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China: Communists Facing Rural Rebellion
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November 23, 2008: Civil unrest in China is a growing problem that the government is trying to hide. Mobs attacking the police, or government buildings, is an increasingly common event. The news gets out via the Internet, not the government controlled media. The cause is corruption in the police and among local government officials. These are all communists, and most Chinese see membership in the Communist Party as a license to steal (because only party members can be government officials, which includes police and military commanders). The government admits that these incidents occur, but refuses to release details. Information gets out via the Internet, and that indicates an increasing boldness, apparently born of desperation, on the part of the protesters. This indicates that many officials at the local level are not listening to the growing government pronouncements about fighting corruption.

While Western governments and companies are increasingly alarmed about the growing number of hacking efforts coming out of China (and stealing government and commercial secrets), China is also a victim. That's because China's PCs (slightly more than in the U.S.) are the most poorly protected (from hackers) in the world. That's because China largely uses stolen software (which is more difficult to update and maintain protection from hackers), and a much higher proportion of Chinese PC users know little about protecting their computers from hackers. So more Chinese PCs are taken over by hackers to serve as "zombies" in botnets, or just spew ads at the PCs user. Microsoft, the American firm that is at the center of all this (because most PCs in the world use the Windows operating system), has made a deal with the Chinese government to provide cheap legal (and more easily update with Internet protection updates) copies of Windows. The government wants China's PCs protected, but is wary of protecting them with an operating system from an American firm. So far, efforts to get Chinese to adopt Linux (an "international" operating system) or an operating system created in China, have been unsuccessful. But long term, China, like the rest of the world, wants to get away from Windows.

November 15, 2008: Japanese anti-submarine aircraft (P-3s) have been detecting Chinese nuclear submarines being much more active at sea, including shadowing American aircraft carriers and Japanese warships in international waters. The Chinese nuclear subs are primitive and noisy (thus easy to track), but all this new activity indicates China is risking these unreliable boats in order to give the crews experience. Thus when the next, quieter, generation of Chinese nuclear subs shows up in 5-10 years, experienced crews will be ready.

November 6, 2008: At the same time that a global recession is cutting foreign orders for Chinese goods, scientists announce they have compiled an accurate record of monsoon rainfall (essential for the rice crop that has always fed most Chinese) for the last two thousand years. This shows that, understandably, major internal upheavals occurred during those times that there were many consecutive years of low rainfall. In contrast, when the rains were good for a long time, the empire was strong and expanded. But in the last few decades, China has, for the first time in its history, been moving away from complete dependence on agriculture. China is entering the industrial age, where educated workers and "information workers" can produce enough wealth in factories and offices to buy food on the world market. India is moving in the same direction, but more slowly than China. The major obstacle is the apparent shortage of planetary resources (raw materials, oil, food) to support the movement of most Chinese to a standard of living similar to that enjoyed in the West. This is an urgent matter for China, because currently only a quarter of the population is enjoying most of this prosperity, while the rest of the population simmers in rural poverty. There is growing risk of rural revolution against the wealthy, modern, urban minority. Chinese leaders are asking the West to cut back on their consumption and, in effect, share their prosperity with China. It's a request now, but may become a demand later.

November 4, 2008:  China and Taiwan were relieved that the head of the Japanese armed forces was fired. The general had written an essay claiming Japan was not the aggressor during, and before, World War II. This is a popular myth in Japan, and horrifies Japans neighbors, who suffered most from the very real, and brutal, Japanese aggression. But the Japanese aren't the only ones who rewrite history. China insists that the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre was actually an event in which the democracy demonstrators attacked unarmed police sent in to ask the unruly students to leave the square. Similarly, many of the atrocities committed by communist troops and secret police over the years did not officially, at least in China, happen. The Korean War, the Chinese officially believe, was started by the United States (although there were only about 600 U.S. troops in South Korea in early 1950). Meanwhile, even the UN is investigating and criticizing the Chinese use of torture and prison camps (where millions of "disloyal" Chinese live as slave labor). As much as China would like the world to think otherwise, China is still a brutal communist police state, with all the bloody baggage that goes with that.

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