■■■■ you China, nice leaving present to both my wife and I
Best wishes and hope you both recover quickly,
but that’s quite amazing timing.
you can leave China, but China will never leave you
Sounds like it was a bum steer. CovertShores has posted:
UPDATEI deleted the post re reported missing #Chinese submarine. So far not seen any convincing evidence to support rumors, and too much weight is being placed on my posts (despite my caveats)
Treat topic with caution
Awaiting credible info #OSINT
My wife was asking me about this today, she is seeing rumours
“The economy grew at an annualised rate of just 3.2% in the second quarter, a disappointment that looks even worse given that, by one prominent estimate, America’s may be growing at almost 6%. House prices have fallen and property developers, who tend to sell houses before they are built, have hit the wall, scaring off buyers. Consumer spending, business investment and exports have all fallen short. And whereas much of the world battles inflation that is too high, China is suffering from the opposite problem: consumer prices fell in the year to July. Some analysts warn that China may enter a deflationary trap”
“…and that after four decades of fast growth China is entering a period of disappointment”
(China’s economy is in desperate need of rescue) like Japan’s in the 1990s ."
BREAKING NEWS: major newspaper exposé
I lived in Sanya, Hainan Island for 6 months. It’s described as “China’s Hawaii”.
Horrible place, terrible climate and the rubbish the tourists leave on the beach is disgraceful. Endless noise from airforce planes flying loops.
Just to be clear - I didn’t like it - and didn’t realise I was sleeping on top of nuked-up subs.
I went to Sanya a few times during Covid as we couldn’t leave China, we mainly stayed at Haitung Bay where resorts were so over priced and you were not allowed to swim in the water because it was ‘unsafe’. It is a ■■■■ place and will not get foreigners now that you can travel to nicer/cheaper countries.
As I posted, China fights border wars eg with India in the Himalayas, with Vietnam there is a history of border wars, and they have fought with the Japanese (in Taiwan & China) & in Korea. Disputed borders are an unfortunate reality but are far removed from large scale invasion and warfare such as we’ve seen in Ukraine.
Tibet has an unclear (to me) historical relationship with China. I see the 1950 liberation of Tibet as an invasion given Tibet had a different language, culture, religion, currency & government, and the liberation involved killing a lot of Tibetans. But I know enough to understand it’s not that simple.
For example, the most important position spiritually and politically in Tibet is held by the Dalai Lama. There is a long history of Tibet seeking Beijing’s approval once they have located the next Dalai Lama. (Now they won’t even have a chance to identify the next Dalai Lama - but I’m focusing on history in this post not the current situation in Tibet).
Why would Tibet historically require China’s approval of their head of state if they are separate nations? Maybe it’s more ceremonial as per our Gov General? But China is correct in claiming for long periods Tibet was part of sovereign China.
There are some similarities between Tibet and Taiwan, and some important differences. The most significant difference is the cost of invading Tibet to the Chinese was low, and the benefits of access to water and resources immense. The cost of invading Taiwan will be high if a democratic alliance supports Tibet.
China doesn’t initiate military conflict with western nations, they have never colonised foreign lands, and their strong influences around the world, including their enormous diaspora are achieved by economic trade, investment and emigration, not by military means. This contrasts enormously with warmongering, colonising, invading (western) nations.
To depict China as an enemy of Australia - or hostile to Australia - is not a position based on reality. How are they an enemy - because they refused to buy our wine and barley for a few months? Because they discourage freedom of navigation passage through the Taiwan Strait? Because their diplomats speak like wolves?
Hostility at an international level is invading Iraq to protect economic interests, trying to eliminate the Vietcong in Vietnam, it’s not throwing some gravel in front of a foreign plane that you don’t think should be flying there (as the Chinese did recently to us).
The propensity to go to foreign lands to fight wars is something that Russia does, it is something that we (the US/UK/Aust alliance) unfortunately do. China has a history of fighting wars at their border which includes claiming Tibet and Taiwan - two countries which they have governed historically.
The original idea in my post on the Ukraine thread was that China is very different to Russia. There are many other differences such as (relatively less) violence within (gun laws), cultural views (China has quite an insular focus), the way in which China seeks influence and respect internationally, but these ideas are beyond discussing in this post.
I lived and worked in China for 10 years, and about every two weeks there would be a report of the leader of a country visiting Beijing. They would usually leave with a new trade agreement worth a lazy billion or so, in return for access to raw materials. Such a more civilized way of conducting a foreign policy than invading some country.
Also, the history of foreign occupation of parts of China, the economic bans on trading with China. During the Soviet era, Russia had Comecon, propped up Cuba (and to a lesser extent Nicaragua). Russian economic reach was far more, although it did not have the long history of Chinese migration and culture ( keeping its migration and cultural reach within Europe and parts of Eurasia)
What do we make of the leader of West Taiwan not turning up to G20?
Can’t be That annoyed with India, surely?
As far as I can gather the 4 main players in the Taiwan independence issue have the following positions
- Ruling DPP - seem to have dropped their call for independence and are now campaigning for the ‘status quo to remain with no reunification’ as their official policy position.
- Main opposition KMT - same as 1 but promoting ‘friendlier’ relations with China.
- USA - strategic ambiguity - no independence - maintain the status quo
- China - reunification by peaceful means or force if required.
At this stage, China seems the odd one out.
The unofficial position of China might be to accept the status quo. That was their position for many years. Did Xi become more aggressive because he wants to speed up the timetable for a military takeover? Or was China’s aggression in response to Taiwan moving quickly in the direction of independence?
I’ve always guessed it’s the latter. If it is, then Xi has had a small victory in getting some change to the DPP official policy.
The problem for China - who normally are content to play the long game to achieve their national goals - is that soon there will be nobody in Taiwan who was actually born in China. Of course they’ll officially ignore that fact given they consider Taiwan is part of China, but they will understand that it’s very difficult to get a nation that is 100% Taiwanese born living a different way of life for their entire lives to kowtow to Chinese rule.
The problem for Taiwan is that of course their preference is full independence with their own national identity and everyone knows it is only Chinese threats that are stopping them from directly pursuing this end.
The 2nd of 7 of the handpicked support crew ‘disappeared’
General Li Shangfu’s recent absence from the public eye, which follows the removal of two top commanders, has raised questions about Xi Jinping’s confidence in his military.
Sept. 15, 2023
Gen. Li Shangfu, China’s defense minister, in June at a security forum in Singapore.How Hwee Young/EPA, via Shutterstock
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China’s defense minister, Gen. Li Shangfu, has been placed under investigation, according to two U.S. officials, fueling speculation about further upheaval in the military after the abrupt removal of two top commanders in charge of the country’s nuclear force.
General Li has not been seen in public in more than two weeks. He had been expected to take part in a meeting last week in Vietnam, but there was no word of his attendance. Asked by reporters on Friday about General Li’s whereabouts, Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said she had no information.
The investigation points to questions about the Communist Party’s leader Xi Jinping’s confidence in his own military, a pillar of his ambitions abroad and dominance at home.
Just six weeks ago, Mr. Xi replaced the two most senior commanders of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, which oversees China’s nuclear missiles. The abrupt dismissals suggested that Mr. Xi was seeking to reassert his control over the military and purge perceived corruption, disloyalty and dysfunction from its ranks, analysts have said.
Many experts believe that the military commanders may be accused of corruption, though some have said that suspicions of disloyalty toward Mr. Xi within the People’s Liberation Army, or P.L.A., may be involved. In July, China also dismissed the foreign minister, Qin Gang — another official who had risen rapidly under Mr. Xi — without explanation. The two U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they believed General Li had been placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption.
Mr. Xi still appears politically unassailable, with the Communist Party leadership, military top brass and security services packed with his loyalists. Even so, the sudden downfall of such high-ranking officials has exposed the pitfalls in a system so dominated by a single leader and has raised questions about Mr. Xi’s judgment because the officials under scrutiny been promoted by him.
Su Tzu-yun, an expert on the People’s Liberation Army at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a think tank in Taipei that is funded by the Taiwanese government, said he was more than 90 percent sure that General Li had been removed from his post.
“For Xi Jinping, this is a loss of face, and in the Chinese military and across China, people will notice, even if they don’t say so openly,” Mr. Su said. “It’s not going to force him from power, but it will erode his prestige as ruler.”
General Li, 65, was promoted to minister of national defense in March, after late last year joining the Central Military Commission, the council led by Mr. Xi through which the party controls the military.
General Li’s last public appearance was in late August, when he spoke at a forum in Beijing attended by officials from African countries. It is not unusual for People’s Liberation Army commanders to be away from the public spotlight, though as the military’s chief diplomat, the defense minister’s absences are more noticeable.
The Reuters news agency reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources, that General Li did not attend the scheduled talks last week with Vietnamese officials — an unusual absence that suggested something might be amiss.
Officers may be “turning in their colleagues in exchange for leniency, or else cadres are preemptively attacking rivals,” said Drew Thompson, a former U.S. defense official who has long studied China’s military and is now a fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. “Ideology and loyalty is the core issue, but anti-corruption is the tool used to achieve the end state of Xi and the party’s political security.”
For much of his career, General Li was deeply involved in developing and acquiring the People’s Liberation Army’s growing array of rockets, missiles and other advanced weapons. He appeared to have Mr. Xi’s trust as a weapons expert who, like Mr. Xi, was the son of a veteran in Mao Zedong’s revolutionary forces.
An engineer by training, General Li accumulated a sparkling résumé in rocketry, weapons development and the manned space program. He was appointed the inaugural deputy commander of the Strategic Support Force, which Mr. Xi created in late 2015 as part of a sweeping reorganization of the Chinese military. The Strategic Support Force brings together China’s efforts in new realms of military rivalry, like space, cyberoperations and espionage, advanced communications, and psychological warfare.
In 2017, General Li was appointed the director of the Chinese military’s Equipment Development Department, and it was his role there that made him a target of U.S. government sanctions in the next year. Citing his role in acquiring Russian fighter planes and surface-to-air missiles, Washington barred General Lifrom, among other things, obtaining a U.S. visa.
China has rebuffed invitations from the United States for talks between General Li and the defense secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, saying that the Biden administration should first lift the sanctions.
“As the lyrics of a well-known Chinese song goes, when friends visit, bring out the fine wine. When jackals and wolves visit, bring out the shotgun,” General Li said at an annual security meeting in Singapore this year.
The apparent official scrutiny on General Li raises questions about the fate of other senior Chinese officials, especially in the armaments and aeronautics sectors where he had risen through the ranks.
Gen. Ju Qiansheng, the commander of the People’s Liberation Army’s Strategic Support Force — where General Li previously served — has been out of public view for months, and did not attend a reception for military officers in late July, raising the possibility that he may also be part of an investigation.
“I think the cases we’ve seen now are probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr. Su, the researcher in Taipei. “The armaments acquisition system of the People’s Liberation Army often deals with the market, so the proportion of technical officers that gets into trouble is quite high.”
Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, who has been tweaking Mr. Xi on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, said in an interview on Friday that the Chinese government should explain General Li’s absence and also why Mr. Xi skipped the Group of 20 summit last week in India and other commitments.
In a post on X on Friday, Mr. Emanuel asked if General Li had been placed under house arrest.
“There’s just too much,” Mr. Emanuel said. “When you know the history of China, given all the tension economically and internally, people are being arrested left and right.”
Motoko Rich, Sui-Lee Wee and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.
Chris Buckley is The Times’s chief correspondent in China, where he has lived for most of the past 30 years after growing up in Sydney, Australia. Before joining The Times in 2012, he was a correspondent in Beijing for Reuters. More about Chris Buckley
Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter based in Washington, covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The Times in 2018, he wrote about security matters for The Wall Street Journal. More about Julian E. Barnes
A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 16, 2023, Section A, Page 5 of the New York edition with the headline: China’s Defense Minister Has Not Been Seen in Public in Weeks, and Beijing Isn’t Talking. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
On another note, we are so happy now living out of West Taiwan.
Gotta get rid of them. Replace them with career politicians to be like the rest of the world.