November 11, 2011:
China has complained to Japan about increasing Japanese air reconnaissance missions off the Chinese coast. Although these electronic recon missions are in international waters, China considers the Japanese aircraft too close and a threat. This sort of thing is a growing problem with China. That's because the waters 360 kilometers from land are considered the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), of the nation controlling the nearest land. The EEZ owner can control who fishes there, and extracts natural resources (mostly oil and gas) from the ocean floor. But the EEZ owner cannot prohibit free passage, or the laying of pipelines and communications cables. China claims that foreign aircraft and ships conduct illegal espionage on Chinese bases and military training. The 1994 treaty says nothing about such matters. China is simply doing what China has been doing for centuries, trying to impose its will on neighbors, or anyone venturing into what China considers areas under its control.
In addition to its EEZ policy, China is also annoying its neighbors over who should control the South China Sea. This is a 3.5 million square kilometer (1.4 million square mile) area south of China and Taiwan, west of the Philippines and north of Indonesia. China claims the entire area, as if it were one big EEZ. This has aroused the ire of the neighbors, and caused them to unite against China. This is often done via ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation), which has taken a lead role in trying to arbitrate the disputes between ASEAN members and China over ownership of islands in the South China Sea. This move is meant to persuade China to behave in the Spratly Islands. ASEAN was established in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and later expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. All the ASEAN nations have some disputes with China, and are attempting to gain some negotiating leverage with joint efforts like this. China agreed, in 2002 , to cooperate with ASEAN over the Spratly dispute, but that was apparently all for show. China seems unconcerned about this coalition, which continued Chinese demands only makes stronger.
Even neighbors who do not border the South China Sea are anxious about increased Chinese aggression. Mainly this is India, which has a 4,000 kilometer long land border with China. The two countries have tried to work out their differences, but China keeps making claims on Indian territory, apparently feeling that these claims are non-negotiable.
The Chinese strategy of constant diplomatic and economic pressure to get its way appears to be working against Taiwan. A sustained and growing diplomatic and lobbying effort in the United States has reduced the number of advanced weapons America will sell Taiwan, and reduced the speed of delivery for those which are sold.
Japanese Internet security experts now admit that recent Internet based attacks on Japanese military suppliers probably did succeed. Japan has openly complained that these attacks, occurring over several months earlier this year, were directed at military and government organizations.Western nations in general are becoming more outspoken in their accusations against China for being the source of these attacks. China denies everything, while at the same time announcing new efforts to increase Internet security in their armed forces and economy in general. While China may have a large number of hackers attacking Western networks, China's own Internet defenses are among the worst in the world. This is largely because of a shortage of Internet security personnel, so many new computer users and the large scale use of pirated, and poorly maintained, operating systems (mainly Microsoft Windows.) Nearly 90 percent of Chinese PCs run on Windows, and only ten percent of those are using legal copies. Most Chinese computers use an older, and more vulnerable version (Windows XP).
China continues to pressure North Korea to implement more economic reforms (like a market economy, as China did three decades ago) and quickly. North Korea is collapsing, and China does not want to deal with the economic and political fallout of a total political collapse there. But China feels they cannot push the North Korea too much, and ignores a lot of behavior that gets the rest of the world upset. For example, over the last few months, North Korea has been cracking down on North Koreans trying to sneak across the border into China. Sometimes, in remote parts of the border, North Korean police will cross the border while pursuing these escapees. Sometimes, when it appears the escapees will make it to a populated area, the North Korean troops will simply shoot the escapees, and get back into North Korea before any Chinese police show up. China does not make a public issue about this sort of thing, as long as the North Korean troops avoid doing it in front of Chinese civilians or police.
Desperate for cash, North Korea has been selling raw materials to China at very low prices. For example, nearly a billion dollars-worth of North Korean minerals was sold to Chinese firms last year, mainly coal. This was triple the sales of the previous year, and was only possible because the North Koreans cut their prices so low that they undercut many Chinese suppliers.
Chinese attempts to attract better educated recruits for the military has been difficult. There are so many opportunities in the civilian economy that the prime recruits are reluctant to sign up. So the military is experimenting. One of the latest gambits is allowing heavier (fat) recruits to join, as well as those with visible (while clothed) tattoos. The geek types the military wants tend to be heavier and more tattooed than most young Chinese.
November 6, 2011: China has established a space tracking station in Australia, in addition to other ones it already has in Pakistan, Chile, Kenya and Namibia. These stations use electronic and optical sensors to track Chinese space operations (satellites and space vehicles.)
November 3, 2011: The Chinese military has set up a group, at their National Defense University, to study anti-corruption efforts. For thousands of years, corruption in the peacetime military has been a major problem for China. As the military budget has doubled in the last decade, corruption has kept pace; this despite several major anti-corruption campaigns. The new center will study what methods worked, which ones did not, and try to figure out why.
November 2, 2011: A recent international survey revealed that Chinese and Russian companies are the most prone to using bribery in their overseas operations. China and Russia are also considered two of the most corrupt nations in the world. Actually, it's worse in Russia, but is also considered a serious problem in China as well, and the Chinese government is constantly seeking ways to deal with it. Corruption in China is leading to growing civil disorder. Each year there are more demonstrations and larger and more violent ones as well. This has led to more vigorous efforts to keep news of these events out of the media, particularly via the Internet and cell phones. This has not been successful, despite strenuous efforts. More people are getting angrier, and they know they are not alone. This sort of thing terrifies the government.