No Wechat conversation is safe.  Anytime. Anywhere.  What Chinese are (not) talking about (4)

 Wechat is almost universal.  It is ubiquitous in China, and among the Chinese diaspora and their foreign friends and families.  Its functionality for social media, news, and buying things makes it a better choice than any combination of applications available in the west.  It is Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. And it is free.

Free does not mean without cost, of course, and in this case, the cost is the Chinese government being ready, willing, and able to monitor what you say, what you text, what you watch, what videos you post.  In China and outside.  If you think the long arm of Chinese government censorship doesn't reach into the US - well, you would be wrong. 

Money Talks in the Clash of Civilizations

What else would you expect?

You remember Samuel Huntington’s article in Foreign Affairs in 1993 –

The central axis of world politics in the future is likely to be, in Kishore Mahbubani’s phrase, the conflict between "the West and the Rest" and the responses of non-Western civilizations to Western power and values…. The third alternative is to attempt to "balance" the West by developing economic and military power and cooperating with other non-Western societies against the West, while preserving indigenous values and institutions; in short, to modernize but not to Westernize.

Take a look at the three maps below. 

Update at August 13 -

I wrote a bit about Epoch Times in the post below, mostly about Chinese getting their news from China news sources like public wechat.  Epoch Times is most decidedly anti-CCP, and published by organizations related to Falun Gong, the same people who bring you Shen Yun, the extraordinary dance and performance troup that has been wow-ing Americans for a decade.

In the last two weeks, Epoch Times has been bombarding YouTube with two minute (two minute!) video advertising in advance of a video one is watching.  The ads offer subscriptions to the newspaper, promising to expose the lies of the mainstream media in vilifying Donald Trump.  Here is a screen shot from one subscription ad.  "Honest news" is what they tout.

Donald Trump reads it every day.  'Nuff said.  Chinese can get their "honest news" from Beijing or Falun Gong.  Truly, only no news here is good news.

 

What Chinese are Talking About (3) - Love Mr. Xi, Love Mr. Trump

We know that mainlanders, particularly those in CCP, have a fondness for Mr. Trump.  There are several reasons – Chinese historically have been willing to defer to strong leaders, and Trump projects arrogance, if not wisdom.  It was clear before the 2016 election that if Trump won, Mr. Putin would win and Mr. Xi would also win.  Events bear this out.  There is no adversary so easy to fool as one convinced of his own superiority, particularly one with such poor justification.  Flattery and artifice will get you … everywhere.  For Chinese interested in foreign policy, all they need do is sit back and wait.  Trump’s unforced errors – TPP, belittling allies, cozying up to dictators, removing US from environmental treaties, threatening friends and foes alike – make Chinese arrogance and Mr. Xi’s own unforced errors look positively innocuous.  What’s not to love about someone willing to play the fool for you?

Learning from China ... and Hong Kongers

 “Don't trust China” is what the recent Hong Kong protesters told the G20 representatives in Osaka.

 I think that is right. It has been a sea change for me.  Fool me once.  Maybe even a few times. Still, over the last 15 years, I have come to realize that we should listen to the Hong Kongers (who don’t wish to be called Chinese).

When Internet Blocking Fails

 An internet not coming to a computer near you …

CCP gets more paranoid than usual around June 4 of every year, particularly those years a multiple of five from 1989.   This year is 30 years since the Tian’anmen massacre.

I was in Chicago around June 4 of 2009, but I made the 2014 anniversary.  Internet blocking began early in May.  Every foreigner in China gets accustomed to internet and social media blocking, but in 2014 the online ban was nearly total.  It was a lesson in how particular the censorship could be.   You know, it’s China – it’s complicated.

How to End June 4, et al.

 

A Country That Controls the Internet Should be Able to Control the Calendar

A few years ago, it was reported in the Australian Financial Review that senior party members in the Chinese Communist Party were reading deTocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution.  This was at the suggestion of Xi Jinping, who apparently wanted to call attention to the fate of leaders who ignore the people in favor of corruption and the easy life.  The end times of the French monarchy is a good model for what rulers should not do.