Great Wall of China beyond

One of the most jarring yet subtle aspects of my experience with Mandarin Chinese was the counterintuitive use—or lack of use—of thank you (xiexie), please (qing), and other softeners like “would,” “could,” “I’m sorry,” and “excuse me” that liberally season vernacular American English.

http://qz.com/489345/china-not-india-is-the-worlds-biggest-democracy-an-op-ed-in-chinese-state-media-claims/

Scaling China’s Great Firewall

Murong Xuecun AUG. 17, 2015

In the fall of 2011, a friend and I got on to discussing Tibet. “Do you know,” he said, “that Tibetans are setting fire to themselves?”

I had spent from 2005 to 2008 in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, but I had never heard of acts of self-immolation. My friend filled me in on the ghastly details, and then added, “Everyone beyond the wall knows this. A writer who cares about China, but who doesn’t go over the wall, suffers from a moral deficiency. You shouldn’t let a wall decide what you know.”

When my friend said “beyond the wall,” he was referring to the notorious Great Firewall of China, which since around 1998 has been a government project to screen and block Internet content. Seventeen years on, the firewall is a frustrating feature of life that splinters the Chinese world into two.

One world stands for free information and the exchange of ideas, the other for censoring and monitoring. The wall fences in a Chinese information prison where ignorance fosters ideologies of hatred and aggression. If the firewall exists indefinitely, China will eventually revert to what it once was: a sealed off, narrow-minded, belligerent, rogue state.

That day back in 2011, my friend helped me install virtual private network software — what we refer to as a “ladder” — which allows users to get over the firewall. Once my ladder was set up, I could enter the web without restrictions. Thus, I started my life as a firewall refusenik.

Many Chinese people, perhaps most, know more about the country’s ancient history than about events of recent decades. Before I accessed the free web, I was one of them, the ignorant masses. Going over the wall for the first time opened a window onto a world of truth.

I had known that the Chinese Internet was subject to monitoring and control, but I had never grasped what that meant. On the few occasions that I had traveled abroad, I was usually too busy to spend significant time online. Only when I’d tasted freedom at the urging of my friend did I know the bitterness of its absence.

But much of what I found was disturbing. One of the first things I looked up were reports and shocking photos of the Tibetans’ self-immolations. I then sought information about China’s recent history: the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957-1959, in which hundreds of thousands of intellectuals were persecuted, the Great Famine of 1958-1962, the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976, and the Tiananmen killings of June 1989.

Many Chinese Internet users know they are not free online, but they accept this. Online games and myriad social media platforms keep everyone busy. We can make restaurant reservations and shop all we want. Only a small number of people sense what they are lacking.

My first V.P.N. was shut down by the authorities after three months. But back in 2011 and 2012, it was easy to find a new ladder. I could ask on Weibo for help: People would send anti-firewall software solutions to me directly. If I got in a real bind, friends would help me install new software. By 2014, I had set up six different ladders.

By my count, of the world’s 30 most visited websites, 16 are inaccessible in China, including Facebook and Google (Yahoo and Bing are available). In some cases, such as with Google, the web companies are not willing to cooperate with the government’s surveillance program. Many web services are blocked, it seems, for no other reason than that they are foreign.

Blocked websites nearly all have Chinese counterparts. For search, instead of Google, there’s Baidu. If we can’t get on Twitter, we can use Weibo. There are plenty of domestic platforms to share personal photos and videos. The government hopes to foster an Internet society that doesn’t concern itself with politics or current affairs. It has been largely successful, but the firewall and its architects still infuriate a large part of China’s online population

Everyone — young, old, southern, northern — hates the “404 Not Found” error message. When it appears, many curse the father of the Great Firewall, the former chief of the Beijing Post and Telecommunications University, Fang Binxing.

In recent years, the word “wall” has been used creatively. If your Internet account is canceled, it has been “walled.” If you are arrested, your freedom curtailed, your posts deleted, these can also all be cases of being “walled.”

Plastered all across China this summer are propaganda posters with the slogan “Why is China strong? Only because of the party.” The Chinese word “strong” (qiang) is a homonym of “wall,” which inspires subversive people to render the slogan as “Why is China walled? Only because of the party.”

I have now gone through eight V.P.N.s. No one seems to know why or how a V.P.N. is shut down. It might be working normally one day, and the next, it’s down. You might think it is just another temporary stoppage, but after many attempts to get back online, you realize that your V.P.N. was blocked.

The government’s firewall technology has become ever more sophisticated, and the cracks in the firewall have gotten smaller. Nearly every day a new V.P.N. provider is shuttered, and it is harder and harder to find a reliable long-term option.

This is one aspect of a diminishing space for dissent. In the past one-and-a-half years, 12 of my friends have been arrested, including scholars, lawyers and journalists. The Internet was their main channel of communication.

This situation can’t continue. In the end, this is a war between surveillance technology and Internet technology. It’s hard to imagine a government that opposes creativity can permanently have the upper hand.

In recent years, I have seen millions of Internet users express new indignation toward surveillance, screening and blocking. More Chinese people are realizing the value of freedom of expression and of access to all information.

Murong Xuecun is a writer whose novel “Dancing Through Red Dust” will be published in English next month. This article was translated by The New York Times from the Chinese.

www.nytimes.com/2015/08/18/opinion/murong-xuecun-scaling-chinas-great-firewall.html

China Pushes to Rewrite Rules of Global Internet
Officials aim to control online discourse and reduce U.S. influence

July 28, 2015 3:49 p.m. ET

SHANGHAI—As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.
Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.

www.wsj.com/articles/china-pushes-to-rewrite-rules-of-global-internet-1438112980

“American universities are addicted to Chinese students,” Parke Muth, a Virginia-based education consultant with extensive experience in China, told me last year. “They’re good test takers. They tend not to get into too much trouble. They’re not party animals. The schools are getting a lot of money, and they, frankly, are not doing a lot in terms of orientation.”

www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/05/american-universities-are-addicted-to-chinese-students/

WAGlass
8/15/2015 11:18 PM EDT

The Chinese have yet to discover the concept of win-win. They are transaction not relationship oriented and so they seek to do a deal, get the better of their partner in the deal and then having burned that bridge move on to the next deal.

www.washingtonpost.com/world/chinese-companies-face-culture-shock-in-countries-that-arent-like-china/2015/08/14/a048eb64-3bbd-11e5-88d3-e62130acc975_story.html

Chinese companies face culture shock in countries that aren’t like China


Cambodian garment workers staged a rally to demand higher wages and better working conditions during a gathering to mark May Day celebrations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in May 2015. (Heng Sinith/AP)

By Simon DenyerAugust 15

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Faced with slower growth at home and rising labor costs, Chinese entrepreneurs are seeking foreign markets as never before. But as they rush abroad, they are grappling for the first time with unruly trade unions, independent courts and meddlesome journalists. And for many, navigating the unfamiliar waters of multiparty politics and confronting the power of public opinion makes for heavy going.

As they venture into foreign democracies, many Chinese companies experience culture shock. Having made their money in a one-party state, where political connections are the key to a successful business and the rule of law is easy to sidestep, they are finding things just aren’t as simple abroad.

From the United States to Asia, Chinese entrepreneurs have a litany of complaints and have made a succession of costly mistakes. Even in tiny Cambodia, where China has become a major investor in the garment industry, they can sound bitter.

“Trade unions are all the same: They are black-hearted,” complained He Enjia, president of the Textile Enterprise Association of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia.

“In the last two years, things changed in Cambodia,” he added, explaining that factory owners used to be able to hire police to suppress striking workers. “Now it’s impossible. The influence of the opposition party is growing, with the help of the Western media.”

By some measures, outward investment from China outpaced foreign investment into the country for the first time last year. But abroad, where the public often demands greater transparency and courts enforce stricter environmental and labor laws, it is a steep learning curve for many Chinese companies, experts say, that mirrors the challenges foreign companies faced when they first entered China more than two decades ago.

“If you look at foreign companies going into China, it was extremely difficult for them to adjust,” said Thilo Hanemann, who tracks global investment flows at the Rhodium Group, a New York-based economic advisory firm. “Chinese companies are now going through the same thing, but it is even more complicated for them. The regulatory environment they grew up in is so vastly different than in markets overseas.”

The flow of capital out of China had begun to make it expensive for the country’s central bank to maintain the yuan’s value against the dollar. Last week’s surprise devaluation will push up the price of foreign investment for Chinese companies, but — if investors think the currency will weaken further over time — could encourage some to invest abroad now before the exchange rate falls further.

Some of the first major movers were state-owned companies, extracting the raw materials, such as oil and iron ore, that China needed to fuel its booming economy. Construction companies have also followed government money abroad, as China builds roads, dams and other infrastructure from Asia to Africa.

But, as rules governing outward investment have been liberalized, private companies, from garment manufacturers chasing lower wages in Southeast Asia to IT companies chasing new markets, are also moving abroad.

Official figures show outbound direct investment from the country rose 14 percent last year to $103 billion, and the government says that if outbound investment through third parties is included, it would exceed foreign direct investment for the first time.

That would be a major milestone for China, even if the figures are not exactly reliable. In any case, Rhodium’s Hanemann said the hasty expansion abroad should not be seen as a sign that China is about to take on the world.

“It’s not a sign of strength; it’s a sign of weakness,” he said. In the past, Chinese companies could reap such handsome profit growth at home that “they neglected global value chains” and did not develop overseas expertise, he said.

But as China’s economy slows, as it confronts huge overcapacity in its steel and cement industries, and as labor and land costs rise, companies are being forced to diversify abroad, to “play catch-up” and learn new skills in order to survive.

Official figures show outbound direct investment from the country rose 14 percent last year to $103 billion, and the government says that if outbound investment through third parties is included, it would exceed foreign direct investment for the first time.

It has not been smooth sailing. Indeed, there are countless examples of costly miscalculations.

That would be a major milestone for China, even if the figures are not exactly reliable. In any case, Rhodium’s Hanemann said the hasty expansion abroad should not be seen as a sign that China is about to take on the world.

“It’s not a sign of strength; it’s a sign of weakness,” he said. In the past, Chinese companies could reap such handsome profit growth at home that “they neglected global value chains” and did not develop overseas expertise, he said.

But as China’s economy slows, as it confronts huge overcapacity in its steel and cement industries, and as labor and land costs rise, companies are being forced to diversify abroad, to “play catch-up” and learn new skills in order to survive.

It has not been smooth sailing. Indeed, there are countless examples of costly miscalculations.

In the United States, Chinese companies are facing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage claims over drywall imported to rebuild thousands of homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; it is alleged to have emitted toxic gas, caused respiratory problems and corroded electrical appliances.

In Texas, state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is being sued for $7.5 billion by a former joint venture partner, Tang Energy, which claims it cheated on their deal to develop wind power — partly by creating competing businesses in the same field. It is something AVIC might have gotten away with at home but not in the West.

“In China, the state owns the enterprises, and it owns the court. So if you’re a state-owned company, you never have to worry about having a fair fight. And here they have a fair fight on their hands,” E. Patrick Jenevein III, Tang’s chief executive, said last year, according to the Dallas Morning News.

In Poland, China Overseas Engineering Group had its contract to build a highway in the run-up to the 2012 European soccer championships canceled after costs ballooned: The company had failed to allow, among many other things, for the cost of compliance with local environmental laws, including the need to build tunnels under the road for frogs to cross.

All over the world, Chinese companies have faced a political backlash for bringing in their own workers rather than employing locals — and for mistreating the locals they do employ.

There are, of course, very different problems in different places. Strict laws against pollution and corruption might pose problems in the West, but they are less of a concern in countries such as Cambodia, entrepreneurs say.

But Li Yi, secretary general of the Guangxi province branch of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia, says Cambodia’s many nongovernmental organizations are a nuisance.

“To grab Western funds, they do everything they can to pick holes and deliberately target big projects,” he said.

There are cultural differences, too. Chinese managers complain that Cambodians are not as hardworking as Chinese, but their heavy-handed efforts to increase productivity are not always successful.

In June, a Chinese construction site manager was reported to have screamed at his workers once too often for being lazy, according to the Phnom Penh Post. After their shift was over, a group of workers returned to the site at night and hacked the manager to death with an ax, police told the newspaper .

Li said that at least the business culture here is similar when it comes to bribing officials — Cambodians, he said, usually keep their word, unlike their counterparts in certain other countries. “They take money, and they keep their promise,” he said. “If they can’t do something, they say so directly. Not like some officials, who take money but then say they can’t help

In Burma, the transition from military rule to military-controlled democracy brought problems for Chinese mining and dam-building companies not used to a world where public opinion suddenly mattered.

Li Guanghua, general manager of the China Power Investment Corp., said his company learned painful lessons from the suspension of the Myitsone dam project in 2011, after questions about its environmental impact, and whether Burma would see much of the benefits of the dam, turned public opinion strongly against the project.

Now the company is being more careful to talk to local communities, opposition politicians and the news media as it tries to get the project restarted.

“We think transparency is very important now,” he said in an interview.

But have other Chinese companies learned that lesson?

“I can’t guarantee that,” he answered, with a smile.

www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Allison_04-14-15.pdf

In China, a ghost town points to shifting fortunes

By Simon DenyerAugust 24

SHENFU, China — Giant skyscrapers tower unfinished and abandoned around a lake that forms the centerpiece of this new town. The wind blows through the empty hulk of what was supposed to be a multistory hotel and restaurant complex. A salesman insists that people have moved into one of the few housing complexes to be completed around the shore, but as dusk falls, only a handful of lights blink on. He offers to throw in a free car with every apartment purchased.

This is Shenfu New Town in the northeastern province of Liao­ning, built to handle the overflow from the once-booming industrial cities of Shenyang and Fushun.

“Build it and they will come,” the saying goes. But here, in China’s industrial heartland, people are leaving instead of coming.

For much of the past decade, this was China’s fastest-growing region, the home of the heavy industry that powered the nation’s rise and rode on the coattails of a construction boom unparalleled in history.

Today, China’s economy is undergoing a painful transition that has left heavy industry reeling and set investors’ nerves jangling. The stock market is crashing, and fears of an economic slowdown are spreading. In the real economy, nowhere is the brunt of that slowdown and the pain of that transition being felt as sharply as here in the northeast.

“Everyone knows what the problem is. It is structural,” said an official dealing with economic policy in the Liaoning government who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

“Everybody knows what to do. You need to change the economic structure. But what concrete steps to take? Nobody knows,” he said. “What can we do? Financial sector? You can’t compete with cities like Shanghai. High-tech industries? Those won’t flourish overnight.”

Nicknamed the Rust Belt, the three provinces of northeastern China have survived tough times before, just as their famously tough inhabitants survive the region’s brutally cold winters.

The challenges they face today reflect many of the challenges that China faces as a nation: Curtailing the power of state-owned enterprises and allowing market forces to play a greater role. Finding new drivers of growth now that the export-, infrastructure- and housing-led boom is playing out. And reforming the economy without causing more pain and upheaval.

But here the problems seem even more deep-rooted, and attitudes more entrenched. This is a region where factory workers still look back fondly on the good old days of the Soviet-style planned economy and the industrialization drive that Mao Zedong undertook in the 1950s. This is a region, as the government official acknowledged, without the culture of entrepreneurship you find on China’s southern and eastern coasts.

“Here it is not encouraged to start up your own business,” he said. “Everyone just wants a stable job with a big state-owned enterprise.”

Liaoning’s economy grew by a staggering average of 12.8 percent a year between 2003 and 2012, even faster than the 10.7 percent recorded by the nation as whole. Now, official figures show the national economy growing at 7 percent, but growth in Liaoning tumbled to 2.6 percent in the first half of this year, the lowest of the country’s 31 provinces. Industrial production in the province contracted more than 5 percent in the first seven months of this year after growing more than 8 percent the year before, says Shen Minggao, Citi’s chief economist for Greater China, a deterioration he calls “astonishing.”

Factories faltering

The Tiexi district of Shenyang is nicknamed the “Ruhr of the East,” after the German district that forms the backbone of that nation’s industrial might. Yet here, the backbone of China’s economy appears to be wilting.

At state-owned companies, workers say fewer shifts mean their monthly pay has fallen from up to 5,000 yuan ($780) two years ago to more like 2,000 now.

At private factories such as the Shenyang Heavy Machinery Huayang Mechanical Co., the situation is bleaker. Here, just 30 workers man old-fashioned lathes making machinery for the coal industry in a factory that once employed 400.

Abandoned parts and tools lie strewn on the factory floor amid cigarette butts and metal shavings, a thick film of oil coats every surface, and the sense of decay is palpable. Yao Guanghe, 22, started working here in May after his previous employer went bankrupt, but he fears for his future.

“It’s very difficult to find jobs in this industry,” he said amid the hum of machinery, the sound of hammering and the blue flash of welding. “You consider yourself lucky just to be working at all.”

Many people leave the region to look for work elsewhere. That relieves some of the social pressure but is draining some of the best talent from the northeast and leaving behind a rapidly aging population, experts say.

Reflecting their concern, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang both made “inspection tours” of the northeast in the past four months. Both have stressed the need to foster innovation,­encourage small and medium-size businesses, reform state-owned companies and find new engines for growth.

But both have also signaled a reluctance to turn their backs on the old ways entirely. In April, Li called for the government to launch major infrastructure projects — even though revenue is down 23 percent in the first half of this year. In July, Xi said state-owned enterprises are the backbone of the economy and warned that the government must avoid “the blindness of the market” even as it pursues reform, state media reported.

Those mixed messages may represent an effort to manage the economic transition, but they also may reflect the haphazard nature of changes that have taken place since Xi and Li came to power in 2013. There have been some financial reforms — most notably this month’s decision to make the currency more responsive to market forces — but a reluctance to administer the kind of harsh medicine the domestic economy needs, economists say.

“There is a general aspiration to do good things in a very vague sense, but there isn’t a top-down vision — or if there is a vision, there is no plan about how to actually execute it,” said Andrew Batson, director of research at Gavekal Dragonomics. “What actually happens is dependent on domestic politics and maneuvering within the bureaucracy.”

Andrew Polk, senior economist at the Conference Board China Center for Economics and Business, said the problems are mounting as the economy slows — efforts to curb state-owned enterprises could result in still slower growth, for example, and it is far from clear that the leadership is ready to take that leap.

“I see them as being on a ledge,” Polk said. “They have great intentions, and they keep coming up to the edge. But then they think about it, they don’t jump, and they back off.”

Echoes of 2008

Many of China’s problems date to the 2008 global financial crisis, which crushed export growth. A major government stimulus program delayed the day of reckoning but led to a rapid rise in debt that now needs to be contained. But it is the end of the construction boom that may have hit heavy industries such as steel and cement the hardest.

“It may take a 10 to 20 percent capacity cut before these sectors become profitable again,” said Citi’s Shen. “If they do cut capacity, the economy will get worse, but if they don’t, the problem will drag on for a few more years.”

In Shenyang, the signals remain as mixed as they are nationally.

Zhou Dewen, who runs a business association in Wenzhou, scouts out investment possibilities throughout China. He has led 20 small-business delegations to the northeast, but he has not been able to work up much enthusiasm for the region.

“The northeast still thinks of itself as the big brother, because they were the first to get rich after the new China was founded,” he said. “They are sitting on their glories and not advancing with time. Their mind-set is still the old planned-economy stuff. They don’t see that small businesses can do big things.”

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to write China’s economy off, or to conclude that the northeast has no hope of recovery.

At the gleaming new factory complex run by the Shenyang Machine Tool Group (SYMG), fully automated lathes and milling machines work with a precision and speed that was previously unimaginable, and company chairman Xiyou Guan talks enthusiastically about joining the next global revolution in smart machines.

SYMG rose from being the 36th-largest machine tool company in the world in 2002 to the largest in 2011. Times are much tougher now — revenue has since dropped sharply, and the company is projecting a net loss in the first half of this year. It has fallen back to third place globally. Nevertheless, Xiyou, who is also a senior Communist Party official, remains upbeat — about his company and for the region as a whole.

“In my opinion, the fact that we are in an economic downturn is not a bad thing: When something old dies, something new will be born,” he said, turning to his colleagues to cite a line from Russian writer Maxim Gorky. “ ‘Let the tempest come strike harder!’ — because this will give birth to new things much faster.”

Xu Yangjingjing contributed to this report.


www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/chinas-hard-hit-rust-belt-reflects-the-countrys-economic-woes/2015/08/24/d5d82752-45bf-11e5-9f53-d1e3ddfd0cda_story.html

For American pundits, China isn’t a country. It’s a fantasyland.


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-american-pundits-china-isnt-a-country-its-a-fantasyland/2015/05/29/24ba60e0-0431-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html

China is not the only country reclaiming land in South China Sea


Satellite images from April 2 show China has begun building its first airstrip in contested territory in the Spratly Islands. But they’re not the only country with military plans for the islands they claim in the Spratlys. (Handout via Reuters)

By Walter Pincus Reporter June 1 at 6:16 PM

It’s time to get the facts straight on the military activities of all countries in the Spratly Islands before Washington intensifies its confrontation with China over Beijing’s intentions.

The headlines have been about China’s reclamation of some 2,000 acres from the South China Sea over the past 18 months and building military facilities on them.

Less attention has been paid — except by the Chinese — to smaller but similar reclamation and military construction efforts over the years and currently by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, related to islands they claim in the Spratlys.

Taiwan, for example, has claimed Itu Aba Island since 1955, one of the largest in the Spratlys. It served as a Japanese submarine base during World War II and today tankers carrying most of China’s imported oil pass nearby.

In 2008, Taiwan announced a new 3,900-foot airstrip had been completed on the island that would support search and rescue operations. It also could support military aircraft, as Taiwan’s president proved that year when he landed in a C-130 transport plane.

The island now has a radar station, meteorological center and permanent troop support facilities for a Taiwanese marine unit.

More recently, Taiwan has begun a modest reclamation effort near the airstrip, which may be part of a proposed $100 million port designed to handle frigates and coast guard cutters.

Vietnam also has been expanding its holdings in the Spratlys, which lie just seven miles east of Taiwan’s Itu Aba Island and were first occupied in 1975. On Sand Cay and West London Reef, Vietnam has been reclaiming land from the sea to build military facilities but at about one-tenth the size of China’s project.

West London Reef’s eastern sandbank has been expanded by two square miles and work on a harbor facility is underway, according to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). On the southern portion a fourth structure is joining three multi-story military facilities. Another is going up in the northern portion.

A surveillance facility sits at the eastern side of Sand Cay with a heliport next to it. The Vietnamese are also constructing a pier and a complex of defense structures, including what may be artillery emplacements bunkers, according to the CSIS .

On the Spratly Island of Zhongye Dao, the Philippine government has had a military airstrip since 1975 known as Ranudo Air Field. The Philippine air force announced in June 2014 that $11 million had been allocated to upgrade the 4,200-foot runway and navy port facilities. Aside from the air field, which has been able to accommodate C-130s since 2002, the island has a military detachment and small civilian population.

Malaysia is also in the Spratly picture. In early 2013, the Chinese held naval exercises near James Shoals, a reef some 50 miles off Malaysia’s Borneo state of Sarawak, which Malaysia claims and is considered part of the Spratlys. In October 2013, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein announced his country’s plan to establish a marine corps that would be stationed at a new naval base to be constructed at Bintulu in Sarawak.

On Saturday, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter acknowledged, “It’s true that almost all the nations that claim parts of the South China Sea have developed outposts over the years . . . of differing scope and degree.”

Although Carter described China as “one country [that] has gone much further and much faster than any other,” he added, “We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features.”

Carter meant China and everyone else, but that may prove difficult for the United States to accomplish.

As the defense secretary pointed out, as Asian-Pacific “nations develop, as military spending increases, and as economies thrive — we expect to see changes in how countries define and pursue their interests and ambitions.”

The United States, for example, is increasing its military presence in the area, though its mainland is 7,000 miles away and its closest states, Alaska and Hawaii, are 4,500 and 6,000 miles away respectively.

On Wednesday, Carter pointed out the “tremendous” U.S. forces already in the region: more than 350,000 military and civilian personnel, nearly 2,000 aircraft and 180 naval vessels.

On Saturday, he said, “As the United States develops new systems, [the Defense Department] will continue to bring the best platforms and people forward to the Asia-Pacific.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese in their military white paper released Tuesday took a different view of the U.S. presence and its activities. In the paper, Beijing took aim at “some external countries” — no names mentioned — that “are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs,” along with “a tiny few [who] maintain constant close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China.”

Should Americans be surprised that China says it is reorienting “from theater defense to trans-theater mobility,” from solely “offshore waters defense” to “open seas protection” and moving from “territorial air defense to both [air force] defense and offense?”

The Defense Department’s report on China’s military, released May 8, calmly says, “China seeks to ensure basic stability along its periphery and avoid direct confrontation with the United States in order to focus on domestic development and smooth China’s rise.”

If true, it appears that Carter will prove correct when he said Wednesday in Hawaii: “We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.”


www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/china-is-not-the-only-country-reclaiming-land-in-south-china-sea/2015/06/01/38817a58-0569-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html

www.nytimes.com/2014/09/12/opinion/chinas-tv-war-on-japan.html


www.nytimes.com/2014/09/15/opinion/chinas-environmental-awakening.html



About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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