Tag: China

Not This Sh%$ Again

Once again, we have hand wringing from the “Very Serious People” that a declining population is the end of the world.

This time; it’s China, and this time, according to the appropriately hysterical tech reporter, population decline will destroy the country.

In fact, they don’t say HOW this would destroy the country, it just self-evidently bad.

While it is true that having more elderly people and fewer working age people places demands on the funding of old age benefits, if there are fewer working age people, their pay goes up, because there is a smaller supply of labor.

That is why (as I have not infrequently noted) the black death was followed by skyrocketing wages and productivity from most of the population of Europe.

The continued drop in new births is a ticking time bomb for Beijing. Fewer births means less labor force supply, which in turn adds to the pressure on a pension system that relies on contributions from the working population. China had 254 million elderly residents aged 60 or above in 2019, according to the statistics bureau—that’s 18% of the whole population of 1.4 billion.

That number is expected to expand to 300 million by 2025, according to China’s ministry of civil affairs. Some research suggests a bleak conclusion: China’s state pension scheme could run out of funding by 2035 due to the shrinking workforce. That would be a huge issue for the Party, whose top priority is to maintain social stability.

The workers’ pension payments go up by 10%, and their wages go up by 20%, and everyone, wins, except, perhaps for Foxconn and its ilk, who see wage pressures cut into their profits.

Certainly, there are accommodations to be made, like making the workplace friendlier to older workers in addition to increasing taxes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Worst ……… Idea Ever

An employee of the Cato Institute who was fired for planting articles on behalf of Jack Abramoff for money, (And was later rehired) is now suggesting that the best way for America to deal with China’s increasing power is to encourage our allies to develop their own nuclear arsenals.

This is way worse than invading Iraq, drafting Heath Shuler, or the New Coke:

Nobody envies U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at the moment. The problems he faces seem insurmountable.

China likely will be the administration’s most serious foreign challenge. The United States is wealthier and more powerful, but remains committed—overcommitted, in fact—around the globe. The world’s finest—and most expensive—military goes only so far.


Can the United States defend Taiwan, destroy Chinese naval outposts on artificial islands, keep sea lanes open, protect territories claimed by Japan and the Philippines, and so on? Beijing is focused on developing Anti Access/Area Denial capabilities: It costs much less for China to build missiles and submarines capable of sinking aircraft carriers than for the United States to construct, staff, and maintain the latter. The Pentagon is concocting countervailing strategies, but they will be neither cheap nor risk-free. How much can Americans, facing manifold, expensive challenges at home and elsewhere abroad, afford to devote to containing the PRC essentially within its own borders?


It is difficult to make a credible case for extended deterrence even for Japan. Would any American president really trade Los Angeles for Tokyo? The promise is made on the assumption that the bluff will never be called: Advocates simply assume perfect deterrence. However, history is littered with similar military and political presumptions, later shattered with catastrophic consequences.

What to do? There is one way to square the circle. The Biden administration should reconsider reflexive U.S. opposition to “friendly proliferation.” Ironically, current policy ensures that nuclear weapons are held by only the worst Asian states—authoritarian and revisionist China and Russia, Islamist and unstable Pakistan, illiberal and Hindu nationalist India, and totalitarian and threatening North Korea. Against all these, Washington is supposed to defend Japan and South Korea, certainly, the Philippines and Australia, possibly, and Taiwan, conceivably. That is dangerous for everyone, especially the United States.

Reversing a policy supported by neoconservative nation-builders, unilateral nationalists, and liberal internationalists would not be easy. The change would be dramatic, and not without risk, whether from potential terrorism, nuclear accidents, or geopolitical provocations. Although the nuclear age has been surprisingly stable, proliferation necessarily creates additional risks for conflict and leakage. Nevertheless, the existence of nuclear weapons probably helped contain conventional conflict, especially between the United States and the Soviet Union. Even more, nations are convinced that modest arsenals keep rival states at bay, which is why countries as disparate as Israel, North Korea, and India have developed arsenals at great cost.

This is completely bonkers. 

This makes Dick Cheney look like Mahatma Ghandi.

To quote Terry Pratchett:

If complete and utter chaos was lightning, then he’d be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting ‘All gods are bastards!’

This Was Forseeable

The PRC is threatening to detain US Citizens in China in retaliation for the US detention of Chinese scholars

This was foreseeable, particularly given that the US prosecutions appear in some cases to be largely pretextual and politically motivated:

Chinese officials have told the Trump administration that security officers in China might detain American citizens if the Justice Department proceeds with prosecutions of arrested scholars who are members of the Chinese military, American officials said.

The Chinese officials conveyed the messages starting this summer, when the Justice Department intensified efforts to arrest and charge the scholars, mainly with providing false information on their visa applications, the American officials said. U.S. law enforcement officials say at least five Chinese scholars who have been arrested in recent months did not disclose their military affiliations on visa applications and might have been trying to conduct industrial espionage in research centers.

American officials said they thought the Chinese officials were serious about the threats. The State Department has reiterated travel warnings as a result, they said. Western officials and human rights advocates have said for years that the Chinese police and other security agencies engage in arbitrary detentions.

This is not a surprise.

Yes, Genocide

In addition to detaining millions, and forced reeducation, we now knwo that thousands of mosques in Xinjiang have been destroyed. (Also here)

When you look at actions that indicate genocide and ethnic cleansing, systematic destruction of religious buildings is a pretty clear indicator:

Thousands of mosques in Xinjiang have been damaged or destroyed in just three years, leaving fewer in the region than at any time since the Cultural Revolution, according to a report on Chinese oppression of Muslim minorities.

The revelations are contained in an expansive data project by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which used satellite imagery and on-the-ground reporting to map the extensive and continuing construction of detention camps and destruction of cultural and religious sites in the north-western region.

The thinktank said Chinese government claims that there were more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang and that it was committed to protecting and respecting religious beliefs were not supported by the findings, and estimated that fewer than 15,000 mosques remained standing – with more than half of those damaged to some extent.

“This is the lowest number since the Cultural Revolution, when fewer than 3,000 mosques remained,” the report said.

It found around two-thirds of the area’s mosques were affected, and about 50% of protected cultural sites had been damaged or destroyed, including the total destruction of Ordam mazar (shrine), an ancient site of pilgrimage dating back to the 10th century.

A lot of people will be asking, “What can be done?”

The answer is, “Quite a lot,” because while the “Hanification” of outlying regions has been a priority of the Chinese Government since before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, this particular case of aggressive genocide is very specifically the initiative of current President Xi Jinping.

An aggressive policy of economic and political isolation, one that applies to all of the Chinese elites, would put pressure on them to change the policy or change the President.

This Was a Foreseeable Consequence

In response to China’s new security laws imposed by Beijing, the there have been calls for the UK to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

This makes sense.

Given that the law makes protests against China illegal anywhere in the world that they occur, it’s a reasonable step.

China throwing a hissy fit over this is akin to a soccer player pretending that a foul occurred:

Conservative MPs and Labour are calling for the wholesale overhaul of relations with China after the government suspended extradition with Hong Kong and banned the export of riot control equipment following Beijing’s imposition of a sweeping national security law on the territory.

Announcing the measures to the Commons, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, stressed the desire for continued cooperation with China, but said the actions were “a reasonable and proportionate response” to the law, which effectively criminalises most political dissent.


Speaking before Raab’s announcement, China’s foreign ministry said it would be a mistake to suspend the extradition treaty and urged the UK “to take no more steps down the wrong path”.

While Raab’s decisions were welcomed by both Labour and Conservative MPs, the foreign secretary faced calls to take more robust action, particularly over the mass repression of the Uighur population in China’s Xinjiang province which rights groups warn amounts to cultural genocide.


Saying this was a serious violation of the agreement that set out Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status after the handover to China in 1997, Raab said extradition would be stopped unless Beijing gave “clear and robust safeguards” about how the law would be used. The UK does not have an extradition agreement with mainland China.

The UK is also extending to Hong Kong an arms embargo that has covered mainland China since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, including a bar on equipment that could be used for crowd control, such as shackles and smoke grenades.


Britain has already promised that up to 3 million Hong Kong residents will be offered the chance to settle in the UK and a path to permanent citizenship.

These are foreseeable consequences to the Chinese security laws, and the Chinese government must have anticipated these actions.

Chill the f%$# out.

We Need to Call This Genocide

In addition to taking children from parents and locking up millions in internment camps, China is now aggressively sterilizing Uighurs in an attempt to destroy them as a people.

This evil needs to be confronted, and excluded from the brotherhood of nations, not traded with:

Chinese authorities are carrying out forced sterilisations of women in an apparent campaign to curb the growth of ethnic minority populations in the western Xinjiang region, according to research published on Monday.

The report, based on a combination of official regional data, policy documents and interviews with ethnic minority women, has prompted an international group of lawmakers to call for a United Nations investigation into China’s policies in the region.


The country is accused of locking more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in re-education camps. Beijing describes the facilities as job training centres aimed at steering people away from terrorism following a spate of violence blamed on separatists.

A report by Adrian Zenz, a German researcher who has exposed China’s policies in Xinjiang, says Uighur women and other ethnic minorities are being threatened with internment in the camps for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed birth quotas.


Zenz found that population growth in Xinjiang counties predominantly home to ethnic minorities fell below the average growth in primarily Han majority counties between 2017 and 2018, a year after the officially recorded rate of sterilisations in the region sharply overtook the national rate in 2016.


“These findings raise serious concerns as to whether Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang represent, in fundamental respects, what might be characterised as a demographic campaign of genocide” under UN definitions, Zenz said in the report.

The People’s Republic of China will only end their activities against the Uighurs when the response from the rest of the world is sufficiently painful and destabilizing to make change their calculus.


At least, there is symmetry.

It turns out that Eric Prince’s mercenary operations may be a part of a Chinese government intelligence operation:

The really important fact about Erik Prince that is not mentioned in The New York Times reporting that he has been using retired US and British spies, presumably human intelligence offers (HUMINTers), to teach James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas employees to be more effective is not that Prince founded and used to run Blackwater, nor that he’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss’s brother, nor that he’s very close with the President and others in the administration and the reelection campaign. The really important fact is that Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group, the company of military contractors that he runs, is owned by DVN Holdings, which would ultimately make Prince its chairman. DVN Holdings is owned by Hong Kong investor Johnson Ko Chun and the Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation (Citic), which is a People’s Republic of China (PRC) owned investment fund. Johnson Ko Chun is also on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica’s spin off Emerdata Ltd along with Rebekah Mercer, her sister Jennifer, as well as former senior officials from Cambridge Analytica. Emerdata is also still tied to the former Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm SCL Group.

The important fact that everyone keeps missing is that Erik Prince’s operations are funded by the People’s Republic of China. He is now their asset. If he is involved with O’Keefe’s merry band of political ratfuckers, then he is only involved so long as Xi and the PRC want him to be. The same goes for Emerdata. And anything else that Prince involves himself with. Despite having a long history of looting his own companies and skimming from his investors and backers, such as the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Prince’s financial backing from the PRC state owned Chinese International Trust Investment Corporation means that he works for the PRC and does so only as long as he advances their interests.

I am so not surprised.  Eric Prince and Blackwater, Xe, Academi have done more damage to the United States than almost any other entity connected to the US state security apparatus.

The idea that they are being backed by the PRC in order to subvert the United States makes perfect sense.

WSJ Editorial Page Draws Blood

Unfortunately, the worst OP/ED page in the United States drawn blood from their own reporters, as reported by the Washington Post*:

The Wall Street Journal’s China staff is urging the newspaper to apologize for a headline that prompted the Chinese government to expel three of its journalists last week.

The email from the Journal’s China bureau to the top officers of the paper’s parent companies, in effect, sides with the Chinese, who have demanded an apology and retaliated with the expulsions last week.

The headline in question — “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — appeared on an opinion column written by academic and foreign affairs specialist Walter Russell Mead in the Journal on Feb. 3. The column was a commentary on the health of China’s financial markets, rather than a reference to the coronavirus outbreak there.

Chinese officials and ordinary citizens have protested that “sick man” is a racist phrase once used by Westerners to denigrate China during and immediately after the era in which colonial powers dominated and exploited the nation.

This was egregious enough that Mr. Mead disavowed the headline to his own article:

Mr. Mead, the writer of the op-ed, suggested in a Twitter post on Feb. 8 that he was opposed to the headline, writing, “Argue with the writer about the article content, with the editors about the headlines.” He declined to comment for this article.

I don’t think that the WSJ can fix this problem, though its editorials are routinely called out as false by the front page of the WSJ.

Unfortunately, dishonest, hypocritical, and (quite frankly) insane editorials from the Journal have been baked into its DNA since well before Rupert Murdoch took over the paper

*Ironically, the Washington Post OPO/ED page is the 2nd worst editorial page among the major papers.

Look Out Below

Interesting charts from Morgan Stanley. Recent drop of air pollution in 4 major Chinese cities. 2 conclusions. #Corona does 10 x more than EU Green Deal to environment. The drop in Chinese manufacturing is unseen in history and should bring Q1 GDP of China in negative territory pic.twitter.com/DRfh2wl6J9

— Gino Landuyt (@GinoLanduyt) February 14, 2020

If the Chinese economy is headed for an actual recession, we are headed for profoundly interesting times.

Oh, Snap

If you want a snapshot of public opinion in Hong Kong about the recent pro-democracy protests, the district council elections indicate widespread support:

Pro-democracy candidates buoyed by months of street protests in Hong Kong won a stunning victory in local elections on Sunday, as record numbers voted in a vivid expression of the city’s aspirations and its anger with the Chinese government.

It was a pointed rebuke of Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong, and the turnout — seven in 10 eligible voters — suggested that the public continues to back the democracy movement, even as the protests grow increasingly violent. Young Hong Kongers, a major force behind the demonstrations of the past six months, played a leading role in the voting surge.

With three million voters casting ballots, pro-democracy candidates captured 389 of 452 elected seats, up from only 124 and far more than they have ever won. With one race undecided, the government’s allies held just 57 seats, a remarkable collapse from 300.


The elections were for district councils, one of the lowest elected offices in Hong Kong, and they are typically a subdued affair focused on community issues. The job mostly entails pushing for neighborhood needs like bus stops and traffic lights.

But this election took on outsize significance, and was viewed as a referendum on the unrest that has created the city’s worst political crisis in decades. In a semiautonomous part of China where greater democracy is one of the protesters’ biggest demands, it gave residents a rare chance to vote.

The gains at the ballot box are likely to embolden a democracy movement that has struggled with how to balance peaceful and violent protests to achieve its goals.

Unfortunately, I think that Beijing will take exactly the wrong lesson from this, and pressure local authorities to crack down further.

In the long run, I tend to think that Hong Kong’s special status is doomed within the PRC.

Remember Skybolt?

I am referring, of course, to the GAM-87 Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile, which was developed by the United States in the early 1960s as a was to penetrate increasingly capable Soviet air defense systems.

It was canceled when the Polaris SLBM was determined to better fit the needs.

We now have evidence that the People’s Republic of China is developing a very similar system, though it will likely not be used as a strategic system.

It appears to be a derived from the mobile land base DF-21 of the It will be used to target aircraft carriers, and the air launched capabilities will force carrier groups even further from China, particularly since the platform China’s upgraded Badger the H-6N, is designed with air to air refueling capabilities:

A centrefold graphic recently flourished intimate details of a Chinese bomber carrying a stark new weapon. State-controlled media has since gone into cover-up mode. But military analysts think Beijing may have been caught with its pants down.

The government produced Modern Ships magazine has splashed high-resolution computer-generated images of China’s most recent addition to its strategic bomber line-up – the H-6N – over the front and feature pages.

But that’s not what drew the eye of the world’s defence thinkers.

The graphics showed the new bomber carrying a huge ballistic missile slung under its fuselage. And that missile looks a lot like one of a family of ballistic weapons deployed by China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) as aircraft carrier killers.

I do not think that this is an unintentional release of information.

After all, how can you deter a CVBG if they do not know about the threat.

The carrier aircraft is extensively modified as well:

Defence enthusiasts noted several strange things about the latest N variant of China’s Xian H-6 series of strategic bombers when it was unveiled to the public at the 70th National Day parade in October.

The state-controlled Xinhua news service simply said it was a “homemade strategic bomber capable of air refuelling and long-range strike”.

But when a flight of three of the bombers flew over Beijing, military experts saw it doesn’t have bomb-bay doors. Instead, it has what appears to be new heavyweight attachment points in a recess along the centre-line of its fuselage.

Also noted was its modified, extended nose-cone and an air-to-air refuelling nozzle.

Assuming that the system can be made to work reliably, and this would include a multitude of sensors and cuing systems, it would be a formidable areal denial system.

Not a Single Occurrence of the Word “Genocide”

The New York Times has a blockbuster using leaked documents showing that China is using mass detentions in an attempt to eradicate the culture of its citizens in western China, most notably the Uighurs. (Long read)

Acting on this scale, there are somewhere around a million people in detention, one can only conclude that that this is a deliberate attempt to eliminate the ethnic character of the population that they are likening to a disease.

Why not a single quote from someone who would describe it as a “genocide”?

The students booked their tickets home at the end of the semester, hoping for a relaxing break after exams and a summer of happy reunions with family in China’s far west.

Instead, they would soon be told that their parents were gone, relatives had vanished and neighbors were missing — all of them locked up in an expanding network of detention camps built to hold Muslim ethnic minorities.

The authorities in the Xinjiang region worried the situation was a powder keg. And so they prepared.

The leadership distributed a classified directive advising local officials to corner returning students as soon as they arrived and keep them quiet. It included a chillingly bureaucratic guide for how to handle their anguished questions, beginning with the most obvious: Where is my family?

The directive was among 403 pages of internal documents that have been shared with The New York Times in one of the most significant leaks of government papers from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. They provide an unprecedented inside view of the continuing clampdown in Xinjiang, in which the authorities have corralled as many as a million ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs and others into internment camps and prisons over the past three years.


The leaked papers offer a striking picture of how the hidden machinery of the Chinese state carried out the country’s most far-reaching internment campaign since the Mao era. The key disclosures in the documents include:  

  • President Xi Jinping, the party chief, laid the groundwork for the crackdown in a series of speeches delivered in private to officials during and after a visit to Xinjiang in April 2014, just weeks after Uighur militants stabbed more than 150 people at a train station, killing 31. Mr. Xi called for an all-out “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism” using the “organs of dictatorship,” and showing “absolutely no mercy.”


  • The crackdown encountered doubts and resistance from local officials who feared it would exacerbate ethnic tensions and stifle economic growth. Mr. Chen responded by purging officials suspected of standing in his way, including one county leader who was jailed after quietly releasing thousands of inmates from the camps.

    The leaked papers consist of 24 documents, some of which contain duplicated material. They include nearly 200 pages of internal speeches by Mr. Xi and other leaders, and more than 150 pages of directives and reports on the surveillance and control of the Uighur population in Xinjiang. There are also references to plans to extend restrictions on Islam to other parts of China.


Since 2017, the authorities in Xinjiang have detained many hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in internment camps. Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party.


The guide recommended increasingly firm replies telling the students that their relatives had been “infected” by the “virus” of Islamic radicalism and must be quarantined and cured. Even grandparents and family members who seemed too old to carry out violence could not be spared, officials were directed to say.

“If they don’t undergo study and training, they’ll never thoroughly and fully understand the dangers of religious extremism,” one answer said, citing the civil war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State. “No matter what age, anyone who has been infected by religious extremism must undergo study.”

I would note that the CCP already has a policy of aggressive immigration of Han Chinese into non-Han regions, so this is actually stage 2 of a policy that fits the UN definition of Genocide.

At the very least, the reporters could have brought in an export to bring up the genocidal aspects of what Beijing is doing.

Almost Literally Shooting Someone on 5th Avenue

Trump has doubled down on pressuring foreign government to investigate his political opponents, publicly urging China to investigate Hunter Biden, Joe’s kid.

Let me be clear, the complaint that Hunter Biden trades on his family name has validity, but this does not justify the President* using the power of his office to coerce foreign nations to do opposition research:

President Trump, already facing impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, publicly called on China on Thursday to examine former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well, an extraordinary request for help from a foreign power that could benefit him in next year’s election.

“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida. His request came just moments after he discussed upcoming trade talks with China and said that “if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.”

The president’s call for Chinese intervention means that Mr. Trump and his attorney general have now solicited assistance in discrediting the president’s political opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and, according to one report, Britain. In speaking so publicly on Thursday, a defiant Mr. Trump pushed back against critics who have called such requests an abuse of power, essentially arguing that there was nothing wrong with seeking foreign help to fight corruption.

Clearly the sort of actions for which impeachment was originally conceived by the founders, but that still makes the chance of a conviction smaller than winning the lottery.

This is China Paying for It

Notwithstanding the claims of the free market mousketeers, China has always had more to lose in the event of a trade war.

Now, we are seeing the Chinese consequences of a trade war, where US firms are moving their supply chains from China.

It is neither trivial nor cheap to move a supply change, and once moved, it is neither trivial nor cheap to move a supply chain back, so any changes resulting from Trump’s tariffs are likely to be long term:

U.S. manufacturers are shifting production to countries outside of China as trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies stretch into a second year.

Companies that make Crocs shoes, Yeti beer coolers, Roomba vacuums and GoPro cameras are producing goods in other countries to avoid U.S. tariffs of as much as 25% on some $250 billion of imports from China. Apple Inc. also is considering shifting final assembly of some of its devices out of China to avoid U.S. tariffs.

Furniture-maker Lovesac Co. is making about 60% of its furniture in China, down from 75% at the start of the year. “We have been shifting production to Vietnam very aggressively,” said Shawn Nelson, chief executive of the Stamford, Conn., company. Mr. Nelson said he plans to have no production in China by the end of next year.


“Once you move, you don’t go back,” Mr. Nelson said.

This is something that people miss:  China is far more dependent on existing supply chains than the US does.

I Expect to See Chinese Tanks in Hong Kong

While Beijing may be loath to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, but there is one thing that will make the PRC crack down on Hong Kong, and that is if it results in fallout with Taiwan.
It now appears that the Hong Kong protests are now stoking the fires in Taiwan, and while the Chinese do not currently have the resources to enforce their will across the Taiwan Straight, they do .

Basically, anything indicating a move toward a Taiwanese declaration of sovereignty, and the People’s Republic will completely lose their sh%$, and if they tie this to Hong Kong protests, I would expect a military intervention there:

The protests in Hong Kong which have reverberated around the world have had more impact on Taiwan than anywhere else.

The anxieties they triggered about Beijing’s intentions toward Taiwan came to the boil in demonstrations in Taipei. On Sunday June 23, for example, a rally by around 5,000 mostly young people against Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill was followed by a much larger protest involving hundreds of thousands criticizing Chinese influence on Taiwan’s media.

They urged the government to take action against the so-called “Red Media,” a reference to local outlets purchased by business people with interests in China.

While the Red Media are at the front of the Taiwanese protesters’ complaints, the extradition law is clearly not far behind. The fear that Beijing is tightening its grip on the former British colony exacerbates Taiwanese people’s fears about their own futures — and brings Taiwanese and Hong Kongers closer together.

I have a bad feeling about this.

Slowing Economy + Rising Food Prices = Civil Unrest

This is a literally recipe for rioting in the streets.

Business is normally bustling at the sprawling Xinfandi produce market in southern Beijing, where stores, restaurants and thrifty shoppers buy their fruits and vegetables in bulk.

But more apple sellers were napping than hustling one recent afternoon. The price of apples had nearly doubled, to roughly $1 per pound, and people were spending their money elsewhere.


Already grappling with a slowing economy and President Trump’s trade war, Beijing now has to worry about the rising price of food. It is not just apples. Other fruits and vegetables are more expensive. The price of pork has jumped as the country deals with a devastating swine fever epidemic. Chicken, beef and lamb prices have been creeping up, too.

When juxtaposed with the current tit-for-tat on tariffs, where the Chinese have placed taxes on American agricultural products, this is a heady mix.

It’s Genocide

There are increasing (weak tea) concerns in the west over China’s treatment of its Uygur pupulation in the west of the country.

What they are not saying is that Beijing’s efforts in Xinjiang are an attempt to destroy them as a distinct people, which is by any definition genocide:

Few governments send ambassadors to China to be brave about human rights. Envoys to Beijing are scholars of realism, their fine minds applied to a delicate task: managing profitable relations with a deep-pocketed, unapologetic dictatorship.

It is, therefore, a big deal that at least 14 ambassadors from Western countries, led by Canada, have come together to confront China over its mass detentions of Muslims in the far-western region of Xinjiang, most of them ethnic Uighurs. Officials say the purpose is to stamp out extremism. In a letter leaked to Reuters, a news agency, the ambassadors have asked to meet Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party’s boss in Xinjiang. A hardliner transferred from Tibet, Mr Chen oversees a gulag into which perhaps a million Uighurs have been sent for “transformation-through-education”, many for indefinite periods without trial.

Millions more endure surveillance by facial-recognition cameras, smartphone scanners and police patrols at every turn. Some must host officials as houseguests, sent to assess their loyalties. China calls these measures vital after terrorist attacks carried out in recent years by Uighur fanatics.

This is genocide.

It is a deliberate and systematic attempt to destroy the Uighurs as a people.

Let me repeat:  This is genocide.