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US to ban transactions with ByteDance and WeChat in 45 days (nikkei.com)
734 points by baylearn 76 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1265 comments



I don't get it. It's US companies standing to loose their stronghold (near monopoly) on social, advertisement, and other forms of monetizing the web if the US creates a precedent for "national security" in this way, as in "we're welcoming social networks and free speech as long as it benefits the US and can be searched without warrant." Quite predictably, governments all over the world will be pressurized to question why they should give US companies (bred by teethless US antitrust) a free pass to destroy their publishing industry. Publishers themselves will put this onto the agenda in their own best interest. The French are already on the fence to create new digital tax legislation after EU/US negotiation have been aborted by the US side. Maybe hurting Google, Facebook, Twitter & co is seen as desired collateral damage?


China doesn’t allow many western companies to operate in China. Why should the US allow Chinese companies to operate in the US??

This is an outrage that we should not allow. They steal our intellectual property, create state funded companies that are given monopoly access to their markets, and then unleash their stolen products on the world market. And if American or other western companies try to compete on the ground in China, they can’t.

Would WeChat or TikTok exist if western chat and social media apps were given total access to Chinese markets??? Extreme doubt.

The eventual end result of bending over to China is a world where all of the goods, services, and software are owned by China. This imbalance that China has created is unworkable and cannot be allowed to continue.


>Why should the US allow Chinese companies to operate in the US?

The US gains very substantial economic benefits from being an attractive place for international companies to do business. Foreign investors know that when they invest in America, they're getting a stable regulatory environment and a reasonably trustworthy civil legal system. If America decides to undermine that trust for short-term gain, there will be a substantial long-term cost.

You might believe that hostile trade policies prevent American companies from competing in the Chinese market, but that's starkly contradicted by the number of American companies for whom China is a key market. Apple earn $11bn a year in China. Wal-Mart have thousands of stores there. Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) have 40% of the Chinese fast food market and make more revenue there than anywhere else. Starbucks have 70% of the Chinese coffee market. The shelves of Chinese convenience stores are groaning with American-owned brands.

An all-out trade war with China might be appealing, but be under no illusions that it'll be all upside for America. If China want to put the hurt on America, they have more levers to pull and more staying power. It's definitely not a fight you want to lose, but it might not even be a fight worth winning.

China aren't thinking about next quarter or next year, they're thinking about the next generation. Where does the US see itself in 2050?


I highly doubt China has more levers then the US when it comes to a trade war.

China can't feed itself past subsistence level without imports. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-feeding-china/

China runs on oil just like every other modern economy, and they have pitiful amounts locally. They are the largest importer in the world and they absolutely need it to keep flowing. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judeclemente/2019/10/17/china-i...

The US can feed itself domestically, and we can supply our own energy domestically. All we have to do is no longer put merchants heading toward China under the US navies protection and the CCP will be in serious trouble very quickly. Note - I'm not even saying we have to attack them, we just stop responding to any requests for help from them and let the world know.

China relies on the US enforced world order to survive in its current form. The US relies on China for convenience, not for survival.

Would it be wise to do what I just said? I don't know, and I'm not advocating for it, I just find it funny when people say China would so obviously win a trade war when they are definitely in the worse position at a fundamental level.


>China can't feed itself... China runs on oil

That's only a problem if the rest of the world sides with the US in a US-China trade dispute. There are plenty of net exporters of oil and food who would be very happy to sell to China and would be rather pleased to see the US get a bloody nose.

>All we have to do is no longer put merchants heading toward China under the US navies protection and the CCP will be in serious trouble very quickly.

China has a large, modern and highly capable navy. They are perfectly able to protect their own shipping against piracy or any state-level actor that would be insane enough to start a naval war. In the event of a direct conflict, the American navy is largely defenceless against the Chinese ASBM capability.

The US relies on China for convenience, not for survival.

US hospitals would rapidly degrade to third-world conditions without imports of Chinese-made supplies and materials. COVID-19 has revealed the fragility of global supply chains and the position of China as a manufacturing superpower. If you need a sufficiently large quantity of pretty much anything made, you don't have many options outside of China - doubly so if you need it in a hurry. If China decides to tighten the noose on American consumers, you're going to immediately see severe shortages of even the most basic goods.

A total trade war between China and the US would of course have a catastrophic impact on US export revenues because of American reliance on outsourcing - US sanctions on Huawei have had a significant but manageable impact on their smartphone business, but Chinese sanctions on Apple would be catastrophic.


>China has a large, modern and highly capable navy.

China's navy CANNOT project power into the strait of Hormuz to secure their oil supply. Any one of the regional middle eastern powers could cut off their supply if they wanted to. They can defend their own shores, that's about it.

>US hospitals would rapidly degrade to third-world conditions without imports of Chinese-made supplies and materials.

Yes, for a period of a year or two until manufacturing can be brought up elsewhere. In the meantime the CCP would likely have fallen while dealing with mass riots due to a cratered economy and forced relocation of hundreds of millions from the cities back to rural areas so they could feed themselves without mass imports.

Look, it would absolutely be a terrible time to live through in the US, and whatever party was in charge during this period of time would likely lose power in the next election. But for the CCP, it would be game over, and I think they know it.


>China's navy CANNOT project power into the strait of Hormuz to secure their oil supply. Any one of the regional middle eastern powers could cut off their supply if they wanted to.

A quarter of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Three quarters does not. Oil prices are at record lows and many oil-dependent economies are desperate to sell their production. China has made a lot of friends in parts of the world where America has made a lot of enemies.

China has oil pipelines supplying imports from Kazakhstan and Eastern Siberia, in addition to two natural gas import pipelines. China is the 4th largest oil producer and has an exceptionally large strategic reserve of around 400 million barrels.

China does not want a conflict with the US. Any conflict would be massively detrimental to both parties, but there are many reasons to believe that the US is socially and politically under-prepared for coordinated action in the national interest. Is this really a fight you want to pick? What does "winning" even look like?


> Is this really a fight you want to pick? What does "winning" even look like?

If this kind of analysis mattered to people, the US might be doing something differently in the Middle East.

I remember reading that the goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was to make sure Southeast Asian countries continued to weight American desires more heavily than Chinese desires in their own policies. Apparently there's a substantial section of the US state that views it as a priority to make sure that e.g. Vietnam doesn't "flip" over to China.

But that's completely insane. Vietnam definitely will flip to China, no matter what. A Vietnam that looked more to the US than to China would make as much sense as a Canada that looked more to China than to the US.


or like Japan or Korea.


> China's navy CANNOT project power into the strait of Hormuz to secure their oil supply. Any one of the regional middle eastern powers could cut off their supply if they wanted to.

Iran would probably have a thing or two to say about that. And I don't think any of the Arab powers are internally stable or capable enough to take on Iran, yet alone China.


Iraq did.

Take on would most likely a persistent guerilla warfare. It is cheaper than diect confrontation, and possible denial of plausibility. Without a strong power projection, distant gueriella warfare with minimal combatants can wreck havoc as what USSR and USA found out many decades ago in Agfhan and Vietnam.


> China has a large, modern and highly capable navy. They are perfectly able to protect their own shipping against piracy or any state-level actor that would be insane enough to start a naval war. In the event of a direct conflict, the American navy is largely defenceless against the Chinese ASBM capability.

Lmao. The US Navy has roughly 3x the strength of all the other navies in the world combined. If the US and China went to war, the US would control the seas in about a month.


America has a lot of very expensive but not necessarily useful ships (see the Zumwalt-class clusterfudge). China has an inexpensive anti-ship ballistic missile system that can sink anything in the Pacific. America's Aegis system might stop some ASBMs some of the time with a favourable wind.

The prediction that "of course America will win this war easily, look at all the kit we have" does not have a good track record.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/27/china-deplo...


There's a few things here.

First and foremost: Any argument we make is based on unclassified publicly known details related to the technological capabilities of both countries. This is an uninformed and untenable position to be making strong arguments from.

Two: There's not a lot of evidence the ASBMs can actually hit moving targets. There are a lot of impressive claims on the ASBM and ASCM front, but we have seen impressive claims from Russia and China on prior weapons that have not panned out in reality. Everyone postures about having a better hand than they actually do.

Tree: There's a lot of strategies we can employ besides Aegis. The US Navy has countered similar threats before, and can likely do so again.

This Congressional Research Service report on Chinese naval modernization is an interesting read in general, but has an appendix specifically discussing ASBMs: https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/20191220_RL33153_d765d5...


I learned something recently about sea mines. and land based guided balistic missiles that render navy carriers and destroyers useless.


The us already controls the seas


China can feed itself. It doesn't have to be beyond subsistence level.

China runs like every other country on oil, but a large part of that demand for oil is to produce for the rest of the world. You need to calculate the actual domestic demand for oil and related products rather than total demand. The US can supply its energy domestically, but what if the US have to reopen the factories once closed to make other products? Will the oil be fluent? Oil isn't just the thing you put in your car. You'd be surprised how many of our modern products need oil (plastic, fabric etc).

Of course, those statements are made under the same assumption that there are only China and US in the world, or that the whole world go in to isolationist status. I'd rather not make any argument here, but to suggest somehow China's continued survival depended upon the global market while the US's doesn't is nothing more than an illusion.


Don't forget coal [0]:

"Coal remains the foundation of the Chinese energy system, covering close to 70 percent of the country's primary energy needs and representing 80 percent of the fuel used in electricity generation"

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_China


> The US can feed itself domestically

...for about 20 more years, if soil quality and climate predictions are accurate.


Out of curiosity, do you have links to more information about this?


This action is unfortunately part of the normal progression of disruptive innovation. Upstart China has adopted a disruptive strategy of engaging with world markets while using heavy-handed regulation to avoid being controlled by those markets. Incumbent USG is now copying China's strategy, claiming that doing so is necessary to keep the US competitive. However, the US is a world leader through free markets and open collaboration, deferring control to markets even to the detriment of our own citizens. What copying China's strategy will actually do is cannibalize the US's existing economic structure, causing extreme damage to the US.


Bang on the money, except for one thing - the USG is copying China's tactics, with no real understanding of the strategy.


I think too much brain-cells are devoted to debating this point based on non-factual premises. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/tiktok-china-state-medi...

According to Lee Kai-Fu who launched Google in China: "Chinese laws are clear about what foreign companies can do to operate in China. In TikTok's case, though, the company was left no choice but to consider a forced sale."

China doesn't not allow western companies to operate. Google proactively made the choice to exit China. I'm not arguing that they should have elected to follow Chinese laws but the actions the Chinese government took with western companies was not to either tell them to stop existing in the Chinese market or abdicate their ownership to a domestic company.

Let's debate on non-imaginary premises.


The Chinese government forces foreign companies to do business with a domestic company, which they then use to raid the foreign company's intellectual property, develop a localized state-backed clone product, which they then allow to "compete" and inevitably crush the foreign company's product.

It's not as straightforward as outright "abdication of ownership to a domestic company," but the end-result is similar, and I'd argue it's more morally reprehensible.

At least TikTok is going to get a check.


Ya that's another very common frustration against an imaginary premise.

Western companies that enter joint ventures in China with IP transfers are proactively done with executives who explicitly weigh the cost benefit of gaining the Chinese market and choose to do so.

An equivalent here would be for ByteDance to choose to enter the US market knowing they need to oxymoronically abdicate ownership once they do.


Em... how to force. punish you if you don't run a business?


You're referencing joint-venture requirements. They've been phased out in most industries over the past three decades, and they're not as onerous as you're depicting them.

Plenty of Western manufacturers did fine over decades with junior partners. VW never lost its technological edge to a Chinese competitor, despite being in a joint venture since 1984.


> China doesn’t allow many western companies to operate in China.

This is simply false, yet it gets repeated on every discussion about China.

Western companies are everywhere in China, and they make massive revenues there. The presence of Chinese companies in the West is tiny by comparison (if you want proof, just look at FDI figures in each direction). Anyone who's spent time in both places can see this.

It's very difficult to discuss China-US trade issues when so many people begin from completely false assumptions about what the present situation is.


Two companies that are blocked in China, and are particularly relevant to this conversation, are Google and Facebook.


facebook and google are given conditions that, if satisfied, would allow them to operate in china. the same cannot be said about tik tok and the us market


That is why China Win-Win.

It has forced the conditions that is theirs as a totalitarian country. USA cannot enforce any condition because it is a free country. And they can come in with their values. But USA cannot go in with its value.

Continue it is the downfall of the USA and humanity. That is why China has to stop Win-then-Win again (yes Win-Win is China win two times).

Open market to assist China to limit their people freedom, that is a great move by Google if only money matter.

And as said, China is poor of everything except money. Want this bad money driven out good one.


Free country doesn't mean you can't set rules or conditions to do business here. We do that all the time. In fact, we don't even let some companies do business with certain countries. We can definitely give TikTok an ultimatum - we just don't want to.


I don’t follow the logic of “China does something that we think is bad, therefore we must do the same thing that we think is bad.”


I think the principle of regulatory reciprocity is fairly standard. If country X has tarrifs on your goods, it's fairly standard to bring up the same tarrifs on their goods into your country. Same with visa laws. If country X defacto bans certain products and companies from operating/selling in their country on the basis of national origin and not product type, then I would assume eventually the same would happen on the other side.

Without reciprocity, the other country has little incentive to come to the negotiating table to reciporically remove those tarrifs, bans and visa restrictions.


> I think the principle of regulatory reciprocity is fairly standard

In this case, since it's a communication tool, this is more freedom restriction reciprocity than regulatory reciprocity. Communication freedom is not the fire you want to fight fire with.


I think it’s not obvious that you can directly apply the logic of tariffs to (largely free) internet services provided by companies in other countries. You could make the argument that they should be treated the same, but I think the argument needs to be explicit rather than assumed.

Also, this entire mode of argument doesn’t address the idea that this is a national security or privacy issue.


> I think the principle of regulatory reciprocity is fairly standard. If country X has tarrifs on your goods, it's fairly standard to bring up the same tarrifs on their goods into your country.

We agree that it’s standard. The interesting question is whether it’s sensible.

Personally, as citizen Denmark, if Italy puts a 50 tariff on Danish sausages, I would prefer that Denmark not put any tariff on Italian sausages.


Tit-for-tat has been found to be the most effective strategy in prisoner dilemma type situations. If China lets us into their markets then we will let them into ours. This was the whole point of letting China join the WTO, but China has completely ignored any rulings against it by the WTO courts. It not playing fairly. These individual trade sanctions by the US are the only way to make China keep up its end of the deal.


This doesn’t seem like a prisoner dilemma though, because I think there’s a good argument that the US is better off cooperating (allowing Tik Tok) than defecting regardless of China’s actions.


Trade is basically the opposite of a prisoner's dilemma, though. Cooperation dominates defection.


I think the main idea in the prisoner's dilemma is that in the defect/no defect case the defector has great gains and the non-defector has great losses. Who gains and who loses is the key and that is what China has been doing to the West since entering the WTO in 2001. Tit-for-tat quickly eliminates the gains for the defector.


The US is announcing aluminum tariffs against Canada. Canada's PM announces that aluminum tarrifs are a bad idea and hurt everybody, but until the US gets rid of them, Canada will match them dollar for dollar with its own aluminum tarrifs.

Do you follow the logic in this case?


Good example of how the US is hurting itself by picking petty fights with friends instead of unifying against China.


I don’t follow the logic of “China does something that we think is bad, therefore we must just ignore it"


Ignoring it and doing the same bad thing are not the only two options.


Clearly that doesn't make any sense as you stated it, however the premise that "we must do the same thing that we think is bad" is a false premise. All else equal, barring companies from operating is a bad thing, that makes all of us worse off. But when China is doing that to us, "all else" is not "equal". The same goes for when Chinese companies are effectively appendages of a genocidal Chinese state -- all else is most certainly not equal.

A very simple analogy is to that of interpersonal violence. All else equal, it's bad to point a gun at someone. But if they're threatening you with a gun first and unjustifiably, then it's no longer bad. In fact its bad not to fight back, since to not do so would allow wickedness to flourish. And any argument along the lines of "two wrongs don't make a right" is of course absurd.


So then how do you stop China from doing the bad thing?


Is that relevant? Do you think this will make any difference in China’s internal policies?


One assumption as to why "do the bad thing" is "because it will make China behave in the manner we want".


It make difference to your country's companies to make business there.


When you say "steal" and "imbalance that China has created" - you expect to move almost all design, planning and manufacturing to China gradually over decades of time, give them all the technology because they are just "low-level workers", embrace what they build themselves because it's cheaper and good enough, and for them to be happy, in perpetuum, to receive a fraction of the profits? This situation was not created by China - it's just completely expected consequences of decades of un-strategical behavior which is now starting to bite back.


It's quite amazing how many people believe that a poor country like the China of the 1990s and early 2000s could manage to hoodwink the Western world into accepting an imbalanced relationship favoring China.

The fact is that Western companies benefitted massively from China's opening-up, and that China was forced to undergo many painful reforms in order to join the WTO. An entire generation of Chinese workers lost their social safety network as a result of the breaking up of the state-run sector.

The joint venture and IP transfer requirements, which have been rolled back over time, were a small price to pay in exchange for accessing a massive pool of cheap labor and a rapidly growing consumer market.


I find your comment to be in bad faith. You failed to address Chinese bans of American companies, which was the thrust of parent's comment, and which is obviously the unfair imbalance China created. Quoting imbalance but ignoring the example is bad faith.


Very few American companies are banned from China. The parent's comment is based on false premises about the economic relationship between the US and China.


Yes, China very selectively bans American companies, just as the US is now very selectively banning the same types of companies. It’s just Mercantilism: be open in all ways except the key industries you wish to develop domestically. I don’t think mercantilism is fundamentally evil (it’s how Japan and South Korea became wealthy first world nations at certain American industries expense) but don’t cry when your trade partners bite back.


Because allowing Chinese companies to operate in the US is good for American consumers. This isn’t a zero-sum game.


How is it good for American consumers? Their privacy is further eroded in service of a violently oppressive totalitarian state. Also, the companies these Chinese companies compete against do not have equal access to Chinese markets, providing a significant advantage to Chinese companies: the supposed benefit to the consumer (reduced prices due to competition) erodes quickly in such an environment.


The fact that TikTok has something like 70 million monthly active users in the U.S. is prima facie evidence that its existence is good for American consumers, who have chosen to consume it, regardless of any potential privacy issues.

I don't mean this to trivialize China's oppressive behavior. And sometimes the right way to punish regimes like China is with economic sanctions, even when those sanctions harm us as a side-effect - I don't know if that's the right answer in this case or not. But from a purely economic point of view, tit-for-tat trade sanctions are an own goal.


I don't think anyone cares anymore. Every ad network that slips through is probably propagating whatever data they get across all other ad networks instantly, so they are probably right not to care.

Plus, mine is but a grain of sand in China's endless beaches of data. Also, the only real solution is to use a shady VPN (that is probably owned by a government anyway).

It sucks and is terrible but I think that's just the way it is unfortunately.


> Also, the companies these Chinese companies compete against do not have equal access to Chinese markets

That's just not true. All American tech companies can operate in China if they follow local laws, that's why Skype and iMessage are popular in China. Chinese companies have to follow the same local laws as well. Google/Facebook, etc voluntarily pulled out of the Chinese market because they don't want to follow China's draconian tech laws.


Those laws require Chinese companies to have ownership stakes, sometimes majority ownership stakes, if not explicitly then effectively. That isn't "equal access".


Again, complete lies.

Ownership requirement is only for joint ventures. Both Apple and Microsoft operate in China in full capacity and neither companies are majority owned by the Chinese lol.


You're quibbling over technicalities. For most tech companies, operating in China requires a substantial relationship with Chinese owned business entities and partners, often tacitly, if not explicitly written by law, also requiring some shareholding or officer/executive relationship to manage the tangled web of CCP corruption.


Consider every concern about facebook having too much power on things like elections.

Now imagine if facebook were controlled by an adversarial authoritarian regime.


Or looking at the PRISM program it's better to ban Facebook and it's children companies rather than imagining .


It would not be at all unreasonable for other countries to ban US social media companies.


This short sighted policy is what has led to the slow decay of the American middle class.


No, the policy that lead to the decay of the American middle class is not China's rules on foreign investment.

The policy that lead to that is American companies embracing globalism, which is, by the way, an American neo-liberal ideology.


Globalism is and always was inevitable and has in fact started already 200 years ago. It's also not a problem. A problem is how countries deal with the middle class and how they transform their society when there are shifts in production. For example, it's not China's fault that the average salary of a US CEO was 361 times higher than that of a factory worker in 2018, as opposed to only having been 20 times higher in the 1950s.

What we see right now is really just the emergence of China as an economic super-power, thanks to their gigantic internal market and their technological advances. This was predicted for the past 40 years or so and it nothing to do with the problems that the US is facing. These problems are mostly internal.


China is basically: low start + motivation + good education + low costs + state level protectionism + long term planning


You can embrace globalism without damaging your economy. You just have to choose to only deal with countries that play fairly. China does not play fairly and, as such, we should not do business with them.


I'm not in agreement or disagreement but I'm genuinely curious how you can embrace globalism without damaging your economy? I have found myself leaning more towards neo-liberalism in some aspects but I don't know how this piece fits in.


USA has embraced globalism and benefitting from it.

American middle-class wealth has moved to upper-class rather than to outsiders.

"The recent stability in the share of adults living in middle-income households marks a shift from a decades-long downward trend. From 1971 to 2011, the share of adults in the middle class fell by 10 percentage points. But that shift was not all down the economic ladder. Indeed, the increase in the share of adults who are upper income was greater than the increase in the share who are lower income over that period, a sign of economic progress overall."

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/06/the-america...


"American middle-class wealth has moved to upper-class rather than to outsiders."

As your quote says, it's not the wealth that has moved per say, but that people have moved upward out of the middle class and brought that wealth with them with more people moving up than moving down.


Right. I see how my wording can be wrong.

I saw some comments (in this thread and some others) that seems to be of the opinion that USA has not benefitted by embracing globalization. That opinion is in contrast to what I have seen in data analysis/reports.

So I wanted to say that maybe problem is not that USA hasn't benefitted from globalization but rather that benefit hasn't been distributed appropriately.

I'm not from USA and my knowledge comes by reading about news reports and expert data analysis so I might be missing something.


Why should the American middle class give two shits about American businesses having to jump through hoops to operate in China?

90% of their income comes from wages, not investments. The last thing they want is for American businesses to operate in China, period - because operating in China typically means that manufacturing capacity gets moved there. This unfairness is only unfair to the owner class - the middle class is actually a net beneficiary of policies that make offshoring harder.

China's policies that make foreign operation in it difficult are, in that sense, actually a gift to the American middle class.


Google's dragonfly would allow it to operate in China. It didn't because of domestic pressure, not the Chinese government. There used to have a huge debate of that here on Hackernews. It would not be fair to say that China banned Google for protectionism reasons. At least for China, the government have a standard, a list of censorship requirement to follow. There are things a company can do to operate in China. While here now at the US, it's protectionism that targeted a specific company without doubt. I'd hardly call that the rule of law, would you?


> Would WeChat or TikTok exist if western chat and social media apps were given total access to Chinese markets???

WeChat caters to the needs of Chinese users. As far as I know, WeChat invented integration of payments in messaging apps and Western apps like Messenger and iMessage copied that. I don't think the Western apps have QR payments, which is very important to Chinese. And I don't think a Western app would have come up with the group hongbao exchange feature.

TikTok doesn't have a surviving American equivalent so, yes. Definitely it would exist.


This is correct, thank you for this reply.


> Why should the US allow Chinese companies to operate in the US??

For the same reasons that China should allow American companies to operate in China.


Or there is actual national security issues at play they dont want to tell


TikTok has only recently had any competitors from the west, and WeChat is still far and beyond any chat platform the west has offered. I have extreme doubt the western companies would at all be able to compete in China. They don't get the culture, they have inferior features and inferior user experience.

In fact, if the west weren't so racist I suspect WeChat would dominate just like TikTok is dominating in the west.


That's the thing is that WeChat can exist in the US. In fact it does. It just doesn't get any traction except with Chinese Nationals communicating with their families.

It's kind of absurd to think that platforms that literally dominate every single country in the world like Google and Facebook wouldn't similarly dominate in China if they were just allowed. TikTok is the first Chinese social app that's had any success in the West. That's why we're talking about this now and never needed to discuss it with WeChat.

It's absolutely crazy that Chinese companies can compete fairly in Western markets yet the Chinese government can close their markets to Western companies. IMO, a trade war with China is long overdue. China hasn't played fairly in any sense . Trade wars suck for all involved but if you're not willing to do them, why would China not play by a double standard?


> It's absolutely crazy that Chinese companies can compete fairly in Western markets yet the Chinese government can close their markets to Western companies.

The actual state of affairs is that Western companies do much more business in China than vice versa. It's been that way ever since China began opening up in the 1980s.

There are more theoretical barriers to trade in China than in most developed countries, but that doesn't change the fact that there's more actual Western investment in China than vice versa. Whether China's protectionist measures (which have lessened over time) are acceptable depends on your ideas about economic development. There's a very respectable economic tradition (stretching back to Alexander Hamilton) that says that developing countries should enact certain protectionist measures. Most developed countries got where they are today using some level of protectionist policies (the US, Japan and South Korea are a few prominent examples).


I agree with much of your argument in general but you seem to skew the reality of the situation in a very big way. China is the second largest economy in the world. By GDP measures, they have a long way to go but all of that wealth and control is in the hands of a very small group of people. As a nation-state, China is extremely powerful and should be held to exactly the same standards as other powerful nation-states. From the perspective of foreign policy, the state of development is derived from the ability of a country to project power. China can absolutely do this.

Given China's autocratic government, the conflation of economic and government interests is impossible to separate. This makes protectionist policies of China a dire risk to the West. The ability of social media in particular to undermine democratic elections should now be clear. The simple unregulated profit motive of Facebook has proved harmful enough. A Chinese controlled Facebook equivalent in the United States would be disastrous.


China is still a developing country, even though it has a very large economy (due to its large population). Expecting or demanding that it remove all protectionist measures is wrong, in my opinion.

On the other hand, in these discussions, most people massively play up Chinese protectionism, and seem to have a wildly skewed picture of what the economic relationship between China and developed countries is. Claims that China excludes most Western companies are so massively at variance with reality that it's impossible to have a conversation after that.

> This makes protectionist policies of China a dire risk to the West.

The West has benefitted enormously from trade with China and investment in the country. The problem, from the perspective of the US, isn't Chinese protectionism, but rather the end of American hegemony. How far the US will go in order to maintain its position is something we should all be very worried about.

> The ability of social media in particular to undermine democratic elections should now be clear.

I don't think social media is undermining democracy. The hoopla about Russia after the last election really descended into hysteria, and there was never anything really significant uncovered. The Internet Research Agency had essentially zero impact on the election. The "worst" thing the Russians supposedly did (and I'm not sure if they actually did it) was handing DNC emails over to WikiLeaks. But it was good that those emails were published. They showed the DNC conniving against Bernie, which is something the public had a right to know about.


Again, you're misunderstanding the difference between GDP and foreign policy. China has a low GDP, which I mentioned but a giant economy. Think of it like Apple has a $1.9T market cap and 130,000 employees and Amazon has a $1.6T market cap with 800,000 employees. From a foreign policy perspective, the number of employees doesn't matter. It's only the ability to project power into other countries. China is not a developing country. It only feigns to be.

"Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak" — Sun Tzu

The problem with China, again to repeat myself, is that there is significant overlap between the economic and foreign policy interests of China. Whereas American companies only care about making more money, Chinese companies want to both make money and extend Chinese influence.

This is terrible for democracies so easily swayed by unregulated emergent technologies like social media. If all you think Russia did was leak documents, I think you far underestimate their impact. An underdog candidate without majority popular support became president by the smallest margins. Democracy only works if its influenced by people who actually care if it succeeds. Foreign influence of any kind rots it at its core. This is the goal of China and Russia (although they may approve of different candidates).

This isn't a problem of America losing its hegemony in the world. It's a problem where foreign influences help elect a leader that has led to the unnecessary deaths of more than 100K Americans. The USA is no saint but China and Russia literally seek to elevate themselves at any cost. Allowing any Chinese companies influence over American citizens is an absolute disaster. They won't simply seek to make money in the USA, they will try to extend Chinese national interests at the cost of American lives.

I'm not sure if you're the type of person simply trying to seem intelligent by arguing against the popular stance or if you truly believe what you say. In either case, I don't see why a smart person such as yourself would defend the reputation of such a country. The future will judge us based on our inaction towards the suffering of the Uighurs and Tibetans.


> The problem with China, again to repeat myself, is that there is significant overlap between the economic and foreign policy interests of China.

As is the case for every country. Do you seriously believe that US foreign policy is agnostic about US companies' economic interests?

> foreign influences help elect a leader

Blaming your problems on malign foreign powers is something Trump would do. The US elected Trump. Blaming his election on Russia is ridiculous.

This really sounds like a new Red Scare. The Democrats tried it with Russia after the 2016 election, and the Republicans are trying it with China now. The US has plenty of its own problems. Blaming foreign influence is ridiculous.

> The future will judge us based on our inaction towards the suffering of the Uighurs and Tibetans.

Or on the destructive actions we were manipulated into supporting through atrocity propaganda. Every few years, the US public is told about some new ultimate evil it must face. How many times will this pattern be repeated before people learn? Iraqi society destroyed. Libyan society destroyed. Syrian society destroyed.


Everything is a spectrum. The USA is by no means perfect nor exempt from many criticisms. But if you are truly unwilling to acknowledge the differences along that spectrum then any discussion between us is pointless. I hope both the USA and China find ways to lessen the ceaseless suffering in the world. I have some hope for the US. I have little hope for any autocracy.


Isn't this just reciprocity? China banned a long list of media companies: FB, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, and every traditional media. Now the US is banning two apps made in China.


It's only reciprocity if you divide the world into two tribes, the "China tribe" and the "US tribe". Someone from the "China tribe" did something bad to the "US tribe", so now we're going to grab a random member of the "China tribe" and punish them for it, even if they're not the one responsible. I used to think the Western world had abandoned that kind of collective punishment, but apparently not.

It ceases to be reciprocal if you distinguish groups at an only slightly higher resolution: Chinese businesses like TikTok and WeChat and American businesses like Google and Facebook in addition to the Chinese and American governments. The Chinese government demanded that all businesses censor content, but Google and Facebook had most of their users outside China, so they could choose not to comply and still survive. Whereas TikTok and WeChat didn't have that luxury and censor their Chinese users (TikTok by offering Douyin as a separate product and making TikTok unavailable in China, WeChat by censoring messages in conversations with at least one Chinese participant). So far, both Chinese and American businesses were bullied by the Chinese government. Now the US government decided to "reciprocate" and ... decides to bully businesses as well, but only Chinese ones. Great justice.

If TikTok or WeChat have done anything wrong they deserve to be punished for, then sue them, or, if it's not illegal, make a new law that requires them to stop doing whatever it is. That law should then also apply to Google and Facebook, just in case they might be tempted to try the same thing.

But having the president order arbitrary punishment without proof of guilt (what happened to presumption of innocence?) looks like a dictatorship to me. Maybe I'm just biased by living in a parliamentary democracy where the voting system aims for proportional representation.


> It ceases to be reciprocal if you distinguish groups at an only slightly higher resolution: Chinese businesses like TikTok and WeChat and American businesses like Google and Facebook in addition to the Chinese and American governments.

This is pretty much exactly how reciprocity works in other areas like travel and immigration. We treat their nationals as they treat ours. You can see examples worldwide right now with travel restrictions.

And these Chinese companies benefit from the lack of US-based competition at home. Would WeChat ever have gotten that big without China's restrictions on US companies? It's not arbitrary to counter that benefit with a loss of access to the US.

Congress specifically gives the president the power to counter unfair trade practices by foreign governments. The president executes the laws, he doesn't dictate them.


> This is pretty much exactly how reciprocity works in other areas like travel and immigration. We treat their nationals as they treat ours.

What? Which part of our immigration system is reciprocal?


Visa free travel usually, and special work visas like the deals between US and Canada or US and Australia. It's also used for retaliation in other ways, like when China revoked visa free travel for Norwegian citizens after Liu Xiaobo received the Nobel Peace prize, or Brazil photographing and fingerprinting only US citizens on arrival.


although the Australian visa deemed to match the US work visa for Australians is available without regard for nationality. I think reciprocity is common, but many states work in their own self interest first.


The visa fees certainly are: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Rec...

It's also a fundamental principle of the EU's visa policy: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_18_...


As an example from my personal experience, up until last year, Brazil required Americans to get a tourist visa. They also charged identical visa fees based on what Brazilians have to pay to visit the US as a tourist. On their website they made it plain that the whole motivation for the visa and fees was reciprocity. It stood out in my mind as funny because it seemed so petty.


I suspect one less petty motivation is to encourage the US to reduce visa restrictions for Brazilians. It wasn't actually reciprocal in practice because as far as I know the process of paying the fee as a USC visiting Brazil was far less involved than the process of applying for a US tourist visa (correct me if I'm wrong), not to mention an argument can be made that the fee on average has a lower impact on people from a higher-income country.


I think it is fairly onerous for both parties speaking as a US citizen who visited Brazil a number of years ago. Until recently you had to visit a Brazilian embassy and bring a postal money order as well as printed passport style photos and conduct a financial interview (to make sure you had enough money to leave).

Now it seems that you can do this all online, so ignoring the monetary component it was not any easier than a Brazilian person in my experience as a USC with many Brazilian friends.


For certain countries like Cuba and Iran, where relations are colder, there are "reciprocity tables" which give fees and restrictions for immigrants from there based on making comparable requirements to what their country requires of Americans.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Rec...


10 year visitor visas for Americans were introduced in China after American granted 10 year visitor visas to Chinese. They also keep the fees similar.


Many countries are reciprocal to the US—ie, US citizens are made to face the same restrictions/difficulty entering country X as country X's citizens face entering the US.


> What? Which part of our immigration system is reciprocal?

China and the US reciprocally offer certain kinds of 10-year visas to each other's citizens.


>Congress specifically gives the president the power to counter unfair trade practices by foreign governments. The president executes the laws, he doesn't dictate them.

The Congress has increasingly delegated rulemaking to the Executive through various forms of Authorization Act that empower the Executive to arbitrarily dictate Administrative Law.

I wouldn't exactly rank Congress highly in being the rulemaker here. There's been no great change, upset, or active reaffirmation of the process in years.


There are no Chinese restriction on U.S. companies. Why do you think iMessage and Skype are popular in China? If FB/Google doesn't want to operate in China because they don't want to comply to the same law that applies to everyone, then good for them. There are no explicit bans on Facebook and Google.

>It's not arbitrary to counter that benefit with a loss of access to the US.

Xiaomi and Huawei competes against Samsung and Apple within the Chinese market. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Cisco, etc are just some of the big tech companies that enjoy a ton of revenue from China.

>The president executes the laws

The law specifically says he cannot use it to restrict any personal communication to foreign entities. So yeah, he has no right to do this.


> There are no Chinese restriction on U.S. companies.

Try accessing Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Google, etc...


Oh that meaning of ban. Like how the EU bans access to the Boston Globe and LA News because they don't comply with GDPR.


> The law specifically says he cannot use it to restrict any personal communication to foreign entities. So yeah, he has no right to do this.

According to the article he is planning to restrict transactions with the companies, not personal communication.


>Congress specifically gives the president the power to counter unfair trade practices by foreign governments. The president executes the laws, he doesn't dictate them. //

Those two sentences are mutually contradictory. Who has the power, the President or Congress. If it's the former, then he does dictate them; if the later then they don't give the power to the President. Pick one?


It is not contradictory at all. The parent comment stated that Congress has the power to pass the laws, which give the president the power to counter unfair trade practices. It is how the U.S. government (and most forms of democratic government) is structured, with separate legislative branch and executive branch.


So the president in your idea of democracy is given power to act outside of the law?


He is acting within the law, which is called the IEEPA and was passed by the legislative branch.


I agree that distinctions are important.

> The Chinese government demanded that all businesses censor content, but...

To distinguish this further:

> The Chinese government demanded that all foreign businesses engage in a significant violation of basic human rights, but...

That distinction materially impacts the rest of the argument for me.

People usually reply here with the false equivalence that the US banning misleading advertisements or child pornography is somehow equivalent to Xi Jinping's campaign against what he calls "historical nihilism" (but the rest of the world calls "history"). I don't really understand how those are the same though.


Read USA law and constitutions. It is given in the law he can do this way before his presidency. And read up what happens on the other side to understand what really is "dictatorship" by changing laws to suit. Proportional system looks great on paper but consistently produce "proportional" government that can't act strongly due to political parties in-fighting. There is reason vast majority of people whether American or not accept the concept of manifest destiny. None ever accorded to GB, France, Spanish, Portugal, Italian or Germany even during their height of military superiority.


I've heard that foreign investment and foreign companies face difficult regulatory red tape. Can someone with a better understanding on it weigh in on whether that is applicable to this?


Words have meanings.

It's not a "dictatorship", because Congress (elected every 2 years, approximately) sets the laws that the President acts under, and the President himself (so far!) is elected every 4 years.


Dictatorships can be elective, so raising elections is irrelevant,and they can result from a legal delegation of arbitrary authority to the dictator (both election and legal delegation were absolutely the case for the Roman office of Dictator, which “dictatorship” is a generalization from.) If the President rules arbitrarily without meaningful constraint, despite being elected and despite that arbitrary power being explictly delegated in law, it is a dictatorship.

It's not, though, because the President is neither delegated general arbitrary power in law not ruling with it despite the law. While constraints on executive authority in the law have significantly broken down and one might argue that it is on the road to dictatorship, arbitrary executive action despite the law still faces meaningful checks at least by the courts. There has been significant defiance of court orders without meaningful consequence (e.g., with regard to family separation policy) but the areas where that has occurred are still limited and noticeable, however deeply problematic, exceptions.


Even de facto, US is an oligarchy not a dictatorship.


“The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.”

-Julius Nyerere


> But having the president order arbitrary punishment without proof of guilt (what happened to presumption of innocence?) looks like a dictatorship to me.

It is. There's a faction in the US that believes the US has to have a dictatorship to compete with China.

We've been here before. The USSR looked like an unstoppable juggernaut until the late 1960s / early 1970s. Like China they started from a state of relative backwardness and rapidly industrialized and modernized. The pace seemed incredible until they ran out of stuff to copy.

Totalitarian systems excel at execution, but they are not creative. A vertically integrated totalitarian state will always beat a liberal democracy at "see that? do a whole lot of that!" type challenges. Totalitarianism fails utterly when the leaders are incompetent or deluded, but when the leadership has at least basic competence they can appear formidable... as long as there is a "that" to "do a lot of." When totalitarianism runs out of clear obvious paths forward, it flounders.

Totalitarian systems find it very hard to innovate because innovation is disobedience. It goes against entrenched bureaucratic and monetary interests and sometimes even laws. The latter is why states with a minimalist doctrine of law (some version of "that which is not explicitly forbidden is permitted") tend to do better at innovation.

For a real world example of above: look at how ISPs which are state backed monopolies use the law to push against competitors be they local or municipal broadband or Starlink. In a totalitarian state, those sorts of entrenched interests almost always win. Once something becomes entrenched in the power structure it is immovable and competing with it becomes effectively illegal.

During the Cold War there were always factions in the USA and Western Europe who argued that we must become more like the USSR. The right pushed for more militarization and executive power, while the left pushed for more central management and central planning. They were really pushing for "right" and "left" variants of the same thing: a vertically integrated totalitarian system like the Soviet state.

The same thing is happening now. I think a major reason many at the top of the financial and intelligence world pushed (sometimes covertly) for Trump is as an answer to Xi Jinpeng. There is always a temptation in any conflict or tension to emulate the adversary. It won't work. The real answer is to encourage and protect our ability to innovate while waiting for China to run out of things to copy.

That being said, I am all for cutting China off from easy access to inside knowledge and training. We shouldn't make it easy for the CCP to copy everything. As such I am not opposed to disengagement. We should move production to places like India, Africa, Indonesia, etc. so as not to readily share industrial and technological expertise.

Edit: I mean no racism here. The Chinese can innovate just fine. China under Xinpeng finds it hard to do anything but copy, because it's a dictatorship.


> The real answer is to wait until China runs out of things to copy.

The thing is that this order is about TikTok which comes from a Chinese company, has a US company currently trying to buy it while another has just released a shameless clone of it to their users. Maybe in this situation it is different because China aren't the ones doing the copying?


TikTok is a copy of Snapchat and Instagram. The only reason it's such a juggernaut is money. It's been very heavily and cleverly marketed, especially to younger demographics. Schools are flooded with TikTok swag, and they've hired domestic marketing agencies to push it. It's really obvious that someone has dumped enormous amounts of money into shoving TikTok at kids and teens.


You obviously have never used TikTok. Possibly the most ridiculous comment on HN.


Tiktok has a completely different concept than Instagram and Snapchat. The entire product philosophy is different.


More accurately, a copy of vine :p


Why is this downvoted? Are you all child-less?


> During the Cold War there were always factions in the USA and Western Europe who argued that we must become more like the USSR. The right pushed for more militarization and executive power, while the left pushed for more central management and central planning. They were really pushing for "right" and "left" variants of the same thing: a vertically integrated totalitarian system like the Soviet state.

Even without consciously intending to become like them, this is what inevitably happens when you focus on a competitor. Racing on beating them at whatever they are good at means you take on whatever aspects make them good at such pursuits. E.g. the space race meant centrally dumping tons into research funding, a system which of course never went away after the race was won because governments mostly only prefer to take power, they rarely give it up.


Any one who participate in politics stands to win for the government to have more power.


> The real answer is to encourage and protect our ability to innovate while waiting for China to run out of things to copy.

When did you last visit China? That train has long left the station :-)

Advanced materials research, Aerospace and Chip Fabs are pretty much the only areas where technological areas where I currently see US having a lead


Did you see the spaceship launch from China (https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/13/21256484/china-rocket-deb...)? The debris pathway fell right across two major cities and landed near a village in Africa. I still think there is a lot of areas China needs to catch up. edit:spelling + added African village


That's aerospace.

Anyway, the US blew up SS Columbia over Texas.


17 years ago...


Chip Fabs? Those are in Taiwan (until China started raiding them).


Those are innovative fields. The US has a clear lead in aerospace and is among the leaders in materials. We've lost our lead in chips not to China but to Taiwan, a comparatively more liberal Asian country. The gap is not huge (yet) so it's possible that the US will regain its fab lead... if we want it. I think it's more likely in the short term that the US will make deals to get TSMC to build high-end fabs here for strategic reasons.

I'm sure China will manage to copy a Boeing 737 pretty soon, which is 1960s technology. Meanwhile we are doing:

https://boomsupersonic.com

https://www.spacex.com

... and who-knows-what at places like Area 51. :)

Last I checked China's most advanced fabs were doing 28nm, but that was in 2019. By now they've probably started to get EUV working as they feverishly race to copy TSMC. I would not be surprised if Chinese fabs are literal exact copies of prior generation TSMC and Intel fabs, since it takes time to steal inside information.


In 2019 China landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. [1] Two months ago, China successfully launched its first rover to Mars [2]

I think it is hardly arguable that China has the most technologically advanced retail market in the world. - Ordering everything online from food to furniture, paying everywhere else by mobile phone, introducing state-sanctioned digital currency [3], and it is closing the gap or even pulling ahead in many other fields as well.

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/01/03/china-land...

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53504797

[3] https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3096296/c...


How is digital currency different from debit/credit/ETF/Wire etc?


Just look at how reliant the US is on the antiquated ACH transfer system. We're in the year 2020 and it's literally faster to mail someone cash in many cases.


> I'm sure China will manage to copy a Boeing 737 pretty soon, which is 1960s technology. Meanwhile we are doing:

Well, good enough is good enough. Boeing 737 is currently the most popular plane, and if China's regime manages to steal enough tech to be able build an equivalent product, even if it steals only 60s technology, then China's regime will be in a position to outcompete Boeing based on metrics that matter such as cost or soft power.

It really doesn't matter who has the cutting-edge after a point of diminishing returns. When that point is reached, good old economics start to become the leading criteria.


With passenger planes, the cutting edge is in economy.


Boom - very cool aircraft hadn't seen their products yet but had seen the Virgin news. edit: spelling their.


> Totalitarian systems excel at execution, but they are not creative.

Having survived the Soviet Union, I say with full certainty that you could not be more wrong about the execution part.


What about the USSR in the 1950s? I understand that by the 1980s it was a basketcase, but there was a time when it at least seemed to be the most rapidly advancing nation.


USSR had rapid progress in some areas only because of the systematic plundering of the workers. Behind a majestic facade, it was a country of extreme poverty.

In 1950s peasants were basically slaves who could not even leave their kolkhoz without party permission. The vast majority of citizens lived in atrocious conditions in communal flats or barracks [1] (a type of temporary housing with no sanitation and basic heating).

[1]: https://ribalych.ru/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/baraki-_552.j... - such buildings can be commonly found in Russia even today.


unless, of course, by 'execution' were meant actual executions (of people) - that's what totalitarian systems excel at, indeed.


I see this pattern of comparisons to the USSR again and again. The USSR collapsed a long time ago, and China saw it happen. Why would they go the same way?

I'd say it's Americans, moreso than anyone else, who took the wrong lesson from that collapse. History isn't on anyone's 'side' and destiny doesn't exist. We take too much for granted.


"Collapse" is a bit too passive to describe what happened to the USSR. Gorbachev was a pro-American advocate of Social Democracy (aka the Denmark-style state that Bernie likes).

He thought that Russia would become prosperous by adopting capitalism. Instead, GDP shrank by 50% and Russia went from a global superpower to being encircled in its own backyard.


Sure, but the fruit was pretty rotten at that point after 18 years of Brezhnev. Maybe if Gorbachev had followed Kruschev, it could've been done without a chaotic mass selloff to gangsters.


The fruit was rotten under Kruschev too, the difference between him and Brezhnwv is that his administration picked a lot of low-hanging fruit that the public approved of (Apartments, and a relaxation of absolutely insane Stalinist repression.)

The economy didn't work well under either of them, but Kruschev is credited for leaving things much better than he found them.


China did manage such a turnaround, though. Of course, they had the contemporaneous USSR collapse to point to as well as maoism in living memory, so that probably made it more politically possible.


GDP dropped 50% when honestly reporting facts stopped becoming a criminal offense.

Gorbachev liked social democracy, but the Communist Party warlords like Putin didn't disappear in the revolution, they hung back and then took over again.


Which resulted in the wholesale appropriation of state assets by the oligarchs.


>China under Xinpeng finds it hard to do anything but copy, because it's a dictatorship.

WeChat is vastly more innovative than any of the American social media platforms. China makes and buys more electric vehicles than Europe, the US and Japan combined. DJI almost single-handedly created the civilian drone market. Chinese smartphone brands are regularly first-to-market with new features. The "innovative" Just Walk Out retail concept of Amazon Go is commonplace in China.

There's no doubt that China plays fast-and-loose with intellectual property laws, but the idea that they can't innovate is at least a decade out of date.


Innovation can be hard for entrenched businesses in Capitalist states as well. One could argue that large corporations are a form of totalitarianism. Witness big auto in the west struggle to keep up in the EV field.

To your point "free-er" states can give rise to the lone wolf innovators who force changed by the power of a new, better idea. (and a solid business plan)


It's a compelling theory, but I'd love to see some harder evidence.

Innovative genius is older than free societies.


[flagged]

pbhjpbhj 75 days ago [flagged]

Why are you OK with that. Why is division between groups of people a good thing for you, is it that you want oligarchic rule to beat one-party dictatorial rule? Or you hate the Chinese fifth of the World population?

USA will polarise things until a war with China becomes inevitable forcing those who want to trade freely with both parties to pick a side.

dominotw 75 days ago [flagged]

> Or you hate the Chinese fifth of the World population?

So you are saying Chinese hate rest of the world so much that they have to block them from their internet?

I am ok with cutting of people who hate me. Does that make sense?


Your reply makes sense, but you are buying into the notion that there is 'hate' and 'racism' involved.

This is a spurious comparison. Every time someone accuses someone else of racism in this thread, there should be the same answer: The US (after a looong while!) is doing to Chinese companies the same China does to US companies. To ensure the benefits of globalization are not concentrated by China's protectionist policies


>So you are saying Chinese hate rest of the world //

No, if there's some other reason you could explain it. But my working hypothesis is that you hate Chinese people for some reason: perhaps through media conditioning against anything labelled communist.

Their reason, in theory is they hate Western Capitalism. So an alternate hypothesis is that you want the oligarchic rule that Western Capitalism is heading full-throttle towards?


> Or you hate the Chinese fifth of the World population?

This is a spurious comparison. Every time someone accuses someone else of racism in this thread, there should be the same answer: The US (after a looong while!) is doing to Chinese companies the same China does to US companies. To ensure the benefits of globalization are not concentrated by China's protectionist policies


But the reasons usually are bracketed with 'what China is doing is wrong' ... so then doing the same is also wrong for USA. It's just about the money; in the past it seemed USA was about the ideals - of the declaration of independence, for example.


What is this comment trying to say, by putting China outside of the "rest of the world tribe"? Does this mean that Chinese people are a different species, or what?


It is countering OPs assertion that this is US vs China. They are arguing China is drawing a line around themselves (to keep competition out), and the US is merely recognizing it (by keeping competition in) and still participating with the rest of the world economy.


I am from India, and I created an account to agree with exactly this, and add a few more comments.

To every country which is actually in China's proximity, what China has been doing has been nothing short of imperial - in the bad sense of the word.

The "China tribe", if you look a little closely, consists of two types of people - those who are so far away that their notion of China is mostly in the abstract - in the same way I might (not at all) be alarmed if Somalia and Kenya had a war, say. The second group is the "satellite" which depends on China to counter a common enemy - a good example being Pakistan which needs China to counterbalance India's power in the region. Interestingly, but only anecdotally, I have never once heard anyone from Pakistan criticize China's treatment of Uighur Muslims, even though the world is finally catching on that something really fishy is going on. I mention this because the same folks are often seen loudly complaining about the treatment of Muslims in pretty much every other part of the world.


> I mention this because the same folks are often seen loudly complaining about the treatment of Muslims in pretty much every other part of the world.

Its just capitalism.

Patagonia made a big fuss about facebook ads but their official policy is to no mix business with politics only when it comes to china.

Patagonia was widely celebrated( including here on HN) for their facebook ad stunt. Really pathetic hypocrites live here in USA unfortunately.

https://www.patagonia.com/static/on/demandware.static/-/Libr...

> Far more of our products are made by those Chinese suppliers than they are by the U.S factories because of their expertise and price

> We’ve made the choice not to disengage from countries on the basis of their policies.


"It's only reciprocity if you divide the world into two tribes, the "China tribe" and the "US tribe". Someone from the "China tribe" did something bad to the "US tribe", so now we're going to grab a random member of the "China tribe" and punish them for it, even if they're not the one responsible. I used to think the Western world had abandoned that kind of collective punishment, but apparently not."

So no - this is not it at all.

Reciprocity is a much more appropriate term.

Trade is a big deal, trade deals are big deals.

'Free Trade' deals usually imply reciprocity on all fronts, otherwise, it's a lop-sided situation.

Nation A selling services into nation B, but B not allowed to sell such services back is usually an untenable situation.

If this were any other sector this 'tit for tat' would have happened a long time ago.

It seems a little outlandish because these app bans affect our lives directly, instead of say a 'steel tariff of 50%' which we don't materially witness.

And of course, despite the legitimacy or not of this ... this is a least 50% 'Donald Trump Campaigning'.

The 'censorship' and or 'TikTok' having done something wrong are side issues.

Purely on a trade basis, this is fair.

Now enter the security issue, which is very real: China wants to control everyone's lives down to every passing thought. They observe, control, censor every single conversation in China. They have the means and wherewithal to do it around the world. Large Chinese companies are 'state organs' and the notion that TikTok data would be used for all sorts of advantage is legit. Google and FB can be used as tools of the US, but this is not remotely the same comparison.

It's a new world order, and this action only seems unreasonable because of the person doing it, and the shocking terms.

I expect a little bit more of this to happen, not less.


> Now enter the security issue, which is very real

The national security trope really only affects the government. The global pandemic has had a far greater effect on the economy and has caused far more deaths than any national security incident or terrorist attack.


Non-sequitur.

This is like saying "don't bother locking your door, you're much more likely to get mugged outside your house than robbed inside it."

B being more likely than A does not form an argument against protecting yourself from A.


I think by 'trope' you mean another word ('canard'?) but it doesn't just affect 'government'.

The opposite - it affects everyone.

China is using their networks to steal anything they can get their hands on, influence and bully politicians, students, expats, companies, administrators, researchers.

They are surveilling and collecting information on anyone and everyone for the purposes of pursuing their strategic objectives.

For example - if you have ever spoken out against treatment of Uighurs - you may never be able to enter China. You may get various accounts banned. You may get your peers in trouble (ie WeChat requires someone to 'vouch' for you - if someone vouches for you, and you do something bad, they could face problems).

Depending on how important you are, they could lobby to have your research defunded, slander you in the press, use political leverage. You may never get a chance to work at a Chinese-owned firm.

If you have IP they will nab it, or use leverage information against you should you wish to export into China.

If they can influence your elections, or buy your politicians - they will. See: Belt and Road corruption. [1]

If you know or interact with anyone in HK, and they can use that information in any way to leverage against and compromise the democracy movement, they absolutely will.

Their strategy is bald-faced, it's right out there for everyone to see, there's nothing hidden. The only surprising issue is that there are so many Westerners who weirdly want to believe China is playing the 'modern global citizen' game - when they are obviously playing hardball realpolitik. It's fine if they want to do that, but we have to adjust accordingly.

[1] https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/15/the-belt-and-road-initi...


> But having the president order arbitrary punishment without proof of guilt (what happened to presumption of innocence?) looks like a dictatorship to me

Extremely naive view. China is a totalitarian state that can compel its companies to hand over all private data if asked. In your rosy "presumption of innocence" scenario, by the time they're proven guilty it's too late.

This is preemptive measure that is a prelude to greater 'decoupling' from China. If a hot war breaks out, you don't want the country dubbed the number one strategic threat having access to 25% of citizens phones.


Funny, both the USA [1] and Australia [2] can compel its companies to hand over all private data if asked and regularly exploit the security systems of their own companies with little to no due process to obtain data on people. Nation-states interests are disjoint from those of its people. We need global unity, not petty tribalism if we are to make the world a better place for all. The internet can be a powerful tool for unity, but state actors and other narrow minded selfish actors are currently seeing the value of it and manipulating it to support their political objectives. We need to unite and quash this menace to free societies and global free economies. Recent measures by the current US regime stoop to China's level and usher an era of balkanization that will ultimately destroy the competitiveness of US companies and promote petty nationalism and racism.

[1] https://www.aclu.org/other/national-security-letters [2] https://www.theregister.com/2018/08/14/oz_encryption_backdoo...


> Nation-states interests are disjoint from those of its people.

This is literally the opposite of what is true in a democracy. Of the people, by the people and for the people. You can be cynical as hell, sure, but that will require significantly more justification and evidence to make such an incredibly broad assertion.

To give a clear example: why does the US get data from Apple, Google? To catch criminals. Why does CCP do the same?


Just the last sentence: Why does the CCP get data from Apple or Microsoft? To catch criminals.

I honestly don't see how this rhetoric is coherent or persuasive


Well said. I think we also need to limit how much data corporations (especially advertiser cartels) are permitted to collect on individuals.


By your logic we should start arresting citizens that are likely to commit crimes. It goes against every definition of justice there is.


Every country has different rules for their citizens versus those for foreign entities.


>Someone from the "China tribe" did something bad to the "US tribe", so now we're going to grab a random member of the "China tribe" and punish them for it, even if they're not the one responsible.

Isn't it more like someone from the leaders of the tribe did something so we are holding leadership of the tribe responsible, given the extent that private companies are really extensions of the government?

>But having the president order arbitrary punishment without proof of guilt

Plea deals means that most people never have their guilt proven, only that they are strong armed into confessing so that harsher punishment isn't given. This is already the norm in any country that practices plea deals.


WeChat isn't some app for government leaders. Its userbase in America are ordinary people in the Chinese diaspora who use it to stay in contact with family and friends worldwide. Like banning Kakaotalk for Koreans or Line for Japanese.

Also, if "all companies in China are really extensions of the government", then what do you call this relationship where Trump forces Bytedance to sell Tiktok to Microsoft and give the U.S. government a share of the profit?


>That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes...

Thomas Jefferson wanted to invade Canada because of the Union Jack flag flying over North America.

We are a government based on natural rights. Part of our responsibility is to defend Western Civilization. It's dangerous to say that China bans US companies for merely failing to censor content. It is the US that is defending innate human rights -- we shouldn't diminish them.

We shouldn't even do business with Saudi Arabia nor China at any level. Then we could build a world based on broader principles.

Working with corrupt authoritarian governments and propping them up to create new markets is just a financial strategy of the US business class. It's why the world is so conflicted and unstable. The US supports any foreign power as long as they help the US. That's fundamentally wrong.


>Isn't this just reciprocity? China banned a long list of media companies: FB, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, and every traditional media. Now the US is banning two apps made in China.

This really could be the end of the thread. For years China has banned systems and applications from other parts of the world. The fact it has taken this long to respond with action is stupefying. China would like the benefits of an open internet, but don't want to participate.

The decision is 100% appropriate, but wasn't handled in the best manner.


>For years China has banned systems and applications from other parts of the world.

That statement is a lie. Not a single one of those companies are banned in China, they voluntarily choose to not operate there, mostly due to them not wanting to comply to draconian Chinese laws. In Netflix's case they simply don't want to compete against the local streaming market.

Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Intel, AMD, Cisco, etc are just some of the big techs that's doing very well in China.

It's hard to have a genuine discussion when people are intentionally spreading misinformation.


You're not banned from my house, but if you come to visit, you're required to beat my children.


Cisco: "Don't mind if I do!"


We're not a communist dictatorship.


Political structure has nothing to do with the economics of the situation: one country has access two large markets, the other to only one. Which do you think will succeed in the long run economically?


Well, that helped, thanks for stating the obvious.


Neither is China


It's literally run by the CCP in an authoritarian regime (i.e. dictatorship).


if normal people can participate in government, is that still a dictatorship? there is a standard way in which chinese people can become a government official if they choose to.


To answer your question: yes, and it has always been the case. Participation in government isn’t the same as consenting to or choosing who governs.


There is a standard way to join a street gang. That doesn't meant that the street gang rules the neighborhood according to a representative democracy, under which people have constitutional rights.


Be like China!


>China banned a long list of media companies

That's not a wholly accurate characterisation. The internet is regulated in China, in the same way that broadcast media is regulated in the US. You might vehemently disagree with the specifics of Chinese media regulation, but the regulatory principle is the same.

Foreign media companies that choose not to go through the Chinese regulatory system are blocked from operating in China. Google and Facebook have chosen not to operate in China rather than comply with their regulations, but many American media companies have, most prominently the Walt Disney Company.

There is a fundamental difference between having a legible and uniform regulatory system and arbitrarily banning companies based on the whims of the executive. If a Chinese company started beaming satellite TV channels into the US that flagrantly violated FCC rules, we would fully expect the FCC to take strenuous enforcement action. You or I might consider Chinese attitudes to freedom of speech abhorrent, but the regulation of Chinese media is a matter of Chinese sovereignty.


Calling China's firewall "regulation" is a bit of an understatement, and framing it as Facebook and Google have "chosen not to operate" is very clever. At best it's an oversimplification rather than straight up propaganda but either way it's not one would call especially accurate because the principles aren't the same. While I'm sure the FBI, DHS, and DEA would love to get their hands on everyone's private communications, the courts, even at their most egregious, have resisted legalizing the blanket dragnet of the plaintext of American citizens' private communications that the Great Firewall is designed to enable of Chinese citizens. (Which is their right to do as a sovereign nation.) Thus calling it the same thing is like saying that a card board box is the same thing as a McMansion - they both provide shelter, but upon closer inspection, they're clearly not, in any way, equal, unless you wilfully ignore the details.


> the regulation of Chinese media is a matter of Chinese sovereignty

And the freedom of that media is a matter of basic human rights.

Your argument can be summarized as saying it's ok for China to deny fundamental human rights (free speech) to Americans as long as it is simultaneously denying those same rights to Chinese people because it's "a matter of Chinese sovereignty." I don't agree. Fundamental human rights are just that, fundamental.


How is freedom of the press a fundamental right? That is a uniquely American idea.

Looking at Australia, allowing foreign companies (Newscorp) free reign over the press can have incredibly negative consequences.


From the universal declaration of human rights:

> Article 19.

> Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


It feels unequal after this was called censorship and anti-democratic, being used as a basis for propaganda against China, for years?


No it's not.

The Chinese government sets their (extremely authoritarian) rules on censorship for companies to legally operate in China but the rules apply to everyone equally.

Chinese companies of course have to comply, but foreign companies have the choice to comply or not. Google chose to comply initially but decided to pull out later on. Microsoft/Apple choose to comply and are still operating in significant ways in China.

In contrast, US is proposing to ban TikTok, Huawei, DJI without clear rules: the reason to ban these companies is that they are Chinese companies. In other words, Chinese companies are "born a crime" to the US in the current climate, without the need to show what rules are violated or evidence of wrongdoing.

China also doesn't have the monopolistic power in tech that the US does: forbidding Google to operate in China it's not the same as forcing app stores to de-list certain apps globally.

It's even more absurd to force ByteDance to sell their US business to a US company. If the US feels justified that this could be done on "national security" ground, why shouldn't EU do the same to US tech companies?

I do hope that US citizens see that for much of the world, US is no longer the champion of free market, promoter of free-speech or guardian of world-order. All that matters is if these values benefit US economically or politically.

The US lost it when Japan was economically sanctioned for its competitive auto/electronic sector in 1980s. China is taking the same heat today and India would be the next target if India were to want to play its role on the international stage. The best outcome for the world would be to have multiple strong economies globally that keep each other in check; rather than one country having monopolistic power over all globally significant online forums.


> The Chinese government sets their (extremely authoritarian) rules on censorship for companies to legally operate in China but the rules apply to everyone equally.

Censorship requirements are the least restrictive Chinese law.

Look at industries where foreign companies are outright restricted (must form non controlling joint venture with local partner) or prohibited from operating in: http://english.mofcom.gov.cn/article/policyrelease/aaa/20120...

See: "Catalogue of Restricted Foreign Investment Industries" and "Catalogue of Prohibited Foreign Investment Industries"


It's cool you linked a first hand source! But what are you trying to point out specifically? A quick look seems the list is rather reasonable and not very long. It's some "cultural heritage" stuff like tea, ceramics, etc... some military related things and a very limited subset of resource extraction and chemical/biomedical production (things that aren't cutting edge from what I can tell)

Am I looking at the wrong part?


Catalogue of Prohibited Foreign Investment Industries

X. Art, Sports and Entertainment Industries

1. News agencies 2. Business of publishing, producing, master issuing, and importing of books, newspaper and periodical 3. Business of publishing, producing, master issuing and importing of audio and visual products and electronic publications 4. Radio stations, TV stations, radio and TV transmission networks at various levels (transmission stations, relaying stations, radio and TV satellites, satellite up-linking stations, satellite receiving stations, microwave stations, monitoring stations, cable broadcasting and TV transmission networks) 5. Companies of publishing and playing of broadcast and TV programs 6. Companies of films making, issuing, business 7. News website, network audiovisual service, on line service location, internet art management 8. Construction and management of golf course 9. Gambling industry (including gambling turf) 10. Eroticism

Nice to know the Chinese Communist Golf Course lobby is alive and effective though! :)


Yeah, the tea and herbs part is the first part, near the middle and end you start to see things like heavy industry.

There's a Marxist concept called "commanding heights of the economy" which refers to things like public utilities and transportation.

Theoretically a socialist government can retain control of this limited set of industries while letting foreign capital develop the others, so that the capital can't totally control the government.


If (!) the government were democratic that would seem sensible, otherwise Capitalists get to control the government and the demos rule is subverted.


I'm definitely not saying that the Chinese government is in anyway a good example worthy of our compliments. That discussion however is off topic here.

If the US were prepared to backtrack on its reputation as the leader of free market then the US could instate equivalent laws in the US: "telecom equipment must be domestically manufactured by local businesses or by companies jointly owned by American citizens" would be a generically enforceable law, that's equivalent to what you cited. Huawai would have no option other than to comply and exit the US market or find local partners.

The problem is that's not what the US is proposing to do; rather the US is making unsubstantiated claims that ALL Chinese companies are born a crime and should not operate in the US in any meaningful way.


> Google chose to comply initially but decided to pull out later on.

Yeah because the Chinese government hacked them. Do they hack Chinese companies equally?


| Microsoft/Apple choose to comply

And look how Apple was treated. In 2015 their iBooks and iTunes Movies stores were first approved, but then six months later suddenly banned without warning or explanation. Why should China be surprised if the US reciprocates?

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/technology/apple-no-longe...


>. In other words, Chinese companies are "born a crime" to the US in the current climate, without the need to show what rules are violated or evidence of wrongdoing.

The problem isn't that their Chinese. It's that they have implicit and explicit support from the Chinese government that give them a leg up on non-Chinese companies.


The statement "they have implicit and explicit support from the Chinese government" is really indistinguishable from "the problem is they are Chinese".


Only so long as that is their policy.

The problem isn't the ethnicity or country per se, it's the state-partnership and monopoly system (intertwining them with a totalitarian regime persecuting a million Uighurs in realtime).


What does ByteDance has to do with the persecution of Uighurs more than what Amazon/Google/Microsoft has to do with the killing in Iraq/Iran/Middle East incurred by the US? I don't have evidence for the latter but it seems like neither do you for the former?

The founder of ByteDance has on multiple accounts critised the Chinese government: this is not an easy thing to do in China but blaming Chinese government's behaviors on a privately owned tech startup is a bit over the top.


One reports to the government censor, including the dates of children in other countries, in service of current human rights atrocities.

The other does not, and the atrocities (arguably incomparable) are in the past tense.

Iraq was terrible, but it is not the ongoing forced sterilisation and enslavement of Uighurs.


I think it's not very productive to discuss if one form of atrocity is worse than the other. It's terrible that we have to compare them at all.

Just like I wouldn't blame US's actions in the middle east on Amazon/Google; I don't see why it's fair to associate ByteDance with what's happening to Uighurs.

There are many things going wrong in the world, the question is if we are on the right path towards solving them. I would argue the current escalation is not helping but rather stir up tribalism which is not going to be our solution.


Isn't that exactly what USA are doing for USA companies, eg trying to force UK to buy USA comms equipment (giving USA backdoors too presumably).


They are doing similar things in specific cases on national security grounds but it's not the broad policy that China has.


We can call it digital warfare.


I suspect the ban will just be on the monetization. So they can keep TikTok and WeChat, but will not be able to profit from them.


It's pretty ridiculous to claim that "you can exist, but not do business" is anything other than a ban. What are they supposed to do, panhandle?


It makes it clearly a business conflict, not a free speech one.


That's a false dichotomy - it's a third thing: nakedly political posturing.


The order seems sufficiently broadly worded to ban ads on either platform, hosting them in the US, etc.


They have 45 days to agree on something, and that will determine "transactions" in this case. Pure pressure.


Trump's set an ultimatum whereby tiktok's American operations will have to be sold to Microsoft or it gets banned.


Monetization is also the reason China banned every US Internet service.


Funny enough, it is not. Of course, one of the reason Google got banned was because Baidu, its competitor watches it all the time, and every time it is not following the law, Baidu will file a complaint for it. Foreign businesses make good money in China.


Google is still selling ads in China, so monetization doesn't appear to be considered problematic.


> Google is still selling ads in China,

More like Google is selling ads outside China for Chinese companies.

Google Ads market share in China is really small.


Unequal? You’re suggesting that blocking just monetary transactions with two companies is somehow worse than the thousands of sites blocked in China?


Yeah, "unequal" doesn't make sense. How about "hypocritical". By doing this the US loses a lot of its footing to criticize China's behavior. The US is supposed to be the land of the free, but this looks less than free.


TikTok is not in the US. "Land of The Free" never applied to different lands with different government.

Land of the Free didn't mean the British could move in and run things.


TikTok has some offices in the US. A lot of TikTok investors are in the US. How much has to be in the US for US rights to apply to it?

It's not about British running things (as in other people's lives). It's about British people having rights to run their own lives.


>We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. //

I guess the "only for those people living within the bounds of USA." was inadvertently missed off the end there? /s

I think the 14th amendment to the Constitution strictly speaking says that "any person" (contrasted to Citizens) under the auspices of the USA should get equal treatment in law too.

>No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive _any person_ of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. //

Maybe this doesn't apply with federal laws (if so, what does restrain them??).


In order to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you have to address those that infringe upon it.


Thats not unequal. They did it to us, so we are doing it to them. This is how trade relations have worked since forever.

It is not complicated. If another country engages in negative trade actions to us, it seems reasonable to do similar trade sanctions against them, so that we are treating them similarly to how they are treating us.

This is the basis of most international trade agreements and relations.

If a country puts a tariff on you, then it is almost certain that a tariff will be put on them as well.

If you don't respond, then you are letting people take advantage of you, and it encourages them to continue to do it in the future.

This is basic trade relations, and game theory 101. This is simple stuff. This is how international relations works on numerous different fronts.

It is simple accepted, basic, and uncontroversial, that, in international relations, when a country does a bad thing to you, then there is often a response to that bad thing, and you don't just let them get away with it.

This is uncontroversial to anyone who knows anything about international relations.


Childish. Then again, that‘s the US in a nutshell in 2020.


Tit for tat reciprocity is the basis of most modern trade relations.

To give a related, similar, but not exactly the same example, in order to demonstrate this idea of reciprocal trade relations:

If country A puts a tariff on country B, then it is almost guaranteed that Country B will put the same exact tariff on country A.

This example is used to demonstrate the principle of trade related relations.

This is how trade relations have worked for a very long time.

And actions regarding international, hundred billion dollar companies, are going to be related to this idea of trade and reciprocal trade relations.


What tariff? What trade? What does this action have to do with either?


The person you responded quite clearly stated it was an approximation to other trade situations. Your response reads as a little disingenuous given the text above, but if it was genuine the "trade" is the provision of services for the exchange of money with Chinese-owned apps. Providing software services like any other service, and indeed like physical goods, is trade all the same.

Tariff may not have been a perfectly analogous choice, but prohibition can also be seen economically as an infinite tariff. China has put bans (infinite tariffs) on a great many US and other foreign companies' services and this is some, comparatively small, reciprocation.


> This is uncontroversial to anyone who knows anything about international relations.

You'll find even most intellectual types don't have a first clue about how the global chess board works. Or, if they have some inkling, they're too busy entertaining some idealism to be in the stage of acceptance.


HN wouldn’t have a first clue about most things, global or not. Comments around any controversial article/topic turn into a dumpster fire. It’s amusing and depressing to see. Not sure when it got this bad or if it was like this from the beginning.


This is the sort of mindset you should grow out of around the age of 13.


Yes and no.

You shouldn't punish someone because they have done something bad, you should rehabilitate them. But you should do something.

Doing nothing might be worse than doing the worst of the previously mentioned options.


Agreed. Can't let people walk all over you otherwise it's an enabling behavior.


Or around 2000 years ago. The new testament, I gather, deprecated "eye for an eye" in favor of "turn the other cheek".


That guy was crucified.


I think reciprocal would be more like the 50% local ownership plus government oversight just like China does. It just doesn't look good that they're singled out to be sold off 100% seemingly for being successful with their only issue being that they have been hoovering up data which isn't that unusual for an app.


What other Chinese-government controlled apps are hoovering data?


All of them


China didn't ban them, they just asked them to play by Chinese Rules. I think it should be the same. Instead of Banning the US should setup what US rules they expect international companies to play by, as should the EU etc.


Incorrect in the case of Apple. The government first approved their iBooks Store and iTunes Movies, then six month later, in 2016, shut them down, in what the NYT called a "startling about face". Apparently the Chinese authorities could not abide by the possibility of a foreign company purveying books and movies in China. There is nothing straightforward about "playing by Chinese rules".

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/technology/apple-no-longe...


Nobody in the US has an appetite for forcing TikTok into a 49% joint venture and mandating key escrow.


US rules could be "key escrows are banned".


If you read the executive orders it's clear that "don't be controlled by or an instrument of the Chinese Communist Party" is the rule they're going for.

And if that standard just happens to be impossible for any Chinese company to meet ...


Just to correct some details: Netflix, LinkedIn, Bing are not banned in China.


Netflix is not banned explicitly. They just can't get a license to operate in China. In addition, VPNs are actively hunted down by the Chinese government so legally speaking VPNs are banned in China, which means a Chinese resident won't be able to watch Netflix anyway -- that is, Netflix is practically banned.


There's douyin for china and tiktok for everywhere else.

Chinese companies go to the effort of creating separate apps to comply with the laws and cultures of other countries. Why can't American companies do the same and obey Chinese law? Yet again, "American Exceptionalism" strikes again.

Also see LinkedIn and Bing, which disproves the idea that it's all some plot masterminded by Beijing to only allow Chinese companies to succeed.


If you claim to stand for free trade, you can't go along in these protectionism wars without losing a lot of credibility and, along with that, soft power.


And you can't operate free-trade style in a world where you have bad actors like China reaping all the benefits while being protectionist and therefore preventing their trade partners from seeing the same benefits.

Saying the US should just press forward with free trade is like saying it is X company's fault for failing when the entire reason they fail is because Y company is behaving anti-competitively, and that behavior is not being curbed by a higher power.

Except in this case there is no higher power to slap China on the wrist. So the only recourse the US (and honestly the rest of the world has) is to be protectionist right back until China realize that everyone wins if we all cooperate, nobody does if we don't.

This is classic prisoner's dilemma, except where the US has been letting China keep pressing "tattle" while the US keeps pressing "keep mum". It had to end at some point.


Sure, if it were a clearly communicated retaliation to a specific protectionist act of China. But it's not, and it is relevant to consider the context in which this measure happens to understand how this can be perceived.

The current administration has had numerous unproductive scuffles with allies and trading partners to renegotiate trade agreements, after running a presidential campaign on a protectionist platform, promising to return manufacturing jobs to the US.

After these negotiations were largely unsuccessful, close to the next presidential election, the administration abruptly locks in on one of the only globally successful social media companies that isn't US-controlled and insists that it must be purchased by a US-based company in order to continue operations in the US, without even attempting to resolve the issue through regulation. Due to the size of the US market, the company is bound to give in.

Of course, I'm deliberately telling the story in a biased way, but (as someone not from the US) I do feel that the US has been steadily on the way down as a credible defender of the principles of free trade. And this is just one more incident to add to the pile.


> And you can't operate free-trade style in a world where you have bad actors like China reaping all the benefits while being protectionist and therefore preventing their trade partners from seeing the same benefits.

China was pretty poor country when it opened up. When it opened, all the western companies that agreed to their terms weren't doing it just to help out but they wanted a piece of that huge marked to get rich.

China managed to get a better deal than a lot of other countries who were basically plundered. Saying China is "reaping all the benefits" is just absurd. Western countries made countless of billions in China.


I did not realize that free trade is such a failed system, that it completely breaks down when not enforced by gunboat diplomacy.

All this time, I was taught that it is a positive-sum, virtuous system that improves everything it touches - and that military interventions that enforced it were purely altruistic humanitarian acts, that were done for the targeted countries' own good.

Which is it? Is it a fragile house of cards that we have spread in self-serving ways? Or is it actually a robust positive-sum ideal that we should aspire to? (And therefore, we should ignore defectors, as they only hurt themselves.)


No, it breaks down when an actor realizes that they can get all of the benefit and then some if they don't participate in good faith yet everyone else continues to do so.

This then leads to a "tragedy of the commons" situation, which is a fairly well-established idea.


So, it always has to be enforced through gunboat diplomacy?

It sounds like a failed system, then - can we move over to some other economic model, that does not require coercion or a constant threat of war to function?

Unilateral coercion is not the basis for a free society, or free relationships between societies. It is utterly incompatible with sovereignty and democracy, and the ability of countries to decide their own internal policies.


No, it needs to be enforced by either a higher power (which doesn't currently exist for the world) or by not allowing countries to do this. This can happen either through gunboat diplomacy or by economic actions like the ones this entire thread is about.

As to your addendum, I am unaware of an economic model that intrinsically solves such problems of peaceful coordination between nation states.


The question is who is the actor with good faith though. The US is arguably the player with the most foreign aggressive interventions (often economic) since WW2. The US is all about free trade when it benefits them but the second that is no longer the case, it's over with fair free trade.


People outside US and other super powers, like the Soviet Union and now China, has always preferred the US as the lesser evil. But we have no illusions that there is a leveled playing field, the US is using all its might to land deals in its favor.

Insight: How U.S. spying cost Boeing multibillion-dollar jet contract https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-brazil-insight-idU...


I stand for free trade, but it's not "free" when trading with a country that doesn't share our values. How someone can advocate for a minimum wage or health and safety protections for a European or US company, but then turn around and advocate trading with a country with no such protections baffles me. There is no outcome except that our economy will become disadvantaged while at the same time encouraging the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world.


This isn't free trade. There would be no point of other countries existence if they share same values. The reason so many countries exists is because they don't share the same values. The US famously fought its independence war because it doesn't share british values where there is no delegation even paying taxes for colonies


Did China ban them? I thought they refused to follow China’s censorship laws?

Skype is available in a China.


Well, they have a national firewall that blocks connections to them, so I'd consider that banning.


Exactly. We should look at results, not legal frameworks -- they are different in the two countries anyway. Plus, free trade is all about be fair. Why would the US let Chinese company make huge amount of money when the US companies can't be treated quid pro quo? For the ideal of "free trade" or "globalization is good" or "one globe one people"? I respect that, but I don't want to be the person who sustain the loss.


This is a fallacious argument.

For example when Google worked in China they were ripped apart for doing that, and so decided not to.

Most of these companies could work in China if they followed Chinese rules. They decided not to, so they don't.


Not sure why people downvote the above. Do they dispute the truth of the parent's statement? Google and Facebook were in fact active in China, until the 2009 Urumqi terrorist attacks happened. The Chinese government then asked for Facebook to release personal details of suspects. Facebook refused. They only got banned after that.

The Chinese government installed new monitoring and censorship laws. Google didn't want to comply, so they got out.

In both cases, those companies either voluntary got out, or got kicked, based on clear conditions. You can of course discuss whether those laws and conditions are ethical, but that is besides the point. In case of the current US bans, there are no conditions. Chinese companies get kicked and there is nothing they can comply to.

Furthermore,the US govt is actively "encouraging" other countries to ban Chinese companies too. Recently they said Brazil would face "consequences" if they do not. Did China ever tell other countries to ban Facebook?

And the US govt said that if Tiktok sells, they must pay a chunk of money to the govt, which is... Unusual. China didn't do anything like this.


>"Not sure why people downvote the above"

Never let the facts get in a way of good story


I see your view, but I think you’re comparing a US company operating in China on equal footing with a Chinese company operating in the US which they aren’t either because of monopoly reasons, state backing, or cultural advantage (US company in China has to deal with Uighur backlash and censorship which is intolerable, but not so for Chinese businesses).

We also can’t dismiss the nature of a law. A law may be sufficiently heinous that it loses its validity, which I think many Chinese laws qualify as they are so broad they are as some CCP members have stated, being like the sword of Damocles with the specific intent to terrorize and allow the government flexibility to do what it wants under the image of ‘rule of law’ which it obviously isn’t.


Yes, the nature of the law shouldn't be dismissed. But don't you think it's up to the citizen of that country to judge the validity of that law, and not up to outsiders?

Mass protests in China do happen. When people really are dissatisfied, they do speak up, and it does happen that the government listens. For example in 2019 there were mass protests in Guangdong about building a cemetery. People mass protested, some even vandalized and got arrested. But in the end, the peaceful protesters didn't get in trouble, and the government gave people what they wanted. https://mothership.sg/2019/12/news-china-protests-wenlou-hua...

The situation in China isn't as black & white, or as dystopian, as what many believe, even though there's still plenty of room for improvement.


The Chinese government only listen some of the time.


No doubt about that.

Do you have a point?


Well, double standard obviously. Just in 2020, there are already quite a few cases that China did something deemed evil and some western country did something similar maybe almost the same but viewed as righteous. Then here comes the question, are there good evil and bad evil? If no, how to explain such a difference?


No, that's not true. Google was hacked by Chinese government, multiple times. Google was harassed by Chinese government, multiple times. And I'm not talking about some conspiracy theory. Let me give examples that were publicly reported. Did you know that Google's DNS was hijacked and redirected to baidu.com? Did you know that Google was forced to stop its business because of a single phone call that Google's search results returned so called porn pictures, when baidu hosts millions of more? Did you know that the Chinese government never gave Google a list of blocked phrases, yet it expected Google to come up with the ones that met their "regulation". When Google couldn't, Google was punished.

Yeah, Google didn't play by Chinese rules, as if they could. If this is not banning, I don't know what is.

Besides, the US government did play by the rule of the US regulation. For one, did ByteDance seek clearance from CFIUS when purchasing music.ly?


What's the point in reciprocity here?

"And if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss gazes back into you".


It forces the other party to change their behavior or at least gives you leverage to make a deal where both parties would agree on some equal set of rules. Here, the freedom to use US social media apps in China and vice versa.

It's an interesting turn of events, and I'm at least curious to see how this turns out. This is definitely not the start of WW3, as some have proclaimed, just US doing the same trick as China has been doing. Tensions were a lot higher during the Cold War.


Last year you may have been right, but with Pence, then Pompeo making Cold War declarations, it seems quite a bit more than that.


Technically this is the beginning of the next WW3, we're in the negotiation and economic pressure strategy stage - like starting to take away toys and access from a child who is behaving badly or unacceptably; easiest to reference the concentration camps the CCP is operating for million+ Uighurs, where the United Nations has accused CCP of genocide.

India has clamped down banning, and other nations and politicians - perhaps under pressure of their citizens, are waking up, becoming aware - or at least enough that politicians can then more safely take action without succumbing to propaganda coming from CCP and other bad actors who are consistently trying to undermine democracies.


In one way, yes, it seems like reciprocity, but the impact here seems to be larger than a diplomatic dispute: China is communist, US is free (in terms of public imaging). So in that positioning, while China as a communist, authoritarian nation would be the type to ban online services, the US is supposed to be "better than that."

In any case, I think that the result of this is more that TikTok will sell at an even cheaper price, since it's coming from a position of weakness, not strength. And for WeChat -- who in the west actually uses it? The impact there I believe is a slight dip in Tencent Holdings' stock price, which will quickly bounce back.


For many Chinese living in America, it's the only way to reliably communicate with family back in China.


>Isn't this just reciprocity? China banned a long list of media companies: FB, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, and every traditional media.

Yes, which is bad for China, because it robs the Chinese people of choice. As Milton Friedman said when speaking on tariffs, "why do to yourself what you do to an enemy at war?"

China engages in censorship and limits the freedom of their people, so we're going to do the same to stick it to them? Excuse me if I don't see the logic


Milton Friedman really didn't seem to understand that tarriffs are used to develop comparative advantage. This could be because viewed comparative advantage as static and immutable.

George Washington, for instance, signed the Hamilton tariff of 1789 to help develop infant industries which England was preventing from getting off the ground with tarriff-less trade.

Milton Friedman's proscriptions made sense for America at the time he made them. America was in the dominant industrial position England was in in 1789, it wanted every other country to tear down THEIR tariffs too, just as England wanted America to tear down theirs. Better if everybody buys American rather than home growing industry, right?

Now that America's industrial might is waning MiltonFriedman's influence is becoming weaker and his ideas look more and more dated.


The US power isn't waning. TikTok literally is the only Chinese app that even has made it outside of China, because their isolationist nature has essentially made every other product entirely unattractive, while US tech dominates the globe.

Over the long term Friedman has been proven right over and over again. Protectionism doesn't work, and the US doesn't need to piss their pants because there's one app encroaching on their market.

Giving a government with already authoritarian tendencies in the US power over means of communication is completely ridiculous. This is the same tactic the US attempted to use in the 80s/90s to stop competition from Japanese carmakers and it ruined the American car industry for a solid 20 years.

American entrepreneurs can deal with competition from China, regardless of what China does in their domestic market, there's no need to engage in the same tactics as China.

The exact same discussion btw also happened in the 60s when Samuelson predicted that the Soviet Union would overtake the US economically. Literally every generation some other autocratic country temporarily scares the crap out of Americans, then they fail, and yet nobody appears to learn anything from it.


>Over the long term Friedman has been proven right over and over again.

By what? There's literally a hundred other examples like George Washington's I could point to all the way from China's meteoric rise to the Asian tigers where comparative advantage was developed with judicious application of tariffs. They all disprove Milton Friedman's hypothesis.

This isn't about TikTok. TikTok is small fry. Nonetheless, it's part and parcel (along with the Huawei bullshit) of America's dawning realization that China has not only reached technological parity on most fronts, but it is leapfrogging America. You don't roll out the tariffs when you're top dog, you patronizingly tell every other country that it isn't in their interests instead. That's what Milton Friedman did.


Is free speech conditional on reciprocity?


China asked these companies to obey the local law, but none of them 'surrendered', not including Apple and Microsoft.


Google "surrendered" multiple times before backstepping their decision, most recent of which was the project Dragonfly that was shut down less than two years ago.


I don't think that's reciprocity. China has punished its citizens for being born in China by banning FB et al. In response, the US has punished its own citizens by banning WeChat et al. Reciprocity would mean that Xi is banned from using Facebook while Trump is banned from WeChat.


This "we'll be like the worst examples in the rest of the world" is not a winning strategy. It is simply remarkable that anyone in the US, much less anyone learned, could cheer this nonsense on.

Further Trump didn't just say they had to be sold, but instead they have to be sold specifically to a US buyer. That is...incredible. He is effectively engaged in technology piracy. Then again he just announced new tariffs on Canadian aluminum -- leaving Russian and Chinese aluminum untouched, and just after the ratification of the revised NAFTA -- under the guise of "national security", so it's into serious parody territory now.

The US is currently a corrupt banana republic.

Regardless, China has an enormous number of US targets they can and likely will retaliate against. And when they do, be sure to thank Trump.


"Just" reciprocity? "Just" an eye for an eye?

And when the other guy takes out our spleen, we should take out his too?

And his muscles?

His brain?

And heart?

Until we are both nothing but dust.

Yes, let's reciprocate. Let us take until we are shit in the wind.


Or until both sides agree to bilaterally remove bans? Because unlike eyes, messaging can grow back.


Because this bully behavior breeds more bullies. It's a viscious cycle that typically ends with bloodshed. We should know better after two devastating world wars caused by the exact same mentality.

If you really think Trumps rhetorics will end with only messaging apps, you are short sighted and have short term historical memory


But if war is inevitable then better it occur sooner rather than later (as the CCP are becoming evermore powerful and aggressive). Imagine how much death could’ve been prevented if the world had stood up to Hitler earlier.

Tibet, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan, India, the millions of people suffering from severe drought as a result of Chinese Mekong River dams (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam), the South China Sea conflicts, the Wuhan Virus, etc.

In an ideal world, the rest of the world would join Trump in isolating China through bans and tariffs.


In an ideal world us companies wouldn't move all operations to China since the 90s thus giving China the power they wield now. Corporation greed and uber-consumerism brought us here, not China. China's the symptom.


We (un)fortunately haven’t invented time travel.


People warned about this in the 90s. But the messages were ignored because of shiny products. Are you willing to think harder now given the prices we pay for not doing so?

Let's say China is the world biggest problem. The last few years Trump worked on destroying ties with US biggest allies thus weakening the coalition against China. Succumbing to his bully rhetoric while ignoring the amount of damage he did is dangerous.


Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cuba, Syria, Guatemala and the list goes on.

The US probably has caused a lot more death in foreign countries than China.


Best it occur under competent leadership, not those more towards incompetence and war mongering who will use the guise of the cost (monetary and life) of war to loot society even further.

I wrote this comment I'm pasting below (as to not waste it) because I could no longer post it as person deleted their comment, they seemed to have difficulty understanding that US behaviour wasn't akin to the CCP's behaviour:

Perhaps lesser of two evils argument is easier to grasp? There don't seem to be any reports of genocide being conducted against any populations in the US vs. the CCP with their concentration camps for million+ Uighurs - which the United Nations has accused the CCP of genocide at. There is freedom of speech in the US as well, and no mass censorship systems - so we can be more sure that this news would surface if it was happening - whereas because the CCP does have mass control-censorship systems, what comes out of it is more rare; "China Uighurs: A model's video gives a rare glimpse inside internment" - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-53650246

I am aware of Trump administration treating immigrants and people crossing the border badly, separating children from their families, etc. This would be an apples to orange comparison however, as the CCP is a longstanding tyrannical hierarchy, and Trump is a symptom of bad actors attempting to loot America for decades - leading to regulatory capture, a two party political system with spoiled politicians on both sides, etc. Trump's the wakeup call, amplified by the dangers of the pandemic not being handled well due to a wholly incompetent admin.

There is clearly a benefit to CCP having access to a global social network, let alone from the potential monetary value it has, it's also a source of potentially manipulating billions of people - or spying, limiting reach of those anti-CCP, and potentially at some point actually targeting those people online or even in person. This strategy is the Maoism and Nazi playbooks amplified and facilitated by current technology. They've also been making massive investments in developing countries in attempts to make economic footholds and have influence there; if someone can't see that they're attempting to spoil the bunch while maintaining lead control then they're blind or naive.

Fortunately India's leadership sees the danger and took steps to ban the apps. At minimum it's economic punishment for bad behaviour that isn't considered acceptable, it's notice that we're no longer going to allow them to participate in our economies nor benefit from them if they maintain this level of bad behaviour. We do have an addiction problem to low cost produced Chinese goods, primarily independent companies who moved operations there to compete at lower prices - thus forcing other companies to move operations there in order to compete, the solution being creating an artificial barrier to entry via import taxes so it's not cheaper; because there are external costs that haven't been being accounted for, in part that of giving economic power to a tyrannical organization like the CCP.


You know what would've stopped Hitler? If after WWI the winners weren't bent on humiliating and destroying Germany's economy, thus creating a perfect ground for anti democratic nationalistic regime that offered stability as opposed to the chaos democracy supposedly brought.


Well, the bigger concern for the world right now should be the US, and their vicious campaigns to undermine any sort of fight against global warming, the most pressing concern our civilization has ever faced. China is at least officially part of the Paris accord.

Not to mention, the ecological and humanitarian devastation that the US and its close allies have been causing around the world is probably even worse than China's horrible acts with the Uyghurs and Tibetans and in other places it is trying to dominate.


I have a trillion eyes. When I remember that, I can stop trading eyes for eyes, and be content with the eyes I already have.

There is one of me: Life.

And I am sick and tired of this self-mutilation.


I normally hate it when people bring up the slippery slope fallacy, mostly because they don't actually understand it, but that's the sort of argument that you are making.

It's not an unfair question, though. But it dismisses the fact that humans usually find stopping points; that their decisions don't boil down to a series of if-then statements. We have warred for millennia, and yet we haven't totally obliterated ourselves.


This is all-or-nothing thinking and not comparable.

Blocking access, along with blocking economic benefit, isn't akin to physical harm or violence - it's the economic pressure strategy in an attempt to avoid and sway a bad actor towards better behaviour.

Your "eye for an eye" argument is also arguably shallow fear mongering towards taking appropriate, reasonable, non-violent steps.


How well did appeasement work in World War II?


Reciprocity doesn't justify repressing human rights. The pursuit of happiness is a human right. Some people pursue happiness by making dancing mobile apps and earning money with them. If China decides to limit that right it doesn't justify the US also limiting that right.

Of course this is tiny compared to the much more extreme human rights violations we see in China, the US, and elsewhere. But we should uphold rights and rule of law in all cases.


The US doesn't limit human rights. People who pursue happiness are still free to do it.

There are certain concerns around a particular corporate entity and a particular government directly associated with that entity, that has a track record of economic espionage, IP infringement, and denying US companies access to its country's market on competitive terms (the conditions that the US has been guaranteeing to almost every foreign business, until recently). And due to the found evidence of spying activity, and in the light of concerns about national security, the entity is denied access to the US market, as the entity seems to be an unfair player.

As for the human rights, if you are associated with CCP and are in support of it, from the moral standpoint there's no ground for treating you according to the Declaration of Independence, and not according to the Marxist norms declared in the CCP Constitution.


> The US doesn't limit human rights.

The US has killed thousands of civilians in its countless wars in the last decades. Just think of all the stuff that happened after 9/11 with Guantanamo Bay.

Yes, US citizens have much more right than Chinese citizens but when it comes to the rest of the world, the US so far has a worse track record than China.


> The US has killed thousands of civilians in its countless wars in the last decades.

> Just think of all the stuff that happened after 9/11 with Guantanamo Bay.

Name the people out there, and then we try to discern if they are terrorists or civilians.

I'm sure you haven't been under authoritarian regime once in your life, have you? I suggest you try living in Iran or Palestine for a while and then, with your first hand experience at hand, we can discuss who kills civilians by thousands.

If you haven't noticed, native Hongkongese have been begging the US to intervene recently. They know exactly how it feels when an authoritarian regime takes freedoms away from you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFfQvZc-Jeo


>As for the human rights, if you are associated with CCP and are in support of it, from the moral standpoint there's no ground for treating you according to the Declaration of Independence, and not according to the Marxist norms declared in the CCP Constitution.

I'm not sure if "you" is referring to me specifically or to people in general. I definitely am not associated with CCP and I definitely don't support it. But there is a moral ground for treating CCP supporters according to the Declaration of Independence. It says "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". It doesn't say "all men who agree with my politics are created equal, [...]".

We should hold ourselves to our own standard. We shouldn't hold ourselves to our opponent's standard.


> But there is a moral ground for treating CCP supporters according to the Declaration of Independence.

check your premises, because the principle here should be the same as one behind the morality of an action of self-defense, when a physical force is applied on those who initiated a physical force in the first place. If the morality of CCP contradics the one that laid foundation for the Declaration of Independence, and if proponents of the former are actively seeking to destroy the freedoms that the Declaration proclaims unalienable, their actions put them outside these freedoms automatically, and retaliation is the moral action that seeks to stop the destroyers.


I agree if TikTok is infringing on other people's rights, something should be done to stop that. If TikTok is violating current laws, they should be dealt with according to those current laws they are violating. If they are not violating any current laws, that should be rectified by writing laws to protect the rights of the people who are having their rights violated by TikTok.


They can do those things on other apps, perhaps apps not published by Chinese companies that offshore user data to circumvent privacy rights.

And you're right: This is tiny. It's tiny enough that such a big question like, "Shouldn't the right to pursue happiness prevail?" should appear unfit to ask in its context.

I'd like to ask what rights and rule of law were upheld by even permitting Chinese products in the US economy, given allowing Chinese products is in effect financing the violation of rights on the other side of the planet?


>They can do those things on other apps, perhaps apps not published by Chinese companies that offshore user data to circumvent privacy rights.

If there's a rule that Chinese apps can't be used in the US, that rule should be put into law, not enforced via arbitrary executive orders. If there's a rule that companies must store their user data onshore, that rule should be put into law, not enforced via arbitrary executive orders.

>"Shouldn't the right to pursue happiness prevail?" should appear unfit to ask in its context.

It's about precedent. Just like the FBI tried to set precedent on phone decryption on an "obviously good" case against terrorists. Once the legal overreach happens once, it will keep happening. Rights need to be protected from the very beginning.

>I'd like to ask what rights and rule of law were upheld by even permitting Chinese products in the US economy, given allowing Chinese products is in effect financing the violation of rights on the other side of the planet?

It's the rule of law of what happens in the US. If the US creates a law imposing harsh tariffs on countries that abuse human rights, then enforces that law, that's rule of law (in the US). As-is we have somewhat free trade. We can only enforce rule of law in our own borders. If we want to really enforce rule of law on other countries we'd have to invade them. We've done it before, but I'm not a fan.


Nothing is banned, you follow domestic censorship laws you get to play. Every domestic companies has to, it's onerous, and level playing fields. FB, Google still sell billions in ads to China, they were engineering compliant services to return.

Legal reciprocity is China following US laws, which it does. Functional reciprocity is forcing Chinese companies to enter JV and tech transfer - while providing Chinese companies massive land and tax subsidies. I'm sure TikTok would love that compared to forced sales.

But just to be clear, while I shit on US a lot, there's rational grounds for banning Chinese media companies only because there's such structural asymmetry, i.e. even if twitter was legal, it can't be weaponized to undermine Chinese interests because it must comply to Chinese censorship laws. But this EO is just a dumb way to do it because it opens US interests to much more global blowback. US is pissed at these companies domestically, the international resentment is even greater.


Oh come on, you want to talk about rules. When did CCP follow the rules that it agreed to follow when entering WTO?

Laws in authoritarian China are the tool for oppression. It is not well written and can be interpreted as how CCP like.


You do know that China is SIGNIFICANTLY better than US in trade fairness according to WTO statistics right? Like it's NOT EVEN CLOSE. Even if you normalize for accession time, and the fact that China had more onerous accession protocols. China has 1/3 of the complaint of US. Also go look up dispute resolution adherence. China also adheres to rulings more consistently than US, who by the way is locking up the WTO dispute resolution system by blocking judges, despite being the largest abuser of the system. Again, by far.

>China was involved in 65 disputes with 9 Economies from the time it acceded to the WTO in 2001 through 2018. China has been the complainant 21 times and the respondent 44 times.

>United States was involved in 279 disputes with 42 Economies from the time it acceded to the WTO in 1995 through 2018. The United States has been the complainant 124 times and the respondent 155 times.

For comparison

>The EU was involved in 190 disputes with 28 Economies from the time it acceded to the WTO in 1995 through 2018. The European Union has been the complainant 104 times and the respondent 86 times.

> Canada was involved in 63 disputes with 11 Economies from the time it acceded to the WTO in 1995 through 2019. Canada has been the complainant 40 times and the respondent 23 times.

Yup, China, a massive trading nation is about as bad as Canada. US, one of the least trade dependent nations is worse than EU (2nd worst offender) a coalition of countries with their own interests, many of whom trades massively. Let that set in.

This is from CSIS that scrapes directly from WTO dispute archives. -https://chinapower.csis.org/china-world-trade-organization-w...

In terms of trade barriers US has more protectionist measures than China. -https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/styles/pubs_2x/pub... -https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2019/08/30/us-compani...

The real issue is, Chinese protectionist policies disproportionately disadvantages western tech, industries that's bread and butter of western supremacy and has huge lobbying voices. That's true everywhere for strategic industries. Canada cries in Bombardier, Boeing laughs. But absolutely threatenning if China is actually competitive in said industries, i.e. all the US anxiety after Made in China 2025 -> Huawei -> IC -> TikTok. Mcdonalds, Coke, Ford... they're doing great as were majority of western companies before tariffs. Regardless, laws are laws, every Chinese company in China learned to comply after growing pains... so FAANG with more resources can't? I mean they didn't want to before because it required a lot of expensive human moderation... which Chinese companies spend resources developing. Guess what, last few years western platforms had to build the same moderation infrastructure to deal with violence China had. That's why Google and Facebook was comfortable reentering the market. If US wants a different set of laws for Chinese companies, go legislate them, like China does. Instead of arbitrary EOs. You know how US claims Chinsese companies are subservient to CCP... except can't find evidence of it. Meanwhile US pulls entities lists on Huawei and EOs according to electioneering, proving that US companies are absolutely subservient to gov. Look hypocrisy is fine, especially if geopolitics involved, but don't try to moralize that you're any better. It looks ridiculous, especially when you're qualitatively and quantitatively worse.


Hmm given all the intellectual theft and bootlegs and knock offs, I suspect the WTO complaints reflect a reality that US complaints mean something and Chinese complaints are a waste of time, thus there are fewer because nothing will be done.


You don't need to suspect or post rationalize. There are literal academic books and many papers analyzing Chinese WTO compliance record in Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), and several explicit compares and contrast US with China and EU, by western researchers. TL;DR: China isn't the devil. The latest one is literally called: China’s Implementation of the Rulings of the World Trade Organization (2019), but studies goes back a decade.


Exactly


> FB, Google sell billions in ads to China

Citation needed. Both are effectively completely blocked in China by the GFW.


Google the search engine is blocked in China. Google Ads aren't. It used to be the case that if you visited a website with Google Ads from China without VPN, most of those ads would be for VPN services. Last year, Google stopped showing VPN ads in China to comply with Chinese regulations: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-bans-vpn-ads-in-china/


Ads are sold on the platforms for clicks outside China. There may be other B2B revenue streams.


Chinese buys FB ads to sell in other regions, same with Google. They have other business presence there too. It's small relative to global operations, but point is, if they follow the law, they can operate legally. Like Microsoft.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-china-focus/face...


The question isn't if you can participate but if you should participate which is arguably directly or indirectly supporting and/or benefiting from an economy run by the CCP who also have been accused by the United Nations of genocide at their concentration camps for million+ Uighurs.


> accused by the United Nations of genocide at their concentration camps for million+ Uighurs.

UN did not claim this. Adrian Zenz who works for US interests claimed it meets UN definitions to justify XPCC sanctions despite knowing full well this was going on for past 5 years when policy started. Just like how this entire narrative was started by Zenz in a presentation at a US funded panel affiliated with UN, but not UN itself. The only real UN thermometer is US getting 23 countries to support XJ as a human rights issue, and China getting 56 countries to support it as re-education. UN will never rule this as cultural genocide (what it is) let alone genocide (what it isn't).

CCP also raised 1B out of poverty and is responsible for 30% of global growth, so really on balance a few million Uyghurs+Tibetians+HKers+ eventually Taiwan getting their human rights violated isn't convincing arithmetic for billions in the rest of the developing world who relies on Chinese growth, when magnitudes more are being screwed in Middle East for no tangible gain. CCP bad, but also good.


[flagged]


>Don't you think China's growth could have been possible without all of their tyrannical mechanisms, nor genocides and taking over other people's territory?

What taking over territory? This is another narrative people claim uncritically. CCP claims (AND DISPUTES) are inherited from ROC who inherited from Qing. China had/has the most land borders in the world, and CCP settled 12/14 with a few extremely minor clashes, and all except Pakistan with MORE land concessions (Pakistan wanted to spite India). Chinese territory SHRUNK under CCP. By any measure this is the most relative peaceful ratification of that many borders in shortest period of time. The two remaining unsettled border is India/Bhutan (aka one border)... you can check India's border settlement history (or lack of) to see whose more belligerent. Maritime disputes? Reduced from ROCs 11-dash to 9-dash. All those SCS land reclamation? Out of 6 countries who dispute the territory China was the 2nd last to reclaim land or weaponize any features - Brunei is good boi. Vietnam has twice as many features. It was doing so in response to other countries prior reclamation (and US pivot to Asia). The only difference is China doing her thing at her scale will be greater, even though she's doing it with 2% GDP to military, lower than most in the region and about how much Trump wants NATO to spend. And she's doing so with greyzone tactics and very little force. The only other country with comparable economic size as China ain't advancing geopolitical interests peacefully. Nor many countries considerably smaller, see France in Africa. Sidebar: Japan has active disputes with Russia, South/North Korea, ROC, China, aka every neighbour. Wonder why they don't get any attention. Objectively, China's territorial disputes has been so far resolved in the most peaceful manner given her scale and numbers of again, inherited disputes. Unless you think CCP should abnegate territory for no reason. So US can contain it better? Giving up inherited land and security is political suicide anywhere. She already gave up >51% of land in most disputed land claims, that's down right magnanimous by historic standards.

As for growth + authoritarianism. No. CCP grew from the same model as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, harsh dictatorship -> industrialization / manufacturing -> liberalization (Manchukuo model for Asian Tigers). Except China has 1.4B people and no US protection umbrella, which all those other countries received, so naturally this will take longer. Though full democracy is pipe dream, at best single party dictatorship like Singapore with some liberal values. In the mean time, unlike other Asian Tigers it has to try to grow with an antagonist US building bases to contain her while selling arms to the others even WHILE they were dictatorships. US stopped arms export to China after Tiananmen massacre. They didn't to South Korea after Gwangju massacre. Or Taiwan during White Terror. Hmmm. The fact is CCP had to work harder and smarter than any of those countries to uplift 400m (greater than population of other Tigers combined) into prosperity and 600m above poverty and there's _still_ another 400m in poverty despite eclipsing those countries in pretty much every industry except integrated circuits. The task is that great. Oh also throw in indigenous (copycat) military, space program, nuclear program etc etc. The only other viable model in the 20th century is authoritarian petro states, that doesn't work for 1.4B.

It's not heartless to recognize this. Like acknowledging XJ is ridiculous COIN reaction comparable 911. But at the end of the day, it's <0.1% of Chinese population so... bluntly it's a relatively small atrocity being exploited by Chinahawks for geopolitical ends. My extended family went through cultural revolution, one-child policy (family planning, aka sterilization) it sucked, wasn't genocide. They all live pretty comfortably now because those times ended. And that's one saving grace about CCP, their somewhat technocratic and goal oriented, if a movement doesn't work, it will end or they'll try something else. Not actual genocide though, because that will look bad in Xi's historiography. Re-reducation movements have end conditions. And that's what they are, per leaked internal memos themselves. Only western propaganda like that you cite + Godwin delusions try to paint it as genocide. This is like if people saw Wikileaks video of "Collateral Murder" where US gunships gun down civlians and conclude US is nuking Middle East. It's smooth brained projection. Regardless, these camps will end. Best case scenario in 10 years XJ will be a secular city with developed infrastructure and the people integrated. Or they'll try something with more stick / carrot, but it won't last forever, because unlike US prison industrial complex, or indigenous camps it's not designed to keep them down. All this is to say, analyzing CCP actions is not endorsement of CCP actions. I recognize CCP uses disproportionate force in some domains, but also overall they simply use very little force since opening up, because that's what all metrics point to normalized for Chinese scale. Again CCP bad, they should strive to be less bad, but in aggregate, mostly good. Some of us who follows the subject for a long time can discuss it with nuance without fake news claims "UN accused it of Genocide when it's US propagandist wants to labelled it as such. Or" China bans western social media". Unless you're fine with another Iraq WMD escalation and the aftermath such entails, facts matter.


do you have any recommendations for news and analysis about China in English?


It seems like you're operating with a different value system to most of the west and at the same time want approval from what is a mostly western message board. This is super apparent in "ends justifying the means" comments on XJ. You're also recycling a bunch of Chinese state media rhetoric on these topics.

The theme of the CCP being flawed but the best the Chinese people can expect b/c insert some state rhetoric here and that without them they'd be at the mercy of the western powers is propaganda. Economic tides have lifted almost every country over the past 50 years because of policies and values put forth by western institutions and worked DESPITE bad governance in some of the world.

Having maintained control of china even after some of the worst public policies of all history (cultural revolution, one-child...) is precisely the reason some are not comfortable with the ccp becoming influential outside chinas boarders.


I'm not seeking approval, nor saying end justify the means. Merely end is inflated by west to justify their means if you follow developments. Which state media topics am I recycling exactly? Every claim can be verified in western literature by subject matter experts and not lazy bylines uncritically accepted during a period of heightened tension when all parties are spewing propaganda. The rest is basic verifiable facts (border ratification) and math (incarceration rate / # hot wars over time). And TBH all I see is people in the west quote their propaganda. And for reference I'm from the west, I just recognize different values and systems and how each has a purpose, i.e. how democratizing too early is how most developing countries get stuck, essentially without exception. Whereas starting authoritarian at least has a few working models. Chinese/ASEAN geopolitics is just something I follow extremely closely for a long time, so I'm able to trace events and sequences properly unlike most people who just quote the latest talking head. Economic tides have not lifted everyone equally. Or else China would be India, or one of the other BRICs that failed to take off. The point is CCP did a great job relatively peacefully, all things considered measured relatively to other parties. CCP is the worst form of government for 1B+ people, except the for all the others. West is never going to be comfortable losing their preeminence, and US its hegemony. That's human nature, bad self rationalization is part and parcel. Take this this conclusion:

>Having maintained control of china even after some of the worst public policies of all history

Both US parties were responsible for slavery. But guess what time moves on, the last few CCP administration did a great job, lot's of progress, some regrettable regress. They're different polity, like Trump is different from Lincoln... both republicans. This is such an obvious observation but somehow all of CCP is treated as one contiguous entity and can only replicate the worst outcomes of past possibility space, i.e. frequent two-brain cell exclamations that TianAnMen 2.0 is going to happen with every incident in PRC, because somehow a massacre that happened at a time when PLA didn't have any anti-riot gear, is suppose to occur today. Or Xi's definitely going to be dictator for life, when his term has only ran for 7 years, Merkel is nearing 15. Ignoring that CCP is already grooming 6th gen of leaders (skipped 5th), aka his successor(s) are lined up. But people uneducated in the topic are too eager to eat propaganda and claim nonsense (like UN + Genocide). So here we are.


Things evolve. A small group of white men in America created the Constitution as a framework - which got rid of slavery, eventually women were allowed to vote, etc. and there's more to do - more evolution toward the ideal system that supports freedom and allows everyone in society to thrive. We've seen this playbook of CCP - Maoism combined with Nazi Germany - just amplified, intensified with modern technology.

I'm curious what your take is on the concentration camps, regardless if you don't believe in the reports of genocide, or if you even know much about it - and whether you even believe any or part of it? Here are some links for you to comment on if you want some references:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-muslim-uighurs-birth-con...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-53650246

And maybe you'd enjoy this conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXPVe-YHDzo - audio of Eric is out of sync for the first few minutes but eventually corrects.


They exist, the leaked papers attest to it. Literature on them existed for years prior, and I've been following and disagreeing for years.

Morally it's wrong.

Legally it's cultural genocide.

Domestically it's expected extreme over reaction to terrorism and separatism. There was 100+ Uyghur attacks up to 2017, verifiable on global terrorism db. Strike hard campaign to crack down and the camps didn't start until attacks moved to interior provinces, train stations, airplane hijacking, tiananmen car attack.

Practically suppressing 0.1% of the population for national security is not a difficult choice - attacks stopped after XJ system implemented.

Statistically, it's extreme but small scale human rights abuse, but not on par with actual genocide. Xi wants to be the next Mao, but better. He doesn't want 70% good 30% bad. Eradicating 1/55 Chinese minorities would be more than 30% bad. There's nothing comparable to Nazi Germany, people brought up in west too eager to jump to Godwin. These are Canadian residential schools model of cultural genocide, French deradicalization programs indoctorinate with job retraining. Just executed with Chinese modern capabilities (cameras and databases) and at Chinese scale with ultimate goal of integration. Numerically massive abuse inevitable with anything happening at Chinese scale, even if incidental, or if in relative terms it's small per capita.

Politically, Xi didn't even want these camps. Other factions pushed for it. There was debate about reforming Ethic Policy in China since previous policy based that afforded minorities relative autonomy and affirmative action failed to quell terrorism and separatism. It was the salad bowl model / soviet o'blast, aka multiculturalism. New model is based off US melting pot, everyone gets sinicized and equal treatment. I'm not a fan of Xi, but he was cornered into this by politburo the same way US was pushed into post 911 campaigns. Again, he's not all powerful, factionalism and internal politics at play.

Realistically, they're re-education / de-radicalization camps and there's a good chance they'll work. China has history with work camps and mental indoctorination. It's the industrialization and economic reforms that was difficult, because you know westernbloc sanctions during cold war. Mao was the wrong kind of dictator unlike South Korea or Taiwan. The vocational training component is real, the Uyghur slave labour narrative / aka ASPI Uyghur for sale minimizes the part where the lowest wage they could find was equivalent to Foxcon basic wage and 2x prefecture level wage from many backwater XJ regions. It's well compensated forced labor and cultural indoctrination designed to integrate not eliminate.

Geopolitically, it's being weaponized using many unsubstantiated / manufactured claims from US organizations. We're 3+ years into this and the narrative is still driven by Zenz et al. whose estimates from hundreds of thousands ballooned to 3+ million over 1200 camps with no substantiation. Actual methodological analysis from pro US think tank ASPI only found 180 camps so far. All this is well within nation state capability to verify, but still relies on questionable sources because the reality is not sensational enough to sustain a massive human rights campaign. You need some sweet FLG organ harvesting propaganda and ever changing atrocity porn for salaciousness. Per your articles: "Calls grow" aka "U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom" and a few FVEY + US aligned MPs. Uighur Model, comes with boring Zenz territory. Go geolocate his videos and pictures on the phone he somehow managed to get and see if it lines up with existing camps. 101 confirmation stuff, conveniently missing in all these stories. AGAIN, these camps exist, there's most definitely mistreatment. But convenient how the only salacious stories that make it out are US sponsored and have massive gaps, or omits info. Lot's of countries went to XJ, millions of social media posts on Chinese internet, like 20 million ppl live in the region. Chinese censorship isn't that thorough, things get out domestically ALL the time. See initial covid discontentment. Yet XJ camps... nothing? Regardless, China won't stop because again, 0.1% of the population for domestic security is no shit decision. There's is literally no amount of pressure of sanctions that will make China change. Only if the policies doesn't perform as designed. What west needs to worry about is they have no alternative model. Racial unrest everywhere in liberal world, and if China can offer a commercial package for population control within a few years while west only offers incremental improvements over decades, then west already lost. That's why China has 55 supporters, mostly Islamic. It's not debt trap. Islamic countries dealing with the same problems are curious, and frankly they want to remove "human rights" as a viable diplomatic lever.

Personally, the camps should end, though sinicization should continue. Sinicization =/= becoming Han or desecularizing. China wants to cultivate religion, it's a foreign policy goal to have more loyal Muslims for cultural exchange with predominantly Islamic OBOR countries. But sinicized Muslims with Chinese characteristics. The surveillance system should be toned back if not dismantled as with the apartheid on the ground, even though that's unlikely. Chinese companies have profit motive too, even when the trade is freedom. Prison industrial complex and surveillance is profitable. But it's within politburo power to stop. Equal family planning policy is fine. Though it does mean Uyghur population will stay at replacement level. Yeah Han chauvinists love it but ultimately China aiming for <1B population with family planning, less people is sensible for variety of reasons especially with China's resource constraints.

>Things evolve.

They do and they have. Though uneven, mostly for the better. In Kishore Mahbubani words:

>The greatest explosion of personal freedoms that the Chinese people have experienced in the past 4,000 years has taken place in the last 40 years

This is not hyperbole. Recent Harvard study: Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time. July 2020

>We find that first, since the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. Interestingly, more marginalized groups in poorer, inland regions are actually comparatively more likely to report increases in satisfaction. https://ash.harvard.edu/files/ash/files/final_policy_brief_7...

Or recent democratic survey, more Chinese think democracy is important and they live in democracy compared to many western countries.

Or most Chinese people think they have "freedom of speech", freedom being the ability to say what they want privately, because under Mao's actual authoritarian rule, even private speech overheard and reported meant a ticket to the work camps. Now you get left alone. But do so publicly, get invited to cold tea, get detained and released each time over successive times until permanent shit list. It takes work to become a state recognized dissident. The average Chinese aka 95% of the population that doesn't promote separatism, is absolutely freer now than under Mao. The problem is 5% of China is still 70m people. Regardless, this is not the same playbook. Xi's kind of an idiot, but he's sincere. Wikileak's CIA assessment of him was literally, not too smart, but incorruptible. Lot's of jaded people out there who thinks is anti corruption campaign or poverty alleviation goal is all talk. But c'mon, Xi purged 100,000+ for corruption. No one has that many enemies. And poor people is how Chinese rulers loose mandate. He's serious. Maybe it's time a declining democracies elect serious leaders of their own. Take that for what you will. Bowing out of this post now.


> Politically, Xi didn't even want these camps. Other factions pushed for it.

Curious about this. Were the internal discussions leaked? Thought it's hard to tell who the factions even are, and basically impossible to find out what they want.


Forced sterilization = genocide


What's stopping Volkswagen from lobbying Germany to ban Teslas because all the cameras in it pose a "national security risk"?

This is, by all account, a shortsighted move


But if Chinese social media firms are freely operating in the USA why can't the likes of FB and Twitter be allowed same free access in their market. Let's not see this as harming anybody but this is one of the ways to force China to open up and allow foreign businesses(social media) to spread in their domain. Imagine being forced to open a WeChat account just to chat with someone in China. If this kind of business model is allowed to continue only Chinese companies would thrive in the future.


China does it, so it is okay for us to do it is just a very weak defense of this behaviour for us looking at this from outside of China and the US.

The US stood for free markets, democracy and human rights and (at least) pretended to make international decisions based on those values. Now the fig leaf is gone and it is clear that those are mostly used to make transactions to US benefit even if it comes at the cost to others.

If you value something like free markets, you stand by it even if it comes at a cost in the near future. If opaque TikTok recommendation engines are a problem, maybe regulate them in a way that solves the problem in general? That would hurt Youtube, Facebook and co. but it also would make the EU more comfortable in the negotiation for the Privacy Shield successor.


This is how trade has always worked.

A free market doesn’t exist if a country wants to sell their products cheaply in your country completely untaxed, while taxing your goods to the point of being unattainable. Just like a country can’t reasonably say they deserve unrestrained, free access to your social media market while banning every single product from their country.

A free market means companies compete on their own merits without imbalanced restrictions. This is balancing the restrictions.


US banning Chineese apps is an anti-China move and not an anti-free market move.

An anti free market move would be protecting their own companies against all global competition, irrespective of country.


They are protecting their own companies against all global competition, irrespective of country. It just happens that only China represents a serious threat to US hegemony in this market.

Edit: This comment was being voted positively (+4) until the US folks started to wake up (now sitting at 0) :)


+4 to 0 is not THAT much of a difference to be called out tbh. So not sure if it tells you enough about US folks starting to wake up.


It is both, and in its arbitrary application, it's even worse than a purely anti-free-market move, because it's not even principled. Isolationism and domestic protectionism, if those were the given reasons, would at least be principled.


The principle is that if you are in support of CCP, you get what you preach, and should be treated according to Marxist norms. Free market is for those who respect and support free market and fair competition.


The principle is just whatever Mr. Trump personally sees and understands as being something that hurts him personally or allows him to make a move that projects his personal image of strong man.

The problem is not even the goal, but the shallowness of the approach. He doesn't appear to be surrounded by people who craft comprehensive strategies that he then understands and ponders deeply before hitting the tweet button.

He had plenty of time to organize a cohesive policy to redefine the relationship with China; this all looks like improvised reaction based on a hunch or worse based on rumors that the Tulsa rally was tanked because of a viral video on tiktok.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, please give me some stand of hope that we're dealing with a super smart 4d chess player that just behaves like an incoherent senile showbiz person. I might not agree with policies but I'd honestly prefer a competent person to this lunacy.

This whole thing is surreal. We have a chaos-monkey pulling the strings on global economy and order, and we're discussing whether he may or may not have a point on some things. He clearly has a point on something now and then. A random number generator would resonate with parts of the populace even more.


By that logic the US should ban transactions related to oil and gas supplies originating from OPEC countries.

The modern CCP bears zero resemblance to 19th-century Marxist theory.


This is how realpolitik works.

The U.S. was unique for a long time in that they did not ask for much in return for what they did, because they wanted the power (troop deployments in Europe, Hong Kong customs status, etc.).

Recently, Canada used tit-for-tat to deal with U.S. aluminum tariffs, but they're the "nice" country. This is how it all works.


It's a challenging situation a lot like freedom of speech and tolerance. The intolerant people who want to remove freedom of speech are given the freedoms to make those arguments.

I tend to think in the trade situation, it's best to play the long game and try and stay open. Once both sides start banning each other, then it's probably never turning around without some significant leverage gain by one of the parties.


> China does it, so it is okay for us to do it is just a very weak defense of this behaviour for us looking at this from outside of China and the US.

Hardly. Reciprocity is common place in all manners of international relations, be it trade, visas/travel, embassy restrictions, and even warfare. The fact that China has been allowed to conduct themselves this way with little to no retaliation is the outlier, not these new actions.


> China does it, so it is okay for us to do it is just a very weak defense of this behaviour for us looking at this from outside of China and the US.

This is how trade relationships work.

If china puts a tariff on us, for corn, or steel, or whatever, then the US is going to put the same exact corn/steel tariff on them.

Reciprocity is a foundational premise of trade relations.

> The US stood for free markets

We have tariffs against many countries for many different reasons... This is nothing new. That is just how trade relations work.


>We have tariffs against many countries for many different reasons... This is nothing new. That is just how trade relations work.

That's not trade, it's politics. Any economist would point out that tariffs hurt Americans by increasing the prices they pay. Yeah, let's teach those Chinese a lesson by making goods more expensive and reducing our standard of living!


I used to be on this train that tariffs are always bad, but when other countries have them I think there is a benefit to the US having them. It allows the US to capture some of the benefits that this other country is taking. Yes everyone is worse off than without tariffs, but the US is slightly better off from the world where only other countries have them. There is also the additional caveat of industries moving to other countries because of cheap export back to the US - there is a benefit to keeping people employed especially when other countries don’t have ethical labor laws. This results in more expensive goods, but prices in externalities like workers not working in sweatshops.


> That's not trade, it's politics

Exactly the words you should be addressing to CCP, as the modern mainland China is not involved in fair trade, doesn't respect IP laws, and doesn't treat US companies equally on its territory.


In this situation we would be taking one of their companies though, which benefits Americans.

A US company recieves this company, and we get it for cheap.


Agreed.

It's the China government started the trend of banning apps from foreign countries so that their own companies can grow and spread outside China.

I see this ban as a late but fair move.


> I see this ban as a late but fair move.

Governments ban apps at will? Sounds like a Communist Regime move.


>> I see this ban as a late but fair move.

A late but fair move to achieve what, exactly?


Reduce CCP's influence on the world.


Wouldn't that lead to USA having more influence, in the world? When it comes to such things as surveillance, I'm not sure they're any better. Behind, yes, but not by choice and not by far, either.


Pretty sure that's a goal of the US. Regarding surveillance of own citizens China is on a whole different level at the moment which is crazy considering the US is basically a lost cause in that regard too. Everywhere is if we're to be honest with ourselves.


CCP basically equals China and for most intents and purposes, Chinese people. Limiting their influence is just a way of saying to limit the rise and influence of China and the companies/people there, because there's no way for any Chinese person or company that has vested interests in the market there to escape the accusations and comply with any demands from the West except to completely cease operation of business there. Any person from China, or company from China, can simply be canceled by saying "they are a subject of the communist party."


China is far older than the cancer of the CCP and the Chinese people will cut that cancer out eventually. The CCP have been doing it to everyone else and their own for years. The difference is they go to far greater extremes to cancel everything and everyone who doesn't tow the party line. They deserve what's coming to them.


Regardless of how or why, the CCP has majority support by its citizens, even if you as a foreign national disagree. Even if they do not have democracy, they can still vote with their complacency.


How do we have any way of knowing this when punishment for dissent is so severe?


Nope. You don’t get to use false equivalence to conflate CCP with all Chinese people. You can’t equate adversity towards the Communist Party as an attack on all Chinese people. It’s sad that their government has such authoritarian control that it works that way, but it’s the Chinese people’s problem to solve if their government causes unacceptable consequences for them.


Maybe to show benefits of natural law.


What are the benefits? In this context they are not clear to me.

"If you punch me in the face then, later, I'll punch _you_ in the face".

This type of behavior may be par for the course in USA but how is it good for humanity?


May I offer my apologies for saying the USA act violent and dominant. You're not all violent and dominant. I'm sorry. Friends?


I've been asking the same question about Black Lives Matter causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.


“Tit for tat”.

Not saying whether I agree or not, just saying that it is, according to at least some people, a reason in and of itself.


Yeah, show them the power of the free world by checks notes banning all their apps, which is only constitutionally possible because the app stores are controlled by two American companies, and the ban technically works on the companies rather than banning the apps directly, proving the value of a sophisticated Western legal system!!!


You can't show them anything anyway, it's all censored there.


What do two companies have to do with constitutionality?


This is just wishful thinking in the current situation. Don’t expect Chinese government to reverse what it has been doing for years in this political shitshow. Chinese living in US are unfortunately sandwiched in the between and helpless.


I recall that FB, Twitter, and Google were all available in China at one point, but they left because they didn’t want to follow China’s information and data laws.


yeah and fb and google still have ads revenue from China


The problem is lack of use of open protocols, not any single company in particular.

Having to sign up with FB or Google to be able to chat with people there is really no different to me (and it was not always the case in case of Goolgle). At least in case of Google, I can still send e-mails to Google accounts from anywhere.

This business model was allowed to continue in US, and now I can't communicate with Google users as I could in the past via jabber.


And how does following suit not in fact ratify the business model because now banning on security grounds is legitimate? (Note that nowhere is the justification or condition stated to be one of reciprocal market access.) Isn't it interesting that there are laws on the books and authority vested in a single man to do this already? If this isn't struck down by the courts, then it just shows to the world, not for the first time, that America's vaunted values are a pretty thin veneer, conveniently discarded when it suits.


This is nonsensical. Even if China bans American social media apps for no reason, that's no reason for us to copy their authoritarian, speech-suppressing tactics.

That being said, China levies rules on foreign companies that are levied across all companies, and some foreign companies don't want to play by those rules. That's totally different from an outright ban based on "national security." Just think about it, how is Wechat/TikTok supposed to even comply with US demands? It's clearly a political move. Plus, Wechat users in American know they're being watched by the communist party, whereas Facebook users don't even know how much they're being watched by the US government...


> Even if China bans American social media apps for no reason, that's no reason for us to copy their authoritarian, speech-suppressing tactics.

There absolutely is a valid reason to be authoritarian towards authoritarians. They get what they preach and deserve. It is the same principle of morality of an action of self-defense, when a physical force is applied on those who initiated a physical force in the first place.


It's not going to work. It's just going to cut off Chinese in America from talking to their friends and family. Evil.


US companies are not forbidden to operate, they don't want to comply with Chinese surveillance laws... Apple who decided to comply indirectly by letting a Chinese company manage the data, is offering all their services there.

This is a public image question for Western world companies more than anything.


The whole reason Apple let a Chinese company manage their customers' data is because the Chinese government changed the law to forbid them operate those kind of cloud services for Chinese customers themselves, the same reason other companies like Amazon have to let Chinese companies run their version of AWS: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-apple-icloud-insigh...

"In a statement, Apple said it had to comply with recently introduced Chinese laws that require cloud services offered to Chinese citizens be operated by Chinese companies and that the data be stored in China. It said that while the company’s values don’t change in different parts of the world, it is subject to each country’s laws."

Also note how the Chinese government effectively set up and runs this company, so the government more or less forced Apple to give their Chinese operations to them.


I guess, like China, USA is becoming authoritarian state. It is not about reciprocity. USA was considered the beacon of success and role model compared to China. Recent actions by USA justify other countries to do the same against foreign products and services. USA has no leg to stand on when other countries block US products and services. Good luck creating new Apple, Google, and Facebook scale companies.


Maybe the 36,000 US troops in Germany?

EU countries don't get to have "national security" that conflicts with the US to more than a trivial extent, like the Airbus/Boeing conflict. That's been a tradeoff that was accepted since the end of WW2. The US now complains about Europe not having strong militaries, having forgotten that for decades it was policy to discourage Europe from having strong militaries in case that started another war.

The US and China only get to play the national security card like this because of a high degree of conventional military and economic power.


> Maybe the 36,000 US troops in Germany?

Do german people really care about those? (besides the obvious economic benefits in the towns where those troops are stationed due to local spending)

I always thought it benefited the US more than germany (easier access to eastern europe and middle east).


My point was that any consideration of the US as a "national security threat" to Germany should take into account the physical national security and ask what national security actually means when there are troops from the other country stationed in yours (along with their associated CIA listening posts etc). It makes it very hard to suddenly treat the US as a hostile power. "The cars have to go but the troops can stay" is obviously nonsense.


I think GP meant to imply that parts of the EU are effectively still US client states and not totally void of US influence on their politics. It's pretty common for top politicians in Germany to be part of some transatlantic organisation set up by the US ("Atlantikbrücke", ...). Same goes for journalists in leading news papers, which will result in more favourable US press coverage.


Germany has the largest overseas hospital for Americans. Its an extremely important strategic resource.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landstuhl_Regional_Medical_Cen....


Not really, Trump wants to pull over 10.000 troops out of Germany because of an oil pipeline deal with Russia. The public opinion pretty much is that, while he's at it, he should also take his bombs with him. But the public opinion probably not is the best deal politically.

The plan is to relocate them to other bases in Europe (mainly Italy and Belgium) so in the big picture it really doesn't matter.


Germans are actually happy that Trump wants to remove US troops.


The fact that we are allies with Germany and that the US probably buys a lot more from Germany than Germany buys from the US.

With China, well, they are already blocking lots of American software companies so this would be more of a proportional response than anything else.


US buys from Germany because German products are on average better than US products. Nothing else.


proportional? China gave a clear path forward to those companies if they want to operate in China (setting up severs in China, complying local laws, etc..) They chose not to do so and left. Did US gave any clear path how these tech companies can continue operate in the US other than selling themselves and giving the goverment a commission?


> proportional? China gave a clear path forward to those companies if they want to operate in China (setting up severs in China, complying local laws, etc..) They chose not to do so and left. Did US gave any clear path how these tech companies can continue operate in the US other than selling themselves and giving the goverment a commission?

The real question is, why did the West went along with that bad deal at first place and allowed China into the WTO under these conditions. It was extremely short sighted.


Because China was a poor country back then but had the potential to become a huge market. China was given all sorts of advantages to allow it to develop its economy on the hope that western companies could do business there. China is now a fully developed country (well, the cities are at least), yet it still retains the same economic advantages but market access is still a carrot they dangle before western companies.


Because it was actually a very good deal for the West, contrary to all the gnashing of teeth one hears.

China had to carry out massive economic reforms in order to join the WTO, such as the privatization or splitting up of many state-owned enterprises, large reductions in tariffs, opening up of many sectors to foreign investment, the creation of a legal system to protect IP, and much more. Moreover, China joined under unusual terms that allowed other countries to more easily retaliate against China - sort of a probationary status.

Western companies did extremely well in this relationship. Much of the growth in the West over the past few decades is thanks to China's opening-up.


you left out the parts about having to operate via a chinese 'partner' and having to transfer your IP to that partner (full source code)


Isn't that similar to the requirements[1] placed on Huawei in the UK if they want to sell any network equipment? Everything must be inspected and overseen by GCHQ.

[1] https://www.wired.co.uk/article/huawei-gchq-security-evaluat...


No, one is oversight and due diligence, the other is IP transfer so that your company can be cloned and then be given whatever resources needed from shady banks so that they can put you out of business.


Depends, do UK companies have a long history of stealing IP from outside companies and profiting off that IP with no repercussions from the UK gov?


this is a lie. I work for AWS and directly work with the partner in China. They do not get our source code, we build supporting tools for them to operate our software. I repeat, they do not get our source code.


AWS must have the means to bribe the right people then. GCP does not work in China at all.


Saying that the US companies chose not to obey China laws, etc is simplifying the situation dramatically in favour of China. In this case, don't the Chinese laws include a requirement for a Chinese "partner" company and obligations towards IP transfer? These requirements don't sound like a fair arrangement to me and, as far as I know, there are no comparable requirements in the US on foreign companies.


At least for fb and google, not the case.


Path that is harmful and injurious to conscience and business is worse than daylight robbery.


Being allys with the US is a special thing though. Just the other day the US threatened "crushing legal and economic sanctions" against a German port for being involved in North Stream 2.

"The US argues that the pipeline will increase Europe's dependence on Russia, which both Berlin and Moscow dispute. The US proposes selling European's American natural gas shipped across the Atlantic as an alternative."

But a greater dependency on the US is fine of course. The, as a champion of free trade, should be happy about more competition right?


This is not proportional at all. That you agree or not on Chinese laws is one thing, having to abide to the country laws makes sense. Being a us company doesn't grant a bypass card. To abide to an arbitrary decision based on nothing because the company is chinese is something quite different. The Chinese government would do this on Apple, for example, i'm quite sure it would create quite an outrage.


TBH I can see how Tesla could be labelled that, and if it was a Chinese company I'd suspect it would eventually, the spying potential from all those streaming cameras and AI without any insight or oversight of the process.

Germany is in bed with the US, especially the secret service.


Not sure how long Germany, or Europe for that matter, remains in bed with US. The current administration is isolationist and if the future ones adopt the same policies, we might see a decoupling of Europe and USA. Won't happen overnight but if I were a gambling man, I would wager on it.

I don't think after all this we can go back to the old world order.


I think a big part in this story will be Brexit and how much UK turns to US for trade partnership and how much friction that causes over EU industry interest groups.


> What's stopping Volkswagen from lobbying Germany to ban Teslas because all the cameras in it pose a "national security risk"?

Nothing. And it would not surprise me if Germany did it or at least put up a lot of barriers to help Volkswagen.


Hence Tesla is building the Berlin Giga.

It's not so much against straight out bans, but against Germany lobbying for all sorts of regulations in the EU to limit Tesla's market access.

With Tesla now having a huge factory in Germany, suddenly Germany will lobby in favor of Tesla.

Didn't people understand from the start that this was the primary reason why Musk chose Germany?


Well Tesla's sentry mode and sensor suite that is connected to the internet could actually pose a massive security risk. I wouldn't be surprised if they were banned from entering military installations and other sensitive areas, not that Germany has that many of them that aren't open to US military personnel.



> This is, by all account, a shortsighted move

Politicians tend to be shortsighted (reelection, next term). That's partly why not enough has happened (or will happen, under this political paradigm) when it comes to the environmental issues our habitat is facing.


I'm not sure that having dash cam footage is analogous to having access to private conversations to the degree of a social media company.


In some ways, it is worse. At least the participants in a social media chat are volunteers. Cameras everywhere in cars with uploads to a central facility could be used to spy on the general public without their knowledge or consent.

Some people will probably argue at this point that there is no right to privacy in a public place. I disagree on both moral and pragmatic grounds with such an absolute statement in light of modern technologies and what privacy means (or should mean) now, but more importantly, the culture and laws in some parts of the world disagree too.

Restricting uploads of dash cam footage would be a rational response to that situation.


Dashcams are already regulated in Germany and Austria. People have been ticketed for always on dash cams; only those that are triggered activated (button pushed or shock detected) are allowed. (And yes, I know they use a buffer)

And even without that, there are other laws that would make it illegal for Tesla to just download cam footage without solid reasons. Hell even GDPR would apply, as it would contain personal information (license plates), and the penalties are severe ("€10 million, or 2% of the firm’s worldwide annual revenue from the preceding financial year, whichever amount is higher").


The understanding that the US would respond in kind by banning the import of VW Group vehicles or putting a very high tariff on them. In any case it wouldn’t be in Germany’s interest with the new Tesla factory going up there.


That's comparing apples and elephants. Also, there are already laws in Germany about how long such images may be stored and how they may be used.


They declared the touch controls for the windshield wipers a distraction, so that they can fine Tesla owners for using it. In my opinion, creating liability for the buyer will be much more effective than trying to battle Tesla directly. So they are taking action to protect their local car industry.

It's just that as long as the power dynamic is that Trump looks like a stubborn toddler while Merkel is the responsible parent, the US won't be able to do much about Tesla taking a hit. Plus, I'm not sure how much Trump likes Musk... so maybe he's willingly accepting it.


I think a better comparison/scenario is the PI data hoovering cadre of US SM companies.


The difference is that Tesla isn't headquartered in a communist nation that has the ability to take complete control of all business decisions.

Also, Tesla doesn't have 80 million monthly active users in Germany who are young & impressionable.


The US is stopping Germany from banning Teslas, it's a matter of power. The US wouldn't be acting that way if they weren't a military super power, and they certainly wouldn't accept it if anyone acted that way towards them unless that country has nukes.


Are you still trying to find logic in trumps actions?

The popular opinion on reddit seems to be that this is just trump being told that tiktok users where responsible for his failed tulsa rally, and personally, that explanation seems just as likely as any of the other explanations given here...


That's a partisan take and even Democrats have supported moves against China (though they have mixed support of this strong of an action). While China moves Uigher Muslims onto trains and forces sterilizations on them, we should probably be doing something more than just making them ad revenue.


Trump is smarter than that. He will also take credit for "securing America, because he stopped the Chinese computer virus that sleepy Joe and the socialist Dems wanted to let into America"


You're overthinking this. It's one thing for a popular app to come from another country. It's another thing when that country has complete control over business decisions, is your biggest global competitor, and is known to play dirty.


What still amazes me after 5 (?) years since Snowden's revelations it's how EU hasn't banned US social platforms yet.


Well, it kind of did. The EU's highest court, the European Court of Justice just passed its final ruling last month stating that the "Safe Harbor" agreements called Privacy Shield etc. that US companies use to be able to operate in the EU in compliance with EU privacy laws are inadequate given the widespread mass surveillance used by the US. [0] That's not banning but it requires US companies to actually invest and change their modes of operation if they want to continue to operate in the EU without being fined.

[0]: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/07/eu-court-again-rules-n...


Doesn't Tencent own interests in all of these game companies? Does mean that even things like Fortnite are illegal now?


The US lost that near-monopoly years ago.

Broadly speaking, I think we're witnessing the birth of three distinct global powers.

One is centered on the US, and consists (broadly) of Canada, Mexico, the rest of Latin America, the Commonwealth nations, Japan, Korea, Israel, and Taiwan.

An American civil war would destabilize this to a large degree, so we'll have to see if that plays out.

Edit, since people seem confused: This would be an absolute nightmare scenario, but it is in the realm of possibility, and would massively change international political structures.

Another is centered on Germany and France, and controls Europe, parts of Africa, and the Middle East.

Finally, we've got China, which will likely control a big chunk of Africa and Southeast Asia.

Russia is a tough one, but I see them siding with China or Europe.

Contested territory will include Taiwan, bits of the Middle East, and an escalation of the border disputes with Japan. Likely bits of eastern Europe, plus conflicts on the China/India border...

What a time to be alive.

Edit: Just because somebody says that something is a possibility doesn't mean that they want that thing to happen.

Me coming down with a case of COVID is a possibility. In fact, I'm operating under the assumption that I will be infected at some point, regardless of precautions (masks, hand-washing, stepping back from my competitive doorknob-licking career, etc.)

That doesn't mean I want a case of Horribly Shitty Virus With Not-Yet Well-Documented Complications.

I'm just prepared for the worst (as best as I can), and hoping for the best (because why not?)


American Civil War 2 is an impossible fantasy. You need regional divisions in the military, which we don't have. These new alliances don't make sense either.


It would look nothing like the original American Civil War; this would be a 4th generational war. The most conventional it would look like would be the war against the Iraqi insurgency. Defections and sabotage within the US military combined with attacks on infrastructure would reduce its ability to function normally.

In such a scenario, Humpty Dumpty is not being put back together again. The US would most likely break apart, assuming some foreign power doesn't manage to conquer all of its former territory.


I'm not saying that I think that it is probable, but if one where to look at other civil wars in history, would they all really be that different from current america?


You don't need divisions in the military. You need divisions in society, of which in the US there are plenty.


No, "American Civil War II" is an absolute nightmare scenario.

I would go as far as to say we're in a cold one right now.

I would not have imagined this possible four years ago, but now, given the level of division... yeah, it appears to be on the table.

That's cause for fairly grave concern, by the way.

Imagine that the election goes into a toss-up. Which it likely will. Both parties have been laying the groundwork to contest the election, between claims of "voter suppression" and "voter fraud".

I don't think either team would accept anything other than an absolute landslide victory from the other side. And even then, maybe not.

I could see the Western seaboard (plus Hawaii) seceding in the case of a Trump victory. In the case of a Biden victory, I'd expect years of domestic insurgency, which I'd still call a "civil war".

Either way, I don't see any way out for the US right now that isn't outright ugly.

I very, very much hope I'm wrong, of course, and that things calm down after November (regardless of who wins).


Why, because of the protests? If the protests had the potential to overthrow the government by force, they would be met with bombs and bullets. Civil wars are fought by armies and the US military is completely unified behind the preservation of the US government.


Yes, but in the event of a highly disputed election, which government?

(I don't think all the stuff above is very likely, because I think the Trump hold on power is a lot shallower than most, but I do think there's going to be polling station violence in some places, continuing conflict between federal and state law enforcement, and a lot of lawsuits after the election contesting individual vote counts, far more so than Bush vs Gore. Especially over postal ballots.)


> Civil wars are fought by armies

May I direct your attention to the Cultural Revolution? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution

The possibility is there.

> The US military is completely unified behind the preservation of the US government.

I agree! But what happens if the question of "Who is the commander-in-chief" becomes unclear?

That is the possibility that's on the table. If there's an absolutely clear victory in the next election and the loser steps down, then we're in way better shape.

Posse Comitatus remains intact, and factional violence is left in the hands of domestic law enforcement (whatever that looks like at the time).

Which is what I'm seriously hoping for.

But if not... once again, I'm amazed to even be considering that possibility, but it's there.


Cultural Revolution was not a civil war, and also...how would that possibly happen in America?As for who is the president, they would just defer to SCOTUS like in 2000.


> Cultural Revolution was not a civil war

That's splitting hairs.

Mao's Red Guards -- student revolutionaries and young adults -- effected a drastic shift in power, from a more liberal government to Mao (a strong authoritarian), and something on the order of three million people died as a direct consequence.

Moreover, China lost an unbelievable amount of its history, as revolutionaries purged the "Four Olds" (customs, culture, habits, and ideas).


Pedantically, it's not splitting hairs when we do (at least did, last century) have an internationally accepted definition of a civil war:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23880237


> Civil wars are fought by armies and the US military is completely unified behind the preservation of the US government.

Let me give you an examples of a Lebanese civil war

Second, it's not that US potential adversaries have ever cease attempts to recruit 5th column in the general staff.

A big double digit percentage of civil wars in 20th century were foreign power assisted, if not staged, and triggered by them.

US generals with extreme right political views are ripe for taking for a country that seemed to ace recruiting rightist elements for its cause. You know what country I am talking about.


The US generals seem to the left of, or at least nonplussed by, the Trump faction. The removal of the captain of the Theodore Roosevelt didn't help his support either.

It's the patchwork of law enforcement who are more willing to cause street-level trouble. We've already seen one protest which involved people bringing guns to a state legislature. What if there was another one, in response to an "abolish the police" candidate winning locally, and the police backed the occupiers over the legitimate state government?


Why would the states secede? What do they have to gain?

Calexit isn’t supported by even half of the California population. These scenarios are nothing more than fantasies for people who like to discuss war scenarios.


Three arguments against the western seaboard plus hawaii seceding:

    Kitsap
    Pearl Harbor
    San Diego


+ JBLM


I stuck to those naval bases (Bay Area HN'ers will notice the absence of Alameda and Moffett) because I'd guess others could, in principle, be relocated without notably affecting their missions[1], but the US would never tolerate losing its (not so?) Pacific harbours, especially the sub pens.

Best (with non-generic probability) scenario for secession I can imagine at this point: under a foreign nuclear umbrella, the west coast agrees that (a) in exchange for retaining responsibility for the federal debt, the US gets all the nukes, and (b) Ecotopia gives the US a long term lease on the bases mentioned above, à la Subic Bay.

As Hawaii was originally filibustered in to the Union, it might be poetic justice for it to join Ecotopia, but both finances and Pearl Harbor would far more likely leave it subordinated to the haoles in DC.

(Unlike Vancouver with the Trans Mountain Pipeline, Ecotopia doesn't seem connected to the US' crude pipeline network, so that part would be easy. Financially, the west coast would find it easier to balance their budgets if they were independent. I doubt Ecotopia would retain any inland territories, but under capitalism and in the absence of blockades, money gets you through times of no food much better than food gets you through times of no money.

I've discovered the items above en passant, so I haven't bothered running down the rest of the feasibility arguments — but I'm sure someone, or even multiple someones in multiple jurisdictions, has.)

[1] Note that the B-52s have recently been relocated from Guam to somewhere in flyover country without, according to the USAF, affecting their missions. (What mission a 70-year old design could still have is above my pay grade.)

Bonus track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SOryJvTAGs


An impossible fantasy to be sure, but one which the second amendment people love to talk up at every opportunity.


A German, French and Russian alliance is probably the winning move and was thwarted more than once by Anglo-Saxon intervention. Right now the US actively tries to sabotage the Nordstream 2 completion (https://www.dw.com/de/ist-nord-stream-2-noch-zu-retten/a-538...), which would make Germany energy independent from US controlled Gas.


Germany hasn‘t needed US gas in a long time. There‘s plenty of LNG from Qatar and other nations on the market plus the existing pipelines for Russian gas through Ukraine etc.

Only the US wants Germany to buy American gas because $$$


Qatar is a US protectorate, just as it was a British before (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Udeid_Air_Base). The British still maintain planes there. They have no independent means of survival. Most of the oil and gas is either in the US / British sphere of influence. The few exceptions (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Lybia, Syria, Venezuela), Transit countries like Georgia, Ukraine. All were messed with in subtle and not so subtle ways


That is very nice. Still doesn't fill the US coffers when gas is being bought there.


The Russian and EU political and social landscapes are too at odds with each other for this to happen, at least in anything other than a doomsday scenario for both groups. Russia is more likely to join up with China than the EU.


In the far past perhaps but EU(led by Germany and France to a good extent) and Russia won't be allies any time soon or you've been missing a ton of Russian efforts in it's neighbourhoods.

Russia's very much opposed to a more united EU and matters such as a joint energy union. Stuff like Nord Stream is mostly a consequence of it's successful subversion (see Gerhard Schröder) and playing of members interest against eachother (see Bulgaria's pipeline being blocked) which allows it to keep higher pricing and even use it's pricing as a political tool.

Russia will do it's own thing i believe as it has been doing. Allying and inserting itself where possible in the likes of Syria, etc striking deals with Egypt, china, etc wherever it suits it because despite being largely a terrible oligarchy it has managed to steer itself well in the governments self interest under Putin.


Is it bad that I read that as the "Nordstrom Completion", and was wondering why the Europeans needed more overpriced fashion items?


>Another is centered on Germany and France, and controls Europe, parts of Africa, and the Middle East.

These countries are trying to get Facebook to pay a regional tax, not rebelling against sixty years of NATO. I don't understand how you can consider them a distinct global power from the US, and I'm unclear what these non-contested regions you think are part of their base.


You've completely forgotten India, which is really the one power that can credibly stand up to China on its own.


Part of the Commonwealth, no?


Whilst relations are better it had itself set up as a 3rd faction and even being closer to the soviets during the cold war due to US alliance with Pakistan. Now Pakistan has largely shifted into China's sphere of influence and the US has slowly turned it's attention towards China that might change but i don't expect it to be in a way as subservient as other commonwealth nations like Australia.


I feel this is a really solid summary of the world order for the coming decades. We're still in a cold war mindset that suggests there has to be US vs. X with X now increasingly being China), but in a globalized world we'll see a more fragmented landscape. The US seems to move towards the final stages of its dominance which leaves space for others, but this space can be filled by a multitude of interlinked competitors.


Russia is much much much smaller, but they have a large mental footprint.


where's India in all that?


Part of the Commonwealth, no?


Not in modern times no. It gained complete independence from Britain in the 50s I think? Unless you're referring to all countries that were at one time controlled by the British Empire, which I think is a little out of touch with how much those countries have diverged from one another politically since then.



Ah I thought you were referring to the Commonwealth realms [1], which do not include India but do include nations like Canada and Australia. The point on diverging political stances still stands.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_realm


yeah but with its own problems and a location that would make it think more carefully about escalating antagonizing China to military intervention


Commonwealth implies Oceania. (but does pakistan stay in, or go with Eastasia?)

For both Orwellian and cultural reasons, I could easily see russia modifying some laws and joining Eurasia.


Why wishing them Civil war? Do you have real information that this is in the making? Or you are against America and wish her evil?


> and other forms of monetizing the web if the US creates a precedent for "national security"

By far not a precedent. USA has been doing this even with its Western European "allies" for as long as NATO existed.

As for Chinese cos. Forced sales at firesale prices are not unprecedented too: Sany


What I also don't get is why they'd be so stupid. Just tax the companies locally and make a profit.

As long as they contribute to the local economy, provide a service, and operate within the bounds of the law, that should suffice.

Banning them is just worse for everyone.



Advertising won't stop. It is just someone else who will make the money.


What I don't get about the fervor the Trump administration is placing on banning Chinese apps over national security is that: i) on one hand there were Congressional hearings held 2 weeks ago where Trump said "Big Tech (FAANGs) were too big and needed to be broken up", and ii) on the other hand the US gov wants to now further cement American companies as de facto 'monopolies' for the world.

There's already various international issues with CCP-affiliated companies, but there must be some ulterior motive to go after TikTok and WeChat with such urgency right now, as opposed to any other time in the last 4-5 years.

* Personally, I think the result of what happens to TikTok, WeChat, or US app stores over Chinese apps doesn't matter in the end. What matters is that demands on Chinese apps to come to a deal with the US by September gives Trump more firepower to work with - if the deal happens, Trump paints himself as a US savior from Chinese meddling; if the deal doesn't happen, Trump blames China entirely as the bully and pushes America to retaliate.


a) Publishing is altogether a different situation.

b) Small nations can't feasibly have their own social app networks to any degree of scale.

c) The US is not China. For the most part FB is not a national security risk, whereas the Chinese apps could become that. China uses it's apps to observer and control every aspect of behaviour in China - the wherewithal, mans, intent etc..

d) This is tit for tat: China does not allow foreign social media in it's house.

I'm not so sure I agree with this, but it's not so outlandish.


Election. Team Trump believes it needs to take a firm stand on something or other.

There are much more obvious national security threats, but this is kindergarten tit for tat politics for ratings. So don't expect any action on those.

Or any understanding of second order consequences for the US. Or a coherent national IT security strategy, which is what the US and EU really need.


The Trump administration is stirring up China hate as a means of getting reelected. Anything goes. The national security concerns may or may not be factual, but Trump doesn't care about that one bit.

It baffles me that people cannot see this very obvious fact. Just proof that his strategy is working.


This was replied to wrong comment. Sorry!


I did not imply that he wished a civil war on America. I am not sure how you read that in my comment.


Sorry, I replied to the wrong comment!


I really think its as simple as Trump hates TikTok because 95% of TikTok users are not Trump supporters. Every thing else is just excuses/rationalization for the ban (although some of the reasons may actually be good, they aren't what Trump cares about)


You have posted the reason why this and the TikTok ban is most likely a bluff.

This (ordering companies such as Apple and Google to sever all business with TikTok and WeChat's owners and by extension removing them from all app stores) is a cannon that only can be fired once and will be so loud that it will fundamentally damage the centralised app store model.

This is similar to the muslim travel ban and will be overturned by some court and the Trump administration probably expect this. But does this anyway for the purpose of political communication.


> if the US creates a precedent for "national security" in this way

It can be a real threat to national security[1]:

> Thursday's order alleges that TikTok "automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," such as location data and browsing and search histories, which "threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information -- potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

It has nothing to do with other Western nations. It's about protecting your citizens from aggressive foreign states that operate based on completely different values.

I would consider going even further, and banning all Chinese researchers from the top US schools[2]:

> Seventy-one institutions, including many of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States, are now investigating 180 individual cases involving potential theft of intellectual property.

> Almost all of the incidents they uncovered and that are under investigation involve scientists of Chinese descent, including naturalized American citizens, allegedly stealing for China.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/06/politics/trump-executive-orde...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/health/china-nih-scientis...


The source you linked contains no concrete evidence that TikTok poses a greater risk to national security than similar US based social networks.


How can "similar US based social networks" pose a national security risk to the US?

They might pose a national security risk to China. And that's why all the US-based social networks are banned in China.

Also, the US intelligence agencies could have just validated these public claims by themselves[1]:

> For what it's worth I've reversed the Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter apps. They don't collect anywhere near the same amount of data that TikTok does, and they sure as hell aren't outright trying to hide exactly whats being sent like TikTok is. It's like comparing a cup of water to the ocean - they just don't compare.

And the US and India are not the only countries with deep concerns here. The investigations into TikTok's data collection practices have also been launched by the governments of Australia, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the EU[2].

[1] https://old.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/fxgi06/not_new_news...

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/08/03/its-not-just...


None of your sources provide any concrete evidence. Right now all you’ve linked to is xenophobic fearmongering unsupported by any data whatsoever.

Show me the Frida or Wireshark logs showing that TikTok collects more than, say Facebook. Link to actual evidence that China uses it to spy on Americans.


> None of your sources provide any concrete evidence.

> Link to actual evidence that China uses it to spy on Americans.

That's not how national intelligence works, I'm afraid. The actual evidence is often provided only to the decision makers, and not to the general population.

And even if TikTok wasn't doing anything wrong at the moment, the risk assessment might have concluded, that it could technically turn into a national security nightmare overnight.


Yeah, national stupidity works by giving ridiculous power to tech illiterate people that don't even know how Android and iOS sandboxes and permissions work.


Are you arguing that the national intelligence agencies of the US are incapable to properly assess technical national security risks?

Or that it is completely impossible that any widely distributed proprietary software developed in China could pose any national security risks?


I think they're arguing that on modern iOS and android the application sandboxing and permissions make a lot of the data collection described improbable/impossible.


There is a huge difference between "improbable" and "impossible" here.

Was it highly improbable that Saudi crown prince could hack into Bezos's iPhone? Yes, it was. Nevertheless, that's exactly what happened[1].

Now imagine what Chinese government could do with TikTok.

Also, application sandboxing and permissions can mean nothing at all[2]:

> A billion or more Android devices are vulnerable to hacks that can turn them into spying tools by exploiting more than 400 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, researchers reported this week.

> The vulnerabilities can be exploited when a target downloads a video or other content that’s rendered by the chip. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all.

> From there, attackers can monitor locations and listen to nearby audio in real time and exfiltrate photos and videos. Exploits also make it possible to render the phone completely unresponsive. Infections can be hidden from the operating system in a way that makes disinfecting difficult.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/technology/jeff-bezos-hac...

[2] https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/snapd...


they pose smaller risk, as they sell data to china. But that can simply be outlawed with something like GDPR, without a big drama, unlike a ban


I'm using Tiktok on my iPhone and I can't even find an option to allow access to my location? I'm pretty sure any Apps can't access my browsers or search history either..?


iPhone is a locked device. Nothing stops apple from actually not giving you that option for particular apps and you would know nothing about it.


bingo

not a lot of people are indoctrinated into the world of national security, and because of that they just balk at it

there's a lot going on in the world, and it's not a big happy place where everyone are friends, to put it bluntly

china has other motives, I think a quick google should at least clue one in their corporate espionage activities


> indoctrinated

This is not normally a word with positive connotations.

Because the US is a free speech country, people can be aware that quite a lot of stuff done in the name of national security, especially since 9/11, is highly questionable. And the current administration has its own national security questions to answer relating to Russia.


It is not the first time I am surprised by the complete unawareness of the world of national security in the US tech industry:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18655803


if you believe that story, I believe you dont have the competency to work on a tech job. Go read some book in electronic engineering.


As you stated, this is about national security, which should be of the utmost urgency and concern. So you think saving the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter is more important than saving the liberty of citizens and the lives of the overseas dissidents that are being endangered?


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