Archive for the Taiwan Category

“A decisive turning point in the crisis of American imperialism” – AIIP is here [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Assassination, Australia, Beijing, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Denmark, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Engels, France, Germany, IMF - International Monetary Fund, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Obama, Pentagon, Police State, south Korea, Taiwan, Torture, Trotsky, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

1 April 2015

Yesterday was the deadline for countries to sign up as founding members of the China-backed Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). It will go down in history as marking a significant defeat for the global foreign policy and strategic objectives of United States imperialism.

Against strenuous opposition from Washington, more than 40 countries have now indicated they want to be part of the AIIB. Major European powers including Britain, France and Germany, as well as Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, are on board. Almost all countries in the South East Asian region, which count China as their major trading partner, have also signed up. India is also a signatory, together with Taiwan.

The most significant blow against the US was struck by Britain, its chief European ally, which announced its decision to join on March 12. It opened the floodgates for others to follow, including two key US allies in the Asia-Pacific -— Australia and South Korea. Japan is also reported to be considering joining, possibly as early as June.

The full significance of the US defeat and its far-reaching implications emerge most clearly when viewed from a historical perspective.

One of the chief objections of the Obama administration to the new bank was that it would undermine the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Together with the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944, they constituted central pillars of the global economic order established after World War II by the United States, which played the central role in rebuilding world capitalism following the devastation of the 1920s and 1930s and the wars and revolutionary struggles it produced.

Of course, both of these institutions, together with the Marshall Plan for the restabilisation of war-torn Europe, operated to the economic and strategic benefit of American imperialism.

But while America drew enormous gains from the post-war order, it was not narrowly conceived. There was a recognition in ruling political and economic circles that if American capitalism was to survive, it would have to use the enormous resources at its disposal to ensure the growth and expansion of other capitalist powers, above all, those against which it had fought a bitter and bloody conflict.

Post-war reconstruction enabled the expansion of Germany and turned it once again into the industrial powerhouse of Europe. At the same time, concessions to Japan on the value of its currency -— it was pegged at 360 yen to the dollar -— opened up export markets for its industry. The decision to build trucks and other military equipment in Japan during the Korean War laid the foundations for the development of Japan’s auto industry, as it incorporated, and then developed, the advanced production techniques that had been established in the US.

The industrial and economic capacity of the United States, even when it took reactionary forms as in the case of the Korean War, was utilised to facilitate a new phase of global capitalist expansion—the post-war boom.

What a contrast to the present situation! American capitalism is no longer the industrial powerhouse of the world, ensuring the expansion of the capitalist economy as a whole. Rather, it functions as the global parasite-in-chief, as its rapacious banks, investment houses and hedge funds scour the world for profitable opportunities, engaged not in the production of new wealth, but in the appropriation of wealth produced elsewhere, often via criminal or semi-criminal operations.

In the immediate post-war period, the US was the champion of free trade, recognising that the restrictions and beggar-thy-neighbour policies of the 1930s had produced a disaster. Today, through measures such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and similar arrangements being prepared with regard to Europe, Washington seeks to forge exclusivist agreements aimed at protecting the monopoly position of US corporations. America, Obama has stated, must write the global rules for trade and investment in the 21st century.

American influence in the post-war period was not confined to the immediate economic sphere. Notwithstanding all its contradictory features, American society appeared to have something to offer the world as a whole, which had suffered decades of war, fascism and military forms of rule, along with economic devastation.

Again, the contrast with the present situation could not be starker. American democracy, once held up as a beacon for the rest of the world, is a withered caricature of its former self, no longer capable of concealing the dictatorship of the financial and corporate elites.

Social conditions are characterised by deprivation and state violence, reflected not least in the daily police killings. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and in Detroit, once the centre of the American industrial economy, paying the highest wages, water shutoffs are being imposed. The US government carries out torture, abductions, assassinations and mass spying on its own people and others around the world. The country is ruled by criminals who cannot be held accountable for their crimes.

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the removal from the scene of its global rival, the American ruling class was gripped by the idea that while its economic position had been severely weakened -— the stock market crash of 1987 was a harbinger of things to come -— American hegemony could nevertheless be maintained by military means.

But as Frederick Engels had earlier explained in refuting another exponent of “force theory,” the notion that economic developments—the advance of industry, credit and trade—and the contradictions to which they gave rise could be “blown out of existence” with “Krupp guns and Mauser rifles” was a delusion.

The past 25 years of American foreign policy, based on the use of cruise missiles and drones, combined with invasions and regime-change operations grounded on lies, have produced one debacle after another.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost, as other capitalist powers, great and small, begin to conclude that hitching themselves to the American juggernaut is the surest road to disaster. That is the historic significance of their decision to join the AIIB.

How will American imperialism respond? By increasing its military provocations, threatening to plunge the world once again into war.

Charting the rise of American imperialism in the late 1920s, Leon Trotsky noted that in the period of crisis, its hegemony would operate “more openly and more ruthlessly than in the period of boom,” and that it would attempt to extricate itself from its difficulties and maladies at the expense of its rivals, if necessary by means of war.

However there is another, and, in the final analysis, decisive, aspect to the economic decline of American imperialism, marked so powerfully by the events of yesterday.

For decades, the American working class was disoriented by the idea of a continually rising power -— that America’s “best days” were always ahead. Reality is now coming home with ever-increasing force.

Events are shattering the delusions of the past and will propel the American working class on to the road of revolutionary struggle, creating the conditions for the unification of the international working class in the fight for world socialist revolution.

Nick Beams

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/01/pers-a01.html

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AIIB, a paradigm power shift [Xinhua]

Posted in Beijing, Brazil, BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, China, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street on April 2, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) — …As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 46 countries had applied to be founders of the bank, but the United States and Japan have remained on the sidelines. The financial authority of China’s Taiwan said on Tuesday afternoon that the island has submitted a letter of intent on joining the mainland-proposed AIIB. Founders will be finalized on April 15.

TIMELINE

The bank was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2013.

A year later, and 21 Asian nations, including China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore had signed an agreement to establish the bank, headquartered in Beijing.

On March 12, 2015, Britain applied to join the AIIB as a prospective founding member, the first major western country to do so. France, Italy and Germany quickly followed suit.

Other nations will still be able to join the bank after the deadline, but only as ordinary members.

Negotiations on the AIIB charter are expected to conclude in the middle of the year and the bank should be formally established by the end of this year.

BUILDING FOR SUCCESS

As its name suggests, the AIIB will finance infrastructure–airports, mobile phone towers, railways, roads–in Asia.

There is a yawning infrastructure funding gap in Asia. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pegged the hole at about eight trillion U.S. dollars between 2010 and 2020.

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank are more focused on poverty reduction and their funds alone are insufficient to bridge the gap, according to Hans-Paul Burkner, chair of the Boston Consulting Group.

While both the ADB and World Bank focus on a broad range of development programs including agriculture, education and gender equality, the AIIB will concentrate on infrastructure alone. The IMF, World Bank and ADB have all welcomed the AIIB initiative and see room for collaboration

The bank will have an authorized capital [of] 100 billion U.S. dollars and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around 50 billion dollars. Although hardly enough to meet demand, it will still be a helpful boost.

GOOD FOR ASIA; GOOD FOR ALL

As the first China-proposed multilateral financial institution that has included developed nations as members, the AIIB offers an opportunity to test China’s ability to play its role as a responsible country, analysts said.

The initiative followed years of frustrated attempts to reform the existing international financial institutions, which have failed to reflect the changing landscape of global economy.

The existing economic system, shaped by the Bretton Woods agreement seven decades ago, is dominated by western countries and increasingly unrepresentative of the world’s economic architecture. Since the global financial crisis, emerging markets are becoming the main development drivers. Asian countries now make up one third of the global economy.

As global economic power shifts to emerging markets, it is only fair that they should play a bigger role in global institutions. Burkner said, “if it is not happening, then it is important to create additional institutions which, to some extent, cooperate and compete with existing institutions.

“There will be cooperation and also some healthy competition with the ADB and the World Bank.”

Good for Asia; good for the world as a whole.

Jin Liqun, secretary general of the interim secretariat of the AIIB, regards the bank as a complement to, rather than a substitute for, the World Bank and the ADB. It will improve the existing international financial system, not overturn it, Jin said.

The AIIB is just the start. Jim O’Neil, coiner of the BRICs acronym and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, believes there are plenty more areas where China needs to be drawn in.

With its Belt and Road initiatives, the AIIB and other entities (a joint development bank with BRICs partners Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, for example) China is trying to make its own development beneficial to the whole continent.

After over three decades of fast expansion, benefiting from globalization and opening-up, China can now share the fruits of its development and build a “community of common destiny” through international and regional cooperation.

INTO THE UNKNOWN

Even after membership is finalized, many questions will remain. How will the AIIB be governed? What will be the decision-making process be? Wha t lending criteria will it adopt? Will its policies be transparent and address issues like the environment?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the bank stands or falls.

While details are pending, China has repeatedly stated that the AIIB will uphold high standards and learn from the best practices at existing multilateral financial institutions.

During an interview with Xinhua, Lou Jiwei said the bank will have a three-tier structure — a council, a board of directors and management, as well as a supervising mechanism to ensure sufficient, open and transparent policy-making.

The prime challenge for the AIIB is how to channel funds to the most productive projects while maintaining security of repayment.

Zhang Yuyan, chief of the institute of world economics and politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, believes that, since infrastructure projects usually have long funding cycles and great potential for waste, sustainable profitability will be the real test of the AIIB.

Rigorous consultation and skillful management to coordinate and balance various demands and interests among members will be of the essence, Zhang said. This will be challenging at the very least, with so many histories, cultures and development stages on show.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/31/c_134114065.htm

Yahoo to exit from Chinese mainland market [China Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Economy, Employment, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan on March 21, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

2015-03-20 /By Emma Gonzalez and Meng Jing

~Closure of Beijing R&D center expected to result in as many as 300 job losses~

Yahoo Inc is set to completely exit from China this year, after the United States-based technology giant said it was shutting its research and development center in Beijing.

The company’s decision to end its only physical presence in the Chinese mainland could eliminate as many as 300 jobs, industry sources said on Thursday. Yahoo, however, declined to specify the actual number of jobs that would be made redundant.

“We are constantly making changes to align resources, and to foster better collaboration and innovation across our business. Today (Wednesday) we informed our employees based in Beijing that we will be closing our office there,” a statement said.

The workers, mostly engineers, will be relieved from their posts by the end of this month, according to The South China Morning Post.

Richard Kramer, the London-based managing director of Arete Research, an equity research firm, said: “The mainland has not been a major part of Yahoo’s strategy for many years, even though the company has good legacy businesses in Hong Kong and Taiwan”.

The company’s announcement, however, did not surprise most industry experts, as they feel that company has been under increasing pressure from shareholders to reduce costs and improve profits.

Yahoo’s other two R&D facilities, one located in its headquarters in California and the other in Bengaluru, India, have also been affected by job cuts in recent months.

Neil Shah, research director at market research firm Counterpoint, said: “The writing was very much on the wall. Since the end of 2013, Yahoo had started scaling down its services in the Chinese mainland and it was about time to reduce the unwanted resources not contributing to any revenues.”

This year has been tough for foreign technology companies operating in the Chinese mainland as they face increasing competition from stronger local firms. In February, Microsoft announced that it would close two factories and lay off around 9,000 workers. Also in February, social gaming company Zynga decided to close its studio in Beijing.

Underperforming search business vis-a-vis local firms like Baidu, as well as overall corporate streamlining of operations to close down unprofitable centers, are some of the reasons why Yahoo has decided to close the Beijing office, said Shah from Counterpoint.

Will Tao, an analyst at consulting firm iResearch, said: ‘The salary of Chinese developers is now higher than their Indian counterparts. Therefore, it was just a matter of time for it to happen…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/beijing/2015-03/20/content_19864173.htm

Interview: Vietnamese authorities miscalculated in anti-China protests: scholar [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Japan, Singapore, south Korea, Taiwan on May 31, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

SINGAPORE, May 24 (Xinhua) — Vietnamese authorities apparently miscalculated during the protest targeting foreign enterprises in Vietnam last week, Li Mingjiang, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

“They have, in some way, connived in the protest and the subsequent developments, but they apparently underestimated the possibility that the initially mild protests could turn violent,” Li said.

Li said it’s hardly likely for the violence to have been orchestrated in the way a color revolution was organized, given the abruptness of the riots breaking out. However, there had been signs that certain groups in the opposition were waiting for an opportunity to put pressure on the Vietnamese government.

The possibility cannot be ruled out that some Vietnamese-American groups have been behind the protest, he said.

“The territorial disputes between China and Vietnam provide them good excuses to organize such a kind of demonstrations, together with local NGOs within Vietnam,” Li said. “The Vietnamese authorities, due to political considerations, chose to connive at these protests.”

South China Morning Post reported recently that some theories in Vietnam implied outside influences behind the riots.

The violence went largely unchecked by Hanoi, at least at the initial stage. China evacuated thousands of its nationals from Vietnam after a few were killed and more than 100 others were injured during the violence.

Apart from the loss of investors from the Chinese mainland, quite a number of factories and companies from elsewhere, including China’s Taiwan as well as South Korea, Japan and Singapore, were also victims of the violence.

Singapore’s foreign ministry had voiced their “deep concerns” several times over the damages to two Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks in Binh Duong province.

A Singapore flag was burnt by demonstrators on May 13. Singapore’s foreign ministry described it as “a serious incident.” It had also urged Hanoi to immediately restore law and order before the security situation worsens and investor confidence is undermined.

The deadly violence, to some extent, can also be traced to the domestic challenges or the deteriorating relations between Vietnamese citizens and the government, as well as the worsened economic and social problems, Li said.

“The rioters broke into foreign factories, conducting wrecking, looting and setting fire, regardless of them being Chinese companies or not.”

Editor: Mu Xuequan

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2014-05/24/c_126543586.htm

China mulls high-speed railway to US; whole trip to be within 2 days [People’s Daily]

Posted in France, Germany, Iran, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, USA on May 21, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 12, 2014

China is considering building a high-speed railway line to the US, Beijing Times reported on Thursday.

The proposed line would begin in north-east China and run up through Siberia and through a tunnel underneath the Bering Strait through Alaska and Canada to reach the continental US, according to Wang Mengshu, a railway expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Crossing the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska would require about 200km (125 miles) of undersea tunnel, says Wang.
“Right now we’re in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,” Wang said.

The project would run for 13,000km, about 3,000km further than the Trans-Siberian Railway. The entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350km/h (220mph).

The tunnel technology is “already in place” and will be used to build a high-speed railway between the south-east province of Fujian and Taiwan. “The project will be funded and constructed by China,” Wang said. “The details of this project are yet to be finalized.”

This China-US line is expected to be one of four international high-speed rail projects currently in the works.

The first is a line that would run from London via Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, and Kiev to Moscow, where it would split into two routes, one of which would run to China through Kazakhstan and the other through eastern Siberia.

The second line would begin in the far-western Chinese city of Urumqi and then run through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey to Germany.

The third would begin in the south-western city of Kunming and end in Singapore. The routes are at various stages of planning and development.

The article is edited and translated from《中国人有望乘高铁赴美:1.3万公里两天到达》, source: Beijing Times, author: Han Xu.

Article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/98649/8624283.html

“HK actor Chapman To under fire” – insulting comments towards mainlanders prompts film boycott [China Daily / Sweet & Sour Cinema]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Hong Kong, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Taiwan on May 17, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Cindy Gu ( chinadaily.com.cn )

May 6, 2014

Hong Kong actor Chapman To’s deprecating remarks towards Chinese mainland Internet users has sparked online outrage across the country with many people now calling for a To boycott.

In March, Chapman To posted numerous supportive comments on Taiwan’s disapproval of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement on his Facebook account and was ‘attacked’ by Chinese mainland Internet users, who held opposing views.

In response, To wrote, “Sometimes, when faced with the opinionated comments of Chinese mainland netizens, we don’t have to put too much thought in to [sic] it. They are not that capable. They just happen to have enough money to go to the Internet café.”

His deprecating remarks sparked outrage among Chinese Internet users, with many calling for the actor to stop making a living on the Chinese mainland.

“Don’t say ‘don’t make money off the Chinese mainland’ anymore. I’m telling you, stop me from coming to Chinese mainland if you can!”…[To]…responded.

To’s latest film “Let Go For Love” opened in theaters on April 30. Under the tense atmosphere and Internet users’ haste [sic] towards To, the film grossed a mere million in ticket sales in the first two days…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/celebrity/2014-05/06/content_17487387.htm

Vietnam’s anti-China riots ‘hurt its image’ [People’s Daily]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Energy, Hong Kong, Japan, Labor, south Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam on May 15, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Li XIAOKUN and ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

May 15, 2014

Mobs chanting anti-Chinese slogans have set at least 15 foreign factories on fire in southern Vietnam.

An analyst said the incidents were among the country’s most serious riots and would tarnish its image as an investment and tourist destination.

The rioting started late on Tuesday when about 19,000 workers protested at a Singapore-run industrial park and others nearby in Binh Duong province, 1,120 km south of Hanoi, the capital.

Authorities said rioting and looting forced the closure of 1,000 factories, but no casualties were confirmed. About 500 people were arrested.

The incidents came after anti-China street protests over the weekend following Beijing’s recent deployment of an oil drilling rig in its territorial waters in the South China Sea, which are also claimed by Vietnam.

In a phone conversation with his Indonesian counterpart on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China wanted Vietnam to calm the situation.

“China’s stance of protecting its legal sovereign rights is firm, clear and will not change,” he said.

Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing had lodged protests with the Vietnamese ambassador, asking the Vietnamese “to immediately take effective steps to stop and punish these crimes, and to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and institutions in Vietnam.”

Hua said Hanoi had deliberately escalated tensions by allowing its vessels to ram Chinese boats around the rig on 169 occasions on Tuesday and by arranging for reporters to cover the process.

“This was all done for show in an attempt to present a false picture and deceive the public,” she said.

Li Jinming, a Xiamen University professor of maritime law and South China Sea studies, said, “Vietnam is provoking China on land and sea in a high-stakes gamble.”

Tran Van Nam, deputy head of the province’s people’s committee, was quoted by VnExpress as saying that the protests were initially peaceful but had been hijacked by extremists who incited people to break into the factories.

Hundreds of other factories were vandalized or looted, while some security guards and technicians were assaulted, the official said.

He said people attacked factories they believed were run by companies from the Chinese mainland, but some were run by people from Taiwan, Japan or South Korea.

On Wednesday morning, nearly all the factories in the area were closed and riot police had been deployed.

Global exporter Li & Fung, which supplies retailers such as Kohl’s Corp and Wal-Mart Stores with clothing, toys and other products, said it had suspended production in Vietnam.

Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings, a Taiwan manufacturer with headquarters in Hong Kong, also suspended production. It makes footwear for firms including Nike and Adidas.

Vietnamese Internet users have questioned the motivation and impact of the rioting.

“Young people should be more cautious and avoid being used by bad people. The (foreign) companies have brought jobs — what is wrong with them?” a netizen nicknamed muoihcm commented in the VnExpress report.

The Vietnamese government gave rare permission for the weekend protests, which were enthusiastically covered by state media.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Research Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “It is high-profile propaganda for the Vietnamese authorities and media regarding the collision of ships in the South China Sea that enraged public opinion and resulted in the riots.

“The incident will not only harm relations with China but also endanger Vietnam’s international image, especially as an investment and tourist destination.”

Wang Jian and Xinhua contributed to this story.

Article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8627942.html