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Political Atheist

Living in South East Asia (Vietnam & Cambodia). At the ending/starting point of the more than 1000 year old SIlk Road.
Political Atheist has written 244 posts for China Daily Mail

Taiwan could resist a Chinese invasion for just one month


The clock is ticking – China grows more powerful by the day as Taiwan withers. In early March, Taiwan’s defense minister Yen Ming estimated the island nation could resist a Chinese onslaught “at least one month” – and that’s assuming other countries aid in Taipei’s defense. The one month figure is chilling, but not surprising, … Continue reading

China claims Japan is secretly developing nuclear weapons


Asia Weekly, a Hong Kong-based news outlet (Chinese controlled), is reporting that Japan is secretly developing a nuclear weapons program in response to increasing hostilities with China over the East China Sea dispute. According to the report, paraphrased by the Want China Times, “With the capability to build at least 2,000 nuclear warheads, Japan has recently … Continue reading

China will deploy subs that could nuke Alaska or Hawaii this year


China is set to deploy submarines sometime this year armed with nuclear tipped missiles capable of striking Alaska or Hawaii, according to a January assessment from the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine is set to begin patrols in 2014 – armed with the PLAN’s new … Continue reading

Russian expert: China to defeat broke America by 2020


Russian expert Vassily Kashin foresees a war between the United States and China in the East Pacific within the next six years out of which Beijing will emerge victorious due to America’s inability to fund its expanding empire. “It’s highly probable that China, after the completion of the current cycle of reforming and rearming its … Continue reading

Call made to US Congress for China war plan


The U.S. military needs a more focused war plan specific to China, especially after China’s recent declaration of an air defense zone over the East China Sea, a group of defense analysts told a prominent US House subcommittee. As part of the Pentagon’s overall defense strategy to pivot to the Pacific, the U.S. should buy … Continue reading

Housing, spatial price differences, and inequality in China


Many studies find evidence of a growing income inequality in China. However, the majority of these studies may be constructing biased measures of inequality. This column presents evidence from a new study on how inequality in China is overstated if one ignores the spatial differences in the cost of living. With a booming urban housing … Continue reading

China: Why are Japan and America so concerned about this map?


China’s Ministry of National Defense issued this map establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. The ministry claims that the zone is “not directed against any specific country or target,” which is a bit hard to buy given that it overlaps significantly with Japan’s air defense zone in the region: it includes the disputed islands known as the Diaoyu … Continue reading

Bloomberg kills article exposing Chinese regime, suspends reporter


First, the controversial “media” outlet Bloomberg News, widely regarded by critics as a propaganda megaphone for the radical views of billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reportedly censored one of its reporters by blocking the publication of an article exposing cronyism and corruption among Communist China’s ruling class. Insider sources quoted in news reports … Continue reading

China’s reform blueprint broken down by keyword


China’s new reform plan is a beast of a document that would run to more than 46 pages if you counted each of its 21,000-plus characters as an English word. Analysts are still picking through it, and probably will be for weeks and months to come. In the meantime, one quick and dirty way to get a … Continue reading

India buys a third aircraft carrier amid rivalry with China


India has heightened its rivalry with China by taking possession of its third aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet-era vessel. The £1.4bn ($2.3bn) aircraft carrier, handed over at a north Russian shipyard, will help India to counterbalance the expansion of the Chinese navy. The 45,000-tonne ship, built in the final years of the Soviet Union and named … Continue reading

China: Post-plenum blues?


The third plenum of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) central committee, which concluded on November 12th, has left many observers disappointed. After months of efforts by the senior leadership to promote the meeting as a major reform landmark, its final report came as something of a let-down. However, it was broadly in line with … Continue reading

New Chinese agency to ‘manage’ social unrest


The ruling Chinese Communist Party said it would establish an agency to “manage” growing social unrest, as part of a set of reforms largely focusing on the economy. The new “state security committee” will tackle social instability and unify other agencies in charge of increasing security challenges, both foreign and domestic, the Central Committee said … Continue reading

China’s coming terrorism wave


Prediction time: China will experience unprecedented terrorism over the next few years. On October 28, a carload of Xinjiang residents made headlines by crashing into a Tiananmen Square crowd, killing two people while injuring 38. Then, on October 30, a series of explosions rocked the provincial Communist Party headquarters in Shanxi province, killing one person … Continue reading

Chinese nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.


Chinese state-run media revealed for the first time that Beijing’s nuclear submarines can attack American cities to counterbalance U.S. nuclear deterrence in the Pacific. Leading media outlets including China Central TV, the People’s Daily, the Global Times, the PLA Daily, the China Youth Daily and the Guangmin Daily ran identical, top-headlined reports about the “awesomeness” of … Continue reading

Chen’s confession: who to trust in China now?


What can you trust in China these days? An investigative journalist who says a well-known company has allegedly been manipulating its financial results? Or the company that denies that point-blank? How about a police force that crosses provincial lines to arrest the “offending” journalist on suspicion of damaging that company’s commercial reputation? Above all, can … Continue reading

Six wars China is sure to fight in the next 50 years


On July 8, 2013, the pro-PRC Chinese-language newspaper, Wenweipo, published an article titled “中國未來50年裡必打的六場戰爭 (Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years)”. The anticipated six wars are all irredentist in purpose – the reclaiming of what the Chinese believe to be national territories lost since Imperial China was defeated by the Brits in … Continue reading

EU-China investment pact of limited but global significance


In the debate about the transatlantic free trade agreement one issue has remained below the radar: the European Union (EU) is shortly to also commence negotiations with China. On October 18, 2013 the EU member states are set to pass the mandate for the negotiation of an international investment agreement with China. Beijing hopes that … Continue reading

Is China building an “aircraft carrier in disguise?”


Earlier this month a series of pictures posted on Chinese military forums appeared to show that China was building its first indigenous aircraft carrier, prompting much speculation and commentary including from The Diplomat. Now some claim that this narrative might have been mistaken. According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Kanwa Information Center, a private Canadian think tank, has published a report … Continue reading

Heat wave in China


For the entire month of July and the first half of August, eastern China baked in a record-breaking heat wave. Nineteen provinces endured   above-normal temperatures. Shanghai broke its all-time record high three times in as many weeks. The current record – 40.8 degrees Celsius (105.4°F) – was set on August 7, 2013. At least 40 people … Continue reading

A gaffe-prone Japan is a danger to peace in Asia; China concerned


The Abe government’s disastrous public diplomacy risks alienating not just China but also the US. Japan’s public diplomacy hovers between the ludicrous and the sinister. In recent months, the country has specialised in foreign policy gaffes that seem designed to give maximum offence to its Asian neighbours while causing maximum embarrassment to its western allies. Last week … Continue reading

China watches as India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier launched


The launch of India’s first locally built US$5 billion aircraft carrier is a major naval milestone as China’s growing assertiveness is drawing world powers in the region. When the INS Vikrant comes into full service in 2018, India will become the fifth nation to have designed and built its own aircraft carrier, pushing ahead of China to … Continue reading

Japan’s giant new destroyer sends a clear message to China and the world


Sixty-eight years to the day of the Hiroshima bombing, Japan unveiled its new naval “destroyer” that happens to have a flat top – dubbed “Izumo” – capable of carrying various rotary-wing aviation units, reports Eric Talmadge of ABC. Consequently, it’s also the biggest since WWII … and since Japan’s official army was disbanded. The new boat comes as Chinese … Continue reading

Joint China-Russia exercise more political than military


China and Russia made headlines this past weekend when they participated in the rather blandly titled Joint Sea 2013. Despite the name, Joint Sea was China’s  largest ever joint naval exercise, and one of the more noteworthy bits of naval activity in the past several years. Eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters … Continue reading

What to make of Xi Jinping’s Maoist turn


With a number of Mao-like pronouncements emanating from Beijing in recent months, some observers of Chinese politics think Xi Jinping might be turning Maoist. The most recent example is an editorial published earlier this week in the authoritative People’s Daily (in Chinese), which argues that the “mass line is the ruling lifeline” for the Communist … Continue reading

27 die in rioting in Western China


At least 27 people died in rioting in far western China, when protesters attacked a police station and government offices and the police fired on the crowd, state media said. It was the worst spasm of violence for years in Xinjiang, a region troubled by tensions between Uighurs, an overwhelmingly Muslim ethnic minority, and China’s … Continue reading

How the world benefits from Chinese piracy


Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman have a  fantastic article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs about IP laws and piracy in China. The title, which I love, is “Fake It Till You Make It,” and the gist is clear: Given that Chinese copying has benefits as well as costs, and considering China’s historical resistance to Western pressure, … Continue reading

Russia turns away from Europe, signs $270 billion oil deal with China


Russian oil giant Rosneft and Chinese state firm CNPC signed a $270 billion deal to supply China with oil over 25 years as Russian President Vladimir Putin pushes to diversify the country’s energy customer base away from Europe. The agreement between Russia, the world’s largest energy producer and China, the world’s largest energy consumer – … Continue reading

China’s Communist party takes page from Mao’s playbook


China’s Communist party has unleashed a rectification campaign of a scale and tone not seen in more than a decade as the leadership seeks to address the frustration over corrupt officials while avoiding bold political reforms. As investors wait for party chief Xi Jinping to initiate long-delayed economic reforms and liberals in China push for political change, … Continue reading

China’s latest discount product: drones


Want to buy a military-grade drone? That won’t be easy, unless you’ve got a good relationship with Beijing. A new market has emerged for inexpensive Chinese weapons, changing the regulatory calculus. The recent Paris air show highlighted the trouble with the burgeoning drone economy: While the technology is better than ever, there still aren’t many people … Continue reading

China heading for unprecented credit bubble implosion


China’s shadow banking system is out of control and under mounting stress as borrowers struggle to roll over short-term debts, Fitch Ratings has warned. The agency said the scale of credit was so extreme that the country would find it very hard to grow its way out of the excesses as in past episodes, implying … Continue reading

Former US cutter to help Philippine claims in South China Sea


The former U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas is en route to Manila as the newest ship in the Philippine Navy, according to Philippine sources. The re-christened BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) underwent a 13-month refit in Charleston, S.C. before it departed with its crew on a two-month voyage to the Philippines. Alcaraz, bought from the U.S. … Continue reading

Chinese censors target Winnie the Pooh and Tigger


China’s army of internet censors has picked an unusual target in their battle to wipe dissent from the country’s computer screens: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Following the recent California summit between Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping, Chinese micro-bloggers picked up on an uncanny resemblance between a photograph of the two presidents strolling … Continue reading

Getting China’s Tower of Babel on record


Michael Wu, 20, a student at Peking University, grew up in Shanghai. But when he wants to talk to his cousins in Hainan, he needs to bring his mother along to interpret the conversation. The cousins in Hainan speak two kinds of Hainan dialect. “I actually cannot understand either of them,” Wu says. “It’s actually … Continue reading

China destroys Belgian chocolates as trade spat intensifies


Belgians are justly proud of their nation’s reputation as one of the world’s finest chocolate producers. So when Chinese authorities announced this week that they had destroyed an unspecified amount of their chocolates because they contained toxic substances, alarm bells rang. The Belgian media was swift to point out echoes of 2008, when Beijing declared a shipment of Belgian chocolate … Continue reading

China and USA: The Xi Jinping-Obama Summit


Though not a ‘state’ visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit (June 7-8, 2013) to the US as President has been described by the US as “unique” and “enormously important”. The Summit received close international attention, particularly because of the new Chinese leadership’s demonstrably increasing assertiveness including in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing declared that Xi Jinping … Continue reading

The China Syndrome


To the ham-lovers of Smithfield, Virginia, it is American weakness that explains why Chinese tycoons may soon own the giant pork producer that dominates their home town. Local hams, made from peanut-fed pigs and then hickory-smoked, first earned fame in colonial times. In Smithfield images of hogs vie with American flags as a badge of … Continue reading

Wine: China hitting the bottle!


Looks like France is waking up with a hangover and will be in need of some hair of the dog to get through China’s statement that there will be an anti-dumping probe carried out by the latter on wine exports from the EU. France’s Trade Ministry is worried and has made a public call for … Continue reading

China’s reverse imperialism – West contains China’s East, China moves West


The US still has not learned that China does not move in a linear, predictable, pattern. As the US and its allies gain geopolitical ground in the Pacific and power balancing shapes a semi-circle in China’s East, China projects its influence out West. Critics may call it reverse imperialism. This is not just a “backdoor” … Continue reading

US war against Iraq is paying off – for China


Remember the US government assurance that the Iraq War would pay for itself, once those oil revenues began gushing forth from a liberated Iraq? A decade later, the Iraq War is paying – for China. “We lost out,” said Michael Makovsky, a former Defence Department official in the Bush administration. “The Chinese had nothing to do with … Continue reading

European companies complain about China’s regulatory discrimination


An unlevel playing field in China costs European companies € 17.5 billion in missed revenues annually, according to a survey of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. The findings – which also highlight alleged regulatory discrimination as a key concern for these businesses – come amid rising trade tensions between China and the EU which, if intensified, … Continue reading

Cannes 2013: The rise of Chinese cinema


A scattering of awards at the Cannes Film Festival has given international prominence to what experts say is an exciting era in Asian film-making, where China is emerging as the creative powerhouse. Directors from China, Japan, Singapore and Cambodia were all present at the Cannes Palais des Festivals, and this is where the world’s most … Continue reading

Chinese developer ‘rescues’ London docks with $1.5 billion deal


London Mayor Boris Johnson sealed a 1.5 billion USD deal with a Chinese property developer to turn a historic London dock into a 21st-century “Asian business port”: the Royal Albert Dock is set to become London’s third business district. The deal is believed to be worth $9bn to the UK economy, generating $35 million in business … Continue reading

China calls Japanese leaders ‘petty burglars’


Piqued over Japan’s warm ties with India, an influential Chinese daily said New Delhi‘s wisdom lies in dealing with its disputes with Beijing calmly, undisturbed by “internal and international provocateurs“. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh undertook a visit to Tokyo amid reports of defence deals between the two sides, the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, lashed out at Japanese politicians, terming them as … Continue reading

While Belarus borrows, China makes money


China is building an entire city in the forests near the Belorussian capital Minsk to create a manufacturing springboard between the European Union and Russia. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko allotted an area 40 percent larger than Manhattan around Minsk’s international airport for the $5 billion development, which will include enough housing to accommodate 155,000 people, … Continue reading

As China’s middle class grows, so do its concerns


Beijing is facing increasing public pressure to deal with issues such as pollution, food safety and education driven by the 10 percent of its population who now count as middle class. With two cars, foreign holidays and a cook for their apartment, one Beijing family epitomizes the new middle class created by China’s decades of … Continue reading

China, Switzerland sign MOU on concluding Free Trade talks


In relations with China, symbols often have a greater importance than details of contracts. During the stay of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Alpine country which he visited in 2010 as vice premier, Li has met political, business leaders and inked a series of important agreements. Li Keqiang held his first speech on European in … Continue reading

Restraint is the new red in China


President Xi Jinping is pressing the Communist Party’s elite to cut back on lavish living amid growing public resentment. The economic effect is far-reaching. Exports of elegant Swiss watches to China have plunged. Sales of Mercedes-Benz and other premium sedans are slowing. And high-end restaurants, coming off their worst Chinese New Year festival in years, … Continue reading

China’s underage sex scandals spark anger over ‘weak’ law


A series of sex scandals involving underage girls has prompted widespread public anger and calls for a review of Chinese laws. Early May 2013, official media reported that six primary schoolgirls aged around 10 and 11 were taken by a headmaster and a government official to hotels in Hainan island’s Wanning city and sexually assaulted. … Continue reading

China and it’s neighbours: A tale of two fishing boats


Is the Chinese government’s uneasy friendship with North Korea costing it the public’s confidence? A curious confluence of recent events involving two fishing vessels suggests that might be the case. The crisis began in the waters of Scarborough Shoal, a set of fish-laden reefs and small rocky islands west of the Philippines and the source of territorial … Continue reading

China to lend $580 million to Sri Lanka


China Development Bank Corporation (CDB) will lend $580 million to Sri Lanka to help carry out key infrastructure projects. The loan will bring CDB’s total lending to Sri Lanka to more than $1.4 billion. China‘s increasing influence in the island nation has stoked concerns in neighboring India. According to the document, $300 million of the loan … Continue reading

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