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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.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/26/world/asia/chinese-law-professor-xi.html

http://chinaheritage.net/journal/an-open-letter-to-the-president-of-tsinghua-university/

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."


      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwarfare



      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.



      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/who-are-the-cyberwar-superpowers/



       

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    • Looking at China with Rose-Colored Glasses? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 04/25/19 3:46 AM)
      My April 14 post stated, "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 astutely commented: "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?"


      I believe we might want to save our rose-colored glasses for our family members and friends. God knows some of them are in dire need of good news. As far as the Chinese government is concerned, those damned communists are making monkeys out of Western powers in general, and the US government (supposedly the leader) specifically.


      Unfortunately I am not talking about just flag-waving or publicity stunts (even though we have many of those). I am talking about "them dirty totalitarian commies" lifting 700 million Chinese out of poverty while millions of American went through the global financial crisis and other issues like no health care, starvation wages, etc., which sent many into poverty or the grave while the number of billionaires proliferated.


      No rosy glasses here. The Chinese government still has to worry about 600 million Chinese who want a piece of the pie. The problem is their situation has improved dramatically while our worsened, and the trends seem to continue unabated. That is the real problem.


      As I said earlier, perhaps as a result of the above trends, another major strategic issue is that US leadership in the developing world is being severely undermined because Chinese business and government infrastructure development proposals seem to be making China the future developing world leader in comparison with the US government's bankrupt ideology and political/military meddling with little economic development substance. We don't need any rosy glasses, just the clear lens for reality.


      JE comments:   The Chinese path to lift people out of abject poverty was through manufacturing with cheap labor.  Now this model has moved to places like Vietnam.  What comes next for China will be more difficult.  Also, as people no longer have to struggle for daily survival (food), they start clamoring for "luxuries" like a greater political voice.  And this is at a time when Xi is tightening, not loosening, his grip on power.


      Do we have an update on Xu Jangrun?


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      • China, US, and Hegemony Revisited (Tor Guimaraes, USA 04/27/19 3:51 PM)

        In my original post comparing the trends in US versus Chinese geopolitical economies, I stated that "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.


        JE responded, "The Chinese path to lift people out of abject poverty was through manufacturing with cheap labor. Now this model has moved to places like Vietnam. What comes next for China will be more difficult. Also, as people no longer have to struggle for daily survival (food), they start clamoring for 'luxuries' like a greater political voice. And this is at a time when Xi is tightening, not loosening, his grip on power."


        Those words seem to all be true, and I agree with them. However, JE has neglected a few things when comparing the US and Chinese economies. First, we have severely underestimated Chinese capability to learn in preparation for the next phase beyond just the ability to do cheap manufacturing. I was not kidding when I said China has made great progress developing their infrastructure.  Their success developing their own infrastructure (and their large US dollar reserves) is driving their growing success in establishing economic political leadership with many developing countries. The New Silk Road not only strategically connects China to Eurasia, but also Africa and the Americas via all sorts of infrastructure projects.  The Chinese have learned to become the master builders.


        What kills me with admiration, envy, fear, and frustration is that while they have already accomplished so much, our lousy governments have allowed my beloved USA to slip so badly over the years for lack of democracy, corruption, etc. Never mind the Chinese gaining ground.  We must stop these trends or we are doomed just like the great Roman Empire.


        JE comments:  I filed this one under "Decline of West."  China's per capita GDP is still about 1/6 of the United States, but the trends are what so worry Tor Guimaraes.  Also, consider the great strides China has made in soft power throughout the developing world.

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