Who knows? For his generous contribution, the ChiComs might even name an aircraft carrier after the old boy.
(KMT chairman emeritus Lien Chan in his new People's Liberation Army duds following his disgraceful attendance and endorsement of a Communist military parade. Image from Holy Mosquito)
If the KMT's chairman emeritus wishes to tie his party to the Butchers of Beijing and their PLA stormtroopers, that can certainly be arranged.
Welcome back to Taiwan, Lien Chan. Not everyone has a good time at Tiananmen Square, but you enjoyed yourself.
And that's the important thing.
Kinda demolishes pro-Communist Joe Hung's lunatic contention that China follows the "kingly way, which is based on benevolence, justice and morality," doesn't it?
“Many people believe that a forced war would convince some countries of China’s sincerely peaceful intentions.”
— Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the Global Times
Last week, China began constructing an oil rig within Vietnamese waters to steal crude from the third world nation. Vietnam responded by sending ships to the area, which were promptly attacked by Chinese vessels:
Chinese ships have been ramming into and firing water cannons at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from putting an oil rig in the South China Sea, according to officials and video footage Wednesday, in a dangerous escalation of tensions over waters considered a global flashpoint.
Thousands of Vietnamese set fire to foreign factories and rampaged in industrial zones in the south of the country in an angry reaction to Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam, officials said on Wednesday.
The brunt of Tuesday's violence, one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979, appears to have been borne by Taiwanese firms in the zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces that were mistaken for Chinese-owned companies.
Gates were smashed and rioters set 15 factories on fire...
China cannot expect Vietnamese to respect Chinese property rights while the Chinese blithely violate theirs.
But it's a shame that this perfectly-understandable anger was taken out on the Taiwanese, though. Because (as readers of this blog are no doubt aware): Taiwanese are not Chinese.
In vain, Taiwanese companies themselves belatedly scrambled to communicate this elementary fact:
Some Taiwanese firms had spray-painted messages on the road and across their gates saying "We Support Vietnam" in an effort to distinguish themselves from Chinese enterprises.
Perhaps the current government of Taiwan might have alleviated the situation if had spent less time pretending to be China, and concentrated its efforts on sending the message that Taiwan is a completely different country altogether.
Without such efforts, Taiwan will always be unjustly blamed for the crimes of the Chinese. And the Taiwanese government will be forced to pay to evacuate its citizens whenever tempers erupt over cases of China's villainy.
As Aesop might've said:
Those who impersonate international outlaws are often mistaken for international outlaws.
UPDATE: You speak the truth, sir!
“We have to establish a distinct identity [from China],” Mr. [Antonio] Chiang said. “Or not only will this happen in Vietnam, but other countries, too.”
UPDATE (May 18/2014): Others see Taiwan's One China policy as a contributing factor.
"All your resources are belong to us." Deutsche Welle has the story on the Communist thieves of Zhongnanhai:
Five countries are considered “Arctic states” - Canada, the US, Russia, Norway and Denmark (along with Greenland and the Faeroe Islands). Finland, Sweden and Iceland are also members of the Arctic Council which deals with the future development of the North Pole region. China, Japan, South Korea and the European Union are trying to achieve permanent observer status.
"Countries closer to the Arctic, such as Iceland, Russia, Canada, and a few other European countries may tend to wish the Arctic were private or that they had priority to develop it," Cui Hongjian, head of the European department of the China Institute for International Studies, told reporters before Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Europe. "But China insists that the Arctic belongs to everyone just like the moon."
Small wonder China finds itself hated by all its neighbors.
Hat tip: Instapundit
There is, however, one country with an imperial past and a renewed craving for empire that has territorial ambitions which make of it a threat to Russia, and that country is China...The majority of those who live there [Siberia] today are not Russian. Many of them are Chinese who have journeyed north in search of well-paid work; and China, which is just across the border from Siberia, is an economic juggernaut increasingly desperate for resources of the very sort that are found in abundance in Siberia.
Vladimir Putin should think hard about the precedent he is setting in the Crimea. The day may come when China does to Russia in Siberia what he is trying to do right now to the Ukraine in the Crimea. Putin's government piously states that its only concern is to protect the majority Russian population in the Crimea from the Tatars and the Ukrainians there. China, in time, will say the like about the Chinese in Siberia. And when that day comes, he will have alienated everyone of any significance who might otherwise have rallied to Russia's defense. [Emphasis added]
More on Putin's folly.
In the form of a kids movie about giant robots battling cartoonish monsters:
Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim is a box office smash in China, but the Chinese military doesn't like it one bit, calling the movie blatant propaganda used to spread "American values and ideas."
The story's over a month old - don't know how I missed it.
But somehow, I find it strangely comforting that the officer corps of the PLA is composed of a bunch of cowardly bedwetters.
"A few vices are sufficient to blacken many virtues."
Upon the death of Margaret Thatcher, David Kan Ting of Taiwan's China Post compares the accomplishments of Thatcher, Reagan and Deng Xiaoping, and finds the former two wanting:
In the long haul, however, I think Deng Xiaoping would stand head and shoulder (sic) above the rest of the few in spite of his physical stature. In five years, that's 2018 to be exact, China could overtake America as the world's largest economy, according to the Economist. The world is bound to undergo some profound changes because of the new pecking order brought about by Deng's epoch-making reforms 35 years ago. (emphasis added)
This observer is inclined to agree. Surely neither Thatcher nor Reagan can boast of the magnificent achievement of imprisoning and murdering 700,000 of their own citizens!
On the other hand, Deng the malignant dwarf✯ can - he imprisoned and murdered 700,000 Chinese intellectuals and landlords while serving as Mao Tse-tung's hatchet man during the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957-1958.
Odd that Tingles forgot to recount that. Must've slipped his mind...
But given the recent blood-curdling threats issuing forth from a certain North Korean nuclear madman, it's more than a little surprising David Kan Ting couldn't recall that it was Deng Xiaoping himself who was the North Koreans' primary enabler in their drive for nuclear weapons.
It was Deng Xiaoping who looked the other way. Deng Xiaoping who ran interference. Deng Xiaoping who propped them up economically.
It must therefore be Deng Xiaoping and the Chinese Communist party that accepts a good part of the "credit" for the spectre of nuclear armageddon currently stalking Northeast Asia.
To this list, I shall not add the Tiananmen Massacre, of which Deng was the chief architect. Nor shall I mention the 3,000 souls mercilessly exterminated by Deng "we must prepare to spill some blood" Xiaoping.
I do not mention this matter - not because it's unimportant, but because by now it's painfully clear that David Kan Ting couldn't give two shits about Chinese murdered by their own government.
Postscript: David Kan Ting's latest column is not completely devoid of value - I, for one, did not know that Margaret Thatcher stumbled near a Chinese Communist legislative building back in '82. Nor would I have attached any deep metaphorical symbolism to her mistep.
I stand corrected:
The [refusal by Deng Xiaoping to allow Britain to keep Hong Kong] made Mrs. Thatcher apoplectic, and she fell on the steps of the Great Hall of the People — a lasting and telling image in the final episode of a 160-year historical drama of China's decline that began with the ignominious Opium War in 1860.
Ohhh, I get it: The fall of the mighty British Empire, and all that. Although I would suggest that the relatively unremarkable occurrance of a middle-aged woman in heels stumbling on stairs is far less "lasting and telling" than the revealing spectacle of Chinese ultranationalists like David Kan Ting crowing about it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but schadenfreude, by definition, is something one should be ashamed of.
(Image from Lawsonry.com)
No matter. Regardless, I AM grateful that Ting educated me about this incident. So much so in fact, that I think it fitting to relate another obscure Margaret-Thatcher-in-China story:
This anecdote's for you, Tingles:
On a bitterly cold day, the Chinese had put on a magnificent parade to welcome Mrs Thatcher. It included hundreds of shivering children in the flimsiest of clothes. She took one look, called for the commander of the parade and ordered him: Take these children off the street or give them warm coats to wear.
(To this, The Telegraph adds that Thatcher threatened to leave the country immediately if her demand was not met.)
The officer quickly realised that arguing was not an option. And since they did not have several hundred coats to hand [out], the children were taken out of the parade and transferred to a building.
Mrs Thatcher personally checked that the building was warm inside before she would let this, by now browbeaten, officer off the hook.
Kinda metaphorical, no?
Always ready to admit error, The Foreigner sincerely apologizes for the mischaracterization - and for hurting the feelings of the entire Dwarven people.
Honest question. Let's look at the evidence:
On the one hand, David Kan Ting appears to be a fan of Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong May-ling), whom he describes as, “the legendary Mei-ling Soong, wife of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who has been hailed as “the eternal first lady of China.” ✵
Soong May-ling herself was quite unequivocal on the matter of Tiananmen Square, describing the perpetrators as "dastardly Communist poltroons" and "demonic butchers" (The China Post, June 13, 1989 †).
So on the basis of this, I'd have to say, no, David Kan Ting of Taiwan's China Post DOES NOT take pleasure in innocent Chinese being mowed down by automatic machine gun fire.
But not so fast. You see, Soong May-ling is long dead-and-gone. And now, David Kan Ting has a new female hero. (A she-ro, if you will.) His latest idol de jour is Peng Liyuan, first lady ogress of China.
Peng Liyuan's reaction to Tiananmen Square could not possibly have been more different from Madame Chiang's. Whereas Soong May-ling seized the moment to denounce the Communist authors of this hideous crime, Peng Liyuan chose to laugh and clap and dance and sing at the deaths of thousands of Chinese at the hands of the People's "Liberation" Army.
(Peng Liyuan, entertaining PLA troops after the Tiananmen Massacre. Unlike Elvis, she don't look "all shook up". Thousands of Chinese murdered? Time to par-tay!
Image from the International Business Times)
So we come once more back to the original question: Does David Kan Ting of Taiwan's China Post take pleasure in innocent Chinese being mowed down by automatic machine gun fire?
Given Dave's rather eclectic choice of heroes, the best that can be said is that the answer is...inconclusive.
✵ Contra to Ting, Madame Chiang Kai-shek has ALSO been hailed by Taiwan's democratic opposition as, "the most evil woman to wield any kind of power during that bleak 100 years [ie: the 20th Century] and that her influence on almost anything she touched was corrupting and malign."
But I digress. My goal here is not to investigate Soong May-ling's place in history, but to ascertain her attitude concerning the Tiananmen Massacre.
† Since the China Post does not have online archives extending as far back as 1989, this is a second-hand quote by Soong May-ling, from a source whose reliability is suspect (to say the very least!)
Nevertheless, the quotes are in keeping with another (more reliable) second-hand source, so I therefore regard them as authentic.
The main title exaggerates slightly: China's current first lady, Peng Liyuan, didn't personally butcher any Chinese at Tiananmen Square. That we know of...
No, she merely gave a big pat on the back and issued a hearty, "Job well done!" to the Communist stormtroopers who did.
The AP has the story:
A photo of China's new first lady Peng Liyuan in younger days, singing to martial-law troops following the 1989 bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, flickered across Chinese cyberspace this week.
It was swiftly scrubbed from China's Internet before it could generate discussion online. But the image — seen and shared by outside observers — revived a memory the leadership prefers to suppress and shows one of the challenges in presenting Peng on the world stage as the softer side of China.
(Elsewhere, a commenter saw this picture of Peng singing in front of the PLA after its merry massacre, and suggests she was either crooning "I've Got A Crush On You" or "Tanks For The Memories".
Image from the International Business Times)
Meanwhile, David Kan Ting of Taiwan's pro-Communist China Post earlier this week beclowned himself by breathlessly praising the bestial Peng. A sampling of quotes:
China's new first lady was as graceful and glamorous as a supermodel when she emerged from Air China's 747 jetliner...
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
Peng Liyuan captivated millions of fans the moment she stepped into the international limelight. Wearing a smile and dressed in a simple black peacoat, she waved...
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
She is the United Nations ambassador for health, working to stamp out the scourge of AIDS. It seems that she possesses every quality necessary for accomplishing the daunting mission before her.
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
[Evidently, soullessness is now a UN job prerequisite. -- The Foreigner]
The star of Peng Liyuan is rising, to the ecstasy of her people at home who have never felt so proud in their lives. Some bloggers described her as “elegant and magnificent,” while others gushed over her “talents and beauty.”
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
[Tell us, Dave, for we really must know: Is she more elegant than magnificent...or more magnificent than she is elegant? Only a dedicated truth-seeker such as yourself can ever hope to be impartial enough to solve this baffling mystery. --The Foreigner]
It seems that the fever about Peng Liyuan is not going to recede any time soon, and rightly so.
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
[Ting's got a fever, and the only prescription...is more Chinese corpses. --The Foreigner]
Now with the godsend [represented by Peng Liyuan's very existence], it's worth the long wait.
--David Kan Ting, The China Post, Wed Mar 27, 2013
Whoa, Dave, take a saltpeter or something. Not to run you down or anything, but I haven't seen analysis this objective since last week's hard-hitting expose on Justin Bieber.
In Tiger Beat magazine...
(To paraphrase an old Cajun, drag some Communist advertorial money through a trailer park, and you never know what'll turn up. Or get written down...)
David Ting began his slobbery fanboi column by humming an old Taiwanese tune from the '80s titled, "The Drizzle Comes Just In Time." (Drizzle being a good thing, Ting informs us, especially after a period of a long drought.)
Well, it might come as a surprise, but I, too, cannot help humming a tune from the '80s when I now think of Peng Liyuan. Granted, it's not nearly as famous as Ting's -- just some obscure song by a little-known band that never went anywhere. Maybe you've heard of it though.
It's called, Another One Bites The Dust.
Given that China's new first lady, Peng Liyuan, publicly supported the massacre of thousands of her own countrymen, it seems entirely appropriate. (And as an added bonus, it's even got lyrics about machine guns, bullets and dead men dropping like flies as well.)
Having been "liberated" from his legs by the tank treads of an "elegant" and "magnificent" PLA panzer, Fang no doubt bitterly remembers the Pet Shop Boys' What Have I Done To Deserve This?
No word yet from David Ting on whether Fang Zheng wore a pair of absolutely FABULOUS designer prosthetics to the inauguration of Peng Liyuan's husband. They must've been simply to-die-for though, right Dave?
(Image from The Independent)
Like Peng Liyuan, Asma too was the subject of journalistic puff pieces -- which were quietly withdrawn out of sheer embarrassment once her husband began massacring Syrians.
UPDATE #2: All copies of Vogue's infamous "A Rose In The Desert" article have apparently been scrubbed from the internet, save for this one on a Bashar al-Assad fan-site run by an employee of the (ahem!) Syrian State News Agency living in Rome. As for the profile's author, Joan Juliet Buck, she regrets ever writing it.
Fun fact: an American lobbying firm was paid $5,000 a month by the Syrian government to get the obsequious Vogue portrayal published.
Moammar Gaddafi announces his desire for a Tiananmen Square Massacre he can call his very own.
Now, it could be argued that in this particular case he's outdone his kindred spirits in Beijing (if such a thing is possible) by ordering air strikes against Libyan civilians and importing African mercenaries to do his bloodletting for him.
But it just goes to show: Some guys'll do just about ANYTHING to get nominated for one of China's prestigious "World Harmony Awards"...
"You are an excellent tactician Captain. You let your second in command attack, while you sit and watch for weakness."
-Khan Noonien Singh, ST:TOS
Perhaps that's the only explanation I have for China's relatively mild reaction to the recent incident off the coast of Japan's Senkaku Islands. I mean, think about it: Japan arrests a P.R.C. fishing boat captain for violating Japanese waters, and what does Beijing do?
It blusters, dresses down the Japanese ambassador a few times, cancels a few underwater resource meetings, and sends a SINGLE fishery escort vessel. (For good measure, it also leaves open the possibility that it "may not be able" to control anti-Japanese mob action.)
A relatively measured response, given that it's Communist China we're talking about.
Shortly thereafter though, Taiwan does a curious thing. Remember, absolutely none of its mariners are cooling their heels in Japanese detention. Yet despite this, President Ma Ying-jeou reacts far more militantly than the P.R.C., making the "independent" decision to dispatch not one, but twelve --- 12! --- coast guard ships to the Japanese islands.
Like the man said, the second-in-command plays the heavy.
While the boss sits back, watching for weakness.
(Khan image from Zaphodsheads.spaces.live.com)
UPDATE: The Chinese might be breaking their pledge not to drill in a disputed undersea gas field. This, we don't know for sure, yet.
1) China finds the excuse it needed to avoid signing a gas field treaty with Japan.
2) What's your's is mine: Beijing orders a Japanese coast guard ship to stop surveying -- in Japan's own Exclusive Economic Zone.
3) War & rumors of war: Chinese dispatch quasi-military ship to the Senkaku islands. At the same time a Hong Kong group will charter a Taiwanese fishing vessel to also make a trip to the Japanese-owned islands. Convenient timing.
[That last story also mentions that Captain Ramboat's grandmother passed away in China during his incarceration for violating Japanese waters. Which is sure to calm the passions of Chinese jingoists.]
4) Taiwanese KMT legislator fans the flames: "“Without government support on both sides of the Strait, efforts by civilian associations of [Taiwan, China and Hong Kong] alone will not be enough and will be to no avail [for Taiwan to help seize the Senkaku Islands from Japan]."
Er, just what are the odds that that "civilian association" [Hong Kong's "Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands"] is actually a Chinese Communist Party front group? Leading everybody down the garden path to war?
Apparently, Taiwan's Chinese ultranationalist "Supreme Leader" isn't the only one who believes that Japan's Senkaku islands belong to China:
A tense maritime incident Tuesday in which two Japanese patrol vessels and a Chinese fishing boat collided near a disputed island chain triggered a diplomatic spat between the Asian giants.
The Chinese boat's bow then hit the Yonakuni's stern and also collided with another Japanese patrol boat, the Mizuki, some 40 minutes later, Kyodo reported citing the coast guard.
All the more reason for America to participate in joint exercises with ally Japan to exert sovereignty over the islands. Because contrary to the assertions made by Taiwan's China Post, Peking's Pekinese Ma Ying-jeou in Taipei simply cannot be counted on if Beijing makes a land-grab.
Chinese militarists direct a fleet of 10 fishing trawlers to intentionally violate Indonesia's Exclusive Economic Zone, then train gunboat weapons on the Indonesian Coast Guard ship that attempts to detain one of them.
The Klingons don't take prisoners, Mr. Saavik.
UPDATE: Related analysis by Gordon Chang here.
UPDATE #2: Heh. Daniel Drezner describes events such as these as part of China's shrewd "Pissing Off As Many Countries As Possible" grand strategy.
According to the most recent computer wargame simulations conducted by the island nation's Ministry of National Defense.
The ruling Chinese Nationalist Party of Taiwan was said to be horrified by the revelation, and vowed to rectify the country's precarious situation by blocking all weapons procurement bills at least 60 times over the course of the next two years.
From Michael Rubin's LA Times column:
Googling this comes up with nothing; I can't find a single primary source to confirm this. Of course, it's plausible -- probable, even -- that China would export its techniques of governmental repression. That's what the CCP would call, "non-interference in the internal affairs of other states".
Until I hear of more evidence though, I'm filing this one under, "Believable, but not verified."
Recall back in March, when the Chinese pounded their chests over the U.S.S. Impeccable's presence in China's EEZ. You're provoking us, they said. How dare you violate our sacred waters?
Flash forward almost 3 months to the day, when a Chinese submarine struck the sonar array of the U.S.S. John McCain. It sounds like the collision took place in Philippino territorial waters, but it's possible it occurred in the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone instead.
Either way, I'm pretty sure Manilla didn't grant Beijing permission to operate there. Which clearly demonstrates that to the Chinese, only China's naval territory is inviolable.
UPDATE: A good explanation of the Impeccable incident over at YouTube.
David Gelernter, the computer scientist who was maimed by the Unabomber a few years back, discusses the discovery of a Trojan horse program originating from China:
Nice turn of phrase there. The Chinese government's reaction was certainly telling. Chinese officials COULD have calmly announced that **ahem** freelance hackers must be at fault, and that they'd launch an investigation to find those responsible.
Instead what the world heard was the shoe on the table. LIES, LIES, these are all LIES! Those devious CANADIAN schemers are trying to start a new COLD WAR for their own malicious purposes!
Very . . . Kremlinesque. China launches Cold War-style cyber attacks -- then accuses the VICTIMS of its attacks of trying to start a Cold War.
Gelernter outlines why China's cyberwarfare was so difficult to uncover:
GhostNet reminds us that the new Cold War won't be fought with the threats and weapons of the old one. Americans might have less trouble keeping in mind occupied Tibet, the war on Chinese Christianity, the imprisonment and torture of political dissidents and members of Falun Gong, the one-child-only decree and other specimens of PRC tyranny if they didn't find Asian-on-Asian violence so deucedly boring. Instead of paying attention to those issues, we simper about mutual respect and cooperation--without acknowledging the fact that China is today the world's most powerful Evil Empire. The Soviets favored large armies and nuclear arsenals, but China is our new Cold War enemy, and her favorite weapons will also be novel: financial weapons, trade weapons, cyberweapons. Welcome to Cold War II. [emphasis added]
Ill-informed be the reader who relies on Taiwan's China Post for knowledge of this subject. From an editorial on March 24th:
Wrong. President Bill Clinton signed the treaty all the way back in 1994. What IS true is that the American senate has never RATIFIED the agreement.
A distinction without a difference? Hardly, as we shall next see:
Wrong again. Ever since the Reagan administration, the American government has committed itself to abiding by the terms of the treaty -- EXCEPT for the provisions governing deep sea mining. So the U.S. DOES subscribe to UNCLOS rules on EEZs (for the most part), despite the fact that America hasn't ratified the agreement.
(And, just to make this clear, those deep sea mining provisions are utterly irrelevant to the current disagreements America & China are having over China's EEZ in the South China Sea.)
[An American research ship's visit to China's EEZ] could be even more provocative than the USNS Impeccable's mission that led to the recent standoff.
Beijing's stance on its EEZ over the Impeccable incident should give the Columbia University scientists pause for thought. Right or wrong, it has accused the U.S. of violating international and Chinese laws by conducting surveillance in its exclusive zone.
Much of this is not merely wrong; it's wrong BY DEFINITION. The Post makes the incredible claim here that the Impeccable's surveillance mission was an American provocation, REGARDLESS of whether China's legal arguments are right or wrong.
That's tantamount to saying that ANYTHING is a provocation, just as long as Beijing says it is. International law don't mean squat, in other words.
We can dismiss out of hand the Post's bizarre implicit claim that China's whims make it the ultimate authority on international law. But we should be willing to admit that if the UNCLOS prohibits intelligence-gathering in EEZs, then international law is on China's side. And, and if this is the case, then the presence of the Impeccable in China's Exclusive Economic Zone WAS an American provocation.
Conversely, if the UNCLOS doesn't prohibit such intelligence gathering, then international law is on America's side. Which makes the Impeccable incident, in actuality, a CHINESE provocation.
Let's go to the treaty to decide for ourselves, shall we?
Part V of UNCLOS describes the rights and jurisdiction of coastal states over their EEZs. The reader will find that there is nothing -- NOTHING -- in this part of the treaty forbidding naval surveillance in Exclusive Economic Zones. Oh sure, you might find that Article 60.5 permits coastal states to establish 500 meter "no-go" zones around oil rig platforms and the like. Which of course is interesting and commonsensical, but has no bearing on the Impeccable case.
If one looks a bit back in the treaty, one DOES find that Part II, Article 19.2 (c) prohibits acts "aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State". But Part II of the treaty deals only with TERRITORIAL SEAS, which international law defines as extending 12 nautical miles from land (UNCLOS, Part II, Article 3).
Since the Impeccable was operating 65 nautical miles (120 kilometers) from Hainan Island (and not 12 nmi), it was within China's EEZ, not China's Territorial Seas. Therefore, the relevant part of UNCLOS is Part V, not Part II.
Ergo, the Impeccable was well within its rights under international law to conduct intelligence operations. By interfering with those operations, it was China that was the provocateur, as I have demonstrated.
Let's go back to the Post's editorial, which in spite of getting all this wrong, does manage to get at least ONE thing right:
A U.S. survey vessel is risking another confrontation in the waters around China when it arrives in the region this week . . .
The operators of the [civilian] research ship, the Marcus G. Langseth . . . have permission to conduct a seismic survey of the ocean floor from the governments of Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan. Beijing was not informed.
This IS true, because Part II, Article 56.1 (b) (ii) of the UNCLOS clearly states:
In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State has . . . jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this Convention with regard to . . . marine scientific research. [emphasis added]
Thus, while international law was on America's side in the case of the Impeccable conducting intelligence work in China's EEZ, it's on CHINA'S side if the Langseth performs marine research in those very same waters without Chinese permission.
May seem strange that coastal states can legally prevent innocent research but not OPEN SPYING within their EEZs, but there you go. It wasn't me who drew up the document.
UPDATE: Interestingly enough, the Marcus G. Langseth's mission is being conducted mostly for Taiwan's benefit. From the Langseth's pre-survey statement:
This project will provide a great deal of information about the nature of the earthquakes around Taiwan and will lead to a better assessment of earthquake hazard in the area. The information obtained from this study will help the people and government of Taiwan to better assess the potential for future seismic events and may thus mitigate some of the loss of life and economic disruptions that will inevitably occur.
UPDATE #2: During her Jan 13/09 confirmation hearing, Hillary Clinton revealed that the Obama administration will press for U.S. ratification of the UNCLOS. (You'll have to scroll down almost halfway through the transcript, to her question session with Senator Murkowski)
CLINTON: Yes, [ratification will be a priority for the administration], and it will be because it is long overdue, Senator. The Law of the Sea Treaty is supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, environmental, energy, and business interests. I have spoken with some of our -- our naval leaders, and they consider themselves to be somewhat disadvantaged by our not having become a party to the Law of the Sea.
Our industrial interests, particularly with seabed mining, just shut up. I mean, there's nothing that they can do because there's no protocol that they can feel comfortable that gives them the opportunity to pursue commercial interests. [emphasis added]
Seems pretty damn arrogant for the Secretary of State to dismiss America's mining companies so rudely. Reminded me of an old song, from back in the day:
Joe Dolce's Shaddup You Face
I notice Samuel L. Jackson has his own unique take on some of the lyrics. Heh.
[Mar 30/09: A commenter informs me that Mrs. Clinton wasn't telling the mining companies to shut UP; she was really trying to say that the mining companies had shut DOWN their deep sea operations. You gotta admit though, the words, "shut up," really leap off the transcript.]
UPDATE #3: Enough fun stuff. Here's an article by Robert D. Kaplan that ought to be required reading. Somewhat sensationally titled, "How We Would Fight China," the fighting Kaplan refers to is more like the Cold War kind. Written in 2005, some of it's obviously out of date -- concerns over the possibility that Taiwan might unilaterally declare de jure independence have surely given way to concerns over Taiwan's Finlandization by its neighbor to the west.
The piece is quite prescient with regards to China's games of naval brinksmanship, however:
What we can probably expect from China in the near future is specific demonstrations of strength—like its successful forcing down of a U.S. Navy EP-3E surveillance plane in the spring of 2001. Such tactics may represent the trend of twenty-first-century warfare better than anything now happening in Iraq—and China will have no shortage of opportunities in this arena. During one of our biennial Rim of the Pacific naval exercises the Chinese could sneak a sub under a carrier battle group and then surface it. They could deploy a moving target at sea and then hit it with a submarine- or land-based missile, demonstrating their ability to threaten not only carriers but also destroyers, frigates, and cruisers. (Think about the political effects of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, off the coast of Yemen in 2000—and then think about a future in which hitting such ships will be easier.) They could also bump up against one of our ships during one of our ongoing Freedom of Navigation exercises off the Asian coast. The bumping of a ship may seem inconsequential, but keep in mind that in a global media age such an act can have important strategic consequences. Because the world media tend to side with a spoiler rather than with a reigning superpower, the Chinese would have a built-in political advantage.
UPDATE #4: Move over China Post, the Beeb gets it wrong, too.
Once more people: the Impeccable was operating in China's Exclusive Economic Zone, NOT its Territorial Sea. Like the China Post, the BBC gets the two hopelessly confused.
UPDATE #5: The pre-survey statement of the Marcus G. Langseth is quite explicit about what route the ship will be taking:
The survey would take place from March through July 2009 in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Taiwan, China, Philippines, and Japan, in water depths ranging from <100 to >1000 m. [emphasis added]
It seems highly unlikely that Columbia University would have accidentally overlooked the importance of asking the Chinese for permission to conduct the survey.
So it's speculation time. Perhaps the reason the Chinese were not approached was that the U.S. Government wished to send them a message: If you're not going to abide by the terms of the treaty, then why should WE?
One of the unstated corollaries to Kagan's piece in the Policy Review is that China can be expected to play the role of the "Arsenal of Autocracy." Some evidence for that over at the Weekly Standard (allowing that Islamofascism represents a peculiar kind of autocracy):
The Pentagon has known since last August that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had supplied Chinese-made C-802 antiship missiles with advanced antijamming countermeasures to Hezbollah in Lebanon. One slammed into the Israeli destroyer Hanit killing four sailors on July 14, 2006, during the Lebanon war.
This year, many truckloads of small arms and explosives direct from Chinese government-owned factories to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been transshipped to Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are used against American soldiers and Marines and NATO forces. Since April, according to a knowledgeable Bush administration official, "vast amounts" of Chinese-made large caliber sniper rifles, "millions of rounds" of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and "IED [improvised explosive device] components" have been convoyed from Iran into Iraq and to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Why China is "doing it" need not be a mystery. In 2004, Beijing's top America analyst, Wang Jisi, noted, "The facts have proven that it is beneficial for our international environment to have the United States militarily and diplomatically deeply sunk in the Mideast to the extent that it can hardly extricate itself." It is sobering to consider that China's small-arms proliferation behavior since then suggests that this principle is indeed guiding Chinese foreign policy.
I'm not going to heap scorn upon this China Post editorial. Because there are days when I, too, think things might work out for the best in the Middle Kingdom:
Today's communist leaders in China are pragmatists, who believes in Deng Xiaoping's "cat theory" of getting results rather than Mao Zedong's egalitarianism of glorifying poverty on an equal footing. The merit of the law should be judged by the answer to a single question: Do the people want it?
But the mainland people may want more-free elections, free press and independent courts, for example. Clearly, the National People's Congress is in no hurry to work on these political reforms, which are lagging far behind. These are the reforms that can best safeguard against the abuse of power by corrupt officials. So, after property reform, political reform must be on the agenda.
Already, grassroots pressure for such reform is mounting. The rising middle class and increasingly well-educated people will demand political reforms that are now put on the back burner. If the past is an indication, we have reasons to be optimistic that such reforms will be carried out in another decade or two, if not sooner.
China's communists may be more pragmatic than they once were, but is that pragmatism directed at doing what's good for their country, or merely doing whatever allows them to hold their positions of power and privilege? A selfless utilitarian might, out of a sense of pragmatism, be willing to allow himself to be voted out of office in order to better serve the needs of society. But communist oligarchs obsessed with clinging to power may be much less inclined to do so.
Furthermore, while I agree that the well-educated will demand political reforms, it is not at all inevitable that they will succeed in getting these demands met. Tienanmen Square happened once, and it can happen again. And again and again. Heinlein once depicted a society whose subjects were completely co-opted by a fascist state; they were perfectly free to make all the money they wanted, and as long they tended to their own gardens, the State was content to leave them alone. The Federation was unapologetically brutal to those who dared meddle in politics, however.
"Starship Troopers" may have been fiction, but a few societies HAVE paralleled it in real-life. Could China take that path as well? I wonder...
There ARE indeed hopeful developments in China, but there are others the sober observer cannot ignore. The creation of the "Great Firewall", continuing persecution against certain religious minorities, a blithely amoral foreign policy - these are all things that suggest China might be moving in a darker direction.
To this list, I might add China's treatment of the free and democratic state of Taiwan. A few years ago, a Taiwanese industrialist doing business there was threatened, with tax audits and overzealous safety inspections, into signing a document declaring his "opposition" to Taiwanese independence. It was only last year that Chinese arm-twisting caused an airplane carrying Taiwan's president to be forbidden from flying over Mexican airspace. And let it not be forgotten that China currently aims a thousand missiles at Taiwan, in an effort to terrorize the population into submission.
Taiwan is the canary in the coal mine, and how China treats it should be of interest to everyone. Today, it's Taiwanese industrialists who are being bullied into taking political stances; tomorrow, it may be businessmen from YOUR country. Today, China prevents Taiwan's president from freely traveling; tomorrow, it may prevent the president of some other democratic country it's displeased with from doing so.
And the missiles? Well, TODAY they, and other weapons, are targeted upon Taiwan. And tomorrow? Well, by now I hope you've gotten the picture.
The Belmont Club has video of a prototype South Korean border guard robot armed with an automatic rifle.
(ED-209 image from Starship Modeler.)
In other news, Strategy Page featured a story about the Chinese navy working to make their nuclear submarines quieter.
From Johnny Neihu's Saturday column in the Taipei Times:
Anyway, after a long day of clack-clacking [mahjong tiles] and shots of icy beer...I read an article that had been printed off the Internet by one of my more English-savvy friends from the mahjong marathon. It was a June 3 piece called "The Perils of Threat Inflation" by one William Lind*,and brought me back to such a level of agitation that I wished I hadn't read it. I'll be honest: I was so scandalized that the three or four schoolgirls opposite me in the [subway] carriage turned off their iPods to watch and hear an old man self-combust.
What got Johnny into such a state was Lind's suggestion that China's claims on Taiwan were legitimate, and that the U.S. should butt out.
Instead of repeating Johnny's points for him, I'll just quote from Mr. Lind's column, and raise a few objections of my own:
Under its "one China" policy, the U.S. recognizes that Taiwan is part of China.
Sorry Mr. Lind, but that's not quite true. The U.S. acknowledges China's position that it has a claim to Taiwan, but it's wrong to say that it recognizes it.
In the same manner, I can acknowledge that the crazy-ass president of Iran thinks he has a right to develop nuclear weapons and wipe Israel off the map.
But I certainly don't recognize him as having any such right whatsoever.
Lind then tries to explain why poor little China will be forced against its will to put the Taiwanese in their place:
Taiwan is vastly important to China, because the great threat to China throughout its history has been internal division. If one province, Taiwan, can secure its independence, why cannot other provinces do the same? It is the spectre of internal break-up that forces China to prevent Taiwanese independence at any cost, including war with America.
Reality check here: Taiwan has NEVER been controlled by the People's Republic of China. Moreover, within the last century, Taiwan was only a part of a "Greater China" for a couple of years following World War II. That means that it's essentially been separate from Greater China for a hundred years now. And in spite of this, Communist China has miraculously managed to maintain its internal cohesiveness during its entire 50 year lifespan without collecting a single NT dollar in taxes, without imprisoning a single Taiwanese democracy advocate, and without murdering a single Falun Gong adherent.
Maybe, just maybe, it's an exaggeration then to say that Taiwanese independence is the single magical element that can bring the whole Chinese house of cards crashing down.
Next, Lind looks to history for an excuse not to get involved:
A strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China points to an obvious parallel, the strategic rivalry between England and Germany before World War I.
America needs to handle a rising China the way Britain handled a rising America, not a rising Germany.
I think the World War I analogy useful, but draw rather different conclusions from it than Mr. Lind does. To begin with, it's an error to think that World War I occurred because of some kind of "strategic rivalry". The Great War started because of German militarism, pure and simple. Donald Kagan's book, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, outlines Britain's dilemma:
The question is, what "accommodation" could the European states have made to the German "upstart" that would have brought satisfaction to Germany and stability to Europe? What, in fact, did Germany want? At the turn of the century, Germany was the strongest military power in the world. It also had the strongest and most dynamic economy on the Continent. In 1897, without any previous naval tradition, without any new challenge from the sea to require an expensive change in policy, the Germans undertook the construction of a major battle fleet concentrated in the North Sea where it threatened British naval superiority and the only security available to Britain. The British gradually became alarmed as they came to recognize the threat Germany posed.
...their fears were well-founded. However often the Kaiser might proclaim his friendly feelings for England and Tirpitz declare that the fleet had no offensive purposes, the continued construction of big battleships concentrated in the North Sea and the acceleration of that construction justified British suspicion and fear, even without inside information about German intentions. Scholarship, of course, has now made clear that Britain really was the target of the new German Navy and that the likeliest explanation of Tirpitz's otherwise irrational naval program is that it aimed at least at equality with the British fleet; when combined with Germany's military power it would give the Germans the ability to change the status quo in its favor and to the great and dangerous disadvantage of other powers...It would be some years before the Germans could hope for parity at sea, but the British expected that even before the Germans were prepared for a confrontation at sea, they would try to use their "risk" fleet to force concessions.
(Kagan, p 206-207)
Some clue as to what these concessions might have looked like in the long run can be drawn from German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg's "September Program" for Europe, which was drawn up a month after hostilities began:
The [German] military would decide whether the French should cede Belfort, the western slopes of the Vosges, the coast from Dunkirk to Boulogne, and destroy their forts on the German frontier...Germany would acquire the iron mines of Briey. A preferential trade treaty would make France "our export land," and the French would be required to pay an indemnity that would make it impossible for them to manufacture armaments for at least twenty years. Belgium would lose Liege, Verviers, and probably Antwerp, and would become a vassal state, accepting German garrisons in its ports...Holland would be ostensibly independent, "but essentially subject to us." Luxembourg would be directly incorporated into the German empire. Apart from these territorial provisions, but by no means less important, was the plan for establishing "an economic organization of Mitteleuropa through mutual customs agreements...including France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Poland, and perhaps Italy, Sweden, and Norway" that would guarantee German economic domination of Europe.
(Kagan, p 208)
Looking at this laundry list, it may be difficult for the modern reader to imagine that most Germans considered Bethmann Hollweg's demands to be too...moderate. Germans - left, right, and center - wanted more. Of this, Kagan writes:
A "Petition of Intellectuals" published in July 1915 was signed by a great number of theologians, teachers, artists, writers, and some 352 university professors; it demanded a program of annexations that went far beyond the September Program. At the same time...the leader of the Catholic Center party, Matthias Erzberger, was demanding the annexation of Belgium, parts of France, and the entire Congo, the conversion of the Baltic states and Ukraine into German dependencies, and the imposition of a reparation bill that would more than pay off the entire German national debt.
(Kagan, p 209)
In short, if one truly believes that China is some kind of Wilhelmine Germany analog, then one ought to be prepared to receive from China a set of territorial demands and economic concessions far in excess of little old Taiwan. Exactly then, how many OTHER countries are we prepared to sell down the river?
Finally, Lind raises the specter of a nuclear confrontation, which ultimately gets back to the familiar question about whether America is willing to sacrifice Los Angeles for Taipei. A Chinese general asked that a few years back, and Taiwanese (or are they Chinese?) commenters on Taiwan-related blogs ask it as well.
I confess I get a bit confused when I hear the question. You see, China claims that the world has absolutely nothing to fear from it; that it's peacefully rising. It swears this, up and down, to any and all.
I wonder then, will all that peaceful rising occur before or AFTER they nuke L.A.?**
Putting that aside, Mr. Lind should try to remember that the Cold War wasn't won by wetting our pants over the possibility of exchanging D.C. for Paris. It was won by facing the communists down, and by betting that they were rational actors who weren't prepared to to lose THEIR cities in an unjustified war of aggression.
Is America willing to sacrifice Los Angeles for Taipei? My response is to turn that question, which is asked purely in an effort to demoralize, upon its head. What we really should ask is whether it is the Chinese who are willing to sacrifice Beijing for Banchiao***, or Shanghai for ShiminDing****?
If China is tempted to answer that irrationally enough, it may one day find itself boasting of its five thousand year history...while looking forward to nothing more than a fifteen minute future.
* Lind's column is over at lewrockwell.com. Looking over the site, I can't help but wonder what Ludwig von Mises would have said if someone had told him that 33 years after his death, the president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute would be writing a column extolling the virtues of anarchy in Somalia.
What the president of the Institute seems to have forgotten is that von Mises was no anarchist - he was a classical liberal. Classical liberals advocate the "night-watchman state" - one which limits itself to protecting life, liberty and property.
That doesn't make them friends of modern big government, but it hardly makes them "anti-state", either.
** The paradox suggests that the Chinese are lying. But about what? About their peaceful rising? Their willingness to start lobbing nukes around in order to conquer Taiwan?
Or maybe all the above?
*** A city on the outskirts of Taipei.
**** A Taipei shopping district.
UPDATE (Jun 27/06): Are the Chinese willing to sacrifice Beijing for Banchiao? Some speculation here that the Taiwanese might have a few nukes of their own. Not sure how seriously this should be taken.
Apologies to those who've visited the site only to find no new posts for the last six days. Haven't been particularly busy lately, just super tired. Anyways, ran into a few China-related links on the Weekly Standard and thought I'd post them for your perusal.
Talk amongst yourselves. It's nap time for me.
Every time I see Dr. Joe Hung's photo in the commentary section of the China Post, I can't help but smile. He looks like a kindly old grandpa, and I'm sure that in person he's a lovely man. So perhaps it's his kindly nature that motivates him to write nonsense like this:
China does not have to launch any propaganda campaign to tell the world its rise is peaceful. All historians know China, after its invasion of Korea in the second century before Christ, has never tried to expand by force except the brief period in which it was ruled by the Mongols. The invasion of Korea was ordered by the Emperor Wu Ti of the Han Dynasty before he finally made Confucianism the state cult. Cheng Ho visited Southeast Asia and part of Africa, but none of the territories he visited were colonized, albeit Ming China, at the height of a dynastic cycle and with Lady Luck smiling on it, could have easily expanded its empire.
No one should be afraid of an expansionist jingoist China. Not even Taiwan. There will be no Chinese invasion, so long as Taipei refrains from declaring independence for Taiwan. (emphasis added)
QED. And for the Doctor's next trick, maybe he can scour the historical records to somehow "prove" that the Red Guards won't wreck China's historical treasures or the Khmer Rouge won't empty out the cities. Heck, if he's right about the past being 100% predictive of the future, you can throw away your smoke detector or the lock on your door and it won't make one bit of difference. Better still, SELL them and blow your windfall on something you like - a trip to the movies, or maybe some chocolate. You've never had your house burn down or be burglarized before, so what on earth makes you think it'll happen in the future?
In fact, the China Post has, in the past, made precisely that argument regarding Taiwan's defense needs. Appease China by not declaring independence and Taiwan won't NEED any weapons. Then Taiwan can take all the money it saves on useless armaments and spend it all on the political equivalent of chocolate: social programs.
Mmmm. Social programs. Politicians love 'em. Give enough of 'em to the voters, and they'll forgive you almost anything.
To be fair though, the folks at the China Post has been inconsistent in making this argument, so it looks like not even THEY fully believe it. As for Dr. Hung, well, he kind of contradicts some of his own rhetoric:
Without the luck of a Godsend support from the United States after the Korean War in 1945 (sic), Mao Zedong could have easily "washed Taiwan with blood."
China wanted to wash Taiwan in blood? And you're telling me it's peaceful? Hoo boy, you've got me convinced!
Now, I don't have a PhD in Chinese history like Dr. Hung does, and I'll be the first to admit that he knows far more Chinese history than I EVER will. But it seems to me that in his paragraph-long summary of Chinese history, he's neglected to mention a few things - events that happened not within the Han or the Sung or the Ming Dynasties, but within the last 60 years. And these things are not particularly supportive of his thesis.
First, there's the inconvenient matter of the invasion of Tibet. Then, there's the war with Taiwan. Next, the one with South Korea, America and the UN.
But don't stop me, 'cause I'm on a roll here. Does Dr. Hung forget China's border clashes with Russia? With India? With Vietnam?
Forgive me if I've missed any. Like I said, I'm no expert.
Somehow, the fact that "peaceful" China has fought virtually every single one of its neighbors within a span of a mere 60 years managed to slip Dr. Hung's mind. Or, is it that none of these really count, because China was somehow "provoked" into it - each and every time?
How fortunate then, that China wound up with atheistic communism as its political ideology. Who needs the Buddhist mantra, "Om mani padme om," when, "The other guy made me do it," is so much more useful in justifying a gunfight?
(It's not quite as poetic, I'll grant you, but maybe it sounds better in the original Mandarin.)
Dr. Hung's vision is a beautiful one, and I certainly hope he's right. Like I said earlier, he looks like he's a perfectly decent man. It's just that one of the problems with decent men is that they're sometimes willing to give the benefit of the doubt to those who are decidedly unworthy of it. Since we're talking history, I'll close with a little quote from the Melian Dialogues in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. It reflects a more sober, more tragic, and I fear, more real view of human nature:
"Of the gods we believe, and of men we know; that by a necessity of their nature, they rule as far as their nature permits."
The translation's a little rough to navigate. Essentially it means that people are liable to use the power that lies at their disposal. Unfortunately, the aphorism provides no exceptions; not even for "peaceful" countries which expand their military 15% a year while furiously building blue-water navies and maintaining 2.3 million man armies.
UPDATE (Mar 15/06): Recall the China Post's arguments that Taiwan doesn't need arms, and can safely spend the money on social programs instead. Today's China Post and Taiwan News both had pics of an anti-American weapons sales protest by a couple of dozen outside the American quasi-embassy in Taiwan. This photo's from the Taiwan News. (Sorry, no link available):
To call them 'capitulationists' almost seems too kind.
A few lines from "China to begin filling strategic oil reserves" in the March 7th edition of The China Post. (Sorry, no link available).
China will start filling the first of its strategic oil reserve facilities by the year end, a senior planning official said Monday....Three other strategic oil reserve facilities will be ready in 2007-2008, [said the chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission]...
China...had previously not stocked its reserves due to high oil prices.
China hopes its reserves will be able to hold up to half a year's supply of oil within 10 years. [emphasis added]
China currently has a 30 day reserve; if it achieves these announced goals, it will have a similar amount of oil in reserve as America and Japan. Thus, in the event of war, China would be able to weather disruptions in supply due to submarine warfare for a similar duration as its most likely adversaries.
I wonder then, if China's fuss over the National Unification Council has been nothing more than a classical case of misdirection. China's been going on and on about Taiwan's provocations for the last week (regarding the elimination of a $30 a year council that hadn't met in 7 years), and in response, the papers have given the subject prominent attention. Meanwhile, China has embarked on a status quo-shattering policy, which only one of Taiwan's three English newspapers saw fit mention (and barely at that).
Houdini would be proud.
If I recall correctly, one of the fears during the Cold War was due to the possible interruption of rare earth supplies to the West should an ANC government take over South Africa. The ANC was on friendly terms with the Soviet Union, and both the Soviets and South Africa were the world's largest suppliers of these strategic elements.
The entire subject was dropped after the Soviet Union fell, and the subsequent ANC government was not as hostile towards the West as earlier feared.
It is therefore with some surprise that I read today that China now supplies 95% of the world's rare earths. Read the story here.
An interesting piece on how China has managed to gain access to U.S. Special Forces training. When the U.S. withdrew its instructors from Venezuela three years ago, the Chinese were eager to fill the vacuum. Naturally the Chinese asked for the American playbook, and the Venezuelans were happy to provide with it.