June 25, 2007:
For Communist Party officials, their worst nightmare is becoming
reality. The new middle class often own their homes, and when property values
are threatened by some government policy, these middle class Chinese organize
and show their displeasure. There have been several recent mass demonstrations
by middle class Chinese, usually protesting efforts to put factories, or other
property value destroying facilities, in
the middle of newly built middle class communities. Local government officials,
who control the local police, find that they cannot just use force to disperse
the middle class demonstrators, as they do farmers, or poor, working class protestors. The middle
class crowd is better organized, and have useful connections themselves. The
middle class have cell phones and Internet access. The middle class also has
access to the upper reaches of the Communist Party, which relies on middle
class administrators and technocrats, to make things happen. If the middle
class turns on the Communist Party, the communists will lose. The revenge of
the bourgeoisies, so to speak. So far,
the Communist Party has a deal with the growing Chinese middle class. The
latter can get rich, as long as the communists remain in power. But when that
power, now corrupted by all that money, interferes with property values, who
prevails? Historically, the protectors of property values prevail.
June 22, 2007:
China has cancelled $8 billion in Saddam era debt, and in return has
received oilfield development contracts. China had earlier worked out similar
deals with Saddam, but implementation was interrupted when Saddam was driven
out of power in 2003.
June 19, 2007:
More and more Chinese Internet users are bumping into the "Great
Firewall of China" (the government Internet censors), and they don't like
it. This is producing a growing use of workarounds, to get past the censors.
Technically, this is illegal, but for those willing to learn how to use the
special software (freely available via email or download), the Great Firewall
can be beaten.
June 17, 2007:
The U.S. has imposed more restrictions on what can be exported to China.
In particular, civilian equipment, with a military use, is now more difficult
to sell to China. Meanwhile, Chinese hackers are stealing more and more
American technical secrets. Much of this stuff is not useful to China, because
there the industrial capability to build some types of military gear, does not
yet exist in China.
June 15, 2007:
China has 56 million of the 300 million broadband (high speed
connection) Internet users in the planet. The only other nation with more is
the U.S., with 60 million. PCs with broadband connections are major weapons in
Cyber War. Spammers and other Internet crimes are only possible via PCs
connected via broadband. This also works against China, where computer security
is much less well developed than in the West, particularly the United States.
The American military is speaking out more and more about how large the Chinese
Cyber War effort it. But for security reasons (you don't want the enemy to know
exactly what you know) few details are provided. Apparently, China is trying to
develop the ability to cripple, for days or weeks, American military
capabilities, via Internet attacks.
June 14, 2007:
In response to an Internet and cell phone campaign, the government was
forced to crack down on a widespread slavery scandal. Brickyard owners, in
collusion with local officials, were kidnapping poor farmers and workers
looking for jobs, and locking them up in remote brickyards, where the victims
were forced to work for nothing. Several hundred thousand victims were
involved, and the complaints of parents, largely ignored by police and the
media, finally got widespread attention via the Internet. The government was
forced to respond, and has raided over 7,000 brickyard operations in remote
areas. Several hundred arrests have been made. It's unlikely that any local
officials, who took bribes to allow this sort of thing, will be punished. The businessmen
who paid the bribes will be nailed, although many will walk because they will
claim their only crime was to be in arrears with the pay for their workers.