Western sanctions are backfiring: The European Union is now importing Russian liquified natural gas at record levels, and China has made high-tech breakthroughs despite US export restrictions. Washington’s and Brussels’ economic warfare is, ironically, strengthening the economic sovereignty of Beijing and Moscow while blowing back on Europe. The world is living through a new cold war: Cold War Two. And one of the main ways in which this war has been waged is through economic means. Sanctions are the principal instrument of economic warfare. When they are imposed unilaterally by a country, without the support of the United Nations, they are referred to as “unilateral coercive measures” and are illegal according to international law.
Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou is flying back to China, after reaching a deal on Friday with prosecutors in New York that effectively resolves a US fraud case that had kept her in legal limbo in Vancouver for nearly three years. Shortly after Meng’s flight entered Chinese airspace, state broadcaster CCTV quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying that China’s position on the Meng Wanzhou incident has been “consistent and clear”. “Facts have already fully proved that this is an incident of political persecution against a Chinese citizen, with the purpose of suppressing China’s hi-tech enterprise,” Hua was quoted as saying. “The fraud accusations against Meng are purely fabricated with HSBC, which the US refers to as a ‘victim’, offering sufficient documents to prove Meng’s innocence.
Few things are as dangerous as a poorly thought-out kidnapping. Kidnappings are serious business, often with unintended consequences. History is replete with dim-witted criminals who engaged in them on a whim, only to discover adverse outcomes far beyond their imagining. One dramatic example happened 90 years ago this week: On October 24th, a mother with young children is kidnapped. She is the cherished wife of an important man whom the kidnapper’s group is in competition with. The plan of the kidnapper is that by kidnapping her, this will create unbearable psychological pressure on her husband
Recent weeks have seen a dramatic escalation in the U.S.’ stance towards tech companies from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). After hounding the telecommunications company Huawei for years, the social networking app TikTok is the latest Chinese company to enter the firing line. On 5 August U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published a press release that could be seen as the master plan that explained the logic behind these policies: creating a parallel internet, defined as a place where companies from the PRC have no place.
The Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei plans to build its own manufacturing factories to face the US restrictions imposed against it with production lines with zero US components, according to a report published in the Hong Kong digital medium Asia Times. The online newspaper, quoting David P. Goldman, an economist and analyst specializing in Asian issues, pointed out that there is a good chance that by the end of 2021, Huawei will be able to produce a state-of-the-art chipset from its Kirin line factory within China, without requiring the use of any US equipment.