Steve Bannon vs. China
Bloomberg Businessweek has published a story and podcast (registration required) titled “Bannon’s back and targeting China,” which examines the former White House strategist’s new projects: recruiting and boosting hardline nationalists in the Republican Party, and raising “an alarm about what he views as the primary economic threat to America: China.”
The core of Bannon’s concern is, in his own words, this: “The forced technology transfer of American innovation to China is the single biggest economic and business issue of our time. Until we sort that out, they will continue to appropriate our innovation to their own system and leave us as a colony — our Jamestown to their Great Britain, a tributary state.” Bannon also says that 4,000 years of Chinese diplomatic history, “minus the last 150 years,” have been “centered on ‘barbarian management,” and that China is historically predisposed to exploitative trading practices.
Despite Trump’s China-bashing rhetoric during his campaign, little has changed in the Sino-American trade relationship. Bloomberg Businessweek says that two meetings with Henry Kissinger in September convinced Bannon that a force outside the White House was needed to “wake up the American people,” along the lines of the Committee on the Present Danger, a non-partisan group formed in 1950 “to strengthen U.S. resolve to counter the Soviet threat and lobby against détente.” Bloomberg Businessweek concludes that whether or not Trump is convinced to act against China, “the days of assuming the GOP is the party of unfettered free trade are probably over.”
The view from Taiwan
I received several emails and comments on social media criticizing the top story in yesterday’s SupChina email: Tensions with Taiwan just got a whole lot worse. One complaint is that we did not draw on Taiwanese sources and that the South China Morning Post article we linked to incorrectly stated that William Lai 赖清德 was “the first Taiwanese premier to openly acknowledge his pro-independence status.” While I agree that it is important to clarify that Lai is not the first Taiwanese premier to talk of independence, I don’t think our basic premise was wrong: Lai’s comments are certain to raise tensions between the People’s Republic and Taiwan. However, it’s worth reading the following for balance:
- This thread on Twitter by Aaron Wytze;
- An article in the Taipei Times titled “Lai fires back at China on statehood”; and
- A blog post by Michael Turton called “Wm Lai speaks ZOMG TENSHUNZ … in the media.”
Invoices and sex
Two fun things to read:
- The China Daily has a story on the arrest of 80 people accused of making fake official tax invoices worth more than 11 billion yuan ($1.69 billion) that companies use to claim expenses to avoid taxes.
- A paper by Hu Yang 胡扬 titled, “Why rice growers are more sexually liberal than wheat growers.”
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