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).

CCP Internal Resilience – post 10 of 10

Bonding - A conclusion

Martin Jacques wrote When China Rules the World in 2009.  His analysis ignores the potential dangers in Chinese politics.  But his observation that the western world must learn to understand how Chinese think, those rules of the cultural road that are foreign to us, is quite correct.

Concepts about survival of authoritarian regimes need to account for China as sui generis.  Modernization theory, which sees regime change in China as a logical next step in an upper middle class society, has not confronted an occupying elite like CCP anywhere else in the world. 

CCP Internal Resilience – post 9 of 10

Strength Through Struggle – Nietzsche, anyone?

Western political theorists would like to find a single theory to explain changes in authoritarian governance patterns over time.  How to explain regime longevity and collapse in Europe, in Africa, in Asia?  How to explain transitions into and out of authoritarianism?  Why do some regimes collapse and others ride out similar shocks to the system?  What makes a regime more stable?  When and how does the authority in an authoritarian regime collapse?

CCP Internal Resilience – post 8 of 10

United we stand

As David Shambaugh pointed out in China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation, CCP has expended great effort in analyzing the collapse of the CPSU in 1991.  The principal conclusion is that dissolution comes from dissension at the top. Xi admonished the Party in a December, 2012 speech.  Analyzing the reasons for the fall of CPSU, he saw individuals and factions vying for power, and “nobody was man enough to stand up and resist.”  Xi sees himself as the man to stand up in China now.  Loyalty to Xi is the only test of loyalty to CCP.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 7 of 10

Chinese bureaucratic stability is not western bureaucratic stability

The bureaucracy can be, should be, must be, stable even if leadership is in crisis.  What keeps midlevel bureaucrats and above from collaborating for substantial change?  After all, there are leadership crises from time to time –Bo Xilai is the best known to us, but he was no midlevel, and there have been many more, back to the time of Mao.  And Bo Xilai had loyalists in Chongqing and Dalian, but no one was volunteering to go to jail with him.

CCP Internal Resilience – post 6 of 10

Decentralization and family first

Sometimes, we think of CCP governance as Xi Jinping sitting in Zhongnanhai, pushing buttons, and everyone jumps. That may be true now to some extent, but more generally, Chinese governance is highly decentralized.  A mayor owes more direct allegiance to the city Party leader, and perhaps one or two people at the provincial level, than to Xi Jinping directly.  Of course, the obligations extend all the way up and you don't want your own leader to lose face.

Recent

  • News: IP theft - no more worries

    News: IP theft - no more worries

     

    Just a brief note -  the FBI has more than 1,100 China IP theft  cases pending against Chinese entities or individuals.  Not a typo - 1,100.

     For American companies not doing business in China - we should not say, no exposure to China - the FBI investigations may still be something of a bulwark against theft.  Although, one notes, most of the investigations and arrests are in arrears of the crime.

    And back nearly a year ago, Mr. Xi promulgated a new IP theft policy which threatened Chinese businesses that steal.  The policy was announced within hours of a Xi-Trump meeting last December, and comprised a coordinated efforts across 38 Chinese government agencies with 38 different punishments.  The insincerity of this announcement, coming immediately upon the leaders' meeting, was palpable.  If you want to believe, you may.  I wrote about this at the time in Everything new is old again

    But with a new Chinese government policy, IP theft in China is no more.

    Now comes the latest entry in China's bid to become the first panopticon state - the cybersecurity law that permits government access to all information, IP or otherwise, stored on any server available to any foreign business operating in China.  China Law Blog has details - China's New Cybersecurity System - There is NO Place to Hide.  From the blog post -

    This result then leads to the key issue. Confidential information housed on any server located in China is subject to being viewed and copied by China’s Ministry of Public Security and that information then becomes open to access by the entire PRC government system. But the PRC government is the shareholder of the State Owned Entities (SOEs) which are the key industries in China. The PRC government also essentially controls the key private companies in China such as Huawei and ZTE and more recently Alibaba and Tencent and many others. See China is sending government officials into companies like Alibaba and Geely and China to place government officials inside 100 private companies, including Alibaba. The PRC government also either owns or controls China’s entire arms industry.

    Simply put, the data the Ministry of Public Security obtains from foreign companies will be available to the key competitors of foreign businesses, to the Chinese government controlled and private R&D system, and to the Chinese arms industry and military.

    The takeaway on this is that the fear of IP theft in China is no more.  What used to be considered theft, done by stealth, is now a legal process.  As Steve Dickinson from China Law Blog says, welcome to the new normal.   And anyway, remember - information wants to be free.

     

     

     
  • Deer in the headlights

    Deer in the headlights

     

    Aggressive moves by the Xi Jinping government have sensitized the world to skullduggery, lying, theft, and threats to foreigners in their own country by Chinese organizations in business and government. Infiltration of politics and government in Australia and New Zealand has become a recurring story. 

    Unfortunately, such actions can bias some people against Chinese everywhere.  So - what to make of Gladys Liu?

    Read more ...  
  • China censorship by extortion in London

    Update at October 7, 2019 - The NBA self-censors for China

    The NBA is a business - we know that.  But the NBA has been the professional league in which players and coaches have had the most freedom to speak their minds about issues of rights and morality.  Now, apparently, that freedom of speech stops at the Chinese border.  The New York Times has the story - NBA executive's Hong Kong tweet starts firestorm in China.

    Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted an expression of support for protesters in Hong Kong.  This upset the Chinese Basketball Association, and some Chinese fans, who see Hong Kongers as only hooligans and destroyers of Chinese harmony.  Morey's tweet suggested that he "stands with Hong Kong."  He has now apologized to the NBA's largest international market.  The NBA has disavowed his comment, although it did suggest weakly that he had a right to say what he said.  Of course, the Chinese league commented with the old trope, that Morey had hurt the feelings of all Chinese people (who are basketball fans). 

    Read more ...  

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