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China: Curb Your Enthusiasm
   Next Article → WARPLANES: Some Gassy F-16Is Still Grounded
May 1, 2008:  The separatist activity has apparently been put down in Tibet. Security forces caused about 1,200 casualties (about 200 dead) and nearly 6,000 people have been arrested. The biggest problem now is the anti-Chinese attitudes created overseas by this. Foreigners are turning hostile towards the Olympics, which are held in China this Summer. This in turn is making many Chinese angry, and the government is concerned about embarrassing incidents this Summer.

 

The U.S. CIA believes China is spending up to $139 billion  a year on defense. China's official military budget is $45 billion, but much more is spent on developing military manufacturing technology. That is where China is spending the most money, in building the capability to design, develop and build world class weapons.

 

April 30, 2008: China has three of its new 094 class SSBNs (ballistic missile nuclear powered subs) built or building. But none of these boats has yet gone beyond sea trials (which apparently led to a long list of modifications). China has built a base on Hainan island, including caves dug into coastal hills to hide the subs, for the 094s and other subs. China is taking its time developing its ability to build and use advanced military technology.

 

April 27, 2008:  China, Pakistan and the United States have become allies in going after Islamic terrorism in Tiber. China admitted that it is shipping unspecified "counter-terrorism equipment" to Pakistan. It's also believed that China is providing some training and tactical advice as well.

 

April 25, 2008: China now has the largest number of Internet users; 221 million. Number two is the U.S., with 216 million. But for China,  only 16 percent of the population is on the web, compared to a world average of about 19 percent. In most industrialized nations, over half the population has access to the Internet. It's different in China, with many people getting access via Internet cafes and the workplace. Despite several decades of 10 percent a year economic growth, the majority of Chinese are still poor. But a middle class, of over a hundred million people (with a family income of at least $8,500 a year), has developed. They have laptops and home PCs, and use the Internet regularly. The government sees the Internet as a subversive forces, and spends billions a year to monitor users, and block objectionable content. This is becoming increasingly unpopular, and a potential source of the kind of subversion and opposition the government fears the most.  Current trends have about half the population being in the middle class by 2020.

 

April 23, 2008: The Chinese stock market went up ten percent in one day, a new record climb. In the last six months, however, the stock market fell 50 percent. This was the result of several years of unregulated speculation in the markets. A lot of non-professional investors got burned in the market crash, and their anger was spreading. The government felt compelled to do something, so they cut the tax on stock market transactions, and took several other measures, to restore confidence, and growth.

 

April 21, 2008: China has hustled to prevent local nationalists from getting carried away with their anti-West protests (over Western criticism of the Chinese crackdown on Tibetan separatists.) China is afraid of damaged foreign relations with nations China exports lots of goods to, and, more importantly, the rise of an organized protest movement in China. Such a group could easily become anti-government. One clever Chinese technique has been to encourage Chinese overseas to hold pro-Chinese demonstrations. That sort of thing will, because of the limited number of Chinese overseas, be small and easily contained. The demonstrators will take some heat from the locals, so this will prevent those Chinese expatriates from themselves becoming too pro-Western.

 

April 20, 2008: China's support for African tyrants was spotlighted when a Chinese ship was unable to unload a container of ammunition for landlocked Zimbabwe. The container had to be trucked into Zimbabwe, and popular action by port workers in several countries caused the Chinese to declare that they would take the ammo back to China. The incident hurts Chinese efforts to establish itself in Africa. While China has been generous with business deals in Africa, and sent over half a million Chinese to work, invest or settle in China, African tyrants were favored. That's because these thugs were shunned by Western nations and businesses. But now China is seen as a supporter of evil governments, and that has generated a widespread hostility towards all things Chinese.

 

Next Article → WARPLANES: Some Gassy F-16Is Still Grounded