January 18, 2018
China will soon start rolling out its next-generation rail technology across the country, and it is likely the futuristic trains won’t only have passengers on board.
Christened Fuxing, which means “renaissance” or “rejuvenation” in Mandarin, the bullet trains will be able to cruise at 400 kilometres per hour and will replace the slower Hexie (“harmony”) locomotives on the nation’s sprawling 22,000 km high-speed rail network.
The first two have been shuttling passengers between Beijing and Shanghai since their commercial debut in June 2017, cutting the commuting time from the capital to the coastal economic powerhouse to a little more than three hours.
But it is believed the trains have also been designed for a security role, as they will be capable of rapidly deploying troops, military materiel, weapons and other firepower if the need arises.
Now that almost all counties in the eastern and central provinces and major cities elsewhere have been connected to at least one high-speed rail line, it will be a simple matter to shift reinforcements and supplies, and it will be much quicker than on the choked road system.
Fuxing’s high-speed locomotives carry bigger railcars than those on the old Hexie trains, offering greater logistical flexibility for shipments of troops contingents and bulky equipment. Trains can be shielded more easily from enemy surveillance than trucks and, unlike airborne troop-carriers, are less vulnerable to inclement weather.
Trains have been used as military transporters for decades, but were first armored and modified to carry missiles, including nuclear warheads, by the Soviet Union.
In the 1980s the communist state devised a heavy purpose-built railcar to hold the RT-23 Molodets intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch vehicle; Western countries immediately realised the advantage of the railcars: they could be hidden anywhere there was a track.
“As it was impossible to precisely determine the place where they could fire a nuclear missile, they were dubbed as ‘death’ or ‘phantom’ trains,” the Washington-based National Interest reported in its February 2017 issue, citing Russian papers.
The RT-23 was followed by the Molodets BZhRK SS-24 Scalpel and by 2020 the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces are scheduled to take delivery of the latest version, the RS-27 or SS-X-31\32Zh Barguzin BZhRK. Like its predecessors, the RS-27 is a distinct class of launch vehicle for rail-mounted intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Moscow has signaled that it will continue to develop train-launched ICBMs and nukes and China appears to have also realised the benefits of using mobile launchpads instead of fixed silos.
The People’s Liberation Army is reported to have tested a rail-mounted ICBM for the first time in 2015, with a Chinese media article noting the missile train was “a countermove in response to America’s global missile defence system and C-PGS (prompt global strike) program” of hypersonic missiles.
Observers believe that China’s DF-41 solid-fuelled ICBM, which is now hauled around the country on road transports and is capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads to a range of 15,000 km, is likely to be adapted to a rail platform in the near future.
It is probably no coincidence that Beijing continues to splurge hundreds of billions of dollars to extend heavy high-speed rail lines out to its vast western provinces, where many of the PLA’s ICBM and nuclear assets are located. A new line linking the southwestern city of Xian and Chengdu in Sichuan province was inaugurated last month.
Source: National Interest “China Could Merge High Speed Rail and Nuclear Missiles Into the Ultimate Weapon”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
We now return to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics on a New Era. We said that the new thought was declaration that China can say no. That was mainly said with regard to the New Era, i.e. China has entered into a new era where it can say no. However, Xi Jinping Thought is on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Then what is socialism with Chinese characteristics in the first place?
Soviet and Mao Zedong’s orthodox socialism was characterized by public ownership either state ownership or collective ownership. Everything belonged to the state or collective. All those who worked whether in state owned or collective owned entities were in fact state or collective employees though in theory they were owners of their entities according to the definition of public ownership.
Not only so, in such socialism, people were even masters of their country. However, those masters of their country had no decision making power in their country, not even in the entities where they worked. Even the management in their entities had no decision making power about the operation of their entities because the essential characteristic of socialism second only to public ownership was planned economy.
The state drew up plans for each and every entity to faithfully implement. There was no incentive to develop new technology or equipment or improve efficiency among management or common workers, the economy was stagnant unable to raise wages or provide jobs for youngsters grown up to join the labor force.
No one was allowed to own any entity to make money. A hawker or individual farmer is a capitalist to be denounced as public enemy. No worker is allowed to make money outside their state employment. A worker who had made a few hundred yuan income in addition to his wage by fishing and hunting to improve his beloved family’s living standards was denounced in China and got the label as a bad element one of the labels for those regarded as public enemies.
As a result, before the Cultural Revolution youngsters graduated from middle schools but unable to enter colleges and vocational schools or got the very few job opportunities in state-owned entities became unemployed. In Shanghai alone there were several hundred thousands of unemployed youngsters in 1964. The government sent about 100,000 youngsters to Xinjiang military farms, but as new graduates joined the unemployed, the number of unemployed did not decrease. However, they were only a part of middle school graduates though their number was large in 1966 when the Cultural Revolution began.
Unemployment Greatly Worsened after Cultural Revolution
During the chaos of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1977, as schools were closed and as production was disrupted, the government was utterly unable to provide jobs for middle school graduates. Since 1968, Mao sent all those who graduated since 1966 to the countryside to receive re-education from peasants. Those youngsters were called educated youth. By 1978, their number grew to about 30 million.
At that time, China’s rural areas were very poor with shortage of food, no electricity, tap water, or recreation or decent medical services. Urban youngsters simply could not get used to the life there.
In late 1977, educated youth in Yunan state farms began protests for improvement of their living conditions, which soon grew into strike and hunger strike for return to their native cities.
As soon as they were sent to the areas they were to receive re-education, their household registration was transferred to the areas. If they had gone back on their own without government permission to transfer their household registration back to their native cities they would have no food and other rations from their cities that were necessary for their survival.
At that time, the unemployment problems had already been quite serious in Chinese cities; therefore, all Chinese officials wanted to reject educated youth’s demand as they feared that the large number of unemployed youngsters might strike and even riot when they had returned but remained unemployed for some time.
However, there was one exception among them. Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader, decided to allow the educated youth to return home.
The educated youth and their families were happy, but related officials were sad. How could they provide jobs for tens of millions unemployed?
Deng had his plan. He allowed the unemployed to set up their individual business and even employ about five workers, rural collective entities to set up factories and foreign businessmen to set up enterprises and joint ventures with Chinese entities to provide jobs. That was the beginning of a little capitalism.
Due to the restriction on employing only as few as 5 workers, Chinese entrepreneurs set up collective enterprises in rural areas with no such restriction. Those collective enterprises were in fact private ones and were actually turned into the entrepreneurs’ enterprises later.
There was soon a boom of such collective enterprises that provided lots of jobs. Together with individual businesses and foreign enterprises and joint ventures, they won the competition against state-owned enterprises due to their stress on technology and product quality and the hard work of their employees.
Those private enterprises provided jobs, paid tax to increase government revenue and brought about economic growth. Chinese reformist leaders Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang saw the benefit of private sector, i.e. capitalism, but met serious resistance from communist conservatives.
Zhao Ziyang’s Initial Stage of Socialism — the Beginning of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
To justify the pursuit of capitalism, Zhao Ziyang invented the term of the initial stage of socialism, which was later regarded as socialism with Chinese characteristics in his report to the 13th Congress in 1987. However, how can communists such as Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang pursue capitalism?
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Mil.huanqiu.com says in its report “Russian expert: Why is China able to surpass the US in some military technologies?” on January 16 that according to Russian Sputnik Satellite Networks’ report on January 15, the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities under US Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on China’s new military technology and dual military and civilian technology. Some experts said at the hearing that China has had some achievements at quite high level and surpassed the US in some areas.
Some Russian military experts are of the opinion that recently China has perhaps been leading in quantum technology. What shall the US do to reverse that trend? They believe that the US shall implement large state research programs to provide greater and more stable support for them with state policies.
However, it is necessary to point out that US ability of response to such challenges is doubtful. China’s successes are mainly due to its ability to concentrate all resources. Such centralism of power in the US was only possible in the critical time of the Cold War, for example Project Apollo in which the US invested 4% of its entire national budget in some years.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian expert: Why is China able to surpass the US in some military technologies?” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese, full text of which in Chinese can be viewed at http://mil.huanqiu.com/world/2018-01/11526565.html)
China is making fast progress in developing world-class aircraft engine. SCMP quotes a Chinese scientist as says in its report “China in talks for sale of jet engine technology to Germany” on January 14, “We are willing to share with industrial partners in Germany our latest hardware and technology. Industrial representatives from the two sides have finished the first round of contact.”
In addition the scientist said that the export of state-of-the-art machinery to Germany – traditionally known for its high-quality products – would improve the international image of China’s manufacturing industry.
Due to the fast technological progress, SCMP says, “state media boasted last year that its (China’s WS-15 turbofan developed for J-20) performance matched that of the Pratt & Whitney F119, the world’s most advanced jet engine in military service, which was developed in the United States for the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.”
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2127796/china-talks-sale-jet-engine-technology-germany.
Jeremy Goldkorn January 16, 2018
The South China Morning Post reports that “total profit at enterprises owned by China’s central government rose 15.2 percent in 2017 to 1.4 trillion yuan (US$217.5 billion).”
•The profits were the highest ever in absolute terms, while the growth rate in the sector was the highest in five years.
•The results “vindicate plans the Chinese government announced in 2015 to overhaul its lumbering and debt-ridden state sector,” according to the SCMP.
•In recent years, the number of companies directly administered by the central government fell to 98 from 117 in 2012. The remaining enterprises “have been under pressure to improve their management to attract private capital.”
Source: SubChina “State-owned companies had a record year in 2017”
Note: This is SubChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
The South China Morning Post’s report can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2128446/chinese-state-enterprises-post-record-level-profits-2017
In mid 2017, there was a survey among Southeast Asian elite that found widespread concerns among China’s Southeast Asian neighbors that US withdrawal from the region will leave the region entirely to China’s influence. According to the survey, those are the concerns about China’s “increasing assertiveness.”
As a matter of fact, China has not increased its assertiveness. Instead, it is willing to share the resources in the South China Sea. That has been proved by it allowing Philippine fishermen to resume fishing at Huangyan Island (also known as Scarborough Shoal). China prohibited their fishing due to former Philippine President Aquino’s attempt to ban Chinese fishing there. As soon as the Philippines has put an end to Aquino’s hostility and treated China as a friend, China willingly become Philippines’ friend.
People are used to regarding China’s construction of artificial islands as proof of China’s assertiveness but the construction was for national security against US aggression. To deal with contending claimants, Chinese navy is strong enough. Why shall China have spent billions of dollars for the construction?
If China had been really assertive, it would have sent its troops to take the islands and reefs it claims but has been occupied by rival claimants. China, however, refrains from doing so.
What then are Southeast Asians’ concerns? Their concerns are much more serious.
We all know that overseas Chinese are very rich in Southeast Asian countries and even dominate some countries’ economy. Due to local jealousy, the governments there often persecuted overseas Chinese and even massacred them. Indonesian and Malaysian massacres in the 1960s were typical examples.
At that time, China was very weak while the US was very strong. Chinese government could do nothing to help overseas Chinese.
If the US remains strong enough to contain China, Southeast Asian governments can keep on persecuting or at least discriminating against overseas Chinese while overseas Chinese dare not fight for equal treatment.
US withdrawal is due to its lack of strength to contend with China in the South China Sea. China now has great geographical advantages due to the three airports it has built on its artificial islands. That is why the US dared not fight when China told it China would fight for its rights and interests in the South China Sea.
US retreat happened when Obama was the president. Trump is only realistic not to continue Obama’s stupid TPP and pivot to Asia. If China keeps on rising and the US, declining, there is no hope for US to recover its dominance in Southeast Asia no matter who is US president.
In the future with the support from their motherland overseas Chinese may rise up to fight against persecution and discrimination and for their political rights.
Those are Southeast Asia’s greatest concerns.
However, judging by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s One Belt and One Road initiative, he wants win-win cooperation with other countries including Southeast Asian countries. The overseas Chinese there shall play their role in facilitate such win-win cooperation instead of fighting for political dominance. Certainly persecution and discrimination shall be removed as those are not win-win attitude, but as China advocates harmony, it wants overseas Chinese to live in harmony with local people. Therefore, there is no need for fear or concerns.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Reuters Staff January 16, 2018
(Reuters) – Chinese automakers so far have announced plans to invest more than $20 billion in new electric and hybrid vehicles.. Among them:
Changan Automobile Co : The Chongqing-based automaker has proposed a $15 billion plan to launch 21 new pure electric vehicles and 12 plug-in hybrids by 2025 while phasing out production of its gasoline-engine models. Changan is partnered in China with Ford Motor Co, French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen and Japanese automakers Suzuki Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp.
SAIC Motor : Shanghai-based SAIC, which is partnered with Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and General Motors Co, said it plans to invest at least $3 billion on so-called new energy vehicles, including electric and hybrid models.
Great Wall Motor : The independent carmaker, which is based in Baoding, plans to spend at least $1.8 billion and as much as $8 billion over the next 10 years on similar models, and has been discussing a possible joint venture with Germany’s BMW AG to build battery-powered Mini compacts in China.
Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Matthew Lewis
Reuters “FACTBOX: China carmakers ramping up electric car investments”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.