Update at June, 2019 - the March, 2019 crash-out has been delayed, but that does not apply to earnest Britain-China cooperation - Sino-UK dialogue yields dozens of outcomes.

The 10th China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue has just concluded in London.  China will help Britain in its soon-to-be developing country status by offering openings in financial and banking services, among many other programs to help British companies.  From the short article -

Christopher Bovis, a professor of international business law at the University of Hull, said this round of dialogue signified the importance of the future of Sino-UK trade relations, with an emphasis on large infrastructure projects and financial services.

"Both economic sectors will benefit enormously from Chinese investment in the UK, and China is expected to reciprocate with more market access to its evolving economy," he said.

 

Funny, I didn't hear much support from Britain for Hong Kong protesters in the recent extradition law conflict.

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Shuang Yin  Win-Win    February, 2019

Now that a crash-out Brexit seems all but assured, where will Britain turn for trade deals?  The kind of relationship that the British government wanted – like that of Canada or Norway with the EU – takes years to negotiate, under favorable circumstances.  There has been discussion for more than ten years that the special relationship between the US and Britain - forged from the mid-19th century and cemented between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill in World War II – is no longer so compelling.  The EU without Britain is still a huge and attractive market for US trade in both directions.

As of March 29, 2019 – in a bit more than a month - there will be hundreds of treaties and agreements to negotiate, suddenly, quickly, and in great detail.  Some agreements will probably get done – ability of British truck drivers to deliver goods through the Chunnel into EU turf, and ability of airplanes to take off from Heathrow bound for destinations in Europe using parts and crew that, without certification by the EU, would be not allowed.

But where can Britain turn for trade deals, quickly, without years of complicated negotiations?  What large trading partner is willing to set aside the details of complex agreements when mercantile interests, not to mention future geopolitical support, are at stake?  What large trading partner can act quickly, based on personal leadership from a president or prime minister or general secretary?

In October, 2015, a few months before the Brexit vote, Xi Jinping visited the UK, and  demonstrated his prescience –

"The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China," Xi told Reuters ahead of his first visit to the country as president.

"This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain's own long-term interest."

UK Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking on CCTV, China's state broadcaster, said the visit would mark a "golden era" in the two countries' relationship.

 

Idle Thought           last week in January, 2019

What if this past weekend were the beginning of the end for the orange haired baboon?  And, in the process, the GOP were so damaged that even a Pence presidency couldn’t do much harm, and we gained a president in 2020 who was smart, thoughtful, respected intelligence and loyalty to allies and was up for repairing the extraordinary damage, domestic and international?

Someone who might say something that would remind us of these lines -

“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Update on Peking U Ideological Battle    January, 2019

In a recent post, The Ideology of Occupation, I described an ideological struggle being played out last month at Peking University, the combined Harvard-Yale of China.   Now, a followup on what has happened to the "Old Marxist" students who questioned the manner in which CCP has been providing leadership of the proletariat.  Spoiler - they are in jail.

Life in School - and Beyond             November, 2009

 

note:  This was written more than ten years ago, when I began teaching full time in China. Some slight editing and updating.  My students were all undergrads in business, marketing, civil engineering, or urban planning.  These notes are early observations on student life at ZUST in Hangzhou.  I can't say this email feels inaccurate years later.   Life goes on, in and out of school, but the beat goes on, too - stress upon stress, and not stress of one's own making.   Smoking and environmental cancer are big contributors to early death.  But stress is also an environmental constant.

The middle class Chinese diet is full of the stuff that doctors in the US tell us we should eat- lots of fish, lots of vegetables, fruit, a little liquor (ok, maybe not a little), a little meat, nuts, grains.  But adult Chinese die at about the same rate as Americans, and now, from mostly the same causes - heart, and cancer.  Why don’t Chinese people live forever?

The National Day Singing Competition - Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, September, 2009

note:  this post is from 2009, a few weeks after I came to ZUST to teach full time and I was still awed by most everything.  As it turns out, there were no more singing day competitions. This one was part of the celebrations of 60 years since the founding of the PRC.  Still, an impressive event.

One of the emcees wore a black tuxedo with diamond -  I wanted to say rhinestone- studs along the collar and piping.   The other wore a white tux with black piping.  The women emcees wore serious prom type dresses, or serious I-am-a-grownup-take-me-out-dancing dresses- a slinky reflective gold long dress for one, a more demure white for the other. 

An Evening in Middle Class Life        October, 2009

There is a pattern in the west of seizing on negative China stories as definitive proof than revolution, or collapse, or the Second Coming are just around the corner.   Debt and moral vacuum and lack of trust and cheating.  But China is a big country, with a big middle class that is vested in ongoing stability.  This is just a dinner story from ten years ago, with government friends from Hangzhou and Shaoxing.  This is just middle class people relaxing and enjoying the holiday. 

This story is also about middle class CCP members, and such an observation seems sorely overlooked in most discussions of China's future.  I have no systematic data, but my educated guess is that a Venn diagram of Chinese middle class - however you wish to define them - would show great overlap with CCP membership.  There are about 90 million CCP members.  With some dual member households, let's speculate that comes to 60 million households.  These are the people holding nearly all government jobs, heading up non-government organizations, teaching in high schools and universities, and owning many small and large businesses.  Let's give those 60 million households one child and a grandparent or two, or four, and that is roughly the same as the size of the middle class.  CCP is the middle class, and when writers talk about emerging democracy and civil society and middle class demands for voice, we should remember who we are talking about.  The CCP is the bourgeoisie.

News Comments

  • When Internet Blocking Fails

    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.

    Read more ...  
  • How to End June 4, et al.

    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.

    Read more ...  
  • What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    What Chinese cannot not talk about …

    In a previous post, I mentioned the heavy hand of CCP coming down on internet access each year in the weeks leading up to date of the Tian'anmen Massacre in 1989.

    What CCP sincerely wants is for Chinese netizens to model the three monkeys – see, hear, speak no evil – evil, of course, being in the eye of the CCP beholder and specifically any sight, sound, voice or thought related to the events leading up to and during June 4, 1989. 

    Read more ...  

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