Understanding New China after 19th Congress

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Philip
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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Philip » 25 Jan 2020 23:58

China's new "Silk Route " now has new name...

" Sick Route"! :rotfl:

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby ramana » 24 Jun 2020 11:04


Vips
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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Vips » 01 Jul 2020 19:29

Chinese Professor in US advocates doing Taqqaiyaa to deal with USA.
As its rivalry with the US intensifies and the international environment becomes more hostile, China should improve its relations with its Asian neighbours and India should be its priority, said US-based professor Zhiqun Zhu

"It serves China's interest to improve relations with its Asian neighbours instead of heavily concentrating on the US. India should be a priority of this new approach," the professor said."If Beijing reacts to the border clash as raucously as New Delhi does, it runs the risk of raising animosity between the two countries and pushing India further into the US embrace, giving Washington an edge in boxing in Beijing," he added. The professor said that in order to avoid creating too many enemies and pushing India closer to the US China will have to deescalate tensions with India .

"The Chinese leadership may not have a consensus on how to handle the border crisis, but no one wants to be blamed for 'losing' India. It is possible that President Xi Jinping is trying to rein in aggressive impulses of some Chinese diplomats and generals," he further said (Pathetic attempt to deflect the blame from Xi Jinping to others)

The professor said that China must deal with a nationalistic neighbour--India-- prudently, as calls for boycotting Chinese goods and cancelling contracts with Chinese businesses grow louder in India following Galwan Valley showdown. He further said that China needs to improve its relationship with India because it already has frosty relations with Australia and Japan, faces challenges in the South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and is experiencing the lowest point in its relations with the US and Canada (In other words once the other factors are taken care of then China should attack India) .

"As the two largest developing nations, India and China share many interests such as promoting domestic growth, safeguarding regional stability, combating persistent poverty, and dealing with climate change," he noted.

"Both also desire to play a more active role in international affairs. Their common interests obviously outweigh their differences. The last thing they need is a war which would doom both their domestic and international ambitions, he added. (Who is he trying to fool? China can never stomach India playing its rightful and weighty role in International affairs)

To counter the perceived Western bias towards China, Beijing has launched the "Tell the China story" campaign globally. "If India, a fellow developing country in Asia, finds the "China story" unappealing, how can China present it effectively to the world?" said the professor. :rotfl:

"The Chinese have a saying: close neighbours are dearer than distant relatives. Instead of a US-centric foreign policy, China should pivot to Asia now, with India being a critical component of this new diplomatic approach," he added. (Jhapads administered by the Bihar Regiment have suddenly made the chinese remember their sayings :lol: )


Hope the US authorities are keeping a watch on this Chinese Snake who is openly advocating that China should 'manage' India to take on the US.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby ramana » 01 Jul 2020 22:50

Glad this thread is still useful.

Can folks put all statements by Chinese leaders and think tankers here for analysis. Please post full article and not links.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 02 Jul 2020 19:08

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/30/ch ... inorities/

Very important article on how declining birth rates might affect China's future much sooner than expected. Also the problem of the missing Han babies.

The Chinese Communist Party Wants a Han Baby Boom That Isn’t Coming
China has swung toward natalist policies for the majority while forcibly sterilizing ethnic minorities.

During China’s latest meeting of its top legislative body, the whole world took note as China passed a new national security law, cracking down on Hong Kong’s protest movement.

But perhaps even more consequentially in the long run, this year’s legislative session saw unprecedented interest from China’s policymakers on family policy. A new civil code made divorce harder while allowing remarried people to have more children, even as the government-affiliated outlet China Daily ran an op-ed calling for China to become explicitly pro-natalist. The province of Henan in particular has taken major steps to loosen its family planning policy and discourage divorce.

Such changes can give China watchers whiplash. China did not formally end its one-child policy, which (although it was sometimes patchily applied) effectively criminalized many large families, until 2015. And yet here we are, just five years later, with public allies of the government writing in a party-owned news outlet calling for explicit childbearing subsidies.

How did the world’s most vociferously anti-natalist government suddenly become so explicitly pro-natalist?

Every discipline has its own issue that is very important to wider society, contentious among experts, and ultimately unresolvable. For demographers, it is China’s birth rate. Lack of transparent, reliable data in China has resulted in massive, public disagreement among demographers about China’s birth rate and, hence, its total population. Demographer Yi Fuxian has led the charge on this front, arguing that China’s population may be overstated by as much as 115 million people. The United Nations’ database of fertility statistics includes estimates of China’s birth rate ranging from 1.1 (from administrative data) to 1.7 (from hospital data), or from 1 (from a regular sample survey covering many topics) to 1.8 (from a 2017 family survey).

Where the truth lies is anyone’s guess. The reality is that the data coming out of China isn’t good enough to settle the question of how many babies women in China have. Too many local governments have incentives to lie (such as in order to maximize funding allocations for schools and hospitals, or, on the other hand, to appear to be highly compliant with fertility-limitation policies), civil registration data is too incomplete, and the government is too politically invested in fertility politics to allow data transparency.

And yet, with each passing year, it seems more and more likely that those who think China’s birth rate is quite low (perhaps as low as 1-1.3 children per woman) may be correct. The most compelling evidence of this is simply China’s recent policy changes. The country suddenly awoke to its demographic malaise after the 2010 census results came in, and by 2016 the one-child policy was gone. Yet removing the one-child policy failed to create a baby boom, a nasty shock to China’s policymakers, who had long believed that the reason for low birth rates was their strict policymaking, despite similarly low birth rates in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and many other countries at similar developmental levels. That the repeal of the one-child policy failed to produce a baby boom seems to have created a new sense of urgency among China’s policymakers: The birth rate must be increased. Cue the rash of pro-natalist policies coming from the government. Evidently, the top brass in China are very worried about the country’s low birth rate, and trying hard to boost it.

Yet there are very real limits to what Beijing can achieve in terms of fertility, not least because Beijing’s security priorities are hard to reconcile with creating a family-friendly society for all of China’s people.

The history of China’s family policy is more complex than Western commentators often realize. Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, and especially before the famine of 1958-1962, the communist regime was overtly pro-natalist. But the experience of famine, as well as the “population bomb” worries of the 1970s, motivated the next generation of policymakers to adopt an anti-natalist position. Public propaganda explicitly linked the one-child policy to efforts to prevent famine and stoke economic modernization, a propaganda campaign which both served state interests by minimizing the extent to which famine was caused by state policies and also resonated with the local officials tasked with enforcing the program. Very small family sizes become tightly linked with official and public ideas about what modern life meant.

The long legacy of this propaganda can be vividly seen in the recent documentary film One Child Nation, which includes numerous interviews with families and officials who experienced the harshest years of the one-child policy. To this day, even many parents forced to abandon their children to death by exposure will profess support for the one-child policy, justified by the official line that the alternative was mass starvation.

And yet the one-child policy was never uniformly applied. From the earliest days, there were exemptions for a variety of circumstances, and by 2007 a majority of Chinese citizens could legally have two children. The most common exemption was related to sex: Families whose first child was a daughter were often granted exemptions to have a second child. Thus, while the one-child policy led to a huge gender imbalance in China, with far more boys born than daughters thanks to gender-selective abortion, it also led to a lopsided female-skewed gender ratio for firstborn children in families with more than one child. Families who wanted to have a second child had to make sure their first child was a girl.

But there was another, perhaps even more politically significant exemption, provided for ethnic minorities. The communist government tended to adopt the view that the progress of modernization (and, hence, communism) among ethnic minorities was on a different track than among ethnic Han Chinese people. This rhetoric presenting minorities as “younger brothers” [remember Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai :wink: ] of the Han Chinese ethnicity was doubtless condescending, but it did yield some material benefits: Many minority groups were explicitly exempted from the one-child policy. Partly as a result of these exemptions, the 2000 census (the latest census for which public microdata is available) showed that Han Chinese women had about 0.5 to 1 fewer children per woman on average than women from ethnic minority groups. This higher fertility among minorities, alongside greater urbanization and education rates among Han Chinese people leading to hundreds of thousands emigrating abroad, has led to an inexorable rise in the non-Han share of China’s population. As of 2000, while 92 percent of those over 30 were Han Chinese, just 87 percent of newborns were.

But in recent years, even as China’s leaders have lifted restrictions on fertility that only really applied to urbanized Han Chinese people, the reproductive environment for minority families has deteriorated markedly.

The minority exemptions from the one-child policy had important effects, so much so that academic research has shown that when provinces made one-child rules stricter, more Han Chinese people would marry ethnic minorities, as a strategy for avoiding the rules. Today, exemptions for ethnic minorities remain the letter of the law in most cases, but the legal and social position of minorities is in speedy decline.

Under President Xi Jinping, long-standing efforts to Sinicize minority groups have been ramped up to an unprecedented scale. While these efforts have been most prominent in Xinjiang, where perhaps 1 million or more people are held in concentration camps, minorities in other regions have felt the pressure too. For example, Muslims in Ningxia have faced growing pressure to adopt less overtly religious public lives. Tibet has been saddled with a new “ethnic unity” regulation. And of course this campaign of minority repression extends to Hong Kong, where individuals identifying as ethnically Chinese make up a minority of the population while self-identified ethnic Hong Kongers make up a majority.

In other words, China has relaxed the one-child policy and adopted a more pro-natalist stance for Han Chinese people, even while embarking on a wave of repression against minorities. This repression includes a worsening position for fertility. The figure below shows the change in the officially reported crude birth rate among Chinese regions between 1998 and 2018, versus the non-Han Chinese population share in each region as measured in the 2000 census.

Many highly urbanized regions with very few minorities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, and Fujian) have seen their birth rates rise slightly, while regions with more minorities (such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Yunnan) have seen precipitous declines in birth rates. (Hong Kong, not shown in this data, is no exception: Birth rates there have fallen significantly.)

Whereas once China’s policy was to limit Han Chinese fertility in the name of economic development, but allow ethnic minorities some flexibility, now China’s policy stance is evidently, “Pro-natalism for me, but not for thee”: more support for Han parents, but increasing discrimination against minority groups.

The problem facing China’s strategic planners is a daunting one. The figure below presents the United Nations’ estimates and forecasts of the population of men of fighting age in China and several countries closely aligned with China, as well as in the United States and U.S. allies in the Western Pacific.

Image

The U.N. believes that “high” estimates of China’s birth rates (around 1.7 children per women) are basically correct, and even so shows that China’s peak manpower advantage over the United States came around 2000. Even if those relatively high birth rates remain stable over the next century, China’s manpower advantage over the United States and its allies in the Pacific will speedily decline over the course of the 21st century. But if birth rates fall to lower levels (about 1.2-1.3 children per woman), then by 2080, China could actually have fewer men of fighting age than the United States’ Pacific alliance network. And if the United Nations is wrong about China’s historic fertility rates, if demographers arguing that China’s population is 100 million to 150 million lower than official tallies suggest are correct, then the date at which U.S. and allied potential conscripts outnumber their Chinese rivals could come as early as the 2050s.

This math helps illuminate why China’s policymakers have made such a sudden about-face. Had the policy regime of one-child limits for Han Chinese people with exemptions for minorities or firstborn girls continued, then the total number of men of fighting age would have declined at an extraordinary pace, and a rising share of those men would have been members of ethnic minorities that Chinese military planners may regard with suspicion when it comes to matters of national security.

Even aside from national security concerns, this plummeting population of young people (the trends for prime-age women are better, but still show a steep negative trend) jeopardizes the “China Dream” promoted by China’s current leaders. Rather than a thriving middle class robustly demonstrating the vitality of the Chinese model of governance, China is likely to see economic growth slow down in the middle-income range even as it runs out of workers to continue its labor-fueled growth model.

If birth rates in China have in fact been on the lower end of expert estimates for some time now, then China may be in a more advanced state of demographic decline than official statistics have indicated. Official statisticians might know this, but the main issue in Chinese statistics is with low quality of reporting at the local level, so even the government itself may not know the extent of the problem. But military recruiters may have a better sense of the changing demography on the ground, especially among men of recruitment age in the poorer areas of the countryside that the military largely recruits from. State-owned firms that hire hundreds of thousands of workers every year might also have their finger on the demographic pulse of the nation. These institutions have far more leverage with China’s policymakers than academic researchers. If they were signaling a dire demographic scenario, it would trigger exactly the kind of policy response China is now implementing.

However, these measures are not likely to meet much success. Thus far, China has only taken tentative steps in the direction of childbearing support and maternity leave, while making divorce harder. Childcare remains difficult to find and expensive when available. This is not a recipe for a large increase in birth rates.

Writing for China Daily, other demographers have noted that a major reason Chinese young people do not have children is due to the high burdens of elder care associated with small families, but providing more generous social support to elderly people in China would cost the government an enormous amount of money. Furthermore, the people in China who probably most want to have multiple children (ethnic and religious minorities) are seeing the hardest policy shift against their life choices, with churches and mosques being closed and minority languages and cultural traditions suppressed.

Put simply, it will be difficult for China to achieve meaningfully higher birth rates without radically adjusting government spending toward more social welfare, especially for elders, and without easing up at least a bit on Sinicization initiatives. But since both of these policy shifts are likely to threaten things China’s leaders see as core strategic concerns—the military budget and ethnic unity—neither is likely to occur. As a result, China’s birth rate is unlikely to rise significantly, and its population decline is likely to be precipitous, no matter how many regulations Beijing may put in place.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Mollick.R » 02 Jul 2020 21:19

X-post

China's biggest gold fraud, 4% of its reserves may be fake: Report
IANS|Last Updated: Jul 02, 2020, 04.33 PM IST

China is at the centre of the discovery of what may be one of the biggest gold counterfeiting scandal in recent history.

According to a report in Zero Hedge, not only does it involve China, but it emerges from a city that has become synonymous for all that is scandalous about China: Wuhan.

The 83 tons of purportedly pure gold stored in creditors' coffers by Kingold as of June, backing the 16 billion yuan of loans, would be equivalent to 22 per cent of China's annual gold production and 4.2 per cent of the state gold reserve as of 2019.

In short, more than 4 per cent of China's official gold reserves may be fake. And this assume that no other Chinese gold producers and jewelry makers are engaging in similar fraud, the report said
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As for the gold, several billion in gold bars never existed and yet resulted in a cascade of subsequent cash flow events allowing tens of billions in funds to be released, "benefiting" not only founder Jia, but China's broader economy.

Which is terrifying because whereas just after the financial crisis China was engaged in building ghost cities, everyone knew these were a symbol of demand that would never materialize, even if the cities themselves did exist. However, it now appears that a major part of China's subsequent economic boom has been predicated on tens of billions in hard assets -- such as gold -- which simply do not exist, the report said.

Kingold is certainly not the only Chinese company engaging in such blatant fraud, and the consequences are clear: once Chinese creditors or insurance companies start testing the "collateral" they have received in exchange for tens of billions in loans and discover, to their "amazement", that instead of gold they are proud owners of tungsten or copper,
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more than a dozen Chinese financial institutions, mainly trust companies (i.e., shadow banks) loaned 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) over the past five years to Wuhan Kingold Jewelry with pure gold as collateral and insurance policies to cover any losses. There was just one problem: the "gold" turned out to be gold-plated copper.

Full Report Here//Times of India Link.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/chinas-biggest-gold-fraud-4-of-its-reserves-may-be-fake-report/articleshow/76707339.cms

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 03 Jul 2020 18:25

Translation of a Chinese essay by Yuan Peng, a very prominent international relation expert in China (President of the China Institutes of Contemporary Relations). His primary focus is on China-US relations. Here he's giving the Chinese perspective on how the world order post-corona is going to change. It's worth reading the long essay, I'm listing the most important points and some quotes. This very likely closely reflects the thinking of the top levels of power in China.

Yuan Peng, “The Coronavirus Pandemic and a Once-in-a-Century Change”

https://www.readingthechinadream.com/yu ... demic.html

His argument is that the coronavirus pandemic will serve the same historic function as major wars in recent history: ushering in a new international order whose shape remains uncertain. Yuan compares current Sino-American relations, in geopolitical terms, to relations between Great Britain and the United States at the end of WWI. In hindsight, it is clear that Britain’s historical moment was waning; the cost of the war and the maintenance of empire were more than the budget could bear and decline was inevitable. At the same time, while America was on the rise, she was not ready to take Britain’s place. Today’s America, in Yuan’s view, is like Britain a century ago; not overextended but thoroughly dysfunctional, as the coronavirus is currently demonstrating, and incapable of making the hard choices necessary to engineer a national revival. China is vibrant, dynamic, but not yet ready to lead.

The results will be messy. Yuan is confident but not triumphant, and imagines not a bipolar world but a world divided into an American “club” and a Chinese “club” through which America & co. attempt to contain China and China continues to play its hand through One Belt-One Road, the dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region, and the resilience of China’s supply chains. Yuan thinks globalization has already gone too far for the “clubs” to be “members only.” He foresees lots of fence-sitting, lots of playing-both-ends-against-the-middle [This is what India and Japan are doing according to him]. If the economic devastation of the pandemic is anything like what our gloomier experts are forecasting, it is hard to disagree with Yuan that every country will have its eyes open for opportunities, ideology be damned.

On the sensitive topic of how much “blame” China should assume for the pandemic, Yuan lets it be understood that “mistakes were made” but prefers to concentrate on China’s successes. And without indulging in the vitriol of the Wolf Warrior diplomats, Yuan is scathing about Trump’s America, Trump’s China policy, and America’s China hawks, and he seems resigned to the fact that Biden and the Democrats, at least until the election, will have little choice but to sound similar anti-China themes. Even a Biden victory, Yuan suggests, will change little in the trajectory of Sino-American relations. Fittingly, for an exercise in sober realism, Yuan ends his essay by stressing a renewed concern for security. To use an English chengyu, let’s batten down those hatches.


Some relevant bits:

The world is in chaos right now, powers will rise and decline. No prizes for guessing which one will rise and which one will decline

The world during and after the pandemic is like the world after WWI. At the time, the British Empire no longer had the means to fulfill its ambitions, and the sun which had once “never set” on the empire was in rapidly disappearing beyond the horizon 日薄西山. Yet Britain still had a certain power and influence and was unwilling to abandon its leadership position. America, the next great power, was at the beginning of its rise, flapping its wings and exploring its ambitions, but still lacked military power and international influence, and was in no position to replace England.

Europe was busy with post-war reconstruction and Japan and Russia were taking advantage of the chaos to plot future moves. China was facing internal conflict and external pressure, and the marginal regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America did not have the strength to make a difference. The international scene was bewilderingly complicated, as the great powers abandoned alliances and then reorganized themselves in a search for stability. A bit more than a decade later, the world fell into the Great Depression, which in fact was a slippery slope leading to WWII.

In the current pandemic, Trump’s America not only has not assumed its world leadership responsibility, selfishly hiding its head in the sand, but in addition, because of policy failures, it has become a major disaster center of the world pandemic,


He expects India to be "ravaged" by the pandemic. Our rise will have ended.[/list]

At the end of the pandemic, the existing order of “one superpower and many great powers” will change. America may remain “the superpower” but will have a hard time maintaining its hegemonic domination. China is rising fast, but faces obstacles in its drive to surpass the US. Europe’s star is fading, its future development course unclear. Russia plots its future moves in the chaos, and its position has perhaps risen somewhat. India’s weaknesses and shortcomings have been exposed, blunting the momentum of its rise. After having to postpone the Tokyo Olympics, Japan seems lost.


The world economy has entered an overall slump, the European economy is puttering along at a low level, the Russian economy is not improving, and even the Indian economy, which was once looked basically positive, has suddenly stalled. The Chinese economy has begun to enter a “new normal.”


Great Power relations will remain fluid, and Sino-American relations will become increasingly adversarial, with an ever greater impact on the world

There are no eternal friends, only eternal interests. That relationships between great powers break apart and come back together in new forms is an eternal topic in international relations. The current round of fluidity is driven by the relationship between China and the United States, which in turn propels the strategic interaction between the major forces of China, the United States, Russia, Europe, India and Japan, the results of which will profoundly impact the future shape of the international order.


This again reflects the belief that the most important factor in the world is the China-US relationship, everyone else will take sides or sit on the fence in this great contest.


But the Sino-US antagonism will not evolve into a Cold War-like bipolar opposition or an opposition between rival camps. One reason is that China and America’s interests are deeply interwoven, and neither can pay the price of an extended confrontation. A second reason is that the American alliance system and the Western world are no longer what they once were. European and American policies on China are not in step, rifts in the West continue to increase due to the epidemic, and China-EU relations are at their best point in history. A third reason is that relations between China and Russia are basically solid, and American dreams of roping in Russia to harm China are going nowhere. A fourth reason is that Japan and India basically want to remain on the fence, taking advantage where they can


In this scenario, Sino-American competition and rivalry will harden, and no basic change will occur due to the election. The United States, Europe and Japan have common interests in curbing China 制华, but China, Europe and Japan also have much to gain in tapping the potential of their relations. Policy needs might propel a rapprochement between the United States and Russia, but Sino-Russian cooperation is strategically driven. The basic pattern of relations in the US-European alliance will not change in the short term, but fissures between them will widen further. Sino-Japanese relations have gradually eased, and [b]Sino-Indian relations are stable with wrinkles of concern [ This article was published on 17th June ]. America has destroyed its image, and the world does not count on its continuing leadership.

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Re: Purpose of this thread

Postby SSridhar » 06 Jul 2020 08:13

Guys, the only purpose of this thread was and is to understand the political thoughts and political developments of China, the Politburo etc. after the 19th Congress. Do not post mundane stuff here. I am deleting the post by Vimal.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby vimal » 06 Jul 2020 11:32

@SSridhar, is it possible to create a Understanding China thread that talks of the situation there in more general terms. Given how difficult it is for outsiders to get any info on China, we need to understand the current social issues beyond pure political or military ones. There is a recent video from an expat that talks about how fake Chinese growth and economic story is in real terms and even basic services like healthcare are pathetic in China.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 06 Jul 2020 13:23

There is already such a thread:
Let us understand the Chinese

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby kumarn » 06 Jul 2020 13:42

https://zeihan.com/a-failure-of-leaders ... -of-china/

Read Part 1 and Part 2

The Chinese are intentionally torching their diplomatic relationships with the wider world. The question is why?

The short version is that China’s spasming belligerency is a sign not of confidence and strength, but instead insecurity and weakness. It is an exceedingly appropriate response to the pickle the Chinese find themselves in.

Some of these problems arose because of coronavirus, of course. Chinese trade has collapsed from both the supply and demand sides. In the first quarter of 2020 China experienced its first recession since the reinvention of the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping in 1979. Blame for this recession can be fully (and accurately) laid at the feet of China’s coronavirus epidemic. But in Q2 China’s recession is certain to continue because the virus’ spread worldwide means China’s export-led economy doesn’t have anyone to export to.

Nor are China’s recent economic problems limited to coronavirus. One of the first things someone living in a rapidly industrializing economy does once their standard of living increases is purchase a car, but car purchases in China started turning negative nearly two years before coronavirus reared its head.

Why the collapse even in what “should” be happening with the economy? It really comes down to China’s financial model. In the United States (and to a lesser degree, in most of the advanced world) money is an economic good. Something that has value in and of itself, and so it should be applied with a degree of forethought for how efficiently it can be mobilized. This is why banks require collateral and/or business plans before they’ll fund loans.

That’s totally not how it works in China. In China, money – capital, to be more technical – is considered a political good, and it only has value if it can be used to achieve political goals. Common concepts in the advanced world such as rates of return or profit margins simply don’t exist in China, especially for the state owned enterprises (of which there are many) and other favored corporate giants that act as pillars of the economy. Does this generate growth? Sure. Explosive growth? Absolutely. Provide anyone with a bottomless supply of zero (or even subzero) percent loans and of course they’ll be able to employ scads of people and produce tsunamis of products and wash away any and all competition.

This is why China’s economy didn’t slow despite sky-high commodity prices in the 2000s – bottomless lending means Chinese businesses are not price sensitive. This is why Chinese exporters were able to out-compete firms the world over in manufactured goods – bottomless lending enabled them to subsidize their sales. This is why Chinese firms have been able to take over entire industries such as cement and steel fabrication – bottomless lending means the Chinese don’t care about the costs of the inputs or the market conditions for the outputs. This is why the One Belt One Road program has been so far reaching – bottomless lending means the Chinese produce without regard for market, and so don’t get tweaky about dumping product globally, even in locales no one has ever felt the need to build road or rail links to. (I mean, come on, a rail line through a bunch of poor, nearly-marketless post-Soviet ‘Stans’ to dust-poor, absolutely-marketless Afghanistan? Seriously, what does the winner get?)

Investment decisions not driven by the concept of returns tend to add up. Conservatively, corporate debt in China is about 150% of GDP. That doesn’t count federal government debt, or provincial government debt, or local government debt. Nor does it involve the bond market, or non-standard borrowing such as LendingTree-like person-to-person programs, or shadow financing designed to evade even China’s hyper-lax financial regulatory authorities. It doesn’t even include US dollar-denominated debt that cropped up in those rare moments when Beijing took a few baby steps to address the debt issue and so firms sought funds from outside of China. With that sort of attitude towards capital, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that China’s stock markets are in essence gambling dens utterly disconnected from issues of supply and labor and markets and logistics and cashflow (and legality). Simply put, in China, debt levels simply are not perceived as an issue.

Until suddenly, catastrophically, they are.

As every country or sector or firm that has followed a similar growth-over-productivity model has discovered, throwing more and more money into the system generates less and less activity. China has undoubtedly past that point where the model generates reasonable outcomes. China’s economy roughly quadrupled in size since 2000, but its debt load has increased by a factor of twenty-four. Since the 2007-2009 financial crisis China has added something like 100% of GDP of new debt, for increasingly middling results.

But more important than high debt levels is that eventually, inevitably, economic reality forces a correction. If this correction happens soon enough, it only takes down a small sliver of the system (think Enron’s death). If the inefficiencies are allowed to fester and expand, they might take down a whole sector (think America’s dot.com bust in 2000). If the distortions get too large, they can spread to other sectors and trigger a broader recession (think America’s 2007 subprime-initiated financial crisis). If they become systemic they can bring down not only the economy, but the political system (think Indonesia’s 1998 government collapse).

It is worse than it sounds. The CCP has long presented the Chinese citizenry with a strict social contract: the CCP enjoys an absolute political monopoly in exchange for providing steadily increasing standards of living. That means no elections. That means no unsanctioned protests. That means never establishing an independent legal or court system which might challenge CCP whim. It means firmly and permanently defining “China’s” interests as those of the CCP.

It makes the system firm, but so very, very brittle. And it means that the CCP fears – reasonably and accurately – that when the piper arrives it will mean the fall of the Party. Knowing full well both that the model is unsustainable and that China’s incarnation of the model is already past the use-by date, the CCP has chosen not to reform the Chinese economy for fear of being consumed by its own population.

The only short-term patch is to quadruple down on the long-term debt-debt-debt strategy that the CCP already knows no longer works, a strategy it has already followed more aggressively and for longer than any country previous, both in absolute and relative terms. The top tier of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – and most certainly Xi himself – realize that means China’s inevitable “correction” will be far worse than anything that has happened in any recessionary period anywhere in the world in the past several decades.

And of course that’s not all. China faces plenty of other of issues that range from the strategically hobbling to the truly system-killing.

China suffers from both poor soils and a drought-and-floodprone climatic geography. Its farmers can only keep China fed by applying five times the inputs of the global norm. This only works with, you guessed it, bottomless financing. So when China’s financial model inevitably fails, the country won’t simply suffer a subprime-style collapse in ever subsector simultaneously, it will face famine.
The archipelagic nature of the East Asian geography fences China off from the wider world, making economic access to it impossible without the very specific American-maintained global security environment of the past few decades.
China’s navy is largely designed around capturing a very specific bit of this First Island Chain, the island of Formosa (aka the country of Taiwan, aka the “rebellious Chinese province”). Problem is, China’s cruise-missile-heavy, short-range navy is utterly incapable of protecting China’s global supply chains, making China’s export-led economic model questionable at best.
Nor is home consumption an option. Pushing four decades of the One Child Policy means China has not only gutted its population growth and made the transition to a consumption-led economy technically impossible, but has now gone so far to bring the entire concept of “China” into question in the long-term.

Honestly, this – all of this – only scratches the surface. For the long and the short of just how weak and, to be blunt, doomed China is, I refer you my new book, Disunited Nations. Chapters 2 through 4 break down what makes for successful powers, global and otherwise…and how China fails on a historically unprecedented scale on each and every measure.

But on with the story of the day:

These are the broader strategic and economic dislocations and fractures embedded in the Chinese system. That explains the “why” as to why the Chinese leadership is terrified of their future. But what about the “why now?” Why has Xi chosen this moment to institute a political lockdown? After all, none of these problems are new.

There are two explanations. First, exports in specific:

The One Child Policy means that China can never be a true consumption-led system, but China is hardly the only country facing that particular problem. The bulk of the world – ranging from Canada to Germany to Brazil to Japan to Korea to Iran to Italy – have experienced catastrophic baby busts at various times during the past half century. In nearly all cases, populations are no longer young, with many not even being middle-aged. For most of the developed world, mass retirement and complete consumption collapses aren’t simply inevitable, they’ll arrive within the next 48 months.

And that was before coronavirus gutted consumption on a global scale, presenting every export-oriented system with an existential crisis. Which means China, a country whose political functioning and social stability is predicated upon export-led growth, needs to find a new reason for the population to support the CCP’s very existence.

The second explanation for the “why now?” is the status of Chinese trade in general:

Remember way back when to the glossy time before coronavirus when the world was all tense about the Americans and Chinese launching off into a knock-down, drag-out trade war?

Back on January 15 everyone decided to take a breather. The Chinese committed to a rough doubling of imports of American products, plus efforts to tamp down rampant intellectual property theft and counterfeiting, in exchange for a mix of tariff suspensions and reductions. Announced with much fanfare, this “Phase I” deal was supposed to set the stage for a subsequent, far larger “Phase II” deal in which the Americans planned to convince the Chinese to fundamentally rework their regulatory, finance, legal and subsidy structures.

These are all things the Chinese never had any intention of carrying out. All the concessions the Americans imagined are wound up in China’s debt-binge model. Granting them would unleash such massive economic, financial and political instability that the survival of the CCP itself would be called into question.

Any deal between any American administration and Beijing is only possible if the American administration first forces the issue. Pre-Trump, the last American administration to so force the issue was the W Bush administration at the height of the EP3 spy plane incident in mid-2001. Despite his faults, Donald Trump deserves credit for being the first president in the years since to expend political capital to compel the Chinese to the table.

But there’s more to a deal than its negotiation. There is also enforcement. In the utter absence of rule of law, enforcement requires even, unrelenting pressure akin to what the Americans did to the Soviets with Cold War era nuclear disarmament policy. No US administration has ever had the sort of bandwidth required to police a trade deal with a large, non-market economy. There are simply too many constantly moving pieces. The current American administration is particularly ill-suited to the task. The Trump administration’s tendency to tweet out a big announcement and then move on to the next shiny object means the Chinese discarded their “commitments” with confidence on the day they were made.

Which means the Sino-American trade relationship was always going to collapse, and the United States and China were always going to fall into acrimony. Coronavirus did the world a favor (or disfavor based upon where you stand) in delaying the degradation. In February and March the Chinese were under COVID’s heel and it was perfectly reasonable to give Beijing extra time. In April it was the Americans’ turn to be distracted.

Now, four months later, with the Americans emerging from their first coronavirus wave and edging back towards something that might at least rhyme with a shadow of normal, the bilateral relationship is coming back into focus – and it is obvious the Chinese deliberately and systematically lied to Trump. Such deception was pretty much baked in from the get-go. In part it is because the CCP has never been what I’d call an honest negotiating partner. In part it is because the CCP honestly doesn’t think the Chinese system can be reformed, particularly on issues such as rule of law. In part it is because the CCP honestly doesn’t think it could survive what the Americans want it to attempt. But in the current environment it all ends at the same place: I think we can all recall an example or three of how Trump responds when he feels personally aggrieved.

Which brings us to perhaps China’s most immediate problem. Nothing about the Chinese system – its political unity, its relative immunity from foreign threats, its ability import energy from a continent away, its ability to tap global markets to supply it with raw materials and markets to dump its products in, its ability to access the world beyond the First Island Chain – is possible without the global Order. And the global Order is not possible without America. No other country – no other coalition of countries – has the naval power to guarantee commercial shipments on the high seas. No commercial shipments, no trade. No trade, no export-led economies. No export-led economies…no China.

It isn’t so much that the Americans have always had the ability to destroy China in a day (although they have), but instead that it is only the Americans that could create the economic and strategic environment that has enabled China to survive as long as it has. Whether or not the proximate cause for the Chinese collapse is homegrown or imported from Washington is largely irrelevant to the uncaring winds of history, the point is that Xi believes the day is almost here.

Global consumption patterns have turned. China’s trade relations have turned. America’s politics have turned. And now, with the American-Chinese breach galloping into full view, Xi feels he has little choice but to prepare for the day everyone in the top ranks of the CCP always knew was coming: The day that China’s entire economic structure and strategic position crumbles. A full political lockdown is the only possible survival mechanism. So the “solution” is as dramatic as it is impactful:

Spawn so much international outcry that China experiences a nationalist reaction against everyone who is angry at China. Convince the Chinese population that nationalism is a suitable substitute for economic growth and security. And then use that nationalism to combat the inevitable domestic political firestorm when China doesn’t simply tank, but implodes.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Vayutuvan » 07 Jul 2020 02:35

kumarn wrote:https://zeihan.com/a-failure-of-leadership-part-iii-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-china/

Read Part 1 and Part 2


In Part 1, Peter Ziehan says this.

Not to be left out, most of the world’s secondary powers have slightly wacky nationalist leaders who are proving…wackier with every passing day.

India’s Modi is working diligently to disenfranchise a large portion of his own population, and seems genuinely surprised when there is (violent) push back.
...

:shock: :-? Huh?!!!

Does is he really understand the strategy or is he a hack? My guess is that it is the latter.

That said, it is not a bad idea to give wide publicity to the third part of that series of articles
Last edited by Vayutuvan on 07 Jul 2020 04:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2020 03:46

2020 marks the end of "Peaceful Rise of China" and "Thucydides trap" theory.

RIP

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 08 Jul 2020 03:01

Moved here from understanding Chinese thread

Nothing mindblowing but a careful analysis reveals China has been fudging its GDP growth figures for several years.

A forensic examination of China’s national accounts
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles ... -accounts/

China’s national accounts are based on data collected by local governments. However, since local governments are rewarded for meeting growth and investment targets, they have an incentive to skew local statistics. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) adjusts the data provided by local governments to calculate GDP at the national level. The adjustments made by the NBS average 5% of GDP since the mid-2000s. On the production side, the discrepancy between local and aggregate GDP is entirely driven by the gap between local and national estimates of industrial output. On the expenditure side, the gap is in investment. Local statistics increasingly misrepresent the true numbers after 2008, but there was no corresponding change in the adjustment made by the NBS. We provide revised estimates of local and national GDP by re-estimating output of industrial, wholesale, and retail firms using data on value-added taxes. We also use several local economic indicators that are less likely to be manipulated by local governments to estimate local and aggregate GDP. The estimates also suggest that the adjustments by the NBS were insufficient after 2008. Relative to the official numbers, we estimate that GDP growth from 2008-2016 is 1.7 percentage points lower and the investment and savings rate in 2016 is 7 percentage points lower.


Most interesting is the 2009 rapid growth narrative, because a forensic analysis shows that there was no such growth

Image


The consequence of the fudge number is that obviously
1. the real GDP is much lower
2. The GDP to Debt ratio goes from terrifying to catastrophic. 2 to 2.5

Image


Since according to the authors, a lot of this is because of provinces lying to Beijing, the question is how much does the Geisha know. Do they themselves believe the narrative of the Chinese economy being 7 times the size of India? Do they even know? Are they lying or clueless?

Lying would be their SOP but if they're clueless then they might very well be the next USSR in the making

And this is all pre-Corona so we have no idea what their economy is really like after taking that hit.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby ricky_v » 10 Jul 2020 06:20

A bit dated, feb 2020
https://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/viewpoint/viral-alarm-when-fury-overcomes-fear
n July 2018, the Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun published an unsparing critique of the Chinese Communist Party and its Chairman of Everything, Xi Jinping. Xu warned of the dangers of one-man rule, a sycophantic bureaucracy, putting politics ahead of professionalism and the myriad other problems that the system would encounter if it rejected further reforms. That philippic was one of a cycle of works that Xu wrote during a year in which he alerted his readers to pressing issues related to China’s momentous struggle with modernity, the state of the nation under Xi Jinping and the mixed prospects for its future. Those essays will be published in a collection titled Six Chapters from the 2018 Year of the Dog by Hong Kong City University Press in May this year.

The cause of all of this lies, ultimately, with The Axle [that is, Xi Jinping] and the cabal that surrounds him. It began with the imposition of stern bans on the reporting of accurate information about the virus, which served to embolden deception at every level of government,

Ours is a system in which The Ultimate Arbiter [定於一尊, an imperial-era term used by state media to describe Xi Jinping] monopolizes all effective power. This led to what I would call “organizational discombobulation” that, in turn, has served to enable a dangerous “systemic impotence” at every level. Thereby, a political culture has been nurtured that, in terms of the actual public good, is ethically bankrupt, for it is one that strains to vouchsafe its privatized Party-state, or what they call their “Mountains and Rivers,” while abandoning the people over which it holds sway to suffer the vicissitudes of a cruel fate. It is a system that turns every natural disaster into an even greater man-made catastrophe.

1. Politics in a New Era of Moral Depletion
What they dub “The Broad Masses of People” are nothing more than a taxable unit, a value-bearing cipher in a metrics-based system of social management that is geared towards stability maintenance. [Note: “Stability maintenance” (维稳), short for “ protecting the national status quo and the overall stability of society” (’维护国家局势和社会的整体稳定), is a term that includes the deployment of paramilitary forces, police, local security officials, neighborhood committees, informal community spies, Internet police and censors, secret service agents and watchdogs, as well as everyday bureaucratic monitors who hold a brief to be ever vigilant and to maintain order and control over every aspect of society. This is part of China’s “forever war” against its own citizens.]


One can only hope that our fellow Chinese, both young and old, will finally take these lessons to heart and abandon their long-practiced slavish acquiescence. It is high time that people relied on their own rational judgment and refused to sacrifice themselves again on the altar of the power holders. Otherwise, you will all be no better than fields of garlic chives; you will give yourselves up to being harvested by the blade of power, now as in the past. [Note: The term “garlic chives,” (韭菜) or Allium tuberosum, is used as a metaphor to describe the common people who are regarded by the power-holders as an endlessly renewable resource.]

2. Tyranny in a New Era of Political License
Nonetheless, one of the reasons that the technocratic class evolved and managed to function at all was that by instituting administrative competence within a system that allowed for personal advancement on the basis of an individual’s practical achievements in government, countless young men and women from impoverished backgrounds were lured to pursue self-improvement through education. They did this in order to devote themselves both to meaningful and rewarding state service. Of course, at the same time, the progeny of the Communist Party’s own nomenklatura—the so-called “Red Second Generation” of bureaucrats—proved themselves to be all but useless as administrators; they occupied official positions and enjoyed the perks of power without making any meaningful contribution. In fact, more often than not, they simply got in the way of people who actually wanted to get things done. But enough of that.


In what should be a “post-leader era,” China has instead a “Core Leader system” and it is one that is undermining the very mechanisms of state. Despite all the talk one hears about “modern governance,” the reality is that the administrative apparatus is increasingly mired in what can only be termed inoperability. It is an affliction whose symptoms I encapsulate in the expressions “organizational discombobulation” and “systemic impotence.”

Don’t you see that although everyone looks to The One for the nod of approval, The One himself is clueless and has no substantive understanding of rulership and governance, despite his undeniable talent for playing power politics.

3. A New Era of Attenuated Governance
It takes no particular leap of the imagination to appreciate that along with such acts of crude expediency a soulless pragmatism can make even greater political inroads. Given the fact that the country is, in effect, run by people nurtured on the “politics of the sent-down youth” [that is, of the Cultural Revolution era—today’s leaders came of age during the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period of unparalleled political cynicism] this is hardly remarkable. After all, we are living in a time when what once passed for a measure of public decency and social concern has long quit the stage.

4. A New Era of Revived Court Politics
Hence we have seen the equivalent of a court emerge and the political behavior endemic to a court. To put it more clearly, the “collective leadership” with its “Nine Dragons Ruling the Waters” [Note: Prior to the Xi Jinping era, there were nine members of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee. Xi’s leadership saw this number reduced to seven] and its concomitant claque of rulers acting in an equilibrium is no longer operable. With the over-concentration of power and a relative decline in efficacy, the One Leader’s inner circle becomes a de facto “state within a state,” something that the Yankees have taken to calling the “deep state.”
Following the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, a non-Party bureaucracy was established which was empowered to carry out basic administrative tasks. Even Mao was able to tolerate someone like Premier Zhou Enlai running his part of the government. With the appearance of the Revolutionary Committees and Security Organs [which replaced the police and the judicial system as a whole during the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 until the 1970s] that system was overthrown. In the four decades [after Cultural Revolution policies were formally rejected from 1978], for the most part a modicum of balance existed between the roles of Party leader and state leader [that is, between the General Secretary of the Communist Party and the Premier who, as head of the State Council, was in charge of the formal structures of government]. Even though the Party and state were still melded, the state bureaucracy was given the task of implementing Party directives. It is only in the last few years that a new kind of hermetically sealed governance has come to the fore and, because of the nature of hidden court politics, it is one that has further enabled the sole power-holder while granting license to the darkest kinds of plotting and scheming.

The One who devotes himself energetically to “Protecting the Mountains and Rivers and Maintaining Rulership over the Mountains and Rivers” [of China]. [Note: “Rivers and Mountains” is a poetic expression for China as a unified entity under authoritarian control.]

5. A New Era of Big Data Totalitarianism and WeChat Terror
That is how the nationalism that underpins their enterprise is presently cast in terms of “the revitalization of the great Chinese nation,” while the broad-based aspiration for national wealth and power was formulated [in the 1970s] under the slogan of “[achieving] the Four Modernizations” [of agriculture, industry, defense, and science and technology]. Twists and turns have followed one upon another, including such ideological formulations as the Three Represents [of the Jiang Zemin era that stated that the Party “represents the means for advancing China’s productive forces; represents China’s culture; and represents the fundamental interests of the majority of the Chinese people] and the The New Three People’s Principles [reformulated in the early 2000s on the basis of ideas first articulated in the Republican period, 1912-1949] right up to the “New Era” announced under Xi Jinping [and written into the Communist Party Constitution in late 2017].

In its place we have an evolving form of military tyranny that is underpinned by an ideology that I call “Legalistic-Fascist-Stalinism” [Fa-Ri-Si, 法日斯], one that is cobbled together from strains of traditional harsh Chinese Legalist thought [Fa (法); that is, 中式法家思想] wedded to an admix of the Leninist-Stalinist interpretation of Marxism [Si (斯); 斯大林主义] along with the “Germano-Aryan” form of fascism [Ri (日); 日耳曼法西斯主义]. There is increasing evidence that the Party, for all of its weighty presence, is in fact a self-deconstructing structure that constantly undermines normal governance while tending towards systemic atrophy.

6. A New Era That Has Shut Down Reform
From when [Xi Jinping declared], in late 2018 that “we must resolutely reform what should and can be changed, we must resolutely not reform what shouldn’t and can’t be changed” right up to the publication of the Communiqué of the Fourth Plenary Session [of the 19th Party Congress] last autumn, we can definitely say that the Third Great Wave of reform and opening in modern Chinese history [the first wave dates from the self-strengthening movement of the 1860s] has now petered out. In reality, the process of shutting down reform started six years ago [following the rise of Xi Jinping in late 2012].

7. A New Era of Isolation
Furthermore, the “Open Door” has evidently opened just about as far as it is going to; the totalitarian impulses of the Extreme Leftists have led them to take a stand; they will not tolerate any kind of systemic evolution that could possibly lead to a peaceful transition and enable China finally to evolve [away from authoritarianism and the one-party state].

8. A New Era in Which to Seek Freedom from Fear
After all, what about Big Cock Li [Li Peng, whose personal name, Peng, is also a term for a mythical huge bird], the man [who was directly responsible for the Beijing Massacre of 1989 and the nationwide repression that followed in its wake]? Millions bayed for his blood, but he peacefully lived out his allotted time [dying at the age of ninety-one in July 2019] even though the masses strained to spit on him in disgusted outrage. Do we not lament the fact that Heaven repeatedly fails to deliver justice? Even though, if truth be told, Heaven too must suffer along with all of us.

9. A New Era in Which the Clock Is Ticking
Added to all of that is an overall economic decline that eludes simple resolution as well as the real-time international isolation that China has been experiencing [due to its increasingly aggressive foreign posture]. All of these things are symptomatic of policy failure, yet further proof that “Strong Man Politics”—a phenomenon that cuts against the very nature of modern political life—produces results that are at glaring variance with the avowed aim of their author [that is, Xi Jinping].

Drafted on the Fourth Day of the First Lunar Month
Of the Gengzi Year of the Rat [January 28, 2020]
Revised on the Ninth Day of the First Month [February 2]
As a snow storm suddenly assailed Beijing

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby SSridhar » 10 Jul 2020 10:47

RaviB wrote:Nothing mindblowing but a careful analysis reveals China has been fudging its GDP growth figures for several years.

A forensic examination of China’s national accounts
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles ... -accounts/

Most interesting is the 2009 rapid growth narrative, because a forensic analysis shows that there was no such growth

The consequence of the fudge number is that obviously
1. the real GDP is much lower
2. The GDP to Debt ratio goes from terrifying to catastrophic. 2 to 2.5

Add to that, this [at least] 4% of China's Gold Reserves is fake

China should unravel from within. It has happened at least once in each imperial dynasty before and the CCP Dynasty under Emperor Xi cannot be an exception. Grandiose projects have always led to great problems for China. PRC is said to have learnt a lesson from the collapse of the USSR and is said to be avoiding those mistakes. The way it has been avoiding the mistake is by overstating its numbers, it seems. But, the other problem is that the Xi coterie hasn't read its own long history !

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 10 Jul 2020 15:52

Xu Zhangrun got arrested 2 days back. He had ended this essay with "this is probably the last essay I'll ever be able to write".
Xu was a Professor at Tsinghua University so he was well respected among the CCP leadership, who all studied there. That's why it took Xi this long to get him but looks like he has the party completely in grip, not even the slightest murmur against this.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 10 Jul 2020 16:01

SSridhar wrote:Add to that, this [at least] 4% of China's Gold Reserves is fake

China should unravel from within. It has happened at least once in each imperial dynasty before and the CCP Dynasty under Emperor Xi cannot be an exception. Grandiose projects have always led to great problems for China. PRC is said to have learnt a lesson from the collapse of the USSR and is said to be avoiding those mistakes. The way it has been avoiding the mistake is by overstating its numbers, it seems. But, the other problem is that the Xi coterie hasn't read its own long history !


I think they are really headed for the USSR ending.

China’s economy roughly quadrupled in size since 2000, but its debt load has increased by a factor of twenty-four. Since the 2007-2009 financial crisis China has added something like 100% of GDP of new debt, for increasingly middling results.
https://zeihan.com/a-failure-of-leaders ... -of-china/


Just this one statistic tells the complete story of how much debt there is in the system. And of course as is slowly coming out, the collateral for a large amount of that debt is thin air and loud talk (or gold painted tungsten bars. I'm pretty sure Kingold wasn't the only company that had this brilliant idea.)

This bubble is going to take down not just the CCP but also a lot of the world economy. Decopling from them would be the best thing we could do.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Vips » 10 Jul 2020 22:53

At all costs, bar Chinese 5G entry into Indian telecom. Else, live under Beijing’s domination.

India’s strategic digital pushback against Chinese investments and apps has encouraged like-minded countries like the US, and some in Europe, to follow suit. Now it’s time to lasso the biggest Chinese domination tool – 5G, the umbrella under which apps, investments and soon governments could operate.

This new technology from China should not be looked at in isolation, as simply the purchase of telecom technology equipment, and part of India-China trade. It should be viewed in conjunction with China’s four heavens: BRI, the ambitious Digital Silk Route plan, Made in China 2025 and Chinese Standards 2035. Using its formidable AI base, 5G is the mother lode that enables the efficient gathering of global data from around the world, which will give cost efficiency to products listed in China 2025 and help China set global standards.

What’s now perceived by global manufacturers as standards “in China for China” will eventually be “by China for the world”. Visualise a four-tier cake – the bottom tier is BRI, the top tier is Chinese Standards 2035 and in between are the Digital Silk Route and Made in China 2025. 5G is the enabler for all, the infrastructural trunk or cake stand on which the cake sits.

Each global 5G network sale from China is one additional leg added to the cake stand, supporting and strengthening the multi-tier cake. Without strong legs supporting the cake stand, the four-tier cake will fall to the floor. The repercussions will be twofold: Externally for China’s global economic dominance and loss of bargaining power, while internally it could lead to internal strife and discontent, degrading the social contract of “the better life” for ordinary Chinese.

For a strategic, societal and demographic wave of change is under way in China. The country’s robust economic growth has meant rising wages and loss of the title China has held for so long, “the factory of the world”, over which the sun has begun to set. Deglobalisation – Covid-19 is the unexpected eclipse during the sunset – has seen China’s growth sink to an estimated 1% in 2020, the lowest in decades.

In return for continued authoritarian rule, the Chinese public wants better standards of living. This social contract is currently intact, but threatened. Premier Li Keqiang said at a press briefing last month, “There are 600 million impoverished Chinese who live on a monthly income of $161 and they need to be lifted out of poverty.” Higher wages plus an ageing demographic are putting a strain on China’s healthcare systems and budget.

The strongest leg of the cake-stand which holds the four-tier cake has already been weakened with the US and Japan looking at non-Chinese network equipment suppliers for 5G. European countries like the UK have announced they are relooking at the 5G contracts with Chinese equipment vendors given security vulnerabilities. Vietnam has developed its own version of 5G. The General Court, the second highest court in the EU, overturned the EC’s 2016 decision to block the takeover of O2 by a competitor, paving the way for consolidation of industries across the Union.

In the US, the China-US trade war and now a potential Chinese 5G boycott may change the fortune of debt-laden US telecom companies, which may get spectrum reserved for the defence sector to become competitive and avoid Chinese 5G installations.

In this scenario, China will do everything in its capacity to bring India to the table for 5G negotiations – via direct and indirect border skirmishes, drone attacks on oil installations on the west coast of India, cyberattacks, non-tariff barriers, misuse of Chinese social media apps, cutting off supplies of API. China will aggressively sue all Indian telecoms for reneging on contracts for current 4G upgradation and future 5G contracts if any, assuming jurisdiction clauses in these contracts are outside in a neutral country. A bailout package to pay the hefty fines, if imposed on Indian telecoms for reneging on contracts, will have to be funded by the government.

An already beleaguered Indian telecom sector will have to brace for more economic pain as equipment from non-Chinese companies is more expensive. But it can be incentivised by subsidies and tax breaks for patent development in India, enabling it to move from the current hardware-dependent networks to ones that will be software-centric with negligible dependency on the underlying hardware.

Imports from EU 5G equipment manufacturers will be the only option left on the table. The silver lining here is the long pending India-EU FTA will get oxygenated. It’s important for India to play an active role in the formation of the proposed D10 club by the UK administration, which consists of the G7 nations alongside South Korea and Australia. The D10 club is being created for channelling investments into existing telecom companies within the 10 member states, and creating alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.

Could India eventually contribute to the birth cry of democracy and rule of law in China? What the WTO couldn’t achieve, the potential boycott of Chinese 5G equipment from a majority of G20 countries could well accomplish, if the deprived 600 million of China take to the streets. In that case, it’s Advantage India.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby M_Joshi » 12 Jul 2020 21:39

The Political Logic of China’s Strategic Mistakes

Some of the Chinese government’s recent policies seem to make little practical sense, with its decision to impose a national-security law on Hong Kong being a prime example. The law’s rushed enactment by China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress on June 30 effectively ends the “one country, two systems” model that has prevailed since 1997, when the city was returned from British to Chinese rule, and tensions between China and the West have increased sharply.

Hong Kong’s future as an international financial center is now in grave peril, while resistance by residents determined to defend their freedom will make the city even less stable. Moreover, China’s latest move will help the United States to persuade wavering European allies to join its nascent anti-China coalition. The long-term consequences for China are therefore likely to be dire.

It is tempting to see China’s major policy miscalculations as a consequence of over-concentration of power in the hands of President Xi Jinping: strongman rule inhibits internal debate and makes poor decisions more likely. This argument is not necessarily wrong, but it omits a more important reason for the Chinese government’s self-destructive policies: the mindset of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The CPC sees the world as, first and foremost, a jungle. Having been shaped by its own bloody and brutal struggle for power against impossible odds between 1921-49, the party is firmly convinced that the world is a Hobbesian place where long-term survival depends solely on raw power. When the balance of power is against it, the CPC must rely on cunning and caution to survive. The late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping aptly summarized this strategic realism with his foreign-policy dictum: “hide your strength and bide your time.”

So, when China pledged in the 1984 Joint Declaration with the United Kingdom to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy for 50 years after the 1997 handover, it was acting out of weakness rather than a belief in international law. As the balance of power has since shifted in its favor, China has consistently been willing to break its earlier commitments when doing so serves its interests. In addition to cracking down on Hong Kong, for example, China is attempting to solidify its claims in disputed areas of the South China Sea by building militarized artificial islands there.

The CPC’s worldview is also colored by a cynical belief in the power of greed. Even before China became the world’s second-largest economy, the party was convinced that Western governments were mere lackeys of capitalist interests. Although these countries might profess fealty to human rights and democracy, the CPC believed that they could not afford to lose access to the Chinese market – especially if their capitalist rivals stood to profit as a result.

Such cynicism now permeates China’s strategy of asserting full control over Hong Kong. Chinese leaders expect the West’s anger at their actions to fade quickly, calculating that Western firms are too heavily vested in the city to let the perils of China’s police state be a deal breaker.

Even when the CPC knows that it will incur serious penalties for its actions, it has seldom flinched from taking measures – such as the crackdown on Hong Kong – deemed essential to maintaining its hold on power. Western governments had expected that credible threats of sanctions against China would be a powerful deterrent to CPC aggression toward the city. But judging by how China has thumbed its nose at the West, and especially at the US and President Donald Trump, this has obviously not been the case.

These Western threats do not lack credibility or substance: comprehensive sanctions encompassing travel, trade, technology transfers, and financial transactions could seriously undermine Hong Kong’s economic wellbeing and Chinese prestige. But sanctions imposed on a dictatorship typically hurt the regime’s victims more than its leaders, thus reducing their deterrent value.

Until recently, the West’s acquiescence in the face of Chinese assertiveness appeared to have vindicated the CPC’s Hobbesian worldview. Before the rise of Trumpism and the subsequent radical shift in US policy toward China, Chinese leaders had encountered practically no pushback, despite repeatedly overplaying their hand.

But in Trump and his national-security hawks, China finally has met its match. Like their counterparts in Beijing, the US president and his senior advisers not only believe in the law of the jungle, but also are unafraid to wield raw power against their foes.

Unfortunately for the CPC, therefore, it now has to contend with a far more determined adversary. Worse still, America’s willingness to absorb enormous short-term economic pain to gain a long-term strategic edge over China indicates that greed has lost its primacy. In particular, the US strategy of “decoupling” – severing the dense web of Sino-American economic ties – has caught China totally by surprise, because no CPC leader ever imagined that the US government would be willing to write off the Chinese market in pursuit of broader geopolitical objectives.

For the first time since the end of the Cultural Revolution, the CPC faces a genuine existential threat, mainly because its mindset has led it to commit a series of calamitous strategic errors. And its latest intervention in Hong Kong suggests that it has no intention of changing course.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby ramana » 30 Jul 2020 11:59

https://indianexpress.com/article/opini ... c-6528166/


President Xi’s long game: World is dealing with a leader who believes he will shape a Chinese Century
Xi Jinping intends to be the Leader of the “Second Hundred” just as Mao Zedong is regarded as the Leader of the “First Hundred”. This means the world will be dealing with President Xi Jinping for some time. It is, therefore, important to get a proper measure of the person.


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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby pankajs » 31 Jul 2020 14:47

Watch starting @ 12:15 min till ~19:35

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9kIj_B8iLU
Wuhan lab signs deal to expand potential bio-warfare abilities; Regime takeover shows CCP infighting


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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 31 Jul 2020 21:25

One of the things to look out for in Xi's long term plans is how well he manages internal party succession while he keeps power at top. To do so, he needs to maintain a set of loyal PSC members. He cannot have a revolving door that typically ensures movement up the ranks because he can't assure everyone's loyalty easily. Lack of internal upward mobility in such a party apparatus dooms the system to failure through internal rot very quickly.

An example is the Soviet Union. Stalin rigidly maintained power at the top, but also purged the middle often enough that more people were able to fit into the slots left behind by gulag-ed comrades. This ensured a strong system even when he croaked. Khrushchev managed to win the game of thrones that followed. The main problem was what happened next - Brezhnev.

The Brezhnev period is known variously as a period of stagnation. But from the internal view, the problem was Brezhnev stalled the CPSUs internal dynamism by blocking all of the top and middle . In exchange he offered broad economic basics - most Russians see the 60s/70s through rosy eyes of a first time middle class life.

But by early 1980s, this had caused massive destruction within the party. The top was dominated by octogenerians. Brezhnev finally dropped dead in 1982. Replaced by ex KGB head Androprov who keeled over within 2 years. And replaced by even more geriatric Chernenko who I think lasted a few months . By then the exhibition of the rigor mortis at the top was clear, and they looked around desperately for someone who wouldn't drop dead for about 25-30 years.
Why Gorbachev ?
Gorbachev was not chosen because of the United States, or Ronald Reagan, or Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, as some have suggested. The Cold War was a major factor in all that ailed the Soviet Union, but not the main reason Gorbachev was selected.

Rather, Gorbachev was chosen because he was a shining light in a dusky hall. Five of the ten voting members of the Politburo that day were over seventy, three in their sixties and only two in their fifties. Not only was Gorbachev, at 54, the youngest member of the Politburo by a full five years, he was thirteen years younger than the average age of the voting membership.

Arguably neither Gorby nor even Yeltsin were 'hardened' leaders like Stalin or Khrushchev. They skulked their way up the party, given that normal means to rise were blocked. They were good politicians, but not good leaders. It showed - USSR fell quickly and then CIS was a complete mess until a hardened KGB veteran and opportunist took over. So when you block a functioning totalitarian party system, it results in
a) a cascade of old guard leaders who one day are all too old and die off one after the other, and the younger guard aren't sufficiently battle hardened
b) just anarchy and revolt as 'warlordism' - a very common Chinese political chaos situation historically - takes over.

Xi can continue giving Chinese economic successes, but if he blocks out the CPC internal dynamism, then for all the economic gains, he dooms China to internal revolt within a generation.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Mollick.R » 03 Aug 2020 19:37

'Clean up this mess': The Chinese thinkers behind Xi Jinping’s increasingly hardening line
New York Times Last Updated: Aug 03, 2020, 11:08 AM IST
X-Post

HONG KONG: When Tian Feilong first arrived in Hong Kong as demands for free elections were on the rise, he said he felt sympathetic toward a society that seemed to reflect the liberal political ideas he had studied as a graduate student in Beijing.
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He became an ardent critic of the demonstrations, and six years later he is a staunch defender of the sweeping national security law that China has imposed on the former British colony.

Tian has joined a tide of Chinese scholars who have turned against Western-inspired ideas that once flowed in China’s universities, instead promoting the proudly authoritarian worldview ascendant under Xi Jinping, the Communist Party leader. This cadre of Chinese intellectuals serve as champions, even official advisers, defending and honing the party’s hardening policies, including the rollout of the security law in Hong Kong.
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“Back when I was weak, I had to totally play by your rules. Now I’m strong and have confidence, so why can’t I lay down my own rules and values and ideas?” Tian, 37, said in an interview, explaining the prevailing outlook in China. Witnessing the tumult as a visiting scholar in Hong Kong in 2014, Tian said, he “rethought the relationship between individual freedom and state authority.”

“Hong Kong is, after all, China’s Hong Kong,” he said. “It’s up to the Communist Party to clean up this mess.”

Read Full Article Here//
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/clean-up-this-mess-the-chinese-thinkers-behind-xi-jinpings-increasingly-hardening-line/articleshow/77326164.cms

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby pankajs » 08 Aug 2020 01:15

https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/ ... -manifesto
Xi Jinping sends shock waves with his 2035 manifesto

A coded news release signals the president's intent to be 'leader for life'

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 11 Aug 2020 16:15

Dear Chairman Xi, It’s Time for You to Go

An Essay by Xu Zhiyong [Now in jail or dead, this letter was written in January 2020]
https://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opi ... ime-you-go
Xu Zhiyong [Not to be confused with Xu Zhangrun, also a scholar who's in jail for criticizing Xi] is a legal scholar and former university lecturer from central China with a doctorate from Peking University. He co-founded the New Citizens Movement, a group that advocated civil rights and China’s peaceful transition to constitutional rule. Detained in July 2013, he was sentenced to four years’ jail in 2014 for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order.” Following his release, he continued to encourage his supporters through his online writing. He went into hiding in late 2019. The following open letter, which was released on February 4, 2020, was written while he was on the run. On February 15, Xu was detained in the southern city of Guangzhou.

This is the second letter that Xu Zhiyong addressed to Xi Jinping. In the first, published when Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012, the author expressed hope that Xi would not only continue the country’s economic reforms but that he would also guide China towards substantive political change. Seven years later, Xu’s hopes, and his tone, have changed markedly. Now, for the sake of the country, its people, and even history itself, the author appeals to Xi Jinping to step down.


This is interesting, he thinks Xi is quite the dimsum
I previously addressed an open letter to you; that was seven years ago. Then, I had expressed hope that, under your stewardship, China might move in the direction of constitutional democracy. I was merely expressing a sentiment shared by a vast number of our fellow countrymen and women. In response, you locked me up for four years. Even now, your associates are searching for me high and low so they can throw me back into jail.

Despite all of this, I remain kindly disposed towards you. In fact, I feel solicitude towards all people. In actual fact, I don’t really think that you are a bad person, as such; it’s simply that you’re not all that bright. So, I have decided to write to you again, although today my advice which—as was also the case in the past—I believe sums up a widely held sentiment, is somewhat different. You see, Mr. Xi Jinping, now I am calling on you to step down.



GEISHA Eleven seen in comparison to previous Chinese leaders (and their slogans)

Real political leaders have true vision; at least they have a clear idea of the direction in which they want to lead others. Deng Xiaoping, for example, was a simple pragmatist; he summed up his credo in a famous line: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, so long as it catches rats.” Over time, he also articulated his approach in terms of the “Reform and Opening-Up” policy [which was initiated by the Communist Party starting in the early 1980s]. For his part, [Party General Secretary] Jiang Zemin had that theory about the “Three Represents” [an umbrella “theory” related more to practical policies than ideological dogmas] and he kept relatively quiet as his administration allowed people to focus on making money. Hu Jintao [who was Party leader from 2003 to 2012] was known for promoting the concept of the “Harmonious Society,” something that could be summed up in the line “don’t make trouble.” Side note: Jiang Zemin's slogan "Three represents" san ge daibiao was referred to by your Average Zhou as dai san ge biao meaning "wear three watches" to symbolise the obscene display of wealth popular in his time

And you? What have you got?

The “China Dream?” Come on: That’s plagiarized from the Americans; even so, you still can’t really explain what it means. National revival? According to the standards of what particular dynasty? You have amassed dictatorial powers, and through your policies you have increasingly distorted the market. Now, the nation’s economy is trending downwards. You call this a revival? You have also espoused building a “beautiful China.” But that’s all just put out there for show; what about the deeply held aspirations people have to enjoy true equality, justice, freedom, and happiness? You tout things like the “Four Self-Confidences,” the “Eight Clarifications” and the “Fourteen Perseveres.” Sure, you’ve got a grab-bag of such slogans, but no one has a clue what any of them really means.

Where do you really think you are taking China? Do you have any clue yourself? You talk up the Reform and Opening-Up policy at the same time that you are trying to resuscitate the corpse of Marxism-Leninism. On the one hand, you declare that we need to modernize government operations, but on the other you demand that the Communist Party has to be in charge of everything. At the same time you make reassuring gestures to private industry, you prop up the state-controlled industrial sector with everything you’ve got. So what’s it going to be: democracy and the rule of law, which you also talk about, or one-man rule and autocracy? The market economy or the planned economy? Modernization or re-Cultural Revolutionization? You believe that you can marry the ethos of class struggle that underpinned the first 30 years of the People’s Republic to the Reform and Opening-Up policies of 1979 to 2009. Well, you may claim that the former doesn’t preclude the latter, but if this isn’t all a contradiction in terms, what is it? It’s not that I don’t get it [a reference to a famous song by the rocker Cui Jian]; nor is it that none of us get it. The simple truth is that no one can get it!


This is very interesting because Xu compares Eleven to other world leaders including PM Modi

Initially, many people fantasized that you'd show yourself to be the kind of strong new leader the nation needed, but you’ve let everyone down. You swerve willy-nilly from the left to the right; no one can pin you down. Vladimir Putin launched a blitzkrieg on Crimea and you think you can get away with something similar in the South China Sea. But you are far too indecisive to see it through. Sure, you built a few airports but that was it. And as for the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands—you made an issue of them for the best part of a year, but all you actually managed to do was further bolster the U.S.-Japan alliance. And, then, you dropped the issue. Back in 2017, you started building a military road at Doklam on the border with India, but the instant [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi showed some grit you backed down just like some blowhard Beijing street punk.

I wonder if this tells us what Eleven is likely to do in the current LAC situation or that he might want to change his image by going kinetic?

You’re not Putin, or Modi, and you’re certainly not Trump. You flirt with Cultural Revolution fanaticism, but you are no true-believing Leftist; you lurch towards bellicose nationalism, but you’re no hawk, either. You’re a big nothing. You’d like to revive the Cultural Revolution and you have tried it on, but the moment you run up against any real opposition you chicken out. You talk up a storm with all of that stuff about “self-confidence” [Note: Xi’s “confidence doctrine” declares that “we must be confident in our chosen path, confident in our political system, and confident in our guiding theories and confident in our culture”], but the reality is that you’re the one lacking confidence. Remember that video clip of you with your hands in your pockets? Trump gives you a glare. Embarrassed, you immediately pull your hands out. How can you behave like that? You’re supposed to be the leader of a major world power.


This bit speaks to Suraj ji's point about the lack of upward mobility in the CPC
Real politicians are wise enough to engage the services of the most competent people, regardless of their background. They empower the most outstanding and capable individuals. Deng Xiaoping had Hu Yaobang transferred to Beijing and supported his rise [to become Communist Party General Secretary in 1981]. He did so despite the fact that, until then, he and Hu were hardly what you would call drinking buddies. Although Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao both had their factional political interests and supporters, during their eras [Jiang led the Party from 1989 to 2003 and Hu from 2003 to 2012] the various groupings and government agencies under them developed a workable equilibrium. But you? Apart from your intimates, your old Young Turks from Fujian and Zhejiang [where Xi had served in leading government and Party roles], you don’t have anyone to rely on. [Note: Recent personnel changes highlighted this when, in early February 2020, Xi replaced leaders in Hubei province and in the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing with personal allies and confidantes.]

The only time you probably feel truly secure is when you’re in the company of your banquet buddies. Real factionalism [which Xi Jinping rails against tirelessly], the clustering together of people in nefarious cliques—that’s what you get when you favor close friends and family over the most talented people.


What’s Wrong with the Belt and Road?

Then there is the Belt and Road Initiative [launched in 2013]. On the surface, it looks like a significant gambit: The exporting of productive capacity as part of a grand strategy aimed at exercising control over the economies of weaker nations while, in the process, gaining influence over their politics so that they will support a new global order that is sympathetic to your brand of authoritarianism. As for the so-called economic rationale behind this grandiose move, the fact of the matter is that you are not going to profit significantly from doing business with the indigent; if that were possible, Wall Street would have been exploiting such an opening for years. Over the decades, China has relied on the wealthy, the European Union, and the United States to build up its foreign reserves. Now, your investment policies are all but out of control; at home you’ve encouraged over-investment in fatuous infrastructure projects, and now you’re pushing a similar strategy on a global scale.

As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, in the space of five years, national-level enterprises have set up over 3,000 investment plans in 185 countries. As a result, billions of dollars from the nation’s financial reserves are being squandered. People joke that the policy mostly consists of “Major ****** Investments” [da sa bi (大撒幣), literally “grand splashes of cash,” a jocular punning expression close in pronunciation to da sha bi(大傻屄), literally, “Big Dumb ******”]. Does anyone honestly think that China has the boundless economic resources to carry on like this? What’ll you do with all of the excess capacity and over-production? Respect the workings of the market, don’t indulge in voluntarist mass political movements, don’t get carried away with yourself. Government should rightly be in the business of supporting export industries, not putting itself in charge of them or directing them on the basis of political fiat.
...
Today, there’s a majority of democratic countries that are far more open and your various Blue, Gold, and Yellow ploys are creating sensational news headlines. [Note: “Blue, Gold, Yellow” 藍金黃 is a shorthand for the covert use of Internet blackmail (blue), bribery (gold), and honey traps (yellow) to achieve commercial and political goals.] Newly elected leaders are refusing to get on board, and many proposals are floundering. Initially, it must have all seemed so clever, but times are a-changing and you’re just making a fool of yourself.



All in all, quite an interesting "the emperor has no clothes" discussion, and might offer a glimpse behind the gobar curtain.

Side note: Eleven is kind of known for his Trumpisms or poor ability to use language. It's not as bad as Trump, but he often tries to use classical Chinese literary references, which he does not understand and mangles or mispronounces. This is also something Xu alludes to.
This was the recommendation of another Chinese scholar
It is folly to expect President Xi to read literary expressions correctly. His cultural level is simply not up to it. His speechwriters and handlers more generally should only put simple, vernacular sentences before him. Otherwise, classical phraseology will continue to cause him to humiliate himself and embarrass China.
Last edited by RaviB on 11 Aug 2020 18:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Cyrano » 11 Aug 2020 17:15

Quite a bit of courage for a known Chinese dissident to pull down Xi like that ! Wow !!

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 11 Aug 2020 18:42

I agree, especially considering he already spent 4 years in prison for the last letter, and this one will probably get him 20 or death.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 19 Aug 2020 16:30

'He killed a party and a country': a Chinese insider hits out at Xi Jinping
An edited transcript of an interview with Cai Xia, who was expelled from the Communist party on 17 August 20
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... -a-country

This is very interesting considering this comes as a follow up to the previous criticism by other insider critics. Xu Zhangrun was a professor at Tsinghua which is where the elite go. But Cai was faculty on the Central Party School, where all the top leaders go and Eleven and Hu Jintao have been (formal) heads of the school. So she is very much a disgruntled insider rather than one of the conscientious elite as the others have been

Below I have some snippets from the transcript of an interview whe gave to the Guardian back in June, which has only been published now

For years, Cai Xia, a former professor at China’s elite Central Party School, has watched the ruling Communist party decay from the inside. Now she is out.

On Monday she was expelled from the party, two months after an audio recording of her describing the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, as a “mafia boss” was leaked online. (the full transcript of that interview is available here)

In an interview with the Guardian in June, Cai went even further in her denunciation of Xi, discussing what she considered to be his mistakes as a leader and why she believed a democratic transition would take place one day. Then she asked that her comments not be published because of threats that she and her family had received.

Now that she has been expelled and is outside of China, Cai says she is free to speak. “My speech is free from any constraints. Now I am responsible only for my own conscience and principles,” she told the Guardian on Tuesday.

The following is an edited transcript of the June interview, Cai’s first after the audio recording was published.

Q: In your speech you said Xi forced through the amendment of China’s constitution to abolish term limits in 2018, giving him the ability to stay in power indefinitely. Why was that such a turning point?

He forced the third plenum of the national congress to swallow it like dog sh*t. He first completed it and then forced everyone to accept it. This is obviously going backwards politically. Even with these two major issues, no one came forward to oppose it.

That shows that the Communist party of China has become a political zombie. The party has no ability to correct errors. So he singlehandedly killed a party and a country, showing that even when confronted with such a major question of altering the constitution, the party has no power to stop him.


Q: What do you mean he killed a party and a country?

When no one can oppose him, that means that his power is unchecked. Under the Chinese system, starting with Mao, no one can restrict or limit the power of the highest leader. That is why you had disasters like the Cultural Revolution.

Q: Do you think a disaster like the Cultural Revolution could happen again?

Not just something like the Cultural Revolution. You can see the confrontation between China and the United States. He has made the world an enemy. At home, all these big issues are left to him to decide. Whether it is a domestic or international issue, it is very difficult for others to restrict him. It is inevitable that his judgment and decisions will be mistaken.

Q: What benefit is there to making China an enemy of the world? Why would he do that?

There are several factors. Among them is that he wants to consolidate his own position and authority. Considering domestic economic and social tensions, as well as those in the party of the last few years, he will think of ways to divert the attention of the Chinese public, provoking conflict with other countries, for example encouraging anti-American sentiment and the recent clash between China and India.


Q: Why is it inevitable that he would make mistakes?

Because of the power he holds, he can punish whoever he wants so no one dares to give him different opinions and no one dares to report the real situation to him. Since people don’t tell him the truth or hide it from him, he doesn’t necessarily know the truth. So it is inevitable that he will make wrong decisions.

It is a vicious cycle. After a wrong decision is made, the result is not good. But those below are too afraid to tell him and wrong decisions continue to be made until the situation is out of control. In this vicious cycle, there is no way to stop the country from sliding toward disaster.


Q: In what ways is the country moving toward disaster?

Because people cannot speak the truth, Wuhan’s epidemic spread across the country and the whole world and everyone has been harmed. Chinese citizens have borne the brunt and among Chinese people, people in Wuhan suffered the most.

We have so many people dead, including people like Li Wenliang (the doctor who first warned about the emergence of CV in Wuhan and later died of Covid19) who should not have died. About the number of deaths, up to now China has not even said a real death number. Actually, the disaster for Chinese people has already begun. There is large-scale unemployment, soaring commodity prices, and the people at the bottom cannot survive.

Q: So you think the epidemic started because Xi did not receive the real information?

At the beginning he did not get the real news, but he said in a meeting on 7 January that the situation was under his personal command. If he knew on 7 January, why did it take until 20 January to announce the outbreak? Officials at all levels hide the truth and report only when they cannot cover up any more. But when he knew the situation on 7 January, he did not make it public or mobilise resources. So shouldn’t he bear responsibility?

Q: Why do you think the party has no power to stop Xi?

The system itself has meant that many party members and cadres have corruption issues. Therefore if you are not clean, you don’t dare object. Secondly, even if you are not corrupt, he will make up corruption charges. If he says you are corrupt, you are corrupt.

Third, the disciplinary code for party members [adopted in 2016] contains a measure that says you cannot distort the policies of the party. As long as you express a different opinion, you are in violation of party discipline, and he can use that to deal with you. Before, you could still speak out and you would be subjected to enormous pressure, but they couldn’t prevent you from speaking.


Q: You said in your remarks that many people in the party “know what is going on in their hearts” and that there must be reform. How common is this view?

I think within the CCP 70%, and among middle- and high-level officials the proportion may be even higher.
For many of these cadres, their thinking was most deeply affected by the reform era under Deng Xiaoping. When China joined the World Trade Organization [in 2001], we fully entered the global economy.

Those within the party have experienced the last 20, 30 years and they understand in which direction is right and which is a dead end. We are among a group of cadres who took up our positions after reform and opening. So that is why I say everyone is very clear about what is happening.

Q: You said that after changing the constitution to abolish term limits, the Chinese Communist party (CCP) would die a death without a burial. What do you mean by that?

China is bound to go through political transformation, toward democracy, political freedom, rule of law and constitutionalism. This is the inevitable trend of modern human political civilisation. China will enter this stage sooner or later. (she has made arguments for the rule of law earlier but never this openly. Arguing for rule of law and the necessity of following the Chinese constitution is pretty much what got Liu Xiabo his Nobel and prison sentence)

Because the CCP has been in power since 1949, they have made many mistakes and even crimes. Between 1959 to 1961, nearly 40 million people starved to death. The anti-rightist movement of 1957 and the Cultural Revolution hurt almost all Chinese elites and intellectuals. Also the Tiananmen protests in 1989 when the CCP used its army to shoot the people. No matter what, this is unacceptable to Chinese people. It is the People’s Liberation Army, right? It is the people’s country. (she might be playing to the western gallery here)

Yet we see corruption within the party and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. In the future when China transitions to a democracy, all of these will be seen as the major mistakes or the sin of the CCP.

Q: Why are you so sure China will go through this democratic transition?

Sooner or later we must go in this direction. Democracy, freedom and the rule of law, are the most basic values and expectations of human. People yearn for freedom and freedom is only possible when people’s rights are protected, right? To protect these rights you need a system based on democracy and rule of law. Only when human rights are protected, can people be free, and freedom is human nature.


Q: When do you think this could happen?

I am not a fortune teller. I can only say that this trend is inevitable. History is long and within that five, 10 years is nothing, even 100 years is short, passing by almost in a flash.


Q: You say that civil society in China has been destroyed. What can people who want to push for change do?

Now it is completely impossible for people to organise. WeChat groups are shut down every day. The CCP is using epidemic prevention as an excuse to increase high-tech surveillance of people. They can imprison you for any little thing.

So the first is to knock down the Great Fire Wall and topple the information blockade. Once more people know what is really going on, you can’t stop them and everyone will want to speak out. Actually, I think the international community can do more to fight China’s authoritarian system in terms of human rights by pushing for the first and most basic human right – freedom of speech.

Q: What about on an individual basis? What can people do?

Everyone should work to get real news and information. Do not let yourselves be deceived and do not lie to yourselves. This is very important. As long as there is real information, people will begin thinking.

Secondly, everyone must defend their right to speak and use whatever ways possible to express their opinions. If everyone can defend their own rights, if every person can speak for themselves, overcome fear, defend their rights and express themselves – when each of us can be human beings and not slaves to compromise – then social change will happen as quickly as is possible.
[b]

RaviB
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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 19 Aug 2020 16:45

Another article on Cai Xia with additional information from the NYT
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/18/worl ... party.html

Some supplementary snippets:
During her career teaching at the Communist Party’s top academy, Cai Xia cheered on signs that China’s leaders might ease their political grip, making her an uncommonly prominent voice for democratic change near the heart of the party.

Now Ms. Cai has turned her back on such hopes, and the party has turned against her. She has become the latest intellectual punished for challenging the hard-line policies of the current leader, Xi Jinping.

The Central Party School in Beijing, where Ms. Cai taught for 15 years until 2012, announced on Monday that she had been expelled from the Communist Party after she scathingly denounced both the party and Mr. Xi in recent speeches and essays.

“This party has become a political zombie,” she had said in a talk that circulated online last month, apparently spurring the party school to take action. “This system, fundamentally speaking, has to be jettisoned.”

Ms. Cai quoted from a copy of the party school’s internal decision (to expel her) that said she had “maliciously smeared the image of the party and the country, and rabidly insulted the party and state leader.”

“Cai Xia’s attitude has been vile,” the party school said, “and she showed not the slightest contrition for her erroneous statements.”
...
Mr. Xi “bears a great deal of culpability,” Ms. Cai said during the long, sometimes tearful interview on Tuesday about her evolution from party insider to apostate. “But for one person to do ill over a long time, and for the whole party to not utter a word, that clearly shows that the party’s system and bodies have big problems.”

Ms. Cai, 67, is among a cluster of Chinese dissenters who have recently decried Mr. Xi’s policies, including his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong.

Two of those critics, Xu Zhangrun and Ren Zhiqiang, already faced retribution last month. Mr. Xu, a law professor, was detained for a few days and dismissed from his post at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Mr. Ren, a once well-connected property developer, was expelled from the party, accused of corruption and put under criminal investigation after he derided Mr. Xi’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Incensed by the treatment of Mr. Xu and Mr. Ren, Ms. Cai has spoken out in their defense.

“They have persecuted Xu Zhangrun by ruining his reputation, humiliating his dignity, stripping him of his right to work and cutting off his livelihood,” she wrote in an essay published by Radio Free Asia last month. “This is openly intimidating all in the Chinese scholarly community, inside and outside the system.”

Such vocal critics are few in China, where censorship and political pressure have intensified under Mr. Xi. But bigger numbers of disgruntled liberals are quietly waiting for a crisis that could shake Mr. Xi’s power, said Deng Yuwen, a former editor at Study Times, a newspaper issued by the Central Party School. The academy trains rising officials in political doctrine, party history and other subjects.

Based on my observations, a considerable number of reformists inside the party are despairing, like Cai Xia,” Mr. Deng said in a telephone interview from the United States, where he now lives. “But for the most part they put the blame on Xi Jinping and are waiting for some kind of error by Xi to reinvigorate reformist forces within the party.”
...

“No matter how Cai Xia defines freedom of speech, I think that as a retired party school professor, she should defend the leadership of the country by the party,” Hu Xijin, (Gobar Times) an editor in Beijing who often echoes party views, said in an online comment on Tuesday. “Now when the United States is aiming an offensive against the Chinese Communist Party, as a party member, she should not, objectively speaking, stand on the side of the attacker.”

In the interview, Ms. Cai argued that in the longer term, Mr. Xi’s policies would push China toward a political crisis by isolating the country and extinguishing domestic hopes for orderly economic and political relaxation.

She said that she supported the tough line that the Trump administration has taken against the Chinese government on trade and other issues, even if she had qualms about some of its tactics. And she maintained that China’s harsh measures to suppress the spread of the coronavirus had become a drive to spread surveillance into every corner of society.

After Mr. Xi abolished a term limit on the Chinese presidency in 2018, in effect opening the way for an extended stay in power, Ms. Cai told a party school official that such a move would hurt China’s international image, she said.

“I said, ‘You are forcing Western countries into a showdown with us,’” she recalled.

Ms. Cai was raised in a family steeped in Communist values in eastern China. For a decade, she was one of the most well-known scholars at the Central Party School.

Under Jiang Zemin, the leader who brought China into the World Trade Organization in 2001, Ms. Cai promoted Mr. Jiang’s opening of the party to more businesspeople and professionals. Then and later, she often appeared in the Chinese news media, arguing that the party could be a vehicle for steady political and economic liberalization.

In private, Ms. Cai said, she became increasingly frustrated with party leaders’ unwillingness to match economic changes with political ones. She was disheartened by the dour authoritarian ways of Mr. Jiang’s successor, Hu Jintao, then even more alarmed by the draconian turn of Mr. Xi, who took power in 2012, after Mr. Hu. (there is only one known incident where Hu apparently smiled publicly)

Ms. Cai said that the incident that broke her waning faith in the party was not a great crisis, but the government’s handling of the death of Lei Yang, a Chinese environmentalist who died in police custody in 2016. The police accused him of hiring prostitutes, a claim that Ms. Cai and other supporters said was slander aimed at diluting public anger over his death. (they also did this recently with Xu Zhangrun)

“That incident left me totally disillusioned,” she said, pausing to choke back tears. “Their methods were despicable to an extreme that surpassed anything we could imagine.”

Ms. Cai faces daunting uncertainties in her new home in the United States. The party school cut off her pension and other retirement benefits, and she said she would probably be detained if she returned to China. But she said she felt relieved that now she could fully speak her mind.

“In my own mind, I’ve long wanted to resign from the party,” she said. “Now that they’ve expelled me, I’m really happy, because at last I’ve regained my freedom.”


This is very interesting because it looks like the domino stones are increasingly lining up for a USSR style collapse. Xi will tighten his grip on power in response to criticism until something blows up. I don't think he is capable of slow and steady reform that might keep China stable over the next decade or two.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 19 Aug 2020 21:42

Very good to see the confirmation from Cai Xia. As mentioned earlier, Xi is making a very bad mistake for his own country by consolidating himself at the top while letting the internal party structure bottle up all internal pressure. In summary:
* Break two-term limitation: CPC's built in mechanism to avoid consolidation of power in one person's hands
* Stop listening to disparate opinions - makes him prone to make mistakes. Fear prevents him from getting an accurate perspective.
* Favour his own cronies for elevation up the ranks. Causes rapid buildup of resentment within ranks.
* Already visible record of erratic foreign policy behavior and greedy or impatient overreach "we are nambahh one! what ? not yet ? hurry! <fires in all directions>"

Given Xi's behavior so far, he lacks the intelligence and foresight to head off a major crisis. He'll either go down in crisis, or get pushed aside and the next guy will find it's too late to head off crisis. An entity like CPSU and CPC are like supertankers that do not change course easily.

One thing I disagree on with Ms.Cai is that democracy is 'inevitable'. China has no historical memory of democratic rule, unlike India with Mahajanapadas from more than 2500 years ago. They've always been led from the top, never having successfully adapted to self rule - it almost always turned into chaos instead because there are too many internal differences amongst Chinese that flares up.

Xi likens himself to a latter day Deng, but is more likely to end up being remembered as a latter day Empress Dowager Cixi, who is reviled in China for having caused the collapse of dynastic rule amidst the humiliations heaped upon her by the western powers, and ending in the first Chinese civl war that led to Sun Yat Sen's elevation. But that was shortlived and soon resulted in another civil war between Sen's successor Chiang Kai-Shek's nationalists and the new Communist Party of China under a certain Mao Zedong.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Skanda » 19 Aug 2020 23:05

Suraj, always excellent points.

Maybe for another thread, but 2 questions:
1. There has been enough experiences and circumstances world-wide to see that the transition from non-democratic setups to democracy is often bloody and destructive. For eg: Iraq has never really recovered. Yet we have people clamoring to go democratic. Is this line of thought borne out of the realization that current governance setup is so dis-functional that a new system from ground-up is the only way to go OR shouting "We need democracy" yields faster adoption from the West.
2. Democratic transition involves other Govt institutions to be ready and not just political establishment. Yet, we see folks demanding transition of leaders and never institutional transitions. Is this a blind spot?

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 19 Aug 2020 23:15

I respect Ms.Cai's analysis of the present, but not her prescriptions for the future. As you state, democratic transitions are not easy. China has no history or political record of democratic rule. For an insight into popular views from their own:
Jackie Chan says "Chinese people need to be controlled"
"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not. I'm really confused now. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic," Chan, 55, told the Boao Forum for Asia – a regional conference modelled on the World Economic Forum in Davos – when pressed by fellow panel members to take a stance against rigorous control of the media on the mainland and to give his views on suffocating censorship in the growing Chinese film market.

"I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want," he said.

So there's a cultural belief here that Chinese intrinsically lack a cultural cohesive glue. CPC tried to accomplish that by requiring a common language (Putonghua) but people continue to use dialects, and language alone can't fix a missing sense of unity. A unified Chinese nation has always been a top down imposition, never bottom up organic development.

Even mini-me's like Singapore and Taiwan, which are essentially outputs of Chinese diaspora, have a tenuous history with democracy. HK is already a gone case. Singapore is effectively a one party state with elections, not functionally much different from Saddam running elections regularly. Taiwan has dome reasonably better even though its democracy is best known for slapping in parliament; it benefits from some details of its history that keeps politics somewhat clearly binary (Pan Blue vs Pan Green - not quite germane to this thread). I think as the older generation in Taiwan dies out, it will progressively go back to being a one party state.

It's far harder to create an organic democracy where everyone has a voice and gets ways to express it - something India manages. This organic democracy without the crutch of preexisting factions that easily lend themselves to just 2 parties (as in Taiwan) is a lot harder to accomplish. PRC has no such history of clear political engagement between power groups. What usually happens is the whole edifice implodes and there's a generation of warlordism.

This is seen many times in Chinese history - big dynasty ends, then a period of warlord era or split into many states, then someone finally corrals all the chickens together and presumes Mandate of Heaven for a new dynasty. RaviB will have a better command of the names of such periods, though it's not hard to google for this. This sort of thing happened after the Han, Tang, Qing and probably more dynasties.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby kit » 19 Aug 2020 23:55

after reading all that. China's only "strength " was its opaqueness and western greed. The umpteen trillions of debt racked up by the Chinese "growth" could well take down any other country coupled to its. And this could very well be the reason to decouple from the Chinese economy and source alternative suppliers. For once Trump's rants could have cold logic.

We don't have to do anything about the pukes on the western front, they will implode along with them. All those countries in SE Asia will suffer.

Is China too big to fail ? I want to see how the world answers this question.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 20 Aug 2020 01:59

Suraj wrote:Given Xi's behavior so far, he lacks the intelligence and foresight to head off a major crisis. He'll either go down in crisis, or get pushed aside and the next guy will find it's too late to head off crisis. An entity like CPSU and CPC are like supertankers that do not change course easily.

One thing I disagree on with Ms.Cai is that democracy is 'inevitable'. China has no historical memory of democratic rule, unlike India with Mahajanapadas from more than 2500 years ago. They've always been led from the top, never having successfully adapted to self rule - it almost always turned into chaos instead because there are too many internal differences amongst Chinese that flares up.

Xi likens himself to a latter day Deng, but is more likely to end up being remembered as a latter day Empress Dowager Cixi, who is reviled in China for having caused the collapse of dynastic rule amidst the humiliations heaped upon her by the western powers, and ending in the first Chinese civl war that led to Sun Yat Sen's elevation. But that was shortlived and soon resulted in another civil war between Sen's successor Chiang Kai-Shek's nationalists and the new Communist Party of China under a certain Mao Zedong.


Thank you Suraj ji, very insightful points.

Cai kind of hedged her statement a bit by saying history is long, so democracy in a 100 years would still fit her prediction.

For me the one recurring thing I always see in Chinese history is cycles of violence organised around some ideology.
The Taiping Rebellion from 1850-64 was possibly the second bloodiest war in human history and definitely the bloodiest civil war ever. And these guys had no planes, no bombs, they managed to kill 30 million people with battle axes, swords and what not. For those who don't know the history, the ideological basis on which this war was fought, here's pretty much what happened:

1. Hong Xiuquan travels to Canton to sit for the Imperial examination in 1837. He had spent quite a few years preparing for it and flunked previous attempts.
2. The exams don't go well or maybe he never took them, so he spends a few days smoking opium
3. Somewhere in this time, some missionaries hand him badly translated Chinese pamphlets about the glory of Jesus.
4. Hong Xiuquan decides he is the younger brother of Jesus and he needs to set up a "Kingdom of Heavenly Peace" and kill all demon worshippers.

This guy then goes around, creates armies, and at some point the Qing dynasty was on the verge of collapse, and he was trying to capture Shanghai. But he failed to do so, because of hired European mercenaries.

Currently the CCP teaches that the Taiping was a proto-communist movement because they believed in the equality of men and women and killed landowners.But they know that religion is something that can set off the entire country. That's why they so thoroughly tried to eradicate Falun Gong and underground Christian churches.

There is some kind of pattern of periodical orgies of violence that happen whenever the central authority weakens. The only spark needed is some kind of an idea that defines good and evil. The cultural revolution and the anti-rightist struggles were also like this, just some flimsy idea and then more and more people will be killed.

What I find intriguing is that these wars are never about balancing interests or finding a modus vivendi. The Taipings weren't going to carve off their own territory and divide the country with the Qing, Maos rabble wasn't going to find a way of sharing power with the "rightists". It's always all or nothing. And it's never pragmatic where interests can be balanced and compromises negotiated.

This suggests that:
1. For China, there's no transition to democracy. It's a collapse of central authority, followed by a descent into madness, creation of a new central authority.
2. Religion and violence will probably fill the gap when communism does not work as an organising principle for the elite. Maybe an anti-communist purge or a kingdom of virtue and peace.
3. Soon as Xi disappears as an authoritarian figure, the person replacing him will be weaker, and eventually the place will go up in flames.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 20 Aug 2020 02:25

RaviB wrote:What I find intriguing is that these wars are never about balancing interests or finding a modus vivendi. The Taipings weren't going to carve off their own territory and divide the country with the Qing, Maos rabble wasn't going to find a way of sharing power with the "rightists". It's always all or nothing. And it's never pragmatic where interests can be balanced and compromises negotiated.

This suggests that:
1. For China, there's no transition to democracy. It's a collapse of central authority, followed by a descent into madness, creation of a new central authority.
2. Religion and violence will probably fill the gap when communism does not work as an organising principle for the elite. Maybe an anti-communist purge or a kingdom of virtue and peace.
3. Soon as Xi disappears as an authoritarian figure, the person replacing him will be weaker, and eventually the place will go up in flames.

Agreed on all three points, though on #3 it depends on how Xi exits. If he's deposed, it would be by someone even more wily and ruthless who got high enough up in power to do that. On the other hand, the person may be a one hit wonder who would only be known for having deposed Xi. If Xi goes away gracefully it means there's no strong successor because no one grabbed charge sooner.

I also agree with the first paragraph - it's something I mentioned before too. Why does China not have the ability to learn that their polity is prone to devastating implosions, and to develop safeguards against it ? The entirety of the decades long CPC effort to 'avoid another Mao' seems to have been little more than 'you have two terms ok ? Just two, then go home and drink baijiu', and it takes just one guy to say no to that, with nothing to stop it. That's like an Indian general election resulting in the losing side saying no and clutching on to power. Just the concept of that doesn't exist, but it's easily enough done in Beijing, despite all of Deng's attempts - it didn't even take two zodiac cycles from Deng's death for the transfer of power system he defined to fall apart.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 20 Aug 2020 02:35

I think the best exploration of democracy in China is this documentary about election in a Chinese classroom



If people are interested in what's actually going down in China regarding social violence, there is an excellent movie by Jia Zhangke (one of the best Chinese directors, never made a Kung fu film). Please watch it if you get the time, it's one of the most authentic films I've seen about China. It's based on true stories and all the places where it is filmed like the hotel and factory, actually exist.

A Touch of Sin (2013) Tian zhu ding https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2852400/

Last edited by Suraj on 20 Aug 2020 02:36, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed youtube links

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 20 Aug 2020 03:23

Suraj wrote:...
So there's a cultural belief here that Chinese intrinsically lack a cultural cohesive glue. CPC tried to accomplish that by requiring a common language (Putonghua) but people continue to use dialects, and language alone can't fix a missing sense of unity. A unified Chinese nation has always been a top down imposition, never bottom up organic development.

Even mini-me's like Singapore and Taiwan, which are essentially outputs of Chinese diaspora, have a tenuous history with democracy. HK is already a gone case. Singapore is effectively a one party state with elections, not functionally much different from Saddam running elections regularly. Taiwan has dome reasonably better even though its democracy is best known for slapping in parliament; it benefits from some details of its history that keeps politics somewhat clearly binary (Pan Blue vs Pan Green - not quite germane to this thread). I think as the older generation in Taiwan dies out, it will progressively go back to being a one party state.

It's far harder to create an organic democracy where everyone has a voice and gets ways to express it - something India manages. This organic democracy without the crutch of preexisting factions that easily lend themselves to just 2 parties (as in Taiwan) is a lot harder to accomplish. PRC has no such history of clear political engagement between power groups. What usually happens is the whole edifice implodes and there's a generation of warlordism.

This is seen many times in Chinese history - big dynasty ends, then a period of warlord era or split into many states, then someone finally corrals all the chickens together and presumes Mandate of Heaven for a new dynasty. RaviB will have a better command of the names of such periods, though it's not hard to google for this. This sort of thing happened after the Han, Tang, Qing and probably more dynasties.


I see you had already made all the points that I made later. I should start reading all the posts before replying.

Suraj ji, that's a very intriguing point you have made about Taiwan. I would've thought that it is the counter example to PRC that says that yes, the Chinese can make democracy work. I keep getting surprised by Taiwan, would you have some book recommendations for me?

People like Jackie Chan are CCP apologists driven by an honest sense of self-preservation. As for artistic freedom in Chinese cinema, there are several directors who have managed to make meaningful films while skirting the censors, what's called the Sixth Generation

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby RaviB » 20 Aug 2020 03:38

Suraj wrote:Agreed on all three points, though on #3 it depends on how Xi exits. If he's deposed, it would be by someone even more wily and ruthless who got high enough up in power to do that. On the other hand, the person may be a one hit wonder who would only be known for having deposed Xi. If Xi goes away gracefully it means there's no strong successor because no one grabbed charge sooner.

I also agree with the first paragraph - it's something I mentioned before too. Why does China not have the ability to learn that their polity is prone to devastating implosions, and to develop safeguards against it ? The entirety of the decades long CPC effort to 'avoid another Mao' seems to have been little more than 'you have two terms ok ? Just two, then go home and drink baijiu', and it takes just one guy to say no to that, with nothing to stop it. That's like an Indian general election resulting in the losing side saying no and clutching on to power. Just the concept of that doesn't exist, but it's easily enough done in Beijing, despite all of Deng's attempts - it didn't even take two zodiac cycles from Deng's death for the transfer of power system he defined to fall apart.


I hadn't thought of it like that but yes essentially that's what has happened. Everyone thought that CCP had learnt the "never again" lesson. But obviously there was nothing substantial behind the arrangement. Things worked, until they didn't. Jiang Zemin kept his hand in the government, even after he had left. I think Hu's faction (shopkeeper's children) got wiped out by the princelings, so there was no check left. Otherwise factional infighting would probably have kept the system functioning.

I think Eleven's master move was to get rid of Bo Xilai, otherwise they are both princelings and would have kept each other in check. Once the big threat was gone, it was simply a relentless pursuit of any challenges. He's the Aurangzeb of the CCP dynasty.

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Re: Understanding New China after 19th Congress

Postby Suraj » 20 Aug 2020 03:48

Sorry, I'm afraid my Taiwan knowledge is mostly firsthand interaction with multiple generations of them, from 20 somethings up to 80+ group. Taiwan's democratic stability IMHO, and by their own admission, is artificial. Back when Taiwan was ROC, there was just KMT, and nothing else. They were first a dictatorship, and then became a democracy that was basically a succession of KMT presidents, until the nativist younger generation became old enough to vote and Pan Green became a stable alternative. This is seen in their presidential timeline. DPP never saw power until the 2000s. Right now there's a balance of voting power that's slowly moving towards DPP in the long term, which is why I stated that the long term view is them returning to one party rule, but a Pan Green one.

A way to explain this is as follows: British leave India and in 1947 India has two primary blocs - those who are pro Britain and anti-Britain. Engagement with Britain is the primary socio-political topic. In fact this is reality in places like Australia, where republicanism vs monarchy remains an active subject. Taiwan similarly has a democratic culture built on 'part of China' (KMT) vs 'totally independent' (DPP) factions. That's what sustains their democracy - two equally powerful blocs.

No other Sino-diaspora country has a working democratic system. Singapore is basically 'you can vote for any party as long as it's PAP', to misuse a Henry Ford quote. In Greater India in comparison, there's a much better record of democratic rule regardless of whether the country is Hindu-majority (India, Nepal), Buddhist-majority (Sri Lanka) or an Islamic state (BD and to a lesser extent TSP and Afg). In the Sinosphere there's just Taiwan and that's primarily because of a present equilibrium.


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