China: The Worst Nightmare Comes True

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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.

 

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