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FTR #1095 The Destabilization of China, Part 6: Asian Deep Politics

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: In this pro­gram we present some of the deep polit­i­cal Asian his­to­ry that bears on Chi­nese his­to­ry and pol­i­tics. In par­tic­u­lar, the harm done to Chi­na by Gen­er­alis­si­mo Chi­ang Kai-shek’s drug-deal­ing Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment, its col­lab­o­ra­tion with the bru­tal Japan­ese occu­piers of Manchuria, as well as the Unit­ed States is impor­tant in under­stand­ing the Chi­nese polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal out­look.

In turn, the deep eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship between the Japan­ese fas­cists and the U.S. is to be fac­tored in to any under­stand­ing of how the Chi­nese view this coun­try and the West.

In that con­text, we do NOT think Chi­na’s present gov­ern­ment will go down eas­i­ly in the face of an obvi­ous desta­bi­liza­tion effort by the U.S. and the West.

In addi­tion to the Euro­pean col­o­niza­tion of Chi­na and Britain’s vio­lent impo­si­tion of the opi­um drug trade through the Opi­um Wars, Chi­na’s polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry is vivid­ly ani­mat­ed by the drug-financed fas­cist dic­ta­tor­ship of Nation­al­ist Chi­nese Gen­er­alis­si­mo Chi­ang Kai-shek. Dubbed “the Peanut” by Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well dur­ing World War II, Chi­ang was com­pared by Stil­well (the chief Amer­i­can mil­i­tary advis­er and liai­son to the Kuom­intang forces dur­ing World War II) to Mus­soli­ni.

Chi­ang’s entire gov­ern­ment and bru­tal nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus rest­ed on the foun­da­tion of the nar­cotics traf­fic, as was well known by the US Com­mis­sion­er Bureau of Nar­cotics, Har­ry Anslinger.

Key points of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of this rela­tion­ship include: The deci­sive role of the Green Gang of Shang­hai crime lord Du (some­times ‘Tu”) Yue-sheng in both financ­ing Chi­ang’s forces and sup­ply­ing mus­cle and intel­li­gence to Tai Li, Chi­ang’s intel­li­gence chief and inte­ri­or min­is­ter, nick­named “The Himm­ler of Chi­na;” the impor­tant role of Chi­ang’s drug traf­fic in sup­ply­ing Amer­i­can t’ongs who, in turned, sup­plied the Mafia with their nar­cotics; the role of Chi­ang’s finance min­is­ter as Du Yue-sheng’s pro­tec­tor; the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Du and Chaing Kai-shek’s Kuom­intang appa­ra­tus with the Japan­ese occu­pa­tion gov­ern­ment of Manchuria in the nar­cotics traf­fic; the role of Chaing’s head of Nar­cotics Con­trol in sup­ply­ing Chi­nese offi­cials with drugs; the role of the Super­in­ten­dent of Mar­itime Cus­toms in Shang­hai in super­vis­ing the traf­fick­ing of drugs to the U.S.; Du Yueh-sheng’s flight to Hong Kong after the Japan­ese occu­pa­tion of Shang­hai; Du’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hong Kong-based British financiers in sell­ing drugs to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion; the delib­er­ate decep­tion on the part of Anslinger and king­pins in the US Chi­na Lob­by, who know­ing­ly mis­led the Amer­i­can pub­lic by blam­ing the U.S. drug traf­fic on the Com­mu­nist Chi­nese; the nar­cotics kick­backs to U.S. Chi­na Lob­by fig­ures by Chi­ang’s dope traf­fick­ing infra­struc­ture; the over­lap of the Kuom­intang dope trade with arms sales by Chi­na Lob­by lumi­nar­ies; the sup­port of the CIA for Chi­ang’s nar­cotics traf­fic; the destruc­tion of the career of For­eign Ser­vice offi­cer John Ser­vice, who not­ed that “the Nation­al­ists were total­ly depen­dent on opi­um and ‘inca­pable of solv­ing Chi­na’s prob­lems;’ ” the cen­tral role of Tai Li’s agents in the U.S. in fram­ing John Ser­vice.

Sup­ple­men­tal infor­ma­tion about these top­ics is con­tained in AFA #11 and AFA #24.

It is impos­si­ble to under­stand World War II and the glob­al and eco­nom­ic polit­i­cal land­scape that emerged from it with­out digest­ing the vital­ly impor­tant book Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave.

Cov­er­ing the Japan­ese equiv­a­lent of the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work, the vol­ume is a hero­ic, mas­ter­ful analy­sis and pen­e­tra­tion of the Asian wing of the car­tel sys­tem that spawned fas­cism, as well as the real­i­ties of the post-World War II eco­nom­ic land­scape. (FTR #‘s 427, 428, 446, 451, 501, 509, 688689 deal with the sub­ject of the Gold­en Lily pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed by the Japan­ese to loot Asia.)

An inci­sive, elo­quent review and encap­su­la­tion of the book is pro­vid­ed by Doug Valen­tine, pro­vid­ing fur­ther insight into the polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and result­ing stance toward any pres­sure to be mount­ed against that nation by the U.S. and the West.

Of par­tic­u­lar note is the detailed analy­sis of the Japan­ese devel­op­ment of occu­pied Manchuria as an epi­cen­ter of the opi­um traf­fic with which to enrich their oper­a­tions and to help sub­ju­gate the Chi­nese. Chi­nese sen­si­tiv­i­ty to the Japan­ese, Kuom­intang, Amer­i­can and British roles in using drugs to enslave the Chi­nese peo­ple is very much in the fore­front of Japan­ese polit­i­cal con­scious­ness.

” . . . . .They [the Japan­ese] build roads and cre­ate indus­tries and, more impor­tant­ly, they work with cor­rupt war­lords and Chi­nese gang­sters asso­ci­at­ed with Chi­ang Kai-shek’s Kuom­intang Par­ty to trans­form Manchuria into a vast pop­py field. By 1937 the Japan­ese and their gang­ster and Kuom­intang asso­ciates are respon­si­ble for 90% of the world’s illic­it nar­cotics. They turn Manchu emper­or Pu Yi into an addict, and open thou­sands of opi­um dens as a way of sup­press­ing the Chi­nese. . . .”

Far from being a periph­er­al polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic con­sid­er­a­tion; the Gold­en Lily plun­der is fun­da­men­tal to post­war West­ern real­i­ty.

” . . . . The Sea­graves con­clude their excit­ing and excel­lent book by tak­ing us down the Mon­ey Trail, and explain­ing, in layman’s terms, how the Gold War­riors have been able to cov­er their tracks. Emper­or Hiro­hi­to, for exam­ple, worked direct­ly with Pope Pius XII to laun­der mon­ey through the Vat­i­can bank. In anoth­er instance, Japan’s Min­istry of Finance pro­duced gold cer­tifi­cates that were slight­ly dif­fer­ent than ordi­nary Japan­ese bonds. The Sea­graves inter­view per­sons defraud­ed in this scam, and oth­er scams involv­ing the Union Bank of Switzer­land and Citibank. . . . ”

” . . . . the banks that main­tain the US government’s stolen gold are above the law, and if they stonewall long enough, any­one try­ing to sue them will even­tu­al­ly fade away. The Sea­graves asked the Trea­sury Depart­ment, Defense Depart­ment, and the CIA for records on Yamashita’s gold in 1987, but were told the records were exempt from release. Dur­ing the 1990s, the records mys­te­ri­ous­ly went miss­ing. Oth­er records were destroyed in what the Sea­graves caus­ti­cal­ly call ‘his­to­ry laun­der­ing.’ . . . . .”

Key Points of Analy­sis and Dis­cus­sion Include: Dis­cus­sion of the war crimes com­mit­ted by the Japan­ese against the Chi­nese; the roles of the Japan­ese army, the Japan­ese roy­al fam­i­ly and yakuza gang­ster Kodama Yoshio (lat­er the CIA’s top con­tact in Japan and a key offi­cial with the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church) in extract­ing the liq­uid wealth of Chi­na; the restora­tion of the Japan­ese fas­cists in the “new,” post­war Japan­ese gov­ern­ment by Dou­glas MacArthur’s occu­pa­tion forces; the fusion of the Gold­en Lily loot with Nazi World War II plun­der to form the Black Eagle Trust; the use of the Gold­en Lily plun­der to finance funds to rein­force the renascent fas­cists in Japan, to finance U.S. covert oper­a­tions in the post­war peri­od and to sup­press polit­i­cal dis­si­dence in Japan; the use of the M‑Fund to finance the Japan­ese Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and Richard Nixon’s trans­fer of con­trol of that fund to the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment in exchange for clan­des­tine finan­cial help in his 1960 elec­tion cam­paign; the use of Gold­en Lily loot by the U.S. to pur­chase the sup­port of Pacif­ic ally nations for the Viet­nam War; the use of Gold­en Lily trea­sure by Philip­pine dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos; the sup­pres­sion and crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion of indi­vid­u­als attempt­ing to pen­e­trate the elite, selec­tive use of Gold­en Lily gold by the world’s large banks.

We con­clude by high­light­ing Fred J. Cook’s ana­lyt­i­cal account of the McCarthy peri­od, The Night­mare Decade. One of the focal points of Cook’s book is McCarthy’s theme that State Depart­ment [Com­mu­nist] treach­ery had “lost” Chi­na to Mao and his forces.

Exploit­ing the meme that “pinko” State Depart­ment offi­cials were respon­si­ble for Mao’s ascen­dance, McCarthy and his team suc­cess­ful­ly purged the State Depart­ment of offi­cials whose out­look on Chi­ang Kai-shek was real­is­tic.

The fate of John Service–described in the excerpt of The CIA as Orga­nized Crime–illus­trates this kind of activ­i­ty.

In FTR #s 932 and 933 (among oth­er pro­grams), we not­ed the piv­otal influ­ence of Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man Roy Cohn on the pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment of Don­ald Trump. We won­der what influ­ence Cohn and the McCarthy lega­cy may have had on Trump’s pol­i­cy toward Chi­na.

Aside from the airy pre­sump­tion that Chi­na was “ours” to “lose,” McCarthy’s the­sis ignored the effects of U.S. pol­i­cy in that coun­try before, dur­ing and after, World War II. (This trans­gres­sion is, of course, sup­ple­men­tal to Tail­gun­ner Joe’s fab­ri­ca­tion of evi­dence against those he tar­get­ed.)

In addi­tion to sup­port for Chi­ang Kai-Shek, whom Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well com­pared to Mus­soli­ni, U.S. pol­i­cy of using scores of thou­sands of Japan­ese sol­diers as anti-Com­mu­nist com­bat­ants was loath­some to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion, who had felt the full mea­sure of Japan­ese atroc­i­ty dur­ing years of war­fare.

Leaf­ing through Night­mare Decade for the first time in years, we came across a pas­sage read into the record in AFA #11.

More than 16 months after V‑J Day (the offi­cial con­clu­sion of the hos­til­i­ties of World War II in Asia) the U.S. was coun­te­nanc­ing the use of 80,000 Japan­ese troops (rough­ly eight divi­sions) as anti-Com­mu­nist com­bat­ants in east­ern and north­west­ern Manchuria alone!

Hav­ing been raised on Vic­to­ry at Sea and sim­i­lar fare, this pas­sage is yet anoth­er reminder that–70 + years or so after V‑J Day–“we’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.”

In ret­ro­spect, we nev­er were.

For more on the sub­ject of the Japan­ese fas­cism, see–among oth­er pro­grams–FTR #‘s 905, 969, 970.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Brief dis­cus­sion and overview of an arti­cle read in our pre­vi­ous pro­gram con­cern­ing HSBC and the bank’s his­tor­i­cal links to laun­der­ing nar­cotics mon­ey and jihadist financ­ing; the use of the racist term “shi­na” by the Hong Kong protesters–a term that had its gen­e­sis in the Sino-Japan­ese war.

1.In addi­tion to the Euro­pean col­o­niza­tion of Chi­na and Britain’s vio­lent impo­si­tion of the opi­um drug trade through the Opi­um Wars, Chi­na’s polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry is vivid­ly ani­mat­ed by the drug-financed fas­cist dic­ta­tor­ship of Nation­al­ist Chi­nese Gen­er­alis­si­mo Chi­ang Kai-shek. Dubbed “the Peanut” by Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well dur­ing World War II, Chi­ang was com­pared by Stil­well (the chief Amer­i­can mil­i­tary advis­er and liai­son to the Kuom­intang forces dur­ing World War II) to Mus­soli­ni.

Chi­ang’s entire gov­ern­ment and bru­tal nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus rest­ed on the foun­da­tion of the nar­cotics traf­fic, as was well known by the US Com­mis­sion­er Bureau of Nar­cotics, Har­ry Anslinger.

Key points of dis­cus­sion and analy­sis of this rela­tion­ship include: The deci­sive role of the Green Gang of Shang­hai crime lord Du (some­times ‘Tu”) Yue-sheng in both financ­ing Chi­ang’s forces and sup­ply­ing mus­cle and intel­li­gence to Tai Li, Chi­ang’s intel­li­gence chief and inte­ri­or min­is­ter, nick­named “The Himm­ler of Chi­na;” the impor­tant role of Chi­ang’s drug traf­fic in sup­ply­ing Amer­i­can t’ongs who, in turned, sup­plied the Mafia with their nar­cotics; the role of Chi­ang’s finance min­is­ter as Du Yue-sheng’s pro­tec­tor; the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Du and Chaing Kai-shek’s Kuom­intang appa­ra­tus with the Japan­ese occu­pa­tion gov­ern­ment of Manchuria in the nar­cotics traf­fic; the role of Chaing’s head of Nar­cotics Con­trol in sup­ply­ing Chi­nese offi­cials with drugs; the role of the Super­in­ten­dent of Mar­itime Cus­toms in Shang­hai in super­vis­ing the traf­fick­ing of drugs to the U.S.; Du Yueh-sheng’s flight to Hong Kong after the Japan­ese occu­pa­tion of Shang­hai; Du’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hong Kong-based British financiers in sell­ing drugs to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion; the delib­er­ate decep­tion on the part of Anslinger and king­pins in the US Chi­na Lob­by, who know­ing­ly mis­led the Amer­i­can pub­lic by blam­ing the U.S. drug traf­fic on the Com­mu­nist Chi­nese; the nar­cotics kick­backs to U.S. Chi­na Lob­by fig­ures by Chi­ang’s dope traf­fick­ing infra­struc­ture; the over­lap of the Kuom­intang dope trade with arms sales by Chi­na Lob­by lumi­nar­ies; the sup­port of the CIA for Chi­ang’s nar­cotics traf­fic; the destruc­tion of the career of For­eign Ser­vice offi­cer John Ser­vice, who not­ed that “the Nation­al­ists were total­ly depen­dent on opi­um and ‘inca­pable of solv­ing Chi­na’s prob­lems;’ ” the cen­tral role of Tai Li’s agents in the U.S. in fram­ing John Ser­vice.

Sup­ple­men­tal infor­ma­tion about these top­ics is con­tained in AFA #11 and AFA #24.

The CIA as Orga­nized Crime by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Clar­i­ty Press [SC]; Copy­right 2017 by Dou­glas Valen­tine; ISBN 978–0‑9972870–2‑8; pp. 222–224.

In the 1920s, the US threw its weight behind Chi­ang Kai-shek, whose Kuom­intang Par­ty was fight­ing the Com­mu­nists and sev­er­al oth­er war­lords for con­trol of Chi­na. The US was com­pet­ing with the oth­er colo­nial nations for con­trol of Chi­na, which hd a cheap labor force and rep­re­sent­ed bil­lions in prof­its for US cor­po­ra­tions and investors.The prob­lem was that the Kuom­intang  sup­port­ed itself through the opi­um trade. It’s well doc­u­ment­ed in the  dipo­mat­ic cables between the US gov­ern­ment and its rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Chi­na. His­to­ri­ans Kinder and Walk­er said the Com­mis­sion­er of the Bureau of Nar­cotics, Har­ry Anslinger, “clear­ly knew about the ties between Chi­ang and  opi­um deal­ers.”

Anslinger knew that Shang­hai was “the prime pro­duc­er and exporter to the illic­it world drug mar­kets,” through a syn­di­cate con­trolled by Du Yue-sheng, a crime lord who facil­i­tat­ed Chi­ang’s bloody ascent to pow­er in 1927. As ear­ly as 1932, Anslinger knew that Chi­ang’s finance min­is­ter was Du’s pro­tec­tor. He’d had evi­dence since 1929 that Amer­i­can t’ongs were receiv­ing Kuom­intang nar­cotics and dis­trib­ut­ing it to the Mafia. Mid­dle­men worked with opi­um mer­chants, gangsers like Du, Japan­ese occu­pa­tion forces in Manchuria, and Dr. Lans­ing Ling, “who sup­plied nar­cotics to Chi­nese offi­cials trav­el­ing abroad.” In 1938, Chi­ang Kai-shek appoint­ed Dr. Ling head of his Nar­cot­ic Con­trol Depart­ment.

In Octo­ber 1934, the Trea­sury attache in Shang­hai “sub­mit­ted reports impli­cat­ing Chi­ang Kai-shek in the hero­in trade to North Amer­i­ca.” In 1935, the attache report­ed that the Super­in­ten­dent of Mar­itime Cus­toms in Shang­hai was “act­ing as agent for Chi­ang Kai-shek in arrang­ing for the prepa­ra­tion and ship­ment of the stuff to the Unit­ed States.”

These reports reached Anslinger’s desk, so he knew which KMT offi­cials and trade mis­sions were deliv­er­ing dope to Amer­i­can t’ongs and which Amer­i­can mafia drug rings were buy­ing it. He knew the t’ongs were kick­ing back a per­cent­age of the prof­its to finance Chi­ang’s regime.

After Japan­ese forces Shang­hai in August 1937, Anslinger was even less will­ing to deal hon­est­ly with the sit­u­a­tion. By then, Du was sit­ting on Shang­hai’s Munic­i­pal Board with William J. Keswick. Du found sanc­tu­ary in Hong Kong, where he was wel­comed by a cabal of free-trad­ing British colo­nial­ists whose ship­ping and bank­ing com­pa­nies earned huge rev­enues by allow­ing Du to push his drugs on the hap­less Chi­nese.The rev­enues were tru­ly immense: accord­ing to Colonel Joseph Stil­well, the US mil­i­tary attache in Chi­na, in 1935 there were “eight mil­lion chi­nese hero­in and mor­phine addicts and anoth­er 72 mil­lion Chi­nese opi­um addicts.”

Anslinger tried to min­i­mize the prob­lem by lying and say­ing that Amer­i­cans were not affect­ed.  But the final deci­sions were made by his boss­es in Wash­ing­ton, and from their nation­al secu­ri­ty per­spec­tive, the prof­its enabled the Kuom­intang to pur­chase $31 mil­lion worth of fight­er planes from arms deal­er William Paw­ley to fight the Com­mu­niss, and that trumped any moral dilem­mas about trad­ing with the Japan­ese or get­ting Amer­i­cans addict­ed.

It’s all doc­u­ment­ed. Check the sources I cite in my books. Plus, US Con­gress­men and Sen­a­tors in the Chi­na Lob­by were prof­it­ing from the guns for drugs busi­ness too. They got kick­backs in the form of cam­paign funds and in exchange, they looked away as long as Anslinger told them the dope stayed over­seas. After 1949, the Chi­na Lob­by manip­u­lat­ed pub­lic hear­ings and Anslinger cooked the books to make sure that the Peo­ples Repub­lic was blamed for all nar­cotics com­ing out of the Far East. Every­one made mon­ey and after 1947 the oper­a­tion was run out of Tai­wan, with CIA assis­tance.

The US gov­er­rn­men­t’s involve­ment in the illic­it drug busi­ness was insti­tu­tion­al­ized dur­ing World War Two. While serv­ing on Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well’s staff in 1944, For­eign Ser­vice offi­cer John Ser­vice report­ed from Kun­ming, the city where the Fly­ing Tigers and OSS were head­quar­tered, that the Nation­al­ists were total­ly depen­dent on opi­um and “inca­pable of solv­ing Chi­na’s prob­lems.”

Ser­vice’s reports con­ributed to the Tru­man Admin­is­tra­tion’s deci­sion not to come to Chi­ang’s res­cue at the end of the war. In retal­i­a­tion, Chaing’s intel­li­gence chief, Tai Li, had his agents in Amer­i­ca accuse Ser­vice of leak­ing the Kuom­intang’s bat­tle plans to a left­ist newslet­ter. Ser­vice was arrest­ed. After Ser­vice was cleared of any wrong­do­ing, the Chi­na Lob­by per­sist­ed in attack­ing his char­ac­ter for the next six years. He was sub­ject­ed to eight loy­al­ty hear­ings, and dis­missed from the State Depart­ment in 1951.

Ser­vice’s per­se­cu­tion was fair warn­ing that any­one link­ing the Nation­al­ist Chi­nese to drug smug­gling would, at a min­i­mum, be brand­ed a Com­mu­nist sym­pa­thiz­er and his rep­u­ta­tion ruined. That is how the US drug oper­a­tion is still pro­tect­ed today, although secu­ri­ty for the oper­a­tion has improved and whistle­blow­ers are smeared in oth­er ways.

After World War Two, the busi­ness of man­ag­ing the gov­ern­men­t’s involve­ment in the illic­it nar­cotics trade was giv­en to the CIA, because it could covert­ly con­duct sup­port oper­a­tions for, among oth­ers, the Nation­al­ist Chi­nese in Tai­wan. The CIA also relo­cat­ed and sup­plied one of Chi­ang’s armies to Bur­ma. This KMT army sup­port­ed itself through the opi­um trade and the CIA flew the opi­um to places where it was con­vert­ed to hero­in and sold to the Mafa. The oth­er bureaucracies—the mil­i­tary and the Depart­ments of State, Jus­tice and Treasury—provided pro­tec­tion along with the Chi­na Lob­by con­gress­men and sen­a­tors who con­trolled the lit­tle infor­ma­tion that was made pub­lic. . . .

2. It is impos­si­ble to under­stand World War II and the glob­al and eco­nom­ic polit­i­cal land­scape that emerged from it with­out digest­ing the vital­ly impor­tant book Gold War­riors by Ster­ling and Peg­gy Sea­grave.

Cov­er­ing the Japan­ese equiv­a­lent of the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work, the vol­ume is a hero­ic, mas­ter­ful analy­sis and pen­e­tra­tion of the Asian wing of the car­tel sys­tem that spawned fas­cism, as well as the real­i­ties of the post-World War II eco­nom­ic land­scape. (FTR #‘s 427, 428, 446, 451, 501, 509, 688689 deal with the sub­ject of the Gold­en Lily pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed by the Japan­ese to loot Asia.)

An inci­sive, elo­quent review and encap­su­la­tion of the book is pro­vid­ed by Doug Valen­tine, pro­vid­ing fur­ther insight into the polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and result­ing stance toward any pres­sure to be mount­ed against that nation by the U.S. and the West.

Of par­tic­u­lar note is the detailed analy­sis of the Japan­ese devel­op­ment of occu­pied Manchuria as an epi­cen­ter of the opi­um traf­fic with which to enrich their oper­a­tions and to help sub­ju­gate the Chi­nese. Chi­nese sen­si­tiv­i­ty to the Japan­ese, Kuom­intang, Amer­i­can and British roles in using drugs to enslave the Chi­nese peo­ple is very much in the fore­front of Japan­ese polit­i­cal con­scious­ness.

” . . . . .They [the Japan­ese] build roads and cre­ate indus­tries and, more impor­tant­ly, they work with cor­rupt war­lords and Chi­nese gang­sters asso­ci­at­ed with Chi­ang Kai-shek’s Kuom­intang Par­ty to trans­form Manchuria into a vast pop­py field. By 1937 the Japan­ese and their gang­ster and Kuom­intang asso­ciates are respon­si­ble for 90% of the world’s illic­it nar­cotics. They turn Manchu emper­or Pu Yi into an addict, and open thou­sands of opi­um dens as a way of sup­press­ing the Chi­nese. . . .”

Far from being a periph­er­al polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic con­sid­er­a­tion; the Gold­en Lily plun­der is fun­da­men­tal to post­war West­ern real­i­ty.

” . . . . The Sea­graves con­clude their excit­ing and excel­lent book by tak­ing us down the Mon­ey Trail, and explain­ing, in layman’s terms, how the Gold War­riors have been able to cov­er their tracks. Emper­or Hiro­hi­to, for exam­ple, worked direct­ly with Pope Pius XII to laun­der mon­ey through the Vat­i­can bank. In anoth­er instance, Japan’s Min­istry of Finance pro­duced gold cer­tifi­cates that were slight­ly dif­fer­ent than ordi­nary Japan­ese bonds. The Sea­graves inter­view per­sons defraud­ed in this scam, and oth­er scams involv­ing the Union Bank of Switzer­land and Citibank. . . . ”

” . . . . the banks that main­tain the US government’s stolen gold are above the law, and if they stonewall long enough, any­one try­ing to sue them will even­tu­al­ly fade away. The Sea­graves asked the Trea­sury Depart­ment, Defense Depart­ment, and the CIA for records on Yamashita’s gold in 1987, but were told the records were exempt from release. Dur­ing the 1990s, the records mys­te­ri­ous­ly went miss­ing. Oth­er records were destroyed in what the Sea­graves caus­ti­cal­ly call ‘his­to­ry laun­der­ing.’ . . . . .”

Key Points of Analy­sis and Dis­cus­sion Include: Dis­cus­sion of the war crimes com­mit­ted by the Japan­ese against the Chi­nese; the roles of the Japan­ese army, the Japan­ese roy­al fam­i­ly and yakuza gang­ster Kodama Yoshio (lat­er the CIA’s top con­tact in Japan and a key offi­cial with the Uni­fi­ca­tion Church) in extract­ing the liq­uid wealth of Chi­na; the restora­tion of the Japan­ese fas­cists in the “new,” post­war Japan­ese gov­ern­ment by Dou­glas MacArthur’s occu­pa­tion forces; the fusion of the Gold­en Lily loot with Nazi World War II plun­der to form the Black Eagle Trust; the use of the Gold­en Lily plun­der to finance funds to rein­force the renascent fas­cists in Japan, to finance U.S. covert oper­a­tions in the post­war peri­od and to sup­press polit­i­cal dis­si­dence in Japan; the use of the M‑Fund to finance the Japan­ese Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and Richard Nixon’s trans­fer of con­trol of that fund to the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment in exchange for clan­des­tine finan­cial help in his 1960 elec­tion cam­paign; the use of Gold­en Lily loot by the U.S. to pur­chase the sup­port of Pacif­ic ally nations for the Viet­nam War; the use of Gold­en Lily trea­sure by Philip­pine dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos; the sup­pres­sion and crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion of indi­vid­u­als attempt­ing to pen­e­trate the elite, selec­tive use of Gold­en Lily gold by the world’s large banks.

“Gold War­riors” by Dou­glas Valen­tine; Coun­ter­punch; 9/25/2003.

Gold War­riors is more than a book about Japan’s “seri­ous, sober and delib­er­ate” plun­der­ing of Asia’s trea­sure from 1895 until 1945, and its col­lu­sion after the war with Amer­i­can offi­cials to recov­er and use the loot as a secret polit­i­cal action slush fund to pro­mote right wing regimes: Gold Warriors:America’s Secret Recov­ery of Yamashita’s Gold is a jour­ney into the dark­est recess­es of his­to­ry and the human soul. Authors Peg­gy and Ster­ling Sea­grave not only unrav­el one of the great­est crimes and cov­er-ups ever, they reveal some­thing new and star­tling about the depths of human deprav­i­ty and bar­bar­i­ty, and the human capac­i­ty for deceit.

The book begins in 1895 with a fas­ci­nat­ing account of the gris­ly assas­si­na­tion of Korea’s Queen Min by ter­ror­ists pos­ing as busi­ness agents of Japan­ese com­pa­nies. The clever coup d’etat pro­vides Japan with offi­cial deni­a­bil­i­ty, and the con­fu­sion that fol­lows pro­vides the Japan­ese with a pre­text for its mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion and plun­der­ing of Korea. Japan’s bru­tal con­quest of Korea fore­tells how it will achieve one vic­to­ry after anoth­er in Far East Asia over the ensu­ing 45 years.

The next vic­to­ry occurs in 1904, when tiny Japan defeats Rus­sia and annex­es South­ern Manchuria. Manchuria, unlike Korea, has lit­tle gold worth steal­ing. But it is rich in nat­ur­al resources, so the Japan­ese set­tle in for the long haul, and slow­ly devel­op Manchuria over sev­er­al decades. They build roads and cre­ate indus­tries and, more impor­tant­ly, they work with cor­rupt war­lords and Chi­nese gang­sters asso­ci­at­ed with Chi­ang Kai-shek’s Kuom­intang Par­ty to trans­form Manchuria into a vast pop­py field. By 1937 the Japan­ese and their gang­ster and Kuom­intang asso­ciates are respon­si­ble for 90% of the world’s illic­it nar­cotics. They turn Manchu emper­or Pu Yi into an addict, and open thou­sands of opi­um dens as a way of sup­press­ing the Chi­nese. When sub­ver­sion and pro­pa­gan­da don’t get the job done they com­mit unspeak­able atroc­i­ties. In late 1937 and ear­ly 1938 the Japan­ese slaugh­ter an esti­mat­ed 350,000 Chi­nese civil­ians and pris­on­ers of war in Nanking. Tens of thou­sands of women and girls are raped, and many are muti­lat­ed or mur­dered. Nanking fore­tells what will hap­pen as Japan expands its empire to include Indochi­na, Malaysia, Tai­wan, and the Philip­pines.

It’s also with the Rape of Nanking that the authors intro­duce the main char­ac­ters in the book; the Japan­ese sol­diers, crime lords, and offi­cials who, by the Decem­ber 1941 attack on Pearl Har­bor, real­ize they have bit­ten off more than they chew, and begin their retreat to Japan. A small inner cir­cle becomes respon­si­ble for secur­ing bil­lions of dol­lars worth of gold, plat­inum, cul­tur­al arti­facts and pre­cious gems stolen over the pre­vi­ous 45 years. The Japan­ese call this oper­a­tion Gold­en Lily, and the Sea­graves do not shy away from nam­ing those involved. They fin­ger Gen­er­al Doi­hara, and Japan’s top yakuza gang­ster, Kodama Yoshio, both of whom worked close­ly with Chi­nese drug smug­glers in Manchuria and Shang­hai. Gold­en Lily’s over­all boss is Prince Chichibu, one of Emper­or Hirohito’s three broth­ers. The Kem­peitai were Gold­en Lily’s first agents, mov­ing 6000 met­ric tons of gold from Nanking to Japan in 1938. But most of the Gold­en Lily trea­sure was buried in the Philip­pines by Gen­er­al Yamashita, and it is in the Philip­pines that most of the action in the book takes place.

When the Sea­graves claim that their lives are in dan­ger for hav­ing writ­ten this book, they aren’t kid­ding. This is explo­sive mate­r­i­al, for they not only name the Japan­ese involved in Gold­en Lily, they name the Japan­ese cor­po­ra­tions, includ­ing Nis­san, Mit­sui (which processed Manchuri­an opi­um into hero­in in the 1930s), Mit­subishi and Sum­it­o­mo as hav­ing used Amer­i­can POWs as slave labor­ers dur­ing the war. They also name the Amer­i­cans who worked with the Japan­ese to recov­er the buried loot after World War II. The Japan­ese had no monop­oly on deceit or dis­re­gard for human suf­fer­ing, and some of these Amer­i­cans con­spired with the Japan­ese to deny repa­ra­tions to the POWs, sex slaves and forced labor­ers that sur­vived.

The read­er will learn how, in order to share in the plun­der, mem­bers of Gen­er­al Dou­glas MacArthur’s occu­pa­tion army, along with US gov­ern­ment offi­cials and banks, con­nived to absolve Japan­ese cor­po­ra­tions, war crim­i­nals and drug smug­glers ­ many promi­nent offi­cials in the Post War gov­ern­ment ­ of respon­si­bil­i­ty for these ghast­ly crimes. How the Amer­i­cans went about this is very inter­est­ing. To ensure his silence, Gen­er­al Yamashita was hanged by a mil­i­tary tri­bunal in Feb­ru­ary 1946, while his right hand man, Koji­ma, was tor­tured by a Fil­ipino, San­ta Romana, into reveal­ing where the trea­sure vaults were buried in the Philip­pines. Romana then guid­ed CIA offi­cer Edward Lans­dale to the loot. Lans­dale did a quick inven­to­ry, and for the next 20 years super­vised Romana, the unlike­ly front man for a num­ber of slush funds. There­after the pur­loined gold was moved through 176 accounts in 42 banks in sev­er­al coun­tries, to peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions the CIA want­ed to secret­ly sup­port.

The Amer­i­cans viewed this mon­ey as a War prize, and every Amer­i­can pres­i­dent from Har­ry Tru­man to George W. Bush has used the slush funds for var­i­ous pur­pos­es. Tru­man, through a num­ber of his top aides close to the Har­ri­mans and the Rock­e­fellers, set up the Black Eagle Trust Fund to fight com­mu­nism. Gen­er­al MacArthur set up the Yot­suya Fund to finance Japan’s yakuza under­world, and one of his aides set up the M‑Fund to help recon­struct Japan and turn it into an eco­nom­ic pow­er­house. Eisen­how­er used the M‑Fund to help cre­ate Japan’s Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in 1956, and in 1960, Vice Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon turned over M‑Fund over to Japan’s Prime Min­is­ter, Kishi Nobo­suke, in return for kick­backs Nixon used to help finance his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Carter, Rea­gan, Clin­ton and both Bush­es were com­plic­it, using Gold­en Lily slush fund mon­ey to buy elec­tions in nations all around the world. George W. got into the act in March 2001, send­ing Navy SEAL com­man­dos to the Philip­pines to recov­er a por­tion of Gen­er­al Yamashita’s gold. Bush was pri­vate­ly in the mar­ket to buy some of the bul­lion that was being recov­ered. His rep­re­sen­ta­tive was William S. Parish, his nom­i­nee as ambas­sador to Great Britain, and the man­ag­er of his blind trust

Most of the action in the book takes place in the Philip­pines, where the Japan­ese buried much of the Gold­en Lily loot in 175 vaults in and around Mani­la. Prince Take­da Tsuneyoshi (using the nomme de guerre, Kim­su) was in charge in North­ern Luzon and gave maps to his Fil­ipino aid, Ben, indi­cat­ing where the vaults were locat­ed. Kim­su swore Ben to secre­cy, but grad­u­al­ly the maps slipped out and in 1971, a trea­sure hunter named Rox­as unearthed sev­er­al gold bars and a Gold­en Bud­dha that, amaz­ing­ly, weighed a ton. Word of the dis­cov­ery reached Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos and soon there­after Rox­as was arrest­ed, tor­tured, and impris­oned, and Mar­cos acquired the Gold­en Bud­dha. Mar­cos, notably, had been work­ing with the CIA for years using Gold­en Lily assets to bribe nations to sup­port the Viet­nam War. In return for ser­vices ren­dered, Mar­cos was allowed to sell over $1 tril­lion in gold through Aus­tralian bro­kers.

By the 1970s, rumors about Gen­er­al Yamashita’s gold had grabbed the imag­i­na­tion of a num­ber on trea­sure hunters and in 1975, Robert Cur­tis acquired copies of Kimsu’s maps. Financed by far right wing John Birch Soci­ety, and work­ing with cut­throat Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, Cur­tis joined with Ben and Japan’s Lord Ichi­wara to find the remain­der of the loot. Alas, the part­ners were mutu­al­ly untrust­wor­thy and Cur­tis, like Rox­as, ran into trou­ble. But the dan­gers of hunt­ing for buried Japan­ese gold in the Philip­pines did not dis­suade oth­ers, and in the mid-1980s a group of dis­grun­tled for­mer CIA offi­cers and mil­i­tary men, includ­ing Gen­er­als John Singlaub and Robert Schweitzer, orga­nized an expe­di­tion using for­mer Navy SEALs and Army Spe­cial Forces per­son­nel. One mem­ber of the team, Charles McDougald, actu­al­ly recov­ered 325 met­ric tons of gold in 1987, although, as one might sus­pect, he found him­self in trou­ble too.

The Sea­graves con­clude their excit­ing and excel­lent book by tak­ing us down the Mon­ey Trail, and explain­ing, in layman’s terms, how the Gold War­riors have been able to cov­er their tracks. Emper­or Hiro­hi­to, for exam­ple, worked direct­ly with Pope Pius XII to laun­der mon­ey through the Vat­i­can bank. In anoth­er instance, Japan’s Min­istry of Finance pro­duced gold cer­tifi­cates that were slight­ly dif­fer­ent than ordi­nary Japan­ese bonds. The Sea­graves inter­view per­sons defraud­ed in this scam, and oth­er scams involv­ing the Union Bank of Switzer­land and Citibank.

With­out descend­ing into con­vo­lut­ed legalese, the Sea­graves describe the devi­ous means bankers have used to con­ceal the vast hordes of Nazi and Japan­ese gold in their pos­ses­sion. The Sea­graves do this pri­mar­i­ly by exam­in­ing mul­ti-mil­lion-dol­lar law­suits filed by Rox­as, Cur­tis, and San­ta Romana’s heirs against Citibank, the US gov­ern­ment, and Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand Mar­cos. In this way the Sea­graves reveal how the banks use com­plex account­ing meth­ods, or claim that gold cer­tifi­cates are fake, or sim­ply move gold to off­shore accounts to con­ceal it. In every case the US gov­ern­ment assists the banks by stonewalling, refus­ing to inves­ti­gate, or ignor­ing Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act requests.

In one note­wor­thy case, attor­ney W.R. “Cot­ton” Jones walked into the Swiss Bank Cor­po­ra­tion in New York City and asked the bank to authen­ti­cate a $25 mil­lion cer­tifi­cate of deposit issued by the Bank and bear­ing the Fed­er­al Reserve seal. Cot­ton was quick­ly arrest­ed by the Secret Ser­vice and his cer­tifi­cates were con­fis­cat­ed. As Cot­ton rhetor­i­cal­ly asks, how can a Swiss bank have a fed­er­al agency inter­vene on its behalf and con­fis­cate per­son­al pos­ses­sions? What right does the Secret Ser­vice have to arrest, inter­ro­gate, intim­i­date, and threat­en any­one on a Swiss bank’s behalf, with­out due process of law?

The answer is obvi­ous: the banks that main­tain the US government’s stolen gold are above the law, and if they stonewall long enough, any­one try­ing to sue them will even­tu­al­ly fade away. The Sea­graves asked the Trea­sury Depart­ment, Defense Depart­ment, and the CIA for records on Yamashita’s gold in 1987, but were told the records were exempt from release. Dur­ing the 1990s, the records mys­te­ri­ous­ly went miss­ing. Oth­er records were destroyed in what the Sea­graves caus­ti­cal­ly call “his­to­ry laun­der­ing.”

Through­out the book, the writ­ing is descrip­tive and engag­ing. Hav­ing authored sev­er­al books about the Far East, the Sea­graves are experts in their field and their argu­ments are con­vinc­ing. In fact, they have com­piled so much sup­port­ing evi­dence that many of the doc­u­ments are con­tained on com­pan­ion CDs the read­er can buy sep­a­rate­ly at the Sea­graves’ web site. There are two CDs, the first con­tain­ing eleven files. This writer exam­ined three of them ­ on Lans­dale, Kodama, and Gold­en Lily ­ and found them utter­ly fas­ci­nat­ing. The sec­ond CD con­tains 19 files, many con­cern­ing the var­i­ous law­suits the Sea­graves have used as evi­dence to prove their case.

And they do more than prove their case. In the end, Gold War­riors tran­scends its sub­ject mat­ter, and its great tri­umph is that it tells us some­thing new about the sav­age and avari­cious side of human nature. The read­er will walk away from this book astound­ed and out­raged at the immen­si­ty of the fraud­u­lent activ­i­ties that the world’s gov­ern­ments, banks, and spies are engaged in. Gold War­riors is chill­ing in its accu­mu­la­tion.

4a.We briefly high­light the use by the Hong Kong pro­test­ers of the racist term “shi­na”–a word whose Eng­lish equiv­a­lent is “chink.” It has its gen­e­sis dur­ing the Sino-Japan­ese war.

“US Backs Xeno­pho­bia, Mob Vio­lence in Hong Kong” by Dan Cohen [The Gray Zone]; Con­sor­tium News, 8/19/2019.

. . . . In July, pro­test­ers van­dal­ized the Hong Kong Liai­son Office, spray-paint­ing the word, “Shi­na” on its facade. This term is a xeno­pho­bic slur some in Hong Kong and Tai­wan use to refer to main­land Chi­na. The anti-Chi­nese phe­nom­e­non was vis­i­ble dur­ing the 2014 Umbrel­la move­ment protests as well, with signs plas­tered around the city read­ing, “Hong Kong for Hong Kongers.” . . . .

4b. We con­clude by high­light­ing Fred J. Cook’s ana­lyt­i­cal account of the McCarthy peri­od, The Night­mare Decade. One of the focal points of Cook’s book is McCarthy’s theme that State Depart­ment [Com­mu­nist] treach­ery had “lost” Chi­na to Mao and his forces.

Exploit­ing the meme that “pinko” State Depart­ment offi­cials were respon­si­ble for Mao’s ascen­dance, McCarthy and his team suc­cess­ful­ly purged the State Depart­ment of offi­cials whose out­look on Chi­ang Kai-shek was real­is­tic.

The fate of John Service–described in the excerpt of The CIA as Orga­nized Crime–illus­trates this kind of activ­i­ty.

In FTR #s 932 and 933 (among oth­er pro­grams), we not­ed the piv­otal influ­ence of Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man Roy Cohn on the pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment of Don­ald Trump. We won­der what influ­ence Cohn and the McCarthy lega­cy may have had on Trump’s pol­i­cy toward Chi­na.

Aside from the airy pre­sump­tion that Chi­na was “ours” to “lose,” McCarthy’s the­sis ignored the effects of U.S. pol­i­cy in that coun­try before, dur­ing and after, World War II. (This trans­gres­sion is, of course, sup­ple­men­tal to Tail­gun­ner Joe’s fab­ri­ca­tion of evi­dence against those he tar­get­ed.)

In addi­tion to sup­port for Chi­ang Kai-Shek, whom Gen­er­al Joseph Stil­well com­pared to Mus­soli­ni, U.S. pol­i­cy of using scores of thou­sands of Japan­ese sol­diers as anti-Com­mu­nist com­bat­ants was loath­some to the Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion, who had felt the full mea­sure of Japan­ese atroc­i­ty dur­ing years of war­fare.

Leaf­ing through Night­mare Decade for the first time in years, we came across a pas­sage read into the record in AFA #11.

More than 16 months after V‑J Day (the offi­cial con­clu­sion of the hos­til­i­ties of World War II in Asia) the U.S. was coun­te­nanc­ing the use of 80,000 Japan­ese troops (rough­ly eight divi­sions) as anti-Com­mu­nist com­bat­ants in east­ern and north­west­ern Manchuria alone!

Hav­ing been raised on Vic­to­ry at Sea and sim­i­lar fare, this pas­sage is yet anoth­er reminder that–70 + years or so after V‑J Day–“we’re not in Kansas any more, Toto.”

In ret­ro­spect, we nev­er were.

For more on the sub­ject of the Japan­ese fas­cism, see–among oth­er pro­grams–FTR #‘s 905, 969, 970.

The Night­mare Decade: The Life and Times of Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy by Fred J. Cook; Copy­right 1971 by Fred J. Cook; Ran­dom House [HC]; ISBN 0–394-46270‑x; p. 219.

. . . . When the war end­ed, Chi­na was in utter chaos. Thou­sands of Japan­ese troops wan­dered around the coun­try­side, ful­ly armed, with no one accept­ing their sur­ren­der. John F. Mel­by [a State Depart­ment offi­cer], in a day-by-day diary he kept at the time, reflect­ed in bewil­der­ment upon this anom­aly. On Decem­ber 27, 1945, he not­ed: “I still don’t under­stand about the Japan­ese. Offi­cial­ly they are being dis­armed, but the fact is they nev­er seem to be. In Shang­hai, fif­teen thou­sand still walk the streets with full equip­ment. In Nanking, the high Japan­ese gen­er­als are bosom bud­dies of the Chi­nese. In the north, tens of thou­sands of Japan­ese sol­diers are used to guard rail­roads and ware­hous­es and to fight the Com­mu­nists. If you ask what this is all about, the answer is either a denial or in more can­did moments a ‘Shh, we don’t talk about that.’ ” In anoth­er entry on Jan­u­ary 30, 1947, a good six­teen months after V‑J Day, Mel­by not­ed that, though it was being kept “very qui­et,” there were “eighty thou­sand hold­out Japan­ese troops in east­ern and north­west­ern Manchuria, who are ful­ly equipped, fight­ing the Com­mu­nists.” . . . .

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of the Hong Kong pro­test­ers’ use of the racist term “Shina”–which had its gen­e­sis dur­ing the Sino-Japan­ese war; Review of HSBC’s rela­tion­ship to jihadism and opi­um traf­fic, going back to the Opi­um Wars.

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #1095 The Destabilization of China, Part 6: Asian Deep Politics”

  1. A lis­ten­er post­ed the mate­r­i­al below as an adden­dum to the Food For Thought post about Iris Chang.

    I think it is more rel­e­vant to the desta­bi­liza­tion of Chi­na.

    That the coro­na virus out­break might be a bio­log­i­cal war­fare “psy-op” is a ques­tion I have had.

    The tim­ing of the out­break is “inter­est­ing.”

    The mate­r­i­al below might be rel­e­vant to the gen­e­sis of the virus, IF, in fact, my ques­tion is sub­stan­tive­ly accu­rate.

    “Here, we report the design, syn­the­sis, and recov­ery of the largest syn­thet­ic repli­cat­ing life form, a 29.7‑kb bat severe acute res­pi­ra­to­ry syn­drome (SARS)-like coro­n­avirus (Bat-SCoV), a like­ly prog­en­i­tor to the SARS-CoV epi­dem­ic.

    Syn­thet­ic recom­bi­nant bat SARS-like coro­n­avirus is infec­tious in cul­tured cells and in mice
    Michelle M. Beck­er, Rachel L. Gra­ham, […], and Mark R. Deni­son

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2588415/

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 27, 2020, 9:21 pm
  2. A lis­ten­er post­ed this and I am re-post­ing it to a dif­fer­ent show:

    “US mil­i­tary researchers call for use of pri­va­teers against Chi­na
    Mag­a­zine pub­lished by US Naval Insti­tute fea­tures arti­cles titled ‘Unleash the Pri­va­teers!’ and ‘US Pri­va­teer­ing Is Legal’
    But any such move would pro­voke a retal­i­a­tion from Chi­na, mil­i­tary watch­ers say
    SCMP
    Liu Zhen in Bei­jing and Kristin Huang
    Pub­lished: 7:00am, 10 Apr, 2020

    The Unit­ed States should encour­age the use of pri­va­teers to fight Chi­nese aggres­sion at sea, accord­ing to a pair of arti­cles in mag­a­zine pro­duced by the US Naval Insti­tute.
    The reports – titled “Unleash the Pri­va­teers!” and “US Pri­va­teer­ing Is Legal”, and pub­lished in the April issue of Pro­ceed­ings – sug­gest the US gov­ern­ment issue let­ters of mar­que – a com­mis­sion autho­ris­ing pri­vate­ly owned ships (pri­va­teers) to cap­ture ene­my mer­chant ships.
    The authors – Mark Can­cian, a retired US Marine Corps colonel and senior advis­er at the Cen­tre for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies (CSIS), and Bran­don Schwartz, a for­mer CSIS media rela­tions man­ag­er – said that China’s larg­er mer­chant fleet rep­re­sent­ed an asym­met­ric vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty with the US, and an attack on China’s glob­al trade would under­mine its entire econ­o­my and threat­en its sta­bil­i­ty.
    Such a cam­paign would be a legal and low-cost way to con­tain China’s pow­er rise on the sea, they said, adding that it could pre­vent, rather than pro­voke, a war.

    Collin Koh, a research fel­low from the S Rajarat­nam School of Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies at Singapore’s Nanyang Tech­no­log­i­cal Uni­ver­si­ty, said the idea was “polit­i­cal­ly unsound”.
    “That would be regard­ed as an out­right provo­ca­tion which would invite retal­i­a­tion from Chi­na,” he said.
    “And going by the UN Char­ter, it might even be con­strued as a use of force, and would invite inter­na­tion­al con­dem­na­tion too.”

    Pri­va­teer­ing with a let­ter of mar­que dates back to a peri­od from the mid-16th to the 18th cen­tu­ry known as the Age of Sail, but was out­lawed with the intro­duc­tion of var­i­ous treaties in the 19th and 20th cen­turies.
    How­ev­er, the authors of the Pro­ceed­ings reports said that the US gov­ern­ment nev­er for­mal­ly signed any agree­ments, and argued that the US Con­sti­tu­tion gave Con­gress the pow­er to “grant Let­ters of Mar­que and Reprisal”.
    Although no such let­ters had been issued since 1907, that was due to “strate­gic and pol­i­cy con­sid­er­a­tions rather than legal ones”, they said.
    The authors did not say if China’s tril­lions of dol­lars worth of trade with the US should be exempt­ed from attacks by pirates, but that prob­a­bly was because it would no longer exist in a hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nario of the two nations already hav­ing decou­pled.
    Pri­va­teer­ing with a let­ter of mar­que dates back to a peri­od from the mid-16th to the 18th cen­tu­ry known as the Age of Sail. Pho­to: EPA-EFE
    Hong Kong-based mil­i­tary com­men­ta­tor Song Zhong­ping said that such decou­pling, as advo­cat­ed by Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives and far-rights, was a dan­ger­ous sign that it would place two nuclear pow­ers in con­fronta­tion and even con­flict.
    “When the Amer­i­cans decide to act tough against a so-called adver­sary or ene­my, they will spare no effort and lim­it no means,” he said.
    “Pri­va­teer­ing on Chi­nese mer­chant ships may also be pos­si­ble.”
    Repub­li­can con­gress­man Ron Paul raised the issue of using let­ters of mar­que against Osama bin Laden and Soma­lian pirates in 2007 and 2009, but did not suc­ceed.
    Julia Xue, chair pro­fes­sor of Inter­na­tion­al Law at Shang­hai Jiao Tong Uni­ver­si­ty, said the researchers argu­ment was not valid.
    “It has been cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al law, and the US is also bond­ed by it,” she said. “It was an incor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion of inter­na­tion­al law.”
    Koh said the cur­rent pol­i­cy elites were unlike­ly to seri­ous­ly con­sid­er such a rec­om­men­da­tion, but such arti­cles rep­re­sent­ed the think tankers who advo­cat­ed a much hard­er pol­i­cy stance against Chi­na.
    “If any­thing, it does reflect the grow­ing schism between Chi­na and the US, as both coun­tries see their ties slid­ing down­hill under the cloud of strate­gic lack of trust,” Koh said.

    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3079303/us-military-researchers-call-use-privateers-against-china

    Peo­ple in this coun­try won­der why the U.S. inspires so much hatred abroad. It isn’t our culture—-blue jeans, rock ‘n roll and jazz are beloved the world over. War-mon­ger­ing like this exem­pli­fies the behav­ior that inspires such enmi­ty and it is utter­ly dis­grace­ful. More dis­grace­ful still is that it does­n’t inspire dis­gust and alarm in all stra­ta of Amer­i­can soci­ety.

    It pro­vides polit­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal and cul­tur­al con­text to the Covid-19 out­break.

    Thanks, Ovid-19!

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | April 10, 2020, 2:39 pm
  3. https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2020/april/unleash-privateers

    Unleash the Pri­va­teers!
    The Unit­ed States should issue let­ters of mar­que to fight Chi­nese aggres­sion at sea.

    By Colonel Mark Can­cian, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired) and Bran­don Schwartz
    April 2020 Pro­ceed­ings Vol. 146/2/1,406

    For a dis­cus­sion of the law regard­ing let­ters of mar­que, see: U.S. Pri­va­teer­ing Is Legal

    Naval strate­gists are strug­gling to find ways to counter a ris­ing Chi­nese Navy. The eas­i­est and most com­fort­able course is to ask for more ships and air­craft, but with a defense bud­get that may have reached its peak, that may not be a viable strat­e­gy. <b?Privateering, autho­rized by let­ters of mar­que, could offer a low-cost tool to enhance deter­rence in peace­time and gain advan­tage in wartime. It would attack an asym­met­ric vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Chi­na, which has a much larg­er mer­chant fleet than the Unit­ed States. Indeed, an attack on Chi­nese glob­al trade would under­mine China’s entire econ­o­my and threat­en the regime’s sta­bil­i­ty. Final­ly, despite per­va­sive myths to the con­trary, U.S. pri­va­teer­ing is not pro­hib­it­ed by U.S. or inter­na­tion­al law.

    What are Let­ters of Mar­que?

    Pri­va­teer­ing is not piracy—there are rules and com­mis­sions, called let­ters of mar­que, that gov­ern­ments issue to civil­ians, allow­ing them to cap­ture or destroy ene­my ships.1 The U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion express­ly grants Con­gress the pow­er to issue them (Arti­cle I, sec­tion 8, clause 11). Cap­tured ves­sels and goods are called prizes, and prize law is set out in the U.S. Code. In the Unit­ed States, prize claims are adju­di­cat­ed by U.S. dis­trict courts, with pro­ceeds tra­di­tion­al­ly paid to the privateers.2 (“Pri­va­teer” can refer to the crew of a pri­va­teer­ing ship or to the ship itself, which also can be referred to as a let­ter of mar­que).

    Con­gress would like­ly set policy—for exam­ple, spec­i­fy­ing pri­va­teer tar­gets, pro­ce­dures, and qualifications—then autho­rize the Pres­i­dent to over­see the pri­va­teer­ing regime.3 Con­gress also could indem­ni­fy pri­va­teers from cer­tain lia­bil­i­ties and curb the poten­tial for abuse and vio­la­tions of inter­na­tion­al law through sure­ty bonds and updat­ed reg­u­la­tions on con­duct.

    Let­ters of mar­que could be issued quick­ly, with pri­va­teers on the hunt with­in weeks of the start of a con­flict. By con­trast, it would take four years to build a sin­gle new com­bat­ant for the Navy. Dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War and the War of 1812, pri­va­teers vast­ly out­num­bered Navy ships, with one U.S. offi­cial call­ing pri­va­teers “our cheap­est and best navy.”4 Though many were lost, thou­sands sailed and dis­rupt­ed British trade.5 British offi­cials com­plained they could not guar­an­tee the safe­ty of civil­ian trade.

    Pri­va­teer­ing con­sti­tutes a once uni­ver­sal­ly accept­ed but now thor­ough­ly uncon­ven­tion­al way of har­ness­ing the pri­vate sec­tor in war.

    A Ris­ing Chi­nese Navy

    The rise of the Chi­nese mil­i­tary has been well doc­u­ment­ed, but a few points high­light why pri­va­teer­ing would be a use­ful ele­ment of U.S. naval strat­e­gy.

    Chi­na has built a pow­er­ful defen­sive net­work around its home­land, some­times called an anti­ac­cess/area-denial (A2/AD) enve­lope. As one ele­ment of this strat­e­gy, Chi­na has expand­ed its navy from a mod­est coastal force in the 1980s to an ocean­go­ing force of at least 200 ships, with sophis­ti­cat­ed air defens­es, anti­ship mis­siles, and even air­craft car­ri­ers. Back­ing up the navy are land-based mis­siles and bombers.

    Crack­ing open such a defense would require a naval cam­paign more demand­ing than any­thing the U.S. Navy has done in the past 70 years, leav­ing lit­tle capa­bil­i­ty for oth­er tasks, such as hunt­ing down China’s glob­al mer­chant fleet. What­ev­er lim­it­ed naval forces might be left over from a cam­paign in the Pacif­ic would be need­ed to keep an eye on oth­er poten­tial adver­saries, such as Rus­sia, Iran, or North Korea.

    Asym­met­ric Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties

    Chi­na has aggres­sive­ly expand­ed its glob­al eco­nom­ic and diplo­mat­ic influ­ence through its Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, but this expan­sion cre­ates a vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, as these invest­ments must be pro­tect­ed. Chi­nese vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty goes deep­er. China’s econ­o­my has dou­bled in the past 15 years, dri­ven by exports car­ried in Chi­nese hulls. Thir­ty-eight per­cent of its gross domes­tic prod­uct (GDP) comes from trade, against only 9 per­cent of U.S. GDP.6 Chi­nese social sta­bil­i­ty is built on a trade-off: The Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty has told the peo­ple they will not have demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions, but they will receive eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty.

    China’s mer­chant fleet is large, because the cost to Chi­na of build­ing and oper­at­ing mer­chant ships is low, and its export-dri­ven econ­o­my cre­ates a huge demand. In 2018, Chi­na had 2,112 ships in its glob­al mer­chant fleet and Hong Kong had anoth­er 2,185.7 In addi­tion, Chi­na has a mas­sive long-dis­tance fish­ing fleet, esti­mat­ed at 2,500 vessels.8

    By con­trast, the Unit­ed States has only 246 ships in its mer­chant fleet. That fleet—expensive to build and operate—is sus­tained main­ly by the Jones Act, which man­dates that ships con­vey­ing car­go between U.S. ports must be U.S.-flagged.

    This asym­met­ric vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty gives the Unit­ed States a major strate­gic advan­tage. The threat pri­va­teer­ing pos­es to the Chi­nese economy—and hence the Com­mu­nist Party—could pro­vide the Unit­ed States with a major wartime advan­tage and enhance peace­time deter­rence, thus mak­ing war less like­ly. Even if Chi­na threat­ens to dis­patch its own pri­va­teers, U.S. vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty is com­par­a­tive­ly small.

    Size of the Dog in the Fight

    The ordi­nary course of action would be to have U.S. Navy war­ships dri­ve China’s mer­chant fleet from the seas. How­ev­er, the U.S. Navy would have its hands full tak­ing on the People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy (PLAN). The U.S. fleet is down to about 295 ships, and though it may reach and sur­pass 340 in the ear­ly 2040s before declin­ing again, the goal of 355 ships is prob­a­bly out of reach.9 A con­flict with Chi­na would like­ly require this entire fleet; indeed, against a capa­ble PLAN adver­sary defend­ing its home waters, even 355 ships might be too few.

    By con­trast, in World War II, the U.S. Navy grew to 6,700 ships, count­ing nei­ther Great Britain’s huge fleet nor con­tri­bu­tions from oth­er allies.10 And the allies, Britain and France par­tic­u­lar­ly, had a glob­al net­work of colonies that denied adver­saries sanc­tu­ary and pro­vid­ed bases for oper­a­tions against ene­my ships. Com­pa­ra­ble assets will not be avail­able in a future con­flict. Indeed, some for­mer allies and colonies might even give sanc­tu­ary to Chi­nese ves­sels.11

    Cruise the Seas for Chi­nese Gold

    Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on Chi­nese vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties requires large num­bers of ships, and the pri­vate sec­tor could pro­vide them. The ocean is large, and there are thou­sands of ports to hide in or dash between. While the Navy could not afford to have a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar destroy­er sit­ting out­side Rio de Janeiro for weeks wait­ing for Chi­nese ves­sels to leave, a pri­va­teer could patient­ly wait near­by as U.S. diplo­mats put pres­sure on (pre­sum­ably neu­tral) Brazil.

    Nei­ther recruit­ing crews nor the need to arm ships would con­sti­tute a major obsta­cle. Pri­va­teers do not need to be heav­i­ly armed, because they would be tak­ing on light­ly (or un-) armed mer­chant ves­sels, choos­ing vul­ner­a­ble tar­gets, or act­ing coop­er­a­tive­ly with oth­er pri­va­teers. Since the goal is to cap­ture the hulls and car­go, pri­va­teers do not want to sink the ves­sel, just con­vince the crew to sur­ren­der. How many mer­chant crews would be inclined to fight rather than sur­ren­der and spend the war in com­fort­able internment?12

    The exist­ing pri­vate mil­i­tary indus­try would doubt­less jump at the chance to pri­va­teer. Dozens of com­pa­nies cur­rent­ly pro­vide secu­ri­ty ser­vices, from the equiv­a­lent of mall guards to armed antipira­cy con­tin­gents on ships. A large pool of poten­tial recruits has shown will­ing­ness to work for pri­vate con­trac­tors. At the height of the Iraq War, for exam­ple, the Unit­ed States employed 20,000 armed con­trac­tors in secu­ri­ty jobs.

    In fact, pri­vate secu­ri­ty ves­sels already have been cre­at­ed, demon­strat­ing the concept’s via­bil­i­ty. The pri­vate secu­ri­ty firm Black­wa­ter out­fit­ted an armed patrol craft to defend com­mer­cial ship­ping from Soma­li pirates.13 At the height of Soma­li pira­cy, there were some 2,700 armed con­trac­tors on ships and 40 pri­vate armed patrol boats oper­at­ing in the Indi­an Ocean region.14

    Just as the prospect of prize mon­ey induced thou­sands of sea­men to sign on with pri­va­teers dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion and the War of 1812, sim­i­lar inducements—such as the prospect of earn­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from a sin­gle capture—would attract the need­ed per­son­nel in a future con­flict.

    New Approach­es Required

    The notion of pri­va­teer­ing makes naval strate­gists uncom­fort­able because it is an approach to war that does not con­form to the way the U.S. Navy has fought since 1815. There is no mod­ern expe­ri­ence of their use, and there are legit­i­mate con­cerns about legal foun­da­tions and inter­na­tion­al opin­ion. But strate­gists can­not argue for out-of-the-box think­ing to face the ris­ing chal­lenge of Chi­na and then revert to con­ven­tion­al solu­tions because out-of-the-box think­ing makes them uncom­fort­able.

    As the strate­gic sit­u­a­tion is new, so must our think­ing be new. In wartime, pri­va­teers could swarm the oceans and destroy the mar­itime indus­try on which China’s economy—and the sta­bil­i­ty of its regime—depend. The mere threat of such a cam­paign might strength­en deter­rence and there­by pre­vent a war from hap­pen­ing at all. In strat­e­gy, as else­where, every­thing old shall be new again.

    1. Depart­ment of Defense (DoD), Law of War Man­u­al (2016), § 13.5.2; Louise Doswald-Beck, ed., San Remo Man­u­al on Inter­na­tion­al Law Applic­a­ble to Armed Con­flicts at Sea (Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Human­i­tar­i­an Law, 1995), Rules 13(i), 40–41, 59–60, 135, 138–39.

    2. 10 USC § 8852. For prize law, see 10 USC §§ 8851–81, and 10 USC § 7668 (allow­ing courts to only pay net pro­ceeds into the Trea­sury).

    3. U.S. Con­gress, An Act Con­cern­ing Let­ters of Mar­que, and Prizes, chap­ter 102, 26 June 1812.

    4. Don­ald R. Hick­ey, The War of 1812: A For­got­ten Con­flict (Cham­paign, IL: Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois Press, 1989), 96

    5. Edgar Stan­ton Maclay, A His­to­ry of Amer­i­can Pri­va­teers (Lon­don: Samp­son, Low, Marston, and Co., 1900), 506; George F. Emmons, The Navy of the Unit­ed States: from the Com­mence­ment, 1775, to 1853 (Wash­ing­ton, DC: 1853), 170–203.

    6. World Bank Trade Data­base, data.worldbank.org.

    7. “Mer­chant Marine” in CIA Fact­book 2018 (Wash­ing­ton, DC: 2018).

    8. Gary Doyle, “Chi­nese Trawlers Trav­el Far­thest and Fish the Most: Study,” Reuters, 22 Feb­ru­ary 2018.

    9. Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office, An Analy­sis of the Navy’s Fis­cal Year 2019 Ship­build­ing Plan (19 Octo­ber 2018).

    10. Naval His­to­ry and Her­itage Com­mand, “U.S. Ship Force Lev­els 1886–Present,” http://www.history.navy.mil.

    11. MAJ Nicholas R. Nap­pi, USMC, “But Will They Fight Chi­na?” U.S. Naval Insti­tute Pro­ceed­ings 144, no. 5 (May 2018).

    12. DoD, Law of War Man­u­al, note 1 at §13.5.3.

    13. Kim San­gup­ta, “Black­wa­ter Gun­boats Will Pro­tect Ships,” The Inde­pen­dent, 19 Novem­ber 2008.

    14. Sean McFate, The Mod­ern Mer­ce­nary: Pri­vate Armies and What They Mean for World Order (New York: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2014), 142.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    U.S. Pri­va­teer­ing Is Legal
    By Bran­don Schwartz
    April 2020 Pro­ceed­ings Vol. 146/2/1,406

    (See also: Unleash the Pri­va­teers!)

    Issu­ing let­ters of mar­que presents inter­na­tion­al legal risks—some real, oth­ers imagined—but these are man­age­able. Fur­ther, since a con­flict with Chi­na might, to para­phrase Dean Ache­son, threat­en the pow­er, posi­tion, and even the exis­tence of the Unit­ed States, the demands of the con­flict would lim­it the salience of law.1 Such a con­flict would result in thou­sands of U.S. ser­vice mem­ber deaths and the near­ly cer­tain loss of dozens of U.S. Navy ships. The prop­er frame of ref­er­ence is spring 1942, when the Unit­ed States was reel­ing from the harsh real­i­ties of war with Impe­r­i­al Japan, and not the region­al con­flicts of the late 20th and ear­ly 21st cen­turies, in which the Unit­ed States had over­whelm­ing mil­i­tary supe­ri­or­i­ty. A con­flict with Chi­na would be World War III, not Gulf War III. Mil­i­tary and civil­ian lead­ers, as well as the pub­lic at large, should judge risks in those terms.

    The first risks affect pri­va­teers them­selves. Under the laws of war and neu­tral­i­ty, war­ships have rights against arrest and pro­scrip­tion by neu­trals. Neu­trals might choose not to extend those rights to pri­va­teers that want to enter their nation­al waters, for exam­ple, to refu­el. The Unit­ed States could mit­i­gate this by using friend­ly ports, nego­ti­at­ing under­stand­ings with neu­trals, or paci­fy­ing them with oth­er ele­ments of U.S. pow­er.

    Crit­ics will call pri­va­teers mer­ce­nar­ies, but that would hold no water, legal­ly speak­ing. [ed. note: inter­est­ing the way the author shifts between dis­re­gard for, and reliance upon “the law”] The 1977 Addi­tion­al Pro­to­col I (AP I) of the Gene­va Con­ven­tions deprived mer­ce­nar­ies of com­bat­ant and pris­on­er-of-war rights, but even under AP I (which the Unit­ed States has not adopt­ed), pri­va­teers can­not be labeled “mer­ce­nar­ies” so long as they are a nation­al of a par­ty to the con­flict or a res­i­dent of ter­ri­to­ry con­trolled by a par­ty to the con­flict. [ed. note: It’s per­haps use­ful to compare/contrast this atti­tude with the claims advanced by the Pen­ta­goons in Afghanistan re: so called “ille­gal com­bat­ants” who were by all appear­ances “res­i­dents of the ter­ri­to­ry con­trolled by a par­ty to the con­tract.”]

    Under both the Sec­ond (sick and ship­wrecked mem­bers of the armed forces at sea) and Third (pris­on­ers of war) Gene­va Con­ven­tions, pri­va­teers are enti­tled to sig­nif­i­cant pro­tec­tions. They would be regard­ed as “mem­bers of oth­er mili­tias and mem­bers of oth­er vol­un­teer corps” so long as they (1) are com­mand­ed by a per­son respon­si­ble for his sub­or­di­nates, (2) bear fixed dis­tinc­tive signs rec­og­niz­able at a dis­tance, (3) car­ry arms open­ly, and (4) con­duct their oper­a­tions in accor­dance with the laws and cus­toms of war.2 These require­ments can eas­i­ly be accom­mo­dat­ed. [or over­looked as appears to have been the case with the French Maquis — ed]

    The oth­er legal hur­dle is the myth that the law of naval war­fare pro­hibits U.S. pri­va­teer­ing. This con­fu­sion aris­es because some schol­ars assert that the 1856 Paris Declaration—whose first arti­cle banned pri­va­teer­ing between the treaty parties—somehow estab­lished a cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al pro­hi­bi­tion on pri­va­teer­ing.3 How­ev­er, the Unit­ed States refused to sign the Dec­la­ra­tion because it was a bad deal in light of the com­par­a­tive­ly small U.S. Navy of the day.4

    Some argu­ments about a cus­tom­ary pro­hi­bi­tion are based on the mis­tak­en belief that U.S. acqui­es­cence to the Dec­la­ra­tion can be dis­cerned from the Unit­ed States hav­ing con­tem­plat­ed acces­sion dur­ing the Civ­il War or Pres­i­dent William McKinley’s 1898 <a href=“https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-413-standards-conduct-and-respect-neutral-rights-the-war-with-spain“Proclamation 413 dur­ing the Span­ish-Amer­i­can War.5 How­ev­er, the Unit­ed States ulti­mate­ly chose not to accede.6 More­over, in an intro­duc­to­ry para­graph, Procla­ma­tion 413 mere­ly pro­vid­ed that it would be U.S. pol­i­cy “not to resort to privateering”—implying in this one conflict—“but to adhere to the rules of the [Dec­la­ra­tion].” That para­graph also ref­er­enced a pri­or announce­ment by Sec­re­tary of State John Sher­man that con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous schol­ars clear­ly under­stood to state that the Unit­ed States felt legal­ly oblig­at­ed by the Declaration’s last three arti­cles, but not by the ban on privateering.7

    [It would be inter­est­ing per­haps to see how this plays out in the ICL giv­en the doc­trine of Uni­ver­sal Juris­dic­tion — ed]

    Chi­na, and like­ly oth­er mar­itime nations, nonethe­less will argue that cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al law pro­hibits pri­va­teer­ing. To this, the Unit­ed States can respond by not­ing that his­tor­i­cal U.S. rejec­tion of the pro­hi­bi­tion blocked a gen­er­al cus­tom­ary pro­hi­bi­tion from form­ing under the doc­trine of spe­cial­ly affect­ed states.8 That doc­trine assigns greater weight to the prac­tice of states that have a dis­tinc­tive his­to­ry of par­tic­i­pat­ing in, for exam­ple, naval war­fare and allows their dis­sent to block cus­tom formation.9

    Even if a gen­er­al cus­tom has formed, the Unit­ed States can argue that it has reserved a dor­mant right to pri­va­teer through the per­sis­tent objec­tor rule.10 Under this rule, a state is not bound by a cus­tom that it object­ed to while the cus­tom was emerg­ing. U.S. objec­tion can be found in pres­i­den­tial mes­sages; diplo­mat­ic cor­re­spon­dence between 1854 and 1907; and even U.S. law.11
    [It could be rea­son­ably argued that the US lost this sta­tus when McKin­ley issued Procla­ma­tion 413, in which the US both acknowl­edged the valid­i­ty of, and agreed to adhere to, the inter­na­tion­al agree­ment and its “rules” — ed]

    Pri­va­teer­ing was again on the chop­ping block at the Sec­ond Hague Con­fer­ence in 1907. The Unit­ed States reject­ed Hague Con­ven­tion VII (Con­ver­sion of Mer­chant Ships into War-Ships) because, as a U.S. del­e­gate not­ed, “The Unit­ed States has not renounced the right to resort to pri­va­teer­ing.”12 The for­ma­tion of cus­tom­ary inter­na­tion­al law requires rel­a­tive­ly con­sis­tent state prac­tice done out of a sense of legal oblig­a­tion, but the absence of U.S. pri­va­teer­ing since 1907 has result­ed from strate­gic and pol­i­cy con­sid­er­a­tions rather than legal ones.13
    [because noth­ing says “con­sis­tent state prac­tice” quite like hon­or­ing a treaty when con­ve­nient and dis­re­gard­ing it when incon­ve­nient — ed]

    Final­ly, China’s largest ship­ping com­pa­ny, COSCO, and most of China’s mer­chant ship­ping com­pa­nies are state-owned enter­pris­es (SOEs). The U.S. and for­eign publics would like­ly be more accept­ing of action against them than pri­vate­ly owned mer­chant ships. The pub­lic also might warm to the idea of pri­va­teer­ing if they were to become more aware of China’s mar­itime mili­tia (see “The South Chi­na Sea Needs a COIN Toss,” May 2019, pp. 16–21), which com­pris­es thou­sands of com­mer­cial fish­ing ves­sels under the com­mand and con­trol of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion.

    But that is all pub­lic rela­tions; there is no legal­ly sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between an SOE mer­chant ship and a pri­vate­ly owned mer­chant ship, so far as pri­va­teer­ing would be con­cerned. All ene­my mer­chant ships—SOE or otherwise—may be cap­tured, and in some cas­es destroyed, if locat­ed out­side neu­tral ter­ri­to­ry. Fur­ther, for the pur­pose of deter­min­ing whether any giv­en ves­sel is a law­ful object of attack, both pri­vate­ly owned mer­chant ves­sels and SOE ves­sels are fair game if they con­sti­tute a mil­i­tary objective.14

    1. Dean Ache­son, “Remarks on the Cuba Quar­an­tine,” Pro­ceed­ings of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Inter­na­tion­al Law, 57th Annu­al Meet­ing (1963), 14.

    2. Jean Pictet, ed., Com­men­tary on the Gene­va Con­ven­tions of 12 August 1949, vol. 2: Gene­va Con­ven­tion for the Ame­lio­ra­tion of the Con­di­tion of Wound­ed, Sick and Ship­wrecked Mem­bers of Armed Forces at Sea (Gene­va, Switzer­land: Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross, 1960); Sec­ond Gene­va Con­ven­tion, arti­cle 13(2); Third Gene­va Con­ven­tion, arti­cle 4(2).

    3. Las­sa Oppen­heim, Inter­na­tion­al Law: A Trea­tise, 8th ed., H. Lauter­pacht ed., vol. II: Dis­putes, War & Neu­tral­i­ty, 461; James Kras­ka and Raul Pedro­zo, Inter­na­tion­al Mar­itime Secu­ri­ty Law (Lei­den, The Nether­lands: Brill | Nijhoff, 2013), 867; Hisakazu Fuji­ta, The Law of Naval War­fare, Natal­i­no Ronzit­ti ed. (Lei­den, The Nether­lands: Brill | Nijhoff, 1988), 68, 70.

    4. Sir Fran­cis Tay­lor Pig­gott, The Dec­la­ra­tion of Paris, 1856: A Study, Doc­u­ment­ed (Lon­don: Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don Press ltd., 1919), 142–49; Carl­ton Sav­age, Pol­i­cy of the Unit­ed States toward Mar­itime Com­merce in War, vol. I: 1776–1914 (Wash­ing­ton, DC: GPO, 1935), 76–81, 89–90.

    5. “The Marie Glaeser,” Times Legal Reports 31 (1914), 1, 10; William McKin­ley, “Procla­ma­tion 413—Standards of Con­duct and Respect of Neu­tral Rights in the War with Spain.”

    6. Pig­gott, The Dec­la­ra­tion of Paris, note 4 at 154–61, 206–13.

    7. U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, 55th Con­gress, 3rd Ses­sion, Papers Relat­ed to the For­eign Rela­tions of the Unit­ed States (Ser­i­al Set 3743) (Wash­ing­ton, DC: GPO, 1901), 1170–71; J. B. Moore, A Digest of Inter­na­tion­al Law, vol. 7 (Wash­ing­ton, DC: 1906), 541–42; Charles H. Stock­ton, The Dec­la­ra­tion of Paris, 14; Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Inter­na­tion­al Law, Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Inter­na­tion­al Law 14 (1920), 356, 362, 367.

    8. Pres­i­dent Franklin Pierce, Sec­ond Annu­al Mes­sage to Con­gress, 4 Decem­ber 1854.

    9. See John B. Bellinger III and William J. Haynes II, “A U.S. Gov­ern­ment Response to the Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross Study Cus­tom­ary Inter­na­tion­al Human­i­tar­i­an Law,” Inter­na­tion­al Review of the Red Cross 89 (2007): 443 at n. 4; “Prin­ci­ples Applic­a­ble to the For­ma­tion of Gen­er­al Cus­tom­ary Inter­na­tion­al Law,” Inter­na­tion­al Law Asso­ci­a­tion (ILA), Report of the Six­ty-Ninth Con­fer­ence (Lon­don: 2000), Prin­ci­ple 14, Com­men­tary, para­graph (e), 26.

    10. ILA, note 9 at Prin­ci­ple 15, 27–29.

    11. “Let­ter of Mr. Mar­cy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Sar­tiges,” 28 July 1856, in Mis­cel­la­neous Doc­u­ments of the U.S. Sen­ate (Wash­ing­ton, DC: GPO, 1886); U.S. Con­gress, An Act Con­cern­ing Let­ters of Mar­que, Prizes, and Prize Goods, chap­ter 85 (3 March 1863).

    12. James Brown Scott, The Hague Peace Con­fer­ences of 1899 and 1907: A Series of Lec­tures Deliv­ered before the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty in the Year 1908, vol. 2 (Bal­ti­more, MD: The Johns Hop­kins Press, 1909), 222–23.

    13. Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, Mes­sage to Con­gress on the Arm­ing of Mer­chant Ships, 9 Octo­ber 1941.

    14. DoD, Law of War Man­u­al, note 1 at §5.7 and §13.5.2.

    https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2020/april/us-privateering-legal

    Posted by Ovid-19 | April 15, 2020, 8:02 am
  4. Some Con­se­quences of the Piv­ot to Asia

    Some Con­se­quences of the Piv­ot to Asia
    Andrew Ross
    Amer­i­can Quar­ter­ly, Vol­ume 69, Num­ber 3, Sep­tem­ber 2017, pp. 513–521
    (Arti­cle)
    Pub­lished by Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty Press
    DOI:
    For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion about this arti­cle
    [ Access pro­vid­ed at 17 Apr 2020 00:51 GMT with no insti­tu­tion­al affil­i­a­tion ]
    https://doi.org/10.1353/aq.2017.0045

    https://muse.jhu.edu/article/670052/pdf

    Giv­en Don­ald Trump’s spas­mod­ic, if not down­right flaky, approach to for­eign pol­i­cy, who would bet against the like­li­hood, at some point dur­ing his term in office, of a nail-bit­ing, armed face-off between US and Chi­nese forces? Whether in the South Chi­na Sea, the East Chi­na Sea, or the con­tain­ment zone in and around North Korea, there are many ter­ri­to­r­i­al
    boo­by traps that could trig­ger a con­fronta­tion between these two super­pow­ers whose rela­tion­ship —mil­i­tary antag­o­nists as well as major trad­ing part­ners — is almost unique, by mod­ern his­tor­i­cal stan­dards.

    In the volatile sea­son of Twit­ter diplo­ma­cy that pre­ced­ed his assump­tion of office, it seemed as if Trump had set his men­tal com­pass to pro­vok­ing Bei­jing at every oppor­tu­ni­ty. Whether it was over mat­ters of com­merce, nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, or mil­i­tary engage­ment, he behaved like a bul­ly try­ing to pick a fight with a for­mi­da­ble rival in the knowl­edge that there were many rea­sons why the tar­get would not hit back. All avail­able evi­dence sug­gest­ed that Trump was not
    atten­tive dur­ing (and indeed was open­ly resis­tant to the need for) intel­li­gence brief­in­gs, and so it is fair to dis­miss any notion that he knew some­thing we did not. So what were the cir­cum­stances under which he came to esca­late the “piv­ot to Asia,” first dis­closed as US for­eign pol­i­cy in 2012 under Hillary Clinton’s helm at the State Depart­ment? State­craft, as it had been prac­ticed at Fog­gy Bot­tom for sev­er­al decades, was thrown out the win­dow with Trump’ ascen­dan­cy, but how and why was Chi­na cho­sen as the num­ber one pick for test­ing out his new style of nation-to-nation mes­sag­ing?

    One of the more twist­ed spec­ta­tor sports of the 2016 elec­tion was to sit and pick out par­ti­cles of truth from the flow of raw ide­ol­o­gy (some of it the polit­i­cal equiv­a­lent of untreat­ed sewage) that issued from Trump’s mouth and Twit­ter account. When the top­ic turned to Chi­na, this task became extra chal­leng­ing. On the one hand, his fre­quent tirades against Beijing’s “dirty tricks” (cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tion, intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty [IP] theft, prod­uct dump­ing, and “rape of Amer­i­ca”) were hard­ly a depar­ture from the long tra­di­tion of Chi­na-bash­ing
    observed by all quad­rants of the US polit­i­cal class, as well as the trade union lead­er­ship. This reflex­ive Sino­pho­bia had bare­ly missed a beat in the tran­si­tion from the Cold War to the neolib­er­al era, land­marked by China’s 2001 acces­sion to the WTO and amped up by the Oba­ma administration’s 2012 “rebal­ance,” or “piv­ot to Asia.” But Trump could be relied on to throw in some new ingre­di­ents, includ­ing
    the throw­away asser­tion that cli­mate change was a hoax engi­neered by Bei­jing for its own eco­nom­ic self-inter­est. More con­sis­tent­ly, he promised to impose a whop­ping 45 per­cent tar­iff on all Chi­nese imports (“if they don’t behave”). This threat prompt­ed a sharp, col­lec­tive intake of breath from the ranks of econ­o­mists, and elect­ed offi­cials, who like to dark­ly warn against a “trade war,” not to men­tion a suit­ably pugna­cious response from Bei­jing. Even for those who live by the max­im that trade is war by oth­er means, this kind of pro­tec­tion­ist talk was a stark rever­sal of decades of Wash­ing­ton pol­i­cy. Toss­ing aside every tru­ism about the long-term ben­e­fits of glob­al­iza­tion, Trump open­ly vio­lat­ed
    the free trade con­sen­sus that busi­ness elites had suc­cess­ful­ly forged among
    Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans in order to pro­mote their inter­ests.

    More sur­re­al was the shape of his oppo­si­tion to the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship (TPP), a cen­ter­piece of the sec­ond Oba­ma administration’s trade pol­i­cy before its chances of advance­ment on Capi­tol Hill final­ly ran out of steam in the wake of Trump’s elec­toral vic­to­ry. For its crit­ics, the TPP was only the lat­est effort to ram home a region­al free trade agree­ment on terms most favor­able to multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions. After Bernie Sanders laid out a prin­ci­pled cri­tique of the deal, Clin­ton per­formed a clas­sic elec­tion-year flip-flop (hav­ing
    helped craft the agree­ment, she then trimmed her cam­paign sails to try to catch the strong breeze blow­ing against it). Trump entered the play­ing field with a head-scratch­ing claim. “The TPP is a hor­ri­ble deal,” he declared dur­ing a Novem­ber 2015 pri­ma­ry debate. “It’s a deal that was designed for Chi­na to come in, as they always do, through the back door and total­ly take advan­tage of every­one. It’s 5,600 pages long, so com­plex that nobody’s read it. It’s like Oba­macare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it.” Pre­pared and nego­ti­at­ed in secret, with the aid of hun­dreds of cor­po­rate lawyers, exec­u­tives, and lob­by­ists, the TPP draft had only been released the week before, so it is quite plau­si­ble that few had read it, least of all the can­di­date him­self. But, since the agree­ment (which involved Aus­tralia, Brunei, Cana­da, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mex­i­co, New Zealand, Peru, Sin­ga­pore, Viet­nam, along with the
    Unit­ed States), was designed specif­i­cal­ly to exclude Chi­na, Trump’s com­ments drew deri­sive respons­es from all cor­ners of enlight­ened opin­ion as one more proof of his benight­ed­ness.

    After the fact, Trump aides tried to rec­ti­fy the dam­age by sug­gest­ing he had in mind the TPP’s “rules of ori­gin,” which would allow many Chi­nese goods to flow, tar­iff free, to its mem­bers. But, as is so often the case with Trump, the facts do not seem to mat­ter, and com­men­ta­tors who fix­at­ed on them were miss­ing the point. He was sim­ply chan­nel­ing a pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment that free trade deals had proved to be a snow job for Amer­i­can workers—the longer the
    doc­u­ment (this one was 5,600 pages), the more elab­o­rate the con! Chi­na, which had been cen­tral to so much of the proglob­al­iza­tion hype, was a rec­og­niz­able, and thus accept­able, whip­ping boy. Since many work­ing-class Amer­i­cans saw them­selves, on the basis of demon­stra­bly strong evi­dence, as free trade losers, there had to be win­ners on the oth­er side of the globe. Ever since pop­u­lar resent­ment about “unfair” labor com­pe­ti­tion in Cal­i­for­nia laid the path­way for the 1882 Exclu­sion Act, the Chi­nese have been serv­ing as white America’s
    “indis­pens­able ene­my,” and so the choice of tar­get was a famil­iar one.1
    But the self-image of the revan­chist los­er, which fed the pop­ulist ener­gy
    surge of the Trump (and, to some degree, the Sanders) cam­paign, was not
    entire­ly mis­judged, because it reflect­ed, in large part, the bit­ter expe­ri­ence of the post-2008 reces­sion­ary decade. In the years lead­ing up to the finan­cial melt­down, Amer­i­can work­ers, stuck in the rut of wage stag­na­tion, had been pla­cat­ed with the argu­ment that the trade entente with Chi­na was essen­tial
    to the flow of cheap cred­it which kept their house­holds afloat. “Chimeri­ca,”
    as Niall Fer­gu­son dubi­ous­ly termed it, had entwined a nation of prof­li­gate
    spenders and bor­row­ers with its dia­met­ric opposite—a nation of zeal­ous savers and pro­duc­ers. Beijing’s for­eign cur­ren­cy earn­ings from con­sumer exports were heav­i­ly invest­ed in $1 tril­lion of US Trea­sury bills, there­by guar­an­tee­ing the low inter­est rates that allowed Amer­i­cans to go on buy­ing goods from Chi­na and secur­ing loans for four-bed­room hous­es on the Sunbelt’s urban fringes.

    The polit­i­cal class­es in both coun­tries found this sym­bi­ot­ic arrange­ment to be accept­able, but the real ben­e­fi­cia­ries were eco­nom­ic elites who prof­it­ed hand­some­ly from low-cost off­shore labor and indus­tri­al dereg­u­la­tion, or who made a killing from the pho­ny finan­cial­iza­tion through which junk loans and
    overex­tend­ed debt were pack­aged into Ponzi schemes. In the post­crash dev­as­ta­tion, robust state fis­cal con­trols helped main­tain China’s rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic strength, while its “Go Out” pro­gram of infra­struc­ture invest­ments, in South Amer­i­ca, Africa, and the Asia-Pacif­ic, widened the orbit of Beijing’s influ­ence
    through “eco­nom­ic diplo­ma­cy.” In response, Oba­ma launched the piv­ot to
    Asia by open­ing or expand­ing mil­i­tary bases all around Chi­na in a clear­ly
    expressed strat­e­gy of con­tain­ment. The TPP was the eco­nom­ic coun­ter­part of this mil­i­tary expan­sion, designed in no small mea­sure to counter China’s
    mush­room­ing sphere of influ­ence, and bind­ing togeth­er the region’s eco­nom­ic
    part­ners under rules most favor­able to US cor­po­ra­tions.

    In turn, Bei­jing launched its own region­al trade ini­tia­tive, the Region­al Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nom­ic Part­ner­ship (RCEP), which excludes the Unit­ed States and links the ten ASEAN mem­ber states with Aus­tralia, Chi­na, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. Poten­tial­ly the largest trad­ing bloc in the world, with more than three bil­lion peo­ple, and a com­bined GDP of more than $21 tril­lion, much of the RCEP nego­ti­a­tion process involves the har­mo­niz­ing of sev­er­al exist­ing free trade agree­ments. There was a good deal of over­lap between the TPP and the RCEP (includ­ing sev­er­al mem­ber nations them­selves), and, in prac­tice, they could have coex­ist­ed, but there is lit­tle debate about how the com­pe­ti­tion between them was perceived—as a face-off between the world’s dom­i­nant trad­ing pow­ers. Washington’s free trade evan­ge­lists were hap­py to rein­force that per­cep­tion, and Obama’s White House ped­dled the TPP via the threat that fail­ure to fast-track it would cede rule-mak­ing in the vast Asia-Pacif­ic mar­kets to Bei­jing.

    While the RCEP is unlike­ly to include any pro­vi­sions about pro­tect­ing labor
    or the envi­ron­ment, crit­ics argued that the TPP would have done lit­tle more than pay lip ser­vice to these issues and that it posed a clear threat to pub­lic and plan­e­tary health. Nego­ti­at­ed in secret, the TPP text incor­po­rat­ed large chunks of lan­guage from pre­vi­ous free trade agree­ments that facil­i­tat­ed the cor­po­rate “race to the bot­tom” in wage exploita­tion and eco­log­i­cal degra­da­tion. These
    agree­ments inflict­ed exten­sive dam­age on work­ers’ liveli­hoods (and not mere­ly in the “high-wage coun­tries”), and they paved the way to chal­leng­ing or skirt­ing envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions across the board. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion strug­gled to allay fears that the same path­way was now being fol­lowed in the Asia-Pacif­ic region, argu­ing that the record of neglect was being reme­died in the TPP’s “twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry” accord, which boast­ed the high­est stan­dards
    of any trade agree­ment. In that same spir­it, Clin­ton ini­tial­ly termed the TPP a “gold stan­dard in trade agreements”—a moniker that came back to haunt her when Trump made her squirm over her flip-flop dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial debates.2 His tri­umph was com­plete when he declared, after the elec­tion, that with­draw­ing from the TPP would be one of his first acts in office. But by then Obama’s effort to push through a TPP agree­ment had been suc­cess­ful­ly erod­ed by a broad, pro­gres­sive coali­tion of groups—essentially the insti­tu­tion­al sur­vivors of the alt-glob­al­iza­tion movement—including Glob­al Trade Watch
    and the Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee, which worked close­ly with con­gres­sion­al allies. Obama’s part­ner deal, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and
    Invest­ment Part­ner­ship, also died as a result of activist pres­sure on both sides of the Atlantic. It remains to be seen whether the last spoke of the tri­ad, the Trade in Ser­vices Agree­ment, can sur­vive.

    Reflect­ing investors’ appetite for high­er returns than could be extract­ed
    from the made-in-Chi­na assem­bly plat­form mod­el, the TPP’s big sweet­en­er was to promise fresh and unfet­tered access to cheap­er labor mar­kets in Brunei, Viet­nam, and Malaysia. Its major con­ces­sion to the labor lead­ers in rich coun­tries was that all mem­bers must rec­og­nize the Inter­na­tion­al Labor Organization’s 1988 Dec­la­ra­tion on Fun­da­men­tal Prin­ci­ples and Rights at Work. Yet the lan­guage on enforce­ment of these pro­vi­sions proved scant, and weak.
    As in the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na (PRC), Vietnam’s trade unions are an
    arm of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Par­ty, and, in Brunei and Malaysia, forced labor and traf­fick­ing of migrant work­ers is rife. Rad­i­cal changes in their leg­isla­tive ground rules would have been need­ed for each of these coun­tries to ful­fill the “con­sis­ten­cy plan” that laid out the require­ments for treaty com­pli­ance.

    So, too, the agree­ment rein­forced the fate­ful abil­i­ty of cor­po­ra­tions to sue
    sov­er­eign gov­ern­ments wher­ev­er a country’s envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions are judged restric­tive of “free trade.” Tri­bunals could be con­vened under a process called the “Investor-State Dis­pute Set­tle­ment,” which the ITUC (whose mem­bers round­ly oppose the TPP) described as the “cre­ation of a pri­vate jus­tice sys­tem reserved only to for­eign investors.” By con­trast, pri­vate par­ties with com­plaints about lack of enforce­ment of labor and envi­ron­men­tal pro­vi­sions would have had no rights to sue—only state actors could do so.

    As for the RCEP, it cur­rent­ly resem­bles a throw­back to the ini­tial ver­sion of NAFTA, which includ­ed no pro­vi­sions on labor or envi­ron­men­tal rights (an unen­force­able agree­ment cov­er­ing these was even­tu­al­ly nego­ti­at­ed on the side). At best, the treaty will con­tain vague, aspi­ra­tional lan­guage, and a “flex­i­bil­i­ty prin­ci­ple,” per­mit­ting any coun­try to evade any standard—labor or otherwise—if it has dif­fi­cul­ty in meet­ing com­pli­ance. With so many loop­holes and fee­ble enforce­ment mech­a­nisms, over­lap­ping mem­ber nations (includ­ing Brunei, Viet­nam, and Malaysia) saw a clear ben­e­fit to join­ing both the RECP and the TPP. They rea­soned that they could end up enjoy­ing tar­iff-free access to
    the mar­kets and the sourc­ing chains of both Chi­na and the devel­oped nations
    in return for min­i­mal, or neg­li­gi­ble, ges­tures toward rec­og­niz­ing basic rights.

    With­in Chi­na itself, progress toward these rights has stalled under the pres­sure of the most severe civ­il soci­ety crack­down since the after­math of the 1989 Tianan­men Square cri­sis. The last two years have seen the arbi­trary deten­tion of hun­dreds of lawyers and advo­cates in the fields of human and labor rights. These moves were accom­pa­nied by pas­sage of the For­eign NGO Man­age­ment Law in April 2016, which imposed strict con­straints on the activ­i­ties of inter­na­tion­al organizations—an esti­mat­ed sev­en thousand—operating on the main­land. But they were also pre­ced­ed by efforts to con­tain the rolling post-2010 strike wave (offi­cial respons­es includ­ed a flir­ta­tion with col­lec­tive
    bar­gain­ing, the pre­ferred US “solu­tion” to wild­cat­ting in the 1940s) and the equal­ly explo­sive growth of a prodemoc­ra­cy blo­gos­phere. The acad­e­my had also seen a tight­en­ing of ide­o­log­i­cal con­trols against “West­ern val­ues” with the 2013 com­mu­nique (“Doc­u­ment 9”) on the “sev­en taboos,” and a new direc­tive (“Doc­u­ment 30”) in Jan­u­ary 2015, which rein­forced the pro­hi­bi­tions against crit­i­cal thought in the class­room. Last but not least, Xi Jinping’s
    anti­cor­rup­tion cam­paign, tar­get­ed at par­ty offi­cials, was launched to address pop­u­lar dis­con­tent about China’s yawn­ing inequal­i­ties.

    In com­bi­na­tion, these dis­ci­pli­nary mea­sures were intend­ed to restore the
    suprema­cy of par­ty author­i­ty. The max­im of “rule of law” (yifa zhiguo) which, dur­ing the reform era, has more typ­i­cal­ly con­not­ed com­pli­ance with inter­na­tion­al judi­cial norms, was more expe­di­ent­ly inter­pret­ed by Xi as a gov­er­nance mech­a­nism to rein­force the dom­i­nance of the par­ty-state bureaucracy.3 Why the need to shore up the cen­ter? Social unrest could be staved off as long as the par­ty could deliv­er the annu­al high-growth per­for­mances (10 per­cent GDP increas­es on aver­age) that ran from the ear­ly 1980s until 2008. But those go-go days are over, and Bei­jing is fac­ing down an acute pen­sion cri­sis for a pop­u­la­tion that is aging more rapid­ly than any oth­er nation. Pay hikes in the coastal zones over the last decade mean that Chi­na no longer enjoys its
    low-wage monop­oly over glob­al assem­bly lines, and it has strug­gled to boost
    domes­tic con­sump­tion and jump-start an IP-ori­ent­ed Designed-in-Chi­na sec­tor. Work­ers weigh the damp­en­ing of their own ris­ing expec­ta­tions against
    the obscene wealth accu­mu­lat­ed by the princeling class and allied frac­tions
    of “red cap­i­tal­ists,” and so recent years have seen anoth­er spike in strikes and labor protests.

    Every year, the jug­gling act that has sus­tained one-par­ty rule in Bei­jing gets more and more dif­fi­cult, though it is unlike­ly that the “col­lapse of Chi­na” her­ald­ed by a long list of Cas­san­dras is immi­nent. But one thing that has sure­ly lost its explana­to­ry pow­er is “Chimeri­ca,” that febrile dream of free mar­ket inte­gra­tionists who imag­ined that geopo­lit­i­cal peace could be secured by pro­duc­ing con­sumer goods on the cheap. Trump’s com­bat­ive utter­ances, how­ev­er self-con­tra­dic­to­ry, were a prod­uct of this new moment, and though they had an iso­la­tion­ist fla­vor, they were fresh meat to the hard-lin­ers who have a long view of the strug­gle for Amer­i­can dom­i­na­tion over the Asia-Pacif­ic region.4 Ini­tial­ly, his bump­tious rhetoric was tak­en with a pinch of salt in Bei­jing, where every­one is famil­iar with the rhythms of the US elec­tion cycle. After the shock­ing elec­tion results, and the infa­mous phone call Trump made to the pres­i­dent
    of Tai­wan in ear­ly Decem­ber 2016, the tenor of the response shift­ed. A stark vio­la­tion of long-stand­ing pol­i­cy, the phone call was intend­ed to com­mu­ni­cate
    that the encir­clement of the PRC—a prac­ti­cal con­se­quence of the piv­ot to
    Asia—was get­ting uncom­fort­ably close to home. All of a sud­den, it seemed,
    Trump’s threat­ened trade war over tar­iffs had mor­phed from bom­bast into a
    plau­si­ble prospect, rein­forced by the appoint­ment of Peter Navar­ro, author
    of the unsub­tle Death by Chi­na: How Amer­i­ca Lost Its Man­u­fac­tur­ing Base,
    to head a new­ly formed White House Nation­al Trade Coun­cil. In response
    to Trump’s sub­se­quent com­ment about not being bound by the One Chi­na
    pol­i­cy (in obser­vance of the 1972 Shang­hai Com­mu­niqué, Wash­ing­ton does
    not chal­lenge Beijing’s view of Tai­wan as a rene­gade province), an edi­to­r­i­al in Glob­al Times (Huan­qiu shibao), a state-owned media out­let, invoked the threat of an immi­nent inva­sion: “The Chi­nese main­land should dis­play its res­o­lu­tion to recov­er Tai­wan by force.”5

    While Trump walked back his threat to One Chi­na in Feb­ru­ary 2017, and
    pulled off a cred­i­ble job of host­ing Xi Jin­ping in his own “win­ter palace” of Mar-a-Lago a month lat­er, none of Beijing’s Wash­ing­ton-watch­ers are sleep­ing eas­i­ly, not least because of the mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of US forces all around the main­land, in what amounts to the largest mil­i­tary buildup in Asia since World War II.6 Up until Trump’s sur­prise vic­to­ry, Clin­ton had been the true hawk in the pres­i­den­tial race. Her inti­ma­cy with Pen­ta­gon brass, her uncom­pro­mis­ing
    pro-Israel stance, and her well-doc­u­ment­ed appetite for mil­i­tary engage­ment would almost cer­tain­ly have made her a more active com­man­der in chief than her pre­de­ces­sor. In a region that is sup­posed to be host­ing a more mul­ti­lat­er­al “Pacif­ic Cen­tu­ry” than in the Cold War decades when the Sev­enth Fleet ruled “America’s lake,” Clin­ton had pushed back, as man­i­fest in the title and con­tent of her 2011 For­eign Pol­i­cy arti­cle, “America’s Pacif­ic Cen­tu­ry.”
    Her record sug­gest­ed that her foot­print in the region would have been heav­ier than that of any occu­pant of the White House since Har­ry Truman.7

    Trump vowed to be less inter­ven­tion­ist, but his errat­ic con­duct as a fledg­ling diplo­mat, and his crude efforts to side­line the State Depart­ment, have under­mined any faith in this pledge, albeit a flim­sy one to begin with. Indeed, his volatile behav­ior can be used as an open­ing for hard-lin­ers to make new
    pol­i­cy moves into areas that would ordi­nar­i­ly have been off-lim­its:
    Syr­ia and North Korea for starters. Over time, his seem­ing­ly non­vet­ted com­ments may be planned and used as an expe­di­ent cov­er for such moves. His blus­tery breach of pro­to­cols, both per­son­al and polit­i­cal, was a source of ridicule when he was seek­ing office. Once in the White House, this com­pul­sive ten­den­cy to go rogue can­not fail to engen­der con­flict. Indeed, it is unimag­in­able that it will not lead to mil­i­tary engage­ment in mul­ti­ple loca­tions east of Suez. At the time of writ­ing, it looks as if there will be Sino–US coop­er­a­tion in the effort to rein in North Korea’s nuclear pro­gram, which leaves the South Chi­na Sea as one of the most like­ly regions to expect a bel­li­cose encounter.

    Bei­jing has been apply­ing its new mil­i­tary clout (the result of a two-decade esca­la­tion that trig­gered India, South Korea, Tai­wan, and Japan to beef up their own defense bud­gets) to extend its mar­itime zone far into the South Chi­na Sea’s inter­na­tion­al ship­ping lanes, through which pass­es $5 tril­lion of world trade annu­al­ly. Washington’s own Free­dom of Nav­i­ga­tion pol­i­cy, as Arnie Sai­ki points out in his con­tri­bu­tion to this issue, has been shaped region­al­ly as an instru­ment for con­tain­ing China’s expan­sive claims. If Bei­jing con­tin­ues to build airstrips and weaponized defense instal­la­tions on the arti­fi­cial islands of the Sprat­ly arch­i­pel­ago, and if it more aggres­sive­ly pur­sues own­er­ship rights
    over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the East Chi­na Sea, then some of the
    coun­tries (Japan, Philip­pines, Brunei, Tai­wan, and Viet­nam) with claims to
    these dis­put­ed ter­ri­to­ries may invoke their mutu­al defense treaties to pull the Unit­ed States into direct con­flict with Bei­jing. When Trump is beat­en down, by Repub­li­can lead­ers, in his quest to erect a tar­iff wall against Chi­nese goods, then his exec­u­tive com­mand of the planet’s largest mil­i­tary force will be put to the test. The low-inten­si­ty fric­tion between TPP and RCEP will give way
    to gun­boat diplo­ma­cy, brinks­man­ship, and worse. It may not mat­ter if the
    open con­flict is the result of an aggres­sive play by Wash­ing­ton hawks or sim­ply some ill-con­sid­ered mid­night pres­i­den­tial tweet or phone call. Nor would any effort to de-esca­late on Beijing’s part be guar­an­teed to suc­ceed.
    Resur­gent nation­al­ism among the Chi­nese is rou­tine­ly manip­u­lat­ed by the author­i­ties,
    espe­cial­ly when the state’s media organs are instruct­ed to employ hard-lin­er rhetoric against for­eign­ers. But these strong sen­ti­ments can­not always be eas­i­ly con­tained; exploita­tion of nation­al­ist fer­vor is tan­ta­mount to play­ing with fire.

    Back in 2007, dur­ing her first pres­i­den­tial bid, and at the height of the trade détente, Clin­ton mused of China’s lead­er­ship: “How can you get tough with your banker?”8 By 2016 her cam­paign rhetoric was more about “stand­ing up to Chi­na.” The inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric of her Repub­li­can rival has been dif­fer­ent
    in kind, rather than degree. At this point there is every indi­ca­tion that “mak­ing Amer­i­ca great again” will involve stepped-up con­fronta­tion with Bei­jing, giv­ing a whole new mean­ing to the label “indis­pens­able ene­my.”

    Notes

    1. Alexan­der Sax­ton, The Indis­pens­able Ene­my: Labor and the Anti-Chi­nese Move­ment in Cal­i­for­nia (Berke­ley: Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Press, 1967).

    2. Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton, “Remarks at Tech­port Aus­tralia,” Ade­laide, South Aus­tralia, Novem­ber 15, 2012, http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/11/200565.htm.

    3. Elisa Nesos­si, ed., with Joshua Rosen­zweig, Ewan Smith, Susan Trevaskes, “Inter­pret­ing the Rule of
    Law in Chi­na,” round­table, Made in Chi­na: A Quar­ter­ly on Labor, Civ­il Soci­ety, and Rights 2 (2016): 24–32.

    4. Andrew Bace­vich maps the tra­jec­to­ry from the War for Pacif­ic Domin­ion in “Amer­i­can Imperi­um,” Harper’s, May 2016, harpers.org/archive/2016/05/american-imperium/.

    5. Ben­jamin Haas, “Chi­na Should Plan to Take Tai­wan by Force after Trump Call,” Guardian, Decem­ber 15, 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/15/china-plan-taiwan-force-trump-call-state-media.

    6. The Pen­ta­gon now has five thou­sand bases, one thou­sand out­side the Unit­ed States and in every con­ti­nent. For an astute take on the mil­i­tary buildup, see John Pilger’s forth­com­ing film The Com­ing War with Chi­na.

    7. Hillary Clin­ton, “America’s Pacif­ic Cen­tu­ry,” For­eign Pol­i­cy, Octo­ber 11, 2011.

    8. NBC News, “Clin­ton Sounds the Chi­na Alarm as ’08 Issue,” NBCnews.com, March 2, 2007.

    Posted by Ovid 19 | April 16, 2020, 4:58 pm
  5. Posted by Ovid 19 | April 17, 2020, 7:28 am
  6. Coro­n­avirus ends Chi­na’s hon­ey­moon in Africa

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/16/coronavirus-china-africa-191444

    Bei­jing has spent bil­lions to win friends and influ­ence pol­i­tics in Africa. But the virus is threat­en­ing to upend years of care­ful work.

    By SIMON MARKS

    04/16/2020 04:52 PM EDT

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Africa was sup­posed to be China’s new stomp­ing grounds. Instead, the nov­el coro­n­avirus has spawned a grow­ing back­lash that threat­ens to unwind the ties Bei­jing has care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed over decades.

    The trig­ger for the bur­geon­ing diplo­mat­ic cri­sis: Anger over the treat­ment of African cit­i­zens liv­ing in Chi­na and frus­tra­tion at Beijing’s posi­tion on grant­i­ng debt relief to fight against the out­break.

    Chi­na has spent untold bil­lions in Africa since its emer­gence as a glob­al pow­er, invest­ing in its nat­ur­al resources, under­writ­ing mas­sive infra­struc­ture projects and woo­ing its lead­ers. The cam­paign has bought Chi­na friends and allies in mul­ti­lat­er­al insti­tu­tions such as the Unit­ed Nations and the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, under­min­ing the West’s once-reli­able lock on the post­war world order while fuel­ing its econ­o­my back home.

    But that decades long quest for influ­ence in Africa was grave­ly chal­lenged last week when a group of dis­grun­tled African ambas­sadors in Bei­jing wrote to For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Wang Yi to com­plain that cit­i­zens from Togo, Nige­ria and Benin liv­ing in Guangzhou, south­ern Chi­na, were evict­ed from their homes and made to under­go oblig­a­tory test­ing for Covid-19.

    [NB: “Ethiopia” is con­spic­u­ous­ly absent from this list. Could it have been used in the byline as a sub­tle pro­pa­gan­da tool intend­ed to draw read­er atten­tion away from the oil aspect of this sto­ry? — ed]

    “In some cas­es, the men were pulled out of their fam­i­lies and quar­an­tined in hotels alone,” the note, seen by POLITICO, said.

    The inci­dent, which caused wide­spread dis­con­tent both with­in Africa and among the dias­po­ra after videos post­ed on social media showed peo­ple of African descent being evict­ed from their homes, result­ing in a rare diplo­mat­ic show­down between Chi­nese and African offi­cials.

    It also broke a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of Africa voic­ing its prob­lems with Chi­na — the continent’s biggest trade part­ner — behind closed doors.

    In one inci­dent, Nigeria’s speak­er of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Femi Gba­jabi­ami­la, post­ed a video of him­self sum­mon­ing Chi­nese Ambas­sador Zhou Pingjian to his office where he expressed his dis­plea­sure about a Niger­ian man being evict­ed from his home.

    [NB: Nige­ria is heav­i­ly influ­enced by the Petro­le­um Car­tels led by Shell and Stan­dard Oil’s suc­ces­sor cor­po­ra­tions — this cor­rup­tion may include the speak­er of Nige­ri­a’s par­lia­ment who, accord­ing to some reports, has been impli­cat­ed at least cir­cum­stan­tial­ly, to bribe-tak­ing. This may be some­thing worth look­ing into fur­ther — ed.]

    While nobody expects Chi­na to lose its place as Africa’s biggest bilat­er­al lender and trade part­ner, ana­lysts and African diplo­mats say there is a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­i­ty of last­ing dam­age. Reluc­tance from Chi­na to endorse a G‑20 deci­sion to sus­pend Africa’s debt pay­ments until the end of the year has exac­er­bat­ed the sense of frus­tra­tion, they said.

    “There is a lot of ten­sion with­in the rela­tion­ship. I think both of these issues are the newest man­i­fes­ta­tions of long-term prob­lems,” said Cobus van Staden, a senior researcher at the South African Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs. “Africa’s offi­cial response [to its cit­i­zens in Chi­na] took into account pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment a lot more than it usu­al­ly would have.”

    Some schol­ars have doc­u­ment­ed how politi­cians in Africa have boost­ed their elec­toral base by mobi­liz­ing anti-Chi­nese sen­ti­ment, while many ordi­nary peo­ple per­ceive China’s suc­cess in the region as a threat to their own well-being.

    Although China’s gov­ern­ment and the bil­lion­aire founder of the Aliba­ba Group, Jack Ma, have been among the most gen­er­ous and eager mem­bers of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty to assist Africa in fight­ing Covid-19, Beijing’s over­tak­ing of the World Bank as the biggest sin­gle lender to Africa has made it less inclined to write off the mon­ey it is owed. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and the Chi­na Devel­op­ment Bank lent more than $150 bil­lion to Africa between 2000 and 2018, accord­ing to the Chi­na Africa Research Ini­tia­tive at Johns Hop­kins School of Advanced Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies.

    U.S. offi­cials, includ­ing Tibor Nagy, assis­tant sec­re­tary for the U.S. State Depart­men­t’s Bureau of African Affairs, have strong­ly con­demned the treat­ment of Africans in Chi­na, result­ing in Chi­na snap­ping back at Wash­ing­ton by accus­ing it of sow­ing unnec­es­sary dis­cord between the pair.

    Chi­nese offi­cials have moved quick­ly to seal the emerg­ing rift. Ambas­sador Liu Yuxi, Beijing’s head of mis­sion to the African Union, released a pho­to of him­self giv­ing a social­ly dis­tanced elbow bump to his African coun­ter­part — while dis­tanc­ing the Bei­jing gov­ern­ment from the author­i­ties in Guangzhou.

    At the same time, Zhang Min­jing, polit­i­cal coun­selor at the mis­sion, down­played the con­tro­ver­sy in com­ments to POLITICO. Bei­jing had “cham­pi­oned” a debt ini­tia­tive agreed upon by the G‑20, he said, and is “com­mit­ted to tak­ing all pos­si­ble steps to sup­port the poor.” As for the recent tumult in Guangzhou, he said, “the rock-sol­id Chi­na-Africa Friend­ship will not be affect­ed by iso­lat­ed inci­dents.”

    Ngozi Okon­jo-Iweala
    AFRICA

    Africa to G‑20: Debt relief deal to ease coro­n­avirus cri­sis not enough
    BY SIMON MARKS

    “Chi­na is against any dif­fer­en­tial treat­ment tar­get­ing any spe­cif­ic group of peo­ple. Chi­na and Africa are good broth­ers and com­rades-in-arms. We are always there for each oth­er come rain or shine,” he added.

    But there are also grow­ing con­cerns in Bei­jing that its multi­bil­lion-dol­lar infra­struc­ture projects in places such as Zim­bab­we have now ground to a halt because of the coro­n­avirus. Not only are engi­neer­ing per­son­nel unable to trav­el to the con­ti­nent, but con­struc­tion mate­ri­als are run­ning low as sup­ply chains dry up.

    Africans are going to need all the help they can get. After years of rapid growth, the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund on Wednes­day said sub-Saha­ran Africa’s gross domes­tic prod­uct would shrink this year by 1.6 per­cent due to the effects of the coro­n­avirus, low oil prices and poor com­mod­i­ty prices. In Ethiopia alone, the gov­ern­ment has esti­mat­ed that 1.4 mil­lion jobs will be lost over the next three months, accord­ing to a doc­u­ment seen by POLITICO, rough­ly 3 per­cent of the work­force. Africa has record­ed 17,701 coro­n­avirus cas­es and 915 deaths — a toll that will like­ly climb rapid­ly, and like­ly under­es­ti­mates the scale of the con­ti­nen­t’s predica­ment.

    So far, the rest of the world has done lit­tle to help. On Mon­day, the IMF grant­ed $215 mil­lion in ini­tial debt relief to 25 African coun­tries — a rel­a­tive pit­tance com­pared with the vast sums those coun­tries owe. On Wednes­day, G‑20 nations, which include Chi­na, the U.S., India and oth­ers, did offer to sus­pend debt pay­ments until the end of 2020 despite calls from French Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron to help African coun­tries by “mas­sive­ly can­cel­ing their debt.”

    But Ngozi Okon­jo-Iweala, one of four spe­cial envoys to the African Union to solic­it G‑20 sup­port in deal­ing with the coro­n­avirus, said Africa was still “push­ing for more.” In an inter­view, Okon­jo-Iweala said she believed “Chi­na is com­ing along” to pro­vide Africa with debt relief across the board and not sim­ply on a case-by-case basis. “I don’t believe it’s against sup­port­ing African coun­tries on this. I’ve heard actu­al­ly to the con­trary,” she said. “What we need from Chi­na is not a case-by-case exam­i­na­tion, but an across-the-board agree­ment.”

    Stephen Karin­gi, direc­tor of the trade divi­sion at the U.N.’s Eco­nom­ic Com­mis­sion for Africa, said sup­port from the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty should be “weighed against the dam­age Covid-19 will cause” in Africa. “We think that 2020 and 2021 will be dif­fi­cult and sup­port should have that in mind or such a hori­zon,” Karin­gi said.

    How dam­ag­ing the lat­est events will be to the polit­i­cal and com­mer­cial ties that have made Chi­na Africa’s largest trad­ing part­ner are unclear.

    On the offi­cial lev­el, there are signs that all will soon be for­got­ten. A senior African diplo­mat to the African Union, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty due to the sen­si­tive nature of the issue, said, “When it comes to Chi­na, I doubt we will see long-term prob­lems.”

    “They’ve got a lot invest­ed on the con­ti­nent, in the AU, in this city,” the offi­cial added.

    “They’re every­where. Real­is­ti­cal­ly, I think it’s impor­tant both sides under­stand why this is hap­pen­ing and try and resolve this mutu­al­ly.”

    Still, a host of African offi­cials have made sure Chi­na does not get away light­ly with its treat­ment of Africans liv­ing in Chi­na. Over the week­end, Mous­sa Faki, chair­man of the African Union Com­mis­sion, said he had “invit­ed” the Chi­nese ambas­sador to the AU to express his “extreme con­cern” for the sit­u­a­tion, while Chi­nese ambas­sadors in Nige­ria and Ghana were sum­moned to give an expla­na­tion.

    Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said the ill treat­ment of African nation­als in Chi­na was “incon­sis­tent with the excel­lent rela­tions that exist between Chi­na and Africa, dat­ing back to China’s sup­port dur­ing the decol­o­niza­tion strug­gle in Africa.”

    A senior AU offi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty due to the sen­si­tive nature of the mat­ter, said Chi­nese offi­cials were par­tic­u­lar­ly alarmed by the pub­lic dimen­sion of the inci­dent that explod­ed on social media. But, the offi­cial said, many African nations were pleased by remarks deliv­ered by For­eign Min­istry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Sun­day in which he under­lined “the African side’s rea­son­able con­cerns and legit­i­mate appeals.”

    Whether the peo­ple liv­ing on the con­ti­nent for­get so eas­i­ly is anoth­er mat­ter alto­geth­er.

    “It’s going to be con­tentious among those com­mu­ni­ties for a lot longer,” said van Staden of the South African Insti­tute of Inter­na­tion­al Affairs.

    Posted by Ovid 19 | April 17, 2020, 10:26 am
  7. [in re: McDon­alds role in the cur­rent accu­sa­tions of racism being lev­eled against “Chi­na” — and not, you know, who­ev­er owned this fran­chise — it should be not­ed, per­haps, that McDon­alds Chi­na was recent­ly (2017) sold to....(wait for it!)....the Cheney-Rums­feld-NEO­CON-con­nect­ed Car­lyle Group.]

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mcdonalds-china/golden-arches-mcdonalds-gets-naew-china-name-following-unit-sale-idUSKBN1CV0FB

    BUSINESS NEWSOCTOBER 25, 2017 / 10:30 PM / 2 YEARS AGO
    ‘Gold­en Arch­es’: McDon­ald’s gets new Chi­na name fol­low­ing unit sale

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) — U.S. fast food giant McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) is get­ting a name change in Chi­na — at least on paper.

    The firm will change its reg­is­tered busi­ness name to “Gold­en Arch­es (Chi­na) Co Ltd”, a spokes­woman con­firmed to Reuters on Thurs­day, adding though that its brand name in Chi­na — a translit­er­a­tion of McDonald’s — would be unchanged.

    The shift comes after the chain agreed ear­li­er in the year to sell most of its Chi­na and Hong Kong busi­ness to CITIC Ltd (0267.HK) and Car­lyle Group (CG.O). The busi­ness plans to near­ly dou­ble the num­ber of its out­lets in main­land Chi­na to 4,500 by 2022.

    “It will still be clear­ly ‘McDonald’s’ when din­ers come to our stores,” the chain said on its offi­cial Chi­na microblog.

    “Our restau­rant name will remain the same, the change is only at busi­ness license lev­el,” spokes­woman Regi­na Hui added in emailed com­ments to Reuters. She declined to com­ment fur­ther on the rea­son for the change.

    McDonald’s in Chi­na and Hong Kong is 52 per­cent owned by CITIC, while Car­lyle has a 28 per­cent stake. McDonald’s itself retains a 20 per­cent inter­est in the busi­ness.

    The struc­ture is aimed at improv­ing sales at exist­ing stores and expand­ing out­lets. Fast-food firms includ­ing McDonald’s and rival Yum China’s (YUMC.N) KFC are bounc­ing back from a series of food-sup­ply scan­dals in Chi­na that had dent­ed per­for­mance.

    McDonald’s report­ed robust sales on Tues­day, includ­ing bet­ter-than-expect­ed growth in the Unit­ed States and strong per­for­mances in Cana­da, Britain and Chi­na.

    Report­ing by Adam Jour­dan; Edit­ing by Christo­pher Cush­ing

    Our Standards:The Thom­son Reuters Trust Prin­ci­ples.

    Posted by Ovid 19 | April 17, 2020, 11:07 am

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