What Chinese are talking about ... real fake news

You know that China is increasing pressure on every state it can bully.  The bullying is easiest when the victim state has a substantial share of its GDP connected to China, whether as exports or as Chinese FDI coming in.  Now come fake news stories published in China, quoting New Zealand politicians approving of Chinese policies on the Belt and Road initiative.  New Zealand is in a tough spot. 
 
It is one of the "five eyes" countries, those English speaking countries that share some cultural backgrounds and concepts of law and government.  Others are the US, England, Canada, and Australia.  These five share intelligence efforts in some detail.  The US agencies involved include the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA).  Security issues - now, the Huawei 5G business, and related Chinese hacking and theft - are top priorities among the five eyes countries.  Even more than Australia, New Zealand is a western country in Asia. 
 
New Zealand is isolated.  It is more than 1300 miles from Sydney to Auckland and it cannot develop much stronger markets for agricultural goods elsewhere in the world.  China is its largest trading partner, followed by Australia.  Agricultural exports are about 27% of GDP, and food exports are about half of that. New Zealand signed a free trade agreement with China in 2008.
 
A good example of the position in which New Zealand finds itself is the relative lack of police response to the attacks on the home and office of Anne Marie Brady, a scholar at the University of Canterbury, who has written in detail about the means by which China is infecting media and politics and public opinion outside China.  I wrote about these attacks in two places in the last couple of months. It is suspected that the intruders, who have also left threatening phone messages, are some local version of chengguan, the Chinese hired thugs who terrorize street vendors, old ladies who don't want to leave their homes in the way of demolition, and anyone in the way of growth and development.  A substantial contingent of chengguan were responsible for watching Chen Guangcheng for years before he escaped in 2012.   New Zealand police have found no evidence, it seems, and do not seem too alarmed by the attacks.  There seems no doubt that these despicable attacks are politically motivated.  Brady's recent article is Magic Weapons: China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping. 
 
What is New Zealand to do? 
 
 

4. Chinese pressure on New Zealand increasing

Fake OpEd on People's Daily English site by former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley - Foreign Minister Winston Peters slams former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley after China Daily article appears - NZ Herald:
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has launched a stinging attack on former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley after an article appeared in China's "People's Daily" under her byline complimenting China on its reforms and the Belt and Road Initiative.
But Shipley did not write the piece, which appears under the Online opinion section. It is headlined "We need to listen to China" and carries Dame Jenny's byline and on Tuesday night was the fourth best read piece on the website.
She was interviewed by the state-run newspaper in December for a feature article which has run already and was surprised to learn a new piece had been published under her name.

 

Some economic development issues are similar around the world.   An American local government, faced with declining tax base, ageing population, loss of markets, and little ability to change the course of history is faced with  tough choices.  New Zealand is in a similar spot, with respect to China and the English-speaking west.   But American local governments usually don't have to deal with fake news stories planted by enemies in the town next door.

 

Url for the New Zealand Herald article -

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12205347&ref=clavis


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