Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”
I was researching Chinese censorship when – irony of ironies – I fell afoul of American censorship, providing an opportunity to update you on the state of the art under both regimes, starting at home, with the recent attempt to frame the President for crimes he did not commit.
Like many attempts to frame people, events and nations–Vietnam, Iraq, 9/11, JFK, Bin Laden–it was a State hoax, a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as truth. An atrocity story sustained by artful censorship and loud, proud, bold and brassy propaganda. An expensive, in-your-face, preposterous conspiracy, sustained for two years at great financial and reputational cost to the nation. Wildly ambitious, batshit crazy and so self-destructive as to boggle the mind, it was one of many propaganda-driven frame-ups, another of which in progress as you read these lines.
It checks all the boxes: big, bold, loud and proud, expensive, in-your-face, a preposterous hoax, daringly ambitious and utterly self-destructive.
The China Hoax frames China’s Confucian politics and economics as if they were – or should be – Roman. It explains why thousands of predictions of China’s collapse have been one hundred percent wrong for seventy years and why we keep repeating them, and why we think of China’s government as oppressively authoritarian when ninety-five percent of Chinese think it’s super. It also helps us see how the narrative is sustained by an almost totalitarian censorship regime.
It is well known that our censors–for that’s what they are–have silenced hundreds of thousands of Americans with National Security Letters and, whenever those prove inadequate, have permanent authority to take control of all American communications and information. If undesirable communications persist they can kidnap, imprison or execute the communicators without fear of court trial or media criticism. Since China emerged as a threat to our hegemony six months ago they have tightened their control noticeably.
I bumped into them following a clue in Ann Lee’s story about “A reporter and friend of Michael Massing, who worked at the Beijing office of The Wall Street Journal, who told Massing that the editors in Washington regularly changed material information and opinions in his articles. Given the twelve-hour time difference, by the time his stories went to press in the West, the editors had replaced all the Chinese interviews with statements from American talking heads who work at think tanks promoting anti-China perspectives.”
Congressional testimony from the CIA’s Victor Marchetti revealed the source of the talking heads’ funding: he told Congress that the Agency provided two hundred fifty million dollars annually, “To The Asia Foundation for anti-communist academicians to disseminate a negative vision of mainland China,” and paid journalists and publishers worldwide to do likewise.
I had always assumed that the government manipulates the news somehow and had I thought a little deeper I would have realized that, after spending billions on framing China, censors would eventually tire of pipsqueak consumers like me questioning their narrative.
Until two weeks ago my comments on China in mainstream media attracted thousands of responses (one-third angry) from millions of readers and provided priceless exposure for my upcoming book, I hoped. My readership stats climbed steadily until I received an email from Patrice Greanville on April 4 with a warning from Google:
When I forwarded it to him Patrice told me that, since Google downrated the Post as part of its fake news campaign it had become almost invisible in their searches.
The next day I received a message from the Financial Times (to which I also subscribed) informing me that my comments would be blocked thenceforth and, lo! they were:
I told another China-friendly FT commenter and he replied, “I was blocked last week.” When I checked the comment sections of China stories I found that positive comments had disappeared. One comment from a virulent China-basher, caught my eye, “Where are the wumao? Have the fifty-centers given up?”
Three days later the leading comment plugin Disqus, which supports 750,000 websites and 35 million users, blocked me from a broad range of publications:
I was also blocked from several university-run China sites and two established China news services, Sinocism and SupChina (to which I also subscribe), whose mission is to publish negative stories about China. Yet uncensored fora like Unz Review, Greanville Post and Quora demonstrate that there is high and growing interest in fact-based China news–and growing suspicion of a frame-up. There is also–as we see daily in these pages–a growing awareness of our own censorship regime though a lack of knowledge about its makeup and authority.
We know that less than half of us trust our media and we know that, despite a Constitutional prohibition, we are censored. But we don’t know who our censors are, their goals or where to seek redress. Neither Congress, the Administration nor the courts are willing to admit the problem, which suggests that they are party to it.
Every year Reporters Without Borders asks Western media experts to rank the world’s media freedom based on pluralism, independence, environment, self-censorship, legislation and transparency. In 2018, they ranked America’s media freedom a respectable forty-first, Singapore’s government-regulated media 154th and China’s ten times less free than leader Norway, at 176th.
Every year Edelman surveys the world’s media consumers, asking how much they trust their media. Forty-two percent of Americans, fifty-two percent of Singaporeans and seventy-one percent of Chinese trust their national media.
Singapore’s Lee Kwan Yew, whose relationship to media is both notorious and enlightening, told the American Society of Newspaper Editors why this is so.
The Philippines press enjoys all the freedoms of the US system but fails the people: a wildly partisan press helped Philippines politicians flood the marketplace of ideas with junk and confuse and befuddle the people so that they could not see what their vital interests were in a developing country. And, because vital issues like economic growth and equitable distribution were seldom discussed, they were never tackled and the democratic system malfunctioned. Look at Taiwan and South Korea: their free press runs rampant and corruption runs riot. The critic itself is corrupt yet the theory is, if you have a free press, corruption disappears. Now I’m telling you, that’s not true. Freedom of the press, freedom of news critics, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.”
Politicians must use only such language as is proper for public speech and only speak of what is practical and proper to effect.”
Confucius, Analects 13.3.
The censorship scene in China could hardly be more different.
For two thousand years the Chief Censor has been a public intellectual and the incumbent, Wang Huning, is typical. He’s the most famous intellectual in a nation of intellectual-worshippers. His Master’s thesis, From Bodin to Maritain: On Sovereignty Theories Developed by the Western Bourgeoisie, won wide acclaim and millions watched him twice lead Fudan University to victory in the international Intercollegiate Debating Championships. After his PhD thesis, Comparative Political Analysis, became a famous book (one of twelve he’s authored) he became the youngest professor in Fudan’s history and headed its Law School until former President Jiang Zemin, quoting verbatim passages from his book, persuaded Wang to turn speechwriter. Jiang’s successor promoted him to the 25-man Politburo and his successor, President Xi, invited Wang to join his six man cabinet and his band of travelling companions. That makes three successive presidents who have esteemed him more than their predecessors.
Everyone knows Wang’s bio, his job description and the constitutional source of his authority: “Once a policy has been widely discussed, voted on and legislated, discussion is suspended while everyone unites to implement it.”
His online rules are commonsensical: no infringing, fake accounts, libel, disclosing trade secrets or invading privacy; no sending porn to attract users; no torture, violence, killing people or animals; no selling lethal weapons; no gambling, phishing, scamming or spreading viruses; no organizing crime, counterfeiting, false advertising, empty promises or bullying; no lotteries, rumor-mongering, promoting superstitions. No opposing the basic principles of the Constitution or national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity and, of course, no divulging State secrets or endangering national security.
Wang’s part of a feedback loop helping to keep the leadership honest and his responsibilities are bidirectional: he must market leadership’s ideas to the citizenry and market their complaints to his colleagues.
As an intellectual he encourages free expression, says Harvard’s Gary King, “Contrary to much research and commentary, the purpose of the censorship program is not to suppress criticism of the State or the Communist Party. Indeed, despite widespread censorship of social critics, we find that when Chinese people write scathing criticisms of their government and its leaders the probability that their post will be censored does not increase. Instead, censored tweets were equally likely to be against the state, for the state, irrelevant, or factual reports about events. Negative, even vitriolic criticism of the state, its leaders and its policies are not more likely to be censored.”
Even investigative journalists, though as embattled in China as elsewhere, publish front-page exposes in mainstream media with strong public support.
The Chinese are not naive about censorship. It is an honored public service, constitutionally and legislatively delimited, that operates in the glare of public scrutiny. Wang is often asked to explain his decisions and I have yet to find accurate, useful or professional information blocked.
Deborah Fallows found that over eighty percent of Chinese want their media regulated and eighty-five percent of those who do want the government doing it, as do most people in the world. Everyone everywhere trusts state outlets like the BBC twice as much as private media and seventy percent of Chinese trust their media – right in line with Singaporeans and their famously regulated media. If we want to find out what is really going on in our own country and abroad we must find ways to create trustworthy media, otherwise we’re fumbling in the dark.
For example, we’re told China steals our IP when there is zero evidence of theft and abundant evidence that they outspend us 4:1 on R&D.
That’s mad. If we don’t know that underinvestment in research cost us the 5G race, or that Chinese scientists do half of our domestic research, how can we respond effectively–or at all?
The China Hoax is a cruel joke and the joke’s on us.
Godfree Roberts received his doctorate from UMass, Amherst and is desperately trying to finish the manuscript for his forthcoming book, China’s Confucian Solution: How China beat poverty, hunger, homelessness, crime, inequality, government waste and corruption.
-  National Security Letters are administrative subpoenas with gag orders enjoining recipients from divulging to anyone that they’ve been served.
-  Executive Order 10995: Assigning Telecommunications Management Functions and EO 12472: Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions Act.
-  In 2011 President Obama ordered the execution of Anwar al Awlaki, an American citizen, for preaching Wahabbism and separately executed his sixteen-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter, all without trial.
-  What the U.S. Can Learn from China, Ann Lee. 2012
-  Former Executive Editor of The Columbia Journalism Review.
-  The CIA and the cult of Intelligence, by V. Marchetti. 1976. The first book an American government censored prior to publication
-  In 2019 US$
-  An epithet flung at commenters who explain or justify Chinese policies. FP itself explains, “Wumao means ‘fifty cents’ in Chinese and is slang for web users who reliably take the government’s side. How to Spot a State-Funded Chinese Internet Troll. Foreign Policy, June 17, 2015.
-  2018 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX
-  2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, January, 2018.
-  A Third World Perspective on the Press. RH Lee Kwan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore. C-SPAN, APRIL 14, 1988
-  Media Politics in China: Improvising Power under Authoritarianism by Maria Repnikova, C.U.P., July 15, 2017
-  To complaints that he censored a viral essay, Beijing Has 20 Million People Pretending to Live Here, about the city being overrun by outsiders, he explained, “It polarizes relations between prosperous Beijingers and inflames ill feeling towards the vulnerable immigrants who sweep their streets.”
-  Most Chinese Say They Approve of Government Internet Control, by Deborah Fallows, Senior Research Fellow, Pew Internet & American Life Project March 27, 2008
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Where did the comments go?
What comments are you referring to?
For a few days, I saw only a fraction of the comments that were here. My browser is Pale Moon. I see everything now. I have no idea what’s going on. I assumed it was on your end and would be corrected, since all of this is new. Perhaps it was my browser.
Sorry, but I DO NOT like the new format.
Well, It’s off topic, but as long is that is out here; Whatever small annoyances present themselves with this format, it is very, very improved. I really have no complaints. It’s functional, my main concern. I don’t think it looks awful. It will take some getting used to, but it works well.
‘I don’t think it looks awful’? – faint praise much? 😀
For me, OffG has always been one of the most lovely-looking sites I visit, and the new design is absolutely beautiful.
Maggie – what’s not to like? The old comments were ghastly and infuriating. These look pretty and have functionality too.
You did notice that the main thrust of my comment was ‘very’ favorable toward the new design, Right? Can I have an opinion about it? Does it have to be exactly the same as yours?
Very informative. Thanks.
China is being framed all right – as a negentropic neoliberal hopium. I’m supremely interested in the dynamic of West v East framing. If West is bad, to which there can be no counter-argument – then China must be better? Absolutely true: but what about the ultimate truth – the whole system – West and East is financially suicidal and exponentially omnicidal? And the expansionist, extractivist progress-theology imaginal is leading where? Who the fuck wants 5G? Or fintech financialisation of everything – including humanity and nature. Or AI-redundancy for the global workforce. Orwellian progress is regress …leading us exponentially into a debt-deflationary entropic blackhole
I’ve already posted that China’s finance is a sub-imperial extension of the Washington Consensus. The NDB, AIIB, and CRA are all dollarised for loans. This is easily verifiable or refutable. This means sub-imperial loans force poor countries into dollar vassalship and export led production – aka the resource curse. It was the BRICS countries that refinanced the IMF – easily verifiable. There is more: but I no longer seek to convince anyone in return for downvotes. The picture is clear: China is fully integrated under the WTO ‘Rules Based Global Order’ …and committed to ‘Global Governance’.
There is nothing that can be done about it. But actively celebrating our entropic, debt-deflationary. death spiral seem a tad necessary to me. And even if the debt-financed, asset bubble, global Ponzi scheme were to survive – which seems increasingly unlikely (in a bid for more power, even the IMF and BIS forecast GFC2) – is the teleology of the financialisation of everything where we want to go? Hint: I would much rather go in the opposite direction. All progress is is the leveraging of human labour by ever greater densities of energy. The teleology of which, in an entropic world, is full employment …for a very long time. Full employent, paid at the price of the equivalent of a barrel of oil – say $70 – for ten to forty years, depending on the heaviness of the labour. That is where this is all going: not a magic unicorn tech-utopia. Think about it, and try not to celebrate quite so hard.
Why is 5G is a good thing? One view that helps me to understand that 5G is only good for machines can be found in this article: “Verizon Video Features Employees Explaining How They Are Ignoring “The Precautionary Principle” to Unleash Harmful 5G Technology All Over The World.” by BN Frank (Activist Post) – https://www.activistpost.com/2018/07/verizon-video-features-employees-explaining-how-they-are-ignoring-the-precautionary-principle-to-unleash-harmful-5g-technology-all-over-the-world.html
Maybe the author also got his rosy view of JFK from Reporters Without Borders. Check out this article by ? (21st Century Wire) about Vanessa Beeley’s Swiss Press Club presentation titled “Vanessa Beeley Presents Exposé on White Helmets at Swiss Press Club in Geneva.” – https://21stcenturywire.com/2017/11/28/vanessa-beeley-presents-new-white-helmets-expose-to-swiss-press-club-geneva/
A blurb from the above linked-to article follows: “The western-driven myth of the White Helmets continue[s] to disintegrate. Despite the efforts of alleged ‘free speech’ advocate NGO Reporters Without Borders to shut this event down, Swiss Press Club head Guy Mettan went ahead as scheduled. Reports Without Borders even went as far as to draft a formal complaint demanding the event be cancelled, alongside protestations by UK-based ‘Syrian opposition’ group Syria Campaign.”
“John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy Were Terrorists” by Arby – https://app.box.com/s/nrb7s56g6qzwi9323nuve1irt8oe4lpc
Other than that, I liked the article and can relate. I’m being censored myself. Look at the brave censors (appointed paid gatekeepers), hiding. Of course.
I always read Godfrey Robert’s articles whenever I see them. Although I don’t agree 100% with everything he says I must applaud and thank his efforts to explain and clarify things about China. The level of China bashing has increased a lot and is a close second to Jew bashing if you will. Even in places like Unz where people are supposed to be seeking for facts and truth it’s like a knee-jerk reaction to bash the author and anything chinese. For goodness sake, no country, culture or anything is 100% all good or bad. I for one just want to have the bare facts and make up my own mind about what is good or bad.
I think it is second to none, now.
It’s a bit disconcerting on the new layout when, looking for the comments, you have to scroll past an ad. for Patreon, with a plea for money couched in USD denomination. I thought OffG was a home-grown Brit outfit. No need to join in the current knee-jerk prostration in Britain to all things US by dumping our own currency, is there? Especially since the USD is now on a terminal, accelerating dive down the tubes as ‘world reserve currency’, as the Anglozionst empire declines irreversibly against the rise of Russo-Chinese global imperialism. And be warned: Patreon is crooked. They have already tried to censor some of their creators; and they are distinctly unhelpful when you’re trying to communicate with them, or to unsubscribe. I’ve switched to SubscribeStar, on Dmitry Orlov’s recommendation (he got unhelpful aggro from Patreon as well). Just a thought: Don’t endorse Patreon, OffGers. It’s already iffy. Suffering the inevitable corruption of SiliconValley-oid commercial internet outfits, all inevitably in bed with the crooks of the US deep state, pretty well from their over-profitable, gangster-capitalist outset.
The ‘two-way speech bubbles’ symbol (for comments) adjacent to the date at the top of the article is the short-cut link to the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Hmm,I have no doubt that Godfree Roberts speaks facts, which is illuminating for many, as well as needed,but as the citizen of a small state I prefer to regard all large powerful sovereign entities with the old hairy eyeball because AFAIK overly large states especially those with centralised decision making eg the USA and the PRC cannot effectively meet the needs of all citizens.
But that is for the citizens of those states to deal with, my main concern is when those large states begin using their size to interfere in the lives of non-citizens, people who are content being part of a smaller less powerful but more responsive to the needs of its citizens sovereign entity.
In that regard the USA, the PRC plus the governments of now failed imperialists such as england and france meddle the fuck out of our political systems.
england and the US have been doing it where I live since well before my arsehole has been pointing down, so has france, so you can imagine our disappointment that despite the words of the magnificent Zhou Enlai (see https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/zhou-enlai/1963/08/02.htm for an example of his stated desire to live in a world without conflict) that China would eschew all forms of imperialism, that is unfortunately no longer the case and not only does the PRC illegally and secretively interfere in the politics of many Pacific nations, it does so in favour of repressive right wing governments, presumably in the belief that (a) rightist pols are more ‘realistic’ about copping quiet earners and (b) promoting bent pro-business administrations is more lucrative for China.
I’m sure that China is not the first foreign country to have planted an intelligence operative as an MP in Aotearoa’s parliament (see https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/09/13/46657/national-mp-trained-by-chinese-spies#) but that does not excuse the action if anything it makes it more egregious as it is likely to be the first Pacific nation to have done so since DC, London and Paris are not considered friendly neighbours by most kiwis.
In addition PRC operatives have actively subverted the strict electoral spending limits in Aotearoa to tip money into the rightist environmentally destructive former government of the National Party (colloquially known as ‘the Natz’). This link here ( https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107936040/leading-questions-in-jamilee-rosss-secret-recording-shows-endgame-plan–mp ) outlines the deceit used to break large bribes into small ‘donations’ but the facts are buried in mudslinging nonsense – a typical pwned media ploy.
It is particularly difficult to find objective media sources which have covered this in depth for example this link https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/17/281366/question-of-china-influence-in-zhang-yikun-saga is from a devoutly pro Natz media outlet and tries to implicate airhead Ardern in this scandal when it was the Natz who received the bulk of the money not the weak arsed neolib NZ Labour Party. The other thing the article does is ignore the issue of mandated private donation limits and election spending limits in Aotearoa and include Bridges tripe about Indians and Filipinos even though it was only Chinese organisation nominees who were nominated for ‘MP training’.
In many ways the issue has been subsumed by racism in exactly the same way as immigration has been. Too many people are shifting into Aotearoa resulting in over stretched infrastructure and greatly increased homelessness, but by giving a voice to those complaining about ‘Asians’ and casting opposition to immigration as being racist environmental and economic opponents of immigration are effectively silenced. Never mind that immigration from UK, US, South African whitefellas and western europeans has been much higher over the last two decades than all the ‘asian’ immigration.
The same thing has happened with this. It is too easy to say that opposing PRC’s interference in Aotearoa’s domestic politics is racist (its plainly not right wing since the right wing have been the biggest beneficiaries) so neolibs with their growing pies and trickledowns and all the rest of their turgid and dated tosh, now claim it is racist.
Right here is where I have problems with multi-lateralists who claim that anything governments opposed to the fukusi fuck-up do, must be ok because we need to have more than one political and economic culture calling the shots.
I support the concept of a many headed world order but I also reckon that egregious is egregious, so when Vladimir Putin sits down and talks nice to Netandyahoo it is an act of pure hypocrisy not to call Putin out for it. (why hasn’t Syria got a decent up to date AA system, eh?)
All we end up doing is shooting ourselves in the foot by making ourselves open to accusations of double standards about issues that are exceedingly straightforward. All zionist settlement is illegal and were founded on acts of appalling terror.
I am old enough to remember when the US were as clumsy as PRC with their interfering in Aotearoa politics. A left wing Labour government was elected in 1972 which pulled outta Vietnam and set about reinforcing strictures against foreign ownership of assets. Unlike the Oz GG, the seppos found no one to bribe, so in no time at all the charismatic leader of Labour (Norm Kirk a great bloke with many parallels to Nic Maduro – tho he had been a train driver not a bus driver) suddenly took ill and died and next election cycle the TV was full of US made cartoons which depicted dancing cossacks and angry rioting blackfellas who looked african-american, not Polynesian.
Needless to say all sorts of shonkies occurred and the Natz sleazed back in.
People who want to believe that there are large nation states who project nowt but sweetness and light are setting themselves up for a major fall. If you want to believe practising islam in the PRC is a doddle then go right ahead but I for one don’t trust any politician anywhere who is so far removed from the citizens he/she never has to interact with them, or local pols whose decision making is subject to veto by aforesaid centralised remote figure. That said, it would be wrong to interfere in whatever PRC does domestically, altho I can understand why Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai tried to re-educate the Xi mob in the early 70’s.
The Chinese hierarchy, like every other hierarchy around the world, wants two things.
Unassailable power and compliant masses.
Whatever it takes.
Confucian hierarchy has lasted 2200 years because it’s a non-hereditary meritocracy of compassion.
If that sounds hard to believe, consider this: the 90 million members of the current hierarchy contribute $1 billion in annual dues and one trillion volunteer hours. They brought 400 million people from agricultural backwardness into modernity in just thirty years – a process of industrialization that took over 200 years in Europe.
If that sounds hard to believe, look at the current evidence: next year every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health- and old age care and 500,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of American kids.
Before 2021 there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.
‘Meritocracy of compassion’
An oxymoron if ever I’ve heard one.
With status through education comes arrogance. It’s a human pandemic among the middle class.
“With status through education comes arrogance. It’s a human pandemic among the middle class.”
It is pandemic in our socially and emotionally immature Roman society. In Confucian society, higher education is designed to mature the student.
They study Confucius as a meditation upon compassion with the intention of internalizing and practicing it. The evidence that they do practice it is in my reply to the question above.
Your circle of highly educated Chinese friends may follow Confucianism Godfrey, but from what I’ve gleaned the average middle class Chinese ( like most of their kind around the world) are ambitious, rabid materialists who love to jet around the planet.
Agreed. But they’re smart enough not to allow such people to enter government.
Sorry I misspelled your name Godfree.
I have no doubt that China is a far more egalitarian society than most.
But a benevolent government?
It beggars belief.
Our media has relied on belief and rarely presents facts. As Victor Marchetti’s testimony, above, makes clear, our media actively filter out good news about China and replace it with innuendo and anecdotes that serve their purpose.
I don’t know if there ever was a long-term goal behind that practice, but now it’s biting us on the ass: they’re so far ahead and have so much momentum that there’s no chance of catching them. You’ll see much more of their progress revealed between now and June 1, 2021, when they will change course and become much more socialistic.
Here’s my favorite quote that summarizes their relationship to the government:
“The reason the State enjoys a formidable legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese has nothing to do with democracy but can be found in the relationship between the State and Chinese civilization. The State is seen as the embodiment, guardian and defender of Chinese civilization. Maintaining the unity, cohesion and integrity of the Chinese civilization-state is perceived as the highest political priority, the sacrosanct task of the Chinese State. Unlike in the West, where the State is viewed with varying degrees of suspicion, even hostility, and regarded, as a consequence, as an outsider, in China the state is seen as an intimate, as part of the family, indeed as the head of the family.”
￼– When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: Second Edition Paperback – August 28, 2012. by Martin Jacques.
All of which says, at the least, that there’s a discussion to be had here. But I hardly believe in China’s ruling class which has been complicit with the West (as in powerful, capitalist special interests and their political tools) in exploiting their own workforce.
China’s ruling class has not been complicit with the West (as in powerful, capitalist special interests and their political tools) in exploiting their own workforce. Quite the contrary.
Because it’s a non-hereditary meritocracy, China doesn’t have a ruling class.
And, far from exploiting them, China’s leaders have doubled workers’ wages every decade for 70 years with the result that, by 2021 every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health- and old age care.
That same year 500,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of American kids and liver longer, healthier lives. And there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.
Does that look like exploitation to you?
I’m not a China expert. I’m just someone who pays attention. But what does that mean? That means that I have to go by what others are reporting. And how do I know who’s bullcrapping me and who isn’t? Because I’ve been paying attention, I have a fairly good idea who ‘would’ bullcrap me, which is not a guarantee of course (and most of those whose work I find useful, fail in some manner, or up and one day go entirely over to the dark side). It’s actually still very difficult, in the absence of a ‘lot’ of reportage on any subject, to get a good idea of what the truth might be. For example, Are you okay with China’s social credit system? Is that true? Was Naomi Klein’s report (which resides on her website) “China’s All Seeing Eye” bullcrap? And supposing that China’s political leaders were and are nice people, that doesn’t change the fact that when you are working (and What about conditions?) for peanuts, you are being exploited – unless there’s free rent, food, etc.. to the low wage earners.
What about deregulation (a gift to bosses at the people’s expense, wherever it takes place, for whatever reasons)? Does China still use, without even hiding the fact, DDT in its agriculture?
I’m not unaware of some of the counter arguments. I read somewhere that China’s great internet firewall was at least partly a response to their ruling class’s (we disagree strongly here about there being no Chinese ruling class) realization that other States had zero scruples about using the internet in China to destabilize the country. Also, I was please to read – again, if it’s true – that the Chinese ruling class is not keen on continuing to be the kind of manufacturer (for the West) that it has been in the past, but wants to transition to manufacturing high quality items, namely whatever ‘it’ wants. But I see that as good in only one respect, namely how it ‘could’ mean a better deal for the Chinese workforce (and I guess for what it means to get out from under uncle Sam’s thumb). And that doesn’t address the issue of growth. Capitalist expansion worldwide, now that markets (no surprise, since capitalism can’t work) are shrinking, is causing more problems than it has in the past. As Todd Gordon (“Imperialist Canada”) points out, that expansion goes outward, impacting (negatively) vulnerable countries and the sacrifice zones (First Nations mostly) within them, and inward, causing problems for the home country’s First Nations and any landowners where they are forcing piplines through them or doing fracking on them, as in Jessica Ernst’s story in “Slick Water,” or whatever. How is China going to be any different? Capitalism is cancer and its growth is NOT good.
Capitalist expansion – and if you’ve read history, you will know this – is accompanied by terror and destruction. Naomi Klein made the point in “The Shock Doctrine” that capitalism has only triumphed (which doesn’t mean proven itself superior) by the use of force. Read any Noam Chomsky pretty much (“The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism” would be a good example of what Chomsky to read in this regard) in order to know that. Read Michael Klare’s “War Without End” about counterrevolution and counterinsugency. (or Richard Walton’s “Cold War And Counterrevolution”) It’s all about counterrevolution/ counterinsurgency. JFK (and his psychopathetic colleagues) identified the people as the enemy and took the big business position, nicely explained by Howard Zinn in “A People’s History Of The United States – 1492 -2001”) that you had to give enough people just enough to counter revolution, if you were never going to do business differently. Counterrevolution is essentially a continual process of killing political innovation that might lead (in the minds of powerful, lawless, capitalist special interests) to changes in the global capitalist system designed (and dominated) by the US after WWII. You can design a new toaster, but stay out of politics – in a meaningful way. Counterinsurgency means State terrorism, the extreme response to citizens who aren’t willing accept their roles as zombie consumers and voters and who instead agitate for a change to the abusive system foisted on us by Corporatocracy managers (the main one being the United States). General Maxwell Taylor, Klare reminds us, cited JFK as being the father of modern day counterinsurgency (State terrorism) for ‘all’ the world’s ruling classes. (JFK talked about a GLOBAL communist conspiracy, meaning the people everywhere – since, as Chomsky reminds us, the term ‘communist’ is used by politicians to mean anyone who has ideas about how things might be done differently or anyone who is just seen as ‘possibly’ having or agreeing with such ideas – putting regular people everywhere on notice that they are the enemy.) Or give Jeff Halper’s book, “War Against The People,” a read. Is China’s ruling class seeking to fashion a world that will look different than the hell on earth that the US has fashioned?
IT sounds like a kiss off but it’s not: 99% of what you’ve read about modern China is bullshit. Massacres, starvation, exploitation, brutal crackdowns, financial collapses, insecure governments, democracy advocates, human rights fighters….
The CIA’s Victor Marchetti testified that the Agency provided $250,000,000 annually to The Asia Foundation for ‘anti-communist academicians to disseminate a negative vision of mainland China’. That’s just for academics, who are cheap! journalists and publishers made out like banditti. They guy who wrote ‘Mao’s Great Famine’ got $2,000,000.
We are living in a fools’ paradise. China is already ahead of us scientifically, technologically, socially, morally, legally and ethically. That’s why there’s so much attention on China right now. Everything I’ve said here is becoming known, thanks to tourism and the Internet. The gap is widening every day.
If you’re interested in China, check the stats, not the b.s. news. China’s stats are excellent (despite our MSM’s scoffing at them, have you ever seen a single one disproven?) and you can follow their actual progress through them.
Sorry, Godfree: China’s meteoric rise is only good if you believe in pointless neoliberal expansionism. An expansionism that comes with hidden social and financial costs. The financial costs being around $40tn in hidden debt. That is deliberately hidden, by transferring ‘off-book’ into shadow banking. Source: the PBOC China financial stability report – FY2017 and FY2018.
The disclosure is on page 48 of the first report. Back then, it was 109% of on-book debt. So, take China’s debt, and double it to $92tn. China has an everything bubble that it is going to be “painful” to recover from. That is central bank-speak for “we’re fucked”.
All these so-called gains you are talking about are illusory; the result of debt financing and addiction to credit stimulus (QE ‘money printing’). They are borrowing 23% pa just to tread water, but the interest debt servicing is becoming harder to finance (50% of fake GDP). So it is rolled over, restructured, and on they go. Their finances are Ponzified. They create $25 to make a $1 GDP. China’s ‘debt bomb’ of debt to GDP breaching 300% in 2017 [IIF] is no illusion. It is not fake news. It is not US propaganda. And it is not recoverable.
Which, as China is the engine of the global neoliberal dreambus, is not good for any of us. The ersatz prosperity and fake materialist progress are a total illusion if they will one day self-implode. And they will one day self-implode. And the day of China’s ‘Minsky Moment’ will be sooner, rather than later. They recently announced they were ending relentless credit stimulus, and world shares dropped (something like 15%) …so they started easing again. Rumours are they will expand easing if Trump imposes tariffs. Fighting fire with fire. Cutting lending standards and handing out Yuan loans to anyone who applies. Sound familiar?
The writing is on the wall, and the data came from the PBOC. We are driving as fast as we can toward a cliff edge, and China is driving the dreambus …and we are on the back seat singing their praises. Can anyone else see the irony?
As a percentage of total bank assets, Chinese shadow banks rank below world average.
Shadow banking accounts for 180% of American bank assets, 160% of Netherland’s, 50% of Britain’s and 40% of China’s.
Shadow banks are universal and useful and, if anyone can control them, China can.
Here’s a shadow banking chart from the US Financial Stability Board:
Are you cursing human nature?
This article, the whole thing, it’s bullshit. How can you have an article on Chinese censorship without mentioning China’s Social Credit Score System. It’s no f**king wonder that 95% of Chinese people give a big thumbs up to China and everything it does and stands for, if they don’t kiss its ass they can’t buy a f**king train ticket or get a job! LOL
Read this link and cry with laughter and fear all at once. China’s Social Credit System is…..the future of everywhere.
Make no mistake, 5G is all about bringing this kind of sick system to the rest of the world, now the bastards in power already realise what a success using fear, blackmail and manipulation to control people at levels they salivate about is. The Internet of Things……”noose please Matron!”
Then there’s this little pearler…..”If we don’t know that underinvestment in research cost us the 5G race”…….I’m sorry……the 5G race? The weaponised airwaves race, the massive surge in exposure to radiation 24/7 race, the government stepping up surveillance to 1984 on steroids race? I could go on. Oh dear, why did you not rename your website The Guardian 2 with the re-jig. Subtly embedding the idea that implementing 5G, which has NOT BEEN TESTED FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY, is some kind of race, re-inforcing the mantra of Donald Trump, is just plain low. Shame on you.
We’ve never taken any editorial position on 5G, though I get there are many questions being raised about it. We’d be happy to publish an analysis if anyone submits one.
That’s precisely the problem, there are none. There should be. It’s a lot easier (= cheaper) to run short term tests on new electromagnetic technologies than on the much over-ballyhooed tests on new drugs (long term tests require long terms, so aren’t even on the horizon for anything at all under the institutionalized social contempt that characterizes quarterly-results capitalism) but it’s become so blatant that anything electronic with bankable commercial clout behind it can escape even the often far too cursory (albeit $multimillion) sort of examination that the FDA insists on for pills. Right now the problem is not the untested technology, it’s the sheer nakedness of the well tested social contempt.
(Well, OK, it’s the potentially lethal – especially in the long term – bioenvironmental effect of the 5G system as well, though in terms of the real danger – the politics that underly it – that’s just a [detail]), in the same way that, in a ‘conventional’ war, it’s the grunts that get killed is just a [detail].)
5G and the Internet of Things herald a nightmarish big brother future even if the health and safety concerns were unfounded. Sadly there has been zero evaluation of 5G H&S.
Then you should reach out to those who have done so.
Hard evidence that 5G has most certainly not been tested for health and safety, from the US Senate and telcoms big fish
Here’s a great vid, telling it like it is.
As a matter of fact, Godfree Roberts has indeed written an article on China’s Social Credit system which would be worth reposting on Off-Guardian.org in its own right ATL, as it’s rather long.
Social Credit, Datong Dreams
Some of the BTL discussion at the Unz Review website is worth reading as well.
I agree with The Greanville Post staff on the Unz Review. They don’t deserve censorship, but they ‘are’ on the Right.
The Unz Review has published articles by John Pilger, among others. Are you going to avoid reading anything by John Pilger from now on, because he has been published there?
Perhaps you should go back to reading a reliable “Leftist” media outlet … like The Guardian?
Whoa! Did I say that I wouldn’t read Unz Review material? I have never been a Guardian reader (except maybe when one someone, in a forum like Off Guardian, linked to something written there), and will never be a reader of the Guardian. But, go ahead and go crazy and make up facts. It’s a free universe. I remember a Jen here who was fairly level-headed. These are strange times.
If we don’t inform ourselves and each other then we are ruining ourselves. I, for one, have no intention of going that route.
The author has put a positive spin on something that I think normal people would find horrifying. We don’t agree with censorship because we understand that 1. it’s wrong on principle and 2. Who are the censors? Same thing with regard to China’s social credit system. The censors here are just as virtuous (to go by their claims) and have the same positive social goal (to go by their claims) as Roberts’s Chinese ruling class. I think there’s a lesson in that fact. I don’t know about China’s ruling class the way I know about the US ruling class (even though I’m Canadian), but I don’t think that individuals within the Chinese ruling class are any less imperfect than people everywhere. (And that’s important as I explain in my essay titled “Progressives,” which I’ll link to here.) I do think that China is as unblessed as any other God-rejecting nation, with serious consequences for that nation. Yes, I’m a Christian. And, to the extent that there’s anything good about China’s social credit system and its architects and managers, as the Christian Bible (Psalm 127) makes clear, “Unless Jehovah builds the house, it is in vain that its builders have worked hard on it.” Are the Chinese political leaders seeking to completely harmonize their standards with the Creator’s standards? It’s Jesus Christ, and his Father, who I believe in. And I’ll believe in any who do not reject God’s standards. Much of what Roberts says about the Chinese ruling class indeed sounds Godly. But I’m not even close to buying that that ruling class is virtuous and not a danger to its own people. Sorry.
“Progressives” – https://arrby.wordpress.com/2018/12/26/progressives/
The author wants us to believe that the Chinese ruling class is only virtuous and their social credit system can only result in positive society-building. I don’t believe it for a minute. If you want to cut my throat because I don’t follow you blindly as you follow advocates of China’s social credit system blindly, that’s your call. I find what Roberts talks about in that article to be horrifying. Much of it the social credit application in China that Roberts reports looks good, but then when one has already taken a position on something, it’s easy enough for that person to cherry pick evidence to support conclusions reached.
Your issue with China’s Social Credit scheme is that the Chinese are creating a virtual social experiment that will effectively recreate and shape anew the country’s legal system, commerce and social conduct from the bottom up (that is, from point of view of everyday people’s lives), as opposed to recreating and shaping the society from the top down according to a particular set of values and principles which expects everyone – let’s see, that would be some 1.3 billion people belonging to no fewer than 50 different ethnic groups and who historically have believed in many different religions and belief systems including Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and all their different versions (including heretical sects) – to believe and adhere to, at the same time abandoning all those other rival sets of values and principles and belief systems that worked for them more or less over the past 2,500 years.
Your comment effectively seems to be advocating a theocracy to be imposed upon a society. I doubt that most Off-Guardian.org readers would not find the implications of your comment equally as horrifying as you find Godfree Roberts’ article on China’s Social Credit system.
From what Roberts has said about the scheme in his article, he has not said that the scheme stops people from making their own choices and decisions. From what I can see, the scheme privileges certain behaviours over others by awarding some extra brownie points and taking away points from others; it may be encouraging people to practise some form of self-censoring behaviour. Whether it encourages people to internalise the reasoning behind its rewarding of certain behaviours over others, and whether that’s a good thing or not, that should be the issue.
Chinese citizens can make their own choices within their social credit system? Okay. But when the State doesn’t like what you’re saying, what are the consequences of that, because ‘that’ is the issue? Once the State punishes you for your decisions, Will you feel free to stick to your principles afterward? Julian Assange was free to leave the embassy at any time according to (dead) liberals…
You and the author here want people to simply agree with you. You have no time for other views or for serious discussion, unless it’s discussion that supports your position. Forgive me for being as brazen as you. You told me (and therefore others) that I follow major media, when in fact the opposite is the truth. So perhaps you should be willing to take what you give, namely me telling you what you think and do. But I think that only one of us has it right. (Anyone can read my blog – A Yappy Trade Barrier – which, with my series [with three categories: 1. Professional Scam Artists 2. The Avalanche Snapshots and 3. Lawlessness / Ruined), serves as a clearinghouse for alternative media reports. Any references to establishment rags like WaPo or NYT or The Guardian will be negative.) You mischaracterized me and I’m sorting that out.
China’s social credit system scares the crap out of me. So do those who promote it on progressive websites like Off Guardian.
Well if I scare the crap out of you along with China’s social credit system, that seems to be your problem.
I’m only asking if the real issue with the social credit system is whether it encourages self-censorship or encourages people gaming the system by trying to score brownie points in some areas to gain advantages in others; or if it encourages people to internalise the values and principles it claims to uphold, such as honesty. In other words, if people grow up with the social credit system, and then travel to countries where similar systems don’t operate, would these people find themselves lost or would they be able to use what they have learned from the system and adapt to a new and unfamiliar social environment? These are very serious questions we should be asking about the system.
Whatever your feelings about the social credit system 5G is just a communication technology, or rather, a suite of communication technologies, its essentially no different from 3G or 4GLTE in what it does. The point about under investment is, regrettably, true; we in the US have dropped the ball somewhat, resulting in the deployment of something marketed as ‘5G E’, with the ‘E’ supposedly standing for ‘Evolution’ but in the words of the head of one of the associations charged with developing and deploying international standards really means ‘Ersatz’. (Estimates of how far we are behind vary from two to five years.)
Since we’re getting 5G — whether we want it or not — the local papers are full of letters warning of the grave dangers of microwave radiation. This is not a good way to oppose 5G; electromagnetic radiation comes from all sorts of sources such as the sun and the streetlights that the 5G microcells are mounted on. Thinking there’s invisible danger is just playing into the hands of the technology companies because there is no scientific evidence or logical reasoning for this objection. There are plenty of reasons not to like 5G, though. Its basically a solution looking for a problem and in the hands of modern marketing types its designed primarily to enable microtransactions from everyday household objects. (Modern marketing loves the rental model.) In reality the Internet of Things is more likely to be the Internet of Vulnerabilities, it will be like living with constant Windows updates without even the promise of a maybe working computer at the end of it.
Now, about China, social credit and the like. One problem with the Red Menace school of everyday propaganda is it doesn’t take into account that there are a lot of Chinese people about, people who are your neighbors, colleagues and often friends. They have a more sanguine view of the mainland than the typical media talking head (and they have cellphones so if they want to find out something they can easily call a relative and ask them). The social credit system seems to be a peculiarly Chinese way of dealing with a clash of civilizations — China’s developing so rapidly that you’ve got people who are mentally anywhere from the 19th century to the 22th century. They have to encourage socially correct behavior (which, if you’ve seen video of Chinese people storming an all you can eat buffet is probably a very good idea). The system they’ve chosen is to say to people that if you want nice things then you need to behave in a nice way. (BTW — You can still buy train tickets even if you’re totally antisocial, they just won’t be for the new high speed service.) I don’t think I’d like this system that much but then I’m not Chinese; however, on the other hand if you’ve ever lived in the inner city where “if it wasn’t nailed down it got stolen (and if it was nailed down it would be prised up” you might welcome something like that. Constructive suggestions would be welcome; our local solution is to design the neighborhoods so that its difficult to be a petty criminal and have a police force that has nothing to do except harass anti-social elements.
If there is nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear. On this basis, we must have full transparent, independent, health and safety testing BEFORE this crap is foisted upon the public. This is basic common sense, anyone who says otherwise is a brainwashed, stupid moron.
Once installed, our bodies will be subject to millimeter waveforms 24/7, no escape, anyhwere. F**k that. It is not just a communication system. First and foremost it is a surveillance system, with a badge on it which says “I am a communications system”, enough to fool people who have been dog trained to submit to this kind of bullshit.
5G and its applications would have Orwell reaching for the whiskey. It uses millimeter wave technology, used as a weapon by the military. You shills going around saying “oh it’s just the same as 4G and 3G” are nothing but liars, peddling lies. If there are no issues surrounding 5G, why no testing? Why has the industry spent not one red cent testing for health and saftety? It’s not the same. You know it, I know it, so stop lying.
“the local papers are full of letters warning of the grave dangers of microwave radiation. This is not a good way to oppose 5G”. I’m glad to hear people are speaking out. We need more of this.
“They have to encourage socially correct behavior (which, if you’ve seen video of Chinese people storming an all you can eat buffet is probably a very good idea). ” Ok Adolf, whatever you say. You are revealing yourself as someone who has been brainwashed to a frightening level, when you say things like this. Justifying a Nazi like system such as the Chinese Social Credit System on the basis of how folk react at an all you can eat buffet merely exposes how shallow your arguments are.
And yes, I have lived in Barcelona, the thieving capital of the world. You can still shove this Satanic system where it’s hard to get a suntan.
Read ’em and weep https://ehtrust.org/scientific-research-on-5g-and-health/
You’re supporting a social credit system? Really? Who are you?
i’m not sure a “business insider” article cuts the mustard around here. you did read this article, right? you just proved the authors point nicely
Please let me know which parts of the article I linked to are not true. I was making the point that the author is trying to sell us the Chinese Utopia, by informing us how positively the Chinese respond to questions about their government, when there is a dystopian system in place which punishes them if they do not support the government or show signs of dissent. He fails to mention this, qhich is totally disingenuous. No wonder they responded positively.
I thought the article on business insider (a website I couldn’t give a flying horse’s ass about) was fine, they quote their sources and clearly lay out the “creepiness” of this system. No apologies
I’m also concerned about a James Corbett report on how Nicolas Maduro is thinking of using a similar social credit system in Venezuela. I hope that James is wrong. If not, there goes Maduro’s credibility. Noam Chomsky, who the author quotes favorably, has some spicy things to say about that social credit system.
That’s something like I said.
Thank you, very interesting, but I would have to dispute this phrase near the end: “Everyone everywhere trusts state outlets like the BBC twice as much as private media “
I can only speak for myself. My trust in the Official State Broadcaster is no higher, and indeed rather a lot lower, than the credibility I’d attach to private media. (No honourable exception for the den of vipers run by the Scott Trust). At least a shitty rag like The Sun doesn’t pretend to be objective and eschews the smoke and mirrors put out to try and obscure the out-and-out propaganda that gushes from the old Etonian mobsters who run the Beeb.
Glad to see the site move has been successful (or appears to have been).
I second KarenEliot. I used to also hold the BBC up as the most trustworthy of all news outlets. I don’t remember the exact moment when all this changed, but it became more and more noticeable around the time of David Kelly’s death that something was wrong. Silly me, I used to have a high opinion of The Guardian as well. Now to try to interpret what is happening around the planet I have to look in ten or twenty places in the four languages I am comfortable reading, and try to figure it out by myself…
Keep doing what you’re doing, because there’s no other way for you to get a handle on things. Alternative doesn’t automatically mean better. And progressive can be fake or can be progressive today and traitorous tomorrow. And even when the label of progressive is attached to some individual or org, they are not going to be right about everything. (And sometimes their blind spots are serious.) I’ve seen enough of that to be sure of that.
I’ve recently suffered the same loss of faith in the ABC. It’s China-bashing is atrocious.
Have those state media really sold out or are we just better informed these days?
Prior to the internet, those state funded or state regulated media were our sole window on the world.
A lucky few who had access to overseas information were able to discover that other narrative versions of the same events were available – I got my first inklings that the BBC was unreliable when I lived in France in the 90s.
With the internet came an explosion in alternative views, some outlandish but many offering the thing our overlords dislike the most – nuance.