I want to really drill down on something in this graph via AEI (I’m assuming that the numbers are correct, of course):
You see that first dip in the Chinese GDP line? Yeah, that represents something called the Taiping Rebellion, which killed roughly twenty million people. Notice that the Chinese ‘recovered’ from that relatively quickly, once the rebellion was finally suppressed: they didn’t really improve, but they recovered to at least their previous levels. Contrast to the collapse starting with the Japanese invasion of China, and following up with the Communist takeover. That GDP disaster lasted about three to four times as long, and did not actually ‘end’ until the Chinese regime figured out how to get around their own ideology, and actually implement some badly-needed free market reforms. Continue reading AEI reminds us: Communism *kills* people. Just ask the Chinese.
Beijing ordered government vehicles off the roads as part of an emergency response to ease air pollution that has smothered China’s capital for the past three days, while warning the smog will persist until Jan. 16.
Hospitals were inundated with patients complaining of heart and respiratory ailments and the website of the capital’s environmental monitoring center crashed. Hyundai Motor Co. (005380)’s venture in Beijing suspended production for a day to help ease the pollution, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Police across China are rounding up members of a quasi-Christian doomsday cult who have been preaching the end of the world and urging people to launch a “decisive battle” to slay the “big red dragon” of the Communist party.
Scores and perhaps hundreds of members of an outlawed cult known as the Church of Almighty God have been detained throughout the country in recent days as Beijing tries to stop believers taking drastic action on what they believe to be the eve of the apocalypse, according to relatives of cult members and state media reports.
Walter Russell Mead sayeth the dread phrase “Second Taipeng Rebellion,” and it fits: these folks seem to be a bunch of syncretic Christian/folk religion cult with an apocalyptic-Messianic worldview and a real loathing of the existing dynasty. And if this group starts a rebellion – big if – it’s not something to celebrate. Chinese civil disturbances tend to get very, very messy, very, very fast.
Two Chinese patrol ships entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islets claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo on Friday, Japan’s Coast Guard said, marking the latest incident in a long-running dispute between China and Japan.
The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, for people too lazy to look them up on Wikipedia like I just did, are a bunch of barren rocks halfway between Taiwan and Okinawa. Their ostensible value lies in a UN report that is older than I am, and which suggests that there may be oil and other mineral resources in that particular area; their actual value lies in the fact that they’re a convenient focus for ire for both the Chinese and the Japanese*. The two countries have been getting fairly saber-rattling at each other lately; this is merely the latest episode, but it always gets awkward when the boats with guns show up. Anyway, I’ll be nice and note that the conflict would still be going on in a hypothetical McCain Presidency: on the other hand, the Japanese would also know darn well that the USA would be backing them against the ChiComs.
On the gripping hand: your reaction to the previous sentence will say a lot about you politically, methinks.
*China and Japan are not fond of each other, in much the same way that Florida can get warm in August.
Apparently, it all has to do with the fact that those are wild carp jumping into the boat, there. Wild carp – which in America are imported pests that the federal government is trying to get rid off (with good reason*) – is a delicacy in the People’s Republic of China. An expensive delicacy, given that the PRC has precisely the sort of endemic pollution that one should expect from Commie regimes. 40% of their waterways don’t meet the Chi-Com’s own standards; by ours the Chinese local environment is something out of a cyberpunk novel. How bad is it, in fact? Well, let me put it this way: it’s roughly ten times or so worse than the agitprop released about the USA to drum up donations for Big Green. Hence the wistful looks abroad at all those tasty, tasty fish, just jumping into the boat… Continue reading #rsrh This carp-jumping-in-boat video has international implications.
Before you ask: I was raised in a union household. I know precisely what that word means, and I am using it precisely as my late father the local union president would have used it if he had lived to read this Wall Street Journal article by former SEIU boss Andy Stern. Let me summarize said article: I, Andy Stern, am a cheap date* who can be easily persuaded to publicly abandon support for the most successful economic/fiscal system in human history in exchange to a free trip to the Great Wall of China. But ignore for right now Stern’s unfortunate (for him) timing in writing a remarkably servile paean to the planned Chinese economy at precisely (I’m fond of that word this morning, it seems) the moment when the Chinese economy is looking alarmingly fragile to the rest of the world. Let’s instead talk about the state of organized labor in the People’s Republic of China, shall we?
Well, in at least one way you can certainly say that labor’s organized in the PRC: the ChiComs haven’t been shy about instituting absolute and exclusive control over trade unions. There’s precisely one trade union in China – the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which is, as CNN helpfully notes, “a government-sanctioned organization whose primary mission is to support Communist party policies and seek basic compensation for workers.” If you don’t like that union? Suffer. Want to start your own? Here comes the cops. Want to do collective bargaining? Oh, you poor, naive so-and-so – hey, wait: isn’t Andy Stern in favor of collective bargaining? Why, yes, so he is. So why is Stern supporting a country where they routinely oppress the workers (including children) in ways that go beyond even the most fetid fever-swamp agitprop of the American labor movement? Particularly when labor unrest in China just keeps increasing?
Oh, right. Because Andy Stern’s a scab that got bought off by a Center for American Progress-sponsored trip to China. I’m embarrassed on behalf of my old man; Stern didn’t even have the decency to be expensive to buy.
To mangle the Diane Duane quote… Joe Biden should always be taken everyplace twice: the second time, to apologize. This particular – week’s? day’s? minute’s? nanosecond’s? – example shows our esteemed Vice President signing off on the PRC’s draconian population control techniques. Bolding I presume Mark Hemingway’s:
But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China. You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.
I’m sure that Biden didn’t actually mean to endorse the People Republic of China’s policy of population control via forced abortions; but he certainly meant to avoid making a moral judgement on the practice. Which is, by the way, vile, disgusting, and not compatible with the reasonable expectations of moral behavior from a truly civilized nation-state. I’d just thought that I’d pass that bit of cultural elitism along, since my country’s current leadership team is a bit too scared to.
Geez. Even the Russians are less backward about this sort of thing, these days.
…not one of their best CGI results, but there’s at least one good photoshopped image in there.
Via Buzzfeed: interestingly, the original story about the Taliban supposedly training monkeys to fire guns originates from… the official newspaper for the People’s Republic of China. Why do I have the feeling that the rest of the world is getting somehow sucked into the lingering aftereffects of the last Chinese civil war?
You’ll be wanting to answer THAT WOMAN’s question, methinks.
It’s widely rumored that Jon Huntsman (former Republican governor of Utah, and current ambassador to the People’s Republic of China) has future political ambitions: I submit that those ambitions will quickly die the True Death if he does not address the recent ridiculousness over our State Department apologizing to the People’s Republic of China for Arizona’s enforcement of the government’s own illegal immigration policy. Because it’s now officially part of the national discussion:
The absolute low point of this campaign came last Friday, when a U.S. State Department delegation met with Chinese negotiators to discuss human rights. Apparently, our State Department felt it necessary to make their Chinese guests feel less bad about their own record of human rights abuses by repeatedly atoning for American “sins” – including, it seems, the Arizona immigration/pro-border security law. Asked if Arizona came up at all during the meeting, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner answered:
“We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”
Note that he said “We brought it up” – not the Chinese, but the U.S. State Department’s own delegation. Instead of grilling the Chinese about their appalling record on human rights, the State Department continued the unbelievable apology tour by raising “early and often” Arizona’s decision to secure our border.
Some of the greenest technologies of the age, from electric cars to efficient light bulbs to very large wind turbines, are made possible by an unusual group of elements called rare earths. The world’s dependence on these substances is rising fast.
Just one problem: These elements come almost entirely from China, from some of the most environmentally damaging mines in the country, in an industry dominated by criminal gangs.
That’s actually three problems, all of which are more or less independent of each other. Fixing any one of the three wouldn’t solve the other two, although fixing at least one probably certainly wouldn’t hurt; but, for example, the mines will still be ecological menaces even absent the criminal elements and single-source production. All in all, chalk up another win for the Law of Unintended Consequences, although Law of Unconsidered Consequences may be more accurate here. After all, a little bit of research beforehand would have easily warned would-be innovators that there would be road bumps on this particular road to Shangri-La.
Whether they would have cared is another question, of course…
PS: This may be the best bit from the article:
“This industry wants to save the world,” said Nicholas Curtis, the executive chairman of the Lynas Corporation of Australia, in a speech to an industry gathering in Hong Kong in late November. “We can’t do it and leave a product that is glowing in the dark somewhere else, killing people.”
Actually, it’s much more accurate to say that’s what they’re doing now, only without the ‘saving the world’ part; they’re just being uncomfortable at being caught at it.