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China Commentary
Tracking Military, Geopolitical & Strategic trends to determine China's impact Regionally Globally and Domestically
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Who Won the Iraq War? China

Who Won the Iraq War? China | China Commentary | Scoop.it
But the spoils of victory aren't going to last.

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And yet, despite these (and many similar) statements, it's worth pointing out that one of the grim ironies of the Iraq War was this: no country, with the possible exception of Iran, benefited more from it than China. Before we begin, it's worth acknowledging that there's something more than a little gauche about declaring a "winner" in the Iraq War, which, as our James Fallows writes, surely ranks as one of the greatest strategic blunders in American history. For the United States, the Iraq War led to the death of almost 4,500 soldiers and injury of 30,000 others, cost over $1 trillion, and failed to establish a thriving, capitalist democracy in the country. For the Iraqi people, the costs have been far higher: over 100,000 civilians lost their lives during the conflict, and over 2 million others sought refuge in other countries.  Put simply, then, China won the battle by choosing not to fight it. But this isn't quite the whole story. In addition to avoiding the grave costs of the war, China capitalized by offering developing countries an attractive alternative to the United States: ideologically-blind economic engagement. And, as a result, Beijing was able to expand its "soft power" at the expense of an increasingly unpopular Washington.
DOSID's insight:

"For China, America's Iraq adventure coincided with its own embellished foreign policy. After Deng Xiaoping assumed power in 1978, China practiced a modest form of foreign policy, eager to keep a low profile while focusing on development. This worked well -- almost too well. Hungry for natural resources to fuel its breakneck economic growth, Beijing for the first time in decades began to operate in areas far from its periphery, including Africa and South America. Robert Mugabe may have torpedoed Zimbabwe's economy, but Beijing still had use for his copper. Burma's generals may have bankrupted and isolated their country, but China was happy to purchase its timber. Regimes that came under U.S. sanction didn't scare Beijing; after all, China was once subject to American sanctions itself. "

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The Party: The secret world of China's communist rulers. Richard McGregor

The Party: The secret world of China's communist rulers. Richard McGregor | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Over the last thirty years, China has emerged as a major political and economic power on the international stage, and the pace of this growth has been astonishing. Though...

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Corruption will ruin the PLA, warns general

Corruption will ruin the PLA, warns general | China Commentary | Scoop.it
Article seen as call by hawkish leader for army to continue with its anti-graft drive

 

The combat effectiveness of the People's Liberation Army will be ruined if military leaders become obsessed with materialism, a hawkish PLA general warned.

 

"Our country has a dream to be a strong nation, while the army also dreams to be a powerful force … It's an iron rule that valiant warriors come from highly disciplined troops," wrote General Liu Yazhou, a political commissar for the National Defence University, in a commentary on the party mouthpiece the People's Daily yesterday.

 

"The most challenging thing to an army or a political party is how to keep vigilant in peace time, because corruption and enjoyment would erode our fine working style and revolutionary tradition," Liu wrote, referring to the PLA's honesty and efficiency in their peak in Yanan, Shaanxi under the leadership of Mao Zedong in the 1940s, which helped them win public support and finally defeat the then-ruling Kuomintang to set up the communist regime in 1949.

 

"For a time … some individual leaders lost their minds and obsessed in a dissipated life, seeking personal profit and other corruption that brought great harm to our army," Liu wrote.

DOSID's insight:

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on Mar 16, 2013 as Corruption will ruin the PLA, warns general

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Proceedings initiated for China's leadership change

Proceedings initiated for China's leadership change | China Commentary | Scoop.it

The change of China's leadership for a new term of five years was formally initiated by the national legislature, with a candidate list discussed by the presidium of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) Tuesday afternoon.

DOSID's insight:

Pictoral

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China Inches Toward a Slimmer Bureaucracy

China Inches Toward a Slimmer Bureaucracy | China Commentary | Scoop.it
Entrenched officials are sure to resist the latest reform efforts

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In China’s never-ending effort to slim its central bureaucracy, Beijing plans next month to restructure the cabinet-like State Council. Some ministries will be merged, and others will get expanded responsibilities in moves to be unveiled at the annual National People’s Congress, which opens on March 5. That is also when China’s new party secretary, 59-year-old Xi Jinping, will assume the presidency and 57-year-old Li Keqiang will become premier.

 

China’s Central Committee, the several hundred-member party leadership body, will meet Feb. 26 to 28 to discuss the proposed government revamp. The plans for an administrative restructuring were also endorsed at a much smaller meeting of the 25-member Politburo over the weekend, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. “It was agreed that efforts will be made to achieve simpler and decentralized administration as well as push forward institutional reform,” Xinhua reported Feb. 23. “More efforts should be made to improve administrative efficiency and the socialist market economic system,” the report said, without specifying details.

DOSID's insight:

"And the planned ministerial restructuring may not be as important in boosting China’s economy as other less flashy but crucial reforms, says Andrew Batson, research director at the China-focused consultancy GK Dragonomics in Beijing. China’s economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012, its slowest pace in 13 years. “There are a large number of day-to-day barriers in terms of getting approvals, getting chops [a kind of signature], that companies have to go through in China,” says Batson. “The question that is uppermost for me: Will there be a push to reduce the amount of red tape and bureaucracy that private enterprises face as they try to go about doing business, or is this just an internal rearrangement of the structure of bureaucracy?”"


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Skype's Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It

Skype's Been Hijacked in China, and Microsoft Is O.K. With It | China Commentary | Scoop.it
How a computer-science graduate at the University of New Mexico deciphered a complex surveillance system governing Skype chats in China

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Jeffrey Knockel is an unlikely candidate to expose the inner workings of Skype’s role in China’s online surveillance apparatus. The 27-year-old computer-science graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque doesn’t speak Chinese, let alone follow Chinese politics. “I don’t really keep up with news in China that much,” he says. But he loves solving puzzles. So when a professor pulled Knockel aside after class two years ago and suggested a long-shot project—to figure out how the Chinese version of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype secretly monitors users—he hunkered down in his bedroom with his Dell (DELL) laptop and did it.

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When Internet users in China try to access Skype.com, they’re diverted to the TOM-Skype site. While the Chinese version bears the blue Skype logo—and provides services for online phone calls and text chats—it’s a modified version of the program found elsewhere in the world. The surveillance feature in TOM-Skype conducts the monitoring directly on a user’s computer, scanning messages for specific words and phrases, Knockel says. When the program finds a match, it sends a copy of the offending missive to a TOM-Skype computer server, along with the account’s username, time and date of transmission, and whether the message was sent or received by the user, his research shows. Whether that information is then shared with the Chinese government wasn’t explored by Knockel—and couldn’t be learned from TOM-Skype.

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DOSID's curator insight, March 13, 2013 12:00 AM

Skype’s videophone-and-texting service there, with nearly 96 million users, is known as TOM-Skype, a joint venture formed in 2005 with majority owner Tom Online, a Chinese wireless Internet company.

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Why Facebook, Google, and Twitter Made It in Vietnam, But Not in China

Why Facebook, Google, and Twitter Made It in Vietnam, But Not in China | China Commentary | Scoop.it
Oftentimes, people like to compare Vietnam with China. But online, it's a totally different story. They're completely different frontiers.

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In Asia, there are four communist countries: China, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea. Laos and North Korea are so small they’re not really on the tech map (even if North Korea is finally using mobile internet). That leaves China and Vietnam. In China, Baidu, Tencent, and Sina Weibo are the search and social media giants. In Vietnam, Google and Facebook are tops and Twitter isn’t blocked. What happened?

 

DOSID's insight:

The interesting thing about Vietnam is that Google never officially opened up an office here. It still hasn’t. Google slowly entered, its value was assessed by users, and then it slowly rose to dominance. Now, if Google were blocked in Vietnam, it would leave a huge black hole in the Vietnamese cyberspace.

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The Curious Case of China’s GDP Figures

The Curious Case of China’s GDP Figures | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Early this year, China found a missing province, one doing very well for itself.  The total GDP for 2012, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, was 51.9 trillion yuan.  The total GDP figures of China’s 31 provinces for 2012 added up to 57.6 trillion yuan, giving the phantom 32nd province an annual GDP of 5.7 trillion yuan.  For many economists, this was just a shining example of what they have believed for years: that China’s GDP numbers are questionable at best, and often exaggerate China’s growth, largely for political reasons.  


In fact, in 2007, Li Keqiang, then-party secretary of Liaoning and now soon-to-be premier, said that GDP statistics were “for reference only” and “man-made,” and that for his purposes, he preferred to look at electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and loan disbursements.  He did not say this publically–rather, his statements (reflecting what many officials surely believe) came to light in 2010 in a U.S. government cable released by Wikileaks.

DOSID's insight:

There are a number of reasons for doubts about the accuracy of China’s GDP.  To begin, there are structural political disincentives to reporting accurate GDP figures at the local level.  Local officials are promoted almost entirely on the basis of their locality’s growth rates, giving them a huge incentive to report increasing GDP figures, no matter if they are or not. Environmental concerns have also created an incentive for officials to lie: higher growth rates, when paired with the amount of coal burned, give the province an appearance of greater energy efficiency.

 

At the central level, it is politically imperative that GDP continues to rise, primarily because the central government has erected a system on the promise of economic success, and fears instability should growth decline and unemployment rise.  At this point in time, with a leadership transition in process, it is particularly crucial that growth continue. 

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Graham Watson's curator insight, March 8, 2013 7:47 AM

Very interesting piece this from China commentary; lots of evaluative angles to take about the nature of official data. Why do commentators look at electricity consumption rather more carefully in China than they do in other leading economies?

 

Can you think?

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China's web censors are quick, but take breaks for the evening news

China's web censors are quick, but take breaks for the evening news | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging platform, has seen tremendous growth since launching in 2010, with the site's 300 million users combining to post 70,000 messages per minute. This growth has forced the Chinese government to ramp up its censorship tactics, though its precise methods have thus far remained a mystery. Researchers in the US, however, have now attempted to pull back the curtain on the country's operations, as part of a new study released this week.

Without any firm details on China's censorship practices, Rice University's Dan Wallach and his team of researchers instead attempted to reverse-engineer the government's techniques by tracking Weibo posts as they appeared in real-time. After following activity from 3,500 users over a 15-day period, they found that about 13 percent of all posts had been deleted. Some, of course, had been deleted by users themselves, but Wallach's real interest lay in those erased by third parties — identifiable by a unique "permission denied" message that would appear after deletion. It's these "system deletions," according to the authors, that provide the most accurate idea of how China's censorship machine actually operates.

DOSID's insight:

"They estimate that the country's system would require about 1,400 censors at any given moment. Assuming each employee works an eight-hour shift, that would result in a total of 4,200 workers on the government's payroll on a given day

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Cheng Li: High Expectations for China’s National People’s Congress

Cheng Li: High Expectations for China’s National People’s Congress | China Commentary | Scoop.it
As China’s top leaders prepare for the country's big annual legislative meeting next week, China Real Time checks in with veteran political analyst Cheng LI of the Brookings Institution to get his view on what to expect.
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China proves Japan's scouting of Chinese navy

China proves Japan's scouting of Chinese navy | China Commentary | Scoop.it

China has obtained "adequate" evidence of Japanese warships and airplanes conducting close-range monitoring and surveillance of the Chinese navy.

Geng Yansheng, spokesman with the Ministry of National Defense made the announcement at a briefing on Thursday. He said China will retain the right of adopting relevant measures. Geng added that Japanese warships and airplanes have for a long time closely followed, monitored and disturbed Chinese naval ships and airplanes. Such moves harm the security of the Chinese navy and aggravate current Sino-Japanese marine security problems.

DOSID's insight:

An interesting Comment on YouTube:

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JohnChenGoogling 1 day ago

 

The American and Nato's Military Indstrial Complex corporate bosses must be laughing themselves silly watching the easy success of getting the US government to "pivot to Pacific". The promises to back Vietnam, Philippines and Japan for claims on islands in return for containment of a Rising China painted still as the Red Dragon is close to getting Asians to fight Asians; already getting massive arm sales + super profits and the flight of capital the Big Money back to the West.

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DOSID's comment, March 2, 2013 9:59 AM
"Big Money" or Black Money??
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John Kerry on China and the Pivot

John Kerry on China and the Pivot | China Commentary | Scoop.it

When it came to China, Secretary of State John Kerry’s confirmation hearing touched on a little bit of everything. Here is what he said he wants:

 

- To compete with China economically in Africa—this will be tough given the extraordinary government resources China pours into its trade and investment effort in the continent;

 

 - To use the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as leverage with China to ensure commonly accepted rules of the road on trade—of course the TPP has to move forward for this to happen;

 

 - To cooperate with China more closely on North Korea—that’s been an item on the U.S. wish list for twenty years…but the chances are better than ever before

 

- And to work together with China on the full range of regional and global challenges, such as climate change. Excellent, but it would really help if Secretary Kerry could persuade his former colleagues in Congress to pass climate legislation here at home.

 

What has garnered all the attention, however, is what the Secretary said with regard to the pivot:

 

"I’m not convinced that increased military ramp-up is critical yet. I’m not convinced of that. That’s something I’d want to look at very carefully when and if you folks confirm me and I can get in there and sort of dig into this a little deeper. But we have a lot more bases out there than any other nation in the world, including China today. We have a lot more forces out there than any other nation in the world, including China today. And we’ve just augmented the president’s announcement in Australia with additional Marines. You know, the Chinese take a look at that and say, what’s the United States doing? They trying to circle us? What’s going on? And so, you know, every action has its reaction. It’s the old — you know, it’s not just the law of physics; it’s the law of politics and diplomacy. I think we have to be thoughtful about, you know, sort of how we go forward."

 

Secretary Kerry’s apparent unease with the pivot has unsurprisingly set the Chinese press all atwitter and given Chinese analysts some hope that President Obama has appointed a kinder, gentler Secretary of State. The major Chinese state-supported newspapers—the Global Times, People’s Daily, and Xinhua—highlighted his remarks on the pivot and then offered some thoughts on Kerry’s likely diplomatic approach:

 

China Institute of International Studies’ Ruan Zongze: “Compared with Clinton’s tough diplomatic approach, Kerry as a moderate democrat is expected to stress the role of bilateral or multilateral dialogues”;

 

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Ni Feng: Kerry’s “diplomatic measures” will “greatly embody Obama’s concepts.”

DOSID's insight:

"In reviewing Secretary Kerry’s congressional voting record, Chinese observers also noted that he “generally voted in favor of bills conducive to promoting the development China-U.S. relations and generally voted against or expressed different opinions for bills not conducive to China-U.S. relations.” Overall, as People’s Daily observed, “Kerry stresses more on coordination rather than confrontation in foreign relations…”"


Important Links:

The Presidential Inbox: China’s Leadership Transition

http://www.cfr.org/china/presidential-inbox-chinas-leadership-transition/p30040


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Why A China Crash May Be Imminent - Forbes

Why A China Crash May Be Imminent - Forbes | China Commentary | Scoop.it
Why A China Crash May Be Imminent
Forbes
Those silly enough to believe that China's economy has “recovered” should at least been given some pause by this week's events.

Via Kay Walker
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China Sees Spate of Defections from N.Korean Soldiers

China Sees Spate of Defections from N.Korean Soldiers | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Twelve armed North Korean soldiers apparently defected across the border to China's Jilin Province earlier this month but were captured by Chinese troops and sent back to the North. 

Late last month, two North Korean soldiers shot and killed their senior officer and fled to Jilin Province, prompting experts to suspect something unusual is going on in army units stationed along the border with China. 

The 12 North Korean soldiers stationed with a border unit defected across the Chinese border in two groups but were sent back after being captured by Chinese troops, a diplomatic source in Beijing said Thursday. 

Another source in the Chinese town of Yanji near the border with North Korea, said the other two North Korean soldiers shot and killed their senior officer and crossed over the border into Changbai, Jilin Province, causing Chinese troops nearby to scramble into emergency mode.

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China Uses Copycat Architecture to Modernize, Define and Celebrate Itself

China Uses Copycat Architecture to Modernize, Define and Celebrate Itself | China Commentary | Scoop.it
While copying architectural styles is as old as architecture itself, China has done it on an unprecedented scale and speed.

 

Throughout history, civilizations have copied, borrowed and shared architectural styles. London's St. Paul's Cathedral and the United States Capitol dome are both modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. Chicago's Tribune Tower takes from the Gothic design of Rouen Cathedral in France. Now, the Chinese are copying the most iconic cities and towns of the West.

 

China's rapid urbanization has fueled an enormous building boom. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, China has built housing equivalent to roughly two Spains from 2000 to 2010. Stepping into cities like Hangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing, one might mistake neighborhoods for Venice, Paris or London. While copying architectural styles is as old as architecture itself, China has done it on an unprecedented scale and speed.

DOSID's insight:

This sounds so self congratulatory !!

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Will Our Energy Be Stamped "Made in China," Too?

Will Our Energy Be Stamped "Made in China," Too? | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Explination of Graphic Above:You see, China has its own untapped resource potential, as the country is believed to hold the world's third largest recoverable natural gas reserves. The problem is that most of these reserves are trapped in shale.

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"More of our future oil and gas production is being sold to the highest bidder. Increasingly, the companies doing the bidding are Chinese national oil companies."

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Recently, I've been wondering if oil and gas asset sales to national oil companies have the potential to jeopardize our dreams of energy independence. In the past couple of years, we've seen domestic energy producers such as Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN  ) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK  ) rake in billions of dollars by selling a piece of future oil and gas production. It's becoming pretty clear that more deals are on the way. 

 

Probably feeling the pressure of competition following Chesapeake's $1.02 billion Mississippian Lime joint venture with rival Sinopec, China National Petroleum Company's chairman recently said that it's currently studying whether it, too, will join the fray. As that nation's largest oil company it has the financial firepower to pursue a big deal. Overall, Chinese explorers have an estimated $40 billion to spend on locking up production.

 

One of the issues is that these companies could be bidding for our production assets with an unfair competitive advantage, as they can use Chinese government loans to stake their claim. Most of the U.S. deals involve having these companies simply buying joint venture stakes in production assets, with Chesapeake's sale involving a 50% stake in 850,000 net acres. Devon also recently completed a transaction with Sinopec totaling $2.5 billion in which it sold a 33% interest in three emerging energy plays, including the Mississippian. The company uses these to minimize exploration costs by de-risking the acreage and increasing exploration activity. A larger looming issue will be when a Chinese national bids for control of a U.S. oil and gas producer.

DOSID's insight:

"The question is, what are the Chinese and other foreign buyers after? It's not to lock up supply and ship it back to China, as instead the production will be sold in the states. The profits, on the other hand, will eventually make their way back to the mainland, which can then be used to purchase oil and gas on the open market. However, that's probably not the real reason behind these deals. Instead, it's more about the technology being used to unlock our vast shale resource."

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China Wants Nuclear Reactors, and Lots of Them

China Wants Nuclear Reactors, and Lots of Them | China Commentary | Scoop.it
While the West holds back, China pursues big nuclear dreams

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Soon after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear meltdown in March 2011, Germany announced it would decommission all its nuclear plants. Switzerland and Italy rejected proposals to build more reactors. Japan shut down its reactors and has yet to restart them. China, on the other hand, plowed ahead with existing projects, even though it suspended new approvals so it could perform more safety checks.

 

Last November, the government lifted the moratorium and approved four projects. The number of reactors being built is now 29—the most of any country, and 40 percent of the world’s total. “China is now one of the most important countries, if not the most important country, in the global nuclear industry,” says Antony Froggatt, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, a British think tank.

DOSID's insight:

China is likely to become the first country in which new reactor designs are built and tested at full size. Chief among them is the AP1000—AP stands for “advanced passive”—designed by Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. company now majority-owned by Japan’s Toshiba.

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Hack Attack: China and the U.S. Trade Barbs on Cyberwarfare

Hack Attack: China and the U.S. Trade Barbs on Cyberwarfare | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Image above New your Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/technology/chinas-army-is-seen-as-tied-to-hacking-against-us.html?_r=0

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On March 11, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon said that Chinese hacking had become a “key point of concern” in bilateral relations

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The gloves are off. For years, the White House has danced around the sensitive topic of Chinese hacking into American computer systems that is believed to have compromised everything from electrical grids to the email accounts of researchers focusing on China’s human-rights record. Public finger-pointing at Chinese hackers has been left largely to the American legislative branch or to private Western cyber-security firms like Mandiant or McAfee, which have produced reports linking the Chinese military to online espionage. Even when U.S. President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of cyberwarfare in his State of the Union Address last month and then issued an executive order to protect America’s online borders, he declined to specifically name China as an offender.

 

No more. On March 11, U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon said that Chinese hacking had become a “key point of concern” in bilateral relations. “Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber-intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” Donilon said in remarks to the Asia Society, a non-profit organization based in New York. “The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country.”

DOSID's insight:

"For its part, China has consistently denied any state-sponsored hacking campaign. Only two days before Donilon’s speech, China’s outgoing Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi lashed out at the U.S. for the recent drumbeat of accusations blaming China for cyber-attacks. “Anyone who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve a political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others or whitewash themselves,” he said at a news conference during the National People’s Congress, the annual Chinese leadership confab currently underway in Beijing. Yang went on to call for increased regulation of this new frontier: “Cyberspace needs not war, but rules and cooperation. We oppose cyberspace becoming a new battlefield, and to using the Internet as a new tool to interfere in another country’s internal affairs.



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China: Three challenges for new leaders

China: Three challenges for new leaders | China Commentary | Scoop.it
Four months after hushed deal-broking produced a new leadership lineup for China, Xi Jinping is to set to formally take charge of the country he'll rule for the next 10 years.

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Xi, along with new premier Li Keqiang, has inherited a supercharged economy that's created vast riches for some, a growing middle class, and many poorer migrant workers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with their lot in life.

 

But the deepening wealth divide isn't the only challenge facing the country's population of 1.3 billion people

DOSID's insight:

1. Closing the wealth gap

2. Too many men

3. Securing China's food, water and air


We assume that the above list is indicative only and not comprehensive.

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Interview: Lee Kuan Yew on the Future of U.S.- China Relations

Interview: Lee Kuan Yew on the Future of U.S.- China Relations | China Commentary | Scoop.it
In this book excerpt, one of Asia's greatest statesmen says competition is inevitable between China and the U.S., but conflict is not.

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However, the Chinese do not want to clash with anyone -- at least not for the next 15 to 20 years.

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Few individuals have had as consequential a role in their nation's history as Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore. During Lee's three-decade long tenure in office, he helped transform Singapore from an impoverished British colony lacking natural resources into one of Asia's wealthiest and most developed countries.

 

Over the years, Lee has also become one of Asia's most prominent public intellectuals, one whose unique experience and perspective gives him tremendous insight into trends shaping the continent.

 

In the following conversation, Lee trains his sights to the most prominent geopolitical issue of our time: the rise of China. Rather than attempt to thwart China's emergence as a global superpower, Lee argues, the United States should find ways to work constructively with China in forging a new global order.

 

DOSID's insight:

Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Douglas Dillon Professor at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Robert D. Blackwill is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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RELATED STORYIntroducing The Atlantic's China Channel 

http://www.theatlantic.com/china/archive/2013/03/introducing-the-atlantics-china-channel/273709/

 

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China's biggest problem? Too many men

China's biggest problem? Too many men | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Editor's note: Rob Brooks is Professor of Evolution and Director of the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He studies the evolution of sexual behavior in humans and other animals. His first book, Sex, Genes & Rock 'n' Roll: How Evolution has Shaped the Modern World recently won the Queensland Literary Award for Science Writing.

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In the mid-19th Century, two devastating floods of the Yellow River, and the famine that followed, ravaged northeastern China.

 

Outlaw bands, known as nien, attracted young men in unprecedented numbers, aggregating into militias that wrought chaos on the troops and infrastructure of the ruling Qing. Although this Nien Rebellion and the larger Taiping rebellion in the South were eventually crushed, they devastated the Chinese economy and contributed to the ending of the Qing dynasty.

 

According to political scientists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, widespread female infanticide during the famine meant that as many as one quarter of young men in the region were "bare branches" -- as the Chinese expression goes -- unlikely ever to bear fruit. The Nien rebellion, they argued, was propelled by these surplus young men who had so few other prospects.


This story of the Nien Rebellion foreshadows one of the biggest issues that China will face in coming decades: the dramatic excess of young men.


A long history of son preference, particularly among the Han majority, has led to female infanticide and the neglect of daughters in some parts of China. But in recent decades, the spread of cheap ultrasound (enabling sex-determination in early-mid pregnancy) and easy access to abortion courtesy of the government's one-child policy, has led to the widespread abortion of female fetuses.

 

As a result, approximately 30 million more men than women will reach adulthood and enter China's mating market by 2020.



DOSID's insight:

Read: Could China's one-child policy change?

 

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/09/could-chinas-one-child-policy-change/?iref=allsearch

 

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Those millions of disaffected young men will not only present a danger to themselves, but those living alongside them. And, as Hudson and den Boer have been arguing for some time, the bare branches will also make perfect fodder for political agitation, fundamentalism and possibly terrorism.

 

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Here Come…China’s Drones

Here Come…China’s Drones | China Commentary | Scoop.it

China is developing its own drone technology -- for its own military and for sale around the world.

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It’s safe to say, then, that Chinese drones conjure up a particularly intense sense of alarm that the media has begun to embrace as a license to panic. China is indeed developing a range of unmanned aerial vehicles/systems (UAVs/UASs) at a time when relations with Japan are tense, and when those with the U.S. are delicate. But that hardly justifies claims that “drones have taken center stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan,” or that the “China drone threat highlights [a] new global arms race,” as some observers would have it. This hyperbole was perhaps fed by a 2012 U.S. Department of Defense report which described China’s development of UAVs as "alarming."

 

That’s quite unreasonable. All of the world’s advanced militaries are adopting drones, not just the PLA. That isn’t an arms race, or a reason to fear China, it’s just the direction in which defense technology is naturally progressing. Secondly, while China may be demonstrating impressive advances, Israel and the U.S. retain a substantial lead in the UAV field, with China—alongside Europe, India and Russia— still in the second tier. And thirdly, China is modernizing in all areas of military technology – unmanned systems being no exception.

 

DOSID's insight:

"Nonetheless, China has started to show its hand in terms of the roles that it expects its growing fleet of UAVs to fulfill. In a clear indication that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has an operational armed UAV capability in which it feels relatively confident, last week reports of a plan to send a UAV into Myanmar to assassinate a drug trafficker who had murdered 13 Chinese nationals came to light. The Chinese government ultimately rejected this tactic, but it is evidently tempted to follow Washington’s lead in reserving the right to use UAVs to target enemies of the state, even on foreign soil."


The PLA Air Force has also converted itsobsolete J-6 fighters into UAVs; based in Fujian, the J-6s are apparently being used for Diaoyu surveillance, as well as being expendable strike assets in the event of an armed engagement.

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Girding for a Third Sino-Japanese War- Video

Girding for a Third Sino-Japanese War- Video | China Commentary | Scoop.it
WSJ contributor Michael Auslin on the stand-off between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Photos: Getty Images
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WSJ- Video

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Beyond the Pivot

Beyond the Pivot | China Commentary | Scoop.it

Picture above; Rebalancing act: Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in Beijing, November 2009. (Jim Young / Courtesy Reuters)

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The Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia made sense, because China was starting to doubt U.S. staying power.

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Debate about the future of U.S.-Chinese relations is currently being driven by a more assertive Chinese foreign and security policy over the last decade, the region's reaction to this, and Washington's response -- the "pivot," or "rebalance," to Asia. The Obama administration's renewed focus on the strategic significance of Asia has been entirely appropriate. Without such a move, there was a danger that China, with its hard-line, realist view of international relations, would conclude that an economically exhausted United States was losing its staying power in the Pacific. But now that it is clear that the United States will remain in Asia for the long haul, the time has come for both Washington and Beijing to take stock, look ahead, and reach some long-term conclusions as to what sort of world they want to see beyond the barricades.

 

Asia's central tasks in the decades ahead are avoiding a major confrontation between the United States and China and preserving the strategic stability that has underpinned regional prosperity. These tasks are difficult but doable. They will require both parties to understand each other thoroughly, to act calmly despite multiple provocations, and to manage the domestic and regional forces that threaten to pull them apart. This, in turn, will require a deeper and more institutionalized relationship -- one anchored in a strategic framework that accepts the reality of competition, the importance of cooperation, and the fact that these are not mutually exclusive propositions. Such a new approach, furthermore, should be given practical effect through a structured agenda driven by regular direct meetings between the two countries' leaders.

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While America Slept - How the United States botched China's rise.

While America Slept - How the United States botched China's rise. | China Commentary | Scoop.it

The logic of history tells us that such power transitions do not happen peacefully. Indeed, we should expect to see a rising level of tension as America worries more and more about losing its primacy. Yet it has done little to act on these fears thus far. It would have been quite natural for America to carry out various moves to thwart China's rise. That's what great powers have done throughout history. That's how America faced the Soviet Union. So why isn't this happening? Why are we seeing an unnatural degree of geopolitical calm between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power?

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Since the dawn of geopolitics, there has always been tension between the world's greatest power and the world's greatest emerging power. No great power likes to cede its No. 1 spot. One of the few times the top power ceded its position to the No. 2 power peacefully was when Great Britain allowed the United States to surge ahead in the late 19th century. Many books have been written on why this transition happened peacefully. But the basic reason seems cultural: One Anglo-Saxon power was giving way to another.


Today, the situation is different. The No. 1 power is the United States, the standard-bearer of the West. The No. 2 power rapidly catching up is China, an Asian power. If China passes America in the next decade or two, it will be the first time in two centuries that a non-Western power has emerged as No. 1. (According to economic historian Angus Maddison's calculations, China was the world's No. 1 economy until 1890.)

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