China plans to put seventeen
satellites and one space vehicle into orbit this year, using fifteen launches. Meanwhile,
China continues to launch thousands of Chinese migrants a month into Africa,
which is seen as a land of opportunity for ambitious and adventurous Chinese.
Goods from China are cheap, if shoddy, compared to European or American items.
But in Africa low prices are king, and the Chinese know how to play that way.
The Chinese also don't mind the nasty remarks from the locals. Chinese traders
have been going abroad, often into hostile environments, for thousands of
years. For the Chinese government, these "overseas Chinese" are an economic,
diplomatic, and sometimes military, bridgehead into foreign lands. The "overseas Chinese" can be a source of military
intelligence, and local knowledge for espionage and other missions. Most
Western nations have pulled their diplomatic and intelligence people out rural
areas in Africa, losing touch with what's going on out there. Not so the
Chinese, where the Chinese entrepreneurs will go anywhere that appears capable
of providing some profit.
China is importing large quantities of
security equipment for this year's Olympics. Chinese manufacturers are already
copying a lot of the technology and preparing to offer cheaper (and often
illegal) clones of the imported stuff. A lot of it is expected to sell to the
domestic market, avoiding unpleasant encounters with U.S. lawyers and courts. This
is expected to make software controlled security cameras and biometrics much
more common in the Chinese police state.
Meanwhile, the Great Firewall of China,
the security system that monitors Internet use, is being equipped to monitor
videos (as in YouTube and the like) for their content. The Chinese don't want
any politically disturbing videos getting into the country.
Taiwan is buying more anti-missile
missiles and AH-64 helicopter gunships. But Taiwanese politicians, and voters,
are still split over whether China would even risk a military attack on the
island. War would cripple the Chinese economy, if only for a short while, and
that would hurt the already shaky communist dictatorship.