Saturday, October 2, 2021

What do you think about China? By an Egyptian writer

Updated July 4, 2021 Alright, listen up. I'm going to give you a summary of my entire impression of China as an Egyptian observer. I've been studying the country intensely for the past year — its government, society, history, and transformation — and over the past 3 months I've spoken to hundreds of Chinese and China-haters on this site and heard everything they had to say. By now I’ve learned roughly as much about China as anyone can learn without knowing the language or living in the country, and I've reached my conclusion. You might think I'm crazy. That's OK with me. I've seen the facts and my opinion of the truth has become rock-solid. And China attracts a lot of haters, know-nothings and armchair experts. The truth is that China is the greatest country on the face of the earth. It makes all other countries look insignificant and contemptible. It is the most brilliant, most industrious, most ambitious, most educated, meritocratic and technocratic, most modern, sophisticated, and civilized, and best-governed country in the world of our time, by far. It is the first nonwhite, non-Western country to reach this status since the 1600s. The determination of this country is indescribable. Supernatural. There is no force that can stop it from accomplishing anything it wants to do. It can set a goal that seems completely outlandish, drug-induced, hallucinatory — and it can make it happen. That's precisely what it's been doing. Forty years ago a flush toilet in China was a luxury. Today it has its own indigenously built Chinese Space Station. Believe me when I tell you that that is a tiny example of China's capabilities. I am a patriotic Egyptian and Middle Easterner. Yet I freely admit that compared to the Chinese, we are simply monkeys. A race of dumb animals. It doesn't matter who we are. Egyptians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Indians, Africans, even Americans. Next to the Chinese, we are pathetic. We can't do what they do. We would have a mountain, an Everest of changes to make, and we would whine and bicker and fail at every one of them. China's story since the 1980s has been one of an almost divine metamorphosis. Next to China the entire Western world from Alaska to New Zealand has stagnated. Next to China the entire developing world from Brazil to Madagascar has progressed only at a crawl. China, my friends, is the mother of all gargantuan bullet trains. Every day it manages to create something new and astonishing. And unlike the United States, unlike the British Empire, unlike the French, Dutch, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese or any other Western nation that had its turn at being a superpower in the past four centuries, China doesn't need to run anybody over or take something from somebody else, to rise majestically. China is also standing up to the Western world all by herself. The West hates and fears that China is shooting up to the top. They can't believe their four-hundred-year-old global supremacy is being challenged. They hoped that the more China developed, the more it would submit to their influence, interests, and leadership. That didn't happen. So now they will do anything possible, short of a nuclear war, to make China end. Their goal is to destroy this country. That's why, although the United States has killed several million people and turned several regions of the earth into hellscapes in the past thirty years, your TV, newspapers, Google newsfeed, and social media are all cursing, condemning and pandering panic and hatred of China 24 / 7. China is the worst fear of our planet's Western masters. They want you to despise and dread a country that's done nothing to you, that hasn't invaded anyone, bombed or sanctioned anyone, that hasn't overthrown any foreign government, or used its military on anything since 1979. You'll hate China and pray for its collapse, so that the West can continue to do what it's done since the age of Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro — rape and pillage the earth from Latin America to Southeast Asia, and disguise its blood-spattered imperialism in the soft power and propaganda of “Western civilization" and world leadership. China is the only major country in the nonwhite developing world, to stand up to the West. To look it in the eye when challenged or threatened, and say, No, I'm not afraid of you. Do your worst. I'm just as big as you are. All other countries in the Global South are simply Western puppets who submitted long ago. Even the most powerful ones. Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India — their leaders are busy listening to the United States, pen and paper in hand, writing down all its demands and going, Yes sir, Mr. Yankee sir. Let me get on that right away for you. The 1500s—1000s BC were Egypt's time. Antiquity belonged to the Greeks and Romans. The 1700s belonged to France, and the 1800s to Britain. From 1945 to the present, the world has been under American overlordship. And they call it the Pax Americana but believe me, there isn't much Pax in it. There's plenty of Pax if you're in Europe or Australia. But the Middle East? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran and Yemen in the past 20 years. Latin America? They've destroyed that part of the world beyond any hope of recovery. Africa? It's only been spared because of disinterest. The US sees Africa as nothing. The whole West does. But in the twenty-first century, we are witnessing the rise of China. We are decades away from China becoming the greatest power on earth. This will be China's time, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Attack China all you want, curse her and monger rumours and hysteria — but the truth is that none of your accusations are backed up by evidence, because you are a stooge of the Western press which is under the thumb of Western governments that want to stay on top of the world for all eternity. And the truth is that China is not affected by the noise and maneuvers of her enemies. What's going on now, this stupid new Cold War, is nothing. For her first thirty years, from 1949 to 1979, China was basically blockaded and isolated economically and politically by the West. It didn't even have a seat in the UN General Assembly. And it was dirt-poor in those days, barely a speck of the global economy, a tiny fraction of Japan's or Germany's GDP — not even able to prevent famine. And it still didn't submit to pressure or take any orders. Why on earth would it do that now? China will be the next global power. There's nothing that can be done about that. The first stage is that its economy only needs to grow at 4.7 percent per year to become the world's largest by 2035. That means the usual, historical bare-minimum of 6 percent is already overkill. The US can build as many bases as it wants, slap as many sanctions as it wants, recognize whatever bogus genocides it wants. That's what it's been doing all along. Has any of it made a difference? China can adapt to any situation. It took China a mere ten years to go from being barred by the US Congress from participating in the “International" Space Station, to building its own Space Station from the zero. See, the US has an $800-billion war budget, 800 military bases, 13,000 aircraft, 500 warships, 6,000 nukes — but it doesn't have what China has: invincible national resolve. It takes the US about 5 years to renovate a bridge, and it takes China 43 hours. There's simply no competing with that. China doesn't need to be a military superpower or empire. That was never part of the plan. US troops, God bless their souls, will continue sitting in their bases, scratching their balls, costing their government $800 billion a year to do nothing. Meanwhile, China will continue to actually develop. That's the part of the equation that America totally missed, because it has barely developed since Reagan's day. China is a better place to live today than at any time in its previous 5,000 years; Americans saw their highest standard of living in the 1960s and those days will never come back. So yes, China will be the next global power, and the Chinese are vastly superior to us in every way. This is a fact that everyone can attack but that nobody can change, like the theory of evolution. The difference between me and other people is that I ask, Why is this a problem? Why is this something to be afraid of? Why doesn't it mean — that the world will finally get better? Look at you silly buggers, talking about China like it's going to be the next Nazi Germany. Even many Middle Easterners I know fit in this foolish category. Did you notice when the US invaded or overthrew the governments of 20 countries in the past 32 years (my lifetime)? Did you even know? You think just because you're ready to forget all that because of Beyoncé and Game of Thrones and Snapchat and other US cultural exports, it didn't happen and isn't still happening? But but, I’m scared! China's big and bad! Because the US is feeding me terror-bytes about Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, Tiananmen Square, Great Leap Forward! I don't see any dead bodies, I can't show you one invasion or one example of Chinese regime change, I can't even find Hong Kong on a map or tell you one factual detail about Tiananmen Square, but the US State Department and all its media are telling me CHINA BAD! Wa, wa! Even in the nonwhite non-West, so many millions people have no real knowledge of any kind about the Western terror-bytes that have given them such an apprehensive feeling about China. So imagine how blank the typical Westerner is. Blankness doesn't stop prejudice and gullibility. That’s what most China-haters are. As gullible as children getting told about the boogeyman to procure their obedience. Aren't you at least curious to see what a world with a nonwhite, non-Western leader might look like, after 400 years? Because God knows that leader won't be us. It won't be Brazil or Africa, or the Middle East or India or Indonesia or Nigeria or Pakistan. We're a mess. China was a mess too. But we remain a mess many decades after we achieved independence, and the Chinese went their own way, disentangled their mess and created their destiny. We’re not made of what the Chinese are made of. We might be one day, if we stop taking orders and cozying up to Western puppet-masters. I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. Where's your concept of innocent until proven guilty? You turn a blind eye to the country that gave you dozens of destroyed nations and millions of corpses to see as proof of its brutality, because it also gave you some amazing sitcoms! While a country you don't have the slightest objective knowledge of, is already Nazi Germany to you because its adversaries, who are also your historical and present-day oppressors, tell you so? Come on. Let's wait to see one dead body, one invasion, one regime-change operation from the Chinese, before we fly into rage and hysterics about them! Is that so crazy? We've seen centuries of horror from the US and we're still giving 'Murica the benefit of the doubt, even when the brutal truth is crystal-clear. For myself, I see China as hope. Hope that a colonized, brutalized, primitive and humiliated country, can rise above its past — refuse to be weak any longer — rebuild itself from nothing, with iron resolve, and become too strong to be overrun by the West again! Hope that a nonwhite, non-Western country can look deep within itself and find its own solutions to its problems — proving that (foolishly) trusting the West to guide us isn't necessary! Proof that if we can do what the Chinese did, there will be no limits for us. Imagine a world where the US, France, Britain, Australia, are no more important than Uzbekistan or Paraguay. A world where the World Court might be headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the World Bank in New Delhi, the United Nations in Jakarta, the IMF in Cairo. A world liberated from the US banking system and the dollar as its reserve currency, so that Washington can no longer tell 200 other countries who they can and can't trade with. A world where an American can be tried for war crimes at the Hague, not just an Iraqi or Liberian or Serb. A world where we don't hear about a non-Western-made vaccine and grunt to ourselves, Oh, it must be poison. A world where we don't have to immigrate to the same countries that turned ours into hellholes, to work as sales clerks or taxi drivers, or even if we're brilliantly employed — to drain our brains from our homelands in the best of cases, and use them to reinforce Western riches and supremacy in exchange for a fat paycheck, instead of using them to make our own countries semi-habitable. When I hear that China has built its own Space Station, landed a rover on Mars, ended extreme poverty, built the Earth's biggest city, dam, telescope, 5G network, highway, air purifier, or whatever the heck it is that will come tomorrow — I feel the same pride as if I were Chinese. It's not happening for all of us, but it's happening for one of us and that's a start. There's got to be such a thing as developing-country nationalism — a common nationalism for all the countries that were colonized and plundered, and remain economically and politically captured by their ex-rulers. A nationalism for the Global South. We are too divided, too brainwashed, too fooled and weak — most of us still worship the countries that destroyed us, are non-Western on the outside and Western on the inside, are hating and fearing and buying all the lies about the only one of us that's made it, and are leaving our countries in droves to let them burn while we “make a better life for ourselves" in the West. Do you want to live on a Western-dominated Earth for another 400 years? If you do, keep doing what you're doing. But I don't! You know what'll happen for all of us if America's sick wishes come true and its global thuggery does make China collapse? Nothing. Eternal repetition of the status quo. More enslavement, hijacking of our resources and weak corrupt governments, neo-colonialism, invasion, regime change, sanctions, MISERY. Haven't we already seen this? Libya, Cuba, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, the Soviet Union. Rest in peace. Even FRANCE and JAPAN for God's sake. What does the United States do when any other country says NO, or simply becomes too powerful, too good at honest competition? IT CRUSHES IT LIKE A BUG. Japan was a Western-style democracy crawling with US troops, with a US-authored pacifist constitution and almost no military and an extremely pro-US government and populace, and it STILL got crushed when it looked like it would become the #1 economy in the 80s. Do Indians really believe that if China goes down, India will be allowed to become a great power? Do they not see that a strong or wealthy India would immediately fall victim to the same despicable US tactics? Don't make me laugh. I remember 10–15 years ago when China was still relatively poor and impotent, and Bush and Obama would talk about China as sweetly as swans. Obama happily had dinner with Xi Jinping in late 2015, called China a crucial partner of the United States, and said the US welcomed China's rise; it was all horseshit. Today Biden, who was there with Obama in late 2015 as Vice-President, angrily rebukes a reporter who merely said that Biden and Xi were old friends. America has taken off its mask. China made it, it wasn't supposed to make it, so now it must die. What a difference 5 years can make. China went from “crucial partner" to “number one threat.” We should be helping and supporting China to keep climbing to the top, and giving her some serious solidarity as she withstands the new Cold War of Western imperialism. It’s been a long 400 years. China is the first non-Western country to even come close to reaching a status of ultimate global importance. She is akin to the the first member of an impoverished family to go to university. That is our family of nations. And when China gets to the top, believe me, it won't be a repeat of the French, British, or American Empire. Not a single developing country will be worse-off because of China becoming #1. There will be something good in this for all of us, so let's wake up and let's go!

Lessons from Meng Wanzhou case for Joe Biden - The US president should now see the folly of following his predecessor Trump's footsteps on China policy

This was first posted in Asia Times and a Chinese translation appeared in SingTao USA. The sudden release of Meng Wanzhou caught many people by surprise, and a flurry of analysis and speculations has followed since her uneventful arrival in Shenzhen, China. For residents of Sleepy Hollow and others who might wonder what the excitement was all about, it’s time for a refresher review. Shenzhen is the home base for Huawei, China’s and the world’s leading telecommunications company. Meng is the chief financial officer of this giant company and she also happens to be the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder and chairman of Huawei. More than thousand days ago, Meng was detained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while in transit at the international airport of Vancouver, British Columbia. The arrest was made at the request of the US Department of Justice, when Donald Trump was president of the United States. The US alleged that Meng had misrepresented Huawei’s business dealings with Iran to HSBC, thus causing the bank to violate US sanctions imposed on Iran. In 2015, the five members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, UK and US) plus Germany had struck a long-term deal with Iran on its nuclear program. The deal was created after much effort by all parties to ensure stability in the Middle East. When Trump became president, he flatly opposed anything Barack Obama, his predecessor, had stood for. Thus he unilaterally reneged on the agreement known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and imposed sanctions on Iran on the pretext that he could get a better deal than the JCPOA. Trump, of course, did not bother to consult with the other five nations that had co-signed the original agreement with Iran. Meng detained on flimsy charges As I summarized the Meng affair nearly a year ago, Washington cobbled together a flimsy set of charges to justify her arrest. Basically, a Chinese citizen doing business with a British bank was accused of violating American sanctions on Iran that neither China nor the UK had anything to do with. Subsequent examination revealed that even those accusations were on shaky grounds. Trump had conned Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, into caving into Washington’s wishes to make the arrest. By taking Ren’s daughter hostage, Trump had hoped to blackmail Ren in some way that only Trump could have dreamed up. Two years after the arrest, it became increasingly obvious that America’s long arm of extraterritorial reach was becoming a source of embarrassment for Washington and Ottawa. The US DOJ then resorted to its usual trick and offered to release Meng if she would plead guilty to a lesser charge. She stood fast and refused. Historically, the American scale of justice has always been tilted in favor of the government. Even when the DOJ is clearly in the wrong, as it was in the case of Wen Ho Lee, he had to plead guilty to computer downloading in violation of laboratory rules in exchange for time served, which was a harsh 10 months of solitary confinement. Recent history is replete with examples of miscarriages of justice meted out by the DOJ against Chinese-Americans. The US government has virtually infinite resources to wear down the hapless accused. But it didn’t work against Meng because she was not American and she had the resources of Huawei and China to back her stance. Biden missed doing the right thing Then Joe Biden became the US president. He could have immediately ordered dropping the American request to extradite Meng and get Trudeau off the hook, and Canada from being the country caught awkwardly in the middle. But Biden did not. He was under the influence of his China team. Whether it was China’s first meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Anchorage, Alaska, or subsequently with visiting Deputy State Secretary Wendy Sherman or with special envoy John Kerry, Beijing’s message remained the same: China would not let the US pick and choose which issues to cooperate on and which issues to compete and confront China on. From Beijing’s point of view, the Biden administration cannot go around the world lying about China’s conduct and recruiting allies to oppose China as if engaged in another cold war, and still expect collaboration on selected global issues. Without mutual respect, there will be no trust nor confidence in each other on doing the right thing. Beijing handed each visiting American envoy a list of demands to be met if Washington wished to repair bilateral relations. Interestingly, as the South China Morning Post reported, John Thornton was a visitor in China for six weeks shortly before the release of Meng. Thornton has a deep China background. He is a professor at Tsinghua University and the chairman of the board of trustees at the Brookings Institution, where the China Center is named after him. Unlike the official envoys from Washington who were not invited to visit Beijing, Thornton met with Vice-Premier Han Zheng in the national capital. They discussed what it would take to resume bilateral talks, and then Thornton was allowed to visit Xinjiang for a week. It’s hard to know the exact role Thornton played in triggering the release of Meng and whether the release represents a real first step toward normalizing relations and the abandonment of Trump’s confrontation with China. The face-saving deal that allowed the DOJ to cancel the extradition request and secure Meng’s release was a device called a deferred prosecution agreement. The agreement did not require any admission of guilt by Meng. Within an hour of Meng’s final release by the Canadian court, she got on a Chinese airliner and flew home to Shenzhen. As a show of the lack of trust and to avoid unpleasant surprises (in case Washington suffered seller’s remorse), the airliner skirted around Alaska airspace when it flew over the Arctic circle. Since Washington insisted on designating China as an adversary, only the Biden White House can decide when and if China should no longer be considered an adversary but a powerful collaborator that the US could work with to resolve all the challenges facing the world. Perhaps a trusted intermediary like Thornton could help persuade Biden that following Trump on China policy has been a road to disaster.