On Sunday 18 September, US President Joe Biden told the US news programme 60 Minutes that the US military would go to war in Taiwan should Chinese forces land on the island chain to enforce its sovereignty. While China has never ruled out the last-resort use of military force, it has always insisted on its preference for peaceful reunification. Biden’s most recent comments repeat previous statements, including one made in Japan, Taiwan’s former colonial occupying power, in May. They are, however, the first since US house speaker Nancy Pelosi’s journey to Taipei in August which resulted in China holding major military exercises after her visit. Pelosi’s meeting with the political leadership of Taiwan certainly enraged China and inflamed tension in the area. This was no diplomatic faux pas; it was the whole point of her trip.
In Vienna, China’s permanent mission to the United Nations has been rather exercised of late. Members of the mission have been particularly irate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General, Rafael Grossi, who addressed the IAEA’s Board of Governors on September 12. Grossi was building on a confidential report by the IAEA which had been circulated the previous week concerning the role of nuclear propulsion technology for submarines to be supplied to Australia under the AUKUS security pact. When the AUKUS announcement was made in September last year, its significance shook security establishments in the Indo-Pacific. It was also no less remarkable, and troubling, for signalling the transfer of otherwise rationed nuclear technology to a third country.
We strongly condemn the publication by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of its Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. In the words of former OHCHR lawyer and human rights expert Alfred de Zayas, this document “should be discarded as propagandistic, biased and methodologically flawed.” Based on substandard research methods and biased sources, the Assessment is completely lacking in credibility. It treats arms of the military-industrial complex, such as the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), along with professional anti-communists such as Adrian Zenz, as legitimate sources. Meanwhile the voices of Chinese NGOs, academics and individuals are suppressed, as are the numerous reports of diplomatic trips to Xinjiang — including by representatives of Muslim-majority countries — that have taken place in recent years.
In mid-September 2022, the nine-member Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) met in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for its 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State. Because China, India, and Pakistan are members of the SCO, the organization represents about 40% of the world’s population; with the addition of Russia, the SCO countries make up 60% of the Eurasian territory (the other member states of the organization are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and now Iran). In its Samarkand Declaration, the final declaration of this meeting, the SCO represented itself as a “regional” organization, although the sheer scale of the SCO would allow it to claim to be a global organization with as much legitimacy as the G-7.
In the official Chinese and Russian statements regarding Thursday’s meeting between Presidents XI Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Samarkand lies not a scintilla of evidence that China’s support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has weakened. In my view, if Putin decides to up the ante in Ukraine, XI would be likely to support him. Most analysts of China doubt that this would extend to China’s stirring up trouble in the South China Sea or opposite Taiwan, but most Chinese analysts did not expect China to tolerate, much less endorse, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So your guess is as good as mine. Underneath the ‘Dear Friend’ professions of solidarity lies a concrete-reinforced commitment, so to speak, indeed a China-Russia entente that bespeaks an intention to coordinate closely – including before any major military initiatives against the U.S. or its proxies.
The recent visit of the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan has sharply increased the prospect of war in the region. The Chinese government and people strongly believe Taiwan to be their territory; and the no. 3 official in the US government visiting Taiwan is a clear provocation. Taiwan was invaded by Dutch colonists in 1624, only to be repulsed in 1662 by the Chinese national hero Zheng Chenggong. Taiwan became a full province in Qing Dynasty China in 1885. Ten years later the then Qing government lost Taiwan in a war with imperialist Japan. The Japanese were sold weapons by the United States with which to do this.
This is Ben Norton of Multipolarista. I’m joined by one of my favorite guests today, the brilliant economist Michael Hudson. And there are a lot of things that we plan on talking about today. We’re going to address the partial student debt relief in the United States, and the problem of debt, which is something that Professor Hudson has written a lot about. We’re going to talk about the inflation crisis, and some of the history of responses to the inflation that we’ve seen in the US. For instance, I’m going to pick Professor Hudson’s brain about Richard Nixon’s response. Nixon imposed price controls and froze wages for the first time since World War Two. We’re also going to talk about the history of the Volcker shock, when Paul Volcker, who was the head of the Fed, raised interest rates to a level never seen before.
Four and a half million people. That’s how many Chinese people would have died from Covid-19 had its government taken the same approach to the pandemic that the United States has taken, and gotten the same results. Instead, China has had 15,000 deaths from Covid—most of these from an outbreak in the spring of 2022 in Hong Kong, which has its own healthcare system. Meanwhile, the United States has lost more than a million people to Covid since the pandemic began. Deaths currently continue at the rate of about 450 a day, which would add up to roughly 160,000 a year if present trends continue.
Between August 22 and September 1, the United States and South Korea concluded their largest joint military drills in the Korean Peninsula since 2017, under the name ‘Ulchi Freedom Shield’. Over the last four years, the scope of the annual exercises had been scaled back, first because of Donald Trump’s attempts at diplomacy with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and later because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With these drills, however, the US and South Korea seem to be attempting to send a clear message to both North Korea and China of their united military posture in the region, and come at a time when the US’ encirclement of China continues rapidly.
The latest report from the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), entitled “U.S. commits serious crimes of violating human rights in the Middle East and beyond,” provides a detailed assessment of the United States’ human rights record, particularly in relation to its wars and regime change operations in the Middle East. Noting that U.S. imperialism has caused “permanent damage and irreparable losses to countries and people in the region,” the report highlights a valuable lesson to be learned by the peoples of the world: that the pervasive Western narrative of democracy and human rights is nothing but a façade, behind which lies hegemony, inequality, cruelty and violence.
China on Thursday denounced a so-called UN human rights report on China’s Xinjiang region as completely invalid and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China, and said that it proved the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has descended into the accomplice of the US and some Western forces against developing countries. In response to the so-called “assessment of human rights concerns” in China’s Xinjiang released by the OHCHR on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference on Thursday that the so-called assessment is a patchwork of disinformation and a political tool serving the US and some Western forces to contain China by using the Xinjiang topic.
US law has to be based on human rights standards. We see as a contradiction for the US to pretend to be a leader of human rights when its law and practice is anything but practices in law that are in correspondence with human rights standards. We believe that if there's going to be legitimacy and the international human rights framework, that has to be a framework that is applied equally to all nations. For example, when we were building the US human rights network that would apply international human rights standards to the US, looking at issues of mass incarceration that we have in the US, looking at the failure of the US state to address the basic human rights needs of the people around issues like food security, access to food, our health care, education, a clean environment, water that was safe, the jobs that will allow people to live in a decent way.
Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned that the US is trying to start a war with China over Taiwan. He also explained how imperialism is rooted in capitalism and detailed its economic exploitation of the Global South. It’s quite obvious that when the Eastern bloc was still there, it was a bustle between capitalism and communism. Once communism was defeated, then capitalism could expand and show its true self. It’s no longer constrained by the need to be nice, so that people will choose their so-called free-market system as opposed to the centrally planned system. So because of that, nowadays there is nothing to restrain capital, and capital is demanding that it should be able to go anywhere and do whatever it likes.
Two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday in the first such US operation since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taipei at the beginning of August. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam and USS Chancellorsville made the passage through the Strait. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) slammed the provocation and said it tracked the US warships as they made the transit. “The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command warned the US vessels and monitored their entire passage. We are fully aware of their activities. Troops of the theatre command remain on high alert and are ready to thwart any provocation,” said PLA spokesman Col. Shi Yi.
In our INET working paper, “China’s Development Path,” we employ the “social conditions of innovative enterprise” framework to analyze the key determinants of China’s development path from the economic reforms of 1978 to the present. First, we focus on how government investments in human capabilities and physical infrastructure provided foundational support for the emergence of Chinese enterprises capable of technological learning. Second, we delve into the main modes by which Chinese firms engaged in technological learning from abroad—joint ventures with foreign multinationals, global value chains, and experienced high-tech returnees—that have contributed to industrial development in China. Third, we provide evidence on achievements in indigenous innovation —by which we mean improvements in national productive capabilities that build on learning from abroad and enable the innovating firms to engage in global competition—in the computer, automobile, communication-technology, and semiconductor-fabrication industries. Finally, we sketch out the implications of our approach for the role of innovation in China’s development path as it continues to unfold.