National China News

Shenzhen’s tech workers face burnout striving for their entrepreneurial dream, highlighting the need for effective unionization.

The News Lens
Date: 2018/06/25
By: China Labour Bulletin

Photo Credit: CLB

At 10 o’clock in the evening on most weeknights, row upon row of employees can be seen still hard at work, anchored to their desks and clearly illuminated inside the glass-fronted skyscrapers of Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, home to many of China’s major technology companies.

Some staff do leave these buildings around 6.30 p.m. but most do not go home; they simply head to one of the many conveniently located restaurants or cafes for dinner or go to the gym for a quick workout before returning to their work station.

It is the same scene at weekends: Shenzhen’s integrated urban design and efficient transport network makes it very easy for staff to just drop by the office for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Those living further afield can of course work at home if they wish, and many choose to do just that. For the young tech workers of Shenzhen’s Silicon Valley, the boundaries between work and leisure time seem to be permanently blurred.

Java engineer is currently by far the most competitive job in Shenzhen with a staggering 14,409 applicants per day.

Overtime is not compulsory but workers accept that working long hours are the only way to get ahead in the tech industry. If you don’t work as hard as your colleagues you will soon get left behind or replaced by one of the thousands of other people clamoring for your job.
[FULL  STORY]

NPR News
Date: June 2, 2018
By: Shannon Van Sant

From left, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Science Deputy President He Lei pose for photos at a ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue.  Yong Teck Lim/AP

Defense Secretary James Mattis is warning China there will be consequences if it continues its military buildup in the South China Sea. In comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum in Singapore over the weekend, Mattis said Beijing’s moves were designed to intimidate other countries in the region.

“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” Mattis said.

China has built artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, and the U.S. military says there is a high possibility that China has installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, as part of military exercises. Airstrips have already been constructed, and in May, China landed nuclear capable bombers on contested islands in the area.

“The placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purpose of intimidation and coercion,” Mattis said, adding, “China’s militarization of the Spratlys is also in direct contradiction to President Xi Jinping’s 2015 public assurances in the White House Rose Garden that they would not do this.”    [FULL  STORY]

REDUCED RAPPORT: Beijing would pay for antagonizing its neighbors militarily and through the debt incurred by its Belt and Road Initiative, the US defense leader said

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 03, 2018
By: Bloomberg

The world has to deal with China’s militarization of the South China Sea for now, but Beijing

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis addresses the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore yesterday.  Photo: Bloomberg

would face “larger consequences” in the long term that could persuade it to change track, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said yesterday.

Beijing’s deployment of missile batteries and bombers to outposts in disputed areas appear aimed at intimidating its neighbors, Mattis told delegates at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Such moves had caused the US to reconsider its “cooperative stance” and disinvite China from the Rim of the Pacific Exercise later this month, he added.

That was a relatively small penalty for China to pay and the region would be “dealing with the reality” of its territorial claims over a vital global shipping route, Mattis said.

“I believe there are much larger consequences in the future, when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors,” Mattis told reporters after his speech.

He also attacked what he said were excessive loans made under China’s Belt and Road Initiative that were binding smaller nations in debt.    [FULL  STORY]

9News
Date: May 28, 2018
By Chris Uhlmann • Nine Network Political Editor

A top-secret Government report has uncovered a decade-long attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to compromise Australia’s major political parties.

9NEWS has confirmed the report says the CCP’s operations are aimed at all levels of government and designed to gain

Efforts to intervene in Australia’s politics have become increasingly brazen under President Xi Jinping, according to former advisor to the PM, John Garnaut. Picture: AAP

access and influence over policy making.

Malcolm Turnbull commissioned the joint investigation in August 2016, combining the resources of domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The departmental effort was led by one of the Prime Minister’s former advisers, John Garnaut.

Mr Turnbull had seen enough of what the investigation had turned up by May 2017 to order the Attorney General to significantly toughen Australia’s laws on espionage and foreign interference.

It is those proposed laws – and the commentary around them – that have been a major factor in the recent chill in the relationship between Australia and China.

The Prime Minister referred to the existence of the secret report when he tabled the foreign interference bills in December.    [SOURCE]

 Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that China trying to extract oil and gas from the South China Sea was one of several actions Duterte forbade
 
South China Morning Post
Date: 29 May, 2018
By: Associated Press

The Philippines has warned China that it will go to war over natural resources in the South China Sea – and it identified other “red lines”, or actions, Manila would find unacceptable, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that among the territorial issues discussed with China were construction activities at a disputed shoal and the unilateral extraction of oil and gas in the South China Sea.

China ‘installs cruise missiles on South China Sea outposts’

“Nobody can extract natural resources there on their own,” Cayetano said. “The president has declared that. If anyone gets the natural resources in the West Philippine Sea-South China Sea, he will go to war.”

Critics and left-wing groups have slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for not publicly raising the alarm over recent Chinese actions, including the reported installation of missile defence systems on its newly constructed islands.
[FULL  STORY]

Business Insider
May 28, 2018
By: Tara Francis Chan

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

A secret report commissioned by Australia’s prime minister found attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence all levels of government.

  • The report found the CCP’s interference attempts have been going on for a decade, and described China as the country that is most concerning to Australia.
  • The inquiry was led by a former government adviser who spoke to the US Armed Services Committee about China’s growing political interference earlier this year.

A classified government report uncovered attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence all levels of politics in Australia.

The report was commissioned by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2016, and used the resources of both the prime minister’s office and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).

According to the Australian news outlet 9News, and later confirmed by Fairfax Media, the yearlong inquiry found the CCP has tried to influence policy and gain access to all levels of government for a decade. The report also described China as the most concerning country to Australia.

It was the work of this inquiry, which also looked into China’s influence attempts on the media and academia, that led Turnbull to propose new laws targeting espionage, foreign political donations and foreign interference in December 2017.    [FULL  STORY]

CNN News
Date: May 16, 2018
By Ben Westcott, CNN

(CNN)The Chinese government is leveraging billions of dollars in debts to gain political leverage with developing countries

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Ports & Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe exchanges souvenirs during the Hambantota International Port Concession Agreement at a signing ceremony in Colombo in 2017.

across Asia and the Pacific, a new report presented to the US State Department claims.

The independent report, written by a pair of Harvard University scholars, identified 16 countries targeted by the Chinese government for “debtbook diplomacy, ” with Pakistan, Djibouti and Sri Lanka identified as being most vulnerable.

According to the report, in some cases the huge debts grow to a size too large to pay back, allowing Beijing to leverage the loans to “acquire strategic assets or political influence over debtor nations.”

This could allow the Chinese government to extend its influence across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, encircling India and Australia as well as helping to consolidate its position in the South China Sea, the report said.

Last month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he viewed “with great concern” any foreign military bases being built in the South Pacific, following reports Beijing was in talks with Vanuatu to host Chinese forces.

According to the new report, Vanuatu, just 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) off Australia’s coast, has taken at least $270 million in Chinese loans in the past decade, worth 35% of its GDP. Both China and Vanuatu have strongly denied there were ever discussions over a PLA military presence on the island.

There is also concern in Washington that China is poised to gain control of a major commercial port in Djibouti, where the US and China have military bases.    [FULL  STORY]

China’s Cosco Shipping Ports Ltd., which operates around 180 container berths at ports worldwide, is purchasing a stake in Euromax Terminal Rotterdam BV.

Bloomberg
Date: April 23, 2018
By: Andre Tartar, Mira Rojanasakul and Jeremy Scott Diamond

For more than a decade, Chinese political and corporate leaders have been scouring the globe with seemingly bottomless wallets in hand. From Asia to Africa, the U.S. and Latin America, the results are hard to ignore as China has asserted itself as an emerging world power. Less well known is China’s diffuse but expanding footprint in Europe.

Bloomberg has crunched the numbers to compile the most comprehensive audit to date of China’s presence in Europe. It shows that China has bought or invested in assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years. The continent saw roughly 45 percent more China-related activity than the U.S. during this period, in dollar terms, according to available data.

The volume and nature of some of these investments, from critical infrastructure in eastern and southern Europe to high-tech companies in the west, have raised a red flag at the European Union level. Leaders that include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are pressing for a common strategy to handle China’s relentless advance into Europe, with some opposition from the EU’s periphery.

Note: Seven deals are assigned to multiple European countries and are therefore double counted.

We analyzed data for 678 completed or pending deals in 30 countries since 2008 for which financial terms were released, and found that Chinese state-backed and private companies have been involved in deals worth at least $255 billion across the European continent. Approximately 360 companies have been taken over, from Italian tire maker Pirelli & C. SpA to Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon Holdings Ltd., while Chinese entities also partially or wholly own at least four airports, six seaports, wind farms in at least nine countries and 13 professional soccer teams.
[FULL  STORY]

As Donald Trump surrenders America’s global commitments, Xi Jinping is learning to pick up the pieces.

The Newyorker
Date: January 8, 2018
By: Evan Osnos
Illustration by Paul Rogers

In an unfamiliar moment, China’s pursuit of a larger role in the world coincides with America’s pursuit of a smaller one.

When the Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” arrived in theatres, in July, it looked like a standard shoot-’em-up, with a lonesome hero and frequent explosions. Within two weeks, however, “Wolf Warrior II” had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Some crowds gave it standing ovations; others sang the national anthem. In October, China selected it as its official entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.

The hero, Leng Feng, played by the action star Wu Jing (who also directed the film), is a veteran of the “wolf warriors,” special forces of the People’s Liberation Army. In retirement, he works as a guard in a fictional African country, on the frontier of China’s ventures abroad. A rebel army, backed by Western mercenaries, attempts to seize power, and the country is engulfed in civil war. Leng shepherds civilians to the gates of the Chinese Embassy, where the Ambassador wades into the battle and declares, “Stand down! We are Chinese! China and Africa are friends.” The rebels hold their fire, and survivors are spirited to safety aboard a Chinese battleship.

Leng rescues an American doctor, who tells him that the Marines will come to their aid. “But where are they now?” he asks her. She calls the American consulate and gets a recorded message: “Unfortunately, we are closed.” In the final battle, a villain, played by the American actor Frank Grillo, tells Leng, “People like you will always be inferior to people like me. Get used to it.” Leng beats the villain to death and replies, “That was fucking history.” The film closes with the image of a Chinese passport and the words “Don’t give up if you run into danger abroad. Please remember, a strong motherland will always have your back!”

When I moved to Beijing, in 2005, little of that story would have made sense to a Chinese audience. With doses of invention and schmalz, the movie draws on recent events. In 2015, China’s Navy conducted its first international evacuation, rescuing civilians from fighting in Yemen; last year, China opened its first overseas military base, in Djibouti. There has been a deeper development as well. For decades, Chinese nationalism revolved around victimhood: the bitter legacy of invasion and imperialism, and the memory of a China so weak that, at the end of the nineteenth century, the philosopher Liang Qichao called his country “the sick man of Asia.” “Wolf Warrior II” captures a new, muscular iteration of China’s self-narrative, much as Rambo’s heroics expressed the swagger of the Reagan era.

Recently, I met Wu Jing in Los Angeles, where he was promoting the movie in advance of the Academy Awards. Wu is forty-three, with short, spiky hair, a strong jaw, and an air of prickly bravado. He was on crutches, the result of “jumping off too many buildings,” he told me, in Chinese. (He speaks little English.) “In the past, all of our movies were about, say, the Opium Wars—how other countries waged war against China,” he said. “But Chinese people have always wanted to see that our country could, one day, have the power to protect its own people and contribute to peace in the world.”

As a favored son of China, celebrated by the state, Wu doesn’t complain about censorship and propaganda. He went on, “Although we’re not living in a peaceful time, we live in a peaceful country. I don’t think we should be spending much energy thinking about negative aspects that would make us unhappy. Cherish this moment!”

China has never seen such a moment, when its pursuit of a larger role in the world coincides with America’s pursuit of a smaller one. Ever since the Second World War, the United States has advocated an international order based on a free press and judiciary, human rights, free trade, and protection of the environment. It planted those ideas in the rebuilding of Germany and Japan, and spread them with alliances around the world. In March, 1959, President Eisenhower argued that America’s authority could not rest on military power alone. “We could be the wealthiest and the most mighty nation and still lose the battle of the world if we do not help our world neighbors protect their freedom and advance their social and economic progress,” he said. “It is not the goal of the American people that the United States should be the richest nation in the graveyard of history.”    [FULL  STORY]

The country has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution. What does its darkening political climate—and growing belligerence—mean for the United States?

The Atlantic
Date: December 2016
By: James Fallows

What if china is going bad? Since early last year I have been asking people inside and outside China versions of this question. By “bad” I don’t mean morally. Moral and ethical factors obviously matter in foreign policy, but I’m talking about something different.

Nor is the question mainly about economics, although for China the short-term stability and long-term improvement of jobs, wages, and living standards are fundamental to the government’s survival. Under China’s single-party Communist arrangement, sustained economic failure would naturally raise questions about the system as a whole, as it did in the Soviet Union. True, modern China’s economic performance even during its slowdowns is like the Soviet Union’s during its booms. But the absence of a political outlet for dissatisfaction is similar.

Instead the question is whether something basic has changed in the direction of China’s evolution, and whether the United States needs to reconsider its China policy. For the more than 40 years since the historic Nixon-Mao meetings of the early 1970s, that policy has been surprisingly stable. From one administration to the next, it has been built on these same elements: ever greater engagement with China; steady encouragement of its modernization and growth; forthright disagreement where the two countries’ economic interests or political values clash; and a calculation that Cold War–style hostility would be far more damaging than the difficult, imperfect partnership the two countries have maintained.

That policy survived its greatest strain, the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989. It survived China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the enormous increase in China’s trade surpluses with the United States and everywhere else thereafter. It survived the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 (an act assumed to be intentional by every Chinese person I’ve ever discussed it with), periodic presidential decisions to sell arms to Taiwan or meet with the Dalai Lama, and clashes over censorship and human rights.    [FULL  STORY]

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