China - and the dangerous drift to war in Asia

I wonder if it’s a bit like the old white South Africans who remember Apartheid news.
You know whoppers are being told, you can even spot many of them.
But there’s just so damned much of it repeated endlessly and so much hidden from view that now you know that you actually knew very little. Lots of it playing into your prejudices didn’t help matters.
 
I spot a contradiction.
Where, exactly? Isn't real life interaction different from online?

I've certainly found it to be in the PRC.
 
China enshrines 'Xi Jinping Thought', key Xi ally to step down
Looks like Xi has cemented his position for another five year. Whether he goes beyond that remains to be seen. Not sure what the gossip is about Wang. Interesting that the 'one belt one road' and 'anti-corruption' articles are being written into the constitution:
“This is about further erasing any distinction between Xi Jinping and the party,” said Jude Blanchette, who studies the party at The Conference Board’s China Center for Economics and Business in Beijing, referring to Xi’s thought getting into the constitution.

“Add on to this having supply-side structural reform and One Belt One Road written into this, which were Xi’s signature policies, this makes questioning or non-compliance with those tantamount to betrayal of the party.”
A 'unanimous' response;
When Xi next asked for any “no” votes or abstentions for the amendment or two work reports, the sound of “none” echoed throughout the chamber, as officials shouted out from different sides of the hall.
 
OK technically not PLA if we are being pedantic, and they may have invaded Korea via land, but one should not forget their capability. Current force projection of PLA is limited, and this is clearly something that China will be working on in the next few years. This was an interesting article written last year, but goes to the strategic heart of China's stepping stone approach. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey!
Chinese Military Engagement in Africa

"Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content."
– Sun Tzu
F***in mongs! – Sun Tzu on the Mongolian horde
 
Where, exactly? Isn't real life interaction different from online?

I've certainly found it to be in the PRC.
I referred to the contradiction implied by the two statements, the first being the impossibility of discerning real opinion from propaganda online. I now understand you meant the difference between what is online and real life, which is a point I accept.
With the not-specific-to-China caveat that there are far too many people willing to let their view of reality be formed by online tales.
 
The following is an interesting news story on Xi's increase in power and influence in China. China's Xi Jinping grows in power and influence, prepares to 'act big'

Xi is now the most powerful leader in China since Mao.
Xi Jinping may have opened China's Communist Party Congress as "first among equals," but he walks away as much more than that. He's now likely the most powerful leader this country's known since Mao Zedong.
Also notable is that he did not name a successor. Naming a successor would be the normal thing to do at this stage if he intended to step down in five years. I would speculate that this is because he intends remain in power for much longer than that.
Xi also chose not to name a successor, the normal act of a Chinese leader once he reaches the halfway point of his expected decade in power. No potential challenger there, either.
The author suggests that China will make efforts to increase their influence in the world at large. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, as many sources have long predicted this as an inevitable outcome of China's increasing importance in the global economy. We may see more reference in future to the term "act big" with respect to Chinese foreign policy, as it makes a handy shorthand for describing that trend.
"If one is big," Xi said today, "one must act big." (...) China's desire to take center stage globally is expected to grow, now that Xi is more firmly in control and ready to "act big."
Most of the rest of the article is more or less a rehash of general events and trends discussed previously, so I won't repeat them here. It may be worth reading though for those looking for a quick summary relating to China.
 
The following is a rather interesting paper that was presented at the Halifax International Security Conference recently. http://halifaxtheforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/HP-3.pdf

The short paper is about the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI), which is China's plan for linking together the countries of Asia through the development of infrastructure. The BRI coincides with the "Westward" strategy in China, which is a strategic proposal to expand China's influence to the west in light of increasing US military build up in the east. The paper quotes Mao as saying “Where the enemy advances, we retreat; and where the enemy retreats, we pursue".
When it was first proposed by China in 2013, the blueprint coincided with a strategic proposal wildly popular inside China — the “Westward” strategy, which advocated for China’s own strategic rebalancing to the vast area to the west of it in light of the enhanced strategic contest with the United States in the east. Following Chairman Mao’s mantra, “Where the enemy advances, we retreat; and where the enemy retreats, we pursue,” the Belt and Road Initiative at its inception was designed to improve China’s strategic position vis-à-vis the United States through enhancing its presence and influence in Eurasia.
I don't think that Mao is actually the originator of that saying, but it gets the point across. The US focus on naval strategy to hem in China does them little good if China is expanding their influence overland across the vast distance of Asia.

The paper points out that this strategy may be difficult to pull off, as it ultimately depends upon China being able to manage some difficult economic development projects in a number of poorly governed and unstable countries.

However, this is not a zero-sum game. The world in general stands to benefit economically if China is indeed able to succeed in bringing more development to these countries.

The paper is short, but probably worth reading in full.
 
In Africa the Chinese expansion seems more tilted towards exploitation of natural resources with perhaps not as much benefit for the locals as might have been expected by them.

Purely an observation.
The mining industry is a very common source of foreign investment throughout much of the world. I don't have recent numbers, but the ones I do have show Canadian mining companies as owning a much larger share of third world mining operations than the Chinese.

I should point out by the way the "exploitation of natural resources" underlies most of the Australian economy, and also that of most of the smaller provinces of Canada (e.g. everything other than Ontario and Quebec). Mining provides employment and tax revenue, and drives the development of infrastructure.
 
I should point out by the way the "exploitation of natural resources" underlies most of the Australian economy, and also that of most of the smaller provinces of Canada (e.g. everything other than Ontario and Quebec). Mining provides employment and tax revenue, and drives the development of infrastructure.
I would respond that in the case of Canada and Australia it is their resources being exploited with all revenues being absorbed back into their own economies. What China doing in Africa is different.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
I would respond that in the case of Canada and Australia it is their resources being exploited with all revenues being absorbed back into their own economies. What China doing in Africa is different.
Pure colonialist exploitation, but as it's not white men doing it, that's OK.
 
I would respond that in the case of Canada and Australia it is their resources being exploited with all revenues being absorbed back into their own economies. What China doing in Africa is different.
To put the global mining industry in perspective, this source says that over 50% of the world's mining companies are headquartered in Canada and own 8000 mining properties in more than 100 countries around the world:
Canada’s Enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy to Strengthen Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad
In 2013, Canadian-headquartered mining and exploration companies accounted for nearly 31% of global exploration expenditures. In 2013, over 50% of the world’s publically listed exploration and mining companies were headquartered in Canada. These 1500 companies had an interest in some 8000 properties in over 100 countries around the world.
Canadian investment in mining around the world: Canadian Mining Assets (CMA) by Country and Region, 2014 and 2015 | Natural Resources Canada
Africa: $31 billion
Americas (excluding Canada): $113 billion
Asia: $11 billion
Europe: $11 billion
Oceania: $4 billion
Total Canadian mining assets abroad: $171 billion
In Canada: $88 billion

The above link breaks down the major investments by country. I would imagine that these Canadian mining companies spending such large sums of money around the world expect to see a return on their investments. I can't find similar details for Chinese companies, but you can see though that they could be very large while not being exceptional.

This source says that Canadian mining companies quite likely have a larger footprint in African than Chinese ones. China in Africa: The Real Story: Chinese Mining Projects in Africa: Is it an Investment?
(Canada is one of the top investors in African mining, quite likely larger than China)
The figures they use may not be up to date, so don't take that as definitive. The gist of that story however is that many of the stories you read about Chinese mining investments are written by reporters who don't understand either mining or investment in Africa.
I have a healthy skepticism about claims that a Chinese company (or bank) has actually made an investment (or loan).

I think one of the reasons there is so much breathless reporting on the scale of what "China" or Chinese companies are doing (for example, this image) is that many reporters (and researchers) are not experienced with the challenges of investment in Africa. And they often don't know much about the details of the lifecycle of loans, mining investments, and other areas of business.
And of course the left wing press is decrying Canadian "imperialism" as a result of the Canadian government splashing money about as foreign aid in forms which benefit the Canadian owned mining industry. Allegedly the results are very one-sided as the Canadian mining industry runs rough shod over the poor and oppressed of the world. I'm not sure if you are reading much about it in the UK, but I see plenty of stories about how Canada is the object of much hate and invective from left wind NGOs who decry our supposed imperialist exploitation. Canadian 'Aid' Helps Mining Firms Exploit Foreign Markets

Chinese investment abroad by the way is not necessarily stand alone. When reading about actual Chinese mining investments in Africa and other places, I am struck by how many are joint ventures with Canadian mining companies. Very often the Chinese companies seem to be providing late stage finance for projects initiated by companies from other countries, or buying stakes in existing mining operations. Here's an example: China’s Zijin pays off stake in Ivanhoe’s Congo copper project | MINING.com
Zijin Mining Group paid Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) Tuesday the fifth and final instalment of a $412 million deal that gives the Chinese mining giant a 49.5% stake in the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in D.R. Congo, thought to be Africa's most significant deposit of the red metal ever found.
This story points out that Chinese director foreign investment in China is much more diversified than is typically reported in the press. Subscribe to read


Only 28% of China's investment in Africa is in mining, compared to 66% of US investment in there.
In fact, a far larger portion of US direct investment — 66 per cent vs 28 per cent for China — goes into mining.
Chinese investment in Africa is indeed increasing, but it mirrors their trade as well. Note how US trade with Africa has been falling precipitously, while China's has been rising.


The rise of Chinese foreign investment mirrors the rise of the Chinese economy in the world at large. What you are seeing in the press is a reflection of panic in certain quarters over China's continuing increasing influence and economic power in the world as a whole.
 
Yes cheap Chinese goods sell very well in Africa. Kenya is awash with them. Unfortunately they do not last very long.

I also highly doubt that the terms used by Canadian companies are quite the same, or made with the long term political views as those made by the Chinese government who are the only ones who negotiate these deals. Nor do the Chinese have to answer to fair minded stockholders.

But then the Canadians are not aiming to be the worlds next superpower, they have enough trouble just equipping their armed forces. China is.
 
Yes cheap Chinese goods sell very well in Africa. Kenya is awash with them. Unfortunately they do not last very long.
Which probably explains the hordes of African 'tourists' in Guangdong arriving with little more than cash and departing with a baggage allowance filled to bursting with saleables.

Supply and demand.
 
Which probably explains the hordes of African 'tourists' in Guangdong arriving with little more than cash and departing with a baggage allowance filled to bursting with saleables.

Supply and demand.
I read a few years ago that there are wholesale shopping malls in China set up specifically to cater to that market. They're like very large retail malls, but the outlets there sell in quantities of dozens or hundreds. Small to mid size traders from Africa and the Middle East would arrive and wander around placing orders for their store. For smaller quantities they would take the items back on the flight with them, for larger ones they had them shipped.

Managers of new hotel and office developments would arrive and order the furniture and fittings for their projects the same way.
 
Which probably explains the hordes of African 'tourists' in Guangdong arriving with little more than cash and departing with a baggage allowance filled to bursting with saleables.

Supply and demand.
They seem to be growing in number, especially from Africa. I was in Guanzhou on Friday, boy was I glad to be back in Jiangsu the next day.
 
Chap I know is bit of a "fixer" in the Ivory Coast, he was looking for a company to build, if memory serves, a cloth mill, this had to benefit the local economy.
There were Indians who could do it until push came to shove.
Chinese who wanted to only employ Chinese.
And finally European companies who would build, train and maintain at an agreed cost.
So not everyone is blind to the Asian blandishments.
 

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