Self-harm by the United States, or, why Chinese news services are the most reliable

The following article is copied from Xinhua News, which I have for some time now found the most reliable, well-resourced and balanced of the many news services I have read over the years. The article is good example. Why? To begin with, it is based on careful research, with contributions from a number of journalists. Further, they see no need to rush in with some ‘scoop’, which usually turns out to be unverified rumour and gossip.

But I also like it since it shows how the Unites States is accelerating the process of its own decline through what can be called self-harm. And this process is based on stunning ignorance and misunderstanding of the rest of the world. Once you do this, you make one mistake after after another – note especially the section called ‘Groundless Accusation’.

(As an aside, this groundless accusation against Huawei was originally made in Australia, but there is a clear reason: Australian telephony has always been woeful and overpriced, so much so that people have become used to this situation. So you cannot have telephony and internet services that actually work, are efficient and relatively low-cost. That would be too much of a shock to the system. How will Australia roll out 5G? It will simply rename 3G as ‘5G’ and charge the earth for it.)

Restricting Huawei backfires on U.S. interests, disrupts global telecom industry

by Xinhua writer Gao Wencheng

BEIJING, May 24 (Xinhua) — Millions of Americans in rural areas may be denied access to faster and lower-priced broadband connections because of Washington’s restrictive moves against Huawei, a Chinese company which has offered equipment to U.S. rural telecom operators for years.

The U.S. government last week announced it would “prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk” to the country by declaring a national emergency over what it claimed are technological threats, and announced restrictions on the sale and transfer of U.S. technologies to Chinese company Huawei.

The ban would force small and independently-owned telecom operators such as Eastern Oregon Telecom and Union Wireless in Wyoming to spend their limited funds buying more expensive gear from Huawei’s competitors, according to an article in The New York Times by Chen Lifang, Huawei’s group board director.

Though accusing Huawei of being able to use its network equipment to spy on foreign nations for the Chinese government, the U.S. government has not produced any hard evidence to support its accusation. However, innocent victims in the global chains of the telecom industry would bear the consequences.

BACKFIRE ON U.S. INTERESTS

“A ban will not make American networks more secure. Instead, it will hurt ordinary Americans and businesses by denying them access to leading technology, reducing competition and increasing prices,” Chen said in the article.

“The ban will financially harm the thousands of Americans employed by the U.S. companies that do business with Huawei, which buys more than 11 billion U.S. dollars in goods and services from U.S. companies each year,” said Chen. “A total ban on Huawei equipment could eliminate tens of thousands of American jobs.”

The recent U.S. move to add the Chinese telecom company to a trade blacklist has already taken a toll on Wall Street. Shares of Huawei’s major suppliers, including Google, Qualcomm and Broadcom, were pressured.

Washington’s plan has also drawn resistance from domestic telecom carriers, especially those in rural areas, where the optical cable infrastructure is weak and the cost-effective Huawei equipment is considered as a better option.

James Kail, chief of LHTC Broadband, a digital service provider in rural Pennsylvania, told Xinhua that the ban could have an adverse effect on their business since they have a significant investment at stake as well as potential funding that could be jeopardized.

“About a quarter of small rural U.S. broadband providers use Huawei equipment, which is … at lower prices and better customer service,” Roger Entner, founder and lead analyst at U.S. telecom research firm Recon Analytics, told Xinhua via email.

Banning Huawei in the United States has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a conundrum, Entner tweeted. “Is the FCC going to accept slower broadband build-out?”

GROUNDLESS ACCUSATION

According to some German media, after years of review, Britain, Germany and the European Union failed to find any backdoor in Huawei products.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in response that “the conclusions of Europe’s scrutiny have proven Huawei innocent, and showed the U.S. suppression against other countries’ enterprises with state power is unjustified.”

“We’d like to see the U.S. comment on the findings,” Lu said at a press briefing, adding that since the coming into light of the U.S. secret surveillance program Prism, the United States has remained silent over evidence alleging its illegal practices of cyber attacks and thefts.

Likewise, the 2019 annual report compiled by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Center Oversight Board, staffed by representatives from Huawei and Britain’s government including the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and telecommunications sector, detailed concerns about Huawei’s software engineering capabilities, but stated that the “NCSC does not believe that the defects identified are a result of Chinese state interference.”

Such conclusions came as a result of putting Huawei under a microscope.

“I don’t think any of the other vendors have been on such level of scrutiny to find out whether or not security risks exist in their software,” Stephane Teral, technology fellow and advisor for Mobile Infrastructure and Carrier Economics at the consultancy IHS Markit Technology, told Xinhua.

The United States has also been unsuccessfully trying to rally other countries to abandon Huawei products, citing security threats.

“Our perspective is not to block Huawei or any company,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the VivaTech conference in Paris.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology of the Philippines said that there was no incident of a national security breach from the local telecommunication network using Huawei equipment.

Major Malaysian mobile operators like Maxis, Celcom and U Mobile also said their cooperation with Huawei is not affected by the recent U.S. ban.

“ECONOMIC BULLYING”

With the use of state power, Washington’s groundless crackdown on Chinese private company Huawei is typical “economic bullying,” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

Such an egocentric approach by the United States will not win the recognition and support of the international community, said Wang.

Blameless companies around the world, including Huawei’s U.S. suppliers, could lose business, face disruptions and incur significant new costs, while China will only redouble its efforts to produce advanced technologies domestically, according to an editorial article published by Bloomberg.

As Huawei is deeply embedded in the global supply chain, “there might be other manufacturers that will be caught up in it,” Foad Fadaghi, an Australian technology analyst and managing director of Telsyte, was quoted by local media as saying.

The U.S. restrictions on Huawei would also hold back the launch of 5G networks and earnings of the tech sectors across the world, Swiss leading investment bank UBS said in its latest research report.

The Huawei ban in the long term “would also make network equipment more expensive because it could reduce the number of suppliers in what is already a small pool,” according to Standard Investment Bank’s note on Kenya’s telecom operator Safaricom.

In response to the U.S. restrictions, Ren Zhengfei, founder and president of Huawei, said Huawei had recently received widespread global support.

Huawei never wants to “walk alone” in the global markets, but has made good preparations for any extreme circumstances, he said.

Ren also appreciated the support of a large number of U.S. components suppliers over the years, and they were also lobbying for the easing of U.S. government-imposed restrictions.

“As long as the U.S. government allows U.S. companies to export the components, Huawei will continue to buy while sticking to its own research and development,” he said.

(Xinhua reporters Zhou Zhou in Washington, Ma Qian, Yang Shilong and Pan Lijun in New York, Wang Zichen in Brussels, Yuan Mengchen in Manila, Lin Hao and Jonathan Edward in Kuala Lumpur, Wang Xiaopeng in Nairobi, Guan Jianwu in Bishkek and Hao Yalin in Sydney also contributed to the story.)

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An effort to understand Australian Sinophobia

Since I spend my holidays in Australia, I find a need to understand the extraordinarily vicious Sinophobia thereabouts. In our time, perhaps New Zealand is the only country where it is worse, but that is not by much. Russophobia is part of the picture as well, but not as bad as in that very weird country, the United States.

So let me suggest the following:

1. The weakness of Australian governance, especially at a national level. No matter what party has been in power over the last decade or more, it has characteristically been weak and torn by inner strife. They spend most of their time turfing out one leader and finding another, so much that elections are a waste of time and money. When a government is weak, it likes to find an external threat.

2. There are two caveats here. To begin with, the general populace is largely positive with regard to China. Survey after survey indicates around 65 percent are positively disposed. Further, the political subclass is split, with significant portions across the limited political spectrum engaging with China. For now, the Sinophobic element is able to set the agenda, making use of a gaggle of rabid ‘commentators’ and ‘advisors’ who do not realise they are being used. Australia also has a compliant corporate and state-owned media (ABC and SBS) playing the same tune.

3. At a deeper level, the Sinophobic narrative – with its distortions and deliberate misinformation – taps into a vast storehouse of Australian racism from the past. This comes form a time when the population was less than 10 million and was largely descended from British immigrants. In this context, the ‘yellow peril’ was invoked, an obviously racist trope and part of the white Australia policy. This is really nasty material, which many of us thought had been left behind.

4. The Sinophobic propaganda is a signal of an ongoing identity crisis. Since 1972 and the end of the white Australia policy, Australia has seen British descendants become a minority. Western European descendants (like myself) will also soon be a minority. Most immigrants come from East Asia, the Subcontinent and Africa. For example, Chinese is the second most spoken language in Australia now. As this shift happens, with about 200,000 immigrants per year, the demographics and culture have been changing. In this context, the racist invocation has become more shrill as Australia makes the transition to a Eurasian nation. That it alienates a significant portion of the population should be obvious.

5. The rampant Sinophobia may also be seen as a symptom of the difficulty of figuring how to deal with a declining United States. That the USA is in decline is obvious to everyone. Asian countries have by and large figured this out and have been working to solve their own problems. But Australia is trapped. It gambled on alliance with the United States after the Second World War, but the governing bodies know full well that the USA today would neither want nor be able to lift a finger to help Australia. Further, for some time now, Australia’s number one economic partner has been China, which has enabled Australia to avoid a recession for 27 years. Australian policy setters, along with the woeful media, are unable to manage this situation. Either break with the United States or break with China. The latter option would have severe economic and social consequences, while the former would simply challenge the whole political culture of the last 70 or more years.

6. At the deepest level, this Sinophobia is part of the long-standing colonial and anti-colonial struggle. The anti-colonial project I have in mind is the one that came to the fore in the twentieth century. As the Soviet Union realised (in the 1930s) that the Russian Revolution was in part an anti-colonial revolution, and as it began to support at many levels the global anti-colonial struggle in the name of opposing capitalist imperialism, the century was determined at many levels by this struggle.

With its immense economic power and socialist political structures, China has now taken the lead in the anti-colonial project. We see this with the world-changing Belt and Road Initiative, Africa-China Cooperation, the Asia Infrastructure Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The latest element of this is the shift away from the US dollar in international transactions and reserves (for example, China plans in March to trade oil in Renminbi, the most significant shift from the last item that is still almost exclusively done in US dollars).

In response, a small number of countries – 15 at most – have made an effort to counter this anti-colonial project. Of course, they are former colonial powers, pushing a tired agenda that is too little, too late. The catch is that some of the former colonies have joined this new colonial bandwagon. These are not the countries that achieved independence in the twentieth century, but earlier. The United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are the culprits. While we may think this is perverse, it is useful to recall that each of them has been a colonial power on their own. Australia, for example, was for long a colonial master of Papua New Guinea and still sees itself as a master. That China has now engaged with Papua New Guinea and is doing what Australia never did – improve the basic infrastructure in Papua New Guinea so that it may actually develop economically – is seen as an affront to Australia’s continuing colonial arrogance.

 

Political weakness, a storehouse of racism, an identity crisis, a declining and angry United States, and the anti-colonial project – these are the factors that seem to be important. There may be more, but none are particularly pleasant. No wonder, then, that in 2017 and 2018, Australia was voted the least friendly country by Chinese surveys.

Lenin on … Australian elections

This reads like it was written this morning (comes from 1913):

A general election recently took place in Australia. The Labour Party, which had a majority in the Lower House—44 seats out of 75—was defeated. It now has only 36 seats out of 75. The majority has passed to the Liberals, but this majority is a very unstable one, because 30 of the 36 seats in the Upper House are held by Labour.

What sort of peculiar capitalist country is this, in which the workers’ representatives, predominate in the Upper house and, till recently, did so in the Lower House as well, and yet the capitalist system is in no danger? …

The Australian Labour Party does not even call itself a socialist party. Actually it is a liberal-bourgeois party, while the so-called Liberals in Australia are really Conservatives …

The leaders of the Australian Labour Party are trade union officials, everywhere the most moderate and ‘capital serving’ element, and in Australia, altogether peaceable, purely liberal.

Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 19, pp. 216-17.

Or, as I like to put it: we live in a one-party state, ruled by the pro-capitalist party. From time to time a different faction gains power, euphemistically called ‘Labor’ or ‘Liberal’ (centre-right or far right), but the only matter on which they differ is how best to foster capitalism.