China Simply Has No Intention Whatsoever to Compete with the US
I have mentioned that in my previous post “Winning Competition with US? China’s Ambition Much Bigger” on February 3, but have to elaborate on this topic again as Western media are full of speculation on China’s economic, diplomatic and military efforts to surpass the US. They fail to see that China’s economic efforts are aimed at achieving its goals of modernization in order to realize its China dream of revitalization. China’s diplomacy serves China’s efforts to attain its goals. Its most important recent diplomatic achievements are the establishment of RCEP and trade deal with Europe for win-win cooperation that will benefit both China and more than a dozen RCEP members and two dozens of EU members.
In US leader Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s phone call on February 10, 2021, Xi called for win-win cooperation with the US while Biden voiced his fundamental concerns about China’s so-called coercive and unfair trade practices.
Would other 14 RCEP members and 27 EU members have reached agreements on the establishment of RCEP and China-EU trade deal if China has indeed conducted coercive and unfair trade practices? The agreements prove China’s willingness to further open up to the outside world.
It is the US that has been conducting coercive and unfair trade practices to impose massive tariff hikes on Chinese exports to the US and restriction of exports of technological products to major Chinese companies.
Tariff Hikes Hurt US Consumers instead of China
Biden’s predecessor Trump’s tariff hikes have not only failed to reduce US trade deficit with China or bring back jobs to the US, but forced Americans to pay for the higher prices of imports from China that include the tariff hikes.
Restriction of Exports to China Will Hurt the US in the Long Run
As for the restriction of exports to China, it will cause US companies to lose China’s vast fast growing market in the long run. China is now an open market the shortage of supply of the restricted goods will give rise to increase in prices and therefore profits in the industries concerned. Funds and talent will rush to those industries and greatly raise the capacities there, which will not only cover the shortage but compete with the US companies in the industries concerned.
Biden, in addition, attacks China on its crackdown in Hong Kong and treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, and for China’s increasingly assertive actions in Asia, including toward Taiwan.
China regard those areas as its internal affairs. Such attacks constitute infringement of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are certainly unacceptable to China.
The above clearly proves my view that China has been on defense while the US has been attacking. China is not competing with the US in economy and diplomacy while the US is competing with China. Biden has clearly said that China is America’s most serious competitor and the US shall out compete China.
The US Wants to Counter China due to Jealousy
The day after the phone call, Biden warned US senators, “If we don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch.” He told them in addition, “They’re investing billions of dollars dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up.”
True China now rank top in the world for its 146,000 km of railway network excluding urban rail. There is expecially 35,000 km of high-speed railways in the network. Its road network of 5.2 million km road includes 146,300 km of express freeways and urban rail networks all already rank top in the world.
CCP Central Committee and State Council have drawn up an ambitious plan to build a more convenient and high-quality transportation network by 2035 in order to provide most residents with access to a national highway within 15 minutes, a freeway in half an hour and a railway in an hour.
To fulfill the plan China has to invest heavily for expansion of its transportation network to lengthen its rail tracks to about 200,000 km, roads to 460,000 km and waterways to 25,000 km. By 2035 China will have 27 coastal ports, 36 inland river ports, about 400 civil aviation airports and 80 logistics hubs.
Such expansion will greatly improve transportation that will not only benefit Chinese economy but also facilitate foreign investment and business in China. In addition, it certainly does not aim at competing with the US as the US network has already lagged far behind China now. Why shall China’s current better infrastructures and ambitious plan to improve its infrastructures make the US unhappy?
China’s heavy investment in environment will contribute to improvement of global environment. Since the US has rejoined Paris Agreement, it shall be happy on that. Why would Biden be concerned about that?
The said China’s plan is domestic. It certainly will not hurt the US. On the contrary, China may increase its import from the US for those issues. Such heavy investment certainly does not aim at compete with the US. Isn’t it bizarre that Biden is concerned about that?
The answer to the above questions is but jealousy. It’s good that the US sees the needs to improve if it realizes that it may soon lag behind China by far as China keeps on meeting the requirement of the development of advanced productive force according to Marxist theory. However, if the US fails to reform, it will lose its competition with China due to its poor political system.
The US Is Doomed to Fail in Its Competition with with China
China has Marxism as its Guiding ideology. What it has been doing is to follow the general Marxist rule to meet the requirement of the development of advanced productive force. It will constantly apply the general rule of Marxist dialectic materialism to check by practice whether its policies really meet the requirement of the development of advanced productive force.. If not, China will conduct further reform to meet the requirement. That enables continuous development of China’s advanced productive force and ensures China’s constant substantial economic growth.
The US has no fixed goal to develop its economy. It remains inactive in its economic development until China’s rise threatens its world leadership though Trump’s “America first” has already made the US lose world leadership. Even if the US wins its competition, if possible, with China, the victory will be a short-term one because the US will lose direction again and fail to make further efforts to maintain its economic growth faster than China. China, however, will keep on meeting the requirement of the development of advanced productive force whether the US wins its competition with China or not.
The space race between the US and Soviet Union was a good example. The race is for hegemony instead for conquering the space for the human race. When the US was ensured of full win, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US greatly reduced its funds for space-related activities. How can China catch up so fast if the US has not relaxed its efforts in space?
China’s goals are to be strong to avoid bully by other nation and to be rich to satisfy its people’s aspiration for better life. China will make constant efforts to attain those goals no matter whether the US win or lose its competition with China.
A United Country v. a Split One
Before Xi came to power, China was a split nation with fierce power struggle between reformists and conservatives. Xi was wise to use China Dream to unite both reformists and conservatives under him. Now Xi is very popular and the morale of the whole Chinese nation including the elite, talented scholars, scientists and technicians, entrepreneurs and common people is very high as China has attained its goal of lifting the whole nation out of poverty and has greatly raised people’s living standards.
The US is now a split nation, Trump, though has lost the presidential election to Biden, the number of votes he got was only marginally smaller than Biden. Lots of voters have remained supporting Trump, especially his hardline policies against China. Biden has to maintain Trump’s China policies, though US experts have already pointed out that such policies were stupid. It is a serious question whether Biden will be able to turn Trump’s supporters into his supporters to jointly carry out his policies to contain China’s rise.
Though not compete economically, as described in Chapters 39 and 40, China has long been competing with the US militarily, which I refer to as China’s arms race with the US. China has made great progress in developing advanced weapons and conducting sophisticated drills to learn the strategy and skill for applying its new advanced equipment for victory. China wining the arms race will be described in my next article.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Big Tech set for starring role at Beijing’s ‘two sessions’ political gala amid regulatory heat and US tech warPosted: February 27, 2021
- The tighter regulatory environment from Beijing has fanned speculation over whether Big Tech’s best days are over, after decades of rapid growth with less oversight than traditional industries
- Analysts are divided on whether being linked to the Communist Party will affect the global ambitions of Chinese tech companies amid ongoing US-China tensions
Xinmei Shen and Iris Deng
Published: 10:00am, 27 Feb, 2021
as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Group and Orange – in their 5G network development efforts. Photo: Reuters
Tech entrepreneurs at China’s biggest annual political gala next week will be under pressure on two fronts as Beijing pushes its national strategy of technology independence while ratcheting up regulatory scrutiny of their business operations.
This year’s meetings, informally known as the “two sessions”, carry even greater importance because they not only kick off the nation’s latest five-year plan, but commemorate the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party too. The event will also be the first gathering of the country’s tech elite since China’s antitrust regulators began to investigate technology conglomerates for their market behaviour last November. The spate of investigations, including financial penalties and reprimands, have put everyone on notice.
The tighter regulatory environment from Beijing has fanned speculation over whether Big Tech’s best days are over, after decades of being able to rapidly grow their businesses with less oversight than traditional industries.
“Tech representatives will likely put their heads down and toe the [Communist] Party line at this year’s gathering ,” said Xiaomeng Lu, a senior analyst at Eurasia Group. “Chinese entrepreneurs will focus on showing support to the government’s agenda and put their loyalty to the party on display”
Big Tech bosses, including Tencent Holdings founder Pony Ma, Baidu founder Robin Li, and Xiaomi chairman Lei Jun, only make up a tiny percentage of delegates at the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, but their youth, wealth and constant media attention ensure they will stand out among the 5,000 delegates in the Great Hall of the People.
Absences also require public explanations. Since being nominated as delegates in 2013, Baidu’s Li has attended every year but Tencent’s Ma skipped 2014 and last year, citing health issues, and submitted his proposals in absentia.
When contacted by the Post for comment about their 2021 proposals, Tencent, Xiaomi and Baidu replied that they had not yet released them.
The degree of political influence wielded by two sessions’ delegates is open to debate given the ceremonial nature of the events, but the inclusion of tech leaders like Ma, Li and Lei in recent years has shown that Beijing recognises the role of private tech firms in China’s development.
The tech delegates are required to submit policy proposals to show their social responsibility. The delegates also include Qihoo 360 head Zhou Hongyi, NetEase chairman William Ding Lei, Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan, and Sequoia Capital founder Neil Shen, one of China’s most successful venture capitalists.
Lu said tech leaders are likely to voice their commitment to semiconductors, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing as these are key areas identified by Beijing in its 14th five-year plan. Away from the limelight, they could come under pressure to be more proactive in showing allegiance to state policies while shunning potential controversy, according to analysts.
That task has become harder amid the ongoing US-China tech war. Attendance at Beijing’s top political event could be seen by foreign governments as a sign of blurred lines between the Chinese state and private sector, a fact that could hinder their global expansion plans at a time when suspicion over Beijing’s influence remains high from Washington to Brussels.
Eurasia Group’s Lu said the Biden administration might view the two sessions as evidence of further integration between the government and private companies in China. “It will be more challenging to portray themselves as truly independent global players in front of an international audience if Chinese tech leaders are viewed as an extension of the Chinese government,” Lu said.
When Xiaomi’s Lei was asked by a BBC reporter in 2018 about the decision to abolish the two-term limit to allow Chinese president Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely, he just replied “sorry, sorry”. Xiaomi was recently slapped with a US investment ban for having alleged ties to the Chinese military, a charge it denies.
One challenge facing tech sector representation in the two sessions, which elects new delegates every five years, is that it does not fully represent China’s rapidly changing technology landscape. None of the young generation of Chinese tech CEOs, such as ByteDance’s Zhang Yiming, Meituan’s Wang Xing, Pinduoduo’s Colin Huang and Kuaishou’s Su Hua, are members.
Other notable tech exclusions are Huawei Technologies Co founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, who has long maintained good relations with the central government, and Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma, who once told his employees to “be in love with the government, but not married to it”. (Alibaba owns the Post.)
While Huawei has battled for two years to survive tough US trade restrictions, similar challenges loom for Qihoo 360, which in June last year was added to the US Commerce Department Entity List that restricted access to US products and services. For its part, Xiaomi has gone to US court to challenge Washington’s ban on US investors buying its shares, while the Trump administration’s US ban on Tencent’s ubiquitous social media app WeChat has been put on hold by the Biden administration.
Even though Alibaba’s Ma has never been an NPC or CPPCC member, the last-minute decision by authorities last November to stop the initial public offering of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group looks set to cast a long shadow over tech representatives at this year’s two sessions.
Delegates “should have all learned a lesson from Jack Ma” openly challenging state regulation, said Sun Xin, senior lecturer in Chinese and East Asian Business at King’s College London. China’s tech CEOs are unlikely to raise any concerns about tighter regulatory scrutiny – at least not in public – as they know that the two sessions is not a venue to voice complaints.
“Some will even show greater support for the top policy agenda of the party,” Sun said.
Ma fell out of favour when he questioned China’s financial regulations in a public speech in Shanghai at the end of October ahead of Ant Group’s scheduled dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The share offering was called off at the last minute after regulators intervened.
Authorities subsequently rolled out new rules aimed at bringing the fintech sector into line, following that up with a broader antitrust crack down on monopolistic practices by Chinese tech giants. Beijing’s antitrust watchdog launched an official antitrust probe into Alibaba on Christmas Eve.
After his Shanghai speech, Ma remained out of public sight for nearly three months until an appearance via video in January where he said Chinese entrepreneurs must serve the country’s vision of “rural revitalisation and common prosperity”.
Sun said membership of the CPPCC or NPC affords tech bosses a unique venue to socialise with top policymakers, bureaucrats and other elites, providing unofficial opportunities for them to lobby for decisions in their favour.
For example, the delegate proposals from tech bosses are often directly related to their business interests and are often in line with the latest government announcements for new development programs. Last year, Tencent’s Ma suggested speeding up the formulation of a national industrial internet strategy – a goal that aligned with the company’s own strategy. He also proposed the development of “smart hospitals” – another Tencent business focus – to help ease the burden for medical workers during a public health crisis like Covid-19.
Baidu’s Li, whose company began investing in AI several years ago, has repeatedly advocated for AI programs at the two sessions, and he suggested last year that China ramp up efforts to build world-leading infrastructure for AI and smart transport. Baidu is a leader in China’s autonomous driving sector.
In April last year, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) included AI and industrial internet in a list of new infrastructure to be developed.
Xiaomi’s Lei, a space enthusiast who has invested in Beijing-based commercial space firm Galaxy Space, last year proposed the development of satellite internet that could deliver online access to places not covered by land-based networks, such as remote and poorer areas, as well as on ships and planes. His proposal came after China added satellite internet to a list of new infrastructure industries that would receive greater government support.
Li Yi, chief research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that although delegates are elected and step onto the stage of the country’s biggest political event, they have limited power when it comes to the actual policy and law making process.
Sun agreed, saying that tech entrepreneurs, like most NPC deputies and CPPCC members, have “little independent policy influence”, and that their individual submissions are just seen as one voice and not a force for change.
“The lawmaking process is ultimately dominated by the state,” Sun said. “If there were historical instances in which CEO proposals became real policies, it is more likely the case that relevant government bodies had already conceived such policies themselves.”
Tencent CEO Pony Ma Huateng speaks at a press briefing during the annual parliamentary meetings (NPC) in Beijing, March 2018. Photo: SCMP/Simon Song
As China ramps up its ambition to become a global technology leader and looks to the tech sector as a key economic growth driver, the top advisory bodies have welcomed an influx of new faces in recent years. In 2018, almost every new member of the CPPCC’s business group came from the tech sector, with new recruits including Qihoo 360’s Zhou, who has advocated cybersecurity protection of the country’s digital infrastructure, and NetEase’s Ding, who has given advice on innovation in education, including the inclusion of coding into the nation’s school curriculum.
At the end of the day, analysts say membership of Beijing’s political gathering offers more advantages than disadvantages, even when factoring in possible scrutiny from abroad. While it remains to be seen how the Biden administration will interpret the political links between private Chinese firms and the Communist Party, Sun said no major company in China can afford to defy the demands of Beijing.
In the end, membership of the two sessions may not prove a major impediment to the global ambitions of Chinese tech entrepreneurs because the source of Sino-US tensions are more ideological, according to Li.
“The US won’t allow anyone to challenge its hegemony, and the ideological conflicts between the US and China won’t change with a new administration,” Li said.
Source: SCMP “Big Tech set for starring role at Beijing’s ‘two sessions’ political gala amid regulatory heat and US tech war”
Note: This is SCMP’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views
By Reuters Staff
FEBRUARY 27, 20212:37 AM UPDATED 4 HOURS AGO
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration plans to allow a Trump-era rule targeting Chinese technology firms deemed to pose a threat to the United States to go into effect despite objections from U.S. businesses, the U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday.
The department issued an interim final rule in the final days of the Trump administration aimed at addressing information and communications technology supply chain concerns and said it would become effective after a 60-day period of public comment.
On Friday, a Commerce spokeswoman said in a statement the department would continue to accept public comment on the rule until March 22, when it would go into effect.
“Trustworthy information and communications technology and services are essential to our national and economic security and remains a top priority for the Biden Harris administration,” the statement said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and groups representing major industries raised concerns in a letter to the Commerce Department in January that the interim rule gave it “nearly unlimited authority to intervene in virtually any commercial transaction between U.S. companies and their foreign counterparts that involves technology, with little to no due process, accountability, transparency, or coordination with other government programs.”
Business Roundtable, a group representing major U.S. chief executives, said earlier the proposal is “unworkable for U.S. businesses in its current form.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the Biden administration’s plans.
As the Commerce Department is still accepting public comments, it may still revise the rule based on objections from businesses and others.
Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall
Source: Reuters “Biden on track to apply Trump-era rule targeting Chinese tech supply chain concerns”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
By Andrew Jones 2 days ago
China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft has trimmed its orbit around Mars to allow the spacecraft to analyze the chosen landing region on the Red Planet.
After the burn, which occurred on Tuesday (Feb. 23), Tianwen-1 is now in position to begin imaging and collecting data on primary and backup landing sites for the mission’s rover, which will attempt to touch down in May or June.
Tianwen-1, China’s first independent interplanetary mission, consists of an orbiter and rover, which have been in Mars orbit as a single spacecraft since Feb. 10. The latest engine burn, at 5:29 p.m. EST Tuesday (2229 GMT, 06:29 Beijing time Wednesday), executed during the spacecraft’s closest approach to Mars, greatly reduced its apoapsis, or farthest point from the planet.
Tianwen-1’s new “parking orbit” takes the spacecraft as close as 170 miles (280 kilometers) to Mars and as far away as 37,000 miles (59,000 km).
The mission orbiter is now firing up its camera and science payloads, preparing to assess the landscape and dust conditions at the primary landing site, situated within an area of Utopia Planitia, a vast plain on the Red Planet.
The “parking orbit” will allow the orbiter to capture sharp images of the targeted landing site, potentially returning images with a resolution of 20 inches (50 centimeters) per pixel.
Tianwen-1 will photograph the region on multiple occasions to evaluate the topography and dust conditions in the landing zone, Tan Zhiyun, deputy chief designer of the Mars probe with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told CCTV+. “We will figure all these information out in preparation for a safe landing,” Tan said.
Each orbit takes about two Earth days to complete, so China may be able to capture and release the probe’s first high-resolution images of the Martian surface in the following days.
Understanding local conditions is also very important for the operation of the mission’s roughly 530-lb. (240 kilograms) solar-powered rover. Martian dust can pose major threats to solar-powered spacecraft on the surface; NASA’s Opportunity rover lost contact with Earth in 2018 during just such a global dust storm.
The Tianwen-1 rover is contained within an aeroshell attached to the orbiter. This conical structure will both protect and slow the rover during its fiery, hypersonic entry into the Martian atmosphere at the start of the landing attempt. A supersonic parachute will further slow the rover before retropropulsion engines provide the final deceleration for the soft landing.
The rover carries science payloads to investigate surface soil characteristics and mineral composition and to search for potential water ice with a ground penetrating radar. The rover is designed to operate for 90 Mars sols (92 Earth days) with the Tianwen-1 orbiter serving to relay communications and data between the rover and the Earth. The orbiter is designed to operate for a total of one Mars year, or about 687 Earth days.
Tianwen-1 is one of three missions that have just reached Mars. Tianwen-1 entered orbit a day after the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe managed the same feat and a week before the spectacular landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover.
Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: space.com “China’s Tianwen-1 lowers its orbit around Mars to prepare for rover landing”
Note: This is space.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
David Axe, Forbes Staff
Feb 23, 2021,08:00am EST
I write about ships, planes, tanks, drones, missiles and satellites.
The U.S. Air Force’s top officer wants the service to develop an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.
The result would be a high-low mix of expensive “fifth-generation” F-22s and F-35s and inexpensive “fifth-generation-minus” jets, explained Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown Jr.
If that plan sounds familiar, it’s because the Air Force a generation ago launched development of an affordable, lightweight fighter to replace hundreds of Cold War-vintage F-16s and complement a small future fleet of sophisticated—but costly and unreliable—stealth fighters.
But over 20 years of R&D, that lightweight replacement fighter got heavier and more expensive as the Air Force and lead contractor Lockheed Martin LMT -1.4% packed it with more and more new technology.
Yes, we’re talking about the F-35. The 25-ton stealth warplane has become the very problem it was supposed to solve. And now America needs a new fighter to solve that F-35 problem, officials said.
With a sticker price of around $100 million per plane, including the engine, the F-35 is expensive. While stealthy and brimming with high-tech sensors, it’s also maintenance-intensive, buggy and unreliable. “The F-35 is not a low-cost, lightweight fighter,” said Dan Ward, a former Air Force program manager and the author of popular business books including The Simplicity Cycle.
The F-35 is a Ferrari, Brown told reporters last Wednesday. “You don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day, you only drive it on Sundays. This is our ‘high end’ [fighter], we want to make sure we don’t use it all for the low-end fight.”
“I want to moderate how much we’re using those aircraft,” Brown said.
Hence the need for a new low-end fighter to pick up the slack in day-to-day operations. Today, the Air Force’s roughly 1,000 F-16s meet that need. But the flying branch hasn’t bought a new F-16 from Lockheed since 2001. The F-16s are old.
In his last interview before leaving his post in January, Will Roper, the Air Force’s top acquisition official, floated the idea of new F-16 orders. But Brown shot down the idea, saying he doesn’t want more of the classic planes.
The 17-ton, non-stealthy F-16 is too difficult to upgrade with the latest software, Brown explained. Instead of ordering fresh F-16s, he said, the Air Force should initiate a “clean-sheet design” for a new low-end fighter.
Brown’s comments are a tacit admission that the F-35 has failed. As conceived in the 1990s, the program was supposed to produce thousands of fighters to displace almost all of the existing tactical warplanes in the inventories of the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
The Air Force alone wanted nearly 1,800 F-35s to replace aging F-16s and A-10s and constitute the low end of a low-high fighter mix, with 180 twin-engine F-22s making up the high end.
But the Air Force and Lockheed baked failure into the F-35’s very concept. “They tried to make the F-35 do too much,” said Dan Grazier, an analyst with the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C.
There’s a small-wing version for land-based operations, a big-wing version for the Navy’s catapult-equipped aircraft carriers and, for the small-deck assault ships the Marines ride in, a vertical-landing model with a downward-blasting lift engine.
The complexity added cost. Rising costs imposed delays. Delays gave developers more time to add yet more complexity to the design. Those additions added more cost. Those costs resulted in more delays. So on and so forth.
Fifteen years after the F-35’s first flight, the Air Force has just 250 of the jets. Now the service is signaling possible cuts to the program. It’s not for no reason that Brown has begun characterizing the F-35 as a boutique, high-end fighter in the class of the F-22. The Air Force ended F-22 production after completing just 195 copies.
“The F-35 is approaching a crossroads,” Grazier said.
Pentagon leaders have hinted that, as part of the U.S. military’s shift in focus toward peer threats—that is, Russia and China—the Navy and Air Force might get bigger shares of the U.S. military’s roughly $700-billion annual budget. All at the Army’s expense.
“If we’re going to pull the trigger on a new fighter, now’s probably the time,” Grazier said. The Air Force could end F-35 production after just a few hundred examples and redirect tens of billions of dollars to a new fighter program.
But it’s an open question whether the Air Force will ever succeed in developing a light, cheap fighter. The new low-end jet could suffer the same fate as the last low-end jet—the F-35—and steadily gain weight, complexity and cost until it becomes, well, a high-end jet.
If that happens, as it’s happened before, then some future Air Force chief of staff might tell reporters—in, say, the year 2041—that the new F-36 is a Ferrari and you don’t drive your Ferrari to work every day.
To finally replace its 60-year-old F-16s, this future general might say, the Air Force should develop an affordable, lightweight fighter.
Source: Forbes “The U.S. Air Force Just Admitted The F-35 Stealth Fighter Has Failed”
Note: This is Forbes’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
I was the Australian doctor on the WHO’s COVID-19 mission to China. Here’s what we found about the origins of the coronavirusPosted: February 26, 2021
February 22, 2021 3.19pm AEDT
Director of Public Health Pathology, NSW Health Pathology, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, University of Sydney
Dominic Dwyer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of Sydney
University of Sydney provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.
View all partners
CC BY ND
We believe in the free flow of information
Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence.
As I write, I am in hotel quarantine in Sydney, after returning from Wuhan, China. There, I was the Australian representative on the international World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Much has been said of the politics surrounding the mission to investigate the viral origins of COVID-19. So it’s easy to forget that behind these investigations are real people.
As part of the mission, we met the man who, on December 8, 2019, was the first confirmed COVID-19 case; he’s since recovered. We met the husband of a doctor who died of COVID-19 and left behind a young child. We met the doctors who worked in the Wuhan hospitals treating those early COVID-19 cases, and learned what happened to them and their colleagues. We witnessed the impact of COVID-19 on many individuals and communities, affected so early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about the virus, how it spreads, how to treat COVID-19, or its impacts.
We talked to our Chinese counterparts — scientists, epidemiologists, doctors — over the four weeks the WHO mission was in China. We were in meetings with them for up to 15 hours a day, so we became colleagues, even friends. This allowed us to build respect and trust in a way you couldn’t necessarily do via Zoom or email.
This is what we learned about the origins of SARS-CoV-2.
Animal origins, but not necessarily at the Wuhan markets
It was in Wuhan, in central China, that the virus, now called SARS-CoV-2, emerged in December 2019, unleashing the greatest infectious disease outbreak since the 1918-19 influenza pandemic.
Our investigations concluded the virus was most likely of animal origin. It probably crossed over to humans from bats, via an as-yet-unknown intermediary animal, at an unknown location. Such “zoonotic” diseases have triggered pandemics before. But we are still working to confirm the exact chain of events that led to the current pandemic. Sampling of bats in Hubei province and wildlife across China has revealed no SARS-CoV-2 to date.
We visited the now-closed Wuhan wet market which, in the early days of the pandemic, was blamed as the source of the virus. Some stalls at the market sold “domesticated” wildlife products. These are animals raised for food, such as bamboo rats, civets and ferret badgers. There is also evidence some domesticated wildlife may be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. However, none of the animal products sampled after the market’s closure tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
We also know not all of those first 174 early COVID-19 cases visited the market, including the man who was diagnosed in December 2019 with the earliest onset date.
However, when we visited the closed market, it’s easy to see how an infection might have spread there. When it was open, there would have been around 10,000 people visiting a day, in close proximity, with poor ventilation and drainage.
There’s also genetic evidence generated during the mission for a transmission cluster there. Viral sequences from several of the market cases were identical, suggesting a transmission cluster. However, there was some diversity in other viral sequences, implying other unknown or unsampled chains of transmission.
A summary of modelling studies of the time to the most recent common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 sequences estimated the start of the pandemic between mid-November and early December. There are also publications suggesting SARS-CoV-2 circulation in various countries earlier than the first case in Wuhan, although these require confirmation.
The market in Wuhan, in the end, was more of an amplifying event rather than necessarily a true ground zero. So we need to look elsewhere for the viral origins.
Frozen or refrigerated food not ruled out in the spread
Then there was the “cold chain” hypothesis. This is the idea the virus might have originated from elsewhere via the farming, catching, processing, transporting, refrigeration or freezing of food. Was that food ice cream, fish, wildlife meat? We don’t know. It’s unproven that this triggered the origin of the virus itself. But to what extent did it contribute to its spread? Again, we don’t know.
Several “cold chain” products present in the Wuhan market were not tested for the virus. Environmental sampling in the market showed viral surface contamination. This may indicate the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 through infected people, or contaminated animal products and “cold chain” products. Investigation of “cold chain” products and virus survival at low temperatures is still underway.
Extremely unlikely the virus escaped from a lab
The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory. We concluded this was extremely unlikely.
We visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is an impressive research facility, and looks to be run well, with due regard to staff health.
We spoke to the scientists there. We heard that scientists’ blood samples, which are routinely taken and stored, were tested for signs they had been infected. No evidence of antibodies to the coronavirus was found. We looked at their biosecurity audits. No evidence.
We looked at the closest virus to SARS-CoV-2 they were working on — the virus RaTG13 — which had been detected in caves in southern China where some miners had died seven years previously.
But all the scientists had was a genetic sequence for this virus. They hadn’t managed to grow it in culture. While viruses certainly do escape from laboratories, this is rare. So, we concluded it was extremely unlikely this had happened in Wuhan.
A team of investigators
When I say “we”, the mission was a joint exercise between the WHO and the Chinese health commission. In all, there were 17 Chinese and ten international experts, plus seven other experts and support staff from various agencies. We looked at the clinical epidemiology (how COVID-19 spread among people), the molecular epidemiology (the genetic makeup of the virus and its spread), and the role of animals and the environment.
The clinical epidemiology group alone looked at China’s records of 76,000 episodes from more than 200 institutions of anything that could have resembled COVID-19 — such as influenza-like illnesses, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. They found no clear evidence of substantial circulation of COVID-19 in Wuhan during the latter part of 2019 before the first case.
Where to now?
Our mission to China was only phase one. We are due to publish our official report in the coming weeks. Investigators will also look further afield for data, to investigate evidence the virus was circulating in Europe, for instance, earlier in 2019. Investigators will continue to test wildlife and other animals in the region for signs of the virus. And we’ll continue to learn from our experiences to improve how we investigate the next pandemic.
Irrespective of the origins of the virus, individual people with the disease are at the beginning of the epidemiology data points, sequences and numbers. The long-term physical and psychological effects — the tragedy and anxiety — will be felt in Wuhan, and elsewhere, for decades to come.
Source: theconversation.com “I was the Australian doctor on the WHO’s COVID-19 mission to China. Here’s what we found about the origins of the coronavirus”
Note: This is theconversation.com’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
I mentioned China’s two-stage development goals in my post “Marxism Leads China to Switch to Innovation-, Creation- and Consumption-led Growth” on February 19, 2021. At the first stage China shall basically achieve modernization by 2035 while at the second stage China shall be built into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by 2050.
Attaining such great goals is also a very difficult revolution as it will bring revolutionary changes to China. In order to attain those goals, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) shall ensure all its members are revolutionaries working hard to achieve CCP’s revolution. For that Xi Jinping has initiated the campaign to teach CCP members to remain true to their original aspiration and keep their mission firmly in mind.
Xi says in his report to CCP 19th Congress, “The original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. This original aspiration, this mission, is what inspires Chinese Communists to advance. In our Party, each and every one of us must always breathe the same breath as the people, share the same future, and stay truly connected to them. The aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of our efforts”
By that education campaign Xi is in fact rectify CCP.
Xi Jinping’s Further Efforts to Prevent CCP from Collapse
By CCP 19th Congress, Xi had succeeded in overcoming local despotism that had turned CCP people’s enemy and rampant corruption to avoid CCP’s collapse, but that is not enough. He wants to prevent CCP from collapse like that of the Soviet Communist Party. Before collapse, there is no local despotism or rampant corruption in the Soviet Union. Xi has to make further efforts to stabilize CCP.
In a speech to Guangdong Party officials in December 2013, Xi mentioned the lesson that should be learned from the collapse of the Soviet Communist Party. Xi said that the Soviet Communist Party collapsed because it had wavered in its ideal and faith and its organizations had failed to play their role.
Xi Sets CCP’s Ideal with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era
What is CCP’s ideal? Marx wanted communists to conduct a communist revolution to solve the principal contradiction of capitalism that production is for the society but means of production (enterprises) are owned privately, resulting in anarchy of production that gives rise to economic recession. Marx, therefore, advocated public ownership of means of production and planned economy.
However monolithic public ownership and planned economy have been proved unsuccessful in practice. The first of Jiang Zemin’s Three Represents justifies the existence and development of the private sector as it meets the requirements of the development of advanced productive force. In China now, private sector has grown larger than the state-owned sector. It creates wealth, plays important role in innovation and creation, contributes to economic growth and prosperity, generates tax revenue, provides employment and satisfies people’s demand for goods.
As situation has changed, Marxist specific rule on ownership and planning do not apply to the reality now. If that has not been made clear, a communist party may waver in its ideal. However, the philosophy and methodology of Marxism remain correct and useful; therefore, CCP shall not waver in its faith in Marxism but has to develop its ideal along with the change of times.
To prevent CCP from waver in its ideal, Xi has developed Marxism in putting forth Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. In Xi Jinping Thought, the principal contradiction in China now is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing aspiration for better life. CCP’s task is to resolve that principal contradiction, to be more specific, to attain the goal in building a moderately prosperous society by 2021 and realize the Chinese Dream of the grand rejuvenation of China by attaining the two-stage goals.
Therefore the major theme of 19th CCP Congress is “Remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind, hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and work tirelessly to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.”
According to that theme, all CCP members must remain true to their original aspiration of fighting for communism all their life according to the oath they have taken when they join CCP and keep that mission firmly in mind.
The theme is, in fact, a call to rectify CCP. If CCP members remain true to their original aspiration and keep firmly in mind their mission, all the evils of despotism, corruption, being divorced from the mass of people, formalism, bureaucratism, etc. will be eliminated and CCP will really be a party of the people, by the people and for the people.
In Xi’s speech to the press immediately after he was elected general secretary for the first time, he pointed out that CCP had to supervise its own conducts, run itself with strict discipline, earnestly resolve the notorious problems within CCP, improve its work style, establish close ties with the mass of people and thus enable itself to become and always remain the firm and strong leading core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He thus described what he wanted to rectify CCP. To achieve that, Xi now first focuses on making CCP members remain true to their original aspiration and keep their mission firmly in mind.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
FEBRUARY 24, 20219:34 PMUPDATED 11 HOURS AGO
2 MIN READ
GENEVA (Reuters) – China hit back on Wednesday at growing criticism by Western powers of its treatment of ethnic minorities in the regions of Xinjiang and Tibet and of citizens in the former British colony of Hong Kong.FILE PHOTO: Ambassador of China to the United Nations Chen Xu attends a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Hours earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a wide-ranging speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council, said that the Biden administration would denounce atrocities in Xinjiang.
“At this high-level segment, the U.K., EU, Germany, USA, Canada, and some other countries abused this forum of the Council to make groundless charges against China, to interfere in internal affairs of our country. We firmly oppose and categorically reject these attempts,” Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told the forum.
Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab kicked off the Western rebukes on Monday, denouncing torture, forced labour and sterilisations that he said were taking place against Muslim Uighurs on an “industrial scale” in Xinjiang.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on China on Tuesday to allow U.N. human rights boss Michelle Bachelet to visit and investigate alleged mistreatment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang and of people in Tibet.
“Ignoring reality, the above-mentioned countries fabricate and spread lies about Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong,” Chen said.
Activists and U.N. rights experts have said that at least one million Muslims are detained in camps in the remote western region of Xinjiang. China denies abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.
Chen suggested that Western powers should work to improve their own records, singling out for criticism overseas military interventions which resulted in “repeated killing of innocent people”.
“They should resolve their own human rights problems such as deep-rooted racial discrimination, gaps between rich and poor, social inequity, injustice, police brutality,” he added.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Michael Shields and Gareth Jones
West warned to refrain from ‘big lie’ diplomacy on China’s Xinjiang affairs, Beijing Winter Olympic GamesPosted: February 25, 2021
Hyping ‘genocide’ rumor to politicize Winter Olympics a nasty trick: experts
By Yang Sheng and Cao Siqi
Published: Feb 23, 2021 10:32 PM
As some anti-China politicians in Western countries are trying to hype the “genocide” rumors about China’s Xinjiang to obstruct the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Chinese experts said if these attempts become the official stance of these Western countries, there will be serious consequences.
Western leaders should stop politicizing global sports event with a “big lie,” they noted.
Canada’s parliament passed a non-binding motion on Monday saying that China’s treatment of the Uygur people in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region “constitutes genocide,” putting pressure on the government of liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow suit, according to Reuters on Tuesday.
In fact, Trudeau and his Cabinet have abstained from the vote, AP reported.
The motion was also amended just before the vote to call on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if “the treatment” continues.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a routine press conference on Tuesday that China firmly opposes and has lodged serious representations to Canada against its motion.
“Facts have proven that there has never been genocide in Xinjiang. This is a pure lie concocted by anti-China forces, a ridiculous farce to smear China. Some Canadian politicians’ blatant politicization of sport violates the spirit of the Olympic Movement and harms the interests of their athletes,” Wang said.
There have been similar attempts or calls from politicians and “human rights groups” in some other Western countries to boycott or relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics, mostly members of the Five Eyes Alliance, such as the US and the UK.
However, in early February, Canadian Olympic Committee chief executive officer David Shoemaker said that a boycott would be the wrong approach, according to Reuters.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee echoed a similar position on Wednesday, saying they oppose boycotts because “they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues.”
Chinese experts said that those attempts made by some politicians in parliament or congress in their countries are yet to become the official government stance of Western countries, as decision-makers in the West understand how serious the consequence would be if they boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. Those calls are an old trick that some Western politicians had frequently played in the past, especially when China or Russia held the Olympics. It is a political stunt to specifically attack countries who pursue different paths from the West.
Experts on Olympic issues pointed out that it is useless and ignorant for some Canadian politicians to call for a removal of the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics from Beijing as a possible replacement of the host city is decided only by the IOC and the city it would entrust, and apparently the IOC would never accept such a “ridiculous appeal.”
“Neither the IOC nor the national Olympic committees from any country would allow sports to be manipulated by politics. Such calls for a boycott or relocation of the Games will not be a global trend, as we saw by what happened to Russia’s Sochi Winter Olympics [in 2014],” Ding Bocheng, who participated in organizing the Summer Games in 2004 and 2008 and is a member of the team for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
A boycott “cannot win the hearts of the public, sponsors, and athletes who see the Games as a chance to appreciate global competition, to expand brand reputation and to achieve professional achievements,” Ding noted.
No doubt, the absence of top-notch athletes from winter sports powerhouses, especially from the US and Canada, would impair the glamour of the Winter Olympic Games, which in turn will hurt these athletes, Ding said.
Don’t overestimate yourself
Lü Xiang, an expert on international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday, “Anti-China conservative Western politicians need to understand that they have no right to decide where to hold the Olympics. They just arrogantly believe they can represent the international community.”
The motion passed by the Canadian parliament is non-binding, so the Trudeau administration needs to avoid being stupid. Canada’s anti-China politicians just played the same trick as Mike Pompeo (former US secretary of state in the Trump administration). It is “big lie” diplomacy, Lü said.
To groundlessly accuse China of “genocide” will never become a legitimate excuse for the boycott and would only make those who support the boycott more isolated, Lü said.
David Lampton, professor and director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, expressed similar opinions in his recent article in the Newsweek headlined “Don’t Boycott Beijing’s 2022 Winter Olympics.”
The US was unable to get every ally to support its boycott of the Soviet Union’s Moscow Olympics in 1980. “Given the modern realities of Chinese global economic integration, today we can expect much more resistance to the boycott idea. Washington could well find itself the majorette for a marching band that is going in an entirely different direction,” Lampton said.
In 2008, anti-China forces like some Western politicians and Tibet separatists tried to play the same trick to boycott the Beijing Olympics, but eventually, they had all failed.
“Most major states will participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics… One key difference between now and 2008 is that today’s China feels much stronger diplomatically and economically than it did more than a decade ago,” Lampton said in his article which was published on the Newsweek website on February 16.
Lü said that in 2008, Western countries, especially the US, needed China’s help to overcome the challenge of the financial crisis, and now, the problems they have to face have created many more headaches than in 2008, such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and pushing economic recovery, so the West, which is in a big mess, has no reason and no strength to seriously offend China by boycotting the 2022 Games.
When Western anti-China forces use rumors about Xinjiang as a weapon to harm China’s interests, there is no effective way for China to stop them from telling lies, so retaliation is the only language that those liars can understand, Lü said, adding that pragmatic and wise Western leaders know how serious the retaliation would be if they use the lie of “genocide” to boycott the 2022 Games. “It would be like cutting off almost all ties.”
Never about Xinjiang
Some mainstream Western media like CNN cannot even correctly locate where Xinjiang is on the map, so the calls for a boycott are never about the human rights or the Uygur people. Chinese analysts said some Western countries are likely to use the calls as a bargaining chip to negotiate with China for compromises on other issues.
It is not a matter of human rights in Xinjiang, but more about not giving China a chance to stand out in the international arena, Peking University professor Zhang Yiwu told the Global Times on Tuesday. Zhang noted that “the Olympic Games is just a way out for the West to contain China by waving its flags of human rights and ethnic issues.”
Zhang said that the prosperous, stable and harmonious Xinjiang has debunked their smears, but China should continue spreading true stories about the autonomous region to the outside world and invite more politicians and journalists from other countries to visit Xinjiang so they can see for themselves.
Looking back at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China and the Olympics had made each other better. The 2008 Games presents a democratic, open, civilized, friendly, and confident China to the world and China had emerged as a key player in international affairs, and particularly as a major presence on the global market.
Meanwhile, China hosted a “truly exceptional” Olympic Games, boosting exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and other civilizations of the world. It encourages more than 1.3 billion Chinese to engage in sports with interest and passion, and give them an opportunity to help advance the Olympic Movement and promote the Olympic spirit.
“We believe that the IOC will make specific moves against the calls for a boycott or relocation and carry out its rules against any acts for political or ideological purposes; otherwise, the Olympic Movement may face an unprecedented crisis,” Zhang said.
Source: Global Times “West warned to refrain from ‘big lie’ diplomacy on China’s Xinjiang affairs, Beijing Winter Olympic Games”
Note: This is Global Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
By Reuters Staff
FEBRUARY 23, 20214:05 PM UPDATED 21 HOURS AGO
BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday that it condemned and rejected Canada’s parliament passing a non-binding motion saying China’s treatment of Uighurs is genocide.
China have lodged stern representations with Canada, the foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing.
Canada’s parliament passed a non-binding motion on Monday saying China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region constitutes genocide, putting pressure on Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to follow suit.
Reporting By Cate Cadell; Writing by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
Source: Reuters “China condemns Canada’s motion calling treatment of Uighurs genocide”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.