Author Topic: Your irregular China round-up  (Read 6237 times)

Cain

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Your irregular China round-up
« on: April 02, 2012, 04:53:01 pm »
I don't follow Chinese politics or the Sinosphere as closely as I should.  This is terrible of me, I know.  On the other hand, I suspect I'm still more well-informed than the average pundit or generic foreign correspondent on the state of play in China, so there is that, at least.

The major news is that Bo Xilai, the highly controversial boss of Chongqing, was deposed two weeks ago.  Aptly enough on the Ides of March, though I think I'm the only one to specifically note that.  Bo had been upsetting modernisers for a long time with his retro use of Maoist slogans and propaganda, and his anti-corruption campaigns, which relied heavily on mass arrests and coerced confessions.  Bo was one of the CCP "princelings", and made no secret of his desire to gain a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee, no doubt supporting the "Chinese New Left" faction that heavily criticised the economic liberalisation of China.

Bo fell from grace when one of his top lieutenants apparently dropped off information at the Chengdu US consulate with proof that Bo was the "biggest gangster of them all" and allegedly tried to gain political asylum.

Bo was deposed from his Chongqin position, though he still retains his Politburo seat.  Still, on the Saturday following his removal and ritual scrubbing from the internet, a red Ferrari crashed in Beijing, and the word Ferrari was added to the censors.  That Bo's son was rumoured to enjoy reaching high speeds in his ref Ferrari (which his father insisted he does not own) has led to a flurry of speculation that Bo's son was taken out.

A British businessman and suspected SIS intelligence asset or bagman, Neil Heywood, was also found dead in Chongqing.  Heywood had significant links with Bo Xilai, so, of course, the rumours have been flying about that.

There were also disturbing rumours about a coup in Beijing around the 20th of March.  Taiwanese papers reported that security forces were massing in the capital, amid the sound of gunfire.  There are also rumours that open factional warfare has broken out within the Politburo.

Weibo, the Chinese Twitter, has been shut down, and several people arrested for "spreading false rumours" about a coup plot.   
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 04:55:17 pm »
Interesting.

China offed Heywood, do you think?  Or was it more of a gangster thing?
Don't tell me what to fucking do.  In exchange, I will not tell you what to fucking do.  Note that mocking each other's actions is still permissable under this system.

Cain

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 04:59:52 pm »
Could be either.  I tend towards the latter, though the Sinosphere's favourite theory was that Heywood "knew too much" and was bumped off by Bo's allies.

Of course, this is the same Sinosphere who assumed Heywood was the family butler at first, so that should give a clue as to their powers of observation.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Junkenstein

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 05:14:34 pm »
Cain, could you suggest any sources that would help get an idiots guide to politics in this part of the world? I have pretty much no idea where to begin or what could be regarded as trustworthy.

I've got an inherent suspicion of Taiwanese reports, but armed coups and changes with extreme prejudice aren't in the realms of implausible.
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Cain

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 05:23:37 pm »
Taiwan are actually on pretty good terms with China, nowadays.  It could all go to shit again, of course, but they're a lot closer than many observers realise.

I've found http://shanghaiist.com/ and http://bloodandtreasure.typepad.com/blood_treasure/ and http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/ and atimes.com and http://chinadigitaltimes.net/ to be pretty useful.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 05:31:38 pm »
Thanks, I'll try and get a handle on some of that. I'm pretty ignorant in this area. If stuff like this is going on though it probably deserves more attention than I've given it.
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Cain

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 07:14:16 pm »
Wang Jisi is China's top foreign affairs analyst.  Jisi speak, you listen

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/world/asia/chinese-insider-offers-rare-glimpse-of-us-china-frictions.html?ref=world

Quote
The senior leadership of the Chinese government increasingly views the competition between the United States and China as a zero-sum game, with China the likely long-range winner if the American economy and domestic political system continue to stumble, according to an influential Chinese policy analyst.

China views the United States as a declining power, but at the same time believes that Washington is trying to fight back to undermine, and even disrupt, the economic and military growth that point to China’s becoming the world’s most powerful country, according to the analyst, Wang Jisi, the co-author of “Addressing U.S.-China Strategic Distrust, a monograph published this week by the Brookings Institution in Washington and the Institute for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University.

The United States is no longer seen as “that awesome, nor is it trustworthy, and its example to the world and admonitions to China should therefore be much discounted,” Mr. Wang writes of the general view of China’s leadership.

In contrast, China has mounting self-confidence in its own economic and military strides, particularly the closing power gap since the start of the Iraq war. In 2003, he argues, America’s gross domestic product was eight times as large as China’s, but today it is less than three times larger.

The candid writing by Mr. Wang is striking because of his influence and access, in Washington as well as in Beijing. Mr. Wang, who is dean of Peking University’s School of International Studies and a guest professor at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, has wide access to senior American policy makers, making him an unusual repository of information about the thinking in both countries. Mr. Wang said he did not seek approval from the Chinese government to write the study, nor did he consult the government about it.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

Cain

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"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 07:34:22 pm »
So, the US is trying to :thunder, lightning: SOW DISCORD?


Honestly though, in what ways are the US disrupting China? by being massively in debt?

I guess I should read the whole Brookings release, huh?
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Cain

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 08:08:05 pm »
I presume it has more to do with the trade disputes, fake currency controversies and strategic positioning against China that have characterized Obama's administration.

"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 09:40:20 pm »
Fascinating information... this is a great thread, Cain. Thank you for starting it. I think people tend to see China as "The place wuts been taking all our jerbs" and I know that the common perception of it is as a third-world country rather than as a large re-emerging world power.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 04:14:38 am »
I was reading about the Bo stuff in the Sydney Herald on the weekend. By default, I've pictured the Chinese government as a being a giant united front, where it's obvious from incidents such as these it's likely as pluralistic as any. In-fights, power struggles, factions, that are likely to get more dramatic as China continues to power up. They've done a decent job of keeping it behind bamboo curtains, unless it's just slackness and disinterest from our media's and their consumers.

Here we can get all the news we want about Santorum/Gingrich/Romney/Obama until we're sick of it, but I'd only ever heard of these two Chinese power-brokers and their factions last weekend. Which set of bickering politicians will be weilding the most influence over satellite countries like Australia in the near future?
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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 04:22:51 am »
I do think the Chineese are honest business people &I do trust them.
i do not say the same about 2Km or 20Km tails from Across the water.

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 04:39:54 am »
I do think the Chineese are honest business people &I do trust them.
i do not say the same about 2Km or 20Km tails from Across the water.

Wot? All of 'em? Ain't dat bein' a bit racialist?
                       
               
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Cain

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Re: Your irregular China round-up
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 12:53:37 pm »
Fascinating information... this is a great thread, Cain. Thank you for starting it. I think people tend to see China as "The place wuts been taking all our jerbs" and I know that the common perception of it is as a third-world country rather than as a large re-emerging world power.

To be fair, a lot of it is still a third-world country.

But then again, any large country is going to have massive variation.  Depending on where you looked, and at what demographic, you could make the case for China, Russia, India, the USA and Brazil all being third world countries, or up and coming regional/global powers.  I mean, Russia does have Krokodil....but on the other hand, it's creating the first fifth-gen fighter outside of the USA.  And so on and so forth.  The Soviets back in the day used to use pictures of inner-city American life and treatment of blacks as proof of US political and social inferiority.

Also, an ally of Bo Xilai has been detained

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9180677/Chinese-billionaire-linked-to-Bo-Xilai-detained.html
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before