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US China trade talks and New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, May 12th, 2019 - 91 comments
Categories: capitalism, China, Donald Trump, Economy, exports, International, socialism, tourism, trade, us politics - Tags:

Despite China and the United States continuing talks on trade disputes, President Trump has prepared a fresh set of tariffs on Chinese goods and services.

This is way, way bad for New Zealand.

President Trump going on the offensive just as the Chinese negotiating team war on their way to Washington was a typically aggressive negotiating move.

Each time that Trump has imposed tariffs on Chinese products or set a deadline for the ongoing negotiations, global business including New Zealand’s exporters have quivered in fear.

But most investors looking at China also reflect an infantile naivete when it comes to the true nature of the communist state.

I think it was Lenin who said “When the time comes to hang the capitalists, they will bid against each other for the sale of the rope.”

Thus, the negative reaction of New Zealand’s economy to perturbations in U.S.-China relations can appear overstated. After all our housing market may be cooling, but immigration demand is high, construction demand is high, unemployment is low, our government has plenty of cash in the bank to spend, which may give us reason to remain confident for now.

It’s not a crisis, but if you pop down to Queen Street and ask the souvenir stores and international glamour chains, they all tell you the peak is well off and into decline from tourist numbers.

Chinese-made goods are not selling anywhere near as fast in such places, in part because Chinese tourists who buy them are down.

The truth is, Trump has the power to get tough on China because China’s economy is a paper tiger, so he is.

In December 2018 Chinese exports dropped 4.4%. In January this year it was reported that Chinese manufacturing actually contracted.

Apple blamed this year’s profit downgrade on China’s economy.

China’s financial situation is far more risky than many credulous Western observers care to admit. Once you put aside the official propaganda that literally pours from various media and government organs, the sad fact is that China is really not growing nearly as fast as many western observers believe.

And the Chinese system is drowning in “debt” that will never be repaid.

While the Chinese government “targets” 6 to 6.5 percent GDP growth for 2019, much of this activity is simply a function of government spending rather than private sector economic expansion.

This kind of downgrade hits New Zealand hard twice, because it hits Australia really hard.

In 2017-18 China was by far Australia’s largest trading parter. That’s coal, iron ore, and tourism.

The two economies New Zealand is most vulnerable to are Australia and China. We are a branch of the Chinese economy directly, and through Australia indirectly.

Simon Birmingham, the Australian trade minister, has warned Australian consumers will end up paying more as a result of the tariffs.

“We shouldn’t overstate it – we shouldn’t be alarmist – but the downside risk for Australia is material.”

Our Reserve Bank statement this week noted that “A key downside risk relating to the growth projections was a larger than anticipated slowdown in global economic growth, particularly in China and Australia, New Zealand’s largest trading partners.”

Last year was the 10th anniversary of our free trade agreement with China.

Our economy remains brittle because our reliance on China is through the one main business that was supposed to benefit form that agreement: Fonterra.

Fonterra accounts for 36% of the entire world’s dairy exports into China, and 26% of Fonterra’s output goes to China.

China is buying up dairy processors here in direct competition to Fonterra, and Fonterra is continuing to fail inside China.

By a country mile it is New Zealand’s largest local business, and Fonterra is weak and getting weaker. Dairy, meat, forestry: China dominates us in those core fields of our export economy.

Even in tourism, MBIE has forecast that in just three years China will be our number one market for tourists.

Like Australia, New Zealand’s economic fortunes rest on China’s fortunes.

President Trump is seeking to actively weaken the Chinese economy in favour of the U.S. economy, which in turn weakens us.

We are major collateral damage to Trump.

President Trump shows from all his international dealings that he is unable to make international deals of any kind, and that is the case with China right now.

Nor is there real political will on the Chinese side to do so. China’s communist party is not going to dismantle its state-led system, deeply autocratic political control of much of its economy and its society,  and the industrial policies which have led to trade war with the United States in any substantial way.

The authoritarian nature of the Chinese economy not only retards the country’s true potential but makes real “peaceful coexistence” with developed, open societies and open market economies like ours deeply problematic.

Since China’s economic policies are ultimately driven by the political insecurity of the CCP, the results of government spending are neither satisfactory nor enduring.

Whether the Chinese equity markets go up or down is a matter of massive importance to us, and largely indifference to the CCP.

Market movements in the United States (and New Zealand and Australia), lead directly to changes in the outlook for the economy. In China, on the other hand, rising slack in the economy simply leads to more state-directed expenditures.

This fundamental difference in the nature of the U.S. and Chinese systems makes it difficult to fashion an understanding on trade issues that is truly workable.

Unless and until the CCP is removed from power and the people of China are truly free, there is no way for the United States and active open democracies and economies like New Zealand and Australia to fashion an abiding and workable partnership with Beijing. The fact that this is a shocking and undiplomatic thing to say shows how cowed our society and our government have become to China.

Our vulnerability to China is being exposed through the U.S.-China trade talks as never before. It is most likely that this will get much, much worse.

Update: Now that these talks have failed as of Saturday night, the risk of an all-out trade war between China and the United States has now massively increased.

Tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese exports increased overnight.

Vice Premier Liu He is in Washington this week. President Trump is not meeting with him.

It is most likely that this will get much, much worse.

91 comments on “US China trade talks and New Zealand ”

  1. Higherstandard 1

    Taiwan is a snapshot of non communist China – what's our trade look like with them at present ?

  2. Pierre 2

    deeply autocratic political control of much of its economy

    Do you mean socialism? Most goods in China are made by unionised workers, whose interests are protected by the People's Republic. I mean, sure, let's call it 'authoritarian' for the working class to win some control over the economy. It doesn't mean a thing. The Chinese people aren't just going to roll over in acquiescence to the US corporate monopolies.

    • Do you mean socialism?

      I hope not, because if that's socialism, socialists can stick socialism up their arses.

    • Ad 2.2

      There is only one trade union that is allowed to legally exist in China.

      That union is led by the Chinese Communist Party.

      Enterprise Trade Unions are formed predominantly by the company itself, not workers.

      Here's a little guide for you:

      https://www.chinabusinessreview.com/trade-union-law-and-collective-bargaining-in-china/

      • Pierre 2.2.1

        So the Chinese trade unions are led by communists. Communists who openly admit that their goal is to advance the cause of the working class. I'm not too worried.

        • cleangreen 2.2.1.2

          Pierre you are believing everything that the communist Chinese government says?

          Best be careful there.

          • Mark 2.2.1.2.1

            China still has a communist party. That means a lot.

            And Xi is an avowed Marxist whose aim is to restore China firmly to the socialist path. Hence his mass campaigns against poverty which are yielding real results:

            http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-04/19/c_137991669.htm

            Furthermore, while China does have billionaires, they are subject to the oversight of the Communist party.

            Not a few billionaires have been executed for economic crimes.

            In China the government controls the billionaires

            In the US, the billionaires control the government

            • Psycho Milt 2.2.1.2.1.1

              In China the government controls the billionaires

              And every single other individual. If the "socialist path" means a political party having arbitrary authority over the life and death of every citizen, socialism needs to be considered worse than fascism and opposed wherever it shows up. Personally, I don't like that definition of socialism and would prefer one that doesn't suck ass big-time.

              • Mark

                Yeah….you'd know wouldn't you.

                I surmise your knowledge of China is about as accurate as that of a Mongolian goat herders understanding of New Zealand.

                "Personally, I don't like that definition of socialism and would prefer one that doesn't suck ass big-time."

                Even if what you said was true, that's perfectly fine. You don't live in China, and the Chinese have no desire to force their political on New Zealand. So what's your problem?

                • Maybe you haven't been following the thread you're commenting in (thread 2), but it's about socialism more than it's about China. And socialism doesn't have to be about murderous totalitarianism, although you could be forgiven for thinking it does whenever you come into contact with a Marxist.

                  Also: your implied argument that the Chinese people are happy to live under a murderous totalitarian dictatorship isn't worth much, given that nobody's offering them a choice in the matter.

                  • Mark

                    Anyone who claims to be of the left, or a ‘socialist’ is talking shit unless they are Marxist Leninist. These faux ‘socialists’ inevitably turn into imperialisms most avid supporters and enablers. Look at that fuckface Tony Blair

                    • In that case, being a "socialist" is on par with being a fascist and comes under the heading DO NOT WANT. Some of us just don't get the appeal of totalitarian dictatorship and mass murder – call it a quirk.

                    • Gabby

                      Nice ag prov work there markymarky.

                  • Mark

                    "And socialism doesn't have to be about murderous totalitarianism"

                    What the fuck are you talking about ….oh yes, Stalin and Mao eh.

                    Read this. Stalin has never been more popular.

                    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2019-05-09/stalin-is-more-popular-than-ever-in-russia-survey-shows

                    I would hazard a guess the Russian people, for one, understand more about their own history and the history of real socialism than you do.

                    There are similar feelings for Mao in China

                    • Stalin has never been more popular.

                      I expect that if Hitler had won the war he'd be pretty damn popular too. That's not a recommendation.

                  • Mark

                    "mass murder?"

                    Talk to Tony Blair, and our own princess Cindy who worked for that sack o shit

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I’ve heard of Tony Blair, but who is this "princess Cindy" you mention?

                      Is she a good princess?

          • Rangimarie 2.2.1.2.2

            And you believe everything the US and NZ govt says? We believe the narrative that suits our accumulated facts. Some have more facts than others. But those others believe they know more because they have their own set of beliefs. The fear about China and the bogeyman Communism perpetrated on these pages is par for the course for Westerners who read articles written by other Westerners who view the perspective from their own experiences and therefore think they know how other cultures act.

  3. francesca 3

    The down side of a 2 term democracy like the US is that an incoming administration can just overturn international treaties and agreements made by the previous.

    To think our system of "democracy "is so much better than other forms of governance for other peoples is a form of blind chauvinism

    When I think of who has created the vast devastation and carnage of the last few decades, its not the nations of the east I think of

    • Ad 3.1

      Excellent.

      Looking forward to your defence of alternatives to democracy as it applies to trade.

      • Mark 3.1.1

        WTF?

        Trade has happened for a very very very long time.

        This is the way the Western 'democracies' traded with China:

        Force Indian peasants at gunpoint to grow opium. Ship that opium to China, even though it is an illicit drug. Force the Chinese at gunpoint to legalize opium.

        The drug floods through the country, the balance of trade is reversed in Britain's favour and China's wealth is drained and its people immiserated

        "China's economy was the largest in the world for many centuries until the Opium Wars.[3][4] Furthermore, China was a net exporter, and had large trade surpluses with most Western countries. Within a decade after the end of the Second Opium War, China's share of global GDP had fallen by half.[4]"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

        If that is what you mean by trading with 'democracies' then you can stick that right up your ass.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          You have an anal focus.

          You're also very limited on the history of trade. Read a few books on the subject.

          Western democracies have been trading with China for some time.

          New Zealand has been trading with post revolutionary China for the last 40 years with generally positive results.

    • francesca 3.2

      I fail to see how China's form of government impacts on our choice under Tim Groser to throw all our export potential into dairying.

      The US tariffs and trade war with China have been imposed by the leading "democracy"and could undermine the global economy

      "Peaceful coexistence " has been put under threat by Trump rather than the CCP

      • Ad 3.2.1

        You definitely fail to see that.

        Our export profile was not invented by Tim Groser: we have almost the same set of agricultural exports that we had before World War 1.

        The causes of the trade war need a whole post by itself.

      • Dennis Frank 3.2.2

        The US tariffs and trade war with China have been imposed by the leading "democracy"and could undermine the global economy

        I fervently hope so! Everyone clings like leeches to the capitalist global economy, so that it brings on climate change sooner. Enough already. Even the gfc failed to teach the slow learners to get off that addiction! We need another capitalist global system failure asap! Too much concrete in consumer heads…

  4. Incognito 4

    So, the problem is really a New Zealand one, i.e. ours.

    NZ puts too many eggs in one basket, relies too much on primary industries and single large markets and prefers monopolies in the domestic markets. The argument often heard is that NZ is (too) small. This should be the exact reason for diversification, risk spreading (mitigation), and smarter structuring of our economic affairs. Meanwhile, the FIRE economy sucks the much-needed capital away from truly productive initiatives and out of the country. This means we have to borrow more overseas and entice more foreign investment. And so the circle closes.

    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      Yeah exactly like binge-eating on low-hanging fruit. Resilience requires us to disconnect from a dependency on any single supplier. Just like permaculture teaches crop viability is maximised via diverse water strategies, we need to do more trade elsewhere for stuff we don't make here.

    • OnceWasTim 4.2

      Fuck me @ Incognito! Ain't all that the truth.

      I'll be watching from the sidelines to see how many responses you get to your comment

      • Incognito 4.2.1

        Don’t hold your breath!

        Nothing in my comment is new or original; others have been saying this for years but here we are, still in the same leaky boat that’s making water as fast as we can pump it out, which is a resource-consuming activity that doesn’t leave much for other things let alone change …

        • Graeme 4.2.1.1

          It's not years that the diversification drum has been getting a bash, getting on for centuries. It's been an issue for as long as New Zealand has existed as an export economy with the first exports of primary produce, primarily by Maori, to Australia. It's probably the most enduring sector of the New Zealand economy.

    • cleangreen 4.3

      100% Incognito bang on there.smiley

    • New view 4.4

      So what industries do you have in mind. Industries that don’t offend the environmentalists I mean. A few more bottles of wine, a couple more movies perhaps, maybe a few more tourists or computer programs. You tell me.

        • New view 4.4.1.1

          You are right the tech sector is growing and thriving and heading in the right direction but only a quarter of the value of primary industries which are also increasing in value at around 6%. I think what it shows is that we are diversifying at a good rate and that there is room for both types of revenue. Some people believe the primary industries are sunset industries which of course is incorrect in my view. I agree that dairy farming has been over done in some areas but other wise we grow some of the best food in the world and I for one would rather eat ours than someone else’s.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Thank you Ad; yet another well written post.

    “Unless and until the CCP is removed from power and the people of China are truly free, there is no way for the United States and active open democracies and economies like New Zealand and Australia to fashion an abiding and workable partnership with Beijing.”

    This was my instinct right back when Clark signed us up for the FTA. Essentially from Nixon onward, the idea of bringing China into the liberal world trade system was the hope that by trading with them and raising their people out of poverty, that in turn China would liberalise. This hasn't happened; indeed in the past few years it's been conspicuously leading in the exact opposite direction, implementing the beginnings on a dystopian panopticon right out of a sci-fi novel.

    (On this Vernor Vinge in a Deepness in the Sky wrote "ubiquitous surveillance being one of the better known end points of civilisations".)

    • Ad 5.1

      30 years since Tienanmen Square democratic uprising.

      There's some lovely alternative histories floating around on that one.

      Maybe if Zhao hadn't gone on the Korean visit , which allowed the hard faction to bend Deng's ear. Maybe maybe maybe …..

      https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/wi-tiananmen-square-turns-into-a-revolution.407966/

      At least people in the west are able to call for the removal of Zuckerbeg …

    • Mark 5.2

      "that in turn China would liberalise. This hasn't happened; indeed in the past few years it's been conspicuously leading in the exact opposite direction, implementing the beginnings on a dystopian panopticon right out of a sci-fi novel."

      Yeah, right. You ever visited the place, have relatives and friends there, read Chinese media? The people are overwhelmingly happy and positive about the direction of the country, and if the government has to, on occasion, take measures to prevent the country descending into a Western fomented civil war with massive human suffering of the type we have seen in Syria, then that is a very very small price to pay.

      The fact is I have relatives and friends there, and one feels not only safer walking the streets, going out to a restaurant for a meal, to a pub for a beer, or a nightclub to pick up girls , but ultimately more free than Auckland.

      Indeed the Chinese people do live in a democracy in the sense that the government is by and large keeps a close eye on public opinion and is responsive in a very real, practical, and immediate way.

      Whereas in the West, 'democracy' has descended into a dog and pony show – Jacinda has a sprog out of wedlock, wraps herself in a headscarf, and she is one of the West's most popular political figures.

      An interesting article on Chinese notions of meritocracy and democracy.

      https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/12/chinas-political-meritocracy-versus-western-democracy

      In doing the will and bidding of the people and improving lives, China is more democratic than than the West.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        What a remarkably thin skin you have, but top work on slagging off a young mother, a baby, and mass murder in one sentence.

        Bin Song gets to the heart of the matter here, on whether the control instruments of the all-pervasive authoritarian state in China really can act as a substitute for actual voting:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/11/29/social-credit/?tid=a_inl_manual&utm_term=.67942e744c02

      • Psycho Milt 5.2.2

        Jacinda has a sprog out of wedlock…

        What, seriously? Even when I first left home in 1980, that kind of bullshit was something for old people. How old are you exactly, a hundred?

      • Psycho Milt 5.2.3

        Jacinda has a sprog out of wedlock…

        What, seriously? Even when I first left home in 1980, that kind of bullshit was something for old people. How old are you exactly, a hundred?

        • Mark 5.2.3.1

          hahahahahahha Not condeming her for that. Simply making the point its nothing to be particularly proud above…its not an achievement, any more than having marmalade on toast for breakfast this morning is something to boast about

          • Psycho Milt 5.2.3.1.1

            Funny, because I never met a person who used the phrase "had a sprog out of wedlock" without intending to pass judgement on the mother. That's because it's not something you'd mention unless you're passing judgement on the mother. To people who aren't passing judgement, "wedlock" is irrelevant.

            • Mark 5.2.3.1.1.1

              "I never met a person who used the phrase "had a sprog out of wedlock" "

              So you have met a few then eh….I’m obviously not that much of an anacrhonism as your previous post implied.

              • I hadn't heard it for decades, but in the last year I have seen it from some of the more intensely conservative right-wingers on Kiwiblog comments threads. There too it surprised me that there were still people who'd use the term, but there we're talking about bitter old men who hate women, for the most part. What's your excuse?

              • lprent

                It is pretty clear that PM thinks that you're a 19th century misogynist. I'd have to agree. I'd add that you look like a loon so interested in trying to judge others, that you're bereft of civilised behaviour.

                You read like a bigot who'd love to toss people into reeducation camps like wayward girls homes, buchenwald, or what is happening in in the Uighur camps at present – so that they get forced into your 'moral' behaviours. More interested in making points with simple slogans than actually looking at the people involved or the topic

                But to be fair, maybe you aren't a candidate for a morality guard at concentration camp.

                But with that “.. out of wedlock” comment, it is pretty damn hard to not see you as someone who thinks that sex and procreation should only occur with state sanction. Now that doesn't sound like 'freedom' to me. That sounds like voyeur with a fetish for getting into the sheets with others with an excuse of “morality”.

                • RedLogix

                  In defense of our friend Mark, his attitude invoked by the phrase a sprog out of wedlock reflects very much how mainland Chinese feel about the matter. Casual non-marital sex is definitely not the norm and if a pregnancy results then almost always it will be aborted.

                  • lprent

                    Yeah I know. It was pretty obvious from his comment where he was coming from attitude wise.

                    You see the same thing in a number of countries.

                    However he was explicitly using it about a kiwi and using it in a moralistic way whilst talking about what to him is a different culture. So I (and probably PM) just reversed and reflected his reactive debating technique back on him. In this case that to judge in an outraged manner is to open yourself up to being judged – and it seldom enhances the debate.

                    I was going to politely inquire from him about a comment further down if the official incarceration rates in China included the Uighur concentration camps and what that said about transparency of official reporting? But, really, that would not have gotten the point across as well a making it a personal reeducation experience.

                    Besides, my family used to specialise in 7 month pregnancies and these days often just dispenses with the wedding part (I know that I always have) as a waste of everyone’s time. It doesn’t seem to really change the long-term results. So I found his comment personally offensive as well. If he wants to know NZ, then he really should have that shoved down his throat – it will save him and everyone else a lot of aggravation.

                    • Mark

                      "…whilst talking about what to him is a different culture"

                      I was born here. I really don't give a toss either way. My point was to adulate such behaviour is beyond ridiculous. It is no more worthy of comment than what I had for breakfast this morning, not worthy of praise and not worthy of condemnation.

                      In terms of pre-marital sex and traditional values etc, Hong Kong and Taiwan are more traditional than mainland China. Many mainland Chinese women have turned rather loose since economic reforms and opening up etc began. My friend, also a NZ born Chinese and I both noted this when we were in China as early as the 1990s – the morals of the people and sheer skankiness of some of the woman was far worse than what we have here in NZ. For real Chinese culture go to Hong Kong and Taiwan. Women there have a real Chinese aspect to their characters.

                      Indeed the loss of traditional values and culture is a regretful aspect of the Cultural Revolution, and the nuances, subtleties, and exquisiteness of an ancient civilisation have been blunted in the madcap rush to 'modernization'. That is perhaps a lesson that the West can take from this. The 'great disruption' started in the 1960s is nearing its nadir and the abandonment of traditional Christian belief in the West has not added in any way at all to the sum total of human happiness. People enjoy a sense of connectedness to the past and an order and rhythm to their lives. 'Freedom' in its extreme sense is not all its cracked out to be, and the happiest kids are those who come from disciplined, orderly, and loving homes.

                      "So I found his comment personally offensive as well."

                      That's ridiculous. Even if I thought births outside of marriage were morally wrong, as many many Christians, particularly those from the Pacific cultures still do, then that would be my right. As much as Israel Folau should have the right to wear his own religious and moral convictions on his sleeve. Now I understand you also have the right to be offended and you being offended does not infringe on my right to say what I said. But nevertheless such attitudes writ large are having a very real and confining effect on free expression in the West. After all losing one’s job is not a small penalty to pay.

                  • In defense of our friend Mark, his attitude invoked by the phrase a sprog out of wedlock reflects very much how mainland Chinese feel about the matter.

                    I get that, but this isn't mainland China and that kind of shit isn't acceptable here, except among bitter old misogynists on Kiwiblog.

                    • Mark

                      Oh don't be so precious. One can say what they want about the culture of whatever country or people. For heavens sake, how often have you disparaged the way the Chinese run China, even though you know diddly squat about the place.

                      Most PIs, Africans, Asians, and indeed East Europeans have similar outlooks when it comes to this sort of thing. It is not necessarily my outlook or a view I hold strongly – as none of siblings are married and one has four kids, and similarly with cousins I have

                      The thing is one can accept and go with the flow of a particular social trends, but understand and accept that it is not the ideal way for human beings to live their lives.

                      I am divorced, and am grateful that divorce is not frowned on these days (from a personal perspective). But at the same time there is no contradiction in my maintaining that perhaps on the whole, people from a time when divorce was frowned upon, were perhaps happier as a whole.

                    • You are of course free to hold whatever authoritarian conservative views you like, but if you peddle them on a left-wing political blog you can expect the blog's locals to tell you where you can stick those views.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 5.2.3.1.2

            So giving birth is not a significant achievement – would your mother agree?

  6. Stuart Munro. 6

    NZ under neoliberalism gave up or wrecked all the carefully build edifices constructed to provide some relief from the colonial model extractive economy. State housing. Local banking and insurance. Progressive taxation. Tariffs. And we should worry about China? Nonsense, our real enemies are in Wellington.

  7. Gosman 7

    This is such a mercantile approach to trade.

  8. Gosman 8

    If you were correct how come NZ is doing so well on the economic front?

    • Ad 8.1

      What are you saying I'm claiming?

    • Stuart Munro. 8.2

      The short answer is that it isn't.

      Relabeling real estate inflation as growth is an accounting trick, it doesn't equate to growth in real wealth.

    • KJT 8.3

      Growth driven by immigration, and natural disasters, plus an expansion as the world comes out of a financial collapse, is only "doing well" in the eyes of the terminally deluded.

  9. Mark 9

    "Unless and until the CCP is removed from power and the people of China are truly free, there is no way for the United States and active open democracies and economies like New Zealand and Australia to fashion an abiding and workable partnership with Beijing."

    Who the fuck is some Westerner to dictate to the Chinese, or indeed any other people, what type of government they need to be 'truly free'

    After all in the lifetime of my parents, under the principle of 'extraterritoriality', Chinese could be murdered in China with complete and utter impunity by Westerners. Is that what you mean by 'free'.

    And is your idea of 'an abiding and workable partnership', include Opium Wars, boxer indemnities, Western troops in China, and British warships sailing the Yangtze with the same freedom as if it was the Thames?

    At least the Chinese don't go round bombing the shit out of other people to get their own way. The Chinese are helping poor countries develop in a real and sustainable way. That is why so many countries from all over the world are signing up to the BRI – not at gunpoint, but because they can see the benefits of dealing with a partner that does not condescend towards them or uses brute force to get its own way.

    Advantage: You should stick your hypocritical, racially patronizing comments right up your ass.

    • Ad 9.1

      Some governments, some societies, and some economies, are more free than others.

      My definition of human rights is provided for in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Even China signed up to that one.

      China has taken 50 years to get to international aid and development. About time.

      The post dishes out the blame for the trade dispute to both China and the United States.

      In any case, New Zealand is on most counts a more free and open country than China.

      • Mark 9.1.1

        "In any case, New Zealand is on most counts a more free and open country than China."

        Yeah. And New Zealand in 1950 was the richest country in the whole fucken world, having benefitted enormously from being part of the Anglo Saxon imperium.

        China was coming out of 100 years of invasion and plunder at the hands of that same Anglo Saxon imperium, and was one of the poorest countries in the world.

        China is still a relatively poor country compared with New Zealand. New Zealand is a developed Western country. China is a developing country, still. To develop a country of 1.3 billion, to drag it out of a state of feudal backwardness and to hold it together while simultaneously fighting the issues of pollution, climate change, and terrorism fomented by Western actors who would happily see China descend into another century of civil war and anarchy, requires more than a bimbo in a headscarf preparing for a shotgun wedding and who prates on about kindness but has done absolutely nothing for homelessness and wealth inequality and a broken health system in what is still one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.

        NZ GDP per capita: 42941 USD
        China GDP per capita: 8827 USD

        • Ad 9.1.1.1

          Every developing country has used the excuse of under-developmet to repress human rights. New Zealand sure did in the 1860s and 1870s.

          In 2019 China has no excuse for it.

          • Mark 9.1.1.1.1

            Oh yeah…..and when that earthquake happened in Christchurch ….what was the first thing the local authorities did…that's right….a friggin curfew!

            As Abe Lincoln was supposed to have said "necessity knows no law"

          • Mark 9.1.1.1.2

            "In 2019 China has no excuse for it."

            Rhetorical question here: So you would prefer civil war in China ala Syria?

            Of course you would. Westerners freak out at the thought of non-Westerners becoming developed, having skyscrapers, jet planes, advanced militaries, and all the good stuff. That's why they prefer the Dalai Lama and ISIS etc.

            • Ad 9.1.1.1.2.1

              You've stopped making any sense at all.

              It's embarrassing to read.

              Put your keyboard away.

              • It's funny how quickly the anti-colonialist's comments degenerated into ethnic bigotry. Well, for an atypical definition of "funny," at least…

  10. Mark 10

    Europeans in Africa:

    "Father stares at the hand and foot of his five-year-old, severed as a punishment for failing to make the daily rubber quota, Belgian Congo, 1904"

    https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/father-hand-belgian-congo-1904/

    Chinese in Africa:

    https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/middle-east-and-africa/the-closest-look-yet-at-chinese-economic-engagement-in-africa

    Big difference eh?

    • Ad 10.1

      It would have been remotely interesting if you'd compared kinds of punishment in China and Africa in the same year. Have a go, since you're going for some kind of point.

      • Mark 10.1.1

        We are talking about atrocities against children as part of the economic exploitation of Africa.

        Not about cruel or unusual punishments for crimes.

        But since you bring it up, here is your US 'democratic' justice:

        "There was a celebratory atmosphere among whites at the spectacle murder, and many children attended during their lunch hour. Members of the mob castrated Washington, cut off his fingers, and hung him over a bonfire. He was repeatedly lowered and raised over the fire for about two hours. After the fire was extinguished, his charred torso was dragged through the town and parts of his body were sold as souvenirs. A professional photographer took pictures as the event unfolded, providing rare imagery of a lynching in progress. The pictures were printed and sold as postcards in Waco."

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

        Stick your cracker moral superiority up your ass

        • Ad 10.1.1.1

          More from your overactive anal drive.

          You are all over the place and just not relating to the post on trade relations between China and the United States and their impact on New Zealand.

          You've cited slavery in the Congo in 1904, a 2017 McKinsey report on the total impact of Chinese business in Africa, and then a lynching in the United States in 1917.

          It seems like you want to just be outraged with a stream of non sequiturs. Go right ahead.

          • Mark 10.1.1.1.1

            Oh for fucks sake. The previous post was in direct response to what actually was a non-sequitur from YOU:

            It would have been remotely interesting if you'd compared kinds of punishment in China and Africa in the same year.

            • Ad 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I can see you're trying to make some kind of point. Hurry up and make it.

              Human rights are by no means perfect in the United States or New Zealand.

              But ours are better than human rights in China. I can see you struggle with evaluations on this kind of thing. You'd do better if you released your nationalist ego and accepted that China can and should do better in its human rights. Trust me after 30 years of Treaty of Waitangi claims, it's good for you to accept you were wrong and improve.

              Here's a little warmup for you.

              https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/china-and-tibet

              • Mark

                Human rights in the US?????

                What's the incarceration rate dude? Of black americans. It would be more than what is even claimed for Uighurs.

                Is this what you mean by US human rights:

                That evil crone Albright should have taken Saddam's place on the gallows

                • Ad

                  For actual facts, as distinct from some weird clip, here's the reports you can print out and read side by side for the United States and New Zealand:

                  https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/united-states

                  Well done about not worrying about someone's anus this time.

                  Perfectly good to say human rights in the United States are going backwards in some areas, but theirs are still light years ahead of China's.

                  New Zealand also has plenty of areas to improve, but again, still far ahead of a civil rights framework in China

                  https://www.hrw.org/tag/new-zealand

                  So by now you should have the same reports using the same framework, on the three countries. Have a good study. Good footnotes in there as well.

                  • Mark

                    Oh for heavens sake. Human Rights Watch? Run by that self righteous preening ho Sophie Richards? Get fucken real. My poodle knows more about that topic, or indeed any topic than that fucken ho

                    Here is a human rights report with a different perspective:

                    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/14/c_137894730.htm

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Dr Sophie Richardson? C'mon son, no need to go low.

                      And credit for the edit of your original comment.

                    • …that fucken ho

                      Sexist bigotry too. Still, not to worry, that kind of dodgy shit will all be taken care of by the glorious Marxist-Leninist revolution and subsequent dictatorship of the proletariat, right?

                    • Stuart Munro.

                      To progress your argument, you needed to produce a report from your source on China's shortcomings. Readers here tend to know about America's failures, and New Zealand's. Some of the evidence for China being totalitarian and despotic is that either few dare to, or few survive studying it's human rights issues.

  11. Mark 11

    Incarceration rate US: 737/100000

    Incarceration rate China:118/100000

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/prisons/html/nn2page1.stm

  12. Mike Smith 12

    An interesting article by Adam Tooze in the LRB titled "Is it the end of the American century" concludes thus:

    "As of today, two years into the Trump presidency, it is a gross exaggeration to talk of an end to the American world order. The two pillars of its global power – military and financial – are still firmly in place. What has ended is any claim on the part of American democracy to provide a political model. This is certainly a historic break. Trump closes the chapter begun by Woodrow Wilson in the First World War, with his claim that American democracy articulated the deepest feelings of liberal humanity. A hundred years later, Trump has for ever personified the sleaziness, cynicism and sheer stupidity that dominates much of American political life. What we are facing is a radical disjunction between the continuity of basic structures of power and their political legitimation.

    If America’s president mounted on a golf buggy is a suitably ludicrous emblem of our current moment, the danger is that it suggests far too pastoral a scenario: American power trundling to retirement across manicured lawns. That is not our reality. Imagine instead the president and his buggy careening around the five-acre flight deck of a $13 billion, Ford-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier engaged in ‘dynamic force deployment’ to the South China Sea. That better captures the surreal revival of great-power politics that hangs over the present. Whether this turns out to be a violent and futile rearguard action, or a new chapter in the age of American world power, remains to be seen."

    You are right that the prospect is scary. But regime change in China is not the problem, or the solution.

  13. Tuppence Shrewsbury 13

    "Since China’s economic policies are ultimately driven by the political insecurity of the CCP, the results of government spending are neither satisfactory nor enduring."

    Swap "China" for any other nation on earth and "CCP" for the governing party of that nation.

    Congratulations Ad, you've summed up government economic policy worldwide.

    It annoys me though that a hugely beneficial technology to the world, with the capacity to exponentially increase knowledge accessibility, at a fraction of the emissions required to normally build telco capacity, can't be rolled out here because of USA and the fact that huawei is partially chinese government owned.

    • joe90 14.1

      Apparently he really is that stupid.

      • Macro 14.1.1

        Yeah! I was going to add that tweet too.

        Funny how the regugnants hate socialism – except when they need it for themselves! tRump now giving $15B to the farmers coz now they need it, and they voted for him.

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