Automakers, both foreign and domestic, almost universally believed that The People’s Republic would surpass the United States as the world’s largest automotive market — and they were right. But investments kept pouring in, factories were built, and the market started to cool prematurely. The situation only grew worse as incentives dried up and people began buying fewer cars; now, 2019 is shaping up to be a very bad year for the nation’s automotive sector.

What will happen when the Chinese proletariat tire of the tyrants who have created this system? It won’t be pretty.


Reminding Tencent of Tiananmen

Saturday, 9 February, 2019

Since the news broke that China’s Tencent is investing $150 million in Reddit, users have been busy posting an image of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre that Beijing has spent three decades trying to suppress. According to TechCrunch: “Depending on how much follow-on cash Reddit drums up from Silicon Valley investors and beyond, its post-money valuation could reach an epic $3 billion.” Reddit, by the way, is blocked in China and Tencent is also one of the most important engineers building the communist dictatorship’s Great Firewall. All in all, then, a fascinating funder for a Silicon Valley enterprise that’s become an essential platform for free speech.

Tiananmen Square


AN Wilson on the nauseating Eric Hobsbawm

Tuesday, 29 January, 2019

“It was apt that as the most beguiling of communist intellectuals, he was born in 1917, the year of the Russian Revolution.” So wrote AN Wilson as he warmed up to his task in The Times on Sunday. The job at hand was a review of Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History by Richard J Evans.

Who was Hobsbawm? He was a popular British historian and an academic who taught for many years at Birbeck, University of London. “His best book was Captain Swing, a study of mob violence, which he wrote in collaboration with the French intellectual George Rudé in 1969,” says Wilson before turning the screw. “Evans says that ‘most of the detailed research [was] carried out by Rudé.’ The sentence would probably be truer if the word ‘most’ were changed to ‘all'”.

Getting into his stride now, Wilson charges: “His books sold in enormous quantities in translation, especially in South America. Many of the sloppy half-thoughts of the Left, in this country and abroad, owe more than is sometimes realised to a perusal in student days of Hobsbawmn’s eminently readable left-wing hogwash, in which the Americans always come out as the villains of history and the Soviet and Maoist mass murders are glossed over, or even condoned.”

Hobsbawmn, the admirer of monsters, was admired in his day, not least because of the “legendary” dinner parties his wife, Marlene, hosted for the chattering classes in their bourgeois residence in Hampstead in London. However, “If Hobsbawm had meant what he wrote and said, and if a Stalinist revolution in Britain had occurred, then nearly all the guests eating Marlene’s delicious dinners in Nassington Road, would have been sent to the gulag, and Social Democrats such as Evans would probably have been shot.”

AN Wilson’s parting shot is an appeal to readers to “think of the population of Eastern Europe condemned to 50 years of enslavement after 1945; they will remember the millions who died in the gulag, in Ukraine, in China, countless more than were killed by Hitler. For them, the preparedness of a comfortably placed British don to sit in a warm drawing room in north London justifying such horrors can create only feelings of nausea.”

That same feeling of nausea is created by those who justify the actions of socialist thugs such as Maduro in Venezuela and his enablers in Cuba, another thuggery.

Stalin


Bird’s-eye Shanghai

Sunday, 27 January, 2019

Created by Chinese company Bigpixel Technology, this ultra-high-resolution image of Shanghai offers a 360-degree panorama that allows users to pan across and zoom into, so that even people at ground level appear identifiable. The image’s extraordinary clarity results from its 195 gigapixels (195 billion pixels, or 195,000 megapixels). Note: the latest iPhone XS camera takes photos at 12 megapixels.

Shanghai

Shot from 230 metres up on Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower, the image is put together from thousands of smaller photos taken by a range of cameras with 600 millimetre telephoto lenses. The project’s 8,700 photos added up to a massive 2.6 terabytes storage, by the way.


Huawei: China’s 5G Fifth Column

Saturday, 12 January, 2019

“He spoke great Polish. He was a really well-known Chinese guy in Poland and was always around.” The headline on the Wall Street Journal article is, “Chinese Huawei Executive Is Charged With Espionage in Poland.” Snippet:

“For years, Washington has labeled Huawei a national security threat, saying it could be forced by China to use its knowledge of the telecommunications equipment it sells around the world to tap into, or disable, foreign communications networks. Huawei has denied that forcefully through the years. Part of its defense has been that it hadn’t been implicated in overseas spying allegations.

Officers of Poland’s counterintelligence agency this week searched the local Huawei office, leaving with documents and electronic data, as well as the home of the Chinese national, said Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Poland’s security coordination office. The Chinese individual wasn’t named, but was identified by Polish state television as a graduate of one of China’s top intelligence schools, as well as a former employee of the Chinese consulate in the port city of Gdansk.

People familiar with the matter identified him as Weijing Wang. He is known in Poland as Stanislaw Wang, according to these people and a public LinkedIn page that matches his biographical details.

A person who knew Mr. Wang described him as a well-known figure in local business circles, often spotted at events sponsored by Huawei in Poland. ‘He spoke great Polish,’ this person said. ‘He was a really well-known Chinese guy in Poland and was always around.'”

China is determined to destroy the West. It’s time to close the door on its stalking horses, starting with Huawei.

 ChiSpy


Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs

Thursday, 3 January, 2019

First up: WTF is Greater China? “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” wrote Tim Cook in yesterday’s lugubrious, 1,400-word “Letter from Tim Cook to Apple investors.” The problem with the term “Greater China” is Taiwan. If you say Taiwan is a part of “Greater China,” it’s an insult to the many Taiwanese who consider Taiwan a part of the China whose legitimate government was the Republic of China, not the despotic People’s Republic of China.

And, depending on who’s doing the talking, “Greater China” can be an economic, cultural or geographical term. So, some Chinese nationalists might use it to refer to mainland China, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan or, for those nationalists who see China in cultural terms, it might encompass Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

What Tim Cook might have said is that the Chinese market is crazy and the iPhone had an awful last quarter, and he should have ended by adding that the iPhone is the gold standard of the smartphone business and he intends to increase its market share.

Better still, Cook should have copied the style of the earnings warning Steve Jobs delivered to investors on 18 June 2002. It was precise and concise and 1,200 words shorter than that presented yesterday by his successor.


The seventh post of pre-Christmas 2018: July

Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Last year, China began to detain Uighurs, Kazakhs and other minorities extra-legally in internment camps, which are estimated to hold at least one million people now. Along with compelling the detainees to learn communist doctrine and the Mandarin language in these gulag-style camps, Beijing is building forced labour facilities in the Xinjiang region. We continue our review of the year with a post from 23 July that spells out what China is today: An Empire of Evil.

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Nothing seems to delight a certain section of the chattering class more than the vision of China replacing America as the global hegemon. Out with jeans, peanut butter and bourbon and in with…? Exactly. What will China offer its admirers in Brussels and Silicon Valley: vast markets, cheap labour, re-engineered IP? Beijing offers all these and more and the more includes “a complete and utter lack of respect for the individual or person in China.”

Says who? Says Christopher Balding, an associate professor of business and economics at the HSBC Business School in Shenzhen and author of Sovereign Wealth Funds: The New Intersection of Money and Power. After teaching in China for some years, he’s now returning to the US and his parting shot is a blogpost titled Balding Out. Snippet:

“I rationalize the silent contempt for the existing rules and laws within China as people not respecting the method for creating and establishing the rules and laws. Rather than confronting the system, a superior, or try good faith attempts to change something, they choose a type of quiet subversion by just ignoring the rule or law. This quickly spreads to virtually every facet of behavior as everything can be rationalized in a myriad of ways.

Before coming to China, I had this idea that China was rigid which in some ways it is, but in reality it is brutally chaotic because there are no rules it is the pure rule of the jungle with unconstrained might imposing their will and all others ignoring laws to behave as they see fit with no sense of morality or respect for right.”

For cossetted fans of communism, such as the Guardian columnist Owen Jones, China may offer a more appealing ideology than the one that nurtured Lincoln and Ford, Rosa Parks and Jimi Hendrix, but one suspects that he’d tire very quickly of typing about the glories of the Belt and Road Initiative for the People’s Daily.

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Tomorrow, here, the eight post of pre-Christmas 2018, which is all about a warning the great JG Ballard issued regarding the fanaticism of the political correctness brigade.


The sixth post of pre-Christmas 2018: June

Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Football didn’t quite “come home” after this year’s World Cup but England did reach the semi-finals and lost, valiantly, to Croatia, who were beaten in the final by a superior French side. Our review of the year has reached the month of June.

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Back in June 2015, the former German Federal Minister for Finance Wolfgang Schäuble lost patience with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. “Isch over,” he said. The context were the interminable talks about talks about talks to keep Athens funded and within the Eurozone.

Three years later, somethings have changed and more remain the same: “Tsipras Vows to Stick With Greece’s Euro Deal” is today’s Bloomberg headline. One thing has changed dramatically since 2015, however. Germany has lost its nimbus as a football power. Yesterday’s humiliating defeat by South Korea and the terrible performances against Mexico and Sweden mean “Isch over.” Over and out of the World Cup.

Apropos, in the Guardian, the former German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger says, “This was not the Germany we are used to – I feel completely empty.” He also places a finger in a fatal self-inflicted wound by team manager Joachim Löw:

“I’m aware there has been a lot of talk in England about Leroy Sané’s exclusion from the squad following his excellent season with Manchester City and, for me, he is a player who should be reintroduced immediately. He is exactly the calibre of player Germany needs, someone who is young and has raw, dangerous pace.”

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Since June, Löw has sobered up and Sané is now a regular fixture in the German team, where his ability and agility are beginning to add sparkle. Tomorrow, here, the seventh post of pre-Christmas 2018 dwells upon the new Empire of Evil: China.


The capital of Oceania is Beijing

Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949, Great Britain has become a province of a super-state named Oceania. This Oceania is ruled by the “Party”, which employs “Thought Police” to persecute individualism and independent thinking. Now, let us fast-forward to 2018 and our current Oceania:

“The most innovative — and disturbing — of the repressive measures in Xinjiang is the government’s use of high-tech mass surveillance systems. Xinjiang authorities conduct compulsory mass collection of biometric data, such as voice samples and DNA, and use artificial intelligence and big data to identify, profile, and track everyone in Xinjiang. The authorities have envisioned these systems as a series of ‘filters,’ picking out people with certain behavior or characteristics that they believe indicate a threat to the Communist Party’s rule in Xinjiang. These systems have also enabled authorities to implement fine-grained control, subjecting people to differentiated restrictions depending on their perceived levels of ‘trustworthiness.’…

… Inside political education camps, detainees are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, and memorize rules applicable primarily to Turkic Muslims. Those outside the camps are required to attend weekly, or even daily, Chinese flag-raising ceremonies, political indoctrination meetings, and at times Mandarin classes. Detainees are told they may not be allowed to leave the camps unless they have learned over 1,000 Chinese characters or are otherwise deemed to have become loyal Chinese subjects; Turkic Muslims living outside are subjected to movement restrictions ranging from house arrest, to being barred from leaving their locales, to being prevented from leaving the country. Inside, people are closely watched by guards and are barred from contacting their families and friends. Those living in their homes are watched by their neighbors, officials, and tech-enabled mass surveillance systems, and are not allowed to contact those in foreign countries.”

That’s an excerpt from “Eradicating Ideological Viruses: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims“, published by Human Rights Watch. Without doubt, China is an Evil Empire and it’s intent on destroying Western stability and prosperity through the cruel repression and exploitation of its own people.

China