vendredi 31 mars 2017

Sina Delenda Est

Destined for war: China, America and the Thucydides trap 
By Gideon Rachman 
As Xi Jinping prepares to meet Donald Trump in Florida next week, his staff might do well to get hold of an advance copy of an important new book by Graham Allison on US-Chinese relations — which bears the doom-laden title Destined for War. 
The Chinese dictator is already familiar with the work of Allison, a professor of government at Harvard.
In November 2013, I attended a meeting with Xi in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where he told a group of western visitors: “We must all work together to avoid Thucydides’ trap.”
The phrase, a reference to the ancient Greek historian’s observations about the war between Sparta and Athens in the fifth century BC, was coined by Allison to describe the dangers of a period in which an established great power is challenged by a rising power.
Allison, the author of a classic study of the Cuban missile crisis, calculates that in 12 out of 16 such cases, the rivalry has ended in open conflict.
This time, he argues, may be no different: “China and the United States are currently on a collision course for war.”
A project that Allison and his colleagues ran at Harvard examined multiple cases “in which a major nation’s rise has disrupted the position of a dominant state”, concluding that “the resulting structural stress makes a violent clash the rule not the exception”.
In his new book, only two of these historical examples are examined in substantial detail — the original clash between Athens and Sparta, and Anglo-German rivalry before the first world war.
Of the other 10 examples that Allison examines more briefly, some are intriguing as guides to the future, while others seem less convincing.
The closest analogy to the current situation may be Japan’s challenge to American and British dominance in the Pacific in the first half of the 20th century — a rivalry that did culminate in war. The role played by naval power in that contest, as well as the way in which economic rivalry slid into military conflict, are both reminiscent of the rise in US-Chinese tensions today.
But some of the other parallels raised by Allison seem to fit the Thucydides’s trap model less closely. It is not obvious that the cold war is best understood as a rivalry between a rising and established power.
Rather, the US and the USSR both emerged as victors from the second world war, and established rival ideological systems and zones of influence in a bipolar system.
The cold war is also one of only two rivalries examined by Allison that took place after the invention of nuclear weapons.
The fact that neither of the nuclear age power-shifts (the other is listed as the rise of a unified Germany) ended in war raises the obvious question of whether these weapons have ended Thucydides’s trap, by making it unthinkably dangerous for a rising nation to go to war with an established power.
This is a question considered by Allison but one, inevitably, to which he cannot provide a conclusive answer.
Most scholars and soldiers who have looked closely at how a US-China war might actually break out have tended to argue that, in a nuclear age, neither side is likely to go to war deliberately.
But a limited clash, perhaps in the South China Sea, could easily escalate into something more serious.
In a brief preface written after the election of Donald Trump, Allison argues: “If Hollywood were to make a movie pitting China against the United States, central casting could not find two better leading actors than Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump. Each personifies his country’s deep aspirations of national greatness.”
Interestingly, both men “identify the nation ruled by the other as the principal obstacle to their dream”.
As the journalist and academic Howard French tells it in Everything Under the Heavens, China’s leader is essentially seeking to return his country to the position it has traditionally exercised in Asia — as the dominant regional power, to which other countries must defer or pay tribute.
“For the better part of two millennia, the norm for China, from its own perspective, was a natural dominion over everything under heaven,” writes French.
In practice, this meant “a vast and familiar swath of geography that consisted of nearby Central Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia”.

A US guided-missile destroyer in the South China Sea in October 2016.

This traditional Chinese aspiration had to be shelved for almost two centuries.
From the mid-19th century, China was humbled by powerful outsiders — first Europeans and then Japanese.
After the Communist victory in 1949, the country went through a period of economic and cultural isolation and relative poverty.
By the late 1970s, when China reversed course and embraced capitalism and foreign investment, it had fallen far behind the “tiger economies” of east Asia.
In its catch-up phase, China pursued friendly relations with its capitalist neighbours — including Japan, its old wartime foe.
These Asian neighbours were important sources of expertise and foreign investment for a country that was desperate to make up for lost time. 
But French, like many observers, sees a change of mood and tone in China’s relationship with the outside world since Xi came to power in 2012.
 The primary target of Chinese muscle-flexing and ambition is not, in fact, the US — but Japan.
“As China’s self-regard has swollen, along with its newfound power, Japan has returned to the center of the Chinese gaze in the form of a bull’s-eye,” writes French.
Much Chinese resentment of Japan is focused on the Japanese invasion and occupation of the 1930s. But, as French makes clear, the roots of the resentment stretch deep into the 19th century.
In one of the most compelling sections of this fluent and interesting book, French shows the importance of Japan’s annexation of the Ryukyu Islands in 1879.
These islands retain their significance today, as they include Okinawa — the site of the largest US military base in east Asia.
The current focus of territorial disputes between Japan and China is the much smaller set of islands: the Senkakus.
But reading French’s book, one cannot but wonder whether Chinese ambitions will also eventually encompass Okinawa.
America’s close alliance with Japan means that it is inevitably deeply implicated in the rising tensions between China and Japan.
Chinese hope that the US will eventually pull back from the western Pacific and allow China an unblocked path to restoring its traditional sphere of influence.
However, they are likely to be disappointed.
As Michael Green observes in By More Than Providence, “If there is one central theme in American strategic culture as it has applied to the Far East over time, it is that the United States will not tolerate any other power establishing exclusive hegemonic control over Asia and the Pacific.”
The message could not be clearer for Xi’s China.
Green, who is now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says that the idea of writing a history of American “grand strategy” in the Asia-Pacific region, from the foundation of the republic to the present day, came to him when he was working as director for Asian affairs in George W Bush’s White House — and realised that no recent study existed.
Back in the academic world, Green set about filling this gap in the literature and he has succeeded triumphantly.
His book is likely to become the standard work on the subject.
With more than 130 pages of footnotes, By More Than Providence is a weighty tome.
But the story of America’s entanglement with Asia is dramatic — encompassing colonisation of the Philippines, Pearl Harbor, the Korean and Vietnam wars and Nixon’s “opening to China”.
As well as providing a clear narrative, Green identifies some recurring dilemmas in US grand strategy over the centuries.
These include whether to see China or Japan as the more important partner; and whether to emphasise the protection of American markets or the opening of Asian markets.
One of Trump’s first acts as president was to tilt decisively in the direction of protectionism, by withdrawing America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a giant new trade pact that had been pushed by both the Bush and the Obama administrations.
Green completed his book before Trump’s victory.
But his work strongly suggests that the US may come to regret this move towards protectionism. “When new US administrations have failed to make the expansion of trade a central pillar of their strategic approach to Asia,” he writes, “they have invariably lost ground.”
Some see Trump’s protectionism as part of a broader lurch towards isolationism.
But Green’s history suggests that America is highly unlikely to pull back from the western Pacific. One of the recurring US dilemmas that he identifies is where to define America’s “forward defensive line”.
Green notes that, in response to successive security dilemmas, America has tended to extend the area that it regards as essential to its own security, so that this now stretches all the way to the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea.
“Over the course of this history,” he writes, “Americans have learned that the Pacific Ocean does not provide sanctuary against threats emanating from the Eurasian heartland if the United States is not holding the line at the Western Pacific.”
Indeed, if anything, America’s focus on Asia is becoming more intense as China rises.
Barack Obama was the first US president to declare that Asia — not Europe or the Americas — is now the highest priority for US foreign policy.
Obama’s statement reflected the growing awareness in the US of the significance of the rise of China — and the implications of that rise for the west’s traditional domination of the world order.
The books by Green, Allison and French are just three of the most important examples among a torrent of new titles that deal with the ambitions of a rising China, and the growing tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Tom Miller’s China’s Asian Dream is particularly strong on the role that Chinese-backed infrastructure development will play in fulfilling this ambition, as it “creates a modern tribute system, with all roads literally leading to Beijing”.
By contrast, Bernard Cole’s China’s Quest for Great Power focuses on another aspect of Beijing’s development as a global player — in this case its rapid development of naval power, partly as a means to ensure that China retains access to the foreign energy supplies that are needed to fuel its economy.
Both themes have echoes of some of the conflicts examined by Allison.
The growth of Anglo-German naval rivalry was a major feature of the tensions that preceded the outbreak of the first world war.
Similarly, it was Japan’s fear of an energy blockade that helped to produce the rivalries that led to the Japanese imperial navy’s assault on Pearl Harbor.
There is, however, an important counterargument to consider.
Some scholars believe that the ambitions of modern China — outlined in different ways by French, Cole and Miller — may ultimately be thwarted because of intrinsic weaknesses within the Chinese economic and political system. 
One noted sceptic about China’s ability to make the transition to great-power status is the political scientist David Shambaugh, who argued in a 2014 book that China is likely to remain a “partial power”.
Similar scepticism is expressed by Michael Auslin, a history professor and think-tanker, whose The End of the Asian Century (reviewed more fully in the FT on February 27) is a useful corrective to unreflective optimism about the future of Asia generally and China in particular.
Auslin’s book starts with the author in one of the tunnels that North Korea has dug underneath its southern neighbour.
It is an appropriate place from which to contemplate the risks that war might yet destroy the prosperity and stability of much of modern Asia.
The differing views of China and the US on how to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat are likely to form much of the subject matter of the summit next week at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The US — which has a large military presence in South Korea and which has threatened pre-emptive strikes against the North Korean nuclear programme — would inevitably be involved in any war that broke out on the peninsula.
It is likely that China, as a formal treaty ally of North Korea, would also be dragged in.
All of the books under review here were effectively completed before Trump settled into the Oval office.
Since then, the new president has sent out mixed messages about the direction of US policy in Asia. At times, the Trump administration has signalled a much more confrontational approach to China — for example over Taiwan or the South China Sea.
At other times, Trump and his cabinet members have taken a more conciliatory line.
The meeting with Xi may give a crucial indication as to whether the US and China are indeed sliding towards a much more bellicose relationship.

Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, RRP$28, 320 pages 

Everything Under The Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power, by Howard French, Scribe, RRP£20/Knopf, RRP$27.95, 352 pages 

By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783, by Michael Green, Columbia University Press, RRP£38/$45, 760 pages 

China’s Asian Dream: Empire Building along the New Silk Road, by Tom Miller, Zed Books, RRP£14.99/$24.95, 304 pages 

China’s Quest for Great Power: Ships, Oil and Foreign Policy, by Bernard Cole, Naval Institute Press, RRP$34.95, 320 pages

Rogue Nation

British teacher Bobby Silby locked up in China for "not being friend of country" made to watch Nicolas Cage films
Bobby is relieved to be back home after a surreal and frightening experience in a crowded cell with just a squat toilet, no beds and one shower for 16 people


Guards knew the names of his wife and daughter.

A British teacher was forced to share a squalid cell with up to 15 other people after he was detained while travelling through China.
Bobby Silby spent 10 days in a detention centre in Beijing -- where he had to watch propaganda videos or films starring Nicolas Cage -- for "not being a friend of China" after he publicly criticised the country.
The 32-year-old supply teacher says he is relieved to be back home in Hull after a surreal and frightening experience in a crowded cell with just a squat toilet, no beds and one shower for more than a dozen people.
Mr Silby, former chairman of Hull Labour Party, believes Chinese authorities were trying to make an example of him and crack down on free speech after he spoke out against the ruling Communist Party on social media and in radio interviews at home.

Bobby Silby says it was a surreal and frightening experience.

He was stopped at Beijing Airport while catching a connecting flight back to the UK after a family holiday in the Philippines, the Hull Daily Mail reports.
Guards were aware of his Facebook posts and knew the names of his wife and daughter.
Mr Silby, who used to work as a university teacher in China, said: "Luckily my wife and daughter were flying back separately but my flight was via Beijing Airport.
"I only had an hour and five minutes to catch my connecting flight but was pulled aside at a security check by two guards.
"To my amazement, they seemed to know everything about me, including my wife's name, my four-year-old daughter's name and what I had been posting about China on Facebook.
"I've heard from other people who have experienced the same thing that this is known as a 'shake down'.
"The idea is that they make you miss your flight and generally disrupt your travel arrangements."
Mr Silby said the guards told him he was being detained because he was "not being a friend of China".
He added: "I had about 40 minutes left to find my flight so I started to walk away and they chased after me, knocking over a computer which they then accused me of breaking.
The supply teacher is relieved to be back home in Hull.

"I was taken to a police station where I was held for 18 hours without being told anything.
"Bizarrely, they hadn't taken my mobile phone off me so I filmed some video from inside the station and posted it on Facebook."
Friends back in the UK used the video to pinpoint his location and alert the British Embassy in Beijing.
Mr Silby described how he was sent for ten days in administrative detention.
He said: "That turned out to be a room probably 30ft by 15ft with 16 people in it. There were no beds, just a shelf along one wall, one toilet which you had to squat over and a basic shower cubicle at one end.
"We got three meals a day, usually boiled cabbage, and were allowed out every three or four days for a short walk in an outside yard."
Nicolas Cage in a scene from the 1997 film Con Air.
Mr Silby said his fellow detainees ranged from international travellers to Chinese citizens accused of associating with prostitutes or not having a driving licence.
He said: "There was even one guy in there for not having a proper welding licence.
"Every morning we had to watch propaganda films saying what a great harmonious society the Communist Party had created in China.
"In the afternoons, they screened really terrible films, usually with Nicolas Cage in them. It was weird."
With his mobile phone confiscated, his Facebook video led to pressure being exerted by several Labour MPs, including Hull North MP Diana Johnson.

Mr Silby was detained while catching a connecting flight in Beijing.

Mr Silby was released after ten days but not officially deported.
He said: "They just took me to the airport and dropped me off. It was surreal."
He has no immediate plans to return to China.
He said: "When I lived there you learned to keep your head down.
"After this, I want people to know what it's really like in China. It's not a normal country despite the Chinese trying to portray it that way.
"They make a great effort to sanitise their own image but it is a very abnormal country."

Don't listen to what the Chinese say, but look at what they do

US wants China to take action to stop North Korea nuke tests
Associated Press

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is introduced at the Women's Empowerment Panel, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at the White House in Washington.

UNITED NATIONS – The United States wants China to prove that it is really seeking to stop North Korea's nuclear testing with actions — and that's what President Donald Trump will be pressing Xi Jinping to do when they meet in Florida next week, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Thursday.
Haley said the Trump administration has "no patience" for the "cat and mouse situation" where North Korea provocations including banned nuclear and ballistic missile tests are met with U.N. Security Council resolutions that Pyongyang ignores.
She said the U.S. can't change the way North Korea thinks but "China can." 
And that will be the focus of the president's April 6-7 meeting with Xi at his Florida resort.
In a wide-ranging interview with four news agencies, Haley also talked about the new U.S. priorities in Syria, American efforts "to create balance" at the U.N. on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and her focus on U.N. peacekeeping and human rights when the U.S. takes over the Security Council presidency in April. 
She also spoke about her hatred for bureaucracy, which she says she's avoided so far at the U.N.
Haley's comments on North Korea reflect growing frustration in the Security Council and internationally at the failure of six U.N. sanctions resolutions to stop Pyongyang's nuclear and missile testing and the expansion of its nuclear program.
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development. 
The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, deepening concern in Washington that it could soon develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
"I know China wants to see North Korea stop with the testing," the U.S. ambassador said.
"Prove it! Prove it! They need to prove with their actions that they want to see that stopped ... and proving it can't just be stopping the coal intake but allowing it to go through other ways," Haley said.
"Proving it really is showing them through pressure that you are going to cut them off, and that you take this as seriously as the rest of the world does," Haley said.
China is North Korea's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance and has long urged a resumption of six-nation denuclearization talks on hold since North Korea withdrew from them in 2009.
Beijing says its leverage over Pyongyang is limited. 
Despite that, China last month suspended imports of North Korean coal for the rest of the year, depriving Kim Jong Un's regime of a crucial source of foreign currency though Haley's comments indicate that Beijing is allowing imports in other ways.
Haley said she expects Trump and Xi to "talk very much about the responsibility that we believe China has — the fact that we don't have the patience to sit here and see it go round and round anymore and the fact that that we want action."
She said she expects them to discuss "how that action can come about, and discuss what level of action president Trump thinks it should be."
Haley said she has also told Chinese and Russian diplomats at the U.N. that "they are the answer to some solutions and ... we want to see action."
She warned that if North Korea launches an intercontinental ballistic missile, which could reach the U.S., or conducts another test, "we are not just going to sit down and say, 'Oh, that they did it again.'"
"This is something this administration is making a priority and this is something that we absolutely expect China and Russia to respond to," Haley said.
On Syria, she said the Trump administration is changing U.S. priorities, "and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting (Syrian President Bashar) Assad out."
"What we are going to focus on is putting the pressure in there so that we can start to make a change in Syria," she said. 
"We want to get the Iranian influence out because that is really a problem. We want to see how we're going to be dealing with Turkey on this, how we're going to be dealing with the different players on this, and at the end of the day try and work with everyone to bring peace and stability back to the area."

President Trump sets himself on collision course with China ahead of Xi meeting

The US president attacked trade relationship with Beijing and announced that his meeting with the Chinese dictator would be very difficult
By Benjamin Haas in Hong Kong
Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump are due to meet in Florida on April 6. 
Donald Trump has set himself on a collision course with the Chinese dictator, saying the first meeting between the two leaders would be “very difficult”.
Xi will travel to the US next week and will have his first face to face meeting with Trump at Mar-a-lago, the US president’s country club in Florida, from April 6 to 7.
But just hours after the trip was officially announced, Trump used Twitter to slam China for its trade imbalance with the US.
“The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.
Trump’s firm assertion is likely to cast a shadow over Xi’s visit, with US officials also criticising China over North Korea.
Chinese authorities have so far adopted a wait and see approach.
While Trump has deployed tough rhetoric, criticising China over its currency policy, trade imbalance with the US and military expansion, he has taken few concrete actions since assuming office.
Indeed China’s immediate response to Trump’s latest tweet was diplomatic, with vice foreign minister Zheng Zeguang telling reporters on Friday morning that “both sides look forward to a successful meeting so that a correct direction can be set for the growth of bilateral relations.”
Observers believe the economy and North Korea will be at the top of the agenda when the two leaders meet next week.
On the same day as Trump’s tweets, the US ambassador to the United Nations said China should do more to force North Korea to curb its nuclear program, amid reports of an imminent nuclear test.
“I know China says they’re worried about North Korea. I know China wants to see North Korea stop with the testing. Prove it. Prove it,” Nikki Haley said. 
“Look, can we change the way North Korea thinks? No. They’re not going to cave. China can, and that’s the part we want to look at.”
Trump previously slammed China for its perceived lack of diplomacy in dealing with North Korea.
China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won’t help with North Korea,” then president-elect Trump wrote in January.
In a further sign that Trump could complicate his meeting with Xi, the US commerce department announced it was launching a review over whether China should be considered a market economy.
The review could be completed before the meeting, and China has been lobbying for years saying it should be classified as a market economy under World Trade Organisation rules. 
The status would limit steps the US could take on imposing anti-dumping taxes on Chinese-made products.

jeudi 30 mars 2017

China's Final Solution to the Black Question

China has an irrational fear of "black devils" bringing drugs, crime, and interracial marriage
By Joanna Chiu
Feeling it in Guangzhou. 

Beijing -- Earlier this month in Beijing, amid the pomp of China’s annual rubber-stamp parliament meetings, a politician proudly shared with reporters his proposal on how to “solve the problem of the black population in Guangdong.” 
The latter province is widely known in China to have many African migrants.
Africans bring many security risks,” Pan Qinglin told local media (link in Chinese). 
As a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s top political advisory body, he urged the government to “strictly control the African people living in Guangdong and other places.”
Pan, who lives in Tianjin near Beijing—and nowhere near Guangdong—held his proposal aloft for reporters to see. 
It read in part (links in Chinese):
“Blacks often travel in droves; they are out at night out on the streets, nightclubs, and remote areas. They engage in drug trafficking, harassment of women, and fighting, which seriously disturbs law and order in Guangzhou… 
Africans have a high rate of AIDS and the Ebola virus that can be transmitted via body fluids… 
If their population [keeps growing], China will change from a nation-state to an immigration country, from a yellow country to a black-and-yellow country.”
On social media, the Chinese response has been overwhelmingly supportive, with many commenters echoing Pan’s fears. 
In a forum dedicated to discussions about black people in Guangdong on Baidu Tieba—an online community focused on internet search results—many participants agreed that China was facing a “black invasion.” 

Han racial purity
One commenter called on Chinese people (link in Chinese) not to let “thousands of years of Chinese blood become polluted.”
The stream of racist vitriol online makes the infamous Chinese TV ad for Qiaobi laundry detergent, which went viral last year, seem mild in comparison. 
The ad featured a Asian woman stuffing a black man into a washing machine to turn him into a pale-skinned Asian man.
While a growing number of Africans work and study in China—the African continent’s largest trading partner—the notion that black people are “taking over” the world’s most populous nation is nonsense. 
Estimates for the number of sub-Saharan Africans in Guangzhou (nicknamed “Chocolate City” in Chinese) range from 150,000 long-term residents, according to 2014 government statistics, to as high as 300,000—figures complicated by the number of Africans coming in and out of the country as well as those who overstay their visas.
Many of them partner with Chinese firms to run factories, warehouses, and export operations. 
Others are leaving China and telling their compatriots not to go due to financial challenges and racism.
“Guangdong has come to be imagined to embody this racial crisis of some kind of ‘black invasion,'” said Kevin Carrico, a lecturer at Macquarie University in Australia who studies race and nationalism in China. 
“But this is not about actually existing realities.” 
He continued: “It isn’t so much that they dislike black residents as they dislike what they imagine about black residents. The types of discourses you see on social media sites are quite repetitive—black men raping Chinese women, black men having consensual sex with Chinese women and then leaving them, blacks as drug users and thieves destroying Chinese neighborhoods. People are living in a society that is changing rapidly. ‘The blacks’ has become a projection point for all these anxieties in society.”
The past year or so has seen heated debate among black people living in China about what locals think of them. 
In interviews with Quartz, black residents referred to online comments and racist ads as more extreme examples, but said they are symptomatic of broader underlying attitudes.
Madeleine Thiam and Christelle Mbaya, Senegalese journalists at a Chinese international radio broadcaster in Beijing, said they are saddened when they are discriminated against in China.
“Sometimes people pinch their noses as I walk by, as if they think I smell. On the subway, people often leave empty seats next to me or change seats when I sit down,” said Thiam. 
“Women have come up to rub my skin, asking if it is ‘dirt’ and if I’ve had a shower.”

Racism or ignorance?
Such experiences speak to the duality of life for black people in China. 
They may be athletes, entrepreneurs, traders, designers, or graduate students. 
Some are married to locals and speak fluent Chinese
Yet despite positive experiences and economic opportunities, many are questioning why they live in a place where they often feel unwelcome.
They grapple with the question: Is it racism or ignorance? 
And how do you distinguish the two?
Paolo Cesar, an African-Brazilian who has worked as a musician in Shanghai for 18 years and has a Chinese wife, said music has been a great way for him to connect with audiences and make local friends. 
However, his mixed-race son often comes home unhappy because of bullying at school. 
Despite speaking fluent Mandarin, his classmates do not accept him as Chinese. 
They like to shout out, “He’s so dark!”
The global success of black public figures, such as politicians, actors, and athletes, appears to have a limited effect on Chinese attitudes.
Looking deeper into history, evidence suggests a preference for slaves from East Africa in ancient China. 
African slavery in the country peaked during the Tang (618 to 907) and Song (960 to 1279) dynasties.
More recently, violence broke out after the Chinese government started providing scholarships allowing African students to study in the country in the 1960s. 
Many Chinese students resented the stipends Africans received, with tensions culminating in riots in Nanjing in the late 1980s. 
The riots began with angry Chinese students surrounding African students’ dormitories in Hehai University and pelting them with rocks and bottles for seven hours, with crowds later marching through the streets shouting anti-African slogans.
In the past few years, loathing among some Chinese toward foreign men who date local women has led to a recent rise in violent attacks against foreigners.

Staying optimistic
Yet most respondents Quartz interviewed remain optimistic. 
Vladimir Emilien, a 26-year-old African-American actor and former varsity athlete, said that for him, learning Chinese was crucial to better interactions with locals. 
Emilien volunteered last year as a coach teaching Beijing youth the finer points of American football. He said that once he was able to have more complex conversations in Chinese, he was struck by the thoughtful questions locals would ask.
“They’d say, What do you think about Chinese perception of black people? How does that make you feel?’ So they are aware that there is a lot of negativity around blacks and against Africa as a very poor place.”
Emilien hopes that more interactions between Chinese and black individuals will smooth out misunderstandings. 
But others say that improving relations requires more than black people learning the language, since that shifts responsibility away from the Chinese.
“The government has never done anything serious to clean up racist ideas created and populated by the [turn-of-the-20th-century] intellectuals and politicians that constructed a global racial hierarchy in which the whites were on the top, Chinese the second, and blacks the bottom,” said Cheng Yinghong, a history professor at Delaware State University who researches nationalism and discourse of race in China.
Instead of addressing discrimination, the Chinese government has focused on promoting cultural exchanges while pursuing economic partnerships with African countries. 
However, many have pointed out that relationships appear unbalanced, with China taking Africa’s limited natural resources in exchange for infrastructure investment.
“Racism is racism, period, and although some people would say that in different places it is more explicit, nuanced, or implicit, as long as there are victims we have to call it racism and deal with it,” said Adams Bodomo, a professor of African studies focused on cross-cultural communication at the University of Vienna. 
“China can’t be the second-largest economy in the world and not expect to deal with these issues.”

Rogue Nation

Wife of Taiwanese Rights Activist Detained in China Speaks Out About His Disappearance
By Nicola Smith / Taipei

In this photo taken March 24, 2017, Lee Ching-yu, third from right, holds up a photo of her missing husband, Taiwanese pro-democracy activist Lee Ming-che.

The wife of a Taiwanese human-rights activist who went missing in China 10 days ago has demanded his release after the Chinese authorities confirmed Wednesday that Lee Ming-che had been detained for allegedly threatening national security.
“My husband is passionate about human rights,” Lee Ching-yu told a packed news conference at Taiwan’s parliament in the capital, Taipei. 
“He is innocent. Free Mr. Lee!” she shouted, flanked by legislators and rights activists.
News of Lee Ming-che's arrest was released by Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday after more than a week of snubbed requests for information from his family and Taiwanese authorities. 
The announcement from Beijing confirms fears that he is the latest victim of an escalation in China’s repression of civil rights and free speech.
Lee Ming-che disappeared while traveling from the semiautonomous Chinese territory of Macau to the southern city of Guangzhou, just days before Chongyi Feng, a China-born Australian academic researching human rights, was barred from leaving the same city.
Human-rights groups believe Lee Ming-che may have been caught up in a campaign of targeted disappearances after a raft of new national security laws gave sweeping powers to emboldened Chinese police forces.
Lee Ching-yu believes her husband, a community-college manager, may have been targeted through new, strict regulations to monitor and control foreign-funded NGOs, which could have put his human-rights activities on the radar of the national security apparatus for the first time.
Although not a high-profile activist, Lee Ming-che encouraged fundraising for families of Chinese human-rights workers, and discussed China-Taiwan relations on popular messaging app WeChat. “This kind of behavior is perfectly normal in a civilized country,” says Lee Ching-yu.
Earlier this week, Lee Ching-yu, who works as a human-rights researcher, told TIME that she was blindsided when her college-sweetheart husband of 20 years vanished. 
As she dropped him off for an early morning flight from Taipei to Macau on March 19, there had been no discussion about possible dangers.
“On the way to the airport we talked about our family. My husband comforted me about my mother, and reassured me that she would recover,” she says, explaining that her mother had breast cancer.
Initially his wife did not worry when she heard nothing after his 8 a.m. flight. 
The gnawing fears only set in that afternoon, when his friends waiting in Guangzhou messaged her to inquire where he was. 
She contacted the airline, his hotel, any authorities she could reach, to track him down. 
For nine anxious days, she waited for news.
It was Lee Ching-yu's dogged determination that likely provoked the Chinese authorities to finally break their silence over her husband's detention. 
On Tuesday, she handed over his hypertension medicine to officials at the Straits Exchange Foundation, a Taiwanese government-backed body that acts as an unofficial intermediary between Taipei and Beijing. 
The foundation’s attempts to locate her husband had been ignored, but Lee Ching-yu's stunt appeared to work.
“Taiwan resident Lee Ming-che allegedly engaged in activities endangering our national security and is under investigation by relevant authorities,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese State Council, on Wednesday. 
Ma said that Lee Ming-che's health was "satisfactory," but gave no further details about his current location or the accusations against him.
Lee Ching-yu's decision to publicize her husband’s case was driven by a resolve to put the spotlight on human rights and to stress that he had committed no crime.
“People now care more about human-rights issues because of our problem," she says. 
"People have the right to legally go to China. It’s not only about my husband but about other NGO workers."
At Wenshan Community College, where Lee Ming-che works, director Cheng Shiouw-jiuan says his disappearance had awakened the students’ interest in human rights. 
And Amnesty International has also taken up his case.
“There is absolutely no doubt that the threshold of intolerance towards dissent in China has considerably lowered in recent months and years,” says Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director at Amnesty International.
“In this general climate of political hardening and an attempt to blacken and demonize human-rights activists and dissidents as traitors ... and with the NGO law in the background, what Mr. Lee was or wasn’t doing before clearly is not seen in the same light, however innocuous it was,” he says.
Lee Ming-che, who volunteers for human-rights group Covenant Watch, is the first Taiwanese NGO worker to disappear on mainland China, sending chills through Taiwan’s civil rights community. “We’re not sure if it’s safe for human-rights staff to go to China," says Chiu E-ling, head of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.
Lee Ming-che's situation has been complicated by Taiwan’s frosty relations with Beijing, which views the self-governed island democracy as a renegade province that must eventually be reunited with the mainland. 
The Taiwan government’s Mainland Affairs Council, the primary agency for dealing with Beijing, has demanded that Chinese government departments disclose their “handling” of Lee Ming-che and ensure his safety.
“I don’t know if the government is really helping or not, but I would prefer to trust them,” his wife says.
Her biggest priority for now, is to honor her husband’s values.
“For the past 20 years he has been fighting for human rights, even when it hasn’t been successful," Lee Ching-yu says. 
"He believes that if you do nothing, nothing will change."

Rogue Nation

The Saga of a Sydney Academic Stuck in China Spotlights the Limits of Beijing’s Soft Power
By Charlie Campbell / Beijing

Feng Chongyi
Last week, Li Keqiang visited Australia. 
There he announced plans for joint mine, rail and port projects and removed the last restrictions on imports of Australian beef to China, an industry already worth $300 million annually to local ranchers. 
“It is time for China and Australia to enter into an era of free trade across the board, which means that we need to have free trade between our two countries in wider areas,” Li told reporters in the Australian capital, Canberra.
Li’s visit was the latest salvo in a concerted Chinese charm offensive in Australia, one that has taken on new impetus since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump
In one of his first acts, Trump nixed U.S. involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade bloc, which the Australian government had lauded as bringing “tremendous” benefits for local exporters. 
When Trump spoke with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Jan. 28, the U.S. President said it was “the worst call by far” he’d made. 
The two leaders clashed over an agreement forged by the Obama Administration to accept 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center, which Trump deemed “the worst deal ever.”
The spat threatened to derail a strategic alliance that stretches back decades — including American-led wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — and push Canberra closer to Beijing. 
Already, China is Australia’s largest trading partner — two-way trade was $115 billion in 2014. Chinese students flock en masse to Australian universities, while Chinese consumers supped $400 million of Australian wine last year.
Still, fears of an Australian defection to China’s corner are misplaced for now, as illustrated by an incident that unfolded 4,600 miles away just hours after Li addressed reporters in Canberra. 
Feng Chongyi, a China-studies academic at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), was halted at Guangzhou International Airport attempting to board a flight back to Australia. 
He remains in Guangzhou in a "special situation," his lawyer Liu Hao tells TIME. 
No reason for the travel ban has been given.
Feng, who was born in China, is an Australian permanent resident though not a citizen, and reportedly entered China on a Chinese passport. 
Yet he was far from a dissident: he worked for UTS’s Australia-China Relations Institute, headed by former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, which has a reputation for unashamedly propagating a positive spin on the Australia-China relationship. 
Critics have even branded it the local “propaganda arm” of the Chinese Communist Party.
Feng's quasi detention stirred enough public alarm to prompt the shelving on Tuesday of a joint extradition treaty that had been on the books for 10 years and was finally due to be ratified by the Australian parliament. 
Most embarrassingly, the nixing came just hours after Li departed following his five-day visit. 
The incident stood to demonstrate that however closely entwined the two nations become economically, China’s poor human-rights record and repressive legal system will bridle how deep any alliance could ever be.
“Since the Trump election, China has gone on a bit of a charm offensive with Australia,” says Professor Nick Bisley, an Asia expert at Australia’s La Trobe University. 
“But it's far too early days to mark Australia out as a country that’s turning or even ripe for the turning.”
Australia’s wariness is partly prompted by China’s ham-fisted attempts of gaining domestic political leverage. 
In 2013, Chinese hackers stole the blueprints for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO) new $480 million headquarters. 
The building remained empty until very recently. 
In October, Labor Party Senator Sam Dastyari was forced to resign from the shadow cabinet after it emerged that a Chinese government-linked company had paid a private travel bill. 
The 33-year-old is known for being sympathetic to Beijing’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The Dastyari case prompted Australian intelligence services to map the flow of Chinese money and businessmen into Australia, augmenting demands for an end to foreign donations to political parties. There are also calls to ban Confucius Institutes from Australian universities. 
The Chinese government-funded cultural-promotion bodies have been accused of espionage and brazenly advancing Beijing’s political agenda.
“The China soft-power thing is taken very seriously by Australian security agencies,” says Carlyle Thayer, emeritus professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy. 
“And the realists in defense are very concerned about the South China Sea.”
The ideological gulf is good news for Washington. 
Speaking in Singapore earlier this month, Australian Minister Julie Bishop said that the "United States must play an even greater role as the indispensable strategic power in the Indo-Pacific ... While nondemocracies such as China can thrive when participating in the present system an essential pillar of our preferred order is democratic community." 
Still, deep economic ties between Australia and the U.S aggrandize the bedrock of shared values. Although China ranks top in Australia for trade, American investment dwarfs all competitors, standing at $660 billion in 2015
Unease at China’s underhand tactics is partly responsible. 
In April, the Australian government blocked the $283 million sale of the Kidman beef ranch — the world’s largest, roughly the size of Ireland — to Chinese investors as it was deemed "contrary to the national interest." 
The same reason was given for preventing a Chinese firm from buying a controlling stake in Australia’s largest electricity network in August.
“It’s hard to overstate how strong and deeply rooted the [U.S.-Australia] relationship is on both sides of the Pacific,” says Bisley. 
With China, he adds, “it’s a high-value but not a deep relationship.”

Chinese Aggressions


Just over a year ago, former director of national intelligence James Clapper wrote a letter to Senator John McCain predicting that China would complete its offensive and defensive facilities in the Spratly Islands in late 2016 or early 2017. 
He wasn’t far off the mark. 
Major construction of military and dual-use infrastructure on the “Big 3”—Subi, Mischief, and Fiery Cross Reefs—is wrapping up, with the naval, air, radar, and defensive facilities that AMTI has tracked for nearly two years largely complete. Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time.
China’s three air bases in the Spratlys and another on Woody Island in the Paracels will allow Chinese military aircraft to operate over nearly the entire South China Sea. 
The same is true of China’s radar coverage, made possible by advanced surveillance/early-warning radar facilities at Fiery Cross, Subi, and Cuarteron Reefs, as well as Woody Island, and smaller facilities elsewhere. 
China has maintained HQ-9 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems on Woody Island for more than a year and has on at least one occasion deployed anti-ship cruise missiles to the island. 
It has now constructed hardened shelters with retractable roofs for mobile missile launchers on the Big 3.

Fiery Cross Reef

Construction of all the hangars at Fiery Cross Reef—enough to accommodate 24 combat aircraft and four larger planes (such as ISR, transport, refueling, or bomber aircraft)—has finished. 
In January, radomes were installed atop three previously unidentified large towers on the northeast arm of the reef as well as a tower at the north end of the airstrip. 
A large collection of radomes installed to the north of the airstrip represents a significant radar/sensor array.

Mischief Reef

On Mischief Reef, the hangars for 24 combat aircraft have been completed and in early March construction teams were putting the finishing touches on five larger hangars. 
A finished radar tower stands in the middle of the reef and a trio of large towers have been constructed on the southwestern corner. 
The recent placement of a radome on the ground next to one of these towers indicates that they will follow the same pattern as the identical sets at Fiery Cross and Subi. 
Retractable roofs are also being installed on the recently-built missile shelters.

Subi Reef

On Subi Reef, construction is complete on hangars for 24 combat aircraft and four larger hangars. Recent imagery shows the radomes on Subi’s three-tower array in various stages of completion, along with a completed radar tower next to the runway. 
Subi Reef also sports what appears to be a high-frequency “elephant cage” radar array on its southern end. This is unique among the Big 3. 
As with radar facilities at the other reefs, this high-frequency radar is close to a point defense structure, providing protection against air or missile strikes.

The Pace of Chinese Military Modernization is Getting Attention at the Pentagon and in Congress

A Congressional Report Catalogues Chinese Military Provocations and Estimates that China May Have 351 Ships by 2020

China's rapid development of new destroyers, amphibs, stealth fighters and long-range weapons is quickly increasing its ability to threaten the United States and massively expand expeditionary military operations around the globe, according to a Congressional report.
A detailed report from Congressional experts, called the 2016 US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, specifies China's growing provocations and global expeditionary exercises along with its fast-increasing ability to project worldwide military power.
As examples, the report catalogues a number of aggressive Chinese military or maritime militia encounters:
- In May 2016, two PLA Air Force fighters conducted an unsafe intercept of a U.S. EP-3 aircraft, causing the EP-3 to dive away to avoid a collision.
- In 2013, a PLA Navy ship crossed the U.S. guided missile cruiser Cowpens’ bow, causing the ship to alter course to avoid a collision.
- In 2009, the U.S. Navy ship Impeccable was harassed by maritime militia boats in the South China Sea.
- In 2001, a PLA Navy fighter collided with a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.
Additional instances of Chinese provocation in recent year include placement of surface-to-air-missiles and fighters in sensitive areas of the South China Sea, along with its announcement of an "Air exclusion zone."  
While the US military flew B-52 bombers through this declared zone in a demonstration of defiance, the move did demonstrate China's growing willingness to be aggressive. 
In addition, Chinese "land reclamation" and territorial claims in the South China Sea, prompting US "freedom of navigation exercises" to unambiguously thwart China's claims. 

As part of a detailed effort to document China's growing influence as an expeditionary global power, the Congressional report highlights a range of Chinese deployments and worldwide exercises beyond their borders or more immediate regional influence. 
From the report:
- 2012, China deployed its first UN peacekeeping combat forces to the UN Mission in South Sudan to provide security for PLA engineering and medical personnel.
- Indian Ocean far sea deployments: In early 2014, Chinese surface combatants carried out far sea training, during which they transited through the South China Sea, into the eastern Indian Ocean, and then sailed back to China through the Philippine Sea. During the 23-day deployment, the PLA Navy conducted training associated with antisubmarine warfare, air defense, electronic warfare, and expeditionary logistics.
- In addition to ongoing antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, China dispatched an intelligence gathering ship to the Indian Ocean in 2012, and has deployed four classes of submarines (both nuclear and conventionally powered) to the Indian Ocean.
The 2016 report, coupled with the commissions detailed chapter on Chinese military modernization in a prior 2014 report, bring a sharpened focus upon the detail of Chinese ship, weapons and aircraft improvement and construction.
At the same time, despite these developments, the report does point out the China will need to sustain its current pace of military expansion for years to come in order to truly rival the US military's global reach.
"To support, sustain, and defend long range operations, the PLA must continue to develop or procure large amphibious ships, heavy lift aircraft, and logistical support capabilities, as well as continue to improve command and control capabilities," the report states.

Chinese Navy
While Chinese naval technology may still be substantially behind current U.S. platforms, the equation could change dramatically over the next several decades because the Chinese are reportedly working on a handful of high-tech next-generation ships, weapons and naval systems.
China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets, according to the Congressional reports.
The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended to Congress that the U.S. Navy respond by building more ships and increase its presence in the Pacific region – a strategy the U.S. military has already started.
Opponents of this strategy point out that the U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers, the Chinese have one and China's one carrier still lacks an aircraft wing capable of operating off of a carrier deck.
However, the Chinese are already beginning construction on several of their own indigenous aircraft carriers. China currently has one carrier, the Ukranian-built Liaoning.
Looking to the future, the 2016 report says "future Chinese carriers are likely to be flat deck ships, like U.S. aircraft carriers, that utilize steam or magnetic catapults and would enable the PLA Navy to employ aircraft armed with heavier munitions intended for maritime strike or land attack missions. According to DOD, China could build several aircraft carriers in the next 15 years. China may ultimately produce five ships—for a total of six carriers—for the PLA Navy."
The commission also cites other platforms and weapons systems the Chinese are developing, which will likely change the strategic calculus regarding how U.S. carriers and surface ships might need to operate in the region.
These include the LUYANG III, a new class of Chinese destroyer slated to enter the fleet this year. These ships are being engineered with vertically-launched, long-range anti-ship cruise missiles, the commission said. 
The new destroyer will carry an extended-range variant of the HHQ-9 surface-to-air missile, among other weapons, the report says.
As evidence of the impact of these destroyers, the report points out that these new multi-mission destroyers are likely to form the bulk of warship escorts for Chinese carriers - in a manner similar to how the US Navy protects its carriers with destroyers in "carrier strike groups."
"These 8,000 ton destroyers (the LUYANG III) have phased-array radars and a long-range SAM [surface-to-air missile] system which provides the [navy] with its first credible area air-defense capability," the 2016 report states.
The Chinese are currently testing and developing a new, carrier-based fighter aircraft called the J-15.
Regarding amphibious assault ships, the Chinese are planning to add several more YUZHAO LPDs, amphibs which can carry 800 troops, four helicopters and up to 20 armored vehicles, the report said.
"The YUZHAO can carry up to four air cushion landing craft, four helicopters, armored vehicles, and troops for long-distance deployments, which DOD notes ‘‘provide[s] a greater and more flexible capability for ‘far seas’ operations than the [PLA Navy’s] older landing shipss,’ according to the report.

The Chinese also have ambitious future plans for next-generation amphibious assault ships.
"China seeks to construct a class of amphibious assault ships larger than the YUZHAO class that would include a flight deck for conducting helicopter operations. China may produce four to six of these Type 081 ships with the capacity to transport 500 troops and configured for helicopter-based vertical assault," the report says. 
Some observers have raised the question as to whether this new class of Chinese amphibs could rival the US Navy's emerging, high-tech America-class amphibious assault ships.
The Chinese are also working on development of a new Type 055 cruiser equipped with land-attack missiles, lasers and rail-gun weapons, according to the review.
China’s surface fleet is also bolstered by production of at least 60 smaller, fast-moving HEBEI-glass guided missile patrol boats and ongoing deliveries of JIANGDAO light frigates armed with naval guns, torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles.
The commission also says Chinese modernization plans call for a sharp increase in attack submarines and nuclear-armed submarines or SSBNs. 
Chinese SSBNs are now able to patrol with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles able to strike targets more than 4,500 nautical miles.
The Chinese are currently working on a new, modernized SSBN platform as well as a long-range missile, the JL-3, the commission says.
While the commission says the exact amount of Chinese military spending is difficult to identify, China’s projected defense spending for 2014 is cited at $131 billion, approximately 12.2 percent greater than 2013. 
This figure is about one sixth of what the U.S. spends annually.
The Chinese defense budget has increased by double digits since 1989, the commission states, resulting in annual defense spending doubling since 2008, according to the report.
Some members of Congress, including the former House Armed Services Committee's Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., advocated for both a larger U.S. Navy and a stronger U.S. posture toward China's behavior in the region.

Chinese Air Force

The U.S. Air Force’s technological air power superiority over China is rapidly diminishing in light of rapid Chinese modernization of fighter jets, missiles, air-to-air weapons, cargo planes and stealth aircraft, according to analysts, Pentagon officials and a Congressional review.
The 2014 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that Congress appoint an outside panel of experts to assess the U.S.-Chinese military balance and make recommendations regarding U.S. military plans and budgets, among other things.
Despite being released in 2014, the findings of the report -- if slightly dated -- offer a detailed and insightful window into Chinese Air Force technology, progress and development.
The Commission compiled its report based upon testimony, various reports and analytical assessments along with available open-source information. 
An entire chapter is dedicated to Chinese military modernization.
The review states that the Chines People’s Liberation Army currently has approximately 2,200 operational aircraft, nearly 600 of which are considered modern.
“In the early 1990s, Beijing began a comprehensive modernization program to upgrade the PLA Air Force from a short-range, defensively oriented force with limited capabilities into a modern, multi-role force capable of projecting precision airpower beyond China’s borders, conducting air and missile defense and providing early warning,” the review writes.
Regarding stealth aircraft, the review mentions the recent flights of prototypes of the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter, calling the aircraft more advanced than any other air platform currently deployed in the Asia-Pacific region. 
 The Chinese are also testing a smaller stealth fighter variant called the J-31 although its intended use is unclear, according to the report.
In 2014, China displayed the Shenyang J-31 stealth fighter at China’s Zuhai Air show, according to various reports. 
However, several analysts have made the point that it is not at all clear if the platform comes close to rivaling the technological capability of the U.S. F-35.
Nevertheless, the U.S. technological advantage in weaponry, air and naval platforms is rapidly decreasing, according to the review.
To illustrate this point, the review cites comments from an analyst who compared U.S.-Chinese fighter jets to one another roughly twenty years ago versus a similar comparison today.

The analyst said that in 1995 a high-tech U.S. F-15, F-16 or F/A-18 would be vastly superior to a Chinese J-6 aircraft. 
However today -- China’s J-10 and J-11 fighter jet aircraft would be roughly equivalent in capability to an upgraded U.S. F-15, the review states.
Alongside their J-10 and J-11 fighters, the Chinese also own Russian-built Su-27s and Su-30s and are on the verge of buying the new Su-35 from Russia, the review states.
“The Su-35 is a versatile, highly capable aircraft that would offer significantly improved range and fuel capacity over China’s current fighters. 
The aircraft thus would strengthen China’s ability to conduct air superiority missions in the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea, and South China Sea as well as provide China with the opportunity to reverse engineer the fighter’s component parts, including its advanced radar and engines, for integration into China’s current and future indigenous fighters,” the review writes.
In addition to stealth technology, high-tech fighter aircraft and improved avionics, the Chinese have massively increased their ability with air-to-air missiles over the last 15-years, the review finds.
“All of China’s fighters in 2000, with the potential exception of a few modified Su-27s, were limited to within-visual-range missiles. China over the last 15 years also has acquired a number of sophisticated short and medium-range air-to-air missiles; precision-guided munitions including all-weather, satellite-guided bombs, anti-radiation missiles, and laser-guided bombs; and long-range, advanced air-launched land-attack cruise missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles,” the review says.

The review also points to the Y-20 aircraft, a new strategic airlifter now being tested by the Chinese which has three times the cargo-carrying capacity of the U.S. Air Force’s C-130. 
 Some of these new planes could be configured into tanker aircraft, allowing the Chinese to massively increase their reach and ability to project air power over longer distances.
At the moment, the Chinese do not have a sizeable or modern fleet of tankers, and many of their current aircraft are not engineered for aerial refueling, a scenario which limits their reach.
“Until the PLA Navy’s first carrier-based aviation wing becomes operational, China must use air refueling tankers to enable air operations at these distances from China. 
However, China’s current fleet of air refueling aircraft, which consists of only about 12 1950s-era H–6U tankers, is too small to support sustained, large-scale, long-distance air combat,” the review states.
The review also cites Russian media reports claiming that Russia has approved the sale of its new, next-generation S-400 surface-to-air-missile to China.
“Such a sale has been under negotiation since at least 2012. The S–400 would more than double the range of China’s air defenses from approximately 125 to 250 miles—enough to cover all of Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands, and parts of the South China Sea,” the review says.
The review also catalogues information related to China’s nuclear arsenal and long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the existing DF-31 and DF-31A along with the now-in-development DF-41.
The Chinese are believed to already have a number of road-mobile ICBMs able to carry nuclear weapons. 
The DF-41 is reported to have as many as 10 re-entry vehicles, analysts have said.

Chinese espionage

U.S. diplomat arrested, accused of conspiracy with Chinese intelligence agents
By Joseph Tanfani

Chinese intelligence HQ
A longtime State Department employee was arrested Wednesday and charged with repeatedly lying about her contacts with Chinese businessmen who had plied her with thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to glean inside information about U.S. economic policy, U.S. officials said.
Candace Claiborne, 60, has training in Mandarin and a top secret clearance. 
She worked for the department for 18 years, rotating on assignments in China, Sudan, Libya, Morocco and most recently in Washington in the department’s office of Caucasus affairs.
The case offers a window into Beijing’s efforts to gain an advantage in its economic jockeying with the United States, and how business owners in China double as agents for state intelligence.
While stationed in China in 2007, Claiborne began dealings with two Chinese businessmen, including a Shanghai importer — not identified in the documents — who federal authorities believe was gathering information for Chinese state security.
“Clairborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit,” said a statement by Mary B. McCord, acting assistant attorney general for national security.
In 2011, the importer wired $2,500 to Claiborne’s U.S. account and a month later asked her for information about how the U.S. government was evaluating economic negotiations with Beijing, the affidavit says. 
She responded with publicly available information.
“What they are looking for is what they cannot find on the Internet,” the businessman responded, according to the affidavit.
Claiborne received about $3,000 cash for herself, authorities say. 
Most of the rest of the gifts went to a younger family member who was not identified. 
He wanted to study fashion in China but Claiborne could not afford it on her State Department salary, officials said.
The relative received plane tickets, dinners, an apartment and tuition at the Raffles Design Institute in Shanghai, the affidavit says. 
When he was charged with a serious crime in China in 2013, the two businessmen helped him leave the country, a sign of their influence, the government says.
Worried that she could get in trouble, Claiborne asked the younger relative to cut ties with the men, authorities said. 
“I really don’t want my neck or your neck in a noose regarding another party/person that has made this possible for you,” she wrote at one point, according to the affidavit.
In interviews with State Department and law enforcement officials, Claiborne repeatedly failed to report the contacts.
Two months ago, the FBI sent an undercover ethnic Chinese agent to her door pretending to seek assistance. 
He mentioned the names of the businessmen and identified himself as an agent of Chinese intelligence.
Claiborne didn’t deny her previous work, but refused to help him or accept his money, authorities say. She did not report the encounter.
Later, upon questioning by the FBI, Claiborne acknowledged that she eventually realized the two were trying to get information for the government. 
She said she also passed them information about a dissident, Chen Guangcheng, who was living at the U.S. Embassy, but insisted that she always provided unclassified information.

mercredi 29 mars 2017

Rogue Nation

Former CSIS directors question Canada’s pursuit of extradition treaty with China

OTTAWA and BEIJING — Two former Canadian spymasters are questioning the wisdom of pursuing an extradition treaty with China, an undertaking the Liberal government announced shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first official visit to the Asian power.
Australia paused efforts to enact a similar accord with China this week in the face of opposition, even from within Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s own party.
China immediately appealed to the Trudeau government not to follow Canberra’s lead. 
A cross-Pacific extradition treaty “is for mutual benefit. It deserves serious consideration,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday. 
But Ward Elcock, who served as director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service from 1994 to 2004, said Tuesday he doesn’t think Canada should ink an extradition deal with China.
Long demanded by China, an extradition treaty would commit Canada to transferring fugitive Chinese officials to a country known for biased courts and harsh interrogation methods – and where the death penalty can be imposed even for non-violent crimes.
He raised concerns about whether Canada would be able to obtain sufficient guarantees that individuals shipped back to China would be treated properly.
“The reality of the Chinese justice system is it is totally unlike our justice system, so we will have almost no guarantees in sending somebody back to China – even for what we would regard as a normal criminal prosecution,” Mr. Elcock said.
“Unless you were to extract specific guarantees from the Chinese with respect to things like [the] death penalty or whatever, I don’t think you would have any assurances that the Chinese justice system would provide the kind of fairness that we would expect in a trial procedure in Canada.”
Mr. Elcock said China is seeking such a treaty not only because it wants to more easily repatriate fugitives but also because it’s “looking for approval … as a great power”
Another former CSIS director, Reid Morden, said it would be extremely difficult for Canada to conclude an extradition treaty with China that would measure up to Canadian standards for human rights.
Mr. Morden, who headed the spy agency from 1988 to 1992, said China has shown little interest in improving human rights, pointing to the “fairly strident” comments that China’s new ambassador to Canada made to The Globe and Mail last week.
In his first interview since arriving in Canada in March, Ambassador Lu Shaye said that China does not want human rights to be used as a “bargaining chip” in free-trade talks with Canada.
“I don’t see how you could do an extradition treaty until you make up your mind on how tough you are going be on human rights and the peculiarities of the Chinese judicial system,” Mr. Morden said. “Getting a sufficient number of assurances and guarantees that would stand up to what is supposedly our test over human rights would be extremely difficult.”
In his interview with The Globe, Mr. Lu acknowledged that Canada has been dragging its feet on negotiating an extradition treaty, but did not elaborate on the reasons for the delay.
“China is very willing to discuss and sign the extradition treaty with Canada,” he said. 
“However, it hasn’t started maybe because Canada has some concerns. We hope to strengthen our co-operation in judicature and law enforcement, jointly cracking down on all crimes including abuse of power and economic crimes and making all crimes intolerable.”
This weekend, a senior Canadian official cast doubt on Ottawa’s willingness to complete an extradition treaty with China so long as its system remains permeated with abuses.
An agreement to hold bilateral talks on an extradition treaty was reached in Beijing on Sept. 12 between a top Communist Party official and the Prime Minister’s national security adviser Daniel Jean
A day later, a Chinese court ordered the deportation to Canada of jailed Canadian missionary Kevin Garratt.
“The two sides determined that the short-term objectives for Canada-China co-operation on security and rule of law are to start discussions on an Extradition Treaty and a Transfer of Offenders Treaty as well as other related matters,” according to an official communiqué released at the time.
The two men also agreed to finalize negotiations on a pilot project “where Chinese experts will be invited to assist in the verification of the identity of inadmissible persons from mainland China in order to facilitate their return from Canada to China.”
Canada usually forbids the extradition of people to countries with the death penalty, although Chinese fugitives have been repatriated on the condition they are not executed and that Canadian diplomats are permitted to visit them in prison.
During an official visit to Ottawa last September, Li Keqiang made it clear that high on China’s agenda is an extradition treaty to enable Beijing to seek the return of corrupt officials. 
More than 40 other countries, including France and Australia, have signed extradition treaties, he said.
But Australia’s Prime Minister had to shelve his country’s extradition treaty with China on Tuesday after a revolt from members of his own party made it clear it would not survive a vote in the country’s Senate.
Australia’s stern rebuke to China serves as a warning to Canada and other Western countries about the merits of co-operating with an autocratic regime whose judicial system condones torture and is susceptible to political interference.
“As long as China’s justice system is controlled by an authoritarian party, it would be very difficult for Canada to ensure that its extradited nationals are going to be given a fair trial,” said Maya Wang, China researcher for Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of “Special Measures,” a landmark report documenting abuses in the shuanggui system. 
That system is used by China’s Communist Party to extract confessions in a sweeping corruption crackdown that has extended to countries such as Canada.
Ottawa, Ms. Wang said, “should set clear benchmarks for China – abolishing shuanggui, freeing rights lawyers and committing to an independent judiciary – before giving China’s legal system such a vote of confidence.”
China’s detention and questioning of hundreds of lawyers in the past two years has brought new attention to the country’s judicial conduct, particularly after reports emerged that those lawyers were tortured in custody.
Beijing is eager for an extradition deal with Canada to help speed the return of people it accuses of being corrupt fugitives. 
China has named Canada one of the top destinations for such people and, without the ability to extradite, has mounted a campaign of intimidation and persuasion against those it says should be brought back to China to face justice.

How China Accidentally Turned THAAD into a Political Weapon

THAAD is not about missile defense anymore; it’s about a Chinese veto over South Korean foreign policy.
By Robert E Kelly

The South Korean decision to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system has prompted a major Chinese reaction. 
The Chinese government has used a wide range of economic pressure against South Korea to reverse its decision. 
It has severely restricted tourist travel to the country, cancelled cultural events, pursued fatuous regulatory action against the company (Lotte), which sold the land to the South Korean government on which THAAD will be stationed, and, in a move worthy of the “freedom fries” of yore, staged a public bulldozing of bottles of the Korean national alcohol soju.
This effort is simultaneously ridiculous and clever, campy and serious. 
On the one hand, it is preposterously obvious that these “protests” are staged. 
Once again, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated how woefully out of touch it is with modern democratic opinion. 
The same apparatchiks who mistake “praise” of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the Onion as the real thing are those who think that a video of a bulldozer driving over soju bottles might somehow appear authentic. 
If China’s increasing bullying of South Korea over THAAD were not so serious, these hijinks would be comedy material. 
Indeed, my students here in South Korea laugh over this in discussion even as they worry about it.
On the other hand, this a wise way to pressure South Korea if the CCP is absolutely dead set against a THAAD emplacement in South Korea, which it appears to be. 
South Korea is a midsize economy with a few very large exporters selling to a few very large markets. 
This makes it highly sensitive to the politics of its biggest export markets, of which China is one. Japan, too, has been targeted in this way by China, but it is more economically diversified than South Korea and has more flexibility to ride out Chinese displeasure. 
China has also used these tactics in Southeast Asia.
The CCP also retains plausible deniability by routing this pressure obliquely through nongovernmental actors. 
There has been little overt, “Track 1” pressure, likely because Beijing is hoping South Korea will back down without an open breach. 
But the mercantilist-dictatorial state can “encourage” patriotic action in an economy where about 80 percent of firms have some amount of state ownership.
Countries with an open media can surely see through this charade of independent action. 
But in China itself, this can be marketed as the outrage of the Chinese people, rising up against encirclement by the Americans and their lackeys. 
And in global public opinion, there is surely enough hostility to the United States in places like Russia or the Middle East that this will sound somewhat plausible, or at least be marketed that way by anti-American elites.

Now South Korea Cannot Give In

In South Korea, the recent impeachment of conservative President Park Geun-hye has opened the door for the left to take power in the upcoming special election on May 9. 
The left has broadly opposed THAAD. 
In the wake of Park’s final approval of it last year, several opposition parliamentarians jetted off to China to express their discontent (or appease) as the conservative press howled. 
The likely winner on May 9, Moon Jae-in, has previously expressed skepticism over THAAD. 
The other left-wing candidates—there are no serious right-wing candidates given how badly the Park scandal has discredited the right—have been even more hostile.
I am very doubtful that Moon or any of the candidates, barring the least likely winner on the far left, will remove THAAD. 
Indeed, there is still a debate over THAAD’s technical merits. 
While I believe the case for THAAD is solid, and South Korean opinion generally supports it now given the sheer velocity of North Korean missile testing, there remain coherent arguments in opposition. 
For example, one argument is that THAAD is merely symbolic given that North Korea could use other weapons to devastate South Korea, or that the missile defense system might simply encourage North Korea to build even more missiles to overwhelm it.
But such technical issues are increasingly irrelevant. 
The time to debate that issue was a year or two ago. 
Back then, the United States and South Korea had made extensive Track 1, Track 1.5 and Track 2 outreaches to China on THAAD, to explain its capabilities and consider China’s concerns. 
All were rebuffed. 
Instead, China has dug in its heels rather deeply. 
It has been signaling to South Korea for more than a year not to deploy THAAD, threatening all sorts of retaliation. 
This has increasingly turned THAAD from a technical-functional issue of missile defense to an expression of South Korean national security sovereignty: does South Korea have the right to make national-security decisions without China’s approval? 
The South Korean media, even on the center and left, are increasingly framing the tussle this way.
Hence, this is the curious—but deserved—outcome for Beijing. 
Just as a South Korean government, which agrees with China on THAAD, is likely coming to power, Chinese bullying has painted the country into such a tight corner that a leftist president would likely retain missile defense system. 
At this point, THAAD is not about THAAD anymore; it is about whether China has a veto over South Korean foreign policy. 
No South Korean president can assent to that.