China - the next superpower

"As well as Ream – where recent satellite imagery shows continuing construction of facilities – AidData identified seven other potential sites for PLA naval bases. In Asia-Pacific these include Sri Lanka, where Chinese entities already have a 99-year lease to Hambantota Port; Gwadar in Pakistan, one of Beijing’s closest allies; and the tiny island nation of Vanuatu. Further afield, the researchers also identified four sites in Africa: Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Mauritania in the west and Mozambique, on the Indian Ocean, in the southeast."

Rule, Britannia China! Britannia China, rule the waves! Britons Chinese never, never, never shall be slaves.

We're coming...we're coming...


"South African President Cyril Ramaphosa made a late-night journey to Johannesburg’s international airport to greet Mr. Xi personally, along with a military honour guard and a troupe of Zulu dancers and singers. A few hours later, more red carpets were rolled out for Mr. Xi, who was given a 21-gun salute and South Africa’s highest award for foreign leaders in a ceremony in Pretoria.

'The people of South Africa salute you, President Xi Jinping,' Mr. Ramaphosa said as he draped the medal – the Order of South Africa – around the Chinese leader’s neck."

Russell Crowe Battle GIF by Narcissistic Abuse Rehab
Xi Jinping struggles to patch cracks in the Chinese success story

"Could disenchanted youth be a new spark for the next Chinese revolution?

And it is not just youth who are disenchanted. Shares in the Chinese property giant Evergrande lost more than 80 per cent of their value this week. Meanwhile, Evergrande's competitor Country Garden, previously seen as safe, was struggling to avoid default.

The property sector accounts for 30 per cent of China's economy. So citizens, mom and pop investors, and businesses hoping for a commercial rebound after the government's draconian pandemic lockdown have been disappointed. Consumers are reconsidering spending plans as deflation begins to bite.

It's all being framed by some as China's Lehman moment."

We Are Doomed Reaction GIF by MOODMAN

"...even at relatively low levels of growth, the enormous Chinese economy remains on track to exceed that of the United States over the next decade. 'I think that there may have been some recognition by Xi and his advisers that there's a risk that they can kill the golden goose by over-regulation,'"

"'This guy is first and foremost focused on staying in power,' said Tsang pointing to Xi's reversal on stringent lockdowns after widespread public demonstrations. 'So if he sees those problems as potentially going to threaten his hold on power, he'll make changes.'"

Learn from the best. Learn from Vladimir Putin.

"One of the more bizarre examples of China's addiction to building can be found in Yunnan province, near the border with Myanmar. This year, officials there bafflingly confirmed they would go ahead with plans to build a new multi-million dollar Covid-19 quarantine facility.

Heavily indebted local governments are under so much pressure that this year some were reportedly found to be selling land to themselves to fund building programmes.

The bottom line is that there is only so much China can build before it starts becoming a waste of money. The country needs to find another way of generating prosperity for its people."

Welcome to the western world. Building useless public infrastructure with taxpayer money because of lobbyists is normal.

The aggrieved: Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and India

.. I read somewhere also Nepal

"The contentious clauses suggest that people who wear or force others to wear clothing and symbols that 'undermine the spirit or hurt the feelings of the Chinese nation' could be detained for up to 15 days and fined up to 5,000 yuan ($680; £550).

'Will wearing a suit and tie count? Marxism originated in the West. Would its presence in China also count as hurting national feelings,'"

Morning dress, top hat and a walking stick is my standard attire every day.

"Goldman Sachs still predicts that China will overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy by 2035. But other economists think that China will never become number one, and that its economy will soon peak."

It's not a sprint, it's a marathon?

"China last week sent a flotilla of ships including the aircraft carrier Shandong into waters near Taiwan. The drills came shortly after the U.S. and Canada sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, the waters that separate the island from the mainland."

Thank the Americans and Canadians for the provocation.
Taiwan faces threat of invasion. Many Taiwanese aren't worried

"Whether and when China might invade is unknown — but assessments from U.S. officials have ranged from 2024 to 2035.

One of the most prominent assessments came from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank that ran a data-driven computer simulation for a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan.

The war simulation imagined an attack in 2026, indicating 'the United States, Taiwan and Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China and maintained an autonomous Taiwan.'

But the cost would be enormous to all sides, according to the simulation. At least two U.S. aircraft carriers would lie at the bottom of the Pacific, along with dozens of ships from the United States and allies. Tens of thousands of American troops would be killed. China's navy would be in 'shambles.' Its Communist Party would be destabilized."

Really? Hopefully these aren't the same guys who predicted Russia would run out of artillery shells, missiles and tanks.

"The airport is still unfinished. A single casino, with an attached five-star hotel and apartments, sits alone near the sea, fronted by an unmade road, and surrounded by a construction site."

Basically at the same state of other Chinese real estate development at this time...
It took me a few seconds to figure out Plan was not Plan vs Actual but instead an acronym for the Chinese.

"Today, however, the grass is looking less green... in Nepal, China has begun to interfere in political affairs; in Sri Lanka, China has converted unsustainable infrastructure investments into long term leases impinging on sovereignty; and in Bangladesh it is becoming apparent that China's promised grants are in effect costly loans."

"What can happen in cases like Sri Lanka, which saw massive social unrest and political upheaval after it ran out of foreign reserves, is that countries get into a cycle of trying to pay back interest, which restricts the economic growth that would aid them with paying off the debt in the first place. When the money stops flowing in, people start losing their jobs, inflation spirals and crucial imports like food and fuel become unaffordable."

Like a bad mortgage. What is interesting is China stepped in after the IMF or the country can't pay China and then goes to the IMF. How many creditors (loan sharks) do you need?

"Ten years on, the most senior EU leader expected to attend the third Belt and Road (BRI) Summit this week is Hungary’s populist Viktor Orban, who will join guests including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and a minister of the Afghan Taliban."

Esteemed company.

"Having become the lender of first resort for many low or middle income countries through the BRI, China is now the world's biggest international creditor."

"China shows up with a 'one-stop shop' approach: 'Here are our banks and companies and we do everything from start to finish, and if you sign today we will finish that railway, and it will be done in time just as you campaign for your next election',"

...what if I need money for my campaign too?

"An annual report released by the Pentagon also said Beijing hoped to double its arsenal to over 1,000 warheads by 2030.

Russia has a nuclear arsenal of some 5,889 warheads and the US can field 5,244, according to the independent Stockholm International Peace Research Institute."

The world needs more nuclear warheads!
Hear China roar...

South China Sea: US warns China of intervention after collision with ships from Philippines in contested waters

"China accused one of the Philippine boats of "deliberately" stirring up trouble by reversing in a 'premeditated manner' into a Chinese fishing vessel."

China linked to propaganda campaign targeting Trudeau, Poilievre, says Global Affairs

"The posts claimed a critic of the Chinese Communist Party in Canada had accused the various MPs of criminal and ethical violations, said Global Affairs Canada. The Chinese campaign also used what were likely 'deepfake' manipulated videos, the department said."

The laidback Australian city key to countering China

"'It's obvious that diplomacy and all of the fora and meetings that exist in the region are not preventing China's aggression and intimidation,' Mr Shoebridge says. 'So, to deter conflict, there needs to be enough hard power, not in China's hands, so that Beijing understands the cost of conflict would be too great... [and] no collective defence strategy makes any sense in our region without the Americans being part of it.'"

"Chinese Lieutenant-General He Lei, speaking at a panel on Sunday, said that if China were to have to use force against Taiwan, 'it will be a war for reunification, a just and legitimate war.'

In his speech, Zhang said that countries 'should not deliberately provoke other countries on major and sensitive issues,' he said, adding that Taiwan was 'a core interest' for China."

I almost thought he was going to say he needs to eliminate Nazis/ISIS/Hamas/evil in Taiwan.

"The White House isn’t even sharing the precise location of Wednesday’s meeting, with officials publicly citing 'operational security' concerns but privately conceding the Chinese didn’t want it disclosed to try to minimize protests. To try to visually overwhelm any protests, Chinese officials are expected to bring in students from across California to wave Chinese flags and show support for Xi. The move is meant to ensure Xi has a 'pleasant visual' as he moves from event to event, a former official familiar with the planning said.
After he meets with Biden, Xi is scheduled to headline a $2,000-a-plate dinner with top U.S. CEOs and other dignitaries, officials said."

Secret pop up dinner with Xi!

“Officially an atheist state, China has five recognized religions – Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam – all of which it strictly regulates.”

Jesus is a party member too?

The flag of the Chinese Communist Party, along with the flags of the six African parties, flutters in the breeze at the school’s entrance gate, where two uniformed guards check the credentials of every visitor....At conferences and classes at the school, Chinese teachers give lessons in party discipline, recruitment, mass mobilization and propaganda methods, according to media reports and research groups that have studied the school.

Ms. Omar said she enjoyed the school’s facilities and a class taught by a Tanzanian teacher, but she has concerns about the Chinese system. 'I’m quite worried that people’s freedom to express themselves and give opinions might be silenced, and that’s not a good thing in a democratic country,' she told The Globe.

'Centralized one-party control could potentially stifle democratic values and the voice of the people.'"

You had to go to a Chinese school to figure that out?

"It would be too simplistic to understand this as a fight between the paternalistic Chinese government on the one hand, and rabble-rousing women on the other. Outside of China’s coastal cities, in smaller towns and villages like Eunice’s, there is a second China where women with fewer economic opportunities have long concluded that they have little choice but to conform to their parents’ and society’s expectations."

Open your legs. Make some babies.

“Well, I think the Chinese leadership at this juncture is overwhelmed by its internal challenges. And my thought is that perhaps this is not a time for them to consider a major invasion of Taiwan,”

....rewind to 28th January 2022:

"Speaking at a news conference for foreign media, Zelenskiy said: 'There are no tanks in the streets. But media give the impression, if one is not here, that we have a war, that we have army in the streets... That's not the case. We don't need this panic.'

'I don't consider the situation now more tense than before,' he said, but added: 'I am not saying an escalation is not possible.'

He said the White House was making a 'mistake' in highlighting excessively the risk of a large-scale war, and that this was the message he gave U.S. President Joe Biden in their phone call on Thursday."

"China is Vietnam's largest trading partner, with two-way trade approaching $200bn (£159bn) a year. China is the biggest foreign direct investor in Vietnam, dwarfing the US. This despite all the talk of Vietnam as an alternative manufacturing hub for US companies as they seek to reduce their dependence on China. Some of that investment is even driven by the US policy of de-coupling from China, as Chinese companies shift production to Vietnam to try to get around new US restrictions.

On top of that there is still an ideological bond between the leadership of the two countries; Mr Xi and Mr Trong are both hardliners steeped in the authoritarian ideologies of their parties, ill-disposed towards Western democratic values and determined to maintain the iron grip of their parties on political life."

Communists of the world - unite..

"In recent weeks, China successfully tested the equivalent of a refueling tanker for satellites, a game-changing innovation that would enable Beijing to extend the life of satellites that would otherwise expire after running out of fuel, Defense officials say."

"The Chinese have tested the robotic arm and demonstrated it can move a defunct satellite in and out of geosynchronous or GEO orbit, according to Army Gen. James Dickinson, head of U.S. Space Command....To counter the robotic arm, engineers are designing satellites that would be able to quickly maneuver out of reach of the arm, according to Bruno."

The giant Chinese claw which will kill GPS.

"For Washington, perhaps the most worrisome development has been China’s advances in hypersonic maneuver missiles, which do not follow a predictable trajectory like that of ballistic missiles. Launched from a rocket, hypersonic missiles fly at least 20 times the speed of sound, can circle the Earth and strike a target while evading most ground-based air defenses. Hypersonic vehicles could pose a risk to satellites as well."

Are they made in Russia?

"For years, the United States took its dominance in space for granted. But China’s military strategists recognized that the U.S. military’s global reach was wholly dependent on satellites, and that it represented a potential American Achilles' heel."

Paging Mr. Musk...can you and SpaceX lend a hand again?

“These are two of the most watched objects on orbit while they’re on orbit. It’s probably no coincidence that they’re trying to natch us in timing and sequence of this.”

Star wars....

"Xi told Biden in a group meeting attended by a dozen American and Chinese officials that China’s preference is to take Taiwan peacefully, not by force, the officials said.

The Chinese leader also referenced public predictions by U.S. military leaders who say that Xi plans to take Taiwan in 2025 or 2027, telling Biden that they were wrong because he has not set a time frame, according to the two current and one former official briefed on the meeting." might not even be 2027. We have time to replenish our stocks, stockpile more nuclear weapons, and build more advanced military capabilities.

"The People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government of China, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China."

"China can afford to fly as often as it likes. The People's Liberation Army has more than 2,000 fighter jets and is building many more. Taiwan has fewer than 300, many of them now over a quarter of a century old.

Military experts say that the wear and tear on the Mirage fleet is so high and the cost of fixing them so prohibitive that they've quietly stopped scrambling to intercept all but the most threatening of Chinese intrusions."

Those are good odds.

"Polls show the Taiwanese public still trusts the US far more than China. But the annual American Portrait survey conducted by Taiwanese academics found that last year only 34% of Taiwanese believe the US is a trustworthy country, compared to 45% in 2021.

Another survey by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation found that 51% of Taiwanese in their early 20s identify with US scepticism narratives, the highest among all age groups.

The polling organisation said one possible reason was because younger Taiwanese were more likely to be sent to the frontlines of any possible war.

Most of this could be chalked up to America's own actions. The disastrous troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and a divided Congress' reluctance to continue funding Ukraine in its war, have contributed to Taiwanese fears that America would abandon it or fail to intervene if China attacks, say analysts."

Now we need a poll on how trustworthy People's Republic of China is for Taiwan (aka Republic of China).

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