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China uses anti-fraud app to track access to overseas financial news sites (ft.com)
192 points by jbegley 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 153 comments





What the CCP's been doing over the past couple of months is worrying. I wish there were a nicer explanation but it almost looks like they're preparing for war, or at least increasing confrontation.

Indeed. In other CCP news, they forced a Colorado highschool to edit their website to say Taiwan is a province of China. The school complied, so that the kids could attend United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. [1]

1: https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-makes-sure-everyone-write...


For some perspective, this is still nothing compared to what the government of Israel has recently achieved in manipulating the American education system [1].

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-BDS_laws#Amawi_v._Pfluger...


There is some good news though. Recently Abby Martin won her lawsuit.

From your link:

"Documentary filmmaker Abby Martin was invited to speak at an event at Georgia Southern University on February 28, 2020.[69] She was supposed to be paid $1,000 for her speech. She was asked to sign a pledge to agree not to boycott Israel which she refused to do and her speaking arrangement was subsequently cancelled. She therefore announced on January 10, 2020 that she had filed a free speech lawsuit against the State of Georgia and Georgia Southern University over its anti-BDS law. She was represented by CAIR Legal Defense Fund and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.[70][71] On May 24, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled in Martin's favor, holding that Georgia Southern violated her First Amendment rights."

From what I understand they are now trying to alter the law so that it works around this ruling. These laws appear to be easy to implement but once challenged they are shot down. I think more lawsuits need to occur in each state unfortunately. That way we have clear cut precedence.


What-aboutism at its finest.

"Whataboutism" remains one of the most self-destructive inventions of Cold War propaganda. Dismissing context because it makes "your side" look hypocritical or undermines a narrative (in this case, "CCP is uniquely evil") is no way to understand geopolitics.

I, and HN it seems, disagree. Israel’s anti-BDS tactics provided little interesting context while moving the discussion to an unrelated topic.

It is extremely relevant to provide context for what the baseline/expected behavior is when discussing a particular instance of it.

Otherwise, false assumptions replace the facts: "US allies would never interfere with our domestic education system, only bad guys do that!".


Two things can be bad

And three can be too, but it's not possible to talk about two at once.

Question: why does china have the power to dictate who can attend (whatever) at the "United Nations" ?

5th paragraph.

> China sits on the U.N. Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, which authorizes groups big and small to participate at U.N. functions. At its publicly held meetings, any representative can hold up an application. Chinese bureaucrats scour each group that comes before the committee, scrutinizing every nook and cranny of their websites for references to Taiwan, say researchers who’ve studied the committee. If groups don’t include Beijing’s preferred language, China asks the committee to request changes.


they have been doing this for a long time

Basic Orwell 101: Eternal war is a prerequisite for totalitarian rule. The war doesn't have to be real but the appearance of war or preparations for war is a must. Look at North Korea. It's almost always on brink of war with the South. China is moving in NK's direction so people feel war is coming. It's not, it's just that China is becoming more totalitarian. The ruling class don't care, don't want and actually cannot fight a war.

> Basic Orwell 101: Eternal war is a prerequisite for totalitarian rule.

I like Orwell, but people schematize real things into his examples too much, especially 1984. It's better to pay attention to the real thing as it is.

For instance, I think it's a serious possibility that China will mainly use economic power to expand its empire, by using markets to foster dependency in ways you can't really do if you've swallowed free market propaganda and your main motive is profit. The end goal could be something like China at the center of the world, with its ideology and system having prestige and setting the standard, surrounded by clearly-subordinate tributaries. That'd be great if your main ideological commitment is to Chinese nationalism, but not so great if you care about anything else.


You probably transfer a lot of your own behaviour to us. Im not saying you're entirely wrong but look how many people in this article alone agreed to be quoted by an american newspaper to bemoan a gov initiative.

China gives you the illusion it can target its people toward enemies, but the truth is we dont care all that much to "expand an empire". We'd do the minimum if forced, as always.

If we could first make Hong Kong happy, that'd be a good first step :D


To be fair, you're describing the USA over the past century

> To be fair, you're describing the USA over the past century

Then the question is: what are your commitments and which empire is closer to them?

Also, it's not exactly the US, since the US has a different underlying ideology, and US's commitment to free markets was successfully exploited by the Chinese in a way I don't think they'll be dumb enough to repeat.


I know you meant this as nothing more than a dig at the US (yawn), but if anything that lends credence to his argument. They've seen the playbook and they're gonna try their hand at it now. If they're successful, then it becomes yet another chapter in the book on the rise and fall of empires that my grandson will write a high school essay on.

LMAO...

Blaming war preparation on totalitarianism...

Do you know why CCP geared up military? Because the bombimg on Chinese embassy by US [1] and war plane collision off Chinese border [2].

That scared the shit out of CCP. It just shows that US always retain military option against them. And plant the deepest resentment towards US in Chinese citizens. CCP literally need to actively suppress the anti US sentiment to avoid affecting the business relationship.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_bombing_of_the...

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainan_Island_incident


The most plausible explanation [1] is that China is insulating its domestic economy from the coming global financial reckoning, by cracking down on excessive financialization, etc. Either the US Fed will hike rates (taper QE) and crash the financial markets like never before, or they will continue to kick the can down the road with increasingly negative rates and the USD will 'gradually' become worthless. Regardless, the correct play is to limit exposure to the USD system, and historically "closed" societies have the advantage here.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_circulation


"If you want peace, prepare for war"

It is very scary in the Asia-Pacific region. But in recent times the wars of note have been America v. [various smoking craters]. In the local area, China, India, Japan & Korea all know how war works, and the SEA nations might be surprising.

It is early to start worrying about China starting something. It is a scarier thought imagining them responding to something else.


I have friends and family in the Mainland. I've lived there myself for years. The CCP does not want peace, not sure where you're getting this from. First they'll take Taiwan at the first sign of American weakness (which may have happened already). Then they'll go for the rest of the world. It's not even a one party state anymore, it's been transformed into an outright totalitarian dictatorship under Xi. Absolute power is the ultimate goal of such systems, they won't stop until they're defeated or control it all.

China is a superpower. The future is bleak for Taiwan.

But India has nukes, Japan can probably produce nukes in short order, Korea is in a state of hyper-militarisation for unrelated reasons and the US, insofar as they are active in the region, have nukes.

It doesn't matter what the CCP wants, they might get away with Taiwan but it is hard to see what the follow up would be where Shanghai still gets to have skyscrapers. Most of China's success in the last 40 years has been economic.


Japan’s policy has always been to keep highly enriched uranium on hand, which they could use to make nukes in relatively short order. It’s a backup plan in case America stops being the guarantor of Japanese safety against China.

Do they have the wherewithal to pull off a deliverable Teller-Ulam thermonuclear warhead, without doing any atmospheric testing? Does Japan even have SLBMs or bombers?

It takes a lot more to be a credible nuclear threat than just having some U235 sitting around...


Nuclear weapons are a technology that is almost 100 years old, and is old enough for a country like North Korea to pull off.

It has a space program with rockets, a nuclear power sector, etc. It's the thing you do when you want all the pieces for a potential nuclear weapons program without signaling that you're looking to develop a nuclear weapons program.

I think the current contemporary estimate is that Japan could assemble a functioning nuke in 6-12 months.


Note I didn't ask if Japan could make a fission weapon. I have no doubt they could in relatively short order. I also don't doubt given enough time, they could assemble a fusion weapon, they have the resources and smarts. But 6-12 months I think is probably too long in a crisis situation.

> But 6-12 months I think is probably too long in a crisis situation.

Yes and therefore it stands to reason that they probably already have weapons ready (but maybe in a disassembled state) and simply don't disclose it.


Isn't 6 to 12 months that ages in wartime ?

The presumption is that they’d begin building them once they decide that America won’t guarantee their safety, not once China declares war.

China had a one child policy. It cant declare war. Everyone of those soldiers has two generations of parent pensioners depending on it. China is not trying to emulate the us and thus - disregarding the propaganda, not gearing up for war.

> It cant declare war.

History tells us that countries can and do declare war when it would be illogical for them to do so. There was a running theory before WW1 that the economic interconnection of Europe made war impossible, which was obviously false.

Does this mean China is gearing up for war? No. But to declare that China can’t declare war is fairly ahistorical.

> China is not trying to emulate the us … disregarding the propaganda

Ironically, I’d argue that this is propaganda. “We’re not like that other power, we’re so much better” is pretty classic stuff.

Although I’d argue that China isn’t emulating America, I’d argue that China is emulating 19th century Britain with its debt diplomacy.


Presumably china's not randomly declaring war? They could start building it once tensions rise.

The U.S. funded an exercise back in, iirc, the 60s of getting a few physics grad students to design a fission bomb using only open-source info. (That's far less resources than modern Japan could give it.) They succeeded at coming up with a viable implosion design.

I can't speak to the delivery aspect, but I don't think you'd even need a Teller Ulam thermonuclear warhead to make a credible threat to a neighboring power. But the delivery aspect matters a lot, obviously.

> Teller Ulam thermonuclear warhead to make a credible threat to a neighboring power.

Granted, I haven't read a ton of analysis on this, but my guess would be that you do if you're going up against someone with their own thermonuclear bombs. If China drops some of their own thermonuclear weapons on Tokyo, what's Japan's response? Dropping a fission weapon? If they got to that level, I'm sure that would be considered an acceptable risk for China. The converse is also true. If Japan dropped the fission weapon first, they'd instantly have a bunch of thermonuclear warheads headed their way.


> If China drops some of their own thermonuclear weapons on Tokyo, what's Japan's response? Dropping a fission weapon?

I don't think it works that way. Fission bombs are perfectly capable of leveling a city. If a city gets leveled, no one's going to shrug it off because it was done with the "wrong" kind of weapon.

IIRC, modern thermonuclear warheads have yields along the lines of a couple hundred kilotons. Even through theoretically they can be made much more powerful, in practice they aren't.


The solution for Taiwan is obvious. Nuclearization.

The only way for a country of that size to resist a superpower is to ensure that that superpower loses their capital if they dare bite.


> The only way for a country of that size to resist a superpower is to ensure that that superpower loses their capital if they dare bite.

That's not MAD. Also I'm not sure if it's even plausible that Taiwan could successfully target Beijing even if it had nukes. Would their system be able to survive a first strike? Would it be able to penetrate hundreds of miles of Chinese air defenses or defeat an ABM system? IIRC, ABM systems are far easier to build if you're willing to put nukes on the interceptors.

From my armchair, Taiwan's best bet is to create an Israeli-style reserve army that can mobilize most of the population to fight a short, intense war.


>That's not MAD. Also I'm not sure if it's even plausible that Taiwan could successfully target Beijing even if it had nukes

do they need to target beijing? Targetting guanzhou would already wipe out any gains from capturing taiwan.


> Targetting guanzhou would already wipe out any gains from capturing taiwan.

That doesn't address the lack of MAD nor any vulnerability to a first strike.


It's you who brought up MAD. For a small country like Taiwan it may be enough to make the attack painful enough that it's not worth it to larger power. This essentially was(and is) Switzerland's defence strategy.

> For a small country like Taiwan it may be enough to make the attack painful enough that it's not worth it to larger power. This essentially was(and is) Switzerland's defence strategy.

It's worth noting that China isn't just "a larger power," it has a particular fixation on Taiwan. It may not be deterred as easily as you think. IIRC, Taiwan acquiring nuclear weapons is one of their stated red lines that would trigger a war.

If Taiwan managed to nuke a Chinese city when it's invaded, it would probably just make the Chinese madder.


Doesn’t matter if the CCP has a fixation on Taiwan. It will still have to take public opinion into consideration. People who are at risk of getting nuked aren’t going to take the CCP’s reckless behaviour sitting down. The CCP will have quite a mess on its hands.

P.S. Their military might not even be willing to invade if Taiwan is going to be lobbing nukes left and right, and possibly right into the invading force. Look at how China had to redrawn from their skirmish with India after they lose a few people to weather - and simply because the troops wanted to head home for Chinese New Year.


> Would it be able to penetrate hundreds of miles of Chinese air defenses or defeat an ABM system?

Cruise missile flying 100m off the ground.

For practical purposes, cruise missiles are the real wunderwaffe which is impossible to stop, not ballistic missiles.


Taiwan is less than twice the size of Israel, so they would only need to create a few bombs, attach perpetual countdown timers to them and smuggle them into Beijing. If China attacks Taiwan, the bombs don't get reset and go of. If China does the same to Taiwan they have a mutally assured destruction.

This would be a terrible idea for Taiwan since every country that supports Taiwan is down wind of China. South Korea, Japan and the US do not want nuclear fallout coming over their territory. It makes coming to Taiwan's aid a lot more difficult both logistically and politically.

Wouldn’t that motivate the other countries more to help out so it doesn’t come to Taiwan launching nukes and irradiating the entire region?

They would need to develop something like the minuteman missiles but on mobile launchers to be able to retaliate with success.

Does Taiwan have nukes?

In theory no, in practice yes. They had an active nuclear weapons program that officially stopped just short of completion in the 1980’s. They also currently have multiple nuclear reactors in the country.

So, they have the capacity to have produced nuclear weapons in the past or to produce them in the near future, but if they have any is somewhat unclear. Still, I would expect Shanghai to probably get nuked at some point if China invaded Taiwan.


No and no. It didn't officially stop just short of completion. The US actively worked to subvert it. Both overtly using the UN and covertly using the CIA.

Taiwans nuclear industry was decimated as a result with a lot of the research facilities getting shut down and a lot of aspiring Nuclear scientists leaving the country or switching industries.

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

https://web.archive.org/web/20110227231955/http://www.highbe...


The claims GP made about Taiwan practically being able to develop Nukes is supported by that wiki article, though.

> "There is no evidence that Taiwan possesses any nuclear weapons or any programs to produce them, although it does have the advanced technological ability necessary to develop nuclear weapons as well as the high-tech ability to enrich uranium or process plutonium."


No it's not. That's a gross oversimplification of what is necessary to build a nuke. These arguments have been made over and over about other countries. If Taiwan had anything of the sort, China wouldn't be itching for a fight.

It's also doubtful that Japan has any weapons grade plutonium left seeing that they handed over a bunch of it to the US in 2016.

"On 24 March 2014, Japan agreed to turn over more than 700 pounds (320 kg) of weapons grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium to the US,[43] which started to be returned in 2016.[44] It has been pointed out that as long as Japan enjoys the benefits of a "nuclear-ready" status held through surrounding countries, it will see no reason to actually produce nuclear arms, since by remaining below the threshold, although with the capability to cross it at short notice, Japan can expect the support of the US while posing as an equal to China and Russia.[45]

On 29 March 2016, then-U.S. President candidate Donald Trump suggested that Japan should develop its own nuclear weapons, claiming that it was becoming too expensive for the US to continue to protect Japan from countries such as China, North Korea, and Russia that already have their own nuclear weapons.[46] "

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


A gun type nuclear weapon is an extremely simple device, though with relatively low yield. To the point where the US did not feel the need to test it before dropping Little Boy. Weapon delivery systems are a larger issue.

As to Japan having weapons grade plutonium or highly enriched uranium, 5 years is a long time in a weapons program. At it’s peak the US was pumping out hundreds of nuclear weapons a year.


Sigh, is that common? You just throw out a bunch of stuff into the room without knowing what you're talking about?

Even Little Boy had 64kg of highly enriched uranium. You can't just highly enrich uranium and have no one notice it.

But EVEN IF you could. Delivering a nuclear warhead is a world of difference 1945 vs. 2021. Air defense systems are massively better, so you can't just fly to chinese airspace and have them not shoot you down. You can't just build a delivery system silently without testing it that penetrates chinas S-400 without problems.

Yeah you can build something in your backyard and then where are you going to blow it up at? Japan can hardly keep chinese fishing boats out of their own waters.


The destruction of civilian nuclear industry is because the free people are dumbed to the degree that they cannot reason rationally the pros and cons of nuclear electricity; and they decide they don't want nuclear. And you can well see how the voting whores accelerate this process.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Taiwan#Anti-n...


TW nuclear breakout window is long gone. The island is now thoroughly infiltrated by PRC intelligence. There is no opportunity post 90s to secretly start up a nuclear program without getting glassed by PRC first, and with full endorsement from every nuclear power who doesn't want to see nukes proliferate to mid-tier nations.

That’s a very optimistic take on PRC intelligence operations. Historically countries simply aren’t nearly as good at gathering intelligence as you might think.

Further we don’t know what intelligence the PRC has gathered. If China believes Taiwan has nuclear weapons or the capacity to assemble them quickly, there is going to be very little change in rhetoric from China.


There's no reason to talk in generalities. PRC's thorough infiltration of TW military/industry and fact that ROC military brass are prodominantly KMT with pro-PRC sympathies has been intelligence consensus for decades. This isn't speculation, it's more or less accepted fact that guides US selling TW 2nd/3rd tier weapon platforms because they know anything that filters to TW military will finds it's way to PRC. Like everyone knows Israel intelligence has been very proficient in infiltrating Iran's nuclear program. PRC infiltration of TW is more comprehensive on whole of society level. No reason to pretend otherwise.

To your edit: any credible nuclear break out threat from TW would be taken out within 10minutes from PRC rocketry. Of all PRC redlines, the most serious are TW ones. PRC has fought with nuclear USSR and US over less important core interests while PRC wasn't nuclear. PRC will absolutely preemptively crush any TW nuclear efforts.


I don’t disagree that the PRC is gathering a lot of intelligence, but that’s a long way from saying they gather all relevant information.

As to a preemptive strike that’s extremely unprecedented for China. It would definitely be considered at the highest levels, but would they act is a much larger question especially if they discovered functional nuclear weapons. Taiwan meanwhile benefits of China did such a strike on a non nuclear weapon manufacturing factory so could be giving them false intelligence etc. This stuff just has a lot more uncertainty than you might assume.


> a lot more uncertainty than you might assume

There is also more assumed uncertainty than reality. In terms of degrees of espionage, modern PRC's intelligence gathering on TW is probably the most comprehensive apparatus anywhere. Every few years, minister level intelligence assets get exposed in TW defense. There is blind assumption and there is consensus for those that follow the space. There aren't any credible analysis that suggests TW has hidden nukes or can conduct breakout nuke development without PRC being aware.

> would they act

See edit of all the times PRC acted, with explicit prior warnings on when core redlines are crossed. It's not only precedent but interventions are near certainty. Respectfully, TW trying to bait PRC with false nuclear proliferation is counterproductive, just about the only consensus security council states and current nuclear powers have is they don't want more mid-tier nations getting the bomb. Of all the reasons the PRC could get away with attacking TW with relatively little cost, stopping nuclear proliferation is at the top.


> The future is bleak for Taiwan.

I keep seeing this argument. Let me explain why Taiwan will be free from China's attack for the next 30-50 years (long enough for Xi JinPing to expire)

- US protection. If there's one thing both parties in US agrees on, it's against China. Biden just emphatically committed protection for Taiwan and peace in the south east Asia. There are many US warships sailing up and down Taiwan straits. There are many military deals and cooperations with Taiwan. TSMC is a critical part of the world's electronic supply chain. Taiwan is a critical part of the island chain strategy to contain China, since it acts as an unsinkable carrier against China.

- United democracies. US and its many allies are now coordinating naval exercises in the Region. Japan. Australia. India. UK, France, and Germany now have warships in the region as well. South Korea and Taiwan are now increasing its military defenses. These firepowers are 90% of the world's military right now.

- China's military is only starting up. It doesn't even have capability to produce its own jet engines or carriers. Its strength lies in the large # of soldiers, which have to be transported. And its large # of ships, which are mostly coast guard/civilian level, and can be sank relatively easily. China's military is about 3-4 generations behind US, and currently is no match for the 10X power from US and its allies

- Taiwan as a fortified island. Fortified islands are hard to take, as evident in the modern war histories. There are only a few times in the year that China can safely cross the straits without fearing typhoons or rough sea. And landing only on a few spots. Especially if the island is armed with the latest war technologies from US, and has the missile capability to strike Beijing, or the three gorges dam which will then wipe out millions of Chinese. Taiwan is now producing domestic submarines, long range missiles, and ship missiles. You'll want to remember that Taiwan has very sophisticated electronic capabilities, so the arms it is starting to produce will be very good.

- China only gets one shot at attacking. After which, it will get economically sanctioned into oblivion by the world economies. Because otherwise Japan, South Korea, and other island nations near China can be attacked with similar attempts as well. Since China mainly imports most of its resources, and is export focused, it will sank into a deep economic depression filled with local riots.


I suggest Taiwan forsake the pursuit of independence, but at the same time commit to unification only on the democratic reform in China.

The pursuit of independence is just pursuit of conflict. No one in China, Taiwan, and US, can alter that trajectory.

Even if Taiwan managed to gain independence, most likely Taiwan, China, and US would be severely damaged (assuming all parties are still sane enough to avoid a total nuclear armageddon), democracy would simultaneously deteriet in all 3 regions. As economic downturn inevitably results into worsening social orders (more dictatorship, or more chaos), there has not been a single exception in human history anywhere, period.

Well, I guess EU would be happy to see that happening. It's a gamble, but if plays out correctly, EU would be left as the sole superpower. Not a bad outcome.


One more thing to note is that China doesn't have much oil, natural gas and other resources on its own, and it is very hard to get any to it by any other way than by sea - otherwise it's combination of Siberia, Himalayas, deserts and neighbors that hate China.

China has enormous manufacturing capacity, but rather fragile supply to make use of it should the seas around it become warzones.


You can't take on the entire world with bombs and tanks, the Nazis tried that and failed. The CCP has a smarter strategy, they only use force where everything else fails. Like in Hong Kong, they were never going to get the HKnese on their side because no one knows the CCP oppression better than the people of HK, they've had front row seats for decades watching it all in HD. Same goes for Taiwan. They almost successfully infiltrated Australia and New Zealand, they already have people in parliament there. But it seems this didn't quite work out and they promptly threatened Australia with war as well. We'll probably see increasing conflict in the region. The united front work department is active globally. Some regions have priority, like parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. But it's a bit naive thinking China will stay neutral when Xi has given any indication possible that he won't. I find it bizarre many still won't take China seriously. They claim half of SEA at this point and pressure foreign businesses like film studios and airlines into only showing their maps. Ethnic Chinese are at risk of getting kidnapped and brought to China where they're tortured, even if they're foreign citizens. Then there are the concentration camps. What else will it take for foreigners to take notice? Does Wang Yi have to personally travel to their country and leave a severed horse head in their bedrooms?

"bombs and tanks" means something very very different in 2021 than it did in 1942. You have to remember they barely had V2 rockets in WW2...

What actually causes issues for modern armies is relatively low tech guerilla warfare, as we've seen in nearly every war (that any country has engaged in, not just the US) since Vietnam especially, but the hints were there since the second Boer war.

Forget even nukes for a second, I don't think anyone has the stomach for a regular conventional war between modern nation states. We've seen the pictures of what cities looked like in Europe after WW2. Now add modern bombs and missiles. Imagine Shanghai or LA just completely flattened. It's not worth it.


planes too:

I find the lessons of our reliance on air support in the context of Afghanistan an interesting lesson that our military hopefully learns from.

There is some good reporting that reported the total collapse of their army was partially because without the US they couldn't reach their bases or provide support, let alone maintain their planes & helos.

The US brass were even bragging the the Taliban couldn't use even our guns that were left behind since they take so much special maintenance.

What happens to our 'fancy' planes with electronics/software attacks? Do we even have the capability to drop bombs if something like that happens?


> You can't take on the entire world with bombs and tanks, the Nazis tried that and failed.

They got pretty damn close. I’d say the outcome involved a lot of luck.


May I ask what makes you think that CCP will go for the rest of the world?

I don't know Xi's intentions, but there is a lot of rhetoric from him about restoring China's 'natural place' as the world's leader as viewed through hundreds of years ago.

> The CCP does not want peace, not sure where you're getting this from.

CCP certainly looks like wanting peace, judging against US, which CCP has always been open about to surpass or at least excel...


> nicer explanation

Xi is seeking 3rd term, he's initiating populist moves to appeal to the masses. That's more or less it on top of some medium/long term strategic shifts to improve self sufficiency (from US) which takes time to unfold.

>preparing for war

That's still 15-30 years away over TW, and by that time PLA will be strong enough to deter a big war with US. PLA is modernizing and preparing for war because that's what competent militaries do. PLA has been incompetent for too long. Keep in mind PRC military budget is still ~2%, if it's preparing for war expect this to double/triple. Plus PRC has been selling off oil reserves to control oil prices. It would be hoarding if preparing for imminent war.


I used to live in Hong Kong. In the past 2 year situation has been Orwellian. News outlet being shutdown, pro-democratic parties dismissed, charities disbanded, whole members of political party got arrested, among others. At least 1% of the population fled the city in the first half of 2021.

In a parallel universe, and completely unrelated note, my friends in China, thinks their country can finally stand-up against the west. They cannot be more proud of their country. There is also the sentiment that the West would not doing anything concrete against China

I can dig up figures and references if anyone interested

Edited with reference:

[1] Clam down on Apple Daily, the only pro-democratic (that I know of) news outlet in Hong Kong

[2] Directors of Apple Daily arrested

[3] 65,000 applications of BN(O) visa, the visa for HKers to move to the UK. HK population is around 7.5M

[4] Youtubers exodus, for fear of government prosecution in the name of the national security or for whatever reason.

[5] 230 Democrats quitting local council.

[6] There are around 479 local council in total. So about half of them quit

[7] People were arrested in the name of national security here and there. A charity, formed last year, providing inmate visiting service, will be dismissed. Only Chinese source available at the moment

[8] During the peak of mass migration in the 90s, 62,000 people per year moved away from HK. Compare with 65,000 moving to the UK in the first 6 months

[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kongs-apple-daily-will-clo...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/17/hong-kong-poli...

[3] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/65-000-hongkongers-apply-...

[4] https://www.youtube.com/c/memehongkong https://www.youtube.com/c/bobsyouruncle1981 https://www.youtube.com/c/Gavinchiu001 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVjj_osiKAP_qTtJAr6IrvA https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh_KRmXM4RiQFvOBBDpvC6Q

[5] https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/230-elected-pro-democrats-q...

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_councils_of_Hong_Kong

[7] https://news.now.com/home/local/player?newsId=449783

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waves_of_mass_migrations_from_...


Please share figures and references. This is fascinating and of great interest to many of us. Thanks!

> [1] Clam down on Apple Daily, the only pro-democratic (that I know of) news outlet in Hong Kong

Apple Daily (Chinese: 蘋果日報) was a tabloid-style newspaper published in Hong Kong from 1995 to 2021.

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

If apple daily is the only pro democracy, which is a tabloid style newspaper, the conclusion is that HK democracy is likely a very poor one.

If apple daily is not the only pro democracy news outlet, I think shutting it down is contributing to a healthy democracy.

> [2] Directors of Apple Daily arrested

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Media-Entertainment/Shares-...

It seems the market welcomes that...

It either means the market cares little about democracy, or Jimmy is not really the friend of democracy as himself proclaimed.

> [3] 65,000 applications of BN(O) visa, the visa for HKers to move to the UK. HK population is around 7.5M

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handover_of_Hong_Kong#Tide_of_...

Let's how bad this compares to the 1990s after Tiananmen square... I think it probably wont surpass that. Note the 1992 peak is 66000 actually leaving, your number is just applications.

> [4] Youtubers exodus, for fear of government prosecution in the name of the national security or for whatever reason.

Similar to the above.

> [5] 230 Democrats quitting local council.

https://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-57816972 They seem are disqualified on the new oath rule? Which says that if they do not take oath to be loyal to the HK government, they'll be disqualified. So they decide to resign first.

Well, I believe CCP is very happy that they gave up so easily...

> [7] People were arrested in the name of national security here and there. A charity, formed last year, providing inmate visiting service, will be dismissed. Only Chinese source available at the moment

Your link is about a non profit disbanded fearing of crackdown.

> [8] During the peak of mass migration in the 90s, 62,000 people per year moved away from HK. Compare with 65,000 moving to the UK in the first 6 months

I guess if HK economy were hurt enough because of this exodus, it helps to guide the democracy sentiment of the society.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read the news. It is heartwarming to me. I will respond to the best of my knowledge.

> If apple daily is the only pro democracy, which is a tabloid style newspaper, the conclusion is that HK democracy is likely a very poor one.

Hong Kong doesn't have true democracy. On surface it might follow the British system [0]. The chief executive, the equivalent of mayor, is elected by the election committee of 1,200 members [1]. Slightly over half of the legislative council, the equivalent of the parliament, is the "functional constituency", which means those members are appointed by selected member of selected industries [2]. Hong Kong has been pushing for universal suffrage every year. Every year, peaceful demonstration is seen on 1st of July to ask for reforming the election[3]

> It seems the market welcomes that...

It is more nuanced. Some are market manipulation. Some wants to support Jimmy Lai. There were people spreading rumours on lihkg.com, the hong kong reddit, that buying stock of apple daily can financially support the company. There are people thinking the company will soon be de-listed, which is more likely true, hence want a piece of history by getting a physical stock. Some want to make a profit by riding the market trend hence perpetuating the rising trend.

> your number is just applications.

You are right. Some factor to consider:

- the numbers I quoted is for the UK only. US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan are the other company choices

- There are around 300,000 Canadian in HK. They can leave anytime [4]. And there are many holders of other citizenship whom returned HK after the 90s migration, sensing that HK weren't as bad as imagined.

> They seem are disqualified on the new oath rule?

The new oath rule was imposed after the election if I remember correctly. And there is no governance over the execution of the rule. It's basically up to whoever in position thinks you violated the rule. No proof is needed.

> non profit disbanded fearing of crackdown.

I might have misused the term charity. Non-profit fearing crackdown is still wrong, right? It was a non-profit for visiting inmate, so they feel cared, after all

> it helps to guide the democracy sentiment of the society

People leaving the city are those either who care about democracy or who care about economy. So I hold opposite opinion. Time will tell.

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

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_Committee_(Hong_Kong)

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_constituency_(Hong_...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_1_July_marches

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadians_in_Hong_Kong


> People leaving the city are those either who care about democracy or who care about economy. So I hold opposite opinion. Time will tell.

I never really understand these pro-democracy people. On the one hand, they seem wholeheartedly believe in the noble ideology. On the other hand, they seem are so timid that their only reaction under concrete threat is fleeing away.

Did they forgot how the American Forefathers fight for their independence, freedom, and democracy?

Are they really this naive that CCP are going to hand over democracy to them?

As for HK economy, CCP can make Macau prosper, I see no chance HK economy can flop. Good luck with fleeing HK and demonstrate the "pro democracy"...


When Trump was elected China had no better time to finally act. A destabilized and distracted west and political cover for actions as responses to Trump's aggressive on China tone.

Even now, we're not out of the woods yet. The west is still dealing with the lingering effects of Trumpism and Covid has balance sheets and attentions. Consolidating power now while nobody in the world will really challenge them. The democrats can't survive a recession on top of the Afghanistan disaster and prolonged Covid. They're not going to really sanction China.


I don't buy this. I think it would have been the WORST time for Xi to act or get aggressive.

Trump is legitimately unstable and so selfish as to try to use the military and provocations - even on US soil he wanted to deploy forces - to win or fulfill his deluded post election craziness.

Just today excerpts came out of Woodward's new book; one revelation is General Milley called up his counterpart in China, kind of roguely, in a Nixon esque attempt to say hey, this guy is freaking crazy let's use bureaucracy to try to maintain status quo and go around any dangerous orders.


I'm aware of the book and two things can be true at the same time. The clampdown in HK came at a time when Americans were least likely to lead a coordinated effort to punish it.

China has been way less cautious over the past four or five years, and I do not think Trump being in office is a coincidence.


Let's not beat around the bush. Trump is not very smart, and not at all well-informed. In fact he actively removed anyone from his inner circle who showed signs of being either of those things. So I think China was able to move confidently in a lot of areas, because they knew Trump and his cabinet would fail to understand the significance of their actions. This includes erosion of democratic norms in Hong Kong - Trump doesn't understand or care about democratic values, and has in fact attacked them himself domestically, so that represented a huge opportunity for China.

At the same time, Trump is deeply insecure, and is attached to the idea of military power somehow reflecting his own masculinity. Look at his tweets in response to North Korea's provocations, for instance, and how he made them all about him personally. So I think China was careful not to take action that would cause Trump to feel slighted or emasculated and feel a need for direct military action.

So within that narrow area of military pride and perhaps domestic manufacturing, Trump represented a real threat of retaliation and escalation, but beyond that he was pretty much asleep at the wheel.


Trump was a symptom of a huge disruption due to globalization.

If John Boltons book is to believed Trump was very much pro China behind the scenes, with a lot of senior officials like Pompeo and Bolton pushing for things such as free trade agreements with Taiwan in which Trump had no interest in. His family has a lot of business there after all. But who knows.

At least we know that China calls Trump Trump the nation(china) builder.

https://www.ibtimes.com/why-beijing-may-want-keep-trump-whit...


> What the CCP's been doing over the past couple of months is worrying.

Past couple of months?

Try past 40 years...

One of my earliest childhood concrete memories of watching a news event of global importance was the CNN, NBC and BBC coverage of the Tienanmen Square massacre.


Yep, what the CCP's been doing over the past couple of /decades/ is worrying

I'd say there's a clear difference between what they were doing post Deng Xiaoping and what they've been doing since Xi Jinping came to power. It's much more worrying now.

I remember 15-20 years ago, my friends in China had hope that eventually it would open up but there's no longer any hope there. The few friends who are still outspoken (and are much much more careful than they used to be) now have no hope of this whatsoever.


The difference is a turn in the tide of public opinion. The real battle, the one for the hearts and minds, has been won. Talk to almost any Chinese national who hasn't had a ton of international exposure, like a fresh international student. They either don't care about what the CCP is doing or they fully agree with the justifications.

You've described the view of most nationals of any country about their country's foreign policy.

Remember '03 when two thirds of Americans seemed utterly convinced that Iraq was an existential threat to the security and prosperity of the United States? Or '21, when half of Americans have suddenly remembered that they actually want other people's children to continue fighting a forever war in Afghanistan?


I'm not talking about foreign policy. I'm talking about disappearing dissidents and putting ethnic minorities into reeducation camps.

I agree but to be fair, I do remember that a lot of fresh international undergrad students just arriving from China tended to be very patriotic and pro-CCP even back in early 2000s. The difference is that a lot of them changed their minds after a few years living in a different country.

I did notice back then that graduate students who had completed undergrad in China tended to be much less pro CCP and not buying that much into things. This does seem to have changed.


There is thing called survival bias. Your friend could have similar thoughts with you and then you became friend.

There are many reasons you don't hear how majority Chinese think, it could be majority of them doesn't read/speak english, it could be toxic comments and community environment prevented them from speaking out, it could be media biased reports, and not mention a lot of advanced countries' supremacy.

If you are not faimilar with that, try to talk with people lived in super rich neighborhood and super poor neighborhood, you'd be amazed how difference people really think and speak out.

If the same thing happens in different regions/countries of the world are treated differntly, in a lot of ways, is called bias, not a serious thinking.


> I'd say there's a clear difference between what they were doing post Deng Xiaoping and what they've been doing since Xi Jinping came to power. It's much more worrying now.

> I remember 15-20 years ago, my friends in China had hope that eventually it would open up but there's no longer any hope there. The few friends who are still outspoken (and are much much more careful than they used to be) now have no hope of this whatsoever.

Yes. I don't think they were ever exactly for liberalization, but Xi took a hard turn against it (and made that policy): https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/20/world/asia/chinas-new-lea....

Liberals (both the American and more classical kind) often seem to assume their ideals will eventually prevail, but nothing guarantees that.


> Liberals (both the American and more classical kind) often seem to assume their ideals will eventually prevail, but nothing guarantees that.

Same.

History has no single evidence that pure ideology movement can shift public opinion substantially and maintain that change in serious historically meaningful time period (let's say 50 - 100 years).


Agreed

You are making a very valid point. For a good amount of time China was not just tolerated, but supported by US business in general. In a sense, Lenin was right about the rope. The trope about prosperity bringing democracy was wrong.

I will go even further. What China is doing may become something US will at least partially adopt.


We already have. Thinking of HK, Xinjiang makes me feel we have lost moral standing. But I do understand the calculus and nuance of weighing what an actual war would inflict if we stood up to stop the wrong.

> but supported by US business in general

Aside from earning more profit doing business in China. Is there other support from US business?


I think it is correct that prosperity will eventually bring democracy.

Xi sees that too and is busy trying to knock China's wealthy citizens down a couple of notches.


>> I think it is correct that prosperity will eventually bring democracy.

> Xi sees that too and is busy trying to knock China's wealthy citizens down a couple of notches.

What do billionaire-wealthy citizens have to do with prosperity or democracy (besides the fantasies of pro-billionaire propaganda)?


Well, they did pick up Jack Ma for speaking out against gov't regulation (to put it simply). Celebrities in China, including the wealthy, have a lot of influence. Their "abductions" almost certainly are intertwined with keeping a grip on their power.

From that perspective, I can understand why Xi wants to limit power of individuals he sees in US ( they do wield tremendous amount of power ). He obviously understands it is a threat to the system ( and by extension himself ).

I have long argued that too much power in one individual is a bad thing ( and that includes billionaires ).


I didn't say anything about billionaires.

I was talking more broadly about upper-class people in China. Generally anyone who lives in a tier 1 city and has a quality of life approaching that of people in developed nations.

It's easy to keep poor people happy through continued economic growth but once people reach a certain level of material wealth they're going to start demanding more personal freedoms.


Comparing to whom? The last decades of CCP rule is excellent comparing to any other candidates. You want Chinese to believe Afghanistan is better? In past decades, which country started multiple wars? CCP may produced some cheap quality stuff so people in poor country can have cheap stuff, I see it as a plus.

I don't think it necessarily signals war. It's just Xi trying to bring the citizens and economy back under his control. In his mind the opening up of China went a little too far.

The big problem right now is that they invite chinese ex-pats home for a passport renewl, but do not renew that passport. Which means, if you visit family, you are trapped, even if you are not very outspoken regarding politics.

I think CCP is indeed preparing for a war over Taiwan. There are plenty activities recently pointing to the mutual independence between China and US, in economy, cultural, military etc.

I don't believe there is an active war plan in place. But it looks like at least CCP is laying the foundation for a war, so that there might be chance for US to concede wholy to relinquish their support for Taiwan Independence.

Well, I guess that's better than a nuclear war.


That should be "past couple of years" not months.

Indeed. And they can manipulate many weaker countries.

It has escalated in the past few years but they've been preparing for decades. Last month, Chinese warships were spotted [1] near Alaska. I find it strange that these acts of aggression are not known by your average American citizen.

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3148725/us-...


Until the Chinese have carriers perpetually parked in the Gulf of Mexico, they haven't even begun to reciprocate Washington's naval aggression in the South China Sea.

It will never cease to amaze me how often we forget the absurd balance of power involved here.

There is an island across a tiny strait away from China’s mainland that literally claims… the mainland. It has existed for 80 years. It’s now kinda sorta being dealt with as a power would, but even that’s questionable, and even that strait is not even important to the region. This entire struggle is happening while Malacca is just sitting right there in the US’s Infinity Gauntlet with the Hormuz, Suez, Panama etc. Wild.


I don't think following maritime law is aggression. From my understanding, CCPs claims to islands and waters become legitimate if we cede the ground under maritime law.

No, the parent post is talking about the distance to the main land...

Maybe I'm not understanding? But my point is in both cases - unless there is really huge news I missed - both China and the US did not enter actual territorial waters with military vessels. The US transits the strait so China's large claims don't have legitimacy. It'd be like the us claiming any ships sailing around cuba are in our waters.

If all other countries park their military weaponry at the same distance as US weaponry to their own home land, the US border will be packed with all sorts of killing machines from a lot of countries. That's the point.

As for how long is the actual distance, well, that doesn't matter much.


A better analogy would be closer to California, because the US is protecting trade routes.

California is an import-consumer-product route for the US.

SCS is an export-everything/import-food-energy-also-basically-everything route for China.

Gulf of Mexico + Caribbean would be a far closer comparison with whatever non North American US exports that exist going out through there, and eg Cuba, Venezuela & all the other nations vs California’s fish.



Technically, this application appears to request all permissions for your phone. An FT commentator claims the app seems to leave spyware on your phone even after you delete it.

So like Zoom?


Why financial news sites are so dangerous? My guess police officers are looking for people with illegal wealth overseas for a little shake up.

Was the cracking down always the plan for the CCP? use capitalism to rise the tide and then once everything has been modernised take control again?

Like the Deng Xiaoping quote goes "Some areas and some people can get rich first, lead and help other regions and people, and gradually achieve common prosperity." wouldn't be surprised its probably a mistranslation of the real quote.

But Lenin talks about using capitalism to increase the productive powers of a nation and use the generated surplus values to help the people get cheap healthcare, infrastructure and a better common prosperity. Instead of seeing the capitalist stash away in a bank account not being trickled down to general public.


Thats not Lenin's idea. Karl Marx wrote that communism cannot be achieved without capitalism. You can't jump from a potato farming economy into a communist utopia.

If I'm not mistaken and I'm pretty sure if I am people will correct me, he actually praised capitalism for being a much more efficient economic system than what humanity had in feudalism and mercantilism. However he believed that capitalism has a hard cap where it starts to devour itself. He lived in a time when people where buying bonds from countries that did not exist.


The goal of capitalism was never to concentrate wealth in the hands of a tiny minority, regardless of the ideology of the nation.

That makes no sense. Capitalism has no goal. Capitalism is the market and the market are people. You might not like the results but saying it is alive and has a goal sound exactly like conspiracy theorists who believe in NWO and the Illuminati.

  > Capitalism is the market and the market are people.
markets can (and did) exist before capitalism

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042215/what-differe...


What I meant was "the goal of regimes that implement capitalism was never to concentrate wealth".

Also I was saying what the goal wasn't.

Do you understand now?


I'm sorry I've misread.

Just one of many plans that now has a decent opportunity presented.

China can sometimes seem arbitrary but its much easier to think of it as a theme park than what we respect as governments. At a theme park, run by a corporation, you understand there are rules that can be enforced, your participation is limited and conditional, anything exploitative or erotic will be policed swiftly and heavily, and some exhibits are cordoned off and empty. Even if we want to imagine that everyone is woefully oppressed actively thinking about how oppressed they are, the day to day experience can actually be pretty pleasant and everyone also understands that it would be dumb to challenge the stewards of the park.


Yes but in this case I think a more apt analogy would be of a funfair with lots of different stall owners who were under the impression that although they weren't completely free, they at least wouldn't have their stalls taken over at some point in the future

I never thought I'd see an unironic invocation of panem-et-circenses[1], especially with regards to a sinofascist regime.

It is extremely incorrect, untoward, and downright harmful to draw parallels between the CCP and, say, Busch Gardens.

In a theme park, run by a corporation, I understand that the proprietors of said park will not: drag me to a detention camp; do the same, or worse, for the unfortunate souls who share my relation; imprison and enslave millions of ethnic/religious minorities; make extremely aggressive overtures against other "theme parks," to the tune of building artificial land to claim (in whole or part) the international commons.

[1] https://www.mccc.edu/pdf/arc141/Bread%20&%20Circuses%20(Pane...


Maybe a doom park is better?

Think of it more like if the British East India Company ran a theme park, if the analogy is what bothers you. (As that corporation did have those unilateral powers)

I don't think there is any plan other than use any tool available to maintain power and control.

It depends on what you mean by crackdown. On capitalism? Yes, and they've been really clear about it. China still has the official plan to introduce socialism by 2050, capitalist freedoms were never meant to be permanent. Now by 2050, the CCP is also supposed to be merely taking a backseat roll and the society will be equal and free. I think that's the contentious point within the CCP. Xi is part of the hardline left within the party, who is scared of losing to much influence to capitalists. He is naturally allied with CCP members who want more hard power. Lastly he's also almost certainly a social conservative, as are many of the current people in the leadership.

Xi was sent to hard labor in the countryside as a youth, and then went on to pretty strict education. He sees younger people today as weak and fun-seeking and that doesn't sit well with him and the other bigwigs. (This is all my own conjecture, take it with a grain of salt)


> China still has the official plan to introduce socialism by 2050

Where did you get this?

Socialism is installed in China in 1960s, as we were told in text book.

If there was such a plan to start socialism in China in 2050, that must be invented after 2008 after I left China.

As for what is really socialism, the definitions I see so far are as colorful as capitalism. You might be referring some definition of socialism you saw from Chinese source, or some translated sources?

It's becoming more and more clear that China is more of a political imagination for venting, at least on HN.


Indeed, translations change a lot, and phrasing also changed over time within China, but you are right to call me out on being imprecise. In german we usually differentiate between socialistic and socialist with the former being the movement working on becoming the second. Still, Marx was already talking about the difference between "lower" communism, socialist mode of production, and "final" communism, the communist society. Mao said China was in the initial stage of socialism, but didn't really explain what that meant. This was then built on by his successors.[1]

This article goes into a bit of detail on the current plan, which is now to reach the final state of socialism by 2050.[2]

This has been a key aspect of internal CPC ideology since the 70s, so I'm not sure what you consider "venting".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_stage_of_socialism

[2] https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-15-9833-3_...


I am not sure why do you want to keep pushing your idea.

I was born in China. I searched around for 2050 and all it shows was reach socialism modernization. The key is modernization. Not socialism.

Socialism as a social and economic order already reached it's height before 1980s...


Please - if you're posting paywalled articles - provide the way to read them without paying.

Otherwise it looks like a sales pitch.


The #1 comment on basically all threads now is archive.is and you simply need to do archive.is/https://whatever.url

deleted, the comments revealed the flaws

Instead of shooting down satellites and causing an international incident, along with risking Kessler syndrome, why not just prevent people from owning Starlink Terminals? You can enforce it fairly easily with import bans, and find smuggled devices by triangulating their radio signals (worst case equip a couple planes to fly over the country to look for Starlink radio signals). Or just strongarm SpaceX into not providing service to terminals in mainland China.


Aren’t the current terminals quite large? They’d be hard to smuggle.

It would never happen. Musk wants to sell cars in China, Tesla has important factories there as well. The Chinese government has a lot more leverage when it comes to these companies, they could simply shut them down without warning and crash the shareholder's stocks.

I tend to agree with this line of thinking though Tesla has some leverage too.

The factory complex Tesla has built in Shanghai has been funded with several billion dollars of local debt. If China were to seize the factory then Tesla would simply stop servicing that debt.


I don’t know if this is true, especially in the case of Tesla.

The fact is, China prevents money from leaving their country, so any western company in China is kind of a farce, because they can’t actually take their money out if they make any. What they do hope to get out of China though is intellectual property, which can pass boundaries without taxes.

If Musk really has a utopian goal of decreasing emissions, he couldn’t care less if China took over Tesla China, because he won’t be making actual money from Tesla China anyway. Instead, he hopes that manufacturing innovations and ideas can be shared to his other factories.

If china took over tesla China and didn’t share innovations, that would just be stupid on their part, because the rest of the world would be working together and sharing innovation without them.


They will do it. The 100-year-CCP discourse of Xi clearly stated that he wants CCP to be self-sufficient. He will simply take control of all the West assets in China once he considers that the West cannot do anything against the takeover.

West: in the sense everything but China.


Well, you certainly underestimate Mr. Xi. He wants his state-owned enterprise to be so efficient and innovative that, it's useless to own the worse foreign assets. After all, Mr. Xi believe that his state owned enterprise will produce the best and the most desirable products on the market. Without foreign assets, the world would not open their market to Mr. Xi then. The same capitalism logic...



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