Now more than ever it is important that Australians understand the diverse perspectives within the Australian Chinese community. ‘Views in Chinese’ translates key articles from a range of Chinese-language media outlets in Australia on issues regarding the Australia-China relationship, and noteworthy articles about the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These are not the views of China Matters. Until January 2018, ‘What does China say about…’ pointed out articles from PRC state media and sources close to the PRC in both Chinese and English to draw attention to PRC positions on a range of issues.
This is a translation of a piece in the editorial column of Vision Times Australia (看中国). It is in part a response to the April 2019 edition of China Matters Explores, “Is there a problem with… WeChat?” by Professor Wanning Sun.
The Battle Between the Federal Election and WeChat
By Yan Xia
As the Federal election gets closer, both major parties have been going to great lengths to win over Chinese people. Both leaders have started talking on WeChat to create an image of closeness to “the Chinese”, causing a debate in mainstream society, and outside of the election, about whether WeChat is secure.
UTS Professor Wanning Sun has written a scholarly article for Australian think tank China Matters, entitled “Is there a problem with… WeChat?” Looking at all levels of both parties, it sees WeChat as an effective channel for governments to transmit their policies to the Chinese-Australian community. At the same time, it runs guard for the spread of Communist Party controlled WeChat software in Australia, and directly expresses an idea the Chinese Communist Party are happy to read, which is that WeChat is secure enough, as long as it follows “the rules”. I’m still not sure if that idea is getting mainstream approval.
But it’s well known that with the multipurpose personal media software developed under direct Communist Party planning, convenience of use is an attractive factor, and using big data to carry out all-round monitoring of users is an absolutely unrelenting focus of the authorities. WeChat and Alipay are the most popular convenience tools and are promoted as having Chinese characteristics throughout the Chinese world. Applicants must use real names and real personal information, and bind their bank accounts. When the software is loaded, public group chat, private communications, consumer purchases, and comings and goings can all be monitored at a glance. An artist interviewed by Voice of America in Beijing said “using WeChat is the same as streaking.” It’s an effective means of maintaining stability by keeping the law, but if you’re a user, it’s a clear infringement of your rights.
So, knowing the existence of these dangers, political leaders haven’t hesitated to sign up under someone else’s name and happily use it? The reason is simple, with the election happening, votes are more important, and security less so. We can be sure that whoever wins, discussion about whether WeChat is harmful will start up again, which is probably the politicians’ strategy in reality.
People are wondering if WeChat can function to influence political power. But they already know the answer. Those who say it can’t are extremely irresponsible. The platform is not only filtered for pre-set keywords, it’s also monitored by a huge internet management personnel. So, the whole information network can only operate by keeping to the same voice, without producing any jarring voices. Its permeation and brainwashing powers are incomparable. The government, with its aim of “super privacy”, is giving impetus to the spread of WeChat, and giving people the false impression that it is secure. And it means more people have to load it up to interact with their candidates. But while the politicians are glad their policies are getting out, another bigger, stronger message of Communist Party power is being smoothly instilled into the minds of Australian users.
But does WeChat really work to help them get elected? In fact, politicians don’t really understand Chinese people. The majority of ethnic Chinese aren’t interested in elections, and besides the WeChat cohort is strictly limited in number. They just look on in surprise, and only a small minority know what politicians are talking about. In most elections party policies are aimed at the whole society, not just at ethnic Chinese. Promises to look after them are just political theatre, and they’re not that easily fooled.
Politicians always think fine words spoken face to face can gain Chinese people’s love, and Kevin Rudd won their admiration with his fluent Mandarin, but in fact that’s a mistaken judgement. Because of historical and ideological threads, there’s a mysterious connection between Chinese migrants who grew up under Communist Party of China rule and the Labor Party, and they’ve always inclined to Labor politicians.
The Liberal Party was worried by that, and when their government released its “anti-foreign influence laws”, it offended the PRC government authorities, and further alienated the ethnic Chinese community. But Morrison still has to woo the Chinese on WeChat, to express goodwill to Chinese-Australian voters. I think it’s a needless effort.
Citizens of all autocratic countries have something in common, they’re not used to thinking independently, because if they did, it would mean going onto a “criminal” path, and they are used to being on the side of the most powerful. There’s a Chinese saying, “When a wall is about to collapse, everybody gives it a push.” Followed by, “When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.”
Since the anti-foreign influence laws came out, although major upsets have occurred on Australia’s political stage, the Liberal Party seems to have the edge over Labor, but they can’t get recognition outside Australia. A lively group calling itself the Chinese Association have popped like balloons, the leaders with their tails quietly between their legs. But by no means think Chinese people aren’t glad about that. Their minds are quite simply happy that nothing is being openly expressed. No-one wishes to see another reiteration of party-state overlordship, do they?
The Labor Party has been super disappointing throughout all this. Not only has one lowlife after another been exposed, but veteran Chinese politicians who made their voices heard have also lost credibility. Mainstream media have kept chewing at Labor Party scandals, and it came out that the NSW Labor leader was deceiving the Chinese with his contradictory statements. Chinese people are probably disappointed with both parties, but Chinese support has been inclining towards the Liberals since the beginning of the year. To please Chinese people, you must first understand them. They worship star politicians and love winners.
Sun Wanning’s report will probably produce mainstream discussion, but the WeChat platform certainly won’t change the overall voting directions of ethnic Chinese. What it will do, unfortunately, is bury unpredictable, hidden dangers for Australia’s future security into the whole election.
Translation by: Graeme Ford, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner no. 5046
Date of Translation: 13 May 2019
The following is a translation of an editorial published by the PRC state-owned tabloid, Global Times (环球时报). The editorial discusses the differences in Australia and New Zealand’s respective China policies, and how the PRC should respond.
Editorial: Treat Australia and New Zealand differently, let the world better understand China
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a whirlwind visit to China on Monday (1 April), but the visit was clearly successful. Judging from officially disclosed information, both leaders attach great importance to the relationship, they affirmed that it has always been at the forefront of relations between China and the West, and that it has produced a number of firsts. Relations which were not so harmonious over the past year have undoubtedly changed with this visit.
It is particularly worth noting that China emphasised cooperation to create a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory business environment for investment between the two countries. New Zealand said it welcomes investment by Chinese companies, and that it would not discriminate against any company from any country.
In addition to Australia taking the lead among Western countries last year to publicly say Huawei equipment would be excluded from the country’s 5G network, the announcement last November by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau that Huawei equipment was insecure was believed to be a signal that it would follow Australia’s exclusion. However, Prime Minister Ardern said this February that the government had not made a final decision. Her statement in Beijing can be seen as an echo of this.
New Zealand was one of the first Western countries to sign a free trade agreement with China. It was also one of the first countries to join the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and has been positive about the Belt and Road Initiative. It followed Australia in making a negative statement on the issue of China’s cooperation with South Pacific last year. The same is true for the Huawei issue. New Zealand is under great pressure from both the United States and Australia on China. But it is different from Australia, since its attitude is more pragmatic.
China has to treat New Zealand and Australia differently, and will concentrate more pressure on Australia. Australia sees itself as a middle-sized power and a large country in its region. It intends to use the support of the US to achieve greater geopolitical ambitions. Therefore, it is the most prominent among Western countries on the China issue. New Zealand is a country that places greater emphasis on its economic interests.
But repairing New Zealand’s position on China depends not only on what Prime Minister Ardern says, but also on what her government actually does. The New Zealand government’s final attitude toward Huawei can be seen as a litmus test for its promise not to discriminate against PRC companies.
The United Kingdom has relaxed its attitude on Huawei, as have most other European countries. The possibility exists for New Zealand, which is nominally under the UK, to imitate its independent Huawei policy. New Zealand has clearly seen that the US-Australian boycott of Huawei is not just about security concerns, but is a geopolitical action which it is not interested in getting drawn into.
As a small island country in the South Pacific, New Zealand is naturally insecure and that makes it difficult to give up the protection of the US and Australia. But its real dilemma is the hijacking of its largest trading relationship by the US and Australia. China needs to take action so that New Zealand does not follow their policy toward China.
Australia is actually alone in the West. It is not only geographically on its periphery, but is also often regarded as insufficiently pure in its Western culture. Besides the Five Eyes alliance, it is not in other major Western organisations. It needs Asia. As long as China maintains a long-term indifference to Australia, it is enough to make it feel alienated strategically.
China must be clear that we cannot be as objectively friendly with every country, and differences will always exist. China must use far distant Oceania as a place to test and demonstrate its foreign relations. As a big country, China has both principles and a bottom line. Treating Australia and New Zealand differently will have a positive effect on consolidating China’s prestige and soft power.
Translation by: Chris Lanzit, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner ID: CPN0BC84W
Date of Translation: 8 April 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an article originally published by Chang’an Observation (长安观察). It was republished on the the Australian Chinese-language news website 1688.com.au (1688澳洲新闻网).
Hot topic: “I stand with China!” A China hardliner switchers sides?
“If I am forced to pick sides, I will choose a prosperous China, not an unpredictable United States.” Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir recently said in an exclusive media interview in which he talked about China-Malaysia relations, Huawei and a number of other topics. He said that we have been China’s neighbour for 2000 years, but they have never tried to conquer us. The Europeans came to Southeast Asia in 1509 and captured Malaysia in two years.
He also said that Huawei’s security threat has not been identified. “We cannot just follow the example of other countries because Chinese technology is ahead of the West.”
To say these things, is actually the truth. But, at a time when US-China trade frictions could lead to war, it shows some courage to be so blunt. It is even more unusual in the person of Mahathir.
Mahathir, whose full name is Mahathir Mohamad, will be 94 years old this December. This is not his first time in office. From 1981 to 2003, he was elected to this position four times. During that tenure in office, Mahathir led Malaysia’s transformation from an ordinary developing country into a newly industrialised country, with per capita annual income increasing from $1,830 in 1986 to $3,627 in 1996.
First, it was pro-China. He visited China seven times between 1981 and 2003. He visited twice in 2001. At the end of February, he participated in the Boao Forum for Asia and in October of the same year, he participated in the 9th informal meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. He actively strengthened interactions with China and advocated cooperation in infrastructure. He proposed the Pan-Asia Railway plan which would start in Singapore and arrive in Kunming via Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. It would also have branch lines to Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, and Vientiane, the capital of Laos, with a total length of 5,500 kilometres.
Later, he was anti-China. After leaving office, Mahathir’s attitude changed abruptly. He once wrote on a blog that ethnic Chinese can’t take up senior government positions. “If Chinese hold the position of prime minister or chief minister, then they are not only masters of the economy, but also of the political field. What will Malays have?” This statement just inflamed anti-Chinese feelings in Malaysia. The PRC Embassy became angry and responded directly by saying that some people talk about Malaysia-China friendship while in office, but after they step down, they try their best to incite feelings of hatred toward the Chinese… Playing fast and loose; where is their integrity? How do they win the respect of the international community?
Mahathir’s anti-China barrage reached its peak in 2018 with former prime minister Najib Razak. During the campaign, he proposed to redefine China-Malaysia relations, saying that the Malaysian public has not benefited from (China’s) investment and declaring that he would examine it carefully after the election. He suspended three PRC-funded projects at the beginning of this tenure, just as expected.
But he soon became pro-China again. The 93-year-old Mahathir went to China in August 2018. On the last day of his trip, he directly confronted the suspicions of outsiders, saying, “When I came to power, some people worried that I was anti-China. In fact, I am still China-friendly, just as I was before.” He has frequently expressed positive opinions about China since then. In the interview mentioned at the beginning of this article, he also revealed that he will participate in the second Belt and Road summit in April this year. “We must recognise that China is a major power, understand its policies and strategies, and benefit from its policies.”
Is a politician as changeable as a day in June? In fact, pro-China or anti-China, it’s all just a show. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s agenda has never changed. All he is concerned with is how to maximise benefits for Malaysia.
Looking back, is it possible that Mahathir’s anti-China stance during the wilderness years was directed at his political enemies and only incidentally toward China? According to insider analysis, it’s more likely that he was playing campaign politics as a way to force his competitors to step down.
When he had regained power, how is it that the old prime minister who knew everything about international politics, didn’t know how to deal with China? Malaysia has been a huge beneficiary of China’s development both in the last century and in the current one. Malaysia has been China’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia for nearly nine years according to media reports. In its financial system, there is a hidden crisis now. The government and enterprises are burdened with high debts, and the debt-to-GDP ratio far exceeds 100 per cent. China’s Belt and Road Initiative express train could be described as timely assistance in this situation.
In the 22 years that Mahathir was in charge of Malaysia last time, there was a saying that “an unshakeable Mahathir, a mercurial deputy prime minister”. In fact, here you can also apply this sentence pattern – “an unshakeable policy toward China, a mercurial prime minister makes changes.” Friendship with China has political and economic dimensions, both for Najib and Mahathir.
Translation by: Chris Lanzit, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner ID: CPN0BC84W
Date of Translation: 29 March 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an article published in the Australian Chinese Daily (澳洲新报).
No Chinese Community Organisations Have Registered with the Attorney-General’s Department
The grace period for the registration of individual institutions affected by the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act expired on Sunday (March 10), and no Chinese community association has registered with the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD). Leaders of Chinese community associations told this newspaper that they do not need to register because, by their nature, they are not listed in the regulations of the Act. This newspaper previously reported that a certain Association of Fellow Townspeople (a Village / Province Association) was investigated by the Federal Police Security Department for its relationship with the People’s Republic of China. That association also did not register with the AGD. Leaders of Chinese community associations pointed out that the Village / Provincial Association was composed of people originally from the same village or province and was purely social. There was no need for it to register since it conducted no political lobbying activity.
Other large-scale Chinese community associations have also not registered. The leaders of those associations pointed out that their activities do not involve politics, therefore there is simply no need to register with the AGD.
A long-established Village / Provincial Association held a meeting last week to discuss whether or not it should register, but finally decided not to.
The AGD placed a Chinese-language advertisement in this newspaper last Saturday introducing the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act to ethnic Chinese and listing the circumstances under which individuals and institutions need to register.
According to the Act, if an individual or institution conducts political lobbying activities in Australia or disseminates information providing political opinions to the Australian public on behalf of a foreign country or foreign entity, it is required to register with the AGD.
Some leaders of Chinese community associations are dissatisfied with the government’s creation of a law on foreign interference transparency. They believe that the Australian government is targeting the Chinese community and its associations.
They said that in fact, other ethnic communities also have their own community organisations. Some of their activities may also require registration in accordance with the law. However, the government’s approach gives the Chinese community the feeling that it is aimed at the Chinese community and this is very unfair to the Chinese.
At present, 9 organisations or individuals have registered with the AGD as representatives for foreign entities, and have conducted lobbying or information dissemination activities in Australia. One of the registered persons is Warwick King, and the foreign entity represented is Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd, which is located in China.
The activity registered by Warwick King is general political lobbying, which it began on 17 January 2019.
Another registered entity is the United States Studies Centre. It represents the US State Department and conducts general lobbying activities.
David Palmer represents the Truth Outreach Company which lobbies parliamentarians. It conducts general political lobbying and communications activities. The location of the foreign entity is the United States.
One foreign entity, Equinor, was registered by three organisations and one individual, all for general lobbying. The entity is located in Norway.
Former Defense Minister Brendan Nelson represents Thales Australia Ltd and conducts other activities on its behalf. The location of the foreign entity is France.
The Trustee for Sandra Eccles Family Trust, conducts general lobbying activities in Australia on behalf of PTTEP Australasia (Ashmore Cartier) Pty Ltd. The location of the foreign entity is Thailand.
Translation by: Chris Lanzit, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner ID: CPN0BC84W
Date of Translation: 12 March 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an article published in the Global Times (环球时报).
Australian Prime Minister wins Chinese support by opening a WeChat account, praises Chinese-Australians’ important in Australia-China relations
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened a public account on Chinese social media WeChat on 1 February. It is thought it is intended to attract Chinese voters, in the context of the general election to be held in Australia in 2019. In fact, more and more politicians have been setting their sights on WeChat to win Chinese support.
Morrison published his first WeChat post on 1 February, highly valuing what Chinese have contributed to Australia. “More than 500,000 Chinese have settled in Australia. Chinese migrants have worked hard and contributed new ideas for two hundred years, helping mould Australia’s status and economy”. He also praised Chinese-Australians’ important role in close relations between the two countries, and expressed pride in close economic, cultural and political links.
His second post on 2 February described his participation in the Year of the Pig Chinese New Year celebrations, with pictures and text. He said he especially liked the lion dance, and hoped he could spend Chinese New Year with everybody every year.
Concerning Morrison’s move to join Chinese social media, Australian media commented that his more important aim is focussed on the upcoming 2019 election. On the one hand, the enthusiasm of Chinese-Australians for political participation is growing, and Chinese voters play a decisive role in certain constituencies.
He hoped to attract more attention by opening his WeChat account before Chinese New Year. On the other hand, his competitors the Labor Party started connecting with Chinese voters by Chinese language social media before his own Liberal Party. Labor leader Kevin Rudd was the first Australian Prime Minister to open a WeChat account in 2013. Current Labor leader Bill Shorten opened an account in May 2017, and regularly posts content. Labor Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen also carried on an hour of live chat on WeChat with a group of Chinese-Australians in 2017, becoming the first Australian politician to do it. So Morrison and his Liberal Party have clearly fallen behind in this.
Social media is playing a more important role in Australian election campaigns. Election debate platforms were already crossing over from traditional newspaper media to social media at the last election. In this context social media from the People’s Republic of China is also taken seriously. There are 1,500,000 WeChat users in Australia. The major political parties are enthusiastically embracing this new channel of communication with voters. However some organisations are warning to investigate whether there is any foreign interference behind WeChat.
Translation by: Graeme Ford, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner no. 5046
Date of Translation: 1 March 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an article published by the Global Times (环球时报) about the Royal Australian Navy’s new Attack-class submarines.
Australia spends heavily on 12 super submarines, Experts say they could contain China in the South China Sea
The Australian government and a French shipbuilding giant have formally signed a contract worth a total A$50 billion, to order 12 conventionally powered Attack-class submarines. According to experts, this type of submarine can be regarded as a super-normal propulsion submarine, converted from nuclear to conventional. It has high submerged sailing time and endurance at sea. When it enters service the South China Sea could become an important area of activity for the submarine, exacerbating tensions in that theatre.
The New Zealand Herald’s Chinese-language website reported on 12 February that the first submarines will be delivered in 2030. According to reports, France won the tender in April 2016 to construct them in Australia, beating Japan and Germany. The two sides formally signed a military purchase agreement in Australia in December the same year. However, the final contract for the construction of the submarines has been postponed because of negative news reports in Australian media of excessive costs and production delays. According to the Sputnik, the first of the submarines will be named “Attack”.
Chinese military expert Li Jie said in an interview with a Global Times reporter on 13 February that one of the main reasons Australia purchased the 12 submarines from France is because its own Collins-class submarines were old and poorly performing. It has a need to comprehensively upgrade its naval combat capability at the same time.
Another Chinese military expert interviewed by the Global Times reporter said that the Attack-class submarine can be regarded as converted from nuclear to conventional. It is a conventionally powered submarine based on the new generation of French “Barracuda”-class nuclear attack submarines. When France proposed it to Australia, it was named after the Australian native species “Shortfin Barracuda” and later renamed “Attack”.
The Barracuda-class nuclear submarine has an underwater displacement of more than 5,000 tons, and the Attack-class has a displacement of up to 4,500 tons. It uses an advanced hydrodynamic shape and a pumping main propeller with good mute effect. The noise at low speed is expected to be lower than the nuclear-powered Barracuda and lower than the ocean background noise. This class of submarines was the largest tonnage of all the proposals at the time of bidding, and it is also the largest tonnage conventionally powered submarine confirmed for construction in the world.
Because it uses an air-free propulsion system, its underwater diving time is more than 20 days and it is self-sustaining for 3 months at sea. And since the submarine design is derived from the “Barracuda”-class nuclear-powered submarine, theoretically there is also the possibility of converting it from conventional to nuclear, which could further improve its underwater endurance, decreasing the probability of being discovered.
It can perform diverse tasks
The Australian submarine design was purchased from France, and the submarine’s weapon systems and sensors will be designed and installed by US defence giant Lockheed Martin. The company signed a A$700 million contract with Australia in 2018 to design, manufacture and integrate combat systems for Australia’s future submarine projects. According to analysis, the combat system could be based on the AN/BYG-1 combat system. The basic weaponry could include multi-type mines, Harpoon anti-ship guided missiles, and Mk48 Mod7 heavy torpedoes.
As well as conventional anti-ship missiles and heavy torpedoes, the submarine can also be equipped with submarine-launched cruise missiles with a range of more than 1,500 kilometres. The equipping with cruise missiles, together with the stealth of the submarines, will greatly enhance the strategic deterrence of the Royal Australian Navy. Because its hull is large, it can also be equipped with more electronic monitoring and reconnaissance equipment. When that is done, submarines of this class will carry out anti-submarine and anti-ship tasks, maritime blockades, reconnaissance and surveillance, and support land combat and special operations.
The South China Sea may become an important area of activity
Li Jie believes that 4-6 of the 12 future submarines could enter the Canberra-class aircraft carrier formations cruising with the United States in the South China Sea, possibly even performing the task of blockading the strategic strait at a time of war.
An anonymous Chinese military expert told the Global Times that dependence on the Asia-Pacific market has made the South China Sea a maritime lifeline for Australia. Australia has paid particular attention to the South China Sea in recent years, so it could become an important area of activity for Australian submarines.
However, submarines are offensive weapons that are difficult to use in protecting traffic routes. The expert pointed out that this class of submarines is active in the South China Sea region and could perform tasks such as intelligence gathering and surveillance, maritime strikes, blockades and support for land operations. In addition to performing tasks alone, they can also share intelligence with US and Japanese maritime forces, contain China’s underwater forces, and perform tasks with the US Navy in the South China Sea.
Li Jie believes Australia’s action is intended to show that it is another regional power apart from India in the Indo-Pacific region. Therefore, these submarines will perform more independent cruise missions in the future, and fewer formations with US ships. On the other hand, the US will also require Australia to play a more important role in the Indo-Pacific region. It is very likely that Australia will participate in joint military exercises and joint cruises organized by the US in the South China Sea.
The New Zealand Herald’s Chinese-language website believes some commentators have reservations about the military cooperation between Australia and France, because it will undoubtedly exacerbate tensions in the Pacific.
Li Jie believes China should increase anti-submarine forces in the relevant sea areas against future actions of extraterritorial countries in the South China Sea. “We must further establish and practise three-dimensional anti-submarine systems to enhance anti-submarine capacity on islands, underwater and in the air. When other countries’ submarines enter the region, we must be able to respond effectively, to deter them from action, and to ensure that the sea traffic lines are unimpeded”.
Translation by: Graeme Ford, NAATI Certified Professional Translator (Chinese-English), NAATI Practitioner no. 5046
Date of Translation: 22 February 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an opinion piece by Huang Ruo (黄若) published on 1688.com.au (1688澳洲新闻网).
Huang Ruo: Will military conflict happen in the Taiwan Strait?
Netizen CVC says: “What would the outcome be if the Mainland attacked Taiwan in 2019? Old Chu has thought about it but doesn’t dare say anything.” In that case I’ll say something about it! Let’s start with the possibility of the Mainland attacking Taiwan. I don’t think there’s even a ten per cent chance. Why so?
Firstly, China has repeatedly declared that it wants to emerge peacefully, and it will never seek hegemony. Won’t it just be hitting itself in the mouth if it makes an armed attack on Taiwan?
Secondly, not resolving disputes by force, and not imposing your own ideas on other people by force, are universal values. I don’t think there’s much chance that China will strike at Taiwan in the face of the world’s disapproval, because values in China can no longer be brought into line with the rest of the world, and they won’t be able to put out new shoots while they are resisted and attacked globally.
Thirdly, the Taiwan issue is by no means the first priority China must urgently resolve. There are huge downward pressures on China’s internal economy and externally there is also a hard battle to be fought in the US trade negotiations.
Then what would be the outcome be if China really attacked Taiwan? Firstly, as Sun Tzu’s Art of War states, “an army is a fierce weapon which a wise man only uses when he has to.” This is because the outcome of a battle is very hard to predict, so he recommends subduing the other’s army without going to war.
China does not have a definite advantage. The Communist armies are faced with the Taiwan Strait, which is more than 100 kilometres wide, and which would take at least eight hours to cross. Their total number of warships could only ferry 15,000 troops each day. Taiwan has an army of 150,000 soldiers; China does not have a definite advantage in biding their time and waiting for an exhausted enemy while fighting one or two at a time.
As well as that, beaches where landings could be made make up less than 20 per cent of the coastline, and two thirds of the whole island are mountainous and not good for paratroopers to land on. Thus the terrain is difficult to attack and easy to defend. There has been no successful precedent. With the Normandy landing, the English Channel is 34 miles wide, and the Allied armies of the Second World War could only carry across 150,000 troops a day. Hitler had spent most of his forces by then, and sixty years later it is still not clear how many allied troops were killed or wounded. It’s not easy crossing the sea to wage war.
Secondly, people would probably say that with modern weapon, wouldn’t it be over by just shooting a few missiles? Besides, China has the Dongfeng 17, 8 and 21-class missiles doesn’t it? That’s true, but Taiwan has missiles too, although not as many as China, and they don’t have the range of China’s guided missiles. But if you shoot off 100, we will shoot 10 at your head office. They won’t be shot everywhere, but specially at Lujiazui in Shanghai, and Zhongnanhai in Beijing. Shouldn’t that be enough to worry the Chinese?
When that happens, I’m afraid millions of high-level officials and wealthy people with foreign passports will piss themselves in fear, and take planes out of there. As well as this, a big problem will be how to “maintain stability” when rallies start up all over the country in support of liberating Taiwan. Why would the Communists take that risk?
Thirdly, a common attitude which currently exists among people in Taiwan is “let them come! In short, whether it is a blessing or a curse, what will be will be!” Taiwanese people are known for resistance. How many months did China fight for in in the Sino-Japanese War in 1894 before they signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki? But the Taiwanese kept up the war of resistance against Japan for thirty or so years. The first period was the Yiwei War (Japanese invasion of Taiwan) from May to October 1895 to protect the Republic of Formosa. The second period was the guerrilla war against Japan when there were armed anti-Japanese actions almost every year from immediately following the Republic of Formosa until 1902. The third period lasted eight years from the Beipu Uprising in 1907 until the Tapani Incident in 1915. Anti-Japanese movements changed to non-military forms after that, to protect Taiwanese culture, but the Musha Incident, a military opposition, also happened in that time.
If Mainland China really believes it can rule Taiwan, it doesn’t really have a plan, does it? It has headaches enough with Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong independence, without making more trouble for itself. All the old communists just want to protect themselves now, they don’t want to attack Taiwan any more.
Fourthly, the possibility can’t be avoided that the US and Japan could get involved. That is not within the scope of my prediction, because the US is unreliable! All I can say is that if there is a conflict, the chance the US will intervene is greater, not smaller, than ten years ago. The US journal Foreign Affairs has even predicted that the US military really wants a small conflict to happen with China to take it down a peg. That would be good for the US if another major conflict happened between them in the next ten or twenty years.
I don’t know if that will happen, but I can say that it’s not the style of the US. It has always said “you start fighting, and we’ll see what happens before we get involved.” That’s what they did in the First and Second World Wars. I don’t have to say what the outcome would be if a conflict happened across the Taiwan Strait, the Communist military took half of its troops across, and then the US suddenly decided to intervene. (Some experts predict that the US could take out all of the Communist warships just by deploying six submarines and they would only lose one warship). There’s a 90 per cent chance the Communist military won’t attack Taiwan, but what about the remaining 10 per cent?
I saw Wang Hao, a Chinese scholar whom a lot of people praise online, say on YouTube yesterday that Xi Jinping’s standing is not as fully secure as the outside world thinks. He said there are four forces vying for equality with him. Firstly, the remaining dregs of the Jiang Zemin faction. Secondly, the business-engaged, money-grubbing Party Princelings. Thirdly, the local lordlings, waiting for the blow to fall, wondering when they will be hauled away, and fourthly, Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong, … and the poisonous officers still in the military since the cleanup. Forces among them are planning a military conflict in the Strait or the South China Sea to give themselves a chance to seize authority while everything is in chaos. We can’t see or understand these schemes within the ‘palace’, but they have happened often in history, and we are not the ones who can control or predict what will happen. So I put that within the 10 per cent of uncertainty.
Date of Translation: 14 February 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an article published in Global Times (环球时报), by Yu Lei (于镭). The author is a Senior Researcher at the Pacific Island Research Centre of Liaocheng University and a Researcher at the Australian Studies Centre of Beijing Foreign Studies University.
Western Double Standards are Everywhere
By Yu Lei
In the practice of international relations, some Western countries have adopted double standards toward other countries, especially developing countries, in such fields as law and human rights. This has happened more than once. I feel deeply about this because I have lived and worked in the West for a long time.
Double standards practised by some Western countries appear first of all in politics. Quite a lot of countries have chosen political systems and development models according to their national conditions which are different from the West. These countries have therefore attracted the attention of Western countries and have become the main victims of their double standards. Not only do government agencies, politicians, and a wide range of non-governmental organisations in Western countries criticise them, but they have been demonised extensively in Western media. Even a developed country like Singapore, which is deeply influenced by Western-style democracy, is often a target of Western countries because its economic development model and legal practices are different from those of the West. Some Asian, African, and Latin American countries which possess national independence and self-awareness have become even more the victims of the West’s double standards in democracy, good governance and rule of law.
These double standards are also found in the areas of national defence and security. The US is the world’s principal military power, with military spending exceeding US$700 billion annually. However, some Western countries, led by the United States, have collectively accused developing countries of being aggressive and militaristic when they have strengthened their national defence to defend their sovereignty and legitimate interests. The US and other Western countries may increase their military strength while other nations are not permitted to do so. This is the security paradigm of the West.
Double standards also appear in economics. Western countries label their economic model as the Washington Consensus which is free, fair, and just. They describe development models that suit the conditions of developing countries, including China, as economic nationalism and mercantilism. I have presented data and theoretical analysis of China’s economic development in classrooms and at academic seminars on numerous occasions. Each time, without exception, it has been met by surprise and interest from students and scholars. Because reports about the Chinese economy are not objective, I am well aware that when it develops faster, the Western mainstream media says it is overheated and could go out of control at any time; and when it slows down, they all cry that it is going to collapse!
Double standards are also seen in culture. Some Western countries have established institutions to disseminate culture in developing countries, which benefits cultural exchanges and development of countries all over the world. However, it becomes cultural chauvinism when you think that your culture is superior and demand that developing countries fully accept it. When I attended a seminar in a Pacific island country not long ago, I saw a scholar from a major Western power arrogantly talk about the excellence of Western culture and its great contribution to the modernisation of the island nation, but it was opposed by several islander scholars. Western countries are also keen to export their culture to developing countries. However, they strongly guard against and resist developing countries setting up cultural institutions in the West, readily accusing them of exporting values and ideology.
Western double standards also appear in the ivory tower of academia. When a Western scholar analysed differences in classroom performance between European students and students from another continent, he publicly suggested that the main reason is the difference in IQ between the two; when explaining the difference in performance between European and Asian students, he emphasised the repetitive mechanical study methods of Asian students as the reason. I also experienced personal prejudice when publishing academic papers for the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI via the Web of Science). After several rounds of questions and responses, two reviewers employed by a well-known British academic journal agreed to publish my article. But a third reviewer blocked it for no reason and chided the publishing department, “Why must academic journals like yours publish articles with viewpoints favourable toward China and developing countries?”
The above is only some evidence of what I have noticed when living and working in the West. I believe that people with similar work and life experiences will give even more examples. We must maintain vigilance and expose the double standards of the West, because they are not conducive to communication and mutual progress in the world. Only by truly abandoning the double standards will the international community and human civilisation continue to progress.
Date of Translation: 22 January 2019Read More
The following is a translation of an opinion piece by Huang Ruo (黄若) and published on 1688.com.au (1688澳洲新闻网).
Huang Ruo: China should learn to connect with the world
The case of the Huawei Princess (arrest in Canada of Sabrina Meng Wanzhou) is a knot that cannot be undone. It’s like a chain, with one ring connected to another. No one can escape the curse. On the one hand, Huawei is afraid of US sanctions because if the US stops supplying parts, then Huawei will be stuck like ZTE. But from another perspective, American suppliers are also afraid that Huawei will not buy their goods and their business will be affected. Some manufacturers have even been forced to close. After all, Huawei is the second largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world today. Who wants to give up such big business? When Huawei stops production, it means that all subsidiary manufacturers will also stop working and the global economy will be affected, too. This is also why equity capital in the global mobile phone parts sector fell when something happened to the princess.
The market is no longer one of life or death in today’s high-tech era; rather it is one of a mutual division of labour. No one can make everything by themselves without relying on others. The Chinese say you cannot rely on other people for core technologies. This is basically a non-issue because a mobile phone or a computer involves thousands of parts and each is indispensable, such that every part is a core technology. For example, there is a company in the UK called ARM. Its chip is called “systems and platforms” or “system-on-a-chip (SoC)” infrastructure. It’s a very inconspicuous part, but every IC factory needs it. Is that a core technology?
There is a kind of thinking by modern Chinese officialdom which says that “other people can be controlled by me, but I must not be controlled by others.” This is the hegemonic view of the big powers. It’s basically a world in which I am within you, and you are within me, in this era of globally distributed spare parts production, of course. The kind of thinking that doesn’t rely on other people is really absurd. We see that although the factory labels are different, many parts are interchangeable in the European automotive industry. Recently, Takata Corp., a Japanese airbag manufacturer, started a global airbag recall because of quality flaws. Under extreme pressure, it filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the US last month. Now we know that it holds an 80% share of the world’s airbag market. Most of our cars use its airbags. Is that a core technology or not?
Also, now, everyone in China will say: Huawei wants to compete for the right to speak on 5G and become a 5G standards setter. However, I don’t know if the Chinese have thought it through. They are not the inventors of wireless communications, nor the creators of the network architecture. These are the result of the long-term accumulation of work by many scientists in the West. Now China comes along and says: I want to have the right to set network standards. What do those Western countries which discovered radio waves and developed wireless networks think about this? It’s as if a highway opens and although you did not make any contribution, you come along and say: I will have the final say as to how cars are to be driven on this highway. Is that reasonable? That is why Western countries are all uniting against China. On the contrary, I think there is no harm in China studying when Japan’s automobile and electronics industry were just emerging. People came in without complaining, bought patents, observed, learned, and then found an opportunity to create, invent and sell to others. In the end, Japan became one of the world’s leaders in automobiles and electrical appliances.
I think that Huawei is taking the correct road in some respects, investing large sums of money in research and development and applying for patents. Everyone who wants to use my patents has to pay for them. Others who can go around you are disrespectful. They will only pay the toll if they can’t get around you. So everyone follows the rules and says nothing. This is the rule by which Westerners do business, but Chinese people don’t have this custom. If they can get around it, they will. If they can’t, they will steal it. If they can’t steal it, they will get you to invest, trading shares for your technology. Once they have the technology in hand, they will find a way to get rid of you. Don’t keep playing that clever game. People will figure it out in the end no matter how stupid they are. You can see that parts used in Chinese and foreign auto joint ventures are outdated goods from the previous generation. Why? Chinese people will probably understand when they think it over carefully.
In fact, the biggest advantage of doing business in China is that the market is big. Of course standards are not compulsory. China has enough of a market to make its own standards and then close the door to play by itself. Isn’t that how Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba all developed? But if you want to go out in the world and engage with others, I am afraid you will have to play according to their rules. After all, this is the way it’s been done for hundreds of years! Don’t take command as soon as you come on board. And don’t engage in trickery, then shout how great your country is. Be low-key. Don’t shout until you get strong!
Date of Translation: 18 January 2019Read More
The following is a translated post on the WeChat (微信) social media account of the Global Times (环球时报). The post recounts economist Jeffrey Sachs’ defence of Huawei, the telecommunications conglomerate, and the online backlash which ensued.
Really impressive, you guys have won
Author: Gengzhi Ge (耿直哥) [A pseudonymous account used by the Global Times, literally meaning “Honest and Frank Brother”.]
Jeffrey Sachs, a well-known economist from Columbia University, was unexpectedly attacked online because Western media published a few of his impartial remarks and criticism of the US government’s persecution of Huawei.
Moreover, one of the people who attacked him claimed with satisfaction that Sachs had been forced to delete his social media account.
Of course, speaking about Mr. Sachs, many Chinese people may not know very much about him. But Gengzhi Ge believes the controversial theory of “shock therapy” is spoken about in economic circles and many people will have heard about it.
Sachs is the originator of shock therapy. He and his theory have created economic miracles in Chile and Bolivia in South America and in Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and other countries in Eastern Europe in the last century. They have curbed the vicious economic inflation in these countries. Even though Russia somersaulted due to all kinds of internal and external factors since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, this has not affected his becoming one of the most well-known economists in the world.
Later, Sachs worked to help developing countries deal with the eradication of poverty, debt relief, disease control, and sustainable development, and published a book entitled “The End of Poverty: The Economic Possibilities of Our Time.” During this period, China, which was also a developing country, and its poverty alleviation model naturally attracted his attention and gradual approval.
Not long ago, he also participated in the filming of a documentary interview entitled “How Poverty Has Disappeared in China.”
Of course, the stronger the country, the more responsibilities it has. In Sachs’ view, China, as a populous country and an economic power, will also play a more important role in promoting the sustainable development of the global economy, in which technological innovation is even more essential. Therefore, Huawei, a well-known Chinese technology company, has become a main target for Sachs.
So, in a report on Huawei’s “Digital Nation: Stronger Economy, Better Society, Adept Governance” released last November, Sachs personally wrote a preface, arguing that Huawei’s “Digital Nation” would “promote continuous development in all countries.”
Of course, everyone knows what happened afterwards: At the beginning of December, Huawei’s senior executive Meng Wanzhou was suddenly arrested by Canadian authorities at the request of the US on the grounds that Huawei had violated the US sanctions against Iran. This caused a global uproar.
Sachs simply wrote an article entitled “The War on Huawei”, denouncing the US government for its behaviour in directly arresting people and as having nothing to do with maintaining the law. Its real purpose is to protect backward enterprises in the US and to play geopolitics. This is the greatest threat to international rule of law and even global peace.
Not only that, but Sachs also revealed that some Western media have stifled Huawei. He said that the media still discredits and blacklists Huawei even though they can’t find any evidence for the accusation that it is infiltrating the Western world.
His article naturally incited the hatred of various anti-China forces in the US. For example, Issac Stone Fish (in the picture below), an anti-China scholar who writes for the Washington Post and other media, launched a personal attack on Sachs.
Ironically, in Stone Fish’s slanderous post a lot of forces suspiciously taking US Congressional anti-China funds follow suit, insulting Sachs as a traitor and a sellout.
But Sachs was not so despicable. He responded rationally to this personal attack, saying that he didn’t write this article for money, but to show his genuine respect and approval of Huawei.
He further elaborated his point of view at the same time: he doesn’t hate the US, but only believes that the two great powers should negotiate to solve problems instead of engaging in a new Cold War.
But an unworried Stone Fish came up with a way to force him with a group of enforcers. Like a clown, he threatened that Sachs must follow them in criticising the Chinese government. In particular, when criticising its persecution of human rights in Xinjiang. Otherwise, he will keep harassing Sachs and continue suspecting that he has taken Chinese money.
However, Sachs responded that he wanted to understand the actual situation in Xinjiang, but he did not want to be “misled by the US government’s propaganda and double standards”:
This response naturally angered Stone Fish. He immediately posted to call together a group of anti-China media people and even supporters of the East Turkestan terrorist organisation to harass Sachs. They sent large amounts of false Western media information on Xinjiang in line with the US government’s position to Sachs:
As a result, after this harassment went on for many days, the anti-China forces suddenly discovered that Sachs’ social media account had disappeared. But these anti-China elements, who usually make a big noise about respecting freedom of speech, not only harassed a well-known economist into silence and even caused his account to disappear, they even immediately and buoyantly declared victory.
For example, Stone Fish claimed that he had questioned Sachs’ receipt of Huawei’s money and that Sachs had deleted his account out of shame.
James Palmer, editor of Foreign Policy, overtly praised this persecution, saying, “I am very happy that we have finally gotten rid of Sachs and forced him to delete his social media account.”
He explained why he was excited to those who didn’t know about the situation, saying, “Who asked him to write a fatuous article about Huawei, which also said that Western media reports on Xinjiang are US government propaganda? So he was criticised so much that he deleted the post and got what he deserved.”
This is the “freedom” given by the Western mainstream media and scholars who always say that others are harming freedom.
Date of Translation: 11 January 2019Read More