Chinese cooperation with Islamic countries around the world

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation began its 14th summit on 31 May, 2019, in the city of Mecca. Since China has a Muslim population of 23 million, spread across a number of minority nationalities (in order of size: Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Uzbek, Tajik, Tatar, Kirgiz, Salar, Dongxiang and Bonan), China too is focused on cooperation with Muslim-majority countries. In that light, Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the summit, with significant responses – as this Xinhua News article indicates:

Experts in the Islamic world spoke highly of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s message on enhancing cooperation between China and Islamic countries.

Xi sent a congratulatory message on Friday on the opening of the 14th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi city of Mecca.

In his message, Xi said China attaches great importance to the friendly relations with Islamic countries and looks to the OIC as an important bridge for cooperation between China and the Islamic world.

Xi also said that China stands ready to work with the Islamic countries to enhance political mutual trust and promote practical cooperation and dialogue among civilizations, to jointly create a better future for the friendly ties between China and the Islamic world and to contribute to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Abdullah Al-Salloum, a Kuwaiti economist, said Xi’s message is “classic in diplomacy.”

“Xi’s message speaks of values that we all should encourage,” he said.

Iraqi political analyst Nadhum al-Jubouri said “China is a country that respect its commitments and abide by its neutrality.”

He said the message shows the Chinese president’s “wisdom and successful leadership.”

Improving relations, mutual understanding, support and cooperation is “the best way to serve the interests of the Islamic peoples and Chinese people,” al-Jubouri said, stressing closer ties between Islamic countries and China are also important for the global development with the spirit of “tolerance, brotherhood and peace.”

He called upon Islamic countries to cooperate more with China, and expressed the wish that China will further support Islamic countries and help them overcome economic crises.

Al-Jubouri hailed the Belt and Road Initiative as “a brilliant idea,” saying it shows China’s determination to support other peoples within balanced relations of mutual trust in order to create “a harmonious and interactive world that believes in common destiny and better future.”

Adnan Abu Amer, head of Department of Political Science and Media at Ummah University in Gaza city, said China can help find out appropriate solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

“The most important thing is that China believes in the principle of partnership, understanding and friendly relations far more than control,” he said.

The large trade volume between China and Islamic countries determines that China would care much about what happens in the region, said Samy Kamhawy, an expert in Chinese affairs from Egypt’s largest daily newspaper Al-Ahram.

He said that the OIC needs to promote cooperation between the organization members and China through international deals and joint work.

He believes China will have a unique role to play among the Islamic countries, as it could work as a mediator to help settle problems that occur from time to time among Islamic countries.

“China … can play a big role via its diplomatic policies to help reduce the differences and ease the tensions in the region,” Kamhawy added.

Nasser Bouchiba, president of the Africa-China Cooperation Association for Development, said: “I would like to remind you that respect is a cultural characteristic in China, and this has always been observed since the beginning of exchanges with Arab and Muslim traders back in the eighth century.”

Bouchiba said President Xi’s message on the OIC summit is therefore “a continuation of China’s great esteem and respect for the Muslim world.”

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‘June 4’: Thwarting an Out-Sourced ‘Colour Revolution’ (Losurdo) – updated

In some corners of former colonising countries, it has become a habit to resuscitate around this time some of the old fabrications concerning ‘June 4’, or the Tiananmen incident in 1989. I have written elsewhere that the notion of a ‘massacre’ in the square was a slick MI5 ‘black ops’ effort – based on mysteriously vanishing ‘eye-witnesses’ – to tarnish China and whip up pressure from the usual quarters. Of course, the underlying narrative is that the CPC is a secretive and paranoid bunch bent on world domination – a narrative all too easy to rebut, since the vast majority of Chinese people trust and support the CPC. In fact, as a very insightful and long article in the Global Times points out, in a recent survey polling young people with an average age of 27, the results show that ‘87.6 percent approve of Marxism, with the approval rate among the 2000s generation – 89.3 percent – being the highest among the participants, as the 1980s got 88 percent and the 1990s 87.8 percent’. In other words, Chinese youth today are increasingly confident of the leadreship role of the CPC.

Thirty years ago the situation was different for young people. So why did Deng Xiaoping decide the act? Sovereignty, stability, security and the core human right to socio-economic wellbeing were the underlying reasons why Deng Xiaoping and those around him made the correct decision to act in 1989. These reasons remain valid today.

However, here I would like to copy an insightful analysis by Domenico Losurdo. It appears in his book, Non-Violence: A History Beyond the Myth (pp. 191-94). In his typical style, he pulls apart ‘Western’ colonial materials to show that even these sources contradict what they are ostensibly trying to achieve.

In spring 1989, imposing demonstrations occurred in Beijing and other cities of China, which seemed set to suffer the fate of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe. After a fairly extended period of negotiations and attempts at compromise, the crisis ended with the proclamation of martial law and the intervention of tanks in Tiananmen Square. Some days later, on 9 June, Deng Xiaoping paid tribute to the “martyrs” of the police and army, to the “numerous” dead and “thousands” wounded, therewith alluding to bitter, large-scale clashes. On the other side, the West denounced a massacre of peaceful demonstrators. Which version is to be trusted?

In 2001, the so-called Tiananmen Papers were published and subsequently translated into the world’s principal languages. According to the (US) editors, the book reproduces secret reports and confidential minutes of the decision-making process that resulted in the repression of the protest movement. Here we have a paradox. We are dealing with papers whose authenticity is challenged by China’s leaders, who possibly find it difficult to admit the high-level leaking of confidential documents, which recount such a tormented decision-making process that it ended only thanks to the decisive intervention of the charismatic leader, Deng Xiaoping. By contrast, the publishers and editors swear to their authenticity. According to them, the documents they have published demonstrate the extreme brutality of a “regime” that did not hesitate to drown an absolutely peaceful, in a sense Gandhian, protest in blood. However, a reading of the book yields a very different picture of the tragedy that unfolded in Beijing. It is true that the leaders of the movement sometimes made professions of “non-violence.” However, the US editors of the Tiananmen Papers themselves underline that the troops summoned at the start of June to clear the square “encountered anger and some violence.” The names given to themselves by the most active groups speak for themselves: “Flying Tiger Group,” “Dare-to-Die Brigade,” “Army of Volunteers.” And in fact:

More than five hundred army trucks were torched at dozens of intersections . . . On Chang’an Boulevard an army truck’s engine was turned off and two hundred rioters stormed the cab and beat the driver to death . . . At the Cuiwei intersection a truck carrying six soldiers slowed down to avoid hitting people in a crowd. A group of rioters then threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and flaming torches at the truck, which tipped to the left when nails that the rioters had scattered punctured a tire. The rioters then flung burning objects into the truck, exploding its gas tank. All six soldiers burned to death.

Not only was there repeated recourse to violence, but surprising weapons sometimes came into play:

A yellowish-green smoke suddenly arose from one end of the bridge. It came from a broken-down armored car that was now set out to block the street . . . The armored cars and tanks that had come to clear the roadblocks could do nothing but mass at the bridgehead. Suddenly a young man ran up, threw something into an armored car, and then scurried off. A few seconds later the same yellowish-green smoke was seen pouring from vehicles as soldiers scrambled out and squatted down in the street, grabbing their throats in agony. Someone said they had inhaled poison gas. But the enraged officers and soldiers managed to maintain their self-control.

Such acts of war, with repeated use of weapons banned by international conventions, coincided with initiatives that are even more thought provoking – for example, “counterfeit[ing] the masthead of [the] People’s Daily.” On the other side, we see the instructions issued by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and government to the military forces tasked with repression:

. . . even if the troops should be beaten, burned, or killed by the unenlightened masses, or if they should be attacked by lawless elements with clubs, bricks, or Molotov cocktails, they must maintain control and defend themselves with nonlethal methods. Clubs should be their major weapons of self-defense, and they are not to open fire on the masses. Violators will be punished.

If the picture painted by a book published in, and propagated by, the West is reliable, it was not the demonstrators who displayed caution and moderation, but the People’s Liberation Army, even if there must have been units which, in a difficult situation, failed to maintain the stipulated self-control.

In subsequent days, the armed character of the rebellion became more evident. A very senior leader of the Communist Party drew attention to a very alarming fact: “the rioters seized armored cars and set up machine guns on top of them, just to show off.” Would they confine themselves to a threatening display? Yet the instructions issued to the army were not substantially altered: “the Martial Law Command must make it quite clear to all units that they are to open fire only as a last resort.”

The very episode of the young demonstrator blocking a tank with his body, celebrated in the West as a symbol of non-violent heroism at grips with a blind, indiscriminate violence, was viewed very differently by China’s leaders, according to The Tiananmen Papers:

We’ve all seen that videotape of the young man blocking the tank. Our tank gave way time and time again, but he just stayed there, right in the way, and even crawled up on to the tank, and still the soldiers held their fire. That says it all! If our soldiers had fired, the repercussions would have been very different. Our soldiers carried out Party Central’s orders with precision. It’s amazing they could stay cool and patient in a spot like that!

The use of asphyxiating or poison gas by demonstrators, and especially the pirate edition of the People’s Daily, clearly indicate that the incidents in Tiananmen Square were not exclusively internal to China. We can infer what the West, and especially the United States, aimed at from another book, written by two proudly anti-Communist authors (Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China, New York: Knopf, 1997). They report how at the time Winston Lord, former ambassador in Beijing and leading adviser to future President Clinton, tirelessly repeated that the fall of the Communist “regime” was “a matter of weeks or months” away. This forecast seemed all the more justified because at the summit of government and party stood Zhao Ziyang, who (stress the two US authors) is to be regarded as “probably the most pro-American senior Chinese leader in recent history.”

In retrospect, the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989 seem to be a dress rehearsal for the “color revolutions” that occurred in subsequent years.

NOTE: The so-called “colour revolutions” are of course out-sourced “regime change” by former colonisers who still try to shape the world in their image.

Asian leaders back China

The world is certaily changing fast, with the 14 percent of the world’s population in the ‘West’ either stunningly ignorant of the rest or sleep-walking to oblivion. But if you look elsewhere, you will find that Asian leaders are beginning to state clear support for China in global terms.

The first example is Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who stated on Friday, 31 May:

“U.S. had good capabilities to do research and development in the past. They must accept that that capability can also be found in the East.” In other words, the US has ceased to innovate and one should not use an implicitly colonial mindset to ignore developments in the East.

Even more: “But if you want to have a situation in which you are always ahead, (and) if you are not ahead, I will ban you; I will send warships to your country; that is not competition; that is threatening people. That is not the approach we should use.” Nicely put.

Instead: “Today the East has learned all about research and development, so it is no longer a question of copying products from the West. Their research enabled them to produce even better products.”

The second example is a wise keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore. Apart from indicating strong support for and engagement with the Belt and Road Initiative, Lee also provided a bigger picture of a changing world. Let me quote the full article from Xinhua News:

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said here Friday that countries need to accustom themselves to a larger role for China, and it is neither possible nor wise to prevent the world’s second-largest economy from growing.

“Countries have to accept that China will continue to grow and strengthen, and that it is neither possible nor wise for them to prevent this from happening,” Lee said during his keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in this city-state.

China has totally changed since it started opening up 40 years ago, and its gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by more than 25 times in real terms, Lee said.

“On many counts, China’s growth is a tremendous boon, both for itself and the world,” Lee told the participants at the annual security dialogue.

“China has become a massive production and manufacturing base, lowering costs for the world’s producers … It is also a huge market, importing everything from commodities and electronic components to aircraft and fine wines,” he said.

New international rules need to be made in many areas, Lee said. “China will expect a say in this process, because it sees the present rules as having been created in the past without its participation. This is a reasonable expectation.”

Commenting on the China-U.S. relationship, Lee said it is the most important in the world today. “How the two work out their relations and frictions will define the international environment for decades to come.”

“The bottom line is that the U.S. and China need to work together, and with other countries too, to bring the global system up to date, and to not upend the system,” he added.

To succeed in this, he said each must understand the other’s point of view, and reconcile each other’s interests.

Lee said a prolonged period of tension and uncertainty between China and the United States will be “extremely damaging.”

“Many serious international problems like the Korean situation, nuclear non-proliferation, and climate change cannot be tackled without the full participation of the U.S. and China, together with other countries.”

What’s more, the tension between China and the United States can cause damage to the world economy especially in “globalized markets and production chains.”

Lee said that he hoped that the United States and China “find a constructive way forward, competing certainly, but at the same time cooperating on major issues of mutual interest.”

The Shangri-La Dialogue, officially known as the Asia Security Summit, kicked off Friday and will last till June 2 in Singapore with a focus on the security situation and relevant challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

 

Is it time to dump Google?

Last week my gmail account was cancelled without notice. Why? No reason was given.

But it happened the day after the United States regime announced it had blacklisted Huawei from engaging with the United States – arbitrarily and on the basis of vague and groundless accusations. The regime has also been using ham-fisted tactics to try and stop others from working with Huawei, although this will only mean that the USA will have even fewer friends in the world.

Interestingly, a number of US companies – including Google – enthusiastically threw themselves into the fray, indicating that the US regime actively intervenes in, directs and is supported by the major tech companies in the United States. The irony is obvious: they are actively doing what the regime is accusing Huawei of doing. A Danish saying comes to mind: a thief always thinks everyone else is a thief.

However, I do not use Huawei products, although I will make sure to get some from now on. Instead, I use a Xiaomi phone and laptop, which are far better than anything you can get from Apple or Samsung or whatever. I do use Chinese systems on these items, and I do so in China and other parts of the world. (In the current situation, they are the only global products that you can use everywhere.) The only reason that I can come up with for the cancellation of my gmail is that Google is targeting all Chinese products and systems.

Let us be clear, Google is banned in China, not only because it refuses to follow Chinese law for responsible internet management, but also because it willingly hands over its big data to the privatised spy agency in the United States, the NSA. So there is no great loss to China from Google cutting off its limited engagement. But to cut off anyone who as any engagement with China is another step.

Then again, I have never been a fan of Google. I used to have its search engine on my computer, but deleted it. My gmail had only a few addresses and was used for personal matters (I do not use it in China). Google maps is a notoriously bad product and often misleading. And I do not use Facebook, Twitter or the many other useless products US companies use to mine information from their users.

But I do know that many people use Google products, whether its search engines, gmail, maps, phones (they are terrible) or even a whole Google account. It has relied on its pervasiveness in the ‘Western’ world to dominate, manipulate, gather information, and – now – to act as an agent of US capriciousness.

The conclusion for me is clear: it is time to dump Google.

China will not be humiliated again

More than two centuries ago, high quality Chinese goods were in heavy demand. Back then, the goods were porcelain, silk and tea, which the peoples of North America and Western Europe were unable to produce. Gold and especially silver flowed into China, including most of the stuff extracted from mines in Central and South America.

Back then, capricious Western regimes began decrying the ‘trade imbalance’ with China, saying it was the result of ‘unfair’ practices and ‘despotic’ restrictions on ‘legitimate’ Western trade.

From that point on, these same regimes began trying all sorts of tricks to force the Chinese to act ‘fairly’. The British began smuggling opium to China, against which China resisted, especially under Lin Zexu in 1839, who seized and burnt more than 20,000 chests of opium in Guangzhou. The British then initiated the first of the two Opium Wars (1840-1842), providing not only a textbook example of  ‘gunboat diplomacy’, but also the first of a series of unequal treaties. This was the Treaty of Nanjing of 1842, which was not so much a treaty as a unilateral imposition of British imperial demands on the Chinese (including, among other items, the occupation of Hong Kong).

For the Chinese, this was the beginning of a century of humiliation.

Sound familiar?

It should, since the United States is trying the same tactics now. The specifics might be different. Back then it was high quality goods such as porcelain, silk and tea; now it is high-technology, railway expertise, navigation equipment, quantum communication and so on. Back then, the Chinese were accused of using ‘unfair’ practices to develop a ‘trade imbalance’. And back then, a more powerful empire imposed its arbitrary will on the Chinese.

With this kind of history, you can see why China simply will not accept the unilateral and arbitrary demands of the United States in the so-called ‘trade war’. China will not be humiliated again.

Why? One crucial factor is now different: China is strong enough to resist, fight back and insist on its own integrity. Or rather, two factors are different: now the United States is a drug-addled country, tearing itself apart internally and in noticeable decline.

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.)

China leads the world in re-afforestation

On one or two occasions, I have written about the greening of Beijing, as well as ‘ecological civilisation‘ as one of the core features of the drive to a xiaokang (moderately well-off) society by 2021. But these are not merely recent developments. Many environmental projects require a long-term approach, stable planning and determined governance – precisely what a communist party in power is able to provide.

Here is another fact that is not so well known internationally: China leads the world in re-afforestation. This has been an ongoing project for several decades, as the following graphic from the People’s Daily shows: