China: We Are Here To Mess You Up

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p> March 19, 2007:  Although official reports insist that the number of public protests went down last year, the number of angry Chinese out on the street appears to be rising. The chief  cause of the anger is government corruption. Senior officials admit it exists, but because of the decentralized form of government, it's very difficult for the people in the capital to clean up the corruption in the provinces. The officials out in the countryside may be stealing, but they are also keeping an eye on things for the central government. Without  loyal  provincial officials, there is no nation of China, just a collection of provinces, which have been independent nations in the past. 

March 18, 2007:  While playing peacemaker in North Korea, China has also been sending more troops to its border with North Korea, and holding military and police exercises along the border. Some of these drills appear to cover possible military intervention in North Korea. Not the, "we are sending troops to assist you in your battle against South Korea and the U.S." sort of thing, but rather, "we are Chinese soldiers and policemen, and we are taking over." Perhaps China is just trying to send a message to the North Korean government.

March 12, 2007:  The new rail line into Tibet has survived its first Winter in good shape. The rail line is making it easier for Chinese to migrate to Tibet (going by air costs three times as much), and 700,000 passengers have taken the Tibet railroad since it opened last July. The rail link is also a major military asset, making it possible to move troops into Tiber quickly and cheaply. Before the rail line was built, it you had to move troops and supplies by air or truck. The former is expensive, and the latter is not much cheaper, and takes a lot longer.

March 11, 2007:  In the Persian Gulf, a Chinese frigate participated in four days of exercises with warships from Bangladesh, France, Italy, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, Britain and the United States. The Peace 07 exercises involved mainly police and rescue operations. March 9, 2007:  After days of rising tension, major demonstrations in central China (involving 20,000 people and over a thousand police) turned violent. There are several dead, and over a hundred wounded. The government of Hunan province downplayed the incident, saying it was a protest against increased bus fares. But, via the Internet, the real reasons were revealed. It was all about corrupt local officials, sparked by new seizures of farm land for development projects (which meant big bribes for local politicians and senior bureaucrats). This all happens just as Communist China passes its first law guaranteeing private property. However, many fear this will increase corruption, making it more difficult to get back assets stolen by politicians.

March 6, 2007:  While Taiwans pro-independence president continues to taunt China, Taiwanese political disputes continue to paralyze weapons procurement. Taiwan needs new ships, warplanes and missile systems. But pro and anti-independence factions cannot agree on what to buy. Moreover, Chinese diplomacy has scared off all foreign arms suppliers except the United States. Taiwan still has a quality edge, but that is eroding year by year as China builds new stuff, and Taiwan delays upgrading its own weapons.

March 4, 2007:  China will increase defense spending 17.8 percent in the next year, to about $45 billion. Add in civilian programs that are actually military, and that goes up to $60-70 billion. This is the second largest defense budget on the planet, behind the $450 billion spent by the U.S. Since 1990, Chinese defense budgets have increased, on average, about 15 percent a year, 50 percent higher than economic growth.

 

 

 


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