China is rewriting the rules of the global order.

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China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« on: October 09, 2020, 10:51:34 PM »
How China Outsmarted the Trump Administration

While the U.S. is distracted, China is rewriting the rules of the global order.

Back in May, when President Donald Trump called for America to stop funding the World Health Organization, he presented a list of the WHO’s recent failures: the organization’s initial failure to flag the spread of the novel coronavirus; its initial failure to follow up when Taiwan—a country excluded from the WHO because of Chinese objections—inquired about evidence that seemed to indicate that the virus could be transmitted from one human to another; its initial failure to press China to accept an international investigation into the source of the virus. At the beginning of the pandemic, the WHO, which operates as a specialized agency of the United Nations, seemed to be one beat behind. It also seemed overly reliant upon biased information provided by the government of China.

Trump did not make this list because he hopes to fix or improve the world’s most important guardian of public health. This, along with his administration’s announcement in September of its intention to begin withdrawing money and personnel from the WHO, was just electoral politics. Given his own administration’s failure to react adequately to warnings from the WHO when they did finally arrive, Trump needed a scapegoat. What could be better than an unfamiliar organization whose acronym looks like a pronoun?

But although much of what the WHO does is of no interest to Trump, its achievements are real. Aside from its role in pandemics, the organization facilitates scientific exchange, compiling and distributing the results of international research. It provides medicines, vaccines, and health advice to the developing world, and is especially important in countries that don’t have their own pharmaceutical industry. It has had many genuine successes—the elimination of smallpox is probably the most famous—and wields enormous influence and prestige. The removal of American funding would damage its ability to help countries cope with the new coronavirus and fight many other diseases.

American withdrawal from the WHO will have another impact: China’s influence will grow. And America will lose yet another battle in an ideological war that most of us don’t even know we are fighting. For more than a decade, while we’ve been distracted by other things, the Chinese government has made the gradual rewriting of international rules—all kinds of rules, in many realms, including commerce and politics—one of the central pillars of its foreign policy. At a Communist Party congress in 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping openly declared this to be a “new era” of “great-power diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.” And in this new era—a time of the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”—China is seeking to “take an active part in leading the reform of the global governance system.” Stated plainly, this is an attempt to rewrite the operating language of the international system so that it benefits autocracies instead of democracies....

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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2020, 04:57:53 AM »
I watched a really good doc on YouTube about 'sinofication that I can't find now

It is interesting because although since we've all lived in China and seen that it isn't actually a particularly functional society, even if you are well off, I do seriously wonder if there is a better one on offer from USA or anywhere else. The world that we grew up in with the US as the top power, whatever we think about it is gone, not just because of the rise in the power of China, but also because of the decline of western governments.
Even if China had not become an economic superpower and started to change the way that global politics operates, the problems with the systems that we grew up in where corporate power completely surpassed national power and national governments are just run by pretty dumb posh people who don't really affect much or have any interest in affecting anything beyond making sure that they stay rich was going to happen.
On a positive note, the Chinese government is capable of solving a lot of environmental problems that the west simply isn't. I don't feel that I am smart enough, plus with my privilege I don't think it's wise to say whether the people who are suffering under the level of corruption and incompetence of the Chinese government in the poorer regions of China are 'worth' the ability to have a chance with climate change, but it is a thing.
Hopefully there will be a better way, there was a 'third world' movement that was an idea kicking around in the 50s and 60s as the British and French empires collapsed and a lot of new countries didn't want to join the Imperialist or Soviet empires and aimed for something that was actually decentralised and fair. These movements were wiped out, but conditions have changed and at some point this question will come up again.

Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2020, 05:55:24 PM »
Been trying to work out my position on a particular idea sometimes associated with China, "fragmented authoritarianism". The suggestion, I'm thinking, is that there are varieties of authoritarianism that are monolithic on the outside but almost pluralistic on the inside by virtue of being... affiliations of warlords, I guess.. The whole place is ruled by "one party", but that one party contains factions and local authorities that may or may not bow - internally - to the higher leaders. The ideology remains, and the formal internal systems stay "top down", but the practice is one of all sorts of compromise and intrigue.

"Integrated fragmentation" is another version. Where "fragmented authoritarianism" suggests delay and inefficiency, "integrated fragmentation" suggests possibly effective functioning.

By which preamble I mean to begin wondering how to view China. Plainly, China exists. But what is it? As a cultural and ideological entity, it may or may not be especially different from anything else in the world, but by virtue of scale whatever differences do exist appear to make it astoundingly alien. Okay so, it's huge and it's different, and it appears to have an agenda, and that agenda is being played out in a stupendously large fashion. But like everything in China, the impact comes from a million tiny operatives rather than from any telegraphed institution.... Right? Or perhaps those institutions do exist and we - I - are making the same mistake as always - I don't recognise or understand the motivation here so I shall assume it and it's associated entities do not exist.

Well, if China is a fragmented authoritarian, we can assume that whatever "institution" comes into being is unstable. The motivations behind those structures may be universal (to Chinese) and therefore genuinely institutional. But they may also just be a random collection of forces that have currently tended into this or that direction.

But if it's an integrated collection of parts - or a system on the way to integration - then that's substantially more powerful as a future entity.




Maybe it's just that China is so new as a modern entity. The final form has not appeared yet. All the pieces are moving into place, but the organization is so alien that no one's willing to percieve it yet.

You know, Chinese leadership and ideologues keep saying things right out in th eopen and they don't get heard. The historical necessity of the rise of new China - that's one that they seem to know the meaning of but no one else does.


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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2020, 05:04:53 PM »
Outsmarting the Trump administration isn't hard.  Tell them that if they attack some noun (person, place, or thing), that will get more votes  in the election and then stand back and watch what happens.  Add in Trump's ways of abusing America's firmest allies, and US influence goes down whether or not any other country is rising.

China's rise seems fragmented, but all of those fragments are like an avalanche.  The stones may bounce different ways, but the overall movement is in the same general direction and the speed continues to increase.  To narrow down the focus, look at what's happened since the economic changes that began in 1979/80.  Four experimental special economic zones seemed like such a tiny thing.  Some aspects of the experiments didn't work as well as expected, but others were far more successful than anyone anticipated.  Those successful parts that started as fragments became policy nationwide.  What began small turned China into the world's 2nd largest economy.

Two of those four (Shenzhen and Zhuhai) are now part of the Great Bay Area Plan, which is the next big economic experiment.  Life's about to get interesting for those of us who live in the Pearl River Delta.

A rising tide doesn't quite lift all boats.  Natural forces from China's growing economy created some very rich people, a very large middle class, and improved the lives of nearly all of the most extremely poor.  It took a separate effort to deal with the last of the most extremely impoverished.  Despite viral complications, China is on schedule to finish eliminating the most extreme level of poverty by the end of 2020.

Yes, China still has problems, but China is in a far better position to address those now than it was even 10 years ago.


Meanwhile, people in more than one western country are afraid that 5G will be used to control them via chips injected as part of a Covid-19 vaccine.  kkkkkkkkkk
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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2020, 09:58:56 PM »
Counterpoint: "China" would not exist had there not been "globalization"

Interestingly, to quote wikipedia, "[globalization] was decisively shaped by nineteenth-century imperialism", presumably inasmuch as that imperialism created a direction for the flow of goods from the colonizers to the colonized, which direction in the modern era appears to have reversed, and in the covid era appears to have stalled....

"China" as we know it currently is a modern creation. The monolithic character of "China's rise" is, arguably, not a product of historical imperative but merely of size.

In fact, on the point of China's fragmentation and/or monolithic character, I'm rather taken by an article I read today....

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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2020, 10:01:04 PM »
Fragility, not strength, at the heart of Chinese politics

We know we've become dependent on China. And that China is using our dependency against us to "punish" Australia for having its own view of the world. In the last fortnight, Beijing added two more of Australia's commodity exports – cotton and coal – to its list of sanctioned items.

But how much do we know about China other than its economic status as a customer? That the name we use for China is not originally Chinese, for instance? That it's actually a European invention. Like much about China that we think is ancient and traditional, it's really quite recent, a new book points out.

In fact, the young political entity known as Australia, which only came into being at Federation 120 years ago, has been the country's official name for longer than the official name of the country we call "China" today...

[yadda yadda yadda]

Even the idea of the majority ethnic group in China, the Han, as the Chinese "race" is a relatively new construct. Hayton sets out how the nationalist revolutionaries in the late 19th century needed a tool to set the Qing rulers apart from the people.

The Qing, Manchu invaders from the north, had ruled for nearly three centuries over what today is called China. The Confucian consensus of the time was that political legitimacy arose from participation in the civilised culture, and that this meant anyone from anywhere, even barbarians, even the Manchu, could participate in the nation. 

ararararar

One of the nationalist revolutionaries challenged this cultural definition of the nation replaced it with a new racial one. Zhang Binglin, a classical scholar turned revolutionary, did it by – in Bill Hayton's words – "inventing" the Han race in 1899. This allowed them to delegitimise the Qing rulers....

[Etc]


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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 04:41:31 PM »
Counterpoint: "China" would not exist had there not been "globalization"

Interestingly, to quote wikipedia, "[globalization] was decisively shaped by nineteenth-century imperialism", presumably inasmuch as that imperialism created a direction for the flow of goods from the colonizers to the colonized, which direction in the modern era appears to have reversed, and in the covid era appears to have stalled....

"China" as we know it currently is a modern creation. The monolithic character of "China's rise" is, arguably, not a product of historical imperative but merely of size.

In fact, on the point of China's fragmentation and/or monolithic character, I'm rather taken by an article I read today....

Global trade contributed much of the impetus to China's economic growth, just as it did for Japan after WWII.  The main difference is the speed of change.  China was rather insular until 1979/1980 and remaining apart from the rest of the world before then severely limited the economy.

Like the UK and US before it, and Japan and Mexico more recently, China found that becoming an large scale exporter has its benefits.  As goods flow out, money flows in.  The economy improves, the middle class grows, but prioritizing jobs above all else does have some bad side effects.  Pollution becomes an issue.  Like other nations dating all the way back to the UK during the earliest years of the industrial revolution, fragmented efforts eventually will come together.  Some only slow the rate of increase of pollution.  Others stabilize it at current levels.  Success is only achieved as the regulations shift from containing the problem to reducing the problem.  S. Korea and Japan are probably the farthest along in this cycle.  China's moving into the "Looks like we're going to have to order more brooms and mops to clean up the mess" phase.  A number of other countries in SE Asia are earlier in the same cycle, enjoying the benefit of all those new jobs and money while their skies and rivers fill with gunk.

We'd have a cleaner world without globalization, but it would be a poorer world.  Let's just be glad the world is mostly achieving global supply chains via trade deals instead of conquest and occupation, like in the good old days of the British and Spanish empires.


Even the idea of the majority ethnic group in China, the Han, as the Chinese "race" is a relatively new construct. Hayton sets out how the nationalist revolutionaries in the late 19th century needed a tool to set the Qing rulers apart from the people.

The Qing, Manchu invaders from the north, had ruled for nearly three centuries over what today is called China. The Confucian consensus of the time was that political legitimacy arose from participation in the civilised culture, and that this meant anyone from anywhere, even barbarians, even the Manchu, could participate in the nation. 

"Nationalities" or "ethnic groups" in China aren't fully defined on a scientific basis.  Then again, neither were the 3 (then 4, then more) groups taught in public schools in the US and many western countries.  Some of the Chinese definitions are more racial, some are more cultural.  Most people at the Saloon have hear of the "56 nationalities of China".  Not as many know that Type 57 means "unrecognized ethnic group."

In some cases it's a little more obvious.  Many members of the "Russian" ethnic group could easily pass for "ordinary" Russians.  In other cases, most people can't tell a lot of minorities from Han.  Then again, even among Han, its often possible to successfully guess what province someone is from (similar to being able to guess nationalities of Europeans).  I've also been able to pick the only Han girl out of a group of Miao and Tujia girls (and I can tell which are Miao vs Tujia most of the time  ababababab).
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Re: China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 11:58:30 PM »
I think it's worthwhile trying to untangle "China" from China somehow. There's some kind of monolithic entity called "China" that exists at least in part because Chinese like group identities, and in part because we've all needed some nickname for the economic significance the country of China has obtained, but also in part because the country's political significance has been on the rise too. The task of communicating and presumably therefore understanding that political significance has so often failed I think because the terms in use are both inadequate and consciously undermined. That whole bide our time and hide the bushel crap? It's only the tipping iceberg of a whole pole of deliberate obfuscation. "China" has only recently started making overt displays - wolf warrior diplomacy and all that crap.

I hope and expect one day we all can stumble upon terms adequately descriptive of "China" as a thing in the world. I'd expect those terms to not ultimately amount to "China is a special case". China is a special case, but whatever is unique in the case isn't actually defined until a bunch of prosaic background has been established.

Thus, one is eager to avoid conflating success with identity. The historical inevitability of China's rise is an example of conflating success with identity.



I think this project of terms is apt to fail. There are some core concepts within the Chinese system that "we" can know but cannot feel. "We" can't be Chinese in that way, not without giving up a measure of identity. So we will find the right terms to describe what's going on, but we won't ever really believe them.

But I am always going to have to wonder whether or not that's a lie too. The inscrutable Asian, the unknowable Confucian, that might all be bullshit as well, promulgated generation after generation as a atalisman against the very assimilation "they" have always proposed.


Etc and so on. I imagine I can see why people so often say weakness is at the heart of modern Chinese political identity. That old "Confucian consensus... that political legitimacy arose from participation in the civilised culture" is a position of strength, where you say that your own identity is sufficiently strong that it will carry over onto others. The idea that creeping westernisation is undermining Chinese identity is a position of weakness.

And to add in one last seeming non sequitur, a lot of that stuff isn't real. It's a product of material weakness as identified with ideological or political weakness.


or, to sum up, I wonder what does make culture strong. Is it just numbers of believers?


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