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Post Law Professor Xu Zhangrun Suspended for Criticizing Xi's Rule
Created by John Eipper on 04/14/19 4:34 AM

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Law Professor Xu Zhangrun Suspended for Criticizing Xi's Rule (Paul Levine, Denmark, 04/14/19 4:34 am)

A law professor at prestigious Tsinghua University has been suspended for publishing an article critical of Xi Jinping's authoritarian rule.

An Open Letter to Tsinghua University is being prepared in support of Professor Xu Zhangrun. I have signed it and I urge colleagues to do the same. As explanation I include an article from the New York Times by Chris Buckley, and the Open Letter, which explains how to sign the protest. The deadline for signatures in the USA is 20 April. Here is a good example of where haste does not make waste.



JE comments:  I plan to sign as a "private citizen," but do I have the blessing of colleagues to include the WAIS imprimatur?  Let's discuss this.  WAIS doesn't take partisan positions, but Xu's case is not a matter of politics.  It's a question of academic freedom and fundamental human rights.  Xu very likely could go to prison, as he himself has acknowledged.

My thanks to Paul Levine for bringing this important case to our attention.

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  • When Will China's Economy Overtake the US? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 04/14/19 8:11 AM)
    Some years ago WAIS had a few estimates of how many years would pass before the US and Chinese economies would be equivalent. I don't remember what we said and can't find the postings. I had been concerned about Chinese military growth and relative US social political, economic and military decay, and have had to adjust my opinion on a few issues. Lately, I have been learning much about China and the US.

    Military speaking, I was relieved to see clear evidence that the US military is a much bigger threat to China than the other way around. We have numerous military bases with nuclear-tipped missiles in Japanese territory and nearby islands, ready to strike Chinese military and population centers. So now my concern is that we might mistakenly trigger WWIII by accident or scare the Chinese government to look for counter-threats.

    My most important new understanding is that the US and Chinese governments will never understand each other because of how they think, their most intimate values, and what make them tick. Further, while the US government is allowing global big business to squeeze the middle class to the breaking point, the Chinese government has made enormous progress developing their infrastructure (energy, transportation, food production, advanced manufacturing, etc.) and in some areas they have already passed the US. This is why I have to shorten the time lag before China overtakes the US in economic terms, unless the latter starts WWIII.

    Finally, another major strategic issue is that for decades US leadership in the developing world is being severely undermined because Chinese business and infrastructure development proposals seem much more attractive than the US government's empty ideology and political/military meddling with little economic development substance.

    Perhaps besides just signing letters demanding that the Chinese government have more respect for their citizens' civil rights, we Americans urgently need to petition our own government to strengthen our democracy, reduce our indecent income disparity, repair our fast decaying national infrastructure, etc.

    JE comments:  I believe this is a "no" vote for a WAIS endorsement of the Xu Zhangrun letter.  Tor, things are not rosy here, but does this mean we should view China with rose-colored glasses?  One related curiosity:  what is the latest from Brazil on Chinese infrastructure development?  Has President Bolsonaro cooled to the idea of China's involvement?

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    • China's Hacker Army (John Heelan, UK 04/15/19 3:51 AM)
      John E responded to Tor Guimaraes on 14 April: "Things are not rosy [in the US], but does this mean we should view China with rose-colored glasses?"

      I suggest not! One of China's strengths is its ability to wage cyberwar. Already some Chinese products (Huawei) are suspected of being channels for cyberwarfare. Especially those linked to mobile phones and social networks.

      Nothing is new in technology. One of the best telecoms billing packages was designed and implemented by the IDF that was suspected of providing access to telephone calls in the UK and elsewhere. Foreign Policy magazine puts the size of China's "hacker army" at anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 individuals.

      Diplomatic cables highlight US concerns that China is using access to Microsoft source code and "harvesting the talents of its private sector" to boost its offensive and defensive capabilities.

      The 2018 cyberattack on the Marriott hotel chain that collected personal details of roughly 500 million guests is now know to be a part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering effort that also hacked health insurers and the security clearance files of millions more Americans. The hackers are suspected of working on behalf of the Ministry of State Security, the country's Communist-controlled civilian spy agency. "The information is exactly what the Chinese use to root out spies, recruit intelligence agents and build a rich repository of Americans' personal data for future targeting."


      WW3 will be waged by computers.

      JE comments:  But WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones...

      I searched for "cyber warfare capabilities" and found this article on the five cyberwar superpowers:  the US, China, Russia, Israel and the UK.  Two very capable upstarts are Iran and North Korea.  No surprises here.



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