The dragon has no wings?

The National Interest
Date: August 2, 2019
By: Michael Peck

China’s new defense white paper has been eagerly awaited by Western analysts searching for clues to Beijing’s national security strategy.

The 2019 white paper (the last one was in 2015) lays out general principles of China’s defense policy. It avows the new face of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Cyberwarfare, more flexible command and control, long-range naval operations. Change the names and numbers, and you could be forgiven for thinking this was a planning document from the U.S. military or an American thinktank.

But before we fear the onslaught of the Dragon, take a look at the problems that the white paper says China’s military must solve.

The most glaring is corruption, which has led to numerous senior officers being punished for crimes such as selling promotions. “China’s armed forces are tightening political discipline and rules, investigating and dealing strictly with grave violations of CPC discipline and state laws,” the white paper says. “China’s armed forces punish corruption in strict accordance with CPC [Communist Party] discipline and relevant laws, and rectify any malpractice in key construction projects and the procurement of equipment and material…They have worked to implement full-spectrum audit, intensify the audit of major fields, projects and funds, and perform strict audits over the economic liabilities of officers in positions of leadership. Active efforts have been made to monitor the cost-effectiveness of applied funds, conduct whole-process audit, and combine civil and military efforts in auditing.”

The U.S. military has no shortage of faults. Careerism, inflated prices for military equipment, weapons that don’t work as advertised, the revolving door between the Pentagon and the defense industry. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine the Pentagon having to cite corruption as a major impediment to military efficiency.    [FULL  STORY]

The numerous overlapping sovereign claims to islands and reefs have turned the South China Sea into an armed camp. Beijing now has 27 outposts in the sea.

Date: July 1, 2019
By: Amanda Macias, CNBC and Courtney Kube

Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in 2015.U.S. Navy / Reuters file

WASHINGTON — China has been conducting a series of anti-ship ballistic missile tests in the hotly contested waters of the South China Sea, according to two U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

The Chinese carried out the first test over the weekend, firing off at least one missile into the sea, one official said. The window for testing remains open until July 3, and the official expects the Chinese military to test again before it closes.

While the U.S. military has ships in the South China Sea, they were not close to the weekend test and are not in danger, the official said, adding that the test however is "concerning." The official, who was not authorized to speak about the testing, could not say whether the anti-ship missiles being tested represent a new capability for the Chinese military.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC's and NBC's requests for comment.

The development comes as the United States and China have paused tensions in their ongoing trade battle. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed over the weekend at the G-20 summit in Japan to not impose new tariffs on each other's goods. A trade deal between the two countries fell through in the beginning of May.

The South China Sea, which is home to more than 200 specks of land, serves as a gateway to global sea routes where approximately $3.4 trillion of trade passes annually.

The numerous overlapping sovereign claims to islands, reefs and rocks — many of which disappear under high tide — have turned the waters into an armed camp. Beijing holds the lion's share of these features with approximately 27 outposts peppered throughout.

In May 2018, China quietly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three of its fortified outposts west of the Philippines in the South China Sea, a move that allows Beijing to further project its power in the hotly disputed waters, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: Jan 18, 2019
By: Ciaran McGrath

CHINA’s “imperial” ambitions represent a major threat to world security, with the South China Sea a potential flashpoint, an expert in US-China relations has said, just days after analysts suggested Beijing was drawing up plans for wars with United States and India.PUBLISHED: 20:27, Fri, Jan 18,

China's People's Liberation Army is estimated to have more than two million soldiers on active duty (Image: GETTY)

And Professor Michael Cullinane, Professor of US History at the University of Roehampton, said NATO was in danger of becoming an “anachronism” as it struggled to adapt to the new world order of the 21st century. Mr Cullinane told he was particularly concerned at the attempts by the Philippines to alter the terms of the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty with the US, which critics fear could result in Manila allying itself with Beijing. China’s President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the country in November, during which he and controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte agreed a joint oil and gas exploration.

Days earlier, at the ASEAN summit Singapore, Mr Duterte, told reporters: “China is already in possession of the South China Sea. It’s now in their hands,”

“So why do you have to create frictions that will prompt a response from China?

“China is there, that’s a reality, and America and everybody should realise that they are there.”

Prof. Cullinane warned such attitudes would present major challenges for the West going forward, especially coupled with China’s ongoing trade dispute with the United States.

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Emphasising that he was talking about the regime as opposed to the Chinese people, he said: “China has bases on many of the islands in the South China Sea and the Philippines is under pressure to go along with that.

“China supposedly has this 1,000 year history of not invading places but this is anything but that – this is old school imperialism.

“This is looking more and more like a 19th century world we are living in, where power talks, and that’s largely why Donald Trump was elected of course.    [FULL  STORY]

EAST-WEST tensions are set to tighten amid reports China is considering purchasing advanced Russian fighter jets, once again ignoring US sanctions.

Date: Jul 2, 2019
By: Brian McGleenon

President Xi of China is considering purchasing advanced Russian fighters (Image: GETTY)

China is demonstrating its closer ties to Russia at a time when its relationship with the US is deteriorating by purchasing ”modern weapons and military equipment manufactured in Russia, including additional batches of Su-35 fighter jets". In September, the US State Department announced it would be sanctioning the Equipment Development Department of China's Central Military Commission over its acquisition of Russia's "Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment". The Diplomat's senior editor Franz-Stefan Gady also commented on the potential purchase, explaining on Thursday that the Chinese Su-35 "can reportedly be with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, unguided rockets, guided bomb units, unguided bombs and anti-ship missiles."

The aircraft is an upgraded version of the Sukhoi Su-27 and Beijing already bought two dozen for some $2.5billion (£1.9billion).

Official China Central Television column Weihutang issued a report of its own Saturday suggesting that a second batch could help to further modernise the Chinese air force's ageing fleet.

On Sunday, however, Chinese air defence expert Fu Qianshao told Chinese Communist Party tabloid The Global Times that there would likely be another reason for the purchase.

Fu argued that, rather than simply bringing China's aerial capabilities up to date, such an acquisition would secure more spare parts and dedicated personnel involved in the Su-35 program.

Advanced U.S. weapons are almost entirely reliant on rare-earth materials only made in China—and they could be a casualty of the trade war.

Foreign Policy
Date: June 11, 2019
By: Keith Johnson, Lara Seligman

Sailors aboard the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) prepare to moor at the historic submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam June 6, 2019 following their latest deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Patrick Dille)

The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii prepared to moor at the historic submarine piers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on June 6. Each Virginia-class submarine uses nearly five tons of rare-earth materials. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Patrick Dille

President Donald Trump has often argued that China has much more to lose than the United States in a trade war, but critics say his administration has failed to address a major U.S. vulnerability: Beijing maintains powerful leverage over the warmaking capability of its main strategic rival through its control of critical materials.

Every advanced weapon in the U.S. arsenal—from Tomahawk missiles to the F-35 fighter jet to Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers and everything in between—is absolutely reliant on components made using rare-earth elements, including critical items such as permanent magnets and specialized alloys that are almost exclusively made in China. Perhaps more worrisome is that the long-term U.S. supply of smart bombs and guided munitions that would have to be replenished in a hurry in the event of U.S. conflict in Syria, Iran, or elsewhere are essentially reliant on China’s acquiescence in their continued production.

But is it too much for him to at least show some foreign-policy common sense?

Chinese threats to cut off U.S. supplies of rare earths, first floated by Beijing in late May, haven’t abated. Over the weekend, Chinese state media suggested that high-end, finished products using rare earths that the U.S. defense industry requires could be included in China’s technology-export restrictions, themselves a response to U.S. pressure on the telecoms giant Huawei. “China is capable of impacting the US supply chain through certain technical controls,” said an editorial in China’s Global Times that pointedly referred to processed rare earths.    [FULL  STORY]

Business Insider
Date: June 12, 2019
By: Ryan Pickrell

A F-35C Lightning II

 US Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon E. Renfroe

China says it has developed an over-the-horizon maritime early warning radar that can detect stealth aircraft beyond visual range.

Liu Yongtan, the team leader for the radar project, told Chinese media that the radar emits high-frequency electromagnetic waves with long wavelengths and wide beams that stealth assets are not protected against.

The radar, known as China's "first line of defense," is said to be immune to anti-radiation missiles that can detect the point of origin for electromagnetic waves and are capable of eliminating radar targets.

While the system strengthens China's anti-access, area-denial capabilities, experts argue that there are certain limitations to its effectiveness against stealth fighters.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: June 4, 2019
By: Laignee Barron

The Goddess of Democracy smiled on China for exactly five days. The papier-mâché likeness of the Statue of Liberty appeared in Tiananmen Square as protests convulsed Beijing and other cities seeking to unshackle the world’s most populous country from endemic corruption.

Their calls for political reform were answered in the early hours of June 4, 1989, with a bloody

People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers leap over a barrier on Tiananmen Square in central Beijing June 4, 1989. Catherine Henriette—AFP/Getty Images

military crackdown that crushed the movement and toppled its symbols. The massacre at Tiananmen killed hundreds, possibly thousands, of the students and laborers who joined massive gatherings lasting more than a month. The movement, favoring democracy and reformist policies that caused rifts within the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, had spread to hundreds of cities before the government resolved to disperse it with brute force. Military tanks rolled into Beijing, where soldiers opened fire with assault rifles on the unarmed demonstrators who tried to stop their advance.

And yet in the West, a certainty remained that China would eventually resurrect the dream of democracy that was deferred that night. Thirty years later, many are still waiting for the Middle Kingdom to liberalize, though the CCP’s grip on power has arguably never been tighter. To survive the upheaval, its leadership rewrote their social contract; the post-Maoist effort of “reform and opening up,” whereby China established its own brand of market-economy socialism, was ultimately accelerated but at the expense of political freedoms. By some measures the trade-off was tremendously successful. At the time of the Tiananmen rallies, China’s GDP per capita compared unfavorably to Gambia’s; by 2030, if not before, many indicators predict China’s economy will eclipse the U.S.   

On the 30th anniversary of the massacre, commemorations to those who were killed will show the Chinese government we will not be silenced

The Guardian
Date: 4 Jun 2019
By: Rowena Xiaoqing He

Tiananmen Square on 2 June 1989, two days before the massacre. Photograph: Catherine Henriette/AFP/Getty Images

He was just a kid, but he cried like an old man in despair.” Liane was trying hard to steady her emotions when she described to me how she had attempted to hold back a young boy whose unarmed brother had been shot by soldiers during the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

Liane was a student from Hong Kong when the 1989 Tiananmen movement erupted and she went to Beijing to support the demonstrations. On the night of 3 June, when 200,000 soldiers equipped with tanks and AK-47s were deployed against unarmed civilians, she was outside the Museum of the Chinese Revolution on the north-east corner of Tiananmen Square. She fainted after she failed to stop the young boy from dashing toward the soldiers, and was carried away covered with blood.

The legacy of Tiananmen is not something that belongs to China or to the Chinese people alone. It belongs to the world

“When I regained consciousness, people tried to put me into an ambulance,” Liane recalled. “I told them that I did not need one. A second ambulance came, and again I struggled not to get in.” At that point, a middle-aged female doctor got out of the ambulance, held Liane’s hands and told her: “Child, we need you to return to Hong Kong. We need you to leave alive to tell the world what our government did to us tonight.” Because of the freedom Hong Kong citizens enjoyed before the handover of 1997, citizens of Beijing hoped that Liane would bear witness for them. The fear that the blood would be shed in vain was widely shared by Chinese people that night. One Chinese man asked a Canadian reporter on the street: “Does the world know what happened here?”

The despair felt by Chinese people at the time was not misconceived. Although the world’s attention fell on Beijing, the Tiananmen movement had been national in scope, with millions of participants in cities across China. So, immediately after the crackdown the government carried out mass arrests across the nation.

Even as the massacre was taking place Wu Xiaoyong, the deputy director of Radio Beijing, broadcast a statement internationally, asking the world to remember “the most tragic event [that] happened in the Chinese capital, Beijing”. Wu was placed under house arrest after the crackdown. Two China Central Television (CCTV) news anchors appeared on camera dressed in black wearing sad facial expressions as they read the official texts about the army’s successful crackdown on the “counter-revolutionary riot”. Both were removed from their positions.

Propaganda officers of the People’s Liberation Army took control of all major media in Beijing. Many editors attempted to protect their reporters who were on the ground and saw what was happening (and tried to report what was happening), but the editors themselves were sacked so that the purge could proceed smoothly. Both the editor-in-chief and the director of the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party (CCP), were dismissed from their posts because of their sympathetic attitudes toward the students.    [FULL  STORY]

BBC News
Date: jUNE 4, 2013

Huge numbers had gathered in Tiananmen Square in the spring of 1989 — Image copyrightAFP

China has rebuked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for remarks he made on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest.

Mr Pompeo criticised China's human rights record and called for it to reveal how many died in the crackdown.

A Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington DC said his comments were "an affront to the Chinese people".

In 1989, a large political protest in Beijing triggered a brutal clampdown by the communist authorities.

The Chinese government has never said how many people died at Tiananmen Square, although estimates range from the hundreds to thousands.    [FULL  STORY]

The Chinese government has said the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square, which left hundreds of protesters dead, was not a mistake. The defense came days ahead of the 30th anniversary of the killings.

Deutsche Welle 
Date: June 2, 2019     

Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe on Sunday defended the bloody crackdown on protesters Tiananmen Square  almost three decades after it took place.

The response was a rare acknowledgment of the killings, which had followed seven weeks of protests in 1989 by students and workers calling for democracy and an end to corruption.

Hundreds, possibly more than 1,000 people were killed when soldiers and tanks chased protesters and onlookers in the streets around the square. One secret British diplomatic cable put the possible number of dead at up to 10,000.

Wei said the action was necessary to avoid political instability, and questioned why people still said that China has not handled the situation well.

“That incident was a political turbulence and the central government took measures to stop the turbulence which is a correct policy,” Wei told a regional security forum in Singapore.

“The 30 years have proven that China has undergone major changes,” Wei said in response to a question from the audience. He said that because of the government’s action at that time “China has enjoyed stability and development.”    [FULL  STORY]