Here comes China
From Godfree Robert’s excellent newsletter Here Comes China with my comments
Through the years since starting his newsletter, Godfree had excellent reporting on China and Covid. At my previous site, I could not report any of that, so, with a smile and a sense of freedom from a narrow ‘rules based order’ and a limited range of allowed commenting, I’ve selected a few Covid markers. First, the propaganda – and there is a reason:
Last month, a self-identified “biologist with a Ph.D. from an American university” wrote on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo that he had tested positive for XBB — an offshoot of Omicron — just five days after a separate COVID-19 infection. The post, made as case counts were skyrocketing in China, was quickly reshared by well-known influencers, including Weibo CEO Wang Gaofei.
The post tapped into widespread fears that China’s reopening was not the end of the pandemic, but merely the beginning of a period of infection and reinfection that could last years. There was just one problem: It was fake. After users questioned the speed with which the poster’s sample had been identified, he explained that it had been genetically sequenced by his colleagues at the Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention lab. Officials with the local CDC called the police: They couldn’t find the poster’s name on their employee roster, and more importantly, the lab he referenced didn’t exist. Two days later, Chinese police identified the self-proclaimed biology Ph.D. as a clerk at a convenience store. Read more from https://www.sixthtone.com/
Bloomberg (paywall): China has completely stopped publishing COVID data China stops reporting COVID tally as data criticism grows. “China hasn’t updated its daily COVID reports for three days, adding to global concerns that the information vacuum is masking the true impact of the world’s biggest outbreak.” Read more →
Nikkei Asia (paywall): China’s elderly pay ultimate price for COVID missteps. Senior citizens are dying at an unprecedented pace, leaving families devastated. But China is not only losing its elderly people, it’s also losing some of the country’s greatest minds. Read more →
Video City The tragedy of Zero-Covid is not that it didn’t save lives (it did), not that it hurt people for no good reason (it also did), but that one country, no matter how motivated, cannot defeat a planetary-level disaster event by itself. In this case the country that tried was reduced to the ineffectual, sprawling, mess of late 2022, not because Xi Jinping just really liked it or because you see only authoritarian countries do these kind of things, but simply because its response to the disaster was never supposed to last for three years and it only did because the Chinese were trying in their broad-strokes, hard-nosed greater-good way to do the right thing even when everyone else gave up. And now we’re laughing at them for even doing so. Read more →
After the propaganda, what does China actually say? What I glean, is that with the movement toward multi-polarity, China reports to the WHO, but they are in a process of reforming the WHO. That is a big statement, but I draw this tentative conclusion from their own words. They use the words Technical Cooperation and in each of their articles, comments and briefings from their Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they talk about sharing information with the WHO and other countries. So it seems as if China reports about its own situation not only to the WHO, but to the world community at large. It is not a top down WHO driven communication but rather a joint effort: “The two sides agreed to continue to strengthen technical exchanges and cooperation on epidemic prevention and control, and jointly safeguard global health security.” https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202301/1283811.shtml
This is a large departure from the WHO driving the health process of the world, as we see so often reported in the alternative medias.
World’s largest national park system foresees 700 nature reserves, 10 Natural World Heritage Sites, and two Mixed Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites containing more than 80% of China’s major protected species. The Tibetan Plateau alone, with 13 such areas, accounts for 70% of the entire national park system’s acreage. Read full article →
Air pollution drops 40% in 7 years, a feat that took the US 30. Read full article →
China’s biomass resources are equivalent to 1 billion tons of coal. State Grid, the world’s largest utility company, and State Power Investment Corporation, the world’s largest photovoltaic generation company will jointly manage China’s largest biomass energy company, National Bio Energy, with an installed capacity of 1.13 million kilowatts (kW) and assets of $2.34 billion. The central government is expected to invest $170 billion in the industry through 2025, feeding most of that investment into SOEs like State Grid. Read full article →
A few staggering statistics
World’s richest city, Shenzhen builds international wealth management center and hopes to attract and cultivate 100 strong wealth management institutions and register at least 300 qualified domestic and foreign investors in the sector. The city expects it to handle $4 trillion in assets by 2025. Shenzhen is also rolling out $5500 newborn subsidies for three-child families. Read more →
Shanghai’s New Year to-do list:
550,000 new jobs
120 new parks
5,000 new beds for senior homes
5,000 households renovated to be age-friendly
40 community-based canteens for elderly citizens
15 new kindergartens, primary and middle schools.
22 residential complexes and 11 roads with poor drainage renovated
3,000 elevators installed in old residential buildings.
Begin construction on the east extension of Metro Line 13
Accelerate construction of the city’s ecological park belt.
Open Xujiahui Sports Park to the public. Read more →
Bear in mind these cities are responsible to report back. If they state these objectives there will be questions if they do not reach them.
Geopolitics & Defense
After social media became popular, the boundary between domestic affairs and foreign affairs was further broken. That is why a new mindset of connectivity politics is needed to deal with domestic or global issues and let the connections have more positive effects, such as mutual benefits, and fewer conflicts. As Zhihe Wang suggested, we need “constructive, postmodern, organic diplomacy.” Read full article →
The US is promoting the application of the sanctions regime through Russia to gain “experience” going up against China. The Ukraine crisis is also being used by the US to promote “club-like” economic globalization. It is not that the US wants globalization to end. Likewise, many of its adjustments against China do not simply seek to “decouple” or “delink. Rather, it hopes to modernize and improve the US-led international economic, trade, and technology rules through smaller, more manageable, and mutually dependable institutional arrangements. By reshaping supply chains, the US hopes to weaken China’s influence in the global economy. Furthermore, it wants to develop an “economic warfare” system against China and other “strategic rivals” over time. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has publicly proposed to create a “new Bretton Woods system.” The Biden administration hopes that by 2023, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) will have reached a concrete agreement. Read full article →
If the Russian economy resists the sanctions and manages to exhaust the European economy with China’s backing, then America’s world monetary and financial controls collapse and, with them, America’s ability to fund its huge trade deficit for nothing. This war has therefore become existential for the United States for, like Russia, they cannot withdraw from the conflict. This is why we are now in an endless war, in a confrontation whose outcome must be the collapse of one or the other. Read full article →
The U.S. has extended its security umbrella to protect Japanese satellites as China and Russia ramp up military activity in the arena. Read full article →
A new material prevents missiles from being blinded by laser defence systems while maintaining a clear view of their target. A laser beam can produce an intense glare on its infrared sensor, causing the missile to lose its target. Vanadium coatings could deflect 90% of a beam’s energy, reducing sharp glare to small bright spot, researchers say. Read full article →
A war over Taiwan could leave a victorious US military in as crippled a state as the Chinese forces it defeated, says the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in “The First Battle of the Next War”. CSIS ran this war game 24 times to answer two fundamental questions: would the invasion succeed and at what cost? “The United States and Japan lose dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and thousands of service members. Such losses would damage the US global position for many years”. Read full article →
Chinese New Year starts a week from today: The year of the Rabbit or the Water Rabbit and following is the Lantern Festival.