Similar and different – an occasional reflection

As huge economies with large and diverse populations, occupying about the same land area at about the same range of latitudes, China and the US have many similarities.  Similarities extend to many elements of culture and institutions, good and bad.  The similarities are often surprising; the differences confuse us, but may be a source of new perspectives. 

 

Domestic and foreign affairs in 2018 – Xi, CCP, DJT, GOP – A brief review - Part 1 of 5  - Government and Party

In 2018, we have the Chinese government, run by an authoritarian party with a grandiose leader, and the US, currently run – we cannot say, governed - by a would-be authoritarian dictator.  Both leaders want to individually dominate state, party, people, and economy.  That is what authoritarian leaders do.   Mr. Xi and Mr. Trump are mirror images, of a kind.  Both are incensed by unflattering portraits - 

 

 Source: Down with Tyranny  and see Trump asks media to not publish unflattering pictures

Winnie-the-Pooh is now censored in China, and a Shanghai artist who put an altered Xi picture on t-shirts, suitcases, and coke cans was  arrested, facing five years in prison.

Source: Shanghaiist

 

What's New is Old Again - on tangibles and intangibles in the trade conflict

Fake LV bag

Source:  Wondermika

 

From Caixin -

China Starts New Crackdown on Intellectual Property Theft After Xi-Trump Talks

Thirty-eight state agencies have announced that they will soon begin a coordinated campaign against IPR infringement

 

... and an update  12-11-18 on the update.   A senior US official offers intelligence agency cooperation on Chinese interference in New Zealand, citing in particular the Anne-Marie Brady incidents.   And a closed circuit camera is now in her office, which  was broken into after publication of her research on CCP influence in New Zealand.  No word about protection for her home, her car, or her person. 

 

Back in September, I wrote about threats and break-ins directed at Anne-Marie Brady, a New Zealand scholar who has written about CCP influence in foreign affairs.  Her recent work is titled Magic Weapons - China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping, an investigation of United Front activities such as media and university partnerships, "management" of overseas Chinese, and multimedia communications strategies to influence and co-opt foreign citizens and Chinese outside China. 

A Note on City Size and Political Economy

Among the China superlatives that we have heard for the last two decades is the fantastic growth in city size - Pudong in Shanghai from fishing and farming villages to the world's most recognizable skyline; similarly for Shenzhen, Guangdong, and literally dozens of places most of us have never heard of. 

 

Source: Lujiazui 2016.jpg

No Way Out, 2

Understanding the Chinese Constitution, the New Citizens Movement, and Document No. 9

 

The New Citizens Movement should not have been a big deal – a loosely organized group of activists campaigning against corruption and for “constitutionally protected rights” in China.  Xu Zhiyong, a PhD from the Peking University Law School, was one of the leaders.

Xu Zhiyong, shortly before arrest   Xu Zhiyong speaking at a meeting in Beijing in March, 2013, shortly before his arrest

Enyce and guanxi and ... chen dongfan               Fall, 2009

 

Note – this was a couple of months after I began teaching full time in Hangzhou, so I was being sensitive to … everything.  Food, clothes, manners.

 

Ju la, or as it is sometimes written, Ru la, is an American-sixties style restaurant in the hills of Hangzhou. Chinese food, Chinese patrons, but the design is all exposed and rough-cut wood, with American nineteen-fifties advertising posters on the walls and tables that are enormous rough hewn blocks.  It is very popular, especially on Sundays.  It is a custom to go to a restaurant on Sunday, take a table, and spend two or three hours or more eating and drinking and talking.  No waiters hustling you out as you take your first bite of dessert.  It is Sunday, the one day of rest.

Ju ra       Trip Advisor - Restaurants Hangzhou

 

News Comments

  • Crash-out

    Crash-out.  Or D-Day - Disaster Day - minus 7

    The original D-Day was salvation for Britain and Europe - even, in its way, for Germany.  This one seems less promising.

    Not much to say anymore.   Cue the violins and watch the China moves.

    Read more ...  
  • Huawei - Taking a Fall, Hoping for a Call

    Huawei - Taking a Fall, Hoping for a Call

     

    Pardon the soccer reference.  But to my mind, that is the Huawei move.  But Huawei has the support of the fans, at least in China, and they are vocal.

    Don Clarke, professor of law at George Washington University, has penned this response to the declaration of the Zhong Lun law firm in Beijing, in support of Huawei as an innocent private company caught in a nasty trade spat.  According to the declaration, no company in China is ever required to comply with demands from the central government to install spyware or backdoors in any communication equipment.   Clarke points out that this is misleading and inaccurate.  Chinese law says nothing about what provincial and local governments might demand from a company, and in any case, law is not a constraint. 

    “There’s a whole variety of pressures that the government can bring to bear on a company or individual, and they are not at all limited to criminal prosecution Clarke says.  “China is a Leninist state that does not recognize any limits to government power.”

    Read more ...  
  • What Chinese are talking about ... fake news

     
    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.  Read more ...  

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