China: Acts Of War

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June 18, 2011:  Things have quieted down in the southern Chinese city of Zengcheng. A week of riots and demonstrations kept escalating, until thousands of police reinforcements, and at least 19 arrests, quieted things down. This was one of several such incidents this year throughout China. This sort of disorder is a growing problem, despite decades of economic expansion and prosperity. The main problem is corruption. Too many government employees expect a bribe to do their jobs. But this is compounded by the abuse of residency permits. China, like most communist countries, imposes a form of serfdom on its citizens, forcing everyone to carry an internal passport, which includes the name of the town or city you are officially from. This is the only place where you can legally do a lot of things. You can move to other parts of the country, but if you cannot afford the large bribe to get your official residence changed, you are living illegally in your new home. You have no access to things like schools for your kids, or the ability to start a legal business. There are expensive private schools for these illegals, and local officials will take bribes to help you with starting a new business, but you are always an official outsider.  In Zengcheng, like many cities in southern China, where all this rapid economic growth has attracted a lot of new people looking for jobs, most of the half million people in the city do not have legal residence. The constant demands for more bribes from police and civil servants, who deliberately exploit the illegal residents, creates a growing anger. This is particularly true in southern China, where the economic boom has been most intense and sustained. But the corruption is found throughout China, even in the rural areas most of the economic migrants in Zengcheng came from. This is the kind of unrest the national government fears might escalate to large scale rebellion. This pattern has occurred many times in Chinese history, and the rulers of China are very well aware of this history.

China is increasing its coastal surveillance services 66 percent (to 15,000 personnel) over the next decade. That is only part of the force that watches coastal waters (which include the Coast Guard and various other law enforcement agencies plus part of the navy.) All these forces are increasingly active in trying to keep any foreign military vessels out of the 371 kilometer economic zone (a violation of international law, which only recognizes 22 kilometers, the distance international law recognizes as "territorial waters.") China denies that it is trying to turn its economic zone into territorial waters, but is doing just that. This is typical Chinese diplomatic behavior, and that sort of thing has long antagonized neighbors and other foreigners.

After two decades of relative peace, Burmese tribes have rebelled again. The main cause is the construction of several hydroelectric dams in northern Burma, near the Chinese border, which has brought in more Burmese troops to guard these Chinese investments, and harass the tribes. Most of the electricity is exported back to China, and tribal land claims and customs were largely ignored during construction. Both the Burmese government troops and the Chinese are seen as invaders, and the locals have had enough.  A similar situation is developing in parts of China. In particular, Inner Mongolia (long a part of China bordering Mongolia) is the scene of growing resentment, and unrest, among ethnic Mongolians there, who feel exploited and abused by the Han Chinese who are creating more coal extraction operations. The digging and new railroads have disrupted the lives of many rural ethnic Mongolians.

June 17, 2011: Indonesia and China completed five weeks of joint military training. Fifty Chinese troops participated in a series of counter-terror and commando operations with their Indonesian counterparts. China likes to arrange these low-level, small-scale exercises to help with diplomacy, and finding out the capabilities of neighboring armed forces.

June 16, 2011:  China will renew its official contacts with the Indian armed forces. These were terminated last year when China escalated its diplomatic efforts to regain disputed territory from India.

June 15, 2011: Filipino sailors removed a Chinese marker from Boxall Reef, which is claimed by the Philippines (because it is within the 371 kilometer economic zone of the Philippines due to its proximity to the large, and heavily populated, Palawan island.) China claims all these small islands in the South China Sea, dismissing claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. So far, this has only resulted in a lot of bullying and posturing by the Chinese.  But as the Chinese Navy grows larger and more powerful, the neighboring states believe it will only be a matter of time before China goes from intimidation to acts of war. Meanwhile, this has led to growing anti-Chinese sentiment, and demonstrations, in Vietnam. For centuries, China has tried to incorporate northern Vietnam into China, but without success. The last war China fought, in 1979, was a brief border campaign with Vietnam (which China officially won, but unofficially lost because of the poor performance of Chinese troops.)

June 11, 2011:  Chinese police cooperated with several neighboring countries, especially Taiwan, to break up a criminal gang using telecom to commit wide scale credit card fraud. Many arrests were made (26 in China, 162 in Taiwan, 188 in Cambodia, 177 in Indonesia, 37 in Malaysia, and 8 in Thailand.) The gangs tended to be headquartered in Taiwan, believing the tension between Taiwan and China would prevent international police cooperation. Such was not the case. Some 600 people were arrested or sought, and two-thirds were Taiwanese.  Despite whatever diplomatic tension there might be, the police organizations of nations that trade with each other, tend to keep in touch.

June 10, 2011:  A week of riots and unrest began in the southern Chinese city of Zengcheng.  The cause was police abusing vendors who did not have government permission to live in the city.

June 9, 2011:  Chinese ships again interfered with Vietnamese oil exploration ships. Vietnam protested that the oil exploration ships were within the 371 kilometer (distance from land) economic zone, while China denied that. China had carried out a similar interference mission on May 26th.  

June 1, 2011:  Google angered the Chinese government by releasing details of a Cyber War operation, originating in China, that was attempting to monitor email use by government officials, anti-Chinese political activists and military commanders in many foreign countries. China has told Google, privately and publically, not to be "political". Making these charges, and providing so much evidence that this Cyber War operation was probably authorized by the Chinese government, is something China warned Google not to do. But complaining privately never made much difference. So Google is going public, and taking on the Chinese government.

 

 

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