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Xi-ing Jacinda

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, March 29th, 2019 - 73 comments
Categories: China, climate change, Europe, jacinda ardern, overseas investment, tourism, trade, uncategorized - Tags:

Jacinda Ardern will get a very warm welcome in Beijing based on immense respect for her and for New Zealand.  Xi Jin-Ping has just returned from a very successful visit to Europe, joining Italy to the Belt and Road initiative and buying 300 jets from Airbus. Pepe Escobar outlines the implications for Eurasia. Much food for thought.

Xi signed the Belt and Road initiative with Italy, and met Macron, Merkel and Juncker in Paris, not openly happy about being gazumped. But the purchase of 300 Airbus jets by China helped soothe matters.

Escobar sums up Xi’s approach:

…the promises are quite telling – on three fronts.

1) The emphasis on multilateralism – “strong and efficient.” That’s not exactly Trumpian rhetoric.

2) Common action with Beijing on climate change and biodiversity.

3) An economic-trade partnership that respects mutual interests. That is, in fact, New Silk Roads-BRI official policy since the beginning, in 2013.

So when we compare the different strategies by Rome and Paris, Xi has, in fact, come out with a win-win.

Nothing wrong with any of that in my view. And his conclusion:

EU businesses, if not political Eurocrats, are starting to realize that Europe cannot afford to become a battlefield in Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia, cannot afford to become a hostage of Washington tearing up international law – see, for instance, the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal and recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as part of Israel – and cannot afford to become a victim of Washington’s trade whims.

It’s no wonder that slowly but surely, the EU is shifting its priorities to the East – including to its “systemic rival.”

Huawei also gets a mention. Xi visited Monaco which has already signed up Huawei 5G “to get a share of the luxury market.” Other reports indicate as Escobar does the the “Trump blockade of Huawei fizzles in European 5G rollout.” It might be another case of our spy agencies looking the wrong way.

And finally I have no doubt that Jacinda will raise New Zealand’s concerns about human rights in China firmly and fearlessly and will not lose any respect in so doing.


73 comments on “Xi-ing Jacinda ”

  1. Ad 1

    New Zealand is close to as reliant on China taking our exports as New Zealand was reliant on Britain taking our exports in the 1960s.

    Britain’s share of our exports fell from just over 50% – in part because it deliberately left us and didn’t give a damn. By 1980 it would be less than 15% – because we diversified our economy and worked damned hard to diversify our markets.

    It’s like we’ve learnt nothing.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      NZ leaders work not on action but on reaction. Another old saying that we twist like a dry lemon is ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. To some, it might seem that we are constantly fixing it, in all its nuances. To others it might seem that we are fixing by patching or building lean-tos on the side of our previous systems.

      A new idea has to be thoroughly tested in a laboratory with a Round Table to see if it will fly, and possibly using an ouija board. We never gave much credence to Richard Pearse and his flying aspirations and are fairly careful that we don’t come up with anything startling that can’t immediately be sold to the USA, or China who will exploit it better than us.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        We chose China with great deliberation.
        Clark’s Labour government put our face over the fire hydrant, and Key held it there.

        Xi’s team are fooling the US markets stating they’re still growing at 6.5%.

        I suspect as does the Reserve Bank that we are in for a faster economic slowdown than we have expected, and our exposure to China is our greatest risk in that.

        • Pat

          China is fooling no-one…their GDP numbers havnt been believed since forever…hence the world growth expectations.
          What you may wish to address is if not China, then where?

          • Ad

            I’d start with an economic plan for the country that weaned us deliberately off bulk milk products and logs, low quality tourist packages, and low quality education packages. That’s what we should get right first.

            • Pat

              To where?….you have outlined our economic strategy for decades past…we dont produce bugger all that most either need/want or can afford, its why weve been selling residency, permanent and temporary and why we go into a spin anytime the EU or US increase milk production by the odd percentage point…like it or not China has maintained our (and most others) lifestyles since GFC, and before….there are precious few alternatives.

            • Incognito

              Agreed. Low quality and bulk go hand-in-hand with low margins. It also requires less work by the big players that propagate inefficiency if not in productivity then certainly in management and bureaucracy. Diversification and specialisation need to be actively encouraged but this requires innovation and taking risks. Unfortunately, the NZ economic sector (businesses) is quite risk averse and future performance is still thought to be best predicted by past performance. The result often is that new players with fresh ideas or approaches are disadvantaged and we stick with the Devil we know AKA BAU. Suffice to say that there is an awful lot of self-interest and ‘protection of invested interests’ at play too.

        • Rangimarie

          Here’s what the world bank has to say about China’s economic position;

          China initiated reforms in 1978
          GDP growth nearly 10% year and lifted 80 million people out of poverty
          GDP slowed since 2012
          Pop 1.3 billion –
          China has played a major part in world economic growth since 2008
          “high inequality; rapid urbanization; challenges to environmental sustainability; and external imbalances…demographic pressures related to an ageing population and the internal migration of labor are major issues China faces.”

          “China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) … highlights the development of services and measures to address environmental and social imbalances, setting targets to reduce pollution, to increase energy efficiency, to improve access to education and healthcare, and to expand social protection. The annual growth target … is 6.5 percent, reflecting the rebalancing of the economy and the focus on the quality of growth while still maintaining the objective of achieving a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020 (doubling GDP for 2010-2020).”

          China has huge debt – but not as big as ‘gasp’ the US but is rising faster; https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-china-debt/

          Wonder if they will achieve their aims?

          No let’s not trade with China. Especially as they are closer to us than our lookalikes in Europe and the US.

  2. greywarshark 2

    I think China is a standalone decision. And of course our exposure is worrying. Once the risky change has been made it is all reaction thereafter, the gold rush mentality. And credit is so cheap at present.

  3. Ad 3

    If Chinese milk consumption grows as forecast, using its current farming methods, the global emissions from dairy production alone will increase by 35% and the land needed to feed cows for China would have to increase by 32% in the next 30 years.


    We do not need to feed climate change by feeding China bulk milk products.

    • How long before we have a PM for life?

    • greywarshark 3.2

      Ad I agree. But you don’t seem to get my point. That we don’t think our way through anything, look to the future. A gold rush mentality. A develop and sell mentality. We found a fix of dried milk powder, and reasoned commenters pointed out the bulk aspect and shouldn’t we diversify. We found casein was good for things. We have found colostrum good to market and denied it to calves. Ice cream? Tip Top which I think became a Fonterra brand is being sold off. Diversify has been a ball tossed around but slips to the ground so much.

      This piece on Honda’s first foray into the USA market is instructive of how a
      far-sighted, determined actor in business may have to dedicate him or herself to get started, and win a place.

      In 1958 Honda dispatched Kihachiro Kawashima (who went on to become president of American Honda) and his assistant to spend time in the U.S. and scope out the market. Honda had no market research of any kind, and knew very little about America at all. Kawashima’s reaction upon arriving in the U.S. was, “How could we have been so stupid as to start a war with such a vast and wealthy country?”

      At first Kawashima found the USA awe-inspiring – so big and rich while Japan was small, poor and struggling after WW2. We feel small too; have we the vim and vigour to put effort into starting, running, and holding onto successful enterprises? Or are we just the children of unionists (Roger Douglas) or farmers (most of the National Party) who want to ride on the coat-tails of their parents’ legacy?

  4. Stuart Munro. 4

    Our relationship is going to change, and so it should. China is a handful, but they are better than Trump era America at recognizing some issues – sustainability for one. I don’t feel that they regret using NZ as a test bed for engaging with the West as yet, in spite of the corruption that characterized the relationship under the Key Kleptocracy.

    Centuries ago, China maintained Confucian relations with Korea, a relationship that was said to be as close as lips and teeth, as a buffer against the perceived barbarism of other nations. If China respects us sufficiently, they should find value in the neutral voice we once represented in international affairs, before the Gnats’ lickspittle lackeys sacrificed everything for a US trade deal forty years too late to offer us any real benefits, (which Labour anomalously chose to confirm).

    Our exports have been run down to crude commodities, and capital inflation has hollowed out our economy. If we are to address this, China might contribute quite constructively, if it chose. It’s not immediately obvious how we might acquire this goodwill however. I’m not sure the legacy of Rewi Alley will cover all of it.

    • Peter Christchurh nz 4.1

      Clearly you have very little knowledge or understanding of China. Far from ‘sustainability ‘, Chinas policies have been to steal industrial knowledge from the west, use corruption to effectively steal resources around the world. Have you ever been inside a major Chinese factory? The concept of worker safety still does not exist, nor does the concept of environmental protection. I have been visiting China since the 90s as part of my job. I have lived there for extended periods. I am married to a Chinese lady. My knowledge of that country is very deep.

      Believe me, sustainable China is not! Not politically, environmentally or industrially.

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        That kind of reality-check is always helpful. Stuart probably meant the trajectory adopted by the regime several years ago, towards becoming sustainable. Makes sense that it is still pervading the thinking of managers and not yet evident any many places on the ground.

        On the positive side, we’ve had a steady flow of news stories confirming that their govt is making steady progress. Apparently the Beijing smog is either much-reduced or gone.

        Allowing their humans to have civil rights is obviously the moral task the regime considers too difficult to undertake. Xi seems insufficiently ambitious to rise to the challenge, so his enterprise – making China seem credible – is doomed to failure.

        • Peter Christchurch NZ

          Yes I may have been a little rough on Stuart! I was last there two years ago, and will be back there in July for three months, so may be interesting. I must admit that there is a huge variance between provinces. Some like Shandong are extremely good, whilst the south is appallingly bad (in most ways).

          As regards Xi, when he first became number one, he was considered a breath of fresh air and had huge support. Now, most Chinese I meet both there and here really no longer like or trust him.

          • JeffB

            My experience over the past few years has seen factories being shut down by the government until environmental standards are met. Quite disruptive for their customers but good to see they are taking the environment seriously. Still a long way to go but a lot better than 12 years ago when I first started visiting.

            • Rangimarie

              China’s government wants the best for its people – however it may ride roughshod over said people with its policies. The government has lifted millions out of poverty. It is making an effort to clean up their environment; https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/china-air-pollution-solutions-environment-tangshan/ Both China and India have planted a huge amount of trees. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47210849. China has had to rush into this new age at a speed faster than lightening. No wonder the country’s ‘Western’ progress is rather patchy.
              I used the BBC report about the planting, but as always mainstream news media has a rather ‘snarky’ attitude to their reporting of both China and Russia. No wonder it’s picked up by people who take MSM word as gospel. And even though these ‘reliable’ sources lie – eg WMD, Russiagate, they are always going to be seen as your trusted source. Oh dear.

              We send our apples to China and it has so far been the best market. It outperforms the European and US markets in terms of stability and price.
              Please don’t continue pissing them off like you did with the 5G network roll out. Now Jacinda has to go cap in hand to the Chinese, grovelling and spend less time with baby Neve. Have some consideration please. Lol

              Ha and China has decided to stop taking our unwanted plastics. Oh dear. So what are we going to do with them? https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12031913

              I know – we’ll send our plastics to other 3rd world countries, who then dump the unwanted plastics into their environment. Oh dear are we always going to complain about China etc but continue to turn a blind eye to our hypocrisy?

              And when Jacinda goes to the US, is she going to speak to Trump about the human rights abuses in the states, the giving over of Golan to Israel and the imminent invasion of Venezuela, corruption? I’ll be interested to see the voices on here speak up over this when she does visit.

      • patricia bremner 4.1.2

        Peter Christchurch nz, So what are your impressions of the future for the Chinese people?
        You mention corruption as a method of stealing resources… are you talking “Infiltration” of our democracy, or money/business corruption, or both? As in Oravida? The milk powder and Baby Formula issue?

        What may NZ do to minimise “China” effects? How do you see our PM being effective in China?

        • Peter Christchurch NZ

          My impressions are that China will be the next Russia. The old USSR broke apart, due to religious, political, linguist and cultural pressure. We saw the resulting devastation in Chechnya, Dagestan, the Caucasus region in general.

          China, like the old USSR, is an empire. Seven major dialects and over 300 minor dialects (which are mutually unintelligible); 56 languages; mix of Mongolians and Turkmen and others along with the majority Han; large numbers of Muslim, Buddhist, Catholics. Rich industrial north with small industry in the south. Many of those in Xinjiang (Muslim Turkmen) and Nei Mongolia (Mongolian) and Xizang (Tibet) see the Han as foreign occupiers who steal the huge mineral wealth and leave them poor. Not a good recipe for the future!

          By corruption, I was mainly referring to the Silk Road initiative, where China has pursued a policy of sowing bribery to key players in poor countries (particularly in Africa) as a way of getting cheap mining and other concessions. They then move in Chinese workers to do all the jobs, bring drug infestation and run the brothels. The poor locals get thoroughly shafted with low paid and dangerous jobs while China gets the resources at well below market rates.

          Sadly, our PM cannot be effective. They will listen politely, but that is all. NZ is just too economically dependent on China to have any meaningful voice.

          • patricia bremner

            Thanks PeterChristchurch NZ, for all your interesting replies.
            Many things struck me, like what could be a catalyst to your predicted break-up?
            Why is China clinging fiercely to all past and present colonies?
            Why are those embassies in Christchurch etc., so large? The latter reasons could be strategic placements/ outreach.
            Is China importing the same problems to the Pacific as in Africa?
            The Social Credit notions seem to be echoed in Bill English’s policy for beneficiaries… a cute way to bring in monitoring by beginning with a powerless group.
            Much to reflect on and a book to read as well. Glenys Aylward “The Adventure of a lifetime.”Thank you Greywarshark. Also the film to view. Cheers.

          • Rangimarie

            The USSR broke apart not for the reasons you suggest. Here is Professor Stephen Cohen’s (professor Emiratis Russian History, Princeton and New York Universities) view of the break up of the Soviet Union; http://www.gorby.ru/en/presscenter/news/show_28867/

            “By corruption, I was mainly referring to the Silk Road initiative, where China has pursued a policy of sowing bribery to key players in poor countries (particularly in Africa) as a way of getting cheap mining and other concessions. They then move in Chinese workers to do all the jobs, bring drug infestation and run the brothels. The poor locals get thoroughly shafted with low paid and dangerous jobs while China gets the resources at well below market rates.”

            Do you have a reference for this piece? And if you do is it a mainstream reference or from an independent journalist?

            The above is a pretty disgusting diatribe and bears little resemblance to the facts. Many African countries welcome China’s presence. Unlike our close allies, including mother Britain, who raped, robbed murdered and pillaged, China at least helps to improve the country’s infrastructure and commercial activities; https://thediplomat.com/2017/02/why-african-nations-welcome-china/
            I know not the Wapo or the NYTs but still I’m sure you can find more links to support the case that China has assisted these nations rather than hindered them, if you really tried. Pepe Escobar is a great source of reliable material on China and developing nations. The xenophobia on this site is shocking. I’m glad the Labour Party has never allowed me to become a member. Dodged a bullet on that one.

      • Stuart Munro. 4.1.3

        I’ve worked there – have you?

        The Huang Pu was an open sewer, but they were beginning to bring it back. Here in NZ we still let deleted expletives steal rivers like the Selwyn, wreck eel migration with pumps, and let dairy effluent degrade rivers and aquifers.

        China has only just industrialised, we have no excuse whatsoever.

        • Peter Christchurch NZ

          Yes. I originally worked in Hong Kong, then extended working in Beijing and Shanghai and Guangzhou and Jinan. Along with visits for my employer. In more recent years we go there frequently for our own business.

          Yeah I know in NZ it is disgraceful how dairying has wrecked the NZ I grew up in.

          But I think the original point was ‘sustainability’, and I think on so many points China will fail in this.

          • Stuart Munro.

            In fairness, I haven’t been there since 2002, and I was shocked at the environmental squalor, frankly. But Korea has restored the Han river, which wasn’t much better than the Huang Pu, and I did see a tributary in Shanghai that was being brought back. I haven’t seen anything of ours restored at all.

            • Peter Christchurch NZ

              Actually Stuart I think it is getting worse. I used to love swimming in Canterburys rivers but no way I would now. As you said earlier, absolutely no excuse for NZ.

        • Rangimarie

          Yes my daughter taught at a University in china for 4 years. There are things China do that are different to how we do things. But if Xi and the Chinese politicos are not cognisant of the views of the people, there are a hell of a lot of people to piss off. They are very aware of that.

          On my visits there, China is a mix of trying to emulate the great US of A and moving all the people to a higher standard of living. In my opinion it has done very well. The good thing is they know what is needed as someone said they plan strategically years ahead based on evidence and the needs of the people.

          The one belt one road venture has just has Italy sign up to it. Again Pepe Escobar; https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/marco-polo-is-back-in-china-again/

          So yeah little old New Zealand. Let’s just keep close to our 5 Eyes buddies and we’ll be right. Sure boy!

        • Paul Campbell

          Yeah, I visit a lot, I see a country going through the same industrial revolution in a generation or so that the west went through over 200 years, they’re making the same mistakes we made and learning from our mistakes too.

          Remember back in the 1950s London had smog events that killed tens of thousands

          Shenzhen where I visit a lot is laying subways, new lines open every year, they’ve banned the smelly 2-stroke scooters you see all thru Asia (rush hour in Taipei last week was killer), replaced their bus fleet with just electric, and as of Jan 1 their taxi fleet too.

          I flew over eastern China last year, at one point it was windmills as far as the eye could see, hundreds and hundreds – built around open cast coal mines and attached power stations, they’re obviously leveraging the existing transmission infrastructure.

          Things certainly aren’t perfect but they are changing, far faster than they did in the West during the industrial revolution

  5. In memory of all those family”s in china who lost loved ones who were persecuted because they belonged to Falun Gong , … and who were murdered / executed under state sanction and carved up for organ harvesting under the auspices of the CCP …

    Rat Race – Bob Marley – Babylon By Bus [ LibAttitude ] – YouTube

    • Peter Christchurh nz 5.1

      Far far worse is the way the Uighurs are treated. 1 million in political re-education camps currently. Emperor Xi he is now called by many Chinese, complete with his ‘Thought of Xi’ book, he is now seen as having Mao aspirations.

  6. patricia bremner 6

    In a world scene with a fractious teenager leading one power and a steel titanium fist in a silk glove leading the other, PM Jacinda Ardern will continue to speak truth to power.

    It will not have escaped China’s notice that our PM is being revered by most Muslim nations, whose 57 countries form a large block.

    Those who called Jacinda “A girl” or “Spangles” are going to see a consummate chess player who knows the value of the pieces and has a clear grasp of the game.

    PM Ardern has something highly prized even in modern China. Face and Grace. The piper plays the tune, but still needs to acquire a dance partner for Huawei, so negotiations will be carrot rather than stick.

    The NZ money team are well aware of the world’s fragile state following the GFC, and are cushioning NZ by increasing banking deposits and tightening lending criteria.

    As China and the USA get further into their trade war, other partners are being wooed by China who is in a slow down, while USA loose credit is beginning to bite.

    Australia is trembling on the edge of a crisis caused by a housing bubble and climate change meanwhile Britain and Europe continue their Brexit bumble.

    We need deft care if we are to avoid being swamped by others problems That other Leaders are talking of NZ’s direction and Leadership with admiration is an indicator.

    PM Ardern has risen to every other challenge in her short tenure with truth and grace, and will I am sure do us proud. It is time the doubting Thomas crowd lined up.

    • Peter Christchurch NZ 6.1

      Sorry to disagree. She is excellent with things like the ChCh tragedy. This is her very clear leadership strength, but her knowledge when questioned on economics and policy is very poor in general, and sadly she often has poor support from some of the other Ministers. I guess as time progresses that may change for the better.

      As for her speaking ‘truth to power’, I hope not! The concept of ‘face’ is very real in China. ‘Truth’ must be tackled in an oblique fashion lest one alienates Xi and his men (for Chinese power is still very much overwhelmingly a male preserve).

      • patricia bremner 6.1.1

        Thanks Peter. You have valuable inside knowledge. No I do not see her being ham fisted. She is much smarter than that . Her “Truth to Power” referred to Trump. With China she will “Don silk” but keep her backbone I would think. One badly asked question led to a misplaced comment which was later corrected, but has been used to beat her ever since. You say she has had poor support by her ministers and her understanding of economics and policy is very poor. Could you enlarge on that? Could you tell us where your bias is? Mine is Labour. Cheers.

        • Peter Christchurch NZ

          My bias has always been mostly Labour, but not unqualified. And I do not think for a moment that being a great empathic leader (which she certainly is) is not extremely important. I just wish some of her Ministers would step up a little!

          The first one that springs to mind was Clare Curran. Undermined the PM’s attempt for honesty and transparency. Twyford, grrr. Everything for the Greater Good of Phil. But I was really referring to when she is interviewed, so often it is clear she lacks the knowledge. I guess though the PM is still growing into the role and it is early days.

          • Anne

            Peter, I would be interested to know your thoughts on the views expressed by Anne Marie Brady. Having read a variety of articles about them, my impression is that she knows what she is talking about – hence the reason for the harassment she has experienced. Do you agree?

            • Peter Christchurch NZ

              Yes I agree with her views.

              As I stated above, my wife is Chinese born, so she tends to read WeChat (Weixin) and its newsfeeds, along with the Chinese language NZ Messenger newspaper and the various other Chinese language media.

              The Chinese are great people for sure, but a big sector of them are just mindless parrots of their government. The slightest, most polite criticism of China brings forth a clearly orchestrated barrage of abuse.

              With the Chinese Social Credit system now in place, she will no longer dare to comment publicly on China, lest she be banned from air and train travel on her annual return to China. Hence why she intends to get NZ Citizenship this year just in case in years to come she can get in but not out of China.

              Just ask yourself one question: why is the Chinese Embassy in ChCh so huge? Way out of all proportion compared to say the US Embassy. And its not like one can actually do anything there like most embassies, as any kind of documents etc can only be obtained from within China. It really seems to serve little obvious function, not even trade as they are really unhelpful and every time fob off any enquiry. Why do they actually have so many staff there for????

              I really wish TS would do an article on the Chinese Social Credit system. I am sure even Mao would not approve of that level of control. And it impacts our fellow Kiwis who still hold Chinese Citizenship.

              • RedLogix

                And it impacts our fellow Kiwis who still hold Chinese Citizenship.

                It impacts everyone. Xi Xinping is explicitly expanding Chinese influence and economic leverage across Asia and Africa right now, and with no clear limits.

                At the same time China is ahead on quantum computing and AI, especially in terms of face recognition:


                And this is only the beginning; the current system is a bit of joke as it’s presently implemented in just a few large cities, and it’s not reliable. But that will change within a few years. Or how about this:

                At home, China is preparing its people for next-level surveillance technology. A recent state-media propaganda film called “Amazing China” showed off a similar virtual map that provided police with records of utility use, saying it could be used for predictive policing.

                • One Two

                  The question is…

                  What will it take to prevent the ‘tech sector’having its (rapidly developing) capabilities deployed by state and private entities…

                  ‘Products’ need to be sold…or companies cease to exist…

                  My opinion, is that only the lights going out, stands a chance…

                • Mark

                  ….is explicitly expanding Chinese influence and economic leverage across Asia and Africa right now, and with no clear limits.

                  Also Europe as well (much to the chagrin of the US…hahahhahaha)

                  Also looks like Germany and France as well soon, will be signing up.

                  Of course China wants to expand its influence. All countries want to expand their influence. Looks like most Asians and Africans’s don’t mind (from various polls —google it). And at least the Chinese are not going into these countries with gunboats – its a take it or leave it approach.

                  And don’t a lot of people here want Jacinda to use her influence on the Chinese – and on affairs that are entirely internal to China, no less!

                  Most religions want to expand their influence. If you are Christian, you wish for the maximum number of Christians in the world. Likewise if one is a Muslim.

                  And personally, I really do wish there were more people who thought the way I do, and if I could expand my own personal influence I would do so.

                  Similarly you do too, no doubt

                  That’s is why we are writing on this blog.

                  • RedLogix

                    And personally, I really do wish there were more people who thought the way I do,

                    Actually no. The world would be a terrible place if everyone thought like I did. Categorically. I’m not being cute.

                    What I value more than anything else, is people who are different to me, who can teach me things, and who I can contend with. That keeps each one of us sane, and the outcome of the dialog is what keeps our societies sane.

                    And at least the Chinese are not going into these countries with gunboats –

                    Well yes most naval assets are a tad obsolete; but military invasion was not what we were talking about. We were talking about China seeking to export or impose, via it’s commercial and political leverage, this Orwellian Social Credit system beyond it’s borders.

                    Of course China wants to expand its influence.

                    Well that’s reassuring.

              • Dennis Frank

                Re the SCS, Rachel Botsman has a chapter on it (also one on the dark web & two on blockchain tech). https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rachel-botsman/who-can-you-trust/

                “Amazon’s consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist” is the take from Johan Lagerkvist, Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

                “For now, technically, participating in China’s Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020, it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person in China (which includes every company or other entity) will be rated and ranked”.

                Communism always ensured that some people are more equal than others, so elderly hierarchy-addicts all over the world will be wetting themselves with excitement and anticipation.

                • RedLogix

                  The massive reduction of poverty around the globe over the past decades, has pivoted the culture war from a tension between left and right wing class and economic ideas, to an all out battle between authoritarian collectivists and the classic liberal conception of individual sovereignty.

                  why is the Chinese Embassy in ChCh so huge?

                  Hell the one in Wgtn is big enough, why a second one in ChCh?

                  • Mark

                    to an all out battle between authoritarian collectivists and the classic liberal conception of individual sovereignty.

                    I don’t think so at all. Its all about horses for courses.

                    New Zealand, say, is a small country that was the richest in the world in 1950, with a highly educated literate and healthy population.

                    In 1950 China had just come out of a century of devastating invasions and internal strife. It was one of the poorest countries in the world, per capita, a life expectancy of around 35, and a literacy rate around 20%. Of course China has the world’s largest population and to bring peace, an iron hand is required to hold the whole thing together, otherwise we have a situation akin to the Syrian civil war on steroids.

                    I suggest that to bring such a country into the modern world takes more than simply ‘a classic liberal conception of individual sovereignty’.

                    The good thing is China is not interested in forcing its system down the throats of other people. It offers its own path to development as an alternative model for developing nations, and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

                    The point is this. China’s top priorities right now are development, development, and development. That will bring about the greatest amount of human well-being.

                    Western notions of individual freedom are simply not at the forefront of their priorities right now. And similiarly these notions are quickly abandoned in the West in terms of emergency – during wartime, an earthquake (see how fast the curfew laws were whipped out straight after the canterbury quakes), and now after an admittedly horrific act of terrorism, the government is overreacting by threatening 10 years in prison simply for being in possession of a video or censored literature.

                    • RedLogix

                      Western notions of individual freedom are simply not at the forefront of their priorities right now.

                      I can well grasp the logic of that; but the sight of China actively heading in the other direction, in ways that directly remind us of our own catastrophic mistakes in the 20th century … well maybe you might understand our apprehension.

              • Anne

                Just ask yourself one question: why is the Chinese Embassy in ChCh so huge? Way out of all proportion compared to say the US Embassy. And its not like one can actually do anything there like most embassies, as any kind of documents etc can only be obtained from within China.

                As an Aucklander who hasn’t visited Christchurch for many years that is an eye opener. Why indeed?

                And why has the media been so quiet about it? Is it because they are not, as an entity, doing their job properly (many would agree) or are they following an unofficial meme to keep the lid on the issue?

                Anne Marie Brady is also married to a gentleman of Chinese origin and visits China on a regular basis, which is part of the reason why I respect her conclusions.

                • Mark

                  “Anne Marie Brady is also married to a gentleman of Chinese origin and visits China on a regular basis, which is part of the reason why I respect her conclusions.”

                  hahahahahahahaha….ROFL….so that likewise makes her ‘gentleman of Chinese origin’ an expert in everything New Zealand, because he is married to a New Zealander and lives here, and we can learn all about NZ from him, and everything he says about the government of NZ and any NZ issue must be 100% correct.

                  • The topic of Anne’s comment wasn’t “China,” it was “Chinese government attempts to exert control over Chinese ex-pats in NZ and use them to influence NZ.” I imagine that “a gentleman of Chinese origin” who lives in NZ would be well placed to know about that.

              • Gabby

                Does it provide sage advice, justified admonishment and condign re-education to dual citizens?

                • Peter Christchurch NZ

                  Cannot be a dual citizen if you are Chinese citizen. Once (for example) my wife becomes NZ Citizen, she must surrender her Chinese passport and all the rights and benefits that would accrue to her.

                  The SCS is a Reward/Punishment system to shape compliant behavior.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yes, I think she has potential for becoming a player in the geopolitical game, but currently lacks the gnosis. That said, her instincts are sound, she has a good intuitive grasp of situations, seems to have emotional intelligence a-plenty.

            Across the ditch, the Aussie PM seems to have reacted well to the lace-hanky jibe from the Neanderthal. I never would have expected him to take a strong moral stand on an appropriate basis! He’s doing really well all of a sudden.

            An Australasian front may emerge on the global stage, in which she & he collaborate to provide a positive alternative to macho posturing, eurocrats bent on collective brain-death, attempts to re-invent Stalinism, Tory spent-force imperialism, whoever the current UN leader is gone awol, etc.

      • Mark 6.1.2

        Jacinda reminds me of one of those school girls who would nurse an injured sparrow back to health. Most of her pronouncements to date have been inane and that kiwibuild thing is a joke…she knows little about the economy, world affairs etc….what the fuck is ‘kindness’…..the kindest leaders are those who raise the living conditions of their countrymen in a very real way, even if through ruthless means.

        Yeah, she’s good with the empathy stuff, but remember she did do a degree in communications studies, so it could be a bit of an act.

        • Psycho Milt

          what the fuck is ‘kindness’…

          Given your views on authoritarian totalitarianism expressed above, it doesn’t surprise me that you’d need to ask that question.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          “Jacinda reminds me of one of those school girls who would nurse an injured sparrow back to health.”

          Well, shucks, off with her compassionate head then.

          I guess the intelligent, grown up thing to do would be to stomp on the injured sparrow and tend to the fit and well.

          We might need to have a discussion about the cruel to be kind ‘ruthless means’ you mention that exemplify true ‘kindness’.

          History is littered with such leaders…there will be a list somewhere..under ‘despots’ perhaps?

        • Incognito

          Yeah, she’s good with the empathy stuff, but remember she did do a degree in communications studies, so it could be a bit of an act.

          Communication studies is not Acting School. But of course it is an act, everything we do is an act and we all assume a Persona, the question is what is the PM acting out. She leads by example and is/embodies the change she wants to see. All the other stuff you field against her is a red herring and shows your bias.

          • Rangimarie

            Yeah what’s the Shakespeare quote;

            All the world’s a stage,
            And all the men and women merely players;
            They have their exits and their entrances,
            And one man in his time plays many parts,
            His acts being seven ages.
            All the worlds a stage

    • greywarshark 6.2

      You stated our situation plainly. And the other commenters added much so thanks. I haven’t seen face mentioned before and have heard it is important in Asian cultures.

      Peter ChchNZ
      I have read that some westerner trying to find their way round an Asian city could not get good directions because the person asked didn’t want to admit they didn’t know and would point in the wrong direction. How would an Asian person view a westerner who admitted ignorance?

      What if you admit fault, do they consider honesty and intention to do something but not carrying through, is that to forgive or remain disgruntled? How would one repair that situation? I have me in mind, as having not been helpful as I said I would. Now should I apologise or would it not be accepted? I had a small gift given to me as a goodwill gesture – should I offer now to return it or would that be an insult? Or reimburse them for it? A bit of advice would be appreciated.

      • Peter Christchurch NZ 6.2.1

        Honestly, I think they would simply not comprehend WHY you would admit that! Or maybe think you are stupid for doing so.

        But I cannot stress enough that the culture varies considerably from region to region in China. Shandong was once a German colony, and still has many fine old German buildings. Their culture differs markedly from the areas around Dailian for example. And the great north/south divide has produced people who (in my opinion) in the south who are invariably rude, aggressive and so on. And almost without exception the city dwellers regard the rural people as backward, dirty and other unmentionable things.

        If you travel there, go to Hong Kong then hop across the ‘border’ to Guangdong. Same people (Cantonese) yet worlds apart in culture and attitude.

        • greywarshark

          I think these people were from Hong Kong.

          And what would you say about my wish to go and visit Shansi province above Xian. I read about Gladys Aylward the UK parlourmaid who travelled alone across sea and rail into war affected areas, to Vladivostock, down to Japan I think and then through to Fenchang I think. Can’t remember the story exactly. But she took on the role of getting an orphanage to safety, with an older boy or man taking charge of the first tranche of children, and she the second. (Fashioned into a film with Ingrid Bergman in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness).

          The people she got to know and the culture really impressed me. And she adopted some of the orphans. She was like Mr Chips, had many children in her life as they regarded her as their advisor and guide, if not their mother. (She supported the Nationalists and was not allowed back after a break in England recovering from serious illness, and lived out her life in Taiwan.)

          The mountain town of Fen Chang was bombed by the Japanese. I would like to visit it and spend time with the people in this exceptional place where this exceptional woman lived and worked. Is Shansi north a more friendly place than the south do you think? They were a bit separated from other areas, had their own dialect. It is of course just an idea to go there but one day I might be able to bring it off.

          • Peter Christchurch NZ

            In general, the north is way more friendly. People generally are very helpful and polite, and now many young can at least manage basic English. I am not familiar with Shansi, but transport can be surprisingly difficult away from the cities.

            I must try and get hold of of that story. Sounds fascinating. Thank you.

      • Mark 6.2.2

        I think the concept of face is a bit exaggerated by Westerners – all people want ‘face’, there is simply a different format to it culture to culture. Japan is a lot more Confucian than China, yet the people are perhaps the most willing to help lost strangers than any other place I have ever visited, and they typically treat Westerners a lot better than other Asians. One simply has to look lost with a map (no GPS in the early 90s when I first visited) and people will approach to help.

        Northern China is friendly, particularly the back-blocks and ‘old school’ Chinese. Taiwanese are perhaps the nicest people in the ‘Sinosphere’. Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese I find quite arrogant.

        I visited Beijing in the 1990s and was struck by how friendly the people were —-returning to my ancestral city of Guangzhou, I was struck by the contrast, a complete and utter lack of civility in Guangzhou compared to Beijing.

        Cantonese culture has its own character though – a irreverent sense of humour and a cheeky and earthy language, raw in emotional intensity and capable of describing every from of human emotion and particularly frailty in an extremely fine grained manner.

        Unfortunately a lack of civility seems to have affected many aspects of Chinese life – a consequence of a loss of traditional culture unattenuated by any form of socialist morality that was lost two decades ago, and crass attitudes of the nouveu riche everywhere.

  7. Mark 7

    About Xinjiang:

    The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation representing 1.8 billion Muslims around the world “commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China,”


    Saudi Crown Prince Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself has said during a meeting with Xi Jinping “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security.”

    Now of course, some will say here that the Saudi Crown Prince himself is a brutal dictator, but even on the assumption that he is the Prince would dare not say anything that would cause offence and outrage to the billions of Muslims in the world. That he can openly support China in the way he has means there is scant concern in the Muslim world for the situation in Xinjiang, and indeed many Muslim countries will see China’s measures as ones they themselves have and would adopt in combating extremism. Obviously the Prince would never ever risk saying something similar in support of Israel.

    China had 100 years of wars, famines, disunity, and strife caused by Western and Japanese imperialism. The Chinese have learned their lesson and their measures are intended to avoid the sort of human rights catastrophe we have seen in Syria where Western countries have tried to bring down a truly secular state through the use of Islamic extremists.

    The fact is many cultures around the world are backwards and barbaric. They need a strong hand to guide them towards modernity.

    It is by and large only Western countries which feign concern over the situation in XInjiang. And that is not over a genuine concern for human rights – its simply a way to undermine the rise of a non-white power, the first major one in 200 years.

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Haven’t seen a leftist accuse the regime in China of being racist, eh? Due to the victims being ethnicities, not races, I presume. Splitting hairs to evade moral accountability for evil is an excellent tactic by the apologists for China’s communist regime. Gordon Campbell discusses the prospects for Ardern’s diplomacy, in relation to the victims, here: http://werewolf.co.nz/2019/03/gordon-campbell-on-the-human-rights-dimension-of-jacinda-arderns-visit-to-china/

    “The “Muslim tracker” system involved records the movements of some 2.5 million members of the Uighur population in Xinjiang province and reportedly “includes 6.7m location points that residents had passed in the last 24 hours, including mosques, hotels, police stations and internet cafes. Trackers can be CCTV cameras as well as handheld devices equipped with cameras or ID scanners. This repressive surveillance apparatus has led to the imprisonment of up to a million Uighurs in internment camps for re-education and indoctrination purposes.”

    Let’s look on the bright side. With only 40% of the ethnicity in concentration camps, most Uighurs are not concentrating. They are freely able to consider and appreciate the merit of obedience, and reflect on how wonderful communism is, how it was designed to provide a communal ethos that all can share, with everything held in common. And how such resolute focus on the commons provides all with genuine equity in the social matrix. And how good communist officials are at putting the equality into practice…

  9. Dennis Frank 9

    Gordon also elaborates on how China’s state policy is now targeting muslims: “This ongoing persecution of the Uighur and Hui ethno-religious minorities is a direct product of the “Sinicisation” of religion programme outlined by Premier Xi Jinping in an April 2016 speech whereby the state would “actively guide the adaptation of religions to socialist society, an important task in supporting China’s religions’ persistence in the direction of sinicization.””

    “In his report to the 19th Party Congress a year later, Xi repeated this same intention: “We will fully implement the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, insist on the sinicization of Chinese religions, and provide active guidance for religion and socialism to coexist.””

    “The current repression of all forms of Islam (and Christianity) that do not meet Beijing’s definition of “co-existence” with socialism (ie submission to it) is the direct result of this policy directive. Mosques deemed to be out of step with “sinicisation” are being closed, and their adherents persecuted. It is not as if Islam is foreign to China. Islam has had a presence there for nearly 1,000 years, and Christianity has been part of Chinese society for 400 years.”

    If anything though, the process of religious persecution in China is picking up pace:
    [Gordon inserts the following excerpt from a report by Foreign Policy, which you can read here https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/25/love-allah-love-china/%5D

    “In January [2019] China passed the five-year plan to Sinicize Islam at a meeting with representatives from Islamic associations from eight different provinces and regions. Few details have been released about the plan, but it is clear that shaping doctrine and traditions to conform to party objectives is central. Similar plans to Sinicize Protestantism and Catholicism in China have already passed, and swift implementation is expected. In Xinjiang, anti-religious efforts have been incorporated into a massive regional crackdown, including the mass detention of Islamic minorities.”

    So we can expect to see white supremacists celebrating their solidarity with their soul brothers in China. Pics of skinheads with a portrait of Xi tatood on their brow are likely to circulate. Maybe they will even start to call each other comrade?

  10. Mark 10

    Gordon Campbell discusses the prospects for Ardern’s diplomacy, in relation to the victims, blah blah blah

    hahahahhaha…..who on God’s green earth is ‘Gordon Campbell’?

    I suppose he knows as much about China as Xi Jinping knows about South Island sheep farming.

    Who are qualified to known, at least a bit more than Gordon Campbell, are Muslims themselves. Again:

    The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation representing 1.8 billion Muslims around the world “commends the efforts of the People’s Republic of China in providing care to its Muslim citizens; and looks forward to further cooperation between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China,”


    Saudi Crown Prince Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself has said during a meeting with Xi Jinping “China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security.”

    • Quoting Saudi Crown Prince Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a discussion about human rights, Mark? Not exactly going for the high moral ground there, pal. Oh, and do the OIC still hate the LBGTQ+ community? Why, yes, yes they do.

      • Mark 10.1.1

        My point is simply this:

        It is the West who is making all the noise about Xinjiang

        Muslims around the world, by and large, are indifferent, or even supportive (including neighbouring Pakistan and Kazakhstan)

        Not sure what bringing LBGT etc stuff into the discussion is about? Bit of a non-sequitur? However, if you are concerned about the rights of this community, you would support China’s efforts against Islamist extremists in Xinjiang. After all consensual homosexuality was legalised in China in 1997….can hardly imagine the same under an Islamist theocracy.

    • Anne 10.2

      …..who on God’s green earth is ‘Gordon Campbell’?

      You wouldn’t know Gordon Campbell Mark.

      Journalist of a very high standing. Articulate, with an immensely broad breadth of knowledge. You could google his name and read some of his stuff. On the other hand you probably feel more comfortable at Whale OIl.

  11. Some more interesting information about China’s treatment of the Uyghurs.

    Max Blumenthal a progressive journalist, who didn’t get caught in the collusion meme.

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