Opinion | How Technology Saved China’s Economy – By Ruchir Sharma – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Sharma is an author, global investor and contributing opinion writer.

Credit…China Network/Reuters

“Landing in Shanghai recently, I found myself in the middle of a tech revolution remarkable in its sweep. The passport scanner automatically addresses visitors in their native tongues. Digital payment apps have replaced cash. Outsiders trying to use paper money get blank stares from store clerks.

Nearby in the city of Hangzhou a prototype hotel called FlyZoo uses facial recognition to open doors, no keys required. Robots mix cocktails and provide room service. Farther south in Shenzhen, we flew the same drones that are already making e-commerce deliveries in rural China. Downtown traffic flowed smoothly, guided by synced stoplights and restrained by police cameras.

Outside China, these technologies are seen as harbingers of an “automated authoritarianism,” using video cameras and facial recognition systems to thwart lawbreakers and a “citizen score” to rank citizens for political reliability. An advanced version has been deployed to counter unrest among Muslim Uighurs in the inland region of Xinjiang. But in China as a whole, surveys show that trust in technology is high, concern about privacy low. If people fear Big Brother, they keep it to themselves. In our travels along the coast, many expressed pride in China’s sudden rise as a tech power.

China initiated its economic miracle by opening to the outside world, but now it is nurturing domestic tech giants by barring outside competition. Foreign visitors cannot open Google or Facebook, a weirdly isolating experience, and the trade deal announced Wednesday by President Trump defers discussion of those barriers.”

Trump’s China Deal Creates Collateral Damage for Tech Firms – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Among the corporate titans recognized last week by President Trump during a White House signing ceremony for his China trade deal was Sanjay Mehrotra, the chief executive of Micron Technology, whose Idaho semiconductor company is at the heart of Mr. Trump’s trade war.

Micron, which makes memory chips for computers and smartphones, is precisely the kind of advanced technology company that the Trump administration views as crucial to maintaining a competitive edge over China. After Micron rebuffed a 2015 takeover attempt by a Chinese state-owned company, it watched with disbelief as its innovations were stolen and copied by a Chinese competitor and its business was blocked from China.

China’s treatment of American companies like Micron fed Mr. Trump’s decision to unleash a punishing trade war with the world’s second-largest economy, a fight he said would halt Beijing’s use of unfair practices to undermine the United States. But that two-year conflagration may wind up being more damaging to American technology companies.

The initial trade deal announced last week should make operating in China easier for companies like Micron. The deal contains provisions meant to protect American technology and trade secrets and allow companies to challenge China on accusations of theft, including older cases like Micron’s that precede the agreement.”

Opinion | What Really Happens in China’s ‘Re-education’ Camps – By Rian Thum – NYT

“What does it take to intern half a million members of one ethnic group in just a year? Enormous resources and elaborate organization, but the Chinese authorities aren’t stingy. Vast swathes of the Uighur population in China’s western region of Xinjiang — as well as Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic minorities — are being detained to undergo what the state calls “transformation through education.” Many tens of thousands of them have been locked up in new thought-control camps with barbed wire, bombproof surfaces, reinforced doors and guard rooms.

The Chinese authorities are cagey and evasive, if not downright dismissive, about reports concerning such camps. But now they will have to explain away their own eloquent trail of evidence: an online public bidding system set up by the government inviting tenders from contractors to help build and run the camps.

Uighurs have more in common, culturally and linguistically, with Turks than Han Chinese, and many Uighurs are Muslim. Resentful of China’s heavy-handed rule in the region, some have resisted it, usually through peaceful means, but on occasion violently, by attacking government officials and, exceptionally, civilians. The state, for its part, fuels Islamophobia by labeling ordinary Muslim traditions as the manifestation of religious “extremism.””

Source: Opinion | What Really Happens in China’s ‘Re-education’ Camps – The New York Times

In China’s Northeast, a Daily Jostle for Jobs Produces Mostly Despair – The New York Times

“SHENYANG, China — Not long past the break of dawn, after downing a bowl of hot porridge and dropping off his son at school, Zhang Yuzeng made his way to a street corner near the Nanyun River. There, under the poplar trees, he rummaged through his toolbox.Pliers, check. Club hammer, check. Cigarettes, check.Mr. Zhang hung a sign on his scooter — “Electrician, carpenter, plumber” — and pumped a techno mix through his headphones. Then he waited.“There is no other way,” he said. “If you don’t show up, you won’t be able to make a penny.” ”

Source: In China’s Northeast, a Daily Jostle for Jobs Produces Mostly Despair – The New York Times

What Donald Trump Gets Pretty Much Right, and Completely Wrong, About China – The New York Times

“If there is one thing Donald Trump seems sure about, it is that the United States is getting a raw deal from China.To people who spend time studying the United States’ economic relationship with China, Mr. Trump’s accounting of its dysfunctions contains both legitimate, accurate complaints and elements that completely misstate how things work between the world’s largest and second-largest economies.“They’re killing us,” Mr. Trump has said in many debates, rallies and television appearances. He has threatened to put a 45 percent tax on Chinese imports “if they don’t behave.”If you take Mr. Trump’s comments at face value, as president he would try to renegotiate a complex set of ties that has pulled hundreds of millions of Chinese out of dire poverty, made a wide range of goods available to American consumers at more affordable prices and contributed to the decline of American manufacturing.Here is a reality check on Mr. Trump’s arguments. (It’s also a way to understand the economic relationship between the countries.)”

Source: What Donald Trump Gets Pretty Much Right, and Completely Wrong, About China – The New York Times

America’s Syrian Shame – by Roger Cohen, The New York Times

Putin’s policy is hard to distinguish from Obama’s. America’s capitulation is complete, with appalling results.

Source: America’s Syrian Shame – The New York Times

 

I find the comments critical of Roger Cohen’s analysis more convincing than the comments of his supporters. What I would like from Roger Cohen and the NY Times, is an in depth analysis of the non ISIS rebel groups, their strengths and weaknesses, abilities and willingness to fight, their religious and political views, and how much support we are giving them now. While Cohen and friends are perhaps right that it would be nice if we cleaned up Syria, since our invasion of Iraq unleashed and helped create ISIS, two trillion dollars invested wasn’t enough, and the next two trillion should go to places like Flint Michigan, and rebuilding our infrastructure and factories, so we can compete in the future with China. Cohen and company are probably wrong in thinking that Russia is our number one enemy. Russia continues to weaken and make bad choices. China is the emerging threat, and they have quietly been at war with the west for a long time, over the shelling and total destruction of the Summer Palaces in 1860 by the British and the French. In the 20th century, China suffered more devastating military humiliations by the western powers and then the Japanese. the new China super power is emerging from the ashes of two centuries of humiliations. While we waste our resources in middle east sink holes, China is building factories and quietly taking market share.
David  is about to publish his first novel, The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Vietnam, 1770-1802.

Chinese Report on Climate Change Depicts Somber Scenarios – The New York Times

“BEIJING — Rising seas besieging China’s economically vital coastal zones. Mighty feats of infrastructure, like the Three Gorges Dam and railway in Tibet, strained by turbulent rainfall and the melting of frozen earth. And on the Himalayan frontiers, the risk in future decades of international conflict over dwindling water supplies as glaciers retreat.These and other somber scenarios are laid out in the Chinese government’s latest scientific assessment of global warming, released just before negotiations in Paris for a new international agreement on climate change.“There’s deepening awareness of the gravity of the problems,” Zhang Haibin, a professor at Peking University who was among some 550 experts who prepared the report, said in an interview. He noted a shift since the first such assessment was issued nine years ago. “From the first to the second to this third report, the negative impacts of climate change on China are increasingly apparent.”  ”

Source: Chinese Report on Climate Change Depicts Somber Scenarios – The New York Times

U.S. Allies See Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Check on China – The New York Times

“BEIJING — The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal was welcomed on Tuesday as a win for the United States in its contest with China for clout in Asia, as America’s allies expressed optimism about the impact of the 12-nation accord on a region worried about its dependence on the slowing Chinese economy.The pact still must win approval in Congress, and analysts said the economic effects may be less sweeping than Washington predicts. But the mere fact that President Obama delivered on his pledge to close the deal came as a relief to allies in Asia. It was seen as a counterweight to China’s efforts to expand its influence not just in trade but in other areas, including its island-building in the disputed South China Sea and the establishment of a new regional development bank to compete with Western-led institutions.”

The TPP won’t save us. We have to invest our foreign policy and military dollars as carefully and smartly as the Chinese do, or they will pass us by in the blink of a century.

Source: U.S. Allies See Trans-Pacific Partnership as a Check on China – The New York Times

China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached – The New York Times

It sounds like an impending environmental nightmare. I have added my two cents in the first comment at the other blog.– David Lindsay

Inconvenient News Worldwide

The country has invested billions in Ecuador and elsewhere, using its economic clout to win diplomatic allies and secure natural resources around the world.

“EL CHACO, Ecuador — Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.

Near the port of Manta on the Pacific Ocean, Chinese banks are in talks to lend $7 billion for the construction of an oil refinery, which could make Ecuador a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.

Across the country in villages and towns, Chinese money is going to build roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of…

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China plans to damn all the great rivers of Tibet. Neighbors cry.

Inconvenient News Worldwide

Important piece by Michael Buckley, NYT. The U.S. should study these issues from the perspective of China’s neighbors downstream. The most popular comment to date:
Michael
Zhanjiang, PRC      “The water wars of the 21st century are just beginning and the countries with the best militaries will prevail. Sadly hardly a govt. in the world is willing to discuss the real problem which is that there are just way too many people. Closer to home, take the situation in California where despite the drought we are still adding more homes and people and the govt. has as of yet to come with any sensible plans for dealing the the desertification that is occurring.”

It might be time to start a trade war with China to support Tibetan independence, and a China-free South China Sea. It might be good to start by finding a new name for the sea…

View original post 56 more words